How would Beka describe Hadrian Potter?
Shy, yet strong. Fiercely loyal to those who earned his friendship, yet not so quick to forgive those who betrayed him. His emerald eyes shone with both kindness and compassion. He didn't act as though he was better than anyone else, even the lowest lad or gixie. Sure he always had a few copper nobles for those who looked like they were on hard times, though how he could afford it when he was paid the same as any other Puppy was beyond her understanding.
Then there was the aura he let off. It felt like a beaten animal...and at the same time she could easily sense a king like feel underneath. Like you could depend on him in a riot to have your back no matter what.
He could make a mot go crazy without even trying. Not that he ever did. He was the kindest, most polite cove she ever met, and that was saying something.
Which is probably why she counted him as her best friend.
Still, she did wonder why he chose the Lower City kennel like she did when he clearly had some sort of power.
The day they were assigned to their senior Dogs, Beka found something surprising about Hady. For some odd reason he was being assigned to the same Dogs she was, under order of the Lord Provost.
When she found out who they'd been assigned to, she had a hard time holding her head up. She was curst shy, almost as bad as Hady was. He mostly blushed when a mot spoke to him.
Still, at least Tunstall and Goodwin were friendly enough. Especially when Pounce showed up even though she knew she locked him in over his yowling. Hady leaned down and picked up the cat, petting it gently. Pounce purred and then curled around his neck.
They stopped at Mistress Noll for pastries, and Hady had a silly little grin on his face as he ate the apple turnover. He loved apples.
One thing Beka liked about Hady was that he loved animals of all shapes and sizes, even the cracked pigeons which followed her around because she could here the voices that they carried. When she once asked why Hady didn't think her mad because she stood in dust spinners or spoke to pidgeons, his answer surprised her.
"We all have our quirks. I happen to talk to snakes when I can find them."
The only thing that bothers her more than not is that while it's clear Hady had been abused when he was a lad, he still had an inch on her five foot eight!
Once Beka was told to describe Hady like she would a Rat as an exercise.
Five foot nine, messy black hair that goes down to his neck. Clear green eyes the same hue as emeralds that are cut and polished. Odd scar under his bangs on his right eye in the shape of a bolt of lightning. Scars down his back and torso, probably beaten when he was young. Built for running and speed. Quick reflexes. Has a habit of looking around at odd times.
What she never mentioned was that Hadrian was a bit shy, that he was gentle to children and animals, that his eyes lit up when he read something or that he woke up earlier than was normal every day. Or the mind boggling fact that he could cook, and cook well.
Out of all the other Puppies, she liked Hady best. He was kinder than Ersken, though no where near as mischievous as Hilyard...though it was close. Hady had his moments.
While they headed to Crookshank's home, Hady quietly asked her how Tansy was doing. He was shy around new people, but never around Beka. She chalked it up to the fact that he could tell she had the same problem he did.
Soon they were at Crookshank's door. Once Annis let them in, Beka went up to see Tansy. Since he honestly didn't feel like listening to the older Dogs bicker with the penny pincher, he shyly asked if he could join her.
Clearly his puppy charm (no pun intended) worked on Annis, because she let him. He got up there in time to see Beka launch a pitcher of freezing cold water at the pregnant mot. He couldn't help the laugh at how Tansy yelped.
Beka saw him at the doorway and grinned. Then she got onto Tansy for not eating right with another child on the way.
Tansy spotted Hady and said "What's he doing here?"
Hady put up his hands in defense.
"I'd rather not hear a grouch like your grandfather go at with the Dogs, if it's all the same to you," Hadrian joked. Beka stared.
Tansy seemed to take in the outfit they both wore and said "Goddess bless us, your both dressed as Dogs. A pair of Puppies. You'll get yourself killed. Knifed in an alley somewhere, strangled, dumped in a river..."
Hady took in the room as she talked, and Beka picked up an odd rock.
"Take that curst thing! Herun brought it to me, and the next day Roland was taken! It's ill luck it is!"
Beka talked to her, asking whether she knew anyone who wanted to hurt her grandfather in law through Roland. She realized her mistake and simply hugged Tansy.
Annis informed them that the Dogs were done, and they left. Beka returned the basket to Mistress Noll and the Dogs questioned Hady about why he was with the mother of the murdered child.
"Beka is her friend, and I seriously didn't want to listen to you two talking to the penny pincher, Guardsmen."
They questioned Beka as to why she never mentioned it, and she shyly replied they didn't ask. They had to break up a fight before heading to the Mantel and Pullet. While the Dogs ordered ale, Beka and Hady ordered water.
When Beka pulled out the stone, Hady took a good look at it.
"Beka, if I didn't know any better I would swear that is an opal of some sort. But it's not one I'm familiar with."
Hady noticed the three newcomers, and gave them the once over.
'If that cove isn't trouble, I don't know what is.'
Beka did a once over herself, and described them to Goodwin and Tunstall. After the other Dogs had a look, Beka got to keep the stone.
Hady hid his grin after Beka went diving into fish guts. Since they shared the same lodgings in Nipcopper Close, Hadrian did her a favor by getting rid of the mess on her uniform. A whispered word, and not even a scale was left on her clothes.
They stared at him.
He produced a stick, exactly eleven inches long. His eyes lit up with amusement.
"I got this from a friend when I was eleven. It has a few magical tricks, provided you know the words to use them."
Beka grinned at him. Then she looked at her cat, when it yowled loudly.
"What did master Saucebox say Beka?"
"That you are a liar."
He ducked his head, but did nothing to deny it. They went back to the route, before heading home.
Hadrian hid his amusement well as he went about his chores before practice. Then his mind went back to the odd dreams he had, dreams he was sure were real.
Though why he was a student in an odd school full of mages called Hogwarts was beyond him. He remembered the strange conversation he had with a brunette with a frizz problem.
("Are you sure the spell didn't do anything Harry?"
"Hermione, I told you before, the only weird effect it had was to get rid of those Voldemort-induced nightmares."
"Are you sure? It could be a real vision!"
"Why in the name of Merlin would I be having visions of being a copper named Hadrian? Or living in a place called Corus?"
"I don't know mate, but if it keeps getting worse you should talk to Dumbledore," said a redhead.
"I told you before Ron, there's no chance in hell I am talking to Dumbledore about this. Especially since that spell was from the restricted section!"
Then he noticed some rather odd men wearing robes that had a cold look about them. They snuck up behind the trio, intent on grabbing him from the look of it. Hadrian spun around and did as he was taught.
Soon the men were on the ground unconscious, and the other two were staring at him intently.
"Harry...when did you learn to do that?" asked Ron.
"I...don't know. I just knew they were behind me and reacted."
"Harry! Death Eaters are in the area! You need...to..." started a black haired man with drawn blue eyes that seemed tired. He took in the sight before him and stared.
"Sirius...I think we have a problem..." said Harry.)
Hadrian had woken up absolutely amused that he had gotten someone else in trouble. Then he got his chores done and went to practice.
As amusing as his dream was, it was nothing compared to the show he got when Goodwin had Beka retrieve a bag of odd rocks like the one Tansy gave her from the cove they saw in the pub.
He couldn't help his chuckle when Beka blocked a slap and then countered in a very painful way. Tunstall gave him a side long look, then shrugged.
Beka grinned, then when Kora asked about herbs, he finally spoke up. For some odd reason which Beka could never understand, Hadrian liked herbs. He grew several on his windowsill. She once asked him why, and he mentioned he used them in cooking.
She knew he was only telling half the truth.
They left with a slightly heavier Happy Bag, and then had what Tunstall called a quiet night. Three robberies, two casual beating and two tavern brawls.
Aside from discussing the oddity of Crookshank and his Shadow Snake (which had Hady a bit miffed that anyone would dishonor an elegant snake) they continued on their way.
Then they heard something that had them running. A mot with a knife threatening her littles and her man.
What the saw had Hadrian stopped cold and growl.
A mot with a long knife was threatening her children, who were huddled up in a corner crying, begging her to stop, to be nice. They told her they loved her. The man was near the hearth in the wall.
She threatened to slit their throats if they didn't shut up. Her man was trying to get her to calm down.
"In the name of the King's law!" Tunstall shouted as he went in.
Goodwin and Tunstall stood apart, to make it appear like she could escape.
Hadrian grew cold. The oldest had a nasty black eye. Another had a scratched face. The cove had blood on his face from cuts on his eye. His lip was split and his shirt ripped. A broken jug of hotblood wine lay on the floor.
Goodwin tried to reason with her. The mot answered with an impressive foul suggestion. Goodwin didn't even flinch.
The mot threw something at her, and Tunstall caught it. Suddenly she went at Goodwin and hit her jaw with the butt of the hilt. Goodwin dropped, and her eyes rolled inward.
"Orva. You struck a Dog with a blade," Tunstall said very quietly.
Ovra jumped out the window and Beka followed her without thinking.
Meanwhile Hadrian was next to Goodwin, checking the wound. He took out his stick and held it to the bruised jaw. What happened next had Tunstall in complete shock.
Hady said something he couldn't understand and a light hit Goodwin. Before his eyes the wound began to close, then heal over. Soon it looked like it was on the last stages of healing before it stopped. Hady looked at the children and cove.
"I can heal you three for free."
They didn't even think twice. Soon the black eye was gone and the cuts healed over. Goodwin came to in the middle of him healing over the cuts, and stared. She felt her jaw, and it dropped in shock.
Finally they headed to the Kennel to get her checked over. Beka came in with the mot who hit Goodwin and everyone now stared at her in disbelief.
"Great Mithros bless us, you actually caught her!" said Ahuda from the desk in shock.
Beka frowned at Goodwin. Surely the blade had hit her harder? Apparently the healer was very confused on that point too.
"I can't explain how, but your Puppy healed you even though your resistance should have made such a thing near impossible," then he looked closer at Hadrian and said in a clear voice, "Why are you not in the palace? With that much raw power you have you would easy be a powerful mage."
Hadrian looked surprised.
"I have a lot of raw magic?"
"Quite a bit of it. More than most kennel mages at any rate."
Sensing his surprise, they gave him a look.
"I knew I had some odd Gift, but I had no idea what. I just thought it was limited to talking to snakes."
Soon they were off to patrol, though they kept giving Hadrian sidelong looks. He grew tired of it fast as he said loudly "I like being a Dog! I am not going in for some mage training!"
Beka grinned at him. She knew exactly how he felt.
Soon they were eating in a private room, and the Puppies were treated to a laugh as Goodwin nailed Tunstall with porridge. He moped it up with a piece of bread and ate it.
Then they got a lesson in bribes from Goodwin. Then they went back on patrol. Goodwin gave Beka a coin for the Dog bathhouses, which she took reluctantly.
Hady went to sleep and dreamed the odd dream again.
("Sirius, what do you mean we should tell Dumbledore?"
"I mean Pup, that this could be very serious."
"Look, aside from the odd dreams I've been having...which by the way, have given the best sleep I've had in months since he came back, and the incident with the DE nothing bad has happened."
They were in a library. One book seemed to glow in his vision, and Harry suddenly spotted the book.
"Hey...this is the book I got that spell from!"
"What page was it on?" said Sirius, intent.
Hadrian opened it to the page, which had the glowing spell...and one which he could read but apparently they couldn't. He memorized the words to use when he had spare time. Sirius looked at the spell, then sounded out the words.
He didn't realize he accidentally cast it until Harry yelped. Sirius was glowing! He dropped the book...and it vanished!
"Sirius! Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. Feel a bit woozy like I'd been drinking a whole bottle of firewhiskey, but I'm fine.")
Hadrian woke up as the sun hit him square in the eyes. Beka was up too, and she mentioned she was going to see the spinners. He nodded, then yelped as he tripped over something.
Looking down his jaw dropped. It was the book he saw in his dream!
He was intent on reading it when he heard Beka return. He did a double take on her as he saw how much grit the spinners had left on her.
"Seven folk doused a few days back. Mage marked by a mot mage."
"Ah. Anything else?"
"Tunstall is waiting."
Thinking back to the odd book, he said "Mind if I join?"
It turned out Hady was right about the stones. Berryman, the mage at the Gem Merchant's guild hall, identified the stones as Fire opals. When he described the uses for them, Hadrian felt himself go cold for some reason.
Tunstall left them while they did baton practice. Hady winced when he saw how Beka looked like she was ready to keel over. Soon they were out on patrol...though they did get some excitement because of the Rogue's revenge on Crookshanks. Beka was sent to evacuate the floors while Hadrian did something just as vital. He checked over all who were in building and made sure they were alright. Most of those who were in the buildings were surprised that a Puppy with no mage training to speak of was healing folks who were burned or coughing without even once asking for payment.
Tansy came out wet and shivering, along with a slip full of jewelry. Hadrian grabbed a blanket and covered her properly so she could at least warm up. Beka came out and talked to Tansy. When she mentioned how MANY children had been taken, both of them were stunned.
Beka was a bit annoyed at the timing of it all.
"They could've waited to burn the place till we had supper."
Three pairs of eyes turned, shocked. Then Hady begin to snicker out loud.
Unfortunately for them, the only supper to be had was chicken which had been on the spit so long it was dry. The bread, which had been warming up by the hearth during supper was just as dry. The cook was so heartbroken that she quickly fried some almond cakes drizzled in honey. Both Hady and Beka had rose hip tea.
Meanwhile Goodwin brought out the papers she had taken from the house. Reading each one, they were astounded at the sheer boldness. Then Beka told them what Tansy had said about the other families. She was very upset that no one had noticed it had been going on for over three years at least.
Goodwin reminded her to be grateful that the Lord Provost took her family in. And reminded them both about the numbers against them.
But both Puppies were thinking the exact same thing.
They wouldn't contend themselves with filling the Happy Bags. Not ever. The Lower City was theirs. It's people were theirs...it's children theirs. If they found who had been doing all the kidnapping and murdering, they had better pray for mercy. Because once Hadrian and Beka caught them, they would never escape again.
And they would start with this Shadow Snake.
After they went home, Hadrian had a very informative dream about the other world.
("Harry my boy, you must tell me about these dreams you have been having. They could be sent by Voldemort."
Hadrian was gaping at the worst dressed man he had ever seen. Was his wife color blind? Harry apparently heard his question and snorted in his mind.
'Dumbledore isn't married...as far as I know.'
Then another question, more out of curiosity than anything, 'Are you the one I keep dreaming about? Hadrian of Jane Street Kennel?'
'You couldn't hear me before. And it goes both ways from what I can tell, Harry.'
'Good. Ever since you appeared my nightmares have dropped off completely. I can honestly say your day to day life is by far more interesting to watch than seeing a friend die again and again.'
Clearly Harry had some experience keeping up a double conversation, because he was talking to 'Dumbledore'.
More like telling him to leave him alone about his dreams, and no he did not want to do anything about them. Dumbledore seemed convinced this was a ploy by some villain named Voldemort, but Harry knew better. He actually suspected that Dumbledore was only interested in the spell that caused this, so he could gain power in Corus too.
The sad thing was he was probably right.
Eventually Harry managed to tell Dumbledore to mind his own damn business and escape into another room. He ducked under the bed when Mrs. Weasly went to get him to apologize, which he damn well wasn't going to do.
Sirius and another man who Harry called Remus came in later, and he came out. Sirius had been getting the same dreams his godson had, only they were about a noblemen named Sirius who lived in the Upmarket district.
Hadrian had Harry give him the address, so he could find the man. Instead Sirius wanted to know where Hady lived, so he could explain what the hell was happening. Suddenly Sirius went quiet, and said that the other guy was there listening in.
Hady decided to try something new, with Harry's permission of course. He took over, and looked at Sirius.
Once Remus figured out that Hady was in Harry, and Harry was apparently enjoying some uninterrupted, much needed sleep while Hadrian was there, he stayed interested in the conversation. And was surprised when Sirius started talking slightly different.
In the end, Hadrian planned with Sirius...and left before he woke up. But not before he had Harry explain a few things for him.
The political situation, the war, Dumbledore, Voldemort, his friends and relatives, everything.
Harry actually didn't mind, and had mentioned to Hady that he found talking to his other half very soothing. He did say ruefully that he wished he had someone to talk to during the day, even if it was an animal, provided it could talk back. Someone who not only didn't give a damn he was the boy who lived, but didn't think he should be a martyr for people who made his life hell for no apparent reason.
'I can't wait to talk to you during Binns' class. I hope I don't distract you during your patrol though.'
'If how you describe Binns is accurate, then you'll at least keep me entertained. Patrol does get boring sometimes.'
Hadrian was awakened that morning to the sound of Beka shrieking. He opened the door and found he suddenly had a new neighbor in the rusher called Aniki. She was moving next door to Hady. Seeing Rosto and Kora, he grinned. This would be fun!
Getting his morning rituals done quickly, he decided to see how Beka was faring...and to ask the reason why she yelped so loud. He knocked on the door once he went to fetch some fresh bread for breakfast. Kora and Aniki were already there with food as well.
Eventually Beka had seven people in her room with food for all. Hady donated a silver noble for lunch, and then turned to Pounce.
"Hey Pounce, there's something I need to ask you later, if Beka will let you stay in my room tonight."
Pounce looked at him quizzically, then purred when he started to scratch his favorite spot. Eventually Hady went to his room and looked at the book.
He felt someone in his head and grinned.
'Hi Hady. I'm currently hiding from my friends, so I figured I'd take a nap while I can. It's either that or help clean with two people I thought I could trust. Or join the twins in mischief.'
'I'm about to go on duty. Once I read something from the book that caught my eye last night.'
'The one that, as far as I can tell, connects our worlds together.'
Hady opened the book to a specific page...and noticed a spell was glowing. He read the description and grinned widely.
'What does it say?'
'Open communication is possible if we both say this spell. No more waiting for someone to fall asleep to talk!'
'What is it?'
Hady showed him the spell, and told him how to pronounce it properly. He could sense Harry was fading away...someone must be waking him up. The only problem with the spell is that they had to say it at the same time while they were connected...out loud.
Right before Harry woke up, they said the spell. Something clicked into place, like they had been missing a piece and found it.
'I wonder if it worked.'
Then he felt a grin from the other end and gaped.
His first real spell on this side! And it was working! Now he was grinning wildly.
At first the patrol was quiet. It was a lovely spring night, and aside from raiding an illegal slave auction, nothing seemed to be happening. Beka caught the Rat responsible after a minor tussle. Around nine they went to supper relieved.
It seemed like this would be a peaceful night for a change. Hadrian and Tunstall both were in the mood to bless Mithros for such luck.
Then they passed the Barrel's Bottom, nicknamed the Barrel of Blood by most. Hadrian cursed so well that both Dogs were impressed. (So was Harry, who decided to hang around so he could experience a full patrol for a change. He was trying not to grin in his body, since it would raise questions.)
Beka and Hady originally stayed outside...until they saw someone about to gang up on Goodwin. Without thinking twice, they jumped in the fray. Harry decided to be of use and warned Hadrian when someone was coming up from behind. He saved him from a lot of bruises that way.
Harry then asked if Hady could show him how to fight like that. According to him he knew a few people who could use a black eye (or two).
A trio of knights back from the hills decided to help out the Dogs. One was a mot. Beka and Hady fought their way to the wall, where Hady put up a barrier between them and the rushers. He saw Beka was bleeding, and put his hand on her arm. It sealed up neatly, without a hint of a scar.
Goodwin fought her way to them, and said "Very nice baton work Cooper and Potter."
Hady gave her a weary grin, and took a swig of a jar which had escaped the fray.
"Why in Mithros haven't any other Dogs come yet? I know you were blowing your whistle like I was Goodwin."
"I don't know, but we got lucky today. Most Puppies don't survive this kind of fight without their Dogs looking out for them. We'll do better in the future."
"We were doing the job," said Beka.
"Shut up. We weren't doing ours, me and Tunstall. We were doing the job we used to have, just breaking heads. We can't do that anymore. Now we have you two to look after. We're learning this teaching Dog business same as you're learning a Dog's work, but that's no excuse. Older Dogs look after the younger ones, that's the rule. Now who do you suppose our lady knight is?"
"That's a knight? How can you tell?" asked Beka.
"I saw her and four other knights riding down Messinger on my way to the kennel this afternoon. I didn't see the shape of the shield, but she had the armor and the trappings. And knights have a way about them, chin up so high in the air they're just begging for a nap tap."
The two grinned. Every Dog loves the nap tap, the hammer blow of a baton against jaw that sometimes leaves Rats out cold to arrest. Goodwin had the highest record for perfectly delivered nap taps that left a Rat unconscious in the city.
The scrape of wood caught their attention and Hady watched with interest as the lady knight knocked Tunstall out of the way with only her boot and arm.
Beka began to falter, and Goodwin caught her.
"It's the blood loss. Makes a mot feel giddy, and no mistake. The healer will set you right Cooper."
"I already got rid of the open wound. But she should avoid any alcohol until she can stand straight. It'll only make it worse," said Hady.
Goodwin and Tunstall looked at him.
"I overheard a healer say that to someone who lost a lot of blood once."
The lady knight approached them, and wasn't impressed that they brought Puppies in a fight like this.
When the Dogs finally came, Hady cursed loudly. Clearly someone had heard the whistle and reported it...to the Night Watch. It was well known that the Night Watch was full of the dregs, the laziest Dogs in the kennel.
Pounce attacked them and when they noticed the rushers waking up, Hady kicked them into the Barrel so they could do some actual work while they escaped.
Once a healer had seen to the four of them, Hady helped Beka back to the apartments. She agreed to let him borrow Pounce for the night, and went in search of her bed.
Pounce looked at Hady, curious.
"I need your help with something, master Cat."
Pounce pretended to be a normal cat and Hady gave him a grin.
"I know full well you aren't a true normal cat. And that you can understand me just fine."
Hady brought out the book, and suddenly Pounce looked very serious.
'Where did you get this? It was supposed to be destroyed when the veil went up to keep the Immortals out of this realm.'
"It was sent to me...after a series of odd dreams I have been having. I already know who they are connected to."
'Why then do you need me?'
"He needs help. You don't have to actually do anything, but he really needs someone to talk to when I'm too busy."
'How bad is it?'
Hady told Pounce all he knew about the situation on the other side, particularly the situation with Harry. The minute he mentioned what he suspected this Voldemort person had done, Pounce growled.
'The gods won't be please about that. Particularly the Black God.'
"So you think you could help Harry and his family get rid of him? And possibly get on the Black God's good side?"
'I will see if I can do that. From your descriptions it is far enough into the future that I can be in two places at once.'
'On one condition. You burn the book before you die.'
"Fair enough. What the hell does the spell do anyway?"
'It links worlds together. Most people who use it die once they realize what they have done. In turn it kills the other half. It seems your Harry and Sirius are one of the lucky few who figured out how it works without going insane with the knowledge.'
"I think in Harry's case he was just relieved that his nightmares were gone. Going to an alternate world when he sleeps must have been a godsend."
Hadrian went to sleep, and didn't bother to warn Harry about Pounce who may or may not be coming. The most interesting thing to happen was that he arrived in time for an Order meeting. Since Harry was unable to go into the room without notice (and Hadrian remembered how Harry had saved him a few bruises earlier that night) he slipped through the door to listen.
What he found was highly informative. And amusing, since apparently Sirius was the only person who could see him at all.
(Sirius saw Hadrian come through the door, past all the spells and hid a grin. So Hady could manifest on this side? That made spying easier for Harry at least. Particularly since Dumbledore and Snape couldn't see him at all, from what he could tell.
Hady could tell Sirius saw him, and decided to have some fun while he listened in. Soon Sirius was having a hard time keeping his laughter at bay, as Hady mocked Snape, Dumbledore and Remus. He even made funny faces which had him hiding snickers.
Apparently he wasn't doing too good a job of hiding it, because Dumbledore and Molly Weasly were frowning at him. Remus had a questioning look, then Sirius silently mouthed 'Hady' and he realized what was going on.
Finally Moody wanted to know what was so funny and Sirius lied, saying he remembered a very funny joke.
The Order meeting wrapped up, and Sirius went to another room alone. Hadrian followed him. Which is how he learned of a prophecy that the Order was guarding. One which involved Harry and Voldemort. He even gave him the location and how to get to it.
Sirius saw Hadrian leave, obviously so he could tell his other half. What he didn't know was that Hady continued spying...on the headmaster and Harry's supposed friends Ron and Hermione.)
When Hadrian woke up the next morning, he knew a lot more about what was happening around Harry then even Harry knew.
And most of it was very troubling.
Dumbledore was plotting with Molly Weasly to dose Harry's food with something called Amoretia so (which he figured out was some sort of love potion) he would fall for the youngest red head named Ginny. He also found out Snape didn't actually hate Harry, he was just trying to protect him the best way he knew how by keeping him at arm's length. But the most troubling of all was the conversation he heard between Ron and Hermione after Harry went to sleep.
Harry had manifested himself next to Hady. He seemed surprised that he could do that in his own world.
'Isn't this what you call astral projecting?' asked Hady.
'I think so... Why is Hermione speaking to Ron when I'm asleep?'
'I don't know, but let's find out. I'll fill you in on what I've learned.'
Then they heard something that stunned them both.
("How long do we have to pretend we're his friends Hermione?" asked Ron.
"Professor Dumbledore said we had to do it until he falls for Ginny at least. Otherwise he won't pay us."
"I know, but every year he takes us into dangerous situations!"
"Quit your whining. Don't forget we're promised a vault each from his account."
"Yeah, but Ginny gets the rest once she marries him," Ron whined again.
Harry turned to Hady. He nodded, confirmed his question without asking. They continued on discussing the year ahead and secure in the knowledge that Harry was oblivious to their discussion. Once Harry had heard enough, he felt disgusted with them.)
Hermione left and Ron went to sleep. He was unaware that Harry was now awake and glaring at him. While his former best friend slept on, Harry packed all his things in his trunk and then snuck downstairs to talk to Sirius about his own room.
Sirius gave him his brother's old room and silently helped Harry take his things there. It was directly across from his own, so Harry could talk to him without anyone else the wiser. Then Harry told Sirius everything he had overheard, and he growled.
Now all they had to do was get to Gringotts and settle a few things once and for all. Which is when Hadrian gave them both something to think about.
The terror Twins.
Harry felt like hitting himself for not thinking of it himself. The twins were not only legal to use magic now, but able to Apparate wherever they wanted and not get arrested. Which was more than could be said for his godfather. Plus they were loyal to him first and then to Dumbledore last.
It was perfect.
Hadrian woke up and went to get bread for the breakfast gathering. Kora and Aniki looked mischievous. He had a bit of a liking for such things himself, which is why he lived in the Lower City. The best Dogs are half crooked at heart after all.
"Breakfast? We heard you two were dancing with river dodgers last night."
"That's a splendid black eye. The cheekbone bruise is good too. Before or after healing?" asked Kora.
Beka's stomach growled like it always did after healing. She ate the mutton pasty without complaint and let them in.
Aniki told them "I was at Dawull's. We got the news straight off. Some of our rushers wanted to go help the river dodgers, but Dawull wouldn't allow it. He won't let his people take on your Dogs if he knows about it before hand, I found out. He says they're too tough."
Hady and Beka were flattered. Clearly these two had lived a hard life, and to hear them speak as though they belonged to the Dog's world...it felt like they were accepted in it. Even though they had a Puppy's trim, they had a Dog's standing.
Beka opened the shutters to let in the pigeons and the ghosts they carried. Rosto showed up and said "I'll kiss them to make them better."
Beka slid one foot back to balance herself and put her hands into a blocking position, "Try and I'll bruise you. Then Kora and Aniki can kiss you better," she growled.
Kora smiled, "Aniki can do the kisses. Rosto, don't pull Beka's tail. She doesn't like it."
"I was being friendly," he complained, "Modern times are cruel when a cove can't be friendly."
He stepped around Pounce and settled on the floor.
"See if I bring you a treat tomorrow, Master Cat."
He looked at Beka, "Is there a tomorrow? I think this little breakfast idea is quite nice, even with threats and the nasty birds coming and going."
Said nasty birds were too busy eating the corn to take offense.
"Not tomorrow. Tuesday is our day off. I plan to leave early to visit my family."
"Monday is our first time at Magistrate's Court. It starts the hour after sunrise. And Tuesday I plan to go exploring in Upmarket for some herbs and spices."
Rosto made a face.
"Ugh. They don't pay you two enough."
Ersken and Verene came not long after with sausage rolls and gossip. (Harry happened to be bored when they arrived, and listened in.)
One of the barons in Unicorn district found out his wife was canoodling with an Earl, and rank or no a challenge had been issued. Mistress Bircher, wife of the head of the Silversmiths' Guild presented her man with twins. Which meant Flash districts Dogs would have the joy of guarding that celebration while they got a relatively quiet night.
"Remember Alacia?" Verene said, and to their crooked friends, "She's another Puppy named in tribute to His Majesty's first Queen. Well, till yesterday she was on Day Watch in Unicorn. Then my lord Olau got word that his youngest and only son has been flirtin' with a pretty Puppy."
"Fast work," said Aniki impressed, "You lot have been on duty, what, five days?"
"Four, not counting today," said Ersken.
"Anyway," said Verene. She hated it when wonderful gossip was interrupted. Her mother is a barmaid at Naxen's Fancy, where they hear everything as soon as it happens. "Anyway, the lad's father pitched a fit at Unicorn kennel and they switched Alicia with Clarke. He was on Night Watch in Prettybone. So now she's on Night Watch."
Beka saw a new pigeon and collected what he had to say. Verene called her lightly.
"You remember that Dog who taught us to tell dice that had been meddle with? He was on Night Watch?"
They nodded. Verene drew a finger across her throat.
"Dead?" asked Hady grimly.
Ersken nodded grim. "And we're not to go to the burying. There's a notice up on the kennel gate. We saw it on the way here. They found him with dice in his mouth...all rigged. All crooked. My lord's order, under his seal: 'Bury him with the Dogs, but not as a Dog.'"
They all made the sign against evil on our chests. They talked a bit more while the sun rose and the room warmed. Beka wanted to go gather more information from the pigeons, but the blood loss and healing left her dozy as it always did.
Kora noticed and said "You need a nap. And I'm taking your clothes to wash. You can pay me three coppers for each wash I do."
"Wash?" said Beka tiredly.
"The herbwomen aren't hiring yet, and I do charms better than most."
When she mentioned it was five coppers for those who didn't live with her, Ersken and Verene went to fetch theirs.
Hady found Beka after she woke from her nap and warned her about court tomorrow.
"Beka, remember Orva Ashmiller?"
"You were the one who brung her in, right? Well, won't that mean that you'll have to speak in court tomorrow?"
Beka blanched, as he had a point.
"You might want to practice in front of a mirror...or I could hold your hand when you're called up."
"Thanks Hady. I would appreciate it...just make sure no one notices you holding it."
Hady grinned. He knew Beka always felt braver when he was nearby. Why that was he had no idea, but he honestly didn't mind.
After patrol (with Harry once again watching with interest) they had stopped a few tavern fights, robberies, a fight between gamblers as a man claimed a mot had cheated him. Beka stopped five cutpurses and three foists (master pickpocket) on her own, but they were not worth hobbling. Their biggest catch was a cove trying to sell children not his to sell and the slaver who was about to pay him.
They took the three nearly sold children home. One mot didn't even know her boy was missing. She had been sewing on a fancy gown for a lady and thought the neighbor still had charge of him.
Once it was over Beka went to bed, bone weary.