LbN: This one's going to be told in time jumps. Happy reading!

Others taught me with having knelt at well-curbs
Always wrong to the light, so never seeing
Deeper down in the well than where the water
Gives me back in a shining surface picture
Me myself in the summer heaven godlike
Looking out of a wreath of fern and cloud puffs.
Once, when trying with chin against a well-curb,
I discerned, as I thought, beyond the picture,
Through the picture, a something white, uncertain,
Something more of the depths-and then I lost it.
Water came to rebuke the too clear water.
One drop fell from a fern, and lo, a ripple
Shook whatever it was lay there at bottom,
Blurred it, blotted it out. What was that whiteness?
Truth? A pebble of quartz? For once, then, something.

~Robert Frost

It was only September first, but the man was already dreading the first snow of the season. It was already cold, and the mountains always got hit first. He pulled his jacket around him as he sat on the porch swing. The owl he was waiting on finally swooped down, landing on the railing. He wasn't worried—the closest person lived ten miles away, and the closest wizard was over fifty miles away. He walked over to the bird and took the note off. He read it as the bird took flight again.

Today's the big day! James should be on his way to Hogwarts now. Already sent a message to our friend on the lake, and our friend on the beach. Will write again once we know about Houses.

The man hummed to himself and pulled his cap down around his ears, walking back inside. Bald was not a good "hairstyle" for the mountains. With a flick of his wand, he used the letter to start a fire.

"Abraxas, Scorpius," Persephone said, nodding at them.

"Hello, Professor," Abraxas said, grinning. "Are you still going to tutor us? Your Charms schedule is rather busy."

"I'll still be around," she said. "Congratulations on making Gryffindor."

"Father won't be pleased," Abraxas said, smiling. "But at least both of us are together. It would've been worse if Scorp had made it into Slytherin."

"Well, I think you're well suited for Gryffindor. Don't worry about your father. Now, get back to the feast."

The largest House was Slytherin, understandably. The other Houses had dwindled over the years, but stayed open so that only "True Slytherins" would make the cut. Hufflepuff was all but disbanded, and Ravenclaw only housed about fifteen students. Gryffindor was the second largest, with thirty students total. There were only three others in Abraxas's year— boys named Rowen, Haben, and Drake. There were no girls that year.

"Are we going to see Pers—I mean, Professor Andreas, tomorrow?" Scorpius asked.

"She said we could come by after breakfast."

"Why do you need to see Andreas?" Rowen asked.

"She was our tutor before we came to Hogwarts," Abraxas explained. "We still take extra lessons from her."

"Are you already that crap at magic?" Haben asked, grinning.

"No!" Scorpius yelped.

"We just liking having the extra practice," Abraxas said.

"Think she'll take on a couple more?" Haben asked. "My dad promised me a broom if I'm top of my class."

Abraxas shrugged. "I can ask," he said. He was already planning to "forget". He didn't fancy anyone else clogging up their lesson time.

"Cheers. Night you lot."

"Nite." Abraxas settled down into the blankets. He drifted to sleep quite easily that night, relatively sure that he wouldn't have any unwanted nighttime visits.

Abraxas yawned as he walked through the house. A man, his daddy, was pulling him by the hand, but he wasn't afraid. The man led him into a room and said something he couldn't hear. It sounded like a name. He was pushed gently, but forcefully into a closet. He heard his daddy saying spells, but suddenly the voice changed. "Father…." Abraxas whispered, beginning to shake.

The door burst open, and Draco pulled him out and tossed him to the ground.

Abraxas sat straight up in bed, breathing hard. Scorpius's face was hovering above him. It was obvious that he had been shaking him.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

As Abraxas caught his breath, he noticed the other boys were peering over from their beds. "It's nothing," he panted. "One of my headaches is all."

"You sure?" Rowen yawned.

"Course I'm sure," Abraxas said, lying down again.

Christmas lights twinkled on every surface. The smells of cakes and coco filled the air. There were roaring fires in the main parlors of the mansion. Despite all the apparent warmth of Christmas, Abraxas was shaking. He stood in front of his father's desk, trying not to look frightened.

"Well, I suppose the pair of you can be forgiven for not making Slytherin. Scorpius more so, because he is top of the class. What say you, Abraxas?"

"I came in second, Father," Abraxas said softly. "We can't both be first."

Draco chuckled. "Spoken like a politician. But if I remember correctly, you were always first while the pair of you were at home."

"Scorpius has always been better at practicing magic."

"Perhaps if you had a proper wand…."

Abraxas, against everything he'd ever learned about how to behave in his father's presence, retreated halfway across the room. "My wand works perfectly. Persephone…I mean, Professor Andreas, says I'm one of the most gifted Charms students she's ever seen."

Draco studied him for a moment. "You are both dismissed."

Not daring to even breathe, Abraxas retreated after his brother. When he got to his room, he slipped his wand into one of the pillow cases, and hid that pillow in the closet.

"Why didn't any of us pick a warm place to live?" the wizard asked grumpily.

"I did, but the water makes it a bit cold," his brother said. "Living on a beach is usually paradise, except for the tourists."

"I'm sure when we get James back, this is where he'll want to stay."

"You don't know that. We don't know anything for sure," the second wizard said morosely.

"We know he's being looked after."

"As much as possible."

The men were silent for a moment. Finally the taller one stood up. "You staying tonight?" he asked.

"No. I've been here too long as it is. I'm going back to Michigan tonight."

"Right. Well, let me buy you dinner before you go."

"Don't have to ask me twice," his brother said with a grin.

LbN: Hope you liked it! Send reviews!