Sekrit Projekt by Chilord


Disclaimer: Harry Potter and affiliated characters belong to J.K. Rowling

Author's Notes: No artificial ingredients, I'm just naturally this bizarre. I decided to make things a bit more-- active with the Map. Since it was able to insult Snape, and help the Weasleys, I figured eh, what the hell?


The maddened tempest of another year at Hogwarts had come and passed. In its wake, a young Harry Potter again found himself trapped in the confines of Number 4 Privet Drive, waiting the coming of his 14th birthday. Alone with his thoughts, and the single artifact from his parent's days at Hogwarts.

Harry stared down at the blank parchment that held the Marauder's map inside of it, his fingers lightly tracing along its surface, before blinking in surprise as words blossomed across its surface.

Mr. Moony wonders why the boy is, well, mooning about.

Mr. Prongs would like to remind Mr. Moony to please not go the path of Mr. Padfoot.

Mr. Padfoot resents that remark.

Mr. Wormtail thinks Mr. Prongs has a valid point.

Harry blinked a moment, then blinked again as he stared back at the parchment, before hesitantly speaking up. "You can-- talk?"

Mr. Moony would really like to wonder how else the boy thinks the twin Weasleys figured out how to open the map?

Mr. Prongs notes that while they are-- acceptable, they are hardly the type to be able to decipher the secrets of the maps without some-- prompting.

Mr. Padfoot thinks Mr. Prongs just doesn't like the fact that they're that much more creative than he is.

Mr. Wormtail thinks that Mr. Prongs is far more creative!

"-- I kinda doubt anyone would be able to just figure out the password." Harry noted cautiously. "It's not exactly something that comes up in everyday conversation."

Mr. Moony would like to point out that crypto--

Mr. Padfoot reminds Mr. Moony to stop using those big words as they make him sound entirely too much like a Ravenclaw.

Mr. Prongs would remind Mr. Padfoot he seemed to enjoy the attentions of quite a few Ravenclaws.

Mr. Wormtail remembers him sleeping with the majority of three years worth of students.

Mr. Padfoot is blushing at all the praise.

Mr. Prongs wasn't praising him.

Mr. Moony remembers Mr. Prongs being much the same way before he became besotted.

"-- I-- Ok, really, really don't need to know that." Harry noted with a wince as he shook his head. "No more tales about my father's-- ya know."

Mr. Padfoot protests, there's just so much to tell!

Mr. Moony thinks the boy has a point.

Mr. Prongs really, really hopes Lily never, ever finds a copy of this conversation, as she will most assuredly do things that would best remain unnamed.

Mr. Wormtail agrees, she's scary.

"-- You don't know--?" There was a tone of disbelief in Harry's voice as he stared back at map, almost incredulously.

Mr. Padfoot is suddenly quite worried

Mr. Moony feels a great deal of trepidation.

Mr. Prongs is with Mr. Padfoot.

Mr. Wormtail is too.

"They're-- dead." Harry stated softly as he curled up just a bit.

Mr. Moony morbidly wonders which they the kid is talking about, as he knows he was a least just alive recently.

Mr. Padfoot notes he was hunting for him for some reason, and since he saw himself on the map just recently--

Mr. Wormtail was on it too!

Mr. Prongs has a very, very bad feeling.

For a moment, Harry said nothing, staring down at the parchment before he licked at his suddenly very, very dry lips. "I-- Dad and Mum-- Voldemort killed them when I was a baby."

Mr. Moony... really doesn't know what to say to that, other than he's truly, deeply sorry.

Mr. Prongs is... dead?

Mr. Padfoot refuses to believe it!

Mr. Wormtail can't believe that Mr. Prongs and his Missus are...

"Why not?" Harry shot back his eyes burning as a sudden swelling of anger bubbled up inside of him. "You're the one who sold them out to Voldemort to save your own skin."

Mr. Padfoot would never betray Prongs and Lily!

"Not you." Harry corrected as he shook his head and growled softly. "The rat."

Mr. Wormtail protests!

Mr. Moony truly hopes the boy is mistaken.

Mr. Padfoot will kill him.

Mr. Prongs is still struggling to come to grips with things and is having trouble processing everything here.

"I'm not mistaken." Harry insisted as he lightly glared back at the paper. "Pettigrew admitted it to me! He said he did it so he Voldemort wouldn't kill him. Then he ran off and-- and--"

Fresh tears started to spill down his cheeks as he suddenly glared down at the paper. "They're gone, and it's all his fault."

Mr. Moony doesn't know what to say.

Mr. Padfoot does! KILL THE RAT!

Mr. Wormtail quickly reminds the others that this all happened after he was created, therefore cannot be held accountable for any actions taken by said individual!

Mr. Prongs would like to remind the others that can't do anything to each other anyway, so that's a moot point.

Mr. Padfoot objects! He killed Prongs!

Mr. Prongs would remind Mr. Padfoot that violence isn't always the best answer, the certain incident involving him, Mr. Moony and a certain beak-nosed, greasy git being the most obvious example.

Mr. Padfoot would've gotten away with it!

Mr. Moony is quite glad he didn't, really didn't want to be a murderer outed to the entire school as a werewolf.

Harry stared at the paper for a moment, before sighing slightly as he palmed his face, rubbing at the tear streaks running down his cheeks. "Do you have to be so--" As he struggled for the right words, the Marauders offered up their own opinions

Mr. Padfoot suggests ruggedly dashing and handsome!

Mr. Prongs would say prideful and stubborn.

Mr. Moony would say significantly lacking foresight into the repercussions of his actions.

Mr. Wormtail would say stupid.

Mr. Padfoot is not talking to the rat, and refuses to accept any input he might have on said matters!

"I hate to admit it, but he has a point." Harry couldn't help but chuckle a bit at the antics on the page before slowly shaking his head. "Merlin, I wish I'd known you could do all this earlier."

Mr. Prongs would like to know where, exactly they are.

"Um-- We're at the Dursley's." Harry said in way of explanation.

Mr. Padfoot is confused, doesn't know of any wizarding families with that name.

Mr. Wormtail doesn't either.

Mr. Prongs has never heard the name either.

Mr. Moony is drawing a blank.

"My Aunt, Uncle and cousin." Harry offered in way of explanation, before muttering softly as he glanced towards the door. "They don't like me, or magic, very much."

Mr. Prongs blinks as he slowly as he notes he doesn't have any siblings.

Mr. Moony points out that logically, it would mean that it's Lily's sister and her husband and child.

Mr. Padfoot wonders exactly how Mr. Moony came to that conclusion.

Mr. Wormtail thinks it's obvious.

Mr. Padfoot thinks the traitor rat doesn't get an opinion!

Mr. Wormtail is the non-traitor rat! He cannot be held responsible for his counterpart's actions!

Mr. Moony thinks that they're both being idiots. It's obvious that it's Lily's sister as Prongs had no siblings and the name is Dursley, not Evans, as it would be if it was Lily's brother. Simple, logical deduction.

Mr. Padfoot doesn't need no stinking logic!

Mr. Moony notes that Mr. Padfoot is illustrating his point for him.

Mr. Padfoot always did have a measure of artistic talent!

Mr. Prongs notes that Mr. Moony wasn't complimenting Mr. Padfoot.

Harry stared at the parchment as he watched the back and forth banter between the Marauders and he couldn't help but let a smile cross his face. It wasn't much, but it was a tangible connection to the family he'd lost. Even if they did act like a group of children.

"Yeah, Aunt Petunia is mum's sister." Harry agreed with a quiet little nod of his head before frowning slightly. "But, like I said, they don't like magic much."

Mr. Prongs is saddened by that as he personally loves magic.

Mr. Moony remembers Lily being rather enamored with it herself. Certainly more enamored than she was with Mr. Prongs.

Mr. Padfoot remembers her demonstrating that affection in some very creative curses, hexes, jinxes and other assorted charms.

Mr. Wormtail's body hair was pink for a week! He did not appreciate that!

Harry's lips twitched just a bit as he smiled at the parchment once more before nodding his head. "Really?" He paused a moment, thinking carefully before his eyes lit up. "Can you teach me any spells?"

Mr. Moony looks apologetic and is afraid they cannot.

Mr. Padfoot would love to teach him all manner of mischief and merriment but--

Mr. Prongs is confused as to why he's asking, surely he knows plenty of spells, being a Potter!

"Errr-- I know some." He paused, before brightening considerably as he continued. "I can cast a corporeal patronus!"

Mr. Prongs is impressed, that's quite the feat at that age.

Mr. Moony is in agreement with Mr. Prongs

Mr. Padfoot wonders what's so special about it, it's only good for chasing off dementors and lethifolds!

"It allowed me to save you from a swarm of dementors." Harry shot back as he half glared down at the page.

Mr. Moony would be wondering why there was a swarm of dementors after Mr. Padfoot, but--

Mr. Prongs agrees, it is Mr. Padfoot.

Mr. Padfoot objects this baseless libel and slander!

Mr. Wormtail thinks that Mr. Padfoot is just throwing about words he doesn't really understand.

"You mean he normally causes that much trouble--?" Harry stared back at the parchment, his eyebrows raising up on his head. "I thought it was just around me."

Mr. Padfoot insists this is a slanderous campaign of mudslinging and besmirching of his good name!

Mr. Prongs just reminds Mr. Padfoot that he is a Black. Upon that basis: What good name?

Mr. Padfoot pauses-- and reluctantly admits that there is a remote, vague possibility that Mr. Prongs could, potentially, and only potentially, have a point.

"So, you can't help me with learning new spells." Harry murmured a bit as he sighed softly and fell back on his bed, staring up onto the parchment he held in front of him, before frowning just a bit. "Can you at least give me some advice on where to look?"


Mr. Moony notes that the boy has hit on the right question!

Mr. Wormtail wonders if he can tell him what he's won?

Mr. Padfoot protests! Has rights as godfather!

Mr. Prongs wonders exactly how far Mr. Padfoot thought out that line of consciousness.

Mr. Padfoot is clueless as to what Mr. Prongs-- Oh, oops?

"-- And you named him my godfather?" Harry stared a moment as he reached up, rubbing his face. "Why couldn't you have picked Remus?"

Mr. Prongs can only guess, though can't really think of a believable one.

Mr. Moony would like to remind them of his monthly difficulties.

Mr. Padfoot would again like to object to this horrible slander! Would make a perfectly good godfather! It is obvious that the kid needs some proper guidance!

Mr. Wormtail shudders to think about what Mr. Padfoot would consider proper guidance.

Mr. Padfoot thinks it's obvious the boy needs to learn about proper wenchin!

Mr. Prongs pauses.

Mr. Moony holds his face in his hands.

Mr. Prongs wonders if there's any items charmed with Lily's personality in Harry's possession that might have a chance of learning of this-- conversation?

Harry's face fell and he slowly shook his head. "No. I don't have anything like that of Mum."

Mr. Prongs apologizes for that, however, is able to give a full and honest opinion of what he thinks Harry should be doing then.

Mr. Moony hopes it's to devote the time and practice into learning proper magical theory and application.

Mr. Wormtail hopes it's to eat more, the boy is too skinny.

Mr. Padfoot guesses wenching!

Mr. Prongs actually agrees with all three of them.

Mr. Moony thinks that somewhere, Mr. Prongs is suffering for that comment.

Mr. Prongs doubts it, as he's sure Lily would hardly blame a teenaged personality fragment of his for leading their son into learning to have fun.

Mr. Wormtail thinks this is probably a bad idea.

Mr. Padfoot vetoes the rat's objections.

Mr. Wormtail wonders what else is new.

"You know-- you're all a bit-- Um--" Harry hesitated a moment, staring down at the page as he bit into his lower lip.

Mr. Padfoot suggests loony.

Mr. Prongs thinks barmy works.

Mr. Moony would go with ludicrous.

Mr. Wormtail was always a bit partial to nutters.

"Oh, just as long as you know it." Harry noted dully as he stared back at the Map. "So, you mentioned something helping me find where to look?"

Mr. Prongs would suggest his old school supplies.

"I-- Don't think they're around anymore. The house-- the house where he attacked was destroyed." Harry murmured softly back to the pages.

Mr. Prongs wonders about the family vault at Gringotts?

"My trust vault? Only thing in there is money." Harry shook his head. "Sorry."

Mr. Prongs said Family Vault for a reason!

"Errr-- don't think I have one, sorry?" Harry shook his head.

Mr. Prongs is sure there's a family vault!

"How many times do I have to tell you--!"

Mr. Moony would suggest asking his, and he shudders as he says this, adult self.

Mr. Wormtail says they just give him the book list and let him figure it out like they did. Just the list will put him ahead of where they were.

Mr. Padfoot points out that then he won't know of some of the-- oh, wait, that was half of the fun, never mind.

Mr. Prongs urges Harry to not listen to the maniacs! The notes they wrote--!

Mr. Padfoot thinks Harry would learn much more by figuring out those things himself.

Mr. Prongs objects!

Mr. Moony, reluctantly overrules.

Mr. Wormtail has to go with the others on this, sorry, Prongs.

"-- I think I should be worried." Harry noted quietly as he stared, warily back at the parchment.

Mr. Padfoot tut tuts! That's hardly the right attitude to have!

Mr. Moony has a list of books that Harry will want to get.

Mr. Wormtail has a list of ingredients he'll want to get beforehand too.

"How? I can't really get to Diagon Alley, not with Uncle Vernon being-- you know." Harry shifted uncomfortably about as he couldn't help but feel the need to look away.

Mr. Moony suggests owling the one he previously mentioned, as he refuses to mention the one who's very existence induces a cold shiver at the very core of his being again.

"You want me to ask Remus?" Harry clarified carefully as he eyed the parchment.

Mr. Wormtail would certainly advise against asking the traitor-rat, Pettigrew.

Mr. Padfoot reminds Mr. Wormtail, he is Pettigrew.

Mr. Prongs would, if he was talking to the others right now, agree with the shaggy, perverted dog.

Mr. Wormtail has formally renounced any and all ties to Peter Pettigrew! Let it be known that said individual is unworthy of affiliation to the Marauders and should no longer be referred to as such!

There was a moment of silence as the Map went completely blank, leaving Harry to suddenly panic as he gripped tightly upon the parchment. "Um, is everything ok? Are you all still there?"

Mr. Moony asks for a moment, private discussion going on.

Sighing softly in relief that the Map wasn't broken, Harry reluctantly nodded his head. Thinking a moment, he pulled out a piece of parchment and jotted out a quick note to Remus, requesting for the man to help him get to Diagon Alley for some books and supplies. Almost an afterthought, he added his earlier question about the possibility of a Potter Family Vault.

As he was attaching the letter to Hedwig, he noticed that the writing was back on the Map.

In Accordance with Marauder Law, by general consensus of Messers Prongs, Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail, Peter Pettigrew is hereby stripped of any and all rights to claim himself a Marauder, and to the name of Wormtail! He is further stripped of his access to the Marauder accounts, he is expunged from the hallowed records and he is now and forevermore denied The Marauder's Guide to Bewitching Witches and Other Deknickering Techniques!

Harry blinked, then, blinked again as he read the list of things Pettigrew was supposedly removed from. "Marauder accounts? Hallowed records? The-- Marauder's Guide to--?"

Mr. Moony nods sagely, though can't take much credit for the last.

Mr. Padfoot can!

Mr. Wormtail then adds that Mr. Prongs did too, so they actually work.

Mr. Padfoot glares at the stinkin' rat.

Mr. Prongs shakes his head and wishes Lily was around to keep them in check.

Mr. Padfoot remembers her reaction to The Guide.

"Um-- I'm going to guess she wasn't happy?" Harry asked warily as he eyed the parchment.

Mr. Padfoot grins at Prongs and definitely wouldn't put it that way.

Mr. Prongs looks sheepish.

Mr. Moony remembers her demanding he swear a magical oath to never make use of those techniques without her permission.

Mr. Wormtail remembers Prongs getting raked over the coals when Padfoot demanded the relationship clause to the oath.

Mr. Padfoot refused to let the possibility of Prongs being denied such vital skills come to pass!

"Um-- I don't think I want to know about the rest of that story," Harry muttered softly, before offering a slight, sheepish smile. "But, how about something embarrassing about Sirius?"

Messers Prongs, Moony and Wormtail will be happy to oblige.

Mr. Padfoot mutters sourly about them all being evil traitors.


The next morning found Harry's quiet revelry with the new found aspects of the Marauder's Map was interrupted by the sudden sounds of the locks on his door being angrily snapped open. A moment later, Vernon's Dursley's face, colored a particularly unhealthy looking shade of puce was thrust into view. "BOY! Get dressed! One of your kind is downstairs! Get him out of here!"

Rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Harry muttered a soft acknowledgement. "Yes, Uncle Vernon--"

"And get dressed already! We won't have you being such a lay-about like your parents!" Vernon growled and slammed the door shut behind him before Harry could answer.

"My parents weren't lay-abouts." Harry glared back at the door as he spoke softly, before moving to quickly drag on the ill-fitting hand downs his aunt and uncle had graciously given him.

For a moment, he paused in consideration, before he quickly pulled up the floorboard hiding his small tin of items, and pulled out his vault key and his wand. Hiding both on the overly baggy pockets of his pants, he glanced over at the blank sheet of parchment the map had become, before after a moment's hesitation, he hid it in his pockets as well. It couldn't hurt.

That done, he opened up the door, to find his Uncle glaring, sourly back at him, before pointing downstairs, his face flushed in irritation. Standing at the bottom of the stairs, his scarred face forced into a look of stoic neutrality was Remus Lupin. Ignoring the way Petunia's face twisted sourly nearby, Harry couldn't stop his face from immediately lighting up.

"Professor Lupin!" Harry smiled at the man, who was visibly trying to return it, even as his amber eyes darted towards Vernon and Petunia in momentary glares. "You got my letter?"

"Yes, Harry, I did." Remus' thin smile showed more warmth as he looked at him before turning noticeably cooler when he looked back at Vernon and Petunia. "And I'll be happy to take you to Diagon, right now in fact."

"Now see here you--" Vernon's face colored deeper as he glared back at Remus. "If you think you can just come in here and-- He has--!"

"Vernon, old bean," Remus' said with a smile that never reached his eyes, "I would really hate to think you'd cause an incident over something as simple as Harry having a day out to pick up some things. Why, what would your neighbors think?"

"I--" Vernon's face flushed even brighter.

"Nor, would I think you'd want him to be denied a chance to improve his chances at future success in our world." Remus kept that placid smile in place on his lips. "After all, that would mean he'd probably have to come back to your world. Just imagine what could happen if word got around that way?"

At the way Vernon visibly deflated, Remus nodded his head and smiled back at the man, before inclining his head towards Petunia. "So glad we could come to an agreement. Vernon, Petunia, lovely seeing you both again. We'll be back sometime after dark so you don't have to worry about people watching."

Harry stared back at Remus, opening his mouth to say something, only to have the man firmly take hold of his shoulder. "Let's be off then shall we, Harry?"

"Um, Remus?" Harry asked carefully as he glanced up at his former Professor as they walked out of number 4. "That was a bit--"

"Ah, sorry." The man blushed lightly as his cool façade seemed to crumble away like it had never been there to begin with. "I might've gotten a bit-- carried away."

"No, no!" Harry quickly protested and shook his head. "It was absolutely brilliant! Don't you guys agree?"

"-- who?" Remus blinked, owlishly as he stared back at Harry, a look of worry crossing his face before he saw Harry pulling out a very familiar piece of parchment. "Wait, they actually talk to you?"

"Um, yeah, why wouldn't they?" Harry blinked lightly as he glanced back at Remus.

"They'd never say anything to me, beyond a bunch of childish insults." Remus glowered back at the map lightly.

Mr. Padfoot calmly reminds he who has forsaken the very fundamental foundations of the Marauder Code that at that time, he was The Enemy.

Remus opened his mouth as he saw the words, before letting it click shut as he glared back at the Map. "You did that because I was a teacher?"

Mr. Moony is shocked and awed at how it only took Mr. Padfoot one try to get That-Which-He-Refuses-To-Name to get to the right answer.

Mr. Padfoot notes for being such a smarty pants, Mr. Moony sure doesn't learn things very quickly.

Mr. Prongs can't help but agree and wonders how many times Mr. Padfoot is going to have to pull things out of his ass before he realize he's... decent at spur of the moment planning.

Mr. Padfoot will one day force you all to admit he is a tactical genius!

Mr. Wormtail finds that highly doubtful.

Remus immediately growled as the familiar name appeared upon the parchment, his eyes narrowed into amber slits.

Harry was only confused for a moment as he caught Remus' glare before quickly pulling the map out of reach for the werewolf. "Easy, Professor. I know you don't like Pettigrew.."

Mr. Wormtail would kindly like to remind the younger and less inexperienced Mr. Potter that he has renounced any and all affiliation to the creature named Pettigrew!

Mr. Moony bore witness to the unanimous decision.

Mr. Prongs agrees that he has no right to the name Marauder and the affiliated accounts.

Mr. Padfoot liked the part where they revoked Pettigrew's access to The Guide himself.

Remus actually blinked at that, before his eyes widened. "You-- you can actually do that? But-- but--"

"Um, something wrong?" Harry looked utterly confused as he stared from Remus to the Map and back.

"It... It's not supposed to be able to do that!" Remus looked for the moment closer to a fish out of water than anything, before suddenly his eyes widened. "SIRIUS!"

Mr. Padfoot notes that forgivable traitor certainly picks things up faster than his more respectable counterpart.

Mr. Moony highly, highly doubts such a postulation.

"... Did I really used to sound that pretentious?" Remus muttered softly and shook his head with a sigh. "No wonder I had trouble making friends with anyone but those three reprobates."

Mr. Padfoot nods his head sagely in agreement.

Mr. Prongs objects to being called a reprobate. One does not become Head Boy by being a reprobate.

"Fine, two reprobates and a smarty pants ponce," Remus responded without even thinking.

Mr. Wormtail reluctantly admits that there might still be a bit of Mr. Moony left in the old wolf.

Mr. Moony huffs indignantly.

"I'm going to have to talk to Sirius about what that crazy mutt did to this thing." Remus shook his head and sighed slightly. "There's no way it should be able to just-- halt access to accounts. If it even can, remind me to check when we stop by Gringotts, Harry."

"Um, Ok." Harry paused a moment before glancing around Privet drive. "Can we get going now? I really don't want to give the Dursley's a reason to be-- unpleasant."

Glancing around at where he could catch sight of movement behind curtains on various windows on the street, Remus nodded his head, before smirking slightly back at Harry. "Of course, this way."

Turning, he walked Harry around to the side of the house, before Remus held out his arm. "Hold on tight, Harry."

Blinking uncertainly, Harry none-the-less reached out and took hold of Remus' arms. There was a pause, before Remus glanced at Harry. "And if you could help it-- please don't throw up on my shoes."

"Wait, whaa--.!" Harry's voice was cut off in mid question as the air cracked lightly from the disapperation.


"Well, you didn't get my shoes," Remus noted clinically as he looked at the mess that ran down the front of his shirt.

"Sorry," Harry mumbled, his face crimson as he couldn't meet Remus' eyes.

"Not too much of a problem, honestly, but still--" He shook his head and sighed slightly as he waved his wand over the mess and it quickly vanished. "Do you know how hard it is to get that smell completely out of clothes?"

"What smell?" Harry asked in bewilderment. "I don't smell anything!"

"-- Harry, do remember why I'm called Moony," Remus said with a slight smirk on his lips.

"Oh, right." Harry blushed slightly and nodded his head. "So, um, Gringotts first then?"

"Well, if you're going to be buying supplies and books, it does help to have the galleons to pay for them," Remus agreed with a nod and a wink. "Plus, we do need to check on those accounts to see if the Map actually can do what they say they can."

Harry paused as he suddenly recalled what had been suggested the night before. "Is there a Potter Family vault?"

"I'd imagine so, didn't they show it to you when you were brought to Gringotts before?" Remus blinked lightly and tilted his head to the side in confusion.

When Harry wordlessly shook his head, Remus nodded in acceptance. "All right, we'll look into that as well."

"That'd be brilliant," Harry agreed quickly with a nod of his head.

It took them only a few minutes to walk from the apparition point through Gringotts' imposing doors. From there, it was a relatively simple matter to find a teller. It was an entirely different matter to get someone willing to actually help.

"-- I'm sorry, but I've just reached my break time, you'll need to check with the next teller," the third goblin repeated, almost word for word what the last two had told him.

"-- Professor, do I really want to know what you all did to that vault?" Harry asked as he turned his head and glanced up at the flustered looking Remus.

"We didn't do anything that bad! And the protections should just be inside the vault!" Remus said quickly as he held his hands up defensively.

"-- Do you wizards not recall that we at Gringotts do a yearly inspection of our vaults?" An irritated goblin, better dressed and scowling asked as he stood in front of them with beady, scowling eyes. "I understand that you wish to access Vault 8530?"

"I--" Remus frowned slightly after he opened his mouth to respond, before looking at Harry, then back to the goblin. "Yes, along with Harry here's trust vault and his family vault."

"Fine. You're opening that damned thing yourself though," the goblin said sourly and shook its head. "Come on then."

"Harry-- could you please ask them if they know exactly what was done to that vault?" Remus asked warily as he moved to follow the goblin.

Warily, Harry opened up the map and glanced at its contents.

Mr. Moony points to Mr. Prongs and Mr. Padfoot.

Mr. Wormtail notes it's impolite to point, but doesn't disagree with Mr. Moony.

Mr. Padfoot just grins.

Mr. Prongs was bored.

"-- huh?" Harry blinked slightly as he stared back at the Map.

Mr. Padfoot has mentioned he's a genius before, right?

"-- Um, I don't know about that--" Harry paused a moment, glancing over at Remus. "Would you call Si-err-- Padfoot a genius?"

"-- What I am about to say you are to never repeat in Padfoot's presence. Ever," Remus stated firmly as he slowly glanced around. "Am I clear?"

"Um, Professor?" Harry blinked slightly and stared in confusion back at the man.

"If he heard I actually said it, he'd never let me live it down," he said simply before his shoulders slumped slightly. "Yes. Yes, I would. He and James both. Some of the things they came up with-- and the Map-- I honestly can't even begin to comprehend how they even started to come up with the idea for how to implement it."

There was a note of heavy bitterness in Remus' voice as he sighed and shook his head. "That said-- you know what they say about genius and madness, yes?"

Mr. Padfoot thinks that's where most of the fun comes from!

Mr. Prongs only burst into maniacal laughter on rare occasion, thank you very much.

Mr. Wormtail would cough and make subtle reference to the time when Mr. Prongs drank all those muggle drinks, but--

Mr. Moony is still trying to repress that event.

"-- Damn you, I actually had until you brought it up again." Remus shuddered involuntarily as the images flashed across his mind. "We made Lily swear to never allow him to do that again. Ever."

Mr. Padfoot agrees. It is the event that is to be never spoken of. Ever.

Mr. Prongs has no recollection of what happened.

Mr. Wormtail could say--

Mr. Prongs has NO recollection what so ever! Got it?

"Was it really that bad?" Harry asked as he glanced over at Remus.

"It became one of the three Unmentionables," Remus stated flatly with a shudder.

"The Unmentionables?" Harry repeated with a blink.

"Three events, involving the Marauders deemed so horrible, they are never. EVER to be mentioned again," Remus stated with a glare back at the map.

Mr. Wormtail looks entirely innocent.

"Try that on someone who doesn't know any better," Harry stated flatly before he looked at Remus for a moment, then back at the Map. "Now, what did you to the Vault?"

Mr. Padfoot grins shamelessly.

Mr. Prongs notes that's how he always grins.

Mr. Moony gets tired of it and just tells them: They rigged it up so they can reconfigure the wards and spells on the vault. No new casting, just altering what was already there.

"Then, every time the goblins opened up the vault to check on it--" Remus paled suddenly as he looked to his thoroughly annoyed looking guide.

"The first year, the goblin was simply covered in some type of pink dye and walked around with rabbit ears for a week." The goblin spoke up with a glare sent back at them. "The second year, they sent in a curse breaker. He has never looked at goldfish the same way again. The third year, is when things started to get-- interesting."

"Errr-- do you want me to make them stop?" Harry asked carefully as he glanced at the goblin.

The goblin froze in place, then slowly turned around and stared, incredulously at Harry. "Are you mad, wizard?! Why would we want to give up what's become the most humiliating punishment we can give out?"

"But, I thought--"

"No, you didn't!" the goblin said with a snap of its jaws. "You, just like all wizards assumed!"

"But--" Harry immediately brought his hands up in protest.

"I scowl because it was one of you wizards that came up with it, not a goblin!" The goblin turned his back on the pair and huffed angrily as it kept striding forward.

"Bwa?" He blinked, then blinked again, staring at the goblin before looking at Remus. "But.. Professor, what just happened?"

"Goblins don't like being one upped," Remus stated simply with a shrug of his shoulders as he glanced at their guide. "And when they're one up by wizards it's even worse."

The goblin just spat off to the side, refusing to dignify Remus' statement with any other answer as it walked a bit more forcefully forward.

"Oh." Harry blinked a moment, then frowned slightly. "I see--"

"Don't worry about it too much." Remus patted his shoulder lightly. "We have a lot to get done today."

"Right." Harry slowly nodded his head in agreement and glanced warily back at the worrisomely blank map.

Posted: 5:30 PM - Mar 09, 2016



He couldn't help but stare at the vault. It was completely and utterly empty. There didn't even seem to be dust or cobwebs he could find.

"Um-- Remus?" Harry glanced over at the flummoxed looking professor. "Isn't there actually supposed to-- ya know, be stuff in here?"

"Yes, Harry, there is," Remus agreed before glancing over at their escort, only to catch the panicked look on his face.

"No! This is impossible! No, no, no!" The goblin stared at the sight of an empty vault, then suddenly rushed forward-- and immediately tore through the painting displaying an empty vault that was covering the entirety of the entrance.

"-- I know I shouldn't be surprised, I really shouldn't," Remus stated as he stared at where the goblin suddenly let out a squeal while a jet of water propelled him into the air, "And yet--"

"..." Harry's mouth hung open as he stared at the sight, before looking over at Remus. "But..."


Harry barely jumped out of the way as the suddenly whipped cream covered goblin was launched past them to land back on the cart with a wet thump.

For a moment, Remus and Harry stared at the goblin, unable to decide exactly what would be appropriate for them to say. Thankfully, the goblin spoke up in a quiet voice. "I think... I'll stay out here for now. I'm quite satisfied that nothing is missing from your vault."

"Right then," Remus paused a moment, before glancing from the vault back towards the goblin. "Should I mention that the reason for the vault's... security can hear everything we can?"

"... That would have been helpful, yes," the goblin admitted with a slight nod of its head and a mild glower.

"Well, at least you know for future reference?" Harry offered hopefully.

"Yes," the goblin agreed with a nod of its head, "I'll make sure that the next time someone escorts you down here, it will be someone I especially don't like and they're in a horribly foul mood."

Harry opened his mouth to protest before Remus cut him off. "And, I'm sure they will suffer properly for it."

"One hopes," the goblin agreed before going to work scraping the whipped cream off his face.

Harry paused a moment, carefully turning his back to the goblin as he pulled out the map and glanced at it and whispered, "You're not going to do something like that to us, are you?"

Mr. Padfoot is insulted that you even have to ask!

Mr. Moony notes that Mr. Padfoot is likely grinning like a demented house elf crossed with a shark, with a generous helping of pure, undiluted Padfoot essence mixed in.

Mr. Wormtail translates that: Don't trust him.

Mr. Prongs reminds Mr. Padfoot who Harry is.

Mr. Padfoot sulks at being denied a bit of harmless, innocent fun.

Mr. Moony has yet to see Mr. Padfoot qualify for anything resembling innocence.

Mr. Padfoot again protests the libelous slander!

Mr. Wormtail thinks Mr. Padfoot needs to get over it, no one actually believes him.

Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Wormtail.

Mr. Padfoot sulks.

"Professor?" Harry asked hesitantly as he glanced over Remus as the man had cautiously begun to enter the vault.

"Yes, Harry?" Remus glanced back over his shoulder, watching the boy curiously.

"Am I going to go mad if I keep listening to them?" Harry asked with a genuine solemness on his features.

Remus paused a moment, tilting his head in thought, before slowly nodding his head. "Most likely, yes."

"Oh," Harry paused a moment, his brow furrowing a bit. "... How sane was my mum?"

"... She married James," Remus stated as diplomatically as he could.

"So... I'm going to be nutters, no matter what?"

"I wouldn't say that..."

Mr. Padfoot would!

Mr. Prongs kicks Mr. Padfoot's shin, then sends him to the groomers!

Mr. Padfoot yelps!

"Though," Remus continued as he looked back at the map, "It's a distinct possibility."

"I see," Harry slowly nodded his head and frowned slightly, deep in thought.

Mr. Moony thinks that if it's any consolation, the "sane" ones never have that much fun.

Mr. Wormtail agrees. Sanity is boring.

Mr. Padfoot merely waggles his brows.

Mr. Prongs also points out he probably wouldn't have won Lily if he was sane and boring. Just, you know, food for thought.

"I think... it depends on what kind of insanity you choose to dabble in," Remus offered diplomatically. "It can be either a good thing, or a bad thing."

"Oh," Harry paused a moment, glancing from the map to Remus then back again. "Then... I should try to make sure it's a good thing, shouldn't I?"

"That might be a very good idea, Harry," Remus agreed with a nod and a slight smile on his lips.


Harry frowned as he looked from the book, then back to the currently blank map, then back to the book again. "Why don't we learn this stuff in school?"

Clock and Counter was a simply titled book that went into an incredibly in depth explanation of various techniques, and their effect on potions. It told him why you had to do exactly this many turns one way, and that many turns the other. And it gave a good idea of how much just one mistake could make things go wrong.

It was kind of like a puzzle. If you wanted a certain result, you could go any number of different ways, all leading to the same end result. In theory at least.

Mr. Moony can only guess that it is the result of a certain, greasy, beak nosed git.

Mr. Padfoot would agree.

Mr. Wormtail always knew he was no good!

Mr. Prongs thinks they're all jumping to conclusions.

Harry stared a bit then blinked slightly. "Did you just-- defend Snape?"

Mr. Prongs hardly seems why that's so surprising.

Mr. Padfoot points out all the times when said greasy git tried to hex us.

Mr. Wormtail brings attention to the poisoning incidents.

Mr. Moony reminds him of the times he kept trying to get us expelled!

Mr. Prongs also remembers what he said to Lily, your point? He was also her best friend for years until he was an idiot.

"-- Mum was friends with Snape?!" Harry stared, his mouth agape and incredulous at the page in front of him.

Mr. Prongs nods his head, they grew up on the same street.

Mr. Padfoot points out that never stopped the git from being a git.

Mr. Wormtail agrees, he was always a git.

Mr. Moony got tired of all the times he tried to get them in trouble by the end of second year.

"But-- he always talks about how arrogant dad was-- And stuff like that," Harry said in lame confusion with a frown on his face.

Mr. Padfoot nods, he hated Mr. Prongs.

Mr. Prongs never liked him, made sure he knew it too, but was never really the type to hold long term grudges.

Mr. Wormtail nods, he left that to Mr. Padfoot.

Mr. Moony cannot argue that.

"Though, he didn't teach us this stuff," Harry said with a frown as he pointed back to the book.

Mr. Prongs guesses it's probably because to him it's stuff that should be obvious. Snape always was well ahead of the curve in potions.

Mr. Padfoot refuses to acknowledge any point Mr. Prongs might make about Snivellus! The bastard went too far!

Mr. Prongs calmly reminds Mr. Padfoot of the occasion where he tried to kill Snape.

Mr. Moony was rather appreciative that it didn't turn out that way, probably never would have gotten the taste of grease out.

Mr. Wormtail really wouldn't like to have to deal with Snivellus scented gas passing either.

"... You four right worry me, you know that, right?" Harry stated simply before picking up another book, the ingredients counterpart to Counter and Clock. "Really, really you do."

Mr. Moony notes, from experience, that too will in time pass.

Mr. Padfoot agrees with the sage nod of learned wisdom.

Mr. Wormtail is pretty sure that's actually the nod of grand bullocksed shite.

Mr. Prongs shrugs, as no matter if he's crazy or not, he's at least not bored.

"... Being bored can be a very good thing sometimes," Harry noted with a quiet mutter under his breath.

Mr. Prongs calls that nonsense! Boredom is a sign of being non-productive!

Mr. Padfoot agrees most candidly, best to always be productive, no such thing as a useless skill!

Mr. Wormtail reminds Mr. Padfoot of the usefulness of his skill in knitting.

Mr. Moony hates to take Mr. Padfoot's side, but-- reminds Mr. Wormtail of Mr. Padfoot's tales of the knitting club were not, in fact, idle boasting.

Mr. Padfoot also made such a wonderful pair of warm, wooly socks for the Headmaster, that paid off big if the contradictory little rat would remember.

Mr. Wormtail kindly reminds Mr. Padfoot that he is not little!

"Nutters, all of you," Harry muttered softly as he started to make notations, using the tome to slowly craft a recipe.


When Harry was taken to the Weasley's home, the Burrow, towards the end of August, earlier than the Weasley's had originally planned, when Remus gave Arthur and Molly some vaguely worrying excuses of it being a good idea for Harry to get out of there sooner than later, he had a notebook. Its contents were stuffed full of recipes, spells and ideas from a summer's worth of idle thoughts. However, it was the gleam in his eye that immediately perked the attention of Fred and George Weasley, the infamous pranksters of Gryffindor.

"Harry-kins--" George began as he suddenly found himself and his brother alone with a Harry who had a disturbingly familiar grin on his face.

"Do we want to know what manner of mischief you're up to?" Fred finished for his brother.

Wordlessly, Harry lifted up his notebook, and handed it over to the twins, his grin growing a fraction of an inch in size.

Blinking slightly, Fred took the journal and cautiously cracked it open. When he quickly began absorbed in its contents, George blinked a moment, then looked back at Harry. "All right, who are you and what've you done with Harry Potter?"

"Do you know who the Marauders are?" Harry asked with an all too innocent smile on his face.

"Prongs, Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail," George answered without skipping a beat, frowning slightly. "But you already know that, Harry."

"James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and formerly Peter Pettigrew," Harry corrected before pulling out the map and smiling serenely. "I had a-- very educational summer."

"--" George stared at Harry for a moment, then blinked, then blinked again. "Wait-- What?!"

"My father, my god father and Professor Lupin were Marauders," Harry said again with that same grin, before frowning slightly as he tilted his head to the side. "I spent all summer talking to them. I think they might've had a bit of an-- impression on me."

"--" George's eyes grew saucer-like as he stared at Harry, then reached over and tugged on Fred's sleeve. "Fred--"

"One second, George, I'm trying to read here," Fred was focused on the pages of the journal, flipping from one to the next and staring at the ideas unfolding. "These ideas-- some of them are right fun."

"Fred--" George repeated more insistently as he tugged harder on his brother's sleeve.

"What?" Fred looked up, irritation written clearly on his face.

"Harry knows who the Marauders are," George stated quickly.

"Yes, we both know this, we told him about them, remember?" Fred gave an annoyed glare at his brother.

"No, Harry knows who they really are."

"He does?"

"He does," Harry agreed with a nod of his head.

"But how?!" Fred blurted out.

"One of them told me," Harry stated simply, shrugging his shoulders.

"-- One of the Marauders just told you that it was them." George repeated and arched a brow. "And you just believed them?"

"The Map confirmed it," Harry answered, though a look of irritation flashed across his eyes.

"The Map actually talks to you?" George asked with a blink.

"They like me," Harry said with a shrug.

"They didn't like us?" Fred pouted with a half whine as he stared back at Harry, looking like a kicked puppy.

"Are you one of their sons and god sons?" Harry asked with a tilt of his head.

"Well, no," Fred admitted.

"Have you been granted access to the Marauder Vault?" Harry continued.

"There's a vault?!" George's eyes grew again.

"Have you been shown-- The Guide?" Harry asked curiously,

"-- The Guide?" the twins chorused, "There's a guide?!"

Nodding his head, Harry opened up his trunk, and pulled out a slightly weathered and unmarked journal.

Fred reverently took the journal from Harry and flipped open to the first page. He then blinked. A moment later he blinked again, then looked at Harry. "-- The Marauder's Guide to Bewitching Witches and Other Deknickering Techniques? -- And we're denied access?"

"Sorry," Harry shrugged his shoulders a bit. "You never completed the last part of becoming a Marauder. I'm a legacy so the rule doesn't apply to me."

"Tell us!" The pair immediately exclaimed, their eyes taking on a feverish hue.

"You'd need to talk to an actual Marauder about it," Harry said apologetically. "I think it involves something including honey, feathers, moonlight walks and the squid."

"--" the twins stared at Harry for a moment, before looking at one another.

"I'm not sure if he's putting us on or not," Fred noted carefully.

"It is a good gambit if he is," George agreed with a nod.

"Quite right."

"... Gambit? Why would I be putting you on?" Harry asked blankly as he glanced from one twin to the other.

"Ah, Harry, so young, so innocent, so..." Fred wrapped an arm about Harry's shoulder, smiling all the while.

"Holding a stopper full of stink sap aimed right at your bits," Harry finished simply.

Fred froze before glancing carefully down, noting that he couldn't quite see where Harry's hands were, nor what was in them. "... You don't say."

"Marauder rule number 15. Always be prepared to do onto others."

"What's rule number one?" George asked curiously.

"All rules as subject to change at Marauder discretion," Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Doesn't that make it a tad bit confusion?" Fred asked as he slowly and carefully began to extract himself from his hold on Harry.

"You have no idea," Harry agreed with a nod.

"Right..." George agreed, as if it made complete sense, "So, ready for the world quidditch finals?"

"Bloody hell yes!" Harry agreed, nodding eagerly, "I mean, I've been having fun with the whole potions thing, they're kind of like puzzles, aren't they?"

"Very much so," Fred agreed with a grin. "Once you get past the whole Snape being a greasy git part."

"But, I can't wait to see the World Quidditch finals," Harry continued with a grin. "Ron's been going on and on about Krum, I can't wait to see him in action!"

"Speaking of Ronnie-kins..."

"Where is he?"

"Well, I kinda told him I was coming to look for you two, and he declined... Something about dandylions in his ears?"

"A slight miscalculation."

"It was supposed to be daisies."

"Ah..." Harry's brow furrowed for a moment, "Forgot the last counter turn?"

The twins blushed lightly and simultaneously rubbed the back of their necks. "Weeeellllll..."

"Right," Harry nodded his head quickly. "No need to answer."

"Still... you know some of these recipes... you could get the same results for just a fraction of the work," Fred noted. "I mean, there is the multiplier effect, yeah, but... the most you'd be getting out of this would be... two, may three times the potency for about 5 times the work."

"I know," Harry agreed with a quick nod. "That was intentional. I want them to have that extra kick."

"-- You know, Fred, I'm half worried to ask what he wants them for," George noted.

"Only half?" Fred asked curiously, "I'm terrified."

At the simple look he got he shrugged his shoulders. "Well, not really, but it's the thought that counts."

Harry shook his head then smiled as he reached over and turned the page.

Immediately, George blinked, then, blinked again. "Right then. Bit of advice? Don't leave this around, or take it to Hogwarts. Incriminating evidence it is."

Harry plucked up the book from him, flipped forward a few pages, then handed it back to him.

"-- Can I get a copy of this?" George asked eagerly as he stared at the spell.

"It's in Security, Privacy and Other Dirty Wards," Harry said with a shrug.

"-- Harry, do you know how expensive that book is? We're just a pair of poor entrepreneurs! We don't have that kind of liquid assets!" Fred quickly protested.

"Yet," George amended.

"Ah?" Harry blinked a moment before tilting his head to the side. "I'd have thought Bill would have a copy you could borrow. He's a curse breaker, right?"

Fred blinked, then, George did, before the pair looked at one another. "Why didn't you think of that? Me? Why didn't you think of that?"

"Right, well, my work here is done," Harry nodded his head and smiled back at the pair.

Instantly, the twins froze, before slowly turning their heads to stare at Harry. Finally after a moment of silence, Fred spoke, "Harry--"

"Yes, Fred?"

"What work?" Fred asked suspiciously.

"To inflict upon you as you inflict upon others?" Harry offered up, before pausing and nodding to himself. "Yeah, let's go with that."

"-- Suddenly, I think this year at Hogwarts is truly going to be interesting," George noted with a grimace. "I mean..."

The helpless gesture towards Harry made Fred immediately nod, "Yes, absolutely terrifying."

"What? But--" Harry blinked as he stared back at the pair. "I'm not scary, am I?"

"Very scary," George stated solemnly.

"I need a new pair of knickers myself," Fred agreed, immediately making George and Harry stare at him. "What? Do you know how hard it was to charm Angelina into parting with the last ones?"

"-- You shouldn't steal," Harry stated suddenly as he crossed his arms and glared back at Fred.

"Err, wrong kind of charm, Harry," Fred quickly amended.

"Oh. The kind that the Guide talks about," Harry scratched the back of his neck and blushed brightly. "Those are-- Yeah."

"Good?" George asked curiously, his eyes sparkling. "I have been looking for something to help-- Convince Alicia to be more amiable."

"Rule number 2. Any and all contents of The Guide are for authorized Marauders only," Harry stated firmly. "Violation of that rule leads to expulsion from the Marauder ranks, and a lifetime of humiliation and derogatory remarks."

"-- We really, really need to pass those tests," Fred noted vehemently as he glanced at his brother.

"Indeed. For we shall preserve! We shall triumph! We shall bring a pranking like never seen before!" George stood, and pointed towards the ceiling with a slightly maniacal cackling.

"-- We'll also need to make sure we stock up on the calming potions this year," Fred said with a wince.

"Well, I have one question," Harry said simply as he glanced at the two.

"That being?"

"How much are you going to bribe me to negotiate a deal for you?" Harry asked seriously.

"But we gave you the Map to begin with!" Fred quickly protested.

"Sorry, but they insist," Harry held up the map meaningfully. "They told me you have to bribe me for them to let you know."


"We'll get back to you on it, Harry," George said quickly as he put his hand over his brother's mouth. "Why don't you go see how Ron's doing?"

"Ok!" Harry nodded his head and quickly wandered back out.

"-- This is going to be bad, isn't it?" Fred stated as he stared at where Harry had just exited.

"Probably," George agreed with a nod.

"We're going to humiliate ourselves, aren't we."

"For a chance to be actual Marauders? I do believe that's a rhetorical question."



"They didn't make you drink anything, or eat anything, did they?" Ron asked worriedly as he looked up at where Harry had flopped down on his bed. "No dust, didn't make you touch anything, didn't--"

"Not a thing," Harry quickly assured Ron as he rolled his eyes a bit. "They wouldn't do that to me."

"-- I'm their brother and they do that to me, why wouldn't they do that to you?" Ron half demanded as he glowered back at Harry.

"Because you can't make them Marauders?" Harry offered with a slight frown as he gave Ron a look.

"-- What?" Ron blinked and stared at Harry.

"Well, technically neither can I, but the Map can and the Map won't really talk to them."

"... The Map?" Ron blinked and stared back at Harry. "You mean the Maruader's Map? What does that have to do with anything?"

"It can talk," Harry said with a shrug, before frowning slightly as he lifted it out of his pocket. "It's getting it to shut up that's the problem."

Mr. Padfoot objects on the basis of--

Mr. Prongs overrules.

Mr. Padfoot never even got to finish!

Mr. Prongs still overrules.

Mr. Wormtail will have to admit, however long it was, without any real conversation did leave them a bit--

Mr. Moony suggests loquacious.

Mr. Prongs will say talkative instead.

Ron blinked, then blinked again as he stared at the Map, before looking back at Harry. "... Really?"

"Yup," Harry agreed with a quick nod of his head.

"... You're not going to tell Hermione about it, right?" Ron asked quickly.

"Well...." Harry opened his mouth to object to Ron's idea, before the Marauder's choose to interject their opinion into things.

Mr. Padfoot agrees heartily with the young ginger whom he shall refrain from making comments about his poor hygiene and eating habits.

"--" Ron stared back at the map for a moment, before looking at Harry. "Your godfather's a bit of an arse, isn't he?"

Mr. Prongs believes the young Mr. Weasley severely understates the issue.

Mr. Wormtail will still agree with Mr. Padfoot's sentiments about the she-whom-mongers-upon-rules-and-authority though.

Mr. Moony is in agreement with the others.

"But-- it's Hermione!" Harry quickly protested.

"--Um, that's the point, isn't it?" Ron stared at Harry. "Don't you remember the firebolt? And all that other stuff?"

"But--? She meant well!" Harry defended, though it was a bit weaker than it had been.

"-- Point," Ron agreed reluctantly with a light nod of his head before hanging his head with a blush.

Mr. Prongs knows from experience that having your heart in the right place is not a blanket excuse, no matter what Mr. Padfoot would have you believe.

Mr. Padfoot again reminds them all it was Snivellus!

Mr. Prongs presents case in point.

Mr. Padfoot still reminds Prongs that Snivellus brought it upon himself!

Mr. Moony stays out of this argument.

Mr. Wormtail offers popcorn.

Mr. Prongs would agree that Snape was indeed a big part of the problem--

Mr. Padfoot states unequivocally that Snape started it! Repeatedly!

Mr. Prongs can remember dozens of times when they were the ones to start it.

"I don't think I've ever been so interested in reading before," Ron stated with a murmur as his eyes glued themselves to the parchment.

"It's hard to not get caught up," Harry agreed with a nod.

Mr. Padfoot only responded to the shots across his bow! Marauders should never let such a challenge go unresponded! We shall always rise to the occasion! Rigid and ready! Proud and strong, and flush with our vigor and eager to Thrust into the worthy frontier!

Mr. Prongs covers his face in his hands and wonders why oh why.

Mr. Wormtail pats Prongs' shoulder consolingly.

Mr. Moony reminds Prongs that he brought it on himself, he was the one that befriended the degenerate.

Mr. Padfoot notes Moony is just jealous of Casanova-esque history!

Mr. Moony seems to recalling Casanova dying alone and unloved.

Mr. Padfoot ignores Moony's insistence upon interjecting reality into his statements!

"-- They're absolutely barkin'," Ron noted with a sense of awe. "Even more so than Dumbledore!"

Mr. Wormtail doubts that.

Mr. Prongs is a lone voice of reason in a sea of madness and depravity.

Mr. Padfoot notes that, sadly enough, he never reached the depths of depravity he truly wished, as he never gave his mother a heart attack from pure outrage.

"Utterly barmy," Harry agreed with a nod of his head.

"Yeah," Ron said with a nod, "So, couldn't they just go to Professor Lupin? He's a Marauder, right?"

"'Do you know what Molly would do to me if she found out?'" Harry quoted with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Wait, does this mean I don't get to join?" Ron frowned immediately, refusing to pout as much as his lip wanted to tremble out and quiver.

Mr. Padfoot notes that all good Potters need a best friend with a shrieking harpy for a mother.

"... Wait..." Ron blushed brightly and gave the Map a half hearted glare. "That's my mum you're talking about!"

Mr. Moony would point towards the Howler.

Ron blushed all the way to the tips of his ears and hung his head as he remembered the pure humiliation his mother's howler had caused him in their second year. "I-- she means well! She just--"

Mr. Prongs is sure she is just a bit frayed at the edges from having to raise so many children.

Mr. Wormtail wishes Prongs would stop making excuses for everyone.

Mr. Padfoot agrees, it's getting more than a little old.

Mr. Prongs has had too much practice, had Padfoot for a friend.

Mr. Padfoot objects!

Mr. Moony notes they both have points, Prongs is more than a little too forgiving, Padfoot is equally incorrigible.

"So, does it mean I get to join or not?" Ron pushed as he managed to fight down the crimson flush that had covered his face.

Harry opened his mouth to answer, before shutting it and frowning lightly. Seeing the response, Ron flushed brightly and glared back at Harry. "So, what, Fred and George get to, but not me?! I'm your best friend!"

"Yeah," Harry agreed with a nod, before glancing away guiltily, "But you're always getting in enough trouble because of me. I don't want you to get into any more trouble."

"Hang that!" Ron said angrily. "If you think I'm just going to just give up on you for that, you're barmier than them and Dumbledore put together! Are you just trying to get rid of me? It's because I got my leg broke and couldn't do anything to help Sirius, isn't it, or is it because of Scabbers!?"

Harry recoiled in shock as he blinked at Ron, "No! Of course it's not!"

"Why then?! Is it because I'm not smart Hermione, or the twins, or Bill or even Percy?" Ron demanded, as his face flushed brightly. "I know I'm not as good as them, but I can still do stuff!"

"I know!" Harry agreed quickly. "I mean, you're the one that took down that troll our first year! You saved me and Hermione! And then there was the chess game!"

"And then I spent the next year with a busted wand and made myself vomit slugs and then I kept defending that murderer Pettigrew," Ron cringed back on himself and winced softly. "And it was my fault Lockhart got my wand!"

"That really did turn out for the best," Harry noted with a hopeful smile, "I mean, I rather like knowing who I am, don't you?"

"Well, yeah, but he never should've gotten it to begin with!" Ron argued back.

Mr. Padfoot would like to make a suggestion.

Mr. Moony notes this should be good.

Mr. Padfoot ignores the facetious, ill-mannered boob, with his over inflated verbosity set to compensate for his under developed--

Mr. Prongs suggests moving on, though wonders where Padfoot managed to learn how to string that many big words together.

Mr. Padfoot is a Black, but, moving on. Do Better.

"That's your big advice? 'Do better?'" Ron demanded with a stare.

Mr. Padfoot nods. Do Better. Be Better. Screw everyone's expectations of how you're going to be. Screw who they compare you to. You have to decide to be Better than it.

"You make it sound so easy," Ron glared softly back at the map, before looking away with grunt.

Mr. Padfoot disagrees, it is Hard. It is one of the hardest things to do. That's what makes it worthwhile to do.

Mr. Prongs waits for it.

Mr. Padfoot now has that out of his system, has said his peace. Onto the pranking and mischief!

Mr. Prongs nods.

Ron however, stared at the map for a moment, before reluctantly looking at his books, then, almost mournfully at the bright, inviting sky outside. Sighing softly, he reluctantly reached over to his books, and with one last longing gaze out the window, before opening up the book and reluctantly looking at the contents.

"It helps to have a notebook or a journal," Harry suggested carefully as he watched Ron start reading. "That way you have notes to look back on later. Plus, writing it down really does help."

"Just promise me one thing, Harry," Ron stated seriously as he looked up at Harry.

"Sure, what's that?"

"Don't let us become Hermiones," he said, just as serious as before.

Glancing at the Map, Harry grinned back at her. "I don't think that's going to be a problem."

Posted: 5:30 PM - Mar 09, 2016


There was a chill of anticipation in the air that didn't quite fit the warm summer night as the port key drew a stumbling Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and the Weasleys onto the well prepared field surrounding the Quidditch World cup.

For a moment, he brushed away the disorientation, and focused onto where Ron and Hermione were quickly pushing themselves to their own feet.

Things had been decidedly... odd between him, Ron and Hermione since Ron's decision to put more effort into his studies, along with his own, personal advances. She had been at times enthusiastically encouraging, and at others, discouraging and disapproving.

Mainly, she had been impressed they were starting to take their studies more seriously, while at the same time, highly disapproving of their desire to focus on such "frivolous wastes of magic."

"Hermione, we're studying," Ron had finally stated as he gave the girl a look, "We've done our home work and now we're reading up on and taking notes on other stuff. Why aren't you happy about it?"

"Ron, you're learning how to make pranks! Do you know how much trouble they'll get you into!?" she demanded, "Look at the twins! Why would you want to waste your studies like them?"

"Because it's fun," Ron stated simply with a huff and a light growl of frustration, "We're going to get into trouble no matter what, so we might as well have some of it be for something we did and actually enjoyed!"

"Well said, Ronnie-kins!" one of the twins interrupted before Harry could speak, clapping his hands on Ron's shoulders, "It almost brings a tear to our eye, it does, isn't that right?"

"Indeed," his brother agreed, eyes dancing as he clapped his own hands on Harry's shoulders, "And we have ickle Harry here to thank for it! Finally, our brother is showing some initiative!"

"Do you know what you can do with ginger root, mandrake shavings and some ashwinder scales?" Harry asked as he looked at the twins.

"Well, depends on what you're trying to do," one of the twins noted and smirked back at Harry, "I, personally can think of five different possibilities, you, George?"

"Alas, only three," George admitted with a helpless shrug, "Potions was always your specialty."

"... Really?" Ron asked with a blink, "I came up with 13."

The twins froze for a moment, before looking back at Ron, staring at him in disbelief.

"And, you know how mom started having me set the table so you two stop putting stuff on our plates?" he continued, watching as they slowly nodded their heads. "One of you got numbers 3 and 12, the other got numbers 7 and 9."

The twins stared at him, eyes widening, before suddenly Fred chuckled, "Nice one, Ronnie-kins, but we would've noticed something by now."

"Honestly Ronald..." Hermione started huffing up as she glared at him.

"Unless, he doubled the time he simmered them the last time and added three extra counter clock wise turns," Harry couldn't resist adding.

"Or I suspended it in that copper cauldron of yours and dropped in three of their hairs a piece," Ron countered back.

"... Fred, what're they talking about?" George asked worriedly as he glanced at his twin.

"Just a tic, working it out and..." Fred paused before his eyes widen, and he started respond, "But that would mean..."

Suddenly, his eyebrows burst into a bushy fullness, and then began to inch like caterpillars along his forehead, while his ears sagged down like limp fabric on the side of his face. As he watched Fred's change, George lifted his hand to point to his brother only to stare at the way the back of his hands were practically furred. When he opened his mouth to speak, four iridescent bubbles floated out. A moment later, they popped in timed succession, and released a word a piece.

"What. Did. You. Do?"

The twins stared back at Ron, jaw's hanging while Harry rubbed his chin lightly, "Huh, that came out better than I thought it would."

"But, but, but..." Hermione's jaw was hanging as she stared at Ron, "I... How did you...? How could you?! There's no way you could've timed it to release right now!"

"You're right," Ron agreed as he blushed lightly and scratched an ear, "But, I could set it up so that they just had to touch the activation powder on me and Harry's shirts."

"..." a single bubble left George's mouth, before popping as the boy grinned brightly back at his little brother, "Brilliant!"

"... I fear a monster has been unleashed," Fred nodded his head sagely, his ears flapping slightly at the motion as he gave his still grinning brother a look, "You realize of course, we cannot let this go unanswered."

"No!" Hermione declared firmly as she stomped her foot down and gave all four of them an angry glare, "There will be no more pranking! Ron got you back for all the stuff you've done to him. That's it, it's over. Am I clear?"

"Well, Hermione..." Ron started to protest.

"I said 'Am I clear!'" she repeated, growling as she took a step towards him.

Ron stared back at her, working his jaw as he tried to figure out just what to say to her and shifted uncomfortably as she kept glaring at him, "It's just a bit of fun, Hermione!"

"'Just a bit of fun?!'" she stated as her glare only intensified.

"Right," Fred stated simply as he patted Ron on the shoulders, "Just a bit of fun, Hermione. No harm was done, we got a smile out of it and Ron got to get us back. It's not the end of the world."

"Plus, do you understand how much you have to know in order to do what he just did?" George agreed as he stood behind Harry, looking at Hermione.

"These. Are. Pranks!" she repeated as she glared at them.

"So?" Harry stated as he suddenly stood up, though not as tall as Hermione and gave her a look that refused to back down.

"They're a waste of time! They humiliate people and they don't help you at all!" she responded, "That's the so!"

"So, basically, you mean that my father and his friends wasted their time and learned nothing?" he asked as he looked back at her, his eyes unreadable.

"Yes! If they had just..." Hermione froze in her response as her mind worked through exactly what he'd said and her response, "I mean..."

"I'm not going to stop," he stated simply as he gave her a glare, "I like it. I have fun with it. It makes it fun to learn magic."

"What is that supposed to mean?" she demanded as she glared back at him.

"Ok, I think that's our cue to cut in," Fred said quickly as he lightly stepped between Hermione and the boys, "We're at the World Cup, remember?"

"Too true," George agreed as he moved around to stand next to Fred, "Wouldn't want to make a scene out in public would we? Best to just enjoy the match and have fun, wouldn't you agree? After all, It should be an absolutely spectacular match."

"And you know our father got those Ministry seats," Fred agreed with a nod, "Very high honor that."

"You wouldn't want to embarrass him by making a scene, would you?" George asked Hermione pointedly.

"No..." Hermione agreed reluctantly, though the look she sent the others told them that this wasn't over with.

"Good! Then, let's all go enjoy a bit of Quidditch!" Fred stated happily, "Do you have the money, George?"

"Indeed I do, Fred," George agreed as the pair quickly started to move away from the trio, "Bets await!"

"Wait, bets!?" Hermione oriented herself immediately upon the twins who had already started to walk away, "Get back here!"

"... She's a bit like mum, isn't she?" Ron stated with a wince once she was out of hearing range.

"Just a bit," Harry agreed with a wince of his own, "I don't think she's going to let this go."

"I think you're right," Ron agreed with a nod as he looked back at Harry, "What're we gonna do?"

"I'm not stopping," he stated in response, a look of determination crossing his face, "I like it. I have fun with it, and it finally gives me something in common with my parents."

"It does make potions actually fun," Ron agreed with a nod, "I mean... bloody hell, I never knew you could look at 'em like this. I actually like potions, me! Ron Weasley likes potions!"

"And the world still exists?" a female voice drawled from a girl their age, dressed in a floating summer dress with, looking rather plain with limp red hair and too pale skin, "Shocking."

Ron stiffened a bit in response to the words, before settling into a sullen glare, "What do you want, Davis?"

"Me? I was just on my way to watching the match with my family when I heard the impossible: Ron Weasley declaring his love of potions," Tracey Davis countered back with a thin lipped smirk, "What's next, you going to do the same thing, Potter?"

"Oh, I like potions well enough, but I prefer charms and curses," Harry responded with a drawl of his own, "They're both fun though."

She paused at that, before arching a brow, "Oh? Well, that's certainly interesting. And here I thought you two just liked to slack off and do as little work as possible."

"That sounds pretty accurate, doesn't it?" Harry asked as he glanced at Ron, "We couldn't really see much to make it of interest."

"Well, yeah, Snape's a bloody berk," Ron said with a flush even as he glared lightly back at the girl, "Why the hell would he do anything but make us hate the subject?"

"Which begs the question of why the sudden change of heart?" she asked, lips pursed as she tilted her head to the side. "Have you finally given in to the budding tension between yourself and our dear professor?"

Her eyes batted innocently as Harry's face twisted into a grimace and Ron's face flushed bright red in horror, and she sighed theatrically, "No, I suppose not then. Can't say it's a shame, he's not terribly attractive, is he?"

"You know... I think this is the second most civil conversation I've ever had with a Slytherin," Harry noted as he eyed Tracey with narrowed eyes, "Which makes me more than a little... wary."

"Because it's so shocking that a Slytherin can be civil and polite?" she asked innocently.

"Because the most civil conversation I had was with Voldemort," both Ron and Tracey flinched at the name, though Ron, visibly less than Tracey, "And still ended up with him trying to kill me."

"Cute," Tracey stated with a snort after she recovered, "What would be the point? I'm a half blood. You think I'm really that popular with the purebloods? I asked because it sounded more interesting than the match."

"More interesting than Quidditch? I knew you snakes were bonkers," Ron muttered in disbelief as he stared back at her.

"Yes, imagine that, I find the sudden change in someone's personality and interests intriguing," she paused before looking around slowly, "But, where is your task mistress? She must be ecstatic with your sudden academic bent."

Ron and Harry looked at each other uncomfortably and didn't answer. In response, Tracey arched a brow back at them, "What? Really?"

"Why do you care?" Ron demanded his eyes narrowed as he glared at her, still flushed.

"Because it's interesting," Tracey responded condescendingly back at him, "She's insufferable, but the three of you always seemed almost like glue since that troll incident, other than that time last year where you stopped talking to her."

There was a pause, before she clasped her hands together, "Oooh, is that where the problem came from? Whatever happened last year that made you and her not talk, Weasley?"

"... No," Ron stated simply as he stared back at her before shaking his head, "Merlin, you're more bonkers than Hermione is."

"How do you even know about that?" Harry asked as he looked back at Tracey.

"It's Hogwarts. Every rumor spreads everywhere," she answered while looking at Ron with narrowed eyes, her voice starting to drip with venom, "Bonkers, am I?"

Ron had the sense to flinch at her words, before squaring his shoulders and glaring back, "Yeah, and? What would you call it? You came up to us because of something you thought was interesting, start talking to us like we're old friends, despite how we've never said anything to each other in the last 3 years, and you being in a house of slimy gits!"

"Not all Slytherins are 'slimy gits,' as you call it," Tracey declared with a hiss of breath.

"You let Malfoy do the talking for all of you," Ron snapped back with a glare, "You lot laugh when he talks about all that bloody purity nonsense, when he calls other people by names or tries to humiliate them! You expect bloody sunshine and roses to fall on you when you do that shite?"

"We don't see you doing anything when those brothers of yours spend their time making us miserable with their pranks! I remember your lot laughing at it all the time!" Tracey countered back with a glare, even as she flushed slightly crimson as his words hit a bit too close to home.

"Who the hell do you think they test things on? Every single prank they've used on anyone else, they tested in Gryffindor first! We get pranked more than the rest of the houses bloody well put together! Of course we're gonna laugh at it when it happens to someone else!" Ron responded angrily.

"... He does actually have a point," Harry noted with a faint shrug of his shoulders, "And they test more of their stuff on him than anyone else."

"And that gives you the--" Tracey started only to frown as her looked turned into a sullen realization. "Fine, whatever."

"Who're you rooting for in the cup?" Harry asked, trying to change the topic as he glanced at Ron.

"Don't really care either way," Tracey stated simply with a disinterested shrug, "I got dragged along because my father is one of the people who got invited to the ministry booth."

"Oh? Ron's dad invited us there too," Harry said quickly before Ron could comment, "Staying in a tent too?"

"Unfortunately," Tracey groused irritably, "I'd rather be at home with a novel."

"But-- it's quidditch! World cup quidditch! With Krum!" Ron protested again staring back at her.

"Not everyone is a quidditch fanatic you know, I don't even see the point, it's just a bunch of random flying about and tossing and catching a bunch of balls on broom sticks," Tracey stated dismissively.

Harry almost chuckled at the outrage on Ron's face as he watched his red faced friend working up a major head of steam, but managed to keep his lips sealed.

"Random flying about? Random flying about?!" Ron demanded, clearly outraged as he gave Tracey a look that apparently came straight from Hermione or his mother.

Tracey took an unconscious step back as she saw the look in his eyes and then quickly looked hopefully at Harry with a look that clearly screamed "save me!"

Instead Harry merely shrugged helplessly and watched with slight bemusement as Ron began to lecture Tracey about the strategies and intricacies of quidditch.


"If a seeker is supposed to do all this stuff, why do Malfoy and Potter always just fly around doing nothing?" Tracey asked much later as they arrived in the booth. Despite herself, she had actually found herself following the quidditch maniac's explanation, and inexplicably even interested in it.

"Malfoy, because he's an idiotic git," Ron stated simply before glancing at Harry and shrugging a bit, "Harry, because he finds the snitches so fast that it's more efficient to have him focus his attention on it."

"I'm not that fast--" Harry protested quickly as he raised his hands.

"Harry, half the time the scores in your games don't even break 200 points," Ron stated flatly, "In quidditch terms, that's fast."

"... It is?" he asked in confusion as he looked back at Ron uncertainty on his face.

"Don't look at me, I'm still trying to grasp the strange and bizarre fact that Ron Weasley can actually make quidditch sound interesting," Tracey stated simply as she shrugged her shoulders helplessly.

"You found that interesting?" Harry stated as he stared at Tracey.

"Oi!" Ron immediately protested with a glare at Harry.

"Strangely enough, yes. Made it sound more like chess with brooms," Tracey agreed with a nod of her head.

"Here you are!" a familiar voice cut in as Hermione walked over, "I've been looking everywhere for you two!"

"You were a bit busy what with the chasing of the twins," Harry noted as he gestured vaguely, "Did you ever catch them?"

"No, I lost them after a few tents," Hermione admitted with a frown, "Then I went to find you two, but you were both gone! Why didn't you wait for me?"

"We were supposed to wait?" Ron asked cluelessly as he looked at Hermione in confusion, "But you're the one that just ran off."

"Don't you know? When someone runs off without a word to you, you're supposed to sit there, twiddling your thumbs until they deign to come back to you," Tracey with a sarcastic roll of her eyes.

"What're you doing here?" Hermione asked, her eyes narrowed into slits as she noticed Tracey's presence suddenly, "And we weren't talking to you!"

"Actually, I was the one talking to them," Tracey responded as she gestured to Harry and Ron, "You were the one who interrupted us."

"... What?" Hermione stated as she stared at Tracey, her eye twitching slightly before she leveled a glare at Harry and Ron, "Is this true?!"

"... What's wrong with it?" Ron asked as he looked back at her, his fingers digging into his palms in his pockets.

"She's... She's... Tracey Davis!" Hermione stated as she struggled to find something to say about it, before settling on the girl's name.

"Yes, yes I am," Tracey agreed and nodded her head in agreement, "We had already established that fact but thanks for reminding everyone. So, we were talking about seekers?"

"Yeah, like I was saying, unless you're really fast at finding a snitch, most of the time seekers will be much more involved in plays and stuff, disrupting the other teams' chasers and the beaters," Ron agreed with a nod, "It's only the really crazy seekers like Krum and Harry or really bad ones that just hunt for the snitch."

"I'm not really that good," Harry protested quickly as he held up his hands defensively.

Both Ron and Tracey looked at him and snorted in unison, before Tracey stated flatly, "Bollucks, even I know that you're wizard as a seeker."

"Language!" Hermione hissed as she glared at Tracey.

"Yes, I'm speaking one," Tracey stated agreeably back to Hermione, who flushed crimson and glared back at her, before looking at Harry, "Seriously, you're an amazing seeker."

"He's Harry, there's not much he isn't good at," Ron stated, slightly sullenly.

"Ronald Weasley!" Hermione started to snap.

"Well, yeah, he's Harry Potter," Tracey interjected, "Weren't his parents Head Boy and Head Girl of their year? Considered two of the best talents of their generation? I mean, my parents still talk about how amazing they were even in school. They never could figure out how the hell You-Know-Who killed them."

There was an uncomfortable pause as Ron looked towards Harry, then couldn't help but scowl slightly as he looked away. Harry himself shrugged uncomfortably, "They didn't seem to have their wands on them when he found them."

"... What?" Tracey was broken from whatever she was about to say to Ron, and stared at Harry.

"It's ok, Harry, you don't have to talk about it," Hermione cut in again, glaring back at Tracey.

"Dementors make me remember it," Harry stated simply as he leaned forward onto the railing and stared down into the still empty field., "And since I'm their favorite chew toy..."

"It's all right, Harry," Hermione stated, glaring again at Tracey while she rubbed at his back.

There was a pause as Tracey shifted slightly frowning about, opening her mouth to say something, before nudging Ron's arm. "Come on, why don't you tell me more about Quidditch?"

"But..." Ron started to state then frowned a bit as he looked at Harry.

"I'll be fine, Ron, just need a mo," Harry gave a weak, but reassuring smile as he looked out, "Match is about to start, and you know you want to keep talking about what you think they're going to do."

"If you say so..." Ron said reluctantly as he was pulled a distance away.

"Are you ok?" Hermione asked, before frowning and glaring towards the direct Davis went, "I can't believe her! She...!"

"How was she supposed to know, Hermione?" Harry asked as he gave her a look, before frowning slightly, "What is your problem with her anyway?"

"She's a... She's just..." Hermione started, then clicked her mouth shut twice as try started to respond, then cut herself off, continuing carefully, "She's not a pleasant person."

"She doesn't seem that bad to me," Harry stated simply as he frowned slightly.

"She is!" Hermione insisted, frowning back at him, "She's mean and nasty! If you even try to talk to her or help her then she starts insulting you or, or...!"

"... Help her like you tried to help Ron in Charms First Year?" Harry asked pointedly as he gave her a look.

"He was pronouncing it wrong!" Hermione protested quickly, "And he challenged me!"

"You were kind've embarrassing him, Hermione," he said carefully, "I mean, everyone could hear you correcting him and he knew it."

"I was just trying to help!" she said angrily, "It's not my fault that he...!"

"Hermione, you're my mate, one of my best mates, but you don't try to help, you tell people how you think they're supposed to do it," Harry said quietly as he looked away.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Hermione's voice almost seemed to quiver as she looked at him, her fingers curling into fists though he couldn't see them.

"Your idea of helping is to tell us to do what you think we should be doing," he repeated quietly as he shifted about just a bit, "I mean... Ron and I always did our homework, and we did study, we just didn't do them as quickly or as thoroughly as you. But, you just... you just, ah..."

Harry paused a moment, frowning as he tried to remember to how he wanted to say, "If it's not done your way, you have to make it your way."

"Have to make it my way," she repeated, her voice quiet as she stared back at him, her hands trembling tightly against her hips, "Then maybe I should stop trying to help you at all."

"Really?" Harry asked as he turned to look at her and blinked a moment, his voice hopeful.

"..." Hermione felt her jaw loosen at his response, especially the hope in it, before her eyes started to burn with anger and hurt, "Harry James Potter! I can't believe you'd say that!"

"But... you offered!" Harry repeated staring back at her in confusion.

"I didn't think you'd agreed with it!" she demanded, her eyes glistening with tears, "How can you be so selfish!?"

"If you didn't mean it why would you even offer it then!?" he demanded back, "For me to just give in and do things your way, again?"

"I can't believe you're even asking me this!" Hermione had tears starting to flow down her cheeks as she glared angrily at him, "After everything I've done for you!"

"So what, we're supposed to just let always tell us what to do?" Harry asked quietly as he could feel something building up in the pit of his stomach, "If we don't agree with you, you're just going to keep yelling at us until we give in?"

"You need someone to try and keep you out of trouble!" she declared firmly with a glare, "If I hadn't been there what would have happened to you! You'd be getting everything done at the last minute!"

"Maybe I want to get into some regular, normal trouble! Something I actually earned instead of having someone push it on me because of what happened when I was a baby or because of who my father was!" Harry responded as a bit of anger started to enter in his voice, "I've learned more in the last couple of months just having fun with things than I have in the rest of the time where you were always yelling at us about it!"

He paused, his anger just flooding hot through his veins as he cut off the sudden outraged words she was starting to say, "No! We let you tell us how to do things for over two years, even when we hated it, we still did it for you!" there was a subtle pulse of power swirling around him, throbbing with the rising beat of his heart, though he didn't quite feel it, "But as soon as we want to do things differently, you yell at us and refuse to listen to us when we've been listening to you for years!"

"I just want what's best for you!" Hermione yelled back, "You and Ron don't think about the consequences of what you're going to do! You don't think about the mess you're going to make!"

"And try to treat us like you're our mother instead of our friend!" Harry snapped back, "Why can't you' just be our friend?!"

"That's what I'm trying to do!"

"No, you're trying to get us to be who you think we should be!" he snapped back, before his face softened a bit, "Can't we just be regular friends, Hermione?"

"So I just watch as you get into a bunch of trouble and ruin things just for a bit of fun?! No!" she snapped back, "When you realize how stupid you're being we can talk then!"

And with that, she turned and stormed away, tears streaming down her cheeks.

"... Dammit, bugger all," he cursed as his shoulders slumped down.


"Ow, dammit," Ron grumbled as he finally managed to pull himself free from Tracey's almost talon like grip, "That hurt!"

"Well, at least something gets through your head," she stated sarcastically as she gave him a look.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he demanded as he glared back at her.

"The whole, 'he's Harry, there's not much he's not good at' whining," she stated flatly, "You trying to drive him into Granger's arms?"

"What's a bloody Slytherin like you even care?" he demanded defensively as his shoulders hunched up and his face twisted sourly.

"Well, up until she showed up, I was actually starting to think you had a brain in that mulish Gryffindor head of yours," she snapped back with a glare, "Excuse me for trying to get you to stop being a wanker and go back to being an interesting bloke!"

"What's that bloody well supposed to mean?!" he again demanded as he glared back at her, not backing down.

"Even I can tell you're being an insecure, jealous git," she stated flatly as she gave him a glare, "He's supposed to be your best mate!"

"He is!" Ron protested quickly holding up his hands defensively before frowning as an ugly darkness cross his features. "It's just-- It's hard sometimes. He's Harry Potter."

"Yes, I know, Boy-who-lived, and what not," Tracey responded with a roll of her eyes, "You've been friends for years now! Can't you just get over it already?"

"No, it's not that," Ron shook his head fiercely before frowning slightly, "Well, I guess part of it is-- I'm-- well-- I'm a Weasley."

"The red hair, the shoddy robes, I never would've guessed," she drawled back and rolled her eyes, "And the point of this?"

"I--" his first response was anger at the reminder of his poverty, before he could see the dangerous flash of warning in Tracey's eyes and swallowed it down before he continued, "My family-- we don't have much. But--"

He fidgeted again, shifting slightly from one foot to another as he couldn't quite look at her, as he failed to continue.

She gave him a moment, before crossing her arms about her chest and arched a brow, "But is supposed to be followed by you saying why you just said 'but.'"

"It's not that easy!" Ron declared, visibly agitated, "I just-- They all make it look so easy."

She stared blankly back at him.

"My brother's," he clarified quickly, "Bill was head boy and is a curse breaker. Charlie was the star seeker and is a dragon handler. Percy was head boy and already has a job at the Ministry. And the twins are the twins. Me? I'm the dumb little brother who likes chess."

"And this relates to Harry how?"

"Because he's Harry," Ron said with a frustrated sigh, "He's just-- Anything he's actually interested in, he's good at. Quidditch? He was born to fly. Defense? He can fire off a patronus that will drive off a swarm of dementors. Now pranks? His little notebook is enough to make the twins green with envy. No matter what I do, I don't come close."

"Really, you're that insecure?" Tracey stated as she looked back at him before snorted softly, "Of course you are. What, you some little selfish prick just after his money or the fame from being mates with the Boy-Who-Lived?"

"Bloody hell NO!" Ron's face flushed red as his hair as he glared at her, "I just...!" his shoulder's slumped as his head bowed. "I just get tired of him always being so much better than me... And one of these days he's gonna realize it and..."

When he trailed off, wincing slightly as he looked around reflexively, looking anywhere but at her. For a moment, she said nothing, merely staring at him. Then, she reached up and pinched at her nose, "And tell me, oh wise and knowledgeable Weasley, how the blood hell is that stupidity going to do anything but help him decide that he shouldn't be your mate?"

"I..." he paused a moment as his mouth opened to respond, only to find he failed to really have any response to that, and blushed even further red, "Don't know?"

"Imagine that," she snapped with a roll of her eyes.

"What the hell should I do then?!" he demanded as he looked at her.

"How should I know?" she asked irritably, "Do I look like that know-it-all? If you want someone to tell you what to do and what to think, go find her."

"But--" he stared at her, uncertain and confused.

"What, are you utterly incapable of figuring out things on your own?" she continued condescendingly, "Do you need someone to hold your hand? Maybe wipe to drool off of your face when you stare at food like you haven't seen it for months at a time?"

"No!" he almost shouted as he glared back at her, his eyes sparking and hardening as they finally looked back at her.

"Then I suggest you start trying to figure it out," she stated flatly.

"I've been trying to!" he responded as he glared sullenly at her, "You think I just suddenly pulled that stuff out of my arse? I've been thinking about this for weeks!"

"Try harder then, unless you want to end up some lazy, selfish jerk that just does what he's told and will drive his best friend away out of jealousy," she stated flatly and shrugged her shoulders. "Otherwise... well... you really want to end up Granger's bitch?"

Ron flushed even brighter, glaring at her for a moment, but said nothing else as he looked away, "I'm gonna go back and see how things are going with Harry and Hermione."

"Right," she agreed before pausing lightly, "A sickle says she's yelling at him."

Ron stared at her for a moment before frowning, "5 sickles say she yelled at him and then ran off."

There was a pause as she thought it over, before shaking her head, "No bet, I don't want to just give you money like that."

Ron snapped his fingers slightly and managed a slight grin.

Posted: 5:32 PM - Mar 09, 2016


When the pair returned, they found Harry leaning over the railing of the box, staring down into the swell of the crowds awaiting the beginning of the game. Moving up next to him, Ron glanced around for a moment before nodding his head to his friend, "Hey."

"Hey," Harry agreed with a nod of his head, glancing over at Ron and seeing Tracey behind him looking around skeptically, "Ron, Tracey."

"Harry," Tracey stated with a nod, "Where's the know-it-all?"

He winced slightly and shrugged his shoulders a bit, "I believe her words were something about not talking to me until I realize how stupid I've been?"

"Bloody Hell," Ron stared at him, blinking for a moment, "What the hell did you say to her?"

"I told her the truth," he said uncomfortably, "She just didn't really like it."

"And which truth is that?" Tracey asked expectantly.

"That she doesn't really try to help so much as she makes you do things her way, because she thinks she knows best," he admitted with a wince and a shrug of his shoulders.

"Ah," Ron nodded his head, "Bugger then?"

"Bugger," Harry agreed with a nod of his head. "I... Well, you know how she is about things. She just-- She can't help herself. And I, well I guess I didn't help any."

"Well, enough of this boring shite," Tracey said as she gestured around them, "So do either of you know who all is here with us?"

"Not really," Harry said, "All this-- I'm not really comfortable with, err, you know, meeting people."

"Don't look at me," Ron's stated as he held his hands up, "I'm pants at talking to people, I mean you saw what I was about to do with Hermione. Do you really think it be that great with, well, people he can get my Da in big trouble?"

Tracey tilted her head to the side and seem to consider that. She then nodded her head in acknowledgment and agreed, "You do have a point. But, it's important that Harry here at least tries to make some connections."

"Why?" Harry asked, confusion written across his face.

She looked at him for a moment then simply arched brow as she gave him a look that asked him, in plainest terms, "Are you stupid?"

In responses had canted forward slightly, causing him to look at her dangerously from beneath his brows before he spoke, "I'm a half blood Muggle raised Gryffindor. What the hell would I know about what you're talking about?"

"Right antisocial Gryffindor," Tracey sighed, "I'm going to have to hold your hand, aren't I?"

"I'm not really sure I even want to," he admitted. "I prefer to stay out of the limelight not push myself into it."

"But, it could really help things out--?" Ron asked tentatively.

"How? By giving them even more reason to point and whisper about me?" Harry asked, giving Ron a hard look.

"No," Tracey stated, her arms crossing about her chest, "By giving you connections to people who can help make things easier for you."

"You mean like Malfoy does?" Harry asked sarcastically, before snorting softly, "No, thank you. I'd prefer to not end up a pompous prick."

"Well, obviously," Tracey stated simply, rolling her eyes, "Wouldn't you like to be able to shove it in his face, though? Or at least be able to shut them up when he runs to his daddy, and his daddy can't help him?"

Harry opened his mouth as if to object, only to have Ron forcibly elbowed him in his ribs, "You know you would."

For a moment, Harry rubbed at his ribs, giving Ron a glare as he stubbornly set his shoulders, "I thought you didn't like all the slithering sneakiness. Do you really want to act like Malfoy?"

Ron flinched slightly, his head bowing and shame, before shrugging shoulders helplessly, "Well, would it really be acting like Malfoy? I mean, you wouldn't be using your money or your father's money. And, would you be trying to lord it over everyone like he would? That doesn't really sound like you right, mate?"

Harry stared at him for a moment, then reached up and pushed his glasses up as he rubbed at his eyes. Next them, Tracey looked back at Ron, her brow furrowed before she spoke, "Wait, are you actually talking sense?"

Ron began to open his mouth as if to agree with her. Then, he seemed to realize exactly what he would be agreeing to. Shattering slightly, his lower lip seemed almost quiver as it jetted out the corners of his mouth pulling down into of petulant frown, "Dammit, what the bloody hell did you do to me?"

"So, you actually can use your brain, well, at least for something other than chess and Quidditch," she stated with an exaggerated gasp of disbelief. "Oh, I feel faint, I don't know if I can handle the excitement of discovery!"

As she pressed the back of her hand to her for head, Ron glared sullenly at her, fingers clenching into fists at his side as he crawled out, "It's not funny."

"Kinda is," she argued with smirk.

Harry couldn't help the slight twitch of a smile that tried to tug at his lips, before his thoughts rapidly returned to their previous train. "Fine, what did you have in mind? I won't even try to pretend to be Lockhart or Malfoy."

"No, no, no," she said quickly as she waved her hands and shook her head, "That wouldn't do. You are the Boy-Who-Lived. You're already somebody! They already want to be seen with you."

"Don't remind me," he said with a grimace.

"Yes, I know it's horrible," she said sarcastically, "People will do most anything to get on your good side."

"And they don't stop, and they won't leave me alone," he snapped back. "You try constantly being gawked at, and pointed at, and stared at like you some kind of exhibit. Or, worse, like you're a freak."

He grimaced, his face taking on an ugly shade as his chin fell to his chest, his eyes hidden beneath his unruly bangs.

Sighing, she threw her hands up in the air, before she spoke, "Fine! I get it! You don't like it, and you don't want it. That being said, you have it. So, since you have it you might as well use it to help yourself out."

"And, how is that any different than Malfoy?" He demanded.

"Because Malfoy uses fear, intimidation, and graft, to help himself. What you'd be doing is-- Well, using their awe, respect, and legend to build yourself political capital. You can build more with some kind words, a smile, and some handshaking than Malfoy can with hundreds of his father's galleons, and the fear of dark curses.

"Haven't you ever wanted to have written a letter of your own, when Malfoy had?" she asked, no demanded, "One where you wrote directly to the person whom his father was buying off? Where he could and do all the damage he did with a polite request?"

"-- That would've helped Hagrid," Ron noted with a wince, "Might've also helped with S-- Well, you know, Snuffles--?"

Tracey's eyes narrowed at that she looked sharply at Ron, "Snuffles?"

"It's nothing," Harry said quickly, a little too quickly Tracey noticed.

Her eyes still narrowed, she looked at Harry with a disturbing intensity for a moment, before she asked, "Do you want me to completely ignore that you two are obviously trying to hide something, and doing a piss poor job of it?"

"Yes," they both chorused in unison.

"Then, you're coming with me and introducing me to the ministers," Tracey stated simply as she grabbed hold of Harry's arm and pulled him towards where he could see a familiar limegreen bowler.

As Harry sent desperate look of pleading towards Ron, his best friend shrugged his shoulders helplessly as if to say, "What do you expect me to do?" Then, seeing no other alternative, Harry gave in, head bowing, as he allowed Tracey to leave him on. Behind them, Ron trailed in their wake, somehow knowing this is not going to go the way anyone expected.


"Aha, young Mr. Potter!" The British Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge declared, with obvious delight, "What, what a present surprise to find you here! Though, I can hardly say this is too surprising, I heard you were no slouch when it came to Quidditch yourself!"

"Minister Fudge," Harry said agreeably with a nod of his head, before biting down the grunt of Tracey's elbow hitting his ribs, "My friends, Ron Weasley and Tracey Davis."

"Oh, delightful, delightful, you do look familiar, my boy, have we met before?" Fudge stated, a plastic smile on his face.

"His father works for the Ministry, Minister," Tracey said quickly as Ron looked entirely uncomfortable with the man, "And, we do apologize, I imposed upon Harry here to introduce me so I could thank you for all the concern you've shown in regards to the safety of the people."

This time, the smile was a bit more genuine as Fudge brightened visibly and nodded his head as, "Of course, young lady, I always make sure to put the public's safety as my primary concern!"

Harry twitched slightly as he gave Fudge a look, "I would've preferred if that concern didn't cause me to be attacked by dementors this year."

Fudge flinched visibly as the two individuals next to him raised their eyebrows, at him, before looking back at Harry. One of them, quietly took a half step forward, introducing him with a faint eastern European accent, "Mr. Potter. I am Grigor Antov, and I have the honor of holding the position of Bulgaria's Ministry of Magic. You have quite the-- reputation."

Grimacing lightly, Harry inclined his head to the man, looking at him with slightly narrowed eyes, "Which one? I seem to have trouble keeping track of if I'm supposed to be the hero or scapegoat from week to week."

"I believe Minister Fudge was just telling us how his Aurors had rescued you only months ago from an escaped murderer," the second man noted, his own voice revealing a far more noticeable French accent, "He was assuring us of people's ability to keep our citizens safe during the coming tournament."

"-- His aurors, rescuing me?" Harry repeated politely before turning his head towards Fudge, eyes narrowing into dangerous slits.

Tracey immediately felt her stomach drop as she saw the look on Harry's face, and moved to try and save the situation, only to feel Ron grabbing hold of her arm and quickly shaking his head.

Fudge himself felt the shift in the air, and saw the look in Harry's eyes. Immediately, he nervously began to fiddle with his bowler, "Well, I will admit that I may have made a slight exaggerate, you know how it goes, don't you, Harry?"

"Minister Fudge," Harry said with a thin lipped smile, "Would you be referring to the incident where the entire force of dementors you assigned to our school with the stated mission of protecting me attacked me en masse, after their two previous attempts?"

"There were some slight issues with discipline, but, we have no reason to bring in such heavy security for this!" Fudge declared quickly, "And there was no lasting damage done and in the end--"

"In the end, I had to save myself. While I was supposedly confounded," Harry stated simply as he continued to glare at Fudge, "That you said wasn't it? All three of us were confounded, and everything we told you was because of that. All because Snape told you that."

"Snape?" the Bulgarian minister asked curiously, "Would you be referring to Severus Snape? The potions instructor at Hogwarts?"

"Yes, sir," Harry said quietly, "We came across information, and witnessed proof that Sirius Black was not the one who betrayed my parents."

"And I'm afraid that really, a distinguished professor is a much more reliable--" Fudge started to respond quickly.

"A known Death Eater is considered more reliable than the Boy-Who-Lived?" the Frenchman asked, his brow arching, before he glanced at his Bulgarian college, "No offense meant to your countryman, but despite the aid they gave following that-- wizard's fall, it does not change what they were."

"None taken, it was a point I was going to make myself," Antov agreed with a slight frown, "And considering things now-- I find myself more and more wary of this tournament. I now recall that the current head of the department overseeing this venture's son was also named by Karkoff's testimony."

Fudge blanched visibly, his face a pale, pasty thing as he looked torn between outrage and fear, "Now, really, I can assure you that--"

"We saw Peter Pettigrew," Ron said quietly as he hung his head in guilt, "He was a rat animagus that was hiding as a pet that was my brother's before he was given to me. A pet we had for 10 years."

"He told us that he was responsible. He admitted to us that he was the real Secret Keeper. He admitted that he was the one that lead Voldemort to my parents," Harry picked up glaring at Fudge, "Sirius had volunteered to turn himself in, as long as they took the rat with him. Snape told us he was just going to give him to the dementors and be done with it."

"You were confounded! By a dangerous criminal!" Fudge exclaimed quickly.

"Then why did you order him kissed when he never even got a trial?" Harry snapped back.

That immediately made the other two men's eye brows rise up as they affixed Fudge with a look, before Antov spoke, "No trial? Truly?"

"Of course he got a trial!" Fudge hastily back pedaled, "He was in Azkaban!"

"They threw him in there without a trial and left him there for years," Harry responded back.

In the background, Tracey watched the unfolding scene with a kind of horrified fascination. This was not going like she'd hoped. This wasn't going like anything she had even comprehended.

Somehow, Harry Potter had managed to turn what should've been a simple meet and greet pressing of the flesh, and turned it into what could be a major political scandal.

"There is, of course, the simple matter of disproving him," the Frenchman noted, "Simply produce the transcript of the trial from your aurors."

Fudge's eyes lit up, and he quickly nodded his head, almost violently shaking the bowler atop his head, "Capital idea, that, capital! Amelia! Amelia!"

As Fudge quickly flagged down the head of the Deptment of Magical Law Enforcement, the Frenchman regarded Harry for a moment, before inclining his head slightly, "I apologize for not introducing myself earlier, I am Emmanuelle Thibault. Minister for the French Ministry of Magic."

Harry inclined his head slightly, glancing at where Fudge was blustering and demanding towards a rather stern and severe looking individual, before looking back at the two remaining Ministers, "Hello then, sir, as you might've gathered, I'm Harry Potter."

There was a pause before Harry looked at the men again, "If I might ask-- what tournament?"

The men blinked then looked from each other back to Harry, "They have not made it known to your public? We informed our students about it at the end of the previous school year."

"Dad said something was gonna be happening, but they were told they couldn't tell anyone," Ron said then shrank down under the attention he suddenly received.

"I see," Thibault noted with a slight frown, before nodding his head, "The Triwizard Tournament is being reinstated, and being held at Hogwarts to help foster international relations and good will."

"Triwizard Tournament?" Harry asked, while Ron and Tracey's eyes widened, "I'm sorry, I grew up in the muggle world. I haven't ever heard of it."

"Ah," Antov nodded his head slightly, as if in understanding, "It is an old contest between the three school. My country's Durmstrang, Emmanuelle's Beauxbatons and England's Hogwarts."

"It was ended because the contests had become increasingly outlandish and dangerous, and were in fact beginning to cause the death of most of the competitors," Thibault admitted with a grimace, "We have been assured that the events will not end in the deaths they had in the past."

"Yes, the contest will be divided into three events, two challenges to determine handicaps, then a final one to determine the winner," Antov agreed with a nod.

"Will that mean that there will be more quidditch matches then? With all the other schools involved?" Ron asked hopefully.

"-- I have been informed, that for the contest, quidditch has been cancelled for the year," Thibault noted with a slight bemusement.

"-- No quidditch?!" Ron exclaimed, horror etched on his face as he stared, bug eyed at the Ministers.

Both apparently found some amusement at the boy's reaction, as they both chuckled softly in mirth, while Harry frowned.

"-- Wait. Just three events total?" Harry asked to clarify it as he stared back at the two men, "And you're cancelling quidditch? For just three events? -- Doesn't that mean it comes down to more luck than anything? You're talking about something that you're implying is going to last all year because of the cancelled quidditch, but you're only going to have 3 events?"

The two ministers blinked at those words, and then glanced at one another then looked back at Harry, then glanced at one another again.

"-- You know, when worded like that--" Thibault noted with a frown.

"There is enough time to do more--" Antov agreed, before his eyes lit up, "We could bring in the spiders!"

Ron went ashen at the mention of spiders.

"And the pixies," Thibault agreed with a nod.

Harry twitched as he remembered second year.

"We could--"

"Um, perhaps you should make a committee or something to see how many contests could be fit in and what they should be?" Harry asked quickly, "You know, with some people on it to make sure things don't get too dangerous? That way, no one gets hurt?"

"And someone restrains some of the more outrageous ideas," Tracey muttered as she looked at the two political leaders who had suddenly seemed like big children.

"And maybe do something so we can still have quidditch?" Ron asked hopefully.

The two ministers looked at the three, then looked at each other as wordlessly, they plotted and schemed how to take advantage of the situation. When Fudge returned, he immediately felt a cold bead of sweat dropping down the back of his neck. His two contemporaries were smiling at him, like he was the Christmas goose.

"Ah, well, Harry, Amelia will have an auror bring over the files shortly, so we can put this nonsense to a rest once and for all," Fudge declared, blustering slightly as he nodded his head.

"Cornelius, so good of you to rejoin us," Thibault stated jovially as he caught his hands behind his back, "We were enjoying talking to your countries bright young citizens when they helped us come to a wonderful realization."

"-- Oh?" Fudge was sure his stomach hit his feet at that.

"Yes," Antov agreed with a nod as he caught the edges of his robes easily in his hand, "They pointed out what a-- waste of all this potential we were having with just three events and what other opportunities we were missing out on."

Fudge could just feel the galleons draining out of the Ministry's coffers now, "Do tell--"

"We have a whole year to work with. We should come up with more events than just the ones we started out with," Thibault agreed, "And naturally, we will need to establish a committee to help come up with ideas, while maintaining the spirit and security of what we wish to promote."

"And what better way to do this, than to have students and a teacher from each school be on the committee?" Antov agreed, "They would, of course, have to be exempted from the tournament, having insider information, but--"

Fudge was torn on one hand, it was a politically viable idea. On the other-- it could also backfire rather spectacularly. He'd need someone prominent to be on it, someone to draw the attention to if it failed, while letting him take credit if it succeeded, someone--

"We would like to request Mr. Potter and his two friends to be the representatives from Hogwarts," Thibault suggested with an easy smile on his face.

Click. The pieces fell into place in Fudge's mind and immediately his look turned into an eager smile, "I'm sure Harry would love to be a part of this, wouldn't you, Harry?"

Harry stared back at them, his eyes suddenly growing wide, "Um--"

"Of course he would," Tracey cut in quickly as she could see Harry falling back into the uncertainty of before. "We all would be honored, wouldn't we?"

Ron and Harry looked at her like she was crazy. Though, she had to admit, she probably couldn't blame them, at least from their position. But this was the kind of opportunity she couldn't pass up.

"And, for the staff position, can I recommend Professor Filius Flitwick?" Tracey stated following up a moment later with an innocent smile.

"I was actually going to recommend Professor S--" Fudge began to protest, only to feel a look being directed towards him by both other Ministers, "Ah, of course, as a former dueling champion he would be a welcome addition to this committee."

"And, of course you'll be willing to provide the committee with a place to meet, yes?" Antov asked, a smile on his lips, "Somewhere-- appropriate, hmm?"

"Ah, right, ah-- one moment, I think Amelia is trying to get my attention, busy, busy, you know how the life of a Minister goes," Fudge says quickly, flushed slightly as he quickly almost raced back to Amelia.

"Of course," Thibault stated with a slight condensation dripping out of his tone, though Fudge was too busy running off to hear it.

"-- This means we're going to have to do even more work, doesn't it," Ron stated as he looked at Tracey irritably.

"You did say you were going to start working more," Harry said automatically, before giving Ron an apologetic look.

Ron sighed then nodded his head, before perking a bit, "--Wait-- That does give me an idea for an event. Remember that what we were talking to the twins about?"

For a moment, Harry's eyes grew distant, before he looked back at Ron, "Give them all a set amount of ingredients, and see what they can come up with?"

"Set amount of ingredients, with a set number of potions they need to brew," Ron corrected quickly.

"We'd have to set up a time limit-- And a way to make sure they don't cheat," Tracey agreed with a nod, "A warded room, set uniforms for each? The event can go on for a few months if we want to give them a chance to be over creative."

"It would allow for more imagination," Ron agreed with a quick nod of his head.

The two Ministered glanced at one another, than both of them broke into matching smirks. Then, matching frowns as they realized something. They had to come up with a group of students that could keep up with these three and not make them look bad.

Fortunately for them, they were saved by a pale faced Fudge nervously returning to them, "I, ah, it would appear that, there has been a bit of an-- Err-- a delay in retrieving the file on Black's trial."

"You mean, they can find no proof that any such trial existed, as the boy said," Thibault noted with a frown, as he looked at Fudge with narrowed eyes, "Perhaps you can explain, Cornelius, why you seem to have such a hard time with the truth?"

"I, well, that is, it's a matter of--" Fudge shifted nervously as his peers gave him pointed, piercing stares, "I... Amelia!"

There was a pause, before the distinguished woman from earlier walked over, a monocle in her eye as she looked warily down at Fudge, "Yes, Minister?"

"Explain to them about the-- whole legal thingie!" Fudge demanded desperately.

"-- As I told you, Minister, as far as we can tell, there is no record of any such trial taking place. As far as we can tell, Crouch just threw him into Azkaban and left him there," Amelia Bones explained with a narrowing of her eyes, "I already explained this to you, sir."

"-- Can you explain to us then, Cornelius, why you ordered the summary execution of a man whom you had given no trial?" Antov asked with a coolly imperial glare down at the man.

"And why you were so quick to take the word of a Death Eater over Mr. Potter's testimony in reference to the events of that evening and the revelation of Pettigrew's survival?" Thibault added as he lightly twirled his thin mustache.

Amelia straightened at that, her eyes immediately darting over to Harry, "Is this true, Mr. Potter?"

"Yes," Harry stated simply.

"He was confounded!" Fudge protested.

"Then all it would take would be an examination of his memory of the event," Amelia stated simply, "A confounded mind cannot accurately record a memory, and it is noticeable upon examination."

"You can examine mine too if it will help," Ron offered carefully, "I was there too."

"So was Hermione Granger," Harry stated simply.

"-- Three witnesses?" Amelia turned her head and looked towards Fudge, "Why is it that my department was not made aware of this?"

"It was Sirius Black!" Fudge stated almost petulantly.

"I thought it would be because it would mean you had almost gotten me killed by the things you had assigned to 'protect' us from Black?" Harry asked pointedly as he glared a bit at Fudge.

"Mr. Potter," Amelia stated neutrally, "Why I can sympathize with your plight, I can assure you that despite many of his less desirable traits, Minister Fudge is not purposely malicious."

Harry looked at her for a moment, then looked at where Fudge was fiddling with his bowler, an ashen look on his face and he sighed, "I understand that-- But--"

"Yes, I know," Amelia agreed with a nod, "In his quest to do what he thinks is best he does not always consider the repercussions of his choices, but he is consistent in trying to do what he sees as best."

"Doesn't mean he actually does," was the stated response, though Fudge wasn't sure who said it as he looked around suspiciously.

"I will see to collecting the memories personally. Where can I find your guardians so I can clear it with them?"

"I, ah--" Harry paused a moment before glancing at Ron and shrugging a bit, "I'm staying with the Weasley's currently."

"And your actual guardians, Mr. Potter?" she asked with an arched brow.

Harry stared at her for a moment, before he was hit by a sudden-- understanding, "Well, he's currently unavailable. What with the kiss on sight order put out on him."

Amelia Bones stared at Harry Potter as his words clicked into place, "Are you stating that Sirius Black is your guardian?"

"As he wasn't ever convicted--" Harry said leadingly.

Reaching up, Amelia pinched the bridge of her nose, "As he wasn't ever convicted, then as your god father he is still your legal guardian."

Tracey was simply staring at Harry.

The two foreign ministers both let their eyebrows shoot up at that comment before Antov spoke up, "Am I to understand that Sirius Black is the young Mr. Potter's godson?"

"Yes, among other things," Amelia agreed with a curt nod, "His relationship to the Potters was part of why his alleged betrayal was seen as so horrendous."

"And it did not warrant a thorough investigation into the events to see how and why he had done such a thing?" Thibault asked as he lifted his nose and the muttered in French about English barbarians.

"As I recall, at the time I was working on a joint jurisdictional case in France at the time, Minister, so I could not tell you. Too busy learning to blend into the French underground," Amelia stated coolly.

Thibault was too accomplished a politician to show any flinch as he simply inclined his head back to the woman, "I see."

"Very well then, Mr. Potter, I will work with the Weasleys to arrange an appropriate time to examine and record those memories. Thank you for your time. Ministers," Amelia bowed her head slightly to each of the three men before walking off.

"Ah, heh, and now that that little-- ah, unpleasantness is over, we can move on to other things!" Fudge said quickly, "I was thinking--"

"About where you could help set up the committee?" Antov supplied smoothly, "It would be most-- advantageous to have it in an-- appropriate local."

"I'm sure that we could find an appropriate family to open up their home," Fudge said quickly, "I'm sure that Lucius Malfoy--"

"-- You would have our representatives left in the care of a man proven to be susceptible to influence by those who have a-- grudge against a member of your own committee?" Thibault asked pointedly as he narrowed his eyes at the man, "That does not seem the most-- prudent of ventures."

"A-ah, of course, my apologies, I was merely thinking of the long years of public service and endowments Lucius has made to make up for the things he was forced to do during the war," Fudge said quickly.

"Every step forward does not erase the ones that lead up to it," Antov stated philosophically as he pursed his lips, "It shall also have to be somewhere-- isolated, somewhere that people will not think to look."

"Um, maybe a muggle hotel?" Harry suggested, "Some of them have rooms and stuff for this kind of stuff?"

"A muggle hotel, really Mr. Potter?" Fudge said quickly as he looked back at Harry with a frown, "Do you expect such distinguished guests to act like muggles?!"

"Certain muggle hotels do have a level of-- comfort that can be appreciated by even those of more discerning tastes, Minister," Tracey spoke up quickly, catching on as she smiled, "And of course, muggles can be properly-- influenced to supply things at the cost of a bit of spell work."

"And, as much as I am loathe to wish to admit it, a hotel in the muggle world would provide the appropriate-- secrecy for their needs," Thibault admitted with a slight sniff, "And it would be quite easy to convince them to offer their-- hospitality."

Harry looked slightly horrified at the direction they were suggesting, but, Tracey simply gave him a look that promised that they'd talk about it later.

"Perhaps then, you would care to suggest an appropriate place where things could be-- set up, Ms. Davis?" Antov asked politely, even as he raised as skeptical eye at her.

"I'm sure I can discover something through my family's-- contacts," Tracey said vaguely with a simple bowing of her head.

"Of course," Antov agreed, "And you could pass on such information to Mr. Potter to relay it to Madam Bones when she comes to investigate?"

"Yes, Sir," Tracey stated quickly, her mind already whirling with possibilities and a strong potential candidate for a hotel.

"Excellent," Thibault said with a nod of his head, "Most excellent, I'm sure that you'll come up with an-- appropriate solution."

"Yes, Sir," Tracey did not smile, did not look eager, did not look even a hint of the exaltation she felt inside, her inner Slytherin practically squealing in happiness at the situation that had somehow fallen into her lap.

"Well then, we shall look forward to seeing what you, your friends and our own representatives come up with, Mr. Potter," Antov said with a smile, "For the rest of the night however-- Enjoy watching Krum catch the snitch."

"I'm sure Mr. Potter won't disappoint," Fudge said quickly, as he looked at Harry, still uncertain exactly how he should feel about the boy, "I-- I'm sure it will be-- unexpected."

"That's the bloody truth," Ron muttered under his breath.

Harry bobbed his head to the Ministers, before grabbing hold of Tracey, "Ministers, it was very nice meeting you, we'll just go let everyone know we're safe."

Both the foreign ministers nodded their heads, bemused smirks on their faces as Harry practically dragged Tracey off with Ron following, shaking his head.


"There you two are!" Arthur Weasley exclaimed as Harry, Ron and Tracey returned to the box, "I've been worried about what happened to you both, the match is about to start! And Hermione was practically beside herself! And-- oh, who's this then?"

"Sorry about that, Mr. Weasley, we, I kinda got dragged off to see the Minister-- then, well, the Ministers of France and Bulgaria were there and things-- kinda--" Harry tried to explain as he scratched the back of his head, "And, ah, this is Tracey."

"Oh, the Minister?" Arthur winced slightly and nodded his head, "I suppose it couldn't be helped-- Fudge can be--"

"Yeah, oh how he can," Ron agreed with a mutter and a sigh before giving Tracey a somewhat dirty look, before looking back at his father with slumped shoulders as he continued, "Dad? We need to talk to you."

"-- Ron, did you get in trouble with the Minister?" Arthur asked quickly, a worried look crossing his face, "I know he's not the most enjoyable of people, but--"

"Harry probably did, but, he can't really do anything about it," Tracey stated with a shrug, "And a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Weasley."

"-- I suppose I really would prefer to not know, but at the same time," Arthur took a deep breath, and then steeled himself visibly, "Very well, what happened?"

"Amelia Bones is going to look at our memories of-- well, what we found out about Scabbers," Ron stated simply as he frowned and lightly rubbed at his leg unconsciously, "It was-- well--"

"Pure brilliance or pure luck," Tracey stated simply, and gave Harry a look.

"Luck," Ron stated simply as he looked at Harry, "Harry has the bloody fey's own luck."

"-- Pretty much," Harry agreed with a slight blush, "But, Tracey's the one that got us roped into that whole Tri-Wizard committee thing!"

Arthur froze at that, staring at the three, his mouth hanging open slightly, before he asked in bewilderment, "You know about the tournament? But-- no one was supposed to say anything."

"Fudge told us," Harry answered the unspoken question, "Now we're going to be part of a committee from each of the schools to come up with some of the events."

"We already have a good start on it," Tracey pointed out before noting how Hermione was glaring at her from some distance away, and rolled her eyes slightly, "But, I need to go talk to my parents. Mr. Weasley, it was nice meeting you. Enjoy the rest of the cup."

Tracey bowed slightly, before turning to Harry and Ron, "Ron, Harry, I'll see you both soon, I'll send an owl with the hotel information if I can't get there myself."

"Right," Harry agreed with a slight nod of his head and then looked at Ron.

"Bye," Ron agreed uneasily with a nod of his head.

Smirking, Tracey could see Hermione practically fuming in the background, and leaned over, giving Ron a kiss on the cheek, "And thanks for being so sweet.'

As Ron blushed furiously, the twins looked from Ron, to Harry, to Hermione, and made of note of each of their reactions, before looking at each other and shaking their heads in unspoken communication.

"It would seem that ickle Ronnie-kins has befriended a snake," George noted.

"And said snake does not particularly care for the dear Hermione-kins," Fred agreed with a nod.

"A terrible shame that," Georged said with a not too sad nod of his head.

"Horrible even. Why, Ronnie-kins might actually start getting sneaky now," Fred said, "Why, imagine how much trouble they can cause if both Harry and Ron started getting sneaky?"

"Didn't it already start?" George pointed out, "With the potions?"

Fred paused, before suddenly nodding sadly, "Indeed, brother mine, it would seem this year should be most-- enlightening."

"Though, the Tri-Wizard Tournament?" George stated, "There's sure to be a prize."

"And where there's a prize, that means we have a chance of building up our little nest egg," Fred added.

"Then, obviously we must figure out how to take advantage of this," George finished as they looked at one another and smiled in agreement.

Back with Harry and Ron, Arthur was staring at them both for a long moment, "You're both-- working on the Tri-Wizard Tournament?"

"Apparently," Harry agreed with a nod and a glance towards Ron, "We already have some ideas too. Tracey is actually in charge of finding a place for the committee to stay and meet."

"Yeah, she's going to get a-- what is it again, Harry?" Ron asked as he looked at Harry questioningly.

"A hotel, Ron," Harry stated simply as he lightly rolled his eyes. "Think like the Leaky Cauldron, but for more people and more--" For a moment, Harry considered saying modern, then realized who he was talking to, "More muggle."

"Right," Ron said with a nod, "Ok--"

"Just-- you'll see," Harry stated simply with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

"Ok. So--. Is it just me, or does Hermione look like she's about ready to hollow out our skulls and then use them to beat the rest of us into a bloody pulp?" Ron asked.

"I think that accurately sums it up," Harry agreed with a nod of his head.

Arthur blinked as he looked from where they looked and frowned slightly as he saw the almost murderous look on Hermione's face then looked back to the boys, "What in Merlin's name did you boys do?"

Ron glanced at Harry, then shrugged apologetically, "Sorry, Harry, but that one's all yours."

"Thanks, Ron," Harry said sarcastically, before turning back to Arthur, "It was-- she didn't like the direction Ron and I are choosing to go with things. And I kind of told her that she didn't try to help, so much as tried to force us to do things her way."

Lightly rubbing the back of his head he shrugged helplessly, "She didn't really like that. And she doesn't like that we're being friendly with Tracey. So, until I apologize and admit she's right, I'm not supposed to talk to her."

"Oh," Arthur processed the information for a moment, glancing towards Hermione before looking back at the boys, "I-- Think we should just start enjoying the game. Sound good, boys?"

Harry and Ron both nodded in unison, turning their attention away from Arthur and focusing on the game. That only seemed to focus the angry glare of Hermione on them even more spectacularly. The fact the itching sensation of danger tickling at both of the boys' was being ignored only focused it.

Behind them, Hermione lightly clenched her fingers tighter together and glared even harder, as if by sheer will she would be able to force them to look back at her and submit to what she knew was right.

She was right. They knew she was. This was not the way they should do things.

A deep breath was taken. She just needed to be patient. They would crack eventually, they would come back to her when they needed help again, and then they'd apologize. She just needed to be patient.

And then the match started.


It had been glorious.

Ireland may have won in the end, but Krum had been absolutely astounding. If he'd been backed by a set of chasers that had been only slightly better, keeping the score just a little tighter, they would've won. As it was, however, there was no denying that as brilliant as Krum was on a broom, there was only so far he could carry his team on his own.

The rest of the Ministry politics had thankfully remained at a distance for the rest of the match, apparently Fudge's nervousness had lead him to not taking any chances that the Boy-Who-Lived wouldn't cause another unintentional, reality shaking scandal. Especially not with the interest the two foreign ministers had shown in him.

If anyone else had tried to worm their way into a conversation with him, those two would most assuredly swoop in to see just what other bit of trouble the boy could cause for his own country's Ministry.

And unfortunate side effect of this, was the forced meeting between Bartemious Crouch Sr. and the Malfoys, with the former having to grit his teeth and restrain his urge to hex the smug "Imperiused" Death Eater. He wanted desperately to place the man under the curse he'd claimed to be under before and cast the Killing Curse upon himself. He then discovered, as bad as the father was, the father at least knew how to maintain a level of mock civility and decorum, something he found the son lacked when Lucius had excused himself for a "prior engagement", leaving him to deal with the man's wife and son.

Then the attack had happened.

Chaos and confusion had reigned, as people had fled in terror before the oh-so-familiar display. They'd seen it before, plenty of times during the war. In that moment, Crouch knew exactly what that prior commitment of Lucius Malfoy's had been.

And he knew thanks to Fudge, he would never be able to move on it.

The only slight bit of satisfaction he'd been able to gain from the event had been that after the Dark Mark had appeared, they'd found that wand that cast the illustrious spell had belonged to none other than Draco Malfoy. No one other than Fudge had believed it hadn't been the boy who'd cast the spell. Fudge had insisted that they'd find the perpetrator.

Thankfully, none of them would think to look for his long since "dead" son. He would have to make certain that he kept him more thoroughly confined in the future. It was obvious, now, that any kindness of privilege was only going to be used as an excuse.

He had sent the boy home with Winky, after making certain to properly reapply the imperius. Wouldn't do to have the little bastard slip free again. Unfortunately, he was left to deal with the resulting fall out.

"Is this supposed to assure us, Cornelius?" Antov had demanded as he glared at the squirming English Minister, "This is--"

"Indeed," Thibault agreed with a curt nod of his head, "With the earlier revelations-- now this?"

It had looked like it was going to devolve into what amounted to a scolding and a wrangling of concessions out of the Ministry, not that it was too terribly surprising to Crouch, considering the idiotic blundering of Malfoy and his cronies. Still he was the head of the department running the Tri-Wizard tournament, which meant he had to stay nearby, just incase. Still it wasn't likely that--

Then Fudge had seen him, and his eyes had lit up with an unholy glee. Immediately, he'd stiffened in response, as the man he spoken up, "Barty! Good to see you! Glad you didn't get run off by those fear mongering delinquents!"

"If you would recall, Minister, while some of us cowered in our homes during the reign of You-Know-Who, some of us were fighting back," Crouch responded sharply with a narrowing of his eyes.

And that light instead of dimming only grew, with it, the sinking feeling in his stomach. Somehow, he'd just managed to fall into a trap. Hopefully it would be one of Fudge's usual ham fisted shenanigans that he'd be able to deal with, with only a fraying of his nerves and patience.

"That's right! Barty here was the head of the DMLE back during-- well, you know," Fudge stated as he shifted uncomfortably, "Why, he personally was in charge of the capture of Sirius Black!"

"-- Indeed?" Antov said as he turned his eyes onto Crouch like a hawk before his prey, as his French counterpart did the same, "We were just discussing the case of Mr. Black earlier."

"It was most-- intriguing," Thibault agreed, "So, surely you attended his trial?"

"What trial?" Crouch snapped back with a slight wisp of irritation, "Black practically admitted it, there were dozens of witnesses. He was thrown into Azkaban where he belonged."

The two foreign Ministers exchanged a glance while Fudge looked disturbingly relieved. And in that instant, Crouch realized he'd just sprung Fudge's trap. He'd just fallen for Fudge's trap.

"Now, you see, Mr. Crouch, that does confirm exactly what we'd been told," Thibault agreed with a pleasant smile, an entirely too pleasant smile, "We were quite shocked at it, to learn of it. No trial for at all for a man?"

"No trial for a member of one of your country's Ancient and Nobel houses?" Antov picked up, before looking back towards an entirely too smug Fudge, "And then, he has his death simply commanded by the Minister?"

Fudge paled and sputtered for a moment, at the accusation. Then he froze as the full implications of the man's words trickled into his mind. He'd tried to have a pureblood wizard from an Ancient and Noble family killed without a trial.

"I-- Now, really, there's no need for this to-- distort things like that, now is there?" Fudge wrang his hands nervously.

Crouch however, frowned deeply as he looked suspiciously at the Ministers, "What the devil are you talking about?"

"New evidence has come to light that Sirius Black may not, in fact, have been the one who betrayed the Potter's to You-Know-Who," Antov stated with a thin smile.

"And infact, that Peter Pettigrew may not, in fact, be as dead as was previously reported," Thibault stated simply as he looked at Crouch, "Which makes me wonder, does it not? Just why it was that the man was into prison, when the man in charge of the investigation was revealed to be the father of one of the Dark Lord's most fanatical followers."

"I will not stand here and listen to this besmirchment of my good name!" Crouch declared, before turning and doing his best to begin stalking off, before Fudge had the sense to--

"Amelia! Mr. Crouch there has just admitted to having thrown Sirius Black into Azkaban without a trial!" Fudge's voice rang true and clear.

Crouch's stomach dropped as he saw the stern woman suddenly looking straight at him. Amelia Bones was known for being tough, no-nonsense, and incorruptible. And more importantly, she was considered among the few people beyond Albus Dumbledore that could give the Dark Lord a run for his money in a fight.

"Is that a fact?" Amelia stated as she looked her predecessor straight in the eye from behind her monocle, "Then, I do believe I'm going to have to ask you to accompany us to the Ministry for some questions, Bartemius."

"I'm afraid that--" he started to protest, before she cut him off.

"I'm afraid I must insist. You remember how it goes, don't you?" she said with a wane smile.

It was then that he remembered another fact about Amelia Bones. She had never liked him and had a very long memory. This was going to be-- unpleasant.

"-- Yes, I remember," he said in resignation, might as well just get it over with.

"Glad to hear that, Bartemius. So very glad," Amelia agreed with a sweetly predatory smile.

Crouch merely fought to keep from getting too sick at the implications of what she said, and what the look in Fudge's eyes had meant.


Ginny Weasley stared at Hermione for a bit, the way she was practically fuming out steam from her ears in frustration as she stared at the book in her hands like she wanted it to spontaneously burst into flame.

"What's got your knickers in a twist?" It had really just slipped out past her lips, she'd been doing that on occasion since her time under Tom's influence.

"Ginny! Language!" Hermione quickly admonished as she looked up from the book and glared at the girl.

Less than impressed with the glare, the girl only shrugged her shoulders in response, "What? You've looked about ready to kill someone since you lot came back from the match. Ron do something to send you around the bend again?"

"Yes, no!" Hermione almost the book down, "Both of them did! And they're not even sorry about it! They're talking about all these pranks and then Ron pranked Fred and George and--"

"Wait, Ron pranked the twins? As in, my brother Ron?" Ginny interrupted staring incredulously at Hermione.

"Yes, your brother Ron!" Hermione almost crowed triumphantly, "He mixed some kind of potion into their breakfast and--"

"Good on him then," Ginny cut in with a smirk, "Those two need someone to bring them down a peg or two."

"Ginny!" Hermione's tone immediately changed to scandalized, "How can you encourage him to act like those two, those two-- delinquents!"

"Hermione?" Ginny stated as she looked at the girl, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but, grow up."

"Bu-what?!" Hermione sounded angry now, outraged and furious as she stared at Ginny, "How can you say that?!"

For a moment, Ginny doesn't look like the Ginny she knew, she looks haunted, weathered, old and just small in her 13 year old body, "If you have to ask, then there's no point in explaining it."

And then, it's gone, like it never existed. Covered back up and ignored as she smiles back at her friend, "So, what can you tell me about the classes I picked?"

For a moment, Hermione looked torn, uncertain of how to respond. Then she comes to the uncomfortable realization that she doesn't want to continue that conversation. She doesn't want to see that look in Ginny's eyes boring into her own. So, the easy out she's offered was quickly taken.

"Which classes were you taking again?"

Posted: 5:33 PM - Mar 09, 2016


'Mr. Padfoot is in awe. He never thought it could be done so-- so-- beautifully! He has a tear in his eye!'

'Mr. Prongs knows this is somehow going to be blamed on him. Lily will find away. Somehow this will be blamed on him. Oh well, at least he doesn't have to worry about her vengeance.

'Mr. Wormtail is still trying to comprehend how the bloody hell Harry pulled this off.'

'Mr. Moony agrees with Mr. Wormtail.'

Harry shrugged his shoulders a bit and looked towards an equally laconic Ron, "I just-- did?"

"Those other Minster blokes did most of it really," Ron pointed out, "Harry just set the ball rolling."

"Really, it call comes down to a simple statement," Harry agreed, with a firm nod of his head, "It's all Tracey's fault."

"Agreed," Ron said with a nod.

'Mr. Padfoot wonders just who this Tracey is.'

'Mr. Prongs feels a great disturbance-- as if-- Well, as if somewhere, Snivellus was getting a great headache without even knowing why.'

"She's a Slytherin," Harry stated simply, "She-- well, she overheard Ron shouting about his new love for potions and things kind of-- well, snowballed."

"Wait," Ron said with a frown, "Doesn't that mean--?"

Harry paused a moment, as he looked at his best friend then took on a look of great consideration, "Hmm, technically, yes, it's all your fault."

"Wait, I wouldn't have done it if you hadn't gotten me interested in them!" Ron declared firmly.

"And I wouldn't--" Harry started to say, before both their eyes lit up and they pointed simultaneously at the map.

"It's your fault!"

'Mr. Padfoot thinks they're onto them. Quick! Activate the Oblivate enchantment.'

'Mr. Moony wonders-- What Oblivate enchantment.'

'Mr. Wormtail has no clue.'

'Mr. Prongs may have already used it up.'

'Mr. Padfoot pouts at Mr. Prongs, he didn't get to use it even once!'

"-- Would you seriously give him control of an Oblivate feature?" Harry asked the map incredulously.

'Mr. Prongs wouldn't, but never told Mr. Padfoot that.'

'Mr. Padfoot is aghast that Mr. Prongs wouldn't trust him!'

'Mr. Wormtail is more worried that he has no such memory of a feature like that at all.'

'Mr. Moony has a bad feeling about this.'

'Mr. Prongs thinks they should all stop worrying so much.'


'Mr. Prongs would ask that Harry and Ron not repeat what they saw, would prefer to not keep using that on them.'

Harry stared at the map, "You can just-- do that?"

'Mr. Prongs only can do it to them. A safety feature since he could no longer stupefy them when they got too carried away.'

"-- Harry? Your Da is scary," Ron noted worriedly.

"Just a bit," Harry agreed.

"It explains where you get it from," Ron continued.

"I kn--- Hey!" Harry turned towards Ron and glared.

"What? You know it's true!"

'Mr. Prongs would speculate that he gets it from both sides, as he recalls Lils being positively-- well, there was a reason that the others thought he was barmy for going out with her.'

"Only proves the point," Ron argued.

Harry was about to open his mouth to protest, before sighing and slumping his shoulders, "Can't I just be normal?"

'Mr. Prongs imagines that might be a bit difficult.'

"No," Ron stated simply, "Just not who you are."

"Thanks," Harry said sarcastically as he lightly glared at Ron.

"What? It's the truth," Ron stated defensively, "You think a normal bloke would've gone after the stone first year? Or, gone into the Forbidden Forest to talk to-- to a g-giant, sp-spider?"

Ron shivered slightly at the memory as he reflexively glanced about to make sure there weren't any acromantulas that decided to just show up.

"You went with me, both times," Harry responded flatly, "So what does that make you?"

"Um," Ron paused at that, as he flushed lightly, before hesitantly asking, "A good friend?"

"Right," Harry stated as he gave his friend a flat look.

'Mr. Padfoot wonders what just happened and why he does not recall the last few minutes.'

'Mr. Moony is wondering the same.'

'Mr. Wormtail thinks this is somehow familiar.'

'Mr. Prongs is confused.'

Harry stared at the map for a moment, then palmed his face, "I don't think I even want to think about this."

"Boys?" Arthur's voice broke in to their portion of the tent, "Madam Bones is here to talk to you both?"

"Coming Mr. Weasley!" Harry said quickly as he tapped the map with his wand, "Mischief Managed."

'Mr. Padfoot want to kno--..'

"That thing keeps getting weirder and weirder," Ron noted with a shake of his head.

"You know they can probably still hear us, right?" Harry reminded him.

Ron froze a moment, glancing at the map before wincing a bit and nodding his head, "Right."

Together they turned and walked out of the room.


The meeting with Madame Bones had turned out to be a bit more involved than they were previously expecting.

"-- They did what?" Madame Bones repeated as she stared back at Harry and Ron.

"Um, well, everyone was--" Harry said helplessly.

"And the snake was going to bite Justin," Ron said quickly.

"So I told it to stop," Harry agreed, "I didn't even summon it!"

"That was all completely Malfoy," Ron agreed, "And Harry didn't even start hissing at it until it was practically on top of Justin."

"But, with the whole Heir thing--" Harry shifted uncomfortably, "Every just, well-- I'm a parselmouth, so--"

"They blamed Harry," Ron finished.

"It was--" Harry started to say.

"They all blamed you," Ron repeated flatly, "After you tried to protect him."

"Including Susan," Madame Bones repeated as she gave the boys a look.

They shrank back, but still nodded their heads. It had been innocent enough. Until Harry had made a passing comment about another repeat of Second year. This had gotten Amelia's attention, and she had pounced on it, all the way to the role her niece played in it.

She would be having words with the girl. Most stressed words. Especially about jumping to conclusions and listening to rumors instead of thinking calmly and using her bloody head.

At home and in her room, Susan Bones felt a cold chill run down her spine.

"I-- believe I will be needing to have words with my niece," Amelia noted blandly before sighing softly, "I don't suppose you know who was actually behind the monster that caused the attacks that year?"

"Voldemort and Lucius Malfoy," Harry stated confidently without skipping a beat.

"Malfoy, I can easily see, but exactly how does a dead man manage that?" Amelia asked as she arched a brow.

"He's not dead," Harry stated flatly, "I've seen him, twice. He was possessing our Defense teacher Quirrell our first year."

Amelia's face twisted into a blanch of surprise, "I-- Dumbledore always hinted that he never believed the man was truly gone, but-- a wraith? What did he do in your second year?"

"There was a diary," Harry started, glancing over at Ron for a moment, before looking back at the woman, not quite meeting her eyes, "Voldemort's diary. If you wrote in it, it wrote back. If you kept telling it your secrets and pouring yourself into it, it could possess you. It possessed one of the students and well--"

Amelia pinched her nose lightly and sighed, "And I assume that it was Lucius Malfoy who placed the diary in the student's possession?"

Harry nodded his head.

"Did you see him do it? Hear him admit to it?" Amelia pressed.

He opened his mouth, then his shoulders slumped, "-- No, ma'am. I figured it out, and I could tell I was right when I mentioned it in front of him, but he didn't actually admit it."

"-- That is sadly the case with Mr. Malfoy," Amelia Bones agreed with a grimace, before her smile took a fairly feral quality, "A quality that his son does not seem to share, thankfully."

Ron and Harry both perked up at this, only to have the woman shake her head and school her features, "I apologize, this is something I can't actually go into. We will leave it at the fact that Mr. Malfoy had to burn a lot of his political capital to rescue his son from his-- actions."

Ron and Harry shared a look and frowned in unison and unspoken communication, before they sighed softly and looked back at her, before Harry spoke, "But, he still got away with whatever he did?"

"It cost his father most of his favors and a sizable chunk of money," she answered back, "So I imagine that he got a warning not to be as-- free with his father's name this coming year, and to be careful to behave more-- intelligently."

Ron snorted at that as Harry shook his head, "That'll be the day."

"How exactly did this diary cause all the problems?" she asked, changing the subject at the rather jaded expressions on the two boys' faces.

Shifting uncomfortably, Harry looked away before answering, "-- Slytherin's basilisk."

He earned a stare at his words as she almost lost her monocle at his simplistic answer, "What?"

"There was a basilisk," he said simply, "In the Chamber of Secrets."

"Its entrance is in a girl's bathroom," Ron supplied helpfully.

"--" She stared at the two, unable to find the words to properly respond.

Sighing, Harry slumped a bit, "-- I suppose you want those memories too?"


Cornelius Fudge shifted his hat atop his head for a moment, before seemingly coming to a decision and quickly doffing it and pulling it under his arm as he approached Amelia Bones' secretary.

"I'm here to see Amelia about important Ministry business," Fudge stated, his chin lifted up in an attempt at a rather imperious air.

The secretary was less than impressed and arched a brow as she politely asked, "If I might tell her what it's about?"

"The whole Harry Potter thingies she was looking into," Fudge stated with a wave of his hand, "She should be expecting me."

"Of course, Minister," the secretary stated simply as she tapped a mirror on her desk with her wand, "Madam Bones? The Minister is here to see you about 'the whole Harry Potter thingies you were looking into.'"

"-- Send him in," Amelia's voice answered reluctantly.

Standing up, she walked over and opened the door for him, "She'll see you now, Minister."

"Capital, just capital," Fudge said delightedly as he quickly strode into the office, barely having made it past the arch of the door's swing before it was shut, swiftly behind him, "Amelia!"

"Minister," Amelia responded with an inclination of her head, "Was there something particular you wished to discuss."

"I wanted to stop by and see how that whole silly Sirius Black is innocent matter was going," Fudge smiled back at her, "I wanted to be able to assure everyone that there was the boys were merely confounded and nothing remiss occurred."

"Then I'm afraid you came all this way for nothing, Minister," Amelia responded simply as she gave him a look and then returned her attention to the parchment in front of her.

"-- What?" Fudge was blinking, owlishly back at her, staring in disbelief.

"Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were not confounded. The kiss on sight order on Black has been rescinded and an arrest warrant for Peter Pettigrew will be issued shortly," she stated simply as she signed a piece of parchment almost with a flourish, "With the evidence we have, any and all charges against Black will likely be dismissed."

"But, but, but--! I can't be the Minister that let Sirius Black go free!" Fudge almost whimpered the words out before straightening his back, "No! The kiss on sight order stands!"

"Fudge," she stated flatly as she looked up, "That would be a very, very poor choice of actions."

There was something about her tone that made him freeze as he looked back at her, a nervous trickle of sweat starting to fall down his neck, "What--?"

"That would mean that I will no longer be able to overlook your previous actions, and you will be arrested for the attempted assassination of the head of an ancient and noble house. You will then be convicted and you will be sent off to Azakaban as the Minister who thought it would be a good idea to have an innocent man murdered to try and cover up someone else's incompetence."

"Someone else's incompetence?" he asked hopefully as he looked positively green at the declaration she'd made."

"Bartemius Crouch," she stated flatly, "And if she weren't already dead, Bagnold."

"Oh," Fudge immediately brightened at this and slowly nodded his head, "So, we'd be-- undoing a wrong?"

"Yes," Amelia stated simply, before looking at him with a set of narrowed eyes, "I would, however, advise you to avoid those discreet donations from Lucius Malfoy in the future."

"Now, really Amelia, I never--" he started to protest.

"Fudge, I have evidence of you ordering the death of the head of an ancient and noble house. I have evidence of you knowingly sending an innocent man to Azakaban just so you could be seen as to be doing something. I have evidence of you taking the word of a known enemy of House Potter and a known Death Eater over the word of Harry Potter."

The statements were allowed a moment to sink in as she gave him a cold, hard look, "Do you wish for me to see them to their full conclusions?"

Fudge's entire face fell as he stared at the woman in front of him, "Now, really Amelia I'm sure--"

"Cornelius," she stated simply and gave him a look, "I am holding off on these charges because I believe you have merely been-- misguided. This is, a chance to redeem yourself. I would prefer you take it."

"Yes, of course," he agreed with a great deal of visible reluctance.

"I'm glad, I trust that will be all for now?"

"I-- yes, quite," he agreed then turned and walked back out of the office in a much more subdued manner than he had entered it.


Ron was boggling as he looked around the posh and elegant hotel Tracey had managed to "book" for them to use for their conference. It looked like nothing he'd ever seen before. Like nothing he'd ever really imagined.

This was what muggles could do?

"Harry, are all-- ya know, hotels like this?" Ron asked nervously of his friend.

"No," Harry admitted.

"Oh," Ron sounded just a bit disappointed before nodding, "So then, this is--?"

"This is one of the more expensive ones," Harry guessed as he looked around and saw the way that some people were giving him less than impressed looks at his worn clothes, "-- Yeah, one of the more expensive ones."

"Ron, Harry! There you are!" Tracey's familiar voice cut in, as she appeared in a stylish dress and shoes.

"Tracey," the pair of them responded almost in unison.

She took one look at them both, and frowned slightly at Harry, "You know, those clothes aren't very appropriate, don't you have--?"

"Any better clothes I have are wizarding," Harry stated flatly.

"Didn't you grow up in the muggle world?" she asked, visibly confused now.


"But--" Tracey was visibly shocked.

"My relatives don't like me. At all," Harry stated flatly, "These are the best they'll give me."

"Then buy your own," Tracey stated, "You're a Potter, you're rich!"

"Don't ever get the chance to," Harry stated simply, "And if I did, they'd ruin them."

"-- We are going shopping right now," Tracey stated with an air of finality, "Both of you are coming."

Ron blanched, "But, I--"

"This is not about some stubborn pride, Weasley, this is about properly representing ourselves. Your appearance reflects on myself, Hogwarts and the British Ministry of Magic," she declared pointedly, "Now come on, we don't have time to dawdle."

A bewildered Harry and Ron were returned with the girl a sliver less than an hour later. Harry wore pair of black slacks, with matching coat, and a silk, emerald green shirt with a matching black tie. Ron, wore the same, only with a red shirt and gold tie.

"The rest will be delivered to your rooms later, I expect you to remember to wear them!" Tracey stated firmly, "Now come along, we've already lost time getting you two ready."

"Harry?" Ron asked, slightly bewildered.

"Yes, Ron?" Harry responded, rather distantly.

"How did that just happen?"

"I was hoping you knew," Harry admitted before shifting slightly, "They do feel nice though."

"I guess," Ron admitted as he lightly tugged at the tie, "Just-- not used to it, you know?"

"Are you trying to keep everyone waiting?" Tracey asked impatiently from over at the elevator, glaring at the two.

The two looked at each other, and then sighed, shoulders slumping just a bit as they walked over.


"Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, Ms. Davis," Professor Filius Flitwick stated with a pleased nod of his head, "I take it that I have you to thank for this delightful little idea?"

"And we of course recommended you for it," Tracey stated quickly.

"Bloody right," Ron said with a sour mutter, "Fudge wanted it to be Snape."

"As we are not in Hogwarts, I won't remind you of your language, Mr. Weasley," Flitwick stated with a smile, his eyes twinkling, "No matter how true it might just happen to be."

"No offense to my head of house--" Tracey started, "However--"

"Severus is not the most well-tempered or diplomatic of people," Flitwick agreed with a chuckle, "So, do we already have suggestions for how to proceed?"

"Well, I know Ron and Harry had already started a potions event," Tracey stated simply, "Beyond that--"

"We need to know what was already planned really," Harry pointed out, "We didn't really want to get too involved until we had that information."

"Well, thankfully that is included in the contracts that we have for everyone to sign, so that none of you will be eligible to compete. Nor will you be able to give aid to the competitors," Flitwick stated, "But, let's get ready to meet the others, shall we?"

Nodding the three students entered into the conference room. Ron and Harry mainly milled around, chatting with Flitwick. Tracey, however, busied herself about, making sure every little thing was perfect as she seemed to be filled with an almost nervous energy.

The first to arrive turned out to be the Durmstrang delegation, headed by a short, plump man with a dour, red face who happened to be the school's transfiguration teacher, Ivaylo Chavdarov. He was accompanied by two wizards and a witch.

One of the wizards was tall, blond and fairly good looking with a lean frame and dark eyes, a Kostadin Tsvetkov. The other was slightly portly, with a bemused hazel gaze and light brown hair, who introduced himself as Yasen Hajiev. Their female companion, Yuliana Martinov, had a sharp, hawk-like nose and a pair of piercing grey eyes and dark hair.

It was a good ten minutes later that the Beauxbattons decided that it was fashionably late enough for them to arrive. They were led by a pretty strawberry blonde woman with almost golden eyes who was the school potions mistress, Elodie Armistead. Accompanying her were two girls and a boy.

The first of the girls, Suzanne Bonhomme was blonde, a honey color that was lightly curled neatly down past her shoulders as she regarded them with guarded, aloof green eyes. The other, Caroline Chevalier, wore a more guarded expression, with a darker, almost mocha colored skin and almost black eyes and matching hair. The boy, Georges Lefebvre, by contrast was bright, a sandy brown hair atop dancing hazel eyes with his lips quirked as if ready to pull into a grin at a moment's notice.

"Welcome," Flitwick stated with a smile, "I am Filius Flitwick, Hogwart's resident charms master and Head of the Ravenclaw house. Before we proceed, I have the contracts for us to sign, barring us all from discussing the Triwizard tournament events with anyone else and exempting the students from the selection."

There was a slight frown on some of the foreign student's faces at the mention, but still everyone had in short order, signed their contract and returned it to Flitwick.

"Marvelous!" Flitwick stated with a clap of his hands before looking around, "Very well, to begin with, I'll start by outlining the three tasks already prepared. First, they intend to have the contestants show bravery by attempting to retrieve a golden egg set in the nest of a dragon."

Harry's and Ron's eyes, along with those of the other students all widened, while the teachers maintained a look of calm control.

Reflexively Ron asked, "What kind?"

"Hmm, asking because of your brother Charlie's specialty?" Filius nodded his head in agreement, "We have a Welsh Green, Swedish Shortsnout, a Chinese Fireball and a Hungarian Horntail."

"Why 4 if there will only be 3 competitors?" Harry asked curiously.

"To keep a level of uncertainty, I would think," Professor Chavdarov noted with a shrug of his shoulders, "The second task?"

"The competitors will be tasked to retrieve something they care about from the bottom of the black lake, the what they're still being hush-hush about," Flitwick continued, "They will have an hour to find, retrieve and return with the object."

"-- They're gonna freeze their bits off if they don't wait for the Lake to warm up enough," Ron noted with a wince.

"And finally, there will be a hedge maze the competitors will have to navigate in order to reach the trophy, which will determine the winner," Fillius continued, before giving Harry, Ron and Tracey a meaningful look, "A maze stocked with creatures supplied by our own Care of Magical Creatures teacher, Rubeus Hagrid."

When the three students went pale, Professor Armistead arched a brow up and spoke with only a slight French accent, "And what, pray tell is so shocking about zis?"

"-- Hagrid's a great bloke, you couldn't ask for anyone more knowledgeable about creatures," Ron started first before giving Harry a meaningful look.

"He has an-- affinity for dangerous creatures," Harry said delicately.

"If you want a list of creatures he thinks are cute and cuddly, just look at anything rated XXXXX," Ron stated as he visibly shuddered, "The spiders-- sweet Merlin, the spiders."

"What, the little Engleesh wizard is afraid of a little bug?" Kostadin asked, only to blink at the pair of hard glares directed against them.

"Try a small colony of acromantulas," Harry stated flatly, "Spiders the size of cart horses and one as big as a small elephant."

"Hagrid has a way with more temperamental beasts," Flitwick stated diplomatically, "Now with that being said, I understand that the representatives of Hogwarts already have an event proposal?"

Nodding quickly, Ron glanced around nervously, before pulling out a group of folders and carefully passed them out to the various individuals around them, "Well, the idea we had was a potion event to test their knowledge of potion ingredients and techniques. They each be given a matching uniform which, with their wands, would be all they could take with them into and out of the labs.

"Each of the labs, well, they'd have to be identical, of course. We were thinking that we'd want them to be over a period of time, a month or two maybe? During which, they'd each have to brew 3 separate potions," Ron shifted slightly, glancing nervously about the group, "All the same ingredients, all the same amounts, all the same quality, Then they'd be judged on the quality and creativity of the results."

Professor Armistead looked over the proposed ingredients and stared at them hard for a long moment. Ron could feel the scrutiny she was subjecting his proposal to and shifted nervously, tugging lightly at his tie, "They're, well, they're of course open to change. And I--"

"Mr. Weasley, was it?" Armistead asked as she glanced up for the proposal and looked at him, "Why was it you choose these particular ingredients?"

"Well, their mutability and reactions with each other," Ron stated as he nervously played with the edges of his own folder, "I think I came up with over 200 possible variations. You see, it's a bit of a game I came up with, over the summer. See how many possible potions I could come up with based on a set group of ingredients."

Armistead stared blankly at him for a moment, then looked at the list again as she seemed to mentally sort through the lists.

"And, they're all pretty common, so it wouldn't really add much cost," Ron flushed again as he glanced over at Harry and Tracey for a moment, before looking back at the others, "It's all about creativity and skill."

"I will say this, Mr. Weasley," Armistead spoke up, looking at Ron critically, "This is a rather impressive idea for a mere school boy. Who helped you with this?"

"Well, Harry helped me a bit, some of the possibilities for the potions were his ideas, but most of it was inspired by Clock and Counter and the companion book on ingredients," Ron stated simply, "I-- It just kinda-- clicked?"

"Oh, really?" she arched a brow challengingly at him, "And what potion would I get if I added crushed pixie wings to unheated acromantula venom, stirred four times counterclockwise, then brought it to a simmer before adding powdered ashwinder eggshells every half clock turn for six total turns, then boiled for 2 minutes, stirring four times, one counter, two clock, one counter again then allowed to cool for the next 10 minutes?"

Ron mentally added up each step as she stated it, before finally blushed brilliantly when she finished, "Um-- do I really have to answer that question?"

Armistead blinked slightly and then arched a brow, "Yes, Mr. Weasley, you do."

"Fine," Ron grumbled a bit, "It would turn your hair into a bright pink flame that would sparkle."

At first Armistead opened her mouth to correct him, then seemed to think for a moment. Finally, nodding her head, she admitted, "I had forgotten about the sparkle, though, in my defense, I haven't used it on someone since I was a young girl at Beauxbatons."

"-- Ron, think you could get the colors changed to red and gold?" Harry asked Ron as his eyes suddenly started sparkling,

"Hmm? Well, you'd need a separator, I'd probably use dried and ground boom berries after I altered the potion to red to lock in the color, then add in some octopus powder to strengthen it enough to add the gold color," Ron stated back as he pulled out his own journal and wrote down the steps thoughtfully then showed them to Harry, "It'd kill the sparkles though."

Harry nodded his head, before showing Ron a charm in his own journal. Ron looked back at Harry, visibly about to respond, before Tracey coughed, loudly, "Boys? Save it for after the meeting, please?"

Blushing slightly, both of them bowed their heads with a nod, as Ron cleared his throat, "Sorry, Professor. Were there any suggestions or objections for the event."

"I would suggest 3 months, with an allotment of 1 hour every day except for one, which would have a 4 hour allotment," Armistead stated with a calculating look on her face as she regarded Ron, before looking towards Chavdarov, "Thoughts, Ivaylo?"

"-- It would work," the man agreed with a curt nod of his head, "We would have to come up with an appropriate scoring system, but that will be more up to the judges. With the event, however, we should also have matching ones for Charms and Transfiguration."

"I had some thoughts Transfiguration," Harry stated as he pulled out a single folder and pushed it towards the Durmstrang professor, "It's not a full proposal like Ron's though, just an outline."

With a brow arched up, Chavdarov took the folder and began to glance over it, before thoughtfully nodding his head, "An obstacle course, where they must use transfiguration to cross?"

"Yes, sir," Harry agreed with a nod, "Different types of terrain and obstacles to pass, with them being limited on what spells they can cast to just transfiguration."

"It shows promise," the professor agreed, before glancing at his students, "I believe that we can have a proposal for this by tomorrow's meeting."

When they quickly nodded he turned back and glanced towards the three Hogwarts students, "Do you have any other suggestions?"

"I think that's as far as we got with the time we had, we spent most of it getting the potions idea together," Harry answered before glancing at Tracey, "Unless you have--?"

"I've been too busy setting all this up," Tracey admitted with a slight inclination of her head before looking back at the foreign students, "So, let's open up the discussion for ideas, shall we?"


The end result of the meetings involved another two events beyond the original two ideas, rounding it out to a nice seven that was easily agreed to being a much more interesting outcome.

In addition, they had set up the entertainment to keep the excitement up throughout the year. Each of the schools would field their various quidditch teams against each of the other teams for a house championship. Once that was done, the schools would then begin the competition school teams would be selected for the school cup.

It would seem that Ron wasn't the only quidditch fanatic in the group, and the idea of a whole year of no quidditch sparked more than a few feelings of rebellion.

By the time it was finished however, Harry and Ron had found themselves confronted by all three professors between them and any possibility of escape.

"Now, Ron, Harry," Armistead started with a pleasant smile, "We've noticed the two of you have been quite-- consistent with your writings. Specifically when spellwork and potions combinations and creations were concerned."

"Which, leads us rather curious," Chavdarov agreed with a nod of his head.

"Just what happens to be in those journals, my boys?" Flitwick finished, his eyes twinkling.

Glancing at one another, the pair of them smiled nervously back at Flitwick, before Harry spoke, "Um, Sorry, sirs, ma'am, we'd-- ah, respectfully decline to share?"

"Hmmm," Flitwick tapped his chin thoughtfully, "Now, that makes me wonder, are you perchance considering pursuing your father's and his friends' interests, Harry?"

"Um, I'm not sure I follow?" Harry couldn't look at the man, shifting nervously as he kept looking everywhere else.

"You really will have to work on being more convincing if you're going to be a proper prankster, Mr. Potter," Flitwick stated with a bemused smile, "Their interest put them on an unique fast track in magical development. One rivaled only by your mother's I'd think."

Harry went pink to the tips of his ears and then glanced at Ron, who shrugged helplessly.

"And, Mr. Weasley here has a most astute interpretation of potions," Armistead agreed with a nod and a smile.

"As there is no school in session, we are less instructors in this and more-- Mentors," Chavdarov, "Yes, that works. Mentors. As such, we simply wish to see what you've been working on so that we might offer-- advice."

"I would, sir," Harry agreed a bit, before glancing at Flitwick, "But, I've been advised by other sources that it would be best to not implicate ourselves preemptively."

"I assure you, Mr. Potter, nothing I learn from you in the role of mentor shall be used in my role as a Hogwarts Instructor," Flitwick assured them, "Nor, I'm sure, will my colleagues."

"Of course," Armistead, "And since myself and Ivaylo will not be a part of the Hogwarts staff--"

Quickly catching on, Chavdarov nodded his head in a light smirk, "Yes, we will have no-- responsibilities in the disciplining of Hogwarts students."

"Um--" Harry glanced over at Ron questioningly.

"Well--" Ron hedged as he looked back at Harry himself.

"Hmm," Armistead frowned slightly, "I think they need a bit of extra convincing. Perhaps-- Filius, would it be possible for us to set up an-- independent class room?"

"Oooh! A marvelous idea!" Flitwick agreed with a nod of his head, "We could hold inter-school workshops to allow the students to experience some of the insights of instructors from the other schools!"

"And we would of course need teaching assistants helping us," Chavdarov stated as he grinned victoriously back at Harry and Ron.

Ron looked back at Harry for a moment, staring at him before speaking. "-- We just got volunteered for even more work, didn't we?"

"Yes, I think we did," Harry agreed with a nod of his own head and a frown.

"Ah, but my boys, think of all the wonderful things you'll learn!" Fillius stated innocently, "The passes for the restricted section, and the ability to be out after curfew! Why, other than the prefects you'd almost have the run of the castle!"

The two boys stared at him for a moment, before looking at one another then back at the cheerfully beaming professor that suddenly looked a great deal like his goblin ancestors.

"He's swindling us, isn't he," Ron couldn't help but note rhetorically.

"Don't you trust your professors?" Armistead asked with a sweet smile.

"They're all in on it," Harry agreed with a nod. "-- And we're going to accept, aren't we."

"Do we have a choice?" Ron asked.

"I'm pretty sure they'll keep it up until we give in." Harry responded with slumped shoulders.


Posted: 5:34 PM - Mar 09, 2016


Albus Dumbledore had to admit, he was rather impressed by the new proposals for the duration of the Tri-wizard tournament. They'd have to find a new location for the final event of course, which Crouch was already grumbling about. Otherwise though, it took things to a level he'd never dared hope for.

Inter-school quidditch. Specialized workshops. And some events that expanded wonderfully upon the existing events.

The potions one alone had been a stroke of brilliance that had made even Severus nod in approval. He had even been looking forward to having a long discussion with the French Potions mistress who had no doubt submitted the proposal. A wonderful start for the event.

And Harry had managed to get himself completely exempted from the tournament by being involved in its creation. By having "insider" information, the goblet of fire would be unable to even consider Harry's name in the process. With the additional recognition the boy would be getting for something of his own doing instead of the scar on his forehead, it was looking to be a win all around.

Yes, this next year was looking to be a most enjoyable one.

But why did he have a feeling that he was missing something dreadfully important?


It was not often that one would find one of the Weasley twins could be seen in a look of thoughtful introspection. This, sadly, was not one of them. With what could appropriately be called a mad grin, Fred scribbled into his notes, looking from one of the books he'd borrowed from Bill to his own journal.

"Oh, yes, yes, yes! The mischief! Think of it brother! The pranks, the mischief, the Chaos!"

George just looked back at his brother flatly.

"-- Too much?"

"Brother, there such thing as taking things to a level beyond entertaining." George stated simply. "Now, if you would please tell me what you found?"

"Right, well, Harrykins was right." Fred stated simply as he flipped through the book, "This is a veritable gold mine. This will let us take things to a whole new level."

"And how much do we owe Bill for borrowing it?" George asked curiously.

"Two portable swamps and three sets of fireworks," Fred said in return as he continued to flip through the book.

"Which need I remind you, is a lot of our funds." George stated

"Totally worth it," Fred responded with a dismissive wave of his hand as he found another section that absorbed his interest. "Beyond a doubt, totally worth it."

"You do recall we only get to keep it until we return to school, yes?" George stated, and then calmly plucked it out of Fred's hands.

"Oi! I was reading that!" Fred protested.

"And, now it's my turn. Since you thought it was obviously worth the price, you can get started getting to work on fulfilling our dear brother's order." George stated simply.

Fred stared at George for a moment, before grumbling slightly and getting to work on the items.

"I do say, we'll have to do something extra special for Harry-kins for this idea." George spoke up, causing Fred to perk.

"Trap him in the showers with the foxes?" Fred suggested.

"I'll mark it down as a maybe." George agreed with a smirk. "Though, I'm not sure the girls would appreciate our initiative."

"Hm." Fred tapped his chin thoughtfully. "We could turn the back of Snape's robes into a Gryffindor quidditch uniform?"

"This is for Harry, not us." George reminded him. "So, I'll put that down as a prank to be."

"True, I suppose." Fred admitted. "Hrm. We could--"

"Fred. Remember how shy Harry-kins is." George stated as he flipped to the next page.

"I know that!" Fred contested hotly.

"And I'm sure the next words you were going to say weren't 'trap him in a classroom with the pretty birds in his year and clothes dissolving potion.'" George said without looking up.

"They weren't actually. I was thinking Nymph's Breath." Fred stated simply, sniffing lightly as he mentioned the aphrodisiac.

"We'll find something else to do for Harry." George stated firmly.

"Bah I say, bah!"

"We want to help him, not make him melt into a pile of shame." George reminded him.

"Why does Harry-kins have to be so difficult to shop for?" Fred asked with a pout.

"Because he's ickle Harry-kins. He wouldn't be Harry if he wasn't difficult." George stated simply. "Besides, Marauders, Fred. Eyes on the prize. Marauders."

"Fine." Fred stated with a grumble. "But I'm still going to give someone a pranking!"

"That's what we have Malfoys for, Fred," George stated condescendingly. "That's what we have Malfoys for."


"How did it go, boys?" Arthur asked before blinking at the clothes they were both wearing, and the suitcases they were carrying with them. "Where did you get those clothes?"

The boys looked at one another, before answering in unison. "Tracey."

"Ah." Arthur stated with a nod and a frown. "You know how your mum will be about gifts like that, Ron."

"They weren't exactly a gift," Ron stated as his face reddened. "It was ministry money. We're representing the Ministry, and working for them. Only fair, Tracey argued we got paid for it, so the clothing came out of that."

"Ah." Arthur said again as he mulled over the statement in his mind. "I suppose that can work. Hopefully your mother won't put too much of an issue on it. Did you thank her for reminding the Minister that work is to be paid for?"

"Yeah, and hopefully not," Harry said quickly. "She got us dress robes too. Since we're going to be representing the Ministry for the Yule Ball as well."

"You're making going to put me in a difficult position." Arthur noted, though, not unkindly.

"Sorry, Da." Ron said, his face still red.

"It's fine, Ron. I know you were forced into it." Arthur said gently, before giving him a firm look. "But I expect you to not expect it or take charity unless you have to. We might not have much, but what we have we have earned."

"Yes, Da." Ron said again with a nod.

"Good." Arthur stated before suddenly smiling eagerly. "Now. Tell me about this muggle hotel!"

"Well--" Ron glanced quickly towards Harry for support only to find his friend just smiling innocently back at him and giving him a look to tell his father himself. "It was like this--"


When September First finally arrived, the occupants of Platform 9 & ¾ felt a sudden and bone deep shiver of icy anticipation running down their spines as they were treated not only to the eager and gleeful faces of the Weasley Twins, but to a similar look on the faces of Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. Most of their returning classmates had taken one look at their faces and felt resigned to a very, very long year. The new class of firsties were simply confused at why all the older students suddenly seemed so very resigned.

Upon entering the train, the twins has immediately excused themselves to find Lee Jordan and the rest of their remaining quidditch team. Harry and Ron had merely waved them off, then found a nice unoccupied compartment to settle into. Just after they had both stowed their trunks and broken out a book each, they were greeted by the door being slid back to reveal a female form.

"Boys." Tracey noted as she entered the cabinet carrying her trunk, before offering an innocent look of exaggerated helplessness. "Could you help me stow this?"

Ron and Harry exchanged looks before snorting firmly.

"Fine, will you two berks please put this away already?" She responded with a roll of her eyes, one hand on her hip.

"We learned the levitating charm first year, Tracey," Ron stated, "The train counts as Hogwarts. We can cast magic on it."

"Not a gentlemanly bone in your bodies." Tracey huffed but none-the-less cast the aforementioned spell and sent the trunk up next to theirs as she took the seat next to Ron.

"Tracey, we spent enough time around you this summer to know you're not helpless. Nor do you like to be treated as such." Harry said as he settled down and flipped open his book. "You just love trying to trick us into doing as much for you as you can."

"I prefer to think of it as training you to not be so obliging." Tracey said with a sniff. "And I might point out its working."

Ron just snorted as he flipped through the potions book Armistead had insisted he borrow from her.

"So, what do you two normally do during these rides?" Tracey asked, changing the subject lightly.

"Talk, play exploding snap, watch Ron rush to try and complete his summer assignments with Hermione's help." Harry stated as he absently turned a page of his own book. "Deal with the Malfoy's customary declaration of his own superiority and our own inferiority."

Ron's face pinkened a bit as he tried to hide himself in his book as Tracey looked at him archly. "I trust that's not an issue this year?"

"Hey, I finished that stuff before the world cup even started." Ron protested with a huff.

"This year." Harry added with a small grin.

"That's all that counts." Ron stated stubbornly.

"Sure, Ron, whatever you say." Tracey stated, her lips pulled back into a slightly bemused grin.

"Oh, shush." Ron stated flatly as he pushed his nose into the potions book. "At least we'll get a month and a half where we only have Flitwick on us."

"I swear, I fail to understand what the two of you are groaning on about." Tracey stated with a shake of her head. "Do you know how much of an honor it is you're receiving?"

"Yes." Ron stated simply as he frowned at a particular passage, and then opened up his journal and made a note in it. "We just wanted to spend this year playing a bunch of pranks."

"Still it is kind of nice." Harry noted as he read through his own book.

Tracey rolled her eyes as she sighed. "You're both going to make me pull out a book and do some horrible manner of studying, aren't you?"

"Well, if you wanted something else, you could've gone to another compartment?" Ron suggested as he looked up from the book for a moment and gave her a look.

"Please, you're not going to be the only ones paid a visit by Malfoy. He no doubt plans to try and intimidate me into try and help him do something against you or to give up my plans with the two of you." Tracey stated simply and shook her head. "This is the safest place for me to be anyway."

"I knew she had some kind of plan involving us." Ron stated with only a slight glower.

"Please, I learned my lesson already. My plans are simple." Tracey said imperiously. "Let Harry cause whatever manner of chaos he's going to cause, and figure out how to take advantage of the opportunities it leaves us, since Merlin knows you two won't."

"Ah." Harry frowned a bit. "I don't cause that much chaos."

"Of course you don't, Harry." Tracey stated sarcastically. "How is the investigation into what happened last year going again?"

Harry pinkened a bit. "I don't know? I'm kind of being kept in the dark here."

"Great." Tracey sighed and flopped back. "So much for that bit of potential gossip."

"So sorry to disappoint." Harry said with a sarcastic drawl before shaking his head. "I wonder about you, Tracey, I really do."

"What's there to wonder about?" Tracey asked with a shrug. "I'm ambitious. I want power and money, no necessarily in that order. The entertainment value only makes it that much better."

Harry sighed and gave Tracey a look. The girl squirmed uncomfortably underneath it before quickly holding up her hands. "Ok, ok! You two make things interesting! Profiting from it is a really, really nice side benefit."

"That's probably going to be the best you're going to get out of her." Ron noted, looking up from his book and glancing at Harry. "What with her being a slimy snake and what not."

"Oh, bugger yourself, Weasley." Tracey stated with a huff as she crossed her arms about her chest.

"Slimy snake with a mouth like a lion." Harry corrected with a faint grin, causing Tracey's glare to shift onto him.

"And bugger you too, Potter." She stated with a huff as she sunk her head down pouted at him sulkily.

Harry and Ron just grinned back at her, before the boys resumed looking over their books and Tracey sighed again and pulled out a journal of her own. "I swear, the two of you are a horrible influence on me. Abyssmal even. Barely the first day of school and I'm already doing work."

It was then that the door to the compartment opened and Hermione made her appearance. "There you two are, I've been--"

She trailed off as she saw Tracey sitting in the compartment and her face twisted into an outraged grimace.

"Hello to you, Granger." Tracey said, her voice schooled to neutrality as Ron and Harry both gave her looks. "Is there something our committee can help you with?"

That, however apparently wasn't what Hermione was expecting as she stared at Tracey. ".. Committee? But-- Committee?"

"Yes, we're the student representatives of Hogwarts for the purpose of promoting interschool relations and enhancing the upcoming experience for this year." Tracey agreed still being polite.

"What experience this year? What're you talking about?" Hermione asked in confusion. "What interschool relations?"

"Unfortunately, the British Ministry has decided that the revealing of the experience and how that would affect inter school relations is best left to the Headmaster. I imagine he'll be talking about it during the opening feast." Tracey answered, still completely polite. "Were there any other questions or concerns you wanted to bring to our attention?"

Ron looked at Tracey, then at her Hermione and then covered his mouth as he looked out the window, struggling to keep himself quiet. Harry buried his face in his journal and didn't look up. Hermione didn't quite look like she knew what to say, before quickly composing herself.

"I.. Harry, Ron. Did you need me to review your assignments?" Hermione asked as she looked at the two boys, trying to get back on familiar ground.

"Um, you already did, Hermione." Ron stated as he looked up from his book. "Months ago, remember? We were done for most of the summer."

"I-- oh." Hermione stumbled a moment over that as she shifted awkwardly in the door, before looking towards the still silent Harry. "I-- ah-- Harry?"

Sighing behind his journal, Harry lowered it and looked back at her. "Yes, Hermione?"

"Is there anything you want to, ah, talk about?" She asked hopefully.

"No, not really." Harry said with a shake of his head. "Was there something you wanted to talk about, Hermione?"

Tracey just watched it in silence as she held her book up and only half pretended to be reading it.

"I-- Nothing?" Hermione asked again, staring back at him. "But--"

"I'm not apologizing for something I didn't do wrong, Hermione." Harry stated as he put his journal down and gave her a look. "I asked to be normal friends without having you try and dictate our study habits and our hobbies. You're the one who said no."

"I'm trying to keep you out of trouble!" Hermione protested.

"If the last three years haven't taught us anything else, it's that I'm always going to end up in trouble of some kind." Harry answered back. "None of it I ever really deserved. If I'm going to end up in trouble anyway, I'd like for at least some of it to be on my terms."

"But, but--!" Hermione bit her lower lip, staring back at Harry with tears starting to glisten in her eyes as she struggled with his words. "I-- What am I supposed to do then!?"

"-- Be a friend?" Ron asked as if it was obvious. "You know, hang out, talk, listen? Play games and stuff?"

Tracey, in a rare bout of control, kept her mouth shut and didn't say anything. She didn't particularly like the girl, but insulting her and sending her running off in tears wouldn't exactly endear her to Ron and Harry. So, she kept quiet.

"That's what I'm trying to do!" She declared firmly.

"--" Ron stared at her. "Wait, what part of what you're trying to do is what I just mentioned? Seriously, I bloody well listed it out!"

"Language!" Hermione stared reflexively.

Tracey was visibly struggling to keep her mouth shut as she looked imploringly at Harry and Ron.

Sighing, Harry rubbed his face. "Hermione? Can you be the kind of friend that Ron's talking about?"

"But-- I--" Hermione looked like she was struggling lost and uncertain.

"No schedules," Ron continued. "No hounding us to study. No freaking out and yelling at us for not doing everything your way. No--"

"But, but, but--.!" Hermione stared at him, eyes wild, her breath starting to come fast, heavy and erratic. "I-- you-- grades! Future! OWLs! NEWTs!"

Tracey snorted softly and shook her head as she focused on her journal. Unfortunately, it was enough to catch Hermione's attention. Immediately the bushy haired girl reoriented herself on Tracey.

"You! You did this!" Hermione declared as she pointed a finger accusingly at Tracey.

Tracey looked at the finger, then looked back at Hermione. Slowly, she turned her head and just arched a brow towards Harry. Harry in turn looked visibly impressed.

"Wow, you're actually keeping quiet about that?" Ron stated without really thinking. "Bloody hell, that's impressive."

That made Hermione turn her head and level a glare at Ron. "What is that supposed to mean?!"

"You're kind of making it really, really easy for Tracey to say something really snarky." Ron stated with a shrug, visibly impressed. "And she's being nice."

That was apparently the wrong thing to say as Hermione flushed a bright pink. "She is not nice! She's mean! She's nasty! She says horribly vile things!"

"I know." Ron said with a nod of his head. "Why do you think I said it was impressive?"

Hermione just stared. Harry snorted in amusement. Tracey tried and failed to look completely innocent.

"I mean, she's not a complete bi--" He paused in what he was going to say, remembering exactly who he was talking to. "Err-- well, she's not evil or anything. But, she's not going to just let someone tell her what to do."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Hermione demanded.

"-- May I? Pleeeeeeeeease?" Tracey finally asked in an overly sweet tone. "I won't even use any insulting words!"

Ron opened his mouth as if to say yes, only to have Harry discretely shake his head before speaking. "She said insulting words. Not that she wouldn't be insulting without them."

Tracey mimed snapping her fingers.

"You don't really--" Ron struggled for the right words to say, his hands grasping at nothing. "When we were-- It's like that time in Charms, with the levitation charm. I didn't ask you for help, and yes, I kept bollocksing it up, but I didn't ask for help. You just started telling me what I was doing wrong. I tried to ignore you, but you wouldn't take the hint."

Hermione's face was icily blank as Ron spoke, staring at him without a word.

Slowly swallowing, Ron none the less straightened up his back and continued. "I was already really frustrated, and getting angry, and you kept pushing and pushing and pushing. I could hear everyone snickering around me, because you were so loud everyone could knew how much I was screwing up. And then it was like I could just feel everyone's eyes on me and I just went and blew up like an idiot."

Ron shook his head at the memory. "And that just made things worse, because you then went and did it perfectly the first time, and made me look even dumber."

"You obviously needed help and I was trying to be nice!" Hermione stated in a blank, cool tone.

"You were trying to help." Ron agreed quickly with a nod, before slowly adding. "But-- did I ask for your help?"

"You obviously needed it." Hermioned stated stiffly.

Ron twitched and reflexively opened his mouth to retort, only to feel Tracey's elbow digging into his side as she gave him a look. For a moment, he glared sullenly back at her. Then, he took a slow deep breath and visibly calmed himself down.

"I asked if I asked you for help, Hermione." Ron stated in slow, careful words. "Not if I needed it."

She glared at him for a moment, refusing to answer him at first, before reluctantly admitting. "-- No, you didn't."

"Which is the point." Tracey cut in. "When someone doesn't want your help, forcing it on them means that you are showing that you have no respect for them and their choices. You are insulting them. And you shouldn't be shocked when they respond in kind."

"I did not insult you!" Hermione stated angrily. "I was trying to help! Then you started insulting me!"

"You started trying to tell me what I was doing wrong." Tracey stated flatly. "I ignored you. You kept it up. I got up and moved away, you followed. At that point, yes, I insulted you, as obviously you were--"

Harry coughed at that. Tracey glared at him. Ron groaned and Hermione almost growled.

"But I--"

"Hermione." Harry said firmly and quietly. "Tracey and Ron both just explained things. And, I have to agree with them. Plus the whole reason Ron's whole comment hurt so much was because it was true. You've got friends now though Hermione, and we are your friends. We just want you to treat us that way."

For a moment, Hermione was just staring at him, tears starting to glisten in her eyes. It looked like something was about to give. Then, her eyes hardened as she glared back at them. "I am not going to apologize for doing nothing wrong!"

And then she turned stormed out of the compartment, slamming the door shut behind her.

Harry and Ron groaned in disappointment as they both hung their heads. Tracey just snorted. "Told you that she wouldn't listen."

Both of them glared at her then. "Hey! I played nice! It's not my fault she wouldn't listen to what was being said!"

Harry just sighed and slumped back in his seat. "I don't know what else to do."

"If you just give in, she'll just keep doing it for the rest of your life." Tracey pointed out with a smirk. "You really want that?"

"You don't have to sound so bloody happy about it." Ron stated with a glare.

"I don't like her." Tracey stated flatly as she crossed her arms about her chest. "I don't and I'm not going to pretend I do. I will tolerate her, but I won't put up with her 'I know better than you' shite."

Harry just sighed and shook his head. "She's not that bad. She really is a good friend, Tracey."

She just gave him a 'I'll believe it when I see it' look before choosing to speak. "I don't see it. But I kept quiet, on it, I let you follow your belief that she's a good person who just tries too hard and doesn't think. That she did what she did that day because she wanted to help, not because she just wanted to show how much she knew so she could be praised for being right."

Ron and Harry both looked ready to object again and she then glared at them both. "I am allowed to think whatever the bloody hell I want. You're allowed to think what you want. I don't have to agree with you and you don't have to agree with me."

The look they gave her was sour in many ways, and it spoke of a stubborn tenacity that was not about to simply quit. Hermione was their friend, and despite the words of both girls, they would not simply surrender that. Even if their friend was ignoring what they were asking of her.

They weren't going to just sacrifice an old friend for a new one.

"You still could be nicer to her." Ron stated with a grumble.

"Who was the one that stopped you from pissing her off even more?" Tracey snapped back. "I'd call that being nice."

"You did that for your own reasons though." Harry pointed out with a sigh as he rubbed his temples together. "And then--"

"Let's just drop it." Ron said finally with a sigh as he could just feel the tension ratcheting up. "I don't want anymore yelling matches."

"Fine." Tracey stated with an almost petulant grumble as she pulled up her book journal and went back to work on whatever it was her own, personal project was. "Are you two sticking with your same electives?"

"Was planning to." Harry agreed with a nod. "All I really have to do is tell Trelawny how I think I'm going to die, and then see what's caught Hagrid's fancy lately. I think I have enough to worry about with the bloody committee activities."

"Same." Ron agreed with a shudder.

"Shame." Tracey noted with a theatrical sigh. "You've probably caught up enough to join Arithimancy and Runes."

"Please, I learned more than enough about math in muggle primary." Harry stated with a snort. "All I had to do was learn what the numbers meant for magic and I could do most of that stuff."

"I already have enough to keep track of with potions." Ron stated flatly. "Why the bloody hell would I kill myself with that kind of stuff?"

"-- What?" Tracey repeated as she stared at Harry.

"Well, not entirely." Harry reluctantly admitted. "I mean I can do the multiplication and division tables, but I suppose I'm a bit lost when it gets to algebra and geometry."

Tracey just continued to stare at him.

"Fine I could actually use some of the classes. Happy?" Harry pouted lightly at her and grumbled.

Tracey just pinched her nose and fought down the urge to bang her head. "I swear, Potter, if I didn't know Granger's hair was that way before she even met you two, I'd say it was your fault it's that way."

Ron snickered softly and Harry just gave her a wounded, sulky expression.

Tracey sighed and shook her head. "Well, I was hoping that I could have more classes to share with you two."

They both shrugged in response.

It was her turn to grumble as she slumped back in her seat.

"So, how long before you think Malfoy will drop in?" Ron asked with an arched brow towards Harry.

Moving quickly, Harry threw out a number of quick spells onto the compartment door, and then-- nothing happened. Frowning slightly, Harry sighed and shook his head. "Well, so much for my awesome display of throwing that up just before he showed up."

Ron snorted loudly and shook his head. "Mate, you know he doesn't show up until at least a quarter of the way there. He has to make sure his cosmetic charms are just right. Wouldn't do to not look his best for the-boy-who-lived."

"-- Ron?" Harry stated in a slow, flat voice.

"Harry?" Ron repeated back.

"Don't make me bloody well murder you." Harry stated simply. "Sirius would help me bury the body and he's in enough trouble as it is."

Ron stared at him for a moment. Then, he spoke up. "Yeah, that would be a problem, then my brothers would have to do you in, and then mum would somehow figure out how to send us a howler on the other side."

Sighing in exasperation, Tracey struggled to bury herself in her book to stifle her laughter. Ron and Harry glanced at each other, then did the same. Still, there was an occasional bout of conversation, a question asked then answered, so they did not quite descend into a companionable silence.

It was perhaps a half hour later that the door to the compartment opened again, this time revealing Draco Malfoy sneering at them. At least, until his hair suddenly shot out as if charged up with electricity, his robes turned a neon green and orange, and an almost explosion of mucus began to drip down out of his nose. Harry looked at the stunned boy and shook his head.

"You know, Malfoy, it's considered good manners to knock before entering someone else's compartment." Harry stated with a neutral face as he casually palmed his wand on the other side of his body.

Draco looked at Harry with disbelieving horror as he noted his state then pointed a finger at Harry. "What did you do to me, Potter?!"

Unfortunately, his voice came out as a high pitched squeak, causing Tracey to just turn her head and stare at Harry. "-- Really? Why are you subjecting us to a sound like that?"

"Lack of foresight?" Ron guessed helpfully.

"Stop ignoring me!" Draco's voice declared shrilly.

"It's kind of hard to, with a voice like that." Harry noted with a wince as he wiggled the pinkie of his free hand into his ear. "I didn't think it would get that bad."

"I'll see you punished for this, Potter!" Draco declared again glaring back at him before turning and storming away.

"Well, that's the best way to start out the year yet." Harry noted with a bemused smile on his lips.

"How long until he remembers that you're allowed to charm your compartment door against unwanted intrusion?" Ron asked as he glanced at Tracey.

"Likely right after he goes to one of the prefects and they remind him." Tracey stated simply. "I think he was so outraged he didn't even notice me."

"Me either." Ron agreed with a frown. "I was kinda looking forward to rubbing things in his face."

"Don't worry." Tracey stated simply. "I'm sure that you'll be able to do it plenty when the tournament is announced.


The remainder of the ride was relatively uneventful. The twins stopped in for a bit, got themselves introduced to Tracey and then got dragged off by the rest of the remaining Gryffindor Quidditch team. Neville stopped by as well, mainly to find out why Hermione had been sitting with him instead of them.

After a brief chat and explanation, the boy had uncertainly nodded his head and headed back to his compartment.

The remainder of the trip, and subsequent ride to the castle in the apparently self-drawn carriages had been uneventful. Well, other than Draco Malfoy glaring at Harry. While his hair and clothing was once more in its previous state, and his nose was no longer running, he had his jaw clenched to such a degree it seemed likely that his voice hadn't quite returned to its previous state.

Which suited the three students just fine.

Arrival at the Great Hall had seen to their separation, as Tracey had calmly made her way to the Slytherin table and Harry and Ron had gone to the Gryffindor one. At the Slytherin table, Tracey received a number of disbelieving and disapproving looks she promptly ignored as she settled into her seat. At the Gryffindor table, Harry and Ron were receiving much the same, though, with actions that were less likely to be ignored.

"What the bloody hell are you two doing hanging out with that snake?" Seamus Finnegan demanded with a look of outrage on his face.

Harry and Ron blinked a moment, then looked at one another. Then Ron shrugged his shoulders and Harry sighed before looking back at Seamus. "Talking?"

The simplistic response made Seamus blink, and then open his mouth again, before Dean Thomas elbowed his Irish friend and looked at Harry. "I think he means that it's a bit-- out of character for you to be hanging out with someone from Slytherin."

Seamus glowered at Dean but nodded his head in agreement.

"It was an interesting summer." Harry said vaguely as he shrugged.

Seamus then turned his attention to Ron. "What the hell does he mean by that?"

"That it was interesting?" Ron asked in confusion as he looked back at Seamus. "What's crawled up your knickers?"

"Ron," Lavender Brown stated slowly, as if she were speaking to a small child, "You and Harry, but, more importantly you of all people just walked in with a Slytherin."

"So? We also shared a compartment with her on the Express." Ron asked as he looked back at her.

As Lavender opened her mouth to continue, Harry cut in, "So, since when can't we talk to people in other houses? Or, have friends in them?"

"That's not other houses, that's Slytherin." Pavarti Patil said firmly. "That's like-- like--"

"Hanging out with a Slytherin!" Lavender supplied for her.

"Totally!" Pavarti agreed with a thankful nod to her friend. "You can't trust them!"

Harry shook his head and sighed. "Really? That's the best you've got?"

Ron snickered a bit at the statement. "Well, you were expecting better than mine?"

Dean stared at them for a moment before shaking his head. "Ok, ha, ha. You got us, nice prank and all. Getting us to think you actually became friends with a Slytherin."

"We did." Harry stated simply, arching a brow before turning his attention to his food as Ron attacked his with gusto. "Got to know her at the World Cup."

There was an array of stares directed towards them, before eyes looked around and found Hermione seated a good distance away, next to Neville. She was simply shooting the pair looks that mingled between outraged frustration and resignation. Still, she said nothing.

"And, why does Granger look ready to murder the both of you then?" Lavender demanded as she pointed out the look on Hermione's face.

"None of your business, Brown." Harry stated simply and flatly as he gave his classmate a look.

"Now that's not fair!" Parvarti stated quickly. "Lav just wanted to know!"

"And, Harry said the truth." Ron cut in. "It is between us and Hermione, not the rest of the school."

Seamus stared at the two of them, before standing up and running where Minerva McGonagall was returning from where the new first years were waiting for the sorting. "Professor! Help!"

"-- What is the problem, Mr. Finnegan?" McGonagall asked sternly as she peered down at the young man.

"It's Ron and Harry! They're under some kind of curse!" Seamus stated wildly as he pointed towards the Gryffindor table.

"Really, Mr. Finnegan? A curse?" McGonagall stated with a huff of irritation. "This is no time for exaggerations!"

"I'm serious, Professor!" Seamus protested. "They aren't acting right! Something's wrong with their heads!"

"Very well, but I warn you, if this is some kind of prank--!" McGonagall stated as she followed Seamus back to Harry and Ron, who were trying very hard to ignore their dorm mate. "Mr. Potter. Mr. Weasley, would you please explain to me exactly why your house mate saw it necessary to drag me away from preparation for the sorting ceremony to check you both for curses?"

Harry groaned softly and hung his head, before looking at Seamus flatly. "Really, Seamus? Cursed? Because we're not telling you lot why we're not talking with Hermione?"

"And you said you made friends with a Slytherin!" Seamus stated quickly. "You and Ron!"

Sighing McGonagall looked at Seamus. "Mr. Finnegan, simply because you're in one house does not preclude to making friends in another house. Even Slytherin."

"But-- Ron!" Seamus protested as McGonagall took a moment to close her eyes and slowly counted to ten before opening her eyes as she looked at Ron. "Mr. Weasley, do you have anything to say to Mr. Finnegan's allegations?"

"Tracey's nutters." Ron stated simply with a shrug as he cut at his foot instead of shoveling into his mouth in front of his head of house. "But she's not bad. She just--"

Ron paused there before looking at Harry hopefully, who sighed and finished for him. "She's ambitious, and greedy, and conniving. But she's not back stabbing and actually sticks with people if they're her friends. I mean-- look."

Harry gestured with a spoon to the Slytherin table, where Tracey was seated with a stiff back, ignoring the glares that she was receiving from a number of members of her own house, along with a number of sneering commentary made as they looked pointedly at her. "She knew she was gonna be coming back to that. And she still came in with us."

"That and they're marking themselves." Ron noted absently before he felt the sharp gaze directed at him from McGonagall.

"Marking themselves, Mr. Weasley?" McGonagall stated dangerously.

"Friends look after friends." Ron stated back, stubbornly refusing to say anything more, while Harry nodded his head in agreement.

"Why, oh why do I feel a headache coming?" McGonagall stated as she sighed, then cast a few spells over Harry and Ron, confirming that they were not, in fact, cursed. "Mr. Finnegan, neither of them are showing any sorts of outside influence. 5 Points from Gryffindor. Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, 5 points each for remembering that there is more to Hogwarts than just your own house."

With that, she turned and walked away, making a mental note to warn Albus to be on the lookout for the second, well, third coming of the Marauders. It was looking to be a very long year already.

Posted: 5:34 PM - Mar 09, 2016


The remainder of the sorting had proceeded without incident, leading to the rise of Albus Dumbledore at the head table.

"If I could have your attention please? Thank you." The Headmaster's voice filled the air as he looked around the room and smiled. "Tonight, we begin another year of Hogwarts. For some of you, it is a fresh beginning. For others, a return to the familiar. And for the remainder, the final steps before joining the Wizarding World fully as adults. But, this year, will not be like anything you've experienced before."

His eyes twinkling, he surveyed the confused looks, along with the scattering of knowing looks of anticipation. "This year, Hogwarts shall be playing host to the restored Tri-Wizard Tournament!"

Purebloods and halfbloods alike all let out gasps of shock and anticipation as recognition hit them, while all but a few muggleborns looked at their fellow students in confusion.

"For those of you unfamiliar, the Tri-Wizard Tournament has a long and storied, and at times, sordid history. It is a competition between three of Europe's greatest schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From France, Beauxbatons, from Bulgaria, Durmstrang, and of course, Hogwarts herself.

"Each school will be represented by a champion, whose selection will be revealed at a later date, though, I'm afraid only those in their 7th year will be allowed to present themselves as a potential champion."

Dumbledore smiled a bit as he saw looks of disappointment, frustration and outrage flash across the room, and noted he would have to be especially careful with the protections against invalid applicants.

"Originally, this was going to cause us to forgo Quidditch for the year." He stated, watching the looks of alarm spreading across the faces of the various fanatics of the sport. "However, after reconsideration, they have, instead, decided to instead expand upon it instead. Our own Professor Flitwick shall explain."

He graciously took his seat, as Flitwick stood and smiled brightly at the students as he cast his own charm to extend the range of his voice. "There will be a total of 2 different quidditch tournaments taking place over the course of the year. The first will pit each house team against both each other, and the house teams of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons.

"The second, will be a school team from each of the schools competing on a second tournament after the first is resolved. The players from all houses will compete for a spot to represent Hogwarts against both schools."

Taking a moment, Flitwick surveyed the looks of shock, disbelief, before a whooping cry of joy broke the student body into cheers. He then gave them all a look and then stated slyly as he gave an exaggerated glance towards McGonagall. "And, I might add that you should make sure you do your best to put on a respectable showing-- I don't think the quidditch fanatics among us would be too happy with a poor performance from our teams."

"Indeed." McGonagall agreed as she swept her gaze around the room warningly.

"In addition, we will have numerous workshops and lectures held by both our own, and visiting professors in their areas of specialty, open to all students by sign up." Flitwick continued. "The Hogwarts professors will, of course, also be offering our own."

Then, he turned his head towards Harry and Ron, and both of them felt a sudden chill running down their spines. "Now, I would like Tracey Davis, Ronald Weasley and Harry Potter to come join me up here."

Ron and Harry both stared at each other, before sighing as they reluctantly stood up and walked up to the front of the Great Hall, where they were joined by Tracey Davis.

"These three were the representatives chosen for a secret meeting between the schools, along with myself, where in we helped to lay out both the quidditch schedule, and workshops, in addition to their invaluable input in the additional events that have been added to the tournament." Flitwick stated with a beaming smile and a sly wink at Harry and Ron only the three of them could catch.

"As a result, they will be working as special assistants to myself and Durmstrang's Ivaylo Chavdarov, and Beauxbattons' Elodie Armistead." Flitwick stated cheerfully as he looked out across the school. "When the other schools have arrived, they will be in control of signups and will be assisting us with the workshops themselves."

While Tracey gave a beaming smirk, Harry and Ron looked at one another and then felt their shoulders slumping again. And again, it would seem that this was going to be a long year.


"Well, boys, what do you think?" Flitwick stated cheerfully as he gestured around the classroom he'd taken them to after the end of the feast. "I think it should do more than adequately for your needs, don't you agree?"

It was a particularly large class room, complete with multiple potions set ups, and a fully outfitted lab to the side, holding everything but ingredients.

"Boys?" Tracey half demanded as she gave the professor a look.

"This is--" Harry started to say, staring around them.

"Brilliant!" Ron finished enthusiastically.

"I thought you might approve." Flitwick agreed with a nod, throwing a merry wink at Tracey. "Now, it's not solely for your use. This is where we'll be holding the workshops for the most part. As our assistants, however, you'll be able to make use of it in your free time."

"I believe mention was made of passes to the restricted section?" Tracey reminded the professor as she glanced at the boys, both of whom were visibly plotting what they'd do with the potions' lab.

"True." Flitwick agreed with a nod. "For now, however, that will be restricted to a case by case basis in preparation of your help in the first workshops. In fact-- I have a slip for each of you, one book a piece."

"-- You--" Tracey stared at the cheerful looking man in front of her. "You're giving us homework, on the first day back!? Classes haven't even started yet!"

"It is never too early to continue your education!" The smile on his lips only grew.

"Um-- how soon do we have to have these read by?" Harry asked as he eyed the slips of paper Flitwick was holding up.

"Oh, you have until the end of the month to have a report to me summarizing and prioritizing the points and information the books contain." Filius stated simply. "I'm thinking, oh-- 12 feet or so."

"-- 12 feet." Ron repeated, staring at the man in absolute horror.

"Should I make it a nice 13 instead?" Flitwick asked curiously. "I do want to make sure that you thoroughly understand the principals involved, after all!"

"-- You hate, us, don't you, Professor." Harry asked as he stared at the man.

"Oh, Mr. Potter, if I hated you, I have far, far worse books, and far, far longer assignments I could've given." Flitwick disagreed cheerfully.

"So, you're just evil?" Tracey demanded.

"Ms. Davis, I am a teacher." He answered in amusement. "If I was not at least sadistic, I would've long since become a drunkard and/or ineffective."

When the three seemed about ready to argue further, he clapped sharply. "Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, until I have parchment in hand for those reports, you will not be able to make use of the room for your own purposes. Best to get cracking, don't you agree?"

Yes, Tracey quickly joined Harry and Ron in the idea that this was going to be a very long year.


Against his wishes, Harry found himself rather engrossed in the book, Wand Waving: Warning and Possibilities, that Flitwick had assigned him for reading. The book covered charms, specifically, how they interacted with potions. Some of them were completely neutral, having no influencing effect and allowing the spells to be cast without incident. Others would change the way components interacted, strengthen or weaken effects, and in some cases, completely and totally alter them.

It opened up a wealth of possibilities that Harry hadn't even considered before.

Turning his head, he noted he was, for the most part alone, with Ron studying his own book on the effect of Astrological positioning and events on the properties of potions. Which was causing the boy to glance over his own notes, along with his astronomy book with a look of growing disbelief. Apparently Ron was starting to realize just how crazy potion recipes could become.

When you combined the two--

Harry shuddered a bit. Laws of magic could be bent. But that required extreme skill preparation and timing.

This was stuff that was well and truly beyond his and Ron's abilities. At least, Harry had to hope, only for now. One day, they might just be able to do surpass that.

For now though--

Well, at least they were getting some more brill ideas. Unfortunately, they would have to finish their parchments first. Damn that sadistic bastard.

"-- Harry?" Ron spoke up as he glanced over at his friend.

"Yes, Ron?" Harry answered.

"I think--" Ron stated to say before looking back at him, horror etching on his face. "I-- I want to study! Not just because I want to keep up, but because I want to actually learn this stuff! What's wrong with me?!"

"-- Didn't you already realize that?" Harry asked belatedly as he looked at Ron in confusion. "You know, that whole talk with Padfoot?"

"That was about being better and working at it. Now I want it just to learn more!" Ron stated as he gestured to the book. "I mean-- The stuff in this is positively brill! If the champions get to pick when they use their hours--"

"You know we can't talk about that stuff yet, remember?" Harry reminded Ron, before his shoulders slumped. "And I know what you mean."

"Yours good too?" Ron asked half curiously.

"Yup." Harry agreed with a nod. "And it explains why Snape keeps us from casting, generally, in class. Just wish he'd actually bothered to tell us."

"Well, we have him soon enough, so." Ron made a face and sighed. "Dammit, I wish that I had known all this about potions earlier."

"Wouldn't have changed Snape." Harry stated with a grimace.

"True enough." Ron agreed with a nod, before frowning. "Bloody hell, all this shite going on, and I haven't even had time to practice for the quidditch try outs!"

"-- Oh, bloody--" Harry stared at Ron and groaned as he covered his face with his book. "Quidditch! I completely and totally forgot about it! On top of everything else--"

"You could always--" Ron started to state, before his eyes widened and he slapped his hands over his mouth. "Bloody hell, I can't believe I was about to even suggest that!"

He looked at Harry and then pointed an accusing finger in his direction. "What have you done to me, Potter?"

"I'm sorry?" Harry offered, shrugging helplessly.

"You should be!" Ron agreed before sighing. "Dammit. We have to have this done by Monday."

"-- We do?" Harry asked, confusion written on his face.

"Yes." Ron agreed with a sharp nod of his head, before he turned a passage on the book to Harry along with his note journal. "See?"

Harry stared at the passage, then at the journal, before he turned his head and glared at his own book, then at Ron. "You-- you know you're falling into his trap, right?"

"I--" Ron started to respond before just staring back at Harry, and then letting his shoulders slump. "-- Bloody well bollocks to Voldemort. Flitwick is pure Evil."

"-- And you still want to do it." Harry stated as he stared at Ron. "What would we even use it for?"

Ron looked back at him as if he had suddenly gone stupid. "Malfoy, Crabbe, Goyle, Nott, Zabini."

"That could be-- interesting." Harry admitted with a nod of his head. "Of course, how would we even pull it off?"

"Maybe ask the map for some ideas?" Ron asked hopefully before looking back at his book and continuing to make notes.

Harry looked back at his own book and then sighed as he resumed his own reading and note taking. "I suddenly have new found respect for the twins-- Especially with how they didn't get caught by Flitwick like we did."

"Don't know, don't wanna know. I don't want to deal with what mum would put me through if I tried it." Ron stated simply and shook his head. "She's about given up on getting them to behave, but that just means she'll make it that much worse for the rest of us if we started skiving off classes like they do."

"Ah." Harry nodded slightly. "Won't she still be upset with you for this?"

"As long as I keep my grades up, I think I should get by with just a howler or two." Ron stated as Harry stared back at him. "Wot?"

"Um-- you do remember what happened last time you got a howler from your mum, right?" Harry asked as he looked at Ron nervously.

Ron's ear's pinkened a bit but he nodded his head. "Yeah, I do. I'm really trying to not think about it though, ya know?"

"Right." Harry agreed with a slow nod. "--Back to studying?"

"Back to studying." Ron agreed.


Tracey sighed as she flipped to another page of the book and shook her head as she made a note here and there. She wasn't quite sure why Flitwick thought she would find a book on mental arts and defenses interesting, but she had to admit, he had made a good choice. While the knowledge was primarily focused on defense, there was also a fair bit of information on spells that could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands.

Then, as she flicked over another page, she groaned as suddenly it clicked into place. Almost all of the spells and enchantments in the book were cast upon other people. Meaning, the professor was setting her up to shield Harry and Ron from more subtle assaults.

"I'm surprised you're already studying, Davis." Daphne Greengrass noted as she brushed at her long, honey blonde hair. "I thought you'd be basking in your triumph."

Tracey glanced at her roommate and shrugged a bit. Daphne was one of the few people in Slytherin that didn't automatically treat her as less than human for being a half blood, so she at least earned a courteous answer. "Said triumph comes with a lot of strings attached, Greengrass."

"Oh?" Daphne cocked a brow up as she continued the steady brush work on her hair. While not the prettiest girl in the school, Daphne was certainly not a plain girl like Tracey herself was. "A shame. All those strings on top of all the animosity you're going to have to endure."

At that, Tracey groaned a bit then shrugged his shoulders. "Honestly? If they don't get how dangerous Harry is, especially now, with Ron backing him up, well, they'll learn."

"Potter, dangerous?" Daphne asked, bemused as she looked back at Tracey. "Please. Other than the rumors no one can ever agree with every year, he isn't the chosen one he was hyped up to be."

There was a moment, where Tracey didn't respond, before she slowly giggled. "Hehehehe-- Oh, Greengrass-- A few months ago, I would've been with you, completely and totally. Now though?"

"And what, praytell, has changed so much, Davis?" Daphne stated, her tone bordering on sarcastic as she waited the response.

"I don't know." Tracey admitted plainly. "I just know that all of a sudden he and Ron are designing custom potions and working on spells that are far past what I ever considered I'd even be attempting for another year or two at least. On top of that, they're studying, constantly, and using those ideas for their own purposes."

"Weasley, studying? Now I know you're full of it, Davis." Daphne said with a shake of her head. "That boy is almost worthless. I don't even know why Potter even keeps him around. He's as thick as a rock, and just as lazy."

Tracey looked at Daphne oddly for a moment, before again starting to giggle, then laugh, until the laughter turned hysterical.

"You've gone soft in the head, haven't you, Davis?" Daphne asked before sighing as she shook her head. "A shame, now I suppose I'll be stuck with Parkinson and Bludstroe for company."

"Greengrass." Tracey managed as she forced the laughter down, still smiling brightly. "Have you actually looked at his siblings? Two Head boys, a curse breaker, a star seeker and now dragon wrangler, the twins. All of those, from his siblings. Same parents, same bloodlines."

"And your point?" Daphne responded dismissively. "Their accomplishments are not his. His are the accomplishments of a boorish slacker, wallowing in his ignorance like a pig in filth."

Tracey stared back at Daphne for a moment before shaking her head. "Don't know why he was so lazy before. Maybe he just didn't understand the point of trying harder. I can't really say. All I can say is that's not who he is anymore."

"Keep deluding yourself if you so desire, Davis." Daphne sniffed as she raised her nose up. "Just don't expect me to indulge you in it. You want to see hidden depths in a shallow pond, that's your choice. All I think you'll do is hurt yourself and end up covered in mud when you dive in."

For a moment, Tracey debated responding, opening her mouth as if to speak, before apparently deciding against it and shrugging her shoulders. "If you say so."

With that said, she focused her attention back onto the book in front of her already quickly reabsorbing herself as she made a few notes here and there, making notes for her later parchment on it. She would let Daphne think what she would. In the meantime, however, she would plot exactly what she was going to do Ron and Harry in retribution for what they were putting her through.


Flitwick was amused. Several of his Sixth and Seventh years were looking at him like he was a hungry dragon. Others, like he was a particularly foul tempered basilisk.

Those who had not yet endured his personal form of cheerful sadism during O.W.L. prep only looked at their seniors in confusion. Those that were not Harry Potter and Ron Weasley at least.

"Ah, such a lovely day, isn't it, Minerva?" Flitwick asked of McGonagall. "The kind of day that makes one happy to be alive!"

"... Really, Fillius." McGonagall stated with a sigh and a shake of his head. "You're acting like it's the end of the year already."

"Yes, do tell." Snape drawled out as he looked at the diminutive professor. "What has you acting as if you just handed out your final exam?"

One of his most prominent memories from Hogwarts that involved neither James Potter or Lily Evans, was the look of cheerful happiness on Flitwick's face when the man had handed his class the most nerve wracking, mind shattering exam of his entire career as a student. It had made everything after it, including N.E.W.T. exams seem like a breeze by comparison. Which Flitwick had confirmed to him was entirely the point, beyond simply satisfying his own personal sadistic desires.

There was a reason no Death Eater would willingly cross wands with Fillius Flitwick.

"Oh, I'm just enjoying what a wonderful year we're going to have." Flitwick stated as he began to read through a sizable length of parchment making the occasional note in it with a quill as if marking homework.

"Isn't it a bit early for you to be grading?" McGonagall asked, her brow arched up. "Classes don't even start until tomorrow."

"Oh, I gave out an assignment right after the opening feast." Flitwick stated cheerfully. "A completely voluntary one."

"-- A completely voluntary 12 foot long essay?" Snape drawled out as he tilted his head to the side. "What deciding to indulge the Granger brat in her incessant need to spew every little fact she can cram onto parchment?"

"Severus!" McGonagall rebuked sharply as she glared at the man.

"You may enjoy indulging her pointless exposition of every little fact she can come across and memorize on top of the requirements, I, however, do not." Snape stated sourly.

"No, Severus, my boy, I did not." Flitwick cut off the familiar argument before it could even start. At least Snape wasn't in the mood to rant about Harry Potter just yet. "I offered some students a chance for extracurricular studies. I gave them each a book and gave them an assignment to prove their ability to comprehend their contents. Thus far, I am hardly disappointed."

As if he had jinxed himself, he immediately winced at a particularly poorly worded phrase and marked it as such with a brief summary of how it could've been better presented. "Well, I should say I'm hardly disappointed with their ideas and comprehension. Their ability to actually convey it properly could use some work."

"You aren't offering your Ravens an unfair extra credit, are you, Fillius?" McGonagall asked sternly as she frowned at him.

Fillius snorted. "No, Minerva. The students are not in Ravenclaw. Nor are they getting any advantages in class, or weighted grades. Most of what I am having them learn are subjects we do not cover at Hogwarts. Particularly more esoteric aspects of magic."

"Such as?" Snape asked, keeping his attention away from having to look out at the ill-mannered little miscreants stuffing their faces in a manner more appropriate for animals than wizards and witches.

"Why, one of them did a report on Heavens, Earth and Potions, and the other did one on Wand Waving: Warning and Possibilities." Fillius stated with a bemused smile on his face. "The third-- well. I haven't gotten that report yet. Apparently they're not quite as ambitious as the first two."

That made Severus sit up slightly before he frowned. They were not, technically, advanced books. Their applications were simply not covered under either O.W.L. or N.E.W.T. examinations. Mainly as they were limited in their applications and only reacted to certain ingredients or practices that were deemed unnecessary for the average wizard's knowledge. And the way he said ambitious--

"Esoteric Potions tutoring?" Snape repeated, brow arching up skeptically. "For those dunderheads?"

The words were dismissive as he gestured broadly across the main hall. Flitwick merely arched a brow, while McGonagall looked back at him with indignant, angry eyes.

"Now, now, Severus." Flitwick chided lightly. "There's no reason for you to be so dismissive. After all, once upon a time, you were one of those 'dunderheads' as well."

Snape glared back at him, eyes flashing dark and dangerously. "I was--"

"Please, don't try to deny that you were any different from the students we have here today, Severus Snape." McGonagall snapped as she loomed slightly over him, looking down at him past her nose. "Because, as someone who instructed both yourself, the generation before you and those that have come since, I can assure you, you were not as different as you might want to believe."

Flitwick chuckled softly as he watched Snape attempt to glare at McGonagall for a moment, only to eventually falter and look away with a dark look. "I think you will find this year to be very-- illuminating. Yes, Illuminating is the word."

"-- Fillius, please tell me you're not tutoring the Weasley twins." McGonagall demanded sharply as she levelled a glare at him.

"I am not tutoring the Weasley twins." Flitwick agreed with a nod of his head and a glorious smile on his face.

"Thank Merlin for small favors." Snape muttered sourly.

McGonagall however-- She paled. "Oh Dear."

That, made Snape look at her quickly. "-- Oh Dear?"

Flitwick, however, merely smiled. A brilliant, smile that shone with a wonderful anticipation of a mounting triumph over years adversity. The kind of smile one wore when someone handed you the keys to their greatest treasures, and told you to do as you wished.

It was a look, Minerva had not seen in on Flitwick' face in over 15 years.

"Please, Fillius-- Don't tell me that you're actually doing it again?" Minerva begged, a faint whimper leaving her throat.

"Why, Minerva, my dear, I'm sure I have no idea what you could possibly be referring to!" Flitwick stated with a bemused grin. "Though, that does remind me that I should send an owl to Horace. For old time's sake you know. I feel so very-- nostalgic."

McGonagall did not bang her head on the table. She had too much self control and dignity. Instead she straightened her back and looked down at her coworker. "Then, since you're feeling so nostalgic I'm sure you won't mind purchasing the case of Ogden's finest from the last time you felt so."

Flitwick winced a bit and reluctantly nodded his head. "I suppose I should. I best get to the owlry then, enjoy your breakfast, Minerva, Severus."

Severus decided he rather did not like the sound of that. Not in the least. Sadly, it was far too late for him to do anything about it by that point.


Ron and Harry looked worriedly at Tracey as they twitched in their seats while watching her read through the final chapters of her book. The three had arrived at the workshop classroom Flitwick had shown them, with Ron and Harry in relatively high spirits after already turning in their parchments to their "mentor." Then they had discovered that Tracey still had hers to complete.

Feeling their eyes on her, Tracey sighed and looked up at them with a light glare as she turned a page. "The two of you staring at me like that isn't going to make this particular bit go any faster you know."

"Sorry." Ron stated with a wince. "It's just-- we really, really need to get this potion started so it'll be ready on the

"Why?" Tracey asked in exasperation as she looked at the two flatly.

"It's the new Moon leading up to the Harvest Moon." Ron stated simply. "It'll let us make a really-- Well, we can only really get the effect we want is if we do it then."

"-- To do what exactly?" Tracey asked as she took a moment to break away from the pages in front of her.

"Well, we noticed that you were having a few-- difficulties." Harry noted calmly as he looked back at Ron, who nodded his head in agreement. "Difficulties that should be-- remedied."

"And remedies that should not be so easily dispelled." Ron agreed with a nod of his head.

Tracey stared at them for a moment, before palming her face. "Ok, what're you two troublemakers plotting?"

Ron looked around quickly while Harry concentrated and cast a spell around them, muttering the words almost silently under his breath as his wand went through an intricate series of motions. When he finished, Ron pulled out his journal and opened it up to a specific page, and pointed to a particular section. Frowning Tracey noted that everything else that wasn't being directly pointed out to her by Ron appeared to be a blurred mess she couldn't decipher.

What she could read though--

"-- Seriously?" Tracey asked, a brow arching up. "Wait-- How do you plan to actually get it to them?"

Harry smiled back at her. "Oh, who knows? Wouldn't it be... Interesting though?"

She snorted and nodded as Ron removed his finger from the journal and it immediately became completely indecipherable again. "Right. Interesting. Don't mind me if I don't hold my breath until it happens."

"But, we can't even try if we don't get the chance to start the potion on time." Ron stated firmly. "We need to be able to start working on the potion on Monday."

"Well now, this is interesting." A familiar voice called out as all three of them instantly started, to find themselves staring at where Fillius Flitwick was watching the three of them from the doorway. "I believe I recognize that particular charm. From Privacy and Other Dirty Wards, if I'm not mistaken?"

"Errr-- yes, professor." Harry stated with a bob of his head.

"If you said something. I will have to ask you to drop your little charm, Mr. Potter." Flitwick stated, eyes twinkling. "As I believe it would've been your casting?"

Harry blushed at the words and then nodded his head, ending the effect with a quick flick of his wand. "Sorry, Professor."

"Think nothing of it, Mr. Potter." Flitwick said cheerfully. "There is nothing in the rules against charming your conversations against casual or deliberate eavesdropping. At least, not when you're not in class."

"Of course, sir."

"Now, I have finished going over both of your essays." Flitwick stated as he nodded his head to the pair. "While you did have a number of wonderful insights, the way you presented them was clumsy at best, and obtuse at worst."

Ron ducked his head and colored. "Sorry, professor."

Flitwick shook his head and gave them both a look. "It was hardly something limited to just yourself, Mr. Weasley. Mr. Potter had just as many issues with his essays as you yourself. More so than I'm typically used to from you, though, your insights were wonderfully creative. A tradeoff I suppose."

He paused there before looking at them both. "A side effect of your falling out with Ms. Granger I take it?" The pair of them opened their mouths, then shut them again as they stared at him, visibly bewildered.

"Situational awareness is an important thing to master, boys, and Ms. Davis." Flitwick stated simply. "Your arrival and the distance between yourselves and Ms. Granger was quite visible. It does not take much to make the assumption that there was some form of falling out."

He paused before looking over at the smug looking Tracey. "A falling out I would hate to find out you engineered, Ms. Davis."

"Hey! I didn't do anything!" Tracey protested quickly. "That was all on Granger."

"Mmm." Flitwick stated without accusation.

"She's-- well, partially right." Ron stated reluctantly. "She tried to be nice, for her at least, on the train."

"Hermione won't talk to me until I apologize for not realizing how stupid Ron and I are being for pursuing our current-- interests." Harry stated hedgingly as she looked away. "She didn't like how I told her I didn't want to do things her way anymore."

"Ah." Flitwick nodded his head a bit. "I see. And because it is not extraordinary circumstance as has been the case in the past with you, she finds it difficult to understand a desire for more-- entertaining aspects of magic."

"She called it a 'frivolous waste of magic.'" Ron supplied quietly as he stared down at the floor.

That, however, made Flitwick frown slightly. "Ah. I am quite familiar with that point of view. Though, generally it is far more popular in my own house than yours."

"Sorry, professor." Harry muttered slightly under his breath.

"Nothing you did wrong, Mr. Potter. Other than perhaps, potentially a lack of tact, though generally that is to be expected from students still learning their place in the world." Flitwick stated as he handed them each of their essays. "I have taken the time to explain how to be more concise in your essays, something I would have done earlier if I had known that you were relying completely on Ms. Granger to help you lay out things."

Both boys winced and Tracey snorted softly and shook her head as she focused on the book in front of her again.

"Sorry, professor." Harry stated again as he joined Ron in studying the floor.

"It's at least something good that came out of this." Flitwick stated with a small smile on his face. "If you had continued to rely on Ms. Granger on this, how did you expect to do well in studies for Masteries after you finish Hogwarts?"

"-- Masteries?" Ron looked up, startled at the words. "You mean Harry, right?"

Flitwick frowned for a moment. "Mr. Weasley, I would've thought Professor Armistead's interest would've been enough to inform you that you have the potential for a Potions Mastery at the very least."

"-- Really?" Ron stated disbelief evident in his voice as he stared at Flitwick.

"Of course, my boy." Flitwick stated quickly. "Though, normally this kind of thing isn't discussed until your fifth year. What had you thought you were going to do with your future?"

"I-- dunno." Ron admitted with a slight shrug of his shoulders. "I always figured I'd end up working at the Ministry like my dad."

"While a potential, I think you should be more focused on pursuing a field you've found both a talent for, and enjoyment in." Flitwick stated simply before looking at Harry. "And you, Mr. Potter? Are you going to dispute your own intentions of seeking out a Charms Mastery? I know your mother would be quite proud of you if you did. She herself was in the process of earning her own before that horrible day."

"-- She was?" Harry asked, staring at Flitwick with a degree of surprise. "-- Really?"

"Indeed." Flitwick agreed with a smile on his face. "Of course, your father could have pursued his own. It was--"

He paused a moment, before staring off into the distance. "Your parent's generation had so much promise in them. So much potential just sitting there, waiting to be unleashed. Severus, Sirius Black, Frank Longbottom, Alice Longbottom-- So much potential--"

For a moment, Flitwick just stood there, silent and lost, before he shook his head. "If ever there was an unforgivable act, it was what that Dark Lord took from us. All the amazing things that they could have created-- Those that weren't killed, were destroyed. Those that weren't destroyed, were wounded so deeply I don't think the scars will ever heal.

"But, you have a chance to do what they could not." He looked at them both. "For whatever reason, Mr. Potter, you will always be faced with a choice. Albus will call it the choice between what is Right, and what is Easy. I will put it a different way: You will have a choice in who you become. Will you choose to be the least of who you can be? The most? Or Perhaps some degree in between?"

He chuckled then. "Sorry, sorry. Forgive a professor his musings. You both have a great deal of potential, I would not be a very good teacher if I did not seek to have you build upon it when you've discovered it."

Tracey looked up from her book, frowned a moment, then went back to it with a slightly sullen look.

"Now, now, Ms. Davis." Flitwick chided her lightly. "I thought you were looking for them to become great? Isn't that at least part of the reason you befriended them?"

When Harry's eyes narrowed and Tracey's face flushed and she looked up angrily, Flitwick looked over at Harry. "Mr. Potter. I will give you a bit of advice. I know that you have little inclination to enjoy the attention your fame has brought you, but I will add a question for you to ponder. What's more important, why someone approached you, or why they stay around you?"

Harry opened his mouth to protest, before frowning and shutting it again. "Why they stay, I guess?"

"I would, myself, agree with you." Flitwick agreed with a nod. "So, does it matter much why Ms. Davis approached you, or why she stays with you? Working hard to try and keep up I might add."

"Why she stays." Harry reluctantly admitted.

"Marvelous." Flitwick stated with a smile. "Now, was there anything else?"

"-- Do we have to wait for Tracey to finish her report before we can use the room, Professor?" Ron asked plainly.

"Oh? Was there some reason you were in a rush?" Flitwick asked, his eyes dancing in amusement.

"Yes, sir." Ron stated with a nod. "We have a potion we want to brew that we need to start on Monday."

"The new moon? Interesting." Flitwick stated as he thoughtfully tapped his chin. "You could simply wait another 4 weeks and--"

"The New moon leading up to the Harvest Moon, Sir." Ron corrected quickly. "Which only happens once a year."

"Ah, yes, at the start of the term." Flitwick stated with a bemused smile on his face. "I suppose. With a condition."

Harry and Ron felt a sneaking feeling of dread running down into their stomachs, before Ron asked. "Sir?"

"You have to have these essays corrected into an acceptable format, and then have an additional six feet on how these two subjects can be combined." Flitwick stated cheerfully. "Due the night of the Harvest Moon."

The boys' shoulders slumped down, before they both reluctantly nodded their heads in acceptance. "Yes, sir."

"Wonderful!" Flitwick paused and then smiled cheerfully. "Oh, and of course Ms. Davis' needs to be done by then."

The boys' shoulders slumped more and then nodded again. "Yes, sir."


Draco Malfoy was not pleased. Not in the least. That blasted half-blood and that blood traitor had managed to yet again insinuate themselves into things above their station.

"Honestly, Malfoy, do you really pacing about, muttering under your breath is going to help you in this situation?" Blaise Zabini noted as he lounged back on one of the plush chairs in the Slytherin common room. "Expending that much energy over a half-blood and a blood traitor? Really?"

Blaise's drawl brought Draco up short, before he turned a glare back at his bemused classmate. "Unlike some people, I dislike sitting back and doing nothing."

"And unlike some people, I prefer to conserve my energy so I can wait to invest it into thinks that are actually worth my time." Blaise countered lazily. "Really, Draco, what does it matter? They have a big sounding title and no real power to back it up."

"If there was anyone who should've been on that committee from our school, it should've been me!" Draco stated with a glare. "And after what they did on the train--!"

"That was your own fault for assuming that they wouldn't have taken advantage of the allowance for wards on your compartment for the duration of the trip." Blaise stated with amusement. "As was pointed out to you, repeatedly."

Blaise could tell that Draco wanted to make his customary threat of involving his father in their conversation. The way his jaw visibly clenched and the slight pulsing of his forehead showed it. Draco, however, had learned very quickly that Lucius Malfoy, while rich and powerful, would not cross Blaise's Zabini's far more infamous mother.

Draco had already started the year with a deficit in his influence over Slytherin after his antics the year before. The public humiliation he'd lain on the house with his failed dementor impersonation, his whining and over playing of weakness in regards to his injury, and his inability to withstand a punch thrown by the mudblood Granger had all eaten away at any good will he'd earned his second year.

Now, not only had he been publically humiliated by Potter, but he was again acting like a spoiled child in front of the rest of his house.

"Really, Malfoy, while it's remarkably unpleasant having a halfblood taking the position Davis did, she managed her little coupe quite well." Blaise stated with a drawl and a shake of his head. "And what's more, because of her we at least have a Slytherin representative on this little committee."

"She's associating with--!"

"The fellow members of her committee." Blaise drawled out again. "That means that unless she does something to publically lose face because of all this, she is untouchable this year."

Blaise almost laughed at the look on Draco's face as he flushed with outrage. While his family, specifically his father, was influential, feared and respected, Draco lacked the social grace of his parents. A pity, honestly, he had honestly been hoping that that either Lucius or Narcissa would have taken the time to make sure their son understood how to properly play court games.

As it was, Malfoy's only redeeming quality, his way of assaulting Harry Potter with little to no repercussions had effectively been neutralized by Davis' little notch in her belt. Not that he expected Malfoy or most of the other younger Slytherins from realizing it. At least, he didn't expect them to realize it until after the older Slytherins corrected them.

Which meant, while the rest of them dug their own graves, all he had to do was lean back, smile, and point out they'd brought it all on themselves to increase his own standing.

"Whatever has Malfoy in such a twist?" Daphne Greengrass asked as she settled into a seat near, but not quite next to Blaise.

"He's upset that Potter's outclassing him." Blaise stated negligently, ignoring how Malfoy's face colored even more. "And trying to think of a way he can have his revenge."

"Ah." Daphne rolled her eyes and nodded as she settled back in her seat. "Please, Malfoy, do go on, and regale us with how you plan your revenge."

Blaise chuckled a bit at the patronizing tone in Daphne's voice as he looked at Draco expectantly. "Well, you heard the lady, Malfoy. Regale away."

Malfoy glared at them both, his jaw clenched and his eyes burning before he forced himself to straighten up and looked down at Blaise and Daphne. "Malfoys do not reveal their plans to such fair weather company."

With that said, he turned and walked off, visibly straining on refraining from storming out.

"My, that was almost an appropriate insult. Will wonders never cease." Blaise noted as he pursed his lips thoughtfully.

"Well now, I'm almost inclined to start believing that perhaps Tracey was onto something after all." Daphne noted as she tossed her hair over her shoulder and sniffed. "If only she hadn't been making claims about Potter and Weasley actually being something to worry about."

"Considering what Potter did to Malfoy on the train?" Blaise pointed out, smirking in amusement. "I saw the end results of what Potter's little ward did to him. He couldn't find a student that could help reverse all of them. Had to have it done by Snape."

"Really?" Daphne arched a brow speculatively. "My, Snape must have loved that. Knowing that Potter was getting away with humiliating one of us yet again. Even if it was just Malfoy, once more."

"I'm fairly certain he kept from admitting that part of it." Blaise stated with a chuckle. "Malfoy, admitting to Snape of all people that Potter had gotten the best of him again? That would be like admitting to his father about it."

"True, I suppose." Daphne admitted with a sigh. "A shame that. I had hoped he would've made enough of a fool of himself to earn a-- counselling session with our head of house."

"Who knows, with how things are working out, we might just see it." Blaise stated with a chuckle. "I doubt that Malfoy will be able to refrain from trying to sabotage them, simply because he can't stand being upstaged by Potter of all people."

"Still, Tracey was making such extravagant claims-- Like that Potter and Weasley of all people were creating custom potions and spells of all things." Daphne rolled her eyes as she casually twisted a lock of hair.

"Interesting." Blaised stated neutrally as he seemed to consider the idea. "That would be a rather-- drastic change in behavior and attitude."

"I know." Daphne agreed before frowning. "She actually laughed at me when I didn't believe her."

That caught Blaise's attention as he quickly looked over at Daphne.

"I dismissed it at first. I mean, honestly. Ronald Weasley? Potions of all things?" Daphne continued frowning slightly. "But she was-- It sounds so ridiculous. Even when she pointed out what all of his older brothers have done."

"Indeed." Blaise frowned a bit at the thought. It was rather far fetched.

"And she called Potter dangerous. Like she was expecting him to do something when the idiots like Malfoy tried something." She frowned, chewing on her lower lip. "I mean-- it's Potter! Him, dangerous? He's gotten lucky in the past, sure, but--"

Blaise nodded his head again, but looked thoughtful.

"She's gone soft in the head, hasn't she?" There was almost a tremor of worry in Daphne's voice, but she had managed to suppress it.

"Mmm." Blaised hummed without commitment, looking out into the distance. "I think-- that the ones who are going to cause trouble with Davis are going to do it no matter how much they're warned against it. And we'll see the truth of things when they do."

Daphne almost looked uncertain, before nodding her head in acceptance. "Of course."

Blaise reflected that perhaps this year was going to be more-- engaging than he had previously thought.

Posted: 5:36 PM - Mar 09, 2016


Severus Snape frowned as he looked over his fourth year Gryffindor/Slytherin class. Granger was sitting a distance away from the Potter brat and the Weasley, a pleasant surprise, though perhaps not as pleasant as it could be, if she decided she had to compensate for no longer looking after them. However, Tracey Davis had taken up the seat next to Weasley, dragging a not quite completely unwilling Daphne Greengrass with her.

Fortunately, that kept Greengrass far enough away that even if Davis managed to convince her to, she would not be able to effectively help the two dunderheads.

To begin with though-- "Weasley! Since you have apparently developed some grasp of finally taking notes, perhaps you could explain to the rest of the class why the instructions on the board state to dice instead of crush the berries?"

"Because otherwise you don't properly cut up the seeds and instead of creating an emulsifier, it'll make it acidic when you put it on the heat, which will melt your stirring stick and unless you immediately get it off the heat, eat through your cauldron, your desk, the floor--"

Weasley didn't even seem to hesitate in his response as he frowned. "Though, if you add some ginger shavings, you could stabilize it enough to recover the original potion, but it'd also add another dozen steps or so."

Snape blinked. He wasn't the only one of course, but he did not openly gape at the boy who had given the most thorough answer to question he'd had out of the class in the entire four years he'd been struggling with having to hammer in an understanding of his art into their empty skulls. Still, that was unexpected.

Though, he had to admit, a part of him was smirking viciously at the Granger swot's gobsmacked expression.

Potter's smug look of satisfaction killed that though.

"Adequate." Snape stated succinctly, lips pressed into a thin line before turning back to the board. "Perhaps this year we can do without the utterly dismal failures your potions have been in the past."

He wanted to grin triumphantly as Potter had to put his hand on the other boy's arm in warning, as the Weasley's face turned a bright red while a number of his Slytherins snickered in amusement.

Finally, Weasley gritted out a response. "That is the plan, Sir."

Grudgingly, Snape nodded his head in acknowledgement, before gesturing with his wand towards the boards with instructions. "Well? Are all perhaps expecting me to come over and explain every little thing to you? Perhaps hold your hands every step of the way, hmm?"

And they burst into activity at that. Well, most of them did. Potter and Weasley were calmer, more confidant. They took the time to select the most compatible ingredients, not necessarily the best, but the ones that would be the most compatible with each other. Then they picked out a few small things that would help remove the impurities from the lower quality ingredients.

It was not something he bothered to teach his students. If they didn't have the ambition and initiative to look into such things, he wasn't going to waste his time doing it. The fact that the only ones who had bothered to were Weasley and Potter of all people galled him.

Shaking his head in irritation, he turned and looked at the rest of the students. Granger and the others had all scrambled to get the ingredients in the best condition, not bothering to check to see how well they'd work with the others. He sneered as he realized his own Slytherins were doing much the same.

He almost growled and stalked back to his desk as he watched them all rush to get started.


It was the best potion of the lot.

Severus Snape examined it, noting the color, the sheen, the consistency. A quick sniff indicated it had the slight hint of sweetness indicating that it was, in fact, stronger than the recipe he'd set out should be. And the blasted little brats knew it.

He simply set it down and glared at them as he moved on to the next.

He wouldn't even grant them the satisfaction of accidentally destroying the potion.

The little bastards were practically daring him to.

And Davis--

She was absolutely smug. She was also intelligent enough to direct the smugness not at him, but at her fellow Slytherins. Apparently, she had known about this.

Judging by the looks on Greengrass and Zabini's faces they at least had been told, and had likely disregarded it.

Draco looked ready to spit fiendfyre based on how he was glaring at Weasley and Potter's potion. He had tried his usual antics of throwing ingredients towards their cauldron, only to find that they were deflected by a subtle ward designed to prevent just such an action. And as it was also specifically designed to not react to all but the most sensitive ingredients, he couldn't tear into them for using it.

At least not with Davis there. While he had little doubt that he could effectively spend the time ridiculing the boys as James Potter and Sirius Black had him, Davis would likely take exception. Then she would actually do something. And knowing her, it would be something that Dumbledore could not so easily sweep under the rug.

So, for now, he would play nice as it were. No matter how he wished otherwise. Their little star would only shine for so long. Two years ago had certainly proven that. So, for the moment he would hold his tongue, he would wait.

They would find that he would most certainly remember.


"You do realize he's going to try and figure out how to utterly destroy you two now, yes?" Davis asked as she arched a brow at Ron and Harry as they finished exiting the potions classroom and had made it far enough away to not be overheard by Snape.

"Worth it." Harry stated simply before shrugging a bit. "He was going to do it anyway. After the last three years of everything, I don't really feel worried."

"And, what, he's going to do worse than doing stuff like take points for breathing too hard, throw out detentions for every little petty thing he can and encourage every bit of sabotage against us he can?" Ron added as he gave Tracey a look.

"Well, yes." Tracey admitted. "And he'll probably try to make your lives as miserable as he can."

"How is that any different than what he was doing previously?" Harry asked as he arched a brow. "He already made it clear he hated me. He went out of his way to pretty much make things as difficult as possible during class. He would accidentally drop my potions and count them as incomplete--"

"I really don't see how this is going to be any different." Ron agreed with a shrug. "Other than the fact it's because we did something right for a change instead of letting him screw us up because he's pissed at us for what other people did to him."

"Ugh, I am going to have to deal with so much trouble because of you two." Tracey griped as she glared at them both before her shoulders slumped. "How's the potion coming anyway?"

"So far?" Harry glanced at Ron, who shrugged his shoulders. "Looks good as far as we can tell, the steps are working out correctly. It took the Siren's Hair without a problem and that was the tricky part."

"Right." Ron nodded his head. "Shouldn't be any real hiccups. Most of its keeping it slowly simmering at this point. We'll add in a few ingredients at certain points during the rest of the brewing time."

"And when are you going to figure out how to actually use it?" Tracey pressed as she arched a brow at the two of them.

"Oh, I got that figured out a while ago." Harry stated as he waved his hand dismissively, before looking around and smiling as he cast the now familiar privacy charm and whispered into her ear.

Tracey stared at him for a moment. Then, she opened her mouth, as if to refute his statement, then closed it again with a thoughtful look. Then, grudgingly, she nodded her head. "I suppose that could actually work."

"Suppose?" Harry asked, looking slightly hurt tone.

"When you're involved, nothing is certain." Tracey stated flatly. "I'm more worried about how this is inevitably going to go off the rails."

"Not everything I'm involved in goes off the rails." Harry protested with another grumble.

"Until I see otherwise, I'm not going to believe it." Tracey stated with a huff, before smirking a bit. "Though, I have to say the look on Daphne and Blaise's faces was priceless. I don't think they believed me when I said you two had changed."

"I still don't believe it half the time." Ron noted with a shrug before pondering. "We want to lead up with anything else before we try this one?"

"Don't wanna tip our hand." Harry stated with a shake of his head. "Big start, giving them just long enough to get lulled into a false sense of security before we start anything."

"Sounds about right." Tracey agreed with a nod of her head before sighing. "This does mean that I'll have to deal with even more of the stupidity for another week, doesn't it."

"A bit more." Ron added with a shrug. "Won't be ready until the Harvest Moon."

"Fine." Tracey stated with a huff. "Hopefully it won't get too out of control because of Harry."

Harry just glowered back at Tracey as he cancelled out the privacy spell.


Draco Malfoy glared as he watched the three members of the "Committee" walked away under some sort of charm that prevented him from understanding exactly what they were saying. Today-- He wasn't sure how it happened. Somehow the scar-head and the weasel had managed to brew a potion that was better than his own.

And the Weasley had actually been able to answer one of Snape's questions! Not only that, he'd added something that Snape hadn't corrected as wrong. Something even he didn't know. That wasn't right! Potions were his specialty!

Along with it, Potter had done something to their potion that had prevented anything he threw at the potion without either of them having to break their concentration in order to deflect them. Snape didn't even say anything about it! Whenever someone had used a spell like that in the past, Snape had immediately berated them and either taken points or assigned detention.

He'd seen Snape noticing it. He knew that the man knew that Potter had cast it. But, he didn't say anything about it!

It didn't make sense!

Nothing had made sense today. They were just-- Nothing made sense!

He growled, clenching his fists. This year, he was supposed to be able to prove he had his place in Slytherin, he was supposed to be on top. He was supposed to be the one shining in Slytherin, not Davis!

But everything was all wrong. His father had tried to insert himself into the committee as soon as he'd heard of it, only for some reason he'd been unable to. And Fudge had apparently been very nervous about it.

His father had been incredibly irritated that day, though Draco didn't understand why. He also didn't understand why suddenly his father's influence had been blocked. Then he'd been told the galling news that Potter of all people was one of the people who would be serving on it.

How could Potter of all people chosen over him!?

He was a stupid, lazy, empty headed, mudblood loving Gryffindor!

Then there had been the train. The Merlin forsaken train. Somehow, Potter had decided that he would be suddenly warding his compartment. He wasn't even sure where he even learned how to do it! The idiot had taken Divination of all things as his second elective!

What was worse, he had to actually go to Snape to have that change of voice. And thanks to Blaise, everyone knew it. He had to do something, and soon.

If he didn't-- There was no way he was going to let Potter get everyone thinking he was better than a Malfoy! He would humiliate the little half blood. No matter what!


"I am so very tempted to poison you." Severus Snape stated as he glared coldly at Fillius Flitwick. "With the most excruciatingly painful thing I can come up with.

"Really, Severus, my boy?" Fillius asked as he cheerfully twirled his want between his fingers and smiled at him. "And you think you'd be able to stop me from hitting you with a curse that would clamp up every one of your muscles, then turn your intestines into a mild acid that slowly leaked out of your overly clenched buttocks?"

"There is a reason it's a temptation I am currently resisting." Snape responded with a barely restrained growl. "You're teaching Weasley and Potter."

"So are you." Flitwick responded with a chuckle and a smile as he watched Severus with the glint of high amusement.

"You know exactly what I mean." Snape's sour look only grew more puckered as he glared at the man. "The students you're giving the extra lessons in, the esoteric potions lessons. Weasley and Potter."

"And Davis." Flitwick stated without even a shred of shame. "She's a bit behind the boys, but hopefully she'll catch up. They were very motivated to learn what I offered."

Snape clenched his teeth at the statement and his fists balled together. "Why?"

"Why?" Flitwick asked as if it was the most alien thing he had ever heard. "Really, Severus, you have to ask?"

"Would I be if I know how your twisted mind works?" Snape growled out.

"Because I'm a teacher." Flitwick stated simply. "When I see potential starting to be explored, I enjoy encouraging it, I love to watch it grow, and grow and grow. I want to see it be the best that it can be."

"Wasting your time, feeding the egos of--" Snape's voice suddenly cut off as he found his whole body frozen in place as Flitwick's smile took on a decidedly cooler edge.

He hadn't even seen the spell cast.

"Severus, I tolerate your childishness because I pity the things you endured to make you the man you are today." Flitwick stated with that same smile on his face. "I tolerate your treatment of my Ravens, both because I understand you are not in a position you desire, and they need to learn to overcome and endure adversity."

There was a pause before he calmly gestured with his wand and Snape collapsed to the floor, his body no longer stiff, but still completely beyond his control, every muscle in his limbs and face refusing to respond to his screaming mental demands.

"However, you seem to be under a very mistaken impression that I am Albus, and that tolerance extends to the lengths that he allows you." Flitwick smiled down at the man lain helpless before him. "And that I will somehow allow a crippled dog so lost in his own pain to cripple others so they are as destroyed as he is."

He lightly tapped Snape's cheek with the side of his wand. "What happened to you was a tragedy, Severus. A great deal of it though, was your own foolishness, and your own arrogance. I feel for you, I truly do. But I will put you down before I allow you to destroy them simply because you want to destroy who they represent to you."

Straightening up them, he smiled cheerfully. "Now, enough with that unpleasantness, hmm? We do have a meal to attend, and we wouldn't want to leave the house elves feeling underappreciated, would we?"

It was only a few minutes after Flitwick had cheerfully departed the scene that Snape regained the ability to move his body under his own accord. When he did, he took a slow, deep breath and centered himself. His face turned into a blank mask, and he stood up, gesturing to his robes, banishing the dust and dirt from them as he viciously forced down the fear, anger and hatred bubbling up inside of him.

It was a moment later that he coolly walked out of the room and headed towards the main hall.


A little under two weeks later, Harry studied a piece of parchment in his hands as he and Ron stood there in an apparently empty corridor and pursed his lips as Ron looked back at him with an arched brow. After a few moments, Harry finally nodded his head. Ron immediately grinned.

"So, we just have to finish the potion tonight, right? With the Harvest Moon, everything should be set--" Ron stated quickly as he rubbed his hands together.

"As long as we get it just right." Harry agreed, not bothering to whisper as he agreed with Ron. "We'll do the last steps then let it set overnight. As long as nothing goes wrong, tomorrow we'll have the perfect potion for the assignment Flitwick gave us."

"Hang that." Ron stated with a huff. "Think about what'll happen when we show it to the teachers from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang!"

Harry nodded his head. "True enough. Though, we need to actually finish it first."

"Meh. At this point we just have a few steps and we're done. As long as someone doesn't come along and snatch it, it'll be fine." Ron said as he waved his hand dismissively.

"Ugh, don't say that." Harry shook his head and groaned. "You're gonna jinx it."

"Fine." Ron stated with a grumble. "Come on, let's go get it taken care of."

A short distance away, pressed into an alcove, Draco's eyes narrowed, before his lips pulled back into a wicked grin.

"Crabbe, Goyle." He stated quickly and quickly. "Go back to the common room. I'll catch up with you in a bit."

"Um--" Goyle opened his mouth to protest, before Crabbe gave him a look and shook his head.

"Fine." Crabbe said as he took hold of Goyle's shoulder and led him off.

When they were out of range of Draco's hearing, Goyle looked at Crabbe questioningly. "Why'd ya do that? Aren't we supposed to--?"

"He's got to do this himself." Crabbe stated simply. "That way, if he pulls it off? He gets all the credit himself."

"But if he doesn't--" Goyle started to protest again.

"Then we don't get blamed along with him." Crabbe pointed out firmly. "Remember what the 7th years said."

"Right." Goyle slowly nodded his head.

Draco followed the two Gryffindors as discreetly as he could as they moved to one of the currently unused sections of the castle. He frowned as he went, as a part of him wondered exactly where they were going. Another part of him was exulting that they hadn't been working on their potion in their dormitory, though, he supposed that was because they didn't want it to be messed with by the twins. Or it was something they shouldn't be making to begin with.

Though, considering it was Potter and Weasley, he doubted that.

They also didn't seem in the least bit concerned about keeping it a secret. Well other than the fact that they had moved to an isolated part of the castle for their talk before taking a route that was rather unused by most people. To a part of the castle no one went to.

He grimaced and glared as he moved in after them, and found them entering into what he assumed to be a class room. Moving around, he found that there seemed to be, in fact, more than one entrance to it. Moving to one of the others, he crouched down out of sight and peered in.

The classroom had a set up that was even more impressive than Snape's. At least, the one that the regular students saw in the potions lab.

"How's the first distillate?" Ron asked as he hovered over Harry's shoulder. "Has the reaction--?"

"Yes, Ron." Harry stated as he rolled his eyes. "Just like you figured it would. Weren't you the one that said we just have to do a few steps and we're done?"

"Yes, well then I remembered what those steps were." Ron responded as he sighed. "Look, the other distillates are finished. Have we got the drips set right?"

"Triple checked." Harry agreed with a nod as he lifted up a glass bottle holding a shimmering silver liquid before carefully pouring it into the glassware at the top, with circling tubbing running down to a drip nozzle hovering over a heated flask.

Around it, were two other identical set ups, one a vivid blue with the other apparently filled twice as full as the others with an almost clear liquid appearing slightly sea green. Looking at each other, they nodded their heads, before carefully activating the nozzles in a very precise manner. When finished, one drop of the vivid blue liquid would drop, followed by the almost clear one, then followed by the silver, and then again by another drop of the almost clear liquid, before the process repeated.

Draco-- had never even heard of something like this. Snape had hinted at alternate brewing techniques not covered in the class, but that had been it. Because he'd never put more emphasis on it, he'd never bothered to look into it himself.

Slowly though, the flask was filled. Each drop of the three liquids gave off rippling waves of iridescence that caught the light of what Draco realized with the rising Full Moon, shining through a window left open behind the whole operation. Remembering their words, he frowned again.

Where did they learn this?

"Huh, is that good or bad?" Harry asked as he looked at Ron.

Ron stared at the colors intently, before looking at a leather journal with a slightly stained cover, then looked back at it, eyes widening. "-- It means we did it just right. I-- I didn't bloody think we'd get it this right. I thought we'd get a couple of colors. Bloody hell. This is going to be amazing!"

Harry rolled his eyes before looking at a piece of parchment that Draco couldn't really see well. "Well, so far at least things seem to be working out how they should."

"Good." Ron stated as he watched in silence until the last of the distillates finally finish draining into the potion, then waited for the last shimmer to fade before picking up a nearby vial and carefully pouring some kind of ground powder into it the flask.

A dark sea green then flowed through the potion, until it consumed the entire contents, leaving it a dark, murky looking blue-green substance.

"Right, that's it then?" Harry asked as he cast a spell to note the time and sighed. "About bloody time. Good thing we don't have to worry about curfew."

"It just needs to set overnight under that heat." Ron agreed with a nod of his head as he took an odd looking stopper and gingerly picked the flask up by its neck and carried it over to a low heat burner under some kind of hood. "And that's that. Should be done about midnight."

"Then, I think it's time we headed out." Harry stated as he looked up from his parchment, before folding it up and tapping it with his wand as he muttered something Draco couldn't hear. "Shall we?"

"Yeah. Let's. I have to finish up the extra parchment Flitwick added to our homework. Bloody sadist."

"Don't I know it." Harry agreed as he moved towards the door they'd entered in.

"You two again?" A new voice cut in just as they'd moved past the door, one Draco realized was Filch as his eyes widened. "Always after hours, flaunting that bloody curfew, and the fact that you can just ignore it!"

"Mr. Filch." Draco could hear Potter's voice responding. "We're just finishing up. Going to do your usual search and check?"

"Of course, it's my job isn't it?" Filch demanded, before his voice actually softened. "At least you little brats clean up after yourselves. Mrs. Norris can still smell all the other little brats out of bounds because there aren't any bloody potions fumes getting in the way."

Realizing that if he was going to do anything about that potion, he would have to get in, grab it and run, Draco quickly stood up. Just knocking the potion over and ruining it wouldn't be enough. That wouldn't make them look like failures.

As he quietly darted into the room, he grabbed hold of the flask and quickly moved back towards the exit.

"Now, off with you!" Draco could hear Filch dismissing the two, and after a few moments, spoke up again. "Damned brats. Doing Merlin knows what here in this part of the castle. Not even letting me drag them down to the dungeons."

A moment later Draco heard a very familiar meow. "What's that? Another student? One out of bounds?"

Draco's eyes widened, before he clasped the flask and took off running.

It took him a bit longer than he was used to, navigating not quite familiar corridors, but he quickly found his way back to the entrance to the common room before gasping out the password and ducking inside as quickly as he could.

"My, Malfoy, out of bounds after curfew?" Blaise Zabini looked up from his book, where he was comfortably relaxing in a plush chair and arching a brow at him. "You did managed to at least avoid getting caught I hope?"

Draco took a moment to recenter himself, taking a deep, deep breath before straightening up and smoothing his robes. "Of course I wasn't caught. I'm not a bloody Gryffindor."

"Of course, of course." Zabini agreed, smirking back at him before turning his attention back to his book. "Do try to remember that you should at least try to give the impression you're a Slytherin, hmm?"

Jaw clenching and eyes burning, Draco didn't bother to respond as he immediately stalked off to his room.

Once there, he set the flask down on his desk and stared at it.

He had never heard of a potion like this. As such, he was rather limited on his options. So, he quickly opened up his potion's case and studied his ingredients. It would require the use of the more stable, powerful ingredients. Ones that wouldn't cause the potion to explode or melt down.

He grimaced. And that meant expensive. Still, if it caused Potter and Weasley to lose face it would be worth it.

Powered dryad bone was the first thing sprinkled in. Then there was protean ichor. After that he debated, before adding in some sphinx fur and lamia scales.

Once that was done. He pushed the stopper back into the potion and viciously shook the potion for a short bit of time. When he finished he set the flask back onto the desk and looked it over. It was now a murky red instead of a blue.

Smiling in satisfaction, he put it back down on his desk and leaned back. That should do it. Hopefully the idiots would test this on themselves, or someone else that would get them in trouble.

Satisfied that when he replaced it in the morning it would not be what they had expected, he put the flask aside and went to work on finishing up his homework.

Several hours later, after the inhabitants of Slytherin had gone to sleep, at the twelfth chime of midnight, the stopper of the flask changed, and a soft hissing could be heard as a murky red mist began to flow out of the flask and then quickly began to move through Draco's room.

Then, it began to spread. Moving past the first room, into another, and another. Long disabled security wards, meant to segregate the various students and any potential contamination did nothing to impede the spread, as it moved to every single room in the dorms. Male, and female.

After a few hours, the mist finally dissipated, leaving behind only a slightly sticky red residue, and its lingering effects.

One of which, was discovered with a scream the next morning.

Posted: 5:37 PM - Mar 09, 2016


Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley did their best to not look over at the Slytherin table when they went down to breakfast. In fact, they made a point of heading straight to the Gryffindor table and taking a seat before they so much as looked at the other tables. Only, they immediately froze when they realized something was wrong.

"Oi, where're all the Slytherins?" Ron asked as he looked around the table.

"No clue." One of the twins answered with a shrug. "When we came down, there wasn't a single one there. Hasn't been one showing up since."

The other turned and eyed the two of them. "You wouldn't have any idea why that is, would you?"

"Perhaps some diabolical plot to prank all of the Slytherins?" The first prompted with a grin.

"Are you barmy?" Ron stated, staring at the two. "Tracey's a Slytherin! Why would we do something to all of them? Do you have any idea what she'd do to us if we targeted her too?"

"He does have a point, Fred." The twin identifying himself as George noted with a nod of his head and a light tapping of his chin. "That does seem a bit counterproductive."

"Ah, but they've been hanging around with a Slytherin, they could be getting all sneaky and have her take the fall with the rest so they're in the clear." Fred pointed out. "It would be a nice bit of cunning, wouldn't you say?"

"That would imply that Tracey's the type willing to just take one for the team like that." Ron countered back and looked at them. "You've met her, you really think that's her?"

"Our Ronniekins does have a point, Fred." George noted with a nod. "Anything to add, Harrykins?"

"-- Why would I want to make enemies of an entire house when I only have problems with some of them?" Harry asked, staring at them both. "I only want to get some of them."

"Especially Malfoy." Ron added with a nod of his head.

"Especially Malfoy." Harry agreed with a slight grin.

"Do we believe them?" Fred asked as he looked at George.

"POTTER!!" Snape's voice screamed out as he stormed into the Great Hall, face an uncustomary hue of red.

"I find myself leaning towards no." George responded as they looked at Snape with an arched brow, watching the show curiously.

"I WILL SEE YOU EXPELLED FOR THIS!!" Snape's voice almost echoed through the Great Hall.

"-- For what?" Harry asked, looking confused.

Snape's face darkened for a moment, before he took a slow, deep breath, forcing himself to calm down, slamming down the icy grip of his occlumancy on his emotions and shunting them away. "You know exactly what you did, Potter."

"No, I don't." Harry disagreed with a shake of his head.

"Severus." Dumbledore's voice cut in as he appeared behind the man. "Please calm yourself down. We don't know the full extent of what happened yet."

"Malfoy told us enough! He got that potion from Potter!" Snape snapped back at the man. "I demand he be--!"

"What potion?" Harry cut in. "I haven't given anyone, especially Malfoy a potion. Of any kind."

"Harry, my boy, were you and young Ronald brewing a potion in secret?" Dumbledore asked gently as he put his hand on Snape's shoulder, reminding the man of his presence.

"In secret? No, sir. We have been brewing a potion, but Professor Flitwick knew we were brewing it. He gave us permission to use the lab in the workshop classroom." Harry stated as he looked at Ron. "We just finished it last night, we left it in the classroom, with an internal heating spell on it to finish the last bit of brewing. It should've vented into the hood it was under last night so it could be collected and condensed back into a potion."

"That was what it was designed to do. You charmed the stopper and everything, I saw you." Ron agreed. "And I know we left it under the hood. We left it there last night, and it was just us there. You can ask Filch."

"What was the purpose of this potion, Ronald?" Dumbledore asked gently as he affixed Ron with a look.

"It supposed to give the drinker a beautiful singing voice." Ron agreed before bowing his head. "Admittedly, it would be a female singing voice, but--"

"And if someone inhaled the vapors instead of drinking it?" Dumbledore pressed as he looked at the boys intently.

Ron pulled out his journal and looked over the formula to verify for himself before looking back up. "Well, it would give them high voices. That's about it."

"-- Why would you create a potion like that?" Dumbledore asked, arching a brow.

"-- Because it's a sympathetic trinary potion and we got the idea and it wouldn't go away?" Ron offered with a shrug of his shoulders.

"-- Sympathetic, trinary potion." Dumbledore repeated as he stared at the boys. Snape, had just gone pale.

"Err, yes?" Ron agreed. "I figured if nothing else, an otherwise permanent, but easily reversible potion would be popular? Don't girls like to sing and stuff?"

Dumbledore's thoughts immediately went to the previous night. "-- And you used the Harvest moon to empower the sympathetic properties."

"Yup." Harry agreed with a nod. "We started brewing it on the new moon."

"Oh, Dear." Dumbledore mumbled.

"They are obviously lying." Snape stated with a growl. "There is absolutely no reason for such a potion to make use of protean ichor."

"Wait, wot?" Ron asked in confusion. "Protean Ichor?"

"Yes, Weasley, protean ichor." Snape snarled back. "We found it in the residue covering the entire slytherin dormitory!"

"We didn't use protean ichor." Ron stated looking absolutely confused. "There wasn't any reason to add it. I know I didn't-- Harry?"

"Hey, why're you looking at me? I just did the wand-work and added what you told me to." Harry stated defensively. "There's no way that I added something like that."

"Harry." Dumbledore stated quietly. "I want you to picture the potion as you last saw it then look in my eyes. I want to see your memory of it."

"Err-- you can do that?" Harry asked, eyes wide.

"With your permission." He amended with a nod.

"Ok--" Harry focused on the image of the potion, the murky blue-green color it had become when he'd left it in the flash under the hood before leaving last night.

He felt-- something in his mind for a moment, a brushing tingle over his thoughts, in particular his memory of the potion before it withdrew.

"Well?" Snape demanded with Dumbledore broke eye contact and straightened up.

"Mr. Weasley, I will need your notes on the creation of the potion." Dumbledore stated with a grave look on his face.

"Err, I can make a copy, right? My journal is under a privacy ward." Ron stated.

"As long as you make an oath that it is indeed the complete recipe you used, yes." Dumbledore agreed.

Snape frowned at that, he did not seem to like the direction the confrontation was heading. "Headmaster, I must insist--"

"Severus." Dumbledore cut him off quietly. "We will need to have further words with Draco. I have a terrible suspicion that he has done something very foolish."

"You cannot be just believing them!" Snape protested.

"Like you're just believing young Draco?" Dumbledore countered with an arched brow before flicking his wand and a silver phoenix burst from its tip to fly off. "I have just sent a message requesting Argus' presence. He can verify when the two left the classroom and if they were alone or not."

"Very well." Snape stated with gritted teeth before sending a glare at Harry and then stalking out of the Great Hall.

"Headmaster?" Harry spoke up, worriedly. "What happened?"

"I am afraid, my boy, that I cannot tell you at this time." Dumbledore stated simply. "Though, I must ask you to check on your potion and contact Fillius with all of your notes on what you were working on as well. As soon as possible."

"Errr-- ok--?" Harry agreed with a look of confusion, prompting Dumbledore to nod and make his own exit.

Once the headmaster was gone, Fred turned to Harry and Ron with a look of awe on his face. "What did you two do?"

"Errr, Fred?" Ron asked tentatively. "We literally told him exactly what the potion would do. Exactly."

"Wait, really?" George asked as he looked at Harry for confirmation.

"Yes." Harry agreed with a nod. "And even then, there's no way it should've spread enough to well-- affect all that!"

He gestured towards the empty Slytherin table before looking back at Ron. "And we sure as hell didn't use any protean ichor. Right?"

"Right." Ron agreed.

"But you did give the potion to Malfoy, right?" Fred tried a different angle, looking hopeful.

"Bloody hell no!" Harry shook his head quickly. "Why would we give something, anything to Malfoy! Not only would he not trust it, but he'd try to throw it in our faces just to try and embarrass us!"

"Ah." George nodded his head, before throwing up a privacy charm Harry was familiar with. "So you tricked him into it?"

"I'm sure I have would have no idea what you could possibly be implying. At no time did I ever talk to Draco about the potion. Never once did I advise him to take it, or acquire it in anyway. All Ron and I did was have a conversation about it once, without any wards." Harry stated carefully.

"Now, if someone happened to overhear that conversation, we certainly can't be held responsible." Ron agreed with a nod. "And any actions they took at that point were completely and totally their own."

"-- George?" Fred said carefully as he looked at his brother.

"Already have them completely and totally written off each and every possible experiment and prank we might've had slated for them." George agreed with a nod.

"Good. The ickle ones are downright scary." Fred agreed before cancelling the spell.

"What did you two do?!" Any further conversation was cut off as Hermione's voice sharp voice cut in.

"We designed and brewed a potion for giving women a beautiful singing voice, Hermione." Ron stated with a shrug before starting to dig into his food.

"It sounds like someone stole it, changed it and released it in the Slytherin dungeons." Harry agreed as he ate his own food with a frown. "We're going to be giving our notes on it to Professor Flitwick after we finish breakfast."

"-- To give women a beautiful singing voice." Hermione repeated, staring at Ron and Harry. "Why would you even make something like that?"

"Because we needed a proof of concept for a project." Harry stated as he looked up at her. "We came up with the idea because of an assignment Flitwick gave us."

"And we then wanted to make sure that we were actually right about it." Ron added with a shrug. "After that, it kind of snowballed into us having to do a research paper on it."

"Not to mention getting eviscerated for poorly organizing the paper." Harry agreed with a wince.

"Bloody sadist." Ron agreed with a nod.

"This was for one of your pranks, wasn't it?" Hermione said challengingly as she looked at them both.

"Right, you caught us, Hermione." Ron stated as he sighed and looked at her. "We about killed ourselves writing 12 feet each on books we were giving in three days' time, agreed to completely redo them, adding an additional six feet on top of it, on how they could be combined, and spent 2 weeks actually brewing the potion we developed, just for a prank."

Hermione opened her mouth, then shut it and blushed slightly. "-- You could've just said no."

Ron looked at Harry, before Harry sighed. "And would you have believed us if we had just said no?"

"It's been over two weeks now and you haven't pulled a single prank yet." Hermione countered.

"We've pulled several, thank you very much." Harry stated with a grumble. "We pranked Malfoy by warding our compartment on the train. We pranked Snape by making the best potion and answering questions he wanted us to get wrong. We pranked the twins by terrifying them with all the ways we can prank them."

"And a very good prank it was." George agreed with a nod and a shiver.

"We don't have to make it obvious we're pranking people to prank them, Hermione." Ron stated with a shrug. "That's only if we want to draw attention."

"Which at the moment, we really wouldn't want." Harry agreed before finishing his eggs and grabbing several strips of bacon. "Now, we need to go and check on the lab we've been using and get our notes together for Professor Flitwick."

"But-- bacon--?" Ron protested mildly as he gestured towards the sizable pile of said fried meat.

"It's bacon. It's portable." Harry pointed out before elbowing him in the side. "Come on, the sooner we get this done, the sooner it's over with."

"Fine." Ron stated with a huff as he grabbed the strips. "But you owe me more bacon."

Hermione just stared at the two as they walked away, their voices lowering into hushed tones she couldn't hear.

"You know, Hermione." Fred stated as he caught his chin on his knuckles. "I'm wondering, when did you develop this horrible desire to destroy your relationship with your best mates?"

"I'm kind of wondering that myself, Fred." George agreed with a nod as he adopted a similar pose to his brother. "Because, at your current pace, they're going to give up on making up with you and just move on entirely."

"I'm not going to just let them turn out like you two!" She protested. "You both completely bombed your OWLs! I heard your mother complaining about it!"

"Hermione, m'dear, our dear, ickle Ronniekins and Harrykins aren't looking to turn into us." Fred disagreed with a shake of his head. "They're looking to turn into something like Harry's parents and Sirius Black were. And, Harry's parents were the Head students of their year. Boy and Girl. And at least he was a prankster like them."

"Quite right." George agreed. "Not everyone has the same motivations and what not. They found one that works for them. Best you leave it to them."

"You shouldn't just toss away the rules whenever you feel like it." Hermione disagreed. "There are times when it's necessary, but those are when it's life or death! You shouldn't be doing it just for fun or because you want some entertainment! That's not how the rules work."

"Well, you have your opinion about it." Fred stated with a shrug. "We have ours. And apparently, rarely shall the two meet."

"But, at least we tried, brother." George agreed with a nod of his head.

That said, the pair left Hermione to her own thoughts and musings. And as long as she remembered: breakfast.


Tracey groaned as she slowly woke up, her whole body feeling-- uncomfortably unclean. Her skin was sticky, as if she had been sweating all night. Her hair clung to her skin and her mouth was cottony and dry.

She did not like that.

Slowly pushing herself up, she groaned again and then slowly looked around the room. And immediately, she felt a surge of worry course through her veins. Everything was covered in light coating of a dark red film.

That-- was really not good.

"Greengrass." Her dry voice sounded-- different to her ears. She wasn't sure how much of it was whatever had her throat coated and caked as she woozily pushed herself up. "Wake up."

"Mmrphrgle?" The sound that came from the other bed sound, at least vaguely, like Daphne. "Too early."

"Greengrass, get up. We have a problem." Tracey was working saliva back into her mouth, making her voice a bit clearer, but still not sounding right. "Something's wrong."

"Wot?" A mussy head of pale golden blonde hair popped up from the covers before looking around. "-- Did we get pranked?"

"I don't know." Tracey admitted, before frowning. Daphne's hair was normally a shade darker, and not that-- even mussed up from sleep, it looked silken and shining. That wasn't right. "Something's wrong with your hair."

"Uh?" Daphne, her face still hidden behind a veil of hair lifted up a lock to get a closer look. "-- Huh. Not by much--"

Her voice trailed off as her head tilted towards Tracey and she got a good look at her. "-- Um-- Davis? That you?"

"--Who else would it be?" Tracey demanded with a grumble.

"A fae?" Daphne offered, still staring at her.

"-- Wot?" This time it was Tracey's turn to be utterly confused.

"We need a mirror." Daphne declared firmly before suddenly letting out a disgusted sound. "What is this?! It's all over my wand! EW!"

Tracey gingerly picked up her own wand, covered in that same red film and then carefully wiped it down on the inside of her sheets. Moving to the edge of her bed, the eyed the floor before muttering under her breath and casting the cleaning charm all the way up to one of the vanity mirrors in the room. Then, gingerly, she walked the clear path to the mirror.

Only, it too required her to clean it off before she could get a good look. What she saw gave her pause. The girl in her reflection was not her.

"What the bloody--?" She muttered, turning her head to one side, then the other, only to see the girl in the mirror do the exact same thing. "-- What happened?!"

"See why I asked?" Daphne appeared over her shoulder, hair pulled back into a rough pony tail, finally revealing her face.

The two girls in the mirror-- the blonde had a passing resemblance to Daphne. The red head though-- They were both absolutely beautiful. Vividly colored eyes, thick lashes, a flawless complexion, soft, pouting lips and hues on their skin as if they had already applied a light dusting of makeup.

"How did this happen?" Tracey demanded as she gingerly reached up and began to explore her face with her fingers. Touching the curves, feeling the smooth creamy skin, probing lightly onto the bones underneath.

"I haven't the faintest." Daphne answered as she studied her own reflection, taking the time to shift her face about, looking at it from various angles. "But, I have to say, I approve. I hope it lasts for a bit before it wears off."

Tracey vaguely nodded her head. This was-- She had no words to describe it. Frowning, she shifted her sleep wear about, before lifting it up and taking a look at her flesh beneath it.

"Feeling somewhat exhibitionistic, Davis?" Daphne asked with a bemused smirk on her lips.

"-- I think I gained a cup size." She stated blandly in response. "And I have no idea what my measurements are now."

"Mmm-- Better than they used to be, I'd wager." Daphne noted with a slight tapping of her lower lip, before she patted down her own body. "I think I have to admit, mine is the same. I do think I quite like this."

"Yes, yes, we look bloody fantastic." Tracey responded with a wave of her hand. "But, how did this bloody happen?!"

It was then that a knocking at the door and a slightly familiar voice called out. "House meeting. Now. Yes, your clothes don't fit anymore, no one's does. You can still put on a robe and get out here. Snape and the Headmaster are waiting."

That made them both blink slightly.

"-- Wait, this happened to the whole house?" Tracey repeated, her eyes going wide. "Does this mean everyone is--?"

"Mmm, the House of the Beautiful. I think I quite like that." Daphne noted with a slowly growing smirk. "I might actually start to be able stomach looking at some people!"

"Ugh, just what we need, Zabini being even more vain." Tracey stated with a grimace.

"-- That would be annoying, yes." Daphne admitted with a sigh. "Well, let's get dressed and see what in Merlin's name happened."

Posted: 5:37 PM - Mar 09, 2016


Draco Malfoy was not having good morning. In fact, that was the furthest thing from what he was experiencing. He had gone to bed assured of his vengeance against the half blood and the blood traitor. Only, he'd woken up to discover everything was wrong.

His entire room was covered in a sticky red residue he would later find out filled the entire Slytherin dormitories. It covered everything. Including his sheets and himself. It covered everything and it seeped in.

When he realized what was wrong, he couldn't help it, he'd screamed.

Only, it was a high pitched, melodic thing.

"Dammit, Malfoy, I'm trying to--" A husky girl's voice complained as a mocha skinned girl sat up in Blaise Zabini's bed. "-- I-- I--"

She gaped, staring at the blonde girl with silver eyes screaming her head off in Draco Malfoy's bed. "Who the bloody hell are you?"

The screaming finally cut short as Malfoy realized someone was speaking to him. Blinking wide silver eyes, Malfoy then narrowed his eyes. "Me? Who the hell are you?! Where's Zabini?!"

"I am Zabini! Who the bloody hell are you!?" The girl repeated with an angry growl.

"But, But-- You're a girl!" There was a pause, as the words sank into his mind and he realized that wasn't only reflecting on the girl. "I-- I'm a girl! Nononononono! I can't be a girl!"

Blaise Zabini blinked golden eyes before seeming to realize exactly what was being said. "-- What the hell?! How the hell did I become a girl?!"

"This is not-- this is not happening!" Draco stated, repeating the words to himself, over and over again. "Not happening, not happening, not happening."

"-- Malfoy?" Zabini finally seemed to realize as she blinked, then blinked again. "What in Merlin's bloody beard happened?!"

"I--" Malfoy's eyes finally fell on the now completely empty, covered in red residue flask on his desk. Completely empty. It clicked in his mind. "Potter! This is Potter's fault!"

"Potter?" That made Zabini stare at Malfoy. "How the bloody hell is this Potter's fault?!"

"His potion! His potion did this!" Malfoy declared. "This is all his fault!"

Zabini found that hard to believe. After all, the potion was here, now. In their room. And he found that he was most assuredly not happy with that.

"And, why is it here then?" Zabini demanded, forcing down the fear, panic and outrage he could feel swelling up inside of him.

That seemed to make Malfoy realize exactly how this looked, and how bad it could be. "He-- gave it to me."

"... Right, Potter just gave it to you. And you just accepted." Zabini repeated, glaring at Malfoy balefully.

"He did!" Malfoy protested.

"Whatever, put a bloody robe already. We need to report this to Snape." Zabini declared waspishly as he stood up, and immediately grimaced as his sleeping bottoms fell down. He did not need the visible reminder that he was no longer a he after all.

This-- was not what he wanted to deal with. He wanted this reversed. Now.

He ignored the way the robe reminded him how wrong his body was. He ignored how his shoes did not fit right. He ignored the way he couldn't even walk right.

He did not want to even think about this.

Unfortunately, he would quickly learn that he was not alone.

The meeting with Snape had led to Snape's cursory investigation. That had lead to him cursing the spawn of Potter a thousand times as whatever he'd discovered overwhelmed what passed for his objectivity. Then he had returned some time later with Dumbledore and then had gone into a much more detailed examination of the residue.

That unsettled Zabini, it unsettled him oh so very much.

Then, finally they had been summoned to a House meeting where Zabini discovered something absolutely horrifying. His entire house was now composed of girls. Incredibly beautiful, attractive girls of every particular type there might be. They all had one thing in common: they were all absolutely gorgeous.

And standing in the middle of them, like a pair of great imposing weed among a garden of flowers, stood Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore.

"Children." Dumbledore spoke in a gentle tone that carried through the air and immediately stilled their fearful chatter.

For as much as they mocked and derided the man, he was still a man with no small amount of influence and a terrifying amount of personal power. Dumbledore was still Dumbledore.

"As you have noticed, your house has been victim to a mishap." As always, Dumbledore was prone to understatement as he spoke to them. "Rest assured, we are working to resolve the issue, and figure out exactly what happened, and how to reverse it."

"What if we don't want it to be reversed?" The question was asked and quickly echoed by numerous sources around the room.

"I would hope that you would choose to be whom you were born as, instead of who you were after a magical accident--" He started answer.

"Are you kidding me? Do you know how much I would've killed to look like this before?!"


"I have bosoms now!"

"My legs are divine!"

"I'm beautiful!"

Dumbledore could already feel the headache starting to pound behind his eyes. Sighing he shook his head. "Be that as it may, I would like to know, exactly whom among you thought it would be a good idea to tear down the wards between dormitories?"

They all froze at that, no one saying anything, while the younger years looked confused. "What wards?"

Dumbledore froze at that, before turning his gaze slowly onto Severus whom shifted uncomfortably. "Severus. I believe I will be needing to have a word with you about your responsibilities as head of house."

When he saw Snape stiffly nod his head, he turned his attention to the rest of them. "If they had been up as they were intended to be, then the issue would not be so-- wide spread."

There was a pause and some 7th years shifted guiltily. Or at least Dumbledore could only assume they were 7th years. Shaking his head he sighed. "We have been given the original formula for the potion that was responsible for this."

Several of them looked hopeful for a moment, before the man frowned, heavily. "Unfortunately, someone had obviously altered it from its original state. In its original state, not only would the effect have been far different, it would have also spread far less. Unfortunately, it would seem that someone decided to take it upon themselves to alter the potion, likely without even knowing what it was originally."

"I didn't do anything! I just stole it from Potter and--!" The girl that Dumbledore knew to be Draco Malfoy stated in protest, despite never being accused of anything.

Dumbledore sighed and rubbed his face as everyone's faces turned towards Malfoy. "You do realize, Mr. Malfoy, I was attempting to keep your name from being mentioned as being involved, yes?"

Malfoy shrank down at the levelled glares angrily burning at his way.

"However, if I am not told exactly what was changed about this potion, then I will be unable to do anything to alter it. And I can assure you, based on the initial potion, the effects will be quite permanent."

"But--.!" Malfoy started to protest hers innocence before the glares around her made her shrink back. "I--"

"How much protean ichor did you add, Mr. Malfoy?" Dumbledore asked gently with a knowing look.

Malfoy's eyes went wide for a moment, mouth hanging open as she stared back at Dumbledore's knowing gaze, before shifting a bit. "I-- I don't know."

At the admission, Dumbledore sighed softly. "I suppose it would be too much to ask for you to have documented exactly what you did. We will need your memory of the event, Mr. Malfoy. So we can determine exactly what you did and when."

"-- And if I refuse?" Malfoy asked, her lips trembling as she tried to maintain some measure of defiance.

"Then, I'm afraid I will not be able to offer you any protection when word of your foolishness spreads." Dumbledore stated flatly as he gave the boy turned girl a look. "And I can already guarantee you that without my testimony of your willingness to help undo your blunder, you will find yourself having done a great deal to irrevocably ruin your own life and your family."

That simple blunt admission in front of the entirety of the Slytherin House would be redefine their impression of Albus Dumbledore as they realized that underneath the eccentric old wizard's surface, he was very much aware of how the world actually worked.

Suddenly, so many encounters, statements and actions by the man were rethought and reexamined. A new facet revealed to them suddenly gave them so much more insight into why he held the positions he did in their world. Reasons beyond his still legendary skills with his wand.

"Now then. For the rest of you, Sixth and Seventh years: I want you to help the younger years transfigure their robes to be presentable enough to have meals in the Great Hall." When the Slytherins immediately began to protest this, he simply gave them all a look. "I will be cancelling classes, however, we simply do not have the facilities to feed you all here. So, you will still be having your meals with the rest of the school. Meals that I believe a number of you are beginning to become aware you need."

A sea of blushes met his statement as he nodded his head in agreement to his own statement. "Good. Now, Mr. Malfoy, please come with me. Severus, I leave over seeing these children to you."

He turned and lead young Draco out of the room, leaving Snape behind to look over the remains of the Slytherin House with a cold, imperial glare. "I trust that you all understand that the Headmaster was not making a request?"

The Sixth and Seventh years gulped then nodded their heads in acceptance. One of them, however, raised a hand. "Sir? What was Malfoy on about? Talking about Potter?"

Snape sneered for a moment, before taking a slow, deep breath to calm himself. "Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley developed a potion as a proof of concept. It was for a project for Professor Flitwick. It would seem this potion ended up in Mr. Malfoy's possession, altered from the form that was intended."

The words were a ground out admission as he glared at them all. "Now, follow the Headmaster's instructions and take that as you will."

Tracey immediately headed back to her dorm room, only to find herself followed by both her roommate and a girl that Tracey could only guess was Blaise Zabini.

"What the hell is going on, Davis?" Zabini demanded as she slammed the door shut behind them.

Tracey just looked back at her, head tilting to the side as she narrowed her eyes into slits. "Are you implying something, Zabini?"

"You weren't surprised that Malfoy stole the potion from Potter." Daphne stated, her eyes narrowed into slits. "In fact, you looked amused more than anything."

"So, that makes me wonder what the hell is going on?" Blaise agreed as she glared back at Tracey.

Tracey, however, looked less than impressed. Tilting her head to the side. "I know that all of this is Malfoy's fault. That is what I know."

"Potter did something." Blaise stated flatly. "He's been planning to make an example of the people who have been harassing you and no one's been doing it more than Malfoy."

"As far as I can tell, the only thing that's been done is that someone over estimated Malfoy's intelligence." Tracey stated simply. "Do I know what potion Harry and Ron were brewing? Yes. They showed it to me and took the time to explain what it did and what each step meant."

"And this wasn't the intended result?" Zabini asked with a narrowed glare. "Because, I remind you, I share a dorm with him."

"No, this wasn't the intended result." Tracey stated with a dismissive wave of her hand. "But, who's the one who was been constantly deriding my statements about their changes, abilities and skills?"

Zabini's eyes were slits before she took a slow, deep breath and then released it. "Fine. What should it have done?"

"If it had been allowed to complete its vaporization and condensation? Allow for the permanent gifting of a beautiful singing voice for women." Tracey stated simply. "If someone had been exposed to the vaporization? They'd get a squeaky voice."

"-- Permanently?" Zabini asked as she looked at Tracey with dangerous eyes.

"Until the people consented to a simple sympathetic dissolution." Tracey stated with a roll of her eyes. "It was designed to be easily reversible if the people affected by it didn't like the end result. That only becomes a problem if too many people become dosed at once."

"--" Zabini stared at her for a moment, lips pursing.

"It was a setup, wasn't it?" Greengrass asked with a rhetorical tone. "All of it. They set Draco up, and he fell for it, completely and totally."

"Really? You think Harry Potter set up Draco Malfoy?" Tracey asked, as she tilted her head to the side, and her eyes narrowed into slits and a thin smile curled over her lips. "You think that the golden prince of Gryffindor managed to come up with a scheme to lure Malfoy into a place where he just happened to overhear something that was too tempting, for Malfoy to pass up, hmm?

"You think that he manipulated the scenario just so that Malfoy would only be able to steal the potion and run, without being able to sabotage anything there because Filch was going through the room?"

There was a pause, as she looked at the two Slytherins. "Is that was what you were accusing the Harry Potter you dismissed as nothing special, hmmm?"

Zabini just stared back at her.

Greengrass, however, blurted out. "Why isn't he in Slytherin then?!"

"Why don't you ask him?" Tracey countered with a wave of her hand. "If I knew, why would I tell you without his permission?"

"-- Because you're Slytherin?" Blaise asked hesitantly.

"Because I'm a Slytherin, I understand that there's more value in keeping his confidence than in betraying it." She corrected with a shake of his head. "Cunning and ambition does not mean you forsake loyalty. It means that you take more care and thought into who you give it to."

"That is not what we've been taught." Zabini stated coolly, glaring at her now.

"Yes, and look at where that's gotten us." Tracey sneered back. "The wonders that we've achieved. Isolated and reviled, with no one looking at us with anything but suspicion. Dividing even families, all because of what we've been taught."

There was a pause, before Tracey snorted. "But, what does it matter? I'm just a half-blood, remember? I don't matter according to you and the people who have made the rules for Slytherins for the last century or so."

There was a pause, before she cut them off when they started to respond. "So, you can be a Slytherin your way, I'll be one mine."

"If you're finished?" Greengrass cut in, glowering at Davis. "If you had bothered to take the time to listen to us, you would've found that we weren't going to criticize you for it, were we, Blaise?"

"You weren't." Zabini corrected with a light growl that came out less than threatening.

"Whatever you say, kitten." Tracey snapped back with a smirk at Blaise.

"Blaise." Greengrass hissed as she kicked lightly against Zabini's shin.

"Ow!" Blaise hissed in pained, before narrowing her eyes back at Greengrass and kicking her shin in turn.

"Ah!" Hissing both pain and surprise, Greengrass glared at Zabini. "Dammit, Blaise! You're not supposed to kick girls!"

"Well, I figured I'd enjoy at least something of the situation while I can." Zabini countered with a smirk on her lips.

Tracey shrugged her shoulders. "If they can reverse this selectively."

"I had better be turned back, or else--" Zabini started to growl.

Tracey sighed and flopped back onto her bed with a snort. "I don't see why you're trying to blame me or Harry and Ron. I really don't."

"Because Gryffindors don't trick Slytherins." Zabini stated angrily.

"Please, the Weasley twins have been tricking Slytherins for years." Tracey stated dismissively. "And I already told you, their potion wouldn't have done this. You're highly over estimating Draco's intelligence. Just like Harry and Ron did."

"-- You're implying that Draco changed the potion." Greengrass pointed out with a frown.

"No, that was the Headmaster." Tracey reminded them. "I'm simply agreeing with him. And someone as good at potions as Draco is should know not to make changes to a potion they know nothing about."

"So, you're saying that we're in this situation because Malfoy thought he was more clever than he was." Zabini stated slowly.

"It's a failing we Slytherins seem to have. We all think ourselves terribly clever." Tracey agreed with a sigh. "You have no idea the headaches I dealt with realizing I'm really not as clever as I thought I was."

"Speak for yourself." Zabini stated coolly.

Tracey giggled. "Oh, I will. It's all gone mad, really. You'll try to figure out the angle, how to play it-- you'll try to make yourself believe that you meant to do it. But in the end-- We're all just helpless little butterflies tossed about in the wind."

She giggled again, louder this time as she lay there on the bed and stared up at the ceiling.

"And she's cracked." Zabini sneered, an ugly thing on her lips. "Completely gone round the bend."

"-- Maybe." Greengrass noted as she stared at the girl. "But, I don't--"

"What, you actually believe her?" Zabini just looked at her incredulously. "She's utterly cracked! You can see it right now! She's just laying there, giggling like a loon!"

"Oh, I'm probably less cracked than you, kitten." Tracey responded back using the same nickname for her before pushing herself up. "But, it really doesn't matter. So, in the meantime, lets just eat, drink and be merry!"

"Ok, now I'm leaning more towards Davis being the one more cracked." Greengrass admitted with a sigh.

"If you want to believe that, who am I to dispute it?" There was a wave of Tracey's hands before looking at Greengrass before gesturing towards Zabini. "So, we going to show the little kitten her how she should dress, or are we going to let her run away?"

"Mmm." Greengrass hummed lightly in thought before looking over Zabini. "She does need to learn."

"-- Bloody hell no." Zabini immediately protested. "I'm a bloke, not a bird!"

"Really? Then, make sure you have your vanishing, cleaning and drying charms ready to go the first time you try to stand to take a piss." Tracey started giggling again as she closed her eyes on the bed.

Shuddering visibly, Zabini shook her head. "This will be fixed. They will reverse this and I will go back to my proper, devilishly handsome, very male, self."

"You sure of that?" Tracey asked with a grin.

"Yes!" Zabini agreed. "I'm sure right now Snape and the Headmaster are figuring out how to undo this."


"-- There is no way to undo this." Dumbledore stated as he leaned back in his seat and lifted up his glasses to rub his eyes. "Perhaps, Nicolas could have figured something, seen something I cannot. But, alas, with his passing..."

There was a pause and a sigh. "The only way that this can be undone is with the consent of all of those affected by this. And the likelihood of that--"

He thought back onto the looks of some of the girls' faces as they examined themselves, the wonder and joy on their faces. No, that was not a likely scenario at all.

Snape emerged from his umpteenth trip into the Headmaster's pensieve and angrily began to stalk back and forth, muttering angrily under his breath.

"They will not be punished, Severus." Dumbledore stated with a sigh.

"They set him up!" Snape stated with a growl. "Those two little, little--!"

As Snape struggled to find a word, Dumbledore snorted. "Those two students did nothing against the rules and you know this. In fact, had they been a pair of your snakes, you would be praising them for their little scheme."

Flushing crimson at the statement, Snape growled. "That is--!"

"Utterly true and you know it." Dumbledore's gaze was suddenly piercing as it fell upon Snape. "I have seen the same memory you have, and no matter how many times you review it, it will not change the facts."

He leaned back and calmly flicked his want to send a vertical line of light into the air.

"One. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley had an unwarded, but private conversation Mr. Malfoy choose to covertly intrude upon."

Another flick of his wand and another line appeared.

"Two, he, on his own, followed them to a class room where they were allowed to be, and in were in fact authorized to brew a potion in, staying there well after curfew to spy upon them. A curfew the two students in question where allowed out after, but Mr. Malfoy himself was not."

Another line appeared in the air.

"Three. Mr Malfoy then chose to steal an unknown potion from underneath a ventilation hood and run back to the dungeons to escape Mr. Filch. Nowhere did Mr. Potter nor Mr. Weasley invite him to do this."

Snape growled as a fourth line appeared in the air, but did not interrupt.

"Four. Mr. Malfoy then decided to do the most stupid thing possibly imaginable and threw extra ingredients into the potion, without knowing what it bloody well was!" Dumbledore's voice rose up and he stood, hands on his desk as he glared at Snape. "And don't, for a moment think I don't realize what that says about the kind of allowances you've allowed your Slytherins to take in your classes!"

Snape actually flinched back at that. "He--"

"Yes, he used stable ingredients to prevent a violent reaction. That shows he had at last some intelligence and understanding that what he was doing was fundamentally altering a potion in ways he did not know! I can think of at least three potions where the things he did to that potion would have resulted in the horrendous and agonizing death of every single child in those dungeons!"

That made Severus Snape take a step back at the pure, unbridled fury on Albus Dumbledore's face. "Especially considering the fact that you have allowed, or potentially even encouraged the destruction of the wards set in place to prevent just this kind of foolishness from spreading to the other students in your house, along with everything else!"

Then Dumbledore sat back down and reigned in his temper. "Do I agree Harry Potter and Ron Weasley set Draco Malfoy up? Yes. Did they do so in a way that violates the rules? No. They played his ego and character.

"They created a situation where his own desire and lack of adherence to the rules and some would say common sense, coupled with his ego and the way that they have been one upping him every way they could.

"They did not, however, force him to take action. The choice of what to do was Mr. Malfoy's the entire time. They simply predicted, correctly to a point, exactly what Mr. Malfoy would do."

Then Dumbledore shook his head. "Mr. Malfoy, then compounded it by doing something they didn't predict. Primarily because they apparently over estimated his sense and knowledge of potioneering."

"I-- See." Snape stated with a slow hissing release of breath.

Dumbledore seemed to collapse in on himself. "No, Severus, I don't believe you do. There will be an investigation into this. Two people will be found at fault. Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape."

Snape stiffened immediately at that. "What?!"

"Tell me, Severus, when I asked you of the state of the wards at the end of the previous year, do you remember what you told me? Please do recall, it was in the faculty meeting."

"-- Adequate." Snape grit his teeth as he answered the question.

"And when I asked you again at the start of the term?"

"-- Adequate." He repeated as he shifted uncomfortably.

"And when we take a tour of the other Houses, how do you expect the wards of those dormitories to be holding up?" Dumbledore asked, looking quite tired and old.

"-- More than adequate." He admitted with a slow release of words.

"Exactly." Dumbledore agreed with a nod and a sigh. "Now, we will have to start contacting students. We will start with the Malfoys."

Severus winced at that.

"Yes, I know. However, it will be best to get it out of the way." Dumbledore agreed.

"-- Very well." Severus stated with no small amount of reluctance.

Dumbledore nodded his head, before throwing a handful of floo powder onto the hearth. "Malfoy Manor."

A moment later, the cool face of Lucius Malfoy came into view as he regarded the projection of Albus Dumbledore in front of him.

"Headmaster." The word was almost sneered as it left his lips. "To what do I owe the-- pleasure?"

"A Class 4 potions incident caused by your son." Dumbledore stated succinctly. "I will expect you in my office within the hour."

Before Lucius even had a chance to respond, the connection was cut by Dumbledore who stood up and looked at Snape. "Severus. Fetch the young Miss Malfoy. Then see to it that your students are feeding themselves."

A wave of his wand and a silver phoenix patronus left the tip and flew off to deliver a message to Minerva McGonagall. That done, he calmly copied the memory in the pensieve, setting aside the original somewhere far more secure than out in the open in his office. Afterwards, he returned to find McGonagall there, waiting with a look of irritation and impatience on her face.

"What in Merlin's name is all this about, Albus? What's going on with the Slytherins? You and Severus appear, you allow Severus to spout off his bloody foolishness then you both run off again!"

"There was an incident in the Slytherin dorms." Dumbledore stated sourly. "One which we will be confronting directly now that I have finished my investigation."

"Albus?" McGonagall demanded as she looked at him.

"Mr. Malfoy did a number of foolish things in a successive manner that compounded into a subsequent mess." Dumbledore stated simply as he gave her a look. "This was compounded by Severus' very foolish choice to not inspect and reinforce the warding in the Slytherin dormitories."

"But, you asked him--" Minerva started to stay.

"Precisely." He agreed with a nod of his head, tone still irritated. "I am less than pleased with him at the moment. His actions have put the entirety of the Slytherin students at the mercy of Mr. Malfoy's foolishness."

"I noted that you hadn't brought Poppy in--" McGonagall noted. "I simply assumed because she wasn't involved--"

"She will be involved once I've managed to get those students fed. There will be no classes until further notice. And I have to figure out how I'm going to keep the Malfoys from being murdered." He rubbed his forehead at the statement and groaned softly.

"-- I fail to see why you would." Minerva stated with a frown. "If he was responsible--"

"I am tempted. So very tempted." Albus agreed before taking a slow deep breath. "But, he merely did something foolish. It was intended to embarrass, not do what it did."

"You still haven't even told me what it is!" She pointed out with frown.

"-- Take a seat Minerva." He finally stated with a sigh. "It starts, as too many stories do these days, with Harry Potter--"

Chilord When the Slytherins had started their walk into the Great Hall, everyone had been watching them expectantly. The looks of curiosity quickly morphed into confusion when they failed to recognize any of the various beauties walking towards the Slytherin table. Harry and Ron looked at each other worriedly, attempting to figure out who the girls were, and where the Slytherins were.

Then, one particular red headed beauty broke away from the rest of the group and walked purposely over to them. They were still trying to figure out what was going on when she came up between them. "Budge over you two, it's been a bloody insane morning and I need to eat a meal in peace."

They just stared at her, mouth hanging open, a lack of recognition in their eyes.

Sighing, she shoved at first Ron's then Harry's shoulders, forcing them to part enough for her to squeeze in between them. "Will you bloody well shut your gobs? I swear, you're both acting like you've never seen a pretty girl before?"

"T-Tracey?" Ron asked, voice squeaking slightly in a way that made him blush brightly.

"You know any other Slytherins crazy enough to come sit with you two?" She asked rhetorically as a plate of food materialized in front of her. "Oh, thank Merlin, I'm famished."

"But-- What happened?" Harry finally found his voice, though he continued to stare at her.

"Malfoy stole your potion."

Well, yes he already knew that.

"He then decided that it would be a brilliant idea to add things to it." Tracey continued after eating a of strips of bacon and a bite of eggs. "Which was apparently compounded by some idiots taking down the wards on the dorms and Snape not fixing them."

Harry stared at her for a long moment before groaning. "Oh, bugger me."

Ron looked at Tracey then back at the Slytherin table, noticing something was-- missing. "Where are all the blokes?"

Tracey snorted, apparently finding the question hilarious. "Right with everyone else!"

"But I only see--" Ron started as he finally realized exactly what she was implying. "No. Bloody Hell no!"

"Bloody Hell yes!" Tracey countered back. "Even Malfoy!"

Ron looked absolutely horrified at the thought while Harry paled visibly.

"Wot the hell are you three on about?" Seamus demanded.

"Everyone in Slytherin is now a pretty, oh so pretty girl." Tracey stated cheerfully. "And as you might of noticed some of us are happier about that than others."

"Wait, you're all birds now?" Dean demanded, staring at her incredulously.

Tracey arched her back and preened a bit. "Not just birds, Thomas! Downright bloody gorgeous ones!"

Several seats away, Hermione was glaring at her. "I don't see why you're so happy about it. It's not really who you are and it'll only last until the potion wears off."

Hermione's statement made Tracey's smirk grow. "Don't know much about sympathetic potions, do you, Granger?"

"And you do?" Hermione countered acidically. "And I know plenty about them."

"I don't know as much as Harry, let alone Ron, But I know enough to know this is permanent as long as at least one of us wants to stay this way." Tracey stated happily. "So, that means this is me now!"

She turned and smiled at Ron. "You like the new me, don't you, Ron?"

"Umm-- um--" Ron struggled to form words as he blushed as bright red as his hair.

"How could you just leave them trapped like this then?" Hermione demanded. "What are all the people who don't want this going to do?!"

"Kill Malfoy most likely?" Tracey told her with a wave of her hand. "After all, this is his fault along with Snape's. And Snape scares them too much to blame."

"But!" Hermione started to protest. "This isn't who you are! This isn't who they are! You can't just change how you look because you don't like it! You should be comfortable with who you were born as!"

"Have you gone daft in the head, Granger?" Lavender Brown demanded. "I'd bloody well murder to look like that!"

"And, I haven't used an ounce of makeup and not a single cosmetic charm." Tracey agreed, posing slightly to emphasis her point. "All I used was a hair brushing charm."

"Shut it." Pavarti Patil demanded in awe. "All that, just from a brushing charm?!"

"I know!" Tracey agreed. "Aren't you jealous?"

"Completely! Lavender stated with a nod. "Dammit, why couldn't we have been in Slytherin?!"

"Totally!" Pavarti couldn't help but nod her head with a pout.

"I can't believe how shallow you lot are!" Hermione stated in disgust.

"I can't believe how much of a dowdy prude you are." Parvarti shot back venomously. "Just because you're happy looking horrible, doesn't mean the rest of us are!"

Harry and Ron winced at that, watching as they saw the telltale signs of Hermione's temper about to be unleashed. Raising his hands, Harry tried to diffuse the situation. "Hey, it's meal time, let's try not to fight, yeah?"

"We'd be happy to." Lavender stated quickly as she put a restraining hand on Parvati. "As long as Granger stops preaching and insulting us."

Ron buried his face in his hands as he could practically feel the impending explosion from Hermione.

To the surprise of everyone, it was Tracey who offered a change of subject. "So, Ron, you think you could figure out how to reproduce this?"

"Wot?" Ron asked with a blink.

"Trying to recreate on purpose what Malfoy stumbled into while he was trying to mess things up." She clarified. "Create it on purpose?"

"Well, I'd need to know what he used, how he did it and any extra environmental variables--" Ron stated thoughtfully. "It would take a lot of research, but probably, eventually. Why?"

Tracey merely pointed towards where Lavender and Parvati were looking at him like hungry wolves and he had become a piece of meat. "Well, because it could make you filthy rich. When you factor in the Potter name--"

"Ugh." Harry groaned. "I'm not using the Boy-Who-Lived nonsense like that, Tracey."

"Actually, I think she meant your grandfather." Lavender corrected as Tracey nodded in agreement. "He created half the beauty and cosmetic potions we still use today. Its why the Potters were so rich."

"Really?" Harry asked, surprised. "I didn't know that."

"Totally." Parvati agreed. "Sleak-Easy is still an international seller. He pioneered the use of muggle substances in the creation of potions. His research is the foundation of all potions like that, especially cosmetics!"

"I've never read anything like that--" Hermione stated doubtfully.

"Well, duh." Lavender stated with a roll of her eyes. "You're a muggleborn who avoids anything to do with cosmetics. There are half a dozen books that could tell you about Fleamont Potter in the library if you took the time to read them."

"It wouldn't matter, Lav." Parvati corrected acidically. "I tried to get her to read some when she started hanging out with Harry. She told me she wasn't interested in superficial vanity products."

"Did you know this?" Harry asked Ron curiously.

"Well, no. I mean, I knew you were rich because of your grand-da, but--" Ron shrugged.

Meanwhile, Hermione was blushing a bright crimson as she glared back at the three girls, before standing up and stalking off without another word.

Harry groaned aloud. "Now, she's going to be even harder to calm down. Thank you so very much, this is just bloody great."

"Sorry." Tracey stated insincerely. "But she had that coming."

"Totally." Lavender agreed with a grumble. "I mean, we've tried being nice to her."

"We've totally tried to teach her about make-up, boys and stuff, but she always brushes us off like we're idiots." Parvati stated with a huff. "I might be shallow, at least that's what Padma likes to call me, but I'm not stupid!"

There was a pause with Lavender looking at her expectantly. That made her blink. "Wot?"

"Well, that's usually the place where you point out that's me." Lavender reminded her politely.

"That is only with just you and Padma! I wouldn't just call you that!" Parvati exclaimed defensively.

"-- How about we just change the subject before this gets any weirder?" Tracey asked hopefully.

"Agreed." Was echoed around the table.


Lucius Malfoy arrived at Hogwarts with his wife in a storm of fury. He wasted no time in heading directly to the Headmaster's office, where he took a measure of pleasure from the sight of Dumbledore's gargoyle jumping away. It was only when he finally reached the office that he found his fury falter a moment.

The Albus Dumbledore he found himself facing was staring at him with a glacial fury.

"Headmaster, I do not appreciate the insinuation that my son would have anything to do with --" Lucius began, only to find himself and his wife frozen in place with a gesture.

"Last night, your son stole a still brewing potion in the final stages of its production." Dumbledore stated in a flat voice. "A potion he did not understand the origin of, nor the significance of its completion on the night of the Blood Moon."

He paused there, making a slow breath before continuing. "He then proceeded to alter the potion he knew nothing about by adding quite a few different ingredients to the potion, fundamentally altering it.

"When the potion evaporated and released its mist as it was designed to by its brewers, there was no collection hood for it." He paused there. "Due to the actions of various Slytherin students, the containment wards had been disabled. This caused the potion to spread instead of being contained within your son's room. The entire house was affected.

"And what's worse, is that when I attempted to keep your son's participation in causing this debacle a secret, he outed himself as the responsible party in front of his entire house."

Dumbledore took a slow, deep breath, then released the spell holding them in place and leaned back in his chair. "Once it is made known that there is no reversing it, the fall out will be on you."

Lucius took a moment to regain his composure, as did his wife, Narcissa. "Assuming you are correct and you did not just assault my person for no valid reason, you have yet to tell us what this potion did."

"I believe once I show you, things will become quite clear."


Hermione didn't know what to do. Ever since Harry had arrived at the Weasley's over the summer, everything had been changing. At first, she thought it was a good thing, both Harry and Ron had started to study and do their homework well before it was time to head back to school.

Only, it didn't stay that way. Harry had produced a number of books on a variety of different subjects, including spell creation and potions. She'd been thrilled at first, at least until she found out what he wanted to use them for: Pranks.

They were learning all of that wonderful knowledge to play pranks! Of all the things they could be acting like, they were acting like the twins! She had heard plenty about how horribly the twins did academically from McGonagall and Mrs. Weasley.

She wasn't about to let Harry and Ron follow that path.

Of course, now there was the issue of Sirius Black. She was Happy for harry, she was but the man was a wreck. You could see it in how he looked and acted.

But, Harry didn't see that. She did though, and she was trying to look out for them! Only, they kept fighting her on it.

And there was that stupid "might as well get into trouble for something "we did" thing. Ugh! Didn't they think about their futures?!

She took a deep breath as she tried to focus. She wasn't angry at Harry and Ron-- This time at least. No, she was angry at her dorm mates, and to an extent, herself.

A part of her was sure there was absolutely nothing she should want to change about herself. She remembered that, how her parents always told her it didn't matter how she looked, this was her body and she should never be ashamed of it. The only exception was for medical reasons.

She just didn't understand it! She was who she was! Why did it matter how she looked?

Unfortunately, she found no answers forthcoming.

Everything was just so frustrating!

Then there were things with the Slytherins, neither Harry nor Ron, nor anyone seemed to find Harry and Ron's parts as anything but collateral. The fact that they had made their potion intending for Draco to steal it. It didn't matter that Draco had then altered the potion, he had been the target.

They were breaking the rules! She was sure of it. Now she just have to prove it so they'd understand. For their own good.


Draco Malfoy did her absolute best to appear calm, collected and under control. She would not give them the satisfaction of seeing her sweat. No matter the degradation!

"Well, that concludes our examination." Madame Pomphrey stated blandly. "Fortunately, there do not appear to be any malignant formations as a result of the potion. Your clothes are over there, waiting for you."

"Thank Merlin." She muttered with an almost explosive sigh of relief and quickly covered herself. Those cold hands had gone places-- She didn't want to think about it.

"I wouldn't be so thankful just yet, Ms. Malfoy, you still have to deal with your first--" Madame Pomphrey started to state before pausing. "Well, you'll be finding out soon enough."

Draco shuddered at her tone. Whatever it was she was referring to, it was not something Draco would be looking forward to. "May I go then?"

"No." Madame Pomphrey responded promptly. "I have been informed your parents are on their way. You will remain here until they arrive."

While she was, in part, sullen about the restrictions, her parents were coming! That meant her father would be able to get this fixed! A swell of relief swept through her and she lay back on the bed and waited.

She waited longer than she thought she would, as her father did not immediately come sweeping in with a commanding presence. Nor did her mother with her regal composure thrumming with underlying concern. Instead, she was left there, waiting and waiting.

After the first 10 minutes, she began to worry. What was taking so long? Madame Pomphrey had implied that they were, in fact, already at the school. Who knows for how long, but still they had not appeared. She was, she had to admit, starting to get worried.

Why hadn't her father shown up yet?

Finally, after a full half an hour, they did appear, though not in the manner anticipated. Both were pale in features as they followed an impassive faced Albus Dumbledore. Their eyes looked troubled, distant, visibly caught up in their thoughts.

"Father? Mother?" Draco's voice was quiet, uncertain as she called out, the look on her face suddenly lacking its usual confidence.

There was a pause, and Draco was affixed with a horrifying lack of recognition. They didn't recognize her. She had thought--

The recognition seemed to finally filter in, along with a careful wariness. The hesitation in her mother's voice when she spoke stung Draco deeply. "Draco--?"

She frowned but managed to hold back the flinch that desperately wanted to come out. "Yes, mother."

Next to her mother, her father slumped slightly and looked sullenly at Dumbledore. "You are sure?"

"That she is Draco Malfoy? Quite. That my findings in regards to the viability of a reversal? Unfortunately, yes. Without the willing participation of all those affected? There is no way of fixing this."

"Why don't you simply recreate the option then and offer it to the ones who still want it?" Narcissa demanded with fear in her eyes.

"Beyond the complications of requiring a whole year to wait in order to properly recreate it? You know there is no guarantee that a second dosage would have the same effect. That is how sympathetic magic works." Dumbledore stated blandly. "Rejecting the magic once often translates to rejecting it for all time."

"They don't need to know that!" Narcissa insisted desperately.

"And, in addition, there is the question on if the potion even can be duplicated." Dumbledore continued with a surprisingly gentle voice. "And, do you truly expect the families of the girls affected to not point out the problem with rejection? How many of them are from Old, pureblood families?"

Dumbledore had already crushed their thoughts of using threats and violence to obtain their goals by reminding them there was the fact that they simply didn't know if a dead participant ceased to count our not. There were simply too many variables.

The dawning realization that things were not going to be resolved in the manner she believed was slowly starting to dawn in Draco's eyes. "What-- What's going on? You-- you can fix this! You have to fix it!"

"I am afraid, young Draco, that we have been trying." Dumbledore stated sadly as he shook his head. "Unfortunately, without consent, we do not currently know of a way to undo this. Sympathetic magic is rather powerful."

"Father!" Draco called out desperately, turning to him with wide, pleading eyes.

"Do you truly not understand the position we are now in, Draco?" Lucius asked with no small amount of aggravation in his voice. "I am doing all I can to figure out how we can possibly survive this! For all--"

He struggled to try and articulate things and took a slow deep breath. "Draco, while some of the families of your victims will appreciate the end result, many of them will also realize how much danger you placed their children in with your foolishness!"

Draco flinched back for a moment, eyes wide before sudden desperation swelled, then exploded from her lips. "But what about Potter?! It was--!"

"Be silent!" Narcissa suddenly snarled and glared down at Draco. "You are only embarrassing us! We have been told about Potter and Weasley's potion. Do you think that by repeatedly blaming them for this it will make you appear stronger? Make him appear weaker?"

Draco reeled back at her mother's sudden outburst, eyes wide and disbelieving. Never before in her life had her mother spoke to her like that. And the look on her face--

"M-mother--?" She stuttered out, eyes wide and fearful.

"It does not!"? Narcissa continued with a glare. "All it does is make you look like a weak fool! Now more than ever we cannot afford that kind of foolishness!"

"But Potter--" Again Draco tried to protest, eyes trembling with glistening, unshed tears, ego struggling against the primal fear her mother's blatant anger evoked.

"But nothing!" Narcissa snapped angrily. "You have already embarrassed yourself enough."

"Narcissa--" Lucius started to protest, only to receive a slap across the face for it.

"No!" The fury in her voice made him cringe. "This is not something you can just sweep away! He has-- This is not one of your little schemes you have some deniability to hide behind! You practically encouraged his stupid obsession with Potter!"

"Narcissa, please be--"

"Be reasonable?" She finished for him with an almost mocking edge to her voice. "I have been reasonable, more than reasonable in fact. This is well, well beyond reasonable! You have allowed this foolish obsession you both share to ruin this family! All your recriminations do is make that child appear even greater!"

"Malfoys do not allow--!" Draco started to protest in spite of herself.

"I know exactly what Malfoys do and do not allow!" Narcissa stated acidically. "You have made your preferences and habits well known. So well-known that this young child knew enough to potentially set up a scenario where in you couldn't help but take the bait of a trap with no doubt what was enthusiastic glee. All because your obsession would allow you to do nothing else.

"After all, what did he have to lose? You either took the bait and committed a crime, or you didn't and they completed a highly impressive potion, one that would gain them well earned notoriety." Narcissa stated rhetorically with a shake of her head. "This is why you always make sure you think before you go and make enemies!"

Lucius sighed and shook her head. "Narcissa, please, remember we are in public."

Narcissa snorted and gestured to towards the quietly waiting Dumbledore. "You think that he doesn't know all of this? If you do, you've been reading too much of Skeeter's trash!"

"I have found that it is often best to allow others opposed to you to act on their assumptions of you, rather than correct them." Dumbledore noted humbly, a bit of a twinkle in his eyes. "It makes them more predicable than they believe I am."

"See?" Narcissa stated, pointing to the old man. "He is far more observant than you think! All we can do is mitigate this as much as possible. That will not happen as long as Draco maintains this foolishness! He needs to stop, now before he digs things even deeper for all of us!"

"Believe it or not, I try very hard to protect my students from as much as I can, within reason." Dumbledore stated mildly. 'Which is why I was attempting to keep from pointing out what he did to the rest of his house."

"Which in turn, is why I'm making my point." Narcissa agreed with a reluctant grimace. "Draco's rampant foolishness must be curtailed. Otherwise he will only continue to make things worse. We will have enough issues as is!"

Draco and Lucius both stared at her in open mouth shock. She saw their expressions directed at her and her eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. "I think he is a fool because of his social and political philosophies and beliefs, not because I think him weak or stupid. Something that the pair of you have proven to not understand. Repeatedly."

"To Lucius' credit, he did manage to have me removed from the school." Dumbledore pointed out as he looked his half-moon glasses, a trace of humor in his voice. "Admittedly, it did play into my hands in the long term, but so rarely do people think in the long term."

Lucius stared at him, before straightening up and glaring. "What do you want?"

"A reason to exert my influence to save your family from the worst of what's to come." Dumbledore stated simply.

"Isn't the fact that Draco is your student enough?" Lucius demanded venomously as he glared back at the man.

"I believe you remember the part where I stated I would do whatever I could within reason, yes?" Dumbledore asked with a mild tone of voice and slightly twinkling eyes. "What part of selflessly saving a young fool who did everything in their power to destroy the help I was attempting to render them and whose parents have declared themselves my enemies seems reasonable? After all, I already offered my free help as Headmaster. It was rejected quite soundly."

Lucius' face flushed brightly and he snarled at him. "And what assurances are you--"

"Offering?" Dumbledore cut him off, not letting him complete his thought. "That I will work to blunt the damage as much as my influence allows. But, we both know that there are limits to what I can do, and your family is still going to be mostly destroyed."

"Then why should we give you anything!?" Lucius demanded as he started to pace angrily.

Instead of answering, Dumbledore turned expectantly towards Narcissa.

Sighing in irritation, she turned to Lucius and gave him a look, her arms crossed about her chest. "If we don't, I imagine there will be no mostly about it. We will be destroyed. You know this. You know these families. What do you think they'll demand?"

"Our money--." Lucius started to say.

"And when that has run out?" She pressed with a hardened glare.

Lucius grimaced at the thought. "A replacement."

Narcissa nodded her head in agreement. "And we both know where they will try and get it."

Lucius' face took on a sickly pallor and he looked at Draco for a moment, then looked away.

"Father?" Draco asked worriedly, suddenly concerned about what exactly they were talking about.

"I believe you will also find there is young Draco's interference with the joint mastery research of Messers Potter and Weasley to consider." Albus pointed out with a thoughtful hum.

"Mastery research? A pair of fourth years?" Lucius turned incredulously towards Dumbledore. "Are you mad?!"

In response, Dumbledore pulled out a scroll of parchment and handed it towards Lucius. "The current draft of their research paper for this potion."

Lucius tore the parchment away from him and then stared at the outlined information of each step of a potion brewing recipe why the step was taken. Then he got to the incorporation of spells and astrological events and looked positively sickly. "I refuse to believe that Harry Potter and a Weasley of all people decided to start working on a research paper as fourth years!"

"The law does not specify that the researchers have to be aware that they are doing something for it to apply." Dumbledore reminded them cheerfully. "A fact that I'm sure Professor Flitwick will be taking full advantage of. He has taken the boys under his wing, as it were."

"And he has them doing research papers they know nothing about?" Narcissa asked incredulously while Draco's pretty face turned into an ugly scowl.

"As my own understanding of things attest, they have been bargaining the writing of the paper and research notes as payment for using the 'workshop lab.'" Dumbledore noted. "Those are a copy of their original notes. I didn't realize exactly what I was looking at until I had used it to figure out exactly what Draco's actions would change."

Narcissa pinched her nose. "How could this possibly be a problem? The potion can just be rebrewed and Draco did not attempt to claim credit."

"It is one of our more obscure laws." Dumbledore admitted. "It only applies to potions that can only be properly brewed under certain astrological events. Be glad it wasn't one of the more obscure alignments, the penalties increase substantially the more time between the event's repetitions. It was put into place when a potions researcher had his life's work ruined by a jealous rival."

"I fail to see--" Narcissa began.

"It was an inheritable cure for impotence, with the preparation creating enough to supply all of the Isles' wizarding population." Dumbledore stated, sounding mildly amused. "The sabotaged version ended up being the birth of the dementors."

"-- Dementors, the result of a potions mishap?" Lucius asked incredulously. "Then, why--"

"Many magical creatures have come about due to potions mishaps, it is why potions research into undocumented interactions is so dangerous." Dumbledore stated simply. "And, I would hope that this would be enough of a lesson to prevent students from attempting such in the future."

"What-- what's going to happen to me?" Draco suddenly asked, drawing the topic back to the point on hand.

"That all depends on what your family decides to do." Dumbledore stated with an almost grandfatherly look of sympathy. "If they decide that they will not offer me a reason to involve myself on your family's behalf, it is likely that when your family runs out of money for restitution, and they most assuredly will, there would be only the option of you baring sons for those families to replace the ones lost."

"Oh." Draco took a moment to process that, before promptly fainting.

Posted: 11:06 AM - May 11, 2016


Donatella Zabini was enjoying a lovely glass of wine as she sat in her gazebo amid a beautifully maintained garden, her eyes flickering over her latest correspondences with a detached, almost negligent eye. It was, even by the deplorable standards of the English, a boorish thing, full of blatant, groveling toadying and pleading. All for her to attend this boring little party or that.

She sighed and leaned back in her seat as she made a brief, dismissive wave of her hand and it vanished. "Really, are all these Englishmen so utterly simple?"

Sighing softly and taking another delicate sip of her wine, she almost despaired that the day would end up another typically dreary English day when a familiar owl swooped down bearing a leather on its leg.

"My, what ever would Blaise be writing me about at this time?" The elegantly beautiful woman murmured the words as she pursed her lips and casually drew out her wand to examine the letter. Her brow only rose even higher when she failed to find any sort of charm, hex, curse, or even a jinx on the letter and she sighed wearily. "Honestly, that boy-- will he never learn?"

There wasn't even the slightest bit of security on the letter. Practically anyone could have opened it up, all they'd need to do would be retrieve it from the boy's owl. Turning her head, she glanced at the regal looking bird whose attention was fixated on the particularly shiny sugar spoon next to her tea and kept down a grimace.

She had hoped he'd have learned the value of being more active and picky about his choices by now.

Letting out an almost whimsical sigh as she momentarily imagined what it would be like to have such a son, she carefully opened the letter and pulled out the parchment inside.

Dark, thick lashes blinked for a moment, then again as her eyes trailed down the length of the letter, then took the time to cover a particular paragraph a second, then a third time. Then, her soft lips pressed tightly together as her mouth shrank into a frown, lips squeezing tight as if she had suddenly bitten into something particularly sour. Then, she forced herself to relax as she read the letter once more.

"Oh, bother." She sighed again and shook her head, more in irritation than anything else now. "Now I suppose I'll just have to see about doing something about all this."

Then she paused. Her lazy little son was now a girl. She now had a daughter to carry on the family traditions! She could dress her up, teach her fashion, show her the best way to lure in an unsuspecting little mark--! Why, if she hadn't noticed that that little idiot Draco Malfoy had suffered the same fate, she'd have set things up to have them married off straight out of Hogwarts and arrange an accident to deal with the boy's bastard father and arrogant trollop of a mother.

Still, she supposed she'd have to satisfy herself with the complete and abject destruction of all things Malfoy. There was just something missing when you only destroyed an enemy's livelihood and reduced them to worthless shells of their former lives. Usually it was the complete and total inability to do something further to you.

Afterall, dead witches couldn't cast spells, enact conspiracies or stab you in the middle of the street when you passed by.

Shaking herself out of the fond memories, she spoke up sharply. "Garzy!"

"Yes? Missius Zabinini be calling Garzy?" An oddly distinguished looking elf appeared with a pop, before frowning slightly as he saw a particularly familiar seal on one of the letters. "Garzy be reminding Missius Zabinini, that Garzy not be using the belladonna in the Fudgy one's tea."

Sighing mournfully, she shook her head at the statement. "I do wish you'd be more reasonable about it, but that's not why I called you, Garzy."

"Garzy be a good elf. Garzy also not be using the Missius' special almonds for the Notty ones. Garzy wishes the Missius would stop asking." He responded smoothly and shook his head and sniffed slightly. "Garzy be knowing that the Missius be perfectly capable of doing that her own self."

"Honestly, Garzy, I didn't call you here to poison anyone." She sighed mournfully, not at the implications, but at the sheer intractableness of her elf. He was one of the most discrete, stealthy and intelligent elves she had ever owned. Unfortunately, he also had a strict code of conduct that prevented him from some of the more fun uses she had for him. "I'm afraid that Blaise has managed to get himself into a degree of trouble because of the lamentable young Mr. Malfoy."

Ah, the Missius be needing Garzy to be cleaning up then?" The elf asked hopefully as he eyed what could only be called a mess by the grandest stretch of the word. "Garzy can be doing that."

"That, and I'll need you to set out one of my angry dresses." She stated as she sipped her wine delicately before setting the fluted glass down on the table. "Something suitably intimidating."

Garzey let out a long suffering sigh. "The Missius be wanting one of her angry Zamboobi dresses?"

"As always, I do love how astute you are, Garzey." She agreed with a brilliant smile before offering a melodramatic sigh. "If only you'd be willing to help me get rid of those nuisances, then you'd be the perfect elf."

"Garzey be thinking the Missius be liking to do things herselfies too much." Garzey pointed out with a shake of his head. "Besides, Garzey thinks that the Missius be needing to do some things by herselfies. It be building character."

"Now, now, Garzey, whatever would they think to hear such a thing, and from my own elf on top of it! Me? Build character?" She smiled at him again, her body looming slightly forward as her shadow fell onto the elf, and her smile turned into a sharp curved edge eager to cut.

The elf just looked back at her without an ounce of fear. "Missius Zabinini be trying to intimidate Garzey again. Does Missisius be needing Garzey to be getting the seltzerie water?"

She immediately pouted and let out a theatrical sigh. "Fu, why do you always have to take all the fun out of things, Garzey."

"Garzey be a good elf. If the Missius be wanting to doing the kink and things, then she be needing a wizard, not the Garzey. The Garzey be an elf, not a wizard."

"How I know." She sighed melodramatically before giving him a look with an arched brow. "Now, my dress?"

"Garzey be getting out a Zaboobi dress now." He stated simply before vanishing with a pop.

Nodding her head in satisfaction, she took one more sip of her wine, before straightening up and calmly walking back to the main building her estate. She still had planning to do. Oh, and of course there was the make up, and-- ah so many, many things. The curse of being a beautiful woman. Fortunately, it gave her time to do her planning.


The first stop of the widow of 9 husbands was not, in fact, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. Nor was it to a location remotely near it. Instead, she entered the Minstry of Magic with her head held high and her eyes glacial cold chips of ice.

"Name and reason for visit." The greeting witch was only half paying attention as she turned the page of her book.

"Donatella Zabini." Her words left her mouth with an acidic Italian hiss as she savored the sudden look of terror in the witch's eyes as the book in her hand almost threw itself across the desk while she suddenly had her full, near catatonic attention. "Here to have-- words with our dear beloved Minister."

"Y-yes ma'am." She squeaked out, her eyes briefly looking towards the widow Zabini's wand, then opening her mouth, before Mrs. Zabini's brow arched up into the shape of an elegant sword while her lashes narrowed ever so slightly.

Immediately a badge popped up with a simple statement on it:

Donatella Zabini She-Who-Is-Not-To-Be-Denied

If she didn't have an image to maintain, she would've giggled at the description, and instead simply and almost daintily dipped her fingers down, capturing the badge, before affixing it so enticingly close to the lace rimmed expanse surrounding her cleavage.

Once it was in place, she straightened her back, and lifted her chin once more before she started to slowly strut forward through the ministry with a steely eyed look of determination on her face. All around the busy ministry, conversations went silent, and paths were diverted far away from the woman. When she reached the elevator, she simply gave a red cloaked auror a look, causing the man to gulp slightly and nod his head slightly.

"-- The minister's office, ma'am?"

She simply tilted her head in acknowledgement, pretending to not see the patronus message the man had sent off towards his boss. A few moments of silence passed with the auror glancing at her with a number of uneasy looks. When the lift finally stopped, Mrs. Zabini found it opening to the appearance of Amelia Bones staring back at her.

Outwardly, her face didn't shift in the slightest while slowly arching her brow. "Madam Bones."

"Madam Zabini." Amelia Bones responded with the same arch of a brow and the same calm intensity with a razor edge of danger.

Though the head of the DMLE lacked the raw sensual appeal of the other woman, her presence was by no means diminished in front of the other woman.

"This was nice, but I--" She tried, calmly taking a step forward only to find that Bones did not move in the slightest.

"This way, Madam Zabini." Amelia stated as she nodded her head towards her office and turned sharply.

This-- was not what she had been expecting. Not in the least. While Amelia Bones had always been an entertaining woman to deal with, refusing to be cowed or back down to her influence unlike almost every other, she had also never been one to simply assert herself like this. Nor had she been one to protect the minister from visitations from "upstanding" purebloods such as herself.

She had to admit, she was intrigued enough to play along, after all, Fudge wouldn't be running away anytime soon, not from her at least.

The meeting room she was taken to was one of the more secure in the building, which almost was enough to make her arch her brow up enough to be noticeable. This was getting curiouser and curiouser. When the door shut behind her, leaving her alone with Amelia Bones, she tilted her head to the side and made a point of not tapping her foot impatiently.

"Thank you for the moment of your time, Madam Zabini." Amelia stated, even as she threw a spell at the door, locking it and activating the privacy spells. "But, I do have to make sure you didn't do something to make our dear Minister think he could do something stupid again. I believe he's going into bribery withdrawals."

That was not what Mrs. Zabini was expecting, causing her to almost blink and, almost, almost frown. "Really, Madam Bones, you would not be trying to imply that I would have any need to lower myself to such base actions, now would you?"

Amelia snorted softly as she leveled the woman with a look. "And I'm sure that it's just a coincidence that you're showing that much cleavage while demanding to have a meeting with the Minister."

"The minister is a simple enough creature, Madam Bones. It is hardly any fault of mine that he is so deeply appreciative of my charms." Donatella stated with a sniff and a rise of her chin. "I hardly need such crass measures as bribery."

"And accepting suggestions from you is likely to open him right back up to doing stupid little things that will force me to have him put on trial and sent to Azkabhan." Amelia countered back. "And I really don't want to have to go through the paperwork for that. So, instead I'm going to do something I'm hope you'll find refreshing. Ask you what you want."

That made her blink, then, blink again as she looked back at the expectant face of Amelia Bones, and couldn't help but giggle. "Oh, oh my. Such a straight forward proposal! I'm not sure how to react!"

Amelia Bones just stared as the woman who was widely regarded as the most dangerous in England, with only a few debating that was only those outside of Azkabhan, giggling like a school girl. "-- I beg your pardon?"

"It's so very refreshing!" She stated simply as she waved her hand a bit, her entire posture relaxing. "You English, you're all so very boring most of the time. You have no subtley, no subterfuge, no guile, but so many of you try so earnestly to! It gets so very boring. And easy! I almost feel guilty about how simple it is to have you cut your own throats-- Figuratively speaking of course."

For a moment, Amelia just stared at her, before sighing as she slumped down and pulled off her monocle to begin to furiously clean it on a handkerchief. "While I refuse to give into the temptation of reflexively protesting on the grounds of I am English myself, I do want to repeat my earlier question. 'What do you want?'"

"Of course, of course." Donatella agreed with a nod of her head before her expression hardened. "You will be hearing of it soon enough, but there was a massive potions incident in the Slytherin dorms last night, affecting the entire house of students. Including my son."

Immediately, Amelia winced and sighed as she pinched her nose. "Of course there was. And you wanted Fudge to put pressure on Dumbledore for reparations?"

"No." She disagreed with a shake of his head and a faintly bemused smile. "I wanted to insure that the dear Minister understood how-- displeased I would be if he tried to protect the Malfoys from retribution."

That made Amelia blink before frowning as she narrowed her eyes at Donatella. "I beg your pardon? Why would you want to insure Fudge did not move to protect the Malfoys"

"Because the incident at Hogwarts was the result of Draco Malfoy's stupidity from what my son has told me. That, along with the foolishness of Severus Snape and various older students." She pursed her lips and then frowned. "I'm honestly surprised that you haven't been informed of this yet."

"What happened?" Amelia finally demanded as she straightened up and gave Donatella a look.

She pursed her lips, debating her options for a moment before tilting her head to the side. "Before I share my information, perhaps we can come to an-- agreement, hmmm?"

Amelia frowned slightly at the statement, her eyes narrowed into slits as she looked back at the woman suspected of 9 cases of mariticide and put her monocle back onto her face. "I am willing to listen to your proposal, Madam Zabini. But do not think that inclines me to accept."

A predatory smile curled over Donatella's lips as she listened to the woman. "Oh, my dear Madam Bones, I think we'll be getting along just-- wonderfully."

Shifting uncomfortably beneath the woman's gaze, Amelia Bones none-the-less refused to be cowed by the look in the woman's eyes. It reminded her far less of a dark wizard, and far more of a dark, predatory creature. Unfortunately, when she tried to consider exactly which one, her brain simply supplied: "all of them."

It was then that she realized it was going to be a long day.


Harry sat on the edge of one of the desks in the workshop lab as he stared at Flitwick in sheer disbelief. "You want us to what?"

"Write up a paper on reproducing the effect a potions accident, using the example of what happened when Mister, I mean Miss Malfoy chose to almost completely randomize the ingredients." Flitwick stated simply with a bemused expression on his face. "You will of course be given access to Mr. Malfoy's Memories of his actions and the ingredient list he made use of. And you will have to compart the intended effect with the effect her alterations had on it."

Ron opened his mouth to object, before closing it and considering the problem for a long moment. Then he turned to Tracey and just looked at her expectantly.

"What do you know, he can be taught!" Tracey noted with an over-exaggerated cheer before affixing the professor with an apologetic look. "I'm sorry, Professor, but you're asking us to divulge proprietary information. We have already been promised the material by Professor Dumbledore, and the study and replication has already been commissioned by a third party."

That, made Flitwick blink, then blink again, before smiling faintly. "Oh? What third party?"

"Me." Harry stated simply as he shrugged a bit. "After all, Potters have a history of success in cosmetic potions, and as I have to look towards making my own mark on the world--"

Flitwick looked at them both for a long moment, before clapping his hands. "Very, very well done. Why, I very rarely see such well improvised plans with the right bit of believability to actually work. I commend you for it."

"Um, actually?" Ron spoke up as he shifted nervously. "That was already our plan."

Flitwick blinked a moment at that, then stared at Ron. "Truly?"

"Tracey's idea." Harry agreed with a nod of his head.

"And based on initial public polling such a product would be considered highly desirable, and as such, highly profitable considering the rarity of the conditions for the potion's creation." Tracey was practically vibrating in anticipation as she nodded her head. "Oh, that's going to be-- mmmmm--."

"And then there will be the non-permanent versions." Harry pointed out calmly. "Those will probably come first. Plus, we have to create a temporary potion for our proof of concept for the singing potion."

"I see, I see." Flitwick nodded his head in agreement. "All very nice an ambitious gentlemen and lady. You're just forgetting one simple thing."

The three of them all blinked in confusion before smiling brightly at them. "That you are still my students and you've just shown me that you are more advanced than I originally estimated. Congratulations! I will be enjoying what I do next more than almost anything since I taught the Marauders."

"Errr.. What're you going to do next, Professor?" Ron asked nervously as he grunted at Tracey's sudden elbow.

"Why, I'm going to plan, Ronald my boy. I'm going to take a good long look at everything you've accomplished, take into account all my wonderful, wonderful years of teaching experience, then come up with an assignment that shall be ever so-- creative!"

The cheerful statement made all three of the students stare at him in abject horror as they realized that they had dug themselves in even deeper than they had previously imagined.


Ginny Weasley sighed as she leaned back on her bed and stared at the journal in front of her, sharp, precise words laying out the possibilities for her future. She had, until the events of this summer planned to spend the year doing her best to completely recreate herself. The worried looks of wary pity she'd had to endure the last two summers when she'd been home--

The way her parents kept her at an arm's length because she looked at the world with a jaded, cynical eye that was so much older than a girl her age should be. The way her brothers watched over her like a hawk every chance they got when they weren't otherwise occupied, treating her like a piece of fragile glass that might just break if they handled her wrong. The way that despite how Harry Potter had valiantly risked his life to save her, it didn't magically make her the princess he loved.

It had been the last little bit of her innocence that died. Harry was just that kind of person. He risked his life without a second thought, for almost anyone. There was nothing special about her, it was just something special about Harry.

Sighing she looked over the plan and outline she'd spent months preparing with absolute meticulous detail. A year's worth of work, to reshape her mind back into the innocent, stubborn girl she'd been before. A year's worth of work to mold her thoughts and behaviors specifically tailored to attracting Harry in every way she could imagine.

With the tattered shreds of her ego silent and Tom's dead by Harry's hand, it had been easy enough to make use of Tom's knowledge of Occlumancy to lay out a new her. Tom had done it himself to a far lesser degree after all. For him, it had been a persona, a face for the purebloods to see and flock to without inhibition or hesitation.

A front and a mask all in one while he brought them down to his own level of base sadism.

Creating a plan to reinvent herself as someone to be everything Harry would want and need had been relatively easy in comparison.

Only, the Harry that it had been made for had suddenly become a different Harry entirely. He was motivated now, creative, expressive and curious. It was completely different from the withdrawn only shining under pressure Harry that she'd been modelling herself after.

Which left her with a completely ruined plan and trying to figure out who she was going to be.

Sighing softly she leaned back in her bed and closed her eyes, centering herself as she swept away her thoughts with a practiced ease and let the world around her dissolve into darkness as she fell back into her own thoughts. It turned into the Burrow a moment later, a warm, comfortable place full of maddeningly impossible architecture where there was a subtle organization that belied common beliefs. A home where she knew where to find anything, but anyone else would be lost.

"Tommy be greeting the Miss." A floppy eared elf popped into existence and bowed his head to her. "What can Tommy be doing for the Miss?"

Turning the remnants of Tom Riddle into a mental construct of a house elf had taken some time, but, she thought it had been more than worth it.

Provided she always kept on her toes.

"You can cease preparations for--" She started to say as she settled into a sun warmed kitchen table chair.

"Tommy be knowing." The mental elf stated with a bob of its head. "Tommy be waiting for the Miss' orders."

Ginny frowned for a moment in thought before sighing as she slumped back in her seat. "Well, coming up with a whole new profile for Harry would be kind of pointless at this point. I have no idea how he's going to change from here and with everything escalating the way it is--"

Tommy nodded its head and Ginny grumbled slightly as she focused her attention on the kitchen table as suddenly a figure materialized on it.

She looked critically at the girl on the table. The sweet and innocent girl she had been trying to remake herself into, staring up at the ceiling with empty, blank eyes. This had been her chance at having a nice, and relatively secure future.

"-- A pity, I think I would've liked to be you." She stated sadly and shook her head as her double suddenly crumpled into dust. Months of work, all gone in an instant.

"What should Tommy be doing now?" Tommy asked as he stared back at her expectantly.

Ginny looked at the little elf, staring at her with blank, empty eyes and shifted her attention away from him, staring off into the beautiful spring sky hanging outside the Burrow.

What should she be doing now? So many things could be said, could be done. The possibilities--

Then she watched Tommy tense slightly and she focused her attention back on the here and now. For now, she would just be herself. It wasn't likely to really help her much with reassuring her family, but--

She flashed to Hermione for a moment before remembering the look on the girls' face. Maybe she could at least put some of her experiences to good use. After all, with everything that happened, Hermione was going to need a friend.

Especially one that wasn't going to put up with her shite and wasn't afraid to smack some sense into her.

Sighing a bit, she shook her head and then gave Tommy a long look. With the way things were, she didn't really need the construct anymore. And all things considered--

"Tommy be going to sleep then, Miss." Tommy stated quickly, before suddenly popping away, leaving her suddenly alone.

And suddenly frowning. Tommy was a bit too-- intuitive. She hadn't noticed it before but-- She would have to dissect him again. Which meant she couldn't trust anything she'd had him work on.

She stared at the pile of ash in front of her and then frowned as she focused, thick slab walls suddenly popping up all around her, isolating her and the kitchen table. Testingly, she called out. "Tommy?"

When she received no response, she tripled the slabs and then focused her attention back on the remains of the mental construct she'd just destroyed.

Why oh, why couldn't things just be simple for a change?

Sighing, she then went to work examining every little piece left of the creation in front of her.


Dumbledore sighed softly as he leaned back in his seat and looked at the stubborn faces of the Malfoys across from him. Really, did they have to be so stubborn about this? It was in their best interests for them to simply cooperate.

"Honestly, what exactly do you think this is going to accomplish for yourselves?" Dumbledore finally asked as he looked back at the husband and wife. "Do you really think this is going to work out the way you intend?"

"Ah, but it's all about perception, Headmaster." Lucius stated with an acidic sarcasm. "You can claim that they were working on their Mastery, and it will be laughed out. You can claim that this was the fault of my son, but Snape and those foolish children who broke the wards play just as much of a role in it. Considering I don't see Aurors here, that means that you have not contacted them and you have been relying on your own in house expertise."

Once he had taken the time to fully process everything, Lucius had recovered from his previous despondence and had remembered that he was not entirely helpless as the headmaster seemed to think. "Which shows that--"

"I had taken the time to try and warn you of what was about to hit you." Dumbledore stated simply and shook his head with a sigh. "I think, perhaps, that you are forgetting a few things, Lucius."

"Such as?" He demanded with a sneer.

"Such as the fact that I have not placed any sort of halt on owls or mail traffic." He stated simply as he looked back at Lucius. "Out of all the students in Slytherin, how many of them do you expect to not have already written and sent off letters to their parents?"

Lucius paused at that, as his mind quickly adapted to that information and he refused to grimace.

"And how many actually have bothered to do that? After all this is such a major shock--" Narcissa pointed out, shifting a bit as she straightened her shoulders.

"15 so far." He stated blandly, as he tilted his head to the side. "Soon to be 16. Though, it is not the number that you should be worrying about."

"And what, pray tell is?" Lucius demanded with a glare back at the man.

"The fact that your son's roommate is Blaise Zabini, and her letter was one of the first ones sent." Dumbledore stated as he gave Lucius a look, watching the way the man immediately blanched and his wife paled. "You are running out of time now, Lucius. How much longer do you really think you have?"

"You're bluffing." Lucius stated with a half growl while he sat up, pale and trembling as he glared back at Dumbledore.

Narcissa simply looked at him, eyes narrowed a bit as she frowned. "Why should we believe any of what you--"

It was then that there was an explosion of green flames from Dumbledore's fireplace as his floo activated.

"Headmaster Dumbledore. This is Amelia Bones. I have a contingent of aurors with me that you will be allowing to enter your school to deal with the mess made in the Slytherin dorms." The voice was sharp, cold and edged to the point. "And if Lucius Malfoy happens to be there? You can tell him Donatella Zabini wants to have words with him."

Dumbledore sighed and shook his head wearily. "And now, I'm afraid, it is too late."

Posted: 4:24 PM - Jun 22, 2016


After the majority of the students had filed out of the Great Hall, Harry, Ron and Tracey had made their way to the workshop classroom and settled in. A few spells later and Tracey was smirking at the way Ron was still staring at her.

"Well, this was certainly a fortuitous turn of events." Tracey stated with a grin as she stretched out again. "When it comes to chaos, you two certainly don't disappoint."

"That wasn't us, Tracey." Harry insisted with a frown. "All what we did would've done was give Malfoy and Zabini squeaky voices for a while. The rest of it is all on Malfoy and the rest of the idiots."

"You were involved." Tracey stated with a snort and a shake of her head. "Though, most of the fallout is definitely going to fall on Malfoy. After what happened at the World Cup, the whole family is pretty much doomed."

"-- I really wasn't trying to doom them, you know." Harry stated with a grimace as he dropped down into a chair and stared up at the ceiling. "It was just supposed to be a prank. Something to give the idiot a taste of his own medicine."

"You didn't make him do anything, Harry." Tracey reminded him with a snort before nudging Ron with her elbow. "Right, Ron?"

"Huhwa?" Ron blinked a moment as he was jolted back into sentience. "What?"

"Harry's blaming himself for the Malfoy's doom." Tracey stated helpfully, smiling slightly in pleasure at how obviously taken he was and resisting the urge to arch her back again, to strain her robes against her new curves.

"Why?" Ron suddenly demanded as the "M" word registered in his thoughts.

"Well, I mean-- I really didn't want to doom anyone!" Harry protested with his hands raised up, before frowning as he made an amendment. "Well, anyone not Voldemort or Peter Pettigrew."

"But, it's Malfoy!" Ron protested. "I mean, bloody hell, do you not remember all the shite he's put us through over the last couple of years?"

"Well, yeah, but--" Harry shifted uncomfortably in place. "I mean--"

"He did this to himself, mate." Ron insisted with a huff as he gave Harry an almost sullen look. "And don't forget what kind of berk his father is."

Harry very much remembered what Lucius Malfoy was like, the look in the man's eyes before Dobby had interjected himself between them. It made him shift uncomfortably at the thought. "Well, yeah, but-- Well-- If I blame him for what his father did, aren't I just making Snape right? That it's fine to blame someone for what their father did?"

Ron opened his mouth to protest again, before closing it as he sullenly mulled over Harry's words.

"There's a difference though." Tracey cut in as she gave Harry a look. "One, you never knew your father, and, sorry to remind you, Harry, he had no influence on your life. Malfoy though, he's always bloody mouthing off with his father this, his father that. He's trying to be like his father."

"And that makes it right to lump him together with his father?" Harry seemed uncomfortable with the thought.

"When he actively wants to be? Yes!" Tracey declared firmly as she bobbed her head.

"I'm with Tracey on this. Malfoy brought it on himself." Ron agreed with a nod of his own head. "You shouldn't be wasting your pity on the damned idiot.

Harry sighed and shook his head. "Look, I get Malfoy's a bloody berk. I get that this is really his fault. But-- I dunno, I just feel like he doesn't really deserve it to be this bad--"

"Yes, well it was." Tracey stated flatly as he gave Harry a look, before turning her head to run. "Tell me, how many ways could his messing around with the potion have turned into something lethal?"

"Um--" Ron paused a moment, before weakly offering. "Define lethal?"

"See?" Tracey pointed towards Ron. "Ron gets it. You know enough about potions to get it too. Draco did something incredibly stupid. He's going to get what's coming to him."

"Just still feels wrong." Harry stated with a sigh and a shrug of his shoulders. "He didn't actually hurt someone after all."

"-- Harry, are you daft in the head?" Tracey demanded as she looked at him incredulously. "Do you have any idea how much-- Look, he might not have physically hurt anyone, but don't you realize what kind of damage this is going to do to certain families?"

"-- Damage? How?" Harry looked confused at that. "I mean-- It's just making them girls--"

"Right, muggle raised. Muggle raised." Tracey repeated the words to herself before taking a slow, deep breath. "Ok. Witches and wizards are pretty much equal, yes, but there's no such thing as complete equality."

Harry frowned at that. "I don't like where you're going with this, Tracey."

"It's nothing like that!" Tracey quickly held up her hands defensively. "Look, do you understand what's so bad about being thrown out of your family?"

"-- You don't have a family anymore?" Harry offered, still looking confused.

"It's more than that, mate." Ron spoke up as he shook his head. "It's-- well, it's casting you out of the family magic. It's basically taking away a part of who you are. You're always going to be missing it."

"And after a while, certain things about a family becomes ingrained into magic itself. Certain positions in the family can only be filled by a witch or a wizard, not both." Tracey stated simply. "And then there are certain spells that are actually dependent upon it."

"-- oh." Harry's shoulder's slumped a bit. "Does this mean that Hermione's right about everything?"

Tracey's face took on an ugly, angry twist as she shook her head. "Absolutely not!"

"Well-- kinda?" Ron admitted after a moment's thought with a shrug of his shoulders. "It's still completely on Malfoy and whoever tore down those wards."

"We're still the ones that tricked him into taking the potion." Harry reminded him with a frown. "And Tracey's still one of the ones that won't change back--"

"Ok." Tracey took a slow deep breath before looking at Ron. "Ron, how much did you look into sympathetic magical effects?"

"Um, well, that they can be easily reversed by sympathetic rejection, otherwise, they're pretty much permanent? It's why people stopped using it for marriage contracts, because a lot of people kept people locked into marriages when the other people wanted out--" Ron answered uncertainly.

"Well, I did a bit more looking into them and talked to my mum." Seeing the confused looks on their faces, Tracey sighed and shrugged. "She's a pureblood who married my da, who's a muggleborn. Thankfully, she wasn't from one of the big blood purist families so she didn't get cast out."

"Ah." The boys nodded their heads slowly in understanding before waiting for her to continue.

"Well, the whole thing is it's based on your acceptance or rejection. Acceptance or total rejection." Tracey stated for clarification. "Which means, if you reject it once, odds are it'll never work on you again, because you've rejected it."

"Oh." Harry paused as he heard that and slowly processed it. "So, if you and the other girls agree to reverse it--"

"It probably won't matter if Ron recreates the potion, we likely won't be able to use it." Tracey stated flatly. "Especially for those of us that know about that rule. So, if a bunch of blood purists get the shaft in the process? Fine by me."

Tracey crossed her arms about her chest and glared defiantly back at Harry.

Harry sighed softly and let his own shoulders slump a bit. "I still don't like people having stuff taken from them because of this."

"Life isn't fair, Harry." Tracey reminded him with a sulky glower. "You should know that by now."

Harry flinched a bit and looked away slightly while Ron shot her a disapproving look, making her flush faintly as she realized her blunder.

"I get that it's not fair. But, because I know how unfair things are for people means I don't like seeing it happening to other people who didn't do anything to deserve it." Harry stated stubbornly as he set his jaw and crossed his arms about his chest.

"I swear, you entirely too much of a noble idiot sometimes, Harry." Tracey stated with a sigh as she threw up her hands into the air. "Fine, I get it, you don't like it. Just stop bloody blaming yourself for it. Granger is out of her gourd if she thinks this falls on you. Malfoy should've known better! This is all on him!"

"I still--!" Harry started to say as he looked back at her

"Mate." Ron spoke up a bit as he gave Harry a look. "Look, you really think Snape of all people is right about this?"

Harry flinched and looked away again. "It wouldn't be--"

"Harry, bloody hell no." Ron cut him off. "You know Snape's a berk and a bloody idiot when it comes to you. He'll say anything bad about you he can just to make you the problem no matter what!"

"Doesn't mean he's wrong though." Harry shot back.

"He's Snape, of course he's bloody wrong!" Ron shot back with a glare. "Don't you remember what he was going to do to Sirius?"

"Well--" Harry hedgingly shifted as he remembered the scene. "Yes--"

"First day of Potions." Tracey added helpfully with an imperious tilt to her chin.

"Every day of Potions." Ron shot back with a look of slight annoyance.

"Fine, every day of Potions." Tracey agreed reluctantly.

"Don't forget what he did to Professor Lupin." Ron reminded Harry next. "And the whole mess he set up when he forced you to duel Draco in Second Year. You know he told him to use that spell."

"-- Ok, fine, so listening to Snape isn't my best idea." Harry admitted with a mellowed glare. "Happy?"

"You need to ask?" Tracey questioned with an arched brow. "Look, what happened, happened. Malfoy was an idiot and so where a bunch of other berks in my house, and Snape made it all possible. There, we've settled blame. Can we move on to how we will capitalize upon this?"

Harry groaned and palmed his face in his hands as Ron gave her an incredulous look. "Capitalize on it? I mean, I know you were talking about the whole bloody recreating the potion and what not but--"

"Opportunity waits for no witch, and when it appears, must be grasped before someone else takes it!" Tracey declared fervently. "Fortune awaits those that grasp it when it appears!"

"-- Tracey, Malfoy is already ruined, we've got an idea for what could be a lot of money according to you, Patil and Brown, and according to you, the whole Malfoy family is buggered." Ron stated as he stared at Tracey. "What more opportunity is there?"

Tracey paused a moment, frowning as she tried to answer him. "I'll think of something!"

"I'm sure you will." Harry agreed with a nod of his head as he sighed and muttered. "Unfortunately."

"Shush." Tracey stated as she glowered back at him and stuck her tongue out at him.

"Ah, here you all are." A familiar voice stated from the door way, drawing all of their attention.

"Mr. Potter." Harry blinked a bit as he saw the familiar form of Amelia Bones looking at him sternly next to a smiling Flitwick. "Why do I feel that I should start labelling my private stock of headache potions 'in case of Harry Potter?'"

Harry blushed brightly at that and ducked his head slightly. "I--! I mean-- But-- I didn't-- He--"

"Harry is trying to say that he didn't do anything." Tracey stated with a sigh and a shake of her head.

"I am well aware of that, Ms. Davis, I believe?" She noted dryly as she shook her head and sighed. "This does not change the fact that he was involved in yet another debacle. Do you know what kind of headaches this is going to cause me to sort out?"

"-- I'm sorry?" Harry offered with a lame sounding helplessness to his voice as Tracey nodded in agreement.

"I'm sure." She agreed with a nod of her head before sighing. "I'm going to need your statement on this."

"Ron and I were brewing a potion as part of an assignment for Professor Flitwick." Harry stated with a slight uncomfortableness to his voice as he nodded to the amused professor in question. "Well, it's more he gave us an assignment based on the potion we wanted to make anyway, but--"

"And how did you even learn about sympathetic magic, Mr. Potter?" She asked calmly as she arched a brow.

Immediately, Harry, Ron and Tracey all pointed their fingers at Flitwick, who coughed slightly at the sudden attention and had the decency to look sheepish. "Well, yes, but honestly, I was simply working to entice them into fulfilling their potential."

Amelia sighed softly before adjusting her monocle. "Right. Exactly why were you teaching them sympathetic magic, Professor?"

"I wasn't." Flitwick answered with a cheerful smile. "I gave Mr. Potter a book on the affect of magic and spells on potions, and I gave Mr. Weasley a book on the effect of celestial events on certain potion ingredients."

"-- And Ms. Davis?" Amelia arched a brow as she nodded to the red headed girl seated behind the boys.

"A book on defensive mental magics." Flitwick stated, his eyes twinkling. "She needed something to keep her out of trouble."

"-- If that was what you meant to do, you should've kept me away from these two." Tracey pointed out with a roll of her eyes as she affectionately nodded to the two boys.

"Oh, it was far too late for that, Ms. Davis. They had already pulled you into the madness." Flitwick disagreed with a shake of his head. "That, along with your ambitious nature and greed meant that you have already doomed yourself quite thoroughly."

"I'm not gree--" Tracey protested only to have both Ron and Harry turn and look at her. "I'm not that greedy! I'm more ambitious."

"Of course, my dear, of course." Flitwick told her with a nod of his head. "But, I believe Madame Bones has some more questions for Harry and Ron."

"Quite." Amelia agreed with a faint drawl to her voice as she gestured around the room. "Now, this is where you were brewing your potion?"

"Yes, Ma'am." Harry agreed with a nod of his head, pointing to the stand under the vent cover. "The potion was left right over there. The bottle it was in was designed to automatically release the contents as a mist at midnight."

"Why?" Was her next question as she looked at him.

Harry turned his attention to Ron, who shifted uncomfortably before taking over. "Well, we wanted to get the best quality we could out of the potion; that required vaporizing it to remove the remaining impurities before it was condensed back into a liquid form."

"I see. I will, of course, be running this by some experts to verify. I was told you had a copy of your notes as well?" She prompted as she looked at the two.

Sighing, Ron reached into his pack and pulled out a sheet of folded parchment, before looking at Professor Flitwick. "Could you duplicate this, professor?"

"Of course." Flitwick agreed with a nod of his head, tapping the parchment as the duplication curse popped a second copy into existence.

Ron promptly offered the copy to Amelia. "Here you go, Madame Bones, the exact same notes I gave Professor Dumbledore and Snape earlier."

"Thank you." She unfolded the parchment, glancing through it for a moment before nodding her head and folding it back up. "Very well. And you say that the last time you saw the potion was when you were in here?"

"Yes, Ma'am." Ron agreed with a nod of his head. "We set it there, under the hood, and then walked out of the classroom, ran into Mr. Filch and then went back to the common room."

"And will the two of you be willing to submit your memories of this?" Amelia asked, arching a brow slightly.

"Now, why would you need that, Madam Bones?" Flitwick spoke up as he looked at the woman curiously. "I'm fairly certain that Albus and Severus already have Mr. Malfoy's memories of what he did to the potion."

That made her blink a moment, before looking back at Flitwick with a narrowed gaze as she pressed her lips tightly together. "-- Oh? It would seem that was something that the Headmaster neglected to mention to me earlier."

"I can't imagine why ever not, he needed it to investigate if it would even be possible to reverse the effects of what the whole mess caused." Flitwick stated with a shake of his head. "However, I have to admit, it had given me wonderful ideas for assignments for my students."

"-- And I remind you, Professor, private enterprises are already claimed that assignment and rights to production." Tracey chimed in with a pointed look.

"Yes, I remember." Flitwick cheerfully nodded his head as he rubbed his hands. "You're making me get creative, and I do so love it!"

The three students sighed in unison as their shoulders all seemed to slump as one.

Amelia snorted softly in amusement before shaking her head. "Very well. Though that will conclude the official interview at this time, I have a few things I'm afraid I'm going to have to say, especially to you, Mr. Potter."

"-- Is it about Sirius?" Harry asked hopefully as he looked at her.

"Unfortunately, no. I'm still finishing up that investigation. Though, you will be happy to know that the kiss/kill on sight order has been rescinded and replaced with a detention into DMLE custody order." She stated with a slow shake of her head. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to warn you about something else, Mr. Potter."

"-- Great, now what?" Harry asked with a sigh as he slid down in his seat even further.

"For one, you have likely earned yourself the attention of Donatella Zabini." Amelia Bones stated simply. "Or, will once she realizes the part you played in in all this."

"What part?" Harry asked as he shifted uncomfortably. "Draco stole the potion from us."

"And your desire to recreate the end effects will make you a rich man." Amelia stated simply, before pausing and amending her statement. "A much richer man."

"-- Who?" Harry asked in confusion, as he glanced over at Tracey, whose eyes widened considerably.

"Wait, Blaise's mum? Isn't Harry a little-- young for her?" Tracey offered with an attempt at delicacy.

"Indeed. However, thanks to young Malfoy's actions, she now has a daughter to follow in her footsteps." Amelia Bones noted as she gave Tracey a look.

"-- Wait, I'm missing something here." Harry noted as he looked at Amelia and Tracey. "What's so big about Blaise's mum?"

Tracey groaned softly, then proceeded to explain.


"Mother." Blaise stated slowly as she found herself facing her stone faced mother. This-- seemed to not be a very good sign.

"Blaise." She stated in a cool tone before her eyes flicked to Daphne, who seemed to shrink under the icy, imperial gaze. "This is a private conversation."

Blaise slowly swallowed as Daphne made an uncharacteristically mouse-like squeak and quickly almost scurried away. A moment later, they were alone in an empty classroom. Blaise stared up at her mother with wide, terrified eyes as her mother promptly cast a few spells on the doors to insure their privacy.

"You--" Her mother started, her voice still frigid and razor sharp. "Are just so cute."

Blaise froze as she struggled to process exactly what her mother had just said.

Then her mother proceed to practically squeal in in delight as she hugged her into her bosom. "Oh! The daughter I always wanted! And your hair! It's so silky and fine! And that bone structure! Your cheeks! And Baby, your eyes! I knew I would have a beautiful baby girl, but oooh, this is so much better than I ever imagined!"

Blaise just stood there, frozen as she tried to process exactly what her mother was saying. Her mind, however, seemed to crash, again and again. Her mother was hugging her and talking about how beautiful of daughter she was. And she was squealing like some of the girls in Hufflepuff did over the newest Witch Weekly when they thought someone wasn't around.

This was not what she was expecting from her mother. Though, she was now starting to wonder why. Then her mother said something that immediately made her push away as she came back to her senses.

"Oh, the boys will just love you!" Donatella cooed as she stroked her hair before Blaise pulled away.

"Mother!" Blaise almost choked at that as she glared at her mother now. "I-- You--! What is wrong with you!?"

"Honestly, Blaise, don't you understand all the doors this will open up for you? I can finally teach you!" Donatella gleefully clapped her hands together. "Oh, it will be wonderful! I get to teach you about make-up, fashion, shoes, shopping--!"

"NO!" Blaise practically screamed as she stamped her foot on the ground. "Nononononononono!"

"And apparently how to properly throw a tantrum." Donatella noted with a critical eye. "You need more variation in what you say, more lip tremble to your pout, using a bit of gloss beforehand really emphasizes it and--"

"I do not need to be taught how to throw a tantrum!" Blaise snapped sharply as she glared at her mother.

"Your positively pedestrian display says otherwise." Donatella stated as she waved her hand dismissively. "I suppose that's what I get for leaving you to your own devices while you were a boy."

"I am still a boy!" Blaise protested with an almost shrill voice. "As soon as this is undone--.!"

"It's not going to be undone, darling." Donatella stated almost soothingly. "With everything, well-- Too many are going to fight against pushing their daughters to reject what happened. It benefits their families too much for them to be willing to have it undone."

"No! Dumbledore and Snape can fix this! They have to!" Blaise stated, a sudden touch of hysteria entering her voice.

"Blaise!" Her voice snapped sharply as she affixed her with a look. "I raised you better than this! I will not let you start acting like some panicked peasant! Now pull yourself together!"

Blaise just stared at her with wild, glassy eyes that showed no trace of understanding what she was saying to her.

Grimacing slightly, Donatella took a slow, deep breath before slapping Blaise fully across her face.

"Ah!" Blaise gasped softly at the action, reaching up to cup her cheek as she stared at her mother. "That hurt!"

"Yes, well I did not need you acting like some sort of hysterical fool." Donatella stated flatly as she shook her head. "Now, if you can keep your head without acting as foolish as a Malfoy?"

Inwardly nodding in approval at the fire in Blaise's beautiful eyes and suppressing the desire to squeal happily again, she continued. "There is no going back. Which is why the Malfoys are currently in the care of the aurors."

"-- Won't the Minister?" Blaise started, recalling the amount of undue influence the Malfoys had gained over the simpering little idiot.

"Honestly, Blaise, you underestimate the charms of a woman." Donatella stated with a sniff, before smiling slyly. "Why, Madam Bones has him completely neutralized without me having to do anything!"

"-- And of course it has nothing to do with the fact that you're wearing one of what Garzey calls your Zamboobi dresses?" Blaise half asked, half accused with a slightly sullen look on her face.

"Oh, I was fully prepared to charm our illustriously malleable minister, and really, Blaise, a woman has her charms for a reason, it is simply a crime against nature to not use them, but, Madam Bones didn't even give me a chance to ply him." Donatella stated as she lightly fanned herself. "Why, if she was a man, I might actually have found a husband worth keeping!"

"The day you find a husband you'll actually keep is the day I do." Blaise stated sarcastically as she glared at her mother.

"I'll keep that in mind. Why that would be nice, wouldn't it? My darling little girl, finding the happiness I never did at her age!" Donatella brightened up, before shaking her head. "Well, I suppose that means we'll have to get you started on building up your list of poor, unfortunate husbands early, won't we?"

"-- No, Mother, I am not marrying a man! Especially not to just be done with him!" Blaise stated with a shudder. "Because that requires actually consummating the whole thing to be legitimate."

"Don't worry, my dear, after the first dozen or so disappointments, it's far easier to simply accept it." Donatella stated with a dismissive wave of her hand. "Actually, most of what you'll do is lay there and pretend to be enjoying it and--"

"I don't want to hear this!" Blaise declared, glaring back at her mother. "I am not going to just-- I am a man! I am not going to let another man stick his-- I will not have sex with a man!"

Donatella smiled in amusement at the bright blush on her daughter's face and shook her head. "Oh? A man, really? You never even finished being a boy before, but now you want to say you're a man with breasts like those?"

Blaise blushed a full scarlet across her mocha skin as her mother's words hit home. "MOTHER!"

"Do not raise your voice to me, young lady." Donatella chided firmly. "You are not so old that I cannot give you a proper spanking."

"-- You wouldn't!" Blaise stared at her mother in absolute horror.

"I'll even have a word with the nurse to make sure that no one gives you any cream to relieve the results of it!" Donatella declared with a strict and final tone. "Now apologize!"

Blaise eyed her mother with sullen, glowering eyes, before she set her jaw and stuck out her lower lip in a pout. "No."


Blaise whimpered as she left the class room, tears streaking down her bright red and blotchy, but still beautiful face as she tried desperately to keep her robs off of her bright red and painfully sensitive bum.

"Now, let that be a lesson to you." Donatella stated as she calmly removed stiff, black leather gloves from her hand. "Not to raise your voice to me again."

"-- Yes, mother." Blaise said in a soft, whimper.

"Good. Now, come along, we have some of your classmates to talk to, and I want to have a good look at the young Mister Potter. We have to see if he'd be a good first conquest for you after all."

Blaise let a trickle of horror into her eyes at her mother's words, her voice regaining some of its earlier life. "But--! Potter?!"

"-- Do I need to remind you of my earlier point, my sweet little daughter?" Donatella smiled beatifically at her with half closed eyes, a gentle expression on her face and an aura of demonic menace, promising excruciatingly humiliating pain if Blaise answered incorrectly.

"-- No, mother." Blaise managed to squeak out.

"Good girl." Donatella agreed before pulling out a handkerchief. "Now let mama dry those eyes so you don't look a mess."

Helplessly, Blaise allowed her to do as she pleased, wondering exactly what kind of madness her transformation had awoken in her mother.

Posted: 4:24 PM - Jun 22, 2016


There was a grim silence in the air as Lucius Malfoy glanced from the grimly smug aurors around him to his wife, to Dumbledore and then back to his wife. His quite angry wife, who was looking as much as at him as at Dumbledore with a look of frustrated wrath. Unfortunately for him, he knew that generally anger travelled towards the easiest target.

And he himself was a much easier target than Albus Dumbledore, even on the man's worst days.

"You had to convince me that we needed to not give in easily. That we needed leverage. That we had enough time to negotiate a resolution with him. That he was probably bluffing about what we'd be facing." Narcissa hissed in anger as she glared at her husband. "Well, are you happy?"

"No, not particularly." Lucius stated with a slight edge to his voice while fiddling with the head of his cane. When he saw the aurors around him tightening their grips on their wands and sharpening their gazes, he sighed and reluctantly pulled his hand away. "Honestly, Narcissa, how was I supposed to know this was about to happen?"

"By listening to me, I imagine." Dumbledore noted with a shake of his head as he looked up from the various sheets of parchment he was having to fill out because of the Auror involvement in the whole thing. "Though, I suppose that was a forgone possibility as soon as you managed to get the idea in your foolish heads that you could somehow take advantage of my position and pretend like you were negotiating from anything but the dire position you were actually in."

One of the aurors snickered at the comment, earning an angry glower that would've once made them flinch back with at least some hesitation. Instead, he received a cheeky grin that made him clench his jaw and lightly grind his teeth. Smug mockery was not something he was familiar with being forced to endure.

Though it would seem he was likely to be experiencing a great deal of it going forward. Already he was trying to figure out exactly how he would recoup his losses. Only, most of his ideas simply weren't feasible due to the necessity of funds to start them.

Almost all of his preparations for a fall from grace relied upon him being able to save at least a modicum of funds to rebuild things. Including his plans to flee the country and reestablish himself elsewhere. Only, judging by the looks the aurors were giving him, if he so much as touched any of his little stashes for anything but paying off the families of those his son had wronged, he would find himself quickly in no small amount of trouble

Sighing, he closed his eyes as he realized a horrible, horrible realization. When all this was done, he was going to be even lower than Weasley of all people. And then another horrible realization hit him. A Weasley was also the one that had apparently brewed the potion to begin with before his son had had his moment of brilliance to alter it.

And he was going to be beholden to the brat and the Morgana damned Potter brat as well.

It was all a horrible, horrible mess that made him want to grab hold of his wand and start cursing everything around him.

He hissed sharply when he felt a sudden pinch on the back of his hand, his angry eyes turning to find Narcissa glaring at-- His wand? Glancing down he realized he had half drawn it from his cane. Slowly looking around, he noticed that every single Auror already had their wands drawn and pointed in his direction.

And Dumbledore was continuing to fill out paperwork as if Lucius was beneath his notice and wasn't even a threat.

Slowly he let his wand slide back into his cane before he fully removed his hand from it. The aurors were all glaring at him now, and their wands lowered at a considerably slower pace. And he was forced to accept it.

"Honestly, Lucius, my boy, I wonder sometimes about where you keep your guile and cunning at times like this, as it certainly seems to have abandoned your head." Dumbledore stated as he finished one piece of parchment, giving the ink a moment to dry before he moved on to the next sheet. "Though, I suppose it does lead more credence to your son merely being horrendously foolish."

Narcissa glowered back at the words while she was forced to grab hold of Lucius' hand to keep it clear of the man's wand. "Must you antagonize him so?"

"Considering the decades of antagonism he has so gleefully dolled out, I had thought it was more than appropriate." Dumbledore stated dryly as he slowly shook his head. "Though I suppose I am woefully out of practice. Perhaps I should pay a visit to Gellert again and remind myself of the proper touch for it."

There was a pause as he pursed his lips a moment and eyed the pair of Malfoys speculatively. "Why, I can almost imagine how educational it would be to take you with me."

There was a sudden look of sickened worry on the Malfoy's face as they realized exactly what Dumbledore was proposing.

"I have an allergy to prisons." Lucius stated flatly as he glared at Dumbledore.

"A hereditary condition I've observed." Dumbledore stated with a faint smile on his face before shaking his head slowly. "But, alas, as entertaining as this is, I'm afraid I must finish all this paperwork. The things one must do when students make historically poor choices."

"How much are you going to keep drawing this out before you tell us what you want?" Narcissa demanded with a hiss of breath as she glared back at Dumbledore.

"Want, my dear? You no longer have anything to offer." He stated flatly as he continued to fill out the paperwork. "Any influence I might've exerted would've required me to take you and present you to the Ministry as seeking to acknowledge and make amends for the actions of your son before they came here for you. You made quite the point of ruining that."

"There has to be--" Narcissa started to state.

"You had your chance, my dear. I offered it to your freely and you knocked it aside to try and take what you falsely thought you were worth." Dumbledore chided mildly. "As the muggles say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and it is shame on me. I have no reason to give you any further opportunities to attempt and fool me."

"What." Lucius made the statement with a sound of disbelief as he stared at the man. "Then why are we even still here?!"

"Because Madam Bones asked that you stay here until she finished gathering the information she wanted." Dumbledroe responded, before pausing. "Mmm, ah, yes, this is the form where I testify as to how things could've gone with what your son did."

As Lucius snarled at him, and Narcissa glared hatefully in his direction, he proceeded list his thoughts aloud. "If ashwinder scales had been used in the potion at any point in the last 4 days of the potions's creation, then the inclusion of dryad's bone would've caused an immediate eruption of a molten flame that would've consumed and killed at least the foolish boy himself and his roommate, Blaise Zabini, and likely have killed a significant number of the remaining students in Slytherin.

"Lamia scales, alone produce a produce an acidic fog when mixed with vampric ash, with the combination of sphinx fur, if any Blood of Heroes had been used, well-- It takes quite some time to get the stench of ghoul out."

It was only seven further horrible combinations that he finally took pity on the pair and simply continued to write out remaining horrors he was familiar with how the potion ingredients Draco had added could have made things infinitely worse. At the end of the process, he had to admit to himself, that it had been rather-- therapeutic. And judging by the silence of the Malfoys, quite productive.

He would have to remember that.



One word froze the entire Hufflepuff common room. Then, like a sea, the badgers parted, revealing a single Fourth year girl staring with wide, deer like eyes, blinking at the sight of Amelia Bones standing at the entrance of the common room with a disappointed looking Professor Sprout standing next to her.

"Ah-- Aunt Amelia!" The girl looked positively panicked as she saw her guardian, quickly looking around for someone to either hide behind, or to offer her support. Sadly, she found none even among the house of loyalty and hard work.

After all, you didn't get between a mama-badger and her cub.

"Imagine my disappointment when I found out that you hadn't taken the time to address the oversight you'd made in your manners I pointed out to you this summer." Amelia stated simply, as she slowly began to look around the common room with a piercing gaze. "An oversight you were supposed to share with your house."

"An oversight that I thought had been properly addressed after it happened, by my whole house." Professor Sprout added as she let her own disappointed look contrast with Amelia's oen of ire. "I have to admit, I am quite disappointed with all of you over second year."

Susan, along with her more immediate friend cringed while a number of the others realized what they were referring to moments later, and looked anywhere but at their Head of House.

"I was going to! Honestly, Aunt Amelia, I was!" Susan protested, quickly holding up her hands. "It's just with all the things about the TriWizard Tournament, and him always being busy with the committee I--"

"No more excuses." Amelia stated simply. "I have to get back to work on this whole Slytherin debacle. I will be returning to Hogwarts very soon to confirm more information with everyone involved. I expect you have actually apologized by then."

"-- Yes, Aunt Amelia." Susan stated in a small voice as she hung her head.

"For those of you who do not grasp exactly what you've done wrong, perhaps you should think back to the year before last." Professor Sprout stated as she levelled them all with a horribly disappointed look. "During which you all accused an innocent boy of being the Heir of Slytherin because he tried to protect one of ours as best he could."

There was a pause as realization rippled on the faces of the rest of the house, and most immediately looked ashamed or embarrassed. Some, however, like Zachariah Smith looked sullen and, to an extent, resentful of the statement. Justin Finch-Fletcherly though, looked almost as if he wanted to crawl into an early grave at the reminder.

"A boy that was not only exonerated of that accusation, but ended up saving the student that the real culprit kidnapped." Sprout reminded them all before shaking her head sadly. "I shouldn't have to tell you all that you owed him an apology. I thought I didn't. Instead I find myself quite disappointed."

With that said, she gave them all one last look before sighing and walking away again.


"YOU!" Draco looked up, startled from where she'd been sitting curled up on her bed, hiding from the rest of her house.

Blaise was glaring at her, her eyes smoldering with fury as she pointed a finger accusatory in her direction. "Do you have any idea what you've DONE?!"

"Potter--" Draco tried weakly, though it was only halfhearted at best as she seemed to shrink back into herself at Blaise's fury.

"Don't you dare try to pull the 'This is all Potter's fault!' with me!" Blaise's voice was almost shrill as it left her mouth, though still somehow pleasant to listen to. "Because of you and your stupidity-- Oh, sweet Morgana, do you not understand what you've done to me?!"

"-- Turned you into a girl like I did everyone else, including myself?" Draco offered in a small voice.

"A beautiful girl! You gave my mother a daughter! Worse, you made me into her daughter! Being her son was wonderful! I got to enjoy a wonderfully bohemian lifestyle, fancy clothes, no one to bloody well irritate me, no expectations, and no plans for my future!" Blaise ranted angrily. "But now that I'm going to be stuck as a girl thanks to you?"

Blaise paused a moment, shuddering as she gingerly shifted in place. "She expects me to get married! She wants me to follow in her footsteps! She wants me to sleep with blokes!"

Draco flinched a bit and continued to cower quietly on her bed.

"And she actually took her hand to me when I disagreed with her!" Blaise glared angrily at Draco. "She spanked me! Like I was some little bratty child! And it's all YOUR fault!"

"I-- Wait, but-- How is you getting treated like a brat by your mother my fault!?" Draco demanded as she stopped cowering slightly, glaring back at Blaise. "If you don't want her to treat you like a brat, maybe you shouldn't act like such a whiny bitch!"

"If I wasn't turned into this, it wouldn't have been a problem!" Blaise snapped back as she glared at him. "Instead of being a bloody girl with a bloody insane mother who has insane and disturbing ideas of how she expects her daughter to act!"

"Oh, boohoo, you have your mother expecting you to get rich off of your back." Draco sneered back at her. "Like mother, like daughter."

"You bitch!" Blaise shrieked as she suddenly lunged at Draco.

"Whiny little slag!" Draco shot back as she grabbed hold of Blaise's hair as she tackled her.

"Spoilt little daddy's girl brat!" Blaise grab hold of Draco's hair in turn as they began to rolled around on Draco's bed.

"Whore!" Draco shouted as she released one hand from Blaise's hair and ripped at her robes with the other.

"SLUT!" Blaise roared back as she returned the favor.

Throughout the school, many a boy who had passed puberty felt as if there was something they were missing at that moment, something they truly wanted to see. But none of them could figure out what. A mystery that would haunt them for the rest of the year.


Harry and Ron were in the process of escorting Tracey back to the dungeon when they suddenly found themselves face to face with a pair of determined, matching faces.

"Gentlemen." One of the Weasley twins stated, before they nodded to Tracey as the other spoke. "And Lady."

"-- Right, if this is about the whole Marauders thing, I'm sorry, I've been busy working on the potion and--" Harry started as he held up his hands.

"This is in regards to the incident with the Slytherins." The twins stated, alternating ever few words, with an unusual solemnity. "And our need to express our feelings about it."

There was a pause, and Harry blinked slightly before quickly falling back on the story he'd been giving to everyone not one of their little trio. "Um-- I didn't do anything that was all Malfoy stealing things and being an idiot."

Suddenly the pair of them threw up a series of privacy and obscuring charms, before turning as one as they pointed their fingers at him simultaneously and practically screamed in accusation. "LIAR!"

Harry flinched back in surprise as one of the twins picked up from there. "We can abide by a lot. To be tormented, to be teased---"

"To be played with and be used." The second picked up as they both gave them a look. "But, if there's one thing we cannot abide--!"

"Wearing non-matching clothes?" Tracey interrupted with a look of innocent curiosity on her face.

"Well, yes, but--" One of the twins started to agree before trying to get the conversation back on point.

"Snape's potions lessons?" Ron asked, picking up where Tracey left off.

"Ok, so we can't abide those either, but--" The other twin cast a mild glare towards Ron.

"Being prevented from completing each other sentences because of a protean charm linked to a delayed shock curse and a linguistics charm hitting you every time you attempt to, sending you into convulsions every time you attempt to because you're acting like a pair of berks?" Harry asked with a meaningful scowl on his face as he gave the pair a glare.

The twins glanced at each other, before looking back at Harry, opening their mouths, before shutting them again as they looked at each other once more.

"You know, George, I believe that was a very pointed threat about what could be happening to us."

"Creative and tailor made just for us, Fred."

"Odds that he just came up with it now?"

"Better to ask the odds of if he's actually completed it."

"Right, but, if there's one thing we cannot abide---"

"-It's someone pulling off a seemingly impossible prank and then refusing credit for it!"

"I'm serious." Harry stated seriously as he gave them both a look. "This whole thing is because Malfoy stole our potion and decided to alter it without knowing what the potion itself was."

"-- I think he might possibly be telling the truth." George noted with a frown before glancing at Fred. "And, it is, sadly, quite believable that a Malfoy would stoop so low and be so stupid."

"Especially Draco." Fred agreed with a nod of his head. "So, that leaves us with a corundum of how something that wasn't a prank turned into one."

"All we know is that Draco decided to follow us to the classroom yesterday after we forgot to put up a privacy charm when talking about our project." Ron stated with a shake of his head. "After that, well, we left our potion under a collection hood so at midnight it could turn into a gas and then precipitate back down to get its final form."

"Follow you---"

"-After you forgot---"

"-Your privacy charms?" Now the suspicion was back in their voices.

"You wouldn't have happened to be looking at the Map just before you had this conversation, hmmm?" Fred asked, eyeing the pair with a much more wary look to his face.

"If we had, and saw Draco on there, why would we have forgotten out privacy charms?" Harry shot back with a huff and a glower.

"Tell us, what would've happened if the potion had just been released as it was in Malfoy's room?" George pressed.

Ron sighed again and rolled his eyes as he gave the pair a look. "Like we told Dumbledore and Madam Bones after they made us figure it out, it would've given Malfoy and Zabini squeaky voices until a sympathetic reversal could be done."

The twins were silent for a long moment, glancing at each other in silent communication before turning and pointing their fingers accusingly at Tracey. "We blame you for their new found sneakiness."

"Why me? I'm just ambitious and greedy." Tracey protested slightly. "Any of their sneaky ideas come from their map."

"Ah." The twins eyed Harry and Ron again. "So, let's just speak in hypotheticals. If you wanted to get someone to do something stupid, like steal a potion from you, how would you do it?"

"-- Hypothetically?" Harry repeated before shrugging a bit. "It would depend on the person. Some people have strict moral codes that would keep them from even thinking about such things."

"So, that kind of situation would have to be something like them finding it and taking it to try and figure out who it belonged to." Ron agreed with a nod of his head. "But, you'd have to be a real berk to want to prank someone like that, that way."

"Absolutely." Harry agreed with a nod of his head. "Now, a berk that was already prone to wanting to steal something? That would be a lot easier. You'd just need to present him with the knowledge you had something he'd want to steal in a way that he wouldn't find suspicious--"

"Like, say, eavesdropping on a private concentration?" Fred asked with a note of amusement in his eyes.

"Well, he'd likely have to be a berk to be eavesdropping." Harry affirmed non-committedly by nodding again before continuing. "Then, you'd have to present him with an opportunity. Not just any opportunity, a very limited one where he'd have enough time to act, but not really think about it."

"An opportunity that looked to be a lucky break, before a source of danger started closing in." Ron agreed with a nod of his head.

"You mean, like Filch?" George asked with another look of amusement on his face.

"Could be." Ron answered vaguely with a shrug of his shoulders.

Both the twins turned towards Tracey and arched a brow.

"-- Okay, maybe I did teach them some things about being sneaky. But most of that was all thanks to their other mentors." Tracey protested. "I just hammered into their heads never out right confirm or deny."

"It was very painful." Ron agreed with a slight wince as he rubbed his side. "She was very big on making sure we learned."

"It was just a cramping spell, you baby." Tracey sniffed lightly and shook her head. "I don't see why you're so upset by it."

"-- You cramped up the entire left side of my body at once!" Ron argued with a whine. "Do you have any idea how much that hurt?"

Tracey just stared at him flatly while Harry and the twins looked anywhere but at him or Tracey.

When he got no answer, he just blinked. "What?"

This time he spent the next few minutes with his right side cramped up.


When the door to Dumbledore's office opened, the Malfoys found that it was not, as they had hoped, Madam Bones who entered, but instead an icy faced Donatella Zabini. An icy faced Donatella Zabini that had her eyes focused completely and solely on the Malfoys. A woman who walked slowly, and purposely towards them.

"Madam Zabini." Professor Dumbledore's voice was calm and mild as he didn't bother looking up from his paperwork. "I don't believe I need to remind you that I will be most distraught if I have to add to the already significant piles of paperwork I am already obligated to fill out?"

"Now, Headmaster, have these-- wonderful people done anything to have earned such treatment a lady as innocent as myself?" She asked with a cold, empty, shark-like smile directed at the Malfoys.

Dumbledore looked up over his half moon glasses. "Mrs. Zabini, as you have never been my student, therefore I'll forgive your belief that I won't give you a spanking for causing me a headache when you've been warned not to."

There was a pause before he added. "We shall instead consider this your warning."

There was a slight shiver that ran up Donatella's spine before she sighed and gave him an arch look. "I suppose you're protecting them?"

The momentary hope on the Malfoy's face was instantly dashed as the man simply shook his head. "I'm afraid the Malfoy's declined my protection. Something about not believing that it was such a time sensitive matter. It is simply as I said, if you do something here, I'm afraid it will just add to my paperwork. And I'm quite at my limit as it is.

"Having to fill out the forms for why a student's parent defecated themselves in my office would be-- an unpleasant addition to my day. I do hope you understand." Dumbledore finished before looking back at his paperwork.

"Headmaster, we wish to reconsider--" Narcissa tried only to find that Dumbledore's wand flicked up and an easel and canvas appeared, along with an animated brush that promptly painted a picture of the Malfoys digging themselves into hole deep into the ground, as Mrs. Zabini watched from next to the hole, a fire bringing a massive cauldron of oil to a boil.

The Malfoys watched in horror as the Headmaster was then painted onto the canvas, looking at the scene, then shrugging before he just walked off screen, as the painted Mrs. Zabini began to mime laughing wickedly before snapping her fingers and having a pair of scantily clad, young, muscular wizards levitated the cauldron directly over the hole. The scene was then painted over entirely before the end results could be seen.

"Can we have the men back?" Donatella asked pleasantly. "Though, I would prefer them feeding me grapes while I lounged back on a--"

The image that appeared was instead one of Dumbledore himself, lounging back on a divan being fed grapes by one of the men, while being fanned by the other, with Mrs. Zabini pouting off to the side.

"--Well played, Headmaster, well played." She admitted after a moment, before sighing mournfully at the men for one last, lingering moment, before turning her attention onto the Malfoys. "Now, what to do with you that won't require the headmaster additional paperwork?"

The painted Albus lifted a particularly large fruity drink with an umbrella on it to her in salute as he enjoyed his position.

Lucius glared at her, saying nothing as he clenched his fingers upon his wand again.

"Now, now, Lucius. No need to make these dear aurors jumpy while you play with your little wand." Donatella stated with a purr. "You really should keep it in that lovely little compensator you keep it hidden away in."

As she watched Lucius's face purpling in fury, she turned her attention to Narcissa. "Really, I must congratulate you on your compassion, Narcissa, darling, staying so steadfast with a man with such-- insecurities." Donatella drawled out with a shake of her head before sighing dramatically. "Merlin knows I would have trouble with such-- shortcomings myself."

On the painting, the lounging Albus held up a small sign with a 5 on it as he sipped his drink.

Narcissa scowled back at the woman her voice dripping with acidic scorn. "Was there are point to this, or are you really so shallow as to think that such a blatant and obvious insult would really do anything other than prove you're still nothing but a low class whore who was too busy spreading her legs to learn how to properly insult someone with anything but the subtly of a rampaging bull?"

The painting Albus held up a 7 at that as he sipped his drink again, while the painted men nodded in agreement.

"Why not at all, I thought based on the proof in evidence by the actions of your delightful little daughter that you required something at a level that you could understand." Donatella responded with a sweet, vicious smile. "You'll have to forgive me, I'm simply not used to dealing with a level where people are so desperately blinded by their own bloated self-worth that they walk themselves off a cliff straight into the waiting mouth of a dragon just as it releases its flames.

"It must be terrible to think so much of yourselves that you can't even do anything but hang yourselves with the rope you were given to dig yourself out of the hole." Donatella paused a moment, savoring the alternating colors on the Malfoys' faces with a sweetly poisonous smile. "But don't worry, I'll make sure you see every last little piece of it ground into worthless dust before your eyes so it will never happen again."

The painting Albus held up a 9 for that as he took a very long sip from his drink, visibly enjoying the scene. The Malfoys, however, certainly seemed to take far less. And the real Dumbledore simply continued to fill out the pile of paper work that was shrinking entirely too slowly.

Posted: 10:37 AM - Jul 22, 2016


Amelia Bones had finished her investigation and returned to Dumbledore's office to find herself presented with the sight of Donatella Zabini lounging back in a plush chair as she watched an animated painted of half-naked men with defined, oiled physiques dancing before what she guessed was Dumbledore himself, lounging on a divan with a large drink with an umbrella.

For a moment, she simply paused there, taken aback by the scene, before she shook her head and sighed. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised."

"If you are finished with this illegal detention of--" Lucius Malfoy started up as he glared at Amelia.

"Be quiet, Lucius. If you bothered to read the laws instead of bribing away all the consequences, you'd understand that you're being placed in protective custody until the outcome of the trial." Amelia stated flatly as she gave him a look. "Both to keep you safe from reprisal and to ensure that we don't have to hunt you don't like an animal because you weren't man enough to stand up and own up to the consequences."

"How dare you--!" Lucius started to jerk to his feed, only to freeze when he found a blade of steel hovering in the air right in front of his eyes.

"I remember how you squirmed your way out of things before, Lucius Malfoy. I remember how eager you were to claim your will was so weak, your character so malleable that you could not resist him." Amelia stated coolly as she held her wand up as the conjured blade continued to shine directly in front of him. "You already proved once that you cannot be trusted to take responsibility for yourself, and unlike my predecessors, I have no inclination to get you another chance to prove so yet again."

There was a pause as she took a breath before glaring at him as she commanded. "Now Sit."

The word was emphasized by a minute forward thrust of the blade in his direction, as he scrambled backwards and fell into his chair.

Before he could speak, she cut him off with a slash of her wand as the blade vanished. "Now, you will be remaining in custody pending your trial. You will be provided with access to your lawyer."

She allowed the surge of hope to blossom in his eyes just long enough for her to be able to crush is beneath her heel. "And when they realize you are going to end up broken, knut-less and anathema to anything that passes for proper society, they will drop you as a client and leave you to a public defender."

Lucius and Narcissa both looked as if they had bitten into something particularly sour as they glared back at her.

"Anything in particular you'd like to add, Albus?" Amelia asked as she looked at the Headmaster.

"Yes, I don't suppose Severus can serve his protective custody here?" Dumbledore asked as he looked up from his paperwork.

"No." She stated flatly as she gave him a hard look. "And I will be reminding the board of governors that trying to make an exception in this particular case is likely to see them without their positions and fighting to keep from being torn apart by the public."

"I thought not, but I did have to attempt to ask." Albus stated with a mournful sigh. "I don't suppose you could supply us with a replacement in the mean time?"

"We'll see." Amelia stated without clear answer. "Snape?"

"Very well." Albus stated with a sigh as he shook his head, flicking his wrist to send off a patronus. "He has been informed to make his way to my office. He should be here momentarily."

"Then, no need to keep the Malfoys here." Amelia stated flatly as she nodded her head to the aurors. "Please make sure to escort them to the appropriate safe house."

"But I have barely had the chance to properly taunt them!" Donatella protested with a pouting whine in her voice.

"Then you should've done so earlier when you had the chance." Amelia countered back. "But, I'm sure you'll get in plenty of jabs at their expense at the trial."

"Yes, but the headmaster was entirely too entertaining and distracted me from enjoying myself at their expense as much as I wanted." Donatella stated before she gave Dumbledore a look. "A shame on you, Headmaster, didn't your mother teach you to not get in the way of a lady's fun?"

"I'm afraid that my mother was more of the school that ladies were nothing but women to be vexed and upstaged." Dumbledore stated mildly as he continued to work on his paperwork, while his painted duplicate nodded his head sagely, raising his glass in salute to his departed mother before sipping again. "She was quite the spirited woman after all."

Donatella sighed mournfully and shook her head. "I suppose so, to have raised such a capable son. Very well. Off with the Malfoy's then."

She made a dismissive gesture towards the two, as if they were waiting on her permission to depart. As Narcissa and Lucius both glared at them, they were lead off to the floo, before vanishing in a burst of emerald flame. When it was done, Donatella settled back into a seat and steepled her fingers together.

"Is there any particularly reason that you're staying, my dear?" Dumbledore asked while the painting of him gave his original a look over his halfmoon glasses and sighed as it made a gesture and a surprised copy of Severus Snape appeared in the frame. A surprised Snape, that seemed to suddenly wet himself in fear when looking at Mrs. Zabini while the painting Dumbledore seemed to give her a look that conveyed "see what I have to put up with?"

"You have a remarkably astute painting, Headmaster." There was a pause before she tilted her head to the side and smiled at him. "Might I take it with me when I leave?"

The painting Dumbledore sipped his drink again and offered her a benefic nod of his head. The man himself glanced at the attitude of his painting and sighed. "Oh, bother. I had thought I had gotten rid of that particularly trait. The lazy little bugger."

"But entertaining." Donatella pointed out to him with a smile. "And insightful."

"Honestly, madam, you are a grown woman, surely you have better things to do than torment one of my teachers." Dumbledore stated with a half sigh of resignation.

"Oh, but my dear Headmaster, I do. I have a number of better things to do. Including making sure that one of the men responsible for what happened to my son know how much his-- irresponsibility has irritated me." Donatella stated with an arched brow and a tilt of her head. "If I didn't why, just think of what would happen to my-- sterling reputation."

She popped the "t" in sterling to emphasis her point as she looked at the Headmaster with the half veiled eyes of a lounging predator.

She found the man was less than impressed with her presentation.

"My dear, that look failed to work for Gellert Grindelwald." Dumbledore stated with a mildly reproachful tone, though in truth, Gellert's attempt was frighteningly close to success. "It shall fare you no better."

"Foo." She sighed with a melodramatic tone of sadness as she slowly shook her head. "Oh, dear, I feel as though my charms are failing me. Has old age finally caught up to me, or have I finally found an English man with some sense of restraint?"

"Alas, who would I be to say?" Dumbledore stated mildly before tilting his head to the side. "But, I suppose, since you have shown such an interest in it, I can part with this little painting-- provided, of course, that you restrain yourself when it comes to Severus."

"-- Mmm that would depend on your definition of-- restrain." She countered back with an arch of a brow. "After all, letting him go-- unmolested--"

The word left her lips with visible distaste. A distaste that seemed to be quite prevelant with women when it came to his potions' master Dumbledore had found.

"He needs to be able to hold himself together well enough to stand trial." Amelia noted as Dumbledore grimaced.

"Must he?" Dumbledore asked with a sigh as he looked at Amelia. "He was not the one who destroyed the wards or caused the potion to do what it did."

"No, he is not." Amelia agreed with a nod of his head. "But this still happened while he was the person responsible for them, and it was his job to ensure that the wards were maintained, if only to contact the appropriate staff to have them restored. And those wards had been slowly decimated for years Albus. At the very least he is going to stand trial of gross negligence!"

"I understand." And he did. He would be able to plead leniency for Severus, and Severus himself would point out that Slytherins were expected to be able to handle such actions or learn from their mistakes when things went south.

And Severus was going to be having to learn his lesson that way as well it seemed.

Sighing softly, Dumbledore allowed the gargoyle in front of his office to allow Severus entry.

"You summoned me, Headmaster?" Snape asked as he entered into the room, his eyes focused first on the Headmaster's desk before he noted the rest of the room's occupants.

It was a testament to his skill as an Occlumens that he showed no visible reaction at all to Amelia Bones and the second in the room with the headmaster. "I assume that this is in regards to the incident in Slytherin Dorms."

"You would be assuming correct." The woman lounging in a chair stated with a cold, predatory look as she seemed to take stock of him before finding something about him beneath her.

Where before he stamped down on his fear and worry at exactly where this was going, now he had to stamp down his anger at the simple dismissal in her voice. "And you are?"

"Mmm, I suppose a man, should know who he has made an enemy of." The woman agreed after a moment's consideration, as if finding it something she could be deign to do. "Though, having to introduce myself to one such as yourself--"

She grimaced in distaste before sighing and looking at him fully with a cold glare. "I am Donatella Zabini. You should be familiar with former son, now daughter, Blaise."

That made Snape still as he realized exactly what that meant, and just how dangerous of a predicament he was in. So, he responded coolly. "The foolish choices of my students are their own. They believed that it would be more advantageous to themselves to disable the wards or simply not report the destruction.

"All I did is allow them to take responsibility for the actions." He stated flatly and simply. "If you wish for someone to blame, blame the ones responsible for removing the wards or the one who is responsible making alterations to a potion he knew nothing about."

"Oh, I intend to." She agreed with a nod of her head as her lips drew back into a sweet, smile. "And if you had simply chosen to not intervene in wards affecting only them, I wouldn't care less. However, you didn't intervene for those that weren't responsible, or likely even aware of the problem. Which is why you're going to burn." She paused a moment, before smiling cheerfully at him. "Especially since you admitted to purposeful negligence in front of the head of the DMLE."

Severus merely shrugged his shoulders. "I have said nothing more than I was already planning to explain to the Wizengamut when I am called. Now if there is nothing else--"

"I'm afraid, Severus, that you will not be returning to your quarters or the labs." Dumbledore stated with a sigh. "Madam Bones is going to be placing you in protective custody."

That made Severus stiffen as he glared back. "I have no need for such."

"And yet, it's not about what needs you might think you have." Amelia Bones stated simply. "You will be coming along with me."

"And if I refuse?" Snape asked with a muted sullenness.

"Then you go to Azkaban for violating your plead agreement." Amelia responded simply, her brow arching. "You will then be promptly kissed and left to rot."

Both Dumbledore and Severus stiffened at her proclamation while Severus hissed. "I fulfilled my end of that deal! You cannot--!"

"The deal requires you to agree to all DMLE requests, questioning and procedures involving all affairs and incidents you were a part of, Mr. Snape." Amelia stated with narrowed gaze. "It never limited them simply to one period of time and solely in regards to your crimes."

"Now, Amelia, surely--" Dumbledore started.

Only Amelia cut him off. "He had his chance to play nice, Albus. You may indulge his behavior, but I have neither inclination nor requirement to."

She turned her attention onto Snape who was glowering back at her. "And you, Severus Snape, have chosen to be a vile, uncivilized hooligan instead of a man. One that has apparently chosen to forget that outside these castle walls, there are quite a few that remember the mark you bear and what it means. You chose to glower and glare and delegate blame for your own mistakes onto children.

"As you refuse to act the part of a man, you have sacrificed my inclination to treat you as such. Now, you will surrender your wand, and then you will keep your comments to yourself while you are in protective custody unless directly asked a question. Am I clear?"

"Now, Amelia--" Dumbledore started to protest. "Severus has simply been under a great deal of stress from all of this and-- misspoke."

"Then he should have kept his mouth shut entirely, Albus!" Amelia reminded him as she glared back at the Headmaster. "He is a grown man who should know how to handle himself as such!"

Then she immediately turned back to the blank faced Snape. "Your wand. Now."

With a slow, mechanical motion, Snape dipped his hand into his robes, and then gingerly picked out his wand, holding it by the tip between two fingers, before slowly presenting it to her, handle first. She plucked it away with the speed of a striking snake, vanishing it into her own robes in an instant. Then she gave him a sharp nod. "Now, let us be off."

Snape moved robotically, forcing himself so deep into his occlumancy that he was only vaguely aware of what was going on, as a boiling furnace of rage burned tightly under the grips of his self-control.

"Severus-- Please try to stay calm and behave respectfully. Please." Dumbledore pleaded softly with the man, earning a sharp, jerky nod before they both vanished in a flash of emerald fire.

"Well, that was interesting." Dontatella noted with her lips pursed. "However, I believe I'll be going for now. I believe my daughter needs time to process her new situation. But, don't worry, I'll be in touch."

Dumbledore was sadly certain that she was entirely truthful about that. It did not bode well for the rest of his year.


"Hermione." Ginny greeted the girl who was hunched over a large book with a furious scribbling of notes in her journal. "What're you up to?"

Hermione blinked up at her, owlishly staring at her with wide, red rimmed eyes. "Wha? Ginny?"

"-- Right, going round the bend for whatever reason." Ginny forcefully pulled the book away from her and shut it.

"I was reading that!" Hermione protested as she reached for the book again.

"Hermione, you look like you did last year." Ginny stated with a shake of her head. "What the bloody hell is wrong with you?"

"There's nothing wrong with me!" Hermione protested with a glower. "I am simply--"

"Driving yourself nutters again." Ginny supplied simply as she flicked her wrist and tapped the book with her wand. "And now you have to take a break because you can't open it up for at least 12 hours."

Frowning, Hermione grabbed hold of the book before trying to pull it open. When she couldn't she pulled out her wand and tapped the book. "Finite Incantatem!"

The book glowed a moment, but showed no other reaction. Hermione then tried to open the book again and failed. Her eyes narrowed and she proceeded to start using every counter spell she knew, in the exact order that was popularly described in most Hogwarts schoolbooks.

Ginny leaned back and smirked as Hermione dug herself in deeper and deeper. When the book had suddenly been wrapped in paper, she snickered. When ribbons wrapped up the paper and tied themselves off, she grinned. When the book suddenly sprouted chains and wrapped itself in them, she couldn't help but giggle.

"What did you do!?" Hermione demanded as she practically shrieked out in anger.

"Set it up so if you cast counter spells in a specific order, you'd just keep making the defenses stronger and stronger." Ginny stated cheerfully with a grin on her face.

"But that's the order you're supposed to follow!" Hermione protested. "The books--"

"Well, the thing about following exactly what the books say. If they're school books, or in say, a school library, anyone who attends the school knows them." Ginny stated simply as she stretched out. "So, if you know someone's extraordinarily keen on following instructions, it's easy to set things up so that if they do things in a specific steps--"

Hermione glared angrily back at her.

"You're predictable." Ginny stated with a shrug of her shoulders. "Books don't tend to teach you much about being creative and unpredictable."

"There is nothing wrong with following the proper procedures!" Hermione stated with a huff. "How do you think I get top marks in Transfiguration and Charms?"

"Why do you think you don't in Potions?" Ginny countered back without skipping a beat.

"Because Professor Snape is a horrible, horrible man." Hermione stated flatly as she glared at Ginny. "Who won't let anyone from Gryffindor get top marks."

"Ron and Harry have been getting the top marks in your class this year." Ginny pointed out with a shrug. "And Snape hates them."

"They are not getting top marks!" Hermione quickly protested, glaring back at Ginny.

"Snape calls their potions 'adequate' right?" Ginny pointed out as she settled back into a seat. "What do you think that means?"

"That they're-- adequate--?" Hermione struggled for a moment, before grimacing a bit and looking away.

"Right, because we all know that Snape's big on giving us Gryff's big time praise even when we do well." Ginny pointed out with a shake of her head. "And don't forget, Professor Flitwick has practically apprenticed Harry and Ron. Why do you think that is?"

"I don't care!" Hermione declared, glaring stubbornly back at Ginny. "I am going to prove that they're wrong! They shouldn't be doing any of this! Isn't what happened to the Slytherins enough of a sign for everyone?!"

Ginny winced internally as she watched Hermione dig in stubbornly as she glared back at her, trying to gently coax Hermione into understanding that there was a problem in her view of things was going to end up tougher than she thought.

"I think it would be better to actually wait and see where the blame falls on that, Hermione." Ginny suggested gently.

"We already know where the blame falls. Harry and Ron for creating that potion to begin with!" Hermione stated with a glare. "If they hadn't--!"

"So then, why not blame Professor Flitwick for giving them the idea?" Ginny pointed out as she arched a brow. "He's the one that gave them the information and gave them the idea to begin with and then encouraged them to make it."

"He's a teacher, that's what they do!" Hermione protested with a shake of her head. "They're the ones that made it and got Draco to steal it!"

"Well, I suppose you're just going to ignore it if I point out to you, once again, that no one made Draco do anything. Least of all steal that potion or make stupid alterations to it." Ginny observed aloud and sighed as she shook her head, before looking at Hermione critically. "Or, is this because you think they replaced you with someone else? Someone you don't like?"

"They did not replace me!" Hermione snapped back, glaring at Ginny. "And I don't see why they even bother with that, that-- horrible, horrible person!"

"And yet, there's apparently something about her to like." Ginny noted with a thoughtful look on her face. "Have you tried actually talking to her instead of just yelling at her and preaching to her?"

"Of course I have! She treated me like--!" Hermione paused before glaring back at her. "Like all of the rest of the Slytherins treat me!"

"But did you actually try and talk to her?" Ginny pressed. "Because, the way I heard it, you tried to force yourself on her when she didn't want your help, and have been a bitch to her since."

"Because she was one first!" Hermione protested as she glared back at Ginny. "And I fail to see how refusing someone's help because you didn't want it equates to being such a horrible person to me!"

"Well, sounds like she was probably over reacting to her not wanting your help and you not taking the hint." Ginny stated simply, shrugging her shoulders. "People tend to be that way when they don't have any more patience for dealing with people that they don't want to deal with."

"Taking it out on--" Hermione started to argue.

"You're assuming you're special." Ginny pointed out with a roll of her eyes. "Tracey's a half blood, did you know that?"

"What does that have to do with anything?" Hermione demanded with a glower.

"She's a half blood, in Slytherin." Ginny drawled out in an almost condescending tone as a touch of irritation started to drift into her voice at Hermione's apparent lack of comprehension. "She was what, in first year or so?"

"So she was going to be a bitch no matter what?" Hermione drawled back with a glare in her eyes.

"If she didn't want to end up dead, yes, she was." Ginny agreed with a shake of her head. "Half blood in a Slytherin making friends with the know-it-all muggleborn Gryffindor of all people? That's just asking for trouble." "If that was the case, why didn't she just apologize when she made friends with Harry and Ron?!" Hermione demanded as she glared back at her.

"She probably just decided she didn't like you." Ginny answered without a moment's hesitation and a shrug of her shoulders. "You probably didn't help change that opinion any with the way you acted either."

A frigid mask crept over Hermione's face as she glared back at Ginny, before picking up her book and storming away.

Ginny blinked a moment, before sighing as she realized exactly what she'd done. "Well, shite. So much for thinking that Hermione was mature enough to not let her temper run off."

Sighing a bit, she leaned back into her seat and stared off into the distance. That had been careless of her. Stupid too now that she thought about it. She was really starting to think it had been a major mistake leaving Tommy around in any shape or form. There was a bit too much Tom left over.

The remnants of the Ginny personality that had been developed were-- Warped was the best word she could think of to describe it. Almost two dimensional in fact, no depth, no real substance to her. Just an overriding directive to be with Harry Potter and make him happy to be with her.

And no way back.

If she had become her-- there wouldn't have been an escape, there wouldn't have been a change in her mind. There wouldn't have been anyway to regain herself, damaged as she was. All that there would be was that-- facsimile.

She sighed. And now here she was trying to fix someone else. Apparently more than a bit of Tom's arrogance still clung around. Who was she to try and fix someone else when she herself was still in such a state?

A bitter chuckle left her lips and she shook her head as she leaned back in her seat and stared up at the ceiling.

"Um-- is something the matter, Ginny?" A familiar, timid voice asked hesitantly.

Ginny turned her head to see Neville standing there, shifting from foot to foot nervously. She offered him a sad, bitter smile and shook her head. "Nothing anything new, Nev. Just me putting my foot in my mouth. Again."

"Oh." There was a pause before he frowned a bit. "Hermione?"

"Sure you don't have a touch of the sight, Nev?" Ginny asked with an amused curl of her lips before waving her hand calmly as he began to blush. "Just a joke. Suppose it was really obvious."

"She's been-- and with things with Harry and Ron it's been--" Neville shrugged his shoulders helplessly. "I mean, don't get me wrong, its great having her working with me in potions, but she's always so-- angry about it. And she's always glaring at them."

"Yes, she is." Ginny agreed with a nod of her head. "And they're all so stubborn about it all."

She sighed and leaned back as she stared up at the ceiling with her eyes half closed. "It gives me a bloody headache."

"I'm sorry." Neville said quietly as he shifted about where he stood.

"Don't be." Ginny stated with a shake of her head. "It's not something for you to be sorry about. You're not the one being a stubborn idiot."

"I still don't get how this even happened." He confessed quietly. "I mean, they seemed closer than ever at the end of the year last year, and then on the first day Hermione comes and sits with me other than for a short bit where she went off then came back looking bloody well pissed."

She chuckled a bit at his description and shrugged her shoulders a bit. "Sounds about right."

"Sorry." He stated again, shrinking slightly.

"Don't worry about it. I use worse than that sometimes. And the last thing I need is someone else treating me like I'm going to break if they say the wrong thing to me." She took her eyes off the ceiling and then looked at him. "The only way my family seems to know how to treat me is like I'm made of bloody glass."

"Oh." Neville blushed slightly and nodded his head before looking at her tentatively. "Do you know what happened?"

"Harry finally found something that really made him want to learn more about what magic is than just how to use it." Ginny stated with a half-smile on her lips. "And in the process, helped Ron find out something he never would have figured out about himself otherwise thanks to Snape."

"I've seen their potions." He quietly agreed. "I don't remember ever seeing Snape that conflicted before. Especially with how smug Harry and Ron were. You could tell they knew that there potion was right. And that they knew he knew."

"And even if he destroyed it, the three of them would still know the truth." Ginny agreed with a pleased nod of her head. "It trapped him quite well. Even Tracey was impressed by it I think."

"But how does that lead to them getting into a fight with Hermione? She's like the ultimate study machine!" He asked with a frown.

"She's-- something all right." She agreed with a slow nod of her head.

"-- You don't agree?" He sounded surprised at that blinking at her in confusion.

"No. When it comes to practicing magic, she's got almost no one equal." Ginny agreed with a nod of her head. "She's very good about it. Reading on exactly what she should be doing, exactly how a spell should be performed and confidently reproducing it."

"Then how come you're sounding like that's a problem." He asked frowning heavily as he crossed his arms about his chest.

She winced, realizing that he had picked up on more than she thought he would as she let a grimace fall across her face. "Should you always follow the rules?"

"Unless you have no other choice, yes." Neville agreed with a frown and a nod."

"That's pretty much how Hermione sees things too." Ginny agreed with a slow nod of her head. "Except Harry and Ron decided that they wanted to beat the twins at their own game. So they started studying magic to learn how to play pranks as well. It's part of why they got so interested in learning the hows instead of just the how tos."

"Oh." Neville frowned a bit at that. "But-- Why would they want to do that?"

"Don't know for sure." Ginny admitted with a shrug. "I do know that the twins seem really respectful of them now. Especially Harry. And that Ron's finally pranking them back."

Neville sighed a bit and shook his head. "I don't know. I can see where Hermione is coming from. I mean, the twins get into a lot of trouble--"

For a moment, Ginny was reminded of just how young everyone was. How naïve they were about the world itself and how things worked. She wondered if that was why she had screwed up with Hermione so much, because she had expected the girl to understand more about the way the world was than she actually did.

And she sighed then, leaning back in her seat deep in thought.

Nevillle shrank back in response, seeming to cower into himself. "Sorry."

"What for?" She looked back at him, genuinely surprised.

"I-- I thought I said something stupid." He stated warily. "You were--"

Her hand waved negligently. "I was just thinking, Nev. About all this. About how I'm just expecting people to see things my way without taking into account how different they are. How they don't, can't see things because they thankfully haven't been through what I've been through."

"-- Is this about the Chamber?" Neville asked with a quiet wariness in his voice.

"A lot of it." Ginny admitted with a weary sigh. "I learned things earlier than I should have, and I keep forgetting that everyone else hasn't learned those lessons themselves."

"-- Like?" Neville asked quietly as he looked at Ginny.

"Like that those that don't question the rules don't succeed." She stated simply with a shrug of her shoulders. "Rules are often one group of people's perceptions of how things should be. They aren't necessarily the way things should be, merely how someone thought they should be."

There was a pause and then she continued with dripping sarcasm. "And you've seen how utterly brilliant the average wizard and witch is about doing things."

Neville blushed brightly at that. "But-- Then how do we know what to follow and what not to?"

"You learn." Ginny stated sadly. "Usually by a bunch of cock ups."

As he continued to blush brightly, she rolled his eyes. "Just a bunch of words, Neville. But, yeah. Ron and Harry are inventing whole new potions. And probably other stuff. The twins have been for years. Who do you think is going to have an easier time making a career? Them, or someone who always follows the rules?"

"Well, there's the Ministry." Neville pointed out with an uneasy expression.

"Yes, but who in their right mind wants to work for the Ministry of all places? Look at Percy, he was an utterly pretentious prat, would you call him being in his right mind?"

"Well, no--" Neville admitted.

"The only value of working for the Ministry is following and forcing rules, and taking bribes to abuse your authority." Ginny stated with a shake of her head. "And you think they'll hire Hermione without Harry's backing?"

Neville paled again before straightening up. "I'll back her then!"

"All right." She agreed with a nod of her head. "And then what?"

"What do you mean?" Neville asked in confusion, frowning slightly.

"-- It'd probably be better for you task your gran instead of me, Neville." Ginny told him gently before smiling sardonically. "Besides, I'm probably not the best person to ask today. I'm having enough keeping myself neutral in all this mess."


"You saw what happened with Hermione, right?" She pointed out with a sigh and a shrug. "Better if you just ask someone who's not likely to do something stupid because she's too arrogant about it."

Neville opened his mouth again, only Ginny gave him one more self-depreciating smile and stood up as she walked away, leaving him alone in the common room once more. As he watched her go, he felt a great haze of confusion falling upon him. What Ginny said made sense, but--

He just didn't know what to think.

Posted: 10:38 AM - Jul 22, 2016


Barty Crouch Jr. sighed in irritation as he settled back into the seat of Alastor Moody's office desk. This whole body was an irritating pain, all the little aches and pains, the unexpected twinges and twitches. And then there was the eye. That alone had almost made the assignment impossible.

But, he came with a seemingly endless supply of fine quality whiskey to wash away taste of the polyjuice he was forced to constantly sip.

He was in a bit of trouble now. Harry Potter couldn't be selected by the tournament. He'd already started testing the damned thing and every time, Potter's name had been rejected flat out. If he'd tried it during the actual final selection--

He shuddered a bit.

It had been bad enough to simply test for throwing a die, for something so major, the resulting backlash would've been-- He didn't want to think about it.

But still, he had to figure out how to draw Potter into things. The biggest part of the ritual wasn't the need for the bloody of the enemy forcefully taken. It was about the betrayal of the enemy by someone they had come to trust, believe in, rely on.

They had to be betrayed, knowingly or unknowingly and placed into position for the ritual.

Thanks to Flitwick, however, he was unlikely to get himself into that position, no matter how he tried. Not because the man didn't trust him, oh no, so far none of them showed any signs that they even suspected something might not be right. No, he wouldn't get himself into that position simply because the man monopolized their time away from classes and he could only show so much favoritism to the brat.

Sighing, he took a sip of his whiskey and pondered. So, he had to figure out another way of instigating the betrayal. Perhaps a double betrayal then?

That made him perk up. That could work. And there was the whole mess between Potter, Weasley and the mudblood.

It would be distasteful of course, but-- Would it really be anymore distasteful than the original plan? He pondered that.

The girl was looking for a way to try and get the brats to change their ways. It made him chuckle a bit as he shook his head. The muggleborn, wanting her betters to abide by the rules instead of straining against them. There was a bit of irony there.

So, why should he use that irony?

Then he paused a moment. Or, he supposed, how was the better question. He couldn't simply encourage her to see them as in the wrong. No, he needed to do better than that. He had to get her to see herself as saving them. That would be the key.

Save them, by betraying them. And be betrayed in turn. That sounded like a plan.

He smiled and sipped his whiskey again. Now he just had to make sure the plan came together.


"Mmm, Garzy, I need a letter taken." Donatellla Zabini noted as she lounged back on her bed, wearingly only a silken night gown and her slippers.

"Then, Missius should be using her perfectly working fingers and the desk she made poor Garzy bring from the house with that naughty, naughty elf." Garzy stated with a huff as he appeared in a pop and pointed to the desk. "Garzy paid enough for that desk, the Missius should be using it."

"But, I'm already in my nightie!" Donatella whined a bit. "And does Garzy want to have to have to clean my nice, silk nightie if I spill ink on it?"

"Garzy be thinking it be easier to just vanish the inking and make it nice and clean again for the Missius." The elf countered her words with a strict politeness before frowning. "The Missius wouldn't be getting lazy on Garzy, now would she?"

"Sometimes I wonder who the Master is and who's the servant." Donatella half murmured with a sigh before her voice began to offer a pitiful whine. "But I'm so comfortable, Garzy."

And Garzy just gave her another look and a sniff. "Then the Missius should look at it as building character. Garzy be thinking that she be needing it."

"Are you trying to say I am not a woman of good character, Garzy?" Donatella demanded as she arched a brow.

"Garzy be thinking that Missius would be needing character before he be saying if it being good or bad." Garzy shot back without skipping a beat before pointing to the desk. "Now, the Missius be wanting to send a letter, yes?"

"Such a slave driver you are, Garzy." She sighed longingly as she lay back in the bed, before reluctantly rolling off onto the cool floor, landing on her slipper clad feet. "Making a poor woman walk across such a cold, cold floor."

"Character." Garzy reminded her chidingly.

"Fu." Donatella sighed and shook her head as she mournfully looked back at the nice warm bed she'd abandoned before pulling out parchment, quill and inkwell. "Such a troublesome, troublesome elf."

The elf sighed softly. "Fine, while the Missius is be writing a letter, Garzy will be making the chocoie mousy."

Donatella's eyes lit up in triumph before she quickly straightened up. "Deal!"

Sighing Garzy shook his head and popped away with a mutter about wicked, naughty missiuses tricking him into making them dessert they didn't need.

"But it's the best kin!" Donatella called out after him and smiled, feeling inordinately pleased with herself for getting the mousse out of the cagey little elf.

Turning her attention to the parchment, she wrote the first word with a flourish. "Dear--"

Then she paused, lightly tapping her lower lip with the quill's feathered tip before smiling as she added the remainder of the first line. "Mr. Harry Potter."

Then she giggled a bit as she started to slowly write, taking the time to artfully compose each and every line, making certain that each word was just the one she wanted to say. It was, she had to admit, going to be quite fun. And the look on her little Blaise's face when she found out would be absolutely priceless.


In a small tropical island, filled with dark creatures, man eating plants, and a simmering volcano permanently set to foreboding, a single beach was secured for wizarding and witch kind.

Beautiful crystalline waters lapped at a black, obsidian sand beach of an isolated cove, with an imposing stone beach house carved out of polished obsidian. It was a picture of dark power and menaced, positioned just so that it would appear directly in front of the volcano, catching its molten glow around the edges of those that approached. Except for the colorful lights strung up all around it.

And the tiki torches didn't help. Nor did the man in the vividly bright Hawaiian shirt lounging back on a white plastic lounge chair. And it was especially ruined by the fat sand golem shaking drinks behind a colorful driftwood bar.

"Sandy! Another Mai Tai!" Sirius Black declared with a cheerful raise of his now empty hollowed out pineapple cup.

This, this was the life he had to admit. His skin was now a healthy, even glowing shade that was not edge of death pale. He'd gained several stone in weight. And he was properly despoiling his family's horribly clichéd sensibilities.

Smiling, he flicked his wand and the sand in front of him transfigured itself into a lovely pane of smooth, perfect glass. Glass that a moment later took on images from a popular muggle beach not too far away, filled with a variety of attractive, scantily clad women he could freely ogle to his heart's content. All that was missing--

He frowned then and sighed as he slumped back in his chair. All that was missing was Prongs, and Lils, and Harry. And if he had to, Remus. Though the amount of time it had taken the bastard to realize he should be in Harry's life and that Sirius wasn't the traitor had soured his mood a bit on him.

Remus was still his friend of course, but he wasn't quite ready to call him a close friend as it stood.

Just as soon as his drink was refreshed when an owl collapsed, half dead on his lap, bearing a letter as it offered him a weak, insinuating bark. With a quick wave of his want, Sirius had the irate avian hovering in the air, allowing him to take the latter attached to the owl's leg from him before giving the bird a contemplating look. The owl tiredly glared right back at him.

"Oh, don't give me that look, everyone knows that you should send a parrot to deliver mail here, not an owl. You should've just handed it off to one of your local counterparts." Sirius chided lightly before transfiguring a small sandstone pool filled with cool, pristine fresh water.

Water he promptly dropped the owl into, ignoring the startled sounds it made and its resulting splash, before it seemed to simply melt into the refreshing cool wet water while greedily chugging some of it to recover some of its stamina.

Ignoring the commotion, Sirius looked at the cover of the letter.

Sirius Black Legal Guardian of Harry Potter The Island formerly known as The-Blackest-Isle-Of-Horror and Despair Incident notification of a Class 4 Potions incident occurring on Hogwarts Grounds.

Sirius blinked, paused, then blinked again. Wait

Class 4!? The best he and James had managed had been a Class 2! What in Merlin's name had happened?!

He quickly tore open the letter and blinked when at the completely generic contents. It was obviously a form letter of some kind, mass copied and delivered to all of the student's respective guardians. For a moment he felt an indescribable feeling inside his chest as he realized that meant he really was recognized as Harry's guardian.

And he suddenly felt more than a bit guilty about enjoying the fine tropical amenities while his godson and now remembered dependent lounged in typical British squalor. That could not stand! Harry had to be exposed to the beauty of the double Bs! Bikinis and Boobies!

He giggled for a moment at the thought, before quickly forcing his attention back onto the letter.

Then his brow arched up. Then it went higher. Then higher. When it reached the full height of its ascent, he tapped his brow, animating his eyebrows to rise even further up almost to his hair line to fully convey a proper level of incredulity.

He cancelled the spell when he put the letter down and brought his hand to his chin, deep in thought. Well, that was certainly something. Now he wondered what the letter wasn't telling him.

As if on queue, Fawkes flashed onto the beach, bearing a letter of his own as he landed on the back of Sirius lounge chair and immediately stuck his beak into Sirius' drink.

"Hey!" That's my drink! Get your own!" Sirius whined as he watched his new drink start to vanish in front of him.

Fawkes lifted his beak a moment, burped out a torrent of flame that singled Sirius's eyebrows and then resumed his drinking.

"Cheeky pyromaniacal goose." Sirius grumbled earning himself another burning burp along with a scathing look of majestic irritation.

Yelping, Sirius didn't even notice the way that Fawkes caught the pineapple in his talons when he dropped it in favor of quickly diving forward into the cover to put out the fire. Fawkes promptly dropped the letter he was carrying onto Sirius' chair before wobbily flying over to the driftwood bar and holding the pineapple cup up to the bar-golem. When his drink was promptly refreshed, Fawkes let out a cheerful note and dove right back into the alcohol.

"That was uncalled for!" Sirius whined as he emerged, dripping wet and glaring at the phoenix. The phoenix promptly raised its tail at him in imitation of a rather rude gesture.

Huffing angrily, he quickly cast a spell to dry himself off. "Sandy! The flaming goose is cut off!"

The rude gesture returned again.

"I swear, phoenixes are such rude drunks." Sirius grumbled as he picked up the dropped letter and found the unmarked envelope and cracked it open.

Inside he found a letter. It was, of course, a piece of folded parchment. And upon it, were written words in a practiced hand. And in those words, he quickly found himself engrossed.

When he finished, he sighed softly for a moment, before palming his face. "Honestly, Harry, how do you manage to get yourself into these situations?"

Shaking his head, he glanced at where the phoenix was happily getting pissed out of his mind, then to where the half dead owl seemed to be trying to absorb the entire pool of water it lay in by osmosis. "Well, at least I have time to actually write up a reply."


Harry Potter was thankful that the rest of his evening and, in fact the night that followed had turned out to be terribly uneventful. He didn't even suffer from a single one of the nightmares that had been intermittently bothering him over the summer. Each time he had woken, he had been left with a feeling of ill-ease and foreboding, but couldn't quite remember why.

So, he woke up feeling relatively refreshed, and filled with only the normal foreboding of a teenaged boy who had just turned a quarter of his male classmates into beautiful girls. Despite what Ron and Tracey tried to say, he couldn't help but feel at least partially responsible for the whole mess.

It was just who he was.

Ron had risen shortly after him, though not having breakfast just yet left him in a state of hungering grumpiness. Fortunately, most of it had faded when the smell of breakfast hit him shortly before reaching the main hall. Though, the look of longing bliss on his face had only grown mildly less disturbing in recent years.

"I swear, if you start drooling again--" Harry warned him.

"One time!" Ron protested with his voice cracking slightly as he whined. "Just one time! Won't you bloody let me live that down?"

"No." Harry stated succinctly before shaking his head.

"Berk." Ron grumbled with a shake of his head.

Harry just gave him a look. "You drooled all over me."

"It was just one drop!" Ron complained with a glare. "And it was years ago!"

"-- Are you two really arguing about Ron drooling of all things?" Tracey demanded as she walked up next to them, her brow arching up.

"Yes." Harry agreed with a nod of his head.

"It was one time! In First year! After the feast got interrupted I was really hungry the next day!" Ron protested as he held up his hands. "And Harry's the one that's always really grumpy when you don't feed him enough!"

"I don't like not eating." Harry stated bluntly as he eyed the morning tables. "Not when there's food I can eat."

"Right, so, food into Harry to de-grump him, food into Ron to prevent drooling." Tracey stated in summation with a nod of her head. "Good to know. Fortunately, one simple solution!"

There was a pause before she pushed them both down into seats at the Gryffindor table and sat herself next to Ron. "Food!"

As plates materialized in front of them, Ron eyed Tracey with a light blush before quickly turning to Harry. "I think she's on to us. She knows too much."

"Indeed." Harry agreed with a nod of his head as he quickly grabbed some food for his plate before starting to eat. "We'll have to deal with her."

"The Chamber?" Ron asked after eating a few pieces of bacon.

"I don't know, a full Lockhart might be too much." Harry noted with a thoughtful look on his face while Tracey froze for a moment, then looked from Ron to Harry.

"Ha. Ha." She stated flatly as she gave them both a mild glare. "Very Funny."

"Better too much than not enough." Ron agreed with a nod of his head. "Right after breakfast then?"

"After breakfast." Harry agreed with a nod. "Food is more important."

"You're both a bloody riot." Tracey stated with a huff as she jabbed a sausage with her fork and then vicious bit off the tip as she gave them both a glare.

Ron and Harry winced slightly and shifted away a bit as they lightly pushed any of the sausages they had on their own plate away.

"Oh, quit being such bloody ponces about it. They're just bloody sausages." She stated with a huff. "Besides, you're the ones that were talking about doing-- whatever the bloody hell you were talking about doing."

"Yes, but we were just talking about oblivating you, not biting off anyone's-- you know." Ron stated with a shudder as his face turned ashen.

"Babies." Tracey stated with a roll of her eyes.

It was that that moment, then a sudden a explosion of flames erupted on the table in front of them as Fawkes appeared and immolated the center of the table.

"Bloody hell, Fawkes!" Harry jumped back as he stared at the Phoenix, who looked at him with bleary eyes, swaying woozily on the table in front of them, before turning and proceeding to vomit up a great swell of flame onto table.

The rest of the Gryffindors scrambled away as they witnessed the tail end of a phoenix's bender. As the table and breakfast was slowly consumed in the raging inferno, the bird wiped his beak on his wing, then proceeded to woozily start to fly into the air as he circled Harry twice. Fawkes then proceeded to smack him in the face with a letter before woozily flying towards the head table.

Catching the letter before it hit the floor, Harry watched in sheer disbelief as Fawkes promptly dropped the letter drop onto the staff table, before it proceed to perch atop Dumbledore's chair. A chair that was promptly engulfed in flames as Fawkes drunkenly sang in relief. Harry noted with a degree of detached disbelief that the flames actually seemed to be dripping down the chair as he made a horrifying realization.

"--I think I can safely say that if this is only Wednesday, I think I want to sleep in the rest of the week." Tracey noted with a look of hollow horror on her face.

"-- I think you might be right." Ron agreed as various house elves began to pop about in a panic, trying to put out the flames.

"While I might be inclined to agree with you, Ms. Davis, I find myself wondering something." The trio suddenly froze as a familiar voice spoke up and they turned around to find the headmaster staring at his chair with a look of resignation on his face. "Who gave my phoenix alcohol?"

Harry blinked a moment, then slowly opened up the letter Fawkes had left him with before continuing his pyromaniacal rampage. After a moment, he blinked, then blinked again before sighing. "Um, Sir?"

"Yes, Harry, my boy?" Dumbledore answered expectantly.

"Apparently Fawkes stole Sirius' mai tais." Harry stated with a helpless shrug of his shoulders.

"That would explain things then." Dumbledore agreed with a nod of his head and a sigh. "I should have remembered that Sirius has over a decade of libations to catch up on. And, Fawkes has always been one to never pass up the chance to abscond with fire water when he has the chance."

"Um, Professor?" Ron asked hesitantly as he tentatively raised his hand.

"Yes, Mr. Weasley?" Dumbledore acknowledged with an inclination of his head as one of the elves popped up and handed him the letter they'd recovered from the staff table before the fire spread to it.

"Is your phoenix a drunkard, Sir?"

"Only when there's alcohol involved, Mr. Weasley." Dumbledore stated with a sigh and a shake of his head as he noted the way half of the Gryffindor table had been consumed. "I suppose it would have been too much to ask for this week to have gone better."

"It has been that kind of week, Sir." Harry agreed as Tracey just watched the whole thing with an expression that hinted at her wondering if she had suddenly stepped into a surrealist painting.

Everything was quite mad, Harry decided as he stared at the letter in his hand and pondered exactly what Sirius had said. It was an odd mix of proud and chiding and wanting more details. Like the man wasn't sure if he should be proud of him, berating him, entirely neutral or utterly confused.

It was then that he noticed a second letter had somehow appeared in his hand. Quickly looking around, he blinked as he saw a plain brown owl silently vanishing out of a window. He didn't even remember seeing it give him the letter.

"-- Um, Harry?" Tracey asked with a sudden wariness in her voice. "Where did you get that letter?"

"Well, there was an owl, I think?" Harry answered, a touch of uncertainty in his voice as he looked towards the window the owl had exited.

"-- Plain, brown, unassuming looking, that you barely caught a glimpse of?" Tracey asked, her voice sounding more and more worried as her expression seemed scrunched up. "You had the letter before you even realized it?"

"-- Um, yes?" Harry agreed with a nod as he eyed the letter more warily thanks to the worry on Tracey's face.

"TEO." Tracey breathed out as she looked at Harry. "Dammit, why is she trying to reach out to you?!"

"Wait, Teo? She? What?" Ron spoke up looking at Tracey worriedly while Dumbledore blinked a moment and arched a brow.

"Terrifyingly Efficient Owl." She stated with a shudder. "It belongs to Blaise's mum! You almost never even see it! You just end up holding a letter you weren't a moment before and its gone!"

"Ah, that would explain how I ended up holding several such letters into the evenings. I had thought that I was merely growing overly introspective in my later years." Dumbledore noted with a faint, thoughtful nod of his head. "An interesting tid bit of knowledge."

"Harry, this means that you've caught her attention!" Tracey hissed urgently. "Don't you remember what all Madam Bones and I told you?!"

"She has, I have noted, rather odd tastes." Dumbledore noted diplomatically as he stroked his beard thoughtfully. "She was quite taken with a portrait I did of myself. Despite his more ill-mannered antics."

Harry eyed the letter a bit more carefully then, before slowly opening it up and carefully withdrawing the letter.

"You aren't checking it for spells and potions?!" Tracey demanded with a slight hiss of breath.

Harry paused a moment, before turning and pointing his finger towards Dumbledore, who waved back at her with a rather bemused look on his face.

"-- right, sorry." Tracey admitted with a blush.

Harry then carefully began to read. Then he blinked. Then he blinked again.

"Trouble, my boy?" Dumbledore asked curiously as he saw the look on Harry's face.

"Um--" Harry paused a moment, before turning and looking at the Slytherin table, before blushing slightly and looking back at Tracey as he groaned. "I think I'm gonna have to think a bit before I respond to this."

"-- Harry, Mate you know that no matter how nice it looks--!" Ron started to protest as he grabbed hold of his friend with a firm grip. "Look at what happened to her husbands!"

"I know." Harry agreed with a nod of his head. "Which is why I'm pretty much going to have to think about how I'm going to go so outlandish in my demands to even open negotiations that she won't possibly want to continue."

Ron and Tracey both breathed out sighs of relief.

Dumbledore, however, let his eyes twinkle slightly. "I'm sure she will find it to be a refreshing response. Usually her overtures are so quickly embraced that she has nothing more than the challenge of choosing the right dress to properly exhibit her desire."

"I'm sure she's pretty and all but--" Harry shrugged his shoulders a bit.

"Um-- Potter?" A timid voice suddenly spoke up, and Harry turned to find Susan Bones and a number of Hufflepuffs standing there looking more than a little worried, their eyes glancing from the head table to the Gryffindor table as the house elves continued to fight the respective blazes.

Though, Harry wasn't too sure that turning whole pigs on a spit was the best method for actually fighting the fire. Still the elves seemed quite good at keeping the fires from spreading as they took turns, leaping over the flames and spit entirely, and laying down a good basting in the process. It was, at least, keeping the Gryffindors entertained enough to not start yelling and panicking.

"Yes, Bones?" Harry asked with a slight frown on his face as he recalled the girl's Aunt's reactions to everything.

"I, ah, just wanted to, that is, I needed to-- Um--" There was a pause before the words suddenly tumbled out. "I'msorryforcallingyoutheheirofSlytherinandaccusingyouofbeingacold-bloodedmurdererandnotapologizingwhenIshouldhavesecondyear!"

There was a pause, before she sucked in a deep breath, blushing brightly as she looked at her housemates. "Right everyone?"

"Right!" They all agreed with a quick nod of their heads.

"-- Um, what was that? I really didn't catch any of it--" Ron noted with a puzzled look on his face.

Harry just sighed a bit. He hadn't really caught any of it himself but he had a feeling he knew what this was going to be about. "Just to clarify, this is an apology about second year?"

The group became a rippling mass of bobbing heads as they quickly seemed to agree with his words. Ron too realized it at that, and his face took on an ugly glower. Seeing it, Tracey quickly grabbed hold of his arm and squeezed.

Fortunately for everyone involved, Dumbledore chose that moment to speak up. "Ah, it is always a wonderful sight to see children resolving their differences and apologizing for their transgressions."

He paused a moment, as he looked around the Great Hall, which was, at the moment, rather chaotic. Slytherins were trying not to gawk at the fires, while either hiding in oversized robes with hoods pulled over their heads, or wearing the least they could get away with per the school's dress code. The Ravenclaws seemed to be still in a daze from the previous day's revelations, and had taken the burning of the Gryffindor table in stride. That, or they were struggling, and failing to figure out exactly what string of events had led to the burning of two tables.

And of course, he came back to the huddled mass of Hufflepuffs. "Though, perhaps a bit more enunciation and distinction between words, consonants and vowels perchance?"

Susan blushed again as she ducked her head then slowly spoke in a much slower tone. "I'm really sorry about what we did to you second year. And I'm really sorry that I didn't apologize earlier."

"As long as he doesn't try to turn us all into girls like the snakes." Zacharias Smith spoke up with a sarcastic hiss.

Harry stiffened while the Hufflepuffs all turned and glared at him.

"20 points from Hufflepuff." Dumbledore's gentle chiding came, causing everyone to blink, as they could not remember the Headmaster ever taking points. "And a week's detention with Professor Sprout for trying to spread a false rumor."

"But--!" The boy tried to protest as everyone around him glared at him.

"Mr. Smith. I try to take a very relaxed approach to things, as often they simply resolve themselves in the long run, there are certain times when I cannot overlook such things." Dumbledore stated simply and quietly. "Attempting to tell a blatant lie about another student directly in my presence regarding a situation that has already been fully investigated and proven to not be the case."

There was a pause as Zacharias seemed to shrink into himself as Dumbledore continued. "The aurors already have in custody the parties who will face trial for the issues. Which, I imagine will be released in the next edition of the Prophet. Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley were both victims of this as much as the Slytherins, as their work was stolen then perverted by someone who was apparently attempting to humiliate them."

There was a pause before Dumbledore just looked back at Zacharias. "An attempt you sadly seem intent upon perpetuating."

Zacharias flinched back before Dumbledore shook his head and sighed. "But, it is hardly my place to show you how this would be a most egregious action." He paused a moment, letting the words settle into the air before he nodded to behind Zacharias. "I leave that to Pomona."

"Thank you, Headmaster." Pomona Sprout agreed from her position from behind the group. "I will have to dispute your penalty though, I believe it to be quite lenient all things considered."

A pallor fell over the group of Hufflepuffs as they all turned and glared at Zacharias.

"Perhaps we should leave that decision to young Mr. Potter then, since he was the wronged party, hmmm?" Dumbledore offered at he turned to Harry. "What do you think, Harry?"

Once more put on the spot, Harry shifted slightly as he looked at all the expectant faces and almost took an unconscious step back. "But-- Should I really be asked, Headmaster? I'm just a student--"

A myriad of looks rippled across the faces of the people in hearing distance and Ron's glare at the Hufflepuffs grew in intensity while Tracey just sighed. So many different thoughts were racing through her head, ideas, possibilities-- And Harry had to pick the one that would keep things incredibly unstable, with the Hufflepuffs continuing to not really know how they felt about him.

"If you don't, I will, of course, have to defer to Pomona's decision as the offending party are members of her house." Dumbledore stated simply with a shrug of his shoulders.

"Then, can we just leave it like it was?" Harry asked hopefully. "I really don't wanna make this anymore of a mess than it already is."

"If that is your choice, Mr. Potter." Pomona agreed with a kindly nod of her head before directing her attention to her students. "I'm glad at least some of you chose to show Mr. Potter that you recognized your error. Mr. Smith. My Office. Now."

"But--" Zacharias started to protest.

"Now. Mr. Smith." She stated with a dangerous air of finality.

"-- Yes, Professor." Zacharias sent Harry a baleful glare for a moment before turning and stalking away.

From the staff table, the man wearing the form of Alastor Moody watched and pondered a moment at the display. This-- this offered possibility. And something to play the little bint off of. He would have to see about how to exploit it.

Posted: 9:03 PM - Aug 24, 2016


Peter Pettigrew waited patiently outside the imposing doors of Gringotts, huddling in his rodent form as he shivered slightly at the already cooling weather. His master was safe at home in Little Hangleton, finally asleep after torturing him for several hours to keep himself amused. Which meant Peter could take the opportunity to sneak into Diagon Alley for some gold and a quick refresher from The Guide.

It had been a very lonely experience, being the sole caretaker of the temperamental Dark Lord.

He just needed a small break. Something to take the edge off.

When he saw a particularly angry group of witches and wizards stalking up to the bank, he shrank back into the smallest shadow he could fit into. He'd almost been eaten too many times in the last few months to take the chance of running out into such an angry crowd with viciously stopping feet. Especially that one lady, she had heels that were practically crushing the stone steps.

He shuddered involuntarily as he remembered the last time he'd almost been stepped on by a woman in high heels. A gigantic woman, who did should not have been wearing heels to begin with. That almost stepped right between his legs while drunk, then passed out and fallen on his chest. He'd had to spend 3 days in St. Mungos getting everything healed back up. And having the mind healers obliterate most of the horrible, horrible memories from his mind.

Fortunately, he didn't have long to reminisce on the statement, before the crowd had stormed its way through the doors, leaving him enough time to scurry forward after them.

"What's this then?" Pettigrew almost froze when he heard the goblin guard notice his presence but instead kept scurrying on as fast as his little legs could manage. "A snack running about the bank? Can't have that."

Snack was not a word that Peter liked being directed at him, so that left him with a myriad of options. As always, dozens of possible plans spun themselves through his mind, a hundred different actions that he could take. Ways to make the foolish goblin rue the day it had ever called him a snack!

And as always, his cowardice instead rose up and left him to respond only in the most primal and pathetic of manners. He ran. Fortunately for him, instead of running away, he ran forward, straight through the startled goblin's legs and into the bank.

"Wait! Get back here!" The goblin declared in a state of half panic as it chased after him, pike lowered and ready to spear him. "Gah! We can't have little things like you just running around!"

Peter rather disagreed. He thought it would be best for him to keep running, and running as fast as his little legs could carry him across the floor until he dashed beneath a desk. A desk that quickly shook and bounced in place when the guard slammed into it, followed by the clattering of its pike hitting the ground.

"Exactly what do you think you're doing?" Another goblin's voice spoke up, with an icy chill to its tone.

"Errr-- rat got in?" The first goblin offered lamely as it poked slightly under the desk with its pike. "Trying to catch it? So the wizards dun get all uppity?"

"Wizards are always uppity." The second goblin reminded the first with a sour grunt. "You mean even more annoyingly upiddy."

"Right." The first goblin agreed with a nod of his head. "Plus, I could use a snack."

That was Peter's queue, and he quickly scurried back out while the two were distracted. A moment later, he was in front of one of the more isolated clerks, set up for wizards with more-- sensitive business. Glancing around to make sure he wasn't being watched, he quickly transformed and coughed, nervously to get the teller's attention.

There was a pause, as the goblin looked up, frowning slightly at the wizard who had managed to sneak up on him. "Can I help you?"

"Yes, I, ah, need to access Vault 8530." Peter stated shifting nervously as he waited for the likely troubles that this would engage. The last few times he'd asked, they ended up passing him off, over and over again until finally had to be handed to a manager who for some reason would always huff and glare at him.

There was a pause as the goblin just looked at him. Then, it did something that surprised Peter, it sighed in resignation and stated flatly. "Very well. As long as you understand Gringotts is not responsible for the effects of wards placed on our vaults by third parties with the vault owners' permissions."

Peter looked startled for a moment, before cautiously nodding his head. "Yes-- but--"

"Then come along." The teller stated flatly as it hopped off its seat. "And Gringotts employees have no obligation to render aid or assistance to anyone entering that vault. Nor are we required to enter into that vault outside of regularly scheduled inspections."

Peter blinked again as he just stared at the goblin. What on earth had Sirius and James done to that vault? He'd never had any problems with it in the past-- But then again, in the past the goblins hadn't reacted liked this before.

"Um, Excuse me, but, has something-- changed with the vault?" Peter asked nervously. He had been the only one to use it for so long--

"It has seen regular access for the last few months." The goblin stated sourly with a grunt. "And we have been informed as long as we stay out of it, we won't have to worry about its-- antics."

"Oh." Peter didn't grimace entirely but he did frown. That was going to complicate matters. If Remus or Sirius were using the vault again, that would mean they might notice things. Things he'd taken. He'd have to be much more discreet going forward.

"Don't dawdle." The goblin stated flatly as it lead the way down into the tunnels and to the cart system.

For a moment, Peter got the distinct impression he should turn around and walk the other way as fast as he could. But what was the worst that could happen? He was still a Marauder as far as the vault knew--



Peter barely had the chance to fully recognize the word before his entire body was lit up like a Christmas tree. Surrounded by shiny, colored lights that had a sizable electric current connecting them. A current that ran through him with a painful force as a light started blinking above him in the shape of a star.

The goblin outside of the vault blinked a moment, before tilting his head to the side. "I suppose I can understand the display, a traitor delivering themselves to you is a thing of celebration. But, it seems to be-- lacking."

There was a pause as the lights flickered a moment, allowing Peter to drop to the ground in a convulsing heap before what looked to be a vine of some sort dropped down from the ceiling and grabbed hold of Peter's ankle as it pulled him up, suspended in midair. A moment later, what the goblin identified as some kind of facsimile of a plucked bird of some kind, made out of some sort of strange material being held up. Then it was promptly slapped back and forth across the man's face.

"-- I feel like now I'm missing something." The goblin admitted as the seltzer bottle began to spray itself into Peter's face, though, he would admit, they seemed to be mimicking drowning quite well.

When the whipped cream was being used to try to smother the man, the goblin finally sighed. "While Gringotts is not responsible for your actions as, technically our vault contracts allow for even lethal measures, the death of a wizard on Gringotts grounds will force us to do a full review and evaluation of where the issue occurred, disabling any and all protections placed on the area at the time. Without any guarantee that we will be able to restore them."

There was a pause as the air filled with a squeal of protest as a second vine had grabbed hold of Peter's other leg and the two vines had begun pulling in opposite directions before slacking slightly to dump him on the ground.

Then a banner of some sort dropped down and writing appeared before the goblin. How much for you to look the other way?

For a moment, the goblin blinked at the words, before sighing and shaking his head. "You should know that Gringotts employees are strictly monitored while on the job so as to prevent us from taking bribes, yes?"

How about when you're off the job?

The distinction made the goblin sigh regretfully. "Sadly, at this point they would be forced to raise a suspicion. If you have contacted me earlier, I might've been able to arrange him to request that I leave him to the vault for a time. As it stands? Well--"

Well, damn. And if we offered to let you in on our future pranks?

Consideration and temptation flashed across the goblin's face. There was a running betting pool on how this particular vault would handle its next inspector. Having inside knowledge-- The last three years had seen the pot grow to a most tempting number.


"I'm afraid I must decline." The goblin admitted with a voice that sounded quite sad. "I can, however, contact the aurors if you have need of them."

Fine. Tell Amelia Bones we have Pettigrew and we'll release him into her custody when she shows up.

"And in the mean time we have your guarantee that you won't cause any undue or improper terminations?"

We Solemnly Swear.

"Mmm-- I suppose that will do." The goblin stated reluctantly, before grinning in a faintly terrifying manner. "Well, that and the fact that we'll have to dismantle you if you don't. And charge the cost back to the owners of the account."

We'll be good!

"I thought so." The goblin agreed with a nod of his head before turning back to his cart.


Amelia Bones blinked as Dirk Cresswell stood in her office with a goblin standing there with his arms behind his back. "-- Is there something I can help you gentlemen with?"

"Well, it's more--" Dirk started, before gesturing helplessly towards the goblin.

"The security wards in one of our vaults is currently holding an intruder." The goblin noted with a slight shrug of his shoulders. "We asked it, politely, to not kill said intruder, as we didn't want to have to deal with the paperwork. Said security ward decided to ask for you to come pick up the culprit yourself."

"I wasn't aware Gringotts employed sentient security wards." Amelia stated as she eyed the goblin warily.

"We do not. Too unstable. Isolated personalities degenerate over time, and creating multiple personalities in charge of a ward scheme usually ends up with them fighting for control and causing antagonism. It's simply not worth the effort to perfect the personalities." The goblin stated with a bland apathy.

"--" Amelia gave the goblin a look that actually made his gaze sharpen slightly before she slowly started to speak. "Now, I had a very long, eventful day yesterday. It went well onwards into the night and I received precious little sleep because of it. That tends to make me-- irritated."

There was a heavy pause in the air as she suddenly offered the goblin a flat, razor thin smile. "When I'm irritated, I start reaching into my abundant bag of esoteric legal trivia. Such as, did you know that if a goblin is thought to be purposely withholding information from the Head of the DMLE in regards to a legal case, they can settle things by trial by combat."

The goblin blinked a moment, and managed to get his hand on his knife before he found himself surrounded by razor sharp blades, each humming eagerly as they seemed to be visibly struggling against something stopping them from carving him to pieces.

"So. Knowing I'm irritated, that I know that lovely little piece of information, and that I am someone that not only can, but will gut you like a fish before carving you up like a Christmas goose and going to your supervisors to find out what is actually going on, is there something you would like to tell me?"

There was a pause, before the goblin grinned back at her. "I see that your reputation is well deserved and well earned. Very well. One Peter Pettigrew was escorted to a vault he was previously given access to by Sirius Black and James Potter, along with one Remus Lupin. Mr. Pettigrew has been known to have made several such trips to the same vault over the last decade per our records."

"And because no one bothered to ask if you had any record of Pettigrew visiting your bank, you never bothered to inform us of such." Amelia said through clenched teeth.

"That is what our policy is." The goblin reminded her with a bemused look on his face. "Pettigrew found that the protections on the vault were since made aware that he had betrayed the rest of the group apparently. Or, at least I would assume so considering the massive declaration of traitor when he tried to access the vault."

Amelia stared at the goblin for a long moment of consideration, before letting a slight growl of irritation leave her voice as the blades melted into nothing and she stood up straight. "Then, let's stop wasting everyone's time and remove him before he becomes a greater problem for both of us."

"Agreed." The goblin stated easily enough while Amelia nodded her head, the two of them leaving a slack jawed Dirk Cresswell behind them.


"There a problem, lass?"

Hermione almost jumped into the air as she heard the voice almost uncomfortably close to her as she had been reading in the library to try and calm down from both the previous night, and the morning.

"Professor Moody?" She blinked as she saw the scarred man looking down on her with his whirling blue eye spinning like made.

"Well, unless someone managed to catch me and replace me." He agreed with a faint nod of his head as he shifted about on his peg leg. "Though, can't blame ya much for coming here. A might bit less exciting than the Great Hall's been."

"It was horrible." She stated with a shudders. "I thought phoenixes were supposed to be--!"

"Well, there's not many that can handle being drunk and not look horrible." Moody stated with a bland half smile. "But, shouldn't you be with your friends, enjoying the days off of class."

"How can I enjoy myself with all that's going one?!" She demanded, as her voice took on an almost fevered pitch. "The Slytherins have all been forced into unnatural bodies, and everyone's trying to just shrug their shoulders and keep going on like nothing's happened! Someone needs to help them!"

"I don't think you'll find the answers in here, lass." He stated simply and shrugged his shoulders.

"I have to! It's got to be here, I just have to find it!" She declared firmly as she looked back at the books. "I just have to find the right book for it!"

"Well, if that's how you feel, lass, I'll leave you to it." He stated simply as he patted her on the shoulder. "Good luck."

After he had left the girl behind, Barty Crouch Jr. grimaced as he let his friendly mask dissolve. The little twat was an arrogant little bint, he'd give her that. She really thought she'd find the answer in the library of all places.

He snorted and shook his head before letting his features relax back into the mask. A part of him wished he could simply return to his Master's presence and speak to him about the way things had changed. Confirm that his new plan would still work.

But, no. He'd have to wait for that little coward Wormtail to show up. Otherwise that old bastard Dumbledore might get suspicious.

He sighed softly and pondered what to do next. The girl would take time. He'd started, but he couldn't push her too hard. Not yet. He still had all year after all. And that Smith boy would make an excellent patsy.

Perhaps putting him with her to see if he could wear down her positive image of the Potter and Weasley brats? Well, what positive image she had at least.

Then he frowned. Did he even want that? She was supposed to be trying to help them, and if she lost her opinion of them, would she?

Too many possibilities, too many troubles. He sighed and shook his head. Maybe a bit of torture of the old bastard would cheer him up. There wasn't much else for him to do while he planned out his next move.


As soon as he managed to escape the mess in the Great Hall, Harry Potter had retreated back to what was now a familiar safe haven. The special classroom that was already seeing so much attention before the tournament had even started. They hadn't even been back a month yet!

Normally thinks didn't start falling to pieces until at least Halloween! But, no. Apparently this year they had to get started early. Sighing softly, he set out the letters from Sirius and Mrs. Zabini and pondered just what he was going to do.

Ron however, was working on brewing a certain potion he'd asked him to, double checking his notes on occasion to insure he was getting things right as he worked on it.

And Tracey was nowhere to be seen. She had told them that she had something she needed to do. Then she'd gone and vanished.

In the meantime, Harry figured he'd work on his letter back to Sirius. The fact that he was having to mention Mrs. Zabini and everything else-- well. He just wasn't particularly happy about it all. Not in the least.

Sighing softly, he had just finished the letter when Tracey appeared, dragging in two Slytherins he didn't know. One of whom did not seem to want to be there. The other looked-- well, curious.

"Harry. I'd like to introduce you to my roommate, Daphne Greengrass and our mutual acquaintance Blaise Zabini." Tracey stated with a smug smirk on her lips.

Harry groaned audibly before he set aside his letters carefully before banging his head on the desk. "Don't I have enough trouble with Zabinis as is?"

"-- Wait, what?!" Blaise demanded, her petulant reluctance melting away into a flash of worried anger. "What do you mean by that?!"

"Show her." Tracey practically giggled as she clapped her hands together.

"I'm a bloke, dammit!" Blaise protested halfheartedly. "What's the loon talking about?"

Harry's eyes narrowed as he slowly turned his attention towards Tracey, his brow arching. His action did not go unnoticed by Daphne, who promptly elbowed Blaise in the side.

"Oh, dammit, woman!" Blaise hissed back at Daphne. "What was that for?!"

"You're being an idiot." Daphne stated bluntly as she gave Blaise a look. "Do you really think insulting Davis in front of her friends is something smart right now?"

Blaise then noted the dark look on Potter's face and her own grew into a stubborn glower, though she said nothing.

"Tracey." Harry stated in a coolly neutral tone that made her wince. "Exactly what was the point of all this?"

"Well, I wanted to see the look on Blaise's face when she read the letter." Tracey stated with a slight pout. "But, I also thought that she'd have more brains and manners than this."

"She's still recovering from her first catfight." Daphne stated with a smirk. "Apparently she wasn't expecting Malfoy to be so adept at fighting like a girl."

"He couldn't even take a punch from Hermione." Ron stated as he finished whatever step of the potion he was on and put his cauldron on a low simmer. "Of course she's already got a leg up on fighting like a girl."

"Here-here!" Tracey agreed with a nod of her head as she suddenly grinned wickedly. "How about you share with Greengrass here until Zabini here manages an apology."

"I suppose." Harry agreed with a nod of his head before calmly selecting the letter from Blaise's mother and offering it calmly towards the blonde girl.

Curious, Daphne took it, before slowly scanning over it until she got to the name at the bottom. When her eyes popped out, she immediately returned to the top and read it again. This time, she took her time, scanning over each and every word. Upon finishing, she stared at the parchment for a long, long moment, before looking first at Harry, then at Blaise.

She promptly started to giggle uncontrollably, managing to give Harry back the letter before breaking down into full on gales of laughter.

That did not sit well with Blaise who immediately turned her attention onto Harry. "What's in that letter?!"

Harry shrugged his shoulders a bit and then carefully folded the letter back up and moved to put it into his robes.

"Dammit, come on!" Blaise's voice had taken on a slightly whiny tone that made Tracey palm her face while Daphne laughed even harder.

"Damn, she's whining almost as much as Malfoy did after running away with his tail between his legs." Ron noted bluntly before shrugging his shoulders and looking at Harry. "It's almost finished. I think you're crazy for wanting it, but--"

"I need something-- outside her usual experience." Harry stated simply with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

"You know she's going to check for magic and what not." Ron pointed out with a slight shrug of his shoulders.

"What I'm counting on, actually." Harry agreed with a nod of his head.

"Stop ignoring me!" Blaise demanded as she stomped her foot into the ground as she threw her fists down and glared at them both.

This sent a recovering Daphne into another round of giggles as she watched the scene unfolding and Tracey sighed again.

"Honestly, you two--Blaise isn't that bad. She's just--" Tracey struggled for the right word to describe her.

"Doooooomed!" Daphne managed between giggles. "Absolutely, positively Doomed!"

"You do realize I'm going to get her to change her mind, right?" Harry responded back with an arched brow.

"Right, sure you are." Daphne stated with a sarcastic roll of her eyes. "And how do you expect to do that?"

Harry calmly pulled out another piece of parchment before handing it, not to Daphne, but to Tracey.

Arching a brow, Tracey took it and carefully unfolded it to read. And her eyes widened as she did. When she finished, she whistled slowly and stared back at Harry. "Why the bloody hell aren't you in Slytherin again?"

"Malfoy." Harry stated simply as he shrugged his shoulders.

"And what is so--" Daphne demanded as she plucked the parchment from Tracey's hands and scanned through it. "There's no way in bloody hell that she'd agree to even half of this."

"That was the point." Harry stated sardonically as he looked back at Daphne for a moment before turning to Tracey. "I'm really starting to think that you're the only one that got put Slytherin for anything resembling cunning."

"Hey!" Daphne and Blaise protested immediately as they glared back at Harry for the insult.

"Well, you haven't really given him much reason to think otherwise." Tracey reminded them in Harry's defense. "What was it you said about Harry being dangerous? Right, outright dismissal, wasn't it?"

"Excuse me for not giving kudos when I would've been suffering because of his prank against Malfoy no matter what." Blaise shot back with a glare. "Whatever it was you were originally intending to do to him before he was an idiot."

"I really don't see why people keep accusing me of planning this." Harry stated with a tired sigh as he shook his head. "I mean--"

"Harry?" Tracey stated as she looked at him. "Relax. They know you're never going to admit to anything."

"And I don't know what you're talking about, Tracey." Harry stated in a flat, almost monotonous voice.

"I have to admit-- It's scary the fact that he can keep doing that still." Daphne noted with a grimace. "Most of our year would've already broken by now."

"Fine then. What would've happened if Malfoy hadn't been a damned idiot and messed with it then?" Daphne asked, already figuring that Blaise wouldn't ask.

Sighing, Ron reached into his robes and pulled out a few sheets of folded parchment, leafing through them before handing a particular one to Daphne.

Warily, Daphne took the parchment before blinking, then giggling. "Wait, really? I can't believe that you'd--. wait-- You plotted out what every step would do?!"

Ron looked at Daphne oddly and then shrugged. "Well, yeah. That's how you develop new potions. Shouldn't you know that?"

She just stared at him, her mouth hanging slightly at the horrifying revelation. Before she could recover, Tracey spoke up. "Told you so."

As Daphne blushed and glowered at Tracey, Ron turned to her and tilted his head to the side. "Wot?"

"They didn't believe me when I said you were developing potions." Tracey stated simply.

"What is this, keep Blaise in the dark day?" Blaise demanded as she glowered at the three of them as she made a light grab towards the parchment in Daphne's hand.

"Oh, go on and take it." Daphne didn't even try to keep the parchment and released it with a roll of her eyes.

Blaise quickly took it and almost greedily scanned over it, before pausing. Then she read it again. Then, a third time.

"-- What the bloody hell did Malfoy do to this then?!" Blaise almost screeched out as she noticed the huge discrepancy in volume and end result. "I'm going to kill her!"

There was a pause, before she grimaced and allowed. "Of course, I'd have killed him for making me go around with a voice like that until it was reversed but it would've been reversed!"

"And now you're stuck being one of the beautiful girls." Tracey stated with a smirk as she shifted her hips to cock slightly as she rested one hand there. "How horrible for you."

"I. Am. A. Man!" Blaise stated with an insistant hiss.

"-- Not according to your mother." Harry stated with an almost apologetic tone.

Instantly, Blaise stiffened as she immediately latched her eyes onto Harry. "How do you know about that?!"

Harry blinked a moment before tilting his head to the side, saying nothing as he simply gave Blaise a look that spoke of being less than impressed.

"Tell me!" Blaise demanded, her dusky skin holding a visible blush of humiliation.

"You do realize that you still haven't apologized to Davis yet, Zabini?" Daphne observed with a bland statement and a roll of her eyes.

"But--!" Blaise started to protest, almost uttering something that the flash of Potter's eyes warned her would cost her dearly if she completed. "Dammit all! I'm bloody sorry for calling you a loon, happy, Davis?"

"Ecstatic." Tracey drawled out before looking at Harry. "That's probably the best I'll get for now. You might as well show her."

Harry continued to look stubborn for a moment, before sighing. "Fine."

Reluctantly, he handed over the letter to Blaise, who almost snatched it from Harry's hands and quickly opened it.

Immediately, her earlier blush faded away into an ashen complexion. "No."

"Mhm." Harry agreed with a nod of his head as he carefully tapped his parchment and added a few extra little notes and addendums to his counter proposal.

"This cannot be happening!" Blaise declared with an almost hysterical tone of voice. "I refuse to go along with this! I won't do it!"

"You're assuming I'd even want you." Harry drawled out as he didn't bother looking at her, continuing to add little notes and points and counter points on the parchment. He wanted to make sure that she was rebuffed politely enough to not try and declare some kind of stupid blood feud or something silly like that.

He just wanted her to stop trying to get him to marry Blaise. As if he didn't already know how much of a vain pain in the arse he'd been before he became a she. And the change hadn't done anything to improve her personality that he'd seen.

"What's that supposed to mean!?" Blaise demanded as he was reminded of yet another reason he had little interest in her. She was still vain and egotistical.

"You insult my friend, make screaming demands of me, can't maintain a civil tongue, have an ego on par with Malfoy for, what I can tell, just as little reason--" Harry listed off slowly, as if he was speaking to a small child. "And, you've proven you just can't bloody well think."

As Blaise gaped at him like a fish, Daphne let out another, full on laugh.

"Oi, Potter!" She spoke up after calming down enough to speak. "Keep this up, and you just might end up enjoyable company."

Harry looked at her with a clearly sour expression on his face. "Joy."

Ron took a moment to look from Harry, to Daphne, to Blaise and then to Tracey. "-- You're enjoying this entirely too much."

"Yes, yes I am." Tracey agreed with a nod and a shiver of delight. "This is almost better than chocolate. Sweet Merlin, I love seeing the look on people's faces when I'm proven right!"

Instantly, Daphne's face twisted into a grimace and she glared back at Tracey, who just grinned broadly back at her. "Dammit, Davis, I was actually enjoying myself until that!"

"Yes, I know." Tracey agreed with a nod of her head and a wicked grin on her face. "Now, use that devious little mind of yours and think about this. Harry and Ron are my friends. I actually trust them. And you've seen how loyal Harry is to his friends. So, before you start thinking about all those little plots of yours to get your hooks into him-- What makes you think that he doesn't already know everything I know about you, including how you viewed him, Ron, and me?"

Daphne opened her mouth, took one look at Harry's less than impressed face, then looked back at Tracey with a look of horrified realization that quickly vanished into a cold, expressionless mask. "-- Fine, Davis. Well played. This isn't over though."

"Of course not. Greengrass." Tracey admitted with a smirk. "The fun's just getting started."

Posted: 12:24 AM - Nov 23, 2016


Peter Pettigrew was not a patient man by nature. He was skittish, nervous and often deferred to the base side of his nature. Finding himself chained to a seat in the middle of an auror interrogation room reminded him all too keenly of days gone by.

Better days. Days that he would never see again. Days he had most assuredly destroyed by his own hand.

The last time he'd been in such a room, it had turned out to be a rather elaborate prank of James and Sirius. It had been one of the most terrifying, hopeful times in his life as he had hoped that it meant his deception had been found out. Now, he was nervous for an entirely different reason.

How long were they going to wait until they got this over with?

Finally, the door opened, and into the room strode Amelia Bones who gave Pettigrew a long, cold look that felt oddly reassuring.

"Peter Pettigrew." She stated simply as she dropped a shiny medal onto the table between them with a metallic clink. "Awfully lively for a dead man."

"Ah, well, you see, I-- with Sirius, yes, Sirius Black still alive, I was worried! Yes, worried he'd get out, he'd come for me!" There was a pause and he shifted again, eyes suddenly brightening. "And he did! I was-- yes, I was protecting Harry! In secret! And Black found out about it! And he then came and he tried to--"

"I've seen the memories," Bones stated flatly. "The only reason you aren't swinging at the gallows is I want to see you stripped of that before the Wizarding World."

"M-m-memories?" Peter involuntarily looked at the medal. An Order of Merlin. A part of him whispered the venomous reminder that it was what he'd been awarded after his death for valiantly trying to avenge the Potters. "What, what memories?"

"Harry Potter's," Amelia stated succinctly.

"N-now, now, he was going through a, ah, a very traumatic experience he--" Peter started to protest.

"And Ron Weasley's, and Hermione Granger's," she added without even the slightest bit of hesitation. "All verified accurate, all verified unaltered."

"The, Confundus--!" Peter tried desperately, eyes wide.

"I am not Cornelius Fudge," Amelia reminded him coolly. "And you will find I am far, far less easily swayed by easily disprove claims. I have already examined the memories. Several other professionals have examined the memories. You will find, Death Eater, that you are not getting out of this."

And there she'd said it. The title he'd been hiding from for almost a decade and a half. The title that kept him trapped and helpless. The title that left him with no choice but to help the man who had ruined his life.

He hung his head for a long moment. "Then-- why are you even here?"

"Why, Pettigrew?" She asked simply. "They were your friends. Merlin, they were more than your friends! They trusted you to--"

"Oh, yes, they trusted poor, pathetic little Peter," he stated with a twist of his lips. "After all, who'd suspect they'd have chosen me of all people when they had someone like Sirius around. It was the perfect distraction! Sirius got to be the hero, again, and I'd just slink around in the shadows like always."

"-- Morgana's teats." Amelia stated before picking up the medal for a moment staring at it before snorting coldly as she dropped it back to the table. "I thought maybe you'd been tortured into it. Forced, coerced. But, you just couldn't even pretend enough to do that, could you?" She took a slow, deep breath and looked at him. "You really are pathetic, Pettigrew. Everything you could have had, could have been. The friends you had, the family you had-- you just threw it away because your stupid little ego couldn't handle being what you thought of as second best."

The walk to the door took only a moment, before she glared back over her shoulder. "I'll see you hang for this."

And then, the door slammed shut leaving the man behind to stare at the medal on the table for a long, long moment, before his hand snapped out and he pulled it back, clutching it to his chest as he stared forward and almost glared at the door.


To Madame Zabini,

I hope you forgive me but for not using Dear, but after your proposal I'm not feeling particularly keen upon using such terms considering your rather illustrious history with your previous husbands. My condolences on their string of highly improbable, successively tragic fates.

But, all things considered, I felt it would be best for me to respond to your letter, as based on what I've learned from Blaise, you are hardly one to simply give up on matters. She is quite put out with your offer I should add. I have to ask, based on all the cunning and intelligence and efficiency that I've been told you possess and value, exactly how did you manage to raise a son whose foolishness and ego rival Draco Malfoy?

I'm afraid that I simply cannot see myself wed to such an individual, pretty as she may be. And blatantly, given her temperament and the improbable nature of your relationship history, I can't help but imagine I would find myself befalling a horrible tragic accident of some sort. Why, one could even say that there would be an incentive for yourself and her to assist such an improbable even in occurring.

Or more precisely, I imagine Blaise would make an attempt as well thought out and as expertly executed as a Malfoy, and then you taking pity on her and being forced to lend your assistance simply because of the sheer debacle she's causing.

So, I believe it would be in both our interests to agree that such a union would be ill advised.

But, given that you are hardly the type of woman to give up so easily, I am willing to open up negotiations for a concubine contract provided a few incentives are offered.

I will humbly await your terribly efficient owl on if you are interested in continuing such discussions or not.

Harry Potter

Donatella Zabini stared at the letter in front of her hand and then blinked and read it again. Then again. After the third read through she calmly set it down and leaned back in her seat with a thoughtful look on her face.

"Garzey?" She finally asked, her lips pursed in thought.

"Missius be calling Garzey?" The house elf popped up next to her, head tilted to the side. "Is this being about the terrifyingly scary owl that be glaring at the Blaisied owl and making it lose its fluffy feathers?"

"It's not bothering my darling little TEO is it?" Donatella asked with a worried frown and a pursing of her lips.

"Garzey be thinking that the TEO be laughing," Garzy stated with a frown. "At least, that be why the Garzey be thinking the TEO be rolling on the floor."

"Well, TEO has never been too fond of Blaise's little-- whatever you want to call it," Donatella admitted with a faint nod of her head. "But, that's not why I wanted you to come by. Would it be terribly inappropriate to make advances on one of Blaise's yearmates?"

"-- Yes, Missius, it be being a bad thing," Garzey stated as if he was pointing out the most obvious thing in the world.

"Fu," she pouted a bit. "I suppose he wouldn't really accept either. And he went and played on my ego, trying to manipulate me into losing interest! That little dear. Oh, if only I was 15 years younger."

She lightly fanned herself with an exquisite spider silk lace fan her third, no, wait, fifth husband had given her. He had always been a fond one for her, he'd even managed to pass quietly in his sleep. And the fan always helped her keep her cool.

"Garzey be thinking that if the Missius be that much younger, then maybe someone be able to teach her to be behaving finally." Garzey noted before pausing. "Though, Garzey not be thinking that it be stopping the Zamboobi dresses."

"Probably not," she agreed without an ounce of shame. "They are quite useful in oh so many ways. But, inappropriate to try for the boy. Fu. A shame. He's actually got a brain in his head!"

"Garzey be pitying the boy," the elf noted sadly with a shake of his head. "He be dooming himself."

"Actually, he's rather maneuvered me into a corner," she corrected with a smile. "Which is a thrill, I must admit. He declined a marriage contract, but offered to open negotiations for a concubine contract. Provided certain stipulations were met! So I can't even attack from the angle of he's not giving me a chance to negotiate anything."

"Garzey be noting that be a bit of an insult to the Missius," Garzey noted with a slight frown.

"I offered Blaise, not myself," she clarified with a roll of her eyes. "Honestly, Garzey. It's why I wished I was so much younger. Though, I'd likely have found it an insult back then."

She sighed mournfully and shook her head. "Alas, the follies of youth."

"Garzey still not be seeing it," the house elf stated dubiously.

"Blaise is, sadly, even worse at behaving intelligently as a girl than when she was a he," she stated clinically. "I actually had to take my hand to her bottom to get her to listen. Honestly, witches these days. And Slytherin was supposed to be the house of the cunning!"

"And Missius isn't supposed to be causing her husiebends to go dead as dumb bells," he countered brusquely. "So, we all deal with disappointments."

"That is completely different," she protested with a huff. "I make no attempt to hide my husbands have a tendency to die swift, sad deaths. It's hardly any fault of mine that most wizards are simply too stupid to consider they might be next."

Garzey just looked at her.

"It is!" she insisted with a huff.

"Missius has no one to blame but Missius for the Blaisey one being so stupid. She let him be an idiot because he be having something between his legs that she not be having," he stated simply and shook his head. "The Missius be thinking that suddenly because she lose it, she be growing the sense she never be having?"

There was a pause before she grimaced and shrugged a bit. "I sent her to Hogwarts thinking she'd learn some of that cunning and social skill."

"Then Missius should have stopped being lazy and taught the Blaisey one," he chided simply and shook his head. "Garzey always be telling the Missius not to rely on people to be doing what she can be doing better."

"But, Blaise is just so-- so--." She paused, struggling to come up with the right word.

"Garzey be thinking plenty of words to describe the now Blaisey-she," he stated simply and shook his head. "Garzey just be too polite to use them."

"Quite," she agreed with a sigh and a shake of her head, before pouting adorably. "And she refuses to listen to me when I try to educate her!"

"Garzey be thinking-- Like mother like daughter," Garzey stated simply and shook his head. "Now, does the Missius have something for Garzey, or is she being procrastinamating?"

"You wound me, Garzey, would I use you so callously?" she asked with a pout.

"Yes," the elf's response was prompt, succinct and contained not an ounce of doubt nor regret.

Sighing she huffed just a bit before staring one last time, mournfully at the letter before looking back at him, "I suppose I still can't convince you to take dictation?"

The elf just looked at her in return.

"Fu. I was afraid of that."


The life of Harry Potter was many, many things. Exciting. Insane. Unexpected. Confounding.

None more obvious than to the boy himself. It was also something else. Frustrating.

"Hmm-- That makes 5 threats, 6 displays of gratitude, 3 attacks and your third marriage proposal," Tracey noted as she scribbled something down in a journal. "Two more and Ron's brothers owe me 10 galleons."

Harry glowered at her as he looked up from where he was banging his head against the wall. "I hate you."

"No, you don't." Tracey disagreed with a shake of her head. "Besides, you're going to have enough problems with Blaise's mum."

"Don't remind me," Harry sighed and shook his head. At Tracey's urging, he'd resisted being up front with his demands in case the woman turned around to try and use them against him.

"Sucks to be you," Ron agreed with a nod. "Suppose we're going to be getting back to class soon?"

"Should be," Tracey agreed with a quiet nod of her head. "Hasn't been a class 4 accident in a while but it should only shut down classes for a couple of days to get everything sorted out."

"Wait, something like this has happened before?" Harry latched onto that idea, staring at Tracey like a man dying of thirst would an oasis.

"Well, yeah?" Tracey agreed with a shrug of her shoulders. "I mean, that's why they have the whole class system for incidents. And, I mean, Hogwarts has been here for a thousand years. You don't really think that in that time a lot of people haven't gone and done something absolutely nutters?"

"They've turned an entire class into birds before?" Ron asked with a blink and disbelief in his voice.

"Well, there was the time that half the school was turned into animals," she noted with a shrug. "They had to do some weird animagus reversal to get people back to normal. Then there was apparently something so crazy that they refused to even document it."

"-- Really?" Harry arched a brow back at her, looking more than a little skeptical.

"The ghosts either don't know about it or won't talk about it," Tracey agreed with a nod of her head.

"Or," a familiar, soft, terrifying voice filled the air as the Bloody Baron floated by, "No one asks the only ghosts who can and will tell the tale."

Tracey let out a quiet "eep" as the ghost glided past, apparently feeling no need to extrapolate further as he continued on his journey.

"Well, we now know where to look if we need to know," Harry noted with a nod of his head. "Of course, right now I think we're better off not knowing."

"Agreed," Ron nodded his head vigorously. "I really don't think I wanna know.

"I don't wanna have him glaring at me every chance he gets," Tracey stated simply, shuddering softly. "That happened to Parkinson second year."

"Right." Harry pushed away the mental image with a shudder. "And on that note, please don't remind me how attractive she now is."

"Agreed," Ron repeated his earlier statement with a fervent nod of his head. "Almost as disturbing as how hot Draco turned out."

Tracey elbowed him for that, giving him a glowering little glare. "Then don't look."

"I can't help it! I'm a bloke! And they're there!" Ron whined slightly before blushing brightly. "And most of them don't wear bras."

"No, no they don't," Harry agreed with a nod of his own, his face blushing as well as a faint smile appeared on his lips.

"Berks," Tracey stated shoving them both lightly before self-consciously crossing her arms across her chest.

Harry and Ron looked at each other, before shrugging their shoulders in unison. "Right then?"

"--" She glowered at them as her lip jutted out in a pout. "I'm a girl, dammit!"

"Yes, but you're also Tracey," Harry stated with a slight frown. "Not sure what you're really expecting from us."

"Um--." Ron opened his mouth to respond, before shutting it and blushing brightly.

Tracey turned her attention from Harry to Ron and arched a brow at him. "Yes--?"

Hesitantly, Ron leaned in and whispered something in a voice that was too low for Harry to hear. But, he could see how whatever it was he'd said made Tracey suddenly blush a bright red just like Ron himself.

"R-right, good then," Tracey blushed brighter and clutched tighter at her chest. "As long as we cleared that up."

"-- cleared what up?" Harry asked in confusion.

"Nothing!" the pair immediately declared in unison.

"-- Right." Harry's skepticism practically dripped off his voice before he sighed and shook his head. "So, right, how likely is it that Blaise's mum is going to be put off by what I sent?"

"-- Highly, highly unlikely," Tracey admitted with a shrug. "You're going to have to deal with her for a while still."

"Good," Harry stated simply with a nod of his head.

"-- Good?" Tracey repeated, staring at him incredulously. "Harry, no. That is very, very bad! If she's still interested in you and getting you with Blaise--"

"Then that means I don't have to worry about anyone else trying the same thing." Harry stated simply as he paused before reluctantly adding. "Well at least once word spreads about it."

"-- Wot?" Tracey repeated as she froze in place and just stared at him.

"Well, I'm trying to get the most out of her that I can without actually having to give her anything." Harry stated with a shrug. "After all, I'm not offering false promises. If she wants to enter into negotiation, it's going to cost her to just come to the table. I figure I can at least get her to help get Sirius out of trouble."

"--" She stared at him, mouth hanging open before she shook her head, lightly slapping her own cheek and giving him a look. "Wait, aren't you the same Harry Potter that was complaining and worrying about how he'd done something so horrible to us Slytherins because of Malfoy's cock up?"

Harry blushed and shrugged his shoulders a bit. "Well, it's not really the same, now is it? I mean, she wants to use me for her ends, and I don't want to be used. But, there are things she can help with, now aren't there?"

"And what happens when you string her on so much that she gets angry with you?" Tracey demanded with a glare. "You don't want her as an enemy!"

"I figured I'd get whatever Death Eater is trying to worm their way into trying to control me into things and blame them?" Harry responded with a shrug of his shoulders.

"--" Tracey's mouth hung open, then shut, then went open again as she stared at him.

"Dammit, Harry, why'd you have to go and break her?" Ron whined a bit as he lightly waved a hand in front of Tracey's face and she failed to show any reaction.

"It was the obvious thing to do, I'm not sure why she's so weird about it," Harry complained for a moment before sighing. "Budge over a bit, you don't want me to get you with her."

"Right--" Ron stated as he stepped back just a bit

"Aquamenti Glacia." Harry intoned as a small stream of water left his wand and hit Tracey in the face.

"COLD!" Tracey shrieked as she jumped back and went for her wand reflexively as her eyes glared at Harry. "DAMMIT HARRY!"

"5 points from Slytherin for your language, Ms. Davis!" Professor McGonagall snapped sharply before taking a look at her face and then at the rather bemused Harry Potter. "And why, exactly did you feel the need to use an Aquamenti charm on Ms. Davis, Mr. Potter?"

"That was not an Aquamenti charm!" Tracey declared as she glared at Harry.

"Technically, it was. Aquamenti Glacia is still an Aquamenti charm," Harry corrected with an innocent smile. "And I broke Tracey's brain again and Ron made me snap her back to normal."

"-- And how exactly did Mr. Potter break Ms. Davis' brain, Mr. Weasley?" McGonagall asked as she turned her attention onto the red headed boy.

"By unveiling his plot to use Blaise Zabini's mum to help his god father and then destroy the Death Eaters that are gonna try and trick him into marriage contracts?" Ron offered with a faint shrug of his shoulder. "Harry tends to do stuff like that, it tends to make Tracey's head hurt a lot."

"So, so should've been in Slytherin," Tracey muttered sourly, glowering at Harry as she wiped her face on her robes.

McGonagall managed to repress her shudder, though it was a near thing. "Please, Ms. Davis. Consider how much trouble Mr. Potter is as a Gryffindor. Now, imagine what would happen if he'd been a Slytherin instead."

Ron groaned aloud again and dragged his hand down his face as Tracey's mouth began to open and close in a loop again. "Blood---" He paused seeing Professor McGonagall giving him a look. "We just got her back! Did you have to go and break her again, Professor?"

Managing a slightly chagrinned expression, McGonagall sighed and gestured sent a wordless spell at Tracey, whom immediately squeaked and jumped in place. "Really, Ms. Davis, I would've thought that your time with these two incorrigible scamps would've helped you with a more robust constitution."

"It doesn't work," Ron stated simply with a shrug of his shoulders. "If it's not Harry himself doing something, it's something else happening, someone doing something around Harry, or someone doing something trying to do something to Harry."

A dark look crossed Harry's face as he looked away, causing Ron to blink a moment, then groan aloud. "Oh, come on, mate! How many times we have to go over this? You did not make Malfoy mess with the potion!"

McGonagall arched a brow towards Harry, who looked away and shifted uncomfortably in place.

"Honestly, Mr. Potter. Do you take credit for what Mr- errr Ms. Malfoy does right?" she asked with a sound of exasperation in her voice.

"What? Of course not!" Harry quickly protested with his hands held up.

"Then, why would you take the blame for hi-her, mistakes?" she demanded as she forced herself to not trip over the pronouns again before sighing. "I swear, this is going to be a headache and a half having to relearn the appropriate pronouns for all of your house, Ms. Davis."

"Hey, I'm still happily femininely shaped and proportioned," Tracey protested with her hands raised up. "Don't lump me in with Blaise and the like."

"Which reminds me--" There was a sudden shift as McGonagall's eyes returned back to the staring and wide eyed Harry who was still visibly contemplating her words. "What's this about using Mrs. Zabini for your own ends, Mr. Potter?"

"Hmm?" Harry blinked a moment, coming out of his daze. "Wha-? Oh, that. Nothing much."

"Nothing much he says," Tracey muttered under her breath as she glared at Harry.

"I just got offered a marriage contract for Zabini," Harry responded with a shrug of his shoulders before clearing his throat and clarifying. "Um, Blaise, not her mum."

"-- I see," McGonagall stated with a look of arctic displeasure. "I apologize, Mr. Potter, that is not something she should be doing. At the most she could contact your guardian to discuss the potential, not you yourself."

"Well, I actually already turned her down," Harry stated with a nod of his head. "Made her a counter proposal that I would be willing to open negotiations for a concubine contract provided she fulfilled some obligations first that I haven't actually named."

McGonagall paused, processed those words, before affixing him with a shrewd look. "And exactly what were you planning on naming?"

"Her support in getting things cleared up about my guardianship," Harry stated with a pondering and a shrug. "Probably a few other things so it doesn't look as important, but as long as she's working on winning me over, she'll also be fighting off the ones like Malfoy who will be trying to get a chunk out of me, because they'll be trying to take away from the chunk she wants."

"If Professor Snape heard you talking like that, he'd--" she started before trailing off and shaking her head. "Never mind."

"He already knows, Professor," Tracey stated with a shake of his head. "He finds it amusing that Sn-Professor Snape can't really do anything about it, because he'd have to admit that Harry got the better of him."

Harry put on his best "Butter, melt in my mouth? Never!" expression as he smiled up at his head of house. "Why would I ever want to do something like that to Professor Snape, Professor McGonagall?"

She reflexively responded with "You really want me to answer that question?" look forged before his parents had even entered Hogwarts and refined to perfection thanks to a certain group of Gryffindors.

Only, she found herself faltering beneath his counter of "Is that really a can of worms you want to open?" that hit her in remarkably tender places.

Tracey and Ron stared in disbelief at the war of looks, as Harry seemed to grudgingly emerge the victor.

"We are doing better in his class, Professor," Ron spoke up nervously. "Our potions have been spot on and we're not making the mistakes we used to."

"I know," she stated with a slow nod of her head. She wouldn't admit that she knew because Severus had been ranting about it every chance he got whenever Fillius and Albus were out of the room.

She was starting to run out of scotch to drown him out.

"That is good to hear, Mr. Weasley," she stated slowly. And it honestly was, other than the fact that it was causing her no end of headaches with Snape. It was good to hear that the two young men were finally applying their talents.

She just wished it didn't come with the side of mischief she knew inspired it.

"Though, I am disappointed that you no longer seem quite as close to Ms. Granger," she noted with a slight frown. "You three seemed quite close. No offense to your friendship with Ms. Davis, in fact I quite approve of your friendship extending beyond the rivalry between houses. I simply--"

"I'm not apologizing to her for not doing anything wrong," Harry stated stubbornly with a mild glower.

"-- I beg your pardon?" That brought the professor up short as she blinked at Harry.

"We found something that gets us interested in magic. In how magic works and how to make it work for us," Harry stated simply arms crossing his chest as he looked sullenly back at her. "She called it childish and a waste of magic."

McGonagall winced at that. While she did wish that pranksters such as the Marauders and the Weasley twins would show more restraint, she wouldn't call their creations a waste of magic. Especially not when they showed such creativity. She just really, really wished the Weasley twins applied their creativity to their grades like the Marauders had.

"Well, some things can be said in the heat of the moment that aren't--" she started to say gently, hoping to turn things back onto a more positive note.

"She then got mad at me for wanting her to stop trying to force us do things her way all the time and wanting to just be regular friends that did things together and weren't trying to make us do things their way," Harry stated simply and shook his head. "And she told me to not talk to her until I realized how stupid I was being."

"She's kind of ruining that point by constantly trying to get you to apologize," Tracey added with a bit of snark before flinching a bit at the glower Harry sent her. "Sorry."

"Why can't she just let us be who we like being, professor?" Harry finally asked McGonagall after he finished glaring at Tracey.

And she realized then that she was apparently long overdue to have a chat with some of her lions.

Posted: 6:35 PM - Dec 24, 2016


"Your mother sent you another letter," Daphne noted as she buttered her toast and glanced at the envelope that had appeared in front of Blaise.

"No, she didn't." Blaise insisted as she calmly cut into her sausage, pointedly making sure to not even look at the envelope while almost delicately bringing the meat to her mouth.

Then she frowned when she bit down on an empty fork. Glancing down, she looked back at her plate, and saw that there was indeed a partially cut sausage left behind on it, a bit of gravy pooled next to it. And examining her utensils showed the slight gleam of fresh sausage grease. Tentatively, she reached her fork towards the plate, intending to spear the remaining piece on her untensil.

Then it promptly vanished, just before her fork hit the plate with a light "clink" of impact.

"I believe that yes, she did indeed," Daphne noted with a faint smile of her head.

"I'm telling you she--" Blaise turned her head to glare at Daphne only a moment, before suddenly being hit in the face with the envelope as her bacon suddenly vanished from her plate. "-- Ow."

"I don't think you're going to get away with ignoring it," Daphne noted as she ate a piece of fruit and chuckled a bit.

"I. Did. Not. Re-," Blaise grit her teeth and suddenly felt something smack the back of her head and launched her face forward into a pool of gravy that hadn't been there a moment before.

"Interesting look, Ms. Zabini, quite the intriguing idea, you will tell the rest of us if the gravy facial ends up being effective, won't you?" Daphne asked dryly as she daintily took another bite of fruit and smiled innocently at Blaise.

"I-- Hate-- you--" Blaise managed to slowly hiss out before muttering under her breath as she waved her wand over her face and clothes, and plate, instantly cleaning them up.

"Such staunch words, I'm worry to heard them, Zabini," Daphne noted with a trace of faux sadness in her voice. "I will instead leave you to read your letter in peace."

"There is no le--" Blaise froze as she could see an owl she vaguely recognized as Harry Potter's eating her bacon in front of her without so much of a care in the world.

Beneath her was his own owl, lain out pathetically on the ground, his fathers tattered and ruffled and covered in bits of food. And then, the letter hit her face again, as if daring her to say anything else.

"I believe that he decided to get help," Daphne noted with a faint frown as she eyed the snowy owl that was calmly sitting atop normally regal, if frightfully dull horned owl. "I suppose I'm rather glad I'm not you, that doesn't bode well for you if TEO managed to recruit Potter's owl to help him."

"--" Blaise stared at the sight for a long moment, before slowly swallowing. "Are you telling me that if I don't-- acknowledge and read the letter things are going to get worse?"

The snowy owl tilted her head to the side, before promptly grabbing hold of her own owl's wing and smacked it into her owl's face. Before Blaise could fully react, she could feel her sleeve being grabbed and her hand suddenly slapping herself across the face before it was released in an instant. The snowy owl then calmly gave Blaise a challenging look.

Stunned in shock for a moment, Blaise just stared at the owl, before it barked in irritation at her, making her jump slightly in surprise. Quickly, she grabbed hold of the letter and began to open it. "Right, this letter!"

And her eyes only left the scene in front of her only for a moment before looking back to see that only her own owl was left, giving her a pathetic look as it barked weakly from its place in the middle of the table.

"-- And again, I am reminded that your mother is scary," Daphne noted before shaking her head and sighing as she nibbled another piece of fruit. "And I wonder about why it is you find yourself wanting to antagonize her."

"I do not want to antagonize her," Blaise corrected as she stared at the fold of the envelope. "I simply want to be able to pretend she does not exist and is not trying to use me in whatever game she's currently playing. Which she wasn't until this happened."

"Yes, well, another thing to blame on Malfoy," Daphne noted as she slowly bit the tip of a strawberry and slowly made a show of sucking softly at the tip.

"-- What in Merlin's name are you doing?" Blaise finally asked as she noted the almost blatantly-- alluring way Daphne was eating her food.

"Teasing the Gryffindors," Daphne responded shamelessly as she slowly licked an errant drop of juice from her lips and then smiled as she took another nibbling bite of her strawberry and made a show of how much she enjoyed the sweet fruit.

Following her gaze, Blaise found herself faced with a face palming Harry Potter as Ron Weasley struggled to keep his attention firmly on an irritatedly glowering Tracey Davis. Though, the full effect of Daphne's show seemed to be seen on the faces of Seamus Finnegan and Dean Thomas, both watching her with rapt attention. Though, Blaise noted that Neville Longbottom looked about ready to explode from the shade of red his cheeks had turned.

Sighing, Blaise just looked back at Daphne. "Must you?"

"Well, Potter wants to play hard to get," she drawled back with another sinfully slow bite of her fruit. "I thought it would be good to mmmm-- practice. I do want to know I'm-- attractive, don't you?"

"Not to boys," Blaise snapped back with a grunt and a hiss of half blossomed anger.

"Oh? Well, I suppose we could-- practiced--" Daphne noted as she turned her attention onto Blaise with a dangerous smiled curling over her lips--

"Greengrass--" Blaise stated warningly as she watched Daphne leaned in, slowly reaching out and bringing the half nibbled fruit up, glistening with sweet juices to her lips.

"Shhh--" Daphne breathed the sound out, her lips parted, as Blaise could feel the wet touch of the fruit, slowly traced over of her lips. "After all-- just think of how much you're going to make them squirm--"

"I don't--" Blaise protested for a moment, even as Daphne leaned closer, her breath hot on her skin, her body, her heat almost pressing into her.

"I do, I can just imagine it, what they're hoping for, what they think is going to happen next, with the sweet juices dripping off of your lips, my breath, rolling over your skin, our bodies so very close.." she purred out the words before suddenly pulling back and pressing the fruit back into her mouth. "Shame we won't give it to them, isn't it?"

Blaise just scowled at her even as she wiped her mouth on her sleeve and shook her head. "You're mad."

"I find myself wondering exactly what she thinks she's doing," a new voice cut in as Pansy Parkinson appeared, arms crossed about her chest and glaring down at her.

"Who, me--?" Daphne laughed, less than impressed with the glare she was receiving as she finished off her strawberry with a snapping bite, before flicking the remaining piece attached to the stem away with a negligent motion of her fingers. "Why, Parkinson, you sound positively-- incised, whatever for?"

She chuckled softly as she picked up as scone and began to delicately nibble at a corner. "I mean, all I'm doing is enjoying a nice meal and a show."

"Because it looks like you're flirting with the Gryffindorks," Pansy challenged as she glared down at Daphne with her arms crossed about her chest.

Daphne laughed at that. "Oh, really, Parkinson? One, I hardly find myself inclined to flirt with my fellow housemates after the grand blunder of the little boy you eagerly chased at the coat tails of. And, honestly, if you had bothered to look, you would've noticed that what I did was torment those poor, poor little boys more effectively than you and little Malfoy ever did on your own."

Pansy flushed brightly at the not-so-subtle digs as the reminders drew disdainful eyes upon her in far greater number than those pointed towards her target. "That--"

"Hardly matters, dear," Daphne drawled out as she shook her head. "Or, perhaps you're forgetting not only did your dear little dragon cause use to lose any and all specimens of the male persuasion, he had already let himself be lead around by the nose by the boy he tried so very hard to show up."

She paused a moment, catching sight of the Malfoy in question as a malicious smile curled sharply over her lips. "Though, with this grand end result, do tell, Malfoy, was this your grand plan after all? To get the illustrious Harry Potter to finally pay you the attention you craved?"

"Wot?" Draco froze in place, like a deer, frozen as she struggled to process the words Daphne had stated.

"I'd try to repeat myself, but, honestly, I think everyone already knows the answer," she drawled out and shook her head. "Though, I'm terribly sorry to tell you, but I don't think he's interested. Even when you went out of your way to get yourself a body to be properly-- frocked, well, terribly sad how desperate she was, wouldn't you say, Blaise daaaaahling?"

"Mmm, did you say something?" Blaise asked as she could be seen pulling out a letter from an envelope. "I stopped listening as soon as you mentioned Malfoy, I'm sorry but I just don't have the time to listen when you start to talk about pointless things like that."

"I'm sorry, I forgot, she's not important anymore," Daphne casually twirled a finger through her beautiful golden honey hued hair. "It's the blonde, I have so much trouble keeping up with the little, pointless details."

"Mhm--" Blaise hummed non-committedly, clearly focusing her attention onto the letter in front of her, frowning slightly as she continued down its length.

"You're the one flirting with Gryffindorks!" Pansy cut in, trying to force the attention back onto Daphne as she cringed slightly at the looks she could feel directed her way and the absolute angry confusion written etched on Draco's face.

"Teasing the Gryffindors," Daphne idly corrected as she took another nibble of her scone, enjoying the taste as she slowly chewed then swallowed before continuing. "You do realize that's what one can do if one ones, yes? To make use of one's feminine wiles? To reduce little boys not hot, panting little puddles, hmm?"

There was a pause, before she suddenly smirked, a cold, vicious thing cutting through the air between them. "Oh, that's right, I'm sorry, your mother did teach you that there were ways to do that when you aren't down on your knees, yes?"

Pansy's face went white as she stared back at her in disbelief, a horror as she seemed to struggle with the realization of just what it is that the blonde girl seated in front of her had just implied. She made small, muted sounds, trying desperately to say something, anything to contradict her. When she failed, Daphne almost felt guilt about the way the girl's face teared up before she turned and ran.

"That was vicious," Blaise noted absently as she reread the letter in her hands again.

"Welcome to the wonders of a woman's battlefield," Daphne drawled out as she slowly shook her head. "No place for the weak of the dull witted. I'm sure your mother would agree."

"My mother would eat you alive and spit out your bones as polished dice," Blaise commented, clearly distracted, "And they'd all come up sixes for her."

"Probably," Daphne admitted with a melodramatic sigh as she shook her head. "Must you ruin my little fantasies for me, with such a cold, cruel blade of reality?"

"Yes, I must," Blaise agreed with a sigh as she buried her face in her hands and groaned. "And, I hate Potter."

"My, what did he do to you this time?" Daphne asked with a sigh as she bit into her scone with a more normal bite.

"I'm supposed to approach him about negotiations for entering me into a bloody concubine contract," Blaise stated with a slow groan as she banged her head lightly on the plate in front of her.

"-- Well that's not right," Daphne noted with a frown.

"Yes," Blaise agreed with a nodding of her face still down on the plate.

"I mean, how can I seduce him properly if he has you as a concubine? You're at least as hot as me," Daphne complained with a sigh and a mournful shake of her head. "First it's a bridal contract, not a concubine contract. What in Merlin's name did he do to her? Grant her the secret to eternal youth?"

"I don't know," Blaise admitted with a groan and a shake of her head before slowly standing up and groaning as she adjusted her robes. "Something about an offer she can't pass up."

"You're going over there right now?" Daphne asked with a blink and a tilt of her head.

"We're going over there right now," Blaise corrected with a shake of her head as she gave her a meaningful look, "You volunteered yourself when you helped egg those bloody birds on."

"But--" Daphne started to protest.

"Besides, don't you want to see your handiwork first hand?" Blaise countered back with a glower.

"Oh, you want to use me to throw them off their and make them uncomfortable," Daphne stated with a blink of realization, before smiling sultrily back at her. "Why didn't you say so?"

"I'm sorry for giving you too much credit towards figuring out what I intended," Blaise stated as she started her walk. "Coming?"


"Potter," Harry was forced to look up from his attempts to shield himself from the depth of teenaged vulgarity that was flowing out of Seamus' mouth at the word, even as it managed to still the Irishman's tongue.

"Zabini," Harry agreed with a slight nod of his head, noting the appearance of Daphne smirking at the staring and drooling boys around him. "I see you brought company."

"You expected me to pass up such an opportunity?" she asked blandly as she looked back at him expectantly.

"Yes, because reducing Seamus and Dean to fountains of drool aids you so very much," Harry noted with a slight roll of his eyes.

"No, but it does keep Davis busy keeping Weasley's attention on her," Daphne chirruped helpfully with a slight bounce in her step that drew the boy's attentions to her for a moment.

Harry just groaned softly and shook his head. "You really sure that you want to do that? Tracey, despite how it might seem, seems to at least keep me from causing too much trouble."

"That would explain Dobby," Ron noted as he tore his attention away from Daphne and Tracey and affixed it onto Harry. "I mean, you--"

Ron froze a moment, before suddenly narrowing his eyes as something seemed to click behind his eyes and he suddenly almost shouted out. "Dobby!"

"--Mr. Great-Harry-Potter's-Friend Weasily is calling?" The house elf suddenly appeared with a pop, causing everyone's eyes to widen in surprise.

"Did you have something to do with my family winning the Galleon Draw?" Ron half demanded after her recovered.

"-- Dobby be thinking that it be best that Dobby not be answering that question," Dobby stated apologetically as he tugged nervously on one ear.

Harry groaned softly while Ron twitched a bit before taking a slow, deep breath and then continuing. "Dobby. What else did you do?"

"-- Dobby not be sure what Mr. Great-Harry-Potter's-Friend Weasily be asking?" Dobby honestly looked confused at what he was being asked.

"Ron, what in Merlin's name are you on about?" Harry asked, looking more than a little baffled.

"Well, you know how Tracey was talking about taking advantage of all the stuff that just seems to happen around you?" Ron stated with a pointed statement. "I'm trying to figure out how often it happens."

"Oh, come on, Ron, I'm only half being serious there," Tracey stated with a wave of her hand.

"Because of Harry, Dobby went and set up the Galleon draw so my Da won. We then went to Egypt, where we ended up getting photographed with Scabbers which lead to Sirius Black escaping from Azkhaban which caused the dementers to be sent to Hogwarts, which lead to them attacking Harry and everyone else, which lead to Harry mastering the Patronus and Merlin knows what else."

At Tracey's incredulous look, Ron fixed her with a look. "Tracey, you can't tell me that there weren't more reprocussions of that stuff I don't even know about."

"Well, yes, there was the whole review of control of magical creatures protocols that discovered the razor fly smuggling operation--" Tracey admitted with a slow shrug. "But that--"

"-- That boosted my family's holdings by 20%, Davis," Daphne noted with a slight frown. "That smuggling operation was under cutting our profits for years."

"Right, well, I--" Tracey paused a moment before turning and staring at her incredulously. "Wait, that means that's why they invested the extra amount in our farms?"

"Yes," Daphne agreed before looking back at Harry with a frown, watching the way he was palming his face. "But, that's just a big coincidence--"

"Yes," Ron agreed with a nod of his head before slowly feeling a tension ratchetting up. "I mean, it's not like the escape of the 'illustrious' hippogriff Buckbeak launched a nationwide search that diverted resources away and allowed a halfway started insider smuggling operation to stall out and allow it to be found out when they finally called the search off."

"Oops?" Harry offered briefly before coughing. "I mean, what does that have to do with me?"

Tracey blinked a moment. Daphne stared. Blaise rubbed her face.

"That's nice, but that's not why I'm here," Blaise stated simply and shook her head.

"Speak for yourself, Blaise, I wanna know more about this!" Daphne corrected with narrowed eyes. "I very much want to know more!"

"Stuff happens," Harry stated simply with an awkward shrug. "That's all there is to it, honest."

"You mean like the stuff that has my mother sending me to you to ask what will be needed to open negotiations for her putting me into a concubine contract with me?" Blaise demanded with a hiss of anger.

Harry looked back at Blaise in confusion for a moment, before turning to Tracey. "-- I thought she was supposed to be smart? I'm not seeing any proof to change my original opinion of her."

"She's also vain and lazy," Tracey reminded him with a bemused smirk on her lips. "You'll probably have to spell it out for her to get her in on it."

"Really?" Harry noted before groaning softly and shaking his head as he looked around, noting the looks being sent his way. "Right, bugger this then."

And with a flick of his wand he erected the privacy wards around them. "Tracey and Ron already know this, but, your call if you want to include Greengrass or not."

"Wait, I--!" Greengrass started to protest immediately as Blaise narrowed his eyes at Harry.

"You expect me to just enter into a private conversation with the three of you so you can gang up on me and try to take control of the conversation yourself?" Blaise half demanded, glaring back at Harry.

"That's means you want to keep her in on it then I suppose," Harry noted before sighing and shaking his head with a shrug of his shoulders. "Right, on your head then."

He finished the wards, ignoring the protesting and sour looks on his housemates as he affixed Blaise with a look. "So, as long as your mother is focused on my ridiculous negotiation demands, what happens? Or, more specifically, what doesn't happen?"

"-- Pardon?" Blaise was taken aback at the statement, blinking widely at Harry in confusion.

"What. Isn't. Happening?" Harry repeated, enunciating each word as he waited for the mocha skinned girl to clue in.

"I'm not getting a moment's peace?" Blaise stated flatly as she gave Harry a glare.

"-- Right, spelling it out it is then," Harry stated with a sigh and a shake of his head. "As long as she's focused on me and playing this little game between us, she's not plotting nor planning to marry you off to another bloke who won't be so inclined as to not take advantage. And, as long as she's the one focused on me, I don't have to deal with the bloody idiots trying to do the same thing with their daughters."

Blaise stared at him.

"So, yes, I keep giving insane demands, drawing this out, keeping her just interested enough to keep playing this game," Harry stated with a shrug of his shoulders. "And I'm going to get what I can out of it beyond that. Which starts with my demand for opening up negotiations. Your mother makes sure she helps Amelia Bones get Sirius Black a fair trial."

"-- Wot?" Blaise and Daphne's responses were almost perfectly synchronized as they stared back at Harry.

"I still can't believe that you're doing that," Tracey grumbled and shook her head. "I mean, everyone knows--"

"Tracey," Ron spoke up and gave her a look. "You were there when the whole thing with the Minister happened."

"Yes, but I still can't believe it," she countered back as she gave him a look. "I mean, look at it from my point of view! I grew up with that being a fundamental truth of things! It's not something that's so easily thrown aside."

"Sirius Black is innocent," Harry stated simply as he gave them a look. "And Peter Pettigrew, the real traitor, is still quite alive."

"Does this have something to do with the whole mess that happened at the end of last year?" Daphne asked with a slow, careful sentence, as her mind whirled through a myriad of thoughts.

"Yes," Harry agreed with a faint frown and a confused look on his face. "Wait, what happened on your side of things?"

"Snape outed Lupin as a werewolf--" Daphne was muttered softly to herself as she stared off into the distance. "That lead to-- But that means-- And that--"

As Daphne continued to mutter under her breath, her eyes glazed over as she seemed suddenly lost in her own world.

"So, you want my help in drawing out these negotiations so they never bear fruit--" Blaise stated slowly, eyes narrowed into slits as she seemed to ponder that. "And what're you offering me not tell her the opposite?"

"Beyond the fact that it's in your own interests?" Harry stated slowly as he narrowed his eyes at her with a dangerous glint flashing across them. "I don't owl her myself, tell her what you've done and then proceed to add additional stipulations that will either lead to your life being made a living hell for the rest of the year, or your mother dropping her interest in favor of simply dumping you on someone who won't hesitate to simply defile you at the first chance he gets."

Blaise glowered back at Harry. "So, it's your way or else?"

"It's my way, where we both benefit from things and we both aren't completely satisfied with it. We will both have to keep dealing with your mother's machinations and maneuvers, but at least this way we should be able to use them in a mutually beneficial way."

"Under your plan," she stated as her look faded into more of a sullen glower directed at him.

"Yes, imagine that," Harry stated with a sarcastic hiss. "Using my plan when you've been so flat footed and slow that you don't even see how we could use this situation to our advantage and you're too busy trying to play your bloody daft power games when I was actually nice enough to at least try to make things easier."

Ron could see the telltale signs, the look in Harry's eyes that he was about to start losing his temper. And that would likely end up very poorly for the whole negotiation. "Harry, mate--"

"I know, Ron," Harry stated through gritted teeth as he glared back at Blaise. "I'll expect your mother's owl to delivery your mother's response by tonight."

"Or else--?" Blaise challenged back.

"Or else my letter is sent to her, lamenting this exchange and offering my apologies to her for having to raise the price of negotiations," Harry stated with a hiss of breath. "I didn't take this shite laying down from Malfoy before, and now? Now you want to come at me? I will hit you in ways you won't even see coming."

He stood them, his hands on the table, his glare burning at Blaise with an intensity that made her take a step back involuntarily. "I have seen what your House of Cunning is capable of. I weighed it, I have measured it, and I have found it wanting. Press me, Zabini, and I will educate you on just how deficient you are."

There was a pause before he hissed his out his words. "Now, get out of my sight, before I forget that I am trying to keep this relationship an amicable one."

For a moment, it almost looked like Blaise was frozen in decision, not moving from her place where she was staring back at Harry almost defiantly. Then, she almost seemed to crumple and then grabbed ahold of Daphne's robes. "Come on, Greengrass."

"Wait! I haven't figured out his effect on the ashwinder market!" Daphne protested as she was pulled away, missing the darkened flush on Blaise's cheeks.

"Merlin, Harry, you get scary when you get angry," Tracey stated as she watched her two housemates retreating. "Lemme know if I'm about to get on that side of you, will you?"

"Sorry," Harry looked slightly chagrinned as he slumped slightly down. "When I get going I sometimes for get to hold back. Just-- Didn't mean to scare you."

"I think she was more pitying Zabini and she pitying Zabini," Ron noted with a grin and a joking manner.

"That too," Tracey admitted before shrugging a bit and sighing. "I keep forgetting there's still all this stuff about you I'm not really aware of. I mean-- That I'm missing out on."

"Mr. Potter, if you would be kind as to lower your privacy ward?" Professor Flitwick's voice intruded as he gave them three of them a sweet little smile that made them all tremble.

"-- Err, yes Professor?" Harry asked as he reluctantly cancelled his ward.

"I expect the three of you in the classroom within the hour. I have your new responsibilities and lesson plan set up and I have little interest in wasting time," Flitwick stated cheerfully as he gave the three of them a look. "So, make sure you don't dawdle."

As all three of them groaned and offered up a variety of mumbled agreements, he nodded his head before shifting his attention further down the table. "And Ms. Granger?"

Hermione's head snapped up, blinking with wide worried eyes. "Yes, Professor?"

"Professor McGonagall is expecting you in her office at the conclusion of breakfast," Flitwick stated simply. "She has somethings she'd like to discuss with you about this school year."

"Yes, Professor," Hermione stated with a slow nod of her head, shooting Harry and Ron a glare before returning to her meal with a bit more vigor.

"Enjoy the rest of your meal, children," Flitwick stated with a half bow and an easy smile before turning around and walking back to the staff table.

Posted: 6:36 PM - Dec 24, 2016


"Ah, Ms. Granger, good," Professor McGonagall nodded her head as she gestured towards the seat in front of her. "Please do come in and have a seat."

"Yes, Professor," Hermione quickly agreed as she bobbed her head and entered fully into the woman's office. "What's this about? I didn't make a mistake on one of my quizzes did I?"

"No, Ms. Granger, nothing like that," McGonagall assured her. "This is not academically related. I wanted to talk to you about something else."

McGonagall could see the subtle tensioning of the girl's shoulders as her lips thinned and she didn't quite look back at her. "This is about Harry and Ron and that-- and Tracey Davis isn't it?"

"Yes, Ms. Granger, it is," she agreed with a nod of her head.

"I tried to stop them, professor, but they just wouldn't listen to me and---!" Hermione quickly protested her eyes almost glistening as she looked back at her. "The kept talking about making pranks and that was the only thing that they would talk about spells about and--"

"Ms. Granger," McGonagall interrupted as she spoke gently to the girl. "That is not why you're here, I'm not expecting you to be their keeper. In fact, the fact that you seem to think it's what you should be doing that is why I asked you to come here."

"Pardon?" Hermione asked, blinking in confusion as she looked back at the professor.

"Ms. Granger, I take it that you have been lead to my belief that my frustration with the Weasley twins is their tendency to spend their efforts focused upon their pranks and prank items?" McGonagall asked as she gave the girl a long look.

"-- It's not?" Hermione looked absolutely lost at the statement. "But--"

"They are brilliant," McGonagall stated with a shake of her head. "Utterly and completely brilliant. My frustration with them comes from the fact that they focus exclusively on their pranks, forsaking everything and anything else. They simply invest into anything else."

"They get horrible grades," Hermione agreed, nodding her head. "I've heard Mrs. Weasley yelling about it a lot."

"Yes, they do," McGonagall agreed with a nod of her head. "Mainly because they don't bother to even try. That is why I have such a problem with them, Ms. Granger, because anyone who spends even a few minutes with them talking about their pranks and their creations can tell that they know their material. But, because they don't show us how much they know, we can't see how we could help them get better."

"I-- But what about their pranks!?" Hermione demanded with a frown on her face.

"They're disruptive often enough, yes. Though, if you've noticed, they had the good sense to typically play them outside of classes. That is why the twins have not been expelled," McGonagall agreed with a nod.

When Hermione's face took on a triumphant look, the professor gave her another stern one in turn. "That does not mean there is anything inherently wrong with playing pranks or using magic to play them, Ms. Granger. It is based on scale and appropriateness. The Weasley twins often have a problem with self-restraint."

"And Harry and Ron?" she demanded sullenly and challengingly.

"Exactly what have they done that's so disruptive and unrestrained?" McGonagall countered back with an arched brow.

Hermione sent her an incredulous look. "You call what they did to Slytherin non-disruptive and restrained?!"

"Keep mindful of your tone, Ms. Granger," McGonagall reprimanded mildly before giving her a look. "And what happened to Slytherin, while tragic, was caused by the blatant foolishness of its own members and Professor Snape for enabling them."

"They tricked Draco into stealing that potion!" Hermione blurted out and glared at the professor.

McGonagall sighed softly and shook her head. "No, Ms. Granger. At the most what they did was offer Ms. Malfoy a temptation. Stealing is still stealing. If Ms. Malfoy had not broken the rules by stealing their potion, none of this would have happened. They did not use a compulsion charm, they did not use a fascination charm, they did not use any sort of mind altering magic that would have made them culpable.

"Ms. Malfoy chose to violate the school rules of her own free will. And then chose to compound that problem by altering the potion they were working on without knowing what exactly it was," McGonagall stated in a slow, measured voice as she affixed the girl with a look. "The fact that you seem to insist that some fault falls upon your friends worries me."

"They're not being punished for--!" Hermione protested again.

"Ms. Granger!" McGonagall's voice was suddenly sharp. "Did you suddenly choose to ignore everything I said?"

She flinched slightly at that, before her voice quietly left her lips. "No, professor."

"I am trying to exactly why this is not Mr. Weasley or Mr. Potters' faults. Merlin knows they, especially Mr. Potter, don't need your foolishness heaped upon them in addition to everything else," McGonagall continued with a tinge of anger entering her voice. "There is nothing TO punish them for. And if they did create the opportunity for Mr. Malfoy intending for him to steal it, I honestly can't help but be a little proud of them."

"Professor!" Hermione protested, eyes wide and disbelieving.

"They out Slytherin'd the Slytherins, they used their supposed cunning and ambition against them," McGonagal stated with a faintly bemused expression before shaking her head. "What they did is use the kind of plan a Slytherin would use." "Which is the problem!" Hermione insisted. "They're Gryffindors! They aren't supposed to--!"

"Ms. Granger, the Hogwarts House system is not the end all be all of who a person is. It is intended to put people with people that they will best find camaraderie with, not define the entirety of their personality!" McGonagall shot back without a moment's hesitation. "There are good traits to be found in all of the houses at Hogwarts. Even Slytherin."

"I--" Hermione started to respond before the professor cut her off with a wave of her hand.

"Ms. Granger, regardless of all this, why do you feel it is your responsibility to dictate the actions and lives of your friends?" The professor tried to change the direction of conversation.

"When you see your friend doing something wrong, you cannot just stand by and let it happen!" She declared vehemently. "You have to save them!"

"No, Ms. Granger, you do not," Professor McGonagall rebuked in a firm, simple tone.

Taken aback at the retort, Hermione's eyes widened into saucers as she opened her mouth. "But--!"

"It is not your responsibility to dictate to your friends what is and isn't what they should be doing. It is not your responsibility, and most especially not your right to be in charge of what your friends should or shouldn't do," she continued as she gave the girl a hard, measured look. "Thus that is why they are called your friends, not your subjects, not your employees, not your servants and most assuredly not your slaves."

"But they're making a mistake! They're ruining their lives!" Hermione protested as she dug her fingers into her hands.

"That remains to be seen, actually," McGonagall corrected with a shake of her head. "And everything we've seen about what they've been accomplishing tells me that you are actually quite incorrect about that."

"What...?" Hermione sounded shocked at that, staring at the woman.

"Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley's essays, while not having the grammatical polish on them they did when you were overseeing their work, show a much greater understanding and knowledge of the subjects at hand and a far deeper comprehension of their potential applications," McGonagall stated as she shook her head. "When they stop making so many grammatical mistakes, I fully expect them to reach the top of their year in their grades."

Hermione's jaw almost dropped at that as she stared back at the professor in disbelief. "Wha-what!? But-- but--!"

"You were expecting them to fall on their faces and fail without you?" McGonagall filled in as her eyes narrowed into slits. "That, Ms. Granger, is a very dangerous line of thinking, and one most inappropriate for someone who calls herself a friend."

She had the grace to flinch at that statement, curling down into herself as she could feel the disapproval radiating off of the woman.

"As it stands, what I am seeing of you more than disappoints me, Ms. Granger. It brings into question whether you've ever really understood what it means to be a friend," McGonagall stated with a frown on her lips. "A friend might express their disapproval, and disagree with their friends, but they should respect their friend's choices as theirs. And if they try and fail despite their warnings, hopefully they will learn from their failures and grow as people. But a friend will never lord being right over their friends."

She sighed softly and shook her head. "Mr. Potter has told me that he would like to still be friends with you, Ms. Granger, a true friend, not someone who dictates what and what he doesn't do. I truly hope that you accept that offer. But, the choice is yours. Just as choice is theirs."

Hermione stared at her hands, not meeting the woman's gaze as she sat there in silence.

Minerva McGonagall sighed and hoped that she managed to reach the young woman. It would be a shame to have it all tumble to pieces. Especially simply because of something so foolish as Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley finally finding out what it was that they really wanted out of life.


With a long drawn sip of her tea while back in her gazebo, Donatella Zabini found herself presented with a letter from one of the Hogwarts school owls. Frowning thoughtfully, she gestured with her wand and found it was rather devoid of charms, jinxes or curses. Curious, she slowly opened up the envelope and blinked slightly as she saw the letter was from her daughter.

Glancing down the letter she soon found herself facing the root cause of the replacement owl and she sighed a bit.

"Teo," she called out simply, and waited only a moment before her owl appeared before her, head cocked slightly to the side. "Really? Beating Blaise's owl to prove a point?"

The owl shrugged and ruffled his feathers in irritation.

"I suppose you felt it was warranted?" she guessed, still looking terribly disappointed in the owl.

Her response was a look and not an ounce of regret upon his features. The little dear was a wonder of efficiency, but it came with a caveat. He did not like his efficiency impeded. Not in the least.

"Fine, as long as the damage wasn't permanent," she continued before blinking at what she read next.

Then she smiled, a true and delighted smile. "Oh, my! He does know how to play hard to get! And in such an interesting way too! Oh, I really must find out more about this! I could even keep myself entertained because of it!"

There was a pause before she smiled cheerfully. "Garzey!"

"Yes, Missius be calling the Garzey?" the elf asked politely, before blinking slightly as he saw the look on her face. "Garzey be reminding the Missius that he still not be getting the bellabadona."

"Hush, Garzey, I just need some floo powder," she stated as she gestured to the ornamental wrought iron miniature fireplace attached to the Gazebo. "I have a call to make!"

"-- That be all the Missius be wanting from Garzey?" he asked warily.

"Yes, Garzey, that is all I need," she stated with a nod as she lightly light the fire place with her wand. "You know we can't keep the floo powder out here. Honestly, you're normally far more responsible about things."

"Missius has not been asking Garzey to do bad things to people for too long. Garzey be waiting for the Missius to start again," Garzey countered without so much as skipping a beat. "Garzey be worried about what that be meaning."

"It means I'm actually entertained for a change!" She stated simply with a roll of her eyes. "Also, please bring parchment, quill and ink, I'm going to need to respond to Blaise once I set everything up."

"Garzey, be getting the Missius what she be asking for," Garzey agreed reluctantly with a bobbing nod of his head before vanishing, then reappearing with a small pouch he politely placed on the table before vanishing again.

"Delightful!" Donatella stated with a broad smile, before taking just enough floo powder and tossing it onto the fireplace. "Amelia Bones!"

A flash of green and the flames had shifted in hue, before the irritated face of Amelia Bones appeared on the other end, glowering through the flames. "Yes, what is it?" "Ah, Amelia, I thought with our new-- understanding that things between us would be far more amiable! Must you look at me with such a face?" Donatella feigned sadness as she pouted at the woman.

"Considering I have another major irritation I now have to deal with in addition to the whole mess at Hogwarts? Yes, I must," Amelia responded levelly as she looked back through the floo. "What is it?"

"Well, I suppose we all have our burdens to bear," Donatella admitted with a theatrical sigh and a mock swooning motion, before a playful look crossed her lips. "Now, I have to ask, would this horribly bothersome little bit of trouble be related to the outlaw Sirius Black?"

Amelia stiffened at the name and her eyes again turned into sharp slits as she glared back at the woman. "What do you want?"

"Oh, it's not what I want. Well, not directly. Why, I have been offering my new little daughter to the illustrious Mr. Potter and sadly, he has seen fit to decline my offers," she mock pouted at that before smiling brightly. "Do you know how long it's been since I had a man tell me No?"

"I'm sure it's a shiny new experience for you," Amelia stated flatly as she glared back into the floo. "If you're looking to impede my investigation just to frustrate a teenaged boy that told you no--"

"Oh, no, you misunderstand!" Donatella stated with a bright smile on her face. "You see, if I want to actually get to get into negotiations for another position for my foolish, stubborn and might I even say disappointingly stupid daughter, I have to help make sure that Mr. Black's trial isn't interfered with!"

"-- Wait, you're saying--" Amelia stated as she slowly seemed to make the connection on exactly what it was the woman was saying.

"That the delightful boy has given me something to keep myself entertained while still keeping me wonderfully intrigued and still in pursuit!" Donatella agreed with a beaming smile that quickly turned feral. "So, here I am, to offer my most eager services at your disposal. So, please, Use me."

There was a pause before she quirked her lip and added innocently. "Why, you don't even have to be gentle about it~!"

It was then that Amelia Bones realized that she wasn't sure if Harry Potter was a blessing or a curse.

Still, if the Widow Zabini wanted to be used, well, she certainly had more than a few ways to do just that.

Some of them were even ethical.


Sirius Black sat at his beachside desk and reviewed the long letter he'd received from Harry in regards to the rather-- mind boggling series of events that had unfolded.

Around him, a variety of sand golems, each in the shape of mask wearing pygmies were going about reconstructing his vandalized and phoenix defiled bar. Sure, he could've just waved his wand and fixed everything, but where was the fun in that? Not to mention, phoenix glass sold for a minor fortune to the right people.

Sipping his coconut drink, he pondered exactly how he should be responding to the information he'd been handed.

Harry had gotten Amelia Bones to reopen his case. That was good. And apparently the mess left by his failed prank had left the Malfoys caught up in a horrible amount of trouble they weren't likely to just escape. This too was good.

The news that the Widow Zabini was trying to get Harry attached to her newly minted daughter was less so. In fact, Sirius was still sane enough to declare it a very, very bad thing. The fact that Harry had excuse to outright reject the initial proposal based on the grounds of this Blaise being completely unfit to be a married was a lovely thing.

But Harry had given her an opening. Admittedly, the opening was just to open the possibility of further negotiations, but, that would require very, very careful handling. The fact that Harry had tied that possibility to assisting in ensuring Sirius himself had a fair investigation and trial was--

Well, he had to be honest, it was delightfully good. The woman was as frightening as she was arousing. And she was sharp enough to not only realize it, but to know how to best wield it in a truly terrifyingly efficient manner.

He was also sure that if it hadn't been for his full and public defection from his family, his parents likely would've arranged for him to have ended up as one of her unfortunate husbands to clear the way for Regulus or Narcissa's brat once Regulus came up with a bad case of death by Death Eater.

Once she'd developed her reputation at least. She had only just barely gotten started with her first husband or two before he'd been thrown into Azkhaban. Still, she was stunning creature.

One he'd promptly stun and bind before he had kind of talk with, but still, a stunning creature.

Sighing he shook his head. His godson was entirely too much like him. And his grandfather. Both of which were very good and very bad.

He pondered a bit if he could spring for a spring for one of the classic trapped on a deserted island under ancient anti apparition wards with only a washed up load of bikinis to wear gambit on his godson and the newly minted gaggle of Slytherin babes.

Nah, that would be too predictable. Plus, some of them might try untowards things. And not the good kind of untowards.

Sighing, Sirius shook his head. Harry was playing with fire, and no matter how careful he was, he was still very likely to get burned. No matter how crafty he was, he wasn't exactly worldly about such things.

He winced slightly. He himself wasn't as worldly as he should be thanks to that blasted bastard Crouch. So many years, wasted, his sexual prime, gone.

So many lost nights of wild debauchery that he'd never get back again.

He sniffled slightly at the thought, and again reminded himself of the vengeance he'd sworn upon both Crouch and Pettigrew.

It helped him stay nice and warm on those long cold nights.

But, now he had to figure out exactly how he was going to get Harry the aid he'd need in the coming troubles.

The problem was he had no idea of where he could possibly start, nor how effective Harry's initial gambit would end up being. So, for that, he needed more information. Which, required reconnaissance! Which would mostly end up being writing letters to his godson to find out what was going on.


Barty Crouch sat, staring at the wall, ignoring the irritated looking Ministry Owl that was waiting for him to take the letter from it. He had been told to just sit there and stare at the wall. So, that is what he did, he just sat there and stared.

It was dull, it was boring, almost to a maddening degree.

But, it was what he'd been told to do, so he did it.

And he blinked now and then too. That would show them how much he didn't like it.

The owl looked more and more irritated as time wore on. It was one of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, one of their writ serving owls. They wouldn't just leave and assume he'd read the damned thing they were carrying.

Finally, the owl's patience had run out, or whatever timer it was signaling that he had missed his chance to be served the easy way had passed.

He didn't particularly want to have to go through what came next, but, he had his orders. Sit there, stare and don't do anything else. So, he followed his orders and sat there and stared.

He wasn't going to let the threat of Aurors serving him in person deter him from his task.


"What are you doing, Greengrass?" Blaise asked as she stared at the blonde as she was furiously scribbling away at a piece of parchment.

"Trying to figure out exactly how deep down the rabbit hole this goes." Daphne stated sourly as she stared at her parchment, before adding another line, then after another thought, another.

"How deep what rabbit hole goes?" Blaise demanded with a huff of exasperation as she reached over and almost tore the parchment out of her hands.

"Give that back!" Daphne demanded as she made a lunge for it, only to find Blaise easily twisting out of her reach. "That's--"

"Oh, sweet Morgana's fat tits, really, Greengrass?" Blaise half demanded as she looked back at her. "Really? REALLY?"

"It fits!" She protested before trying once more to grab hold of the parchment. "Now give it back! I need to finish plotting out how he was responsible for drop in production of doxy-cide and what effect that's going to have on the wizarding world, long term!"

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but really, Greengrass, you've gone straight round the bend." Blaise stated as she shook her head in disgust and released the parchment. "Honestly, you can't really think Potter is responsible for all this."

"It all fits!" she insisted in an almost fevered tone. "Everything fits! It can all be traced back to him!"

"It's just a bunch of cocked up shite that you're letting yourself buy into," Blaise stated with a completely empty tone as she shook his head. "And if you keep this up, you're going to turn into a complete nitwit."


"No," Blaise stated firmly and gave her a look. "I have enough problems with Potter as it is. I do not need your paranoid little mind making things even worse."

"I am not paranoid," Daphne stated sharply as she pointed an ink stained finger at Blaise. "Take that back."

In response, Blaise simply pulled up a mirror and showed Daphne her own reflection. "You look madder than Granger. You are completely being paranoid."

"-- wait, when did I-- Oh, Merlin, I look horrid!" Daphne gasped as she quickly pulled out her wand and began to cast charm after charm upon herself.

Blaise rolled her eyes and didn't bother to point out that even frazzled and with smudges of ink on her hands and face, she looked cute at the absolute worst. Otherwise the girl might actually find it acceptable to go on another one of these little bouts of insanity, and she had no intention of going through that. She needed some sense of sanity in her life.

Harry Potter wasn't getting all of it.

She shuddered a bit as she remembered the look he had given her earlier. It had terrified her, making her feel small, helpless, weak. And she had just known that he could and would do exactly what he threatened her with.

It sent a shiver down her spine as she bit down on her lower lip nervously.

Hopefully her mother would actually listen to her for a change and send him a letter acknowledging things. That made her freeze a moment as she realized exactly where that line of thinking was going. It twisted her stomach to think about it, the thought of exactly what she was doing.

But, the scary bastard had a point. She absolutely hated to admit it, but he did. She would just never admit it to his face.

"Ok, back to normal--" Daphne stated, once more looking like the coquettish temptress she'd been at breakfast, before her eyes flicked towards the parchment once more.

Blaise solved that particular problem with a sharp casting of Incendio on it.

"Blaise!" Daphne gasped with a half whine. "Why did you--?!"

"Not letting that happen again. Malfoy's obsession with Potter was nutters enough, I don't need you adding your own particular twist to the madness."

"It's not that bad," Daphne protested, her eyes wide as she looked back at Blaise.

"Completely and totally Quibbler level stuff," Blaise disagreed with a shake of her head and a slow rub at her forehead. "I mean that quite seriously, you were diagraming out speculations of the potential repercussions of his actions before he was even back in the Wizarding World!"

Daphne blushed slightly as she looked away. "That was purely an exercise in--"

"Stop, just-- stop," Blaise held up her hand and gave Daphne a look. "If you want to drive yourself into this self destructive stupidity, fine, but kindly disassociate yourself from me first. I have enough issues with dealing with Potter and having Malfoy as a roommate."

"You're just upset that she was so much better than you at fighting like a girl," Daphne smiled faintly, as a small touch of her usual acidic wit shone through.

"That is hardly something to be proud of, Greengrass," Blaise stated sourly as she affixed her with a further look. "You should know this by now."

"I suppose I should, and yet, I find myself instead more highly amused to resume the act of teasing you for your flustrations."

"-- Flustrations?" Blaise slowly repeated the word before slowly letting the expression drain from her face as she gave Daphne the flattest look she could manage. "I take it back, kindly disassociate yourself from me, post haste. You have already been irrevocably corrupted by whatever madness Potter dripped upon Davis to infect her with her current madness."

"You are such a drama queen, Blaise," Daphne let her usual drawl return to her voice as she flicked her eyes over her. "Well, perhaps a drama princess. I'm afraid you just don't what it takes to rank up to queen."

"However will I get by?" the sarcasm was so thick, Blaise was honestly surprised when she didn't choke on the words themselves. "I know, wonderfully without even so much as a moment's hesitation."

"Try to remember that the next time that Potter gets you needing a new pair of knickers," Daphne shot back with a wicked grin as her eyes gleamed.

"I think you've gone and confused yourself with me," Blaise responded with a frown and a light glare back at Daphne. "Especially with the way you half broke what little brain you have left in that empty blonde head of yours."

It was at that moment that a scowling Malfoy walked by, and Daphne couldn't help but feel a particularly vindictive streak of viciousness rise up in her. "Shall we instead simply agree that it's only a matter of time before Malfoy breaks down and offers herself up to Potter for a good, hard, rut?"

Blaise frowned a moment before following Daphne's gaze and seeing the stiffened back of Malfoy let her own lips curl into a vicious smile of her own. "Oh, honestly, Greengrass, I think you give her too much credit, she'll be down on her knees for a few sickles long before she could work up to that. And by then? Why would Potter have anything to do with her?"

"True I suppose," Daphne admitted before putting her finger on her lips. "Can you imagine it though? Why, she'll likely end up offering up her oh so vaunted Malfoy arse for a mudblood to bugger and thank them for it when they were done."

"Or, for muggles," Blaise agreed with a shudder. "Absolutely disgraceful."

"Terrible," Daphne agreed with a nod, before she grinned slyly. "Of course, she doesn't have your mother plotting against her."

"I suppose," Blaise agreed at first nodding her head. "That would be--"

Daphne grinned as the realization hit her that Daphne had delivered the barb against more than just the little bitch Malfoy. "Absolutely horrendous! Just imagine what your mother would do to her if she found out that she was anything but a wonderfully accommodating roommate?"

"There is that," Blaise admitted, though focused a glare on Daphne where Malfoy would be unable to see, missing the look of almost stark terror that seemed to hit Malfoy's face at the realization of what Daphne had implied sunk in.

"I know! Why, she'd have to be absolutely nutters to do something to you with her parents already practically doomed because of her little bit of stupidity!"

Sighing, Blaise shook her head and gave the girl a look. "Then, why don't you just go take her off and teach her all about the joys of Gryffindor baiting you seem to enjoy so much."

"Hm, now there's a thought," Daphne admitted with a brightening of her eyes as she thoughtfully tapped her lower lip in thought before frowning and sighing. "But, alas that would mean I would have to actually train her to actually be something resembling enticing. And honestly, no matter how desperate, only the most pathetic of little boys will be interested in a sneering little witch acting like she's better than she really is."

"I suppose I should have words with my mother about things and see what she thinks in the meantime," Blaise noted with a loud sigh and a shake of her head. "It's not like Malfoy has the brains to actually give me reason to not."

Daphne smirked back at Blaise while the gears were visibly starting to grind in Malfoy's head and she shook her head before looping her arm in Blaise's and leading her off. "In the meant time, let's be off, we have better things to do than gossip about the damned."

Blaise resisted only for a moment, before sighing and allowing Daphne to drag her off. After all, considering what the girl had just done for her-- Well, she supposed she could indulge her in some of her more pointless little charades.

Behind them, a very pale Malfoy was left with a very, very bad feeling.

Chilord "AMELIA! What is the meaning of this!" the squealing, panicked voice of Cornelius Fudge declared as he barged into her office, waving a copy of the Daily Prophet like a man possessed.

"Pardon, minister? I haven't had the chance to read my copy yet, I've barely had time to go home to sleep in the last week with everything happening," Amelia asked with a thinly controlled voice, hinting at the possibility of real danger to Fudge if the man didn't calm himself down and quickly.

"This!" he slapped the paper down, carelessly onto the desk, pointing her to the prominent headline.


"Ah, that," she shrugged her shoulders. "What about it?"

"Why wasn't this suppressed?!" Fudge demanded angrily. "This kind of lie is--!"

"Not a lie," Amelia stated before shaking her head. "And, in fact, how exactly did you plan to suppress the heirs of some of, in your own words, 'most prominent supporters?'"

That caught Fudge off guard. "But--!"

"Sadly, it seems the young Miss Malfoy did not have the sense to keep her mouth shut in front of the majority of the Slytherin house and outed herself as the responsible party," Amelia stated with a shake of her head. "Sadly destroying the headmaster's attempt to keep the responsible party's identity a secret."

Fudge's face took on an ashen quality. "But--"

"Minister, you are facing an impressive set of challenges so early in your tenure," she stated as she slowly felt a cold, wicked smile curling up her lips. "It is admirable that you're doing the smart thing and not trying to cover it all up."

"But, but--" Fudge protested again, his mouth quivering slightly as if unable to comprehend what she was saying.

"After all, you wouldn't want to alienate all those 'prominent citizens' whose families had been adversely affected by the insane foolishness of one family's heir," she continued blandly as she leaned back in her seat. "Why, imagine how many of them would suddenly decide that you weren't the minister that they thought you were?"

And quite suddenly, the weight of Amelia's words came crashing down on Fudge's shoulders and he realized exactly how much trouble he would be in if he had actually tried to cover up things. "-- All of Slytherin house, you say?"

"Enough that any that didn't hear it initially heard it from the rest shortly thereafter," she stated simply and shook her head. "The list of those affected by the incident was the entirety of the Slytherin house."

"Why wasn't I informed?!" Fudge then demanded, managing to regain a good deal of his bluster.

"Primarily because we are still conducting the investigations and sorting out the whole situation," she stated calmly before dropping another bombshell, "Complicated by the fact that we found Peter Pettigrew."

That made Fudge's mouth open and close like a fish before he managed, "But, but-- everyone knows he's dead!"

"And yet, we have him, alive, relatively well, only missing the finger we found on the scene and bearing the Dark Mark," she continued calmly. "And has all but admitted that he was actually the traitor."

"Then--" Fudge looked horrified as he realized he was going to look even more incompetent to the foreign ministers. "This is horrible!"

"Mmm," Amelia hummed non-committedly, "Perhaps."

"There is no perhaps about it! I'm going to be ruined, ruined!" Fudge wailed softly as he looked at her in despair. There won't be any recovering from this!"

"Stop being so melodramatic, Minister," Amelia stated with a snort and a shake of her head. "This is hardly the end for you unless you decide to make it so."

"But--" he protested again.

"I am going to have some words with the Malfoys," she noted simply as she cut him off. "And you, are going to go to your office and direct any inquiries about this to my office where they belong. We will handle it."

"But the press will demand statements from me!"

"Then you tell them you're aware of the situation, and that we had not announced it previously due to our investigation into how to reverse the problem. While the initial findings were not promising, we still hope that we can find a way of undoing this bit of foolishness. My department has more detailed information about what happened and will be happy to share what has been cleared for the public."

Fudge opened his mouth to protest further only to have the woman give him a clearly sharp look.

"Cornelius, I am offering to save you from the fire because you can be useful," she stated simply as she gave him a look. "Not because I find you indispensable, but because you have made such a habit of making yourself useful that you fit the same category for myself. I will remind you, however, that something that is useful is only useful if the trouble that comes with using it is not overly much."

She paused a moment, letting her words sink in. "And tell me, Cornelius, what happens when something is no longer useful?"

"It-- is left alone?" he asked hopefully as he suddenly felt a cold trickle of sweat running down the back of his neck.

"That would imply that it had use in the future," her tone became icy as she stared back at him levelly.

"I, ah, um-- Yes, quite," he swallowed noisily. "I'll just be-- heading back to my office so I can talk to the-- reporters, yes, to the reporters."

"You do that, Cornelius. And I will have a word with the Malfoys to see about coming to an-- equitable solution that people can, at least, live with," she agreed with a calm nod of her head.

"Capital!" Fudge grabbed hold of that potential hope and quickly ran off, leaving Amelia behind to snort in disgust.


Today, Harry decided, was not a good day.

The paper had already arrived, and with it, another swarm of angry hornets as angry red howlers swarmed like a sea of locusts towards the Slytherin table.

Today, Harry decided, was not a good day-- for Draco Malfoy.

He cast a quick inverted privacy charm and promptly sat down to enjoy a nice, quiet meal as the screams of the angry public. A moment later Ron had sat down next to him and purposely hit him with his elbow, his hands covering his ears. A quick recast had the spell enlarged to cover a nice chunk of the Gryffindor table.

"Thanks, Harry," Ron stated as he sat down and then wiggled his pinky into his ear. "That lot was a bit loud, yeah?"

"I put up the ward before they went off, so I wouldn't know," Harry stated simply as he took a slow, almost luxurious bite of his toast without so much as glancing at the Slytherin table.

"You're enjoying this," Tracey noted as she plopped down onto the table with them.

"Whyever would I do something like that?" Harry asked with an entirely too innocent smile on his face.

"Utterly and immensely," Tracey stated as she repeated the words before blinking as Blaise and Greengrass proceeded to take up positions at the table themselves. "-- I feel as if my newfound emancipation from the snake pit is being threatened."

"Blame him. Merlin and Morgana knows that Daphne will," Blaise stated sourly as she pointed a delicate finger at Harry before proceeding to glower at the staring Gryffindors surrounding them.

"If you hadn't destroyed my notes, I could probably prove it too," Daphne grumbled ever so slightly, though, without too much bite.

"It was absolutely horrible," Blaise stated with a shudder. "She looked like Granger gone off on a bender with logic that not even the Quibbler would publish."

Daphne glared at him sullenly, while Harry just arched a brow back at Blaise. "You do realize Hermione is still my friend, yes?"

"Yes, pants wetting terror lord of the entirely wrong house who I am utterly and completely thankful isn't where he actually should be," Blaise stated with a sarcastic drawl. "I was not being insulting, I mean that she had not slept, had ink smudges and frizzy hair all over and was surrounded by mountains and mountains of notes that I was forced to burn-."

"It was not mountains," Daphne protested with a huff and a glower.

"Mountains of notes," Blaise reiterated with a hiss and a glare. "Does that or does that not sound like Granger gone on a bender?"

"-- She kinda has a point, mate," Ron reluctantly admitted with a wince. "Merlin, when did I start agreeing with Slytherins so much?"

"When you actually started talking to them instead of just glowering and cursing and trying to hex us with your eyes?" Tracey noted with a faint smile of amusement. "Then you realized we could be entertaining, and, Merlin forbid, even likeable!"

"I think that last bit is still under debate," Harry mused aloud as he smiled faintly back at Tracey.

"That's just Zabini's unrepentant desires for your body clouding your judgement," Tracey stated just as Blaise was starting to drink some tea, promptly spraying it out onto the table and exploding into a coughing fit.

"Careful there, got to make sure that you don't swallow something you don't want, Zabini," Tracey stated cheekily while Daphne smothered a smirk in her hand.

"You, I--.Grrrrrr--" Blaise glared at Tracey as she struggled to get her coughing under control.

"Careful, darling, you're going to let the cheeky little minx get the better of you," Daphne drawled out as she casually leaned forward her arms purposely lifting up her chest as she leaned forward. "You don't want to go and-- lose your potential concubine position, now do you?"

The majority of the male eyes on the table were following her. Specifically, their attention was glued to the part of her anatomy she was pointedly drawing attention to.

Harry looked. He honestly couldn't help it. They looked very nice, they were there, and she was making a point of showing them off.

He then lifted his eyes up and gave her a look. "I'll give em a 6."

Daphne's jaw dropped.

"Harry, mate, what're you talking about, those are clearly at least an 8! Possibly even a 9!" Seamus protested quickly. "Dean, you're with me on this, right?"

"Hmmm--" Dean opened his mouth, then promptly shut it as he stated in a sarcastic drawl, "Sorry, I'm just a lowly muggle born, so, my opinion can't be taken into account."

"Ron?" Seamus turned towards Ron, looking a bit desperate.

"-- Um, I think I'm gonna shut up and not answer that on grounds of Tracey'll kill me or ask me where she rates, and I can't answer that question and live," Ron stated nervously.

"Well, let's be honest here, one, you're pushing them up on purpose and leaning forward, that subtracts a grade in and of itself," Harry stated simply as he slowly buttered another piece of toast. "False advertising and what not."

"Yes, but, that would drop them to an 8 or if you're really stingy, a 7," Seamus argued back with a glower.

"True," Harry agreed as he brought his toas t up and took another bite. "But, you're also forgetting further demerits. Like, it has not been a week since the strawberry incident."

"-- Strawberries," Seamus agreed as his eyes glazed over in fond remembrance.

"Then there's the fact that she's only doing it because I keep shooting her down, which makes her seem a bit desperate, which loses her another grade," Harry continued as he took another bite of his toast.

"Harry does make compelling points," Dean noted thoughtfully. "But, it brings up the grounds of if you can truly demerit them for the actions of their witch."

"Exactly!" Seamus broke from his daze to agree emphatically. "They should be judged upon their own merits, not upon their simple misfortune of being attached to a witch so prone to abusing them."

"I am not abusing them!" Daphne protested, earning herself a look from even Blaise. "I'm not!"

"Point of order," Blaise stated slowly unable to help herself, "It also needs to be clarified if they are in comparison to all, or simply among similar Slytherin girls?"

"Capital idea!" Seamus quickly agreed upon that. "After all, I think we can all agree that among their general sort, she does indeed have a lovely set, yes?"

"As seen by how easily she exploits them," Blaise noted, getting into the conversation, "Which, I should remind you, would only be a demerit if used by a Gryffindor, it should be accounted for and expected of a Slytherin."

"True," Dean agreed with a nod of his head. "And Ravenclaws. Puffs of course would fall under similar rules as Slytherins, though for different reasons."

"Naturally," Blaise agreed with a nod of her head. "And of course, there is the demerit from school uniform."

"Fully buttoned and completely proper school uniform," Seamus corrected firmly, "It becomes a bonus when properly unbuttoned."

"But only if the shirt is too small and/or tied off," Dean argued with a shake of his head.

"Properly tucked it would be just as tight," Blaise quickly argued with a shake of her head. "And with the proper glimpse of lace--"

"-- Harry, what in Merlin's name have you unleashed?" Tracey asked with a kind of fascinated horror.

Harry pondered that a long moment before shrugging his shoulders. "I have no idea. Seems to have had the intended effect on Greengrass though."

Daphne's mouth was opening and shutting as she just stared at Blaise and the two Gryffindors.

"I do have to admit, the map does give some really good advice at times," Harry mused thoughtfully before taking another bite of toast. -o-o-o-

"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid what you're asking is quite impossible," a distinguished individual in sharp black robes stated as he sat across from Lucius Malfoy.

"I have had your firm on retainer for--" Lucius began only to be cut off.

"Yes, I am quite aware of that fact. It did not take up the entirety of it for us to realize exactly how hopeless your circumstances are," the wizarding solicitor stated flatly as he shook his head. "For all his flaws, I'm quite afraid that Albus Dumbledore had a quite astute summation of this situation."

There was a pause, before the man continued. "If you had come to an agreement with him and he had exerted his influence before Madame Bones had arrived, there is a very real possibility that you could have managed to enjoy some form of escape of this.

"But, you did not."

The man shook his head and sighed as he gestured to the confined little room they were currently in. "Look around you, Mr. Malfoy. Your child has brought you a misfortune that you have already been caught by. At this point, our best advice is for you to simply not fight a losing battle that will, in the end, destroy you even further."

"If there is nothing you can do, what did I even pay you for?" Lucius hissed angrily, his eyes flashing dangerously.

"For all the times that your inestimable plans failed to unfold as you envisioned," the lawyer stated blandly. "Which, as you might be forgetting, we did save you from, repeatedly. You are simply now in a position where in that is not a possibility."

"How is that--" Lucius began only to have the man cut him off.

"They have the memories of your son's actions. They have memories of the ones who created the potion to begin with, along with the actual recipe on what it would do. This is not some muggle baiting or dark artifact possession. This is a class 4 potions incident affecting the entirety of a Hogwarts house," the man stated mildly. "And in the process, the majority of your nominal allies are turned against you.

"What's more? They already know the part your son played thanks to the way that there is really no way of covering it up at this point," the man stated with a shake of his head. "As I said earlier, if you had submitted to Dumbledore's demands--"

"And given in to that muggle loving fool like I was--" Lucius cut in with a hiss.

"If you had submitted to Dumbledore's demands when he had offered you the chance," the man continued, cutting off Lucius before he could continue, "You would have lost all of your potential political ability, and the majority of your wealth, but you would have been able to eventually recover."

"As Dumbledore's slave!" Lucius hissed out angrily.

"And instead, your chose the path of potentially becoming slave to your former colleagues," the solicitor responded dryly with an arched brow. "Which do you think would've worked out better for your health and future?"

Lucius paled at that.

"Our firm believes that you have only one viable choice. Sacrifice everything for at least the potential freedom," the solicitor stated as he stood. "If you choose to fight this, you will not only lose, but lose any potential for mercy. At least if you show some form of responsibility and remorse. Otherwise-- you will give them reason and opportunity to crush you under heel for the rest of you and your child's life.

"You are ruined, Mr. Malfoy," he stated simply as he stood, dawning his cloak calmly. "How ruined will depend upon how much you choose to place your pride and ego above your survival. This is the opinion of our firm and our council. Whether you take this advice or not is entirely up to you. But, I'd consider carefully what they have already cost you before deciding if you can allow it to claim more."

There was a pause as the words settled on Lucius and he gave a nod to the still stunned wizard. "I shall see myself out."

The door was opened, and the solicitor promptly left, allowing a glimpse of the auror standing guard outside of it, before Narcissa slipped into the room and shut the door behind her.

"Well?" she asked, plaintively.

"According to my solicitors, our best option is to simply surrender and allow ourselves to be stripped of everything," Lucius stated with a sour grimace. "As otherwise, we give excuse for our former allies to levy upon us doom and slavery."

"Which you know they will," Narcissa commented with a frown as she gave him a look.

"They--" Lucius struggled to give a reasonable rebuke to his wife before slumping down into his seat. "Likely, yes."

"-- And we can't even commit suicide without leaving Draco completely responsible for this mess and having someone gut the inheritance before-- she can have it, leaving her trapped and forced to--" Narcissa made a face as she shook her head.

"I refuse to let my son-- my daughter, any child of mine be some sort of broodmare!" Lucius hissed in anger as he clenched his fingers back into his palm before his face morphed into a sullen scowl. "Even if it's entirely her fault for being so damned foolish."

"She was her father's son," Narcissa reminded him sharply. "Any foolishness of hers was learned from you."

He glowered back at her but sighed as he slumped down. "I merely wanted Draco to take pride in his heritage, in his ancestry, in his bloodline. Instead of being like all those mongrel mudbloods that are constantly--"

He paused, growling angrily before shaking his head. "Trying to take what's ours away from us, make us conform to their ideas of how things should be--"

"Yes, they have no respect," Narcissa agreed with a nod of her head and a grimace of disdain. "I still remember how they were in Hogwarts. Utterly disgusting little creatures. Not content with being allowed in our world, they want to make our world just like theirs, because our 'morals' don't match up to theirs.

"And they've already convinced so many people to forget about who we are, who we were. Traitors to the blood the spawned them," she finished with a rare snarl of anger and pure, undisguised loathing before affixing him with a glare. "But, you were the one that taught him to act on it, to flaunt it, to let it lead him around by his nose. And now we all suffer for it."

"This is getting us nowhere," Lucius muttered sourly.

"Only because you keep trying to avoid admitting your own culpability in this mess," she spat back with a glare. "You encouraged his little obsession with coming out on top of Potter."

"He is a symbol," he stated sullenly as he looked back up at her.

"One that doesn't need any help being tarnished," she stated viciously. "All you did was encourage Draco to keep him relevant, to make him matter among his peers because he mattered to Draco. If you hadn't spoiled him, if you hadn't--"

"ENOUGH! I didn't see you doing any different!" Lucius snapped back with a glare. "You spoiled him worse than I did! Indulged him, babied him! I was trying to get him to grow into being his own man!"

"I do hope I'm interrupting your messy self-destructions," Amelia Bones noted as she came in holding a copy of the Daily Prophet. "I waited for you to have your meeting with your solicitor. Didn't go as you were hoping, I imagine?"

Lucius and Narcissa both sent her a glare, and she promptly cut them off. "Now, before you both try to scream and shout at me and threaten horrible, horrible things, this story came out this morning."

She promptly dropped the paper on them to show them the story proclaiming the story of what had happened at Hogwarts. Particularly of note was the name, plastered upon the headline.


"Less than 3 hours after the story broke, a group of wizards assaulted your manor house. They had gotten through the wards by the time we arrived and were doing their best to find you," Bones noted with a shake of her head. "And this is why we have you in protective custody."

Lucius' face turned ashen and he grimaced in distaste. "I-- see--"

"Doubtful," Bones stated simply with a shake of her head. "Though, as we will be conducting a thorough investigation of your home, I thought it best to inform you."

The ashen hue of Lucius' features turned green as Narcissa's own face paled dramatically.

"Of course, Minister Fudge had quite the things to say," Amelia continued to drawl out as she settled into her seat and leaned back, brow arching up. "He's quiet worried about how this will all look for him in the end."

She allowed the look of hope to blossom in their eyes for a moment before brutally crushing it as she continued. "Of course, considering the other news that came to light, he's even more worried about what'll happen if the evidence I have comes to light."

And then, there it was, the resulting crash, before Narcissa sullenly looked at the woman. "What do you want then?"

"You see, you happen to be in a bit of luck," Amelia noted with a pursing of her lips. "There is a situation I have evidence of that if I reveal it now, could blunt the outrage at your son's stupidity and lessen the harshness of the forfeiture you'll be facing."

"How much less?" Lucius asked with a slow, measured voice.

"Not enough to keep you in the life you've grown accustomed to," she stated bluntly. "But enough that you at least have a chance of rebuilding your house."

"And the findings of your-- investigation into our home?" Narcissa asked slowly as she looked at the woman.

"Well, you haven't exactly proven to be the most trustworthy of individuals, now have you?" Amelia noted a she tilted her head to the side.

"What do you want from us then?" Narcissa asked with a sullen glare, already feeling the noose tightening about her throat.

"Oh, my dear Lady Malfoy, that is the question, now isn't it?" the smile she gave send shivers down both Malfoys' spines.


"Yesses? How can the Garzey be helping the Madamey?" Garzey asked politely when he answered the door, a bushy brow raised up in question.

"I'm here to have a word with your Mistress," Amelia noted with a faint smile on her lips. "Though, I don't think she'll like that I'm going to be spoiling some of her fun."

"The Missius be needing her fun spoiled now and then. The Garzey be tired of being the only one that be refusing to do what she be wanting all the time," the elf admitted with a nod of his head. "The Garzey be trying to build the Missius' character, but when the missius no be having much to start with--"

"You can always threaten her with a standing offer from me to happily employ you," Amelia noted with a nod. "I can always use an elf that won't give in to Susan the first time she bats her lashes and juts out her lips threatening to cry if she doesn't get her way."

"The Garzey will remember," the elf stated seriously, bobbing his head.

"Garzey? Who is at the door?" Donatella's voice rang out before she slipped into view, her eyes widening for a moment before a smile curled over her lips. "Oh, Amelia! This is a pleasant surprise! Tell me, did you finally find a-- use for a pretty little flower like me?"

"I was primarily here to disappoint you, along with offer your house elf employment," Amelia stated neutrally in a complete dead pan

"Garzey! You wouldn't!" Donatella immediately pouted at her house elf.

"She be promising Garzey a young lady dat still can be having character taught to her," Garzey pointed out simply. "Garzey be finding that be tempting."

"You fiend!" there was a pause, before Donatella's face brightened. "But wait! Garzey can teach Blaise!"

"Dat be the Missius' job," Garzey noted.

"How can I teach her what I, in your own opinion, lack?" Donatella noted with a triumphant smile on her face.

Garzey seemed to ponder that a moment before sighing and bowing his head in acknowledgement. "Da Missius be having a point."

"I had to try," Amelia stated simply before looking at Donatella and sighing a bit. "I need you to not push for the abject destruction of the Malfoys."

Donatella blinked, then blinked again before looking at her absolutely aghast. "But, but, why!? They're in a position for abject destruction."

"Because if I keep up the focus on them, then it's more likely that people will try to cover up things with Sirius Black," Amelia stated simply as she gave Donatella a long look.

Donatella pursed her lips thoughtfully as she eyed Amelia shrewdly. "-- That's not all of it, is it?"

"No, not really," Amelia admitted with a grimace.

"-- You have something on the Malfoys," Donatella noted, suddenly clapping her hands together. "Something you want to use as leverage."

"Keeping them from becoming brood mares to the lines they troubled would be something on them," Amelia reminded her simply.

Donatella snorted in a most unlady-like manner. "Madame Bones, you wouldn't trust their gratitude as far as you could throw an irate nundu. You have something on them to ensure that they maintain that gratitude."

"Their home was attacked and broken into this morning," she admitted with a sigh and a shrug.

"-- Oooh, and as they were in protective custody--!" she clapped her hands together. "That is marvelous!"

She paused a moment before frowning thoughtfully. "I want the little bitch of a daughter as my maid every summer she's still in school."

Amelia pursed her lips thoughtfully. "Possible. Certain restrictions will apply of course."

Donatella rolled her eyes slightly as she gave Amelia a look. "If you'd prefer, I can present the case to them. I can be very, very persuasive."

Garzey sized up the woman for a long moment before sighing and slumping. "Garzey be getting the Domini-trixie dress ready."

"With the boots and gloves!" Donatella agreed, before pausing. "Ooh, and the riding crop! And the hat! The one with the veil!"

"Garzey be knowing this better than the Missius," Garzey noted blandly before vanishing with a pope.

"Cheeky little devil," Donatella noted with a pout and a theatrical sigh. "The things I do for good help."

"Domini-trixie dress?" Amelia repeated, her brow arching up as she managed to keep her monocle firmly in place.

"He has a wonderful flare in his word choice," Donatella stated unrepentantly with a smile back at Amelia.

"So I see," Amelia noted dryly and shook her head. "It should be entertaining if nothing else."

"Oh, my dear, dear Amilia, it will be that at the very least," Donatella agreed with a slow, throaty purr.

Posted: 7:23 PM - Feb 22, 2017


After breakfast, Harry found himself wondering exactly how he had ended up in the position he was currently in. On one side of him, Ron sat, with Tracey next to him. On the other, Blaise was reluctantly occupying the seat next to him, with Daphne on her other side.

And Hermione was staring.

Harry sighed and slumped down in his seat. At least it wasn't potions, though, it was the class he was starting to dread almost as much, for much the same reason.


"Well, that was a rather bracing morning!" Flitwick noted as he smiled cheerfully at his class, while a number of the Slytherin girls were looking at him with a newfound respect and fear.

After the arguments and renewed accusations boiled over in the aftermath of the howlers, spells had begun to fly at the target of their ire. Draco had managed to survive the first barrage relatively intact, the ire she'd earned having forced her to develop a skill at dodging she hadn't known she was capable of. Then, instead of Dumbledore, or Snape getting involved, it had been Flitwick.

Students learned, very quickly that his particular method of dealing with students was particularly-- unpleasant.

The first student had been confused. As had the next, then the next. Then they'd thought it was a joke. It was only when the other professors merely gave them a look in response that they realized how real it was.

Flitwick's spell had given them all homework. Extra circular homework. They were then informed that the assignments were to be owled to their absent Head of House.

Not just any homework at that. One of the first students had managed to get assigned a three foot paper on the reproductive habits of flobberworms. An assignment that also included a need to provide visual depictions of how it worked.

And if they didn't? Well, the first one to refuse to do the assignment had ended up sounding like a particularly high pitched little girl. The second one had found their non-dominant hand stuck clasping a ridiculously pink lollypop.

Then they found out that the curse would pop up the longer they delayed. Or, if they tried to just skive off the assignment. The only way to get rid of it? Do the required assignment.

After that, the Slytherins had rapidly quieted down.

Now, they were in the lair of the cheerful monster who ruled with a smile and a grin.

"Now, today we'll be having an off topic discussion not covered in your books," Flitwick stated as he looked across the room, noting the startled look on Hermione Granger's face before continuing. "Primarily, we will be discussing what a number of you will soon find yourselves embarking on. Spell creation."

Harry blinked a bit, then frowned as he shared a glance with Ron. Both of them had a suddenly bad feeling about this. A very, very bad feeling.

"Now, can anyone tell me how custom spell creation works?" He asked cheerfully.

Harry noticed Hermione's hand immediately going up. He half nodded himself, but didn't raise his own. Flitwick most assuredly knew that he already knew the answer to that question. So did Ron and Tracey to an extent based on their talks.

A few other hands went up around the room before Flitwick nodded to Hermione specifically. "Ms. Granger."

"The creation of new spells requires time, patience, experimentation--" Hermione started to list off the requirements almost verbatim from the textbook.

"2 points to Gryffindor for a correct textbook definition," Flitwick agreed with a nod of his head before gesturing towards Blaise. "Ms. Zabini?"

"A desired outcome to build towards, a knowledge of the wand movements and an appropriate language that you have enough of an understanding of to associate a meaning with a word, but not enough to actually know the specifics of it," Blaise stated with a faint drawl. "And then the patience to find the most efficient balance of things before you try to seal it under the appropriate astrological event, enabling it to be recorded and shared."

"5 points to Slytherin, Ms. Zabini," Flitwick agreed with a nod of his head before turning and affixing his eyes upon Harry. "And you, Mr. Potter?"

"-- Do I have to?" Harry asked reluctantly as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

"As the only one I'm aware of in this class to have actually crafted his own spells?" Flitwick asked with a merry grin and an almost rhetorical tone to his voice. "Yes!"

Harry sighed and slumped a bit before speaking up. "Hermione and Zabini covered most of it, except it's not really as simple as it sounds.

Quietly, he raised up his wand and murmured quietly as he gestured, "Illuminois."

Suddenly a swirling trio of lights appeared above his wand, lazily orbiting an empty point between them. "I wanted to start off with something small. Something I was familiar with. Something I really knew.

"And that's really important. You have to know how the magic feels, how it shapes itself and forms itself. Magic has a-- feel too it that you have to really get. Developing a spell isn't as much creation as knowing what you're looking for, and then discovering it and giving it a name."

"5 Points to Gryffindor for filling in the blanks without being too specific," Flitwick agreed with a bright grin. "Would you care to tell the class what your spell does?"

Harry blinked a bit and then tilted his head to the side in consideration before slowly shaking his head and snuffing the lights with a gesture. "No, not really."

That made everyone blink in surprise then scowl in irritation as Flitwick chuckled and nodded his head. "Prudent I suppose."

"So I've been told," Harry agreed with a faint nod of his head and a slight twitch of his lips into the faintest of smiles.

"Now, if you do all these things, and take the time to properly research and find them out, you can create all kinds of interesting things. Though, the more complex the spell, the harder and longer it is to figure out how to make everything work together properly," Flitwick said as he continued, before pulling out a leather bound journal. "Take the spell I used this morning. It took me quite a number of years to properly develop. Why you might ask? Because of how I set it up.

"This notebook has the list of punishments that the spell can select from. I can add to it or remove it as I see fit," Flitwick continued, smiling faintly. "Can someone tell me what that means?"

There was silence among the group as even Hermione seemed to be at a loss for what the man was hinting at.

"Well, it seems I have a wonderful assignment for you all to have due before winter break," Flitwick stated cheerfully. "I think at least 6 feet."

Every student save Hermione immediately began to groan in response to the statement. And Harry slumped down in his seat, a look of growing resignation on his face. And the sadistic little monster was setting him up, again.

The bastard knew he had the books. Knew that he just hadn't gotten to that part of is development and was focusing on other things instead. Knew that he wasn't particularly in a rush to get to it either. After all, he wasn't particularly interested in random; that was more the twins' schtickt.

And now he had to decide what to do about it. Did he really want to help everyone out? Including Malfoy and the like?

Ron noticed the look of irritation on Harry's face and shared the look when realization hit him. "He's getting us back, isn't he?"

"Does seem that way," Tracey agreed with a nod. "We did turn down his 'bonus' assignment."

"-- Why are you giving Greengrass fuel for another bender, Potter?" Blaise complained as she pulled the quill out of Daphne's hand before she could get started. "She's the closest thing to a sane conversationalist I can find. I don't need you driving her round the bend every chance you get."

"Hey!" Daphne quickly protested with a huff and a glare that Blaise promptly and completely ignored.

"Primarily because she keeps trying to seduce me," Harry stated with a grimace and a shake of his head.

"-- What, you have something against being seduced?" Blaise seemed-- bemused at the thought. "No offense, Potter, but you don't exactly strike me as the seductive type. Being seduced is likely how you're going to end up in a relationship."

Harry blushed slightly and glowered back at Blaise as he opened his mouth to respond then shut it as he seemed to ponder it. "It's not so much I have a problem being seduced, it's being seduced by someone who is solely interested in doing so for her own benefits and amusement, at the detriment of everyone else, especially me."

That made Blaise ponder a moment, before looking at Daphne critically and nodding his head. "Fair enough."

"-- I do not exist solely for your benefit, Zabini," Daphne stated acidically before turning and looking at Harry with a wicked, lascivious grin on her lips. "And Potter, I can assure you, the benefits I'm thinking of would most definitely not be to your detriment."

"She's very good at making people want to believe her," Harry noted with a faint frown. "Not good enough for me to actually believe her, but--"

"You can only resist so long," Daphne stated with a sultry grin.

"Yes, but, have you considered what will happen to you if he stops resisting?" Ron asked with an entirely too innocent smile on his face.

That made Daphne pause, frown, and consider. Blaise groaned next to her. "No, Greengrass. Just, no."

Harry just grinned.


Lucius Malfoy glared back at Amelia Bones as she sat herself quite comfortably in front of him. "I thought you already had what you wanted from us."

"Oh, my dear Lucius, I have a great deal of what I want from you," Amelia agreed with a nod and an overly sweet smile on her face. "However, in order for me to properly make use of it, I have to do something to-- appease a friend of mine. They would like nothing better than to see you destroyed, but, I have managed to give them more-- realistic expectations of what to expect from you."

Lucius frowned as he gave her a scalding look. "I am not going to just appease that bastard Potter--"

"While Harry is an acquaintance, and someone you're going to want to appease before his new Slytherin friend starts pointing out how he can crucify you in a way I can't protect you from, that isn't whom I was talking about," Amelia stated with a shake of her head.

"Then, who---?" Lucius' voice trailed off, before he paled dramatically as Donatella Zabini made her entrance.

She was eye catching. Her dress was tight, in an almost severe way that made her look all the more imposing as it swept all up her throat almost to her, with just a keyhole opening showing an enticing glimpse of cleavage. Beyond that and her head, every other part of her flesh was completely and totally covered.

And she was holding a riding crop in her hand.

He had a very, very compelling suspicion that she was planning on using it against him in a most unpleasant manner. Swallowing slowly, he decided that discretion was going to be the better part of valor in this instance. Or, at the least, he would be deferring to his wife's much more knowledgeable expertise.

"I believe my wife should join us for this," Lucius stated as tightly as he could while he did his best to keep his eyes away from the woman in front of him.

"Oh, yes, please do invite her in," Donatella purred dangerously as she slowly licked her lips in a manner he couldn't help but find disturbingly attractive. "I hate to wait for the main course after such-- meager appetizers."

Lucius did not rise to the insult or its implication as he simple and carefully flicked his wrist with the hand holding his wand. A moment later, Narcissa arrived looking at first curious, then, stony faced as soon as she saw Donatella.

"Narcissa! Dear, do Sit Down," the subtle, purring subtle emphasis was just enough to cut into Narcissa's mind as she glanced at the neutral faced Amelia Bones.

"I suppose it was too much to hope that we wouldn't get out of things quite as well as was originally presented to us," Narcissa noted with a grudging reluctance. "So, what will it be then? Destitution, depravity, destruction?"

"Mmm triple Ds, how delightful," Donatella noted with a bemused smile. "A bit more of an endowment than you were blessed with, but delightful none the less."

Narcissa looked positively murderous as she glared back at the woman, her fists clenched and her eyes narrowed.

"I do believe I said sit-," Donatella began sweetly, before suddenly cracking her riding crop against a nearby table, "-DOWN!"

She paused, even as Narcissa jumped and did just that, her voice turning sweet. "Please? Ah, thank you."

Then she casually settled herself down and made herself comfortable in a chair of her own. "Now. Let's get down to business. Due to other personal business that I happen to need to help my dear Amelia here with, she has tried to convince me to not call down my wrath to keep her little exploitation of the public perception from working."

Slowly, she brought her crop up and lightly tapped its head against her soft, darkly painted lips. "Of course, tried is the operative word. I currently remain unconvinced, which brings us here for me to decide exactly what I'm going to inflict upon you and have you thank me for it."

That immediately made both Malfoys clench their jaws as they glared back at her, only to have her arch a brow and smile sweetly at them. "Now, now, naughty little boys and girls shouldn't-- misbehave. Then they'll have to be-- disciplined. Do I need to discipline you naughty, naughty little ones?"

While Lucius was apparently struggling to determine if he should be terrified, angered, or aroused, Narcissa had no such trouble. She blushed brightly and glared back at her, "If you think you can just---!"

"Can, will, why I could even get pictures of it!" There was a pause for a moment as she suddenly tapped the butte of the crop down on the armrest of her chair. "Now that would be a sight, the lily-white derriere of Lady Malfoy, all properly trussed up and welted. The perfect front page cover photo!"

The look of horror on Narcissa's face was matched by how desperately Lucius was apparently trying to mask his own reaction to the mental image.

Donatella wanted so, so very badly to giggle at it. But, alas, that would ruin the whole image she was trying to maintain. Terribly pesky things, images.

"No? Mmm, but it would make things so very simple," Donatella mused aloud. "A lasting humiliation, inescapable, unforgettable--"

She chuckled darkly before shaking her head. "But, you want something easier, hmm, don't you? Something that will let you pretend that this never happened, that will let you cling to your delusions."

Her crop cracked down just as they tried to speak. "That, that will not happen. I will ensure that, you can be sure of that."

They scowled back at her at that, and again, she cut them off with a loud cracking slap of her crop. "Now, I am willing to allow you some form of public dignity-- for a price. I believe your new daughter spending 10 years as my maid will suffice."

"NO!" Narcissa practically shouted out the word as she stood up, only to yelp in shock as Donatella brought the crop down on her hand with narrowed eyes.

"If you do not sit down and behave like a good girl, I will make you beg to have all three of you as my maids, with pictures of all three of you bent over the lap of a fat muggle getting the spankings you so richly deserve plastered over the Prophet for a week instead of what I inflict upon you instead," she snapped as she directed the crop straight at Narcissa's face. "And when I am through with you, I will toss the scraps of what is left of you to Amelia, to dispose of as she sees fit."

She paused, letting her words sink in as she gave them both a long, hard, cold look that spoke of a willingness to utterly and completely destroy them, that reminded them that they were speaking to a woman who was nine times widowed and still a free woman.

"If I might interject?" Amelia noted politely before the Malfoy's could respond, as she looked to Donatella for approval, who gave a curt nod back to her. "I will point out that if your daughter isn't punished in a satisfactory manner-- Well, no, I will point out that your daughter is going to be severely punished no matter what. I would advise you to think about which you would find preferable, her being subjected to her care, or leave it up to others to decide?"

That made them pause.

"But 10 years?!" Lucius protested as he looked back at Amelia. "And, what about Hogwarts? Are you willing to take away a child's entire future because of one foolish mistake!?"

"Need I remind you, Mr. Malfoy," Amelia stated in a slow, sharp, cold voice. "That I have seen the memories of Harry Potter enough to know exactly what you think of doing to children. I might not be able to prove it, but it is more than enough incentive for me to renege on any deals should you prove more recalcitrant than is worth the effort.

"As I informed Minister Fudge, a useful tool is only useful as long as the effort to use it does not outweigh its value as a tool. You are rapidly moving towards outweighing your value."

She paused, then turned to Donatella. "You may have her until her 20th birthday. She will continue to attend Hogwarts, but shall act as your daughter's maid at school. That is the most you will get."

Then she turned to the Malfoys. "And if you choose to refuse that punishment, not only will I make no attempt to plead leniency, I will do my damnedest to prevent Dumbledore from trying, while giving her free reign to suggest potential punishments however she so desires."

"-- So long as Draco is not unduly harmed, maimed, permanently damaged or hindered from her studies," Lucius stated in resignation as he slumped in his chair.

"Lucius!" Narcissa sat up straight and looked at her husband in aghast.

"Narcissa, you may know the games of socialites and politics better than me," Lucius stated with a nod of acknowledgement, before his face twisted slightly. "But I know the men who would choose Draco's fate, their hungers, their preferences and their predilections. And I know what she is capable of."

"Nothing worse than a switching and no breaking of the skin," Amelia nodded her head in agreement. "And no compulsions of other similar magical alterations of her mind."

"I can, however, designate who is able to inflict said punishment," Donatella countered back with lift of her chin.

"So long as they follow the very same limitations as you yourself and do nothing to her of any sexual nature," Amelia quickly cut back in and countered back.

"And it is neither photographed nor recorded in any way that can be publically revealed," Lucius added with narrowed eyes.

"So long as she does not willingly agree to it without compulsion or extortion," Donatella agreed, the smile on her lips a cold, predatory one that let them know that was simply to twist the knife more than anything.

"I will have it all formalized into a contract and have it presented to both sides for approval," Amelia stated simply before giving both sides a glare. "And I trust that there will be no attempts to quibble or finagle so long as it holds true to the terms agreed upon?"

"-- I do not like this," Narcissa declared sullenly as she glared at them all.

"Well, you have no one to blame but your daughter, and yourself for raising her so foolishly," Donatella stated primly as she gave them both a look down her nose as she stood. "I will expect the contract as quickly as possible. Only then will I withdraw my support of a more stringent punishment."

And with that, she turned and promptly swept back out of the room, looking far more like she was dismissing them than leaving.

"As I evidently have to remind you," Amelia spoke up after a moment's silence, "You were never going to like this. That is the nature of punishment. The infliction of something unwanted so as to teach a lesson to people to not repeat the act."

She stood herself and brushed off her robes. "I would suggest you remember that going forward."

Then she too left, leaving them in silence.


Back at the Zabini residence, Amelia arrived to the sight of Donatella, collapsing in giggling gales of laughter.

"I see you found things met your approval," Amelia noted dryly as she waited for the woman to compose herself.

"Oh, I haven't had so much fun in years!" Donatella declared happily. "It was so hard to not just start laughing at them the whole while!"

"So I gathered," Amelia's dry done didn't fade in the slightest as she ruefully shook her head.

"But, you knew I would've settled for simply her summers during the school years, why did you extend it so?" Donatella asked curiously.

"Since when do you settle for anything?" Amelia stated with a shake of her head and a mildly amused look. "Besides, settling, for a punishment that low? No one would've gone for it. This way, we have your reputation acting as an additional incentive for people to accept the punishment."

"Ah-ha!" Donatella nodded her head, before pausing, biting lightly on her lower lip in thought. "Mmm, do you think that the wonderful Mr. Potter might be interested in helping with the naughty, naughty girl's-- disciplining?"

Amelia coughed uncomfortably. "I think-- that is a discussion you will have to take up with Mr. Potter."

"Fu, I suppose you're right," she let out a huffing sound before she responded, pouting again. "He's such a tease though."

"-- he is young enough to be your son," Amelia reminded her with a look.

"Yes, yes, I can't actually pursue him," Donatella waved her hand dismissively. "It does not mean I don't enjoy the chase of trying to live vicariously through my daughter."

"-- Right," Amelia slowly agreed with a nod of her head. "Then there is no further issue with focusing on taking care of the Sirius Black issue?"

"Of course not, I already got more than I wanted, and Blaise should be quite pleased as well," Donatella agreed with a nod of her head. "Hopefully, pleased enough to actually start going along with my plans for a change."

"One can hope," Amelia stated neutrally, as she quickly decided that she wanted little to anything to do with that particular topic.


Severus Snape was not a happy man. This was true enough before the incident that had lead to his incarceration in "protective custody." Now though? Well, he at least consoled himself with the knowledge that he wasn't surrounded by the sea of dunderheads.

Even if they were now getting him into this problematic situation.

Still, he did have a few cards to play, which as why he was calmly sitted across from a group of rather sullenly and angry wizards who wielded a great deal of influence in the Wizarding World. Wizards who happened to have, or had previously had children under his care in the Slytherin House. Wizards who were finding themselves quite upset to realize that they were suddenly facing a great deal of trouble thanks to the current situation.

"You wouldn't dare!" That was one of the more distinguished looking wizards, well, minus the red flushed face and bulging eyes.

Snape sneered back at the man. "And why wouldn't I? You are, after all, looking to use me to pay for the mistakes of your children, when I simply followed the requests you made of me."

"But, to this extent--!" One of the men who had "requested" that Snape look the other way for his son's-- indiscretions.

"You did make it clear that I was to ignore and obscure any potential misdeeds that your son indulged in," Snape shot back with a glare. "What do you think would've happened if I had reported that he had torn down a part of the wards in the Slytherin Dorms?"

"You have no pro---" Another one declared only to flinch back from the glower Snape sent him.

"Are you really so much of an ignorant fool that you do not think I kept every single one of the letters you sent me? That I do not have multiple unaltered copies of the memories of our meetings and discussions?" he asked with a sneer seemingly branded upon his face. "Madame Bones has already made it clear that she will accept such evidence. Shall I offer it to her?"

"No, Severus Snape, you will not," one of the quieter wizards stated with a quiet, firm voice, one of the wizards whom had the intelligence to word his requests in a manner that only implied incriminating requests. Had it been just himself, he would have failed to be in any danger, but, combined with the weight of the other conversations. "Nor will you be able to get out of this unpunished. If we tried to do something like that, how long do you think before you ended up lynched and tortured?"

His face going blank, Snape stared back at the man for a moment, revealing nothing, before curtly inclining his head. "True enough. But, in the event of an impasse, who suffers more, me, named as the one who allowed the wards to lapse, or all of you as the ones who pressured me to do so?"

They shifted uncomfortably at the statement, soft, whispered words urgently springing up between them.

"And, need I remind you that any-- untowards actions, or my death, will immediately lead the DMLE to investigate my personal effects to see if they can discover a reason why someone would want me dead?" Snape stated with an acidic hiss of breath. "Not to mention my own, personal contingencies."

They scowled at the reminder.

"You will not keep your position at Hogwarts. And you will never be allowed to gain a teaching position ever again," was the first statement in regards to the punishment from another of the more intelligent ones.

His face twisted into a grimace before nodding his head. "Acceptable."

Inside, he was almost giggling in glee. Freedom! Sweet, sweet freedom that Dumbledore wouldn't be able to take away! And because he hadn't attempted to bring up the issue or worked towards the goal actively, he was able to escape his vow to the old bastard.

"And you will pay a fine," another one piped up, only to immediately flinch back from the glare he was sent by Snape.

"Yes," another wizard agreed with a thoughtful nod of his head. "Not so much as you could pay, but, enough to be punitive. That will make it more agreeable to the public."

"Fine," Snape hissed out with a glower. "But I will not spend a day in Azkaban for you."

They glanced at one another, before in almost synchronicity they nodded their heads. "Acceptable."

"Then, I believe our business is done, and we can assure my watchers that I am still in one piece and in-- acceptable health," Snape stated with a half snarl before gesturing towards the door.

It was only after the wizards had left him alone in peace, and he had down a thorough sweet of any kind of listening charms or curses, that he allowed his expression to break, and a dark, rolling chuckle left his lips. "Freedom. At last, sweet, sweet freedom!"


The shriveled lump known as Lord Voldemort was not pleased. The idiot Pettigrew was late. In fact, the pathetic little excuse for a wizard was nowhere to be found and he was in need of his potion.

This would not do. This would not do at all. He could already feel the difficulties he was experiencing in holding together his form and it wouldn't be too much longer before he would be forced to abandon it, setting back his entire plan by years.

He had waited long enough for all of this. He had suffered long enough. It was his time to regain his glory and show those foolish creatures that fear and respect was his right.

He was promptly hit in the face by a dropped copy of the daily prophet as the delivery owl grabbed some knuts off of the nearby table that Pettigrew had left out before flying off.

Feebly, he pushed off the paper to see a headline that filled him with anger and dread.


He never should've let that fool out of his sight. If only he'd been able to find someone else to serve him in his current situation. But, no, only his most pathetic or fervent of followers could be trusted in his pathetic state of weakness. And his plan required Crouch to be acting in Hogwarts.

Merlin knew what kind of mess Pettigrew would've made of it.

And he couldn't even sigh and Crucio someone. If that worthless little creature didn't find a way back to him--

Then he saw it.


A Class 4 of all things? Really? What kind of imbecilic dunderhead managed to do something that dangerous? Especially with the caustic-- His deformed eyes blinked a moment as he came across a name.


Lucius' spawn was responsible? Well, it was just a rumor at this point as no formal inquiries had been done but-- He would admit that did not seem likely. It would earn the man an extended period of Crucio later just for being mentioned in the same breath as that level of incompetence, but--

His eyes latched onto a much, much smaller story about Sirius Black now apparently being potentially innocent and he grimaced in distaste.

If it wasn't for Bellatrix, he'd have declared a war of extinction on that family for what that little brat Regulus' betrayal. Why he--.

He shook his head.

He was losing his ability to focus. His mind driving to every little thought. Damn that Potter brat for what he'd done to him. He would have his vengeance, he would!

As soon as he figured out how to handle his latest-- obstacle.


Posted: 1:02 PM - Apr 01, 2017


Albus Dumbledore looked up from his paperwork to see Amelia Bones standing there with a thin lipped blank look on her face. He sighed softly and leaned back in his seat. "I suppose it shall be one of those meetings then?"

"I've come to talk to you about the potions incident," she stated with a grave look on her face as she looked back at him with her arms crossed behind her back.

"Ah, I suppose so then," he noted before gesturing with his wand and locking down the office with a flowing release of magic.

She took a seat unbidden and slowly rested her elbows on the arm rests, threading her fingers lightly together in the air in front of her. "I have managed to come to an-- accord with the Malfoys."

"That is something I suppose, I had felt that after they had had managed to bungle things so supremely that they were quite doomed," he said with a nod of his head, before frowning slightly. "Though, I have to wonder what you did to make it palatable to them."

"I gave them the option of either becoming valuable to me, or dealing with the fall out of what we found at their home after it was attacked in addition to what they were already facing," Amelia stated evenly as she gave him a long, hard look. "And then I brought in the Widow Zabini to remind them of exactly what they faced."

"Carrot and stick I suppose," he sighed but nodded his head in grudging acceptance. "While I can't approve, I can't exactly play the saint considering my own attempts now can I?"

"Nor would I let you," Amelia stated flatly and then shook her head. "But, I am here to make sure you understand what punishment is going to be coming down onto Draco Malfoy."

The man seemed to age slightly as he nodded his head wearily. "Very well, what will happen to her then?"

Wordlessly, Amelia took out a roll of parchment and then set it down on his desk in front of him.

"Well, that isn't ominous," he noted with an uncomfortable attempt at humor before sighing and picking up the roll and unfurling it to read.

"I've found it best to let the results speak for themselves," she stated simply as she leaned back in her seat and waited.

For a long moment, there was nothing but silence as he read through the parchment, clinically noting each of the passages, clauses and provisos outlined within. When he finished, he set it down and took a lemon sherbert from the bowl on his desk and tossed it into his mouth, slowly sucking on it. After a few long minutes of silence, he focused his attention back upon Amelia once more.

"I suppose that will be the best hope for any leniency," he finally stated with a sigh of resignation. "And better than what would likely happen should they try to fight for better in the Wizengamut."

"Far, far better," Amelia agreed with a nod of her head. "The Malfoy assets have already begun liquidation in preparation for the reimbursements that they will have to face."

"I'm sure Lucius was less than pleased," he noted with a dry statement, his lips twitching slightly upwards at the thought.

"I don't think biting into a lemon could have puckered his face even more," she agreed with a faint smile on her face before looking back at the parchment for a moment then back to his face. "Will you be able to accept and enforce the agreement?"

"Accept, yes," he agreed with a nod of his head in acceptance before pondering for a long moment, "Enforcement, however-- that might be asking a bit much of this old man."

She snorted and gave him a hard, level look. He shrugged his shoulders a bit before the whiskers of his beard twitched in amusement. "You do realize that the incorrigible Madame Zabini is likely to try to cajole Mr. Potter into making public displays of Ms. Malfoy's punishment, yes?"

That brought her up short as she opened her mouth at first to protest that statement, before slowly thinking through exactly the terms that had been outlined and groaning softly. "She was planning that all along."

"Very likely, yes," Dumbledore agreed with a nod of his head as he lifted up his candy bowl. "Lemon sherbert?"

"No, thank you," she answered with an absent numbness before slowly taking a deep breath and closing her eyes. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised."

"You really shouldn't," Dumbledore affirmed as he set the candy bowl back down on his desk. "There is a reason she is known as she is."

"I thought that..." there was a pause before slowly rubbing her temples. "She's becoming obsessed with Harry Potter."

"I imagine so," Dumbledore said sadly as he made no attempt to dispel her notion. "She is, after all, bored and tired of the usual maneuvers that pass for cunning and subterfuge among the isles."

"I get enough of headache from it as it is and that bloody devil woman wants it to be even more complicated?" Amelia complained as she growled softly in her seat.

"You misunderstand," Dumbledore corrected with a shake of his head and a look of subdued amusement, "It is not the maneuvering she objects to. It is the incompetence with which it is executed."

She blinked for a moment, then frowned. "And where, exactly, is it less so?"

"In the romanticized memories of her youth," Dumbledore stated with a bemused chuckle. "When her own inexperience and naiveté made her more vulnerable than she willingly remembers. I, sadly, remember those days with a far more objectivity. And they were filled not with the cunning men and women she remembers, but simple opportunists that knew well how to make themselves seem far more than they actually were."

"Of course you do," she stated with a sigh and a grumble before slowly shaking her head. "I'm not sure what I should be asking at this point."

"Well, I would hope that you wouldn't be so crass as to insinuate that I would attempt to force young Harry to actually participate in her machinations and punishments," he noted with a a mildly bemused expression. "Beyond that, perhaps you would like to ask me if I would do my best to ensure that the agreement goes through without too much protest?"

"That would help," she agreed with a long sigh and as she slumped down in the chair. "I assume you saw the headline of the Prophet?"

"Your doing I imagine?" he asked after nodding his head. "I take it that you leveraged it to draw attention away from the Malfoys?"

"Not until they agreed to my terms," she agreed with a nod of her head. "Of courses, I have to thank Mr. Potter for most of all this quite honestly."

"-- I do hope you don't refer to his experiment, Madame Bones," he started to frown as he responded, his eyes narrowed slightly behind his half moon glasses.

"He actually convinced Zabini to support my efforts to see Sirius Black receiving a fair trial," she corrected with a shake of her head. "Part of the reason she's so obsessed with him, I think, is that he doesn't just give in to her and give her what she wants."

"I imagine she finds it quite refreshing," Dumbledore admitted as he closed his eyes and shook his head. "I can't say that I find it terribly reassuring the way that Harry seems intent upon playing with fire, but I can only protect him so much, and so far, he seems to be handling things admirably."

"Better than most could," she admitted with a note of sadness on her voice. "I hope that my niece and her friends have been behaving themselves?"

"They have been remarkably subdued," Dumbledore stated with a nod of his head as he lightly stroked his beard. "I believe Pomona is seeing to that. Though, I believe that there is at least one agitator still."

"Lovely," she stated with a grimace of resignation. "Will I need to have further words with Susan?"

"I do not believe so. She has been among the more quietly subdued and we behaved ones," he admitted with a shake of his head before smiling in amusement as his eyes began to twinkle. "Though, I suppose that might be because of the rampant jealousy growing towards the Slytherins."

"Imagine that," she drawled with a chuckle and a shake of her head. "Then, I suppose that Mr. Potter is well enough as well?"

"Well enough is a subjective matter when it comes to Mr. Potter I believe," he supplied, winkle madly glimmering in his eyes. "I do not believe he is particularly appreciative of Filliius' efforts to encourage his potential, but, he is young, so that is hardly surprising."

"Ah, to be young again," she mused in turn. "I am quitter satisfied to have left that mess well enough behind me."

"I have found it best to at least try and stay young at heart," he admitted with a chuckle before a somber look passed his features. "Though, I do not miss the sheer multitude of mistakes I managed to survive."

"On that, I am quite sure we agree."


Sirius Black was facing a conundrum. On one hand, he has is inestimably troublesome but equally lovable godson causing a mad glut of problems. On the other hand, most of the problems were falling on his lovely cousin Narcissa and her family.

Then there was the fact that Harry was playing with fire. Fiendfyre at that. And if his correspondence had any sort of truth to it, pulling it off.

He was grateful that Harry had managed to keep at least the semblance of holding the upper hand.

"Sandy, Pina Colada," Sirius stated simply before the drink materialized next to him complete in coconut with straw and colorful umbrella.

It was always the little details that countered. He had to remember to make sure Harry knew that. Then he paused as he sipped his drink thoughtfully. Actually, he really had a lot of things to make sure Harry knew.

Then he frowned further.

He didn't even know how much Harry actually knew and how much he needed to be taught.

That made him scratch his chin as he was reminded of why he was on this island on his own instead of with Remus. Remus was, as always, a horribly self-loathing bastard. Sirius had long since accepted that and worked with James to try and blunt it as much as possible.

Sadly, 10 years without the dynamic duo's presence had allowed the idiot to fall into a routine of self-loathing that Sirius couldn't quite forgive him for, not yet at least. If the only one to have suffered had been Remus himself, Sirius might've been able to let bygones be bygones. After all, that was Remus' choice, a stupid choice, but Sirius would be a hypocrite if he denied that someone hadn't the right to be an idiot.

No, the problem was Harry. Of course, Remus seemed to have actually stepped up more since then if Harry's letters were anything to go by. And he had helped Harry over the summer with whatever it was that they were both being so hush-hush about.

Something had changed, Sirius knew it. He just didn't know what it was.

Then an owl showed up and dropped a paper on his lap.

"-- What's this then?" Sirius frowned as he left his drink hovering in the air, its straw positioned to where he could easily sip away at its contents without issue as he scanned over the newsprint.

Then he blinked a moment.

"-- Hey, wait, how am I supposed to get revenge now?!" Sirius half whined and half pouted at the headline.

Then he actually read the article and blinked.

"-- Well, I wonder how Harry would feel about a tropical get away during the hols?" Sirius mused numbly as he realized that he was very, very likely to soon be a fugitive no longer.

He sat there, mouth hanging open and staring as he tried to comprehend that. He was going to be free.

He was going to be able to take care of Harry.

Then he paused as a look of terror suddenly crossed his face.

He was going to be responsible for Harry! Him! Oh, Merlin, what was the world coming to!? What had James and Lily been thinking?!

He was almost hyperventilating at the thought, and was deeply, and sincerely glad that Harry was not there to see him. That thought alone almost sent him over the edge into a full blown panic attack. And then he remembered what Harry had been maneuvering about.

Merlin, he was going to have to actually use all those social manners his mother tried to hammer into his head with a bludger and beater bat.

This, he decided a moment later, called for a drink. A lot of drinks. And a probably a hangover or two.

Then, once he recovered he had some letters to send.

He needed to know just how genuine this was.


Harry was staring at the paper with a look on his face that left him debating exactly how he should be feeling.

It was looking more and more likely that Sirius was going to get his trial. This was the first public affirmation of the possibility at least. And with it, well-- Hopefully things wouldn't end up getting too twisted.

He didn't think he could handle too many more ups and downs.

Things with the Slytherins were already compounding the madness of Flitwick and the frustrations of Hermione still avoiding them.

At least she was no longer looking at them like they had gone and taken away all her books.

"You know, Potter, you shouldn't be so dour all the time."

Harry looked up and noted another one of his headaches of late. Daphne Greengrass was suggestively nibbling on the end of a piece of sausage, her face a picture of innocence even as he could see the pink glimpse of her tongue darting out to tease the meat.

"You're still upset he gave you such a low rating," Blaise noted next to her as she turned the page in her own paper.

"To be fair to her, it did start the Slytherin Grade," Seamus noted as he held up a piece of bacon in Blaise's direction. "Without her, we'd still be using the general grade."

"You're still not going to get into my knickers though," Blaise stated flatly without looking up.

"I wouldn't expect anything from the concubine of our beloved Mr. Potter," Seamus stated with an innocent chuckle.

That caused Blaise to lightly fold down her paper long enough to send a scathing glare at Seamus that was easily grinned off before calmly hiding her visage back behind the paper shielding any further reaction she might have had.

"-- I'm afraid to ask, but, the Slytherin Grade?" Harry asked as he methodically began to make his way through his breakfast.

"Well, after your deflation of Greengrass' ego, we realized that we need a whole new scale to apply to the Slytherins," Seamus stated with a cheerful grin on his face. "As there are numerous mitigating factors in the grading."

"Does my ego look deflated, Finnegan?" Daphne challenged back as she bit off the tip of her sausage and then slowly began to suck out the juices.

"I'll need to give you a thorough, indepth examination to know for sure, Greengrass," he shot back with a down right lecherous grin spread wide across his lips. "I can put you in at your earliest convenience."

"I'm sorry, but I prefer men who have something to offer besides braggart promises that inevitably lead to such short comings and disappointments," she shot back with a dismissive half veiled glance before affixing her eyes back upon Harry.

"Oi! There's nothing short about me!" Seamus protested, face lightly flushed in anger and scowling.

"Your temper certainly disproves that statement," Daphne shot back with a dismissive roll of her eyes. "And leads to doubts of the veracity of your claims in other departments."

"Point to Slytherin, I believe," Blaise commented from behind her paper.

"Should she be rewarded for going for low hanging fruit?" Harry asked mildly before nibbling on a piece of bacon.

"Counterpoint to Potter," Blaise stated without skipping a beat.

"How come when its Greengrass scoring a point, it's to Slytherin, but when Harry does, it's to him alone?" Dean asked curiously, prompting Blaise to once more flick down the paper.

"Because it's Potter," Blaise stated simply and flatly as she gave Dean a look like he was stupid. "By himself he still weights the odds in his favor by default."

"And without him, you have an unfair advantage," Dean countered with a frown.

"I'm a Slytherin," she said as if she were talking to a small child, slowly enunciating her words. "Of course I want the unfair advantage."

"Plus, because she's Slytherin, she hates to be utterly and completely crushed in abject defeat," Ron's voice chimed in as he sat down next to Harry, though he was still eying Blaise and Daphne warily. "And she knows that's what'll happen if she includes Harry with Gryffindor."

Blaise scowled back at Ron and promptly buried her face back in her paper.

"I'm a bit surprised that you're not more worried about this whole Sirius Black mess," Daphne finally noted with a frown as she noted Harry was continuing to ignore her display, causing him to look back at her just as she was slowly licking the sausage juices off her lips in an enticing manner.

"Why would I?" Harry asked with a slight tilt to his head as he looked back at Daphne. "I'm the one who got it started."

"Ahem!" Tracey coughed next to Ron, giving Harry a minor glower.

"Well, with Tracey's help," Harry amended after he held up his hands defensively. "Without Tracey, I wouldn't have even been there to begin with."

"You also wouldn't have gotten to see the look on Fudge's face when he realized he just majorly embarrassed himself in front of the other Ministers," Ron agreed with a nod of his head.

"You say it like Fudge isn't always an embarrassment," Blaise stated flatly with a sound of absolute disgust in her voice.

Harry considered that for a moment before looking at Blaise pointedly. "He's after your mother?"

"He thinks he'd be the lucky one because he's the minister of magic," Blaise drawled out and shook her head with a scowl. "Trying to call me his boy and the like and trying to get me to like him."

"It's really not fun, is it?" Harry agreed with a nod of his head as he remembered his own encounters with the minister. "Then there's how eager he was to listen to Malfoy's father."

"That is being mild," Blaise agreed with a twitch of annoyance before turning her attention and glaring at a familiar head of blonde hair at the Slytherin table.

It was at that point that an owl delivered letter appeared, precariously balanced on the edge of Blaise's still lightly folded newspaper.

"It looks like TEO's showing off," Daphne noted as she looked at the letter a bit, then blinked as another ended up politely set down next to Harry. "Two for one?"

Having a sudden suspicion, Harry calmly held up a strip of bacon lightly between his fingers and held it a slight distance from his body. In an instant, it vanished without a trace. Nodding in satisfaction, Harry then carefully wiped down his hands with a napkin before opening up his letter.

A moment later, Harry carefully folded the letter over and then looked at Blaise expectantly, who was still eying the letter as if it was going to transform into a basilisk at any moment.

"Blaise? Open your letter," he stated simply as he gave the wary girl a look. "You'll like what your mother has to say."

It was at that moment that another owl swooped down and delivered a letter to the blonde that Blaise had been glaring at moments before.

"-- Am I finally free of the promise of being your concubine?" Blaised asked hopefully as she picked up the letter.

"I think you'll like this better," Harry corrected with a shake of his head. "I don't, not really, but, based on what I've observed, you definitely will."

It was then that their heard the high pitched screech fill the air from the Slytherin table. "WHAT?!"

"Probably just as much as Malfoy hated when he-she just found out," Harry agreed with a nod of his head before passing his own letter to Ron, who quickly had Tracey reading over his shoulder.

With a look of great trepidation, Blaise slowly opened up the letter, then withdrew its contents like they were a poisonous snake about to bit her. With one last deep breath, she then slowly opened up the letter and began to read. When she finished, she stared for a long moment, then looked at him, seriously.

"Potter? If I wasn't sure my mother would take it as permission to slap a collar on me and declare me your property, I could kiss you for this," she stated with an almost burning intensity before pausing a long moment and seemed to consider. "-- And I can't decide if this is an appropriate situation to start laughing maniacally or not."

"Very, very few are the times when it's appropriate to laugh maniacally when you're not a Dark Lord," Dean stated sagely with a nod of his head. "Even then, you have to limit it so as to not over play it."

"Would be a loss of at least a couple of points on the scale," Seamus pointed out and shook his head. "Maniacal laughter means crazy bitch, which caps off your hotness scale potential."

"And we can't have that," Blaise agreed with a nod of her head.

"What's so good about this that you'd even consider something like that?" Daphne finally asked as she got tired of waiting and poked a perfectly painted nail into her arm.

"For the rest of my time at Hogwarts, I'm getting my own, personal maid," Blaise stated with a wickedly cheerful smile on her face as she looked over at the Slytherin table and locked eyes with a pale face, terrified looking Draco Malfoy and just smiled back at her.

"During the school year at least, looks like she belongs to your mother during the breaks," Harry noted with a nod of his head as he then pursed his lips thoughtfully.

"-- Oh, Merlin, he's plotting something," Tracey declared as she palmed her face and groaned.

"Not yet, I'm-- debating a few things," Harry corrected solemnly with a shake of his head. "I mean--"

Another letter appeared in front of Harry, this one visibly delivered by an owl that didn't bother to stick around after making its delivery.

Sighing, Harry opened it up and began to glance through it. A moment later, he shook his head and grunted sourly. "Fine. Blaise? Just for the record, I'm not spanking Malfoy in front of the whole school."

Blaise's mouth opened for a moment, before clicking shut as she processed his statement. "-- That is something my mother would offer in her position."

"So I've just been told," Harry agreed with a nod of his head before frowning. "You're not going to insist on bringing Malfoy over here, are you?"

"Well, I do have to wait a few weeks for it to be official," Blaise noted before pursing her lips. "I mean, don't you want to see Malfoy prancing around in a little maid's outfit, serving meals?"

Seamus looked over at the Slytherin table, locking his eyes on Malfoy for a moment, before turning back to Blaise and sticking his thumbs up to her. "I approve of this idea!"

"You're a pig, Finnegan," Blaise stated with a drawl and a dismissive wave of her hand. "Of course you would."

"I've heard life drawing is a great way to improve your skills," Dean mused thoughtfully as he tapped his finger down on the table. "And it would add a visual record to things."

"Any attempt to give the Creeveys something else to focus on would be appreciated," Harry admitted as he looked down the table out of the corner of his eye to see the two brothers talking animatedly to each other.

They were nice enough, but the way they would look at him at times, the way they followed him-- It was more than a little creepy.

"I'll see what I can do," Blaise drawled out before frowning. "Wait, please tell me you have something else to keep her distracted now."

"Until at least the rest of Sirius' trial," Harry agreed with a nod of his head. "After that though--?"

"-- we need something new to distract her," Blaise stated seriously as she looked at him.

"I was planning on using Sirius as an excuse," Harry admitted thoughtfully before shrugging a bit. "Beyond that, I'm mainly winging it."

"-- you're making it up as you go along," Blaise stated dully as she stared flatly at him.

"Yes, pretty much," He agreed as he picked up a piece of toast. "Pass the jam, would you?"

"-- I swear, Potter, if I end up trapped because you didn't have a plan--" Blaise growled out lowly.

"What, would you rather have a place as his concubine, or follow the path your mother would lay out for you, Blaise-darling?" Tracey asked with a drawled out voice as she smiled sweetly back at the other girl.

Blaise opened her mouth to send out a scathing response, only to pause and think about it. "-- I really hate you sometimes, Davis."

"I know, isn't it wonderful?" Tracey stated with a giggle and a smirk.

"Weasley?" Blaise stated after a moment, looking at Ron. "I pity you."

"-- Tha-OW!" Ron grunted as he suddenly exclaimed in pain and jumped slightly in his seat. "Come on, Tracey it was a joke!"

"No," Blaise and Tracey chimed in a frightening unison. "It wasn't."


You must bear this indignity for the survival of our family.

That one sentence haunted Draco Malfoy as she sat alone in the back of Transfiguration. That one lone summed up everything that would be the next 6 years of her life. Indignity so that her family would survive.

All because she had tried to humiliate Potter and he had out maneuvered her.

Potter of all people, out maneuvering her. It grated her to no end. And what was worse? It was the knowledge that if she hadn't made the changes she had to the potion, if she hadn't insisted on trying to ruin it instead of just hiding it from them, she would've just suffered a bit of humiliation that would've quickly been reversed.

Only, this one wasn't going to be.

She wasn't a wizard anymore, she was a witch. A pretty, beautiful witch. With a slender body that was still getting hard to adjust to.

Everything was different. How she moved, how she sounded, how she cast her spells. She'd been told it would take time to get used to the changes in her bone structure. Same with all of the former wizards.

Most of them ended up tripping over their own feet at least once a day still and they'd had over a week to get used to things.

Then there was casting. Their ability to cast hadn't changed. But, the way they moved their wrists and hands--. Motions that matched what they needed before were under emphasized now. Smaller bones apparently.

It wasn't about power or skill. Though, she could hear the way everyone else was snickering a bit at them.

Well, except for the first years. Beyond the few that had gotten a-- privileged start, they hadn't had the time to develop practiced movements they had to now relearn.

And then there was the fact that she was so much weaker now. She couldn't carry books as easily as she could before. What she had previously just picked up and carried without a moment's thought, she now noticeably felt.

But, she was almost disturbingly flexible.

So far, however, there hadn't been too many differences beyond the way being a different shape had thrown them off.

But then, none of them had been too eager to sit around and discuss how things had changed.

Now, things were going to change again. She could already just imagine what Zabini was plotting to do to her. And some of the other conditions-- Being able to delegate who punished her?

Being punished physically? What were they, muggle barbarians!?

At least she wouldn't have to worry about anything too bad, but-- She blushed brightly at the thought. But, they'd only be able to really punish her if she disobeyed.

So, she just had to--. Swallow her pride and do as she was told. She could do that. It was for her family. As long as she didn't--

"Ah, Maidfoy, I wondered where you had run off to."

And she froze and could feel her face bubbling with color as her temper rose. Slowly turning, she found Zabini smirking at her, arms crossed about her chest. That damned irritating, infuriating smirk.

"Zabini," she stated with gritted teeth as she inclined her head at her. She had to get through this. This was for her family, this was for her family.

"That will be Master Zabini soon enough," Blaise countered with a sniff.

"Fairly certain the best you'll qualify is Mistress, Zabini," Draco stated scornfully as she glared back at her.

"As much as I hate to support Malfoy, she's probably go a point there, Zabini," Potter of all people noted as he rolled his eyes a bit. "Remember, she'll ultimately answer to your mother, not you."

"-- I loathe you sometimes, Potter," Blaise stated with a glower and a glare at him.

"I'm sure I'll somehow survive," he answered sarcastically.

Potter of all people knew? Potter?! Oh, Merlin, she was doomed. How the hell did he of all people find out about it?!

As Draco frantically tried to figure that out, Granger of all people got involved. Wasn't she still trying to glare holes in Potter for whatever stupid reason ran through that mudblood's idiotic mind?

"What're you talking about?" There was an edge of caution and irritation in Granger's voice as she looked warily at Zabini.

"Malfoy's punishment for the potions stupidity," Blaise stated with a smug triumph as she leisurely settled into a seat and almost sprawled back into it. "Having to be my family's maid until she's 20. It will be so nice to have a proper servant here at Hogwarts again."

Granger looked absolutely horrified at the concept. "That's horrible!"

"Well, then you can always encourage Malfoy to not accept it," Blaise stated smugly as she ignored the way she was almost purring in contentment. "That would mean throwing herself on the mercy of the rest of the families with children in Slytherin."

Draco paled at the thought. Her father had made it abundantly clear that what those families would want would be something she did not want.

"-- what do you mean?" Hermione asked warily as she glared a bit at Blaise.

"Draco's little mistake cost a number of families at least a generation of their names continuing," Blaise stated with a slow drawl. "While limiting the potential of their line proliferating. Which, after all the deaths from the last two wars--"

The words hung in the air and Hermione frowned in confusion, not quite understanding.

Blaise sighed loudly and gave Harry a look, only for him to just give her one back, his arms crossing about his chest.

Grumbling slightly Blaise straightened up in her seat and made a gesture. "I suppose I shouldn't expect you to know anything about it, you don't really take the time to learn much about our culture."

Hermione bristled at the statement opening her mouth to object only to be cut off with a wave of Blaise's hand. "That was a statement of fact Granger. How many times have you asked people about what the culture and social structures of the Wizarding world are like?"

"You dress and act like--" she started to say only for Draco to sneer softly back at her.

"Typical mu-AH!" Draco started to say, only to gasp sharply as she was hit by a stinging hex from Harry, who glared back at her.

"Language, Malfoy," Harry stated with a dark glare on his face.

Draco swallowed slowly, and glared back at Harry herself, before slowly continuing. "You see certain things, and just assume you know what and who we are."

"You make that abundantly clear, Malfoy. A bigot and a bully," Hermione stated with a sharp snapping voice.

"Maidfoy, stop trying to help," Blaise cut in sharply before Draco could respond, earning herself a poisonous glare from the blonde. "Tell me, Granger, how far back can you track your family line?"

"What?" Hermione blinked a bit, looking confused. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"All three of our families go back to before the founding of Rome," Blaise explained quietly. "I mean, the only reason Potter wasn't included in the sacred 28 is because the author hated them. And despite Malfoy's stupidity spouting out like it is, her family has a history of marrying halfbloods to avoid some of the more-- disagreeable practices of pureblood ideals."

Draco scowled angrily at that, but didn't correct Blaise as she continued. "My family is new to Britain, so I'm not on there. And none of us bear the original names our ancestors did. But, we've been keeping track of our lines for a very long time."

Hermione opened her mouth, then shut it, frowning before she finally asked. "Why?"

Blaise nodded in approval at the question. "Because bloodlines have power."

And again, she cut off Hermione before she could get angry. "I said power. Despite what some people believe, it doesn't mean superiority. There are family bound magics. Family bound artifacts. Things that are intrinsically a part of us. There are some bloodlines that cannot mix, one will triumph over the other and muscle the other out as it were."

She paused a long moment, before shifting uncomfortably. "We don't like talking about it to muggleborn, but we have lost bloodlines."

Draco scowled and looked away as she could see where Blaise was going with the story.

"Take the Malfoys for example," Blaise stated, nodding to Draco with an almost sneer. "They're called that because they're descended from a bloodline usurpation."

"-- Bloodline usurpation?" Hermione asked incredulously. "What is that supposed to be?"

"A woman married into another family, marrying the only heir at the time. The last of a bloodline," Blaise stated simply as she looked at Malfoy instead of Granger. "She made no mention that she was from a bloodline of her own. She bore an heir before they discovered that. One that did not have their bloodline and had hers instead."

"-- Bad faith?" Hermione asked uncertainly as she ran the name through her mind and her knowledge of French.

"Indeed," Blaise agreed as she smirked at Draco. "Bad faith. She and the child were cast out of the family as a result."

"That's horrible!" Hermione looked horrified at the thought.

"Granger, what she did is considered one of the worst actions possible. Deliberately attempting to end a bloodline," Blaise stated sternly. "If they had discovered much later, then there would've been a much, much harder time for them to pass down the bloodline. A family's entire identity is tied to their bloodline. It is more than just a history. It is the essence of who they are."

"Not that we expect you to understand that," Draco stated with a sneer.

Blaise snorted and shook her head. "These days, it's fortunately possible to suppress unwanted bloodlines, thanks to the work of the Alchemist."

"Then what's the point of hating muggles and muggleborn!?" Hermione demanded with a growl. "Magic--"

"Grindelwald's War," Blaise stated grimly with a shake of her head. "Before that, we mainly just thought of muggles as amusing little creatures that we didn't want to be bothered by because they were greedy, grasping little mud dwellers that always kept coming to witches and wizards to either get us to help them, or to blame us for their problems.

"When the war happened, Grindelwald wanted to show the Wizarding World why they should suppress and enslave the muggles," Blaise stated simply and calmly as she could before shifting uncomfortably. "He taught the muggles under his command how to hunt us. It's why my family left the continent."

"There's nothing in the books about that!" Hermione protested vehemently as she shook her head.

"Hogwarts covers ancient history, typically it expects more recent history to either be known already or learned by the students," Blaise stated with a slight sniff and a shake of her head. "Go look up any of the books on the war at Flourish and Blotts. Certain parties made sure that the Hogwarts budget hasn't set for updating the library with something so recent and not related to the study of magic at all."

Malfoy had the grace to look away again.

"After that, well, Grindelwald succeeded. He taught us to fear and hate the muggles," Blaise shrugged slightly. "For good reason. The idea of something we'd looked down on for so long, suddenly able to hurt us? Kill us? They ended bloodlines, Granger. That means little to you, but it means a lot to us."

"And then Voldemort used it," Harry stated simply nodding his head a bit as he thought about it. "Suppose that makes sense. Though--"

"Doesn't make it right," Hermione stated stubbornly.

"Neither does not bothering to understand who we are and why things like bloodlines are important to us," Blaise shot back with a glower of her own. "And just assuming that you know things when you haven't bothered to find out."

Well, Harry wasn't sure if he would take the conversation that Hermione had gotten into with him involved as a win, but, he had a feeling at least it wasn't really a loss.

Posted: 9:39 AM - May 02, 2017


Peter Pettigrew blinked slowly as the normally creaking hinges of the iron door in front of his cell made not a sound as it was opened in front of him. Squinting his eyes, he could make out a figure standing there, garbed in a heavy robe with a cloak pulled down over his features. Then it spoke, and Pettigrew almost groaned as he recognized it.

"Pettigrew," Felonius Nott declared in a weathered, reedy voice. "Do you know what kind of trouble you've caused?"

"-- Not as much as I'll be in if I don't get back to the Master soon," Pettigrew stated quickly as he narrowed his eyes back at Nott.

That caused the elderly man to suck in a breath at first before his eyes narrowed into slits. "You found him then?"

"It wasn't exactly difficult," Pettigrew admitted as he shifted about nervously and looked behind Nott. "It was convincing him that it wouldn't be in his best interests to possess me."

"I imagine his superior taste added to his reluctance," Nott stated flatly as he shook his head and gave the man a sneering look. "And now, here you are, caught up and cornered like a rat."

Pettigrew sneered back at him, glaring angrily as he looked at the open door. "Why are you here then?"

"Why do you think?" Nott stated with another sneer. "I have make sure you escape after all. Who knows what secrets will leak out of your mouth if you stay in the Auror's custody."

"-- you aren't going to kill me?" Pettigrew asked nervously as he stared back at Nott.

"And ruin rise to prominence?" Nott asked disdainfully as he plucked an errant fiber from his robe. "Thanks to that fool Malfoy and his spawn, I no longer have a proper heir. Thanks to my wife's weakness, I cannot father another with her. And thanks to Donatella Zabini and Amelia Bones, I can't recover my loss with the foolish little bint. Unless, of course, the Dark Lord returns and we-- rectify that over sight."

Pettigrew looked confused at the statement, not quite certain exactly what the man was referring to. "I don't-- What're you talking about?"

"I suppose it would be too much to hope that they'd kept you abreast of the rest of the troubles going on, they're likely using you to draw peoples' attentions away from it after all," Nott mused for a moment before shaking his head. "No matter, no matter. I suggest, little rat, that you scurry away as soon as the opportunity shows itself. And, do remember to tell the Master of my part in it."

"Wait, what're you talking about?" Pettigrew asked, clearly confused.

"You'll know it when it happens," Nott stated mysteriously. "Now, I do believe that they're coming to interrogate you once more. Do try to limit things to only implicating yourself."

And with that, Nott turned and left, the door slamming shut behind him, leaving a very confused Peter Pettigrew behind. Shortly thereafter, he was once more subjected to another round of questioning and interrogation. When they finished this time, he noted that the door didn't quite shut all the way.

Just enough for him to pry the door open once more. Just enough for him to sneak his way out of the cell and back towards the entrance of the cell block. Just enough for him to be able to escape the wards of the cell that kept him locked in his human form.

But just enough was still enough.


Harry blinked as he found himself suddenly the subject of a pair of deliveries, one by the stealthy ministrations of the ever skillful TEO, and the other by a particularly flamboyant looking parrot. A particularly flamboyant parrot that smelled distinctly of some form of sweet alcohol that Harry couldn't identify. A particularly flamboyant parrot that was soon practically screaming as it desperately tried to escape a very persistent phoenix.

Remembering the previous experience with Fawkes, Harry turned his head away and pointedly ignored the situation.

He didn't want to deal with the possibility of an alcoholic phoenix.

Between the two letters, however, he debated for a moment, even as he absently held up a piece of swiftly vanishing bacon for TEO to run off with. Best to keep the owl that managed to get on Hedwig's good side happy. Then, he carefully brought up Mrs. Zabini's letter first. Sirius could wait, typically his letters didn't cause as many problems as hers did.

Slowly opening it, Harry glanced through the contents before groaning softly.

She'd invited him to dinner over the weekend. Of course she had. He sighed softly and shook his head.

How was he going to get out of this?

He couldn't exactly go, not only because he sure as bloody hell wasn't going to get his "guardians" permission to leave school grounds especially not to meet the most infamous black widow of their time, but because he honestly wasn't about to put himself into that vulnerable of a position.

"Well, I know that look," Blaise stated with a bemused smirk on her lips. "Whatever did my mother do to you?"

"Invited me to dinner," Harry stated absently, pausing a moment before suddenly feeling more than a small bit of maliciousness popping up at how Blaise was apparently enjoying his situation. "Apparently something about how you'd make a wonderful serving dish to advertise what you have to offer."

"What?!" Blaise stated, eyes suddenly popping wide open. "She wouldn't!"

There was a pause, as suddenly she turned a pale grey. "She would."

"I'll make sure to never mention it, so she doesn't try," Harry stated in amusement as he took a piece of bacon for himself. "Wait, you just said--!" Blaise started to protest, before blinking. "-- you lied?"

"I do on occasion," Harry agreed with a nod of his head. "Everyone does."

"But you're not supposed to lie!" Blaise quickly protested. "It's not fair!"

Harry just looked at him flatly.

"It isn't!" Blaise was whining now. "You're already evil and cunning! I don't need you adding dishonest and deceptive to the list!"

"Imagine that," Harry stated with a drawl and a shake of his head.

"-- Why does Zabini look a half step away from going nutters?" Tracey asked as she slid into her regular seat at the table.

"He lies!" Blaise stated as she pointed a finger accusingly at Harry.

"Not often," Harry clarified with a slight shrug of his shoulders. "I was annoyed at Blaise's mum and she was being entirely too smug about someone else being on the receiving end of her for a change."

"I wasn't being-!" Blaise started to protest, only to be cut off with a look from pretty much everyone seated around them.

"The only time you're not smug, Zabini is when Harry or your mother is throwing you for a loop," Tracey stated with a drawl and a shake of her head. "So what did Harry lie about?"

"I got a letter from his mother inviting me to dinner," Harry answered for the now glowering Blaise. "I then said she offered Blaise up as the dinner plate."

Tracey burst out laughing at that. Blaise glowered even more sullenly at her. "It's not funny."

"It's not funny, it's hilarious, primarily because based on what you've said of her, it's completely something she would to do you," Tracey corrected.

"Yes, and now I know that he'll lie to me about what my mother is suggesting," Blaise stated with a slow, sulky voice. "How am I supposed to know when he's telling me the truth or not about her going forward?"

Tracey looked curiously at Harry, who just shrugged his shoulders and responded. "You don't?"

Blaise worked her mouth open and shut for a few long moments before seething as she glared at Harry.

"-- My, what did you do to Zabini this time, Harry?" Daphne asked with a purr as she practically oozed into her seat with an openly flirtatious smirk on her face.

"I told her that her mother invited me to dinner and she was planning to use Blaise as my dinner plate to show me what she had to offer," Harry stated with a completely straight face as he focused on buttering his toast.

Daphne froze for a moment, considering that thought, before shaking her head. "I could see her trying that with Weasley, but you don't have his obsession with food."

"5 older brothers," Ron stated after he paused long enough to swallow his current mouthful of food to make an intelligible response. "With them included."

The twins looked up as they felt attention directed their way. Then one of then tilted his head to the side. "I say, what's dear Ronnie-kins accusing us of this time?"

"He's explaining his obsession with food," Tracey stated as she looked at the two with narrowed eyes. "Something about older brothers especially you two?"

The twins glanced at each other before looking mildly embarrassed. "Well, yes. But, we stopped giving him mental issues when we realized we were giving him mental issues."

"Admittedly, it wasn't until we got to Hogwarts that we realized we were taking things a might bit too far--"

"The spider," Harry reminded them with a look.

"Accidental magic!" The twins protested at the same time before one of them coughed. "Admittedly, funny accidental magic at the time, but still, Ron was throwing a tantrum and we were getting really annoyed and, well--"

"Spiders," Ron shuddered violently as suddenly recalled second year. "Still not as creepy as acromantulas, but still, bloody spiders."

"I see--" Tracey was suddenly turning her attention fully onto the twins, with narrowed eyes.

".. Brother?" One of the twins said to the other.

"Yes, I concur," the second agreed with a quick nod of his head.

"Wizards vanish!" The two declared simultaneously as suddenly a burst of inky darkness covered the Gryffindor table long enough for the two to make their exit.

"Weasleys! Detention!"

"Worth it!" was called back from outside the Great Hall.

"I worry about those two," Hermione muttered loud enough for everyone to hear.

"I worry them," Tracey stated sounding inordinately pleased with the thought, before frowning. "Harry!"

"Yes, Tracey?" Harry asked curiously.

"I need your help with coming up with something to do to the twins to earn that worry!" she declared simply.

Harry looked thoughtful for a moment, before pulling out his journal, leaving through the pages for several minutes before showing her a line he pointed to.

Tracey blinked for a moment, then grinned evilly. "Yes, that's perfect!"

"Can we get back to the important topic now?" Blaise demanded with a light grumble, "He lied to me!"

"You lie all the time, Blaise, complaining about someone else doing it to you is a bit hypocritical," Daphne noted with a bemused curve to her lips. "And having Harry dear here doing that to work you up-- my, I don't have to worry about you suddenly becoming competition, now do I, Blaise?"

"Bloody Hell no!" Blaise recoiled in horror at the suggestion.

"Good, I have enough problems with some of the other snakes, the ravens, and the badgers," Daphne agreed with a nod of her head.

"-- Not the lions?" Ginny Weasley asked quietly with a dark scowl.

"Most of you lot couldn't handle him," Daphne stated simply with a half wave of her hand. "He's not really what you expect him to be and he's apparently just fine with that."

"I don't know, Harry evil is kind of hot," Parvati Patil stated simply with a wicked grin directed at Harry, who shifted slightly but otherwise didn't react.

"-- Don't you mean Evil Harry?" Hermione asked with a slight frown on her face as she reluctantly joined the conversation.

"No, she totally means exactly what she said," Lavender declared firmly with a shake of her head. "Harry isn't Evil. But, he does have moments of Harry evil. Not my cuppa, but totally Parvati's. I blame Padma for being a horrible influence on her taste in blokes."

"Padma shares your tastes in blokes," Parvati declared back. "She likes them friendly, dumb and malleable."

"Not my fault she has sense enough to not get caught up in the troublesome ones with too many brains, even if they're cute," Lavender declared simply, before smiling innocently at Harry. "No offense, Harry."

"I got a cute out of it, I'm happy," Harry answered with a grin of his own and a shake of his head.

"Oh, you're very, very cute, Harry," Daphne purred at him.

"Aaaaand back to not," Harry declared as he shook his head sadly. "She has a talent for that."

As Daphne pouted, Zabini shook her head, "Honestly, I've never seen her try this hard before. I think your resistence is vexing her."

"Being vexing is my one, true talent," Harry said with a roll of his eyes. "Just ask Voldemort."

That sent out a ripple of flinches through the table, while Ron looked visibly amused at the horror written on the faces of Blaise and Daphne. "Yes, he does that. You have to get used to it."

"He's scary and all, but, well-- He's a sadistic bully," Harry stated with a shrug. "And he loves to hear himself talk. And talk, and talk."

Everyone but Ron, Hermione and Ginny were staring at Harry, mouths hanging open.

"What?" He asked curiously as he looked back at them before shrugging. "He does."

"Harry would know," Ron agreed before finishing off his bacon.

Tracey opened her mouth to say something, before shut it again as she shook her head and groaned. "I swear, the headaches the two of you give me."

Harry shook his head and then finally moved on to Sirius' letter.

He then blinked as he was subjected to the longest, most random and repetitive drunken pleading for Harry to stay safe and not get him in trouble with his mother. It also smelled even more distinctly of alcohol than the parrot itself had. He couldn't even bring himself to be surprised when Fawkes flashed onto the table a moment later, eagerly looking around for more libations to guzzle away.

Instead he found just a formerly rum soaked letter that had long since dried.

Letting out a mournful note, he promptly flashed away again a moment later, leaving behind a stack of extra crispy phoenix fried bacon.

"-- I think my life is getting weirder," Harry noted absently with a frown.

"I really hope not," Ron noted with a worried look. "I don't wanna think about what that would mean."

"More drunken phoenixes for one, apparently," Tracey stated dryly.

"I really hope not," Daphne stated with a frown. "All that heat would be murder on my hair."

"Drunken phoenixes are the sort of thing that are only amusing at the distance, where we don't have to worry about being set on fire," Blaise agreed with a firm nod of her head.

"Part of the reason that fire whiskey is stringently discouraged," Dumbledore noted from behind Harry with a look of faint amusement on his face. "While Fawkes is too lazy to go searching for it, he is quite adapt at locating it by residue alone."

He paused a moment, before smiling faintly beneath his beard, "Which, I suppose, makes it fortunate that any attempts we cannot catch are beyond his ability to detect himself--"

There was suddenly a joyous trill as Fawkes flashed in front of an owl carrying a brown wrapped package and promptly threw the startled owl onto a particularly shocked Hufflepuff's head, while taking the package for himself.

"-- though, it does also mean that he is very prompt about confiscation," Dumbledore noted with a sigh and a shake of his head. "I hope he leaves enough of the packaging for us to identify the would-be smuggler for reprimand."

The prompt explosion of fire made Harry note, "I think that might be a problem."

"-- Yes, I'm afraid I have to agree," Dumbledore admitted with a mournful sigh. "I do hope I have time to lock down my office before he gets too far into the bottle."

"Assuming there was only one," Blaise added helpfully with an innocent smile on her lips.

"-- Oh, dear. I believe I should go," Dumbledore nodded quickly. "Mr. Potter, I have some things to discuss with you at your convenience, please let me know when you have the chance."

That said, he hurriedly lifted his robes and scurried off towards his office.

"Should I be worried about that?" Harry asked absently.

"Probably, but, knowing you, you won't," Tracey stated with a sarcastic drawl.

Harry opened his mouth to protest, then shut it thoughtfully. "You know, you're probably right."


"How the BLOODY HELL DID THIS HAPPEN!?" Bones demanded with a snarl as she glared at the collected security detail that had been responsible for the holding cells containing Peter Pettigrew.

"Someone-- ah-- forgot to shut the door all the way," one of the aurors stated sheepishly.

"-- Forgot to shut the door," she stated slowly, her words carefully and precisely measured to the syllable. "One of the despicable traitors of our time. One who betrayed his best friends, leading to one's death, another's false imprisonment and the orphaning of the Boy-Who-Lived. And you forgot to shut the door all the way."

"He did it!" One of them suddenly broke down and pointed towards the sheepish auror.

"I didn't!" The man said defensively. "I shut it!"

"Obviously you didn't if it was left open!" the accuser stated. "You even admitted someone forgot to shut the door all the way! And you were the one that shut the door!"

"I was trying to keep anyone from being blamed!"

Amelia pinched her nose in an attempt to fight down the headache threatening to pound in the back of her eyes.

"Someone marked the door frame with a blocker," one of the calmer and more rational aurors then informed her while the other two continued to bicker. "We didn't noticed it because we didn't think anyone that got this far would actually do something like that."

"Who?" she immediately demanded.

"We don't know," the auror admitted with a shake of the head. "Trace was too degraded. But, we did find a 10 minute gap in the previous shifts memories."

"--" Amelia growled slowly. "Visitor log."


"Ward logs?"

"No unauthorized individuals."

"Who!?" she demanded, anger boiling in her voice.

"-- I can only tell you that they had a valid pass token, madame," he admitted with a wince.

"--" Amelia took a slow deep breath and then glared. "The anonymous tokens were supposed to have been destroyed."

"Yes, madame, I know," he agreed.

"-- Find out what happened," she demanded with a growl. "Now!"

As the aurors scurried off to perform their assigned duties, Amelia took a slow, deep breath and then began to ponder exactly how she was going to explain this to Harry. And by proxy, Donatella. They still had the interrogation testimonies, but--

She sighed. Dammit. How the hell did this happen?

Groaning softly she rubbed slowly at her temples. "Right. Do we still have enough evidence to go forward with exonerating Black?"

"Yes, madame, though, it's a bit thinner without Pettigrew himself. Of course, the fact that we actually caught him, counts for a lot," an auror stated quickly. "The fact that he's spent over a decade keeping anyone from even suspecting he was alive-- We were lucky enough to catch him. And I doubt he'll make the same mistake twice."

"No, he won't," Amelia agreed grimly as she struggled to decide on what to do next.


Sirius woke up and immediately regretted it. Not the first time he had encountered such a situation. Hell, in the last few months it wasn't even the first dozen.

He immediately sighed. He really had to stop doing this, he wasn't a young man anymore and the hangovers were getting worse. The though was one he immediately and instinctively rebelled against, but it was still difficult to really deny.

Plus, he'd come to a disturbing realization. It just wasn't as much fun to wake up from a night of drunken fun without a pretty witch in his bed that enjoyed it with him. Dear Merlin, he was starting to crave companionship of the feminine persuasion! And not just in a strictly lewd and sexual manner.

Craving lewd and sexual companionship of the feminine persuasion was of course, expected and even embraced. But, actually wanting them still in bed with him come the morning?!

What was wrong with him?

Then he vaguely recalled the letter he'd sent his godson in his drunken antics. Hum, that might've come off as a bit too needy. He'd have to try and get a new letter drafted and sent off, proclaiming the last one to be the result of the evils of alcohol and that Harry should never similarly indulge.

Which would save more for him to set an example of what not to do.

And Lily thought he'd be a horrible role model!

He would always be a prime example of the things not to do!

He just had to make sure that Harry understood that.

Then he paused and frowned as he recalled that Harry was doing things that not even he would willingly do.

He winced as he noticed that the sun was again trying to stab into his brain via his eyes. That wouldn't do, not at all. That must be fixed, post haste!

"Sandy! Hangover cure!" He declared quite firmly and smiled as he was promptly rewarded with a pina colada hitting him upside the head.

As his world rushed towards a pained darkness, he recalled that he might've tried to adjust the charms on Sandy while he was drunk to create a more efficient delivery. That might've been a mistake.

Anything else was promptly forgotten as he passed out.


"Dobby not be sure about this," Dobby the house elf stated with a distinct amount of worry in his voice as he nervously wrung his hands. "Is Garzey being positive about this?"

"Is Dobby doubting the Garzey?" Garzey did not accuse, he merely asked, a single brow arching in a way that implied a great deal of disappointment.

"No! The Dobby would never be doubting the Garzey!" Dobby quickly protested, his hands rising up, before reluctantly lowering. "Except when he does when greatest wizard Mr. Harry Potter Sir is concerned."

"So Dobby is doubting the Garzey," Garzey declared with a sad shake of his head.

"No!" Dobby protested, before shrinking slightly and holding up his finger and thumb slightly apart. "Except for maybe being the teensiest, tiniest bit."

"Good," Garzey nodded his head approvingly.

"-- Good? But Dobby be doubting the Garzey!" Dobby quickly protested once more. "Bad Dobby, bad!"

"-- Dobby be not quite right in the head, the Garzey be thinking," Garzey noted with a frown. "Did the Dobby be having the bad Masters?"

"The baddest of masters," Dobby admitted with a nod of his head and a nervous wring of his hands. "Bad, nasty master wanted to hurt the greatest wizard Harry Potter!"

"And what did Dobby do about it?" Garzey asked, feeling a sudden spike of trepidation.

"Dobby went all sneaky like to protect the greatest wizard Harry Potter!" Dobby quickly declared. "Dobby had to be doing his best to make sure that the great wizard Harry Potter left the Hoggiest of warts!"

"-- Garzey be thinking that not be a good idea," Garzey noted slowly.

"Dobby be told the same thing by the greatest wizard Harry Potter after he trick baddest master into freeing Dobby," Dobby admitted with a sheepish frown. "He be asking Dobby to never try to protect him again."

"The Garzey be thinking that be for the best," Garzey stated slowly as he did not palm his face. Dobby seemed a touch-- overly enthusiastic. "Perhaps the Garzey might suggest not trying to protect or do things for the Masterly wizards and witches? They needs to be knowing how to be getting out of troubles themselves."

"But greatest wizard Harry Potter already be knowing that!" Dobby protested quickly and then frowning. "Bad, bad wizards and awful, nasty muggles! But greatest wizard Harry Potter won't be letting Dobby deal with them! Dobby not like that. Dobby not like that at all!"

"Bestiest to be letting them do things themselves," Garzey stated simply with a shake of his head. "Smalliest of things be fine, cooking, cleaning, stuffs that they can be doings themselves. But, The Garzey be sure that the bestiest things to do is to be letting them be doing the biggeress stuff themselves."

"Dobby not be sure about that--" Dobby stated with a frown. "Good elves always be helping their masters and be doing as they be told."

"Good elves be elves that be valuable to their masters," Garzey corrected with a sniff. "You be thinking the Garzey be doing something like poisoning the Fudgey one?"

"Dobby certainly be wanting to. He can do it if the Garzey not be wanting to," Dobby offered quickly with a bobbing of his head. "The Fudgey one be a bad, dumbiest of wizards."

Garzey stared at Dobby for a moment before rubbing his face. "The Garzey never be letting Dobby around the missius. Bad things be happening if the Garzey does."

"Why the Garzey be thinking that?" Dobby asked, genuinely confused.

"The Garzey be thinking that if Dobby be having to ask that question, he not be getting the answer," Garzey declared firmly.

Dobby frowned, almost pouting. "But, Dobby be wanting the answer! The Fudgey one be a very bad dumbiest of wizards."

"The Garzey be agreeing," Garzey stated slowly. "But, if elfsies be killing the dumbiest of wizards, the elfsies be running out of wizards to serve. And it is the dumbiest of wizards that make the biggest messes."

Dobby looked horrified, "Dobby would never be wanting to take away messiest of messes from elfsies!"

"The Garzey be thinking this be Dobby's problem, Dobby not be being too good at the thinkings," Garzey stated simply and shook his head.

Dobby tugged on his ears for a moment, pulling them both down as he looked at Garzey with wide, trembling eyes. "The Garzey be thinking?"

"Yes," Garzey bobbed his head with a nod. "The Garzey be thinking. That be what good elfsies be doing. They be thinking. They be doing it wells too."

"Dobby tries to be a good elf," Dobby stated as he tugged harder on his ears, a despondent look on his face.

"The Garzey acknowledges that Dobby has been trying," Garzey agreed with a nod of his head. "The Garzey just be thinking that Dobby be failing."

"Dobby be not understanding why he be failing though!" Dobby whined softly as he stared back at the Garzey with trembling lips.

"-- The Garzey understands you be trying to protect Mistery Potter by stealing his mailings?" Garzey asked slowly.

"Yes! Dobby be needing him to think he not want to go back to Hoggiewarts!"

"And be sealing the waysin to the platform for the training?"

"Dobby failed to keep greatest wizard Harry Potter from wanting to go back to Hoggiewarts, so he tried to keep greatest wizard Harry Potter from getting on train," Dobby stated earnestly.

"-- The Garzey not even be wanting to know why Dobby be using the bludgers."

"Oh! Dobby be planning to-!"

"The Garzey said he not be wanting to know," Garzey cut him off with a shake of his head. "Does Dobby be understanding why he be doing bad things with what he be doing?"

"-- No?" Dobby admitted with a shake of his head.

"Dobby no be finding out if Mistery Harry Potter be preferring to Hoggiest of Warts to where he be, danger or not," Garzey stated simply with a shaking of his head. "And Dobby not be finding out just how stubborn Mistery Harry Potter be being about coming back to Hoggiest of Warts."

"But he would be in danger!" Dobby protested quickly.

"..." Garzey looked at the house elf who shrank back under the gaze. Why, oh why was he trying to talk some sense into this failed to be a good elf that was never likely to earn his The?

Sighing he shook his head. "Mistery Harry Potter always be in danger. From what The Garzey has learned, he be quite good at handling it himself."

Dobby opened his mouth to protest again.

"Including Dobby's attempts to be a good elf."

Dobby shut his mouth again and once more looked ashamed.

"The Garzey is trying to be teaching Dobby how to be a good elf," Garzey stated slowly and calmly. "Dobby seems to be having trouble understanding. The Garzey be understanding this. Fortunately, the Garzey be knowsing how to be fixing it."

"He does?" Dobby asked, eyes shining hopefully.

"Yes," Garzey agreed with a nod of his head. "Because if Dobby doesn't be learning to be a good elf, then the Garzey be taking him somewhere he can never try to be helping Mistery Harry Potter ever again."

"No!" Dobby declared, almost wailing at the thought. "Dobby will be a good elf! Dobby will be good!"

"The Garzey be doubting that," Garzey stated in resignation as he shook his head. "But, he be trying. The Missius be being the best she been in too long. So, the Garzey will be trying to fix Dobby into a good elf for Mistery Harry Potter."

He looked at the bouncing, wailing and pitiful elf that was smacking himself in the head.

"-- The Garzey truly be doubting it."

Posted: 9:30 PM - Jul 02, 2017


"Mr. Potter."

Harry had barely taken his first step out of the Gryffindor common room when he heard the voice addressing him. Looking down at the base of the stairs in front of him, he found a grim looking Albus Dumbledore standing there, his hands clasped behind his back. It was not a sight he hoped to see first thing in the morning.

"Headmaster," Harry greeted with a slight frown. "Is there a problem?"

Sighing softly, Dumbledore nodded his head. "I'm afraid so. If you would accompany me for a moment?"

"Sir?" Harry asked in confusion as Ron stepped up behind him, frowning.

"It will only take a moment, I simply wish to inform Mr. Potter in private," Dumbledore stated quietly. "Then he shall be free to join you at breakfast, Mr. Weasley."

"I'll be fine," Harry assured Ron with a slow nod of his head as he began to walk down the stairs towards Dumbledore, before grinning at his friend. "Besides, far be it for me to hold you back from breakfast."

A rumbling growl rose from Ron's stomach, and he blushed in response. "You, ah, don't mind if I start without you, do you mate?"

"Go, before your stomach eats itself and then starts trying to eat the castle next," Harry said playfully.

When he reached the base of the stairs, Dumbledore gestured to an empty room and then promptly shut the door behind them.

"What's this about, sir?" Harry asked politely, looking more than a little nervous.

Instead of immediately answering, Dumbledore closed his eyes for a moment then let out a long, tired sigh as his shoulders slumped. "Amelia has just informed me that Peter Pettigrew has escaped custody."

Instantly, Harry went dead still.

For a long moment, he didn't move, he didn't breath, he didn't blink. Then, he let out an almost explosive breath and quickly suckled it back in. "How?"

"Someone helped him escape," Dumbledore stated with a weary sigh. "I understand if you find yourself more than slightly-- frustrated."

"They had him! How could they just let him get away?!" Harry demanded, his eyes flashing as anger burned through his veins.

"Because someone used something that was supposed to have been destroyed some time ago," Dumbledore stated flatly as his lips thinned beneath his beard. "Apparently someone decided to be less than honest in their accounting."

"So we don't even know who helped him get away?" Harry demanded with an almost animalistic growl as his face twisted into a snarl.

"Not currently, no," Dumbledore admitted with a reluctant, and guilt stricken nod.

"Then why are you even telling me?!" Harry demanded as he focused his attention on the Headmaster.

"I thought you would appreciate hearing about it before the Prophet's story made the rounds this morning," Dumbledore stated simply. "Amelia believes they still have more than enough accumulated evidence to exonerate Sirius, however--"

"That-- that--" Harry didn't seem to know whether he was more angry, or more relieved, confusion written across his face.

"I understand your frustration. They are trying their best to resolve the situation, but-- at the moment it does not seem likely that they will be able to find him again any time soon," Dumbledore admitted before wincing. "He has a-- lengthy history of evading notice and capture."

"That bloody fucking bastard traitor rat," Harry hissed out finally, anger winning over everything else as he could feel his temper breaking. "HOW? How does this keep happening? Why is it everytime things look to get better for me, something like this happens?!Why can't it just go like it's supposed to for once?"

For a long moment, Dumbledore said nothing, staring at Harry, before slowly speaking in a voice weathered and weary from age and experience. "Because life, sadly, is a horrendously callous thing. It cares nothing about either the joys, or the pains it inflicts. There is a constant talk about making things fair, equal-- but I have unfortunately learned that life is none of these things."

His shoulders were slumped, his face pale and looking entirely too thin, and his eyes without their customary twinkle. "It is a lesson I would prefer to never have to teach, but, alas, life sees to it that I often must."

Harry stared at him for a moment, before suddenly all the anger seemed to drain out of him, leaving him looking on the verge of collapse. Then a weak, half-croaked voice left his lips. "I should already know that."

Dumbledore said nothing as he simply looked back at Harry with nothing but sadness in his eyes. "I am sorry that it is a lesson learned so early, Mr. Potter."

For a moment, Harry said nothing, his eyes squinting shut as he fought down the swirl of emotions inside of him. Not here. Not now. Finally, after a long moment of silence, he spoke. "I-- Thank you for telling me, Headmaster. Right now though, I think I need to get to breakfast."

With that, Harry stiffly walked out of the room, ignoring the way the spells cast by Dumbledore seemed to disintegrate around him and made his way towards the Great Hall.

Sighing sadly, Dumbledore watched his student's retreating form and once more felt the weight on his shoulders grow just slightly more impossible to bear. Sometimes, he truly wished that the next great adventure was already upon him. Sometimes.


"So, what'd Dumbledore want to talk to you about?" Ron asked after taking a moment to finish chewing and swallowing the portion of his meal he'd been working on.

As if in response to the question, the mail owls began to swoop in, delivering the morning's Daily Prophet. Wordlessly, Harry almost collapsed into his seat and pointed to the paper. Frowning, Tracey lifted up her copy and quickly checked the headlines.

"Oh, bloody hell. You have to be kidding," she swore with a glare.

"Wot?" Ron asked before practically having the paper shoved in his face. "Right, bloody hell. The bastard got away?"

Harry wordlessly nodded his head.

"Fuck," Ron summarized succinctly.

"What's got Potter so--?" Blaise asked as she settled into her now usual seat, only to have a paper practically slapped into her face. "Oh. Mother's not going to be happy."

Harry said nothing and poked at some scrambled eggs with his fork.

"Mmm, you look sad, Potter," a familiar voice sounded from behind him as he suddenly felt a very pleasantly shaped body draping onto him from behind. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Don't much think he's in the mood, Greengrass," Tracey stated with a flat look.

"Why do you think I'm trying to cheer him up?" she asked lasciviously as she purposely rubbed her chest into Harry's back.

Blaise just looked at her clinically for a moment, before lightly shaking her head. "Not the time."

"But--" she tried to protest.

"Really not the time," Ron agreed with a nod of his head.

Harry stayed silent for a long moment, before leaning back into Daphne and closing his eyes.

His friends and Blaise just stared. Daphne blinked, then smirked triumphantly. Then he spoke. "Don't get too cocky, Greengrass, at this moment, its any pretty bosums in the storm."

Her smirk slid off her face, and she scowled at him for a moment. "Berk."

But she didn't remove herself from him immediately.

"Ms. Greengrass."

Immediately she stiffened and almost jumped up as she quickly pulled away from Harry to find herself facing a stern faced Professor McGonagall.

"While I can appreciate your attempts to cheer up Mr. Potter. Please remember to show some restraint and decorum, hm? Two points from Slytherin and Detention."

Daphne immediately pouted before pulling away from Harry. "Yes, professor."

"And, really, Mr. Potter?" McGonagall turned her attention to Harry, her brow raised archly.

"What? If she wanted to try and comfort me, I wasn't exactly going to say no," Harry said simply. "Admittedly, if she had gotten grabby, I would have, but she managed to keep her hands to herself."

"She's too much a tease to have not," Blaise agreed, nodding her head. "She'd want you to suffer more before she went that far."

"I would not make him suffer!" Daphne protested before smirking a bit at the looks she was getting. "I'd frustrated him, but he wouldn't exactly suffer."

"And she wonders why I say no all the time," Harry stated sarcastically before sighing and lightly tossing his paper at her.

"What's this then--?" Daphne blinked a bit as she read the headlines before tilting her head to the side. "Ah, I suppose that would explain things, wouldn't it?"

"I believe that you would be better served to have your breakfast from an actual seat, Ms. Greengrass," Professor McGonagall stated simply. "I will trust that you can at least manage that, or should I require Ms. Zabini to supervise?"

"Merlin knows she needs supervision," Blaise muttered under her breath.

"So glad you agree, Ms. Zabini," McGonagall agreed with a sharp nod. "Which Is why I'm sure you'll be happy to supervise her detention."

"-- that's just a round-about way of giving me a detention, isn't it?" Blaise noted with a sigh as her shoulder slumped down.

"Now, Ms. Zabini, you're the one in the House of guile," McGonagall stated as she gave her an arch look. "I am simply assigning you the responsibility of supervising Ms. Greengrass' detention. Whatever else would it be?"

"I have a sudden and horrifying idea that Potter is not the only Gryffindor that isn't exactly what I was expecting," Blaise said with a grimace of distaste. "It is not the most pleasant of realizations."

"You will find that the more you attempt to clarify the world into simple stereotypes," McGonagall stated simply. "I would have thought this already made obvious, but, far be it from me to pass up an opportunity to further educate one of my students."

Blaise stared at her for a long moment, before hanging her head and groaning. "I swear, you're all evil."

"Nah, that's only when Harry's involved," Ron disagreed with a shake of his head before biting a piece of bacon and munching it down. "We're normally pretty easy going."

Several people looked at him flatly, causing him to frown. "Wot? I'm plenty easy going! Why do you think Hermione yelled at me so much?"

"That's not easy going, that's lazy!" Hermione corrected with a glare.

"You say lazy, I say easy going," Ron shrugged a bit and offered her a grin. "Either way, I was a lot less stressed."

She growled at him but didn't say anything further.

Tracey however, poked him in the side with the knuckle. "Stop acting like you don't like it."

"I like the potions," he said with a grunt after flinching back from her prodding. "The essays and busy work? Really, really not so much."

"Aye," Harry agreed with a slight nod of his head. "I don't really like that much myself. I mean-- knowing the stuff is one thing, but having to explain it to other people?"

"Really, really tedious," Ron agreed with an audible sigh. "You have to explain everything. And why. I mean, why can't they just read the bloody books? They explain everything I did. I haven't done anything really new I just did something different."

"But, that's of course not good enough," Harry agreed with a sour note. "Not for him."

"Ah, boys, my ears are burning! Been saying good things about me?" The voice they knew well, horribly, horribly well.

And is if the devil himself, Flitwick was there, smiling serenely at the table next to McGonagall.

Something in Harry almost snapped at that. "No."

That made everyone blink.

Harry turned his attention onto Flitwick and said a simple, sharper word, "No. No happy sadism, no cheerfully delivered glut of extra work. Just No."

"Really, Mr. Potter, what made you think I was going to do anything of the sort?" Flitwick asked, sounding almost hurt as he looked at the boy.

"Everything you've done to us this entire year so far," Harry stated flatly as he glared at the man. "All the assignments, all the demands, all the extra work you've piled on us. Not today."

"Mr. Potter, while I suppose it might seem a bit difficult for you to believe, I do not take my exuberance to such extremes," Flitwick said with an almost disappointed expression on his face. "I'm surprised you feel otherwise."

"You have barely given us any time for our own projects since the year started. Even less since Malfoy ruined our experiment," Harry shot back. "And I'm not even talking about all the things you've forced us to do for the tournament."

"And nothing I have done has been more than you are capable of," Fillius stated, before sighing as he noted the outright hostility in his student's eyes. "But, I do not believe you're quite in the mood to listen to that. So, I will sadly take my leave."

He bowed slightly to the students and McGonagall before moving back to the staff table.

"I believe that was rather uncalled for, Mr. Potter," McGonagall noted with a slight frown. "Why Professor Flitwick can be exuberant, he understands quite well that there are times when one should refrain from such."

"Sure didn't bloody well seem like it," Harry muttered sullenly under his breath. "That's the exact same tone he always uses when he's about to make us do something else to make our lives even more miserable."

"Normally I would be reprimanding you for your language, Mr. Potter," McGonagall stated as she frowned. "Considering the circumstances, I will instead remind you that you should always be mindful or your temper, even when you are having a trying time. Otherwise, you will find yourself alienating people that you have no reason or true desire to."

Harry winced slightly before settling into a sullen glare.


"Fillius." Pomona Sprout nodded to the man as he sat almost silent and looking positively melancholy. "I hope you're not taking Mr. Potter's words too seriously."

"Children will be children," Fillius stated with a slight nod before wincing a bit. "Though, I believe he had a bit of a point. What does it say about my approach that he automatically assumes I'm going to make his day worse than it already was?"

"That he's a teenager," Pomona stated with a faint smile of amusement. "You do recall how foolish we were ourselves back then, do you not?"

"Oh, I do indeed," he agreed with a nod of his head. "However, in retrospect, I might have been a bit too-- eager with the three of them. I believe I forgot that if I am always acting a certain way when I approach them with additional assignments, then they will assume that I am always going to have that when I approach them in that manner.

"And, in all honesty, today Mr. Potter did not need additional burdens placed upon him."

"True enough I suppose," Pomona agreed with a somewhat reluctant nod of her head. "That does not mean that he was in the right about it."

"Oh, I'll have words with him about it, I'm sure, even if Minerva has them herself," Fillius agreed with a faint nod of his head. "A sudden jumping to conclusions and accusations is never the smart thing to do. Even if one does have a point."

"Good," Pomona said with a degree of satisfaction. "While I admit Mr. Potter may have valid reasons for being angry, losing one's temper like that never helps one in the long run."

"In all honesty, I don't think I've met many who have as much reason to be angry as Mr. Potter," Fillius admitted with a thoughtful tapping of his chin. "The fact that he takes so much to rile up is rather admirable I suppose. Though, I believe I'll work on teaching him how to properly channel that anger. Too easy to have it used against you."

"Merlin knows that Severus could have learned that lesson," Pomona stated with a sad shake of her head. "I do hope he doesn't end up suffering too much because of all this."

"I'm sure he'll manage, Pomona," Fillius told her simply. "It might be difficult, but he'll manage."


Severus Snape took a long, drawn out drag from his cigar, before releasing it into the air above him before he slowly turned his attention to the man in front of him. "So, let me see if I am understanding correctly. You want me to recreate the mess that occurred at Hogwarts in a stable, commercial form?"

"Of course, your former position means that you were privy to the details of the investigation, including the original recipe and the changes made to it," the man agreed with a nod of his head. "This could be a very, very profitable creation if it can be duplicated."

"Yes, I'm very much aware," Severus took a slow drawing puff on his cigar and considered.

It was tempting. Oh so very tempting. For a moment, he savored the special taste of the smoke in his mouth as he considered, the potion he'd soaked the tobacco in bringing out so many different subtle flavors.

On one hand, the idea of stealing things away from a Potter and one of those damned Weasleys was more tempting than he cared to admit. However, against that was his promise to protect the little Potter spawn. He drew another long puff of his cigar before releasing it in a ring above his head.

"You do realize that the original creators of the base potion are already working on recreating it, yes?" Snape finally stated with a carefully calculating gaze.

"Bah, school children and lucky ones at that, you really expect them to be able to recreate something like this?" the man stated dismissively as he looked straight at Severus with a sneer on his face.

"Hardly," he agreed with a nod of his head. "However, if we don't allow them the time to properly research and make their own attempt, do you realize how many potions masters you will be offending?"

And that was the deciding crux of the matter. Not his promise, not his hatred. The fact that if he didn't allow those little dunderheads to make their attempt, he would become a pariah among potions masters the world over.

The man grimaced in distaste before slowly nodding his head. "True, I suppose. However, there is nothing stopping you from researching it in secret, now is there?"

There, was the perfect little work around for it as well.

"That would take years, you do realize. And I would need funding the entire time, just to make sure that I stay the course," Snape stated as he dipped the cigar lightly in the potion in a tumbler at his side before drawing it back to his mouth, and letting out a long stream of smoke that writhed and twisted like fire.

"With all that time, you'd be expected to produce more than just recreate this potion," the man insisted as he glared at Snape.

"Naturally. Only a blithering dunderhead would expect to rest on their laurels and be paid to achieve nothing," Snape drawled out acidically. "You wouldn't be implying that I am some kind of incompetent, now would you?"

For just a moment, the burning flames of smoke shifted, coiling together into a familiar symbol floating in the air between them as Snape's cold, black eyes locked upon the man in front of him. "That would be-- Ill-advised, I would imagine."

"Just as attempting to intimidate me would be just as ill-advised," the man growled back as his eyes flashed and his fingers clenched upon his wand. "You are hardly the only Dark Wizard out there, Severus Snape."

"No, I'm not," Severus admitted with a sneer on his face that revealed the crooked, yellowed teeth in his mouth. "However, if you are so foolish as to think you are the superior one, I will happily educate you on your mistake."

For a moment, Snape almost thought the man would actually go for his wand. He tensed, taking a long, drawing inhale of his cigar, before slowly releasing the smoke into the air between them. It hung there for a moment, writhing like hungering flames, eager, wanting to devour him.

Then the man slowly relaxed and sent an ugly frown at Snape. "It is not typically a wise thing to threaten your patron."

"And it is a foolish thing to allow someone to have even the hint of power over you that they might become so foolish as to think that they could actually try and control you," Snape glared back at the man as he straightened up. "I have sworn myself to one Master only. And if you think I will bow myself for anyone lesser, you are sorely, sorely mistaken."

His eyes narrowed into slits as he hissed out between his teeth. "I will work with you in partnership. I will develop the potions that I am paid to develop, I will brew them. And you will sell them and we will split the profits."

"I am the one-!" the wizard protested at first.

"You will be supplying the capital and the distribution," Snape stated coolly. "While I will be the one that develops and brews the potions, likely risking a great deal of harm to myself in the process. If you think you will find yourself getting a better deal than that, I will happily sell my services elsewhere. And do you really think this foolishness at Hogwarts will do anything to affect that?"

The wizard swallowed sourly at that. Snape's career as a teacher was through. He wouldn't be able to even get a job as a tutor from anyone but the most desperate of families.

But, his career as a potions master? That was something else entirely. Potions masters were rare, too rare for them to be squandered or forsaken for their personal predilections. In fact, it was likely the only reason he had been willing to be as generous as he had been with the split of profits was because of the current cloud over his name.

Scowling angrily at Snape the man finally spat out a response, "Very well."

"Good," Snape puffed on his cigar again and smiled darkly at the man. "Then I will expect my workshop to be provided shortly."


"I swear, Sirius, you had better have a good explanation for this," Andromeda Tonks Nee Black stated with an imperial glare that immediately had Sirius flinching back.

"Um, I made the mistake of fiddling around with Sandy's charms when I was drunk?" Sirius offered as he continued to hold an ice pack to his face.

"That is not what I'm talking about and you know it!" Andromeda threw a folded piece of parchment at his face with a surprising amount of force.

Sirius flinched back as the material hit his nose and quickly reached up, catching it with a whimper of shock. "Ow! Dammit, why did you have to do that, Rommie?"

"You ordered me to show up! You idiotic, worthless-!"

"Wait, what?" Sirius quickly protested as he dropped the ice pack and unfolded the letter. "I never- Oh. Oops."

There on the parchment, in what Sirius immediately recognized was his drunken scrawl was what equaled an order for her to appear on his island.

He hadn't really meant for it to be an order, really, he hadn't.

"In my defense, I was really, really drunk when I wrote this," Sirius said in his defense.

"You still wrote it!" she said with a frighteningly threatening growl. "Again, drunk!" Sirius reminded her. "Plus, have you been paying attention to the mess Harry's gotten himself into!? How do you expect me to stay sober when that's occurring?!"

"What mess? As far as I've heard, the only mess that's been occurring has been because of Narcissa's little bastard and Pettigrew finally getting himself captured," Andromeda stated with a frown. "And getting completely pissed out of your mind because Pettigrew escaped isn't reason for you to get it into your thick skull to order me around like you were any of our parents!"

Sirius' eyes went wide. "Wait, he escaped?! When? How?!"

"It was in the paper, Sirius, you should already know about it," Andromeda stated flatly.

"Rommie, I've been on this island for the last 4 months! How do you expect me to get a paper out here?! My only information on what's going on is from what letters I get!" Sirius stated with a light growl of his own. "The last I heard, Pettigrew was in custody!"

"He was, he escaped," she said with a slow, uncertain voice. "I thought you knew. I thought that was why you were so drunk."

"No, I've been so drunk because Harry's been playing games with Donatella Zabini and now she's interested in him of all things!" Sirius responded with a slightly hysterical look in his face. "Bloody hell, Rommie, he's been saying he won't open the possibility of opening negotiations with her to make her daughter a concubine of all things until I'm free. And she agreed!"

Andromeda blinked a moment, considering exactly what she knew of the infamous widow Zabini before slowly nodding her head. "All right, I can understand that, I suppose. That does not explain the ordering. Nor excuse it."

"-- Do you really think I can think of a way to help Harry out with this?" Sirius demanded as he looked at her. "I need someone cunning, devious, unscrupulous and evil!"

"And you thought of me?" she asked, her arms crossing her chest as she glared at him.

"That look works on Ted, only because he didn't grow up with you," Sirius remarked easily. "I did. I remember. So, yes, very, very much a yes!"

"I was never evil! I left that to Bellatrix and Narcissa," she said flatly as her eyes narrowed into slits.

"Riiiiight, and that's why when Bellatrix showed up to try and crash your wedding reception, all you had to do was glare at her and she went running back to her Master with her tail between her legs," he noted with a faint grin on his lips.

"That was a lifetime ago, Sirius," she responded with the look of irritation still on her face. "I haven't had to raise my wand for anything resembling a fight in over a decade. Even then, I was never half those things."

"You were plenty of those things, still my favorite cousin, but definitely those things!" Sirius argued back with a shake of his head and a faint grin. "Exactly the kind of things that I need to confront a woman like this Zabini lady and come out without losing any hope of my godson ever respecting me!"

She just looked at him for a long moment, before responding, "I am not James Potter. I am not going to tell you that there was never hope of that to begin with. It would be childish, pointless, and I don't see any reason in stating the obvious."

"Well, I can't very well do it with Remus, he's horrible as anything but a straight man," Sirius said with a frown. "And really, I have to at least try to be an adult around Harry. Do you know how hard that is?"

"Again, not answering the obvious question that you shouldn't even need to ask," she responded as she crossed her arms about her chest. "So, why don't we skip all your attempts at banter and you just tell me exactly what you're expecting from me."

Sirius slumped down and collapsed in his seat as he looked around. "Well, I need to know how to try and handle the crazy lady that somehow manages to keep marrying and killing off her husbands without so much as batting an eye and never getting caught."

"Shouldn't you be talking to your godson about this, since he's the one getting you into this situation to begin with?"

"And tell him what, exactly? 'Hey, Harry, I have absolutely no idea what so ever how I can actually take care of this, or what I should do to make sure that this negotiation doesn't end up with her owning my soul and other parts of my body that should remain firmly my own, so what should we do?'" he asked rhetorically. "No, not really going to happen. Besides, you really expect a teenager to be able to give me the kind of advice I can use in this situation?"

"Considering it likely boils down to: Don't try to sleep with her, don't give her anything to sleep with her, don't let her sleep with you," she shot back with a glare. "I can imagine it wouldn't be too terribly difficult."

"I spent over a decade in prison, for Merlin's sake, Rommie! I haven't talked to an attractive woman in--" he started to say, paused, then quickly clarified, "An attractive woman I'm not related close enough to for my parents to have considered a valid match, in even longer!"

"Sirius, you really expect me to be able to do anything about that?" Andromeda demanded with a glare. "You're lucky I even remembered how to get here from London. And it's bad enough that I had to go through that bloody house to do so."

"Right, sorry about that," Sirius said with a wince of empathy. "It's never the most fun going through that crypt. You manage to keep from waking the hag?"

"Barely," she agreed with a nod of her head. "I imagine she hasn't improved in the time since she finally died. Now, really, what is it you expect me to actually do, Sirius?"

"Help me?" he asked hopefully.

"What is it you expect me to do that's actually within my ability to do?" she responded as she crossed her arms about her chest.

"Talk to Harry or have Nymphadora do it so I can at least get some sense of how screwed I am and how he thinks I should approach it?"

"Fine, might as well have Nymphadora do it, at least that way she'd be doing something constructive instead of prancing about in a red robe," she admitted with a sour grumble.

"-- You do realize she probably became an Auror because of how much you hated it the idea of her becoming one, yes?" Sirius noted with a faint smile.

"Just because we--" she started to say before her lips pressed together into a thin line and she glared at him as his smirk grew wider. "Oh, shut up, bloody bastard."

"Oh, how I wish I was. Oh, how I wish I was."


"Master, I have returned," Pettigrew spoke warily as he drifted into the abandoned Riddle mansion. This was not a situation he desired to be in.

"Where have you been, Wormtail?" a feeble, furious voice spoke up from where he had left his master. "Attend me, now!"

"I-- I apologize, Master," Pettigrew quickly scurried over to the diminutive creature that had long since claimed his life. "I was-- My previous resources were compromised."

"How compromised?" the shriveled, repugnant creature demanded.

"I was-- captured," Pettigrew admitted with a grimace of distaste. "After all these years, I did not expect them to have trapped the Marauder vault."

"I was made aware. The entire Wizarding World was made aware! And yet, miraculously you are here," there was anger in that voice again, a promise of pain and suffering.

"One of your other, loyal servants was able to-- arrange my release," he admitted reluctantly as he quickly began to go to work on quickly brewing the potion his master needed to regain some semblance of vitality.

"Who?" the voice demanded as Voldemort writhed in his place. "And why have they not presented themselves to me!?"

"Nott, Master," Pettigrew stated quickly as he bowed his head in supplication. "And I cannot say for certain. He did express a hope that you would allow him to-- rectify his no longer having a valid heir thanks to Malfoy."

"And of course, you have no comprehension of the mess Lucius spawn created," Voldemort said with a snarl with all the venom his weakened body could manage. "Merlin forbid you pay attention."

Pettigrew flinched at his Master's words, and quickly responded. "I have been paying attention, Master! I have just been focusing on serving you!"

"A likely excuse, wretched creature," Voldemort said. "And tell me, have you at least had the forethought to contact Bartemius?"

"I-- came back to fulfill my responsibilities to you straight away, Master. I did not think you would approve of me diverting from that," Pettigrew quickly answered.

For a moment, there was silence, before he could hear the voice of Voldemort grudgingly agreeing, "I suppose that is a valid reasoning, if only because you did not compound upon your previous incompetence."

"Thank you, Master," Pettigrew stated quickly as he bobbed his head while continuing to work on the potion in front of him.

"What information did you disclose to save your worthless hide then, Wormtail?" Voldemort demanded as he glared feebly at the wizard.

"-- Only what they already suspected, Master--" Pettigrew admitted with a nervous shift. "My true allegiances and that I was responsible for betraying the-- blood traitor and his mudblood wife."

Voldemort could practically taste the hesitance in Pettigrew's voice before smirking. "Oh? So you simply revealed to them that it was by your hand that the Potters fell, hmm? That you were responsible for their safety and happily sacrificed them for the promise of safety and security?"

"Yes, Master," Pettigrew admitted in a subdued voice as his hand went reflexively to his pocket where he still had the Order of Merlin that Amelia Bones had dumped upon him. "And that I was responsible for their falsely imprisoning the blood traitor Black."

"Oh, yes, they must have loved that," Voldemort let out a slow, dark cackle. "Their great and noble hero, really the vile traitor they made the man who tried to avenge their fallen heroes out to be. Tell me, Wormtail, how much do they despise you now?"

"Very much, Master," Pettigrew answered quietly as he slowly stirred the potion.

They knew what kind of monster he was now. Even if he wanted to, he would never be able to leave the Dark Lord's service, not now. He would be hunted down by both sides, vermin to be exterminated by pretty much everyone.

It was a less than pleasant thought that kept him quietly brewing the potion for his master.

"When you finish, you will find a way to get in contact with Bartemius," Voldemort declared with a shrill, feeble declaration. "With all the foolishness of the Malfoys going on, I need to ensure that the plan is still progressing. I will not tolerate any further complications!"

"Yes, Master--" There was a pause before Pettigrew reluctantly asked, "And if there are complications?"

"Then it would be best that our dear friend already had plans in place to mitigate it," Voldemort stated darkly.

"Yes, Master."


Posted: 1:52 PM - Oct 01, 2017


Harry sighed softly as he slumped down at his seat in the library as he stared at the book in front of him and the parchment next to it. Everything that was in front of him was just.. He didn't know what to think about it.

He should be focused on his classwork. Or the extra work Flitwick had given. Or, even the insanity of him trying to play the game he'd been playing with Madame Zabini.

Instead, he was stuck, sitting here, thinking about that bastard traitor Pettigrew of all things.

He just couldn't understand it. They had him! How could he just get away?

Shoulders slumped he shook his head and sighed softly. It just-- sucked. Wasn't the mess he already had to deal with enough as it was? Why did it have to keep getting worse?

"Ok, seriously, this is getting ridiculous," Tracey stated as she almost slammed her books down in front of him, drawing an irate glare from Madame Pince. "Are you going to just be a broody jerk or you going to get over it?"

He almost flinched back at her accusation before frowning as he glared sullenly back at her. "They let that bastard get away! And do you know how hard it will be to catch him again?"

"Yes, I get that," she agreed with a nod of her head. "And yes, that sucks, it really does. He helped get your parents killed and that is horrible," Tracey agreed with a nod of her head. "You have every right to be upset about it. But, seriously, Harry? You really going to let that little bastard make you even more miserable than he's already made you?"

"-- It's not that easy," he said sullenly as he gave her a glare.

"Probably not," she admitted with a nod. "I don't know what it is you're going through, I don't know where you're coming from."

She paused before suddenly poking him in his chest. "But, what I do know? You're not acting like the Harry I've gotten to know these last few months. Really, really not acting like him. This sucks, yes. And I get you being mad. I'm mad too. But why the bloody hell are you sulking about it?"

"And what else can I do about it? Go out and hunt him down myself?" Harry demanded with a hiss of anger. "I'm stuck here and I can't do anything about it!"

"We get it! We do, but sulking and taking out your anger on everyone else isn't helping you either!" she told him in return with a glare of her own. "In fact, you're hurting things by doing that! You want allies not enemies in this!"

"I don't really care," he told her flatly as he glared at her.

"You should! How else are you going to get things handled in the future?" she countered as she crossed her arms about her chest. "You think your thing with Blaise's mum will work out if you treat her like the others."

Harry winced just a bit before reluctantly shaking his head. "No--"

"Bloody right," she agreed with a nod of her head. "And think about what will happen if you alienate her now. What's going to happen in the future?"

"Bad things," he admitted as his glower returned.

"Exactly," she agreed with a nod of her head. "Now, imagine how things will be if all the people you've been snapping at are going to be people you heed for something else in the future."

"But, they aren't," he reminded her with a frown.

"As far as you know now," she reminded him. "But did you know you were going to do something with Madame Zabini before everything happened?"

"No," he admitted again as he shrank slightly back in his seat.

"That's the thing I'm trying to get you to understand. It's what my parents have been hammering into my head since I was starting to get ready to come here," she told him simply. "Don't alienate people just because you can. There are plenty of people that you're going to alienate just by being you, you shouldn't add to it with everyone else."

Harry snorted a bit at that. "Yeah, Malfoy proved that."

"Exactly," she agreed as she nodded her head. "But, snapping at everyone else, including Professor Flitwick?"

"He was going to come over and assign more work," he argued defensively. "That wasn't--"

"You don't know that for certain," she countered back. "If he had, I would've agreed with you saying what you said, 100%, but you didn't give him the chance."

"He always has that look on his face when he's going to come up with something to ruin my, our day," he said with a flash of anger in his eyes. "Every single time."

"But, you don't know for certain," she reminded him with a glare of her own. "If you have to yell at someone, wait for them to show that they deserve it, otherwise, you just look like you did. Like a giant berk."

"But he's--!" he startd to protest, only to be cut off as she glared more at him.

"You were acting like a giant berk. You're still acting like a giant berk," she hissed out with a growl. "Normally, I'd be fine with it, hell I might've even found it amusing. But, now it's not just yourself that you're making look bad."

"Oh, I see how it is," he stated in a calm, cold voice. "You're only worried about how things look for you."

"I'm worried about things for both of us, you bloody bastard!" she whispered angrily as she brought her hands down on the table and she leaned forward, glaring. "Yes, I'm worried about myself, but I'm also worried about you! I don't want you to-!"

"You don't want me to ruin your meal ticket," Harry stated coldly as he glared back at her, before he roughly grabbed his things and shoved them carelessly into his bag. "I should have known better."

"That's not what I'm saying!" Tracey objected as her voice raised in pitch. "This isn't about anyone's meal ticket! This is about you and you just lashing out like this!"

"Right, because I can trust what you're saying," Harry said with a glare. "You already told me that you were out to get ahead and--"

"I never once told you anything that wasn't true!" There were tears in her eyes now, her whole body trembling as she clutched her fists tightly at her sides. "I was always honest with you about things! I thought I was your friend!"

Harry took a step back at that, his eyes widening even as the turned around and promptly ran away. By the time he realized what was happening, she had already reached the entrance to the library. "Tracey, wait-!"

Only, she didn't. Harry stood there, staring after her and suddenly his shoulders slumped down as his head hung. "Bugger."


The red haired figure ran past Ron in almost a blur as he walked up towards the library, almost bowling him over as it ran as fast as it could in the opposite direction.

It took him a moment to realize that the figure was in fact female. A moment later, he realized just who it was. "Tracey! Wait, what's wrong?"

Only, she didn't seem interested in stopping. Or maybe she just didn't hear him. He couldn't tell.

But he could at least give chase.

"Oi! Tracey! Wait up!" he called out as moved to follow her.

She was running wildly, taking turns seemingly at random. He wasn't sure where she was going, hell, he wasn't even sure he knew where they were. Everything was kind of blurring around him as he focused on her dark red hair.

It gave him something to track at least, something to follow.

He almost lost her after a few corridors, too many quick turns around corners with just a brief glimpse allowing him to stay on her trail. Finally, she began slowing down before tucking herself into an alcove. When he slowed and trotted up to it himself, he found her curled back into the cold stone, her face a bright red, tears flowing from her eyes as she struggled to breathe.

"Tracey? What's wrong?" he asked worriedly, finding himself more than a little winded after the chase.

In response, she just seemed to curl into herself, burying her face in her arms, as she began to convulse as she pulled herself into a ball.

"Bloody hell, Tracey!" he exclaimed as he crouched down and brought his hands down, gently rubbing on her back. "Come on, try to calm down! Breath!"

It took her longer than either of them was comfortable with, before she finally managed to get herself under control, her desperate, gulping breaths slowing to deep, steady inhales.

"Harry--" she managed the word with another sob before curling back into herself. "He-- he-- He thinks I'm trying to use him!"

"Wot?" Ron blinked, then blinked again. "I thought we all covered all this a while back?"

"I was trying to talk him out of just lashing out at everyone like he has been, and then we just--" Tracey looked up at him with red, glistening eyes and then looked down miserably. "Then he was talking about how I was just using him after all."

"Yeah, I guess that-- well, Harry does have a bit of a temper," Ron admitted with a wince. "I mean, he's not the only one. Merlin knows I say some really stupid stuff sometimes. I'm sure he didn't mean it."

"Yes, he did," she disagreed with a shake of her head. "He meant it and he hates me now."

"He doesn't hate you, Tracey," Ron shot back with a shake of his head. "I don't think he hates anyone outside of Vo-Voldemort and Wormtail. And maybe Snape."

"You didn't see his face! He's never going to forgive me!" Tracey declared in denial. "He hates me!"

Unseen by either of them, a figure carefully pulled away from where she'd been listening nearby and hurriedly walked away.

"He doesn't hate you," Ron insisted. "I'm sure of that. Just-- yeah. He's being a bit of a berk, that's all."

"You didn't hear him," she argued back with a shake of her head.

"I know Harry though," he answered with a firm look on his face. "Look, after the whole mess with the rat last year, he still forgave me when I was being a berk. And this summer when I was being a berk, he still forgave me."

"But you're his best friend," she reminded him. "I'm--" Not went left unsaid.

"He's willing to forgive Hermione too," he told her quickly. "Not just me."

"She's his other best friend!" she retorted as she shook her head. "He's never going to change his mind and--!"

"-- Tracey? Now you're just being silly," he said as he patted her on the back. "Seriously, just let him cool down and he'll come over and apologize."

"He's not apologizing to Granger."

"Well, Hermione is being a bit stubborn," he admitted with a wince. "She's kinda-- used to being right. And us apologizing. And admitting we're wrong."

"I don't think I was wrong though!" She sounded desperate now, her eyes wide as tears threatened to spill out again. "I mean-- He needs to not lash out like that! He's hurting things for himself in the long run! And he thinks that I told him that only because I'm worried about how that affects how things will work out with me instead of me being worried about how it's going to work out for him!"

"Right," Ron slowly nodded his head. "Then you likely just need to wait for him to come to talk to you about it. I mean, he was willing to talk to Hermione, remember? It's all on her not wanting to listen to us that's really the problem there."

Unfortunately, looking at her face, Ron had a feeling that it wouldn't be that easy to convince her.


Nymphadora Tonks stared at the flashing green fire of her floo like it was a nundu, ready to pounce on her and render her down into very small, meaty witch parts.

"Hello, Nymphadora," her mother said through the flames as she arched a brow. "Aren't you going to invite me through?"

"-- Mum," Tonks acknowledged with a slow nod of her head. "Kinda debating that currently. You have that look on your face. That generally doesn't bode well for me."

Her mother was now scowling at her. "Honestly, Nymphadora! You're not a child anymore."

"I know," Tonks agreed with a nod of her head. "That's why I can say 'No' now."

"-- Yes, and I can also apparate myself there just fine, and then you have to deal with me not only having my previous look, but you having just refused to let me through the easy way and forced me to apparate," Andromeda reminded her daughter.

"I have really good privacy wards now," Tonks declared with a firm nod of her head. "Even Moody was impressed."

"And if you make me tear them down, I will put you over my knee and make you remember that I am still your mother and you are not too old for a spanking!" Andromeda stated with a coolly sweet smile on her lips.

Tonks winced at that. "-- Right, you would do that, wouldn't you."

"I'm your mother, dear, what did you expect?" she asked pointedly.

"The ability to enjoy a nice quiet evening without any craziness or drama?" Tonks asked hopefully.

"-- Nymphadora, I have already had to deal with the insanity that is my cousin Sirius. I have had a long day. I am going to have a talk with you. Now you can either let me through now, or I can find you, and make you wish that you had never left home," she stated with a flat sweetness that dripped like lead. "So, please let me through."

"-- Yes, mum," Tonks wilted against her mother's statement and quickly allowed passed through the floo.

A moment later, Andromeda Tonks Nee Black appeared in a flash of green flames then slowly looked around the small apartment. "I applaud you on being able to better maintain things than your father."

"Thanks," Tonks stated sarcastically. "Not like that's really hard."

Walking over to her couch, Tonks dropped down onto it with an almost boneless flop as she eyes her mother warily. "So, what's all this about then?"

"Sirius has managed to get himself into trouble," Andromeda stated without preamble as she shook her head. "Shockingly, for once not because of something he did. Instead, his godson has managed to drag him into a-- predicament."

"Well, that's not vague and troublesome, not at all." Tonks' voice dripped with sarcasm.

"You can manage decorum, Nymphadora, I know, I taught it to you," Andromeda declared with a huff. "And Harry Potter has managed to get himself intertwined with Donatella Zabini."

"-- Wait, wot?" Tonks blinked then blinked gain. "How in the bloody hell did he manage that?!"

"Apparently he caught her attention when the whole potions debacle happened," Andromeda answered as she carefully sat herself down on the couch next to her daughter. "And the boy had the insanity to actually engage her. Worse, he's actually apparently playing her."

"Didn't think that was actually possible," Tonks noted doubtfully. "I mean, honestly, what kind of bloke that age manages to keep his head when dealing with a woman like that?"

"Harry Potter apparently."

The dry tone of her mother's voice made Tonks roll her eyes and shake her head. "So, what about this has to do with me?"

"Sirius wants someone to talk to him and ask him to please stop poking the evil temptress that he is quite certain will utterly destroy him if he has to try and negotiate with her himself."

"-- Riiiiiight." Tonks slowly looked at her mother for a long moment. "So, what, I'm expected to convince a teenaged boy to stop playing with the crazy femme fatale? Exactly how?"

Andromeda arched a brow and just looked at her daughter.

"-- I am not seducing a 4th year," Tonks declared flatly. "No matter what that crazy mutt says."

"Did I suggest something like that?" Her brow continued its arch towards her.

"You implied it, heavily, so, yes."

"Mmm, while it might be a nice match, I doubt he'd go for it," Andromeda stated as she shook her head. "Too much of his parents in him. They both could be so stubborn when it came to relationships."

"Nice to see you're still trying to meddle in my love life." The words were said with a sour faced grumble as she crossed her arms about her chest.

"Please, what love life? You spend all your time running around trying to prove you're more than just a metamorphamagus that you have no time to actually look into having anything resembling romantic interaction."

"I do just fine, mother," Tonks said with a sniff as she lifted her chin up. "I simply don't bother keeping them. I get what I want and then move on."

"That's going to change," her mother told her knowingly.

"Not likely soon," Tonks disagreed with a shake of her head. "So, what exactly is it that I'm supposed to do then? Bear in mind, I'm still a rookie with the Aurors, so my schedule isn't exactly filled to the brim with free time."

"You're trying to foist this back onto me," Andromeda observed with narrowed eyes.

"You're trying to foist it off onto me to begin with," Tonks reminded her before shorting. "I'm all for helping out, but I'm not looking to get dragged into a political mess just because Sirius is too afraid to get involved himself."

"This is something you should be more inclined to take part in than me," Andromeda countered back with a shake of her head. "Besides, actually getting involved in some subterfuge and machinations would do you good. You're entirely too naïve."

"Naïve. Right." The flat tone of her voice matched the stare that Tonks levelled at her mother. "Don't know how exactly that's possible with you of all people for a mum."

"Oh, my dear, dear little Nymphadora, you have no idea how much I shielded you from things." Andromeda sounded both sad and amused at the same time. "If you had grown up in the House of Black-- Oh, how you'd know how naïve you are right now."

"Yes well I didn't grow up in the house of the inbred and the bigoted, so, yay for me," she said in response with a mild glare. "Now, stop trying to drag me into this mess."

Andromeda looked at her daughter for a long moment, before pursing her lips. "I suppose I'm going to have to impart a few lessons upon you, my dear, dear daughter."

Tonks paused, then frowned as she looked back at her mother with a wariness in her eyes. "I'm not a kid anymore, mum."

"And yet, I will still be educating you," Andromeda declared as she stood up and then brushed down her robes. "Don't worry, I'll see myself out. As you won't help me, I'll have to expend more effort than I wanted to. Pity, it would've been easier for you if you'd gone alone with me."

"Wait, wot?" Tonks blinked, a sudden feeling of alarm shooting through her as she quickly stood up. "What're you talking about?"

"Don't worry, Nymphadora, you'll find out soon enough," Andromeda assured her with a sweetly serene smile. "Have a good day."

As she watched her mother vanish in a flash of green fire, Tonks has a sinking suspicion that she was going to do something she would not particularly care for.


Amelia Bones looked up with her face already twisting into a scowl when she saw her secretary standing there with a nervous look on her face. "What is it?"

"You, um, have a visitor, Madame Bones."

Glancing at the nearby clock, to remind herself of the time, she then twisted her gaze back to the secretary. "I do not have any appointments and I am quite busy sorting through this latest mess."

"She insists, Madame."

Her face twisting into distaste, she shook her head. "I don't care how much Zabini whines, I'm not going to just indulge in her inane little social gatherings."

"It's not Madame Zabini,"

That made Amelia pause a moment before looking more pointedly at the secretary. "Are you going to tell me whom it is then?"

"Andromeda Tonks?" The secretary asked almost questioningly, seemingly uncertain.

"Tonks--?" Amelia frowned as she tried to place the name, before a sharp, cultured voice cut in from behind the secretary.

"Nee Black." Andromeda Tonks stood there with her back straight and her head tilted slightly to the side, looking every bit the imperial pureblood that Amelia remembered Narcissa Malfoy holding before her spirit broke. "You'd know me as Sirius Black's only acceptable cousin, the cast out sister of Narcissa Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange, and the mother of one of your rookie aurors."

Amelia slowly processed each of those statements before reaching up and pinching on the bridge of her nose. "Right, and of course you are."

There were so many headaches related to that introduction bearing down on her. Was she here about the escape of Pettigrew? Was it the issue with the Malfoys? Harry Potter? Something to do with the auror she could vaguely recall in her employ?

"And what exactly is this about then?" She might as well try to be reasonable. Merlin knew that she had enough headaches as it was.

"A plethora of things," Andromeda stated as she stepped into the office unbidden and took the seat across from Amelia without a word of invitation.

Of course. It couldn't be easy, now could it? "That is remarkably vague."

She waved off the secretary who had stood there, nervously unable to do anything to block the woman. "So, perhaps you would be so kind as to clarify what you mean."

"Well, there is of course the question of what exactly is going on with the issue of my cousin's rather improper incarceration, his current status, and what exactly the-- failure to secure the little rat will have on things. Then there is the issue of Donatella Zabini's interest in my cousin's godson. And of course, then there is a matter which I want to talk to you about in regards to my daughter."

"I suppose I don't have any say in what order we talk about them then?" Amelia asked rhetorically, her shoulders slumping with a feeling of resignation washing over her.

"Oh, you could," Andromeda agreed as she steepled her fingers together as her elbows rested on the arms of her chair. "But, it would make far, far more sense of you followed my lead. There is a propriety to these things after all."

"Of course," Amelia said with a shake of her head as she collapsed back into her seat. "Well, on with it then."

"The first issue should of course be exactly what is Sirius' status?" Andromeda asked as she tilted her head to the side. "I rather understand that he was under a kiss on sight order."

"That was rescinded after the World Cup," Amelia stated as she looked wearily back at Andromeda. "I had been quietly building up my case against his incarceration and for his freedom when we captured Pettigrew. The trial was scheduled for tomorrow."

"Expeditious of you, how uncharacteristic of the Ministry." Andromeda's tone was simply observant as she nodded her head slightly. "What does that mean for Sirius however?"

"I was going to use the outrage of Pettigrew's testimony to force through a full reversal of the charges against Black in one fell swoop. As it stands now, however, I'm going to have to take the longer route."

"How long of a route, exactly?" Andromeda pressed with narrowed eyes.

"I am confident that I can have him as a fully free man by Christmas." Amelia rubbed her temples just a bit. "Somewhat sooner if some of my current allies continue to press for it as well."

"Allies that include the infamous Madame Zabini," Andromeda guessed, her gaze shrewd and accusing.

"You can thank the young Mr. Potter for that," Amelia informed her with a flat tone. "While I will admit, she has been helpful, bringing her in was completely on him."

"And that doesn't exactly make things right," Andromeda noted with a sharply arched brow. "Allowing a teenaged boy to run things like this doesn't exactly seem the sort of thing that makes an intelligent decision."

"He somehow manages to be convincing." She did not seem entirely comfortable with the idea despite how she had admitted it. "What's more, he is, unfortunately, the Boy-Who-Lived. Which allows him more power than a young man should have. Thankfully, he seems disinclined to wield it very much."

"At least he has more sense than I've heard of my estranged-- niece having." There was a pause as Andromeda remembered that Draco was no longer a he. "I trust that my sister has learned to be agreeable?"

"After a fashion," Amelia said reluctantly. "And I imagine you're talking about Narcissa, not Bellatrix."

"I have a hard time referring to someone who will kill me on sight as a sister." Andromeda's voice was as hard as cold steel. "No matter what blood says."

"And understandable sentiment. Of course, I don't believe I'd admit to being related to either of them," Amelia agreed with a faint smile on her face.

"Oh, believe me, if Narcissa were only slightly more of a trial on my patience, she'd fall much in the same category as Bellatrix. However, she is not completely without redeeming qualities." She made it as a statement of fact, her head tilted slightly to the side, chin raised as she simply radiated the cool presence that so many purebloods tried and failed to obtain. "As it stands, I have more respect for Sirius than her. And if you're unaware, that is more of an observation at how horrible she is than him."

"I've read his file," Amelia stated with a long drawl. "His Hogwarts file."

"He hasn't changed terribly much since then," Andromeda said with a negligent wave of her hand. "Merely found less reason to attempt to keep his vices restrained and his deviancy hidden. Likely due to his years without being able to enjoy them."

"I could do without that information, thank you." Amelia grimaced and shook her head. "So, exactly what is it you and he want from this?"

"I want Sirius' cleared as soon as possible, and he wants Harry to stop getting him into a horrifyingly bad position where in Donatella Zabini is going to end up gobbling him up and leaving unable to take care of his godson." Andromeda paused a moment before admitting, "The second is in his words, not mine."

"I imagined."

"Honestly, I much prefer to not be involved in that bit of silliness. Narcissa was the one that liked to play at court politics, even if she was only mediocre at it," Andromeda stated with a shake of her head. "She preferred overt power plays entirely too much. Part of what attracted her to Lucius."

"Subtly and Lucius Malfoy are not exactly related," Amelia agreed as her face twisted into grimace. "I had to practically beat him in the face with the facts before he understood what I was saying."

"Yes, unfortunately, that is most of the blood purists," Andromeda said with a look of mild disgust on her face. "No subtly in the least. It's rather sad, honestly. Ted, despite being a lazy bastard at times, at least gets it. He just won't play along if he's not in the mood to."

"How horrible for you." The sarcasm was almost dripping off Amelia's voice.

"The horrible part is when he catches me trying to trick him and he just gives me a look that lets me know I'm caught and he's not going to indulge me," she admitted with a faint smile on her face, before demurely continuing. "Well, at least not without incentive."

"So, exactly how do you propose to deal with the issue with Harry and his entanglements with the illustrious Madame Zabini?" Amelia forced the subject back on course as she looked back at Andromeda with speculative eyes.

"I was simply going to offer a buffer to try and-- mitigate the damage that he could end up doing." Andromeda's voice was level, inviting, and Amelia never missed a moment of the underlying, feral grin that wanted to blossom on the woman's lips.

"I assume that you're not volunteering yourself."

"Sadly, no. After all, it would hardly be appropriate for me to be spending so much time around the young Mr. Potter while he is at school." Andromeda was leaning back in her seat as she smiled at the director. "I spoke to my daughter, but sadly she decided that she was disinclined to acquiesce to her mother's request."

And that made it click. "You want me to order her to do it."

"And assignment wouldn't exactly be out of the question considering the recent escape, now would it?" Andromeda's smile grew a fraction of an inch. "And it makes more sense to assign an auror, even a rookie one to look after him, now doesn't it? Especially one with such a-- helpful relationship."

"-- You're also teaching your daughter a lesson."

"Well, it is the duty of a mother to see to her daughter's education."

"You're also using me to do so," Amelia observed coldly.

"And you also allowed the escape of the man that could've made freeing my cousin a much faster thing." Andromeda merely arched a brow back at her as she steepled her fingers together. "So really, it's hardly something for you to be terribly upset about.

"It makes it all much easier to have Sirius thinking about his godson than on just how badly the DMLE has failed him."

Amelia grit her teeth as she glared back at Andromeda. "Blackmail--"

"Is such a dirty word. Much like Extortion. I prefer-- Incentive. After all, I don't truly have anything to force you into doing anything. Nor can really threaten you with anything, after all, everyone already knows what you did."

"I do not exactly like the idea of this-- incentive," Amelia stated simply as she narrowed her eyes back at Andromeda.

"And I don't exactly like the idea of you losing Peter Pettigrew, or the use of Harry Potter in political maneuverings, and a host of other things." Andromeda didn't bother trying to be accusatory, instead she simply arched a brow. "But, such is life. And I do hope we can put such differences behind us. Besides, is assigning an auror to Harry Potter something truly beyond what you'd be inclined to do anyway?"

"It is the pressure to act on that inclination that I find myself adverse to," Amelia told her as he kept her temper tightly under control.

"Then think of it as assuring a wrongfully imprisoned man that the most important person in the world to him is going to be properly protected," Andromeda suggested as she settled her hands down on her lap. "After all, there is nothing I can do to truly pressure you, now is there?"

Amelia considered it for a moment, before slowly, reluctantly nodding her head.

It was, after all, a good idea. Even if it was presented in a way that she found so distasteful. She could still make use of it.

Nymphadora Tonks felt, quite suddenly, that perhaps she should have listened to her mother, though, not exactly why.

Posted: 7:50 PM - May 01, 2018


Nymphadora Tonks still had the icy feeling of trepidation when she reported for her next duty shift. In fact, it only seemed to grow the further she walked into the ministry. Then she was approached by her senior partner and she could feel her heart sinking into a cold pit in her stomach.

"Tonks, the director wants to talk to you," Kingsley Shacklebolt informed her with a slight frown on his face. "What did you do?"

"I didn't do anything!" Tonks quickly protested. "I've been good!"

"The expression on Madame Bones' face says otherwise," Shacklebolt told her gravely as he studied her. "I hope this is just some kind of misunderstanding."

"Honest, Shack!" Tonks declared firmly. "I've been good! You think I want Moody to come out of retirement just to tear me a new one?"

That seemed to make him think about things before reluctantly nodding his head. "You haven't put another blood supremacist in St. Mungo's either then?"

"I was cleared on that!" Tonks stated with a huff as her hair turned a vibrant orange. "That pillock tried to assault me!"

"And thankfully the people with actual influence have been smart enough to stay away from you," Shacklebolt admitted with a thoughtful nod of his head. "I think they're likely wary of how much of your family's blood runs true."

"I am not a Black," Tonks stated with a growl as her eyes flashed into a warning, otherworldly gold. "I would expect you to remember that."

"Tonks might be your name, but you're of the Black blood, Auror," Shacklebolt said with a calm measured voice. "Best to remember that, no matter how much you dislike it. Trying to deny it will only invite the bottom feeders to try and test you because they'll think it makes you weak. The ones above them will just watch and if one of those bastards manages to make an opening, they will pounce.

"Best for you and those around you for you to not give them that chance." Shacklebolt gave her a long steady look. "Just because you don't want to be involved in the political side of things doesn't mean that it won't involve you. Moody forgets about it because his reputation insulates him from most of it. The rest of us aren't quite that lucky."

"Fine," Tonks said sourly, crossing her arms about her chest and looking away sullenly. "Why does the director want to see me?"

"Would I be asking you what you did if I knew?" Shacklebolt asked her pointedly.

"Yes, to confirm what you knew because you wouldn't trust just one source and would want to substantiate what you already knew," Tonks growled out in that same sullen tone. "Of you just wanted to see if I knew so you could figure out how things are going."

"Ah, you have been paying attention." Shacklebolt nodded his head in apparent satisfaction. "I had been wondering. Sometimes Moody's favorites can be a bit-- dense."

"-- I'm just gonna go see the Madame now before I give in to my urge to hex your bollocks onto your chin," Tonks said, her voice burning with the promise of restrained violence. "Since I can only imagine how much trouble that would get me in to beyond whatever mess I somehow got into without doing a bloody thing."

"That would be preferable, I really don't want to get neck strain from having to carry them around there." Shacklebolt did not smirk, he did not smile, he did not show the faintest bit of amusement as his voice spoke in in a complete deadpan.

Tonks still found the need to offer him a variety of creative and ultimately obscene gestures only possible for a metamorphmagus.

The trip to the Director's office wasn't a slow one. Or a particularly far one from her meager and particularly cramped workspace. Still, it did manage to stretch on far longer than Tonks was comfortable with.

For the life of her, she couldn't think of any reason that Director would want to talk to her personally. At least, not for anything she'd done in the last few months since she'd graduated from Auror Trainee to Junior Auror.

That would've gotten her a chewing out before she'd made the cut.

So, doing her best to suppress the nervousness, she approached Madame Bones' secretary with her back ramrod straight. "Junior Auror Tonks reporting to the Director as requested."

"One moment, Junior Auror," the secretary stated politely before tapping the communication stone on her desk. "Madame Bones? Junior Auror Tonks has reported in."

"Send her in," Amelia's voice stated, her voice tinged with a resigned frustration that bewildered Tonks.

"You heard the Director, Junior Auror," the secretary offered her a bland smile before nodding towards the door.

"Thank you," Tonks responded automatically as she kept her ramrod posture and then slowly entered into the office.

"Have a seat, Junior Auror," Bones told her simply in a tone that made it clear she was not making a polite suggestion.

Immediately following her instruction, Tonks sat stiffly in the chair, staring straight forward. "Junior Auror Tonks reporting as ordered. Ma'am."

"You can be at ease, Junior Auror, this is not a disciplinary matter," Amelia informed her simply, a faint look of distaste on her face. "You are here, because your family being a ruddy pain in my bloody arse?"

Tonks went absolutely still for a moment, staring at the Director in absolute shock at the coarseness of her language, before slowly asking. "My family, ma'am?"

"Your cousin Sirius, your Aunt and Uncle, and most importantly, your bloody mother," Amelia told her, her face flat with displeasure.

"-- I do not have an Aunt and an Uncle, ma'am," Tonks stated stiffly. "They have made that abundantly clear."

"That will likely be changing considering they're basically ruined," Amelia noted idly before shaking her head. "But, thankfully they aren't why I called you here. Unfortunately, your mother is."

Tonks stared at her for a moment before letting out an audible groan as she palmed her face. "God bloody dammit. I already told her I didn't want to be involved in this mess."

"Yes, well apparently the feeling is mutual, why she decided to basically extort me into foisting it off onto you," Amelia stated flatly. "Hence my irritation."

"I am so sorry, ma'am," Tonks immediately apologized as she slumped down in her seat and seemed to shrink in on herself.

"It's more I dislike having the situation exploited by a woman who reminds me entirely too much of Donatella Zabini," Amelia said as she lightly steepled her fingers together. "That being said, her reasoning was less threat and more giving me a way to make things easier for myself. She even had a point. Given the current situation, Harry Potter could use a bodyguard."

Tonks stared at her, before her mouth fell open. Then after a moment, it finally clicked shut and she gave the woman an incredulous look. "Shouldn't that go to someone other than a first year rookie junior auror?"

"Normally, yes," Amelia agreed with a nod. "I'm glad to see your time with Shacklebolt is helping your political awareness. For all his skills as a Dark Wizard hunter--."

"So Shack keeps telling me," Tonks stated in a audibly restrained tone. "Including just before I came in."

"Yes, well you shouldn't be given this post," Amelia admitted before smirking at Tonks. "Until you consider all the political angles. You are an Auror, even if a junior one. You were also one of the last ones mentored by Moody himself. In addition, you're the cousin of Harry Potter's godfather.

"That man should be walking free right now, but thanks to Pettigrew's escape, that's not going to happen until at least Christmas."

"-- And Sirius wants someone to try and talk Harry out of his barmy stunts with the Widow," Tonks said with a slump. "And because my mum can't be bothered and wants to stay away from the mess, she figured she'd just get you to make me do this because I wouldn't do it for her willingly."

"Yes," Amelia agreed, nodding her head faintly. "Honestly, it does however work out better for me, as the publicity from assigning you to him as a bodyguard will put a more favorable light on our department. And even the fact that you're a Junior Auror will let me play against the darker bastards on the 'Gamut. Them complaining about a Junior Auror being assigned as Potter's body guard considering the circumstances will be turned around back on them."

"I hate politics," Tonks declared with a look of disgust on her face.

"All good aurors do," Amelia agreed with her. "The best learn to use that disgust to help them learn how to turn things back around on them so they know not to try and play those games with them."

"I was afraid you were going to say that," Tonks admitted with a sigh, then perked up slightly. "Course, ma'am, if this is an official assignment, that means I'm getting paid to do it, so I'm not gonna be mussing around causing a stir and potentially losing pay to do it like the way mum tried to convince me to would have."

"It will also allow me to keep tabs on the ongoing issues that Malfoy's idiocy has lead to," Amelia informed her with a grave look. "So I expect you to be observant and submit daily reports on what you observe. As well as giving me a heads up on whatever next headache Potter is going to inadvertently send my way."

"Pardon, ma'am?" Tonks looked confused. "I'm not sure what you mean."

"Potter has a way of creating all manner of chaos, without meaning to or realizing it." Amelia admitted, her face twisting into a grimace. "Some of which is beneficial, some of which is frustratingly troublesome. I'm fairly certain you'll be experiencing it in full when you begin your assignment."

"How long do I have?" Tonks asked, feeling the sense of trepidation

A piece of parchment appeared in her lap.

"Your assignment starts as soon as you leave my office. Be sure to tell Albus he can direct any complaints about this assignment to your mother," Amelia told her, a vindictive smile pleasantly perched upon her lips. "After all, this is all her doing."

"-- Yes, Ma'am," Tonks promptly decided that she would not be visiting her parents for the holidays this year.

Or anytime in the near future judging by the look on her boss' face.


"You know, you're being a berk," Ron stated without preamble the moment his eyes met Harry's.

Ron hadn't tried to confront Harry immediately. Merlin knew when he was in one of his own moods he needed to have some space from people before he'd be willing to listen. So he'd given Harry a few more hours to let his temper cool into a more sullen state than furious.

Harry was still glowering back at him though.

"Like I said, you know it," Ron repeated firmly as he just looked at Harry. "And Tracey really didn't deserve it. Flitwick-- maybe, but Tracey really didn't. She just wanted to stop you from hurting yourself in the future."

"She---!" Harry started to protest only to have Ron give him a look that screamed that he was being an idiot.

"Look, Merlin knows I've proven to be an absolute berk myself when I let my temper get the better of me. I mean, the whole thing with-- Pettigrew last year, even if Hermione wouldn't admit that if we hadn't found out about things at the end that everything was looking like Crookshanks was doing exactly what I thought."

Harry just stared at Ron now.

Ron blushed brightly. "Look, Tracey doesn't let me lie to myself to feel better about how I've bollocksed up things. So, she makes me go over it all until I see where I went and fucked myself. But, she also tries to make sure I don't blame myself too much. She's why I've been keeping my temper better this year."

"She just--!" Harry tried to figure out a way to explain to Ron exactly how Tracey had been wrong and growled in frustration when the words wouldn't appear.

"She's a bloody mess thinking you hate her and you're never going to forgive her," Ron told him. "She likes being your, our friend, mate. She was just trying to help and get you to see what she thought could cause problems for you down the road."

"And problems for her," Harry reminded him with a glare.

"Of course, problems for her," Ron said with a grumble. "She's basically made our problems her problems. As far as she's been concerned making fewer problems for us, means making fewer problems for her because she wants to stay our friend. She's just not used to being a friend so she sometimes makes a mess of it."

"-- When did you start thinking so much?" Harry finally asked after a long moment of silence.

"When you forced me to start learning about potions and all this other madness that lead to us making friends with Tracey," Ron said in a deadpan. "Do you know how many headaches I get now? It was so much bloody easier when I was ignorant and lazy. Don't suppose you wanna go back to that?"

"Bloody fucking tempting," Harry agreed before slumping his shoulders. "Dammit, why does everything have to be so complicated?"

"Because life hates us?" Ron offered half seriously.

"That it really seems to," Harry admitted as he nodded his head. "I mean-- bloody well look at Draco!"

"I really, really try not to," Ron said, shuddering. "I mean, its Malfoy!"

"I know," Harry looked away. "I don't want Zabini to know this, but-- I was actually tempted by the idea of getting to give Malfoy a spanking."

"-- It is a cracking arse." Ron spoke in a hushed whisper, as if fearful of the world itself hearing his statement. "Why I really, really try not to."

"I know," Harry repeated with a nod. "Dear Merlin do I know. And we can never let the world know of this."

"Ever." Ron nodded his head in agreement. "Do we even wanna talk about Greengrass and Zabini?"

"Please no," Harry half whimpered as he looked around, almost fearfully. "I mean-- Do you know how tempting Greengrass has been? I mean-- if I didn't know she was just doing this as some kind of power game and just trying to use me-- Even then I'm still bloody tempted. I have to keep acting like I don't care otherwise--"

"Yeah." Ron then looked at him firmly. "So, you going to apologize to her?"

"We're gonna make sure that Hermione never learns about it, right?"

"It's Hogwarts," Ron reminded him.

"Fuck," Harry said as he realized just how likely it was that Hermione wouldn't find out.

"Pretty much."


Blaise lightly tapped her lips in thought as she looked over Draco's form, watching the mix of sullenness and fear warring across the blonde's face.

It was a wonderfully heady feeling to have this measure of influence over the self-important little bastard she'd been forced to share a room with. Even more so after the way Draco had been responsible for her current state. Bugger the rest of the house, she was a bloody girl now because of her!

"You have no idea how much I've thought about this," Blaise finally said as she lightly tapped her chin with her steepled fingers. "I mean-- 3 years of listening to you, having to tolerate you because my mother didn't consider your family worth the bother of destroying."

She paused a moment before she leaned back in her seat. "Then you went and buggered me. Cost me my manhood. Made my mother decide that she now wants me to take after her.

"You have no idea of the sheer humiliation that has been inflicted upon me because of that," she finished with a look of absolute malice that made Draco involuntarily flinch back.

"Then you decided that you would involve me in a bloody cat fight," Blaise finished before glancing at where Daphne happened to be glancing through some catalogs. "Did I miss anything?"

"Plenty, I'm sure, but honestly, why waste it all at once?" Daphne responded with a vaguely dismissive wave of her hand. "Besides, I'm just here look pretty and offer advice to offset your feminine deficiencies."

"Of course, you are," Blaise stated sourly before shaking her head and letting loose a long sigh. "Honestly, Greengrass, I thought you'd be more invested in this."

"It's Malfoy," Daphne informed her, a slight hint of exasperation in her voice. "I quite remember how blatantly he was staring at me through most of last year."

Draco blushed heavily at that reminder but refused to respond verbally.

"I suppose, still irritating." Blaise huffed a bit and then sighed. "So, anything strike your fancy so far?"

"It all depends on what kind of message you're trying to send, honestly," Daphne noted with a vague glance at her nails. "You're not likely to be able to make her really look bad, even if you tried. Trashy, sure, but not bad."

"Please, like that's going to matter. Everyone already knows she's a victim of the whole incident, so they know she's going to be attractive," Blaise reminded her with a scoff as she waved her hand dismissively. "We need something-- Mmm... That makes a statement."

"That was my point, kitten," Daphne drawled out sarcastically. "I need to know what the message you want to say is. Without that, I'll simply point you towards a series of properly slaggish outfits that you can parade her about in."

Draco's eyes widened and her mouth reflexively opened wide, obviously wanting to protest the idea, before she quickly shut her mouth and settled into a sullen glower.

"You know, it's so very odd seeing her able to keep her mouth shut for a change," Blaise observed with a faint frown. "It's taking away half the fun of this."

"Then, kitten, what we do is figure out how to maximize the fun we have left to us," Daphne informed him as she flicked the page of a catalog. "Honestly, so what if she's sparing us from having to endure the meaningless drivel that normally comes out of her mouth? Well, maybe being turned to the fairer sex has caused that brain of hers to have some functionality restored to it."

"I doubt it," Blaise said with a flat glare at Daphne. "I can attest that I have found no noticeable difference in intellect."

"You shall not ruin my fantasies of feminine superiority!" Daphne declared, arrogantly raising her chin and sniffing dismissively. "For women shall rule the world!"

"-- Greengrass, have you met my mother?" Blaise asked incredulously. "I grew up knowing women ran the world. I just don't want to have any part of it."

"Yes, well where's the fun in ruling over things if no one knows it?" Daphne pouted back at Blaise.

"Unhindered power and influence instead of making a target of yourself for people to go after?" Blaise pointed out with an arched brow. "As soon as people see you as a public figure of power, they automatically make you a target."

"You always try to ruin my fantasies with such horrible realities," Daphne sighed with a huff. "Fine. If we didn't have the French coming shortly, I'd have recommended a nice French maid outfit, or as close as we could get with the dress code."

Malfoy paled dramatically at that.

"She does have the name for it," Blaise admitted with a thoughtful nod of her head. "Something to keep in mind for next year?"

"As if I'd let you forget," Daphne agreed with a nod. "So, that leaves us two remaining choices, something from the more traditional side, or we go muggle."

"No!' Malfoy practically squeaked out as her eyes widened in horror.

"I believe that's a vote for going muggle," Blaise noted, a thoughtful nod of her head following her words. "Though, I don't think we're exactly the best judged for muggle clothing."

"Absolutely not," Daphne said as she once more nodded her head. "But, we do have several connections that do."

"Davis," Blaise observed, her tone thoughtful as she lightly tapped her chin in consideration. "Though, it would likely cost us for assistance."

"I'm fairly certain you could pass it off as aiding in the humiliation of your dear maid," Daphne reminded her, eyes rolling in amusement. "Honestly, that should be rather obvious."

"This is Davis you're talking about, tormenting Malfoy would be a nice bonus, but hardly the main draw for her. She'd want something that she could make a profit off of," Blaise shot back. "She only does favors for friends."

"Ah, but aren't we her friends now?" Daphne asked coyly.

"Doubtful, Greengrass," Blaise corrected her meaningfully. "After all, she's known us too long to consider us to have suddenly become friends. We've become closer acquaintances, but--"

"Fu, again you have to ruin things with your interjection of reality." Daphne sighed mournfully settled back. "Let her pick out some of Malfoy's outfits?"

"She'll want more," Blaise said plainly before grumbling a bit. "Maybe I can convince Potter to intervene."

"Potter doesn't exactly have the highest opinion of you currently, kitten," Daphne reminded her, smirking coyly back at her.

"Higher than his opinion of you," Blaise countered though she gestured towards Malfoy. "Though, rejoice, at least he has a higher opinion of you than Malfoy over here."

"I'm so grateful you reminded me that I've managed to fulfill a requirement of breathing and not being either Malfoy or You-Know-Who," Daphne spat back in a sour tone before flopping back with a sigh. "Fine, fine. We'll start with something more traditional but still humiliating, then work on getting Davis to help us dress her more muggle."

"I'm not dressing like a muggle!" Malfoy protested in horror.

"You don't really have a choice in the matter, Maid-foy," Blaise reminded her with a drawling patronization. "Unless, of course, you'd prefer that my mother decided what we should dress you in? I can assure you, that as bad as what we can imagine is, my mother's imagination is infinitely worse."

"I'm not a muggle," Malfoy muttered under her breath, but it was more of a sullen glower than actual defiance.

"Hence the nature of using it to humiliate you," Daphne explained, her voice slow and patronizing, as if she were speaking to an exceptionally dull child. "Honestly, I can see why Potter found you so very annoying, you honestly have no imagination."

Malfoy flushed brightly at the criticism, before gritting her teeth with a clenched jaw and forcing herself to remain silent. She had to endure. This was for her family, she had to endure.

"I suppose it's going to be up to us to fix those deficiencies," Daphne noted with a forlorn sigh. "Honestly, such a hassle."

"-- Why in Merlin's name would we do anything to help Malfoy?" Blaise half demanded as she stared at Daphne in disbelief.

"She's your maid, kitten," Daphne drawled out as she gave her a meaningful look. "People are going to excuse her stupidity at first, because, well, its to be expected and it's Malfoy of all people. But, you're still going to need to actually educate the little bint on how to behave properly, including use that space between her ears she's been so willfully neglecting."

"I fail to see why I should try to go out of my way to improve Malfoy's potential, and give her the ability actually plot against me," Blaise reminded her. "Why should I care about being stuck with such a stupid servant if people know I'm stuck with her."

"Because it shows you can't really keep her under control," Daphne told her bluntly. "So, really that leaves you with only one option."

Draco immediately felt a cold shiver of dread racing down her spine.

"And that is?" Blaise asked reluctantly after a long moment of silence.

"Why, my dear Blaise, we break her." Daphne's smile glinted in the magical light of the room, as Malfoy could feel the temperature immediately drop into an abyss of dread. "Utterly and completely."

She paused a moment, before her attention turned fully onto Malfoy. "And we ensure that she can't even think about betraying us in the process."

Draco suddenly felt very, very afraid. Especially when Blaise looked more speculative than disturbed by the idea. This, was definitely not good.

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