I've deleted the Character information again because I was informed that it's not allowed to publish such things as chapters. I'll try to come up with somewhere to put it and then post a link or something, we'll see.
So I've decided to finally upload the second part of chapter 3. I'm sorry for the long wait but I had quite some trouble recreating it. I'm still not quite happy with it but since I managed to get where I wanted to plot-wise, I decided to upload it now like this and perhaps later rewrite some of the parts I'm not that satisfied with.
A short warning: There will be Dumbledore-bashing in this chapter. Don't keep reading if you don't like it.
As for more Author's note, please see the end of the chapter (especially about future chapters).
"And about which one will you be questioned?"
Harry shrugged, avoiding Remus' gaze. While he had decided that it would be better for them to know now instead of having them find out further down the line, he wasn't sure what and how he wanted to tell them.
Remus exchanged a look with Snuffles. They had figured that Harry was not happy with the Dursleys but now it seemed there was more than just him not getting along with them. He tried to remember if there had ever been a hint he could have picked up on that he was being abused. What had they done to the poor boy? Had the abuse been verbal or also physical? No matter, in either case Remus almost wished for a chance for them to encounter Moony.
But that was neither advisable nor was it important now. Now Harry was the priority. He wanted to ask further questions, wanted to know what exactly had happened to him, what had been taken care of and what remained to be done. Experience, however, told him that trying to pressure him into answering wouldn't work. Harry would be at least as stubborn as Sirius had been.
Snuffles had reached the same conclusion regarding the actual answer to Remus' questions but contrary to Remus, he wasn't about to just let it rest. He rose on his hind legs, placing his paws on Harry's shoulders, and prepared to transform back into his human form.
Harry's eyes widened and he quickly wrapped his arms around Snuffles' neck, pulling him back down. "Are you out of your mind?" he hissed. "There are Ministry officials and Aurors here."
Remus pressed down on Snuffles' back, keeping him down on all fours. "I'm sure he won't do anything foolish." He shot his friend a look. "Otherwise he'll soon find himself wearing a collar and a leash to keep him out of trouble."
"I doubt he'd know how to behave even with that."
Snape's dry comment was greeted with growling from Snuffles and a double take from Harry and Remus. Remus swallowed down any reply he'd have wanted to make when he saw someone else standing beside Snape. "Good morning, Severus," he said instead.
Snape nodded in reply to the greeting. "Lupin." At Iason's expectant look, he continued: "Iason, this is Remus Lupin. Lupin, Iason Gallagher, a healer at Asclepius' Hall."
Remus offered the healer his hand. "Healer Gallagher, it's nice to meet you." He started when he didn't shake his hand but only regarded him critically. "Is there a problem?" he asked hesitantly.
"Not exactly. It is only that I've heard of you." His eyebrow rose when the huge black dog beside Lupin started growling at him. "Don't misunderstand, Mr Lupin, I do not judge people for facts out of their control. But I do judge them on their actions – or lack thereof." He briefly glanced at Snape, then held Lupin's gaze for a few moments longer until Lupin looked away. Then he turned to his recent patient. "Well, Mr Potter, it seems we are meeting sooner than expected. I hope you are recovering well?"
"Um, yes sir. Thank you," Harry replied. "But what are you doing here?"
"Mister Potter," Snape hissed.
"It's okay, Severus, I don't think it was meant to sound rude. To answer your question, Harry, I have been asked here to answer questions about past cases of abuse. I have also volunteered to bring you something. It's... well, you could call it helpful kit for students in your position." He offered him a wooden box. "There is a charmed amulet inside which will keep people from recognizing you, so as long as you don't tell anyone your name, the four of us will be the only ones to know that you were the student present at the meeting. Furthermore, there are some potions – Calming Draught, some against nausea..."
Harry gratefully accepted the box, especially considering the amulet. "Thank you, sir."
Snape waited for him to put on the amulet, then he said: "They are expecting you. The rest of the staff is already inside with the Board of Governors."
Harry swallowed nervously. "Let's get it over with," he finally muttered.
The Potion Master decided to let the comment go and instead led them to the room where the meeting was beginning.
"I still do not understand why the matter of Umbridge's using a Blood Quill has been put on the agenda," they heard McGonagall say when they entered. "None of us were involved in that dreadful business."
"Perhaps not, Professor," one of the members of the Board said, "but we need to discuss how it is that no student trusted any of you enough to confide in you and that none of you noticed anything wrong on your own. It is especially the former which concerns us."
"Well, I believe we can already answer that question ourselves," another man on the Board interjected. "There are obviously enough precedents of the professors not doing anything about cases of abuse, so why would they trust them now?"
"Lord Greengrass, please. We have convened this meeting to find out the reason behind all this and to find out just what else has been going on here at Hogwarts without our knowledge." He regarded the teachers critically. "Although I'm afraid I have to agree that there is amble precedent." He turned to one of the women. "Lady Perks, if you would please?"
She smiled briefly at him but when she turned to the room at large, her expression was serious. "The healers sent to insure the students' health after what Umbridge did have documented around two dozen victims of abuse currently at Hogwarts. Four of those students are in Hufflepuff, eight in Ravenclaw, two in Slytherin with the remaining students in Gryffindor."
The Hogwarts staff paled. The aftermath of the healers' visit had shown them that there had been a number of cases they had not known about but since not all students had needed to be taken to be treated at one of the hospitals, they had been unaware of the true extent. Especially McGonagall was shocked. She had never imagined that there were so many cases in Hogwarts, never mind in her house. But why hadn't any of them talked to her?
"Thank you, Lady Perks. What we need to find out now is why there have been so many cases of abuse and why so few were found out about."
"If I may, Lord Gamp?" Iason said. When the Head of the Board nodded, he continued: "Speaking from my experience, both as a healer specialising in such cases and from dealing with some of the cases here at Hogwarts, I have found two kinds of families where abuse occurs more often. One is Muggle families where a child with magic is born. As is not unusual for humans, what is different and cannot be understood is often hated and feared. There are quite a few cases where Muggle families took out these feelings on their children."
Seeing some of the more well-known pure-blood traditionalists smile in satisfaction, he quickly continued: "The second kind of family are old pureblood families. In some of those families, it is still considered normal to use psychological pressure and even physical and magical intimidation to ensure that the children fulfil all expectations."
Some started shifting nervously at the second part, remembering similar occurrences in their own circle of acquaintances.
"Foolish antiquated measures," one of the members of the Board muttered, drawing surprised looks from many teachers and also some of his fellow Board members. Few had expected a known traditionalist like Nott to speak up against it.
Gamp looked to the representative of the Child Service of the Ministry. "Mrs Cornfoot, do you agree with Healer Gallagher's assessment?"
She nodded seriously. "I do. Our own investigation in this matter has reached similar conclusions."
"But why are there such differences in the number of cases in the different houses?" Charity Burbage asked.
"If what Healer Gallagher and Mrs Cornfoot said is true, then it is not unexpected," Septima Vector answered her colleague. "There is a high number of Muggleborn in Hufflepuff, as well as purebloods in Ravenclaw. Gryffindor has many of both. I'm just a bit surprised by how few cases there are in Slytherin." She glanced at Snape and some of the Board members whose families were well known for being traditionally in Slytherin. "Not to sound unhappy that those students were spared such experiences or judgemental but the house of Slytherin is rather known for being more... traditional where views on pure-blood status are concerned."
"And it is exactly this why we condemn such abuse," another of the Board members said sharply.
"Lord Bletchley, please, I'm sure Professor Vector did not mean to accuse your family of anything," Gamp said, looking at the teacher with raised eyebrow. "But please explain your statement."
"I'd be happy to," Bletchley said. "It is true that some of us put importance in keeping their family pure. As such, we would never do anything that might put our children in danger. It is common knowledge – at least in our circle of acquaintances – that any abuse, even if not causing physical damage, can harm their magical core to the point where they become unable to use magic."
"And how do you know of this?" Perks asked. "I have not heard about it before."
"It is taken from a study undertaken by my department at Asclepius' Hall," Iason answered. "I gave it to Severus back when he was starting out as a teacher and experiencing the backlash of reporting a case of abuse to the responsible authorities. Since then it seems to have indeed become common knowledge to many families of Slytherin students. Some families even decided to support further studies on this phenomenon and the development of possible treatments to stabilize and perhaps at some point even heal the damage done to the magical core." He arched his brow at some of the Slytherin families present. "Of course, it also helps that it's common knowledge that all students in Slytherin are scheduled for regular check-ups with me or a colleague of mine."
"Surely it's not so bad that such measures are necessary?" McGonagall said.
"All cases of abuse are 'so bad', Professor McGonagall," Gamp said with a frown at her comment. "As a teacher and especially a head of house, it is your responsibility to ensure the students well-being. Scheduling regular physical examinations seems the least you can do."
"Of course," she quickly replied. "I just meant that I cannot imagine that there are many cases where such close attention by a healer is necessary."
"I'm surprised to hear you of people say that, considering that some of your students will need medical assistance for a while yet and one student is still fighting to save his magic. But I think it's time we all got a clear idea of just what the extent of the abuse has been. Healer Gallagher, given your familiarity with the matter, could you illustrate, please?"
"Do you want me to use a specific case to illustrate, Lord Gamp?" Iason asked.
"It would be good to have the possibility to ask the student questions," Gamp replied.
"Of course." Iason exchanged a look with Severus, then glanced at Harry. "I believe I know a fitting case." He shuffled some papers, then conjured up the picture of a male's back, covered in scars. "As you can see, the physical beatings have often led to bleeding wounds which were not properly treated. Furthermore there are a high number of broken bones, mainly ranging from rips to arms and legs, ever since he was hardly more than a toddler."
Harry tuned out his further words. He'd rather not think about it in detail. He considered the picture of the scared back with morbid curiosity. Did his back really look that bad? He'd never dared look, partly because he had been afraid of exactly such a sight but also partly in an attempt to repress the thoughts of abuse.
He felt Remus lay a hand on his lower arm and Snuffles press against his side but couldn't bring himself to look at either of them. Instead he kept his gaze on the picture, waiting for Gallagher to finish with discussing the back.
When the healer finally finished and made the picture turn, Harry started. Big scars covered the chest, looking almost like claw marks. He didn't have such marks. But then whose picture was it?
Surprised, he noticed Remus tensing beside him suddenly.
Gamp had to swallow a few times before speaking and even then his voice was husky when he addressed the student. "This is your case?"
"No, it is mine," Snape replied.
For a moment the room fell silent but then everyone started talking at the same time. Some of other teachers, especially those who'd also taught when Snape had attended Hogwarts, were demanding explanations. The members of the Board were discussing what this said about Hogwarts and their job that it had been going on for so long and what this revelation now meant for the further investigation.
In the chaos and confusion, Harry finally dared to glance at Remus. He noticed that he was still staring at the picture. Or rather on the scars on its... on Snape's chest. He was also looking rather green suddenly. Harry pulled out the anti-nausea potion from the box Gallagher had given him and wordlessly offered it to Remus. Nodding at the thankful if shaky smile, he then turned his attention to Snape and Gallagher. On the one hand was he relieved that it probably wouldn't be him having to answer the questions but he also didn't want Remus to be in trouble.
When Gallagher noticed him looking, however, he smiled reassuringly and Snape even nodded to him – to them? It seemed they'd planned it. He suddenly remembered what Snape had said when they left the Dursley's residence. "You'll find, Mister Potter, that carefully prepared plans tend to work better than the spontaneous 'plans' Gryffindors seem to favour." Perhaps, just perhaps, he might be able to trust those Slytherins.
Finally Gamp raised his voice. "Enough! This is to be a chance to speak with one of the affected students in order to get a clearer picture. Further discussion can be postponed until later!" He turned to Snape. "Healer Gallagher has given us an overview over what was done. Please tell us more about who did it."
"It was my Muggle father," Snape said, not looking at anyone but rather keeping his gaze on the table in front of him. "It began when I started using accidental magic. Looking back now, I think it was much like Iason said: he did not understand magic and feared it. He'd made my mother swear an Unbreakable Vow to never use magic against him, probably because he knew that physically, he was much stronger than her. But he couldn't use the same way with me." He shrugged. "It didn't help that he was laid off when I was about 9 and became alcoholic."
"What did he use to hurt you?"
Snape shrugged again. "His fists and whatever was close by. Sometimes broken bottles. Sometimes a belt."
"What about the scars on your chest? They look more like caused by claws than something a Muggle could do," Greengrass said.
Harry felt Remus and Snuffles tense beside him, making him tense as well.
"I received those injuries while at school. I was targeted here in Hogwarts for being sorted into Slytherin and back then, the house was less inclined to present a united front. A student from another house lured me to a place off-limits to students one night where I was attacked by a magical beast," Snape replied.
"Well, while I would expect students to know better than to go into the Forbidden Forest, especially at night, I also remember being curious enough to try going there. I was probably lucky to have been discovered by teacher," Gamp mused. "What did the other student say why he lured you there?"
"I don't know."
"Well, what reason did he give for doing something that dangerous when he apologized?" Gamp asked.
Now Snape did look at Gamp. "Which apology? For my remaining time as a student at Hogwarts, I wasn't allowed to mention it to him."
Gamp exchanged looks with the other Board members. "What do you mean?"
"When I regained consciousness in the infirmary, Dumbledore told me that it was a harmless prank and I shouldn't do anything that might cause the other student problems," Snape explained matter-of-factly.
Gamp was speechless. Looking at his colleagues, he could see that they shared his reaction. Then he saw something occur to Lady Perks. He nodded to her, wordlessly telling her to ask her question.
"Professor Snape, if you were taken to the infirmary, wouldn't the school nurse have noticed the signs of abuse?" Perks asked.
"I think she must have but Madam Pomfrey never mentioned anything. I was simply sent back home as always," Snape said.
Now all attention turned to the school nurse who paled even more. "Well? Did you notice?" Perks asked.
Pomfrey seemed to struggle with herself, then she finally nodded. "I did," she said softly. "It... it was impossible to miss."
"Then why didn't you do anything? As someone being trained as a healer, it was doubly your duty to help," Gamp said.
Pomfrey clutched her skirt. "I couldn't," she whispered. "I wanted to help Severus and all the other cases I noticed but there was nothing I could do."
"What do you mean?" Gamp asked carefully.
"When I started working here at Hogwarts, Professor Dumbledore made me sign a magical contract stating that I couldn't tell anyone except the headmaster specifics about my patients. Back then, I thought it was the standard contract to ensure healer-patient-confidentially. It was only when I came across the first case of abuse that I found out the true extent of the contract," Pomfrey explained.
"This is a heavy accusation. Would you be ready to testify under Veritaserum if it comes to a trial?" Perks asked.
Pomfrey suddenly looked determined. "Whenever you wish. I might not have been able to help in the past but I'll do what I can to ensure that I'll never again have to send back children to their abusers."
The Board breathed a sigh of relief. It would be much easier to have this line of investigation followed with her cooperation. "Good. Then please contact the aurors dealing with these kinds of cases. We will also send them transcript of this meeting," Gamp said. "As for Dumbledore, I believe we are all in agreement that he will be suspended until his trial."
"What about the Ministry? With Umbridge arrested and Dumbledore suspended, who will they send now?" McGonagall asked.
Greengrass smiled thinly. "I think you'll find that Minister Fudge is currently too busy to deal with the matter."
Gamp continued: "This has given us much to think about. For the time being, we will leave it to the Aurors to investigate further. We expect you to cooperate with them while you continue with your job for the rest of the school year. At least two of us will stay here until summer so that we can get a better impression of how serious you're taking your duties, especially the heads of houses. As for next year, we will develop new guidelines with Healer Gallagher and Mrs Cornfoot's assistance to ensure that we will not be facing a similar situation again anytime soon. As for questions of staff," he looked at all the teachers, "that depends on the result of the investigation."
Cornfoot cleared her throat. "Does that mean that you will postpone the rest of the meeting until the investigation has brought us further insight, Lord Gamp?" When he nodded, she said: "Then may I talk to the student in private?"
"Of course. Would you like us to leave so that you can talk here?" Gamp asked.
"I would prefer to use a teacher's office." She looked at Snape. "If you do not mind, I'd like to use your study again."
Snape inclined his head. "Of course."
"Well then, we will take our leave," Cornfoot said. "Professors, Lords and Ladies." She motioned for the student to precede her out of the room. When they were outside, she said: "Now, Mister Potter, I'm Alexandra Cornfoot. I've already looked into possible guardians for you but I'd like to discuss with you which one you'd prefer. You asked Mister Lupin to be here so I take it that you don't mind him being present. What about Professor Snape and Healer Gallagher? Would you like their input as well?"
Harry hesitated. He glanced at Snape and Gallagher, then Remus and Snuffles. In the end, however, it was the knowledge that Snape and Gallagher had experience with these kind of decisions and probably knew more about whichever families Mrs Cornfoot was about to suggest. Sirius might know about them as well but he wouldn't be able to properly communicate his knowledge without clueing the Ministry employee in to his not being a normal dog. So he finally nodded. "I don't mind them staying as well."
"Alright then." When they'd arrived at Snape's office, Cornfoot waited for them all to take a seat, then took out a parchment. "I'm sure Healer Gallagher has already informed you that we prefer to choose a guardian who is related to the child in question. It's for this reason that I have taken a closer look at your family tree.
"On your mother's side, I have been unable to find any other close relatives. There are some distant relatives living in Liverpool but they are Muggles with no knowledge or connection to the Magical World. We are however rather reluctant to send you there and thereby suddenly introduce them to both our world and a new family member.
"As for your father's side, there is no other living member of the Potter family itself since there has only been one son each generation for five generations now. Your grand-mother, however, is part of a larger family. Dorea Black had three siblings. For you, it's especially the grandchildren of her brother Pollux who are important. There are four of his grandchildren still alive today: Andromeda Tonks, Bellatrix Lestrange, Narcissa Malfoy and Sirius Black. Considering that both Sirius Black and Beatrix Lestrange are convicted criminals, the only people you need to consider are Mrs Malfoy and Mrs Tonks."
Harry exchanged nervous looks with Remus and Snuffles. How could he tell Mrs Cornfoot that sending him to the Malfoys would most likely be akin to a death sentence? As far as the Ministry was concerned, the Malfoys were still upstanding members of the magical community.
"If I may, Mrs Cornfoot?" Snape chimed in. When she nodded, he continued: "Mrs Andromeda Tonks might be a better choice. Seeing as she is married to Ted Tonks, a Muggleborn, their becoming Mister Potter's guardians would better take his own parental background into account."
Cornfoot nodded in understanding. "And their daughter being an Auror would also be of advantage. From what I've read in Healer Gallagher's report, there have been a high number of dangerous situations and further protection might be good."
Harry had listened closely. "I would also prefer to stay with Andromeda Tonks and her family. I briefly met her daughter last summer and got along well with her. My relationship with Draco Malfoy is... not good, so I'd rather not stay with them during the holidays," he said.
"Well then, that settles it. I will contact Mrs Tonks today and arrange a few meetings between the four of you so that you can get to know each other better before the holidays. If at any time you change your mind about staying with them, I want you to tell me at once. Do you have any further questions?" Cornfoot asked.
Harry considered it carefully, then shook his head. "Not at the moment, no."
"Okay. If you do have questions, feel free to owl me or to ask Healer Gallagher or Professor Snape," Cornfoot said, then stood up. "I will contact you in the next two days to let you know when the first meeting with the Tonks will take place. Good day."
Remus breathed a sigh of relief. "Well, that went rather well."
"I have to agree with Mr Lupin," Gallagher said. "You are very lucky to have found a guardian that quickly."
Harry smiled. "Thank you. Um, if you don't mind, my friends are already waiting for me, so I'd like to go tell them everything."
"Sure, go ahead, Harry. I'll see you at your next check-up," Gallagher replied.
Harry looked at Snape, waiting for his permission as well.
Snape nodded. He watched his student prepare to leave with the werewolf and animagus. On a whim, he stopped him just before he left the room. "Mr Potter. You handled the conversation with Mrs Cornfoot well."
Harry looked at him, surprised. This was probably the first time in five years that Snape had praised him. Finally he smiled. "Thank you, Sir. For everything."
Snape nodded to him, then returned to his desk, dismissing them.
Gallagher waited until they'd left, then turned to Snape. "Severus? Would you like me to stay a bit?" They might have agreed to use his case to illustrate their point but he was aware how difficult it must have been for Severus.
"That will not be necessary, Iason. But thank you for the offer," Snape replied.
Gallagher hesitated a moment, then nodded. "If you're sure."
Seeing as they were alone, Snape allowed himself a small, reassuring smile. "I'm sure."
Gallagher sighed. "Alright. I will see you next week, then?" He waited for Severus to confirm, then reluctantly left.
Remus and Snuffles were a bit surprised when they didn't go in the direction of the Gryffindor Tower or the Room of Requirements. "Um, Harry? Where did you plan to meet with Ron and Hermione?" Remus asked.
"There are some others who are waiting to hear how it went, so we're meeting in an unused corridor," Harry explained. He quickly let them up to where Hermione and Ron where waiting, together with the four Founders.
"And what happened then?" they heard Ron asking when they came closer.
"Well, a certain hot-headed someone we will not name now decided to engage the dragon himself instead of waiting for me or Salazar to return. He found the dragon asleep but for some reason didn't use this to put himself into a position from where he could reach the more vulnerable parts of the dragon so that he'd be able to kill it or at least drive it off. Instead he cast spells you'd normally use in a duel," Rowena replied.
"I'm sure you can imagine how angry the dragon was to not only be awakened but to be awakened by being tickled by a puny human. Luckily for us, Rowena and Salazar both returned soon after it woke. Between all four of our magic and Salazar's Parseltongue, we managed to convince the dragon to keep looking for a territory," Helga continued. "Afterwards, we were looking for a way to keep Godric and our students from doing something so rash again. And then, well..." She shrugged.
"Are you saying this is how the school motto was decided?" Harry asked.
"Harry!" the six of them exclaimed, not having noticed him coming.
"How did it go, Harry?" Hermione asked.
Harry shrugged. "It went okay, I guess. I mean it's not like the Board of Governors made any real decision."
"It's not that not doing anything, Harry," Remus said. "Their decision to remain here in order to observe what's really happening in Hogwarts is quite an important decision in the long term."
The Founders nodded in satisfaction. "So there'll finally be an investigation. It's about time that rules are reintroduced to better protect and guide the students," Rowena said.
Godric nodded distractedly, not looking away from Harry. Finally he said softly: "Harry, child, while we're happy to hear about that, we were more concerned with how you are doing after the meeting, after having to talk about... you know..."
"Oh." Harry was a bit taken aback. He hadn't really expected the Founders to care so much about him personally. Actually, he hadn't really expected anyone to care. It was a bit surprising to find that so many people, even people he wouldn't have expected it from like Snape, cared about what had happened to him. He quickly shook himself out of these thoughts. "It's fine. They didn't ask me any questions."
Godric was confused. "But wasn't this meeting so that they could talk to someone who... Oh." He and the two female Founders turned to look to Salazar who'd paled.
Salazar stepped forward. "So you're sure you're okay?" He waited for Harry to nod, then continued: "Then would you mind if I go see...this other child?"
It took Harry a moment to understand what Salazar meant. It was simply too jarring to hear someone, even if it was one of the Founders, refer to Snape as 'child'. He nodded. "It's fine." He hesitated a moment, then added: "Perhaps I can come by tomorrow again to tell you more about the meeting with the Board of Governors and the woman from the Ministry?"
Salazar smiled. "I'd like that, child." He nodded to his fellow Founders, then left in the direction of the Dungeons.
Salazar entered the first painting in Severus' rooms, hoping to find his Slytherin in one of the few rooms where there was a painting. Fortunately he saw him sitting at his desk. "Severus?" he called softly.
Severus blinked, not having noticed his arrival. "Oh, good afternoon Salazar. Can I help you?"
Salazar considered him for a moment, then he said: "Child, Harry told us about the meeting."
The Potion master froze. "I see."
When he didn't continue, Salazar added: "We are impressed by what you did today to help a student."
Severus shrugged. "I didn't do it for Potter. I simply needed to hear why Pomfrey did nothing."
Salazar inclined his head. He as Founder of Slytherin understood that Severus would never admit that he had been influenced by something other than self-interest. Because of their past encounters, he also knew that Severus, much like Harry, had little understanding of his own worth compared to others, so he probably didn't see what he'd done as anything special. Not for the first time did he wish that he weren't imprisoned in his painting, that he were able to truly interact with the teachers and students, so that he might have been able to help Severus more.
But useless wishes were more for Godric's or Helga's students (not that they'd appreciate him thinking so...). Trying to make Severus discuss it wouldn't work; the child was too proud and too stubborn. But he also wouldn't let him stew in memories of his unhappy childhood. What he needed and could accept was a distraction. "Severus, do you know of the diary of Tom Riddle that Harry gave Dumbledore at the end of his second year?"
Severus was confused for a moment, trying to remember what the Founder could mean. "I believe I've seen it. Dumbledore keeps it in his office, I believe."
"I need to see it. Would you take it out from whatever hiding place Dumbledore kept it in if I arranged for the door of his office to open for you?"
"Of course. But what do you want with that diary?"
"From what Harry has told me, I have a suspicion I'd like to confirm."
As you can see Hornbugv and Rachelme117 guessed right concerning the identity of Harry's new guardians. As for the reason I choose them, part of it was of course that it seemed logical, given the importance the wizarding world seems to place on blood purity and blood ties, that they'd choose someone Harry's related to. From what little we know about the Potter family, the closest living blood relatives seem to be the four living (born) Blacks, out of which Andromeda is the only one Harry and the Ministry would agree on.
About Dumbledore: As I've mentioned before, this story will include Dumbledore-bashing. I'm not going to paint him as a complete villain but he definitely will not be one of the good guys.
About the Board of Governors: First of all, about their identities: while most of them are, strictly speaking, OCs, their families are all canon (suspected) pureblood families. Concerning their role, this chapter was mainly to introduce them and as a way to force Hogwarts teachers to face the truth. For those of you disappointed by what little was decided: it was intentional on my part, since I don't think the situation is one that can be solved quickly. They all have a long way to go still, especially the teachers. They been wilfully blind and/or have been seeing the world purely in black and white but now they'll have to adjust their view and their behaviour. That doesn't mean that I'm bashing them as well but I do agree with Lupinesence and Nightshade's sydneylover 150: the way the Heads of Houses were portrayed in the books didn't make them seem too reliable and able to give the students the guidance they need (it always seemed to me a bit like an extreme form of anti-authoritarian education).
stormingnight: Well, obviously in my verse Salazar didn't intend the Chamber and the basilisk to be used to kill Muggleborn. I'm not sure yet if I'll have its true purpose (whatever that is) discussed or play a role in the story.
As you can see, I'm slowly starting the sub-plot regarding the war. My problem with continuing is just that I cannot decide whether to kill Riddle or rehabilitate him. So I've decided to include my readers: what do you think about the options?