Harry’s Return

Title: Harry’s Return
Author: Keira Marcos
Beta: Ladyholder & Chris King
Series: Harry Potter & the Soulmate Bond
Episode: 1
Fandom: Harry Potter
Relationship: Harry/Hermione
Word Count: 12,371
Warnings: Off-screen child abuse, discussion of child abuse and violence against a child
Author’s Note: You know I hate Ron and Ginny Weasley, right? See Series page for further author notes, warnings, and ratings.

Harry's Return

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– – – –

Wizengamot Chambers
November 6, 1982

“You have no bloody right to keep him from me,” Sirius Black said bluntly. He focused entirely on Albus Dumbledore as he spoke. “Thanks to you all, I spent six months in Azkaban without even being questioned. It has been a year since I’ve seen my own child. I’ve proven with magic and blood that I am Harry Potter’s third legal parent. The will of James and Lily Potter specifically named me as his guardian should they both perish. This body is infringing on my rights as a parent and as the Regent of the House of Potter.”

“Lord Black, we understand your position thoroughly. You’ve stated it before this court on five different occasions. Our decision stands, Harry Potter will remain hidden in the Muggle world. It is for his own safety,” Dumbledore said gravely.

“His situation isn’t even being monitored by the Children’s Protective Services—he’s being denied his basic rights as a magical child and as the future head of the House of Potter. He’s nearly three years old, Albus, and in most households, he’d begin his education in the matters of his estate at five. How can you sit there and deny him his own heritage? I’m perfectly capable of protecting my own child!”

Albus paused because for the first time in the ten months that Sirius Black had been actively seeking access to his godson, members of the court were nodding their agreement. “We all agreed that Harry Potter was better served to stay hidden.”

“He’s the future Earl of Gryffindor,” Augusta Longbottom said. “Are you to sit there and say that he is to be denied his heritage until you invite him to Hogwarts? Lord Black at least has the right to visit his godson and teach him our ways. To be honest, I don’t agree with Harry Potter being raised in a Muggle home. He deserves the full breadth and richness of his own heritage, Albus. We sit here—alive today because of the child. Are you going to deny him the love of the only parent he has left? Is that what you’re saying to us all? Are all of our children at risk of being removed from our care if you decide they are safer in the Muggle world? Would you toss my Neville in a Muggle house and leave him ignorant of his magic and his future responsibilities? Because that’s what you’re doing to Harry Potter. Frankly, I believe we owe him better than that. We certainly owe Lord Black better than that.”

Albus sighed. “Do you think this is what I want? He’s not safe among us and you all know that. Keeping him hidden in the Muggle world is… the right course of action.”

“It isn’t your right to decide that,” Sirius said quietly. “You’re going to give me no choice but to appeal this to the ICW, Albus. It’s the last thing I want to do but I will make an international mess of this situation if you do not give me access to my son. Have you even checked on him since you left him?”

Albus paused and lowered his gaze at the multiple looks he received. “I have not.”

The court exploded into fury but Sirius Black just looked… gutted.

“Do you even know if he’s still alive?” Sirius demanded.

Minister Bagnold, who had barely kept her job after it was revealed that nearly forty wizards and witches had gone to Azkaban without trial, leaned forward. “We made this decision months ago, Lord Black. Your sentimental attachment to the boy aside, he is safer in the Muggle world.”

Augusta Longbottom took a deep breath. “I don’t see how allowing Lord Black to visit his godson would be out of line.”

“Madam, I don’t believe disrupting the child’s family situation serves him.”

“Wait,” Sirius held out a hand. “Family? Merlin help you, you old bastard, do you mean that literally? Did you leave my baby with Petunia Evans?”

“Who is Petunia Evans?” Augusta Longbottom demanded. “Lord Black? Do you need a Healer?”

Sirius held up a hand as he gripped the podium he’d spent most of the morning standing behind. “Just… give me a minute.” He accepted the water that was pressed into his hand and drank deeply before setting the glass aside with a shaking hand. “I… Albus, I am begging you to tell me you didn’t leave Harry with Lily’s sister, Petunia.”

“He is safe with family,” Albus said quietly and stood when Black went weak at the knees. “Sirius?”

“Petunia hated her own sister,” Black said hoarsely. “She told us… Petunia said we should smother Harry when he was born because the world needed less freaks not more.”

“Albus Dumbledore!” Augusta Longbottom shouted. “Did you leave the Boy-Who-Lived with this horrible Muggle woman?”

“Families take care of each other,” Albus said firmly. “The location of Harry Potter is and will remain a Secret.”

– – – –

“Sirius.”

“I can’t leave him, Remus,” Sirius murmured. “I’ve already hired a Muggle investigator to find Petunia. I don’t know her married name. I don’t think… I don’t remember if Lily ever mentioned it at all. She never said much about her sister after that last letter—you know the one where she told her sister about Harry and sent a picture of him?”

“I remember,” Remus said lowly. “Lily cried for days over it. I wanted to hunt down the woman and force her to apologize and for the record, I don’t expect you to leave him behind. I’m just saying that staying here in Britain isn’t serving you or him. Prepare you petition before the ICW—open your townhouse in Paris and stay there while you take care of that.”

“I can’t be that far from him,” Sirius argued. “The investigator I hired isn’t going to be stymied by the magic that Dumbledore is using to hide Harry. He’ll find her and my boy.”

“Then what?” Remus asked. “Will you kidnap him? The ICW wouldn’t protect you, Sirius. I know. Okay? I know how much this eats at you.”

“Would telling the Wizengamot that we were a triad… help me?” Sirius asked.

“No, you know a Consort has no more legal standing than a godfather in such situations. If Harry were your biological offspring then yes but he isn’t. James fathered him.” Remus rubbed his face with tired hands. “When will you… is there a point where you’ll give this up and let him stay where he is?”

“No,” Sirius said. “Not if he’s with her.”

The floo activated and both men tensed out of habit. Years of war had taught them nothing good came from a late night floo call. “Lord Black?”

“Yes?” Sirius rolled to his feet and walked to the floo.

“You’re requested at St. Mungo’s. The matter is urgent.”

“I… who is hurt?” Sirius asked with a frown.

“Your godson was brought in forty-five minutes ago and his condition is dire. Come now.”

– – – –

Sirius let himself be lead into the room by Remus. There were several aurors, including Amelia Bones who had been working with him on his appeals to the Wizengamot. She’d done a lot to look up laws and inheritance procedures though none of it had mattered in the face of Dumbledore’s stubbornness. Minerva McGonagall stood as she saw them.

“What…”

“They had to sedate Albus,” Minerva said. “In fact, they had to subdue him by force at the scene—he damaged most of the Muggle neighborhood when he lost control of his magic.”

Sirius’ stomach dropped. “Albus Dumbledore lost control of his magic?” He turned as the Healer who had fire-called him entered. “Healer Daniels.”

“Lord Black,” Daniels offered his hand. “First, your godson’s condition is stable and he will make a full recovery.” He carefully guided Sirius to a chair and sat him down. “He’s magically exhausted; though that’s not a surprise considering how much accidental magic he discharged.”

“Harry doesn’t…” Sirius took a deep breath. “His magic settled very early but he hadn’t exhibited any problems with accidental magic, Healer Daniels. He was summoning his own toys by his first birthday.”

Daniels proffered a potion. “This is calming draught. I’d like you to take it before I say more.”

Sirius took the vial. “You said he was stable.”

“He is.” Healer Daniels glanced at the potion and relaxed slightly when Black downed it. He took the empty vial from the man’s hand and pocketed it. “Your godson is severely malnourished—to the point that had he spent even another week in the situation he was in, he would have died of malnutrition.”

Remus put a hand on Sirius to keep him seated and took the chair beside him.

“There is more?” Sirius questioned hoarsely.

“We’ve vanished the bones in his legs, both feet, and his left hand to regrow them. He has already been dosed with Skele-gro.”

“What?” Sirius demanded. “Why?”

“The Muggle man…” One of the aurors began. “He was kicking and beating the child when a severe burst of accidental magic exploded around them. His name was Vernon Dursley.”

“Was?” Remus questioned.

“He was killed in the magical backlash,” the young woman said. “The woman, Petunia, she’s in a Muggle hospital. The Chief Warlock refused her magical healing.” She swallowed hard. “Dumbledore lost it. It took six of us to stun him when we found the boy in the house.”

“Can I see him?” Sirius asked.

“Only you,” Daniels said. “I’ve watched you spend most of the last six months trying to get your child back, Lord Black. As far as I’m concerned the only way Harry Potter leaves this hospital is in your custody.” He stood and helped Sirius stand. “We have him in a private room.”

The trip down the hall to a room guarded by two aurors was done in silence. Both men nodded at him grimly and Sirius took a deep breath. “Kingsley?”

Kingsley Shacklebolt cleared his throat. “It’s bad. I’ve never… I’m just really glad we got there in time.”

Sirius nodded and took a deep breath as Daniels led him into the room. He walked around the privacy screen and would have sunk to his knees if the Healer hadn’t had a firm hand on him. He was all but carried to a chair next to the bed. The shimmering healing field around the bed did nothing to hide the bruises on the child’s face, arms, and chest. The blanket on the bed was almost flat where his legs were being regrown.

Sirius reached out hesitantly and Daniels guided his hand to Harry’s right hand. “Here, Lord Black, be careful not to jar him.”

Sirius nodded and looked over his son’s face, fury boiling in his gut despite the calming potion he’d been given. “When can I move him?”

“I’m unsure. Your plans?”

“I’d like to transfer him to St. Joan’s in Paris the moment it is possible. I won’t give those bastards in the Wizengamot a chance to take him from me again.”

Harry turned his head and his eyes opened slowly. Sirius watched, hoping for some sign of recognition. The green eyes remained dull from the pain potions but Harry’s fingers tightened around his and Sirius took a deep breath.

“Hey pup.”

Harry’s eyes widened and his fingers went tighter.

“It’s okay, baby, I’m here,” Sirius whispered. He shifted forward and knelt beside the bed. “I’m here.”

Daniels guided his free hand into the field so he could touch Harry’s hair. “He has a concussion so be careful.”

“He looks so small,” Sirius murmured.

“The malnutrition,” Daniels said grimly. “We’re working on that with the potions. He’ll make a full recovery, Lord Black. It’ll just take a while and a lot of patience.”

“Daddy,” Harry whispered.

“Yes,” Sirius murmured. “I’m here. Everything is going to be okay.”

– – – – –

Thirteen Years Later

They were an hour early for the train but his father had wanted to do a security check and get Harry in ahead of the crowds. It was the first time Harry had been in London in eight years. Sirius had returned habitually over the years to see to their estates, meet with Dumbledore, attend Wizengamot meetings, and endure a lecture about keeping the Boy-Who-Lived out of the country from the Minister for Magic. The Ministry of Magic had tried to sue him, more than once, before the ICW after Harry turned eleven and refused to come to Hogwarts. Harry had been living in France at the time in a well appointed home with private tutors the likes of which had stunned the ICW. Fudge, who had been elected Minister just six weeks after Harry Potter had left Britain, had been highly criticized for attempting to usurp Lord Black’s rights concerning his godson.

Invitations to attend Hogwarts had come every summer and every time Harry had sent back a politely worded refusal. This year, however, he’d replied with his intention to attend for his NEWT studies. The family ring of the House of Potter gleamed on his hand, catching the morning sun as his godfather returned to him, putting away his wand.

“Well?”

“Everything is fine,” Sirius said. He tucked his hands behind his back. “You don’t have to do this, you know.”

“I do,” Harry murmured. “She’s been in danger and nearly killed every year that she’s attended this school and I couldn’t very well show up at her house and demand she come with me. We’ve never even met as far as she’s concerned.”

Sirius sighed. “I don’t regret taking you to look at the Book of Souls, Harry, truly I don’t but I regret the burden it has placed on you all of these years.”

“If you hadn’t, that troll would’ve probably killed her in her first year,” Harry said. “If Emmie hadn’t been there to save her…” Harry trailed off. “Then that utter idiot, Ron Weasley, had the gall to take her into the Chamber of Secrets!”

Sirius sighed. “How were we to know they’d follow his little sister down there? Neither of them are a parselmouth so they shouldn’t have been able to open the sink! You took care of it. And Emmie is with her right now—making sure that nothing happens to her. She kept those love potions out of her cup last year at six different meals. She kept that vicious Bulgarian from not taking no for an answer after the ball.”

­Harry nodded, his jaw tightening in fury. When the house elf they’d assigned to look after his soulmate had returned to Paris to tell them what had happened with Viktor Krum, Harry had lost it. He’d been amused and even pleased that Hermione had been taken to the Yule Ball by the famous wizard. He’d destroyed half their townhouse in Paris and chain apparated half way to Scotland when he’d found out that older boy had intended on forcing himself on her. Emmie had cast an impotence curse on the man before Hermione had even realized his intent.

They had no idea was who trying to dose her with love potions but Harry planned to find out. And that person was going to suffer one way or another.

He received owls daily from witches all over the world wanting to see him, date him, or to put it bluntly—fuck him. He was pretty sure that nearly every single witch at Hogwarts except for his soulmate had written him asking him to come to the school for classes or at least for a quidditch match. She was also the only witch he would’ve responded to. He’d written her one letter—when it had been published that she was top student at Hogwarts last year in the Daily Prophet for having receiving twelve OWLs. It had been a simple note, congratulating her on her academic achievements. He hadn’t thought it was completely out of line but she’d never responded. However, she had played hostess for Hedwig for three days per Emmie’s report and had sent his father a thank you card for the gift certificate he’d sent.

Hedwig had come to him on his eleventh birthday, a gift from Hagrid. The half-giant had visited him over the years, the first time to apologize for delivering into Harry the hands of his abusive Muggle relatives. Harry had just been five. Hagrid had cried as he explained himself and Harry had forgiven him. It had been overwhelming to have the love and loyalty of someone he had no recollection of meeting.

Over the years, Hagrid had proven to be an interesting and fun loving friend. He and Harry had spent a month in Romania over the summer of his fourteenth birthday at the Dragon Preserve. Hagrid had also been his ally at Hogwarts—doing his part to protect and keep track of Hermione Granger. Because of Hagrid, he had a few pictures of the girl at the school though they were always in a class setting.

Coming to Hogwarts would’ve never been on his agenda if it hadn’t been for his soulmate. He really lamented her choice to attend the school in Scotland. He’d had Beauxbatons heavily recruit the girl much to Madame Maxine’s amusement. But that endeavor had failed spectacularly after Minerva McGonagall visited the Granger home.

“Was I wrong not to tell her?” Harry asked quietly. “Should we have done this differently?”

“Before you claimed your ring, you were in no position to protect her or yourself. Coming to Hogwarts before now was completely out of the question. As for telling her in advance, her parents are religious fanatics and if it hadn’t been for Emmie they would’ve probably gone through with that exorcism over the summer. Not that would have done anything but traumatize her, but the point remains. Before she accepted the educational offer to attend Hogwarts, they could’ve refused on her behalf and the Ministry would’ve bound her magic and memory charmed the whole family.”

“Still, I feel as if I’ve lied to her for years,” Harry admitted.

“As far as she’s concerned, you’ve never met.”

“No, just stalked her through Emmie and Hagrid,” Harry snapped. “Not to mention suppressing the memory of the one meeting we did have. That’s not creepy at all.”

Sirius grinned at him. “You’re nervous.”

“I’m not nervous, Dad.”

“Oh, yes you are,” Sirius said with a laugh. “Oh that’s charming, the Boy-Who-Is-Immune-To-Veela is afraid of meeting his pretty little witch.”

“She’s not mine,” Harry said softly. “She just… there is just potential there. What if she hates me? What if she bought into all those articles Skeeter wrote about me being a stuck up, arrogant, twat who couldn’t be bothered to visit his own country? Why didn’t she respond to my letter?”

“Harry, there is more than potential,” Sirius said quietly. “So much more—she is your match in every magical way. As for your note, it was rather impersonal which was the point at the time. Perhaps she thought it was a form letter or maybe even that it wasn’t genuine. Hedwig isn’t well known as your owl, yet. You’ve been using Margot for your letters for years and people recognize the Black crest on her amulet.” Sirius pulled a flat box out of his robe. “The goblins finished the protection amulet for Hedwig. She should already be at Hogwarts unless she stopped to hunt or rest.”

Harry took the box and tucked it into his own robe. “Right then.”

Sirius grinned. “Right. Well, you have your mirror, the trunk, and the map?”

“And my father’s cloak,” Harry assured. “I’m all set.”

– – – –

Minerva McGonagall was the last of the staff to arrive for the final meeting before the students arrived for the year. She’d known for a month that Harry Potter would be joining them but she’d not told anyone as per his request. He’d not wanted to deal with questions or the Ministry concerning his decision and she hadn’t blamed him. She’d visited the Sirius and Harry over the years—the first time to ask him to change his mind about attending Hogwarts but then she’d returned because he was bright and lovely and he’d asked if he could call her Aunt Min.

“Well, Minerva?”

“Fifty-three first years will be arriving today,” she began, settling her parchments around her. “Also, we’ll have a sixth year joining us.” She met Albus’ gaze and found the elderly wizard beaming. He’d been heart broken by what had been discovered about Harry’s life with his Muggle relatives but Sirius had allowed Albus no direct contact with his godson.

“May we hear his response, Min?” Albus asked cheerfully.

“Of course,” Minerva ignored Severus’ sneer. She was going to enjoy this part quite a lot.

“Dear Aunt Min,

I’ve thought it over and Dad agrees, reluctantly, that a more structured environment for my final two years of education would be beneficial to my future. I also believe that meeting my peers in magical Britain is a good idea.

You’ll be pleased to know that I received my International NEWTS in Potions, History of Magic, Muggle Studies, and Dueling as we expected I would. Do let Professor Flitwick know that his letters and the two weeks he spent with me in July over the summer were such an immense help with my Dueling NEWT. My examiner for that practical exam indicated that with a bit further study I would be ready for my Mastery.

My animagus training also finally bore purposeful fruit around the first of August. You’ll be quite pleased with my easy transition and my form stayed true to my bouts of accidental magic in the past. Dad and I took a portkey to Canada to vacation with Uncle Remus and we romped about in the forest for a solid week. The portkey was a nightmare, though. I would’ve rather travelled as a Muggle. I kept my form the entire week. I registered both with the French Ministry and the ICW as required and Dad told me that you’d be able to help me register privately with the British Ministry.

I wanted to thank you again for traveling to Paris for my birthday and your gift was easily the best I received (ever). Dad is jealous that I didn’t make over the Firebolt he bought me like I did your gift but he refuses to admit it to me.

For my NEWT classes at Hogwarts, I’d like to take: Transfiguration, Charms, Arithmancy, Ancient Runes, Herbology, Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against the Dark Arts and if Professor Flitwick has the time I would be honored to accept the extra tuition he offered me over the summer in Formal Dueling.

I’m forwarding you the testimonials of my tutors in various subjects as well as my International OWL and NEWT results in case there are any questions.

All my love,
Lord Harry James Potter
Earl of Gryffindor

She put down the letter and basked in the stunned silence that followed.

“Why has he already taken NEWT examinations?” Poppy asked first.

“Harry began studying Potions when he was six years old because he was told his mother was a gifted brewer. He’s had a wand since he was eight,” Minerva explained. “A custom one created by a wandmaker from Africa. The French Ministry gave him a special dispensation to have it before he turned eleven. He also picked up a second wand in Diagon Alley when he did his school shopping because Ollivander insisted when Harry went in to buy a new holster. History of Magic and Muggle Studies were favored heavily because he loves to read and because he and Lord Black often travel in the Muggle world. Formal Dueling—the Black family were well known at one time for their performances in professional dueling. Harry picked it up easily after his tutors realized how fast he was.”

“He’s quite talented,” Flitwick admitted. “I’m thrilled to offer him the extra tuition for his Mastery, Minerva. Just thrilled. I can take him second and third periods on Mondays. We should both be free for it. He’ll need a few books. I’ll make a list and send them to Sirius. We’ll spend the first week working on his form and style, which is really his most serious flaw. Professional dueling requires flare and he’s rather like a dragon.”

“Blunt and vicious,” Minerva agreed and smirked at just how accurate her colleague’s description of Harry was.

Flitwick grinned. “Yes, well, Sirius had that coming. He had no business turning the lad’s hair green.”

“What did Harry do in retaliation?” Dumbledore asked with a frown.

“Broad spectrum hair removal,” Flitwick said with glee. “Sirius’ hair fell out everywhere. He walked around bald for a week before the potions finally started to work.”

Minerva bit down on her lip and Albus laughed.

“He’s already achieved his NEWT in potions?” Severus asked. “How is that… his International NEWT? That is impossible. The test is more stringent than the mastery exam for Britain. No one takes the International NEWT in Potions if they can avoid it by getting certified by their own ministry.”

Minerva pulled a copy of Harry’s NEWT scores from her stack of papers and slapped it down in front of him. “Oh, it’s true. Not only did he achieve the NEWTS in all of those subjects—he received Outstandings in all of them.” She cleared her throat. “Which brings me to Lord Black’s letter.” She pulled it out and gave Albus a pointed look before beginning.

Minerva,

You are hereby declared an enemy of the House of Padfoot for buying my son a better gift than I did. How you managed that will remain a mystery all of my life. I bought the boy the best, fastest racing broom on the market and he opens your shiny box and he goes into raptures. I’ll never live down the shame. Next year I’m buying him something more awesome than you. We’ll see who wins this war!

Harry decided to attend Hogwarts. I understand and support his reasons but I don’t like it. I’ve watched the news over the years and I don’t think Hogwarts is safe. To that end, I’m sending his long time companion and house elf, Dobby, to see to Harry’s personal safety. This is not up for debate and if anyone tries to keep that elf from his side, I will remove Harry from the school.

Harry has probably already informed you of his International OWL and NEWT scores. We were very pleased with his results. I knew his decision to attend Hogwarts was coming; which is why I encouraged his Potions tuition above everything else.

He adores the subject and frankly, I’ve heard enough about Severus Snape’s teaching methods over the years that I could not bear the thought of him stamping out Harry’s passion for the art. He studied so hard to honor his mother and he has all of Lily’s passion and imagination for brewing. Last year, he refined Wolfsbane for Remus—and as a result, his favorite uncle no longer suffers so much after his transformation. Harry and his tutor have a paper coming out in Potions Quarterly next week as a matter of a fact, detailing his refinement process.

I must insist that Professor Snape have as little verbal contact with Harry as possible and no physical contact unless the matter is one of life and death. He’ll not have classes with the man as he has no need for them and he is under no circumstances whatsoever to be disciplined by the man. If Harry serves detention—he will do so only with you, Hagrid, his Head of House, or the Headmaster. He is the Lord of the House of Potter and he will be treated as such. Severus Snape is an enemy of the House of Potter and you know why. Harry knows why as well. If Professor Snape or the staff of Hogwarts violate these terms, Harry has been ordered by his Patriarch to report the matter and the consequences will be dire.

I look forward to seeing you at Yule. You’re not allowed to buy Harry anything awesome for Christmas. Get him some books. He could always use more books.

All my love,
Lord Sirius Orion Black
House of Black
Earl of Blackmoor

PS- Do let his Head of House know that he is a STAR on a broom and would be an asset to any quidditch team. He plays Seeker and Chaser.

“Oh, I need a new Chaser,” Pomona said with a smile.

Snape snorted, “As if Potter will go anywhere but Gryffindor?”

Minerva glared at him. “Harry would be a fit for any house, Severus. He is a brave, strong, loyal, smart, and cunning young man whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration for. If you do him any sort of harm while he is here—you won’t live to regret it.”

– – – –

Harry pulled his trunk out of his pocket, resized it to normal with his wand, and put it up on the rack above his bench seat. Dobby appeared then with a small picnic basket. “Hey.”

“Good morning, Master Harry, I got pastries from your favorite bakery back home and your favorite tea in a thermos.” Dobby set the basket down on the bench and rocked back on his heels.

Dobby had been with them for six years—he’d originally been given to Sirius by Narcissa Malfoy as an apology for her having trying to steal from the Black Trust. Sirius hadn’t wanted to punish her after he’d found out his cousin had been escaping from her husband. Sirius had helped Narcissa move to a different country and hide. There was no divorce in the wizarding world and she’d been forced to leave her son behind. A son, Harry figured, who had grown up into his father’s mirror image. Dobby had been with Narcissa since she was a child herself; having originally been a Black elf. He’d gladly returned to the Black family and become Harry’s personal attendant.

“Thanks. Where is Emmie?”

“Emmie be invisible. Miss Hermione be telling her parents good-bye before she boards the train. Emmie be making sure she find your compartment.”

Harry flushed. “No, don’t manipulate her. It’s bad enough knowing what I know and not telling her.”

Dobby eyed his master but eventually nodded. “As you wish Master Harry.”

“Just make sure no one bothers or tries to hurt her—like always. I’d like to spend the trip alone—working on my Occlumency shields at any rate.”

The trip passed quickly and he found himself exiting the train with a group of older kids, most of whom only spared him a few curious glances, and approaching a series of carriages. He slid into one, aware that Dobby had already popped up to the castle to ask Aunt Min where he should meet her. Two girls and a boy near his age or perhaps a bit older entered the carriage, all of them wearing Ravenclaw colors. He frowned at them and turned his head. Emmie had told him about how cruel the House of Ravenclaw was to Hermione because of her grades.

“You’re Harry Potter,” one of the girls said a near whisper.

Harry turned to look at her. “Yes. And you are?”

“Oh, Cho Chang, the Head Girl,” she offered him her hand and he took it. “No one mentioned you’d be here this year. It’s a big surprise.”

Harry released her hand, barely keeping the distaste off his face. He’d heard enough about the girl to actively dislike her. Though Emmie never told him Hermione’s secrets, she had informed him that Cho Chang was especially vicious to Hermione and a younger girl in her own house named Luna Lovegood. Emmie had taken it upon herself to spell all of Luna’s things so that they couldn’t be stolen from her after she’d been in school only a month.

“I had no interest in appearing in the Prophet over something so silly has my school attendance,” Harry said coolly and refocused his attention out the window.

“Oh, well, I’m sure.” Cho said brightly. “This is Marietta Edgecomb and Roger Davies; he’s Head Boy this year. We’re seventh years. Are you here as a fifth or sixth year?”

“I’ve taken my OWLs for all the courses taught here at Hogwarts that I’m interested in so I’ll be with sixth years,” Harry answered after a brief nod towards her two companions.

Thankfully, the carriage came to a stop and Harry stood. He opened the door. He exited and dutifully turned to offer Cho and her friend Marietta a hand out of the carriage. They both giggled and blushed at his display of manners but he ignored them afterward. Dobby appeared at his side with a small note, which he passed to him silently.

“Why is your house elf dressed so funny?” Cho asked.

Harry looked down at the elf in question. He was wearing what boiled down to a butler’s uniform in all black except for a dark red waistcoat and a matching day robe. “I have dual citizenship in France and Britain, Miss Chang. It is a violation of the law in France to mistreat a bonded servant and only proper to dress them as you would yourself.” He read the note and handed it back to Dobby who tucked it into a pocket. “Excuse me.”

He slipped through the crowd quickly as they headed towards the Great Hall and met Minerva McGonagall at the stairs. She offered him a smile and held out a hand, which he tucked onto his arm he offered as she led him into a small area with a bunch of little kids. They all began to ask questions about the sorting and if they’d have to fight a dementor or if it would hurt. Harry was somewhat horrified. One little girl was practically in tears.

Minerva sighed. “Every year, the first years get told all kinds of horrible stories on the train. I don’t know why Albus insists on allowing this tradition to continue.”

Harry frowned. “All right, calm down, everyone. Yelling at Professor McGonagall is really inappropriate.” They all quieted immediately. “Okay, so obviously we’re going to need a battle plan, right? Can’t go into a fight without a plan.”

Minerva bit down on her lip as fifty-three eleven year olds turned to Harry Potter with grave, determined little faces. “Right then, I’ll just leave you to it, Lord Potter.” She grinned at his sour look and the excited squeals after she said his name.

Harry turned to them. “Do you know what the most powerful magic on Earth is?” She paused in the doorway her breath caught as he drew a gleaming blackwood wand. “It’s love and no one will ever love you as much your family. Love can protect you if you allow it especially in times like this. Now, take out your wands and think about how much you love your family and friends. It’s huge in you—the well of your magic is built on it. Now, say Lumos.” Her mouth dropped open as all fifty-four wands lit, bright and beautiful. She exhaled sharply and hurried out into the hall before the wretched boy made her cry.

She called them and they trickled out each one with their wand lit with the charm. Mouths dropped open around the room. She counted fifty-two and she started to go back but Harry appeared carrying a little witch, whose wand was definitely lit but her face was all screwed up with fear. She was going to find out exactly who had scared that child so much and they would pay. Harry said something to little girl and she laughed. He put her down and she hurried over to join her peers.

After each one of them was sorted, they hopped off the stool, shouted Nox and darted off to their appropriate table. A glance at Albus confirmed that he found their display both startling but also endearing. She couldn’t wait to tell him why they had done it. The little girl Harry had helped turned out to be Astoria Greengrass and astoundingly she became the first Greengrass in ten generations to sort into Gryffindor. Her own sister was in Slytherin. Astoria waved to her older sister cheerfully and ran to the Gryffindor table, shouting Nox halfway there much to the delight of half the Hall.

“And finally,” Minerva said dryly. “Lord Harry James Potter will be joining us for his sixth year.” She brandished the hat. “Come along Potter, you made me wait years for this.”

Harry grinned at her but went to the stool and sat on it with a little laugh. She dropped the hat on his head unceremoniously where it sat all of three seconds before shouting out Gryffindor. She gave the other teachers a smug grin and plucked it off even as her house went wild. She wasn’t at all surprised when he joined the first years at the table instead of heading for the older children.

She sat down in her seat and Filius immediately leaned over to her. “Minerva, what was that?”

“The older kids did a bang up job of scaring the first years this year. By telling them they have to fight off dementors. Harry… told them to think about how much they loved their family and friends that it would protect them and he had them all take out their wands and asked them say Lumos. All of their wands lit right up.”

“Fascinating, I can’t wait to get him in class. We’ve only ever discussed defensive and offensive charm work. I know he studied magical theory with Frances Delacour for the last two years.” Flitwick wiggled in his chair.

– – – –

There were nine first years for Gryffindor, four boys and five girls. Hermione had taken care to memorize their faces and names as they were sorted because she took her Prefect duties very seriously. Right now, all nine of them were hovered around Harry Potter. They’d all been disappointed when he hadn’t show up for their first year and quite horrified when the Ministry had tried to force him to return to Britain for school.

He was very attractive, tall with a lean but athletic build. His hair was long, but pulled to his nape with a simple ebony clasp. His robes were obviously tailored and expensive. She’d heard Ron Weasley complaining about the dragon hide boots and how expensive they must have been. He also had a shining platinum wrist watch, but it was the ring on his wand hand that had gained the most attention at the table. Even if Professor McGonagall hadn’t revealed that he’d claimed his title, the ring would’ve given him away. She glanced at him again and found him taking a piece of cake away from the boy across from him. She started to get up but the boy laughed and gamely went back to eating his dinner. He used his wand three times in a period of five minutes, cleaning up one mess or another the children had made.

“He’s gorgeous,” Ginny said under her breath. “And look how good he is with the first years.”

“They seem to like him,” Hermione agreed.

She thought back to the letter she’d received over the summer while she was at the Burrow. Ginny had openly scoffed at the idea that it had been real. It hadn’t taken much for the younger girl to convince her that Harry Potter would never take the time to congratulate her on an article that had appeared in the Daily Prophet. So Hermione hadn’t sent her reply.

Her heart sank into her feet when a very familiar beautiful snowy white owl entered one of the enchanted windows at the top of the hall and sailed right down to him. The owl had stayed with her for days before departing; obviously disappointed that Hermione wasn’t going to send a response. She glanced towards Ginny who had gone red in the face. Hermione honestly didn’t know if it was anger or shame that made the youngest Weasley flush.

“Merlin, Hermione,” Ginny whispered. “He must think you’re such a snot for ignoring his note.”

The owl landed easily on Harry’s outstretched hand and the kids around him leaned in closer as he apparently introduced her. She barked at him and he gamely fed her piece of chicken off his plate. He allowed Astoria Greengrass to pet the bird for a few minutes before lifting his hand. The owl gracefully took flight and left the hall, all without delivering a letter.

– – – –

The common room in the Gryffindor tower was just as Sirius had described. The prefects had everyone gathered around to discuss passwords; Hermione Granger had passed out maps to the first years and told them how they’d all receive their schedules in the morning at breakfast. Ron Weasley was apparently the other sixth year prefect but he’d done very little during the meeting.

“And Katie has some quidditch announcements,” Hermione said finally and turned the floor over to her.

“Hey, all, I’m the Captain this year—we need one chaser, a seeker, and a keeper,” Katie Bell focused on him. “Lord Potter, it’s my understanding from Professor McGonagall that you are… an exceptional, professional level flyer. Have you played quidditch?”

“Call me Harry,” he said first. “I’m a decent chaser and I played seeker for a couple local youth leagues at home.”

She eyed him. “You have the build for both, but you’re a little on the tall side for seeker. Do you have your own broom with you?”

“Yes.”

“If you’re willing, I’d like to see you at tryouts.”

“I’ll have to see how my schedule plays out to be honest. I have a lot of work on my plate; my father has turned over half my estate for me to manage.”

“I understand. Just let me know. McGonagall only allows us to practice four hours a week.”

Harry nodded and stayed put as the first through fourth years were herded off to their dorms. Hermione and Ron Weasley returned shortly and laid out a few points about curfews, broom closets, and bullying of which they both seemed to agree had taken on a life of its own due to the Slytherins.  There was also a brief announcement about picking up contraceptive potions in the infirmary, which caused most of the witches to blush to some degree or another.

His mirror vibrated twice in his pocket but he ignored it. He knew his Dad wouldn’t be going to sleep anytime soon.

“And finally, Potter what was up with the first years and the Lumos charm?” Ron Weasley asked.

Harry sighed. “Some arse on the train managed to scare them all half to death about the sorting. I understand it’s some weird sort of tradition to tease them about wrestling trolls and whatnot but whoever did it, and Astoria wouldn’t tell me who, had them all petrified by telling them they’d have to fight off dementors. I’m surprised a few of them hadn’t pissed themselves. She refused to go out into the hall because she said a dementor would get her.”

“Oh, that’s horrible,” a red headed girl he knew to be Ginerva Weasley, said. “Who would do that?”

“None of them appeared willing to say,” Harry said. “So I taught them how to cast the Lumos charm while we waited. Just… I don’t know, to get their minds off of whatever they’d heard. They all buy into that Boy-Who-Loved tripe so I told them if there was a dementor I’d take care of it.”

“Tripe?” Ginny Weasley parroted after him. “I mean… well, you did survive the Killing Curse.”

“Not because of anything I did,” Harry said bluntly. “My mother sacrificed herself for me. A magical sacrifice is a terrible and wonderful sort of power, you know.” He started to say more but Astoria Greengrass came rushing down the stairs and made for him, her wand in hand. “Hey kiddo.”

“I can’t…” Big fat tears rolled down her face. “I can’t get my light to work and it’s so dark.”
Harry titled his head. “Afraid the dark?”

“Yes, bad things happen at night.”

“Good things happen to,” Harry said carefully and plucked her off the floor and into his lap. “Let’s see… the moon comes out at night. It is a very special magic, you know.”

“It makes werewolves,” Astoria retorted which caused several in the room to laugh.

“Well, no, it doesn’t make a werewolf it simply forces those who have been cursed to change their shape which is, you’re right, a very terrible burden. But the moon also gives life to many magical plants, which are used for healing. Unicorns are always born in the light of the full moon. Did you know that?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“In America, the Druids dance under the light of the full moon and perform powerful acts of green magic… when I was about your age I attended a renewal festival in Alaska. Do you know where that is?”

“It’s a state in the United States but it’s kind of stuck off the side of Canada.”

“Exactly,” Harry agreed. “During this festival I watched a coven of very powerful druid witches use the light of the new moon to give life to a dying forest. By morning, a land that was almost barren had trees as far as the eye could see. So good things can happen at night, too.”

“Why won’t my light work?” Astoria brandished her wand with a frown.

He caught her wrist with a laugh and light grip. “Easy there, you should never whip your wand around like that. Magic is more than a gift, it’s a responsibility and a wand is tool of great power. You could hurt yourself or someone if you don’t take it seriously.”

“Sorry,” she bit down on her lip.

“Right then. Your light isn’t working because you’re upset. The Lumos charm is all about intent but your emotional state can make performing any magic difficult.”

“So if I get upset I can’t do magic?”

“Or you’ll do too much magic,” Harry admitted. “Once, I received some very disturbing news and I let my temper get the best of me. My Dad had to stun me to stop my magic. Then I spent three days cleaning up my mess. I don’t recommend it.”

“I once threw my dance instructor across the room ‘cause he yelled at me,” Astoria confessed. “I had to write him an apology even though my daddy fired him.” She frowned at her wand. “Lumos.” The tip sparked briefly but faded and her lip trembled.

“I’m pretty sure Gryffindors don’t cry,” Harry said gravely and grinned when she huffed. “Just relax, close your eyes think about your mum. What did she tell you before you got on the train today?”

“That I was smart and I’d do well in school. And that it didn’t matter where I was sorted that she’d always love me,” Astoria repeatedly dutifully. “And if I did really well I could get a kitten for Christmas.”

“What are you going to name your kitten?”

“Dorrie if it’s a girl,” Astoria said decisively.

“Okay, take a deep breath and try again.”

She inhaled and exhaled slowly. “Lumos.” The wand tip lit up vividly white as she opened her eyes. “Oh, there it is.” She scrambled off his lap and darted towards the stairs. “Thanks Lord Harry!”

“They must have really scared her on the train,” Hermione said quietly. She tilted her head. “You know that’s not how they taught us that charm.”

“I’ve never had mine light that brightly either,” Ron Weasley said. “Is that because she’s powerful?”

“I think it’s more a measure of how afraid she is of the dark,” Katie said. “We should talk to Professor McGonagall about what happened on the train.”

Hermione sighed. “I saw Astoria on the train during my patrol. She was in a compartment with her sister, Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson.”

“Well no wonder she doesn’t want to tell,” Ginny said. “If her own sister didn’t interfere.”

“I don’t think that explains it completely,” Harry admitted. “She isn’t the only one. They fed on each other like a mob, by the time they arrived at Hogwarts nearly the whole lot of them were a nervous wreck. I’m surprised half of them didn’t end up in the lake.”

“Malfoy and Parkinson are the Slytherin sixth year prefects, one or both could’ve used their rounds to spread the little rumor about dementors around,” Katie Bell said. “With that badge on, those poor little kids probably thought they were serious.”

The portrait door opened and their Head of House entered just as a high-pitched scream sounded from the first year girl’s room and five little girls came all but tumbling down the steps.

Minerva stared at them in surprise. “What is going on here?” She demanded. She huffed when Astoria ran right past her and ended up back in Harry’s lap.

“Ma’am, someone on the train told the first years they’d have to fight a dementor before they could be sorted. It’s apparently given them all night terrors,” Hermione said and winced when Astoria promptly burst into tears and buried her head against Harry Potter’s chest, her wand still lit and held tight in her fist.

“Oh that is the bloody limit!” Minerva snapped. “Miss Greengrass, stop crying all over Lord Potter.”

“It’s okay, Aunt Min,” Harry murmured. “She’s… pretty overwrought.” He patted her back and cleared his throat. “Hey, Astoria, did you bring a stuffed animal with you to Hogwarts?”

“I have my unicorn,” Astoria whispered. “It’s on my bed.”

He let his blackwood wand slide out of his wrist holster. “Accio Astoria’s unicorn.” The stuffed white animal floated down the stairs seconds later and right into his hand. “What’s his name?”

Astoria lifted her head and sighed. “Her name is Ashley.”

“Well, she’s beautiful,” Harry said. “Did you know that my Dad once had to stay in Azkaban?”

Astoria nodded. “Lord Black got put there without a trial. It was a big scandal before I was born.”

“That’s right,” Harry said. “He had nightmares for a very long time, you know, because of the dementors.”

“They’re bad.”

“But a healer in Japan modified the Patronus spell to help my dad.”

“How?” Astoria asked taking her unicorn in her free hand.

“By creating a charm that would allow an object to be imbued with the power of a Patronus,” Harry admitted. “And we used the charm on his pillows. It’s the first magic I ever learned to do with my wand because it has to be reapplied every six months or so.” He swirled his wand in a gentle motion and hissed so lowly it was subvocal, “Vigilia expecto patronum.” A silver and purple stream of parselmagic flowed out of his wand enveloped the unicorn and it took on a gentle, comforting glow.

“Oh.” Astoria’s eyes went wide and the other girls in her dorm came close. “Ashley will keep us safe now?”

“Yes, no dreams about dementors and definitely no dementors. Just put in her your window and she’ll protect everyone, okay?”

“Thank you, Lord Potter.”

“It’s no problem Elisa,” Harry said as the girl offered Astoria her hand.

Minerva cleared her throat as the five of them left together, each of them touching some part of the now enchanted unicorn. “Well done, Lord Potter. Ten points to Gryffindor.” She took a deep breath. “Anyone have a theory on who did it?”

“Astoria seemed to be the one most affected and she shared a car with Draco Malfoy and Pansy Parkinson,” Katie Bell said. “And honestly, if a prefect had told me I’d face a dementor when I was a first year I would’ve probably believed them.”

“Fantastic,” Minerva snapped. “Potter, your suite is through that doorway over there. There is no portrait or password, but if you feel the need to have one it can be arranged.” She pointed to a third set of stairs that Hermione hadn’t mentioned in her house briefing. “Dobby has already set up your things but let us know if you need anything. There is a charmed window for your owl.”

“He gets his own room?” Ron Weasley asked with a frown.

“Yes, the Earl of Gryffindor has his own rooms. He has responsibilities that extend far beyond school work, Mr. Weasley, and requires he privacy for those matters.” She paused at the portrait. “Miss Granger, Miss Weasley, and Miss Bell, please keep an open ear for the first year girls.”

“Ma’am,” Harry began. “I think I do need a portrait and a password. Probably tonight. I’d rather not have one of those little girls come barging into my rooms… unannounced.”

Minerva’s eyes widen. “Quite. I’ll return after I speak to the other heads about the dementor issue.”

Most of the crowd separated after leaving him with what looked mostly like sixth years.

“I’m Dean Thomas, Lord Potter.”

“Seriously, call me Harry,” Harry said.

“Well, I’m Seamus Finnigan and this here is Neville Longbottom. You already sort of met Ron when he was half-arsed being a prefect while Hermione did all the work.”

Harry would’ve laughed if the red headed boy hadn’t outright glared at Seamus. “It’s great to meet you all.”

“I’m Lavender Brown, this is Parvati Patil, and Fay Dunbar. You’ve already sort of met Hermione—you know when she was doing all the prefect work. Oh, and this is Ginny Weasley, she’s the fifth year prefect but she mostly hangs out with us since her roommates think she’s still a bit crazy after her first year.”

Ginny blushed, sighed, and glared at Lavender who just shrugged.

His mirror vibrated again and he reached into his robe pocket to tap it three times. A signal that would make his Dad’s mirror chime letting the older man know he couldn’t talk but would call him back.

“So why didn’t you come your first year?” Ron blurted out.

Harry shrugged. “Politics, mostly. I’m not very fond of the British Ministry’s behavior, most especially all that pure-blood crap. The discrimination against werewolves is also extremely off-putting. The lack of regulations for the safety of house elves in Great Britain is an absolute disgrace.”

“I know,” Hermione exclaimed. “I’ve been trying to figure out how to free them.” She frowned when several people around them laughed. “It’s a serious matter, you guys.”

Harry leaned forward. “Hermione, I can call you Hermione, right?”

“Yes, of course, Lord Potter,” she blushed.

“Great, you do realize that freeing house elves would kill them, right? They need the symbiotic relationship with wizards and witches to keep their magic, which starts to fade when they reach adulthood and without magic, they will die. Freeing a house elf against their will is a gross abuse of power.”

“But surely… I mean they’re slaves.”

“Have you ever spoken with one?” Harry asked gently.

“I… no the ones in the castle sort of run from me.” She deflated. “Which I don’t blame them for since I’ve apparently been trying to murder them all since my second year. They must think I’m some kind of terrorist.”

Harry laughed. “You can’t free them, Hermione, by giving them clothes. Only the Master of a house elf can free one and it requires more than a single piece of clothing if the elf is unwilling. Granted, elves will use such an event as an excuse to break a bond if their master is abusive but to free a house against their will requires a magical push by the wizard or witch breaking the bond. The bond between an elf and a magical person is extremely hardy magic due to what it accomplishes. If they are running from you it’s because they’re playing with you.” He looked around them. “And the lot of you should be ashamed of yourselves for not telling her. She’s very smart. What if she’d figured out some kind of spell to free them or something?”

“She couldn’t have done that,” Ron scoffed.

“It was a spell that created the ability of elves and magicals to bond in the first place,” Harry returned evenly. “It is entirely possible someone that is studying arithmancy and runic magic could come upon a theory to break that magic.”

Ron frowned at him. “How do you know what she’s been studying?”

“She was only on the front page of the Prophet for straight Os on her OWLs and being at the top of the year over the summer. They think Hermione will break more records when she takes her NEWTs,” Ginny said sarcastically. “Lord Potter sent her a note congratulating her, after all.”

Harry bit down on his lip when Hermione winced. “I’m sure I’m not the only member of the Wizengamot to send their congratulations.”

“No, I received about fifteen letters from various Wizengamot members and several offers to apprentice after Hogwarts from people within the Ministry,” Hermione murmured. “There were over a hundred letters after that article congratulating me. I even received several gift certificates for Flourish & Blotts.”

The portrait door swung open and Minerva reentered with a portrait in one hand. “Your many greats grandfather, Niall Gryffindor, insists on guarding your… virtue, Lord Potter.”

Harry sighed. “Really?” She flipped the portrait around and a handsome man with black hair and sparkling blue eyes grinned wildly at him. “How did a copy of you get to Hogwarts?”

“I was a fantastic wizard,” Niall defended.

“Right,” Harry frowned. “Listen you old reprobate, I’ll let you guard my door but you will mind your manners. If I catch you or hear of you saying one lewd or bawdy thing to a witch in this tower I’ll have Dad deactivate your master portrait at Potter’s Keep.”

Niall bowed. “As you will, Lord Potter, I’ll keep all of my best jokes to myself.”

“And your clothes on,” Harry added.

“And my clothes on,” Niall agreed. “You were much more fun before you put that fussy old ring on, you know.”

Harry just sighed as his Head of House took the portrait up the set of steps that lead to his room. She returned shortly and inclined her head towards the door.

“Lord Potter, if you’d come with me… I have a task for you.”

“Of course,” Harry said and stood. He followed her out of the common room with small glance in Hermione’s direction. “Is something wrong?”

“Just a bunch of horrified first years,” Minerva said. “All of the Hufflepuffs were trying to sleep in their common room—they’d gone so far as to develop a schedule so they could sleep in shifts. The Ravenclaws were trying to learn the Patronus Charm, now two of them are magically exhausted and the Slytherins all ended up in the boy’s dorm where they set up a blanket fort and an intent ward.”

“Well… at least this situation inspired team work,” Harry said dryly.

“I told the other Heads about the stuffed animal you enchanted. So… some were donated to the cause. This won’t be too taxing for you?”

Harry paused. “I’m not entirely sure. It’s not the same as casting an actual Patronus but I’ll be going to bed shortly after this so it won’t matter.”

They entered a small classroom where the rest of the Heads were lingering with a few students and the Headmaster.

“Lord Harry!” A frankly tiny Hufflepuff girl hopped up from her seat with a teddy bear and a stuffed dragon. “Can you come stay in our dorm?”

Harry plucked her up off the ground and set her on the desk she’d been sitting at and sat down in the chair she’d vacated. “Well, no, Cassie, I have to stay in my own dorm and where would I sleep?”

“We have a very comfortable couch,” Cassie Lipscomb said seriously. “And there are nice chairs and a fire. You could have my blanket and you could take Joe’s pillow.”

“Then what would Joe do?” Harry asked as he drew his wand.

“Sacrifices have to be made,” Cassie said gravely and offered him the dragon. “This is Puff. He is Joe’s. The boys are going to share him.”

“Well, let’s make Puff a bit magical,” Harry said with a small grin and glanced up when she laughed. “Do you know the story of Puff the Magic Dragon?”

“He lived by the sea,” Cassie said. “My parents are Muggles, you know.”

“I didn’t,” Harry admitted. “Where I grew up, it’s rather rude to presume and beyond the pale to ask for such information. It doesn’t matter, you know.”

Cassie frowned. “She said dementors would get me and Joe first because we’re mudbloods.”

Harry’s mouth dropped open. “Cassie, that is a very ugly word. Please don’t say it again and it’s never okay for someone to call you that—no matter who they are. Understand?”

“Yes, Lord Harry.”

“And it’s just Harry,” he said with amusement. “Vigilia expecto patronum.” He cast first on Puff then shifted his wand to the bear when Puff was putting off a satisfying glow.

“This is Elvis by the way,” Cassie said of the bear.

Harry laughed as he ended the charm. “Well, Elvis is ready to fight off dementors in your dorm.”

She nodded. “All right, I’ll tell the others. If you’re sure you can’t come live with us?”

“Sorry,” he said and helped her down. He turned to the two Ravenclaws because the boy from Slytherin was hiding behind his head of house. “Well, Paul and Jessica. What do we have?”

“This is Terrence,” Jessica said decisively as she put down a stuffed Hippogriff. “And this is Albus.” She dropped a stuffed Hungarian Horntail dragon down in front of him. “They were our best, most fiercest options. But Louisa says she can owl her parents for something bigger.”

Harry glanced at the Headmaster and found the older man amused. “Right well, there is a lecture about size and might and right in there somewhere but I don’t have it in me to make it right now. Do remind me later.” He turned to Paul who had also had two. “Why so many?”

“Ravenclaws have two person rooms, sir,” Paul explained. “So we have four rooms to cover but we could all share if casting so much would make you sick. We don’t want to make you tired before you make some for Slytherin.”

“I’m fine,” Harry said.

Paul nodded. “All right then, this is Charlie and Superman.” He put a small stuffed panther down then a plushy of Superman. “Superman is in Muggle comic books, you know.”

“I’ve always been a bigger fan of Batman myself,” Harry confided as he cast the charm with a murmur. “He had to depend on his brain as much as the technology he had created, you know. Superman is great, of course.”

“I like Spiderman,” Paul said. “But I left mine at home. I figured I might get made fun of but I’m going to ask Mrs. Christin to send him.”

“You can borrow Hedwig if you like—arranging travel for the Amazing Spiderman is very important business after all.” Once he was done, he motioned the kids to pick them up and the moment they did he could see the relief on their faces as they were touched by the magic.

Flitwick lead them away with a silent nod of thanks.

“Right then,” Harry said as he turned in his seat. He raised an eyebrow at the boy. “Ready Darius?” The boy actually leaned into Snape and bit down on his lip, which was unnerving to say the least. None of the kids from Potter Redoubt had ever feared him before. “I haven’t bitten anyone in years.”

Snape prodded the boy and he finally came across the room and carefully set a very accurate looking basilisk on the desk followed by a three headed stuffed dog with fluffy coat and an animated tail.

“Care to tell me why you’re so nervous?” Harry asked carefully.

“She said… she said you wouldn’t be nice to us now because we sorted into Slytherin. That you’d hate us because… because of You-Know-Who.”

“Oh, well is this the same person that told that you’d have to fight dementors at your sorting?” Harry asked dryly.

“Yes.”

“Well, she’s proven to be a liar already, hasn’t she?” Harry asked as he lifted his wand. “Which is rather a disgrace. It is one thing to be a liar but to be such an obvious one is embarrassing. As to hating you because you’re in Slytherin—that’s ridiculous. I happen to actually like snakes quite a bit,” Harry confided. “I have five in my home in Paris. They make excellent and cunning companions. I received a new one for my birthday—from my absolute favorite aunt.”

“What sort?”

“An elemental viper,” Harry admitted. “Would you like to meet her?”

“Oh yes,” Darius said, wide-eyed.

Harry reached up and pulled the disillusioned snake from around his neck. It immediately became visible. The small red and black snake curled around his fingers and wrist as he held her out to Darius. “Her name is Rowena.”

“I can touch her?”

“Of course, I wouldn’t have offered if she wasn’t completely safe.” He held out his hand as the boy took the snake from him carefully. “She’s my familiar.”

“That’s so cool, Lord Potter.”

“Harry,” he corrected as an afterthought as he cast the charm on the two remaining stuffed animals. He put away his wand. “Now, if anyone tells you something about me that you want to verify—you can come ask me. Tell the others as well. I have no reason to lie and if I can’t give you an answer I’ll tell you so.”

“Thank you, Lord Harry,” Darius murmured as he gently placed Rowena in Harry’s hand and picked up the stuffed animals. “I’ll tell the others that Pansy is an embarrassingly poor liar.”

“Wait for me at the stairs, Darius,” Snape said as the boy rushed past him.

Harry met the older man’s gaze unflinchingly. “Professor Snape.”

“Thank you, Lord Potter, for your help this evening. I will investigate how this situation developed and punishments will be appropriate.”

“You’re welcome. Those will last six months, maybe less if they all have nightmares but I can recast it easily enough.” He paused. “And Professor? I really don’t appreciate Pansy Parkinson making one of my own wards terrified of me. She’d best learn to keep her mouth shut.”

Snape nodded and Harry was left alone with the Headmaster and his Head of House.

“Lord Potter, it would be…” Dumbledore trailed off. “I would really like to learn to cast that charm. I have meant to go to St. Mungo’s and speak to the Head Healer about it but haven’t had the time.”

“I’d be pleased to show you the way of it, sir. I can cast it in Latin and in parseltongue. I must admit though that the parseltongue version tends to last longer.”  Harry admitted as he stood. He caught himself on the desk when he went weak in the knees. “But perhaps not tonight?”

“No, definitely not,” Minerva frowned as she caught hold of his arm. “And you didn’t tell me you were bringing Rowena with you,” she admonished as the Headmaster took his other arm.

“I brought the paperwork to register her as my familiar. When I told them I was leaving; she pitched quite a fit about being left behind. That’s when I realized we were starting to bond. The others just ordered me to send them English rats,” Harry admitted with a little laugh. The snake in question hissed at Minerva and coiled, visible, around Harry’s neck. “Sir, could you cast a disillusion spell on her? She’s not old enough to do it herself, yet.”

“Of course, my boy,” Albus murmured as they guided him down the hallway to the Gryffindor tower. He pulled his wand and cast the charm easily enough. “Do file the paper work in the morning first thing so we can send off her registration to the Ministry. It will offer her legal protection.”

The portrait swung open for them and they were greeted by four little boys, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley. Hermione’s gaze went wide and she frowned. “Lord Potter, are you quite All right?”

“I’m fine,” Harry assured as the Headmaster and his Aunt Min put him in a chair.

“You’re very pale,” one of the little boys said.

“It’s all right, Joel, I was just…” He glanced towards the bear the boy had.

Joel nodded. “Making protectors for the other houses? That’s what I told Miss Hermione. It’s okay, we can wait until tomorrow.”

“No,” Harry held out a hand. “It’s fine.”

“I can bunk down with them, mate,” Ron offered. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Then none of you will get any sleep,” Harry said wryly as Joel hesitantly handed the bear over.

“His name is…” The boy blushed. “Harry.”

Harry grinned. “I noticed he’s from the collection.” He tapped the little black glasses the bear was wearing. “I haven’t worn frames like this since I was thirteen, when I was old enough to start using the vision correction charm.”

“My mum got him for me when I was six,” Joel said, rubbing the back of his neck. “She said it was for a good cause.”

“And it was,” Harry agreed. “All money made from the toys and books—is used to fund the Lily Potter Foundation which pays for Potter Redoubt and the Magical Primary School in Britain and Hogwarts, of course.”

“What is Potter Redoubt?” Hermione asked even as Harry pulled his wand and started to cast silently.

“It is a magical orphanage,” Ron said. “They take in kids with no parents and also Muggle-borns if their parents try to refuse them the right to study magic. The Magical Primary School only started about six years ago and teaches basic stuff. Neither one of us were young enough to attend but Ginny got to go for one year before Hogwarts.”

“If it makes you uncomfortable, I can send it home,” Joel offered.

“No, don’t worry about it. I picked out that bear myself,” Harry promised. “I read all the Adventures of Prongs stories before they are published so nothing sold by the Foundation is done without my permission. It all goes to a good cause, so it doesn’t bother me.”

Joel nodded and all four boys trotted off to bed.

Harry carefully put away his wand and took a deep breath before turning to Dumbledore. “Sir, I’m not going to be able to get to bed by myself at this point. My dad and I went through three apparation points this morning to get to the train since portkeys tend to give me headaches. Between that and all those charms, I’m done in.”

“You have a license to apparate?” Hermione asked, and then blushed when he focused on her. “Sorry, that is none of my business.”

“I have an international license,” Harry murmured as Dumbledore and surprisingly Ron Weasley helped him to his feet. “Thanks Ron.”

“No problem.”

Hermione watched the three of them disappear down up the short set of stairs leading to Harry’s private quarters, flustered and unsure what to do with herself. She turned to her Head of House and found the older woman looking at her with amusement.

“Ma’am.”

Minerva smiled. “Not what you expected then?”

“He’s very good with the first years,” Hermione said. “Most of the boys our age don’t have time for them. Ron keeps calling them midgets and got annoyed with a couple on the train. Lord Potter seems to know all of their names…”

“All of them,” Minerva agreed. “He watched each one get sorted and he has an eidetic memory. It comes from being an accomplished Occlumens. Harry volunteers several weeks every summer to take the kids from Potter Redoubt to various Muggle attractions around the world—Disney World, theme parks, etc. Now that he’s back in Britain, he’ll probably ask permission to leave the school on some weekends to visit them. He takes his responsibilities to his title very seriously and did before he claimed it.”

“He’s beautiful,” Hermione blurted out then blushed furiously. “I mean he’s…”

“He’s quite attractive and charming,” Minerva said dryly. “He’s also a very good man, Miss Granger. I believe you’d find him a good friend and more importantly a true magical peer, something you’ve sorely missed in all of your years here at Hogwarts.”

“Ron is…”

“A spiteful, fickle boy,” Minerva said without reserve. “And you know it. Even now, he’s angling to be Harry’s friend not because of genuine interest but what he feels could bring him with having such a high profile and obviously very generous friend.”

– – – –

Harry sat down on the bed as Dumbledore and Ron released his arms and sighed. “My Dad would have my head for being so silly.”

“I will set up a few wards for you, Lord Potter, so you can sleep in peace,” Dumbledore murmured. “If you are unable to attend classes in the morning, please send a note with Dobby.”

“Dobby!” Harry called and elf appeared immediately. “Could you please arrange to have a pepper up potion for me in the morning when I wake up and I need help with my boots?”

Dobby huffed at him. “Master Harry been drinking? You be only allowed wine on your birthday!”

Ron laughed.

“He’s magically exhausted, Dobby,” Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye. “Being a hero for a bunch of first years can be very taxing. And one hundred points to Gryffindor, Lord Potter, for your outstanding charm work this evening.”

Dobby frowned but nodded. He snapped his fingers and Harry’s boots disappeared from his feet and his clothes transfigured into pajamas.

Episode Two: Hermione’s Choice

Keira Marcos

In my spare time I write fan fiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on Facebook. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a "domestic engineer" in her 30's but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

126 Comments:

  1. Right. Damn, this is pretty!

    Very cool!

    ~L

  2. Oh my! This is LOVELY!!! I’m hooked already and stayed up way too late reading when I should have been packing. But oh, it was worth it!!!

  3. Bloody woman is gonna kill me with her awesomeness.

    I’m liking this Harry. Rather much, truthfully.

    Looking forward to Weasley and Dumbles bashing 😀

  4. Oh, I absolutely adore this! I knew I would, though…you’re just that good. A week, you say? Damn…I’ll try to be strong. 😉

    Thanks so much!

  5. What a way to start the day…looks like I’ll be locking myself in the assignment cupboard so I can read this in peace…no way am I going to last 5 hours til lunchtime! Thanks for posting M’Lady. Hugs, Hxx

  6. Yeah! Love it already. 🙂

  7. Wonderful, as always. I loved the first years. I’m looking forward to the next episode. Thanks for sharing!

  8. *\o/*

    This is AWESOME!

  9. Oh Damn did not want to like it but it is shiny and I am taking it to my nest to keep all to myself.

    No wait I am not a Magpie so I will just have to settle for reading it and waiting for the next part.

    Thank You for the SHINY.

  10. Love your Harry. Love where this is going.

  11. I’m totally drawn in… looking forward to next weekend for the next installment 😀

  12. And! And! And! I love the charmed stuff animals. That’s just *perfect*.

  13. Oh I’m loving this – the idea of Lily being in a triad with James & Sirius is most excellent and I love the fact that Harry starts at Hogwarts after OWLS. What a great older brother he makes to the little firsties. I’m going to miss the twins though! Nice addition to your Wizarding worlds Lady Keira, although I still have to confess that Birth of the Serpant King is still my favourite because it was my first. Hugs, Hxx

  14. What a great way to start my morning. Loving this Lord Harry, really cute and great with the first years. Wishing I was Hermione now 😉 Now, time to return to real life, how boring! Xx

  15. Hi first off let me just say thank you.

    It’s a really nice treat to wake up to fantastic new stories.That the story is my favourite pairing in the harry potter world is just a bonus.

    I’m really glad you decided to post this because it’s fantastic and the world needs more great harry/hermione fiction as they are few and far between now day’s. The character’s are well thought out and the story well balanced not that i’m surprised all your work is like that i really enjoyed reading this and i love that you made this a series just in case you wanted to add more haha

    so again thank you i can see this fast becoming one of my favorite stories to reread again and again

    • Hi,

      Not sure you’ll read this, but if you do, do you have a couple of recommendations for other H/Hr fics? While I read slash or H/G most of the time, I’ve kinda had a craving for this paring latey and as you said it’s not easy finding good fics with this paring.

      Thanks in advance!

  16. Awsome.

    I don’t ship Harry and Hermione because of the brother/sister vibe i’ve always felt, and I kinda love the Weasleys (ducks before I get pelted with rotten tomatoes), but that’s probably because of my red hair – which is grey now but I remember the teasing.

    That said, your interpretation is well thought out (which is no surprise because everything you’ve written is always so) and I really enjoyed this chapter.

    Thanks as ever for sharing. You rock my socks off Keira.

  17. August 16… ah yes… I’ll need to take a hooky day… can’t miss the next Episode…

    Gosh.. I haven’t been this excited since I started watching the Walking Dead…

    Whoot Whoot!!!

  18. Brilliant! Loved it so far! 😀 Can’t wait for the next chapter! 🙂

  19. Gorgeous! I am looking forward to seeing how this develops! (that isn’t being demanding is it? I am just thrilled with the beginning)

  20. Of course I loved it. I love a strong and confident Harry, and you write him so well!

  21. Oh wow. Thank you so much for a totally different Harry! This is off to a great start and I’m already eager for more. Once again Keira proves that Her faithful minions are right to follow Her!

  22. I adore your Harry! His handling of the first years was just lovely. I’ll be interested to see how he handles his first meeting with Pansy and Draco after all that. There’s so much of this story I’m enjoying – Sirius as part of a triad with the Potters, Hermione’s blooming appreciation of Harry, Dobby getting to wear proper clothes! Seriously the list goes on! I’m glad you decided to share this one with us and I look forward to seeing where you take us!

  23. Don’t mind me I’m a little in love with this already.

    Looking forward to more when it happens.

  24. Oh yeah this is exactly my cup of Harry Potter. <33333

    MJ

  25. I absolutely love this! Your Harry is a pretty great guy, although I like anyone who sticks up for little kids. I already love the backstory in this one. The triad reference was awesome, even though it was brief, it’s so you! I always thought Ginny was wrong for Harry – one of his BFFs is Hermoine, who is a strong woman, so I really can’t relate to Ginny & Harry.

    You rock! and thanks, btw…

  26. Love it! Oh, and just so you know – het, slash, don’t care – you rock!

  27. So. While i’m not usually into reading Het Fanfiction, i have to say that you’re just a seriously awesome writer and i love this fic so far… and i know that i will continue to love it until the end, i just have to know more and i absolutely adore the fact that you made Hermione as they say bitchin’ well at least it seems that she’s well along her way… and that she’ll come into her own voice and power soon enough, cannot wait for your next installment, a week is too long to wait!! but then again… you do write fairly long chapters so who am i to complain? it just goes by too fast… that’s my only complaint, seriously you are a page turner… honestly lol. and well, just cannot wait to read anything you’ve written, seriously anything is good from you and you’ve opened me up to so many new worlds, particularly SG Atlantis… hmm, i’m thinking that i’m going to reread everything again while i’m waiting… i have to say that i’ve read your stuff, most of it at least, about five times already in the past two years i think? Hmm, i think maybe more … eh. either way, read your stuff loved it and totally going to read it right now!

    Sorry… i have a tendency to talk and talk and talk!

    So essentially, awesome start, cannot wait to read more and just lovely lovely story

  28. I wasn’t going to start reading this until it was all posted because honestly, I am an impatient bitch! But I decided to take a quick look… DAMN YOU, WOMAN AND YOUR LITERARY CRACK!!!

    I am now HOOKED! And you wrote this at 19? GARG… green is NOT a good color on me, but yeah, color me jealous! 😀 I am very much looking forward to the rest! 😀

  29. I love it and cant wait for more.

  30. flitterflutterfly

    I love love love this so so much. I love Hermione and I’m very excited for her and Harry to interact more… though I also love Draco and I hope he’s not TOO much of a prat. Or that he’s at least redeemable. Sigh. Well, regardless, awww Harry was so cute with the firsties awwwwwwwwww. Eagerly awaiting the next episode.

  31. You’ve made my day with this 🙂 Thankyou x

  32. Serenity Harkness

    ……Damnit….I swore I wasn’t gonna read it until you had more posted so I wouldn’t sit here waiting for more…..apparently I lied to myself…and it’s soo good too! I want more now but there is not more now.

  33. I am really excited for this series, and this is a great chapter – what a good idea! Patronus plushies!! I have an owl that could use that charm. I do like Harry/Hermione, but I doubt you could write anything that I didn’t like, because it hasn’t happened yet 🙂

  34. I finally had time to come and read this! I thought I was going to go crazy from waiting, but mom wanted to make me shopping – her treat – and as a poor jobbless person I couldn’t really say no. And then friend I haven’t heard from over a month wanted to play GW… I really need to start saying no to people.

    Anyway! This was all and even more than I was expecting. I love how you’ve handled Harry’s past up to this point and I look foward to reading more about it.

    Also, I can’t wait for Ron&Ginny bashing, you do it so well!

  35. Oh.. Just for the record, I did not take the link(I’m sure it was delicious ) It’s just that I’ve been reading your lush plenty for years now so I’m pretty sure it can be summed up in this: Don’t like it, DON’T READ!!

    There’s a back button, We can all use it. You warn us out the wazzu. Yes you’re a fantastic writer to say the least, so I know that if I’m not willing to love something, to turn a way!

    Yes, I’m gay, that does not mean that I read slash exclusively. Frankly, Your work is too fantastic to be read for porn value only.

    This is no exception! I adore it!

  36. You rock my world! Thanks for sharing!

  37. I’m pretty sure I’ve already read this eight times since it was posted, and as much as I wish it were longer, I’m also glad we get a new part in a week! So excited for this, and cannot wait for the next part. If I could mail you cookies, I would. And maybe a cake too!

  38. 1. I love you so much Keira. This is AMAZING and I can’t wait for next week.
    2. I have a question: Is Draco going to be a complete rat bastard, or just a bit of a prat and then be best friends with Harry? Because I love the idea of those two being best friends, and their friendship is part of why I love your Harry/Draco fics.

    YOU ARE AMAZING

  39. I love the way you play around with AUs. Each of your stories has a different set of circumstances, all of them interesting, and the main characters are slightly different to match while still remaining those characters. I will enjoy reading this.

  40. I have never before shipped Harry and Hermione, but this? Yup. I’m so there. Love the pic, too. Beautiful!

  41. The first time in a while that I read het fic. And loved it.
    Thank you so much for writing and posting this.
    Anticipation for the next part is almost killing me.

  42. Oh wow, what a great start. Your writing is always so good. I jumped in my seat at work when I saw the update email & had to then pretend I was working instead of inwardly flailing with joy at the prospect of a new read.
    Thanks for sharing.

  43. You had me at the summary. Every one of your stories starts with such an interesting premise. Then you do such amazing things with the characters themselves. I adore your Harry/Draco stories but Harry/Hermione is my favorite het pairing. I desperately want to read more right this very second but I am somewhat glad you are posting weekly because I am trying to practice moderation this summer and I am not sure if I would have any chance of success if you had posted it all in one shot.

  44. You know, I’ve never been really into the Harry/Hermione pairing (not because it’s HET, but because the pairing just didn’t spark with me), but if anyone was going to make me like the pairing I knew it would be you… and you certainly did that. I’m all squirmy in anticipation about this fic. You are seriously talented and I will be awaiting eagerly each week for a new episode!

  45. I normally hate Harry/Hermoine fic, but once again you have made me like a fandom/ship simply because your writing makes me care about the characters. Awesome beginning and I patiently wait for the next chapter.

  46. So incredibly awesome. Thank you! Your stories always send me into a fit of excitement and this one was no different. I loved every word of it!

  47. That was lovely. I really liked the way you filled in Hermione’s back-story, as well as Harry’s, and I’m looking forward to seeing where you go with this story.

  48. Really great start. Love the characterization of Sirius and Harry so far. Eagerly awaiting the next episode

  49. You’ve converted a slash reader just on the basis of your summary and your outstanding reputation. This is going to be so much fun to read. The first episode already has me hooked.

  50. This is AWESOME. I mean, I love all your writings and you sucked me into Star Trek, but man. You are the best at world-building.

  51. What a lovely beginning. You amaze my how you create such vivid imagery. I can see the unicorn gleaming in the window! Can I send my fairy to be charmed?

  52. Omgosh….this is so awesome! You are totally making me ship Harry/Hermione. And the thought of Sirius and James together…..pretty!! I have hopes of interesting dreams tonight!

    Thank to for sharing your genius!!!!!

  53. The was wonderful. I can’t wait for more and thank you for mentioning Luna. She is one of my favorites.

  54. Lovely as always… will wait (not so) patiently for the next installment!

  55. Oh, such a lovely episode. I’m impressed at Harry’s nature and how well he handles helping the children. Hermoine’s character is good and I enjoyed seeing her so observent. I’m interested in reading how you move them from here to your finish. Lovely writing as always. Take care until next time and don’t let the haters get you down.

  56. Ah damn. . . I have to confess, I am a shameless glutton. The song running through my mind says it all “I want it all! I want it all! And I want it NOW!” I would absolutely devour this fic in one sitting but rather than get in hot water haranging you, I have chosen to count this as my special Friday treat for being an awesome teacher.
    You wrote this at 19? You know almost anyone gets better at writing by writing, practicing the craft just like my fantastic firsties eventually play a song on their violin after working every day with our violin instructor. I know you work hard planning, plotting, revising and practicing your craft. But you were are seriously gifted even starting out. Thank you for sharing both your gift and your hard work with us!
    I know the first thing I’ll do on Fridays is read the next installment.

    • Love this. I really can’t see Harry vertigo together with Hermione in the book any more the I get ginny/Harry or Hermione/Ron. This Harry I can see working with Hermione. I think you do a great job extrapolating having Harry being raised in a supportive environment. I also kind of sense the Remus had a strong role in molding him since Sirius always seemed to act before thinking of the consequence.

      I also hope that Luna becomes one of the people he takes under his wing

  57. Thank you for posting this story, I love having this glimpse of a Harry Potter who is mature and self assured I have no idea if you write professionally or not but if you don’t you really should but if you do I probably read your stuff and I just have no idea I do so I will just thank you for this new story to read and leave it at that.

  58. Hi Keira! I’m really excited to read this awesome new story!! I started a bit already, but then I got to the line about Harry suppressing Hermione’s memory and had to stop. Could you maybe tell me a little bit more about this, since it may end up triggering some terrible things in my past? I really want to read this story, because I love everything you write, but my mental health has to come first. I understand if you don’t have time or don’t want to reply to this (I know giving you reasons for not reading something you wrote is against the rules) but I just really want to read this and I thought if you didn’t mind telling me a bit more about the situation then I can figure out if I can handle the rest of the story.

    Thank you so much for all that you do!

  59. OMG, what a great start! You are so good at sucking me right in to the story! Can’t wait to see what happens! Thank you for posting this, it really made my day!

  60. Fun. Sweet. A nice change of pace.

  61. Another awesome new story and a fantastic beginning! I love powerful Harry stories and even though I usually avoid het….I know you will make me love it!

  62. Thank you so much for writing and sharing the story with your readers. By changing things around a bit the Keira Marcos version of the HP world is more real without loosing the sense of wonder. I loved the JKR HP world even though I read it as an adult, but what you do with the stories writing FOR adults is amazing.

  63. Just so you know I don’t read HP unless you’ve written it. Couldn’t get beyond the first chapter of the original book. Only saw the first movies to give it a go. Your HP brill!!!!

  64. This is just fantastic! I love this version of Harry. This is who he should have been without the interference of the Dursley’s and the horror of his childhood. I love that you integrated how compassionate Harry has always been, while giving him the confidence that he never had in the books. I can already see the jealousy that Ginny has for Hermione and how she seemed to dismiss Hermione’s accomplishments. I look forward to seeing how this new universe develops. Thanks for taking the time to write it for us.

    Calia

  65. sounds already very interesting. I’m curious how this continues. 🙂

    I’m not particularly fond of any of the Weasleys (except maybe Arthur and the 2 oldest boys, they seem to be ok), so I’m looking forward to some Weasley bashing. always fun to read. 😉 🙂
    and you mentioned Luna and that Emmy protected her. I’m rather curious how she features in this fic. 🙂

    looking forward to more. 🙂

  66. I love your writing. This is not a pairing I read and I want to because of how engaging your writing is.

  67. I know that your going to tired of people saying this but I don’t ship Harry and Hermione but this….. this is so well done I have to love it..Dammit I can’t even say I hate it. Why do you keep writing things that I must read?

  68. I love this story and all the possibilities in it. I also like Dumbledore, he fucked up and he is sorry and trying to make amends. Look forward to next friday.

  69. oh, I loved this!!! I adore smart responsible Harry. And protective Sirius was wonderful. Your descriptions of the characters (humans, animals, stuffed toys…;) were bold and made them feel very real.
    Thanks.

  70. As always your story really brightens up a bad day/mood. Been sick really suks but some new keira goodnees is the best medicine out there.. Thanks for this.. 🙂
    Loved the stufft animales.. I have a polarbear that keeps me company at my bedside..A gift from my brother that always maks me feel better when i sick 🙂

  71. This was wonderful. Harry was so good with the first years. I read it quickly through once and am now reading it a second time. Plus, I sent it to my mother and told her she had to read it.

  72. Oh gods this is promising to be even more epic than I expected 😀
    I really enjoy the whole setup of the story already and I can’t wait to learn more about how they all fared those last years and how Harry will fit into Hogwarts and who has been lusting after Hermione and what Ginny and Ron will be up to and just
    I’m really excited about all of this ♥

  73. I am really glad you decided to post this story after all. Harry/Hermione is actually my favorite het pairing in the Harry Potter verse. I always thought Ron never seemed bright enough for Hermione to have any interest in him and I felt like Harry only wanted to be with Ginny so he could marry into the Weasley family. To be honest I always thought Harry and Hermione were some of the only well developed characters in the story and I knew early on they wouldn’t end up together in canon but I thought they would be good for each other. I always love everything you write and the way you write Harry makes me happy. I can’t wait to see how this develops as we get more into the story.

  74. Love this!! I don’t read a ton of Harry/Hermione but I;m always game to read new pairings. Especially if its in one of your stories – there’s very little of your I don’t like!

  75. I can relate to Seamus we both call it lie we see it with little to no regard for hurt feelings in my case I can’t tell I’m just blunt and unable to read body language and facial expression. But what about Seamus is he like that or dose he just real not like Ron ?

    • For me, in canon Seamus just seemed the kind to say it like it was no matter who got offended. Also, Ron hasn’t had Harry as a buffer with the other Gryffindor boys for five years. In someways, in canon, Harry made way for Ron to at least have civil relationships with other kids at Hogwarts. I don’t think it’s an unfair assessment to say that Ron was popular in school because he was best mates with the Boy-Who-Lived. He banked on that friendship, perhaps not on purpose in canon, but he certainly benefited from it in a variety of ways. This is a Ron who has never had the benefit of Harry’s friendship and you’ll find out soon enough that he never will. Harry is intolerant of abusive behavior and Ron is (and was in canon) verbally abusive to a great many people.

  76. I had never read this pairing before, but as usual you wrote it so beautifully that I fell in love. Thank you for sharing with us.

  77. Can Ron please be suffocated in a pile of dragon dung? That’d be awesome. I’m looking forward to a suitable comeuppance for ickle Gin Gin too. Your usual excellent descriptive ability and attention to detail makes this ‘verse so interesting. Also? I love when Hermione’s parents are asshats. So many write them as perfectly tolerant and open minded, which I find unbelievable. I marked on the calender when the next episode’ll be up so I don’t forget.

    You know what I’d love to see someone write? A competent, honest, useful Minister Fudge. Maybe Lucius had him under Imperius and it broke when Dobby disrupted Lucius’ magic at the end of Harry’s second year or something. Whackass crazy Neville would be cool, too. *g*

  78. Ooooh, interesting start. Lovely set up.
    I’m really looking foreward to seeing more of Hermione!

  79. I love the idea of Harry/Hermione, but it’s hard for me to see with their canon personalities (Harry kind of immature and oblivious and a scholastic slacker, Hermione having sort of fallen into the big sister/mum role) so this is exactly the sort of thing I look for and I’m really excited! 🙂

    As always you have kind of seeded this beginning with half a million things I’m curious about – you make all these little hints about the world beyond what JKR gave us and I love that, plus there’s all these bits that may or may not be foreshadowing and it’s been forever since I followed a WIP (or, well, something that wasn’t posted all at once) and this is going to be a disaster in the best possible way 😉

  80. I love this. I’ve never liked Harry ending up with Ginny. As someone wrote in a fan fic: “You look like my mother! Ewwww”. I am enjoying Harry and Hermione, they fit much better then the other pairing. I’m very excited about a weekly dose of Keira’s Harry Potter verse.

    Thank you, thank you.

  81. wow Keria im duely impressed very impressive work so far in this story can not wait for 2nd chapter

  82. It still amazes me how talented you are……this is superb, witty, interesting and very well thought out.
    Along with everyone else I am very excited by this new story and weekly chapters will give a lot of us something to look forward to.
    With all the new fan fiction you opened up to me in the past, it being Het or Slash no longer bothers me, I just need it to be well written and interesting, which your work always is!!!!!
    Thank You Keira for more excellent fiction to read on your site.

  83. Ooh new fic! Awesome!

    I love this. Thank you for sharing it.

    Cheers

  84. Hi, first time to respond here,since I’ve only been reading your work for about a month now. I’m not much of a H/H reader or het for that matter, but I have found a love for your work so I thought I’d give it chance.

    I like your characterization of both Harry and Sirius in this first episode. So many make Sirius the downtrodden,broken escapee that it’s refreshing to see him in a strong role. He’s one of my favorite characters, despite his untimely death.

    Harry as a strong, knows-what-he-wants young man is another favorite role I like as well. And I can’t wait to see how he wins his soul mate over.

    And I just want to point out that Severus telling him thank you was freaking awesome. 🙂

    This is a very nice beginning for this series and I am patiently waiting for the next episode.

  85. What a lovely beginning. I really like the idea of Harry meeting the other kids after he is (somewhat) mature rather than an impressionable eleven year old. I think things will go much better for him this time around. And having actual supportive adults should be immensely helpful as well. Looking forward to seeing more of Hermione and the way H/H interact. <3

  86. Oh what a lovely story – I haven’t read a Harry/Hermione for a while but I may need to get back into this ship. Beautiful as always. I’m looking forward to the following chapters.

  87. is it the 16th yet??? LOL
    Ginny is a bad Wheezy!

  88. Oh, this was lovely!!!! Thank you for deciding to share this story with us!

    Love your Harry, he’s really awesome with the kids! Do you have any idea what the Harry-bear would look like? I’m kinda curious!

    Thank you again for a great story! I can hardly wait till next week!

  89. I am not a Harry/Hermione fan at all. In fact, I am rarely a Hermione fan. However, since Kiera has written this story, yeah…I am gonna read it and love it. Just like I love all your other stories!

    Off to read some het…woot!

  90. Love it. I have ALWAYS been a Harry/Hermione shipper (I completely deny the existence of the “canon” pairings) so I love that fact right off the bat. In the books I usually liked Ron well enough, but Ginny irked me from the get go and I felt the pairings in the books were so incredibly forced. So, Harry/Hermione for the win. Totally.
    This universe you have created is very interesting and I look forward to more.
    Love how Harry is all adorable with the first years and also a total BAMF when it comes to academics and magic in general.

  91. Hello M’Lady. Please will you tell me if there is a Dudley Dursley in this ‘verse? If there is, did he end up with Aunt Marge (love that idea!) Hugs, Hxx

  92. I’m hoping this is complete, but if not, no worries. Just don’t leave it lying idle for M-O-N-T-H-S and I’ll be happy!! 🙂

  93. Sorry I haven’t reviewed in a while. I have read this story and I think the next three a few times. Every time you post a new part I read it, but life and writing get in the way. I keep trying though. Please don’t take peoples stupid to heart. I know it’s hard. Write when the spirit takes you…you get the best stuff that way.

  94. So I just read this for the first time and I have to say it’s fantastic writing. Really quite enjoyable. Looking forward to reading the rest of the story and your other works.

  95. Just had this recommended to me a couple of days ago, and I’ve already read through all 29 parts once. I started rereading it again right after because I found it so interesting. I do like the way you’ve written H/Hr, but my favorite parts of these first few chapters is the Harry/Astoria WAFF, even before the reveal later.

  96. I was recced this story by Shayalonnie and finally started reading it. I’ve been trying to read a good Harmione for a while, and apparently you’re the one to go! 🙂
    The first part was really rough to read, I’ve seen child abuse up close in my line of work and reading it tore at my heart!
    I realized early on that this is very AU and I’m curious about how your universe works! I am fascinated by triads, I don’t know if you will be exploring it more in the story.
    Harry is terribly accomplished, but seems nice anyway. I think private tutors would always achieve better results academically, but school teaches others things as well.
    I like the idea of soul mates but it’s not always well done. It seems like a big deal I’m this universe since Harry obviously has no need to go to school.
    I shamelessly enjoy Ron bashing, being an avid Dramione reader, and generally I like Ginny, but I have no problem in bashing her either.
    Wow! He has a seat at the wizengamot at 16? I imagine is something that comes with the title though right?
    He sounds like a great person, I’m curious to see his relationship develop with Hermione!

  97. Thank you for letting me join. I stumbled upon your page from tumblr I think. (I’m really bad about opening tons of tabs at a time).

    When I read the summary for this I knew I had to read this. I am so intrigued after this episode. Your writing is impeccable. I can easily visualize everything. I love the idea of this premise. So excited to continue with this.

  98. turbulenthandholding

    This first section was great! I’m looking forward to reading the rest. Thank you so much!

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