The Boy Who Wasn't
by Healer Pomfrey
All recognizable characters belong to J. K. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
I am not a native speaker of English. Please excuse my mistakes.
A.N.: After the (not positive) resonance for my final chapter of "Elves Child", I wish to make clear one point: If you want Sirius to play a role in this story, you better stop reading right away, as he will NOT play a significant role in ANY of my stories. Thank you for your understanding.
5. Your Slave
Noah understood fairly soon why Neville liked the twins more than their younger brother. On Fred and George's suggestion, the Weasleys had bought a small Potions kit for the birthday boys that was said suitable for pre-Hogwarts children. Neville and Noah were both over the moon at the prospect of being able to brew fruit drops and easy potions with their kit, and when the Weasley twins suggested to begin right away, they were all for it. However, Ginny and Ron protested vehemently, and Ron suggested to play Quidditch.
"Ronniekins, you should know by now..."
"... that Neville and Noah don't like to fly," Fred and George reminded their brother in a funny singsong, making Noah stare at the older twins in admiration.
After a long discussion, Ginny and Ron ended up playing Wizard's chess, while the two couples of twins busied themselves with the Potions kit and a recipe that the older twins had invented.
"What does this potion do?" Neville asked, curiously.
"Ah, it's harmless..."
"... It'll merely make everyone spike green hair," Fred and George explained in a funny singsong.
"Shall we ask your house-elf to mix it into everyone's dinner tonight?" Neville suggested, grinning mischievously.
"Are you sure that we brewed it correctly and it can't harm anyone?" Noah threw in, cautiously.
"It should be all right..."
"Usually we just brew our new inventions and simply put them into the desert," the older twins replied, exchanging a thoughtful look.
"Maybe we can ask our godfather," Neville suggested. "He's the Potions professor at Hogwarts, the one who rescued my parents. He'll surely be able to tell us if it's safe to use it on others."
The older twins stared at him in disbelief. "Neville..."
"Snape is your godfather?..."
As far as we know..."
"He's the strictest professor of Hogwarts..."
"... and you can't ask him about prank potions," Fred and George informed the younger twins.
"Let's ask Mum then," Neville decided and went to fetch his mother.
Alice entered the room a few minutes later, contentedly eyeing the scene in front of her. She looked at the recipe and took a sniff at the small phial with the prank potion, before she gave the children a small nod. "I don't think that it can harm anyone," she said, smiling. "However, considering that your godparents are going to attend dinner with us, I suggest that you put your potion into the pumpkin juice, so that only the children will be affected."
The two couples of twins readily agreed and hurried to hand their phial to the house-elf.
'I can't wait for dinner to begin,' Noah thought in excitement. 'This is going to be so much fun.'
Fun they had indeed. As soon as the children began to drink from their pumpkin juice, their hair took on a neon green colour, causing the adults to let out a collective laugh.
"That was the twins," Ron complained, glaring at his older brothers.
"Fred, George," Molly Weasley immediately began to scold her sons, who were wearing too innocent expressions.
"It's wasn't only Fred and George..." Neville piped in, shyly.
"We brewed it all together," Noah completed his sentence like he had admired the older twins to do earlier.
"Well done," their godfather spoke up to everyone's surprise. "Nevertheless," he continued in a much sterner voice, "you should not brew by yourselves, except for the potions from the recipes that are included in your Potions set. Everything else might be extremely dangerous." Giving the two couples of twins a sharp look, he offered, "If you wish to brew anything from a self-invented potion, you may contact me and show me the recipe, and I shall tell you if it's safe to brew just by yourselves."
"Thank you very much Professor," Noah was the first to speak up, casting his godfather a huge smile.
"We really appreciate your offer, sir," Fred Weasley added, causing Neville, Noah and George to nod affirmatively.
Severus slightly inclined his head, unaware of the fact that the adults stared at him with a combination of surprise and admiration.
In the morning, the twins begged their parents to be allowed to accompany them to Hogwarts. The parents exchanged a glance, before Frank relented, "Very well, you may come with us."
"You must keep quiet though," Alice spoke up in a stern voice. "I might put up a fight with the Headmaster about placing Harry Potter with the Dursleys."
"Who's Harry Potter?" Neville asked, grinning, and Noah nodded his agreement.
"Thank Merlin Minerva and Severus know about our appointment with Dumbledore and promised to be in his office," Alice said to Frank, before she stepped into the fireplace, shouting, "Headmaster's office, Hogwarts."
Noah hesitantly stepped into the fireplace together with Neville, still scared of the fireplace but feeling very much reassured when Neville laid his arm around his back and whispered, "Don't worry, if we get lost, we'll at least stay together."
Noah stared at the old wizard in amazement. 'He looks like one of the old men in the fairy tales that we read at school,' he thought, before he forced his eyes away, recalling that he was supposed to already know the Headmaster. 'I hope he won't be able to discover who I really am,' he thought, anxiously, knowing that Professor Dumbledore was the powerful wizard, whom everyone seemed to respect greatly.
"Welcome back to our world," the Headmaster greeted Alice and Frank in a gentle voice, before he turned to the twins. "Noah and Neville, would you care for a lemon drop?"
Noah hesitantly followed Neville's example and took one of the yellowish sweets, before he obediently took a seat between his brother and Professor McGonagall.
"Professor Dumbledore," Alice began to speak, "my mother-in-law informed me that Sirius Black is in Azkaban because of giving away the Potters to Voldemort. But he wasn't their Secret Keeper. Just a few weeks before their death, they changed their Secret Keeper to Peter Pettigrew."
Dumbledore thoughtfully stroked his long, white beard. "This is indeed an interesting information, of which no one else seem to have been aware," he said, pensively. "However, Mr. Black is not only in Azkaban because of giving away the Potters." He explained about the death of thirteen Muggles and Peter Pettigrew.
"No." Alice shook her head in determination. "Professor, I've never liked Sirius, but I'm certain that he'd never do such a thing. Peter maybe yes, but not Sirius."
Dumbledore let out a long sigh. "I'm sorry Mrs. Longbottom, but the only evidence that would proof Mr. Black's innocence would be an alive Mr. Pettigrew," he replied, regrettably.
"Peter Pettigrew is a rat Animagus, just in case this information might help," Frank, who had remained quiet so far, threw in.
"Well, if I encounter a rat that is missing a toe, since they only found one finger of Mr. Pettigrew, I'll check if the rat's an Animagus," Dumbledore promised.
"One moment," Professor McGonagall, who had kept quiet so far like her Slytherin colleague, threw in, alert. "Isn't Mr. Weasley's rat missing a toe?" Turning to the Longbottoms, she explained, "Percy Weasley has just finished his second Hogwarts year." She rose from her seat. "I'll go to the Weasleys and enquire about the rat."
"Thank you Minerva, but I believe that we should wait until the boy returns to Hogwarts with the rat," Dumbledore refused gently.
"Albus," McGonagall scolded the Headmaster. "If Mr. Black is indeed innocent, we should try to bring him out of Azkaban as soon as possible."
"Not now," Dumbledore replied in a firm voice. "I'll see about the matter later on."
"My next question concerns my godson Harry Potter," Alice said turning back to the Headmaster. "Why has he been placed with the Dursleys in spite of the Potters' clear instructions in their will to never ever give him to Petunia Dursley?"
'Such an idiot,' Noah thought, as he listened to the old wizard's long winding explanations about blood wards and whatever. He lost himself in his thoughts about his former family and was only brought back to reality, when the Headmaster made Alice swear an oath that she would not go to the Dursleys in order to see her godson.
"I swear on my magic to not go to the Dursleys' residence to see Harry Potter," Alice said as requested, inwardly grinning.
'Thank God that the Headmaster doesn't know that she already rescued me,' Harry thought, feeling very happy.
"Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, did you already have time to think about what you're going to do now?" the Headmaster suddenly enquired.
"No sir, we're still trying to get used to normal life," Frank replied for a change. "I only know that I probably won't go back to the Aurors, as I don't feel comfortable with the blank of almost eight years. But other than that, we didn't have time to further consider the matter."
The Headmaster smiled. "Would you consider working at Hogwarts?" he then queried in a soft voice. "Professors Flitwick and Sprout wish to retire." He gave the young couple a questioning look.
Realising that the Longbottoms signalled interest, he knelt in front of the fireplace and called the Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff Heads of House.
While the adults spoke about the details of the available positions, Noah's thoughts drifted off again. 'I hope they'll take us with them to Hogwarts,' he thought, 'even if Neville's granny is of course much nicer than the Dursleys. But it would be great to live at Hogwarts. We'd be able to see the Weasley twins every day.'
He looked up with interest, when the Headmaster suddenly enquired, "What are you going to do with Neville and Noah during the day? Are they attending a primary school?"
Alice let out a long sigh. "So far, my mother-in-law has taught them; however, Frank and I have decided that we don't want that anymore. Yesterday, we spoke about the matter with Molly Weasley, but we didn't come to a conclusion yet."
"Mum, can't we just attend Hogwarts? The twins are going to be first years next month, and it would be so great if we could go to school with them," Neville blurted out, causing Noah to stare at his brother in delight.
"That would be awesome," he added in a small voice.
"I'm afraid that's not possible," Dumbledore replied in a grandfatherly voice, giving the boys a pitying look. "Only when you turn eleven, your magic manifests in a way that you'll be able to have a proper wand, which is absolutely necessary for the Hogwarts education."
"They already have proper wands," Frank stated. "Upon hearing that my mother made them use our wands instead of buying children's wands for them, yesterday, we went to buy children's wands, and Mr. Ollivander insisted that their magic was strong enough to use proper wands."
"Oh all right," Dumbledore said, pensively. "Then let's see if Sopho, our Sorting Hat, will already be able to sort them.
"Albus, you're not going to sort them now, are you?" McGonagall spoke up, incredulously. "Let them be sorted together with the other first years on the first of September. Sopho will surely be able to sort them."
To Noah's and Neville's relief, the Headmaster relented. "Very well then, you'll attend the first year classes from the beginning of the new school year onwards," he decided.
Knowing that the conversation between the Longbottoms and Professors Sprout and Flitwick and the meddling Headmaster was still going to continue and that the twins had to become bored, the Potions Master suggested, "Should I take the boys and give them a tour around Hogwarts, while you continue here?"
"Yes Severus, that would be very nice," McGonagall replied immediately, giving her younger colleague an appreciative look.
The twins happily followed their godfather out of the Headmaster's office. He showed them the library, where they spent a while admiring the beautiful room with the huge bookshelves. From the Astronomy tower, they observed the Giant Squid play in the sunshine, and in the Potions classroom, they stared at several ingredients that were still alive like frog legs and toad eyes.
"I can't wait to be able to brew real potions here," Noah spoke up, looking around with interest.
"Yes, we had so much fun yesterday brewing with the twins."
Severus smirked. "I can teach you how to brew if you want," he offered. "During the next few weeks, your parents will probably be very busy making lesson plans and preparing for their classes, and since I have lots of potions to brew for the hospital wing, I could very well use one or two assistants."
"Yes please sir," Noah replied in excitement.
"Please teach us sir," Neville echoed.
While the Potions Master gave his godchildren a first introduction into the fine art of potions brewing, the teachers in the Headmaster's office agreed that Professor Flitwick would still remain at Hogwarts and keep the Ravenclaw Head of House position whilst teaching History of Magic as replacement for Professor Binns, until a promising candidate for the position would appear. Professor Sprout would completely retire but remain at Hogwarts until Frank Longbottom felt absolutely safe with his entrusted greenhouses, while Alice as the new Charms professor would take over the Hufflepuff Head of House position.
"Originally, the Hat wanted to place me into Hufflepuff, but I begged him to put me into Gryffindor, because I wanted to be together with Lily," Alice admitted, hesitantly, when the question came up why the Sorting Hat suggested her as the new Hufflepuff Head.
Finally, McGonagall offered the Longbottoms that she and Professor Snape would take some time to teach Neville and Noah during the remaining weeks of the holidays.
"I'll help as well, and maybe we can also ask Poppy for help," Dumbledore offered, "considering that no one else is at Hogwarts at the moment. They children will surely be willing to assist the teachers with small tasks in return."
"Of course," Alice and Frank reassured the Headmaster.
As soon as the following morning, the Longbottoms moved to their new quarters at Hogwarts - together with their very excited children.
Thanks to the kind readers who reviewed the previous chapters!