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Perfect Slytherins - Tales from the Fourth Year
Thanks, as always, to Luan Mao and Kokopelli for betaing this for me. And in the betaing it's not just the hundred commas they remove and the dodgy typing (and my inability to differentiate between "floor" and "ground") it's the suggestions to make the chapter better. And they push me to actually write and post stuff. Without them, new chapters simply wouldn't see the light of day.
With thanks to Flixus as well.
Marcus arrived the next morning, and spent his first day talking to all the other Professors. Whatever he said was obviously effective, as he was quite welcome in the evening meal. Even if his steak was only lightly seared. Severus suspected that was more for appearance than any desire for his meat to be cooked.
Minerva spent most of the dinner smirking at him; a challenge the Vampire seemed to relish.
Narcissa spent most of the days memorising student names and matching them up with photographs. She was determined to be a good teacher.
Severus found himself much in demand, as others bought their problems to him, but he found that he actually enjoyed being helpful. It gave him something to do when Narcissa was busy and didn’t want to be disturbed.
And when she said she didn’t want to be disturbed, she meant it, backing it up with a very unpleasant curse. He had been lucky he had dodged in time.
Albus spent most of his time hiding in his office.
Marcus spent the next few days running around. For a two hundred year old Vampire, he had boundless energy and detested being bored, so he made himself useful where he could.
And so the remaining few days flashed past in a blur, and it wasn’t long before it was time for the students to arrive.
“How do I look?”
“Imposing,” Severus replied, looking at Narcissa.
“Excellent,” she said. “I’ve decided that Minerva has the best way of dealing with students. I’ll relax toward the end of the year, but to start with, I’ll not take any nonsense from anyone.”
“I used to do that,” he said with a smile. “Only, I forgot the second part.”
Narcissa laughed. “You’re going to be fair this year, aren’t you?”
“Yes. No point in winning by cheating, not when you can win fairly.”
“And reserve the right to cheat if we might not win,” Narcissa finished.
“Exactly. Come on, Albus will introduce you after the Sorting and before we eat.”
Narcissa squared her shoulders and followed him down to the Great Hall. Marcus fell into step next to them. He was dressed smartly, in mostly Gryffindor colours, with a long black cape.
They took their seats to the right of the Professor’s table and waited in silence. The use of silence as an intimidation tactic was one that all good Slytherins learnt.
The other professors soon joined them, before the first students wandered in. As normal, they were laughing and joking, and paid no attention to the silent professors.
Pugsley, Daphne, Hermione and Ginny walked in with a large group of students in their year, before they separated to go to their table. They joined Pansy, Tracey and Millicent, all of whom were watching Daphne with a hint of jealousy.
“Harry’s going to have his hands full this year,” Marcus pointed out cheerfully. “Those are ambitious girls.”
“Not just the Slytherins,” Narcissa added. “Power is addictive, and they wear it like you wear your cloak.”
As was their habit, Harry and Wednesday were the last non-first years to arrive. Unlike previous years, their faces weren’t completely blank, and they were at least talking. It wasn’t quite animated by normal standards, but by theirs, it was almost a shouting match.
The school hushed as they walked, all eyes dragged to them.
“He can’t turn it off,” Marcus whispered. “He’s Clan leader, and nothing he can do can hide it.”
The change in Harry was very subtle, but once you noticed, it dominated him. He was wearing an almost visible mantle of power.
The other children might not know what had happened, but they could tell that something had. It was in the way he walked, the way he held himself, and the way he looked around.
It was self-belief, of the sort not found in teenagers, and of the sort that was only gained by facing nightmares, and in Harry’s case, killing them.
Harry lightly slapped Pugsley on the back as he sat down. Pugsley grinned at him, as Ginny launched into some excited speech.
Harry and Wednesday smiled at the end, as loud laughter came from all the others.
The doors opened, and Minerva led the new first years in. He ignored the conversation, as he got his first look at Dracine.
If you knew that she had once been Draco Malfoy, you could perhaps see some similarities. They were the same height. They had the same grey eyes and blonde hair, but those were surface similarities.
Dracine was pretty, but nothing spectacular. She was looking at her feet shyly. Her hair was probably her nicest feature, and it was almost as nice as her mother’s. There was very little other similarity between Narcissa and Dracine.
“Wednesday did a very good job,” Narcissa murmured. “She vaguely remembers the life before, but not in any great detail. If anyone questions her, she’ll explain that it is a blur because of an accident.”
Severus nodded, as the Sorting started. To his annoyance, Marcus and Narcissa played his game of guessing the student. What was particularly galling was that they were both better at it than he was.
What he did notice was that Slytherin got a disproportionate amount of students, and that it worked out at about seventy percent girls.
As the Sorting finished, Albus climbed to his feet. “Before we continue,” he announced, radiating the good cheer he was famous for. “We have a transfer student joining us in the fourth year. Dracine Plant will now be Sorted. I do hope you all welcome her, regardless of which House she is in.”
Dracine moved over to the Hat, and Severus noticed that she moved like a woman. She sat, and a few seconds later, the Hat shouted Hufflepuff .
Dracine blushed at the cheer she got from the Hufflepuffs and walked over to the table, sitting next to Bones and Abbot at their gestures.
Hermione stood and walked over to the Hufflepuff. “Hi, Dracine,” she said as she sat at the table between Abbot and Dracine. “Dumbledore obviously forgot to mention that Dracine had a bad accident at the start of the summer. Her father was murdered, and she and her mother left the country as quickly as they could. Unfortunately, something went wrong, and Dracine lost all her memory shortly after they arrived.
“We met up during her recovery.”
“Thanks,” Dracine said gratefully to Hermione.
“You’ll do great in here,” Hermione continued. “Hufflepuffs are always friendly.” She looked around and whispered, “not like the grumpies at the Slytherin table – they’re the ones in the green and silver.”
Hermione stood up, “anyway, I just wanted to cover the stuff that Dumbledore forgot. Please look after her; I’m sure she’ll fit right in.”
“We will, Hermione,” Susan promised.
Hermione turned, and then paused. As if talking to herself, she said, “So that all are aware, Dracine is under our protection for the first few months, until Yule, so she can find her feet.” The threat given, she returned to her table.
Albus sighed. He ignored what had just happened, and the complete lack of respect from Hermione, and smiled benevolently. “It is my sad duty to report that Professor Binns has moved on to the next great adventure. In his place, I would like you to welcome Narcissa Malfoy.”
Narcissa stood as a lot of the students clapped.
“Thank you,” she said politely. “However, my name is Professor Black, not Malfoy. Professor Dumbledore seems to have forgotten that, again.”
“That’s not all he’s forgotten in his old age,” Pugsley yelled. There was a lot of laughter, and the Headmaster’s face acquired a darker hue.
“And as he seems to have forgotten the gentleman sat next to me, allow me to introduce the new assistant for History and Potions. Most of you will remember him from the removal of the Dementors last year. Marcus!”
There was a huge roar of approval, led by the Slytherins.
Marcus floated a few metres into the air, and bowed dramatically. He smiled at everyone. “For those who don’t yet know, yes, I am a vampire.
“And you’ll all be delighted to know that I have sworn blood-oaths to each of the Professors here that I will not feed on Hogwarts grounds.”
There were more than a few relieved looks.
“Unless you’re bad,” Marcus finished with a wicked smile, showing his fangs.
“You can bite me any time you like, Marcus,” Daphne purred up at him.
Daphne blew him a kiss as he sunk down, looking slightly confused.
“If I may continue?” Dumbledore asked archly.
“You may,” Narcissa allowed regally.
Before he could, there was a crack of thunder, and the doors to the Great Hall swung open.
A man stood in the doorway, leaning upon a long staff, shrouded in a black travelling cloak. Every head in the Great Hall swivelled toward the stranger, who was suddenly brightly illuminated by a fork of lightning that flashed across the ceiling.
Snape had his wand out, pointed at the man. Marcus and Narcissa were poised next to him.
Wednesday broke the stillness; her knife flew out, causing the newcomer to jump to one side.
“Stop!” Albus roared.
Harry cast a spell on Wednesday, but it didn’t have any visible effect. Wednesday, as quickly as a cat, was out of her seat. The stranger had raised his wand, and was pointing it at her.
Wednesday faked to one side, dodged to the other, and then jumped forward. She knocked his wand down, and then her left hand flicked forward under the hood. When it came back, she held something in her hand and examined it.
She turned and chucked it to Harry.
Harry caught it cleanly and examined it. He slowly turned to Dumbledore. “Exactly what,” he asked the Headmaster, his low voice frigid, “are you doing allowing this in a school full of children?”
Dumbledore looked surprised. “That is retired Auror Alistair Moody, the new Defence Professor.”
“That doesn’t answer my question,” Harry said patiently. “Why is he allowed in a school full of children?”
“I don’t understand your objection, Mr Potter.”
Harry sighed and held up the item in front of him. “I’m sure you like your yellow underwear, however, they do not suit you at all. Would you like to know what Professor McGonagall is wearing under her robes? Or should I look at some of the students?”
“Harry,” Natalie Jones, the new Head Girl called. “Are you saying that that thing can see through clothing?”
He nodded. “It’s a fake eye,” he said, holding it up in front of him. “Can see through invisibility cloaks as well, I’d guess.”
“What am I wearing?” Natalie challenged, moving forward from the Gryffindor table.
He looked at her and cocked an eyebrow.
“Nice hearts,” Harry said simply.
Natalie looked like she was fighting a blush, as Harry put the thing down. “So Lockhart wasn’t enough,” she said as she retook her seat. “Or Umbridge. You replace the one good Defence Professor we’ve had in the last three years, Professor Lupin, with a pervert!”
“Professor Moody is not a pervert!”
“May I kill him?” Wednesday asked.
“No!” Albus roared.
Wednesday reached out and knocked back Moody’s hood. Moody shook out a long mane of grizzled, dark grey hair. His face looked like it was carved out of weathered wood by the work experience boy.
“We should introduce him to the Chatterer,” Marcus whispered.
“I wasn’t asking you,” Wednesday hissed at Dumbledore. She looked at Harry.
“Not today,” he eventually decided, as he put the eye down on the table. “He didn’t see you.”
“Only because you cast the spell,” Wednesday said with a sigh. She turned and met Moody’s one remaining eye. “You live at the sufferance of my Clan leader,” she said quietly. “I am his intended. We control who sees me in what state, not you. If you attempt to replace your eye, we will know, and you will not survive.”
Severus made a mental decision not to think about Wednesday’s words to closely.
Wednesday vanished, reappearing next to Harry. Harry slammed his hand down, and there was a loud cracking sound. Moody scowled hideously and his hand inched toward his wand.
Before he could blink, every student in Harry’s clan had their wands pointed at him – apart from Harry.
Moody grunted, and slowly walked forward. Each step accompanied by a thump. All the children glared at him as he went past – especially the girls. He nodded at Dumbledore, and moved around to sit on his right side.
He stared at the place in front of him for a second, before he looked up and stared at Harry.
“Moving on,” Dumbledore said slowly. “We are to have the honour of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held for over a century. It is my very great pleasure to inform you that the Triwizard Tournament will be taking place at Hogwarts this year.”
Before anyone else could react, Hermione turned to Harry, and asked, “Do you think it’s too late to transfer to Salem? We’ve put up with Trolls, Voldemort, Basilisks, escaped prisoners, an army of Dementors, and a host of other things. And now this? This is supposed to be a school, not some sort of bad horror movie!”
“What is this Tournament, Hermione?” Natalie called from the Gryffindor table.
“I’ll bet five galleons that Natalie joins the clan by the end of the year,” Marcus muttered in amusement. “Ambitious, that one.”
“No bet,” Narcissa replied quietly.
As Hermione recited an obviously well-researched speech, Severus couldn’t help admiring, once again, how well orchestrated this was. He was pretty sure that while Moody’s eye could see through clothes, it wasn’t used that way. And that they had taken the opportunity to undermine Dumbledore even more with the research they had done, after Severus had informed them of the Triwizard Tournament.
One of the things that had frustrated him when he had been spying for Albus was the way that Albus would rarely actually use his information. Now, with passing on information to Harry, he knew that he would often see direct action because of it.
“If I may continue,” Albus said, only to see that none of the children paid attention to him. They were still listening to Hermione.
Albus raised his wand and let off a loud bang. A third of the students jumped. Two thirds of the students, all of whom had been in Harry and Wednesday’s lessons, turned and pointed their wands at Dumbledore.
Albus looked shocked at the sight of ‘his’ students raising their wands to him. There was a few seconds of absolute silence, as neither group backed down.
Snape looked at Harry, who nodded. He stood slowly and coughed loudly, attracting every one’s attention. “You can rest assured that your fears, while valid, have been addressed by the Professors, and we have received assurances that this tournament will not result in any injury more severe than can be found on a Quidditch pitch.
“Entrance is going to be strictly restricted to students over the age of seventeen, and we will be holding some classes beforehand to show you the sort of thing you might expect. Personally, I believe that the wisest thing is not to participate. However, if you make a judgement based on your personal abilities, the potential danger and the potential reward, and you decide to participate, then Hogwarts will support you as much as we can.”
The tension slowly dropped, as the students dropped their wands and sat back down again.
Severus sat back down, feeling a little proud. The students were no longer accepting everything they were told without thought. And their reaction to a perceived threat had been magnificent.
He could see Harry’s influence through them all.
Dumbledore smiled genially, although his eyes were no longer twinkling. “The heads of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang will be arriving with their short-listed contenders in October, and the selection of the three champions will take place on Halloween. An impartial judge will decide which students most are worthy to compete for the Triwizard Cup, the glory of their school, and a thousand Galleons personal prize money.”
“Just exactly how much glory is involved?” Cedric Diggory asked warily. “I can’t remember the name of a single participant in the past tournaments.”
Dumbledore’s smile lit up his face, as his eyes started to twinkle. “I’m told that the press will be covering this; the new Minister of Magic will be the guest of honour, and the participating Ministries themselves are backing this all the way.”
Cedric, and a few others, nodded thoughtfully.
“And now, it is time for food!” He clapped his hands, and the traditional feast appeared. The noise level quickly rose as the students started to discuss what had happened.
“Fun,” Marcus said, as he started on his steak.
“Quite,” Severus agreed, watching Harry, who was looking thoughtful. Next to him, the others were chatting as they ate.
Wednesday was watching Harry, a slight smile on her face.
Harry looked up suddenly, his eyes focusing on the Ravenclaw table. He vaulted smoothly over the table, Pugsley sliding to one side automatically to allow him to pass, as he stalked toward the Ravenclaw ghost.
He bowed formally to her; she returned with a curtsy. “You do know that you have paid your debt, many times over?” Harry asked her.
“Maybe,” she replied sadly; “but until I feel ready, I will stay.”
“Death is nothing to be afraid of,” Harry replied. “It is merely what separates us from this place and another. You reset the scales many centuries ago.”
“That is not enough,” she replied. “I need to make up for what I have done.”
“Then do so without hiding.”
The pale ghost managed to pale. “How did you know?”
“Dad,” was Harry’s one word response.
The grey lady nodded slowly. “What do you want from me?”
“The location of that which was profaned.”
“So I can destroy it.”
“You can do that?”
“I have with five others.”
The ghost straightened, the lights in the Great Hall dimmed, a pressure arose from nowhere. “You speak the truth?”
“You can remove the vileness?”
A light flashed, and what looked like a Tiara appeared on the floor. The lights rose, and the pressure vanished.
Harry looked at it closely, picking it up carefully with his wand.
“Harry,” Albus called, sounding worried.
Harry ignored him, as he stared at the crown. “What do you think?” Wednesday asked as she appeared by his side.
“Pugs,” Harry called. “Remember the game of chase we used to play?”
“Can I get my camera, please?” Pugsley begged.
“Be quick,” Harry said.
Pugsley was already sprinting out of the Great Hall.
“Harry,” Natalie called. “What is that?”
“A diadem. Specifically, Rowena Ravenclaw’s diadem.”
“And how was it profaned?”
“Riddle was so scared by death that he split his soul into seven parts, creating a Horcrux – a container for a soul that requires a murder to create. This is his last one.”
Dumbledore gasped, as Harry looked at him. “I’ve had my people searching for these for years,” Harry said softly. “Riddle’s diary was one, his snake another. Marcus found Helga’s cup last year, Remus and Sirius found Gaunt’s ring this summer. I was the other one, and we had to kill me to get rid of it. This is the last. It dies now.”
Pugsley arrived, bursting through the doors, a large camera ready. He pointed it at Harry and took a few quick pictures.
Harry threw the diadem along the floor, sliding it to the end, near the entrance doors. “Raise shields.”
Hermione, Ginny, Daphne and Marcus – who had moved from next to Snape without Snape even realising – created a shield tunnel, leaving a clear path between the students.
Harry raised his wand; a faint smile appeared, before he mouthed something.
A small fire appeared on the wooden floor. Nothing seemed to happen for a few seconds, before it moved, a little sluggishly. Then it lurched, in both directions that it could, both away from Harry and Wednesday and toward them.
Suddenly, with another lurch, the fire erupted into a fiery tornado. Shapes, recognisable shapes appeared, creatures from myth and legend, sprinting every which way. A Griffin lurched at Harry and Wednesday, before it stopped, turned, and sprinted away. At the other end, creatures jumped at the diadem, as other creatures tried to break through the shields.
The scene was strangely beautiful, as the animals of pure fire futilely tried to escape their confines. The heat they were giving out was incredible. Pugsley was taking as many pictures as he could, before Harry lowered his wand and the animals faded as the fire died out. The wooden floor was black and smoking, but not giving off any visible smell.
Wednesday walked down the shielded path, ignoring the heat, until she reached the diadem. As she walked, the wooden floor seemed to lose the damage that the fire had caused, until it was pristine again. She picked up the diadem, and carried it back. She ignored the smell of burnt flesh coming from her hand.
As she passed it to Harry, a dark and tarry bloodlike substance leaked from it, before it fell apart. There was an incredibly faint scream of pain from the tar.
Harry smiled faintly. “Reparo,” he whispered. The diadem flew back together, and started to gleam in the light. He looked at it closely. “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure,” he quoted out loud. He handed the diadem back to the Grey Lady. “Your mother was very wise, Lady Helena.”
As one, the Ravenclaw table gasped.
“I prefer the name Violet,” she said, as she took the diadem back. “Thank you, for what you have done. I am in your debt.”
Harry inclined his head slowly in acknowledgement. “I have a way you can repay that debt.”
Violet looked at him hopefully.
“You know the true story of the founding of Hogwarts, more than anyone else.”
“Work with Hermione, recording a true account will clear your debt to me.”
“I would go deeper into your debt for this privilege,” she said softly.
“That is my price.”
“I accept, with the greatest of thanks.”
Hermione dashed over to Harry and hugged him tightly, “Thank you,” she said, before she released him, and curtseyed to the Grey Lady.
“We’re going to be friends,” Violet said to her. “No need to be formal. Mum would have been so irritated that you didn’t end up in her house.”
Hermione blushed. “The Hat wanted to put me in there, but I was new at the school, and wanted a new start, different to bookworm-Granger, so I asked for Gryffindor.”
“Alistair was always a soft touch,” Violet said fondly. “We should talk to him as well. He’s been around as long as I have, and with a bit of whiskey, he can be quite loquacious.”
“I can get some Peruvian Ice Brandy,” Hermione offered.
“For that, he would sell his soul,” Violet said. “If he had one. Why don’t we go and have a chat with him?”
Hermione nodded eagerly and followed the ghost out of the Great Hall.
“Now you’ve done it,” Pugsley said. “Dad’s gonna be pissed that you’ve got into his Ice Brandy.”
Harry smirked. “Which is why all the clues as to who stole it point to a certain vampire.”
Marcus groaned. “I’ll get you, Potter!”
Harry winked at him. “You’re welcome to try, old man.”
“What was that spell?” Pansy asked from the Slytherin table.
“Fiendfyre,” Pugsley replied. “We used to play with it when we were kids. Good times.”
Harry took Wednesday’s hand and they walked out of the Great Hall. As soon as they were gone, Pugsley returned to his seat, adding, “Of course, if you can’t control the spell, it will turn on you and kill you.”
As everyone got back on with the business of eating and discussing the entertainment, and what it might entail, Minerva turned to Albus and whispered sharply. “After we finish, we will be having a very long conversation about our new Professor.”
“Minerva,” Albus said warningly.
“Don’t ‘Minerva’ me,” she snapped. “There is no excuse for allowing this sort of thing.”
Albus sighed deeply and nodded.
“Well, this has been fun,” Marcus said. “What now?”
“Now, we go to the Common Room and check everyone is okay,” Severus replied. “And maybe get some answers.”
“To what question?” Narcissa asked.
“Why we have more students than normal, and why most of them are girls.”
Narcissa nodded slowly and gave him a quick, but proud, smile.
“Would you like to round them up, Marcus?”
“With pleasure.” He vanished and appeared, floating cross-legged at the far end of the Slytherin table. “Greetings, ankle-biters,” he said cheerfully. “Has anyone told you the rules yet?”
The first year students shook their heads negatively.
“Okay, the rules of Slytherin are very simple, there are only five of them. One, stupidity is not an attractive trait. Stupidity is defined as not learning everything you can from people with more knowledge than you, getting caught doing something against the rules, and following Voldemort.
“Rule two, bullying is a form of stupidity, remember rule one.
“Rule three, Harry – he’s the tall dark haired one with the green eyes and a fondness for burning things – and Wednesday – she’s the smaller dark haired one with the impossible eyes – are not to be troubled in general, unless it’s an emergency. For example, you fall down – they won’t care. However, if you were to discover, say, a Nundu in the school, go to them first, and the professors second.
“Pugsley, he’s the one with the fondness for the striped jumpers up there.” Pugsley waved cheerfully. “He’s the one you go to if you need help, or if you don’t know if what you know is important enough for Harry and Wednesday.
“Rule four, ambition and cunning is useless if you’re not happy. Contrary to popular belief, Slytherin used to be known as the party house. We’re going to make it so again. Just because we’re destined to rule, doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate with the best of them.” He winked, and continued in a stage whisper, “And seeing others drunk is always useful for some good old fashioned blackmail.”
Most of the kids were now openly grinning. “Right, follow me, we’ll go and find your home from home for the next seven years.”
“May I ask a question?” a small girl asked.
“Yes, Samantha?” Marcus asked, showing that he had a far better memory than Severus.
“Are we allowed friends from other houses?”
“Other houses?” Marcus asked dramatically. “But they like strange colours! All you need is Silver and Green.”
“You’re wearing red, though,” Samantha pointed out.
“Oh, in that case, yes, you are,” Marcus replied. “Only, that brings me on to rule five. What you see in Slytherin, stays in Slytherin.”
All the kids nodded firmly.
“Come on then, walk this way.” He hopped away on his right foot, before switching to his left on the fourth hop.
All the children laughed as they followed him, skipping along.
“You can hardly believe that just the other night he ripped through a gang of Muggle bikers,” Narcissa whispered in amusement. “He told me that he always wanted kids, but of course, as a vampire, he’s sterile.”
“Really?” Severus asked slowly. “I wonder when his birthday is.”
“Hmmm,” Severus said, as the other students casually followed the trail of first years. “There’s a potion that might help.”
Narcissa pecked him on the cheek. “Let’s go tuck the kids in.”
Severus laughed and took her hand as they walked after the others, picking up the strays as they went.
The Common Room was as full as he had ever seen it.
Daphne was talking with Harry and Wednesday, and when they nodded, she jogged forward, clearing a path. “Okay,” she said loudly, “listen up. It’s crowded in here, too much so, so we’re going to do something about it. Everyone get your wands out.”
All the students did what they as they were told, even the first years.
“Second years and above, I want you to simply call on your magic, bring it to your wand tip. First years, wave you wands like you did when you got them.”
The first years slowly waved their wands, causing sparks to fly everywhere. “Now,” Daphne continued. “I want you to do that again, but this time, concentrate, try and make the sparks bigger.”
Most of the kids managed to do as she asked, but there were a few that couldn’t. Ginny and Pugsley quickly went around and helped them.
Daphne stood in the middle and took a deep breath. Severus reached into his pocket and pulled out his wand, gathering his own magic. Narcissa was doing the same thing.
Daphne started to chant something, but what she was saying was soon lost as thin trails of magic, looking like lightning, were pulled from all of the wands. They hit her, and she threw her arms apart and her head went back. She floated up a few feet into the air, and slowly, as if she were fighting her own body, closed her arms.
With a dramatic yell, she forced them open again, and a blinding white light exploded for her body. Three walls of the Common Room slowly stared to move back, accompanied by a massive grinding noise. As they moved, supporting arches perched on top of solid columns appeared, replacing the old walls.
There was a sudden silence, as the lights vanished. Daphne’s eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she fell to the floor, only to be caught by Harry.
She groaned as she forced her eyes open.
“Rest,” Harry whispered. “You did well. I am proud of you.”
Daphne smiled tiredly, and closed her eyes again. Harry turned and walked to the new entrance to the fourth year dormitory, and carried her in. Wednesday had a proud look on her face as she watched them.
“How the hell did she do that?” Tracey Davis demanded.
“The benefits of our Clan are legion,” Wednesday said quietly. “Confidence in oneself is merely the beginning; that was the spell used by the Founders to build Hogwarts herself.”
“May I ask another question?” Samantha asked her shyly.
Wednesday looked at her, and then nodded sharply.
“How do I join your clan?”
For the first time, a flicker of surprise raced across Wednesday’s face. “There is no set way,” she eventually explained. “There is a price, that is as personal as it is private, but we do not accept everyone, nor is it rarely an issue, as most people do not normally want to join our clan.”
“Most people are also idiots,” Samantha pointed out.
“Aren’t you a little young to make sure a sweeping statement?” Wednesday questioned.
Samantha wrinkled her nose cutely. “Three years ago, Harry Potter came back, and people celebrated. Then he wasn’t what people expected, so they called him evil. Then he tricked Voldemort, and he was good again, then he left over the summer, and he was bad again, and I got bored of my parents changing their minds with the stupid newspaper. They kept having boring dinner parties where they’d discuss things without even bothering to see if that silly paper was even telling the truth!
“My tutor taught me to always do research, so I made some pen friends with people at Hogwarts, and they told me what was happening here.”
Marcus sniggered quietly. “Isn’t this adorable? Harry’s got little minions now.”
Severus smiled faintly.
“Look at the members we have,” Harry said to Samantha, as he reappeared and moved next to Wednesday. “Daphne just cast a spell not seen since the Founders built Hogwarts. Hermione is currently researching a new book with Rowena Ravenclaw’s daughter. Ginny is top of her year, and has an amazing ability to read a situation and know the correct thing to do. Pugsley has walked into hell with us. Marcus tracked down one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes for us, and can be one of the most dangerous people in the world when he’s not skipping down the hall to take away your nerves. Professor Black is almost a walking encyclopaedia on history. Professor Snape is the single best Potions Master in the world. You have to be able to play at this level.”
“And if I do that?” Samantha asked, looking fearless.
Harry reached out and lightly ruffled her hair. “Then we’ll talk.”
Samantha grinned and nodded.
“Now bed, all of you firsties.”
There was no grumbling as the first years turned and scampered toward their bedrooms.
“That goes for the rest of you as well,” Wednesday added. A few minutes later, they were alone in the Common Room, sat around one of the low tables.
“Harry’s getting minions, ickle, ickle minions,” Pugsley chanted, grinning at Harry.
Harry scratched his head. “This is unexpected,” he admitted.
“I think,” Narcissa said slowly, “that I’m going to have a bit of a rant here.” She took a deep breath, and then settled into her chair, curling her feet under her. In the voice she had practiced while preparing her class lectures, she started once again. “If you look at the Wizarding World in this country over the past few hundred years, then it is not unexpected. Our society is based around following, not leading.
“Voldemort found out just how easy it was to get people to follow him. Independent thought is not exactly encouraged. I could list example after example of where our society has made poor choices.
“Before our students get to school, the Pure-blood children are taught to listen to their elders, to be seen and not heard, and to do as they are told. Half-blood children, and those raised in the magical society do not quite receive the same extent, but it is close. Obviously, Muggle-born do not receive this training, but we’ll get back to them shortly.
“Once they get to school, this is continued. Albus is seen as the all-powerful leader, whose advice is to be followed without thinking. No matter what house you are then sorted in to, this is continued. Ravenclaws are taught to listen to books – books written by people with an agenda of not upsetting the status-quo. Hufflepuffs are taught that they are only good for certain things and to follow the herd. Gryffindors are taught to admire the light which means first and foremost Dumbledore and to jump into action without thinking… and that’s about it.
“This leaves us. We blindly followed Voldemort, like good little minions, and spent most of our adult lives on our knees, being tortured.
“The ones who might have some original thought, such as the Muggle-born, soon leave our world. Why? Because these beliefs are entrenched, and all the people in charge want to maintain the status quo, so that they can remain in charge.
“Now, here you have something new. Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. He’s new, he’s mysterious, and no one is quite sure what he wants for the first few years. What is known is that he wins. And like Samantha said, parents started to talk about him instead. Whereas before Dumbledore or He-Who-Must-Be-Mocked were discussed, now it’s Harry as the favourite conversation amongst the proletariat.
“But there’s a difference. First, Harry made a few public points about independent thought, and second, Harry appears to be young and in school. So all these children are coming to Hogwarts and think that maybe it can be different. They were taught to follow, but they like the idea of asking questions, of thinking for themselves. And when they got here today, the Hat looked at them, and saw that they were ambitious, that they wanted to learn how to think for themselves, and that they really wanted to be in the same house as Harry.”
Puglsey, Daphne, Ginny, Marcus and Severus all applauded as she stopped. Harry and Wednesday both nodded at her, which caused Narcissa to blush prettily.
“That doesn’t explain why there are so many girls,” Severus pointed out.
Wednesday laughed softly while Pugsley sniggered. Ginny rolled her eyes. “Do you remember why I joined?” she asked rhetorically. “It’s because I had a crush on Harry the size of Hogwarts.”
Harry sighed, a faintly amused look on his face.
“Don’t worry,” Pugsley said consolingly, “you can just sic Wednesday on them, and they’ll still be running by the time we leave Hogwarts.”
“Like I did for Daphne, or Ginny, or Hermione, or Marcus, or Sirius, or Nick, or Trudi?”
“Natalie wants in as well, as do Tracey, Millicent and Pansy,” Marcus added.
“This was not meant to be a recruitment drive,” Harry said. “Our goals, our beliefs and our morals are not typical. I do not want to corrupt innocent minds, but I do not want to ignore people who genuinely want to join us, if they have something that they can offer. A crush on me is useless. However, the ability to think, to specialise in something different, to bring something we need to the table, that is not useless. Good genes are no longer enough, we need more, we want more and we demand more.
“I do not want to reject any out of hand. Nor do I want to encourage any but the most dedicated and valuable.
“Ginny, you’re going to be the gatekeeper. Weed out the hopeless ones, or the ones who don’t have anything to offer us. Encourage the ones that you like. If anyone becomes a serious candidate, talk to Pugsley about them, and then bring them to me if he agrees.”
“Okay,” Ginny said cheerfully.
Harry looked at her for a long seconds, she met his look without flinching. “Stand.”
Ginny hopped to her feet.
“It did not occur to me that you would say no,” Harry said, as he stood and approached her. “Nor did it occur to me that you would fail me. As such, there is only one action I can take.”
Ginny looked curiously at him.
“Ginevra Molly Weasley, you have stated that you wish to join us. Is that still your wish?” he asked formally.
“Yes,” Ginny whispered.
“We have talked about the price you must pay. Are you willing to pay this price?”
“With my soul, if needed.”
Harry stepped closer, raised her chin with his hand, and kissed her tenderly. “Welcome to the Clan, friend,” he intoned.
Wednesday moved, taking Harry’s place. She kissed Ginny, firmer than Harry had. “Welcome to Clan,” she whispered, a wicked glint in her eyes.
Ginny smiled brilliantly, and launched herself forward, hugging both Harry and Wednesday at the same time.
The red-haired girl released them, bounced on the balls of her feet. Pugsley moved over to her and repeated the ritual. She grinned at him, and moved over to Marcus. As Marcus gave her a perfunctory kiss, Ginny did something that deepened the kiss, before Marcus tore himself away, and looked at her with wild eyes.
Ginny smirked at him, and moved over and kissed Severus. He got a faint taste of blood in the kiss.
With a grin at Narcissa, who wasn’t yet a Clan member, she bounced off to the third year girls’ door, and vanished inside it.
“Marcus?” Pugsley asked.
“Little witch bit her own lip,” the vampire explained. He shook himself. “Her blood tastes like strawberries.”
Wednesday nodded. “Pugsley, Marcus, keep an eye on her. She’s gaining mannerisms that she can’t handle properly yet. She’s learning so much from Mom, Melissa, and Narcissa, but she is not ready to follow through. Some of the older boys here might take that as sign of something it isn’t. If anyone touches her, kill first, question later.”
Marcus nodded and bared his fangs, his tongue flicking out. “She’s innocent.”
Wednesday nodded. “She remains that way until she’s capable of making that decision on the right level for the right reasons.”
“What about Daphne?” Narcissa asked.
“What about her?” Wednesday queried.
“Does the same thing apply to her?”
Wednesday looked amused. “Daphne would use one of the many knives she has against any over-amorous suitor. Ginny might not think about that.”
“Yeah,” Pugsley agreed. “Daphne would stab first, check the actual danger later. Ginny might hesitate at the wrong moment.”
“What about Hermione?” Narcissa asked.
“Interesting case,” Harry said slowly. “We were lucky. If Albus hadn’t screwed up so badly, she would have been his until she grew up. She needs a strong belief structure. That had been books and rules, but that left her alone, crying in a bathroom, with a rampaging troll.
“Pugsley rescued her, and Wednesday swatted the poor troll, and that gave her a glimpse of something else – our clan – somewhere she could be herself and fit in. With this new structure as a goal, she set about following our rules with the same vigour with which she followed the others. Everything we do appeals to her – knowledge, information, and the future. She wants that, and is willing to do what is necessary to keep that.
“She doesn’t have any moral problems with it, because she has internalised our rules, not theirs. The biggest boost we had was the fact that we treat all creatures equally, and she saw the problems with Werewolves, Vampires, House-elves et cetera, and how it is mainly localised to this country.
“Hermione is ours now, she will be our chief researcher, her potential will be fulfilled, we will help her find someone suitable to fall in love with, and she’ll be happy for the rest of her life.”
“Not you, Pugs?” Narcissa asked with a grin.
Pugsley looked surprised. “Me and Hermione?” he asked. “Nah, she’s beautiful, but my tastes run differently.”
“Oh, you’re gay,” Narcissa said. “Sorry.”
Wednesday was now curled up against Harry, and was laughing so hard she had tears in her eyes. Harry was laughing softly as well.
“No,” Pugsley said with a long suffering sigh. “And you can shut it, Sis,” he added to Wednesday. “Look, when you grow up with Veela, with Succubus, with Vampires, with Werewolves, with Mermaids, and with all other creatures, real human girls just don’t do it for me. I’d need someone like Wends, and she’s unique.” He paused. “Not to mention bat-shit insane.”
Wednesday’s knife appeared between Pugsley’s legs, close enough to certain precious parts for him to edge back.
“Anyway,” he continued with a slight squeak to his voice, “I’ve got my eye on Marcus’s niece.”
“Veronique?” Marcus asked in surprise, before his eyes narrowed.
“I’ve just got to wait a bit until I’m old enough to approach her.”
“Why?” Wednesday asked curiously.
Pugsley looked at her and then said a word that Severus didn’t understand.
“I can help with that,” Wednesday pointed out.
“Really?” Pugsley asked curiously.
“What is she doing at the moment, Marcus?” Harry asked.
“Studying, learning, getting used to being a vampire.”
“Anything that you can’t teach her?”
“Never let it be said that I stand in the way of a randy teenager,” Harry said dryly. “I’ll talk to your brother. I think it would be good for her to be around us a bit more. Then she can see for herself what Pugs is really like.”
“She can cast spells?” Narcissa blurted.
“Yes,” Harry said softly. “She was turned at ten; we got her a few weeks later.”
“You got her?”
“The vampire who turned her broke the rules,” Marcus explained. “We don’t take that sort of thing sitting down. My brother agreed to take her in after we dealt with the issue.”
“By covering him in factor forty sun-screen and staking him outside, without his protection,” Pugsley finished. “It took him three days to die. His eyes burnt out the second day, and he spent the last day screaming.”
“I don’t think anyone else will be turning a child for a while,” Marcus added.
“I looked at being turned,” Pugsley said. “Didn’t really seem worth it.”
“Not for an Addams,” Harry agreed. “Daphne might look at it later in life; she’s got the temperament for it.” He stood, lifting Wednesday easily. “Pugs, if you don’t tell us these things, how can we fix them?” He walked away, into his rooms, still carrying Wednesday.
“Because not everyone is stupidly confident like you?” Pugsley asked the ceiling. He smiled faintly. “How do you think she’s going to react?” he asked Marcus.
“She’s a fourteen year old vampire so she’s essentially a teenager on steroids. She’ll whine, bitch and moan, while being secretly delighted. She’s also terrified witless of Wednesday, so it might do her some good as well.”
“Why?” Narcissa asked.
Pugsley chuckled. “Vonnie decided that Harry would make a good consort. It seems that no one told her about who Harry was, or who Wednesday was. Harry didn’t fall for her charms, and Wednesday had a quiet word with her.”
“That doesn’t bother you?” Severus asked Pugsley, “that she went for Harry?”
“If I let that bother me, I’d never get anywhere. He’s the Clan leader, he’s had gold digging trouts after him since he was eight.”
“Yeah,” Marcus said. “My dear Melissa was always an opportunist. She realised his potential about the same time I did, and she went for it. I think she quite liked the idea of breaking in an innocent, and teaching him.”
“That’s our Clan,” Pugsley continued with a grin. “Emotional attachments are different from political attachments. If you and Severus were just together because of a bargain, you’d both be open for attempted seductions. It’s a way of gaining power. However, as you’re both emotionally attached, you’re both off limits.”
“Wait,” Narcissa said with a frown. “So why do females still go after Harry?”
“He’s the leader, so different rules apply,” Marcus said.
“And most people don’t really believe that Wednesday has emotions,” Pugsley added. “She does have a warped sense of humour though, so she encourages people to try.” He stood, and stretched. “Anyway, I’ll see you in the morning. Night.”
“Night, Pugs,” they chorused, as he left the three of them alone in the Slytherin Common Room.
“What is in the Clan, stays in the Clan,” Marcus said softly. “Narcissa, just because you’ve seen the other side of Wednesday, doesn’t mean that anyone else needs to know she has one.”
“Marcus,” Severus said, “why don’t you accompany Narcissa back to our room? I’ve got some nice brandy in there.”
“With pleasure,” Marcus said, his voice rising in a question.
“I’m going to have a talk with Albus, see what is going on.”
“You,” Narcissa said slowly, “are a nice person, somewhere.”
“Lies,” Severus replied, as they moved out of the Common Room and separated. He made quick progress to Albus’ office, and after a knock, he entered.
The Headmaster looked old. Very old. He was staring out a window, standing in the dark. Fawkes was asleep on his perch.
Severus walked around his desk, opened the bottom drawer, and took out the bottle of whisky he found there. He poured two glasses and sat opposite the Headmaster’s chair.
“Where did it go wrong?” Albus asked softly. “My children pointed their wands at me. At me!”
“You startled them, when they were already on edge after Moody’s arrival and exposure,” Severus replied.
“That’s another thing,” Albus said, “I trust Alastor. Just because he can see through clothes with his eye, doesn’t mean that he would. I have the same skill, but I have never used it.”
“You have a degree of trust,” Severus said slowly, “Moody doesn’t. You probably wanted a dramatic introduction to allow him to start his teaching with a flourish. What you did was set him up as a target. Harry has probably been monitoring you from the start, and you haven’t done anything. I suspect that even a basic scan for threats set off Harry and Wednesday’s senses. And given the chance, they did what was natural for them. They used it.”
“That they did,” Albus agreed. He turned and moved to his desk, sitting down. He took a sip of the whiskey. “So why are you here?”
Severus shrugged. “You need someone to talk to.”
“And you work for them.”
“That I do.”
Albus sighed again. “Is the tournament that much of a bad idea?”
“Yes. Very much so. It was stopped for a reason, and bringing it back is just irresponsible.”
“I thought that it would allow some of our students to show how good they are.”
“Then set up some exhibitions, allow parents and Ministry officials to come, make a day of it, with food and dancing at the end. Allow our students to show off their magic while trying to impress people, not running for their lives.”
“It is too late now,” Albus replied. “Do you know who is going to be elected?”
“It is Amelia then?”
“It will be. Harry wanted someone competent in charge.”
Albus nodded. “And someone who doesn’t look to me for guidance.”
“Narcissa was quite vocal in her opinion.”
“She gets that way. I like it.”
Albus smiled. “I never did congratulate you.”
Severus nodded. “Thank you.”
“Please apologise to her on my behalf. Your description of petty was quite correct. At over a hundred and fifty years of age, I should be past that by now.”
“I will,” he said as he climbed to his feet. “Would you like a piece of advice?”
“No,” Albus replied. “But I think that is one of my main problems. Please.”
“Act as Headmaster of Hogwarts, not as the acknowledged great Leader of the Light.”
Albus nodded slowly. “Good night, Severus. And thank you.”
Severus nodded, and turned to walk away. He paused, and looked at Albus. “There is a child, Veronique…”
“A Vampire child?” Albus asked. He smiled. “It sounds like a name they would give someone turned.”
“Yes,” Severus agreed. “She was a witch when she was turned at ten.”
Albus inhaled sharply.
“Harry took exception to that, and dealt with it,” Severus said dryly. “I think that you’ll find there will be no more recurrences.”
“Ahh,” Albus said. “Harry wants her at Hogwarts?”
“Thank you for the warning. Before you go, can I ask a question?”
“Harry, he’s changed again.”
“Harry has taken control of the Addams Clan.”
Albus seemed to collapse into his chair. “This is not what Lily and James would have wanted.”
Severus sighed softly. “They knew the price, and they are happy with it now.” He was then treated to a rare sight, that of Albus Dumbledore looking completely shocked. “Necromancy is a hobby of Grandmama. I have had several very long chats with James and Lily. They were the ones who begged the Addams to remove Harry from the Dursleys.”
“Because they were abusing Harry.”
Again, Albus looked completely shocked. “But he was their nephew!”
“It didn’t seem to stop the Dursleys. It was they, more than the Addams, that helped set Harry’s personality.”
Dumbledore slumped down. “What have I done?” he asked.
Severus chose that moment to leave the Headmaster and join Marcus and Narcissa.
The next morning, he was walking with Narcissa to breakfast, when a scream of pain filled the air; it was followed by a siren wailing. Hurrying, they ran outside, to find a seventh year Slytherin writhing on the ground, and hundreds of students looking on in amusement.
He looked around, and spotted the Head Girl. “What happened?”
“Education,” Natalie replied. She swept her arm back dramatically “All these children have just learnt the benefits of learning to read.”
Narcissa laughed under her breath.
“My good friend Luke clearly couldn’t read the sign that says, ‘Do not touch,’ in front of that car. He touched, and now he is in pain.” She paused. “I think it was nice of them to put a sign up.”
Severus sighed. “Silencio,” he muttered, pointing his wand at Harry’s car.
“It’s lucky you’re a member of the Clan,” Pugsley said as he joined them, “otherwise that would have been taken as an act of war.” He pointed a plastic thing at the car and pressed a button. “There, you can cancel the spell now.” Pugsley looked down at the writhing on the ground. “That thing’s not even as powerful as a Cruciatus,” he muttered in contempt. “Natalie, you can just use Finite Incantatem on him.”
“Can I?” she mused. “Good to know.”
Pugsley laughed softly. “Breakfast,” he announced, putting his arms through Severus and Narcissa’s and leading them toward the Great Hall. “Let her sort it,” he said softly. “Either she’ll do so, and get an inch closer to joining us, or she won’t, either way it won’t be a problem.”
Pugsley dropped their arms before they entered the Hall. The boy chucked the keys toward Harry, who caught them without looking, and joined them. Hermione was still absent, and Severus honestly didn’t expect to see her for a while.
The children slowly entered the Great Hall, Natalie turning up last, an exhausted looking Luke trailing behind her like a bad puppy. She didn’t even look at Harry as she took her seat.
“Before we start,” Albus said cheerily, “I have an announcement.” As everyone looked at him, he continued. “We have another new student joining us in the fourth year. Now, before I introduce her, I will offer a few words. Four years ago, a rogue Vampire bit her and, through no fault of her own, this witch was turned into a Vampire.
“Now, the Vampire who did this has been dealt with, and I welcome any student wishing to learn magic to our school. As with our new Assistant Professor, she has sworn a Blood Oath not to feed on Hogwarts ground, so you will be perfectly safe.
“That said, I would encourage you not to offer Veronique any sympathy. I am assured that she is happy with her new life.” He raised his hand, and the Sorting Hat appeared, before the door opened, allowing a girl to enter. She was tall, with a regal bearing. Her long black hair was free down her back, and, like all Vampires, she was pale. While not spectacularly beautiful, she had the same sex appeal that all Vampires seemed to ooze out of every pore.
The girl walked in confidently, and grinned at Marcus, who nodded at her. She moved over to the Hat and placed it on her head.
“Slytherin,” the Hat yelled, to the surprise of no one.
Veronique moved over to the Slytherin table, before she paused, and went down on one knee. She swept her hair back and to the left, leaving her neck bare as she lowered her head submissively.
Harry and Wednesday stood and moved in front of her. “Stand.” As the Vampire did as she was told, Harry moved forward and kissed her. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”
Wednesday moved next and repeated the greeting. Severus looked around, taking in the shocked and stunned faces of the other students. This was the first time that some of them had seen anything even remotely sexual, and he suspected that more than a few of the boys would never forget the image of Wednesday kissing Veronique.
Harry looked at Dumbledore, and then nodded slowly, a gesture of respect that put a small smile on Dumbledore’s face. Harry and Wednesday re-took their seats, and Veronique took the remaining space – which just happened to be next to Pugsley.
“Hmm,” Marcus murmured. “That was a little unexpected. I wonder if we’re just used to it.”
“Used to what?”
“Harry’s aura. I’ve never seen Vonnie act that respectful. With her sire dead, even my brother has had issues with her. This was one of the things you talked to Albus about last night?”
Severus nodded. “I do not think he’s our enemy.”
“Not unless he makes himself one,” Marcus agreed.
They went silent as they ate. Even though it was breakfast, Marcus, and from what he could see, Veronique, were eating lightly seared beef.
A few minutes later, the doors opened, and a young Auror, an ex-student of his, walked in. She tossed off a casual salute toward Dumbledore and walked over to the Slytherin table.
“Wotcher Harry,” she said cheerfully.
“Nymphadora,” Harry replied dryly.
“Do you have to call me that?” she complained.
“He could try Nym, Nymphy, Nymphette, Dora, Doreen, Tonksy, Toots, or hey you,” Pugsley offered. “Or, we could go for Ju…”
“Tonks,” she interrupted firmly. “One syllable. Simple.”
“What can we do for you, Nymphadora?” Harry asked, his voice not changing.
Tonks sighed. “Fine,” she grumbled. “I’ve had a complaint,” she said, her body language changing, “something about a curse on a student.”
“He ignored the sign?”
“Idiot,” Tonks muttered. “Well, protecting your property with non-deadly curses is not illegal, as long as a sign is clearly posted. I’ll do the paperwork for this later.”
Harry nodded again.
“So,” Tonks said. “Who does one have to sleep with to get a ride in that thing?”
Harry smiled faintly, and nodded toward Wednesday.
Wednesday vanished from her customary spot on Harry’s right, and appeared in front of Tonks, “Is that all it takes, Tonks?” she purred, her entire being centred on the young Auror. “Can you stand it though? Can you surrender everything to my hands? Can you handle what I’ll do to you?”
Tonks gulped, before she started to turn red, even her hair, in the first full-body blush that Snape had ever seen.
“You’re both gits,” she complained weakly.
Wednesday just stayed, staring at the girl.
“Turn it off, Wends,” Tonks begged. “Please?”
Wednesday smiled slightly and vanished, appearing back next to Harry.
Tonks sighed deeply. “One of these days I’ll win,” she muttered. “Or maybe not, because I can’t tell if you’d actually take me up on it.” She looked up at Narcissa, “So if you’re in the Clan, and friendly with our mutual relative, exactly why haven’t you sent my mother a letter yet?”
Narcissa blushed and looked down.
“Still got it,” Tonks mumbled happily. “So I hear you have little minions now,” she said cheerfully to Harry.
“We prefer to call them potentials,” Harry said dryly.
“And hypocritical overtly pretentious tosspots with hyper-inflated sense of personal importance and massive competency issues like to be called Voldemort, but it ain’t gonna happen,” Tonks replied cheekily.
“Daphne Addams, Ginny Weasley, meet Nymphadora Tonks, freshly graduated from Auror training school, and Professor Black’s niece.”
“Where’s the other one, Granger?” Tonks asked.
“She’s with Violet and the Sorting Hat, planning a factual account of the early years of Hogwarts.”
Tonks sighed. “Am I going to find out the real story?”
“Unless I join, right?”
“You’ve never asked about that before.”
Tonks sighed. “I spent some time talking with a mutual relative. That, and well, some other issues relating to being myself has kinda shown me that maybe a stubborn streak of independence isn’t the best way for a happy life.”
Harry stood, Wednesday didn’t. “I’ll give you a lift back to London.”
“All right!” Tonks cheered, and did a little dance, before she joined Harry walking out.
It was a statement of how much Hogwarts had changed in four years that Veronique fit in with hardly any issues.
Or maybe it was that, after Wednesday, another unapproachable female with the palpable ability to kill just wasn’t anything more than a curiosity.
Pugsley was assigned, by Harry, to show Veronique around and look after her.
Narcissa enjoyed teaching. And, like a good Slytherin, hid her fear, and dealt with the students. History became a popular class, although a lot of that could have been attributed to the uselessness of Binns.
That was an observation he kept to himself. His dedication to open and honest feedback paled into comparison with his continuous desire to see Narcissa in any of the large collection of negligee she now owned.
Veronique was, quite possibly, the worst Potions student he had ever taught. She made Longbottom look like a genius. She even managed to set fire to a substance well known for its anti-flammable nature.
After two weeks of no real improvement, Harry was not happy. He vanished with Veronique for two days over a weekend, and when he returned, she was capable of passing the course.
During those two days, Marcus seemed a lot more concerned than normal about his niece, as did Pugsley. Wednesday had grabbed Pugsley after a few hours, and started to lecture him, using a green chalk board.
What she was teaching him was unknown. She was speaking in the same language they used when they didn’t want to be bothered, and the diagrams – simple line drawings which could have been human bodies, chemical bonds, or corporate hierarchies, depending on which way he turned his head – were somehow frightening.
It was the first time that the two had been separated for any length of time. Unsurprisingly, no one deemed it a suitable item to comment on – not within her hearing, anyway.
Narcissa finally managed to write a letter to her sister, who replied a few weeks later. They arranged to meet up over Christmas.
To his surprise, Harry started to look a tired. A discreet inquiry revealed that he was dealing with some Clan issues in Russia, and was spending most of every night using his communication ball.
Ginny was enjoying school; she was rarely seen without a group of Harry’s minions, as they were universally called. The minions in question, led by Samantha, were more than happy with the name.
To Severus’ great delight, the minions were more dedicated to learning than the Ravenclaws, and earned Slytherin House a large number of points. Samantha didn’t accept any of the other first year students doing badly and was extremely vocal about her expectations.
Severus was extremely amused when he caught Samantha demanding to know why several sixth years had lost some points in a class. Their attempts to ignore her had died in a fire when Wednesday had appeared silently behind Samantha. The students had apologised and promised better behaviour. Harry and Wednesday left Samantha to it.
Albus had retreated almost completely, and was acting more like the Headmaster of old, to the disappointment of absolutely no one.
Narcissa’s rant on the current state of the Wizarding World had opened his eyes to something he had always been somewhat aware off. He, of course, had not suffered from the same issues, as he had grown up outside the brain-damaged Wizarding world. But then, he had endured his own issues, so he could somewhat understand where they were coming from. He could see the way the children reacted to power. It was mildly depressing, and he knew it was an opinion that the Addams clan shared.
As expected, Amelia was elected as Minister of Magic. Scrimgeour was buried with a well-timed hatchet job in the press that he suspected came from the Addams, though it could have come from anyone. Scrimgeour had stood on a lot of toes on his way to the top.
It wasn’t long before it was time for the other schools to arrive, and for the Triwizard Tournament to begin.
“Severus, you have to do something about her!”
“About who?” Severus asked Marcus.
“That bloody goddaughter of yours.”
“What’s she doing?”
“She’s flirting with me everywhere I go, she’s looking at me with those huge dark eyes of hers, she’s posed to show off some of her juvenile assets, or she’s biting her lip and then letting the blood drip down her chin.
“She might look like a kid, but her blood smells amazing. It’s inhumane, it’s torture.”
The door to his office opened, and Daphne walked in. “There you are, dear,” she said sweetly, as she dropped into his lap.
Marcus was out the door before she landed.
“Daphne?” he asked.
“What are you doing with Marcus?”
“Nothing,” she replied, with a touch too much innocence.
“Daph,” he said warningly.
She winked at him. “Haven’t you noticed a pattern in the points we are winning?”
He pulled out a parchment, and found that for the last five weeks, Minerva had given fifty points to Daphne. The pattern was spread out here and there, but it was consistent. “Explain.”
“She’s hired me,” Daphne said cheerfully. “I torment Marcus, we get house points.”
“You do know that you’re playing with fire?”
“That’s what makes it interesting. Besides, if he breaks down, I’ve got some wards on me, and I’ll tell him the truth, and McGonagall can deal with him.”
He smiled. “Wards?” he prompted.
“You think I’d do this without running it past Harry and Wends first?” she asked in a mocking tone. Suddenly, her eyes went dark, impossibly so, and her smile changed. It was merciless, it was dark, it promised things he didn’t want to think about. “Do you know how old Minerva is?”
He shook his head.
“She’s one hundred and seven years old. Marcus is just past his two hundredth birthday,” she continued. “Half your age plus seven,” she pointed out. “Minerva has lit a fire; let’s see if she gets burnt.”
“Daphne,” Severus said softly, “turn it off.”
She looked at him in confusion, before she shook herself. “Sorry,” she mumbled, as her normal blue eyes reappeared, and her smile appeared more natural. “Marcus is Clan, Minerva is playing with one of us. No one gets away with that for long. Our internal politics are just that. It will be another week or so before Marcus realises that he has been set up, and the fallout will be beautiful.”
“You are Addams.”
She smiled brightly. “You were right, Uncle Sev. It’s profoundly terrifying, but it’s also profoundly beautiful and inspiring. You know what I wonder the most?”
“How they remain sane. How can you look at the kids in this school and not kill half of them? Wednesday has danced with the devil, Harry’s danced with a Pure-blood demon, and yet here they are, surrounded by children who only care about silly rivalries, a stupid sport and seeing who they can blunder into a closet with.
“And another thing, how can these children be so blind? How can they accept mediocrity? How can they sleep when we’re learning things that haven’t been known in thousands of years?”
“They are normal.”
“They are,” she agreed as she sighed. “I have to try and show the same patience they show. It’s just irritating at times.”
Severus smiled. “They do grow up,” he pointed out. “Eventually.”
“Yeah, you’re a teacher; I guess you’re used to people not fulfilling their potential.”
“My job is to provide them with the tools to fulfil that potential. Most of them will not have a clue what their potential is until they’ve left, and that is hopefully when our teaching will come in. But, what every teacher secretly hopes to find is that one gifted student, that one that works, that knows what they are doing, and you can see your actions guide them to the future.
“We’re lucky, because two extraordinary students are slowly inspiring others. Harry’s minions are pushing themselves harder than any other first years I’ve even seen.”
“Yeah, Sammy’s a terror isn’t she?” Daphne said fondly. “I’m thinking of taking her from Ginny.”
“Yeah, she’s a lot like me, Death Eater sympathising parents who didn’t really want a girl. Sure, she doesn't have a bitch as a little sister, and she had more tutors than I did. I’m thinking that it could be fun to have a real little sister. I can teach her all the good stuff, how to hold your liquor, how to stab someone without getting blood on your dress, where to carry knives.”
“I’m not sure I should be happy about the liquor.”
“Oh, yeah,” she agreed with a giggle. “Forget about that part, I’ve never had a drink in my life. Moving on swiftly, I’ll leave her in charge of the minions, but teach her how to handle them.”
“Does Harry want more members in the Clan?”
“Yes,” she stated unequivocally. “He may not know it yet, but the more people we have, the easier we’ll find it getting to our goal. The more competent people we can take with us, the better it will be. Who knows, when we’ve seen everything, we might want to set up a new home somewhere.”
He nodded slowly.
“How’s your French?” Daphne asked, switching languages.
“Good enough,” he replied. “You’ve been practising as well?”
“Yes. Wednesday decided that we wouldn’t be reliant on the translation charms around the school, and that we’d speak to people in their own language. Harry agreed, as it makes people more relaxed around us, and we can use that.”
“Eminently practical,” he noted. “Narcissa had the same idea.”
As if summoned, the door opened and Narcissa walked in. “You’re practising?” she asked, also in French.
“Nah, just testing Uncle Sev,” Daphne replied.
“How’s your fun and games with Marcus going?”
“He’s starting to crack. He was in here earlier asking Uncle Sev to stop me.”
“Excellent,” Narcissa said, as she daintily took a seat next to him. She looked at her watch. “It’s getting close to the time they are due to arrive,” she noted. “Do you need to get ready?”
“No, but I can recognise a hint,” Daphne said. “I’ll go and talk to Ginny.” She hopped out of the chair and was out the door in a flash.
“She’s taking on some of the Addams characteristics,” he replied. “She did the eye-darkening thing earlier.”
Narcissa nodded. “I’m looking forward to working out how that is done. Now, go and put some nice robes on.”
“Yes, dear,” he agreed, and walked into their bedroom. It was a job of only a minute for him to get changed. Less than five minutes later, he was standing outside with Narcissa, Albus, Minerva, Filius and Pomona, utilising a warming charm so that he didn’t freeze in the frigid late October weather.
To one side, Harry and Wednesday stood alone. Near them, Daphne, Pugsley, Hermione and Ginny stood in a small group, talking quietly. In a further group, the minions chattered with some of the other students, Natalie conspicuous in that group. Severus made a mental note to speak to her soon.
He smiled as Natalie demonstrated the warming charm, and all the first years copied her. The benefits of their self-study obvious, especially to the frozen-looking second and third years.
Filius and Minerva hurried over to cold students and quickly cast warming charms on them as well.
“Aha,” Dumbledore exclaimed loudly – a little too loudly, considering how close he was to them. “Unless I am very much mistaken, the delegation from Beauxbatons approaches!”
“Where?” a few students said, but they were quickly hushed by some of the other students.
Pugsley pointed and, just loud enough to be heard, said, “Over the lake, at around three thousand feet and descending fast.”
“A flying carriage,” Daphne added. “What’s pulling them?”
“Abraxan,” Wednesday replied softly. “Gold and white ones.” She sighed. “They look so much better when they’re black.”
Harry reached out and put an arm around her.
With a bone-jarring thump, the powder blue carriage landed, with the huge horses running at full pelt.
The front horses’ heads went back, and they started to slow, but rather than come to a stop, they began to canter, twisting toward Harry and Wednesday.
The two didn’t even deign to look uncomfortable, as the horses moved closer.
Pugsley backed the others away, as the carriage came to a stop, the horses breathing heavily, as they stared at Wednesday with a strange fascination.
As one, the horses lowered their heads.
Wednesday reached up and stroked the noses of the front two. She sighed softly. “Do we consider Hogwarts home?”
Harry looked around. “Emotionally, no,” he decided. “However, we do live here for most of the year. And by our attendance, we have agreed to represent this school.”
Wednesday nodded. “Follow,” she commanded sharply as she started to walk.
The Abraxans did exactly as they were told, almost prancing behind her. The fact that they were over thirteen feet tall, and must have weighed close to nine tonnes apiece didn’t seem to bother Wednesday, as she stopped in front of the entrance to the school. She flicked her hand at the carriage, and a set of golden stairs appeared.
The first person down the stairs was the Beauxbatons Headmistress, Olympe Maxime. She looked at Wednesday, before simply saying, “Merci.”
“You are guest at our school,” Wednesday replied in flawless French. “For the duration of your stay, your honour is our honour. We welcome you to Hogwarts, and will do that which is prescribed to ensure that your stay is pleasant.” With a small bow, she took a few steps back.
Olympe gulped, her students following her out of the coach, and they joined her, seemingly spell-bound as Wednesday flicked her hands at the horses, removing their reins. The horses pranced around, before Wednesday jumped up about four feet vertically, and grabbed the mane of the first and swung herself onto its back.
With a noise resembling thunder, the horses took off at a gallop; following the Abraxan Wednesday was riding.
“Pugsley, Hermione, Daphne, Ginny, warming charms for our guests,” Harry ordered.
Working together the four students cast spells on the cold-looking Beauxbatons students, who instantly stopped shivering. Severus suspected that they simply had not thought about the weather differences between the south of France and Scotland.
“Natalie, arrange for someone to park the carriage near the stables Hagrid built.”
“Yes, Harry,” Natalie agreed. She pointed at the Head Boy, and a few other students, who dashed over to the carriage. With a few spells, it trundled after them as they jogged around the school.
Albus moved over to stand next to Harry, a wide smile on his face. “My dear Madame Maxime,” he said. “Welcome to Hogwarts.”
“Dumbly-dore,” said Madame Maxime in a deep voice. “I ‘ope I find you well?”
“It’s been an interesting few years,” he admitted. “I find that I am not as I once was.”
The headmistress nodded, looking surprised. She waved her hand behind her. “My students.”
Albus nodded at them. “Igor is due to arrive shortly.”
“We shall wait for ‘im,” Olympe decided. “Your students are surprising.”
“You have no idea,” Albus said, his eyes twinkling.
The Beauxbatons students moved closer to Olympe, looking at the Castle with something akin to fear on their faces.
“Hogwarts won’t bite,” Severus assured them, switching to French. “However, if you’ll accept a word or two of advice, I will simply assure you that you will be safe, and that you are welcome to come to me, or to any of the professors if you have any issues.” He paused, looked at Harry, who shrugged.
“Who was she?” a male asked. He had blonde hair and bright blue eyes, and carried himself with an assurance that suggested he knew his own attractiveness.
“Wednesday Addams,” Severus replied, amused.
The male smiled.
“Choose your next words with care.” Harry hadn’t raised his voice, hadn’t even turned to face them, yet the warning was like a winter chill, cutting through them. The threat wasn’t even delivered as one, but the boy paled.
“The lake,” one of the students – and judging by the loudness, it was probably Jordan.
“Was this planned?” Harry asked no one.
“It was,” Albus replied.
“And the Merpeople were warned?”
“They were. They are looking after the Squid.”
Harry nodded and gave Dumbledore a brief smile.
Albus smiled back cheerily, his eyes twinkling.
As the Durmstrang ship came to a halt, an anchor was thrown overboard, and the familiar and somewhat unwelcome figure of Igor Karkaroff appeared, strolling down the gangplank. He was dressed in thick furs, some of which looked like they belonged to animals that wouldn’t have voluntarily given up their fur without a fierce – and probably unfair – fight.
Harry walked forward, intercepting the Headmaster before he could get to the teachers. “Potter?” Igor said, stopping in his tracks, and then backing up.
“Where do your loyalties lie?”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Igor said, backing away.
“You’ve ignored the calls,” Harry stated. “But things are changing. Where do your loyalties lie?”
Behind Karkaroff, students appeared, looking at Harry curiously. A few of the older students appeared to be trying to be intimidating.
“Answer,” Harry snapped, his voice underlaid with power.
“Myself,” Igor replied immediately.
“Arm,” Harry ordered.
Karkaroff gulped, and then held out his right hand.
Harry reached forward, and Igor started to scream. He dropped to the ground, clutching his arm. Some of the students reacted, but a look from Harry froze them in place.
“It’s just an ugly burnt tattoo now,” Harry said. “While you are in this school, you will follow the rules.” He switched to German, and looked at the students behind the kneeling Headmaster. “For the duration of your stay, your honour is our honour. We welcome you to Hogwarts, and will do that which is prescribed to ensure that your stay is pleasant.”
Unlike Wednesday, he didn’t bow. He nodded faintly and turned, walking back into the school. Pugsley, Daphne, Hermione and Ginny fell into place behind him.
Igor got back to his feet and looked at his arm in disbelief. “It’s, it’s gone,” he muttered. “I’m free.” He grinned and marched forward to the Headmaster. “Dumbledore,” he boomed. “That was the most interesting welcome I’ve ever had.”
“It looked painful,” Albus replied.
“Well, it was painful to get in the first place,” Igor replied. “I see scant need to try and hide what happened,” he continued. “Most intelligent students will have understood. That includes all of my students, of course. And, to be frank, suddenly having my connection to the Dark Lord smashed is quite a nice thing. Of course, I did think it impossible.”
“I’m afraid,” Albus said, with a twinkle in his eye, “That Harry, and Wednesday, will quite happily redefine your definition of impossible.”
“If they refrain from killing you,” Marcus muttered. “Hello Igor.”
Igor turned, blinked, and paled. “Marcus,” he muttered.
“We must have a chat soon,” Marcus purred, suddenly exuding a dangerous air, quite out of sync with his normal cheerfulness.
“Marcus,” Wednesday said, appearing from nowhere, “stop playing.”
“But,” the vampire whined.
“But you’re delaying dinner. Harry’s tired and needs to eat something before he shuts down; he has been up for the last three days because some Russian idiot couldn’t follow directions.”
Marcus blinked, and Severus felt himself almost looking shocked. This was the first public, verbal admission that Wednesday cared for Harry’s well-being. He looked at the Beauxbatons students, and suddenly understood. This was Wednesday being nice.
Wednesday walked past them, into the school.
“Shall we?” Albus asked. “I’m sure you’re all hungry.”
“We shall,” Olympe said, and took Albus’ arm as he offered it to her. Severus moved so that he was walking with Igor.
“Ouch,” Igor said softly. “That hurt.”
“And that is nothing compared to what they will do if you do something silly,” Severus agreed.
“So you are free as well?”
“More so. I work for them.”
Igor looked surprised, and then his eyes narrowed.
“Take it for what it is,” Severus said before Igor could say anything else. “You have a chance. You behave, you get to keep your life and your job. They don’t care about your past, just as they didn’t care about mine.”
Igor nodded. “Thank you,” he murmured.
“One more piece of advice, try and avoid fur if it comes from a dangerous animal. Wednesday likes animals.”
“That girl gives me the chills.”
“So she should,” Severus agreed as they entered the Great Hall. He took his seat at the Professors’ table, next to Igor, with Narcissa on the other side of him, next to Marcus.
The Durmstrang students were looking around, while the Beauxbatons students were looking distinctly unimpressed.
“They’re irritating Hermione,” Marcus pointed out with an amused tone to his voice.
“You are not going to stop this?” Igor asked.
“We found that the school runs much easier if we just let the students deal with things,” Severus answered dryly.
Hermione said something to Daphne and Ginny. The three girls stood and started to summon chairs from a stack in the corner, and new tables – ignoring the slow progress of Filch, who looked grateful that he didn’t have to do anything.
When there were twenty-four new places, twelve on the Hufflepuff table and twelve on the Ravenclaw, Hermione walked over to the gathered Beauxbatons students. “Please be seated,” she half said, half ordered in French.
One of the girls, a tall girl, her hair hidden under a scarf, gave a small sneer.
Hermione looked her directly in the eye, and hissed, “Sit!” The girl dropped into a seat like a sack of potatoes.
Pugsley grinned and wandered over to the Durmstrang students. “Feel free to sit down,” he said in casual German. “You guys want some German food, or do you want to be brave and try some British stuff?”
There was some laughter. “We are brave,” one of them replied. “Bring on your pies.”
“Okay, we’ve put you with the Ravenclaws, they’re the brightest. We stuck the Frenchies with the Hufflepuffs because they’re the most tolerant.”
“I don’t suppose you have anyone who can play Quidditch, do you?” another asked.
Pugsley paused, and then his eyes lit up. He turned to Harry and asked something in the language they used when they didn’t want anyone else to know what they were talking about.
Harry looked thoughtful.
“Come on, Harry, please,” Pugsley begged, switching to English. “Wends, help?”
Wednesday looked at her brother for a long moment, before turning to Harry. What she said to Harry was in yet another obscure language, this one leaving Pugsley with a blank look.
Harry stood and moved to the front of the Professors.
“Professor Karkaroff,” he said firmly, in English, then French, then German. Throughout his speech, he repeated each thing in the three languages, in an impressive display of mental acuity. “As I’m sure you are aware, the Triwizard Tournament has interfered with our regular Quidditch season, and while the Tournament offers false glory for the fools who participate, it does nothing for the rest of the students – well, nothing for those who don’t consider the idea of students dying for such a pointless event entertainment.
“As such, the students of Hogwarts would like to challenge the students of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang to a small Quidditch tournament.”
There was a series of gasps from the students, as Harry made his way through the three languages, causing some seriously excited whispers.
“As sport is merely a part of our academic life, I am also proposing a head-to-head competition, where the brightest of each school, in teams of seven, battle it out over general knowledge questions.”
This time the Ravenclaw students, as well as the Beauxbatons and some of the Durmstrang students started to whisper intently.
“And in the spirit of friendly inter-school competition, I will personally offer a prize fund of twenty-one thousand galleons, with one thousand going to each member of the winning teams, and the other third going to the victorious school. In the event of a tie, the money will shared between the victorious schools.”
This time, there was a hush, as everyone stared at Harry.
“Professor Karkaroff?” Harry asked.
“Durmstrang accept the proposal,” Igor replied into silence. There was a massive cheer from the Hogwarts tables, as well as the Durmstrang table.
“Madame Maxime?” Harry asked.
“Beauxbatons would be delighted.”
There was an even louder cheer, as all three groups of students exploded.
“We will run the Quidditch competition under European rules, under the auspices of the Fédération Internationale de Quidditch Association” Harry continued, a wave of his hand silencing the cheers. “You may, of course, fetch any students you wish to participate. The quiz will feature questions set by the Librarians of Alexandria, and will be judged by them and their legendary impartiality. Do we have an agreement?”
“We do,” Olympe agreed.
“Ja,” Igor said firmly.
“Professor Snape, will you coordinate with Madame Maxime and Professor Karkaroff?”
“Of course,” Snape replied.
Harry offered the very faintest hint of a bow, and headed toward his seat, only for him to be assaulted by an almost flying Hermione, who hugged him tightly, as she almost danced on the spot.
“Interschool quiz, interschool quiz,” she chanted, “as important as Quidditch, thank you, thank you. Thank you!”
Harry offered her what looked like the tiniest of smiles to people who couldn’t read him. “Breathe,” he ordered softly.
Hermione wrestled control from somewhere, and she blushed slightly. “I thank you, Clan leader,” she said formally.
Harry nodded, and they retook their seats.
“I love that man,” Pugsley said loudly, as he bounded back over to the Slytherin table.
“Fred,” George Weasley – and Snape presumed it was George, only because of the fact that he started with the word Fred – “we have to get onto the Quidditch team!”
“Too right, brother mine,” Fred agreed. “We have better odds of winning, and no having to face death, and there are no age restrictions!”
Severus looked at Harry, who smiled, even as the food arrived.
After they had eaten, Albus asked Harry and Wednesday, along with Severus and Minerva, to join him in his office.
“That,” Albus said slowly, “was massively out of the character you have shown so far. What is going on?”
Severus winced, as Wednesday’s eyes blackened and her muscles tensed.
Harry lightly placed am arm around her, and settled her back down.
“How little you know me,” he said softly. “What have I just done, Professor McGonagall?”
Minerva looked at him for a long moment. “You’ve just ruined the Triwizard Tournament, making it the smallest ring of a three ringed circus. And you’ve given yourself a chance to see some of the best students in three schools compete for something, and I suspect that you are more interested in the interschool quiz, than the Quidditch.”
“Exactly,” Harry agreed. “The Triwizard Tournament will be a side show to our main event. The Clan will gain from it, both from a public relations point of view, and from a potential recruitment, all for the cost of just a few measly galleons.”
“Which is enough to pay for every student here’s tuition,” Minerva added tartly.
“You will need to arrange the extra accommodation; Durmstrang and Beauxbatons will be bringing in more students,” Dumbledore said.
“I will. Was there anything else?”
“I guess not.”
Harry stood and nodded. He turned and walked out, Wednesday by his side. “Severus, talk to the ministries, get Narcissa to talk to the press, and send Marcus to the Goblins to arrange the accommodation, I suspect that Olympe and Igor will take up the rest of your free time. Wednesday, approach FIQA, be polite to start with, and if they start asking for bribes, kill a few of them until they agree to my terms.”
“Yes, my beloved,” Wednesday said with a little bounce.
“I’ll go to the Library of Alexandria and arrange their participation.” He turned and nodded at Severus, before he vanished. Wednesday vanished seconds later.
Severus shrugged and went about his assigned tasks.
By the next morning, everything had been arranged. FIQA was down six council members, a dozen guards and one unlamented clerk. Their attitude toward the tournament was now glowingly positive.
The Librarians of Alexandria had not needed any such persuasion; they had jumped at the opportunity for a high profile interschool quiz, and a senior librarian had accompanied Harry back to Hogwarts to start organising how it would work.
The librarian was practically vibrating with excitement at the thought of Quidditch-sized audiences for a quiz.
And perhaps more importantly, all three schools were talking about everything bar the Triwizard Tournament.
It has been a while. For those that don't know, I moved halfway across the country and got a new job. As I moved, I lost decent internet for six months, and even know, have only had decent home internet for nine days.
My new job has dominated my life, leaving me with little time and energy to write.
I did have another chapter of Hogwarts' Dawn done, but both my betas, in incredibly polite and nice ways, told me that it wasn't good enough. It was an effort to write it, and that showed. I've taken it back and will work on it in the New Year.
I've been working on a different story, that I'm about 400 pages into. I want to get that finished before I work on anything else. I'm probably going to post some abandoned stuff over the next few weeks.
As for this story, there's only one chapter left to go.
Thanks for all those who have reported the person uploading my stories on fanfiction.net.
This story has been marked as suitable for adult readers only.