Chapter Three

I do not own Harry Potter or any of its affiliated properties. This is a work of fiction written with no intents for profit in any monetary sense.

"This is fucking bullshit."

"Aster, baby, relax! I said we'd be on time and we will. Shit, calm down. Oh, crap. Hey honey, have you seen my Rolex? I can't find it. Do you remember where I tossed it before we went to bed last night?"

"I think it's under the bed. Harry, for real. Let's go. It's not like we're gonna forget anything we can't just re-buy in London. I'm going to be pissed if we miss our portkey."

"We're not going to miss our portkey dear. Ah-ha! Found it. You're a genius. All right, everything ready? You all packed?"

Aster leveled her best glare at her brother.

Chuckling, Harry said, "Okay, okay. Seriously baby, you need to chill out. We've still got five minutes." Harry walked up behind Aster once he'd fastened his watch around his left wrist and began kneading her shoulders, noting how tense her muscles were. "You seem stressed…You're not nervous, are you? I know that we're pretty famous back across the pond, but it's been sixteen years, I doubt we'll be hot news for too long. Once the inevitable media shit-storm blows over we can just focus on kicking ass in the different tournaments and competitions, yeah?" he said with his signature grin blaring full-force before he snaked his arms around Aster's belly and pressed a kiss onto the side of her neck.

Harry and Aster were heading over to Scotland with a delegation from the Salem Witches' Institute to participate in the first ever Poly-Magical Meet at Hogwarts. Normally, as a male, Harry wouldn't be permitted attendance with the all-girl delegation, but both he and his sister were special cases. Harry and Aster were both technically signed up as pupils at the Institute, but they really only took their magical exams there. Most of their magical education had come from private tutors the two had paid to teach them during the summers when they were away from their muggle prep school, the Trinity School in Manhattan. Between their expensive summer instruction, self-study, and personal brilliance, the twins were a little ahead of their seventh year counterparts in terms of theoretical knowledge, and a lot ahead in terms of practical magical skill, especially in regards to their respective fields of expertise; Aster's being healing magics and Harry's being transfiguration. All that magical prowess was on top of their spectacular muggle education.

Harry and Aster had graduated early last year from Trinity, with Aster taking the position of first in their class with Harry being second. Doors had opened left and right for the two after graduation, with universities near and far vying for their attention. After much discussion however, Harry and Aster decided to postpone any secondary muggle education and explore their magical options. It was pure happenstance that the Poly-Magical Meet would make its debut this year. Both twins recognized the Meet as a wonderful opportunity to explore their options in the magical world and make connections. Not to mention the whole thing sounded like a ton of fun, as well. And so the two talked Mrs. Anderson, the principal of Salem Witches' Institute (The Institute for short) into letting them attend the Meet under the school's banner. It wasn't hard, especially considering how hard Mrs. Anderson was trying to get the two to apply for teaching positions next year.

Aster focused on the feel of Harry's arms around her belly, her back flush against his chest. Honestly, she wasn't too nervous about what people's reactions to her and her brother's presence at Hogwarts would be. She knew the two were famous in Britain, especially her brother, for their role in Voldemort's downfall. She had already accepted the inevitable public scrutiny the two would soon endure, and had ruled it a small price to pay for the benefits attending the Meet could bring. Neither was she anxious about dealing with people's reactions when they found out about her relationship with her brother. They'd never made any effort to conceal their feelings for each other before, and neither saw any reason to do so now.

The main reason for her mood was crabbiness left over from the night before. They'd gone out for drinks at a club to sort of celebrate going to the Meet and to enjoy their last night in New York, for a while a least. Everything was going pretty well, they had both been having a great time drinking and dancing when some blonde college skank had tried talking to her brother. With him standing at an even six feet tall with messy, jaw length hair, an athletic build, perfect straight white teeth, and brilliant green eyes, such happenings were plenty frequent. The thing that made this incident stand out was when Harry very politely informed the blonde that he was with someone, and instead of taking the hint and scramming like most of the girls before her had, the stupid slag kept flirting with him! He had been at the bar getting drinks for them while she sat at their table, but she was still close enough to see him getting frustrated at the woman. And then, when she came over to see what the problem was, the girl wouldn't believe that the two were together, since they looked so similar! Aster, at five-five, with the same color hair as her brother's falling down to her mid-back, and the same bright green eyes, was very obviously his sister. When the girl decided that they were kidding, and that her fake tits should be sandwiched around her brother's arm, Aster had had enough and knocked the bitch out cold. The days when the two had lived on the streets and had to defend themselves with their fists were long gone, but between that and the kickboxing classes she'd been taking for years, Aster was a force to be reckoned with, despite her slight frame. The two had been promptly kicked out of the club, though neither was too upset; Harry'd always said how hot a violent Aster made him, and she was feeling the need to express her possessiveness herself, even after dealing with the nameless blonde flirt. They were unlikely to have stayed regardless, both suddenly very anxious to get back home. Harry was an absolute God in bed, between his length, girth, and dominating disposition, but after seeing that harlot come on to her brother, Aster decided that he'd just have to deal with being ridden for the night. Somehow, he managed.

After their slightly drunken romp, Aster had expected to feel much better the next time she woke up. In the past, Harry's intimate touch and sweet pillow-talk had always been enough to de-ruffle her feathers after someone had made too insistent a pass on either of them, but for some reason she'd been grouchy anyway. She figured it may be that she was feeling uncomfortable at the thought of all the other people they'd be living near soon. Back at Trinity, by the time they were fourteen and had been there for a few years, all of the students knew not to mess with them, or bother them for dates, two things that everybody at the meet was going to have to learn anew, and after last night she just wasn't looking forward to dealing with that particular aspect of their trip.

After working through her feelings, Aster resolved to not let it keep her down. She'd deal with whatever came their way as it did, and that was that. Determination to enjoy their trip renewed, Aster turned around in Harry's arms and wrapped her own around the back of his neck, interlacing her fingers as she stared into his eyes.

"Aster…" Harry whispered with widened eyes as her face split into a wide, warm smile. She shook her head at the unasked question, showing him that she was okay with a long, slow kiss, instead. When they parted, breathless, both felt much better than they had a minute ago. Harry spared a glance at his watch, grabbed his magically expanded suitcase, and pulled out the blue dinosaur toy they'd been given to portkey them to The Institute. Aster grabbed her own bags and laid her finger on top of the T-Rex's snout. A few seconds later and they vanished from the New York City penthouse they'd called home for six years now, marking the first step of their journey to Hogwarts.

-o0O0o-

In a vivid swirl of color the two Potters appeared just outside of the Institute's main entrance with Aster's head resting on Harry's shoulder, his arms wrapped securely around her slight frame. The two took a moment to enjoy the fresh air, a delicacy not found in New York. The weather was far more pleasant as well, though neither of the two were especially dressed to enjoy it, seeing as how they'd be in Scotland within the hour anyway. Harry had on a black leather jacket which rested on top of a Nirvana t-shirt. Acid washed blue jeans and a pair of black Chucks rounded out his outfit. Aster wore a short sleeved blue denim jacket over a black long sleeved Red Hot Chili Peppers tee. She also wore a pair of black jeans, a black scarf, and a pair of white Reeboks. The two teens gazed upon The Institute, marveling at it as they always did when they visited.

The girls attending Salem were treated to a more modern magical experience in terms of dwellings when compared to their European counterparts. Instead of a castle from the dark ages or a palace from the renaissance, they instead studied magic for ten months out of the year in what was basically a small, all-magical town. The settlement was surrounded by a stereotypical wooden wall, with logs that were pointed at the top staked into the ground side by side, forming a seamless barrier in a perfect circle around the Institute. At least, it would have been stereotypical, had said logs not been from wrought-iron wood trees, a magical marvel exclusive to North America. The trees were contradictory in nature, being that iron and magic were usually incompatible, making their existence, while rare, all the more astounding. Each stake was big enough that, if it so struck your fancy, you'd be able to carve a hole into one's base wide enough to drive two eighteen wheelers through side by side, with plenty of 'wood' still left on the edges. When such wide trees also reached six hundred feet into the air, and were a beautiful cinnamon color, they made for a truly impressive sight.

It was inside this wall where the pseudo-town lay. Though it was known as The Salem Witches' Institute, there were actually many different buildings. In the very center was the giant, old, plantation-style mansion where the girls actually attended most of their core classes. Surrounding this building in a concentric fashion were the girl's dorms. They were separated by year, making a total of eight buildings to surround the mansion, separated by cobblestone streets. Past this first ring lay a few more buildings which were mostly used for elective classes. The second ring also held structures to aid in practical demonstrations, including a dueling platform as well as the greenhouses. The third ring, a favorite among students, was just past these buildings. This is where the recreational areas were. The third ring had a park, a huge pool, a quidditch/soccer/lacrosse field, the post office, and a gym, equipped with muggle exercise equipment and even a basketball court. Past the third ring were mostly crop fields that stretched all the way to the boundary, dotted with small houses. Mostly vegetables were grown here, though there were a few fruit orchards and even a small ranch. Most of the food served to the students was grown here, with latents tending to the livestock and crops throughout the year.

It really was a charming place to learn, and had they not needed to keep a low profile, at least in regards to the magical community, the two would have most likely tried to attend. If not Salem, with Harry being a guy and all, then one of the other academies scattered throughout the states. But, between them not wanting to risk being sent back to jolly old England, and an honest enjoyment with their enrollment at Trinity, the two had made due with pricey summer instructors, who'd been sworn to secrecy until the two's seventeenth birthday.

Still, gazing upon The Institute's otherworldly wall, both Harry and Aster allowed themselves to mourn over things that they'd never experienced. It wasn't long, however, before the two were shaken from their musings by the calls of Mrs. Anderson. Well, she was Mrs. Anderson, Principal of Salem Witches' Institute to her students. The Potters knew her better as Sally. The woman was only ten years older than the two, plenty young enough that over the course of the summer, during which she'd done her level best to entice at least one of the two into accepting a teaching position, they'd managed to become friends.

"Harry! Aster! It's so good to see you! How have you been?" Sally asked, pushing through the throng of girls who'd been standing behind them, further from the walls than them.

"Really, Sal? 'How have we been'? We went out for drinks a week ago," Aster deadpanned, as she was known to do.

"Which, as the principal of an illustrious school, I must once again scold you over. You're still years away from being old enough to partake!" Sally said, studiously ignoring the two's murmurings of how it had been her who'd asked them out in the first place. "Any-who, I just wanted to say that I'm glad you'll be coming with us to the Meet. It's quite exciting, isn't it?"

Harry and Aster both gave small smiles at their friend's enthusiasm. If it wasn't such a boon when it came to connecting with her students and tactically solving sensitive problems, they'd say the blonde was too lively to be the principal of a school. It was a help, however, and in the end she managed to run a tight ship and still hold the adoration of her students. It was really quite remarkable, much like the woman herself.

"It is," Harry answered her question, removing his arms from their place around Aster's hips and stepping forward to give Sally a hug. Aster stepped up and filled Sally's arms once her brother let go, hugging her friend tightly. While the three had only had short meetings in the past, usually lasting less than ten minutes, they'd spent a lot of time together over the last year, quickly growing close.

"So how are we getting there anyway? Portkey or something?" Harry asked, looking around.

"No no no, it'd be difficult to secure enough international portkeys for us all anyway, not to mention we need to provide our own lodgings for the meet. Instead of the more mainstream methods, we'll be traveling via a modified BiSprout," Sally said, reaching into her duffel bag and pulling out a seed the size of a watermelon.

While Harry was trying to remember what exactly a BiSprout was, he knew he'd read about them somewhere, Sally had taken the opportunity to yell for the girls to form a circle and hold hands. As Aster led him over to what would undoubtedly seem a strange sight to anyone who stumbled upon the scene, Harry remembered what the magical plant did. Just as he opened his mouth to confirm with Aster, Sally chucked the humongous seed into the center of their impromptu formation before she shot a golden spell at it and quickly grabbed Harry's left hand; his right already in Aster's, fingers intertwined. The seed quickly sunk into the earth, confirming to Harry that he was remembering correctly.

Even knowing, however, still didn't quite prepare him for the sight of two giant wooden hands bursting from the ground on either side of their circle. Even the smallest fingers were still many times his height, and another several times his width. The oaken digits groaned as they began bending, the giant wooden palms beginning to angle inwards, casting long shadows. Within five seconds, the ten fingers had locked together, forming an airtight seal around the Salem delegation.

From what he could remember, BiSprouts were magical trees that grew almost exclusively in Alaska, though there were reported findings in the Amazon as well, strangely enough. The trees were known for their more obvious utility, that being that BiSprout seeds planted and nurtured normally would sprout a giant tree that was naturally carved on the inside into living chambers fit for many different kinds of beings. The trees also had a lesser known ability, which they were currently using. All BiSprout trees yielded exactly two seeds. These two seeds were magically linked, having the same, flavor may be the best way of putting it, magic as each other. This link was the inspiration behind the iter gemina arbor spell, which was what Sally had cast on the seed. Literally meaning traveling twin tree, the spell locked onto the BiSprout seed and sought out its twin seed, warping to it and taking its contents along for the ride.

In Scotland, at that moment, the seed Albus Dumbledore had been owled and planted a week ago sprouted in a manner identical to its twin in Salem. With all of the Hogwarts students standing just outside of the front doors watching, the two massive wooden hands warped, and then seemed to melt into each other, until only a wooden dome remained. The dome quickly widened a lot, and heightened a bit as well. It kept morphing, stretching this way and that, until it finally stood still. The end product was a three story mansion, happily curved around a little bit of the Black Lake. The whole building was seamless, save for the doors and sliding windows, otherwise being made of only one masterfully carved piece of wood. Different shades of bark, arranged to give off the impression of brick, added to the house's charm. Soon after the house completed growing, its front doors swung open, spilling Salem students into the cool afternoon air of the Scottish countryside, Mrs. Anderson at the head.

Harry and Aster were just behind Sally, side by side, settling into the agreed upon two file formation. They spied the great, spooky ship softly bobbing in the lake and the elegant carriage parked to their left, close to the patch of wood they remembered was named The Dark Forest.

"Looks like we're the last to arrive, right sis?" Harry whispered, remembering that only four major magical schools would be attending the meet.

"Looks like it. That carriage looks French, meaning that the ship is Durmstrang's, probably. Those two, Salem, and Hogwarts are the only ones attending. Although, I suppose that there may be others here who were home or private schooled, and are just being sponsored like us. Not too terribly diverse for a supposed international meet, but from what I've heard about the British Ministry of Magic, I'm not too surprised that they only invited those present. Two other European and the oldest American magical school seems to be a very Magical Britain-esk type of party, especially when you factor in their civil laws targeting those of creature or non-magical descent. Those kinds of people make up a lot of the population of most magical schools, which slimmed down the number of invitees by quite a lot."

It was easy for Harry to detect the disgust in his sister's voice, though almost anybody else would have fallen for her stoic façade. He shared her feelings about the targeted laws making life harder for different magical races here in Britain, but even he didn't harbor the same vitriol as his sister. While he was proud of how much he'd managed to shield his sister from during those first three years they'd lived on the streets of New York, and the seven plus years under the tender care of their relatives, taking the brunt of the hate humans could dish out had made him more jaded and used to cruelty than his twin. While she had been shocked when they'd discovered the civil state of Magical Britain while researching their motherland's magical government, he'd almost been expecting it. While he couldn't be considered a pessimist, it was true that he didn't hold too much faith in humanity these days.

Still, he didn't want his sister to dwell on such thoughts, lest the whole night be ruined, so he hurried to say, "Yeah, but even with only the four of us, there should still be some stiff competition. Looking through their different curriculums, I'd say that Durmstrang's gonna have the best duelists. Beauxbatons' will probably have a good group that will give the Salem girls a hard time in the intellectual challenges. They're the only two schools present that have both a debate team and a magical theory class. Normally I'd bet that Hogwarts would dominate any quidditch competitions, by far they have the highest number of students who go on to play in the pro's, but with Amidio Krum here, it's hard to say. He alone may be enough of an equalizer to give Durmstrang a fighting chance."

Harry stopped talking as they came within hearing distance of the Hogwarts students, who were beginning to look quite cold standing on those grey stone stairs. Harry and Aster were already drawing a bit of attention, seeing as how differently they were dressed in comparison to the Salem girls. The girls were dressed in heelless black shoes, grey knee-length skirts with pantyhose, white long-sleeved button-up shirts, and black vests with ties in colors of their choosing. Harry, being the only male in the lot, was getting eyeballed especially hard.

Now, straight-backed and with disinterested looks plastered across their faces, the two Potters' waited while Sally met Dumbledore with a polite smile and handshake. Once the two were done exchanging pleasantries, a woman who introduced herself as Professor McGonagall led them into the castle. Sally, with both the Potters and the Salem girls in tow, was led by Professor McGonagall to a large set of lightly colored wooden double doors, which opened into what Professor McGonagall introduced as the Great Hall.

Harry and Aster were both silently impressed with the intricate charm spanning the Hall's ceiling, forming a miniature sky for the students to eat under. Some of the girls behind them were remarking how beautiful the dark sky and twinkling stars were, but by that time both of the Potters had turned their attentions back down to eye level, where they were met with dozens of student's faces, staring at them.

The Great Hall held within it five large, long, tables. Four of these dark wooden tables were oriented side by side, each starting near the doors and stretching down the hall, coming to a stop near a short, wide set of steps which led to a raised platform, upon which a fifth, shorter table sat, giving it an air of importance. Already seated, at the first and second closest tables respectively, were the students from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons. McGonagall motioned for them to have a seat at the next table over, between the empty fourth table and the Beauxbatons delegation. Harry took the first available spot on the bench closest to the French students. Aster sat to his left, with the rest of the girls taking the hint and filing in only on that side of the table.

As soon as the last Salem girl had taken her seat the double doors opened once again, Albus Dumbledore entering in the lead with Hogwarts' students pouring in behind him. As the old wizard made his way down the aisle towards the staff table, between the Salem and Beauxbatons students, Harry took the opportunity to observe the Hogwarts students.

He'd read that they were between the ages of eleven and eighteen, or first through seventh years. Apparently Hogwarts, much like the country it resided in, was founded on the beliefs of segregation. Each student was sorted into one of four different houses, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. While the book he'd read didn't specify how exactly the students were sorted, he'd been able to gather that a non-partial third party divided the eleven year olds up according to their most predominate characteristic. As he looked around the room, he could see that apparently whatever did the sorting had been successful at placing similar students together.

He didn't buy it.

First of all, to sort eleven year olds, who are just entering their formative years, based on their character was madness. Harry figured that a professional researcher would be hard pressed to find a more wishy-washy creature on mother earth than an eleven year old boy or girl. How can you be brave, wise, loyal, or ambitious when you've only a faint grasp over what those words really mean at best? Even worse was the fact that, as Harry looked around the hall, he saw very distinctive behavior from house to house. Disregarding how bad labeling groups of eleven year olds is, just the fact that the students at Hogwarts were encouraged to think that everybody fit into one of four categories was offensive. Human beings were among the most complex and complicated creatures on the planet, rivaled only by other sentient magical races. To automatically assume that seven billion people could be sorted into fourths was ridiculous. That was disregarding how contradictory the traits students were sorted on were. How exactly hard working didn't go with ambitious or knowledge seeking was beyond him. Ravenclaw's wit and Slytherin's cunning were synonymous for Pete's sake! It was obvious, just by looking around the room, that students were encouraged to act as expected. What an unhealthy system…

Next to Harry, Aster was running through similar thoughts. They both shook themselves out of their musings, however, when the students reached the table they were sat at and began filling it in. The students, Gryffindors if the crests on their robes and their red ties were anything to go by, were sporadically filling in. Harry figured that they were so unsure about where to sit because half of their seats were currently taken by American girls.

Eventually the Gryffindors managed to find seats, completely filling in the right side of the table. Sitting directly across from the Potters was a girl with wild brown hair, a light skinned boy with a round face, and to his right, a red haired girl whose face was populated with freckles.

The brow haired girl looked to be about to initiate conversation with them, but instead kept quiet like the rest of the Hall when Dumbledore stood from his seat and tapped his spoon against his cup. Once he had their attention he set his spoon and cup down, freeing his hands, which he spread in an inviting gesture.

"Welcome," Albus merrily shouted, "to the first International Poly-Magical Meet! Students, please join me in welcoming our guests! The students from Salem, Durmstrang, and Beauxbatons have traveled a long way to be here. Welcome to Hogwarts!"

While the table free of foreign students erupted into cheers, the clapping was more muted at the other tables, chiefly because of how awkward it was to clap for someone in their face. The three across from Harry and Aster managed to shake off the strangeness and clapped politely while offering the two small smiles. Both Potters returned the smiles with larger ones of their own. Harry couldn't help but think that these three were a good sort.

"Now, while I may know my way around a nice long speech, I am also perfectly capable of seeing when such things would go unappreciated. So instead, please, tuck in!" And with that, Albus Dumbledore clapped his hands once, signaling for the food to appear, and retook his seat.

Harry and Aster were momentarily taken aback as a grand feast popped into existence, but quickly recovered. In the almost seven years that they'd known of magic, they'd seen plenty of strange things to know the best way to handle unexpected occurrences was to accept them and move on, which is what they did here. While Aster was loading her and Harry's plate down with roast beef, since she was closer, Harry asked the redhead to pass a few rolls down, since she was the only one close enough to reach them. As she did, the bushy haired girl, who'd been about to talk to them before Dumbledore's speech, introduced herself.

"Hello, I'm Hermione Granger. This is Neville Longbottom and this is Ginny Weasley. Neville and I are seventh years, and Ginny is a sixth year. We're all Gryffindors, by the way. You're from Salem aren't you? I thought that Salem was a girl's only school? And you're both dressed so differently from the others too. I've never seen a wizard or witch wear such muggle clothing. Not that I have a problem with it or anything! I'm muggleborn myself, you see. My parents are dentists. I just thought it was strange that you'd be dressed so differently from the others. N-not that I think you're strange! It's just an expression!"

Harry and Aster glanced at each other incredulously with wide eyes. Good God but that girl had impressive lung capacity. If that badge pinned to her collar was any indication, this was the Head-Girl who was talking to them; kinda like the class president back at Trinity. Was she nervous, or was the girl always this excitable? And they'd thought Sally was bad…

Either way, Harry figured that it would be rude to ignore her, especially after such an earnest attempt at conversation. Besides, not that he'd ever let Aster know on pain of the couch, he honestly found the girl's exuberance quite cute.

"Hello, I'm Harry Potter, and this is my sister, Aster Potter. It's nice to meet you three. And don't worry, I'm hardly gonna be offended by honest questions or observations, ya know? Sally, or Mrs. Anderson, is the principal of the Institute, and a friend too. When we heard about the Meet, we asked if she'd sponsor us. She agreed, and so here we are," Harry said, before he leaned in and held his hand up to his mouth, fake whispering, "And I woulda given the skirt and pantyhose a go, for consistency's sake of course, but I didn't want to embarrass my dear sister," he said with a wink.

Ginny laughed, Neville smiled, Aster scowled, and Hermione's cheeks heated, but his joke and wink had accomplished what he'd wanted them to. A bit of the awkward sorta-tension that conversing with complete strangers could generate had dissipated, leaving the five more relaxed and comfortable than before.

Well, they would've been relaxed, had Neville not processed their names and blurted out, "Harry Potter!? The Boy-Who-Lived?!"

He immediately looked embarrassed and abashed as he realized the reaction the two Potters had to his outburst, their faces cooling and smiles disappearing. That's not even taking into consideration the response drawn from the hall. Neville's cheeks burned brighter and brighter with every whisper of 'Harry Potter?' and every turned head. He looked like he wanted to apologize, but with the hall growing quiet he couldn't quite work up the nerve to break the silence.

Harry and Aster, both now with masks of disinterest and apathy firmly in place, languidly cut their roast beef and buttered their rolls, keeping their eyes up but still somehow looking uncaring of the attention being drawn to them. The two had gone through hell in their younger years, and even after they'd managed to steal enough money to get off the streets and away from the psychopaths, having only each other to depend on hadn't been easy. It had, however, toughened the two up a whole hell of a lot. If one were to see how firmly Harry's left and Aster's right knee were pressed together, however, then they might know that the two weren't totally unaffected.

Harry, resigned to the events that were about to unfold, simply swallowed his food, lifted his right hand up to brush aside his bangs, slipped his left hand into Aster's right, and said, "That's me."

The hall, which had previously been silent save for a few whispers and mutterings, erupted when the scar which had previously been hidden behind Harry's bangs was revealed. It had actually been hidden by more than hair, but it'd be a cold day in hell before Harry tipped his hand and revealed that he was a metamorph with full control over his gift. The two Potters would've never lasted as long as they did had they had to rely on hair or a detectable magical glamour to hide such a notable mark. As it was, they'd had plenty of close calls over the years even a continent away, immersed in the muggle world, and scarless. They'd known, of course, that they'd be discovered when they came back over to Britain. They hadn't used fake names since their days on the streets when being remembered could land them in juvie or with a foster family, and they weren't about to start back up now. Didn't mean that they had to like the fact that they apparently couldn't even eat a single meal before all of this drama played out.

Finally, after almost a full minute of the two Potters looking on in apparent apathy, hands clenched together, Albus Dumbledore rose from his seat, from which he'd been quickly whispering back and forth with Sally, and shouted for silence. Even then, it took a full thirty seconds for everybody to quiet down and return to their seats.

"Now, if Mister and Miss Potter can please join me in my office, I believe that we can get this all sorted out. If you please, Mister Potter, Miss Potter, Principal Anderson." Dumbledore said, rising from his seat.

Sally followed him down the aisle to the Potters, who had stood and were waiting for them at the end of the Gryffindor table. Dumbledore offered a kind smile as he swept past the two and out the double doors, heading towards the main stairs.

Sally offered them a supportive smile and a quiet, "Come on," as she followed the older wizard.

Harry and Aster, still hand in hand, silently followed behind the two. By the time they reached the stairs, their palms were beginning to sweat. Tension worked its way into their bodies, growing with each step they took towards Dumbledore's office. As the two watched the stone gargoyle admit the Headmaster into his office, they began mentally reviewing exactly the kinds of things they expected the old man to try. As the office door swung shut, the two Potters appeared completely relaxed, with zero emotions playing across their faces save a scant trace of boredom. On the inside, however, the two knew that the next few minutes could prove to be very important in the future, and both were determined to not give an inch. They'd worked too hard to build their life into what it was today, and they'd be damned if some manipulative old man thought he could change it.

As Albus Dumbledore sat in his chair and motioned for the three to be seated, there was only one thought on all three's minds.

'Bring it on, old man.'

Author's note: Hey guys, sorry for the long wait! Progress was slow for a little as I couldn't decide between a few different ways I wanted this story to go. Where it is now is very far away from where I thought it would be at this point, although I'm much happier with it how it is now. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed, expect an update soon, and please leave a review, follow, and favorite! Really helps get this out there, pushes it up and gets people to notice it. Hope you enjoyed and I will see you next time!

NOTICE: I accidentally re-uploaded this chapter while correcting a few grammatical errors. I apologize for the confusion and expect to be finished up with chapter four in a few days. Thank you for understanding.