A/N: Hi Everybody. I'm back posting a short chapter. I know it's taken a very long time but unfortunately my life has not been easy over the last few years and has not been lending itself to writing much. It has become very hard for me to write recently, especially since i'm currently working on two of my own novels at the moment. If you're still reading this story and following it. Thank you, I appreciate your patience and continued support.
The Founders Riddle
Chapter 16: Twisting the Tracks
The morning of september first came quickly for Harry, a bit too quickly if he was honest with himself. However, even though it came quickly, it was not filled with the hustle and bustle he had grown accustomed to over the last few years. This year, he did not have to deal with the mass panic and cramped quarters of the Weasley family, or have to worry about getting a ministry car to Kings cross like he had the year before. This year, Harry was able to eat a relaxing breakfast with his new family before taking the floo straight to platform 9 3/4 at 10:30 AM.
Upon arrival at the platform, Harry found the nearest empty compartment to put his luggage in, before coming back to say goodbye to the Tonks'. As he was saying goodbye he was tightly hugged from behind by both of his betrothed, who had just arrived with their families, along with Sirius, who all expected to say their goodbyes to the teens.
With Dora giving them a final hug, and telling the three teens to call her as much as they could on the communication mirrors; the teens found the compartment that Harry had already claimed and proceeded to relax by giving each other a proper hello as the scarlet engine pulled away from the station to start their new year at Hogwarts.
Roughly 10 minutes after the train had left the station, and the three betrothed had finally stopped snogging long enough for them all to breathe, they heard a small knock at the compartment door before it slid open to reveal little Luna Lovegood standing timidly in front of an equally timid Neville Longbottom.
"Hey you three," said Neville cheerfully, "do you mind if we join you on the trip? everywhere else seems pretty full and Luna and I seem to be having a hard time finding a friendly place to sit." He smiled woefully at the trio as he placed a hand on Luna's shoulder, finally getting her to look up and take in the smiling faces of the three in the compartment.
Harry quickly got up to help Luna get her luggage into the overhead rack. "Of course Neville, we still have a whole half open in here. How was the rest of your summer?"
"Oh it was great Harry. Spent loads of time in my greenhouse growing some new bubotubers which should be fully matured by winter break. Oh and before I forget, my gran said she had a really nice time at your birthday party last month. So did I, it was a lot of fun, thanks for inviting us."
"It was nothing Neville, you're my friend, I wanted you to be there. Plus. It was your birthday the day before; you should celebrate with us, right?. How about you Luna, how was your summer?"
Luna just looked at Harry with a stunned, almost awed face, as if someone asking how her summer was, was a new concept to her. "ah.. right." she said, getting her mind running again. 'It was alright Harry, thank you for asking. My father went to sweden to look for the Crumple-Horned Snorkack, so I was left to my own devices for the last two weeks of summer. Luckily Neville's Grandmother allowed me to stay with them, it was very enjoyable."
The other occupants of the compartment smiled at Luna, it was nice to see her happy and carefree; by all accounts it was not a common event. As time passed, the 5 teens chatted amicably about this and that, just whittling away the time. About an hour after they had settled in Hermione had picked up her copy of the Daily Prophet and quickly proceeded to gasp and drop the said paper to the ground. Right there in big bold letters across the front page read.
"DARK MARK SEEN AT QUIDDITCH WORLD CUP!"
The others in the compartment looked shocked and appalled by the picture on the newspaper. Harry, however, just looked on blankly, not fully comprehending the meaning behind the headline. "Is there a reason all of you look so shocked by this? What is this Dark Mark thing and why are people making such a fuss about it?"
"Harry honestly!' Hermione turned an exasperated eye towards her betrothed and sighed. 'The Dark Mark is Voldemort's mark, his symbol. It was always a sign from the Death Eaters during the last war that they had killed. It hasn't been seen since Voldemort's downfall, so seeing it now... well it's not a very good sign."
A chill ran down the spines of the teens as they looked to the paper, the gravity of the situation dawning upon them. Before they could discuss things further the door slid open slowly and the groups most disliked person entered with his usual bookends in their place.
"What do you want Malfoy?,' Harry spoke with a dispassionate, bored tone. He really did hate when Draco barged in. 'As you can see, we're having a conversation at the moment. None of us appreciate you barging in here every year."
"Shut up scarhead, we can do as we please, if we want to bother Mudbloods, Squibs, and blood traitors, we will.' He looked around the cabin with his nose in the air, still thinking himself superior. 'And look at this will you, now you're letting Loony Lovegood sit with you? how much lower can you sink Potter." Draco laughed at this pronouncement, with the pea-brained Crabbe and Goyle chuckling behind him.
"I think you need to remember your place and who you're talking to Malfoy. As of this summer I am Lord Slytherin, Harry James of the Ancient and Noble house of Potter. With more personal and political power than you could dream of having. If you put one toe out of line this year with me or my friends I will bury your family so deep politically that your great-grandchildren won't be able to restore your house's reputation.' Harry had left his seat by this point and had Draco backed against the wall of the train hallway staring straight into his cold steel grey eyes. 'You've been warned Malfoy, you will not be told again."
Malfoy's eyes flared as he tried to push back, ultimately failing.
"My father will hear about this, Potter. Watch yourse..."
"Malfoy. Your father has no power over me. I can't explain this any clearer. I am the heir to Salazar Slytherin, my family is one of the four most powerful families in our society, I'm betrothed to the heir of another of the ancient families and I'm just an all around better wizard and person than you are. If you're going to tell your father anything, tell him that the ancient and noble families will destroy him if you get on my nerves."
With that, Harry slammed the door shut, and pulled the blinds down hoping there would be no more interruptions until they got to Hogwarts. Unfortunately for Harry, he's never really given a break, so before he could sit down the door slid open once again to reveal Ron and Ginny, who was glowering at her older brother.
"Sorry about him Harry,' Ginny shoved past her brother to give Luna and Hermione a hug. 'He says he wants to apologize, he was a prat but hear him out okay.
Everybody in the compartment sat and looked to Ron expectantly, wondering just what idiocy could come out of his mouth this time.
"Look, Harry, I know I've messed things up recently and I'm sorry. I was really upset by what you were saying about my mum, and that you seemed to forget about me this summer. We found out in the past little while that mum knew she was stealing from you and she's being punished for it. And before I forget, Daphne I'm sorry for what I called you. It was rude, and stupid, hopefully you can forgive me.
After his apology, Ron stood there looking pathetic, but contrite, while the rest of the party looked on. With a slight nod to his betrothed Harry faced Ron with a very serious stare.
"Ron I'm going to be blunt.' Harry's voice was firm and spoke of how serious he was trying to be at this moment. 'You have'nt been a very good friend to us over the years and I believe Hermione and I have finally realized this. We accept your apology, although I think it should have been given a month ago. That fake apology you sent us last week was pathetic and all of us were able to tell how forced and insincere it was. The apology you just gave us was much more sincere and that's the only reason we're accepting it. Understand Ron, this is your last chance. None of us are going to give you any more chances to apologize."
"This is the Situation Ron. Harry, Daphne and I are all betrothed to each other now. If you can't accept that, we don't want you around. If you can't keep your jealousy or your temper in check, we're going to walk away. Can you do that Ron?"
Ron looked on downtrodden but with shock evident on his face. It made for a truly interesting facial expression from the redhead.
"I'm sorry for everything, honest. Hopefully we can all be friends again." Ron stood against the compartment door a little awkwardly as he looked at his friends, realizing quickly that they may not consider him a friend anymore. He visibly relaxed when he saw Harry and Hermione relax slightly.
"We'll see you at the feast Ron.' Said Harry, he saw that Ron start to protest the dismissal, but stopped him in his tracks. 'With Ginny here, the compartment is full and to be honest we prefer her company to yours at the moment. We'll see you at the feast and hopefully we can start building a friendship again."
After Ron left, the occupants of the compartment visibly relaxed and readjusted themselves to get comfortable again. As they tried to settle themselves for the third time that day the group passed the rest of the train ride amicably with Ginny and Luna asking questions about the trio's betrothal and giggling like the 13 year old girls they were. As the train pulled into the station, Harry and company looked up at the ancient castle wondering just what this year would bring, as all their lives had changed so dramatically in the past two months.
So there we go finally getting back to Hogwarts and hopefully back to a pattern of me actually writing again.