AN: This is the sequel to Thrice Defied. You might want to read it before you read this one.
He hadn't thought that he would ever be making this trip again. When he had left Hogwarts at the end of his sixth year, he had felt alone in the world. His only real family had hated him and wanted nothing to do with him. They would have been happy if he had died during the Final Battle last May.
But now he wasn't alone. Far from it, in fact. He had parents and siblings now. Parents and sibling that he loved dearly. Six months ago he would have laughed at anyone who said that he would feel that way about the Malfoy family. It hadn't been easy. At first he hadn't wanted to believe it. But two things had changed his mind. First, he had always wanted a family who wanted and loved him. The entire Malfoy family had proven to him over and over that they loved and wanted him. Even in the early hours of his finding out the truth, they had never left him alone. Draco had found him out at the Quidditch pitch and just sat with him in silence until he felt able to face those gathered in the Great Hall. Then later Mother had gone with him to tell Andromeda Tonks, his aunt, the awful news that her daughter and son-in-law had been killed in the Battle. They had taken turns sitting with him when he slept for nearly two days from sheer exhaustion. The other thing he had realized was that they had made many sacrifices in order to keep him safe for the last eighteen years.
Not only did he have his true family, but he also had the family of his heart. Ever since his first year at Hogwarts the Weasley family had considered him as one of their own. He couldn't love that family any more than he did his blood family. And now he was really going to be a part of that family because he and Ginny were now betrothed.
That family of the heart also included several others. Hermione Granger was his best friend and he considered her a sister. She understood him in a way that no one else did. The professor that he had hated most during the last several years was now one of the men that he respected most and his godfather. Quite a shock that had been. Harry himself was now a godfather twice over. Just a few weeks before the Battle, he had been named godfather to Teddy Lupin, the son of Remus and Nympradora "Tonks" Lupin. When Severus Snape had brought his wife and daughter out of hiding, Harry and Draco had been named Katie's godfathers.
Yes, Harry Potter's life was blessed. And he was now on his way to Hogwarts to complete his seventh year. The seventh year that he hadn't been able to complete because he had been off hunting Horcruxes. Ten others had been invited to return to Hogwarts to complete or repeat their seventh year. However, Harry wouldn't be returning to Gryffindor Tower. He would be living in the Slytherin dungeons. By his own choice.
There were many changes taking place at Hogwarts this year. Professor McGonagall was the new Headmistress. Because there were so many open positions and so few good teachers, she was going to continue teaching Transfiguration. She was also going to continue as Gryffindor Head of House. Only this year she was going to have a Deputy Head of House: Hermione Granger. Harry and Draco would be doing the same thing for Slytherin House because their godfather, who was the new Deputy Headmaster of the school, wanted to start spending his weekends in Hogsmeade with his family. Snape was going to be teaching NEWT lever classes in both Potions and Defense. Bill Weasley was going to be teaching the lower level Defense classes and his wife, Fleur Delacour Weasley, would be doing the same for Potions. Bill wasn't the only Weasley brother teaching at Hogwarts this year. Charlie was taking over for Hagrid, who had decided to go to France to be with Madame Maxime.
Glancing across the car, Harry smiled when he saw Hermione and his little sister Aurora bent over a book and Hermione was teaching her some first year spells. She would make a good teacher one day. So would Draco, who had his nose buried in a Potions journal. The subscription to that journal was one of this birthday presents from Sev and Camille. Harry had gotten one for a new Defense journal that was just being publication. Over the last several weeks, Draco had been giving Harry a crash course in Potions and Harry finally understood the theory behind potions making. He would never be able to brew by instinct like his godfather or brother, but he could make a decent brew.
Harry, Draco, Hermione and Neville had been offered teaching potions in three years after they had complete their final year at Hogwarts and two years at a Muggle university, taking courses in education. Hermione would be teaching Transfiguration, Neville would be taking over Herbology, Harry Defense and Draco Potions. Though they would only be teaching the lower level classes for a while.
He looked up when the door to the car opened and Severus walked in. "The Headmistress has decided to have a brief meeting with your class before the other students arrive. She would like you to Apparate to the gates. Take your brooms and you can fly from there. The other students have already gone."
"I hate flying," Hermione muttered, standing.
Draco stood as well, lifting two brooms down from the overhead rack. "You can ride with me, Mione," he said, handing Harry his broom. "I'm not a daredevil like he is."
She laughed. "I've seen you fly, Draco."
"I'll let you Side-Along me," he said, dropping his voice.
But Harry heard and he remember anew his brother's illness. Degenerative Magical Immune Syndrome. Incurable and possibly fatal. The Healer said that he shouldn't exhaust himself physically or magically. He had nearly done that the night of their birthday party and had spent nearly a week in bed because of it. After a through dressing down by Healer Davies, Draco had been doing better about asking for help, even if he was Slytherin about it. His last comment to Hermione was a good example of that.
A pop told him that Hermione and his brother had gone while Harry had been lost in his thoughts again. He gave Ginny a kiss before following them.
Once at the castle, the new Headmistress led them into the Great Hall. Everything looked the same except for a new table that sat perpendicular to the Head Table. "This is where your class will sit. Malfoy, Potter, Granger, you three will sit there where your table joins the Head Table. Your positions this year make you practically staff.
"Your class will be expected to follow the same rules as the rest of the students; however you will have a later curfew and will be allowed to going into Hogsmeade every weekend. While you are technically seventh years, we have decided not to place you in their classes. You will have your own schedules."
McGonagall looked over the small group and waved her wand at them. A small badge, similar to the ones worn by prefects, though instead of a 'P' there was a small '8'. She gave a firm nod and then turned to Harry, Draco and Hermione. "Now for you three." With another wave of her wand, the cut of their robes changed to one closer to those worn by the staff. Their robes were now had braiding in their house colors, though Harry's was lined with Slytherin green and silver instead of Gryffindor red, showing his new status as a member of both Houses. There was also a Slytherin badge next to his Gryffindor one. "Much better. Now take your seats, I hear the other students arriving."
They moved to take their seats as the rest of the students crowded into the room. "We can see almost everything from here," Hermione said, taking the seat that Draco held out for her. "Thank you."
"Welcome," he said, sitting next to her on the side closest to the staff.
Harry glanced down the row at the staff. "I guess Sev must be bringing in the first years. I'm sure he's enjoying that," he said with a laugh.
"I've told you brother; Sev isn't like he's always pretended. He actually does like kids. You've seen him with Reg and the girls…Katie."
"Hush," Hermione told them. "Here they come."
The three watched as Severus led a rather large group of first years to the front of the large room. After the Sorting Hat sang it's song, Severus picked up the Hat and began calling out names, one by one.
"Ravenclaw," Draco said as the name before Aurora's was being called.
"Slytherin," Harry told him.
Hermione looked at them. "What are you two on about?"
"We've got a little bet going as to what House Rory will be in," Harry explained as Aurora's name was finally called.
"You two are awful!"
"RAVENCLAW!" the Hat cried out the moment it was placed on Aurora's head.
Draco let out a loud whoop and jumped to his feet. "I won!" he yelled, looking down at his brother.
Severus turned around and looked at his oldest godson with an eyebrow lifted.
"Smooth, brother," Harry said as Draco sank back into his seat with a blush. "Very smooth."
"Oh, shut up," Draco retorted. "I still won."
Aurora's face turned bright red and she looked down at the stone floor. Severus took a moment to squeeze her shoulder and she moved to join her housemates. After the last of the new students had been sorted, Severus moved around the table to take his seat, smacking the back of Draco's head as he went.
Draco rubbed his head. "Oww…"
Harry hid his laugh by taking a sip of his juice. "You won."
"And what does Harry have to do?" Hermione asked.
"Play Seeker for Slytherin," Harry muttered, stuffing some food in his mouth.
Neville, who was sitting on Hermione's other side, looked over at Harry. "You aren't going to play for Gryffindor?"
Harry swallowed what he had in his mouth before answering. "Well, I hadn't really considered playing this year. And Ginny is as good a Seeker as I am and I'd hate to take that chance away from her. Draco can't really play this year, so since I am both Gryffindor and Slytherin this year, he thought I should play for Slytherin. That's why he used that as for our little bet."
"And if Draco had lost?" Hermione asked.
Harry turned to smirk at his brother, before looking back at his best friend. "He would have to dye his hair black for the whole year."
"But I won," Draco said, with a triumphant grin.
"And you embarrassed you sister," Hermione told him, giving him a stern look. "The Sorting is hard enough without having an older brother do something like to you."
He glanced over to where Aurora sat, poking at her food rather than eating it. "You're right. I'll apologize later."
After dinner, Draco slipped out of the Great Hall ahead of the other students and waited for Aurora just outside Ravenclaw tower. He pulled her aside as the first years were led into their common room. "I'm sorry, Rory-Belle…"
Aurora looked up at him and lifted her chin. "Elise Davies says that older brothers always embarrass their younger sisters."
"She would know," he told her. "Will you forgive me?"
She sighed and nodded. "I guess."
He pulled her into a hug. "I love you, brat."
"Love you too, brother," she said, before slipping back inside her common room.