Hello! Am I updating for the first time in over a year after telling you all that it was my goal last year to finish writing my stories? Yes. Yes, I am. I don't even have the excuse of having written a new novel draft this time (though I'm hopefully going to get started soon). But I did start college last semester, so…

Regardless, here is an update. It isn't perfect, but I wasn't really feeling it with the Draco and Severus interaction portion so I just decided it was good enough for now.

I have a couple of things to note about this story, but I'll throw those at the end.

Disclaimer: I own neither of these series.

Enjoy! :)

Alex sat crosslegged on the floor of the room that Harry Potter and Ron Weasley were currently living in cursing the fact that he had agreed to this venture. Sure, Severus had explained that he didn't want Lucius to see Alex. And sure, Alex had agreed that this was the most practical place for him to stay. But then the Headmaster had decided that Alex "stay the whole day, get to know your year mates," and Alex was stuck here listening to the group of six teens prattle on about the intel that they "spied" from one of the Order of the Pheonix meetings the night before.

Although he was curious about how the Order operated, Alex strongly suspected that the information they had gathered was incomplete and it clearly wasn't helping them to figure out what the Order members were planning.

Unfortunately, the twins seemed to realize this fact at the same time.

"So, Alex," Fred said.

Everyone turned to look at Alex, and he fought the desire to groan. Great. An interrogation. By teenagers.

George continued, "What's it like living with the Dungeon bat?"

"See anything creepy?"

"He make you clean cauldrons?"

"Chop potions ingredients?"

Ron crossed his arms. "Snape probably makes him test the potions."

"Honestly, Ronald," Hermione snapped, "Professor Snape wouldn't do any of those things. You are a prefect. You are going to need to be much better behaved this year to set an example for all the young students. Honestly, you just—"

"Well, does he?" Ron asked Alex.

Hermione scoffed but she turned to Alex like she, too, wanted to hear the answer.

Alex wasn't quite sure why every person he had met in this building despised Severus—though he wouldn't deny that Severus seemed like the sort to leave a poor impression. "No. Professor Snape hasn't done anything odd."

Except come home with Death Eater robes on and pass out from the aftereffects of the Cruciatus curse, but Alex thought it might be best to leave that part out.

"Nothing?" Harry asked. "That doesn't sound like Snape."

Alex rolled his eyes. Yes. Because students typically know what their teachers are like outside of class. "We eat meals together, and we talk. That's about it."

"You eat meals with Snape?" Ginny looked like the idea appalled her and judging by the boys' faces they all agreed.

Alex just shrugged. This conversation was becoming duller by the moment.

"Ok, but wait so—"

Whatever Ron had been about to say was cut off when Hermione spoke. "Alex, are you hungry? I was going to head downstairs and grab a snack."

Alex wasn't hungry, but he smiled and said, "That sounds lovely, Hermione." She was far from subtle but Alex would appreciate any excuse to leave this conversation, even if it involved listening to Hermione talk on and on about whatever subject had caught her most recent fancy.

Hermione led him down to the kitchen table.

She grabbed a bowl of fruit from the icebox and put it on the table beside them.

"Thanks for the save," Alex said.

Hermione grinned. "Of course. They get so riled up when it comes to Professor Snape, and you looked as though you might hex someone if we stayed there any longer."

Alex shrugged. The idea had crossed his mind, but he had dealt with interrogations integrated with torture. He could handle irritating teenagers. He use to deal with it from his muggle peers all the time. Alex said none of this.

After a few minutes of silence, Hermione turned to look at him fully. "So, Alex, I was wondering if I could pick your brain about something?"

Ah… another interrogation. "Sure."

"I've been wondering why you came to school now? I know a little about the homeschooling laws, but I haven't done too much in-depth digging and Sirius said that he didn't think any of the books in the Black library covered the topic. Is there something special about OWL testing year?"

"Yes and no," Alex said. "The Wizarding World just requires that all magical citizens attend school for years five through seven."

"Oh, so that's the only reason you're coming this year?" She sounded disappointed.


Hermione frowned. "Wait, but aren't you fourteen?"


"So shouldn't you be a fourth-year?"

Alex shook his head. "You're allowed to sit your fifth-year starting at fourteen. But no younger." He muttered the last three words. It wasn't that he had an issue with that part; no way would he have socially managed to attend his fifth year at age seven, but the whole system was a mess. Then again, so were a great many Wizarding systems, so it hardly surprised him.

"So you could have taken your OWL sooner if it was allowed?"

Alex shrugged. "Probably." There wasn't any reason to lie about this. As long as he didn't talk about the specifics ages or his uncle's teaching practices.

She looked awed. "How did you learn all the material that fast?"

"My uncle was a very efficient teacher." Alex was also sure that at least part of it came from him beginning with his uncle's lessons before his accidental magic could become a habit. It helped him learn how to work his magic wandlessly.

"Hm." Hermione looked pensive now, but she dropped the subject. "Would you be interested in joining S.P.E.W.? The boys absolutely refuse to participate, but you seem like a far more sensible person."

"What is…" Alex trailed off before he turned what was probably meant as an initialism into an acronym and an unpleasant acronym at that. "... S.P.E.W.?"

"Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare. I started it last year when I found out how little protection house elves have. We have a couple of members, and I bullied Ron and Harry into being treasurer and secretary, but they don't actually do anything."

Alex considered that. Having lived in the muggle world for much of his childhood, he agreed that the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures had a lot of its laws backward, but there were a lot of intricacies to those laws at they currently existed, and any kind of change would have to be gradual for all the beings in question.

"So what does your society do exactly? What are your goals?"

Hermione blinked. "Well, I guess I was hoping to free the house elves and get laws that require people to pay them. And then having representatives in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures would also be a good idea."

"You wouldn't be able to do all that right away you know?"

Hermione frowned. "I know. Obviously, it would take some time to organize."

"No, no, no," Alex said, "I mean that you would have to do a lot of gradual changes to the system. Most house elves will tell you that they like being enslaved. And yes," he added when Hermione looked ready to interject, "I know that doesn't make it right. But to go from enslavement to being suddenly free with no process would be really shocking for a lot of house elves."

"That makes sense, but how would that work practically?"

Alex shrugged; he wasn't a lawmaker. "I don't know, but you could organize it in steps. Like, start with fair treatment laws. Then, introduce payment, and add more steps of whatever thoughts you have."

Hermione was silent for several minutes, and Alex could practically see her mind whirling through that information. "So, maybe after payment is introduced, they could slowly work up to the house elves just being hired workers. They could still be doing the same work, but would just be treated better and be technically free to leave if they wanted to."

"Yeah, that sounds like a good end goal."

She tapped her fingers on the table. "But we would have to make laws to prevent exploitation after they are free. When slavery was outlawed in the muggle world some places had issues with newly-freed slaves being caught in systems where their previous masters forced them to pay rent that was too much for what they ha,d and they were forced to pay off their debt by working, which ultimately kept them in the same situation they were before because it was an endless cycle of never being able to pay off debt."

"That's true. And a lot of powerful wizards and witches—especially those who work in the Ministry—are skilled at finding loopholes in laws like that. It would be best to sit down with someone who has law experience to draft a document, but you would also have to find a way to make the Ministry care about your proposal, the steps you want and your timeframe, and the laws that exist with that."

Hermione stared at him with wide eyes. "Please tell me you're in? Please."

Alex had to admit that he had basically trapped himself in that one. "Yeah. I'm in."

"Yes!" Hermione shouted. "Okay, you're my new Vice President. I'll get you a badge, later."

"Sounds great."

"Yes. I can't wait. This is going to go so much better than last year. Let me go tell Ron and Harry you joined."

Alex wasn't particularly sure why she thought that Ron and Harry were suddenly going to care. And he definitely wasn't sure why he had agreed to be a part of a club in the first place. But he couldn't help the faint smile that brushed over his lips. It had been a while since he made anything close to a friend. As long as he didn't let them get too close—as long as he didn't let himself get too close—it might be nice to talk to someone around his age for once. Even if it didn't last forever. Even if MI7 screwed it up by pulling him from school. He could at least pretend he was some facet of normal for a few months.

If he was lucky.

And that one always seemed to be hit or miss for him.

It was early afternoon by the time Severus's floo lit up, announcing that his guests had arrived. Severus placed his potions journal on the table beside his chair and straightened out his expression.

As much as Severus enjoyed hosting his godson, interactions with Lucius always took more effort than he appreciated. There were always secrets. Information that could be deadly in Lucius's hands. This time, he was obscuring not only his own secret but also the fact that Alex was staying here. Severus had taken every precaution—hidden every sign that a second person had ever set foot in his quarters—but Lucius was not a fool. There was always a risk that he might notice something amiss.

Lucius stepped through the floo, Draco a few seconds behind him.

"Lucius. Draco," Severus said, cordially, "good to see you both."

"You too, Uncle Sev," Draco said with a smile, the slightest whine evident in his voice. "I haven't seen you in ages."

"Draco," Lucius snapped. "Your manners, please."

Draco stiffened, giving his father a tense nod.

Although many of the students at Hogwarts saw only the spoiled side of Draco—which Severus knew was a very real part of him—Severus knew that Lucius placed a lot of pressure on his son that did not always create a healthy environment for a teenage boy. Severus suspected that even he didn't know all of it.

"It's no matter, Lucius," Severus said, guiding the two further into the room. "I'm quite looking forward to a few days with my godson."

Lucius pursed his lips. His eye twitched as he looked around the sitting room. It was no shock to Severus that Lucius did not approve of his decor. Lucius's eyes fixed on the book that Alex had set on the side table this morning. Severus was alarmed to note that he hadn't moved it. He'd been so focused on obscuring Alex's room that he hadn't noticed something as mundane as a book lying around.

"Brushing up on your defense, Severus?" Lucius raised his eyebrow.

Severus forced a light chuckle. "Double-checking something that Albus mentioned in passing."


"No basis in literature. And nothing that would interest the Dark Lord."

"Of course." Lucius did not look convinced. "Well, I should be going. Draco, be good for your, godfather."

Draco nodded. "Yes, father."

"Give Narcissa my love," Severus said, glad that Lucius would be out of his hair in a moment.

"I will do so." Lucius stepped into the floo. "Malfoy Manor."

Then, he was gone.

Draco turned to him immediately. "What's the book really for Sev?"

"Have a seat."

He looked surprised but did as he was told. "What is it?"

"Because this is not my secret, I must ask you to swear on your magic that you will not willingly repeat or in any way inform someone of what I am about to tell you."

Draco's face turned pensive, but he swore the oath. "So?"

"The headmaster has asked me to house a teenager who will be joining you and your year mates as a fifth year."
Draco blinked. "What?"

"His name is Alex. He's been staying with me for the past week."


"Why what, Draco?"

He shook his head. "Why does he need somewhere to stay? Why is he just starting Hogwarts now? Why is he staying with you?"

Severus chuckled at his godson's alarm. "He has been homeschooled until now, but as

I'm sure you know, wizards are required to attend school beginning in year five. And he is staying with me because the headmaster asked me to do so."

"Well… sure. But why?"

"I suppose you would have to take that up with him."

Draco frowned. "The headmaster or Alex?"

"Either." Though Severus suspected that Draco would be more likely to receive a straight answer from the headmaster than Alex on the matter.

"So where is he?"

Draco looked around the room as though he expected Alex to be hiding somewhere in here. Which, to be fair, Alex probably could have hidden himself quite efficiently, but Severus was hardly going to explain the intricacies of Alex's situation to Draco.

"He's currently staying somewhere at the headmaster's discretion," Severus said. "I will gather him later this evening."

Draco nodded. "Right."

"Now, what do you say we play a game of chess? See how your skills have progressed?"

He grinned as he ran off to grab the chessboard.

When Draco was out of view, Severus allowed his face to fall for just a moment, running his hand down the bridge of his nose. Please let these teenagers get along. Severus did not want to think about how torturous the next three days would be if they didn't.

But then again, what if they did get along?

He sighed. No matter what happened between Draco and Alex—and Alex and the Golden Trio if he was being honest—this year was going to be a mess. All he could hope was that the worst of it avoided him.

He wasn't going to hold his breath.

My Announcements:

Yes, I changed my username. You might not have noticed, but I did. It relates to the next point:

Although I still plan to finish my Harry Potter fandom stories and still enjoy reading HP fanfiction, I have lost a lot of my love for the Harry Potter books after (no longer so) recent events. Finding out an author that was a huge part of my childhood is transphobic and then actually considering the books and realizing that there are a lot of racist, anti-Semitic, and other poorly constructed images and themes that I never noticed as a child was not fun, so I made the choice to remove Harry Potter from my physical life. I retain fanfiction only because fanfiction authors are not susceptible to these biases and there are so many great FF stories with amazing representation for the minority groups the books forgot.

If anyone wants a thorough analysis on why JK Rowling's essay is transphobic and with scientific (and cited) evidence to refute her claims all delivered in a professional and clear way, I recommend the YouTuber Jammidodger 's video called "Responding to JK Rowlings Essay | Is It Anti-Trans?" which answers all of these questions.

I included this bit about the house elves in part because of how much I hated the way S.P.E.W. was handled in the books and how it was treated as a joke when there were real issues that could have been addressed.

For anyone who has not guessed, the Snape that occupies my story is not going to align with the Snape from canon. Canon Snape is a bully, and I can not excuse most of his actions.

That's everything I have. I apologize for the mini-rants but thank you to everyone that read through this! I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

Wraith: out! :)