Happy Easter everybody. I hope you are all well and safe. This is the last chapter before the journey back to Camelot. It may take a little while longer between the chapters from here on, as I first need to write the full part at Camelot before I publish new chapters. I want to keep the order of things logical and not forget anything. But I have another story ready to pass the time while I work on the next chapters of this one.
Harry had truly enjoyed the time since he had gone on Easter break. The trip to the Seychelles with Sirius had been incredible. They had spent most of their days at the beach and in the evenings, they explored the clubs at the island where the wizarding resort was located. Between dancing, some flirting, enjoying drinks with low amounts of alcohol in them and watching pretty girls with little clothing, Harry had learned a lot about girls in his time. The ones back at the time of Camelot followed other ideas of proper behaviour. And he didn't let it go too far. Even if the temptation had been there.
He had returned tanned and a lot more relaxed than before. He had taken up his studies with new vigour and kept in contact with Sirius by owl post. Hermione had improved her behaviour even more and now she was nearly back to a casual friend level where he told her some secrets and what was going on around him. His friends had also improved, taking him as an example. Ron's grades had steadied at an above average level and Neville was doing much better than in any years previous. He had mostly needed some proper support and a wand that fit him. Having arranged for both, Harry could observe how Neville slowly crept out of the shell he had created during his childhood.
The regular exercising they did, both inside and outside the Room of Requirement also showed results. While Ron still tended to moan about having to get up early for morning training, he still did get out of bed, and he did remark how much more energy he had and that casting spells became easier and he was able to do it for longer times. And now that they all were on the way to reaching harmony with their magic, the power of each spell they cast also increased. It was noted by the teachers, even if they didn't understand the reasons behind the development.
Right now, only Hermione, Ron, Neville, Fred, George and Sirius knew about his heritage and they all had promised to not tell anybody until Harry gave the go ahead. Thanks to the deal with their mother, after the reward money had given them the starting capital for their dream of a joke job, even Fred and George were taking their preparation for their OWLs much more serious than before.
They were now seen looking through their books regularly. They planned to only take four or at most five NEWT level classes each, but Harry as well as Molly, could easily live with that. He knew that the twins were brilliant and as long as they did their best, he wouldn't nag them about things.
At Hogwarts and the general wizarding world things had changed a good deal. All those Death Eaters that had previously been let go with the excuse of being under the imperius curse, had been brought in, except Malfoy, who got away in time, and questioned under veritaserum. Malfoy was placed on the wanted list, but everybody at the DMLE knew it would be hard to get a hold of him. After the reading of Pettigrew's testimony to the Wizengamot, they couldn't protest anymore, as Amelia Bones had listed five laws alone that covered her having the authority to act like she did for the safety of the country, against the wishes of the Minister of Magic and the Wizengamot. Being threatened to be considered accomplices of criminals like the Death Eaters shut the critics up quickly.
And the things that had come to light had been horrible. Crimes had been committed and many people only now found out what had truly happened to their loved ones. The articles in the Daily Prophet for the trials hadn't kept much hidden, as these people had deceived their people for far too long, getting away by claiming rights given to them thanks to their pureblood status. This time around it didn't help them. They all were sentenced harshly and, beyond a certain number of crimes committed, that meant the veil of death. Nobody truly missed those people, instead the public had cried for the harshest punishment possible.
At Hogwarts meanwhile, the teaching standards inspection had brought up major problems. A few teachers got away easily, mainly Professors Flitwick, Sprout, Babbling, Vector and Sinistra. It was decided, as this time around no claims of everything being under control were accepted by the inspectors, which were neutral agents from the Department of Magical Education, with no connections to any of the major players that had used Hogwarts for their own goals in the past, clear changes had to happen. Professor McGonagall was told to give up one of her positions, either head of Gryffindor or Deputy Headmistress, as she clearly was incapable to do the work for both of them acceptably in addition to her teaching position. She had neglected her Gryffindors in favour of looking after the school, which was clear to not have worked out in the past, as she allowed clear conflicts in interest to disadvantage the students, like when she had had to also cover for the suspended headmaster last year.
It was simply too much work for one person alone. The inspectors weren't happy to find out that Remus Lupin was a werewolf, but they kept their last verdict for the results that the students achieved in their end-of-year exams. The fact that he could prove that he had dutifully taken all doses of wolfsbane potion and also had Madam Pomfrey place a ward on his rooms that made it impossible to escape from them in his werewolf form was in his favour. Not to mention that he had a clean record for ever being noticed in connection with criminal investigations. They allowed to wait and see the results as long as the supply with wolfsbane was guaranteed, which the replacement potions teacher promised.
The verdict on Professor Binns was clear, they needed to find a new History Professor, as the conversations with the students made it absolutely clear that nobody but a handful among all students could learn anything in the class. It was one thing to have a teacher that was a bit boring, but another to have nearly the full student body fall asleep in class or use it for playing games and doing other things that had nothing to do with the class itself. Ravenclaw even had a system of older students selling a History guide to the younger ones to manage passing their tests in the class, as even they couldn't stay awake in the class.
One student twenty years back had managed to enchant a quill to record all of Binns' classes for all years and then over the following weeks of summer break created a self-study guide that was used to this day. Though outside of Ravenclaw the guide wasn't really known for some reason. The reasons for the results of the OWL exams were now very obvious. And no argument about Binns being tradition helped. The class should teach the students the history of their world, it didn't do that at all and therefore it had to be overworked.
Professor Burbage was given the task to actually go into the muggle world over the summer to see how the muggles lived these days. Her curriculum, while she clearly didn't consider muggles beneath wizards, wasn't up to date, which was a disadvantage for the students that took the class. Still, overall, she got a good review on how she taught the material she covered and if she did the last part of keeping informed about newer developments, she would be a good teacher for the subject.
For Potions the change had already been implemented and the inspectors wanted to see how the replacement teacher worked in the long-term results before making a final decision. As Snape was executed as a Death Eater, they needed a new teacher anyway, therefore the temporary solution was for now enough. It was clear though that whoever took over the position needed to have more than the qualification of the subject. He or she needed to be able to actually teach. That was the major fault in Snape's way of conducting classes, next to the man's blatant bullying of students.
The Divination teacher also would need to either shape up or find a new job. Her way of horror predictions didn't prepare the students for their exams and the mental stress put onto the victims of the annual death prediction wasn't acceptable at all for a teacher. Next to that she got guidelines of what needed to be taught in class, as just predicting the future didn't do the full subject justice. Not many students had the gift of sight and would do better with a general overview over the subject instead of trying to do something they didn't have the talent for.
Dumbledore wasn't happy at all with all the criticism about his teachers and the way he led the school. Still, he had to accept the changes, or he would have been replaced, which he needed to avoid at all costs. Thus, he was busy working out how to implement the demands of the inspectors until the beginning of the next school year. And those demands included that there was also an orientation class for muggleborns into the workings of the wizarding world, as it couldn't be that they demanded that they integrated into their world properly but didn't give them the means to do so. It would suffice to have a class taught during first and second year, with a similar class on the basics of the muggle world being taught to the wizard-raised children. And the Board of Governors was forced to free the funds for it. The inspectors didn't like it at all how the education and safety of the children, and with the lack of knowledge, the safety of the statute of secrecy, was endangered by them being too greedy in what they got for their work as governors.
They cut their annual salary for the job down to a quarter and switched the freed funds into the general budget of the school. Next to that they went over the books with a fine-toothed comb and found ways to enable to school to better manage the money they got from tuitions and what the Ministry gave the school. Among the first things they started was reactivating previous fields for growing food for the students. Hiring some people to take care of them was easy, as there were more than enough unemployed witches and wizards that would be happy to finally get a job. Mainly those whose qualifications didn't suffice for better jobs, or who had been discriminated against, like muggleborns. While working at the Hogwarts farm wasn't a glorious job, it was honest work and gave them much needed money to live better lives.
It was very clear that Dumbledore was not good at managing finances creatively and was mostly doing things the same way Professor Dippet had done so. That wasn't good at all for a school like Hogwarts, but as the headmaster was always chosen among the previous teachers, nobody could truly expect any of them to be an expert in finances, as that subject wasn't taught at Hogwarts at all. It was a suggestion for an elective after the OWLs in the overall report of the inspectors though, as they saw the need to prepare the students for keeping their finances in check once they had graduated.
With the fields giving the school about half of their supplies of food as soon as the harvest was ready, the school would be able to cut down on a major cost factor. And that money could be shifted to other areas. One of the inspectors even got the Cleansweep Broom Company and Comet Broom Enterprises to donate a few basic brooms for the flying classes. Those old brooms were a safety hazard and were banned from ever being used again. The companies got the PR for the donation and Hogwarts could finally teach flying on proper brooms again. Madam Hooch was certainly happy about it. Not to mention that she easily agreed to take over the orientation class for muggleborns and muggle-raised students from the next year on. As her main duties were teaching flying and managing the Quidditch Cup, she easily had the time for that. It was much cheaper than hiring a new teacher, the inspectors simply decided to have her normal salary increased by the additional number of classes she would teach.
The headmaster was at least relieved that he knew the person that would teach that class well and wouldn't tell the students extreme opinions about how things in the wizarding world should be done.
One part the inspectors also wanted to keep an eye on was the set-up and election of prefects and Quidditch teams. They had got the request from several Quidditch teams in the British league that they would like if the candidates that came from Hogwarts got better structured training. It was after all not a good thing if players that had attended other European schools of magic clearly outclassed the native ones. The inspectors had taken up the complaint and would look into finding proper coaches for the Quidditch teams. Many were fans of the sport and supporting the students in getting better chances at becoming successful pros was only a good thing in their opinion.
And the prefects needed to be chosen for objective traits, not preferences of the teachers. Many of the current prefects, when the inspectors asked about how they did their job in the eyes of the students, didn't get good reviews. Many abused their authority or didn't really help the younger students. While for the current year, the inspectors let them keep their positions, mainly because there was too much to do otherwise, from next year on they would have a look at the way the heads of houses and the headmaster chose the ones that were given that responsibility and honour. Not to mention that they would implement a way to observe how their decisions concerning discipline and assistance for students were supported by the teachers. Some prefects had complained after all that certain teachers overrode reasonable punishments given by prefects all the time. Snape was in the lead for that.
It was one more aspect that Dumbledore felt they shouldn't interfere in, but his opinion was currently not worth as much as he would have liked, as the inspectors put most of the blame for the problems onto his shoulders, as the one that should have managed the school a lot better.
Harry sat through his end-of-year exams. His exams in Potions, Charms, Transfiguration and History were already over, right now he was working through Runes and Magical Creatures would follow tomorrow. The last exam would be Defence Against the Dark Arts and he was looking forward to seeing what Professor Lupin had come up with. He was a really good teacher. Harry didn't have much interaction with the man outside of classes, even if he had been a good friend of his father. Harry was a bit sad about this fact, but he had heard from Sirius how Remus had had to sign a contract that forbid him to interact too closely with any student outside of educational issues. Probably another attempt of Dumbledore to keep more control over what Harry learned about his family. The need to control everything that the old man had really annoyed Harry to no end. Well, Remus didn't plan to stay longer than this year if the clause in his contract wasn't changed. He had already talked to Professor McGonagall about it and she had agreed to look into the matter, as it wasn't fair for Remus to be put into that position.
Well, no matter what happened, Harry would be away for most of the summer. And Dumbledore's constant attempts to convince Harry to go back to the Dursleys or let him arrange alternate accommodations for the summer had been completely useless for the old man. Which Harry knew frustrated him to no end. Well, it wasn't his problem. Soon he would be back with his mother and his friends at Camelot. He would continue his training to become a knight and start the next level in his magical studies there. He was also looking forward to working with Thunder again. He missed his horse. He knew that for Thunder only two months would have passed, but Harry missed the constant work with his stallion. The level of understanding they had reached in their training.
Riding the hippogriffs was nice and all, but he didn't have the close connection with any of them that he and Thunder had created. He finished his translation and looked over everything again. He really wanted to get good grades in this year's exams.
Fawkes delivered a letter to Harry when he was reading on his bed with the curtains closed. His dorm mates were all really tired after the party the Weasley twins had arranged for it being the last day of their OWL exams. While some others still had the last exams to do, they had still joined the party. There was no reason at all to pass up a good party after all, especially as the Quidditch Cup had finally been won by Gryffindor and the House Cup normally should also be theirs again.
Harry took the letter and thanked Fawkes, stroking the firebird's plumage. Fawkes trilled happily before vanishing in a burst of flames. Harry opened the letter, knowing that Fawkes wouldn't bring him anything dangerous, and started reading. At the end of the letter he had a big grin on his face. His mother had allowed that Sirius could come with him to the past. He needed to directly write a letter to Sirius and send Hedwig out to deliver it. They could spend the next year together in Camelot. His mother was sure that a qualified wizard like Sirius would have a lot of options for things to do. And informing him more about what was expected of a protector to the next guardian of magic would also be beneficial.
Harry happily looked at his report card. He had greatly improved his grades. He was now in overall second place of his year, Hermione had still managed to keep her top spot, even if she had run herself into the ground with taking too many classes. She had finally acknowledged that she had bitten off too much and cleared with Professor McGonagall that she would take two classes less the next year. She quit Divination and Muggle Studies. Harry was right now waiting for the carriages that would take the students down to Hogsmeade Station to go back to London. He knew that Dumbledore had prepared some stupid scheme to make Harry go back to the Dursleys, or at least one of his lackeys, but Harry had Fawkes on his side.
He and Sirius had arranged for Harry to not take the train, as any kind of interception would happen at King's Cross Station. Nobody would think that Harry could get away earlier. Ron and Neville were in on the plan and would state that he had entered the train with them, but they wouldn't say that he left it after that. His trunk was shrunken in his pocket already. The only thing Harry needed to do was putting his invisibility cloak on after getting onto the train, getting out again without anybody noticing, and then waiting until the train left. Nobody counted the students after the train had left. The teacher at the platform, mostly Hagrid, only made sure that no student was left behind. But the check was only visual. Once Hagrid, or whoever checked today, was gone, Harry would leave the platform using his firebolt and fly towards the mountains.
Sirius would be waiting for him there and Fawkes would flash them to the past. It was an easy, but perfect plan. After all, Dumbledore wouldn't expect any kind of trickery before the train reached London. And at that time, it would already be too late, and Harry and Sirius would be in the past.
Dumbledore sat in his office, sure that his plan to get Harry back under control would work out perfectly. With the boy having told about his relatives being abusive, there was no way that any of the other teachers or Order members would allow him to be returned there, even if Dumbledore claimed the power of the bloodwards. Even after some time having passed, Harry hadn't relented in his refusal to ever go back there at all. But they were very open to making sure that Harry was in the care of a responsible adult, which Sirius Black certainly wasn't. It hadn't been hard to convince Molly Weasley to take the boy with her to the Burrow from where he would be brought to Minerva's house after she was done with the last things that needed to be done before the school went into summer mode.
The boy was being difficult, but he would learn that he had to follow the instructions of those older and more experienced than him. So far, the emancipation had been stalled, but it wasn't shut down fully yet. Something he didn't like at all, but there were too many arguments for emancipating Harry to be ignored out of hand. And his role in causing most of Harry's valid arguments by neglect restricted his influence in the case. At least he hadn't started to hang around the wrong crowd. His friendship with Molly's and Arthur's youngest son Ronald was still as strong as ever, if not stronger. Additionally, he had reached out and included Neville Longbottom into his group of friends. That was a good thing. Alice and Frank had been members of the Order and the family itself had always been stoutly light. So, normally, the boy shouldn't give them a hard time over going to the Burrow. And after that Minerva would get him back to obey the instructions he was given.
While he knew that technically Sirius Black should be Harry's guardian, now that his innocence had been proven, he had managed to delay that decision, mainly because the petition for emancipation was still handled. He didn't want Sirius to influence Harry too much. No, this summer needed to be used to bring Harry back in line with his goals and position. Sirius might be allowed to visit once Harry was back under control. Thankfully, many also accepted the argument that Sirius should at least finish one year of healing before he was fit to take care of a teenager fully. He didn't notice that Fawkes was gone again. And he wouldn't realise the importance of this until it was too late.
Sirius looked up and saw a broom flying towards him. He grinned. It seemed as if their plan to have Harry slip through the net had worked perfectly. He stood from the boulder he had used as his seat when Harry landed. He had already put on the clothes that Harry had given him, and he had brushed up on his history of the time where they would go to. Next to him on a tree branch sat Hedwig, Harry's owl, who Harry had sent to him in advance to not have to transport her from the platform.
"Hello, Harry, good to see that things worked out like they were planned," Sirius greeted.
"Hi, Sirius," Harry replied smiling brightly, "It worked perfectly. We'll be long gone before anybody notices that I'm not even on the train."
Then Fawkes flashed next to Harry, trilling happily.
"Hey, Fawkes, good to see you. Give me a moment to change, then we can go," Harry said, and the phoenix trilled in agreement.
Harry took his trunk out of his pocket and enlarged it. He had put the clothes he would wear on top of everything else to have easy access to them. He went into the cave that was behind Sirius and put on the older fashioned clothes. Normal warm travelling clothes with a cloak that was held up by a brooch with the Ceredigion crest. He had noticed that Sirius had a similar one, just with the Black crest. Once he was done, he left the cave and looked at his godfather.
"Looks good on you," Sirius commented, "Which name do you use in the past?"
"Harold of Ceredigion. Son of Lord Benwick of Ceredigion and High Priestess Morgaine of Avalon," Harry answered.
"Wow, that's pretty high-ranking. And you're training under one of King Arthur's knights, I got that right?" Sirius asked.
"Yes, I've been promoted to squire just two months ago, going by the timeline we will return to. For all others, I spent the last two months travelling with my mother to Avalon and learning some more about my family's magic and duties to the people. Upon my return, I'll have to take up my new duties as a squire and start harder training than I got as Sir Edmund's page," Harry explained, "You can keep your normal name and position as head of the House of Black. The plan is to introduce you as a wizard who apprenticed under one of the druids of Avalon and then travelled through the country learning more about magic. You said you were especially good with Runes and Transfiguration?"
"Yes. While I wasn't at James' level, I was second in our year and I was top student in Runes. I was always fascinated with my ancestor Sirius Black, who was a famous warder in his time. He was also one of the honourable members of my family. Well, many of them were before some idiot decided to follow pureblood supremacy beliefs. As you know, without a guardian, in best case from the house of Avalon, to keep our studies of the Dark Arts in balance, many got lost to the dark," Sirius reminded Harry who nodded.
"Then you could offer your services as a warder. It wouldn't look too strange if people already knew about another Black that was active in the warding business. And that sons or grandsons were given their father's names isn't that unusual in that time," Harry suggested, "Oh, and you should know that until we manage to get Aunt Guinevere pregnant, I'm the current heir to the throne of Camelot. I've looked up as many ways of preventing a healthy woman from conceiving a child as I could this year, as well as possible cures, and I hope that mother can use that information to help Uncle Arthur and Aunt Genevieve out."
"That's something I really need to know. How comes that you were chosen for that position?" Sirius asked.
"My supposed mother Morgaine, who's really my many times great grandmother, is King Arthur's older sister. Hence, I was introduced as the King's nephew when I arrived at Camelot. Thanks to several nobles plotting how to get more power and putting one of their daughters at the King's side to give him an heir, something needed to be done. I was gaining more and more approval among the Knights of the Round Table as well as nobles that visited Camelot since I had started my training. Being the oldest known son of the King's sister, I was the best choice to stop them for a while. With me being a male heir, we bought time to find a way to overcome Aunt Genevieve's problem," Harry explained.
"I see. Well, I think we should get going now before anybody rings an alarm," Sirius said, and Harry nodded.
He re-shrunk his trunk and put it back safely into his pocket while holding the cage in which Hedwig settled. She knew the procedure. Fawkes flew over and Sirius and Harry took hold of one tail feather. In a flash of fire, they disappeared to the time of Camelot's prime.
Until next time. Stay healthy.