The Knights of the Founders
By J.C. Vascardi

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Disclaimer: All characters and places featured in this story that relate to Harry Potter are the property of J.K. Rowling, various publishers, and Warner Brothers. I'm not profiting on this story and it is not my intent to infringe on anyone's copyright or trademark. The only things about this story that I own are the characters and storylines not featured in the books.

Established Pairings: Past Harry/Cedric

Eventual Pairings: Harry/OMC, plus others I choose not to reveal at this time.

Entire Series Warnings: Alternate Universe, Slash, Original Characters, Language, Violence, M/M Sex, M/M/M Sex, and the Possibility of Mpreg (I'm currently undecided)

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Chapter One:

Memories

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As the moon rose above Privet Drive, a teenage boy with a mess of raven black hair sat alone in his small upstairs bedroom. If anyone had been in the room with him, they would have heard the sniffles and seen the tears that occasionally ran down his cheeks as he looked through a leather-bound photo album. For the boy, fifteen-year-old Harry James Potter, looking through this album was never easy as it only served to remind him of everyone that he'd lost. Contained within were pictures of his parents, who'd died when he was only a little over a year old. There were also pictures of his godfather who had died just a few short months ago. The pictures that brought the most tears to Harry's eyes, however, were those of a handsome, brown-haired, grey-eyed young man of seventeen who had died way too young. This young man was Cedric Diggory, wizard, Hufflepuff, and Harry's first love.

Harry sobbed softly as his fingers traced over one of the moving pictures of his beloved, if secret, boyfriend. Very few people had known that Harry and Cedric were dating during what would have been Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts, which was Cedric's sixth. They weren't ashamed of their relationship, quite the contrary, but they did believe that people would think it was unfair if they found out that Hogwarts' two Triwizard Champions were more than friends. So, they kept their relationship a secret, meeting up in town during Hogsmeade weekends or sneaking off together to the Room of Requirement.

The picture Harry was currently looking at was taken the weekend before the Third Task of the Triwizard. Cedric and Harry had been in the Room of Requirement, which had taken on the look of a tropical beach. It had been Cedric who had imagined that particular destination for the room to create, basing it on the island of Martinique where he'd gone with his parents a few times when he was younger. He'd always enjoyed it and wanted to share it with Harry.

Despite the sadness he felt at looking at Cedric's picture, Harry couldn't help but grin and shake his head as he thought, "Aunt Petunia would be furious if she saw this picture." The reason he thought that was because while his aunt had usually always spoiled his cousin Dudley rotten, giving him whatever he wanted, there was one thing that she refused to allow him to have. That one thing was pornography of any kind. She had nearly struck Dudley for the first time in his life when she found a copy of Playboy in his sock drawer while putting away laundry. Petunia managed to restrain herself but had marched Dudley downstairs, by the ear no less, and forced him to burn it in the fireplace. Once it was done, she made it clear that if he ever brought that filth into her home again it would be the last mistake he ever made. So why would Harry's aunt be furious if she saw the picture of Cedric? Simply put it was because this particular picture showed Cedric sunbathing on a beach, completely naked.

"Oh Cedric," Harry thought, as he sniffed and wiped a tear from his eye. "Damn Wormtail and Voldemort. Damn them both to the Hells for taking you from me."

Harry's painful trip down memory lane was cut short moments later when a loud voice yelled from downstairs, "BOY! GET DOWN HERE!"

Closing the photo album and stowing it under the loose floorboard beneath his bed, Harry grabbed a tissue and dried the tear tracks from his face, blew his nose, and headed out of the room. He hoped that his relatives wouldn't see any trace that he'd been crying, as he knew that would only make them happy. Arriving downstairs, he found his only living family, the Dursleys, seated in the living room watching the television show that they usually watched following dinner. The dirty dishes were still on the table, along with the scraps of leftovers that his obese Uncle Vernon and equally obese cousin Dudley didn't eat. With their backs turned to him, all engrossed in the television show they were watching, none of them saw Harry, let alone any hint that he'd been crying. His uncle obviously knew he was there, however, as it wasn't long before he said, "Clear the dishes, boy."

Nodding silently and restraining the urge to sigh, Harry set to the task of clearing the dishes and taking them into the kitchen to be washed. All that was left from dinner was a single slice of cold roast beef and a dinner roll, which Harry set aside as he did the dishes. Once they were all washed, dried, and stacked neatly back in the cupboards, Harry tore open the roll and put the roast beef inside of it. He'd been deprived of both breakfast and lunch due to not finishing his earlier chores in as timely a manner as the Dursleys desired. So, the food tasted good going down, although it was definitely a very meager dinner. Harry was used to it, however, as the Dursleys had never fed him much to begin with. He wasn't starving, however, as unbeknownst to his relatives his friend Ron's mother sent packages of food along with the frequent letters that Ron, and his brothers, Fred and George, sent over the summer.

Of course, there was another person who sent him frequent letters that also included food. That person was sixteen-year-old Noah Diggory, who was Cedric's younger brother. Harry had gotten to know Noah while he was dating Cedric, but they hadn't hung out that much until after Cedric's untimely passing. Now, this wasn't because Harry didn't like Noah, because he did, but it's that Harry had had a tendency to spend the majority of his free time with Cedric. Being in love, that was probably natural. Once Cedric had died, however, Harry and Noah did gravitate more towards each other, as they were both in mourning over the loss and thus they had become good friends. Of course, towards the end of Harry's fifth year, which had been Noah's sixth, Noah mustered his courage and confessed to Harry that he'd like to be more than friends. Harry said he wasn't ready for another relationship, which at the time, was very true. He was still trying to get over losing Cedric, as it had been just over a year at that point and he wasn't ready to date anyone.

Having now had the summer to think about it, however, Harry had come to a few conclusions. One was that he knew that Cedric would want him to be happy and part of that meant that he find someone to love. Although, Harry was still very unsure how his late boyfriend would feel if that person was his younger brother. Technically, they were only step-brothers as Cedric's father had married Noah's mother when Cedric was 12 and Noah was 10, but in the five years between that time and Cedric's death, they'd developed a strong bond as they'd both always wanted a brother, but had never had one prior to that. Even without spending a ton of time with Noah while Cedric was alive, Harry could see that they were close and genuinely loved each other, despite only knowing each other for about seven years. The first two being when their parents were dating and the last five after they'd gotten married.

The second thing Harry realized was that he had to admit that he did find Noah to be attractive. Certainly not in the same way as Cedric, but the attraction was still present. If he were completely honest with himself, he knew it was there for the last couple months of school, but had steadfastly ignored it as he simply hadn't been ready to date anyone. Of course, a part of him still felt that he wasn't ready, but Noah had made it clear that if Harry was willing to be more than friends with him, they could go as slow as Harry wanted. And if friendship was all Harry was comfortable with, then Noah assured him he could be content with that and would do his level best to get over his feelings, as he didn't want anything to be awkward between them.

Harry sighed and shook his head to clear it of the confusing thoughts that were going through it and had been for the last few weeks. Popping the last bit of his meager dinner into his mouth, he had just finished chewing when his Aunt Petunia's voice carried into the kitchen. "Boy, get out here."

With a deep breath, Harry walked into the living room and asked, "Yes, Aunt Petunia?"

It was Uncle Vernon who answered. "I got a raise at work and I'm taking the family on holiday to the south of France."

'Let me guess, I'm not invited,' Harry thought. Not that he really wanted to go on vacation with his relatives. He wouldn't mind visiting France and many other places at some point, as not counting the trips to Martinique he'd taken with Cedric in the Room of Requirement, Harry had never been anywhere outside of the United Kingdom. A fact which annoyed him to no end, as all of his friends had taken at least one vacation with their families over the summers. Making it worse was the fact that his friends liked talking about them, thus forcing Harry to listen to all the details, before he in turn had to come up with a reason for why he never had his own vacation stories to tell. Ron and Hermione knew, of course, and thus didn't pester him about it as much, but the same couldn't be said for the others in his year.

"You're not invited," Dudley said, in a rather dull voice, that Harry noted didn't have as much venom as he usually would have expected from his cousin. Of course, Harry had noticed that Dudley seemed to be making an effort to be if not nicer to him, then to at least not be quite as mean as he had been in the past. Looking back on the time he'd spent with his cousin, Harry had pinpointed that the change seemed to happen after the Dementors had attacked Privet Drive. He wasn't sure what Dudley might have seen while the foul creatures were around him, but he'd obviously seen something that had changed him. Of course, Harry could understand how that might be true, because he still occasionally had nightmares about what he saw anytime a Dementor was around.

Harry didn't say anything in response to the confirmation, because he'd expected it and his Uncle Vernon was talking almost as soon as Dudley finished. "Now the only problem is what we're going to do with you, boy. I don't want your unnatural self alone in my house. We already called Mrs. Figg and she can't take you, and your Aunt Marjorie is going with us to France."

'Thank Merlin for that,' Harry thought. His opinion of Mrs. Figg had changed a bit since his trial before the Wizengamot last year, as he now knew that she was a squib. So, he wouldn't have minded staying with her quite as much, although her cats were still a bit much to deal with. And, of course, if he was given the choice, he'd much rather chew off his own arm than go and stay with Aunt Marge, Ripper, and her other bulldogs – all of whom, thanks to lots of reinforcement from Marge, hated Harry with a passion. After a moment of silence, Harry said, "If you'll allow me to let Hedwig out of her cage, I can send out a few letters. I have some friends from school that would probably let me come and stay with them for the rest of the summer."

"So, we wouldn't see you again until next summer?" Vernon asked, raising an eyebrow as he considered that.

"Correct," Harry answered.

After a moment of silence, Vernon shook his head and said, "Fine, you can let the bloody bird out of its cage and send your letters. But I'm warning you now, boy. We're leaving in four days. If you haven't made arrangements by then, it'll be the street for you when we lock up the house and leave. Do I make myself clear?"

"Crystal clear, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied, before he headed up to his room to get started on his letters.

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An hour later, Harry was opening his bedroom window and attaching two letters to Hedwig's leg. "Take these to Ron and Noah, okay girl?" After a second of thought, he added, "Best go to Noah's first though, as you know Ron will be jealous if he sees the letter for Noah."

Hedwig nodded her head and hooted in understanding, as Harry fed her an owl treat and petted her white plumage. A moment later, Hedwig spread her wings and flew out the window, leaving Harry to wonder just who would respond first. Not for the first time, he thought that it would be nice if Ron wasn't jealous whenever Harry seemed to be making friends with someone that wasn't him. Ron didn't seem to mind Harry being friends with Hermione, mainly because Harry suspected that Ron was harboring romantic feelings for her that he was just too tongue-tied to tell her about. As for everyone else though, Harry had seen the looks that Ron had given people behind their backs when it appeared that they were getting too close to his friend.

'I'm not your possession, Ron,' Harry thought to himself. He could understand that Ron felt like he was always competing with his older brothers and that there was nothing special he could do because his brothers had already done it before. This was, in turn, why Harry suspected that Ron was so possessive about their friendship. Ron was the first of the Weasleys to make friends with Harry and being the first and best friend of The Boy Who Lived was Ron's claim to fame, so to speak. So, he didn't really like it when Harry began making other friends. 'I'll have to have a talk with him at some point,' Harry thought with a sigh. 'Hopefully without the drama that tends to ensue whenever I say or do something that he doesn't like.' Thinking back to the Triwizard Tournament, Harry thought, 'Or when he only thinks I've done something.'

Being just after eight according to the digital clock on his bedside table, Harry stripped down to his boxers and crawled into bed. It was still pretty early to be going to bed, but Harry didn't have anything better to do and he knew that he'd probably be expected to be up at the crack of dawn to make breakfast for the Dursleys, before working all day in the garden. So, it was best for him to get as much sleep as possible while he could.

It was about four hours later that Harry awoke with a start, after feeling a hand on his shoulder shaking him and a soft voice calling out, "Harry? Harry, are you awake?"

Blinking the sleep out of his eyes and reaching over to his nightstand for his glasses, Harry put them on and then pulled the chain on his bedside lamp. He was quite shocked to find a pajama-clad Dudley standing in his room.

"Did you want something, Dudley?" Harry asked.

Dudley was silent for a moment, before he nodded and pulled the chair from Harry's desk over as quietly as he possibly could and sat down. "I was wondering about that night."

Harry was confused as he asked, "What night?"

"When the whats its attacked," Dudley asked. "You got a warning letter from your school."

"Oh, you mean the Dementors," Harry said and Dudley nodded. "And the letter wasn't from my school. It was from the Ministry."

"The Ministry?"

"Yeah, Dudley, the Ministry for Magic," Harry said. "It's magical Britain's government body, led by the Minister for Magic, who's sort of like the Prime Minister."

"Ah, okay," Dudley said. "What were those Dementor things again? I remember that Mum recognized what they were, but I don't remember what she said."

"They guard Azkaban - the wizard's prison," Harry replied. "They leave you feeling cold and depressed, because they feed on your happy memories, leaving you with only the less than happy ones. And they can also kiss you, which would be a very bad thing."

"Why?"

"Because they suck out your soul when they do that," Harry answered. "Doesn't kill you, but it does leave you as a soulless shell. You wouldn't be able to walk, talk, or basically do anything. It's irreversible and there's no effective treatment, so you'd be like that until your body failed and you die."

Dudley shivered and remained silent for a moment, as Harry wondered why Dudley had come into his room after midnight to talk to him about the magical world. He was usually terrified of magic, ever since Hagrid had given him that pig's tail. The twins' Ton-Tongue Toffees hadn't helped matters either, of course. Harry was just about to ask his cousin why he'd woke him up when Dudley said, "When the Dementors were attacking, I saw myself for what I really am."

A confused Harry turned his head to one side as he asked, "What do you mean?"

"A spoiled and cruel bully," Dudley answered. "To several people, but to you most of all, Harry." With a sigh, he added, "You never really did anything to deserve it either. I suppose the driving force behind my being so mean to you over the years is because Mum and Dad seemed to like it when I was and I'd get rewarded."

Harry knew only too well that his aunt and uncle had rewarded Dudley several times over the years for being mean to him. So, he could understand how Dudley might think it was the right thing to do, with his parents giving him positive reinforcement for doing it. Not to mention watching his parents treating Harry like he was a lower life form. Given the circumstances, it was probably only natural that Dudley turned into the holy terror that he'd become.

After a moment of silence, Harry asked, "Is that why you seem to be leaving me alone more?"

Dudley nodded. "I regret the way I've treated you, Harry." Looking around him for a moment, almost as if he was afraid someone might be watching or listening, he then added in almost a whisper, "I'm sorry."

Harry remained quiet for a moment as he just looked at his cousin, who squirmed a bit under his green-eyed gaze. With a sigh, he said, "I forgive you, Dudley."

Dudley's face brightened at that, before turning somber once more as he asked, "There is something I've always wondered."

"What's that?"

"I know what I saw around those Dementor things," Dudley answered. "But, what did you see?"

'It's a fair question, I suppose,' Harry thought, as he took a moment to gather his thoughts, before he said, "My parents' last moments."

"What?" Dudley asked, in an unsure tone. Whatever he'd been expecting his cousin to say, that was clearly not it.

"I can hear my Dad talking," Harry said. "He says 'He's here - take Harry and run, I'll hold him off.' Mum took me up to my nursery and the next thing I know I'm in my crib with my Mum standing in front of me."

"Who's he?" Dudley interrupted.

"Voldemort," Harry answered. "He's a very evil wizard who has killed or tortured hundreds of people. My parents were members of a group that fought against him. Anyway, by the time that he was up in my nursery, he'd already killed my Dad and my Mum was pleading with him to spare me and take her instead. That's what I hear and see whenever Dementors are around - my parents' voices, Voldemort laughing, and a flash of green."

"Flash of green?"

Harry nodded. "The Killing Curse produces a sort of green mist from the tip of a wand when its cast. The death is instant and a muggle doctor would be unable to find a cause of death. It would appear as if the person just dropped dead for no apparent reason." After a moment of silence, Harry added, "Anyway, Voldemort killed my parents and then he tried to kill me, but for some reason his curse backfired and hit him instead. That's how I got my scar, when the Killing Curse hit me and rebounded against Voldemort."

Dudley was speechless for several minutes as he tried to process what Harry had just told him. He didn't understand many of the magical concepts, but one thing he could understand is that his cousins' parents had been murdered and that Harry had witnessed his mother's murder. Dudley shivered as he didn't even want to think about such things. True, he'd only been a baby at the time, but still no child should ever see their mother murdered right before their eyes. When he finally managed to speak, he said, "Well, at least he's dead."

With a sigh, Harry said, "I wish that was true."

Confused, Dudley asked, "What do you mean?"

"Voldemort had taken precautions, I guess," Harry said. "When the curse hit him, his body was destroyed but his spirit remained. He remained without a body for several years, but then he performed a ritual towards the end of my fourth year at Hogwarts which restored him to a body. Nobody believed it at first and for most of my last school year, people thought I was lying."

"Do they still think that?"

Shaking his head, Harry said, "No, they know he's back now. Towards the end of this past school year, his followers attacked the Ministry and he showed up in person. My headmaster dueled with him and then Fudge and the Aurors showed up just in time to see him, before he could Apparate away."

"Fudge? Aurors? Apparate?" Dudley asked, clearly confused.

Harry smiled. "Cornelius Fudge, the Minister for Magic. Aurors are kind of like magical policemen. And Apparating is a form of teleportation that witches and wizards can do."

"Wow," Dudley said. "Can you do it?"

"No, you have to be 17 and licensed," Harry answered. "It's like getting a driver's license actually."

At this point, Dudley yawned and said, "Well, I guess I should be getting back to bed."

"Yeah, sleep well, Dudley," Harry said, as his cousin stood up and replaced the desk chair.

"You too, cousin," Dudley said, before he left the room.

Harry just sat there for a few minutes, unable to believe what had just happened. 'Did I actually just have a civil conversation with Dudley? Talk about a miracle.' Shaking his head, Harry took off his glasses and set them on the nightstand, before turning off his lamp and settling back down into bed.

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To be continued.

So there's the rewrite of Chapter One of 'The Return of the Heirs', now called 'The Knights of the Founders'. I changed the title of the story because I didn't want there to be any confusion between the two different versions of the story. Although the original version has been taken down from the sites it was posted on and will only be reposted into the Files section of my Yahoo group once this version reaches a point that all the major plot points that were covered in the original have been dealt with in this version, thus eliminating the possibility of storyline spoilers. The original version of this story was Harry/Draco, but this won't be. My love for that pairing has waned dramatically over the last couple of years and I just wasn't able to bring myself to work on it. With this rewrite, however, I don't think that will be a problem any longer.

Also, just to let you know, for the time being at least, barring any unforeseen complications, new chapters of this story will be posted on the 1st and the 15th of every month. Should this schedule change, I'll be sure to let you know. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, I'd love to hear them, so feel free to review and let me know what you're thinking.