Happy Mother's day, to all you Mutha's out there.
Scout: Oh I see what you did there!
Heavy: HA! is funny to me!
Kyugan: Heh, yeah I'm awesome. Bet you weren't expecting this out so soon were you? Well to be honest, neither was I.
Spy: Gentlemen, if you'd be so kind as to hurry up?
Kyugan: Alright already! (Sighs) Bloody Prussian Prick...in any case, the Wheel of Fate is turning, let's see what the shift to the continuum has wrought!
Chapter 1: Meeting of the Minds.
Jubstacheit von Einzbern was not, by reputation, a particularly pleasant man to be around, even on his better days. Even his own family members walked a thin line when it came to incurring his wrath, the punishment for which usually involved something horrible, inhumane, and unique in that it was the brainchild of Jubstacheit's devious mind.
It was once said that an irritated Einzbern was a dangerous Einzbern, such words were an UNDERSTATEMENT where Jubstacheit was concerned, and the denizens of the castle lived in fear of what might set his temper off.
It had happened twice now in the past Eleven years, what with Kiritsugu Emiya's betrayal and destruction of the Holy Grail during the 4th Heaven's Feel. Jubstacheit had responded by poisoning the man's own daughter, Illyasviel, against him, intending to use her as a means of not only taking revenge, but as the vessel for the next Holy Grail, which as a result of whatever destroyed the 4th Heaven's Feel, would occur ten years early.
Unfortunately, once again his plans had turned for naught, as Kiritsugu's sons, both adopted, one of which was raised as a weapon on Jubstacheit's orders, foiled his plans and supposedly destroyed the Grail for good, though Jubstacheit knew better.
After all, the Grail itself had no physical form, it was a spiritual entity, the embodiment of the 3rd True Magic, capable of bestowing those that laid claim to it ANY wish they desired, on par with a miracle. So what if the brats had 'destroyed' it? All that meant was that it would take a little longer for it to reform, by which time the Einzberns would have made their preparations, as the Tohsaka and Makiri no doubt believed the War was, at last, finally over, which meant they wouldn't be as on guard when the time arrived.
Though this didn't stop him from rubbing Kiritsugu's redheaded stepchild's nose in the fact there was NOTHING the boy could do to save Illyasviel from her fate. It'd take an act of God to save the little homunculi's life, and ironically, the boy had helped 'destroy' the only thing that could've done so.
However, his thoughts were not, at that moment, on Kiritsugu's adopted brat, or rather, not the brat everyone normally associated with the late Magus Killer, but on the OTHER boy, the boy that had, over the last year, grown more and more interesting.
When Kiritsugu had first brought Harry James Potter back with him from England, Herwald had simply stared at the little bundle of flesh and blankets in cold contemplation, unable to accept the fact the boy had apparently finished off Voldemort by bouncing the Dark Lord's Killing Curse back at him.
Naturally, Jubstacheit didn't fear Voldemort, if anything, the old man's presence was one of the reasons the little Schwein-Hund hadn't set foot on mainland Europe, instead regulating his activities to the United Kingdom. The fact the supposed 'Greatest Dark Lord in History' had been offed by a babe in arms, not even a year old, disgusted the aged Magi.
However, whether the tale was true or not, Jubstacheit had a nose for potential, it was one of the reasons he'd readily agreed to Kiritsugu's marriage to Irisviel, the reason he'd allowed the homunculi to carry Illyasviel to term instead of demanding she develop her outside the womb, and that very nose was telling him that, other than needing a change of diaper after the portkey back to Germany, the boy before him was an uncut gem, waiting for a master to shape it.
So he'd taken the boy in, fed him, clothed him, and at his request, trained him to become part of Illyasviel's 'Shield and Sword', the other being the Berserker Heracles.
And the boy had excelled, passing every test placed before him, surviving the intense, gruelling agony of having a transmutation array GRAFTED into his body, without anaesthesia, even managing to summon an Assassin class servant when ordered, only to fail, in Jubstacheit's eyes, at the last hurdle, allowing, even AIDING, in the Grail's destruction.
Admittedly, this wasn't entirely fair, as the boy had been up against GILGAMESH, the King of Heroes himself, an Epic Hero of a calibre so great he could assume ALL Classes, save Assassin, for obvious reasons, though his knowledge as a Caster would be limited to whatever magical artefacts he possessed within his Gate of Babylon, and his knowledge of the Unified Language, being the King of Ancient Babylon itself.
It was only this, and his confidence that the NEXT war would happen without Tohsaka or Makiri interference that kept him from going over to Japan to personally throttle the little bastards for their failure and interference. Well, that and the fact the younger boy was proving to be very, VERY interesting.
When the boy had received his Hogwarts letter, his late parents having apparently followed tradition and registered him at their old Alma Matter, Jubstacheit had grudgingly given his blessing, though he'd refused to fund the boy's studies. The reason for this was quite simply, as much as he hated Kiritsugu's sons, he LOATHED the Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, and wanted nothing more than to watch the twinkle-eyed bastard fall from his high horse, preferably breaking his nose for a third time.
Ironically enough, the reason for his current bad mood was because the Twinkle-eyed Schwein-Hund had owled him, of all the NERVE, to let him know he'd be stopping by later today to speak with him regarding the boy's 'safety'.
'Typical of the old twinkler…' he muttered, scowling even as he sat at his desk, going over the monthly review of his family's numerous distilleries, 'Just assumes I'll open the bloody door for him, as if past experience has taught him nothing.'
Albus Dumbledore and Jubstacheit von Einzbern had not stood face-to-face since the defeat of Grindlewald, where Jubstacheit had broken the other man's nose for the second time before marching off to get on with his life. The two were simply the kind that rubbed one another the wrong way, though they respected one another, grudgingly in Jubstacheit's case, in regards to their power, Magical and otherwise.
That wouldn't stop Jubstacheit from trying to break the old twinkler's nose though, no sir, he had STANDARDS to keep up after all.
"Hard at work I see." A familiar, hated voice noted in amusement, Jubstacheit turning, slowly, to glance at his fireplace, more accurately, at the twinkling blue eyes, set in a wrinkled face lined with silver hair and beard that was hovering in the flames "You never change, Jubstacheit."
"Though it seems YOU have learned from past experiences, Dumbledore." Jubstacheit muttered, suppressing the urge to growl at the man's resourcefulness, and making a mental note to have the damned fireplaces warded against outside communications in future, only to quirk a brow at the sight of the old meddler's nose, which looked more crooked than he last recalled "Or have you? Run into a door did we?"
"Something along those lines…" Dumbledore admitted, looking bemused, of all things, as he looked up at Jubstacheit from the flames "I made the mistake of startling Young Harry when he woke up in the infirmary…the boy has his mother's right straight to be certain."
"The BOY broke your nose?" Jubstacheit repeated, the head of the illustrious Einzbern family's tone incredulous, though on the inside his estimation of his so-called 'failed' weapon had just gone up tremendously.
"No harm done; I was in the wrong for startling him like that." Dumbledore assured the man, his tone genial and dismissive "Boys will be boys after all, and I think he might have fixed some of the damage you did last time."
"I doubt that very much." Jubstacheit muttered smugly. The Lord of Einzbern prided himself on his physique, which hadn't diminished much in his old age, and so highly doubted a blow from a half-dead brat, albeit one he'd trained to be a weapon, could come CLOSE to the damage he'd visited on the twinkle-eyed bastard's schnozz "Now what do you want Dumbledore, as you noted, I am very, VERY busy."
"It's about young Harry." Dumbledore began, his tone genial, though the twinkle was gone in his eyes, allowing Jubstacheit to see the man as he both detested and respected "More accurately, it's about his safety."
"You believe I would harm a boy under my care, Dumbledore?" Jubstacheit demanded, the Einzbern head's tone mocking as he eyed the Supreme Mugwump and Headmaster of Hogwarts with a look of mock surprise "You wound me."
"Jubstacheit if you insist on playing games with me I am going to get very annoyed." Dumbledore warned, and Jubstacheit noted that the man was SERIOUS, his blue eyes possessing an almost ice-like quality "I KNOW about those arrays you grafted onto his body. How could you do that to a boy?"
"Be careful, Dumbledore." Jubstacheit warned, his smile vanishing as he let a bit of his power into his voice as he spoke "I am not a member of your staff, nor am I one of your students. Tread lightly before you accuse me of anything."
The two old rivals glared at one another in silence, so intensely that anything that crossed their vision might have been instantly set ablaze. "I did not have a hand in the boy's Arrays." Jubstacheit spoke after a moment's silence "I knew of them, true, but the operation itself was carried out by someone else. All I had a hand in was training the boy in alchemy and combat."
"You turned him into a WEAPON." Dumbledore concluded, his tone accusing, his blue eyes smouldering with barely restrained anger as he cntinued to glare at Jubstacheit from the fireplace "You turned a boy into a weapon for your own selfish purposes."
"Is that any different from what you and your precious ministry have planned for him?" Jubstacheit demanded, snorting at Dumbledore's look of anger "Get off your high-pedestal twinkler, we BOTH know that sooner or later that Dummkopf Fudge will try to use the boy to his advantage, never mind whatever schemes YOU have planned for him." He scowled at the man "And don't you DARE try to deny it. I, at least, am honest in my reasoning. The boy was a weapon, true, but I made sure he KNEW that was what I was training him for. Not once did I deceive him by claiming it was for some asinine 'Greater Good'."
Dumbledore scowled, only to sigh, his features seeming to grow older as he shook his bearded head "I admit, I was not there for Harry." He muttered, looking downcast "Were it not for the need to keep him safe, I would never have entrusted him to those…people…" he looked at the Einzbern elder, and there was resolve in those blue eyes "What's done is done, as much as I regret it, but I will NOT fail the boy again, even if it means clashing with you."
"I am always open to a challenge, Dumbledore." Jubstacheit countered, a part of him shivering with the thrill of facing his old rival in combat once more. As much as he hated him, there were few people that could give Jubstacheit a run for his money, and Dumbledore, when he wasn't playing the fool, was one of them "But if you're planning to challenge me for the boy, I should warn you he's not here."
"What?" Dumbledore exclaimed, looking stunned at the revelation, his eyes wide and his face paling beneath his silvery beard "Where is he? How could you let him wander?"
"Keep your beard on twinkler." Jubstacheit snorted, smirking coldly at the sight of his old rival having a panic attack "The boy is safe, safer than he'd ever be with that lot you intended to send him to over the summer." He frowned disapprovingly "Really Dumbledore, could you have PICKED a worse hiding place? Even if the woman WAS his mother's sister, it's quite obvious she's so embittered over being left out of attending your little prep school she'd do ANYTHING to spite her memory."
"A trend that is turning out to be regrettable in Muggle-born families of late." Dumbledore admitted, sighing sadly as he shook his aged head. Back in the day, it was considered a privilege for a Magus to be born into a family of Mundanes, then the Witch Hunts began, instigated by the Vatican, and things had all gone to hell until a truce was reached centuries later, the statute of secrecy acting as a buffer between the magical and Mundane world "So where Is young Harry."
"With his family." Jubstacheit replied, the Lord of Einzbern smirking as he turned his back on the understandably confused Dumbledore "Now if you don't mind Dumbledore, I am, as you correctly surmised, VERY busy."
And with that he snapped his fingers, the fireplace cutting off Dumbledore before the man could demand to know where the boy-who-lived-to-surprise had disappeared, the old man resolving to avoid lighting it until he was CERTAIN nobody was about to start peering in at him from the outside.
'The boy's almost as much of a trouble maker I was as a boy…' the Einzbern master noted wryly, shaking his head in bemusement 'Perhaps I should hold off removing him from the list of succession.'
After all, anyone that could bring Jubstacheit THIS much entertainment, was someone worth keeping around, if only to throttle later.
Somewhere in the south of france...
"Are you alright, Herwald?" a kind voiced asked, the boy in question having sneezed suddenly, almost dropping the books he was sorting with her.
"I'm fine, Mrs Flamel." Herwald assured the woman, the adopted Einzbern rubbing his nose carefully with a handkerchief, balancing the precious, first-edition tomes against the shelf as he did so "Just inhaled a little dust…"
"I always tell Nicholas to clean up in here…" Perenelle muttered, the Sorceress shaking her head of chestnut hair with a good-natured sigh as she eyed the space around them "Honestly, the man's so helpless sometimes it blows my mind."
"I'm right here you know." Nicholas called out, The Alchemist looking decidedly hurt by his wife's statement, something that didn't seem to suit his deceptively stern features.
"I only speak the truth, Cheri." Perenelle countered, her tone teasing as she shook the business end of a feather duster at her husband "Honestly, it's bad enough I have to clean up after you, I shudder to think what will happen if Herwald picks up your bad habits."
"I'm not that bad." The Alchemist countered, though he had the decency to chuckle as he eyed the dusty, wind-swept chamber that was supposed to be his study "Well…as bad as I used to be…"
Herwald chuckled, averting his eyes from his Master's look of betrayal as he returned to the task at hand, namely replacing the numerous priceless tomes The Alchemist had collected over the course of his long life.
Ever since the events of last year, things had taken a notable change for the adopted Einzbern, the most obvious being his apprenticeship to Nicholas Flamel, The Alchemist himself, after the man had used his legendary Philosopher's Stone to not only heal the damage done to the boy's circuits by the destruction and subsequent assimilation of the false stone, but to set whatever had been done to Illyasviel right.
Admittedly, Flamel's reasons for offering to teach him had been more out of interest in his abilities, and a desire to ensure he didn't end up like Grandfather Jubstacheit, but after the man had saved his beloved sister, Herwald would have followed the Alchemist to Hell itself and back, and so hadn't hesitated when offered the chance to spend most of his summer learning Alchemy under the man at his current residence in a small village in Southern France.
This was why he was currently helping the Flamels as they finally got around to sorting out Nicholas' old study, which he apparently hadn't used for quite some time, not since the creation of the Stone to be precise. As a result, it had quickly degenerated into a store-room for any old, interesting books the man came across, and considering he was one of the oldest bibliophile's alive, that was a lot of books.
"Oh, by the way." Nicholas recalled, The Alchemist looking up at his apprentice as he spoke "I spoke with Miss Sakura earlier."
Unlike most Magi, Nicholas Flamel was surprisingly modern in his outlook. While his clothing style was a little dated, this was more out of preference, as he simply didn't feel comfortable in anything other than his usual shirts and casual slacks. Other than that, his house, a good-sized, renovated cottage on the outskirts of town, was furnished with electricity and indoor plumbing, all the modern trappings you'd expect in a Mundane household, including cable television, Perenelle had a weakness for soap operas apparently, and wireless internet.
It was actually rather embarrassing, really, to be taught about the internet by man who had been born CENTURIES before electricity was harnessed by man outside of mage craft, but Herwald had to admit, it was a lesson he was glad to have learned, though he didn't relish the idea of having to explain it to Shirou, Rin and Sakura when he got back.
Now admittedly, due to his upbringing, Shirou wasn't so bad, hell the redhead knew more about machines than any magus had right to, but Rin and Sakura had been brought up as Magi from birth, and so their mastery of technology was limited to basic household appliances, they didn't even have cell phones.
"It would seem that Shirou and Rin are apparently too busy catching up on his education to pick you up." The Alchemist revealed, sounding apologetic "However, she assured me that Rider and your sister should be free to collect you when we go to Diagon Alley to collect your things for this year."
Herwald smiled at that, a sudden feeling of warmth rushing through him at the idea of being able to see Illyasviel after so long. True, it had only been a few months since he'd last seen her, Flamel having waited for her to recover from her treatment before taking Herwald away for training, but that didn't change the fact he'd spent the better part of a year away from his beloved sister.
"I think we can finish this later." Perenelle noted, smiling at the look on the boy's face as she took the books from him, her hands soft, yet firm "Why don't you go wash up before Dinner?
Herwald nodded, thanking The Sorceress in her maiden French, offering a polite bow to Flamel before turning and marching up the stairs to the guestroom, intent on scrubbing himself clear of all the dust and grime that had accumulated on him since that morning, he swore his hair had turned gray from the dust as he passed by a mirror in the hallway, idly hoping Perenelle wouldn't mind him borrowing some of her shampoo to get the job done.
He was in such a hurry to ready his things for a nice, steaming shower, that he almost didn't notice the creature sitting on his bed until he was halfway between the door and the closet, but when he did he barely managed to refrain from lashing out with Alchemy, as Perenelle had made it CLEAR there was to be no transmutation within the house, a rule even Nicholas didn't dare contend.
It was clearly a House Elf now that he got a better look at it, Herwald had encountered several at the Einzbern Castle over the years, and was on good terms with all of them. But this was clearly no Einzbern Elf, which were hearty, stocky creatures that wore an official uniform depending on their gender, butler suits for the males, maid uniforms for the females, each emblazoned with the Einzbern crest. The creature before him was thin, almost painfully so, his large, bat-like ears and bulging green eyes set in a face that had hardly any flesh on its bones. Coupled with its stooping posture and the fact it as wearing what appeared to be an old pillowcase, with rips for arm holes, this elf was either a stray whose masters had passed, or an unfortunate whose masters treated it no better than a slave.
"Harry Potter!" the creature squeaked, causing Herwald to twitch, both from its high-pitched voice and the use of his old name, the creature slipping off the bed and bowing to him, so low that the end of its long, thin nose touched the carpet "So long has Dobby wanted to meet you, sir… Such an honour it is…"
"Please get up." Herald asked firmly, knowing better than to coddle the creature, judging by its current state, it was likely to burst into tears if he did. He didn't bother asking HOW the elf came to be in my room, knowing from experience, and several conversations with the Head Elf of Castle Einzbern, that there was VERY little that could keep a House Elf from going where they pleased, save their master's orders.
Despite their appearance, House Elves were VERY powerful, enough that they were more than a match for any minor Magi that crossed them. The Elves of Castle Einzbern actually doubled as the Castle's security detail, as there were more of them than there were Homunculi.
"Dobby was it?" the adopted Einzbern asked, once the creature had scrambled back onto its feet, fidgeting with the end of its pillowcase even was it nodded "Might I ask what you're doing in my room? Not that I mind, but you're taking a tremendous risk just being here."
This was no idle threat, for Perenelle Flamel prided herself on her barriers, and had spent the better part of her lifetime, those not spent simply enjoying life with her husband, developing numerous wards to throw over their homes, making them unplotable, undetectable, and above all, IMPOSSIBLE to enter without alerting her to their presence, and as Nicholas was quick to admit, there were few things Perenelle hated than 'uninvited guests'.
The very fact Dobby had even managed to ENTER the Flamel's home, let alone undetected, spoke for itself how powerful the little elf was, even as it fidgeted uncomfortably. "Dobby has come to tell you, sir…" it began earnestly, trailing off as a pained look crossed it's thin, painfully so, features "it is difficult, sir… Dobby wonders where to begin…"
"The beginning usually helps." Herwald noted, only to regret it instantly as the elf blinked up at him in confusion "Never mind," he countered, gesturing to the bed "please, have a seat."
Dobby blinked once, twice, and then to Herwald's shock, promptly burst into tears "S-sit down!" he wailed, his face in his hands "Never… never ever…Dobby has never been asked to sit down by a wizard — like an equal —"
'Just what kind of bastards is he working for?' Herwald growled, keeping his features calm as he escorted the sobbing elf to the bed, shutting the bedroom door behind him while the elf tried to get control of himself, turning round to find Dobby gazing at him, his bony features lined with an expression of watery adoration "Did your master send you?" he asked, wanting to get the measure of the Elf's family.
"Oh, no, sir, no…" Dobby countered, the elf shivering at the words as he wrung his hands "Dobby will have to punish himself most grievously for coming to see you, sir. Dobby will have to shut his ears in the oven door for this. If they ever knew, sir-!"
"I don't think you need to go THAT far." Herwald countered, alarmed at how casually the little elf spoke of mutilating itself, as if it had been raised to do so on command "Besides, won't they notice if you shut your ears in the oven door?"
"Dobby doubts it, sir." The elf countered with a weak smile "Dobby is always having to punish himself for something, sir. They lets Dobby get on with it, sir." He shivered again "Sometimes they reminds me to do extra punishments…"
Herald bit his lip to keep from snarling, the adopted Einzbern struggling to keep his temper from raging out of control and scaring the elf, but it was a DAMN near thing.
Even the Einzberns, who were notorious for being a DARK family of Magi, would never have resorted to such unfair treatment. Certainly, failure was not tolerated within their walls, and the heirs to Jubstacheit's throne were perpetually trying to off one another, but there was a certain code of conduct reserved for valued servants and children, namely that they were not to be harmed in any way, lest the offending party bring the wrath of the entire family down on their head.
House elves were diligent workers that did as commanded WITHOUT demanding pay, and took up less maintenance than Homunculi. As a result, they were valued almost as highly, so highly that the last time a guest had injured one, they had disappeared without a trace.
"I'm sorry to hear that, Dobby." He spoke at last, his tone low and controlled, but polite as he looked the little elf in the eyes "And thank you, I understand how risky this is for you." He looked the elf sternly in the eyes "Now, you said you had something to tell me?"
"Ah, sir," Dobby sniffed, dabbing his face with a corner of the grubby pillowcase he was wearing, a concerned look on his face "Dobby has come to protect Harry Potter, to warn him, even if he does have to shut his ears in the oven door later…" he shivered at the memory, before looking the adopted Einzbern in the eyes insistently "Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts."
Herwald blinked, staring at the little Elf in surprise. Of all the things he'd been expecting it to come out with, he CERTAINLY hadn't been expecting THAT. "Is there a reason for this, Dobby?" he asked slowly, trying to feel out the waters "You said your master didn't know you were here, so I assume you're not delivering this message on his orders?"
"No sir, Harry Potter sir." Dobby countered, shaking his head so hard his ears flapped "Master is not telling Dobby to warn Harry Potter, Dobby is taking it upon himself to tell Harry Potter he must stay where he is safe." The little elf looked up at the boy reverently "He is too great, too good, to lose. If Harry Potter goes back to Hogwarts, he will be in mortal danger."
"Why am I not surprised…" Herwald muttered, rubbing his brow in exasperation, cursing the late James and Lily Potter for enrolling him at the death trap that was their precious Alma Matter.
Not that there was anything wrong with Hogwarts' Curriculum, it WAS after all, the premiere Wizarding school in Britain and most of Europe. The problem was the place as so steeped in tradition he had little doubt even Muggle-Born students came back for the holidays feeling out of touch with the times. Factor in the inter-house rivalries, particularly the hatred between the Gryffindors and Slytherins, and the fact the headmaster had allowed FOUR dangerous things into Hogwarts, including the shade of a supposedly departed Dark Lord, and you could understand the boy's exasperation.
"There is a plot, Harry Potter." Dobb whispered, taking the boy's silence as a sign to elaborate "A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year." He shivered, gripping his bony arms as if caught in a blizzard "Dobby has known it for months, sir. Harry Potter must not put himself in peril. He is too important, sir!"
"Should I assume you cannot tell me SPECIFICALLY what these terrible things are?" Herwald asked, half expecting the ear-flapping shake the elf gave him "I understand. But can you tell me this: Does this have anything to do with Volde-" he paused at the elf's tensing, recalling with a scowl that most of the British Wizarding world were too scared of the not-so-departed Dark Lord to even speak his name for fear he might still be around, a valid fear it seemed "Sorry, You-Know-Who? Just nod or shake your head." he sighed in relief as Dobby slowly shook his head "Not HIM then, someone associated with him then? One of those…what were they called, 'Death Eaters'? Just shake or node again."
This time, Dobb slowly nodded his head, but kept silent, though his wide eyes widened even further as he stared at Herwald, as if trying to give him a hint while at the same time stopping himself from doing so.
"So, one of his supporters that managed to avoid the hangman's noose then." Herwald muttered, looking decidedly grim, as the only Death Eaters that had gotten off on pardon were those who'd been controlled via the Imperius curse, and those with deep pockets of Pureblood Ancestry. And judging by Dobby's shoddy appearance and actions, it was clear his enigmatic 'master' was one of the latters "Still, not that I don't appreciate this Dobby, but why come to me at all? If there's a threat, why not alert Dumbledore?"
"Albus Dumbledore is the greatest headmaster Hogwarts has ever had, Dobby knows it, sir." The elf supplied, bowing low again "Dobby has heard Dumbledore's powers rival those of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named at the height of his strength." His voice dropped to an urgent whisper "But, sir there are powers Dumbledore doesn't… powers no decent wizard…"
Herwald, realizing what was about to happen, lashed out like a viper and grabbed the elf by the back of its pillowcase, keeping it from beaning itself in the head with his desk lamp "None of THAT!" he snapped, his tone commanding "There is no need to punish yourself for speaking the truth. Even if you master IS a member of a Great, Noble Family, if they're involved in some shady dealings, it is NOT your duty to punish yourself for knowing it."
"Harry Potter is as kind as stories say…" Dobby whimpered, tears pouring from its eyes once more as it relaxed, taking his words to heart "Kind and brave and strong." He gripped the front of the boy' shirt desperately "But Harry Potter must promise he will not return to Hogwarts! Ah, sir, this is a danger you must not face! Say you won't go back, sir!"
Herwald stared down at the elf, peering into its tennis-ball sized eyes, his own emerald orbs unreadable as he mulled over the information he'd been given. "Alright." He offered, gently peeling the elf off his shirt before it's bony hands ripped it "I won't go back."
"You is promising?" Dobby asked, looking up at the boy in relief "Harry Potter is promising to not go to Hogwarts this year?"
"Harry Potter won't go to Hogwarts this Year." Herwald affirmed, patting the little elf on the head with a reassuring smile "Now go on, it's not safe for you to be here, and your master is probably looking for you."
"Master is not summoning Dobby yet." Dobby assured the boy, his tone relieved, though whether it was because of the promise of his master's absence was debatable "But Dobby is doing as Harry Potter says. Be safe, Harry Potter."
"And don't go punishing yourself for warning me." Herwald ordered, his tone brooking no argument as he held the elf's gaze "After all, you DIDN'T come here, and you CERTAINLY didn't tell me anything."
Dobby's blinked, confusion in his eyes, only for them to fill with tears of gratitude as he bowed to the boy once again, before vanishing with a sharp crack, leaving Herwald alone in his room.
"You can come in now." He called out, the door opening to reveal the concerned Flamels, Nicholas crossing the room to check on his apprentice, while Perenelle frowned at the spot the elf had vacated, miffed he'd slipped past the wards, but not unduly so, as elves WERE notoriously powerful when it came to magic "Were you listening long?"
"From the moment he started singing you praises." Nicholas admitted, The Alchemist's tone amused, though his golden eyes were lined with concern as he peered into Herwald's emerald pair "What will you do?"
"First I think I'll write an anonymous letter to Dumbledore." Herwald muttered, the adopted Einzbern sighing in exasperation at the idea of contacting the Twinkler "I'd rather not have to clean up after the old twinkler again."
"So I assume you'll be returning to Hogwarts after all?" Perenelle asked, The Sorceress turning to look at her husband's latest apprentice, her brown eyes softening with concern, even as she glanced at the spot Dobby had resently vacated "What about the elf?"
"It wasn't a binding contract." Herwald assured the woman "And besides, I wasn't lying, Harry Potter WON'T be going to Hogwarts this year." He smiled at the Prussian woman "I never said anything about Herwald von Einzbern."
"That is true…" Nicholas chuckled, The Alchemist patting his apprentice on the shoulder even as Perenelle chuckled at the twelve-year-old's cunning "Now hurry off to the shower," he ordered "and try to save me some hot water."
"He really is a lot like Jubstacheit was when he was a boy." Perenelle noted once Herwald was out of earshot, a smile on her face even as her eyes shone with concern "Back before he took on the mantle of Lord Einzbern."
"He certainly possesses Jubstacheit's cunning." Nicholas agreed, and his smile too was tinged with a hint of regret that shone in his golden eyes "But do not worry Cheri, while he is ambitious, it is not for his sake. That is what makes him different…what makes him Herwald."
"Love." Perenelle sighed, and her features settled into an almost matronly smile despite her appearing no older than her mid-twenties "It is truly the greatest of all Magics."
Nicholas nodded, the Flamels sharing a brief hug before The Alchemist walked out of the room, leaving his wife to clean up, or at least pretend to, as Herwald was very neat, The Sorceress smiling to herself as she smoothed the sheets of the boy she'd come to see as her son in all but blood.
And I believe that'll do for an opening chapter, no?
Spy: As always, Monsieur, you deliver.
Kyugan: Don't I just?
Sniper: I don't see why you didn't let me shoot the little wanker, it'd save a lot of trouble later.
Heavy: NO! *Sends Sniper Flying with POW of doom) No hurting little baby man!
Kyugan: Easy there big guy. In any case, This is the first chapter of the Sequal, hope you liked it.
Spy: Flames will be countered by Piro...so please...take care.