Not So Muggleborn
Disclaimer: Not mine. Things would be very different if it were. Of course, then kids couldn't read it, either, as, unlike Jo, I'm well aware of what teenagers get up to…
A/N: This is another example of a very randy 'roo gone astray. I had a thought about what could happen if our favourite bookworm got sorted into the Snake House and started what I thought (once again) would be a nice little one-shot.
Oh, did I mention that the 'roo was very randy? And that he had apparently gotten into somebody's Cialis?
Anyway, this won't be a long story, and it's already half-written. Many thanks to Vern (aka Herman Tumbleweed) for his magnificent betaing skills and oh-so-appropriate suggestions.
"Hm, a fine mind that Rowena would love to train. Loyal to a fault and courageous enough for Godric, as well. Ambitious, too, with a certain hidden cunning. The Founders would all be fighting over this one. Well, perhaps not Salazar. He never did espouse Muggleborns coming to the school. Where to put her, where to put her…
"What's this? Oh my, a bloodline to put even the Founders in their place. Only one place for you, My Lady – Slytherin!" the tatty old hat cried the last word out loud as the Great Hall fell into a momentary shock-filled silence as the young Muggleborn's robes took on the silver and green trim of the notoriously Pureblood house.
The bushy-haired pre-teen calmly approached the table to sit with the other new first-years and calmly watched the rest of the Sorting, not noticing the glares from her older Housemates.
The Opening Feast came and went and the students were sent to their dormitories for the night. As she entered the rather creepy dungeon Common Room, she looked around carefully, cataloguing every detail of her new home, while thinking about the few of her new Housemates who had bothered to acknowledge her. "Tracey and Daphne seemed to be okay," she thought. "That other one, ah, the pug-nosed one - Pansy, I think - is a bit of a bitch. The boys are all a bunch of twats, though – except for the dark-haired one. I think he may be alright. He wasn't too happy with everybody hanging all over him. All the attention seemed to upset him for some reason. That blonde one, though – thinks he's God's gift or something. Oh, speak of the Devil…"
"Granger, wasn't it?" the blonde boy demanded as he swaggered up to the young girl. "What kind of Pureblood name is Granger? I don't know that family."
"Well, as you're only eleven, I'm sure that there's quite a bit you don't know."
The rodent-faced youth huffed at this. "Do you know who I am?" he demanded in outrage.
"No, other than someone who's quite ill-mannered. Should I?"
The Slytherin Common Room went silent except for a few gasps at the audacity of the young witch.
"I am Draco Malfoy," he stated with arrogant pride. "My family is of the purest blood and the most important in the Wizarding World. As I have never even heard of any… Grangers… you can only be a Mudblood and have no place here. My father…"
"… is obviously an inbred moron, as are you," she interrupted, confidence bolstered by the warmth radiating from the medallion she wore underneath her blouse. The silence seemed to grow more ominous until it was broken by a soft snicker of amusement from the dark-haired boy she'd noticed before. Meeting the other boy's eyes for a moment, she shared a small smile with him as she noted the scar on his forehead. "I wonder…" she thought for a moment.
Dismissing the distraction for later, she turned to leave and check out her dorm room before getting some sleep. As she took her first step away from the self-important Malfoy heir, she felt a pulse of magic flow from her as the young Pureblood grabbed her arm painfully to pull her attention back to him.
"Don't walk away from me, you Mudblood bi-eeee-owwww!" cried Malfoy as a pulse of pure magical energy rattled his very bones and knocked him flat on his skinny arse, also causing his sphincter muscles to relax, leaving him rather fragrant. Glaring up in anger and embarrassment, he saw a bright glow emanating from under her school robes between her newly forming breasts.
Sighing deeply, she undid the top button of her blouse and withdrew the medallion that her great-great-great-great grandfather had given her the previous week, observing the reactions of her housemates to the crest of Clan Drakul. "Malfoy, don't ever touch me again." She continued to head to her dorm, then stopped and again addressed the Pureblood moron on the floor, "My great-grandfather gave me a message to pass along to your kind. Blood has only one purpose – to keep one alive." She then added with an evil smirk, "Unless, of course, it's to give him an enjoyable snack. Tell your father that, too." Sharing another enigmatic smile with the dark-haired boy, she turned and went to her dorm, head held high.
After a restless night's sleep, the young witch took a long hot shower, recalling just how much her life had changed since receiving her letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It was strange enough having the kind, but stern, professor come and explain how she was an honest-to-goodness witch, but then at the next New Moon, a bat flew into the house and turned into a man claiming to be her mum's many times great-grandfather. Once the initial shock wore off, she and her parents began to look forward to the irregular, but frequent visits from Grandpa Vlad (as he insisted that she call him).
During those visits, he filled her and her family in on the state and culture of the Magical World – something that Professor McGonagall really should have covered during her orientation. He had a way of explaining serious things that left you giggling while still impressing the actual nature of the subject on you.
A case in point was his position on the whole blood purity issue. Whereas his opinion (as she had quoted to the young Malfoy) was expressed humorously, it was based on a real truth. The most amusing part came when they were discussing his personal history.
"That damned-fool Muggle, Stoker, really pissed me off," he'd said one night to all three Grangers after one too many brandies. "He really made some trouble for the family with his nonsense. The Impaler, indeed. The only ones I've ever impaled were some rather attractive…" he trailed off, suddenly realizing that his eleven year old granddaughter was listening intently.
His visit last week, however, was a real eye-opener. Her relationship to the oldest remaining family in the Wizarding World (as the Heiress, no less) enabled her to use the legal fiction of being of the purest of the Purebloods, not to mention that most of the Pureblood families (including the Founders and House Emrys) had sworn Oaths of Fealty to the Drakuls over the centuries. As the sole Heiress, her word was law to all but Vlad himself. He presented her with the Family Crest on a magical medallion which would prove her claim and protect her from those who would not have her best interests at heart. It would also let her know if someone's family owed her their fealty or not.
"But, most importantly, my dear," he concluded as he gently placed it with its fine gold chain around her neck, "Try to keep it quiet. Wear it always, even in the bath. Never remove it as it's a part of you now. But keep it hidden as much as possible as it will cause people to treat you differently and you'll not be sure if people are kind because they like you for yourself or from fear, expectations, or for suspected opportunities."
Her thoughts followed her to the Great Hall where she noticed that few of her housemates had arrived for breakfast. Seeing the raven-haired first year boy who had been so amused last night, she sat across from him. "Good morning," she greeted him, holding out her hand, "I'm Hermione."
"Harry," he replied, uncertainly holding out his hand to shake hers.
Momentarily hurt at his hesitance, she reassured him as she realized why, "Don't worry, Harry. My medallion only reacts to people who mean me harm." She sighed deeply. "I really didn't want anyone to know; but then, I guess you understand about that." She discretely gestured at his scar.
"Miss Granger," came the deep, silky voice of their Head of House, Severus Snape. "I understand that you're wearing a dangerous magical artefact. You will remove it immediately and turn it over to me."
"No, sir, I can't do that," she replied, feeling the medallion grow warm again.
"You can't?" the potions professor asked dangerously, both eyebrows raised in amazement. "You can and you will, Miss Granger, and you'll do it now!"
Standing and facing the obnoxious former Death Eater, the young witch stated calmly, "I will not! My grandfather instructed me to never remove it."
"Yes," he stretched out the word, "your fictional grandfather to go along with your fictional claim on a great house. Quit lying, Granger, and give me that bauble!"
Placing her hand over the medallion, which was now starting to glow, she cried, "No! I won't!" not noticing that Harry had come around to her side of the table in support.
Snape reached for her, intent on tearing her blouse to retrieve her medallion by force. As his hand came close, magic flowed from her and violently threw him across the Great Hall. In the shadows, a man silently appeared.
"Miss Granger," the Headmaster called. "Pack your things. I cannot and will not tolerate attacks on the staff."
"No." In the now fully occupied room, heads silently turned to see a well-dressed, older man approach the Staff Table. "She will not be punished for following my instructions, Albus Dumbledore."
Dumbledore's eyes widened in curiosity. "I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage, sir."
"You know full well who I am, but for form's sake…" a medallion matching Hermione's, but larger, appeared; hanging from a wide scarlet ribbon around his neck. Seeing the elderly Headmaster's face pale in shock, the old man smirked, "Yes, Dumbledore, I am Vladimir Dracula."
Vlad then turned and approached his granddaughter with a smile, noting the tears fighting to escape her eyes. "Good morning, Hermione," he said as he drew close and opened his arms, "Are you well?"
Sniffling, the young witch replied, "Yes, Grandpa, I'm fine," as she engulfed him in a hug.
Looking up for a moment, the old vampire spotted a young wizard slowly backing away. "Mr Potter, I presume?" At the boy's nervous nod, he released Hermione and held out his hand. "I noticed that you joined my granddaughter during the confrontation. Thank you, Mr Potter."
Blushing as he accepted the man's hand, Harry looked at his shoes and stammered, "I-I really didn't do anything, sir."
"Nonsense, Young Potter, you stood with a member of Clan Drakul when you didn't have to. We do not forget." With a final nod to the boy, he turned to the fallen Potions Master, who was just now regaining his feet. Supressing the smile that was about to form from the sight of Hermione nervously going to Harry, he blocked the enraged professor from approaching his Heiress. "Hold, Son of House Prince," Vlad commanded.
Snape stopped and glared. "Get out of my way, old man. Just who the hell do you think you are?" he demanded.
Seeing the look of rage forming on the Count's face, Dumbledore tried to intercede, "This is Count Vladimir Dracula, Severus." Turning to Vlad, he continued, "Your Excellency, this is Professor Severus Snape, our Potions instructor and the Head of your granddaughter's House."
Foolishly and rudely ignoring the incensed vampire, Snape petulantly demanded, "Surely you're not buying into this nonsense, Headmaster? Granger is nothing but a Mu…"
Snape suddenly found himself lying flat on his back on the floor, two tables away, nursing a broken jaw and gazing into the blazing red eyes and elongated canines of a fully enraged vampire. "Son of Prince! You have shamed your House which has been Oathbound to mine for over nine hundred years!" Reaching down and grabbing the foolish wizard by the throat, Vlad easily lifted him into the air, their faces scant inches apart. "Out of respect for the fact that this is a school, I will give you one last chance, Shame of Prince, "he hissed. "But be aware that your next transgression will be your last."
Wrinkling his nose in disgust at the stream of yellow liquid flowing off Snape's shoes, he casually tossed the greasy-haired Potions Master aside and walked to the front of the Great Hall. Vlad addressed the silent crowd, "I apologize for that unseemly display. It was inappropriate in front of children. I would, however, strongly suggest that you all contact your families and let them know that Clan Drakul has turned its attention back to Britannia." Turning his attention to Dumbledore, he continued, "It seems that the Old Vows have been forgotten, Headmaster. I would recommend that your instructors correct that oversight immediately." He turned and walked away.
Hermione stood and embraced her great-grandfather as he approached the Slytherin table. "You remember how to contact me in a hurry, right?" Feeling rather than seeing her nod of agreement, he looked at Harry, who then also stood and nervously approached. "It was nice to meet you, Young Master Potter. I hope that we can meet again, but under more pleasant circumstances."
Bravely holding out his hand, Harry replied, "Likewise, sir."
Vlad accepted the firm handshake, gazing intently into the young wizard's bright green eyes before turning back to the young witch in his arms. "Take care, my child," he said softly. "Teach young Harry what I taught you this past year, if he will listen." With that, he vanished.
"Cuthbert, it is essential that you teach this to the children," Albus repeated for the umpteenth time. "I think it's time to cut my losses and just exorcise him," he thought in frustration.
"But why, Albus?" Cuthbert Binns, the ghostly History of Magic professor, whinged. "The Drakuls left the Isles long before even I was born. They no longer matter. Now the Goblins, on the other hand…"
"Enough!" the frazzled Headmaster yelled. "If you would pay attention for one damned minute you would have heard me when I told you that Count Vladimir himself was in the Great Hall today! Severus was injured for being his normal, impertinent self! Your classes for the day are cancelled so you can prepare yourself to teach the students exactly what this means! Starting tomorrow!" Seeing the ghost about to object, he laid down the law in the harshest possible way, "I swear to Merlin, Cuthbert, if you screw this up, I'll have a necromancer in here so fast…"
Binns nervously nodded his agreement before slowly fading away.
Pulling a tumbler and a bottle of Firewhisky from his desk, the old wizard poured himself a drink. After taking a deep pull of the amber liquid, he looked to his phoenix familiar and asked him, "Maybe I should plan on that necromancer, anyway, Fawkes. Perhaps during the summer. What do you think?"
Fawkes trilled a happy song. Even an immortally patient phoenix couldn't stand the recalcitrant ghost.
The first week of classes flew by and Hermione found herself alone in the Slytherin Common Room early Sunday morning trying to focus on her favourite book, Drakul: The True Story. It, along with Hogwarts: A History,was a gift from Grandpa Vlad shortly after he first came into her life. Her mind wouldn't stay focussed on the text as it tried to assimilate everything that had happened over the previous days.
Most of her classes had been fascinating and the professors had been talented and helpful. They had even seemed to ignore the events of the first morning and treated her as one of the other students. There were exceptions of course: most notably, her Head-of-House.
Snape, while not being overt about it, had completely ignored her. Whereas most of the other Slytherins would be given points for things like pouring water in their cauldrons, she was treated as if she didn't exist. Of course, that was better than losing points for breathing, as did some Gryffindors in the Potions class she shared with them, but it would be nice if he would answer her questions in class.
The other staff members that concerned her were the ghost, Binns, and the Defence teacher, Quirrell. Binns was simply useless. While he did a fair job of explaining the Drakul Family's place in Wizarding Britain, he completely ignored the rest of the world. Also, he made it evident that he considered the material unimportant as he kept muttering something about Goblin Rebellions.
Quirinus Quirrell, however, frightened her. He was a fair teacher, if you could understand him over his constant stammer, but something about him made her skin crawl. Even more strange was her medallion's reactions to the turbaned wizard. It would grow warm in his presence, as it normally would in the presence of an Oathbound Family member, but it would feel icy cold at the same time. "I think a letter to Grandpa would be in order," she thought. "Maybe Harry will let me borrow his owl as I don't know if I can trust the school ones. The Headmaster probably wouldn't like to see Grandpa again so soon." With a grin, she took some Muggle paper and a biro from her ever-present bookbag, ready to start her missive, but got lost in her reflections again as she considered what to write.
The reactions of her fellow students varied. Most of the upperclassmen treated her as they would any other first year (which was fine with her), although, perhaps a bit more politely. The younger students' reactions, however, bothered her. The members of the other three houses were polite and reasonably friendly, but they didn't try to associate with her, either. Her housemates were another story. Like their Head, the residents of Slytherin House acted if she didn't exist, although Hermione did catch the occasional glare sent in her direction.
The one exception to the rule was Harry. They had meals together and studied in the library together. He didn't seem to be intimidated by her or want to ignore her, although several of their housemates had tried to dissuade him from associating with the young Heiress.
"G'mrmin, H'mione." She turned around to see a sleep-tousled Harry stagger into the Common Room and flop on the couch next to her. After letting out a great yawn, he continued more coherently, "What are you doing up so early?"
"Well, I was reading a bit, then decided to write Grandpa a letter. What about you?"
"I woke up from a dream, then couldn't get back to sleep. Bloody Malfoy and Nott sound like a couple of old lorries going down the motorway when they sleep."
Hermione giggled softly at the analogy. Seeing how relaxed Harry (unlike the rest of the student body) seemed to be in her presence, she shyly asked, "Harry, can I ask you something?"
Groaning, Harry replied, "Ugh, before breakfast?" He sighed. "Go ahead, I guess."
She screwed up her courage and blurted out, "Why aren't you afraid of me like everybody else is?"
"Well," she dithered a bit, "everybody else in the castle always seems to be on pins and needles around me. Everybody but you. I just wondered why."
He sat up straighter and ran a hand through his perpetually messy hair, trying to jump start his brain into supplying a semi-intelligent answer. "I dunno. I guess it's maybe because I didn't grow up with all this stuff and you seem to be a nice person. Now your grandfather's kinda scary, but he didn't really bother me, either. It was more like… he was being protective of you, I guess. I wish…" he trailed off.
"You wish… what, Harry?" she prompted.
"What, Harry?" She turned and faced him, placing a hand on his knee.
"Just… just that I had someone who would protect me like that."
"What about your family?"
The young man snorted. "They could care less about me. They would be happier if I never came back." His eyes widened for a moment as he realized what he'd admitted. "Hermione," he put a hand on top of hers and added sadly, "can we please not talk about this? I was raised by my Muggle aunt and her family who despise anything even remotely resembling magic. Can we just leave it at that? Please?"
She saw the heart-felt plea in his eyes, so she simply dropped it. "I take it that means you don't know anything about our new world, right?" He shook his head.
"Well, neither did I until I met Grandpa. He didn't come into my life until after I got my letter. I-I could tell you what he told me. I-if you wanted, of course."
"You'd do that? For me? Why?"
"Because I think you're a nice person, too, Harry. We should be given a lot more information than we are before we come here. Besides," she added shyly, "Grandpa thought you should know. I think you impressed him." At his confused look, she continued, "Like he said, Harry, you freely stood with a member of Clan Drakul. From what I know," she held the old tome, "that hasn't happened very often. In fact, I think you are one of the very few in the castle whose family isn't beholden to the Clan in some way or other. I guess that's why he said you didn't have to."
Harry thought carefully about this. "I'd like to learn more about this, Hermione. Could I maybe look at that book, as well?"
"I don't see why not, but I'll ask Grandpa in my letter, just to be sure." She blushed a bit as she added, "Does this mean we're friends?"
Harry shared her blush as he quietly answered, "Yeah, I'd like that. Why don't you finish your letter while I get dressed for breakfast. Afterwards we'll go get Hedwig to deliver it for you, unless you already have an owl or something."
"Thank you, Harry. That would be wonderful. Then maybe we can go someplace quiet and talk about what Grandpa taught me."
The weeks passed by in a jumble of classes, homework, and, as Harry called them, Pureblood lessons. Vlad had been so thrilled with Harry's request to see the book, that he sent the boy his own copy, citing that Hermione's was a family heirloom and, as such, had additional information that only the family was privy to. The young friends worked and studied together and eventually forgot about the reactions of the rest of the school to Hermione's heritage as their friendship grew.
One morning a few days before Hallowe'en, the Headmaster made a rare announcement during breakfast, "Tonight, after dinner, you will all be confined to your Common Rooms and the Owlery will be sealed. If you need study materials from the Library, I would suggest that you acquire them beforehand.
"The reason for this is that we will be making some adjustments to the protections surrounding the school. There is no need to be concerned as this is something that needs to be done every few years. All will be back to normal before breakfast tomorrow. That is all, and enjoy your day."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a glance and shrugged their shoulders. They were both caught up on their homework and had a quiet place to read in a corner of the Common Room where no one bothered them. Unfortunately, they missed the malicious glint in Snape's eyes and the smirk on Draco's face.
Hermione looked up from Drakul: The True Story and saw that the Common Room was empty. Deciding that it was late enough, she got up and started to head for her dorm to get some sleep. As she approached the stairwell leading down to the Girls' Dormitories, Malfoy crept out of the shadows and blocked her way, intruding on her personal space. "Better start packing now, Mudblood," he hissed. "You can't hide behind your creature anymore. Or better still, you can take your proper place; on your knees before me."
"What are you blathering about, Malfoy?" She felt her stomach churning in fear.
He took a step closer as he continued with a smirk, "You'll find out soon enough."
Panic was about to set in until something she'd read in her grandfather's book came to mind. Drawing on the warmth she felt from her medallion, she took a step back and drew herself up proudly, commanding, "Son of Malfoy, halt and humble yourself before me."
"Wha-what's happening to me?" he cried as his body, independent of his control, stepped back and prostrated itself before the young witch as she looked on in awe.
Collecting herself, she answered in the same commanding voice, "Your magic is enforcing the Vows of your ancestors, Son of Malfoy. Now you feel the power of Clan Drakul. Change your ways, Draco, before you feel the Wrath the Clan can unleash on you and yours. Speak of this to no one, lest your punishment be severe. But some punishment for your behaviour is necessary." Hermione tapped her chin with a fingertip as she thought of something suitable. "Ah, I know just the thing. Listen carefully, Draco, here's what you're going to do…"
Hallowe'en morning found Harry and Hermione sitting at a nearly deserted Slytherin table, enjoying a quiet breakfast. Hermione was trying to engage Harry in light conversation to distract him from the fact that it was the anniversary of his parents' death, but was meeting with little success. "Oh well," she thought with a hidden smile, "tonight's entertainment should cheer him up."
As the Hall filled and breakfast drew to a close, Hermione spotted her Head of House arrogantly storm towards her. She touched the medallion beneath her uniform as if in supplication as he demanded, "Granger, you will give me that necklace now or face expulsion!"
She stood and glanced at Dumbledore, who was sitting in his throne-like chair quietly observing, before facing the smirking professor and calmly stating, "I told you before, Professor, I cannot."
"Give it to me now, girl!" Snape demanded as her reached for the witch to find himself impeded by Harry's slight form. "You can no longer prevent it as your… relative no longer has access to this castle."
Harry called out to the Headmaster nervously, "Headmaster Dumbledore, are you going to allow this person to assault one of your students?"
"This is none of your concern, Mr Potter," the elderly wizard said. "Please sit down and stay out of it."
"Get out of my way, Potter," screamed Snape as he shoved the slightly-built boy aside. "I'll deal with you, later."
"This is, however, my concern," came a voice from the shadows. Every head in the hall swivelled to see Count Vladimir Dracula, resplendent in his ceremonial House robes, approaching the Head Table.
"How… how are you here, you foul demon? You can't…"Snape's words were choked off with a wave of the Count's hand. "Shame of Prince, fall before your liege-lord and be silent!" he commanded. The occupants of Hogwarts gasped as they witnessed the intractable Slytherin jerkily prostrate himself at the vampire's feet. "Now, Dumbledore, would you be so kind as to answer young Master Potter's question?"
Dumbledore got to his feet and leaned lightly on the table before him. "Actually, Your Excellency, with all due respect to your position in our society, I don't see where internal Hogwarts matters are any of your concern. In fact, I will admit to being somewhat at a loss to explain your seemingly easy access to this castle."
The Hogwarts populace was shocked to hear a chuckle emerge from the Count. "Albus, Albus, you young fool," he laughed. "Do you mean those reinforced anti-vampire charms you recently placed? Nicely done, I'll admit. But you've either forgotten or ignored one crucial fact."
"And what, sir, would that be?" Albus continued the game in amusement.
"Think back to your earliest history lessons. Well, at least those of you who learned from other than that ghost that teaches here. Where did your Hogwarts Founders get the land to build this school on?"
"It was granted to them by their liege-lord, as I recall," rose a somewhat squeaky voice from the Head Table.
"Very good, Professor… Flitwick, isn't it?" Vlad received a courteous nod in reply. "Now, who was that person?" He looked around the room. "Anyone?"
"I can answer that, milord."
A true smile graced Vlad's face as he spotted the ghost who had spoken. "Cuthbert, my old friend," he greeted happily. "It's been… what… three hundred years? And I seem to remember you were alive at the time and living in Transylvania."
"Yes, milord. It's kind of you to remember. And to answer your question; you were the afore-mentioned liege-lord." The blood drained from Dumbledore's face as he fell back into his grand chair.
"Yes, Albus. It's exactly what you think. As your memory seems to be rather poor, need I remind you whose family pledged their fealty about twelve hundred years ago?" Albus shook his head sadly. "Good."
He turned back to his friend, "Cuthbert, I'd like to speak with you before I leave. I'm concerned that these people no longer honour the Vows of their ancestors."
Binns bowed deeply before his liege. "Forgive me, milord. I expected that the children would have learned this as they were weaned from their mother's breast as I and all my sires before me were. Be assured that I will correct that oversight immediately. I suppose that a couple of the Goblin Rebellions are relatively unimportant enough to warrant only a simple essay. I will make myself available to you at your convenience." He once again bowed before he faded away.
Satisfied that one thing would go right, Vlad turned to his granddaughter and her friend. "Hermione, Master Potter, are you well?" At their muttered affirmatives, he said, "Then please join me over here. We have much to discuss and we need to deal with this…" he sharply kicked the prone wizard before him, "thing."
He looked around to insure that he had everybody's attention before he began, "House Prince, at one time, was a powerful family that I was happy to bring into my service. They had wealth, prestige and great political and magical power. It saddens me to see that this is what has become of it." He turned to Snape and ordered, "Shame of Prince, stand and face your liege like a man, if you are such."
Released from the magical imperative, Snape jumped to his feet, drawing his wand. "Avada Ke…" He vanished without a sound, his wand clattering to the floor.
Facing the assembled again as he summoned and pocketed Snape's wand, Vlad announced, "Let that be a lesson. All but a small handful of you are bound to my Clan. Be wary, as your actions will always have consequences." Turning back to the distraught Headmaster, he went on, "I would suggest that you find a replacement for young Prince. I doubt that any mercy that I may or may not decide to show him will allow him to continue in this position. Oh, and I require the company of my granddaughter and Master Potter for the rest of the morning." Not seeing any objection, he concluded sarcastically, "Then, with your permission, Headmaster, we'll take our leave." He turned and quickly left the Great Hall, the two friends in his wake, to the growing sound of excited whispering.
The old Count stopped in the courtyard just past the main doors of the castle, and cast a warming charm around one of the many benches before sitting down, inviting the children to join him with a casual wave.
"Master Potter, it seems that the Clan is once again in your debt."
"No, sir, that's really not necessary. Hermione is my friend. I only did what I felt I had to do."
"Nonetheless, young Potter…"
"Please, sir, just call me Harry."
Vlad gazed at him quizzically for a moment, then seemed to make a decision. "Very well, Harry, then I must insist that you address me as Hermione does; Grandpa or Grandpa Vlad, whichever you are more comfortable with."
"Yes, sir, erm, Grandpa."
Vlad gave the boy a warm smile. "Harry, I have known many of your grandsires over the centuries. Although none have entered my service, they have often fought by our side and we have given each other aid and succour as needed. I can see already that you are worthy of their legacy. I would like for this to continue."
Harry glanced at his friend and reddened slightly as he answered, "Yes, sir. I think I'd like that, too."
Noticing something odd, Vlad hesitantly asked, "Harry, if I may, why are you not wearing your ring?"
"My ring? I don't have a ring. Why do you ask?"
"Your Family Ring. If I'm not mistaken, you are the last of your line. You should have your Family Ring showing that you are The Potter. Didn't anyone explain this to you?"
"I was raised by my mother's Muggle sister and her husband. I doubt she knew and even if they did, they wouldn't tell me, anyway."
"What!" the old Count bellowed. "The Scion of Clan Potter raised by Muggles! Not being taught about his Family and his responsibilities! This is an outrage! Whose damned-fool idea was this?"
Harry was taken aback by the look of anger on the older wizard's face and he stammered his reply, "I-I think i-it w-was D-dumbledore's."
Vlad buried his face in his hands. "Dumbledore. Again." Looking up, his face fell at the obvious fear on the boy's face. "I'm sorry, Harry. I'm not upset with you. Believe me; you have nothing to fear from me." He got on his knees in front of the frightened child as Hermione scooted over and drew her friend into a comforting hug. As Harry flinched at the contact, Vlad gently probed, "Tell me that the Muggles at least treated you well?" When he got no response, he looked to his granddaughter with a raised eyebrow.
"He doesn't talk about it, Grandpa," she replied, hoping Harry would forgive her for what she was revealing. "But I don't think so." She held him tighter as he tensed and tried to pull away.
This didn't go unnoticed by the old man. "Harry. Harry, look at me." As the distraught eleven year old met the Count's dark eyes with his watery ones, Grandpa Vlad continued softly, "Remember what I just said about our families giving aid and succour? This is simply another of those times. Clan Potter and Clan Drakul have stood together in friendship for millennia and, I hope, always will. Your actions towards Hermione have shown that Potter Honour is still what it always has been. You will not return to the Muggles and we will see to it that you learn about your true Family and your place in the world."
When a faint smile formed on Harry's face, Vlad got up and dusted off his knees. "Now, you two stay and relax. Don't bother with your morning classes. And Harry, don't be upset with Hermione for speaking out of turn. She only meant to help."
"I-I know, sir, I mean, Grandpa. I'm not upset with her; it's just… kinda hard to talk about. Oh, and thank you. For everything."
Seeing Hermione's eyes shine at Harry's words softened the immortal's heart. "Like you said before, my young friend, it's what I felt I had to do. Now, I have to go deal with a meddling old bastard. I'll see you again before I leave."
"Oh, Grandpa," Hermione interrupted, "you may want to stay for the Hallowe'en Feast tonight." She blushed cutely, "I, uh, may have arranged for some entertainment."
"Really?" he replied with a curious expression. "Then I suppose I should join you for dinner. I'll see you later." He walked off, wondering just what his overachieving granddaughter had cooked up.