AN: I've been sitting on this chapter for a while because I just don't like it. It's the first time I've really seen the hand of this website in my work. I realized after it was finished that if I weren't publishing chapters when I finish them then between 50-75% of this chapter would have been scattered across previous ones where the information fit.
"I don't believe it." Poppy Pomfrey muttered under her breath as Petunia Dursley held a glass up for Harry to drink. The boy had regained consciousness moments ago and asked for water, less than ten hours after his ordeal! The hospital matron was preparing to get another sleeping draught for Harry, but it seemed he'd gone back to sleep on his own already.
"I thought he would be out for days?" Petunia asked once she felt comfortable leaving her nephew's side.
"My examinations showed that he was completely magically exhausted; at least as much so as the incident last Halloween." Pomfrey explained, "The more magic a person needs to return to their normal level after exertion, the slower that energy is to replenish; recovering from physical injury only exacerbates that condition. Harry is rather strong, he's one of the few in his year that hasn't had to come to me for help after over exerting themselves excepting at Halloween. But normally when someone that strong does go too far, they take much longer to recuperate. The stronger, the slower; and his physical state is actually worse than after the troll incident because it isn't localized in any way, and can't be solved with a single potion like before. If I didn't know better I would have assumed he'd been held under the Cruciatus Curse."
"So your one week guess?" Petunia asked, fighting very hard not to cry. That curse was supposed to be the most painful thing in the entire magical world.
"Most of the professors here, including myself, would likely be out for four to seven days if we were completely magically exhausted and also injured like this." The matron added, "Professor Vector told me about Harry's unusual magical strength before, so I believed he would take about as long I would have. I still do; even if he wakes up tonight completely lucid, he's not leaving this Wing until I am confident that he is well."
"Thank you." Petunia answered, breathing a sigh of relief that her nephew was at least in understanding and capable hands, "Is there any way we could get something to eat without going to the Great Hall? Once Dudley comes back from the washroom he'll be hungry, and I think I'll need something myself before meeting with Dumbledore."
"How are the other children this morning?" Dumbledore asked Petunia and Remus as they sat down, the last of those attending this meeting to arrive.
"Doing as well as can be expected." Petunia answered as she looked at the various people the headmaster had assembled, disturbed to find that Madame Bones wasn't one of them, "Is this everyone you want to be here?"
"Well, I was expecting Sirius to demand to be allowed to attend." Dumbledore admitted "But, surprisingly, I haven't heard from him yet."
"Was Ron awake yet?" Mrs. Weasley asked, interrupting the headmaster, "Is he doing alright?"
"He was still sleeping when we left. Apparently he woke back up after you departed last night and was given a sleeping potion at that time. Hermione and Dudley were waiting for him and Justin to wake." Petunia answered the other woman.
"Sirius is helping Mister Dursley with something this morning." Remus answered the headmaster while Petunia responded to Molly Weasley, "I convinced him that he wasn't calm enough to be here yet, and gave him another way to help."
"Thank you so much for that, by the way." Pomona Sprout added, "I shall be taking Justin to see them as soon as he's cleared by Poppy."
Luckily for him, no one was paying attention to Albus at that moment. When he realized where Sirius and Vernon were, his face briefly morphed into a grimace at understanding there would be more muggles getting involved in this situation.
Giles Scrivens was a long-time butler and aid to the Finch-Fletchleys, and was well trained in keeping his emotions off his face when they were not necessary; but he was finding it rather difficult to do as he led two of the strangest guests he had ever escorted into Sir Joseph Finch-Fletchley's meeting room. The one larger man was dressed in a businessman's clothes, but they were clearly not especially expensive. Meanwhile, the other somewhat sickly looking one was wearing some sort of embroidered, black robe, not unlike those of a proper Lord when in the Chamber; but with a two house crests on it that Giles could not place and was rather confident were imaginary.
Not only that, but the pair had been at the front gate waiting to be admitted less than five minutes after Sir Joseph informed Giles that they would be coming in the first place; and the main Finch-Fletchley estate was more than twenty minutes away from anywhere these people could have come from! It occurred to the practiced butler that his employers had appeared slightly worried this morning; and he hoped, though doubted, that that had nothing to do with this pair of misfits as they arrived at the entrance to the study.
"Sir Joseph, Master Jonathan, Misters Vernon Dursley and Sirius Black have arrived." Giles called into the room after knocking. Receiving confirmation to let them in, he opened the door for the strange guests to enter.
"Vernon, you know I wasn't expecting you to take up my offer to visit us so soon." Jonathan joked as the pair walked in, "And Lord Black, welcome!"
Lord? Lord Black!? Giles thought to himself in fright as he closed the door to leave his employers to their guests, Why didn't he say something? Why didn't Sir Joseph say something when he asked me to fetch them? I introduced him as 'mister' for goodness' sake!
Once Giles closed himself out of the room, the demeanor of Joseph and Jonathan Finch-Fletchley changed instantly. They had been informed that morning that an incident had taken place at Hogwarts the night before, one that involved Justin.
"It is an honour to meet you, Sir." Vernon offered Sir Joseph with a slight bow. Sirius simply nodded his head to acknowledge the man, getting a raised eyebrow from him as well as a sigh of frustration from Vernon.
"Please, sirs, take a seat, tea will be served soon." Jonathan offered, understanding that his father didn't truly believe that Magical Society existed on a scale such that it even had Lords, "But while we wait, could you begin explaining what happened? It must have been urgent for you to get all dressed up, Lord Black."
"Is there no way to find out which other students were placed under mind control by Professor Quirrel?" Petunia asked after the gathered school staff had explained their various findings.
"We would need to inspect every single student, which would require parental permission in every case because it would need to be done by a mind healer in case they have suppressed or altered memories." Professor Mcgonagal offered.
Seeing that Petunia didn't really consider that to be a problem, Dumbledore added, "At the moment, I believe it would be best not to let the actual truth of what happened last night. I-"
"Madam Pomfrey said something about that before we left the Hospital Wing," Petunia interrupted him, clearly unamused, "but what about the students who went back to their dormitories last night? Neville and Parvati, as well as those two Slytherin girls?"
"Well," Dumbledore reasserted, "I felt that there was no reason to cause a panic among the students by telling them that a dark wizard was masquerading as a teacher, casting unforgivables on the student body, when the threat has been neutralized and all evidence indicates that no student is suffering long-term effects of the curse in question. Knowing what we do about the situation, it is safe to assume that mostly Slytherins would be affected, and Severus will be performing his own inquiries there. He will also speak with Miss Greengrass and Miss Davis."
"And I impressed on Miss Patil the need to wait for the Headmaster to investigate the situation and make a public statement before she spread too much." Professor Mcgonagall added, "Mister Longbottom understood without needing to be told."
"What do you actually intend to tell the school?" Remus asked.
"With your approval," Albus said with a nod to Petunia, "I would like to state that Professor Quirrell was afflicted by a cursed object formerly belonging to Lord Voldemort that he believed he would be able to decurse; and that Harry Potter intervened and saved several students but was unable to save the professor."
"Why mention Harry at all?" Petunia asked, "Or Voldemort for that matter." Like when Dumbledore had said the name, several of the assembled teachers flinched when she said 'Voldemort.'
"Unfortunately, the Hogwarts rumour mill has been going at full speed since last night." The Headmaster answered, "Several students were out and about during the time of the events last night, and have already been talking. That the students involved were the only ones to be in the Hospital Wing last night, and who also will have missed breakfast this morning, will not go unnoticed."
"Two of my eagles were on the third floor, the next corridor over from the forbidden one." Professor Flitwick supplied, "When that… wraith fled, it passed by them and almost scared the life out of them."
"What were thesestudents doing so near the out-of-bounds area?" Petunia inquired.
"Er, nothing related to our incident." Flitwick answered with a smirk, "Apparently several upper year students were using the corridors adjacent to that one for secret rendezvous of a romantic nature since they were rarely trafficked by others. I told them that it was simply a discharge of incredibly dark magic, and openly speculated that it might have resulted from breaking the curse on a dark artifact of some kind; they seemed to accept that. Especially because they had already made the connection with the third floor corridor. It appears that the fact there is a trapdoor in that room which led beneath the school is fairly common knowledge."
"Those poor children." Petunia whispered as she considered the two students being interrupted mid-snog by the screaming wraith of a dark wizard while Mcgonagall muttered, "Weasleys."
"Yes, well," Dumbledore continued, "between that and the subsequent absence of certain students I felt that it would be best to provide a story that seems to answer as many questions as it can. Even if those answers are fabrications."
"That makes sense and all, but I would like to know the real story." Remus prodded, "How was Quirrell able to hide his intentions from you all year, he was possessed by You-Know-Who for Merlin's sake!"
"I was able to suss out what the runes on those muggle lenses you found did, Mister Lupin." another professor offered, extending a hand to Remus and Petunia in turn, "And believe them to be related. I don't believe we've met, but I am the professor of Runes, Bathsheda Babbling."
"They contain runes that interfere with Legilimency," she continued after sitting back down, "giving anyone that tries to passively read the one wearing the lenses a sense of a powerful, yet subtle Occlumency barrier. As well, one of them contained a sort of 'receiver rune' for sound, but it is linked in with the mind magic of the primary rune; I went back and looked, but was unable to locate whatever object served as the source for that particular function."
"I believe that is the final piece of the puzzle as to why we were never able to prove anything." The headmaster mumbled before speaking up so he could be heard more clearly, "Severus and I attempted to find evidence of possession earlier in the year when he began to suspect that someone was slipping past his contribution to the forbidden corridor on a regular basis; but when I cast the spell on Quirrell, he was not possessed. Unfortunately, the only evidence we did have against him was circumstantial at best, and could easily have been misinterpreted, so we didn't want to act without more lest the real culprit catch wind of us and up their caution. I now believe that the person Severus and I examined was an imperiused student under Polyjuice, er shape-changing, Potion," he interjected at seeing the confused look from Petunia, "with these lenses both hiding the individual's nature from our Legilimency while also allowing instructions to be relayed secretly to allow him to answer our conversation. There was a small supply of a rather rare ingredient in the late professor's cabinet that isn't really used for anything else that seems to support this theory." He sighed, this information would have been immensely helpful earlier in the year, he'd never even heard of 'contact lenses' before!
"Where is Severus?" Petunia asked, having noted his absence more acutely with all the talk of potions.
"You missed him last night." Professor Mcgonagall answered, "He is recovering in his room; he suffered a… mishap with Fluffy. Most of his injuries were simple for Madam Pomfrey to heal, but his hip required Skele-Gro; and the fool man is too proud to stay in the Hospital Ward for such a thing."
"Hagrid's Cerberus." Sprout replied with a dismissive sigh.
"Urgh," Petunia shuddered before returning her stern gaze to first Mcgonagall, then Dumbledore, "that is something else that needs to be addressed today. I was assured that there was a dire need for the… object," she was positive there was no way that the Weasleys knew, and wasn't sure if all the professors knew what it was; and glanced at them in the futile hope of recognition, "to be at Hogwarts to be protected from theft, but I find myself unconvinced that that is what you were actually trying to do."
"What does she mean?" The other professor that Petunia hadn't met, but recognized from Harry and Hermione's description, asked, "What 'object' was being held on the third floor and why does a parent know when I don't… er, no offense?"
"Nor I." Professor Babbling added, "Septima is right, you told us that there was a dangerous item down that way and that you and some teachers had put up wards; but not once did any of you, don't think I didn't notice that you three aren't surprised," she added as she jabbed her finger at the three Heads of House in attendance, "not once did you think to tell us what it was. Much less warn us that someone might be trying to steal it."
"If I hadn't been here this morning I probably would have believed the cover story," Septima Vector, that was her name, Petunia thought to herself as the woman continued, "since I was under the assumption that there was a cursed object there and that you were trying to decurse it."
Five minutes later, with explanations grudgingly given, the two professors were glaring at the headmaster. It was clear that they had no problem with the fact that the Philosopher's Stone had been in the school, just that they hadn't been informed of it. Petunia and Remus simply watched the storm rage as the two who were not Heads of House slowly drew their three colleagues to their side in dressing down Dumbledore for not involving his entire staff.
"All of that is interesting," Petunia returned their attention to the non-professors in the room, "and I certainly hope that you can stay on the same page going forward, but it isn't really what Remus and I care about. If you wouldn't mind, could you go in order and convince me that Ronald wasn't wrong to call those rooms under the trapdoor 'tests.'"
"I hope you don't think we encouraged this?" Professor Sprout asked, affronted.
"Fluffy the Cerberus was intended to deter any students from trying to get further into the forbidden area." Dumbledore admitted, "He's rather obvious a threat; but has a glaring weakness beyond even what normal Cerberi have to music."
"How do you mean?"
"Well, Hagrid was only able to afford a Cerberus puppy because the creature suffered a sort of defect. He reacts to screaming, particularly children screaming, in the same way as music. Obviously, this makes him unsuitable for most guarding purposes, but also lowers the danger somewhat. Of all the defenses on the Stone, this was the one that was mostly theatre."
"He was also kept well-fed." Flitwick added, having never trusted the dog's deficiency to be sufficient protection, "I made sure of that, and also charmed his leash to yank him back if he ever was in a position to bite someone in there. I am afraid that even I overlooked the danger of paws or claws."
"That…" Petunia simply sighed, "Hermione actually told me that the next thing they found wasn't dangerous at all…"
"Well, I didn't want to kill someone just for thievery." Pomona Sprout asserted, it had already come out that Dumbledore only told the Heads of House that the Stone was at risk of theft, not by whom, "I'm just ashamed that I didn't account for someone firing their light or fire spell from outside the area of the runes."
"Well, I planned for the risk of students encountering my enchantments." The Charms Professor admitted; shocking Mcgonagall, who hadn't done so until after Halloween, "The real trick in that room was that the broom was a trap. Anyone over eighteen years old would have their hand stuck to the broom as it raced into the ceiling. Students would have been chased by the keys in an attempt to unseat them, like Mister Potter experienced. It was only his incredible skill and reflexes, along with his determination, that let him succeed. I must remember to congratulate him too; the correct key was actually charmed to fly faster than the broom, broken wing or not, so his catching it was quite the feat."
"Dudley said that Quirrell, or You-Know-Who; one or the other, managed to stop all the keys with just one spell." Remus left as an unspoken question, how?
"What he didn't know is that that spell was in the goblin language." Flitwick answered, "Quirinus had more than a passing interest in the magic used by other races, particularly elves, goblins, and trolls, as well as his interest in muggle science. I doubt many others in Britain could have bypassed the room in that way, as I hadn't even told the other heads about it. The only ones who knew were the Headmaster and Minerva."
Petunia couldn't truly fault much of that logic, and wizards went down to a hard bonk on the head just like anyone else, so she turned to the Gryffindor Head, "Why a chess set?"
"Similar to Filius', my room was a different experience depending on if there was a student present or not." She answered, ignoring the incredulous look she got from the Charms professor. He had recommended that she change her room from the beginning, even showing her how to freeze his keys specifically so she could do so more easily, but she hadn't listened at the time, "An Age Line drawn just inside the previous room checked for students, and changed the room to a chess set if it detected one. Though, I admit… this wasn't the way it originally was; after Miss Granger asserted that the Weasley Twins had been into Fluffy's room I decided to ask them about it."
"What did those two do?" Molly asked, "They didn't get someone hurt as well did they?"
"After promising not to give them detention, they admitted getting past the keys room by taking a second, faster, broom and getting the key that way." Filius chuckled at the workaround he had overlooked, "They figured out that the Devil's Snare was in the air and just jumped, and Cerberi aren't actually effective guardians if you know the secret. They simply wrote their oldest brother William about it and told him it was for an essay."
"Why do you seem amused?" Petunia asked Mcgonagall, "I would have thought you would be furious."
"Oh I was," she replied, "my room had no 'safe mode' at the time. When they opened the door past Filius' key room they found sixteen gargoyles. I did give them both detentions when they told me one of them dislocated a shoulder actually trying to fight them. That was when I added the chess setting, and also when the ward on the first door was finally improved so that students could not get in any more. Prior to that, though, the twins had been charging to guide other Quidditch enthusiasts past Fluffy for a try at the key. I took points off for that, and for not telling me the names of the others they'd taken down, but I didn't feel comfortable doing more. No one was seriously hurt, and it couldn't continue. We should have been more attentive to that from the start."
Petunia had no doubt that the described protection would be quite formidable. The entrance to the Headmaster's Office was protected by a classic, Gothic-looking gargoyle that asked for a password and literally stood up to get out of the way when letting someone in. If they could be made to battle, like in fantasy literature, then they would be dangerous indeed.
"As for the Chess Set itself," She continued, "I am a champion player in both the magical and muggle worlds. Though admittedly, I haven't been to a muggle tournament in a long time now. That young Mister Weasley was capable of not only understanding how the game was being played, but also avoiding it until one move from checkmate, is astounding; at least as much so as effectively beating me at the game. My side of the board was designed specifically to take, or force the sacrifice of, pieces that had been replaced by people; though without opening up too many holes in its own defense. I intended for it to be a painful lesson for any student who ignored all the warnings and wards up to that point, since I was rather annoyed when I made it, though it wasn't likely to leave any lasting marks."
"That's a bit egotistical, don't you think?" Petunia muttered under her breath, which Professor Mcgonagall had the decency to be visibly ashamed over.
"In her defense," Flitwick piped up, "I would have assumed the chess set to be effectively impassable for students as well. We must have played a thousand games of chess, she and I; and I… may have won double digits worth of them… maybe. Any other teacher who plays the game would probably say the same." Pomona Sprout nodding agreement beside him added more credence to his words.
Albus inadvertently took the heat off of the other staff in attendance when he chuckled and asserted that the Troll in the next room was no danger because no student capable of beating the previous traps would be dumb enough to try and challenge an armed troll in a small, enclosed space; none of the parents in the room took that well. Conversely, how Snape's potions test was meant to be effective, yet safe for students, was easily explained; especially considering that, according to Dudley, the logic riddle he left was the only thing that actually slowed down the traitor professor for more than a minute or two. Eight vials: three wine, one potion each for going forwards or backwards, and three 'poisons;' which were actually the Draught of the Living Death, an extremely strong sleeping poison that the headmaster said was the true origin for the mythical "Curse of Sleeping Beauty."
Once the group had gone through all the different dangers in each of the forbidden rooms and Petunia and Arthur Weasley had been allowed to ask their questions the Weasleys joined Petunia and Remus in returning to the Hospital Wing. The one thing that the headmaster hadn't been willing to answer, citing a desire to postpone that conversation until Harry was awake, was exactly how Harry had driven away the spirit of Voldemort.
"I really don't think he will want to be bothered." Remus advised Petunia one more time as she knocked on the door to the Potions Master's office. "If he's resting off a dose of Skele-Grow then he will be in a foul mood. More so than usual."
"We may not have gotten along all that well, but I knew him growing up, Remus. It only feels right to check up on him." Petunia answered, preparing to knock on the office only to have the door open on its own.
"Oh, um… Mrs. Dursley, right?" The young Slytherin girl that Petunia recognized as Daphne Greengrass was startled to find someone waiting outside, "Is everyone in the Hospital Wing alright? Professor Snape called Tracey and I here before we had a chance to go check on them."
"They were all doing fine." Petunia answered, having just left after the meeting in the Headmaster's Office, "Everyone except Harry was awake when we were there earlier, and Madame Pomfrey only wanted to keep Justin for longer. They, Ron in particular I would bet, will likely be at lunch. We were just coming to check on Severus and ensure he was alright as well."
"The professor is really cranky right now." Tracey whispered from behind Daphne after the two had exited the office.
"Did he tell you two not to speak about what happened or what you heard last night?" Remus asked.
"Yes sir," Daphne answered, "but obviously I am going to have to inform my father of what happened. Longbottom and Patil said that You-Know-Who was involved."
"Indeed." the werewolf responded as he glanced at Petunia, "The Headmaster is going to be making a statement today, probably at dinner because more people make a point to meet for that than lunch."
"I just can't believe that the headmaster would put all the students at risk like this." Molly muttered as the four made their way back to check on the children before they were discharged.
"I'm sure he has good reasons…" Arthur offered as he glanced at the other two.
"Not in my opinion." Petunia replied, not bothering to keep her voice quiet, "If it weren't for the Foundation then I would probably pull my three out after this, probably even with it." She locked eyes with Remus, "That Harry went running off without going to a teacher first is the only mark in the schools favour in all of this as far as I am concerned. As proud as I am that Harry cares so much for Dudley, I can't hold the school responsible for my nephew acting the fool. As it is, we need to have a serious discussion with him; then with the Headmaster again. Nothing like this can happen again."
The only one still out was Harry, no surprise, and the other children were stir-crazy for news; no one had gotten a chance to visit them yet since Madame Pomfrey turned away Neville and Parvati. Petunia couldn't help but chuckle at how overbearing Molly was towards Ron, the woman was fussing over his hair and clothes despite him having spent the night in a hospital.
Justin seemed to have recovered well, with the Hospital matron saying that she couldn't find any evidence of residual effects from the curse. When asked privately by Petunia what such effects could be, the matron explained that during the last war it wasn't unheard of for very powerful Death Eaters to put delayed suggestions on their victims. Such were easily broken, but only if someone around the person realized that something was wrong in time.
Sir Finch-Fletchley looked primed to raise an army and march on Hogwarts after hearing what had happened to his only grandson the night before. Only absolute assurances from Vernon and Sirius that Justin would be back home in no more than a day or two, as soon as he was cleared, kept him still.
"I don't know if I trust the opinion of a doctor, excuse me, healer, who willingly allows such madness as you've described from that school." Jonathan stated, "Will we be able to take him somewhere to be checked when he comes home? I won't stand for my son suffering issues later in life because of some foolish cover-up."
"You're aware of some of the circumstances I've been in, right?" Sirius asked, "How I was framed for a crime and just got out?" After receiving a nod from the younger Finch-Fletchley, he continued, "Unfortunately, muggleborn are charged a hefty premium at St. Mungo's, the magical hospital; and getting anything beyond basic assistance takes a lot of unnecessary time. However, part of my reentry to society involved meeting with a Mind Healer. I could help you get in contact with her to speak with Justin and give you a second opinion, using my name like that would make it faster. I could probably have her here when he comes home."
"That sounds perfect." Jonathan answered, turning to his father for his opinion.
"I suppose so." Joseph answered after a moment, "I would like to meet this woman first. Also, I think we want to take you up on the offer you made to my son and his wife back over Easter. Especially if we are going to be hearing about things like this first from you anyways."
"Tuney… to what do I owe this pleasure." Severus hissed as he glared at the pair, "Come to complain that I didn't make it in time to help save your precious-"
"No, Severus," Petunia interrupted, pronouncing his name clearly but without derision, "I wanted to make sure you were alright after Minerva informed me you'd been hurt. From what I understand of the situation you were one of the only ones to take all of this seriously from the very beginning, and also ended up injured because of it. I'm sorry, and thank you."
"What are you sorry for?"
"For Harry not doing what he should have." She replied, "Since he isn't here to do so at the moment. He should have gone to a teacher with that Map as soon as he realized that something was amiss. I'm going to have words with him when he is better."
"That Map should be in the hands of the staff." Snape answered, "Heirloom or not, it would be helpful for teachers to enforce order. It might have found Quirrell out of bounds too."
Or warned me that he had gone through my office, he silently added. He had found a long-term listening charm attached to a bezoar in his cabinet. Probably the Dark Lord's idea, Severus often bragged to the other Death Eaters that he had never needed to use one while working in his own lab regardless of the ingredients involved.
"I'm going to speak to the headmaster about that when Petunia goes home." Remus offered, "I've been working on making a new version of the Map since Halloween. One that won't insult staff members that try to use it." He chuckled at that, but abruptly stopped when Snape glared at him, "It's taken a while to do it all by myself, I had three other sets of hands the first time; and I needed to borrow the original over both Christmas and Spring breaks to finish the mapping itself. It would have been done sooner except that all the stuff with Sirius happened during Christmas, but all that's left now is tying it into the castle wards. Frankly, I have no idea how James was able to do that, he never explained."
"Well. I look forward to curtailing the Weasley Twins' antics once you've finished." Snape finally responded, "Is there anything else? I have essays to grade, and your presence isn't making my hip ache any less. Blasted dog practically shattered it."
"Actually," Petunia spoke, "there was one other thing I wanted to ask about. My children's grade reports." The woman glared at her childhood neighbor, though there wasn't much heat in it after being reminded of his injury, "I know that those children are more capable than the grades they received from you would indicate. Comparing their grades to their other classes shows your personal comments on their grades to be nonsense as well. I know we didn't always get along, Severus, but could you please at least treat my children professionally?"
The Potions Master frowned, "You cannot tell Potter this, or any of the others." Continuing after that had sunk in and he had had time to pull some papers from a small drawer in his desk, "These are Potter and Granger's true report cards. The ones that actually matter. You have seen the grades I publicly assigned."
"But why?" Petunia asked, incensed as she saw a perfect Outstanding average for both.
"Black and Lupin saw fit to tell Potter that I was a spy among the Death Eaters during the war, what they didn't think about was that the Headmaster might have had a reason for me to act the way I do." Petunia's glare returned, but it no longer seemed to be directed at him, he continued, "... Certain elements of society impressed upon me how important it was that Potter not have the grades necessary to acquire the credentials needed to become an Auror, one of the most important of which being a NEWT in Potions. I expected him to be as incompetent at brewing as his father, but when that proved not to be the case I spoke with Dumbledore about it; and he agreed to let me publicly declare the grades to be lower than they are. When it matters, Potter's real grades will be there. Granger's as well, their work is too similar to pass off grading them differently in class or she wouldn't be included. As for your son? His grades are accurate. The boy is easily distracted, he daydreams often when he should be watching his potion."
Knowing that several children of Death Eaters were in Slytherin at the moment, particularly the Malfoy boy, Petunia understood that he was probably pressured to show the favoritism that she'd read about. And if the headmaster still wanted Severus to be a source of information then he would probably consider it to be 'for the Greater Good,' "I shall accept that for now, I'll have a talk with Dudley about doing his best in class. Thank you for explaining, Severus."
"You don't really intend to let those two worry about their grades like that are you?" Remus asked once they'd left the Potions Office.
"Of course not," Petunia responded, "but I can also stress to them to pretend like the grades they get in class are real, if unfair."
"Good afternoon Justin," a kindly looking elderly woman greeted him in the meeting room where his parents had told him to go, she smelled a little of cats, "how are you feeling?"
"I'm doing alright ma'am," the polite boy answered, trusting that since she was here his parents must know about it, "that psych-oh, uh, Mind Healer rather, said I didn't have anything in my head anymore. She gave my mother some of this potion to help me sleep if I get nightmares. Said I couldn't take it too often though. I don't think I'm gonna have nightmares, I didn't have to fight the crazy professor myself or anything."
"Well I am glad to hear that you are recovering." She answered, "I'm sure you are wondering who I am. Your parents have asked me to take over as your magical guardian in place of Professor Sprout. They don't have anything against your professor, but want someone who can come by and help you when you need it rather than someone who can only correspond through letters."
"That makes sense, I guess." Justin answered, "Especially because Professor Sprout put a trap in the school, too."
"Well, why don't we take a few minutes and tell each other about ourselves? My name is Arabella Figg."
AN2: I've been sick for the past couple weeks as well. Not Covid, but it still knocked me so hard that I haven't done anything in that time that I didn't absolutely have to. I'm still only expecting about 2 more chapters in this book before I move on to Book II. After this chapter, I'm not sure if I'm going to post that one as I go or wait until it's done/almost done.