X-x-x-x-x chapter 7 x-x-x-x-x-x
It was an unusually hot summer and Harry was glad that he would be done soon with his education. He had never understood why some people thought it would be an honour and a great opportunity to gain emancipation early.
In his eyes it only forced him to grow up faster than his peers. He stared down at his A-level subjects. The first and mandatory four he would finish next summer and then he could think about studying things he would like and not what was expected or needed to study for retaining his companies. He should not have to think about A-levels and NEWTs yet. Harrison was not even fourteen and yet he was almost done with his formal education.
For this early exam the young lord was responsible himself for a change. He did not want to take his NEWTs at the same time as his A-Level exams. In the following year he would take just one or two of the smaller subjects which he found interesting at the same time to keep up appearance in the mundane world … but after the NEWTs he would make a nice long vacation. Maybe a world-tour while Alex was in school then returning for Christmas and taking Alex along and the same till Easter. He would not even need to glamour himself older as he was well known in the mundane world as well. Lord at the age of eleven, successful business man – well teen – and the papers liked to paint him as little genius – much to his distaste. He would not have any trouble to book and travel alone. Not to forget he had several offers from pen pals and business acquaintances all over the world. It was also a great opportunity to practice his language skills. Over the past years he had learnt a lot of languages. To memorise the vocabulary and grammar was easy for him but he had not often the opportunity to practise his language skills.
But this summer Harry had planned one week to Italy -Rome to be precise – right before the Quidditch World Cup. The trip was planned together with Arthur because Alexander had chosen to stay at the burrow with his best friends before they were going to go to the game together and his trip to Rome wasn't all vacation but a business meeting mixed with a bit of sightseeing and education about culture. The younger Potter twin was not that keen on meeting culture and the time table Harry had to fulfil ranged from business meeting to museum trips and sightseeing. Of course another reason could be that the Zabinis were also in Rome that week and Blaise and Harry would meet at some point.
The following week Harry was going to apparate with the oldest Weasley boys while Alex had to take the portkey to the World Cup with the rest.
The young lord put his travelling flyer aside and concentrated on his tasks. Wiztech was developing nicely and the old Potter businesses were not bad either. Wiztech was well known by now for highest technology, computers and games. His little starter pet project was a whole collection of education games – when finished. Well for the mundanes it would be a role-play collection but the story and quests were filled with knowledge about potions, spells, wand movements, even mundane knowledge and more. He had a concept for every age group beginning at the age of five up to preparation for NEWTs. Starting with exercises for literacy and numeracy combined with basic knowledge for mundane and magical alike. The games would be come out for a bigger game console, computer and for a handheld. The console was called Wiz and the handheld Wizgo. Not very creative, but it would be remembered by the population.
Harry was sure that they would be able to introduce games and console onto the market in two years and he would need test players beforehand. Alex and his friends had already promised to test them out when they were done as they were perfect for OWL preparation because they really cover the complete curriculum with options to choose between the different subjects and just in time for them too. He would need to ask not only children but also parents, adult gamers and teachers/professors to test his collection and give them time for improvement suggestions. If everything went according to plan they would be able to introduce console and games a few months after his NEWTs. In the wizarding world all games would be on the market at the same time in the mundane just the primary games and the first year to test if they went down well. In the mundane version the magical knowledge was tuned down to a minimum to keep the storyline in the fantasy genre and both editions had updating options to keep the knowledge in the game up to date with the curriculum and the current status of research.
The whole concept – the design, the story, the characters and quests – was his own work and that made him nervous about the outcome.
While Harry was working on the countless reports of his businesses, his pet project and files on the pending trial of Black, Alex was safely stowed away in Albion, the Potter castle, and took inventory of the books. The library was bigger than the one at Hogwarts and even with the help of the house-elves who had already sorted the books he would spend a lot of time in the castle.
With each passing day Alex was more and more convinced that after he had graduated Harry should live in Albion instead of Sunspring Cottage. It was fitting to his whole image. It was a beautiful castle and it was gigantic. It reminded him of Hogwarts but even more comfortable and not as cold in some places. The library might be bigger than the Hogwarts' library but the castle was smaller than the school. It was even surrounded by a forest and a lake. In his eyes it was a very good plan: Harry got the castle and all the trouble in business and politics and he would keep their cottage and the freedom to choose his own paths.
Alex sighed. They had explored the castle and the grounds before and it was really beautiful but this year he would not have enough time for exploring. He had to be done with the inventory and his dancing lessons before his birthday or else he was not allowed to go to the Quidditch World Cup. He had also no idea what Malfoy had to do as punishment. Harry had only said that Lady Malfoy would take care of this. She already saw the young lord as the future head of house and as a Black by blood she had to respect him or she would risk dissolving her marriage. As the higher house Black could do this and he could reason it with her failure to raise her son properly.
"Young Master Alexander should drink more. Weather not good for health. Too hot and dry." A house-elf appeared and put a tray down on the table next to him.
"Thank you, Tilly." Alex walked over to the tray and downed greedily the offered pumpkin juice. Sighing he looked around.
The books were in several piles on the floor, tables and of course in the shelves and he had just managed to get a sixth of the books listed.
It had been a week since the summer holidays and with them his punishment had started. He had gone already to two dancing lessons and hated it with passion. He had not even Ron with him. A part of the punishment had been that he had to endure it alone. That the library did not make any progress, did not help his mood either.
How could Harry stand all this dancing and bowing and so on... How should he be able to remember all the steps and feel the rhythm and lead his dance partner without stumbling over his own feet.
Alex sighed again. Harry had been dancing since their fifth birthday. His whole posture screamed in a manner of speaking that he was a dancer and martial artist. No one in school – not even Snape with his billowing cloak- was able to pull this off and look like grace and elegance in person without looking ridiculously. Alex was glad that he had only had to learn one dance till the World Cup or he would never be allowed to go.
Harry was envied and admired by most of the students at Hogwarts as far as he had listened to the rumours around school. For most of them his twin was perfect. Perfect marks in school, perfect movements, perfect look, perfect young lord.
But he had not many friends that were able to look behind the scenes and his mask. Harry was tired. Pushed at very young age his magic had found it necessary to boost his memory into perfect recall without being able to forget. When Harry had him research the topic of early emancipation for punishment he had stumbled across another topic: Development of unusual abilities in early childhood. The stronger the magic of a child the higher the chance that they develop in a certain way and they developed certain abilities exceptions were abilities gifted by magic or blood line like Sight, Parseltongue and Metamorph.
It was forbidden to push their child willingly into such things as they bordered often on child abuse because they would need the abilities to survive. Especially purebloods would rather die themselves than abusing their children. Children in the magical world were rarer than in the mundane world and old pureblood families often spoiled their children because of this. Main examples for those unusual abilities were starving children whose magic strengthened their stomach and could even survive on minimum of food for years without any health issues or children who had grown up in dangerous surroundings like a war or on the streets had gained talent for sneaking around and hiding because of an ability to blend in their surroundings or a sixth sense for danger.
It was sad to think about their childhood as dangerous but Harry had not been born with a perfect memory. His good but not perfect marks in his first year of education had proved this but afterwards...
Alex sighed again and picked up his task. He wanted to see the Quidditch World Cup so he had to finish the inventory of the library. There was no use to cry over spilled butterbeer. Harry would not thank him either...
Severus Snape on the other hand suppressed a sigh as he sat through another staff meeting. The last one before their vacation time and the next was scheduled a week before school start. He hoped that they would not talk too long about meaningless topics. He had a date with a beautiful green eyed teen in a few hours. Of course Harrison would not call it a date but their regular meetings were nothing more than friendly but platonic dates as they would marry some day in the future.
The potions master only listened with half an ear to the drabble of his colleagues. It had been always the same for the past three years. Focus on the Potter brat and how the saviour faired in school. It was as suspected and still the same: slightly above average in everything except transfiguration and defence - a James Potter clone of the finest. But at least he knew how he should deal with this one: Taking points, detention and when nothing helped he would sick his older twin on him. That had more effect than the parents of most of his Slytherins and they were almost all intent on appearance. He would never admit it but he liked hinting to Harry that his brother, his friends or any Slytherin had acted out of line. While he could manage anyone very well on his own – as he had done it all the years before and he had done a good job after all - it was simply too amusing to see the older students cowering before the younger teen and the younger ones to worship him. He would miss his presence at Hogwarts when he graduated in two years.
Even as they discussed the Tri-Wizard Tournament he only listened with half an ear. They had discussed it in at least ten other meetings before and while most of the students would not know about it before term start. He somehow knew that the headmaster did not like the age restriction even if he said otherwise. Severus had been a spy for years and he had seen the puppet master behind the grandfatherly face. The old man would have liked to see the brat-who-lived competing. Dumbledore needed his puppet in the limelight.
He should probably warn Harrison, so that he could prepare a defence strategy. The Potter brat –the brat in question was of course Alexander as he would never call his intended a brat - had an affinity towards trouble and would end in the tournament without his older twin.
"Albus, are you sure that the Tournament should be reinstalled? There is a reason why it had been stopped. Don't you think another competition would be better? Like Quidditch or something like this. Perhaps competition in every field for all age groups." Pomona Sprout asked worriedly and voiced the concern of the other teacher as well.
"We, the three ministries, headmasters and board of governors involved, have discussed it and improved the tasks and security arrangements. It will be as safe as possible." Dumbledore assured his staff.
Severus asked himself how safe would be "as safe as possible" when the tournament had cost lives in the past.
A lot of the students would be tempted to try out for eternal glory and fame. As if that really mattered.
Two hours later the potions master was finally free to go. A quick tempus told him that he had just half an hour left to refresh himself and apparate to a small café in London. They could not meet in Hogwarts or Hogsmead as it would be too much cause for rumours and students were not allowed at school during summer holidays even if they were only visiting one of the permanent residents. Spinners End his old home was out of question as it wasn't really inhabitable at the moment. He lived the whole year at the castle there was no need to renovate the hated old house and he did not want to visit Harrison in his home and risk to see even more students, after all Alexander Potter lived there too.
When Severus arrived at Julie's Harry was already waiting for him. He was surrounded by papers and books obviously he had arrived a while ago and had used the calm atmosphere to get some work done.
"Good afternoon, Harrison."
"Good afternoon, Severus. How was the meeting?" Harry smiled and put his papers and books back into his briefcase.
"It was tedious as always. Only ten percent of the staff meeting has been about serious matters the rest about banalities."
"The Triwizard Tournament again?"
Severus blinked surprised. He wasn't surprised that Harrison would mention anything magical in the open. The owner of the small café was actually a witch and there were privacy wards around them that would any magical topic transfer into something mundane and uninteresting for anyone else. Severus had suspected since their first date in the café that it was part of the Potter enterprise.
"How do you know?"
"Have you already forgotten? I have two seats on the Board of Governors and in the Wizengamot. Unfortunately we had not much say in the Tournament. It was accepted by the Ministers and headmasters and headmistress. Should it end badly they will face a lot of trouble but for now most of the others are placated as long as the Tournament gives positive press." Harry explained amused.
"Then there is no need to warn you about Headmaster Dumbledore? He is not happy with the age line even if he says otherwise. I think he wants to show off his boy-who-lived."
"And that is what I have never understood. Why is he that fixated on Alex? We have both survived that night. Not that I'm not glad about it or I would never have my peace from the old coot. I have enough work with keeping Alex's name out of everything." Harry frowned and sipped at his tea.
"Because he survived the killing curse according to Dumbledore. He said something about magical residue in his scar as proof."
Severus scowled at Harrison as he burst out laughing. It was a very atypical behaviour for the mature teen.
"Once more I'm glad that the old coot is just as blind to common sense as the rest of the magical world." The young lord managed to say between his laughs. His bright green eyes were glittering with humour.
"I do not see where the humour hides in this? Your twin has through his scar probably a connection to the dark lord."
"Oh, Severus. The magical residue of the Killing Curse was not in Alex's scar. In his scar is my magical signature as our magic had connected on that night and somehow linked a protection rune to his magical core. The goblin healers did not cut the connection as it was just a protection rune and forming a connection is not unusual between twins. The residue of the Killing Curse was found in my scar." Harry tipped at the lightning bolt on his forehead.
"You are using past tense." Severus stated dryly trying to stomach the information that his fiancé-to-be was the real boy-who-lived.
"The goblin healers at Gringotts eliminated Voldemort's soul fragment just before my fifth birthday. The scar is not removable but harmless. Just a blemish on my skin that is hidden behind my hair most of the time." Harrison smiled at his professor and friend. He knew the older man quite well or else he would not have been able to tell that the other wizard was baffled about the information.
"But Dumbledore was boasting that the connection in his scar and the protection of Lily's love was able to kill the host and ban the residual soul of the Dark Lord." Severus frowned, trying to fill in the new information with known facts.
"Dumbledore sees what he wants to see, Severus. In his belief that Alex's scar is a connection to the fraud lord he fixates on Alex and is blind to anything beyond. I'm just afraid what he will try next."
"Be careful. I think he will try to get your twin into the tournament." Severus mused.
"I have already ordered the rule book together with a few books about magical contracts. They should arrive in a few days. I was warned by more than one side. Even if I'm certain that Lucius Malfoy has no selfless reason for his warning but..."
"Be careful he never does anything without looking out for his own best. He may be my friend but he's a ruthless politician." Severus interrupted but had calmed down enough to enjoy his tea and company.
"I know. I was very surprised that he had mentioned this when passing by. I wonder what he gains with this." Harry leant back.
"Staying on the good side of the true heir of Slytherin if you can believe the rumours that circle among the purebloods." Severus smirked.
Of course the Potions Master had heard the rumours too. A lot of pureblood families had instructed their children to never anger the young lord if not even please him as best as possible hence why he liked to send Harrison to keep the order in their house.
"That's also very unusual for Malfoy. Why should he believe an unconfirmed rumour?" Harry pondered teasingly.
They had never spoken openly about his heritage but Harrison knew that the Bloody Baron might have dropped a hint or two. Thinking about it the Hogwarts' ghosts had probably told at least the Slytherin and Ravenclaw head of house as he was the heir of the two lines.
Not even a week later Harrison startled Alex from his well-earned break.
The slightly older twin looked ready to curse someone as he rushed through the old corridors of Albion.
"Ry?" Alex tried carefully and followed his brother.
The brown eyed twin stopped dead at the door sill when Harry had reached the trainings room and had started throwing spells at the practice dummies. Cursing up a storm. Well – it would have been swearwords if they had been in his daily vocabulary but as they were not, Harry threw actual curses against the trainings dummies while using his own style to voice his displeasure. But Alex was surprised how much anger and frustration could fit into the flowery language of old books.
"That slippery base-born. Honest mistake. As if..."
Alex translated quickly for himself into the more vulgar tongue of the modern teenager: "That slimy/bloody bastard. Honest mistake my arse!"
"Ry?" He tried again.
It was highly unusual for Harry to lose control like this. He had to be always composed and mature so the rare outbursts that were typical for most teenagers were kept in privacy, not even Alex had been witness of such a behaviour... until this day.
"Ry, what's up?" Alex got finally a word between the curses that Harry had thrown around for a while.
"Lucius Malfoy is up! Honest mistake...he lost his position on the Board, but he did not even get a fine...and Fudge has only gotten a slap on his fingers. As if trying to disregard the Wizengamot is a prank of a school boy. Everything was hushed up behind closed doors." Harrison growled, but stopped casting curses.
A clean pop announced the house-elf that brought immediately towel and drinks for their two masters.
"I guess the hearing has ended badly?"
Harry nodded and turned his attention towards the house-elf. He thanked the eager servant and took gladly towel and drink.
"Will Sirius' trial be in danger through this?" Alex bit his lips. He had not forgotten that their godfather was still in the holding cells of the ministry.
Harrison shook his head.
"His case is foolproof. Even if he had killed our parents he would be able to get free because he had never gotten a trial and had spent twelve years in Azkaban. It is going to be a very quick lawsuit as he had agreed to take Veritaserum."
"When Veritaserum is that powerful, why not using it for every cases? And why is he still there?" Alex asked confused.
"The main worry of the ministry is the financial aspect. It is very expensive and they tend to foist the costs off to the convict. In cases of Ministry versus innocent they have to cover the cost themselves which they do not prefer. But the main reason for declining is the risk. It is very powerful but also very dangerous. It is difficult to brew and incorrectly applied or brewed you can lose your magic or even die. You have to be very powerful and in top health condition to stay completely unaffected. It is possible that your magic will act up for weeks if not for months after taking the serum. Sirius Black will probably be very vulnerable for a while. It speaks volumes about his trust in us that he is willing to do this as he will get into our care afterwards."
"Why our care? And you didn't answer my other question." Alex tilted his head and frowned.
"As godsons and blood-adopted sons we are his next of kin – overriding any other blood relation. Technically I'm already an adult so he will be my ward until the mind healers deem him fit enough to stand on his own feet. He is still awaiting his trial because the ministry tries to improve his physical health at least a bit. It would look even worse if Sirius Black, a pureblood heir, would attend his trial half-starved. Especially when he is offering to cover the costs for the serum."
"But what about school? And where will he live?" Alex ranted.
"We have a guest room and Professor Lupin will stay there with him and keep an eye on him while slaving away in our library here in Albion. I offered him a job to sort through the library and update it - Before you can get all flustered and indignant. I offered him board and lodge together with an allowance for looking after our godfather but as they are old friends he declined and I had to try something else to give him a home and money because he didn't want charity. He has even insisted on sharing the guest room with Sirius as long as we put another bed inside and declined any offer to remodel a few rooms. It's probably just for a year or two before Sirius moves back into his old family home in London. I should make a memo to renovate the old building and get it checked."
The trial of Sirius Orion Black, the mass murder, was in the newspapers all over the world and was scheduled a week before the twins' birthday.
Harrison had pulled a few strings and had inforced that the trio had been questioned by Madame Bones in a calmer atmosphere and not in front of the whole courtroom – protection of minors and everything. Some people in the magical world were very, very protective of everyone under the age of sixteen. Anyone who had not sat his or her OWLS were innocent, little children in need of protection from anything bad and disturbing. Well, it worked for Harry and he could keep his twin and friends out of the courtroom. But as he was not technically a minor any more and had passed his OWLs he had to be present at the trial but Black's lawyer had already explained that his presence and the record of the witnesses were only a formality. The aurors had taken a copy of the memories of Alex and his friends and pensive evidence in combination with a voluntary exposure to Veritaserum it would be a fail-proof sentence.
And so Harry sat in the courtroom and watched how the lawyer ripped apart aurors, the Minister and anyone who had just hinted that Sirius Black, the man who was even forced by the ancient godfather and blood adoption rituals to keep the twins safe, was the traitor and murder of that faithful Halloween. A fact that Harrison had not known before. The rituals were very old and fell out of use but were not forbidden and only ancient and very traditional families still used the rites. It was a slap across the face of every present snobbish pureblood that the "white sheep" of the Black family had been honouring the old traditions.
To be honest Harrison had loved the uncomfortable faces of the purebloods like Malfoy, Greengrass and Flint. They had been often the loudest voices of the disgrace of forgetting traditions. It had to be quite deflating that the blood traitor extraordinaire had honoured ancient traditions where they had forgotten about them.
And finally after tiring hours of interrogation and long monologues of the lawyers – the interrogation was short due to the Veritaserum but the monologues were quite unnecessary - the Wizengamot was asked to pass judgement on Sirius Orion Black.
Harrison himself was not allowed to vote as he was a victim.
"Hereby the court declares Sirius Orion Black guilty for being an unregistered animagus, in the case of being the traitor not guilty and also not guilty of the murder of the thirteen muggles and Peter Petigrew. As you had already been incarcerated in Azkaban for 12 years without verdict of guilty you won't get a fine for being an unregistered animagus and receive your Auror salary of the past 12 years as compensation. Sirius Orion Black, hereby you are released into the care of Lord Harrison James Potter on the condition that you attain medical treatment. The Public Relation Department of the ministry will take care of cleaning your name in both realms."
The judge closed the case and Harry went collecting his godfather. The compensation was not as high as expected for twelve years innocent in prison, but that he was an unregistered animagus had kept down the settlement.
"How does it feel to be free again?" Harrison smiled at the big grin plastered on the older man's face.
"Fantastic! Do I really have to meet the healer that soon?" Sirius turned his puppy eyes on his new keeper.
Harrison felt as if he had gained a puppy instead of a godfather, he hoped deeply that he was at least home trained.
"Tomorrow morning at nine o'clock." another voice supplied the time.
"Oh, hello Percy. What are you doing here?" Harrison greeted the third oldest Weasley son while Sirius looked confused from one to the other. Harry had talked with the older teen quite a lot in school and while visiting the Weasleys and had become if not quite friends but at least good acquaintances over the past years.
"I'm the newest try of your Hexagram to give you a personal assistant. I have to say that you have the worst record of keeping one, my lord." Percy drawled. The use of the formal title indicated that he retained the professional level of their new industrial relations.
The use of "my lord" instead of "Lord Potter" told Harry even more... Percy had accepted the family history of the Prewitts: They had been vassals of the House of Potter for centuries.
"Not my fault when three quarter of them thought that they would be bossing around a naive child. They wanted to pull the strings behind the scenes only to learn that I don't have strings." Harry rolled his eyes and waited for Sirius to collect his personal items from the auror.
"And the rest?" Percy Weasley asked neutrally. He knew Harry well enough that he could dare this whole discussion without being too bold as employee.
"Incompetent idiots. I swear some of them thought that they had only to look nice." came the scathing reply.
Harrison was by no means a typical snob or even a tyrant as boss but he expected a certain work ethic and being his PA was a full-time job and he needed people that could think ahead and actually helped him instead of just carrying around his schedule.
"My lord, you have the ideas and I will take care of the details of finalising them. Or will as soon my apprenticeship has reached that point." Percy stated with such conviction that Harry raised an eyebrow at this statement.
"You have just finished school, Percy. You are quite self-opinionated."
"I'm getting training from the Hexagram and Griphook themselves. For now I'm just collecting your ideas and appointments and make sure that everything fits in your day without causing any stress and overtime."
"So you are playing calendar and notebook? I'm doing that on my own quite well since I have been eight."
"You have trice the workload of a normal school boy, my lord..."
"Hey, Bambi. Be easy on the poor guy and your team. They are worried that you will burn out someday." Sirius interrupted and put a comforting hand on the young lord's shoulder.
He might not have been around in the past twelve years but he could understand the worries easily.
"I'm not saying that you didn't do a good job, Harrison. But let me deal with everything that you don't have to do personally. Like your research on the contracts and the Tournament. Learn to delegate more of your work to others." Percy suggested, using the first name to stress that he meant it as a friend and not to get more work.
Harrison sighed and nodded. He should have known that his Hexagram had snitched his newest interest to his new PA and Percy might be not the born researcher but he had a lot of experience as his marks had proved.
"Research the rules and conditions of the tournament and magical contracts. Specialise on the possibilities to get a minor out of a magical contract made for adults."
Percy nodded sharply and bid them goodbye.
"You fear that Prongslet will be entered?" Sirius asked quietly. It did not take a genius that the special research was meant for the younger twin.
"Yes. I'm worried that either a Death Eater or even Dumbledore himself will try something to test or kill my twin. Over the past years there had been the one or other incident that worries me... And where did you come up with these nicknames?" Harry frowned at his godfather. But at least he finally moved again. He led the way to Madame Bones' office because she had given her permission to use her personal fireplace to floo home in hope to avoid the blood hounds of the press that calls themselves reporter.
"Bambi and Prongslet were your dad's favourite nicknames for you two and the rest of us adopted them. Bambi, because your mum liked the film and you were even as little baby more like her than James and Prongslet because Alex had always been a miniature Prongs. Your grandparents had almost accused James that he had found a way to clone himself to create your twin." Sirius smiled fondly at the memories.
"Let's get you home. The floo address is "Sunspring Cottage". I have already registered you to our floo and wards so you can step through. Professor Lupin and Alex are waiting on the other side." Harry explained and waited for his godfather to floo home.
The reunion between the two remaining Marauders was not as flashy as Harry had assumed for them being two pranksters. Remus Lupin seemed just to try to squeeze the life out of their godfather.
"Professor Lupin, you should try to let him breath. I have heard it is positive for his health." Harry teased and Remus let him go and Sirius pulled his other godson into a hug.
"Please, call me Remus. Thank you for everything." the polite werewolf smiled.
"You two have really grown so much. I'm sorry I missed it." Sirius ruffled Alex's hair.
For some reason he could not imagine treating Harrison this way. He appeared too mature for liking this kind of behaviour. It pained him to see the young teen like this. Both of them should have grown up carefree and happy.
"It's not your fault, Sirius." Alex grinned but he was relieved at the same time. He had noticed the sad glint in their godfather's eyes every time he looked at his older twin. It made him hope that the ex-escapee would be able to see behind Harry's mask.
Harry had cleared his timetable for the day and showed Sirius and Remus Sunspring Cottage and explained them the next steps:
The appointments with the mind healer, the arrangements while they were at school and so on.
"What's happening while you are in Rome, Ry?" Alex asked when they had sat down for dinner.
"I might be the temporary guardian of Sirius, but I don't need to be here as long as I can provide for his care. Same rule applies to our return to Hogwarts. I have contacted the mind healer, made the appointments and provided someone who can take care of him during my absence. But you will hardly miss me. You are invited to the Burrow for the week." Harry smiled at Alex's wide grin.
"Arthur has extended the invitation. Both of you are invited as well." Harry looked pointedly at the two adults. While the young lord was not worried that they could not keep themselves fed and healthy during his vacation, but Molly would love to fatten up both men and they would need the exchange with other adults. He had no intention of trapping them in their cottage and the Weasleys were a good start to be back in society.
Harry forced all three wizards into training every morning. He had to convince the sulking dog animagus and his brother with the positive outcome for Quidditch and of course auror work. The whole purpose of the next months to years was to get Sirius back into his old job. Madame Bones had already told him that he could have his old position back if he stayed in training. So the young lord had decided to give them all a light workout to build up stamina and mobility before he would start on duelling. As long as Sirius' system was not clear of the Veritaserum it was a high risk for him to hurl spells around but physical health could accelerate the recovery. Remus and Alex had to take part so everyone was included - and to stop Sirius from sulking.
For Harrison the rest of the summer passed far too fast for that many events.
His trip to Rome had been pleasant and educative. The camping trip with the Weasleys had been fun and the Quidditch World Cup?
The game itself had been great but Harry could have done without the panic afterwards. Some idiot had cast the dark mark into the sky and a muggle family had been attacked. A house elf had been accused of wand theft – his twin's wand – and Hermione had gone up the wall about house elf rights and freedom. While the bystanders had been leaving slowly and while Hermione had been ranting about the unfairness Harry had felt the shift in his magic. He had not felt it completely before with Dobby but this time it had not surprised him. So he had just sighed and told Winky quietly to go to Albion.
Arthur Weasley had thanked him again and again for working for Wiztech as he had not to deal with the ministry disaster of the World Cup.
Harrison had been able to see Hermione ranting again after the Sorting at Hogwarts and Dumbledore's announcement about the lack of Quidditch and the Triwizard-Tournament. He was able to guess the topic quite easily.
It was already end of October and Harry had not much time on hand. In a few months he would take his A-Levels and sixth year at Hogwarts was preparation for the NEWTs as well. So it had become less usual to find his brother and friends in his rooms. They still met regularly and Alex had learnt his lesson after the last year to that he kept his brother informed. Right now the most favourite topic to rant about was S.P.E.W. Harry was tempted to throw them out.
Then Alex made the mistake to mention that they had several house elves working for them.
"I can't believe you! How could you! That's slavery!" She shrieked and tried immediately to spread self-knitted hats around Harry's rooms.
"Hermione Jane Granger, cease this atrocious behaviour this instant! I can't believe that you would recommend murder in your ignorance!" Harrison snarled dangerously.
"Mu..murder?" Hermione gasped.
"House elves are dependent on a magical bond with another magical source. It can be a family, a person or even old magical buildings like Hogwarts herself. Without the bond their magic would kill them."
"But they are mistreated! And Dobby and Winky..." Hermione trailed off, grasping at straws.
"Inform yourself about the history, the magic and genetics of house elves before you do something stupid like freeing healthy elves. Not every house elf is mistreated. Usually they are part of the family and they are seeing their meaning in life to take care of their family. Not as servants but as family members. In front of outsiders they will do anything to keep up appearance, but at home they can be quite bossy if they think you don't take your health or studies and work seriously enough."
"But Dobby is fine!" Hermione tried again desperately.
"He was mistreated in front of witnesses. Mistreatment weakens the bond to a house elf, but Dobby was mistreated in front of a member of the Potter family." Harry pointed to Alex.
"What has this to do with the mistreatment?" Hermione snapped. Surprisingly Ron had not opened his mouth till now.
"I heard old stories from Aunt Myriel. There are a few old family lines that take mistreated house elves in."
"Correct, Ron. The Potters and the Longbottoms are the most famous families amongst them. Hogwarts herself takes in unfairly freed house elves too. Our family magic collects them automatically if they are freed or mistreated in our presence."
"So he is bonded to you?" Hermione asked weakly.
"Yes, but as it had been Alex to witness his release but inside of Hogwarts his magic was confused to which source he was bound. When Alex had accepted his presence at Hogwarts as employed to the school, he transferred guardianship of Dobby to the school. As I have never been informed I could not strengthen the bond so it was a loose bond that was transferred easily. Our ancestors had never intended to keep all house elves, but had been searching for new homes."
"Hey, big bro why have you never told me..." Alex trailed off as soon as he saw Harry raising an eyebrow. "er... let me guess you have?" He finished a bit sheepishly.
"I'm aware that you have a strong dislike towards History but I had thought you liked to hear about our ancestors?" The older twin drawled teasingly.
"But Harry, why do they need to be bound?" Hermione was not able to let this drop.
"No one really knows. That belongs to house elf lore and they keep it to themselves. There are rumours about a ritual gone wrong or even a punishment of magic herself but the truth is not known by anyone outside."
The friends were able to tell that Hermione did not like the new information. She wanted to solve the mystery about the slavery. Harrison assumed that the lioness would spend a lot of time in the library in order to collect any reference of house elves but at least she did stop endangering the loyal creatures.
Harry stared at the goblet of fire in disdain. That stupid thing practically screamed danger. His own opinion about the whole thing was well known by everyone in Hogwarts. So was the vow on his magic by Alex. Alexander had promised Harrison in front of all of their friends and several bystanders that he would not even try to find a way to get into this madness.
The principle to meet the other school was great and Harry was not against it but why could they not use a less dangerous competition? Or perhaps a student exchange programme...
Harrison shook his head and turned away from the goblet. By now several students had thrown their names into the goblet and a few more had tried to circumvent the age barrier with potions and spells for now no one had succeeded. He tried to see the tournament in a better light. He had a chance to practise his language skills and made acquaintances with some of the foreigners. The first contact had been painfully easy. A fourteen year old in sixth year classes was quite noticeable and it got around quickly that he was able to speak their native language. So he had been called to a few groups as translator.
"You don't like it, Harrison?" a male voice with heavy accent asked.(1)
The young lord turned around and saw Viktor Krum. As celebrities of their own kind they had understood each other immediately without any worshipping. Harry was tired of being called cute especially by the French girls from Beauxbatons.
"I just wish the magical society would find a way to meet without endangering others, Viktor." He replied in fluent Bulgarian his accent only slightly off.
"You got quite well at my native tongue."
"You are just a few days here, but I have got a bit of practise since your arrival."
Viktor chuckled and looked back at the goblet.
"Let's go outside, less chance to run into the girls."
Harry rolled his eyes and asked himself how it was possible to gain that much attention in the day that the other schools were at Hogwarts.
"Alex Potter!" Dumbledore announced the fourth champion to everyone's surprise. Alex had made a vow. He could not have entered himself.
Harrison frowned and walked together with Alex to the Antechamber.
"But I did not enter!" Alex protested. He was white as a sheet.
"How did you hoodwink an ancient artefact?" Karkoroff scoffed.
"Alex, did you ask an older student to enter your name?" Dumbledore asked as soon as he arrived in the chamber.
Chaos broke out. Everyone complained about unfairness, about illegal behaviour and so on.
"I'm afraid you will have to compete, Alex." Dumbledore declared gravely but Harrison did not buy it. His eyes were still twinkling.
"As the guardian of Alexander Sirius Potter, I declare the contract for null and void." Harry stated plainly.
"Firstly Alexander is still a minor and is therefore not able to enter any contract - magical or not. Secondly the name that was entered is not his real name. It is a nickname and therefore not binding in a contract and thirdly Alexander has made an oath on his magic not even to try to find a way into the tournament. Alex, please levitate the pillow over there." He continued coldly. He knew that he had to voice the reasons why the contract was invalid.
Alex cast the wingardium leviosa at once and he had no trouble to levitate the pillow.
"But Harry, my boy, his name is still in the contract." Dumbledore placated.
The goblet glowed shortly and the name on the fourth parchment disappeared.
"I think that was all, was is not, Headmaster?" Harry raised an eyebrow and Dumbledore nodded smiling.
"Alex, we go." The Potter twins walked out of the room followed closely by their heads of houses.
"We will escort you back to your common rooms." McGonagall explained shortly.
"Harry, why did you not press charges to find the culprit? It's not usual for you to let something like this slip." Alex asked quietly but the two professors heard him nevertheless.
"Dumbledore would find a way to sweep this under the carpet. The media and the ministry are busy enough with the tournament so he would not even have to work hard."
Severus had waited till the two Gryffindors were out of audible range.
"Do you want to address the Slytherins by yourself or would you prefer my official statement?" The professor knew that his snakes would accept Harry's words as well as his own announcement but he would give the young lord a chance to escape into his personal rooms.
"I think I can manage them. I fear Dumbledore will call you in later."
"No doubt there."
The Slytherins in their common room were polite enough to let Harry come in and gave him a chance to explain before pestering him with questions.
"My twin was entered against his will, so I could get him out. He has still his magic to proof." Harry announced curtly. His housemates had known about the promise and just nodded before going their own ways.
"Why him, Harrison?" Blaise asked when the younger boy sat down at the fire the best place in the common room. Draco, Pansy and Theodore joined them as well as the one or other of his year mates.
"He's the boy-who-lived. He is walking trouble." Draco snorted.
"But Harry is also the boy-who-lived. They have both survived that Halloween. I read it in an article for history last week." Terence Jaden a sixth year reminded them.
"Oh, I forgot." Draco said quietly.
"You and the rest of the wizarding world, Draco. You are in the best company." Harry teased.
"Dumbledore has pushed the image of Alex as the boy-who-lived so much into the front that people tend to forget this little detail. But somehow I'm grateful for this. Could you imagine me being the cover-boy for this farce?"
Few days later Harry had never been happier to have been successful in getting his twin out of the tournament as on the day of the first task. Dragons – they had arranged dragons for the first task and not the calmer one but nesting mothers that were protecting their eggs. Harry wondered where the animal rights activists were when they were needed. The next step was the Yule Ball. Harry was glad that he had forced Alex into the dancing lessons as he watched his twin on the dance floor with one of the Patil twins while Ron tried to dance with the other one. Hermione had been asked by Viktor and had caused quite an argument between the trio. Harry had to admit she had smartened up quite nicely.
"'Arry? Want to dance?" Fleur asked him nicely. She had not cared about the age difference and had asked him out for the ball. She was a Delacour and she deserved the best...and someone had to protect the sweet little lord from the high amount of prestige seekers. A lot of girls had tried to get his attention. The little boy might be a genius but he had no experience with women. That he was a real gentleman was a bonus on top.
Harry let her her believes and enjoyed the dancing proving that he was quite capable of most complicated steps and rhythms. Once in a while he felt certain black eyes on his back.
"Alex, has your brother to be always so perfect?" Ron groaned after his Patil twin had gushed about Harry again – more likely not liking to be ignored by Ron.
"Long years of practice, Ron. Aunt Petunia had forced him into lessons since the day she had learnt that he had to become a lord."
"I don't mean the dancing – well that too- but he even got the veela for his date!" Ron whined enviously.
"And yet he doesn't want to be here. He hates the balls and I bet he would have liked to spend his evening with his project or with a good book. And I wonder when he will snap. He hates it when people go all "oh he's so cute and small. I have to protect him from the bad bad world." Look at them! How she's trying to mother him and he only smiles. People take one look at his appearance and his age and forget that he has been emancipated for four years now. Being the youngest in any classes must be terrible."
"You are also the youngest student in our classes, Alex." Ron deadpanned.
"Yeah, but we are still the same age. He is the youngest in his class by two years."
The second task was in February and it was cold. And again Harry was questioning the common sense of the headmasters and headmistress and the officials of the Tournament. The champions had to rescue someone from the Black Lake. That he was not ranting non-stop in the Board meetings or other occasions was only due to his upbringing.
The evening after the second task found Harry in Severus' rooms lying on the coach.
"Harrison, are you alright?" Severus asked concerned when he came back from his kitchenette with two cups of tea. The lost in posture was definitively not usual behaviour for the Potter Lord.
"When you accept the definition "alright" as in "so glad that I could give Percy Weasley a bonus for every task Alex had not to do" then sure, I'm alright." Harry muttered.
Slowly he sat up again and sighed. Here in the quarter of his fiancé-to-be he could allow himself to let lose for a bit.
"Who did, in Salazar's name, plan this madness?" The young wizard asked and accepted his tea.
"The ordinary wizard and witch is not known for common sense, Harrison." Severus drawled darkly. A glance at the man told him that he was amused by his lack of decorum.
"I'm afraid what the third task will bring."
"Should you not worry more about your A-Levels in two months? The exams are a month before the last task."
"And why do I have the bad feeling I should worry more about the trice-damned tournament?"
x-x-x-x-x-x chapter 7 end x-x-x-x-x-x
AN Hi, my dear readers. Thank you for the support and everything. This chapter had taken a lot of time first because LibreOffice tells me it counts 19pages and second I needed a lot of planning what to do. I was not quite certain what to do with the tournament and more importantly with Voldy because I had changed quite a few little but important details that die not fit any more if I had stayed in canon too much.
As you probably have noticed my story "Soulbooks" had been deleted by this page. At least AO3 had given me enough time to do it myself. Ffnet simply killed it. With the deletion came another writers block and the musing about writing a blog where I could write about blocks, ideas, musings and other projects. Problem:
I don't know where XD I have a deviant art account but I think no one would read it there. Livejournal – my account is several years old has only one or two entries and posting Soulbooks there is a bit complicated with the amount of bold and italic lines...
I have also created a tumblr account to take a look but I don't think that is my cup of tea. I have also a facebook account under my penname... which I used to play games and nothing more^^.
If you have any suggestions and more importantly any interest in reading a blog and comments about my current writings than please tell me so.
(1) I'm still unable to write accents properly so I will still not torture you with a botched up attempt. There are just a few things I can write with accent like the h for French.
Edit on 20.10.14
After a big break because of real life, I had to uninstall and reinstall my software but now my spell checker is working again. In addition julesa66 has offered to be my beta. Two worlds is now checked, beta-read, corrected and a few small parts were re-written. As soon as we have worked through my existing chapters I will continue posting and I hope you don't find more offending mistakes. But keep in mind that I'm using British English ;)