A/N: Finally, here is chapter 16. I think when I left on vacation my muse went somewhere else on holiday. I tried to bring her back several times but she just wouldn't come. I think she finally came back last week as I actually managed to make some progress.
This chapter with Voldemort's changed ritual signals the true start of this story's alternate universe.War Drums
The last few days of the school year passed in a haze for most of the students at Hogwarts. The Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students left to much fanfare. Tournament Champion Fleur Delacour made a gracious departure speech that no one seeing her arrival would have expected her to make. She, along with Victor Krum and the other Champions made a point of publicly thanking Harry as their 'host'. Once the foreign schools had left, the Hogwarts students made their own preparations to depart the next morning via the Express. But in all of the House dorms the speculation continued on what happened the night of the Tournament.
Slytherin House was no exception to this discussion. Not only had the Dark Lord that many of their parents served returned from the apparent dead, but one of their House mates had been sacrificed along with his entire family. Theo Nott was a respected member of Slytherin. Not necessarily well-liked, the Fourth year was respected as a worthy Slytherin. Nott displayed his share of ambition and cunning. He was also a Pureblood from a Noble House. Nott performed well in his classes and maintained - and improved- his position within the House by various gambits. He had even risen to challenge Draco Malfoy for dominance of the Fourth Year Slytherins when the former was distracted by his participation in the Tournament. By any measure he was destined for a successful career in the Ministry or the Nott Family business. Now he was simply gone.
The sacrifice of the Nott family had shaken the Slytherin students. Many of the students, particularly the older ones along with Malfoy, loudly proclaimed that they would have done the same in service of the Dark Lord given the chance. But even they were shocked deep inside at the extinction of the Nott Family line. The shock amongst the 'neutral' Slytherin students was even more profound. Many of them agreed with their 'dark' counterparts on the goal but believed there were better ways than violence to subdue the Muggleborns. After all, Malfoy Sr. already controlled the Minister and was a short step away from becoming Chief Wizard. Killing the Muggleborns was bad enough but to end a Noble Pureblood line sent chills through their spines.
Several of the "dark" Slytherins were also discussing the vaguely worded notes from home they'd received that hinted at some of what was whispered about Potter causing trouble the night the Dark Lord had returned was true. Draco Malfoy in particular was secretly nervous because he'd not heard a word from either of his parents. Narcissa wrote him almost every day so this silence was worrying to the Fourth year wizard.
Daphne Greengrass was left out of much of the discussions within her House. The blonde girl's relationship with Ron Weasley (a Blood-Traitor but at least he was a Pureblood) and her closeness to Potter ensured that isolation. Daphne received an odd, reluctant respect from her Housemates because of three points. The first point was Daphne was a skilled and powerful witch in her own right. Than there was her friendship with Potter. Potter was a Half-blood from a plebeian family but even the dumbest students in the House of the Cunning recognized Potter as being the most powerful student in the school (even if they would never admit it outside their dorm). The fact there was an air of promised violence that hovered around the wizard made them even more reluctant to cross him. They all remembered Snape's warnings at the start of Second year. The final point was Daphne's circle of friends had ties in all four of the Houses. Slytherins respected that kind of influence and contacts as it could translate into political, economic, and social power.
Daphne personally found it funny how her Housemates watched her and fell silent whenever she entered the Slytherin common room. Seventh year wizards would eavesdrop on her make-up discussions with Tracey Davis hoping to learn something of value on Harry. "Maybe they secretly wanted to become stylists on leaving Hogwarts?" was her laughing response to the clumsy spies.
But today no one was listening into conversations about make-up tips. They would be boarding the Express shortly to take them away from the school and back to their homes for the summer. A summer that had suddenly taken a rather more serious bent. Daphne was passing through the common room with Tracey heading to the Entrance Hall to meet with her friends when a voice stopped her.
"Greengrass," a boy's voice called out. Daphne stopped and turned to the voice. It was Malcolm March, an outgoing Seventh year from a neutral but Dark-leaning family. March was a fairly powerful wizard and already accepted into the Auror training program.
"March," Daphne answered.
"What do you know about these rumours Potter has spread?"
"Rumours?" Daphne responded. "I haven't heard any rumours. You all know Harry provided his memories to the Ministry. The Nott family is now extinct to resurrect a mad man. The goblins have confirmed their deaths at the same time Harry's memories said and in the order they occurred."
Daphne smile slightly. "Unless you think Harry was able to pull of the capture and elimination of the Nott family while simultaneously crafting flawless and extended false memories for the Ministry. In which case than he is even more powerful than Merlin and you really shouldn't be doing anything to annoy him." With a final smirk, Daphne turned and walked out of the Slytherin dorms, a torrent of whispered conversations erupting behind her.
Harry walked up to the front door of the Marauder's Den. Remus had met Harry at King's Cross and they had taken the Tube from there. Remus carried Harry's shrunken trunk in his pocket. Hedwig was more than happy to fly on ahead. Rodent hunting in the city had always been good to her.
The ride back from Hogwarts had been oddly quiet. Malfoy never made an appearance and many of the students were a bit wary of the chaos that always seemed to surround Harry.
Right now, Harry was a bit wary of it himself.
But the trip was still rather relaxing after the stress of the last week. Exams, the finale of the TriWizard Tournament and Voldemort's resurrection with its aftermath were taking a toll on Harry's mood and temper. A week of quiet was just what he needed and a relaxful trip home on the Express with his friends was just what the Healer ordered. Now he was finally home and he could almost hear Dobby's hot chocolate and a nap calling him.
"Damn you, Sirius Black! Get back here so I can curse your willy off!"
Harry and Remus dodged the curse that rocketed out of their home when they opened their front door. The pair exchanged a glance before carefully looking into the open door.
Inside they found the house was virtually destroyed. Much of the furniture was overturned and had spell-burns on the material. The sole exception was the dining room table where Cassiopeia Black was cheerfully gurgling as the chaos ensued around here. Baby Cassi was tucked securely into a bouncy chair with a toothless smile on her little face. The infant was excitedly throwing her tiny arms up over her head as she watched her mummy chase her daddy around the house. An older child would have been clapping and cheering.
Harry made his way over to greet his goddaughter when said goddaughter's parents returned to the room.
"Find your calm place!" Sirius yelped as he ran into the room and dove behind the overturned and singed couch just as another fireball flew passed his head. "Find your calm!"
"I'll show you my calm place, Black!" an enraged Veela shrieked as she ran into the room after him.
"Hey!" Remus yelled out. "There is a baby present! You are not acting like responsible parents here! What the hell happened since I left an hour ago?!" Kalina brought herself to a stop but didn't stop glaring in Padfoot's direction or get rid of the fireball bouncing in her hand.
"Harry, I hate to tell you but you are about to lose your godfather," she growled out. "Any last words?"
"Yes!" Sirius shouted out before Harry could respond. "You were there too! You kept shouting 'More!' and 'Harder!'" The fireball smashed into the couch setting the fabric on fire.
Remus suppressed a groan and cast a quick spell to put out the flames. "What did he do now?"
Kalina threw Remus an angry glance before turning her glare back to where Padfoot was hiding.
"The mutt got me pregnant …. Again!" she spit out. "I just got my figure back!"
"Pretty virile for a bloke sent to Azkaban for more than ten years!" Sirius yelled out with a smug gloating in his voice. Another fireball was thrown in response.
"More like viral, Padfoot," Harry commented from the corner where he was bouncing the happy baby in his arms. Cassi smiled and coo'd. She liked this new person paying attention to her.
"Oi!" Padfoot protested.
"We'll just take the princess here for some food while mummy and daddy work out their little spat and make up. Does that sound good to you, princess?" Cassi gurgled happily at the friendly tone of the new person which was taken as agreement.
"That sounds like an excellent idea," the responsible Marauder commented. Remus nudged Harry towards the kitchen and started following. Over his shoulder he called back, "Oh, and do clean up the place after the make-up session is done, would you?"
The news that Sirius and Kalina were to be parents again made for a nice distraction for Harry. For a time it felt great to just lean back and be a normal teenager. Dobby made dinner while Harry and Remus drank tea and discussed Harry's end of year exams. Cassi sat in a bouncy chair cheerfully trying to place her foot into her mouth along with the treat Dobby had given 'Little Miss'. (Harry had taken some pictures for future blackmail.) Sirius and Kalina had stopped fighting and some irritatingly familiar noises were now coming from upstairs.
"And she wonders how she got pregnant again," Harry murmured before casting a Silencing Charm at the ceiling. Cassi gurgled in seeming amusement but that might have been gas.
Harry's brief sense of normal family life was interrupted by the arrival of a large owl bearing the livery harness with the Ministry of Magic's seal prominent on the bird's chest. The owl glared at Harry until the boy finally stood up and removed the heavy letter attached to the bird's leg. As Harry sat back into his chair the owl left without waiting for any type of answer.
Harry opened the letter and read it in silence. Remus was getting nervous as Harry's body language did not give any sense of if the letter was good news or bad.
"Harry? What is it?" the werewolf Marauder asked.
"It's a summons," Harry answered absently. Remus waited a moment more for Harry to elaborate. Then just as he was about to speak, Harry looked up.
"The Wizengamot is calling a session to discuss what happened that night. Apparently Madam Bones and the Unspeakables are presenting their findings and the Wizengamot is requiring that I be there as a primary witness to answer any of their questions directly."
"That doesn't sound too bad," Remus replied in a cautious tone. Harry tossed the letter onto the table with a dismissive snort.
"Have you ever heard of the Wizengamot ever doing something similar? Having the witness there to answer questions? Five galleons this gets used to play politics to divert attention to what actually happened. Look at the way that Umbridge woman kept trying to ignore Voldemort's return and the Death Eaters to focus on tracking down the 'dark creature' that attacked those 'upstanding purebloods'. No, Remus, this has the feel of a snitch hunt and I'm the bloody snitch!"
"You sounded so much like Charlus, your grandfather, just then," Sirus commented from the door. Harry and Remus turned in surprise as they hadn't heard him approach even with their superior hearing.
"You must have put up a Silencing Charm," Sirius commented in an innocent tone. "I have no idea why. Hello my little princess!" The last was said in that silly tone all new parents make talking to their newborns. For her part, Cassi gurgled happily at her daddy's return.
"What were you saying about my grandfather?" Harry asked.
"Charlus was an Auror for thirty years. He retired as Head Auror and set himself in a legal practice a few years before James was born. Smuthers, Potter and Associates did a good business in criminal and contract law, particularly between the magical and muggle worlds." Sirius glanced over at Harry. "Alvin Nott was an associate and your grandfather's assistant. When Charlus retired, Alvin was part of the group that bought him out." Harry nodded as he remembered the elder Nott's words in the graveyard. "Anyway, Charlus was always good at interrupting the currents of the Wizengamot."
Remus picked up the letter. "You knew about this?"
"Only when that bloody bird interrupted the warm fuzzies when we were done."
"Yes, that bird was rather rude," Kalina agreed as she swept into the kitchen. She was wearing only a very short Victoria Secret robe and her hair was a dishevelled mess. Padfoot grinned proudly. It was only through experience and sheer willpower that he ignored the scantily clad Veela and focused on the matter at hand.
"I think I am going to need some new robes," Harry commented absently.
"What's that, pup?" Sirius asked with a hint of disbelief. Harry responded with the irritated eye roll all teenagers know and perfect.
"Riddles people in the Wizengamot are going to go after the primary witness – me. They can't do too much about the physical evidence except argue with the conclusions. Since my story forms the basis of those conclusions that means they have to make me look bad. Since humans judge a lot on appearance and first impressions – not matter what they say – it means I have to look my best at this hearing."
"Sounds like something my grandfather, Acturus, would have said," Sirius grumped. "But I suppose you're right. Still sounds like something a Slytherin would say."
Harry smiled innocently over at his godfather. "How did you know that is where the Hat wanted to put me? He would have too if not for the fear of the Beast killing off half the House in the first week."
Sirius looked shocked at the idea of Harry being in Slytherin but Remus not so much. Instead he asked, "The Hat thought you were a danger to the Slytherin students?" Harry smiled back beatifically.
"Hat figured the nibblers from the Dark families would try something because of the whole Boy-Who-Lived shite. He reckoned eventually I'd have to release the Beast simply out of self-preservation. So I asked for Gryffindor instead. Mostly because of having McGonagall and Flitwick take me to Diagon Alley. I liked them both but I knew the Ravenclaw drive to study would drive me barmy in no time. Flitwick is actually my favourite professor though."
"He is rather charming," Sirius absently agreed as he tried to process what Harry had just revealed.
"You know, I am not sure if that was a deliberate pun or if it is so ingrained now his mouth just moves without any input from his brain," Remus commented seeing his oldest friend's blank expression.
"Oh, trust me. His mouth is very talented, particularly his tongue," Kalina purred. Harry and Remus simultaneously tried to turn green and blush at the blatant innuendo.
Harry was staggering out of the room making retching noises when Sirius blinked and looked around. "What did I miss?" he asked.
Harry was enjoying looking at the new brooms and other equipment at Quality Quidditch Supplies. He'd just bought a personal Snitch of his own. Unlike a game Snitch, this one could be released so it would not go beyond a set distance from the owner. Sirius mentioned James having one and it drove Snape crazy. Harry reckoned on keeping up the family tradition. He also looked at the new Nimbus 2100 line that was targeting the high-end market held by Firebolt. It was a sweet broom but he was hesitant because of the rumours of the new Thunderbolt broom coming in the spring. In the end he decided to stick with his Firebolt.
As he was paying for his Snitch, Harry glanced out the window to where Remus was waiting. It was then he noticed a woman and three men approaching his honorary 'uncle'. Something in their manner brought up the Beast's hackles. Harry absently picked up his purchase and made for the door.
Remus was enjoying the unusually warm and clear London July day. Harry deserved the day out after the rubbish coming out of the Ministry and with tomorrow's Wizengamot meeting. Remus wanted to check out the latest Defence books that had arrived at Flourish and Blotts anyway so it was not a problem for him. Remus was never a Quidditch fanatic so he was happy to have Harry inside browsing while he enjoyed the warm sun. Remus was watching the passing shoppers for signs of known Death Eaters or their sympathizers when he spotted her.
"Charisa," he said in greeting.
"Lupin," she replied.
"It's been a while."
"Six years," the woman agreed. "Since the last time you deigned to visit our pack. But you managed to become a Hogwarts professor – at least until your true nature came out."
Remus considered the woman. Charisa became a werewolf at fifteen and was shortly thereafter thrown out of her parents' house. The teenage witch had been a Hufflepuff at Hogwarts and had just finished her OWLS when her life changed. She was taken into a pack shortly thereafter and developed hatred towards the 'normals' for the rejection of her friends and family after her infection. She'd been shocked to learn the older Gryffindor that had just finished Hogwarts had been a werewolf his entire time at Hogwarts. Remus suggested she talk to Dumbledore about completing her schooling but she declined. The packs were leaning toward the Dark Lord and she refused to turn her back on the only ones to take her in and help. Besides, unlike Remus, her family made her infection public and even Dumbledore couldn't get a known werewolf included in the student body.
The last Remus had seen the woman she'd become the second to the Alpha Female of the Welsh pack. One of the five Packs of Albion, the Glyndwr pack claimed the forests of Wales as their hunting grounds. It was the largest pack and only Fenrir Greyback's pack in northern England had more sway across all the packs of Britain and Ireland.
"And to what do I owe this honour of you and your friends visit?" Remus asked as he indicated the three male werewolves with a nod.
"A fortuitous event," Charisa answered. "The community needed some potions supplies and I had little choice but to come here." Remus could hear the disgust in her voice at the thought of mingling with 'normal' witches and wizards. "But when I saw you I wanted to pass on word. There is to be a Gathering. Greyback seeks to unite the packs under his leadership once again. But you know the Pack Laws – everyone will have a voice and anyone that does not attend will be exempt from the Pack Law until the next Gathering. You must attend … and bring your new cub with you."
Remus froze. "Excuse me?" He could feel Moony trying to come out two weeks before the full moon but still wanting to protect his pack.
Charisa seemed to realize just how much she'd provoked her fellow werewolf by the sudden wariness in her eyes. "I've heard what the official story is but some of Greyback's pack are friendly to some of the Death Eaters that were in that graveyard. They swear Potter was the creature that attacked them. You know even a hint that that is true would excite the packs. If it is true and he is not there you know what that could mean." Remus winced as his mind started running through the possible ramifications.
"Is there a problem here, Remus?" Harry asked from behind the older wizard.
"All's fine for now," Remus replied.
"Mr Potter, may I say this is an honour to meet you?" Charisa said with a small head bow of respect. Her werewolf escorts shifted uncomfortably on their feet as they looked at the teenager.
"Ma'am," Harry responded with his own smaller nod.
The female werewolf looked back at Remus. "I hope to see you there, Lupin." A small, flirtatious smile crossed her lips. "Maybe we will have the opportunity to discuss old times." Without another word she turned and continued down the alley, her escorts taking positions to her rear and flanks without a word.
"Remus?" Harry asked.
"Not now, Harry. We'll talk when we get home. Let's finish up and get back
"Sirius! Get down her NOW!" Remus roared as he entered the Marauders' house.
"Actually, I am sitting right here," Sirius answered from a nearby couch where he had a series of folders spread out next to him.
"We have trouble. The Packs know about Harry," the werewolf Marauder said shortly.
"And what does that mean, Remus?" Harry demanded now. "You said you'd explain when we got here so explain."
Remus turned from where Sirius was looking both shocked and angry to the only son of the Marauders. He let out a sigh and gestured at a nearby chair. "Sit down, Harry. This may take some time."
"Do you know how many werewolves there are in the UK?" Remus asked.
Harry looked a bit perplexed. "Well, the reading Snape had us do suggested 50-60 at any given time." Remus nodded at that.
"Yes, that is the amount of registered wolves but the actual number is more than three to four times that amount. I'd say right now that's about 150 with one-third of them Muggle by birth. The Ministry doesn't care about them so they don't register and about half the magical wolf population never register. The wolves are divided up into five packs called the Packs of Albion. Roughly speaking the packs' territories are one in northern England centred on Leeds, one in Southwest England, than one each in Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; roughly twenty to thirty wolves per pack with several 'rogues' like me that aren't formally associated with any one pack. Each pack has its own Alpha male and female that controls their pack. There is not an Alpha over all the packs. Wolves don't do too well when the numbers get large. If a pack gets up over forty it will probably be splitting into two packs. At one point there were eleven packs.
"Now while there is no super Alpha controlling all the packs we do have an ancient Pack Law. The Pack Law dictates how the packs interact, bringing in new wolves, and each wolf's responsibilities to their packs and to the Packs of Albion. Most of them don't see their lycanthropy as an illness as I do but a gift. Maybe a third of them are born to werewolf parents so this is the only life they have ever known."
"And what does this mean to me?" Harry asked
"Some of the Death Eaters have talked about their encounter with the Beast. Greyback, the werewolf that turned me, is the Alpha of the Greyback Pack up near Leeds. He called a Gathering of all the packs to try to sway the other packs to support Voldemort. It is mandatory that all werewolves attend the Gatherings. If you do not, you are seen as breaking away from Pack Law and are a danger to all of the Packs. They call these Feral Wolves and they are hunted down and killed by all the Packs. Even the rogues like me have to attend. Since they think they know what Harry is, he will either have to show up and lay claim to his position in the Packs or prove he is in fact not a werewolf. Not showing up is taken as declaring Feral status."
Somewhat surprisingly, Harry was not overtly displaying any anger at Remus's explanation. However, his eyes were leaking power that made the two adults somewhat uncomfortable.
"So, we have a Wizengamot hearing and the werewolf Gathering almost occurring at the same time," Harry commented in a low tone. "It doesn't take a spell creator to see the way this one's going. In one or the other they will force the Beast into the open." Sirius and Remus made noises of agreement to Harry's assessment.
"Smells like a Malfoy tactic," Sirius said. Harry simply nodded his agreement. Sirius never commented on it aloud but sometimes Harry's maturity left him cold. Harry could come up with some wonderful pranks, be fun, and an all-around nice kid, but he also had a very mature and cold-bloodedly practical side. He didn't know if it was because of the Beast or growing up with the Dursleys but it disturbed him. Harry often acted more like a thirty year old than an almost fifteen year old. Sirius decided to set that aside for now and concentrate on the problem in front of them.
"I think we need to talk to Dumbledore," Harry said unaware of his godfather's musings.
"Dumbledore? Why?" Remus asked.
Harry grimaced before saying, "I don't see a way the Beast isn't going to come out. If the werewolves have heard through their Death Eater connection, you bloody well know their people on the Wizengamot know. If I get caught telling a lie my value as a witness is destroyed. We need to decide the best way to let this out. I don't know yet how I feel about the man – I'm too conflicted – but he is also the only politician that knows about me and he is Chief of the Wizengamot amongst his other titles. We need his input."
Remus floo called the Headmaster but the old wizard was not in his Hogwart's office. Instead he was in official office as the Chief of the Wizengamot. Dumbledore agreed to make time to see the trio and scheduled them for a meeting at 16.00. It was late enough in the Ministry day that most workers were concentrating on finishing tasks required before they could return home for the evening so the three wizards' arrival would attract less notice.
Wearing nondescript cloaks, the three wizards emerged from the floo in the Ministry Atrium five minutes before their planned meeting time. Already several Ministry employees in the ubiquitous grey robes of the Ministry worker were seen making their way to one of the many fireplaces set on making their way home. In their own grey cloaks, no one took any obvious notice of the new arrivals.
Remus led the way to where a bank of lifts was located. A full car of workers unloaded and passed the three without a glance. They quickly boarded and pressed the button for Level One. Level One contained the offices of many of the senior Ministry people including the Minister for Magic and his staff. It also contained the office of the Chief of the Wizengamot and staff that handled the legislative and legal activities of the body.
No one else joined them on the way up and shortly they were entering the waiting area outside Dumbledore's office. A middle-aged witch was sitting there at a desk. She never looked up from her file when they entered.
"The Chief Warlock is expecting you. He said you may wait in his office." Her disapproval was obvious in her voice. The Marauders exchanged a glance and moved to the door. Sirius later commented the woman scared him more than Madam Pince.
No one that had seen Dumbledore's Hogwart's office would have expected the Chief Warlock's office. Where the Headmaster's office was cluttered, eccentric, and personable, this office was grand and formal in its decoration and the furniture. Two large windows dominated the wall behind the formal desk showing a scene of Muggle London as though from high atop a skyscraper. Harry thought of pictures he'd seen in primary school of the Oval Office in the US White House. This was definitely in the same family.
The older two wizards sat down on one of two couches facing each other with a simple ornate wooden coffee table between them. A padded wooden chair sat at the end of the table between the two couches. Harry had no doubt that was Dumbledore's chair. Harry started drifting around the room looking at various artefacts and paintings of famous events in Wizarding history.
Harry was looking at one painting that showed a Roman legion fighting Celtic tribesmen while spells flew from both sides although the Romans seemed to have many more wizards in their ranks.
"Ah, the Battle of Londium," Professor Dumbledore commented as he stepped up next to Harry. "The natives attacked the Roman camp that stood near our modern London. It was a disaster for them as most of their Druid magic-users were slain or captured by the Romans. A minor battle from a Muggle point of view but critical in Wizarding history for the triumph of wand magic over the old magik of the Druids and their ilk."
"We never covered that in History of Magic," Harry commented.
Dumbledore sighed in an uncomfortable manner. "They say history is written by the winners. While I believe that is true, we still often edit that history to feel better about our ancestors' actions. Many of our prominent magical families trace their roots back to people on both sides of this particular battle and no one is truly proud of the Roman treatment of their captive Druids so of course we completely ignore it ever happened."
Harry could only nod as he considered the older wizard's words. He'd seen that behaviour himself with his family's story. The story of the Boy-Who-Lived focused on an infant Harry miraculously surviving an survivable curse. It completely ignored the sacrifices of his blood-traitor father and Muggleborn mother. They kept the story they wanted and ignored the uncomfortable truths. It was also why so many still saw him as the Boy-Who-Lived and ignored Harry.
"I can see that," Harry said. Dumbledore simply nodded and gestured to where Sirius and Remus were waiting on the couches.
Over the next ten minutes, Remus told the elder wizard of the conversation w in Diagon Alley and the werewolves' gathering. Harry also provided his concerns about the upcoming Wizengamot session. Dumbledore never lost his genial, eye-twinkling demeanour but Harry caught signs of concern, dismay, and – oddly enough – approval.
Only once they finished did Dumbledore speak. "First let me say I am humbled that you have brought this to me. I know I failed in ensuring your wellbeing after placing you with your Aunt and Uncle. I see this as the second greatest failure of my life.
"But now to the matter at hand, I believe that Mr Potter is correct in what our opponents plan for the Wizengamot session tomorrow. That is in fact why I am in this office today;" Dumbledore said. "May I cast a spell on you, Harry?"
At Harry's agreement Dumbledore drew his wand and cast. "Lychanus" A soft blue glow surrounded Harry. Then he cancelled the spell and cast again. "Pecus comissor!" Now a soft green glow formed around Harry.
"Fascinating," Dumbledore mumbled as he cancelled the spell. I've started reading Ms Granger and Ms Patil's studies but to see it for myself is most fascinating." Harry was tempted to ask if the Headmaster had pointed ears after that comment.
"As fascinating as this is from a magical perspective, I fear I have no way of truly blocking this from coming out somehow in the Wizengamot. Their strategy is to divert the focus from Tom's return to the identity of the Beast. However, not everything is bleak.
"As you know the Nott family is no longer in existence. This has left their seat empty until a new family can be named and approved by the Wizengamot. This removes one vote from the Dark block at least for now. In a remarkable coincidence, three other Dark-leaning families lost their Family Heads that same night."
"Pure coincidence, I am sure," Sirius added sarcastically.
"Indeed," Dumbledore agreed. "Now all three of those families have Heirs but they cannot take their seats until the next regular session. In fact, I already received their petitions to be included in the agenda."
"Were the Malfoys one of the families?" Harry asked with a smile. Dumbledore gave him a disappointed look.
"No, Lucius Malfoy appears to have survived that night. I would assume he was wounded as he has not made an appearance in the Ministry today."
"So what do you suggest?" Remus asked.
"I find that the best thing to do it to tell the truth – or at least as much of it as required to prevent their strategy from working. If we provide the whole memory of that night and simply say Harry has achieved a type of animagus transition than much of their strategy will be thwarted before it can truly begin," Dumbledore answered.
Remus frowned. "That may work with the Wizengamot but not the Packs. The first time I saw Harry I knew he was an Alpha. I don't know if it has gotten stronger or I am just more sensitive to it but I can feel it now even when he's in human form. From Charisa's reaction in the Alley she felt it too."
Sirius shrugged. "What does that matter?"
Remus stood up and started to pace. Harry recognized the werewolf slipping into his professor-mode. After a moment Remus started to explain.
"Werewolves are pack animals like wolves. Being an Alpha is something ingrained into the wolf's personality. A young male wolf with Alpha potential will start to challenge their Pack leader. Since the juvenile wolf will almost always lose to the adult the bachelor wolf leaves and becomes a lone wolf or rogue. If he can pull a female along, they may eventually start their own Pack. Most wait and grow stronger with age until they can confront an older Alpha taking their Pack.
"Werewolves are similar. When we are bitten – or a few are born into it – we are the 'cubs' of the Pack. Some seek to become Alphas as they grow into the Pack. It is not just ambition but a power and charisma that make the Alpha Male special. Each Pack has two to forty wolves at any given time. If a potential Alpha Male arises in a Pack he has two choices. Either challenge the current Alpha Male or leave and seek out their own Pack. If a Pack grows too large one of these rogue werewolves may steal some away to form their own Pack.
I am something of an oddity in the Packs. I am considered a rogue but not a potential Alpha. I rejected the werewolf and sought only to keep my humanity. I didn't realize it then but I simply formed a new Pack with the Marauders. James was the Alpha Male of our group and Moony accepted him as such. Lily was the Alpha Female…"
"No shite," Sirius snorted.
"When James and Lily were murdered Moony was devastated. Even more so at the belief that one of our own Pack was responsible. Moony rejected the idea of seeking a new Pack until that night outside Hogwarts when I first saw Harry as the Beast. Now Moony knows the Marauder Pack is reformed with Mr Jack as the Alpha Male. Just my body language would tell every wolf at the Gathering that I was now a Beta in a Pack. If Harry is there they will know who my Alpha is even without the transformation. But I have to attend or every werewolf in Britain will be after my throat. And possibly Harry's too if the Gathering declares him a feral wolf."
"That is indeed fascinating," Dumbledore commented. "I never realized any of this community existed with werewolves. In that case, my I propose this?"
The conversation continued for another three hours. Eventually a plan was hammered out and agreed on. It quickly became apparent to the 'Leader of the Light' that the three Marauders had come to him as allies rather than followers. He actually found the give and take refreshing.
As the Marauders were about to leave, Dumbledore looked over at Harry and said, "I am most impressed with your behaviour and maturity in all of this, Harry. I may not deserve any of the credit but I am proud of you. May I give you a small piece of wisdom I gained too late to help myself?"
Harry nodded looking a bit mystified.
"Harry, I lost the only person I ever loved and the chance to ever have a family of my own. So to fill that void, I became what the Wizarding World needed of me. My work became my life. I would like to think in my pride that the students of Hogwarts are my legacy. Alas, I know that in a generation, I shall be simply a dotty old wizard in a portrait with a name on a brass plate. When all this is over, find someone that completes you and restore the Potter family with many children. Don't lose yourself into your work or what others tell you is your 'duty to the Wizarding World'. Our children are the only true immortality we humans can ever really attain."