Author's Note: I would like to thank everybody whom has supported me in this story so far. I know I don't get a chance to say thank you to everybody that has reviewed, but please don't think I don't appreciate you guys. You're amazing people.
Thanks for review Chapter 51: AlyssJocelyn, kariza2013, littlemsstrawberry, KayleeBlack, exaigon, Sofia Ottoman, KraZiiePyrozHavemoreFun, cyiusblack, wandamarie, Sarah.A.A, I-Love-Trunks1, itachisgurl93, & griffin blackwood
Title: Thousands Of Reasons To Smile
Parings: Harry/Alphard, Charlus/Dorea, Tom/Minerva, Ignatius/Lucretia
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Thousands Of Reasons To Smile
I need to know now, know now
Can you love me again?
- John Newman
Wearily Charlus looked at the clock, it was 7:00 AM. "Xander may I ask what you are doing in my room at such an ungodly hour?"
Turning over onto his back, Charlus let out a long, low groan and stretched out all his limbs, none of them coming close to the edges of his king sized bed. The mattress shifted beneath him, the soft, warm sheets pooling around his body.
It couldn't be morning, Charlus thought. He didn't care what Xander said. He felt like he hadn't slept in a week. It couldn't be morning yet.
Slowly opening his eyes, Charlus blinked. It was bright, too bright. He groaned again this time turning on to his other side, curling into a ball, and placing a pillow over his head.
Charlus curled up tighter and pressed the pillow down against his ear.
"Sir?" the elf voice repeated even louder than before.
"What, Xander?" Charlus replied in resignation his voice muffled by the pillow.
"I would just like to remind you that if you do not get up in the next five minutes, I am authorized to use my magic to wake you."
Charlus groaned again. "Okay! Okay. I'm up."
Charlus tossed the pillow away and pulled himself over to the side of the bed letting his legs gracelessly flop over the edge as he sat up. Charlus had went to bed at a reasonable time, well, two in the morning, but for him that was extremely reasonable.
He felt exhausted, his limbs felt weak, was he sick? He better not be sick. He hated being sick. Contrary to popular belief, Charlus Potter did care very much about his health.
Charlus yawned and wiped at the grit in his eyes.
"Sir, your five minutes are almost up."
"Hey. No fair. I'm up, aren't I? I'm awake. My eyes are open."
"You're still on the bed." Xander, the family houself exclaimed.
Charlus looked down and realized he was in fact still on the bed. Putting a hand on the bedside table, he pushed himself to his feet.
"Sir, do you require assistance?"
"No. No, Xander. I'm fine. I just need to shower."
After a quick side trip to the bathroom, he began stumbling through corridors and stairwells in search of his family, which is how he eventually found himself in the common kitchen one floor below.
There were people in the kitchen. More precisely, there were six people spread about and busily occupied with various things. It was a large kitchen, but filled with the Potter family, relatives, and friends it became a lot smaller.
A variety of 'Good Morning's chimed at him.
"I want to go back to bed," Charlus said in way of reply.
Valerie Potter glanced up from where she stood over several steaming pots and pans and gave her son an amused smile. "You'll miss the train to Hogwarts if you go back to bed. You wouldn't want that would you?"
"I don't care." Charlus was starting to sound like a whiny, petulant child, but he was tired and felt crappy.
"Geez. Someone sure woke up grouchy. Here." Cynthia pushed an empty plate in Charlus direction.
Charlus scowled at Cynthia in return. She was so silent most of the time, Charlus never even noticed she was in the room until she spoke up.
Despite the wonderful smells of his mother's cooking, there was only one thing Charlus felt hungry for that morning.
"What, are we your servants? Get it yourself." Cynthia said buttering up her toast.
"Charlus, I told you to go to bed sooner. You look dreadful." Tom said staring at Charlus disapprovingly.
Tom was the type who was very good at reading people. Sometimes it felt like he was getting right inside your head, something which had made Charlus nervous on more than one occasion. He didn't like people in his head. Not that it's happened yet, none which he could think of.
"I don't look dreadful. I just woke up you jerk. You don't look like rainbows and sunshine yourself you know."
"Boy's, it's too early." Boniface scowled his sons as he went back to looking at his newspaper.
"You need to take better care of yourself," Tom said, not finished. "Your sleep should take top priority."
"Right," Charlus grumbled wearily.
"And here you've been telling me, my school work should be my top priority." Alphard said folding his arms to his chest.
"I'm serious, Charlus." Tom went on, ignoring Alphard.
"Shut up, Tom. Merlin, were you always a bully?"
Alphard snickered at Charlus words and Tom frowned at his brother.
A hand patted Charlus on the back and suddenly there was pancakes on Charlus plate.
"Mum made some really good blueberry pancakes," declared Harry enthusiastically from beside him.
Charlus smiled as he one armed hugged Harry in morning greeting, "You always did have a rather sunny disposition."
The totally caring big brother expression almost makes Harry blush. Harry though, half smiled as he went back to his own breakfast.
Charlus loved Harry to death, no matter the fact that he wasn't actually from the time line that they were in. All Charlus wanted was to see him happy. As long as Harry was happy, Charlus was happy. Harry belonged to the Potters now as his brother and that's the way it's gonna stay.
A lighthearted conversation had begun amongst the occupants of the kitchen. The room was filled with the sounds of talking, cooking, and eating. Alphard slammed a hand against the table as he emphasized a point to an debatable Tom. A fork went flying through the air and Harry caught it without even looking. Smirking, Cynthia leaned back in her chair as Boniface absentmindedly brushed some of the sprayed food from his newspaper and Valerie flipped over an omelet.
"You asshole, you scared the hell out of me!" Conall Norton gave Tom a halfhearted shove.
"I'm sorry, Conall," Tom gave him a wide eyed look that he had interpreted in others as innocence.
Conall scowled at him. "Oh, please, don't even try that. You totally ignored my letters on purpose."
Tom blew out a long breath when he thought of Conall Norton. He's never claimed to be particularly in touch with his feelings, but he could still feel the emotions. The teen had quickly became one of his best friends.
Conall could hold an intelligent conversation that Tom could bounce ideas off of him, and he never got mad (thank Merlin) at Tom's rather biting sense of humor. Tom could talk to the youth.
But, even after all that Conall had done to earn Tom's trust, Conall still knew next to nothing personally about him. Just the basics. That Tom was adopted, that he had two brothers, and that Minerva McGonagall was his girlfriend.
"You know, my father is always saying that everybody should seize the moment," Conall said, hugging Tom in greeting, "we could all be dead tomorrow."
"He's not wrong," Tom agreed, awkwardly hugging Conall back.
"I'm happy that you and your family are not dead. I heard about what happen in the newspapers."
"Yes, my parents didn't want to talk about it to the public, but we're all okay. Come on, let's find the compartment my brothers and the rest of the gang are in."
"Of course." Conall took the lead and Tom followed, "I already know what compartment everybody is in."
"Little brother." Tom greeted in return.
Harry just rolled his eyes. "Where have you been?"
"I was looking for Minerva."
Harry rolled his eyes again. "And did you find her?"
"I'm afraid not."
"Oh please, you two will be on each other soon enough." Alphard commented as he propped his feet on Harry's legs.
"Do shut up, Black. Nobody asked your opinion."
"It's Black again, is it? When are you going to call me Alphard?"
"When you deserve it."
"Hey guys," Charlus said walking into the compartment room with Dorea and Lucretia.
"Lucretia." Ignatius said smiling up at her.
"Hello, Ignatius." Lucretia said sitting next to him.
Minerva greeted Tom as she came through into the Great Hall. "Good morning, Tom." She smiled her beautiful smile.
Tom smirked back. But Minerva didn't see that as a liability, she thought it was cute, even funny, that it was Tom's signature expression.
"Good morning, Minerva. How was your first night back to Hogwarts?"
"Oh, you know, nothing to strenuous. I'm actually happy to be back at Hogwarts, I feel like it's much safer than what's going on outside of it."
Tom held Minerva's hand as they walked to the Gryffindor table. "I find the dangers outside of Hogwarts something that we need to prepare for."
"Tom, do you honestly see somebody like me fighting a war?"
"You'd be wonderfully skilled, I'm sure."
Minerva laughed and sat next to Tom as they both prepared their own breakfast.
"Tom, we have Professor Slunghorn next after breakfast. I'm just giving you the heads up." Harry said coming to sit with his brother along with Alphard.
Charlus was sitting with Dorea at the Slytherin table.
"Why would I need the heads up?" Tom asked frowning.
"I know something you don't know? That's shocking." Harry said smirking.
Tom rolled his eyes and simply continued to eat his breakfast. "Harry, you know plenty of things that I don't know. Now tell me what you're talking about."
"Professor Slunghorn has been gathering students for his Slug Club since last fall and I heard that he's been eager to gather some Potters into it as well." Harry explained.
"Not Charlus though, Slunghorn thinks that Charlus is a twit." Alphard said smirking.
"Professor Slunghorn has never seen Charlus at his best, that's why. If Charlus would act his age-"
"Tom, really, come on, I'm trying to eat my breakfast." Harry interrupted.
"Well you know it's true!"
"I know no such thing."
"Of course you don't, because you act just like him."
"He's my- we're Potters, we're immature prats seventy percent of the time."
"Well I'm not."
"No, Tom, you're not, you're a freakin' brick wall."
"And what is that supposed to mean?"
"Don't you guys think this is getting a bit out of hand?" Minerva asked frowning.
"Your boyfriend insulted me first."
"Oh so mature."
"I'm not mature as you very well put-"
"I forgot about that seventy percent-"
"Well why don't you both use that thirty percent of maturity?" Minerva said scowling.
"Sorry, Minerva." Harry said.
"Don't say sorry to me, say it to each other."
"You're not a emotionless brick wall, Tom."
"You're not an immature prat."
"Good, now that, that's out of the way, do you want to hear good news, Harry?"
"By that expression on your face, it must be about you." Harry teased.
"Actually pertains to both of us," Alphard said beaming, "have you noticed a absence of a certain somebody sense we came back from the holidays?"
Harry frowned in thought.
"It's Jared Morgan!" Alphard said, practically jumping out of his seat, "He's not coming back to Hogwarts."
"Why?" Harry asked bewildered.
"Who cares?" Alphard shrugged his shoulders.
"Why didn't he-" Harry cut off as the owl post came in.
A brown owl landed next to Harry with a letter addressed to him and how convenient was it that it was from Jared Morgan.
"It's from Jared." Harry said to Alphard whom was looking at the fancy gold fluidly writing on the letter.
"Maybe he's sent the letter to explain why he's not here." Minerva offered.
"Pssh, like we care."
Harry ignored Alphard and opened the letter.
I'm back in Washington and I miss you already. Do you miss me? I hope so. I don't know how I am going to stand not seeing you until summer! That seems so far away.
I'm sorry, but I feel I would do better in my school in America, then of Hogwarts. Hogwarts is no place for a vampire anyway. I don't know anybody there and let's face the truth. We both know why I really attended Hogwarts. To annoy the hell out of your boyfriend and I was hoping you would dump him and get with a true wizard like me. Wishful thinking I suppose. If only our paths had crossed before you had met Black.
What did Black do after he found out I left? You have to tell me if he said anything idiotic. I promise I won't eat him. Oh, and don't let him give you a hard time. If he does, let me know and I will take care of him. Besides, if he ever does screw up, you'll have me.
Also, can you give a message to your dear cousin, Cynthia for me?
"I've always been willing to wait. For the right time and the right person."
She'll know what I mean.
I'll see you in the summer, Harry!
"That slimy little loser-" Alphard had been looking over Harry's letter.
"Alphard, it's rude to read other people's letter's."
Alphard just scowled and folded his arms to his chest. "Do you like him better than me?"
"Oh Merlin." Tom said sighing.
"You're talking nonsense." Harry said to Alphard as he folded his letter.
"Hey guys, are you ready to go?" Charlus came up to them with Dorea around his arm.
"I suppose so." Tom said.
"Would you like me to walk you to class, Minerva?" Tom asked her.
"Oh, no, I'll manage just fine. I have places I need to stop by first. Have a good day at class." Minerva said giving Tom a kiss.
"You know Charlus, I've noticed that you and Dorea have been more stuck to each other lately." Alphard commented as they walked to their Potion class.
"Ever the charmer Al." Dorea said rolling her eyes. "How do you put up with him, Harry?"
"He means well." Harry replied.
"Ah, Tom!" Slughorn exclaimed. "Harrison, and...Charlus, wasn't it? Welcome back to Potions." He greeted to everyone. "Now I hope all of you had memorized the theories on the Polyjuice potion, it seems like the only ones to know how to do it properly is Mr. Thomas and Harrison Potter. Now,"
"Did he really have to say that?" Harry whispered to Tom as he slid a little bit down in his seat in embarrassment.
"Why should you be embarrassed when it's true?" Tom whispered back.
"Because it makes you guys look like big headed suck ups." Charlus whispered as well.
Tom simply glared at his brother.
"Now, we are going to be brewing up something new today, the Antidote to Common Poisons, to be exact. The Antidote to Common Poisons is a potion which counteracts ordinary poisons, such as creature bites and stings. Its ingredients include Bezoars, Standard Ingredient, ground unicorn horn and mistletoe berries,"
Professor Slunghorn turned around to write down the instructions on the board:
Add 1 Bezoar to the mortar
Crush into a very fine powder using the pestle
Add 4 measures of the crushed Bezoar to your cauldron
Add 2 measures of Standard Ingredient to your cauldron
Heat to a medium temperature for 5 seconds
Wave your wand
Leave to brew and return in 40 minutes with Pewter Cauldron, 34 minutes with Brass cauldron and 30 minutes with copper cauldron.
Add 1 pinch of Unicorn Horns to your cauldron
Stir 2 times, clockwise
Add 2 Mistletoe Berries to your cauldron
Stir 2 times, anti-clockwise
Wave your wand to complete the potion
"If you brewed this right, it will be a teal color," He explained to the class.
"Partner up, partner up..." He motioned. "Now get out your textbooks, and start brewing!" He exclaimed.
Tom chose Harry to be together, much to Alphard's dismay. So Alphard went to partner up with Ignatius and Charlus partner up with Conall.
"I'll get the ingredients." Tom told Harry. "Just use your wand to stir, like I showed you at home." He finished.
"Okay." Harry agreed. Surprisingly, Tom was a good teacher, for Harry was fairly good at potions now. Harry's skill was not lacking at all sense Tom had been teaching him.
Tom had brought over the ingredients, and added them, while Harry would stir with her wand. Even Slughorn was impressed with how well they were doing.
"My, my...you two are certainly good at Potions." Professor Slunghorn said beaming down at them.
"Thank you, Professor." Tom said.
"Tom should take all the credit, he's the one that is truly good at Potions, sir." Harry said, trying to put it all on Tom, whom quirked his eyebrow up at Harry.
"So modest, Mr. Potter. You two would certainly be exceptionally popular in my club come to think of it,"
Harry turned and gave Tom a look.
"What club are you referring to, Professor?" Tom asked politely, which Professor Slughorn was happy to eagerly answer to.
"The Slug club to be more precise. It's an exclusive club for elite students like yourselves."
"Well that does sound interesting, Professor." Harry hit Tom in his kidney with his elbow.
"Does it, Thomas? Well I hope that you and Harrison would like to join!"
"Will my brother Charlus be included in this club, professor?" Tom asked.
Slughorn grimaced before he covered it up with a laugh. "I highly doubt that he would want to join, but the more the merrier! lets say dinner this Saturday evening?" He offered.
"We would be honored, Sir." Tom replied politely. Tom smirked at Harry's annoyed expression.
"Good, good, feel free to bring a friend if you like." Slunghorn went on to view other peoples work.
"Great Tom, now I have four days to figure out a way out of this. Thank you, you prat."
"You never know what connections and favors you can get, Harry. Don't be so selfish."
"Harry, calm down. Slughorn will probably be fine with just Tom there." Alphard said coming to sit next to Harry.
"He better be!" Harry said punching Tom hard on his arm.
"Stop hitting me!" Tom punched Harry back.
Harry and Alphard were walking up the stairway to the roof, having successfully ducked out of Charms class. Of course, these days it was more sort of Professor Bellamy's class. Professor O'Bryne was out until further notice due to a "sporting injury." Harry suspected that the actual nature of his absence was something to do with Professor O'Bryne's true nature.
Professor Nadia Bellamy had passed out the syllabus for the rest of the semester, and allowed them to "work at their own pace." This is universally known in student code as a "free period hanging out and talking with your friends."
Harry had all the assigned work completed in three days. Alphard had it all completed two days later, owing a lot to Harry's help and encouragement. They were then able to ask Nadia for a library pass each day, which she cheerfully provided them.
Tom had done the same thing, with the exception that he actually did go to the library.
"You know," Alphard said, leading the way up the stairs to the roof, "I really wouldn't think it was a bad thing if the rumors were true about Tom and Minerva breaking up."
"What?! What rumors?"
"Just the word that's going around."
"Tom would never break up with Minerva, never."
"Unless Minerva was cheating on Tom, or if Minerva wanted to break up with him."
Harry was about to reply, but stopped himself when she heard voices coming from above them. Apparently, someone had beaten them to their favorite class-ditching scene.
"-give me another one," a male voice said.
"Okay," a second male voice said, "Dorea Black."
"That bipolar chick? Good choice," replied the first voice, "but I don't think so. Besides, she's dating the Gryffindor seeker."
"Okay, Nixie Conway,"
"Nixie "airhead" Conway? I hope we're not that desperate."
"You know, I hear that she doesn't actually put out for all those guys she hangs out with."
"Well that makes it so much better, doesn't it? Next."
Harry and Alphard exchanged glances. Alphard leaned over to Harry and whispered, "Do you recognize the voices?"
"Do I recognize the voices of two assholes deciding who they're going to date?" Harry whispered back. "No, do you?"
The conversation continued above them. "How about... Alistair Moody," the first voice continued.
"He's pretty much psychotic. I don't think so," the second voice answered, "besides, again, he has a girlfriend."
"That nobody has ever seen."
"Give me more names."
"How about... Tessa Ito," the first voice continued.
"Miss I think I'm so perfect? I don't think so," the second voice answered, "besides, again, she's dating a quidditch player. Ken'Ichi Chang."
"Okay... Alphard Black?"
"You're joking right? He's practically Harry Potter's shadow. He follows Potter around like a lovesick puppy."
"So Harry Potter is out of the question?"
"Bloody hell, no. I don't know who's more psychotic, him or Moody."
"That name sounds familiar."
"Just a coincidence, depending on who you talk to."
"Which one is she?"
"Red hair. Brown eyes. Freckles-"
"Oh, the sociopath. No, thanks, too easy."
"That does it!" Harry said, storming up the stairs.
Harry burst through the stairwell door and rounded the corner with Alphard right behind him.
The boys stopped abruptly as they came to the top of the castle roof, where the two boys (Slytherin and Ravenclaw) were leaning against the castle brick wall.
The boys looked very surprised and chagrined, but had obviously heard their loud approach. One, with short brown hair, was in the process of standing up. Harry recognized Deimos Avery, his roommate. The one still on the ground with short-cropped blond curls, was guiltily shoving a bunch of parchments into his bookbag. He was the Ravenclaw, Harry didn't know his name.
Harry directed his anger at Deimos Avery, since he was closest. "You two have a lot of nerve, you know that?" he shouted at him.
"Well-" Deimos sneered, but Harry wasn't going to give him a chance to get a word in edgewise.
"I don't know what makes you think you're so great that you can just pick a date off a list," Harry continued with pure vitriol, "but I'll tell you right now that this is one psychotic Slytherin that you'll never have a chance with and neither is my family nor my friends!"
The one on the ground stood up and the two boys exchanged glances. The curly blonde haired one turned back to Harry and said, "Uh, look-"
"Come on, Alphard," Harry said, cutting him off and turning to leave. Alphard looked at the two boys for a second, then turned and quickly followed Harry back down the stairs.
Together, they made their way back down the stairs and into the hallway. Not having a true destination, they gravitated towards the Slytherin dorms. As they walked, Harry kept furtively glancing at Alphard, a sad look on his face.
"You okay?" Harry finally asked.
"You're not psychotic," Alphard said quietly.
"Oh," Harry replied, a little embarrassed. "Well, I think I kind of am."
"Are you okay?" Harry tried again.
"I don't care what a couple of bolks think about me, Harry," Alphard replied, with what he hoped was conviction. "Why would I start now?"
"So you're okay then?" Harry asked with a searching look.
"I'm fine, really." Alphard murmured.
The next day Tom had his ancient runes class. Harry didn't have this class with him, but Charlus did, which was still surprising to Tom. It was an advanced class, something which was advanced and took serious concentration, but Charlus was keeping up with Tom. Both Potters were in the class with a bunch of Ravenclaws and a few selected Gryffindors and Slytherins whom wanted to take the advanced class.
Everyone except Tom started scrambling to get their quills out once Professor Spectra entered the room.
Professor Spectra, the Ancient Runes teacher, cleared her throat. "I want everyone to be in pairs and translate a short mini story into English. You don't have to, but it will be quicker. I'll know if you made it up or not because I'm the one whom has translated the story.
You should all be past this level of translation, so it should take you no longer than fifteen to twenty minutes tops. This is just a warm up. You may begin."
Sitting one seat apart in the front row, they had already gathered their materials and were ready when the parchments for there tasks floated down to their desks.
"It's 'Heaven', not 'Sky'."
Tom's head snapped up from where he had been working diligently on translating his Ancient Runes. Sitting beside him and peering over his work was Artemis Bones, Gryffindor's supreme know-it-all. Charlus was on the other side of Tom, listening in on what Artemis was saying.
"The rune. It could be either, but in the context, it's 'Heaven'. It changes the meaning drastically if you use 'sky' and doesn't really make a lot of sense."
Turning back to his parchment, Tom started reading again, trying to keep his mind off the girl that was now scowling at him.
"A little gratitude would be nice." Bones muttered to herself, knowing full well that Tom could hear her.
"I didn't ask for your help, Bones." was Tom's snide remark.
Bones looked insulted before she went back to translating her work, looking like she was about to cry. Charlus nudged Tom with his elbow to apologize.
Tom took a deep breath and sighed. He hadn't meant to offend Bones so badly. "I'm sorry, that was incredibly rude of me. Thank you for your information." Tom said trying to sound as polite as he could.
Bones didn't look up from her work, but she smiled and whispered, "You're welcome."
The big break for Tom came when he realized that the teacher had mixed Gaelic and Norse runes in the mini short story.
"Okay students, please trade papers with your neighbor to read and mark over."
Tom had no choice but to trade his work with Artemis Bones. She was the only one whom was really willing to sit next to him beside his brother. Tom didn't understand why, maybe he was intimidating.
Well what do you expect? A part of his mind asked snidely. You're not exactly dazzling them with your personality.
"You work is a perfect Outstanding, as usual of course." Artemis Bones said smiling as she handed Tom back his work and Tom vice versa.
"Mr. Charlus Potter, would you care to tell me the origin of this rune," Professor Spectra asked and pointed at a foreign symbol that she had drawn on the board during his lecture.
Charlus looked down at his opened Rune Dictionary and scanned the page of symbols. "That symbol would be from the early Roman wizards dated 421 BC. It was found on each of the columns decorated around the first amphitheatre."
"Correct," Professor Spectra nodded without enthusiasm and she continued to drown on about it's meaning.
"That is all for today, class," Professor Spectra proclaimed apathetically and turned her attention to her desk.
Tom gathered the several books he had for Ancient Runes and a few notes from the class and walked out the classroom.
"Aren't you Thomas Potter?" a female voice asked.
Tom looked up to see that Artemis, the girl with hair white as snow in a high ponytail and piercing green eyes smiling at Tom in a friendly way. She obviously was trying to charm him.
"Tom," Tom corrected her, making his way towards the library, "and you've known me for three years now."
"My name is Artemis Bones. We've never spoken to each other, well we've never held a conversation."
"I know who you are. What do you want, Bones?" Tom asked as the girl followed him and Charlus.
"Do you need any help with homework?"
"After three years, I think I can do my own homework just fine, thank you."
"Oh me too." She seemed thrilled.
Tom frown at her slightly.
They walked to the library together; she was a chatterer- Artemis supplied most of the conversation, which made it easy for Tom. It turned out that Artemis Bones was also in most of Tom's difficult advanced classes. Charlus was pretty silent during the whole walk.
"I've noticed that you and your girlfriend Minerva haven't been studying in the library together that much anymore."
"Minerva is very busy half the time. She is a fourth year after all." Tom said somewhat bitterly.
Artemis laughed. "Oh, come on, I know you take this boyfriend stuff seriously, but not seeing your girlfriend every single moment and second of your day isn't a reason to throw yourself on a sword. Relax, okay?"
Artemis nudged him when Tom didn't respond. "Say you'll relax."
"I'll relax," Tom agreed, grudgingly.
"Well... I was thinking, only if you wanted to of course, when Minerva is busy, I can study with you. I mean we practically have the same classes together and I could also use a study buddy whom has about the same intellect as me."
Tom shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly. "I don't see why not."
"Oh good!" Artemis clapped her hands together. "You won't regret this, Tom. I'm a good studier."
Tom turned to her and gave her a small smile.
"Harry." Tom said rolling his eyes at his out of breath brother.
"You're not going to the library are you?" Harry asked making a face. "Hi, Charlus, Artemis." Harry gave Charlus a hug in greeting.
"You know Artemis?" Tom asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Yes, we have Care of Magical Creatures class together. You remember?"
"It's always nice to talk with you, Harry." Artemis greeted. "I should be going, see you, Tom."
"See you." Tom replied back.
"You know she likes you, right?" Alphard asked Tom.
"That's what I was afraid of." Charlus said.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Tom asked.
"I wouldn't be to worried about it, Char. Tom seems uninterested and Artemis doesn't seem to want to push Tom's interest."
"So no library?" Harry asked Tom ignoring the commentary between Alphard and Charlus.
"I unlike you-"
"Like to study, blah, blah. It's lunch time, you can go to the library afterward!" Harry dragged Tom along whom protested along the way.
"Stop with the death stare. It won't work." Harry said when they finally came to the great hall.
Lunch passed pleasantly enough for them seeing as it was just his family, Alphard and Conall. Harry's friends ate at the Slytherin table, but Alphard didn't want to leave Harry's side of course. Conversation flowed easily around the table as news and plans were swapped across the table. Tom remained largely silent as he picked at his food.
"What's wrong Tomlin?" Harry asked.
"Nothing." Tom said looking at the Ravenclaw table where Minerva was seated with a bunch of Fourth years.
Minerva had talked to Tom briefly, very briefly and said that she needed to trade notes with her friends at the Ravenclaw table. Tom didn't have a problem with it, but he wasn't used to being apart from Minerva for such a long amount of time in one day. He barely talked to her on the train ride to Hogwarts and she's been so busy since she came back from the holiday break.
Tom was used to looking out for her, and Minerva was confident that Tom didn't trust anyone else enough to let on that she might be vulnerable.
"Are you having separation anxiety?" Harry teased.
"No, I'm perfectly capable of going on with my daily activities without Minerva by my side." Tom said trying to sound like he didn't give a care in the world.
"I have every faith in you on that aspect, Tom. Just not unrealistic expectations."
Tom punched him in the arm.
"Yeah, okay," Harry said rolling his eyes, "but just so you know, I'm here for you to. I may not be as smart as you or Minerva, but we can still hangout and study. Just us or Charlus, whichever."
Tom sighed and nodded. "Yes, thanks for that, Harry. I'll be sure to remember that."
"Your godfather is just a door knock away as well." Harry said with a wink.
Artemis Bones sat next to Tom in Defense Against the Dark Arts class. The witch sat on an empty chair and took her heavy Defense book out of her bag, opening it at a random page and started to read it.
"Do you know what we will be learning today?" Charlus asked sitting on the other side of Tom.
"No, you can never tell with Professor Flamel." Tom replied back.
Charlus opened his mouth to say something but before any word came out, the Defenses Against the Dark Arts teacher entered the classroom. Professor Nicholas Flamel, the wizard looked at his students for some time with his kind blue eyes, as if making sure that everyone was in his class, before speaking.
"Good morning. It's a pleasure to start the end of the school year with such a great class as yours. " The teacher looked away and, with a flick of his wand, a few written instructions started to appear on the black board in front of the class. "We'll start with more difficult spells before you leave for the summer... as you know your O.W.L's won't be till your fifth year so you won't have much to worry about this year for finals… Could anyone give me an example of a O.W.L final spells…?"
Tom's hand shot up in the middle of the class. "Mr. Potter?"
"The Patronus Charm."
"Good, Mr. Potter. The Patronus Charm is one of the most advanced spells that you'll have to learn for your O.W.L's, does anybody want to practice it? Sometimes, even a seventh year student may find it difficult to perform it."
The wizard explained everything in an easy and quick way, just how he wanted a class to be.
"Can someone tell me what the Patronus charm is? Yes, Mr. Harrison Potter?"
"It's a charm used to protect one from Dementors. It's like a guardian, and its form depends on the caster's personality."
"Good! Take ten points for Slytherin. What must one do to perform the charm?"
"It's necessary to think about a happy memory while you say the spell's incantation," Artemis Bones answered quickly, making Tom turn his head to give her attention. "Expecto Patronum."
"Perfect. Ten points for Gryffindor. This is what we're going to practice today," said the teacher, smiling happily. "Remember that this charm is really advanced, so don't be nervous if you can't perform it perfectly… Now, you have the whole class to practice."
The classroom was quickly filled with whispers and tiny silver fogs coming out from the students' wands. Harry, Alphard, and Ignatius kept talking to each other, practicing, while Harry was hesitant to perform a good Patronus without much difficulty.
"Think about a good thing, Tom." The three of them heard Professor Flamel speaking in the other corner of the room. "You're doing great, you just need to think about a good thing…"
"How is he going to think about a good thing if practically his eleven years of his life he's been in an orphanage?" Alphard whispered to Harry.
"Tom has plenty of good memories I should hope since he's been with the Potter family." Harry answered back.
"And you?" The teacher approached them, smiling. "Let me see how you're doing!" Flamel looked at Harry. "You first, Harrison."
Harry sighed nervously before holding his wand up and saying the charm's incantation. Instantly, a silver stag came out from his wand and floated around him, as if wanting to play. Flamel smiled widely as he watched his student's Patronus.
"This is great! Class, look here, a perfect Patronus! Ten more points to Slytherin!"
Think about a good thing, that was all he needed to do… But nothing good came to his mind! Tom thought about the day when he discovered he was a wizard. It didn't matter how many years it had been, the memory of that day was still fresh in his mind.
"Expecto Patronum!" the boy said, seeing a silver smoke coming out of his wand.
If that memory didn't work, maybe his first night at Hogwarts would do! He tried again, now remembering about how fascinated he was when he first entered the Great Hall, but nothing happened. The first time Gryffindor won the House Cup, nothing. His first Christmas with his family… Even more frustration.
"Think about a good thing, Tom." Tom turned around to look at the teacher. "You're doing great, you just need to think about a good thing…"
'That's what I'm trying to do!' the boy thought as closed his eyes for a few seconds, trying to concentrate.
The Gryffindor breathed deeply and looked at where Flamel was standing, near Harry and his friends. Not much to his surprise, Harry had managed to perform a Patronus in the shape of an stag perfectly. The animal now was floating around the boy and, sometimes, it floated around his friends and the teacher.
'Tom, why don't you think about Minerva?'
Tom blushed as Harry's whisper of words came to his shared link in his mind.
As Tom watched Harry laughing at the playful stag, the boy saw the memories from the McGonagall's Christmas party coming back to his head. Minerva dancing with him, her hand holding his, his hand on her waist, her voice wishing him a "happy birthday", her lips on his, the peaceful feeling he felt while they kissed…
To his own surprise, a silver snake emerged from the tip of his wand and floated in the air until it rested on his shoulders in the same way Nagini did. The other students noticed his success and approached him to see the spell, just like Professor Flamel.
"Great, Tom!" The teacher smiled. "Ten points to Gryffindor."
The boy smiled, satisfied with himself, but embarrassed about the memory he used to produce the spell. Before he could think of anything else, Tom was surprised by the presence of Harry's silver stag which had gotten away from him and now was floating near him.
And the stag seemed to be entertained with his Patronus snake in the same way that the wizard seemed to be entertained with him.
"What's wrong, Charlus?" Tom asked glaring at his brother, who was yawning dramatically.
"Why do we have to stay in the library?" he asked her. "We have two free periods and…"
"Why don't you try to find something useful in these books like me and Harry? Final exams are just a few weeks away."
The brown haired boy rolled his eyes, but grabbed one of the books that were lying on the table and then opened it, muttering something and started to read it.
Tom almost had to drag his brothers to the library as they didn't seem to be interested in the idea of staying between lots of old books when they could have been enjoying a nice day outside.
The three of them looked up and saw the snow white haired girl wearing a Gryffindor uniform standing a few meters from them. Harry didn't do anything except stare at her with a puzzled expression, while Tom simply smiled at her.
"Can I help you?"
"Can you please pass me that book on the counter?" Artemis pointed at the counter against Tom was leaning on. "It's right behind you."
"Of course." The Gryffindor got up from the floor and grabbed the book, handing it to the other girl. "Here you are… The Manual of Theoretical Defense?"
"I did a horrible job with the Patronus," the Gryffindor muttered. "Would you guys mind if I join your studying?" Artemis asked sitting down before the Potters even got a chance to answer.
"Uh, okay?" Charlus said frowning.
"Do you spend a lot of time with my brothers, Artemis?"
"Oh, no, but I admire Tom's intellect, and I always see Tom in here in the library while I'm studying, so I thought why not study together? I mean I know he likes to study with Minerva, but she's busy and all, probably studying for her upcoming O.W.L's. I can't believe they make you prep study for it in your fourth year. It's fifth year finals you know?"
Looking over to his side, Harry saw that Tom was silent, looking intently at his book.
"Well that's kind of you to study with Tom, Artemis. I'm sure Tom appreciates that."
"I'm done," Tom says. "Let's go." Tom said to his brothers.
"I hope I haven't upset you," Artemis says.
"No more than usual."
"Wow, I think Tom made a joke." Harry teased.
The last quidditch game of the season, Gryffindor vs Slytherin. Charlus and the rest of the Gryffindor team entered the Great Hall to enormous applause. Charlus couldn't help grinning broadly as he saw that both the Ravenclaw and Huffelpuff tables were applauding them too. The Slytherin table hissed loudly as they passed. Charlus noticed Harry rolling his eyes and smirking up at him.
Dorea sat down between Charlus and Tom at the Gryffindor table. Dorea gave her the usual bright smile and cheery "Hi, Charlus!" Charlus, however, stayed quiet, apparently sulking.
"What's the matter with him?" Dorea muttered out of the corner of her mouth while pulling the plate of sausages toward her.
"What else?" Tom whispered before taking a sip of orange juice. "It's a Quidditch match today."
Dorea nearly choked on her sausage—or she pretended to, anyway—and turned to look incredulously at Tom. "Charlus Potter, nervous? You must be joking."
"I'm not nervous, it's just that this match is the big one! Either Harry wins or I do."
"So nothing, Dorea, forget it."
"Charlus, are you afraid of hurting your brother's pride if you win? That's stupid, it's just a game."
"It's not stupid-"
"Charlus, Harry wasn't upset last year." Tom cut in.
"I know my train of thought is unreasonable, but it's Harry you know?"
"Our brother is not the jealous type, he has fun whenever you both play quidditch. This is not any different." Tom said.
Oscar Watkins spent the whole breakfast urging his team to eat, while touching nothing himself. He also went on with his usual speech about team unity and that for some of them, this was their last year so make the best of it.
"Locker rooms ladies and gentleman."
It was the Gryffindor vs Slytherin match. The rival teams flew out over the pitch and faced each other, waiting for Mister Spence to release the Quaffle, Bludgers, and Snitch.
When Harry Potter and Charlus Potter moved so close to one another that they practically touched noses, the crowd whooped and hooted. "Get 'im, Gryffindors!" someone shouted.
Harry smirked along with Charlus. "I'm gonna kick your arse."
"You wish, Harry." Charlus smirked back.
Mister Spence stood in the middle of the field waiting for the two teams, his broom in his hand.
"Now, I want a nice fair game, all of you," he said, once they were all gathered around him. Harry noticed that once again that those words were aimed to the Slytherin team once again.
"And they're off!" A falsely sweet, girlish voice that nearly forced Harry into retching resounded throughout the pitch. "Kayley Longbottom"—at the sound of this name Dolores's Umbridge's fellow Slytherins let out such jeers that nearly made Kayley turn around and hex the lot of them—"with the Quaffle, my she looks angry, she's such a competitive little girl, and then there's Gryffindor's fifth year chaser Lydia Jorkins, I suppose with such a tight personality that goes right up to that rigid ponytail, she's got to have some way to release—that was quite the score, Jorkins!"
In a rage, Lydia Jorkins had hurled the Quaffle through the right hoop so hard it nearly hit the Keeper, Watkins, in the face. It was a good thing that she hadn't hit him, however, because she probably would have knocked him off his broom and potentially been fouled.
The Quaffle was in Abraxas Malfoy's hands now.
All Tom could think about for the moment while he watched the game with the Gryffindors was how, how could anyone make Dolores Umbridge a Quidditch commentator? She knew nothing about the game—or much of anything else—she just wanted an excuse for students to hear her voice.
"Umbridge is such a toad, I just hate her." Tom turned to the girl that said this, not his girlfriend whom was engaged in her book on the other side of him, but another girl by the name of Artemis Bones. The schools know-it-all.
Occasionally he found himself staring at her, or Artemis would, and give him an eyebrow raise, a nonverbal question mark, and Tom would pull an excuse out of the air or would blow it off entirely, just look down and continue with whatever he was doing.
He never particularly spend a lot of time thinking about why he stared, and continued to not think about it.
"I quite agree." Tom commented to Artemis. Artemis laughed and looked back at the game.
"What did you say, Tom?" Minerva asked, still engaged in her book.
Tom sighed and wondered why Minerva even bothered to come to the game if she wasn't going to watch. Conall was sitting behind them along with Pomona, they were having a fun chat about the game. Cynthia went to the Slytherin side along with Harry's friends.
"Did Gryffindor just score?" Cynthia whispered under her breath to Alphard Black, who was sitting in the stands beside her.
"No, their team is cheering because Slytherin scored," Alphard replied sarcastically. "Honestly, Cynthia, haven't you ever watched a Quidditch game before?"
"I try not to," Cynthia muttered. She squinted at the tiny figures zooming at unbelievable speeds around the pitch. "All I know is that both Harry and Charlus are seekers, correct?"
"Yes," Alphard said absent-mindlessly, watching on.
A Bludger suddenly whizzed past Lydia Jorkins face, and she turned her head so fast her ponytail nearly whipped her. Realizing that she now hadn't noticed that one of her fellow Chasers, Kayley Longbottom, had just scored, she shot over toward Abraxas Malfoy, who again had the Quaffle. There was no need, however; he was unbalanced by a well-hit Bludger from Kayode Jenkins.
As a result, Umbridge, who had been commenting with particular bile in her tone on the competency of the Gryffindor team, instead began remarking on the violence of its members, conveniently letting slip Demios Avery trying to bludgeon Geoffrey Wood over the head with his Beaters' bat as he flew past.
Lydia Jorkins, gritting her teeth, knocked the Quaffle out of Malfoy's grip with a well-aimed kick. Kayley caught it, and the pair shot down the field, weaving in and out of the players before Kayley feinted and fired a shot at the center hoop. It was successful, and the Quaffle soared into the hands of Charlotte Goyle, one of the few competent members on the Slytherin team, who took off down the field and scored.
"I suppose Ken'Ichi Chang is losing his touch!" simpered Umbridge. "Of course, the Captain does seem to have a tendency to put friends first…"
The jeers from the Slytherins were becoming unbearable. Charlus let out a full-fledged growl and shot an enraged look at Umbridge, hoping that it communicated the fact that he would like nothing more than to stuff that megaphone up her left nostril.
Talented at channeling anger, he directed his attention to the match. Charlus watched as Kayley Longbottom successfully scored three more goals, while both Wood and Jorkins scored two apiece. The Slytherins, however, were catching up; the score was now eighty to seventy.
"Oh, look, look, Charlotte scored!" Alphard yelled in Cynthia's ear.
All around them, the Slytherins roared their approval in a sea of green. Cynthia cheered too, but she couldn't help but wonder how on earth they could even see what was happening.
A flash of gold caught her eye and at the same moment, a green dot broke off from the others and sped towards it. "There's the Snitch!" Alphard said excitedly. "C'mon, Harry, you can do it!"
But Gryffindor's Seeker, Charlus Potter, had also spotted the Snitch. The two were racing at breakneck speed towards the tiny, fluttering ball. Even though Cynthia really had no interest in Quidditch, Cynthia couldn't help but mentally root for the Slytherin team.
"Harrison Potter has the Snitch!"—here Umbridge gave an odd sort of choking sound—"Slytherin wins! Of course there was no doubt with poor effort from Ken'Ichi Chang-"
Umbridge never finished, for Kayley Longbottom had roared, "Give me that!" to a bewildered Penny Shaw, who handed over her bat. Longbottom, looking and feeling more livid than ever, had promptly spied a still-in-flight Bludger and hit it toward the commentator's podium.
Normally, Longbottom was a horrid shot with a bat, but after hearing the hideous spout of commentary from Umbridge all throughout the match, her aim was much better than usual.
The Bludger streaked full-tilt at Umbridge, who barely had time to look before it struck her in the face amidst gales of laughter, some of which came even from the Slytherins. Whistling innocently, Kayley handed the bat back to a stunned Penny.
Professor Dumbledore, her Transfiguration master as well as her Head of House and the Deputy Headmaster, cast his eyes around the pitch before his clear blue gaze was affixed on him. Thinking quickly, she hollered blithely, "Misfired a hit, Professor, sorry!"
"What are you thinking?"
"What?" Minerva picks up her cup pumpkin juice. It's lunch time, and Tom is sitting across from her at the large Gryffindor table, his hands folded, resting his chin lightly on his knuckles. Minerva drinks her juice and reading her book at the same time.
"I said, what are you thinking?" Tom repeats, and the sincerity in his tone puts Minerva's guard up.
"That's not an answer," Tom pushes, resting his palms on the table.
"I'm thinking about finals, Tom. It's really important. I want to be somebody really important when I get older you know."
Tom is still looking at Minerva, tilting his head and frowning.
"Why are you looking at me like that, Tom?"
"We haven't spent any time together besides casual formality."
"Oh, Tom, I'm sorry. I know I haven't been a good girlfriend, but I promise to make it up to you. You don't know how much pressure I get from my parents to do well in school."
"No, it's understandable. I just don't like how faraway you've gotten from me. You sit there beside me, but you might as well not even be there."
"I care about you, Tom. You know that. I would never do anything to deliberately hurt you." Minerva said going back to her book.
"Of course." Tom sighed, he wasn't really hungry. Harry was having lunch at Hogsmeade with Alphard as they were having their own little private celebrating victory on the last final quidditch match and Charlus was more towards the end of the table, chatting it up with his friends.
"Hmm?" Minerva said not looking up from book whilst she took a bite out of her mashed potatoes at the same time.
"I was invited to the Slug Club and we are allowed to invite-"
"Oh Tom, I'm so busy studying! I really can't spare a night, I'm so worried about the finals, I've barely slept as it is. Besides I heard the Slug Club is pretty straining, nothing extravagant, pretty boring."
"Yes, I heard as well myself but-"
"Why don't you invite another one of your friends? I promise I'll make it up to you!"
"Yes, of course, Minerva. I know how important your studies are to you."
Tom wasn't sure if that was sarcasm or resentful hurt that spouted out of his mouth.
Harry was nervous, and excited, but mostly nervous. He couldn't remember the last time he'd been nervous on a date. It had been awhile since both Harry and Alphard have been on an actual date that involved a restaurant, food, and conversations.
Harry sighed contently as he meandered the streets of Hogsmeade hand in hand with Alphard Black. "So…you hungry?" Alphard asked.
"Yeah guess I am," Harry said, already figuring he knew where this was going on.
"Good, I already reserved our lunch." Alphard smiled cheekily at his boyfriend.
"Of course you did, ever the gentleman you are."
"And don't expect anything less, luv."
Inside the quite dimly lit place Alphard gave his name, the overly bright hostess guiding them to a secluded booth. They settled, the women handing over the menus, "Emma, your waitress will be right with you."
They sat silently for a bit mulling over the choices, when a young women came up dressed smartly in black and white, "Would you gentlemen like to start with some drinks?" Harry glanced across at Alphard, frowning adorably at the selection, "I'll just have butterbeer please." Alphard gave her a smile.
"Same please." Harry said as well.
"Everything looks good…" Alphard mumbled and Harry nodded his agreement; it did all look good.
In the end Alphard went with a steak medium rare, while Harry opted for lobster. As Emma departed with their order they where left in silence.
Alphard grinned happily he was with Harry, out to lunch…what could be better. None of their friends, no siblings.
Emerald green eyes caught sterling gray, and Harry smiled hesitantly feeling awkward and unsure of himself, he wanted to bash his head against the table.
The nerve wracking part about having an empath for a boyfriend, Harry thought, was the utter vulnerability. It was the fact that Alphard could know what he was feeling at any moment.
"Harry…you're joking right?" Alphard said suddenly, keenly leaning across the table.
Harry blinked surprised, "Erm... what do you mean?"
Alphard waved a hand airily, "You're so nervous! It's just me, you've know me for three years, I'm not going to judge you."
Harry started across the table at the young man, contemplating.
"Ok how about this, you ask a question and I'll answer; but then I'll ask you one and you tell me."
Harry looked up at him nodding, "Deal."
Alphard sipped his water, "You can go first."
"What were you like as a child before you came to Hogwarts?" Harry asks.
"I don't know," Alphard says at first. "I was rambunctious and angry. I thought the world didn't understand me. I hated the family I was brought in."
By the time Alphard finished their dinner had come.
"My turn Har-bear, tell me about your rise to fame in your time," the brunet chewed his steak swallowing.
"Rise to fame?" Harry rolled his eyes.
Alphard nodded, "All the gritty details, start to finish."
Chuckling Harry smiled a sad smile, "It was hardly my doing, well it began with parents whom had rejected the dark lord Voldemort far to many times for his liking and he came to my parents house..."
Alphard listened a soft smile on his face, as his boyfriend told his tale.
They finished their dessert and some sparkling water had come. Harry was looking at Alphard across the table face serious and drawn. "My turn again, what's going on now between you and your father since your mother has passed away?"
Alphard froze fork halfway to his mouth, "That hits you where you live…"
"I'm not sure I really know the answer to that, father spends most of his time in his office. I get the feeling that my siblings and I are not even in his train of thoughts." Alphard ran a hand through his hair sighing in defeat, "He picks me and my brother and sister up from school…but in the end I can't hold a candle to my own mother you know? Wouldn't want to of course."
Harry looked stricken face paling across the intimate booth. "Al I…" he trailed off no idea what to say an apology seemingly very inadequate.
A dark head shook, "It's okay Harry, I never had a good relationship with neither one of my parents in the first place." Silver-shiny eyes looked at him sadly, "It wasn't great, but he's still my dad, and he once was a respected brilliant man in his day before he became corrupted and had kids."
Alphard looked across the table, "What was your godfather really like in your time? I know you tend to leave a lot of things out when it's someone you really care about."
Harry grinned, "You remind me of him in some ways, and yet you're totally opposite." Harry shook his head grinning, "It's not that you remind me of Sirius – it's just, if Sirius had been a Slytherin instead of a Gryffindor, I'd imagine he would be just like you. But on the other hand, you're on a different level altogether."
Alphard grinned, "Really?"
"Though, once Sirius had broken out of Azkaban a lot of people thought he was unstable. He wasn't, he was just… uninterested in listening to people who were wrong. He got a raw deal. It wasn't right. "
"Hm," Alphard said, the slightest of smiles tracing his lips.
"It's painful, sometimes."
"Most of the time."
Alphard's expression softens.
"Merlin, not the pity. Anything but the pity."
Alphard shakes his head. "It's not pity, Harry. You've been through some very traumatic circumstances. I don't blame you for missing someone that you practically considered your father and then to only have him ripped away from you."
Harry swallowed, "Yeah that pretty much summoned that up."
"Just think of it this way, when the time comes, you'll get to have Sirius and the rest of your family and friends alive and whole again. Isn't that what you're fighting for?"
Harry gave Alphard a earnest smile. "I don't deserve you."
"I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you by my side Harry Potter."
By the time they had finished, the candle burned low, and the dishes where long gone. Emma the waitress had brought the bill, Alphard insisting he pay, Harry eventually relenting, "But I buy next time."
Harry felt oddly detached; tonight had been both liberating and painful. Like old wounds reopening.
Both Harry and Alphard headed out of the restaurant holding each others hands and walked their way back to Hogwarts.
Hours had passed and Tom and Artemis sat in silence in the back of the library until Artemis looked over at him and said, "You're comfortable around me."
"As much as I can be comfortable around an uptight know-it-all," Tom replied back.
Artemis didn't take that as insult knowing that Tom wasn't serious, but simply rolled her eyes in return."But you're not comfortable around most people. You're stiff and off-putting, with somewhat underdeveloped social skills."
"You know, I could do without the extra commentary," Tom snapped.
"What would be the fun in that?" Artemis said, and she gave Tom a smile.
"Look," Tom said, "We study and work together very well, yes. Okay? I like smart people and smart people make me comfortable and you're smart. Are you happy now?"
"And that hesitation?"
"We argue sometimes to."
"I can't imagine why." Tom said sarcastically.
"It's always completely your fault," Artemis added.
"I would have to disagree."
"Agree to disagree."
"Do you want to go to the Slug Club with me and my brothers?" Tom nervously rushed out, which was definitely unlike him.
"Is Minerva okay with that? I really wouldn't want to feel her wrath." Artemis joked.
"I asked Minerva and she said she would rather study and that I should invite a friend instead." Tom trying to sound more casual.
"Are you classifying me as your friend?" Artemis asked happy at the thought.
"I don't see why not."
"I would love to go with you and your brothers to the Slug Club even though everybody in the school knows that it's bloody boring."
Tom laughed at Artemis choice of words. "Thank you for accepting."
"Anything for a friend. Now how about dinner?"
"Sounds good to me."
When they make it to the great hall, both Tom and Artemis go their separate ways to talk and sit with their own friends and family.
Tom is talking to Conall when he accidentally catches Artemis eyes and she looked away blushing; she's talking to her fellow third year girl friends down the end of the Gryffindor table.
"So how are you doing mate?" Conall asked eating his steak and baked potatoes.
"I am doing well Conall, yourself?" Tom asked back.
"I am great Tom, anything new with you?" Conall said with a grin, which Tom narrowed his eyes at suspiciously.
"Really? Nothing new about your crush on Artemis Bones?" Conall said smirking mischievously at Tom.
"Conall Norton, stop being a dolt, you're better than that."
"Ha you do love her."
Tom said back as nonchalantly as he could, "I'm already taken as you very well know. My eyes are only for Minerva."
"That doesn't mean you can't flirt a little. Look at your varieties. I mean Bones is quite the looker ain't she mate?"
"She's not ugly."
"Though she is a know-it-all, that's pretty annoying. She loses points from me on that outlook. Anyway, I've been thinking about asking Pomona Sprout out."
"Mmm..." Tom's attention went elsewhere once he saw Minerva walk in the great hall.
Tom never realized, until he and Minerva had became a couple, how many guys looked at Minerva when she would occasionally sit next to him during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Of course he knew that she got noticed, how could she not. Minerva had gotten exceptionally cuter since the first time they met. It used to slightly bug him. Now, well now it damn right annoyed him.
All the students knew that Minerva was off limits. The newer students learned quickly. Though Tom and Minerva never flouted their relationship that much anymore since he had regained his memory, though it was still just plain obvious that Minerva was there to see Tom and Tom only.
Tom didn't hear why Minerva was laughing, all he saw was Minerva walking into the Great Hall with some fourth year boy; laughing and talking. Minerva must have been having fun, her arms and hands were animated.
Tom knew he was being stupid but he couldn't help it. He was jealous, it was unjustifiable, for Merlin sake she was allowed to talk to other guys. But it was that fourth year boy, that was making Tom annoyed. Tom made a mental note to himself to find out his name later.
Maybe that was why Tom kept hanging out with Artemis Bones. Artemis was in the same year as he was and she was just as animated with Tom when they talked with each other. Something that he couldn't figure out how he lost with Minerva.
Though that was probably exactly why the fourth year boy thought he could make a move on Minerva. There were rumors spreading around, for some unknown reason, about Tom's love life, about Minerva and him supposedly break up or that they were on a break or something like that.
To be honest, Tom had been avoiding Minerva on more than one occasion, his jealously getting the better of him. Maybe Minerva would be better off with someone else, someone in her age group. The insecurities that most days he tried to lock away had been released when he saw Minerva talking with that guy.
Minerva spotted him and gave Tom a slight frown as she walked his way. The fourth year boy hesitantly followed after her seeing her line of focus.
"Thomas! I feel like it's been decades since the last time we've seen each other." Minerva said sitting across from Tom, which made Tom frown.
"You've been busy."
"Yes." Tom said going back to his dinner.
"I'll just go-"
"Don't be silly, Smith. We're all Gryffindor's here. Come sit down. Tom, this Abram Smith."
Tom didn't even glance at Abram Smith. "A pleasure, I'm sure." Tom said with the utmost sarcasm he could muster.
"Erm... I-I think I'm going to go compare notes with Fredrick. I'll see you tomorrow, Minerva." Smith said hastily walking towards the Ravenclaw table.
"Tom that was pretty rude of you. Abram is a really nice person."
"Yes, I'm sure he's really nice to you, Minerva."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Hey, guys, either take this conversation somewhere else, or quiet it down." Charlus said as he and Harry finally came to the Great Hall and sat with them at the Gryffindor table.
"Oh, Tom definitely needs to take that conversation somewhere else. His emotion level is really high." Alphard commented, coming up behind Harry and Charlus.
"Or how about you guys just don't talk at all. I thought you guys broke up?" Cynthia asked sitting next to Tom.
"I don't know whom is spreading those horrible rumors, but they are untrue." Minerva said firmly. "Isn't that right Tom?"
Tom didn't say anything for a couple of seconds, before he got up from the table. "I've never said such words."
"Where are you going?" Minerva asked frowning once again.
"I'm going back to the library to study, I've already eaten my dinner."
"Hey, Tom, I'll see you at the library later? I can't eat after all when I'm nervous about the up coming finals." Artemis said coming up behind Tom.
"Actually, I was heading there myself." Tom replied back casually.
"Oh, good! Minerva, are you joining us?"
"Oh, uhm... no. I just got here actually." Minerva responded looking between Artemis and Tom.
"That's to bad, I'm sure Tom would have enjoyed your company. I can be boring sometimes."
"I beg to differ. You're adequate enough."
Artemis smiled and rolled her eyes. "You're such a pompous prat sometimes Tom, you know that? Anyway, come on then sir Thomas, the library awaits once again."
"I'll see you later, Tom?" Minerva called after him unsure.
"Yes, of course." Tom said back with a slight smile before he walked away side by side with Artemis Bones.
"Who is that girl?" Minerva asked out loud.
"Artemis Bones," Cynthia said smirking wickedly, "she's a third year as well. Tom and Artemis spend a lot a time with each other-"
"Studying." Harry cut in, giving Cynthia a glare. "They are doing nothing more than studying."
"Yes, well, Tom and Artemis spend a lot of time studying together," Cynthia said rolling her eyes, "since you and Tom aren't doing that anymore Minerva, with your 'busy schedule'," Cynthia did hand quotes, "Tom found somebody else to occupy his time to... 'study with'." Cynthia did another hand quote.
"Thanks for that, Cynthia, really." Harry said sighing and rolling his eyes.
"I haven't been cheating on Thomas if that's what you think?!" Minerva practically hissed the words out.
"Everybody has stuff going on and I do know that Tom always tried his best to make time for you. The least you can do is to return the favor."
"I'm not ignoring Tom on purpose! He knows that! I'm just so swamped-"
"All I'm going to say is that there are plenty of girls lining up to take your place McGonagall, so I would take the time to put more effort in seeing your boyfriend before somebody else does."
"It looks like somebody already has." Alphard muttered.
"Excuse me, I've got somewhere I've got to be." Minerva got up from the table and walked out the great hall.
Harry's guess would be that she was heading to the library as well.
"What was that about, Cynthia?" Charlus asked frowning.
"Aren't you paying attention at all? It's perfectly easy to see if you just look."
"Then I'm blind. What are you doing?"
"I'm just pushing Minerva in the right direction. Minerva's life seems to revolve around her school work. I don't want to see Tom nor Minerva break up any more than you do. Making her jealous and seeing what she might lose might straighten her up."
"Well I hope something works out between them. I hate seeing Tom miserable without Minerva around."
"Love is sickening."
"Only to those who haven't experienced it, Cynthia." Harry responded back.
Artemis was in a cute white dress that she covered with her Gryffindor robe. Tom and Charlus were waiting for Artemis in the Gryffindor common room, all dressed up for the last Slug "gathering" of the year.
Tom looked overly handsome, his bright, blue eyes glistening in the light. Charlus looked pretty dashing as well. He was waiting for Tom's date so that they could go together to grab Dorea, Harry, Alphard, Ignatius, and Lucretia at the Slytherin dorm.
"Oh, Tom. You look very handsome. Thanks for waiting for me, guys." She told the brothers.
Tom held the same expression, then finally smirked.
"We should get going then." Tom said as they headed to the Slytherin Dormitory.
Though, they didn't have to go far as the gang was heading to them.
"You guys were taking to long-"
"Dorea was being impatient and wanted to see her boyfriend." Alphard said rolling his eyes.
"Good, we match." Dorea said to Charlus, adjusting his tie better.
"Thanks, luv. You look dazzling as ever."
"Let's go before I barf." Alphard said making Artemis giggle.
"You have the manners of a slug, Alphard Black."
"Come on guys, let's not be late." Tom said leading the way to Slughorn's office.
Slughorn's office had the appearance of being "larger" maybe? It just seemed that it had grown, maybe a bit. It was dimly lit, with Slughorn at a large table with four Ravenclaws, two Hufflepuffs, five Gryffindors including them; the bigger group was Slytherin of about twelve including Harry and his friends.
"Ah...There you are. I was about to wonder where my favorite Slytherins and Gryffindors were...Come in, come in, take a seat." Slughorn greeted.
Artemis took a seat beside Tom. The rest surrounded them, Walburga and Orion Black were acting disgusted that they were sitting next to third year Gryffindors. Abraxas greeted Harry with a smirk.
Slughorn continued on about his various stories about past "famous" students. It was rather quite boring, and Artemis wasn't very hungry at all after the terrible story about a certain Gryffindor who sliced a Acromantula in pieces.
"Ah, Malfoy, would you like to tell us more about your father's job at the Ministry?"
"Of course, Sir..." Malfoy said as he continued his "story" of his father.
Tom was getting quite bored at this point, even sleepy.
"Is it always this boring?" Charlus whispered to Tom.
"I don't know, this is my first time here to, stupid." Tom muttered back.
Charlus stuck his tongue out at Tom.
"Now, now that was a very interesting story, Malfoy...Would you like to tell us yours, Tom? Or perhaps Harrison? Our new additions." Slughorn smiled.
"I'm sure Harrison would love to go first." Abraxas said winking at the third year.
If looks could kill.
"Sure." Harry muttered.
"Well, go on." Slughorn said.
"It's not very interesting, but well, okay. I went to muggle school till I was ten. I got adopted by my distant relatives and attend Hogwarts. There's not really much more to say." Harry told the group, who were now, intent on listening.
"...It's not like Muggle school can do much anyway." Walburga Black muttered under her breath.
"What happened to your biological parents if you don't mind me asking?" Slughorn asked him.
"They were murdered in a war sir."
"How do you know that they were murdered?" A Hufflepuff asked.
Tom scowled. "Because he was left in an orphanage you twit." Tom snapped at the girl.
"Well, that is very interesting, Harrison...How about you, Artemis? What did you do over the summer?" Slughorn asked the Gryffindor adorned in red and gold.
After a couple more hours of uninteresting small talk, stories, and favouritism, the little dinner "gathering" was over. Artemis was so tired, she started to lean on Tom's shoulder.
"Tired?" He asked.
"Uh huh..." She muttered.
"Why don't I escort you to your room?"
"That would be mighty kind of you, Tom." She agreed.
"Good." Tom replied.
His brothers said goodbye with,"G'night, Tom."
The next day...
Minerva was mad. No scratch that, what she was feeling went well beyond mere anger. Everyone knew her opinion on the matter of her relationship status and yet the small slip of paper had still been forced into her hand by a fifth year Gryffindor asking her if she wanted to be his girlfriend.
"Go away!" Minerva snapped at Nixie Conway as she continued to storm through the halls. Passerby's made sure to get out of Minerva's way.
Nixie had said something back, but Minerva didn't hear it.
That stupid, utterly pretty girl who stole the looks of all the boys! And not just in Huffelpuff...but in Ravenclaw and Gryffindor as well. Even some of the Slytherins were checking Nixie out.
"Where is she?" Minerva spotted Harry and Alphard walking down the halls together.
"Where's who?" Harry asked confused.
"Harry, where's Bones," Minerva asked angry.
Harry paused for a minute before speaking, "I'm guessing she's still with Tom, maybe at the library, why?" he then saw the look on her face, "Looks like someone's jealous."
Minerva scowled at him; "Shut up, I'm not jealous,"
Harry smirked along with Alphard as Minerva walked away in anger towards the library.
Minerva didn't have to make it that far as she spotted both Tom and Artemis side by side laughing and about to walk up the staircase. That is until Minerva stopped them midway.
"Tom," Minerva called out.
Once Tom looked up at Minerva, he frowned slightly, "What is it, Minerva?"
"Minerva, what's wrong?" Artemis asked, noticing Minerva's angry expression.
"Listen Bones, I don't know why you think you can just follow Tom wherever he goes and I don't like you hanging out with him," Minerva pushed Artemis away from Tom, not at all kindly.
"Minerva, Artemis and I are just friends, and why do you even care who I hang out with, you've never cared before."
"Does she even know that you're my boyfriend? Because she's acting like you two are an item." Minerva said harshly.
Artemis put her hands up in defense, "Whoa, I'm not trying to hit on your boyfriend all right?"
"Oh really," Minerva hissed.
"Minerva, stop it," Tom said disapprovingly.
"No, I'm not and you wouldn't feel this way if you actually paid attention to Tom."
Tom covered his face with his hands at Artemis words. This was not going to end well.
"How dare you!"
Yes, Minerva McGonagall and Artemis Boneswere fighting over the attention of Thomas Potter.
It had been a long-going fight; once Christmas break was over, Artemis and Tom had gotten closer, inevitably pushing Minerva away, at least in Minerva's mind.
"Knock it off Minerva, before you say something you can't take back. It actually could do you good to stop thinking so much all the time." Artemis said nonchalantly.
"Great. Maybe you can teach me," Minerva snapped.
"We are finished here." Artemis said with a note of finality.
"Like hell we are!" Minerva said seething.
"You are so selfish, McGonagall! You think I don't know what's been going on with you? It's pretty clear to every girl in this school-"
"Shut your mouth-!"
"Guys are starting to notice you aren't they? You're not that pitiful awkward looking girl that you used to be and you like the attention, it's so freely given to you now, for nothing…it must be exhilarating for you-"
Minerva sucker punched Artemis on the right side of her face.
Artemis screamed in surprise and hit the floor clutching the right side of her face.
"Minerva! Stop it!" Tom stepped between Artemis and Minerva just as a crowd of students came to watch the fight between the girls.
Minerva stormed away in embarrassment, pushing her fellow students out of her way.
Minerva finally slows down, her expression changing.
"What do you want?"
"What's wrong with you? Why did you start that fight with Artemis?" Tom asked, falling into step with Minerva beside him.
Minerva turns around so they're both walking in the same direction and it makes things at least a little more comfortable. "Is that who you're worried about? Artemis?"
"If I was worried about Artemis I would be by her side now wouldn't I?"
Minerva didn't say anything, she just kept walking.
Tom really didn't know what he wanted to say. He didn't know if he should apologize or explain himself or accuse Minerva of her own wrongful conduct. He only knew that he didn't want to talk about it, even though he also knew he should.
"Look, Minerva, things have been kind of awkward ever since I lost my memory and when I gained them back, you've been kind of distant and you tell me it's your studies. So I in return let you study. I found a friendly relationship with Artemis Bones while I was lonely and without companionship from you. Now you're angry and it's awkward."
"Is it awkward?"
"Merlin, don't pull that with me. Do you think I don't feel the same way about you anymore? That's the obvious answer."
"That is it, dear Merlin. You think I don't care about you." Tom grabs Minerva's wrist and they both stop.
Students walked by and a Huffelpuff bumps into Tom with a low apology.
"You've been questioning my compassion, and I know I'm not perfect, Merlin, I'm far from it, but Minerva…you have to believe me."
"You're important. You're really damn important." Tom means it, more than he's meant it in a long time. Minerva perceives, and she does so deeply, beyond anything that Tom's ever imagined.
"How much do I matter to you?"
"You mean everything to me."
"How much is everything?"
"Do I have to kiss you to prove it?"
"That would be one way."
Tom leaned in to cover the negligible space between them and kissed Minerva McGonagall. Tom wanted Minerva, wanted this closeness, wanted them to be molded together like this as their lips pressed together, forgetting everything all around them.
Tom added after they broke away from their kiss, "I'm not saying it's going to be easy. It'll take a while to figure out. But we will, Minerva. I'll make everything okay again."
"We'll make everything okay again." Minerva said.
"Besides," Tom said dryly, "I have no interest in Artemis Bones. I just want you."
"I'm flattered," Minerva said, in the same dry voice, but Tom knew the words rang true.
"I only want you as well," Minerva added after a short silence.