Alright folks, here's the next chapter. A little bit of filler really, but it helps to set the stage on this little piece of theatre... I figure it'll be at least two more chapters before the REAL story begins, but this gives you a hint of a few changes. Now, onto a few points. While I'm glad everyone who reviewed liked things so far... I was hoping for a little more feedback... still thanks to Whitetigerwolf, Johnny Boy, IsisMoon, Karthik9, Nightmaster000, and Ace Hardwind. Hope to hear your thoughts on this chapter as well. Now, that said... Let the story BEGIN!
Demona smiled as she walked through the park with her son, holding his hand gently. They'd spent most of the morning going over his theoretical lessons such as history, math, grammar, and even a little art and science. She'd spent the greatest time on history though, using it as a means to teach him strategy and how to think by posing what if questions about certain events or battles. She was amazed at how quickly he grasped concepts, one of the defining points of why she home schooled him.
The other reasons were mainly to do with his abilities, and wanting to maintain their low profile. While she was certain he understood the necessity of not telling anyone about their dual nature, he was still a child and therefore led by his heart. Like her, his eyes could glow whether in human or gargoyle form, though his were strangely green. That would have been tricky to explain should he get into a fight or get upset at someone.
Then there was ability to talk with snakes. At first that had worried her, because she thought he was speaking to himself, or hearing voices. Once she'd found he could literally speak with the serpents however, she'd relaxed. Still, it was not something she'd want as general knowledge in a school.
She smirked as they came near a football game being played in one of the parks open areas. The red side had the scoring advantage so far, but they seemed to be tiring. The blue team however was keeping better control of the ball. It was only a few teenagers, not the professionals she'd usually use, but they did have two full teams. She stopped their walk and gestured to the field.
"Tell me, what do you think the outcome of this game will be?" She kneeled down next to him so they could talk equally, a tactic she took during lessons to make sure that he didn't look to her for every answer, but knew he could come to her if he truly needed.
Harry grinned at her, then turned to watch the game for a moment. He took in both teams individually at first, watching how each side played, and who they had playing what positions, then the game as a whole and how each played against the other. He nodded after a moment, before turning to her.
"The blue team has the better chance of winning in the long run. Their problem is they have the wrong person as goalkeeper. You can tell he isn't used to the position. The red team though isn't as talented in dealing with the ball and scoring. They've managed to get a few shots in, but they're wearing out and running out of tricks. The blue team will overwhelm the red goal keeper before long." Harry said.
"Good, and a very accurate analysis. Now, how would you solve their goalie problem?" She smirked.
Harry thought about this one for a good few minutes before gesturing to one of players on the field. "Put him as goalie. You can tell he's good at what he's doing, but he still has the instinct to reach for the ball with his hands. My bet is he was a goalie before, though why he isn't playing there already I couldn't tell you." The eight year old looked up at her.
"Very good, and just what I'd do." She agreed, "Now..."
She was interrupted as they both turned toward the sound of a girl yelling. Their eyes narrowed at what they saw. A small girl with bushy brown hair about Harry's age was being pushed to the ground by a larger boy with two of his friends surrounding her. They were too far away to hear what was being said, but it was obvious they were picking on her because of her books for some reason.
Demona sighed as Harry looked up at her, she knew what was coming, "Go ahead, but just stop them."
"Thanks, Máthair." Harry grinned as he let go of her hand and ran toward the bullies.
Demona just sighed as she started to walk toward the altercation, Harry having traversed the distance in the span of a couple breaths. His first attack took the knees out of the leader, toppling him as Harry caught the book he was holding. She couldn't see his face from here, but she knew he'd be smirking. As she neared, she started to hear the conversation.
"I don't know why you guys are picking on her, but you want to leave. Now." Harry handed the book back to the girl.
"Says who you little punk?" The leader was getting back up.
Demona shook her head, 'Some humans just can't learn.'
Harry turned to face him, a feral grin on his face. "Says me."
"GET HIM!" The leader yelled to his two companions.
Demona just leaned against a nearby tree as she watched. Harry easily slipped between the two rushing at his back, placing all of his opponents in front of him with him between them and the girl. Next he quickly took off his belt, the leather strap making a quick weapon to equalize the odds. Still, the three boys had him with size and numbers. If they attacked together, they might win.
Harry didn't give them the chance. He lashed his belt out at one as he launched a forward kick at another, knocking the wind out of him. The third tried to rush him only to have his arm caught in the belt and be dragged to the ground.
The next blow was an open palm to the nose of the downed boy. Then he spun and rotated his body; using his hand as a pivot and driving two hard kicks into stomach of the one he'd hit with the belt earlier. That sent him stumbling back before he started to puke all over his shoes. That left only the leader standing as he regained his breath from the initial attack, and a smirking Harry.
"Leave, and take your friends with you." He turned his head back to look at the girl, "And if I ever hear of you picking on her again, I won't be as nice next time."
Demona smirked as the boys quickly got themselves together and ran off in the other direction. She started to slowly walking toward Harry as he helped the shocked girl to her feet, clapping.
"Well done, Harry." She smiled at him, "Now, tell me what you did wrong and how you could have ended it quicker."
"Máthair... just a minute." He gestured at the girl, "Let's see about her first."
Demona turned her attention to the girl who was staring at them with a gaping mouth. She sighed as she nodded at him, seeing his point even if she didn't think the human deserved such consideration.
"Hi!" Harry just grinned at her, "I'm Harry Potter-Destine. That's my Mom, Dominique Destine."
"I... I... I'm Hermione... wh... why did you do that? Why didn't you just stop them?" She looked at Demona.
Harry grinned, "Máthair is a firm believer in letting me fight my own battles. She knew I wanted to help you when we saw them bullying you, so she just let me handle it. Besides, if an adult stopped them, they'd just do it again next time an adult wasn't looking."
"Harry is right, by having someone your age stand up for you it means he could be around when an adult isn't, and isn't held to the same limits an adult would be. All I would be able to do is stop them and tell their parents. Harry can fight back without fear of too much reprisal."
"Oh..." Hermione just stared. "But... isn't fighting wrong?"
Demona frowned, "That depends on why you're fighting. Harry enjoys fighting. He's very good at it too and only getting better with training, but he doesn't fight without reason. For all the practice, and training we've done, this has been Harry's first real fight. That's mainly because I home school him, and he hasn't had much to do with bullies and the like. I'd say in this case he did the right thing."
Hermione just blushed, "Oh."
"Máthair, can we take her for ice cream?" Harry asked grinning. Hermione's eyes lit up.
"I guess, though we should probably let her parents know, if they're around... or..." She looked at Hermione.
"We just live down the street. I usually walk here to read." She held up her book.
Demona grinned at the object of her earlier teasing, "That's an upper level science book. Are you in an advanced class Hermione?"
"Um... No ma'am, but I am the best student in my class, so I guess I just read ahead." Hermione blushed more.
"Hmm... Come on, let's go see your parents, and then get ice-cream." Demona sighed to herself. She knew Harry would make human friends at some point, despite all her cautionary lessons. What's worse, for every example of human cruelty and treachery, he'd point out examples of their kindness and honor. He listened to her caution, but said that just because she picked the wrong ones to trust didn't mean he would.
Puck had been right, raising him without changing was proving very hard.
... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ...
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Teacher's Meeting Room
Dumbledore sighed as he waited for the rest of the Order and his school staff to arrive. He'd been distracted since Harry disappeared, but he still had responsibilities; and he was attempting to see to them all. So far that had proved difficult, but manageable. Still, he'd been unable to find any trace of Harry or any reason for the blood wards to be active. It didn't make any sense.
He looked up as the doors opened, letting in the teaching staff first, "Minerva, Severus, Filius, Pamona, good evening. " He smiled at them.
"You look tired, Headmaster." Professor McGonagall settled into her usual seat.
"I have been researching on what could have caused the blood wards to remain active even though Harry is not in his aunt's care." Dumbledore sighed, "Alas, I'm no closer to answers than I was seven years ago."
"It is like nothing I have ever heard," Filius sighed, "Wards that rely on blood should only work with those of that blood. Lilly's sister and nephew are the only ones of her blood left, save Harry. A blood adoption might work, but even then, who could Lilly have adopted into her family without us knowing? And how and why would they hide Harry away?"
"Constant Vigilance!" Moody bellowed as he came into the room, "Whoever it is knows there's Death Eaters still about," His eyes both tracked over Snape for a moment, "And they're not taking any chances."
"Ah, Alastor, welcome." Dumbledore smiled, "I'd thought you'd be busy at the ministry."
"Not till the latest class graduates the auror academy. They're making me take on students. So far none have lived up to my standards." Moody growled as he sat down, "Damn fools wouldn't know a Death Eater from a flobber worm."
"Really," Snape drawled, "I thought the Ministry had already declared all of The Dark Lord's followers captured, or freed from his imperious."
Moody just growled, then turned to Dumbledore, "Who are we waiting on?"
"Remus, Hagrid, and Mundungus" Dumbledore provided, "They should be arriving any minute."
"Really, Headmaster, is their any reason to invite Lupin to these meetings? Like as not, he's one of the ones behind Potter's disappearance." Snape sneered.
"Truly, I wish I were Severus," Lupin said as he came into the room, with Hagrid and Mundungus Fletcher "Alas, I was not made aware of the Headmaster's plans till after Harry had disappeared. Had I known, I'd have fought them. Lilly was adamant that Harry never be given to her sister."
"As I told you, Remus, it was necessary for the blood wards that protect Harry." Dumbledore sighed.
"The blood wards that have activated anyway?" Remus pointed out, "I told you professor, I am helping because I am worried for Harry, but if you try to put him into Petunia's care, my help will end." Remus sat down.
"Has there been ANY progress?" Dumbledore looked at everyone.
"None," Moody growled, "I've been checking all the official records I could at the Ministry, it's like the entire Potter family vanished. They're still listed, but any defining information on them is... as if it's under Fidelius."
"Quite, even their seat on the Wizengamot is frozen, as if it's waiting for the proper person to take his place. We didn't know about that till the chosen proxy tried to take the seat till Harry came of age. The magic of the court ejected them." Dumbledore sighed, "What's more, after that occurred, several other seats froze as well."
"What seats Albus?" Filius looked at him.
"Oddly enough, Slytherin, Gryffindor, Black, and Le Fay." Dumbledore shook his head, "Which doesn't make sense on several levels. The Gryffindor, Slytherin, and Le Fay seats have been vacant for years, but never frozen. And while Sirius Black is the current head of the family, he can not claim his seat since he is in Azkaban. I can't understand why his or any of these other seats would be frozen."
"It obviously has something to do with Harry." Remus said.
"Really, Lupin? You expect to claim that Potter is the heir to two founders, and a seat that has equal standing with Merlin's?" Snape sneered.
"I know he is the heir to the Potter line, obviously, but what claim about the others?" Dumbledore asked.
"Magical Heir to the Black family, since Sirius has no son. Before he betrayed us he made Harry his magical heir as his godson." Remus shrugged, "As to the others, I've no idea but it's too much of a coincidence."
"That's nonsense! Besides, The Dark Lord was the last of Slytherin's line." Snape practically spat.
"Ah, then that adds to my theory. If Harry were made Magical Heir by right of conquest." Lupin grinned.
"This still does not help us find him, however." Dumbledore provided, "What about your contacts, Severus?"
"Unfortunately, Headmaster, my old compatriots are just as baffled as you in this regard. None can find any means of locating Potter, and I know of a few who have tried. So far any efforts have come back... as if he doesn't exist. There's no magical means available that have been able to find him."
"Hmm..." Remus spoke, "Have any of us tried to find him through Muggle means?"
"Are you suggesting that some muggle might be hiding him? A muggle who knows how to block him from every form of magical detection attempted, and perform a blood adoption, or otherwise employ blood wards that should not be possible?" Snape sneered, "Come Lupin, I thought you were the smart one of your band of misfits."
"I'm afraid Severus is right Remus," Dumbledore sighed, "The chance that a muggle could hide themselves so completely..."
"Ah, but perhaps it is a witch or wizard hiding as a muggle?" Remus said.
"But who? And why?" McGonagall asked, "It doesn't make sense."
Lupin shrugged, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be true."
"What are you saying Lupin?" Snape sneered.
"It's not any of Voldemort's followers, nor any of us in the order, nor does the Ministry have any idea who it is. That means it's a new player, someone we've never heard of before, nor do we have any idea of their motivation, or resources." He looked at Dumbledore, "I have a feeling that when we do see Harry again, that none of us will be prepared for it."
"I do fear you're right, Remus..." Dumbledore sighed.
... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ...
Granger Home, Kent England,
Two Weeks after meeting:
Hermione hid with Harry at the top of the stairs of her home. She was nervous about what was happening, and wasn't sure really what her parents had wanted with Harry's mom. She knew it had something to do with what she'd told them, about how Harry had protected her from the bullies, not just once, but twice more after their first meeting. Unfortunately, Harry wasn't at school with her and she still got picked on there.
She looked over at her only friend and smiled worriedly at him, "I hope I didn't say something that made them want us to not be friends."
Harry just smiled, "Don't worry, even if you did, I wouldn't listen." He smirked, "And neither would Máthair."
Hermione just looked worried, but then turned back to try and listen in on the conversation downstairs.
"So, Mr. Granger, Mrs. Granger, what's this about? Has my son done something that you don't approve of? I was under the impression that he'd only acted to protect Hermione from bullies." Both kids heard Dominique's cultured and clear tone.
"Please, Ms. Destine, call us Dan and Emma, and on the contrary, we're very grateful for everything Harry has done for Hermione. We knew she was being bullied, obviously, and we've done what we could, but like you told her that first day..." Hermione looked toward the ground floor at the sound of her father's voice, glad to know he cared and wasn't mad at her friend.
"All you can do is go to their parents, and every parent is out to protect their own child. Yes." Dominique's voice came again, "But you called me here for more than just thanking me..."
"Yes Ma'am." Her mother's voice was nervous.
"Please, if I'm to call you Dan and Emma, you must call me Dominique." The tone was laughing, but Hermione heard something else in it too she couldn't identify.
Hermione looked over to Harry to ask, but his eyes were closed and he was listening closely to the talking below them. She wondered what he was listening for. Soon she gave up wondering and just turned her attention back to the three downstairs.
"Thank you, Dominique." Her father's voice again.
"Yes, thank you," Her mother sounded happy, "And you're right, there is a reason... Hermione said you home schooled Harry."
"Yes... ah... I see, you want me to take on Hermione as well." Dominique's voice was contemplative now.
"If you would. I mean, we've thought about home schooling before, but we have our dental practice and can't teach Hermione ourselves, and professional tutors... we make a fine living, but still not enough to hire a professional teacher for her." Her father's voice was worried.
Hermione was worried now too, now that she knew what it was about she wanted to be taught by Miss Destine, and she really hoped the woman would agree. She looked over to Harry again, and he still had his eyes closed. He was smiling a bit, but that was the only change to his calm presence. She wondered what he was doing.
"We'd be willing to pay you, of course," Her mother offered, "We know we can't afford a formal tutor, but..."
She stopped and Hermione wondered why till Dominique's voice came, "Money isn't an issue, and I am considering this but there are other concerns I have."
Hermione looked over at Harry, seeing him nod.
"Such as?" Her father's voice came up now.
"First, as I said, each parent is going to protect their own child. If helping Hermione takes away from Harry's education, I'll have to stop." She looked at both of them, "And by that, I think you need to understand a few things." Hermione started to listen more closely.
"I am Harry's adoptive mother; his birth parents were murdered not long after he was born. When Harry comes of age, he'll be very wealthy and in control of several companies, as well as very politically powerful. I was chosen by his grandmother to both raise Harry, and prepare him for that future. That is not to say I don't love him, Harry is for all intents and purposes my son, and I'd not have it any other way.
"That said, the reason I was chosen is because of my own accomplishments. I have my own company that I am allowing my partner to run at the moment while I concentrate on Harry. I am a master of business, educated in math and science, trained to fight, and I capable of using several weapons if necessary."
For a while, silence echoed up the stairs and Hermione could understand why. She didn't understand all the implications of what Dominique had said, but she knew enough to know it was important and that Harry wasn't just being educated, he was being groomed for something specific.
"Now, the reason we're here in this area is because while Harry should be aware of his future, I want him to have as normal a life as possible. He's become friends with Hermione, and I have no problem teaching her as well. However, she will learn at the same rate as Harry, and the same subjects and lessons. That doesn't just mean science, math, and history. She'll be taught the physical aspects of Harry's education as well; to train her body as well as her mind. Teach her to fight, and once she's old enough, trained in some personal weapons. She'll be expected to keep up with all of their lessons, and if she should prove able to pull ahead, Harry will be expected to keep up with her. I know she's advanced for her age based on what I saw already, but I teach Harry at an advanced level anyway, and he's easily able to keep up with it."
There was another pause before Dominique spoke again, "I can promise you however, if she's able to keep up with her lessons as I plan them, then she'll be capable of realizing any dreams she may have for the future."
"What do you mean, trained in some personal weapons?" Her father asked.
"Mostly melee weapons, knives, staffs, batons, and some fencing and training with other swords, but also handguns and rifles once they're ready for it. That won't come for some time however. The physical training and martial arts will begin right away, however." Dominique said, "And she can't pick and choose. If you want her to learn from me, she'll have to learn everything."
Hermione's eyes widened. She'd be able to learn so much doing this, but she wasn't sure how she felt about learning to fight, and use weapons. Still, Harry knew how to fight, and wasn't a bully. He only really used that skill when he needed, and she didn't see why she couldn't be the same way. She looked over at Harry; his eyes were still closed, but he was smirking a bit. She guessed he liked the idea of having her learning with him.
"What do you think?" She whispered.
"That'll it'll be funny after you've learned a bit, and the next time the bullies pick on you, you beat them up." He laughed a bit but didn't open his eyes.
Hermione turned back to listening as well, so his next question shocked her, "Do you think they'll let you?"
Hermione didn't know. At first, yes, they'd have done it easily. With all the extra, and the fact that she'd be learning things geared toward teaching a person how to run and own a functioning business and political empire, she just wasn't sure. Her father's voice brought her out of her thoughts.
"You don't really think she'll have trouble keeping up, do you Dominique?"
"Not really, from what I've seen she should be able to handle the academic workload easily. Her physical training and the practical aspects of some lessons may be difficult at first, but I think she'll find them a great accomplishment once she's caught up." Dominique chuckled, "And personally speaking, I think she'd enjoy being able to stand up for herself against the bullies as well."
"When can she start?" Hermione smiled big as she heard her mother's voice, then her face turned red as Dominique answered.
"Hermione, you and Harry can stop listening now. Come down so we can decide when you'll start your lessons with us."
Harry just shook his head as he helped her up and she blushed more as they walked down the stairs. She could see the stern looks on her parent's faces, but Dominique was just smiling as she sipped her tea. Harry didn't seem the least bit embarrassed to her, so she did her best to calm down as she waited for them to say something.
She could tell that her father was about to start, but Dominique interrupted, "Harry, what have I told you about attempting to listen in on private conversations?"
"Only risk it if there is something to gain from the information, and not to be nosy. And if I do decide to do it, make sure I don't get caught because most people won't be as understanding as you are." Harry said evenly.
Hermione was openmouthed, and she could tell from the shocked looks on her parent's faces that they were as well. She looked back and forth between her parents, Dominique, and Harry, before finally settling on the red head as she called for her attention.
"Hermione, that's a lesson I expect you to learn as well." Dominique pinned her with a stair, and she could swear her eyes glowed red for a minute.
"Excuse me, but... isn't that..." Mr. Granger started.
"Dishonest? Rude? Sneaky?" Dominique shrugged, "Probably, but remember, these are tactics that will be used by competitors in the business world, and my desire is to prepare and protect Harry. I will give him every tool I can. Before you decide on that though..." She turned back to Harry, "Why did you deem the risk of getting caught worth eavesdropping."
"The way Hermione reacted to my fighting instead of getting an adult or ignoring bullies. I thought that her parents might not want me being friends with her and I had to know so I could think of a way to sneak past it." Harry said honestly.
Hermione just stared at him, smiling. Dominique's expression was a similar, if smaller smile, and her parents didn't know what to think. Finally deciding on what to do, Hermione closed the distance between them and hugged Harry tight.
"I'd say his reasons were justified, even if they were unfounded in this case. However, he still needs to work on his stealth. Something I'll also be teaching you, Hermione." Dominique smiled, "The object is not to teach you to be dishonest, but to teach you all the tools you will need to compete with those who are."
"I think I understand, Miss Destine." Hermione blushed as she released Harry.
"Me too, Dominique." Her mother said, "And, while I'm not sure I want Hermione learning how to use guns and fight, I can see the reason for it... and... well, thank you for being willing to teach her for us."
She shrugged, "Honestly, I'm not doing it for you or even for Hermione. Harry has befriended her, and while I try to make his life as normal as possible for him, he does have very few real friends. I'm doing this because I think it will be good for him, and as long as she doesn't keep him from learning she'll be welcome."
"I guess we can understand that," her father smiled, "We'd feel the same in your situation I suppose."
"Well, Harry and I have to go, but bring Hermione by our home tomorrow morning at six thirty." Dominique smiled, "If that's convenient, we can go ahead and arrange her withdrawal from her school, set her up with the program I've arranged for Harry's Home Schooling."
"Thank you, Dominique. We'll see you both tomorrow morning." Her mother said.
"See you tomorrow, Harry." She blushed.
"Till then, Hermione." Harry waved as he followed his mother out of the house.
She turned to face her father, "Yes Daddy?"
"I want you to do you best, but remember, you can do anything you want when you grow up. Harry's being trained to run his family's business, but you can still decide on anything you want to do." He smiled at her.
"I know Daddy," She smiled, "Miss Destine said I would be able to do whatever I wanted, remember?"
"Yes, she did, didn't she?" Her mother said, "I think it's time you got to bed Hermione."
"Yes, Mama." Hermione turned and went back upstairs, still smiling.
... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ...
Air over London:
Later that night:
Harry grinned as he banked in the air. He loved being in the air, especially since his magic meant he could fly instead of glide. He couldn't pull off the levitation feats that his mother had told him the Fay in his ancestry did; but with is wings, he was capable of performing a self propelled lift off from the ground, and was even able to carry his Máthair into the air as well; despite his younger age and unequal strength. He couldn't reach the speeds of a jet, but he was already the fastest gargoyle his Máthair had ever seen in the air.
He looked back at where Máthair was following him, and waved her forward. He flared his wings, breaking his speed as he watched the blue form pull along side his smaller frame.
"Having fun, Wyvern?" She asked him as she reached his side.
He grinned wider, showing that he had a mouth full of sharp teeth, "Always in the air..." He said. "I wanted to ask though, what about the parts of our lessons that has to do with magic or being a gargoyle? We can't teach that to Hermione."
"No, not yet. But I can't teach you much about magic anyway, till after you go to Hogwarts, and we can only do our gargoyle training and lessons in this form at night when she's most likely sleeping, so that won't be too badly effected. We will have to be careful with Grim, and make sure we watch our tongues, but this doesn't change much really." She looked at him, "Now, show your mother how well you fly!"
With that Demona tucked into a dive and shot toward the buildings of the city, vanishing into the modern jungle. Wyvern just grinned as he took off after her, playing their favorite game of tag among the rooftops.
... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ... HP ... GC ...
School Board Building, London
Remus carefully searched through all the files the government had on schooling. He didn't doubt that finding the information he wanted would be difficult, but it should be doable. All children from the ages of five to sixteen were required to be educated in some form, either by state funded schools or otherwise.
Remus doubted that Harry was in a normal school. For someone to go through all the trouble of hiding him this way, he'd have to be at least in a private school or home school. Still, better to search any way, just in case. The werewolf sighed as he put up another set of files, before taking out the next.
He knew it'd be several days or even weeks worth of searching before he found what he was looking for, but it was the last avenue he could think of. He scanned the files he'd pulled out and decided to just copy them and search them at home. He muttered a few quick spells, copying and shrinking the files before slipping them into his pocket. Then he made his way out of the building.
As he came out on the street he heard a high laughing cry above him and looked up. He couldn't tell much of their features from this distance, but he smiled as he saw a pair of gargoyles flying over the city. It was good to know that the city still had some protectors.
He'd have to remember this night; it wasn't too often these days that Gargoyles allowed you to see them, even if it was just a mother and child practicing their flying. He let a content feeling come over him for just a moment as he apparated away.