Chapter 12: Freedom Through Magic

Despite the mainly positive outcome of the Wizengamot session, Harry felt a sense of unease. He was elated that Sirius gained his freedom. He was pleasantly surprised that Ted and Andromeda were appointed as his temporary guardians. Yet, he couldn't help but feel a premonition of an impending crisis.

Andromeda looked at Harry with concern. She noted Harry's vacant expression and was worried for the teen. She asked, "Is something wrong, Harry?"

Harry shook himself from his negative musings. Maybe I'm just tired. But still, I just feel something will go wrong, but I can't seem to wrap my finger around why I feel this way.

"It's nothing, I think I just suddenly feel tired. It has been a couple of exhausting days," Harry weakly smiled.

Andromeda didn't respond. She gently drew the boy closer to her and Harry just remained still in her embrace. Soon the proceedings ended, and Tonks rushed to their position and escorted them away from the courtroom. As they retreated from the room, Harry spotted the media flooding the newly incarcerated man and the leading members of the Wizengamot with questions.

"Let's leave before they notice us," Andromeda said while she tugged Harry's hand. They silently left the floor and slipped through the Atrium to reach the floo exit.

About half an hour later, Sirius and the two law wizards entered the living room of the Tonks household. Ted and Tiberius looked fine, while Sirius was a picture-perfect depiction of a vampire victim.

"That was a horrid experience. Why on earth must the press be so demanding" Sirius whined as he collapsed onto a sofa next to him.

"The press can be exhausting at times, especially in a case this significant," Ted stated and gazed at the collapsed form of Sirius with sympathy. "A little price for freedom, if you will."

Tiberius chuckled, "Nonetheless, we have a victory to celebrate."

A loud pop echoed through the room, and Tiberius jumped in fright. Dobby materialised in front of Harry with a smug expression.

"Dobby prepared a feast, Master Harry Potter sir! Dobby prepared dry-aged Wagyu steaks from Japan, sir!" Dobby announced proudly with his hand on his hips.

"You heard the good man. Chop, chop, there is steak to be had!" Ted exclaimed excitedly and he dashed into the kitchen.

The rest of the room looked at the house elf quizzically. Harry asked warily, "Steak from Japan?"

"Great Master Harry Potter sir needn't worry his pretty little head about such trivial matters sir," Dobby answered with a sincere smile.

Harry's brow twitched at the barb Dobby threw at him. Andromeda covered her mouth as she stifled her laugh, but the other men didn't hold themselves back.

After a pleasant dinner, Tiberius escorted him back to Hogwarts half an hour before curfew. Harry entered the Gryffindor tower and almost instantly everyone in the Common Room faced him. Harry paused a couple of steps past the entrance.

"If you want to know what happened, you'd have to wait till tomorrow."

Some students let out groans of protest, but Harry ignored them and climbed up the stairs to his dorm. Ron and Neville were the only ones inside. The youngest Weasley male gave him an odd look, but he didn't ask Harry anything.

Neville on the other hand gave him a questioning look. Harry just nodded back at him. Neville let out a sigh of relief, which only confused Ron more. He just shrugged and covered himself with the blanket.

Harry woke up before the break of dawn, as is routine for him. He sat in bed and prepared to run through his occlumency and perception meditations. When he closed his eyes, he instantly entered the depths of his mind.

With a deep breath, he dove deeper into his mind and allowed his perception to cover his external environment. He felt the magic surrounding his dorm mates and the entire room and then felt the various wards that encapsulated the room. Harry expanded his senses with another breath. This time, he felt the magic that was contained in the Gryffindor Tower. He tried to identify to what or whom each signature belonged.

Seems like Crookshanks just came back from his nightly adventures. I reckon Hermione hasn't given him the "Or Worse, Expelled!" speech yet.

On an exhale, he stretched his perception around the entirety of Hogwarts. Or he tried to. He couldn't get below the third floor. Even then, the details that he received were incredibly limited and trivial.

Baby steps, Potter. Baby steps.

After twenty minutes of maintaining his perception, he switched to his occlumency exercise. He retreated slightly and entered a shallower end in his mind. He then concentrated on the flow of magic around his body. He felt his mind sink into his magic and Harry focused on soaking the various parts of his mind with his magic carefully.

He focused on a few strands of his mental streams at a time. He watched patiently as his mind was slowly imbued with magic. The practice was monotonous, but Harry felt the benefits over time. He slowly woke up from his trance.

It was about half past five in the morning. Harry noticed Neville who was going through his own meditation. He carefully stepped out of the bed and went to the bathroom.

After completing his morning ablutions, Dobby popped him to the entrance to the Room. Harry entered a room full of training dummies. Harry took out his wand and got into position.

For the next hour, Harry spent trying to combine transfiguration, charms, and curses together to form more destructive combinations. In the middle of these combinations, he would mix in wind-based elemental magic to pummel objects.

Harry looked at the destruction he wrought in the room. He flicked his wand and the debris rose. He swiped his wand upwards, and the debris coalesced around him. He twirled and the debris swirled around the room. He furiously guided the magic, and the debris followed his every command. With a final downward motion, the debris transfigured into multiple knives and scattered around Harry. The knives were forcefully embedded into every corner of the room.

Harry frowned at the sight, the knives varied in quality by a large degree. Some of the knives were in pristine condition, while others were rusty and flimsy at best. Lacks stability and flexibility.

Harry took out his notebook and noted the combinations that worked, the ones that failed, and the ones that needed further improvement. He took one look at the devastation he left behind and sighed as he left the room.

Neville was already up when he returned to the dorm. Neville jovially greeted, "Good Morning. Go take a shower before the others wake up, I'll wait for you downstairs."

Harry nodded and took a quick shower. After he changed into his school attire, he joined Neville in the Common Room. As soon as Hermione entered the Common Room, they made their way down to the Great Hall. Luna skipped over to their table once she entered the hall.

"Are you allowed to tell what happened yesterday?" Hermione inquired hesitantly.

Harry motioned his friends to lean in closer. They obliged and waited in anticipation of his answer. "He is free, and the traitor is off to jail. The Prophet might have the details. If they missed anything, I'll give you the details later," Harry whispered. The

Several minutes into breakfast, a parliament of owls swooped down and dropped copies of the Daily Prophet. The Great Hall collectively gasped when they read the headline of the paper.

Sirius Black: Exonerated and Free of All Charges

Peter Pettigrew: The True Betrayer

Meet Harry Potter's New Guardians

Hermione, Neville, and Luna immediately raised their heads and faced Harry. He watched his friend's reactions with a wide grin.

"And you forgot to mention that you just got new guardians?" Neville wryly asked Harry. Hermione thinned her lips and shook her head.

"No, he intentionally left that morsel of information because he thought it would be funny," Hermione stated as she narrowed her eyes at Harry, who had the decency to scratch his head.

"Don't be ridiculous you two. Harry just walked into two Nargles mating rituals yesterday. When a witch or a wizard stumbles upon a Nargle mating ritual, they forget something really important," Luna explained as she arranged her breakfast in a makeshift castle.

Harry and Hermione tilted their hides in confusion and Neville slowly said, "Never change, Luna. Never change."

"I refuse to not change, Neville," Luna sniffed. "The world could do with a little chaos."

Harry chuckled at her declaration. He turned towards the Head Table to survey their reactions. The one who seemed most visibly affected was Remus Lupin. His complexion was deathly pale, and his hands shook as he read the paper. Snape looked furious and he didn't seem to appreciate Sirius's freedom as much as Harry did. The rest of the staff seemed to whisper among themselves about the implications of the latest news.

Harry took another glance at his newspaper and smiled. At least Sirius doesn't have to face the same indignities again. Now I just got to make sure that my dear godfather lives till he has a few grandkids.

Sirius drummed the arm of his chair as he stared at Ted. The law-wizard chose to heed not attention to the younger man and took careful sips from his tea.

"I don't know what to do," Sirius reluctantly admitted. He leaned back and sighed, "I never thought I would be the one to hold the keys to my accursed house."

Ted placed the teacup on the table. He understood that Sirius had issues with his family, but that's neither here nor there. He bluntly stated, "If it makes you any better, most of your family is dead, in prison, or estranged from you. You can reform the House of Black in whichever way that strikes your fancy."

"There is a huge stigma attached to the house. It isn't easy to change the reputation that my family has built over the years," Sirius countered testily.

"Sirius, you're Harry's godfather. Your story about how you fought against your family's wishes will be known throughout the magical world within days. If anything, you are the right person at the right time for reformation," Ted calmly presented.

Sirius slumped against his chair, and he turned his gaze towards the window. Ted looked at the younger man with sympathy. Within a period of three months, his trajectory in life shifted from a miserable end to a path of hope. He lost an entire decade and stepped into a world that was drastically different from the one before.

Ted added, "Just before Harry left for Hogwarts, he presented an interesting proposition. He wanted to purchase the debt the ministry issues to fund Hogwarts."

Sirius perked up and furrowed his brows. "Why would he want to buy all that debt?"

"Certain pureblood families that were allied with You-Know-Who were forced to buy this debt as a penalty for their crimes. The funds from the debt made Hogwarts tuition completely free for all students regardless of their lineage," Ted explained and he leaned against his seat with a sigh.

"However, the funds only made it easier for the families to exert influence over the fabric of our society. Soon, they occupied a minor majority within the Board of Governors in Hogwarts. Nearly half a decade later, their hold in many segments of the Ministry strengthened, including even the impartial St. Mungos."

"Harry wants to buy the debt to lessen the influence of the purebloods?" Sirius asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Indeed," Ted nodded. He stood up and walked up to a drawer and he pulled out several parchments. "An unfortunate consequence of my push for funding for all students after the war. The ministry used the opportunity as an excuse to grant more power to the rich pureblood families. The rich can use this funding as a means to leverage power."

Sirius nodded tentatively. "But where do I fit in?"

"The Potter and the Black families could be the sole lenders for the educational debt to the Ministry of Magic."

Sirius frowned as he stroked his chin. "I don't think the Death Eaters would be too happy about losing influence."

"That's why you employed my law firm, Sirius. We do the fighting for you," Ted declared with a smirk.

Just as Ted completed his declaration, the fireplace burst into life and Tiberius stepped into the room. The stately wizard bowed toward the two men in the room. He pulled out an envelope with an elegant red seal and stated, "Gentleman, Dumbledore has sent his missive and he seeks a meeting with Sirius, alone."

Sirius waved his hand dismissively and scoffed, "I don't need to see his face the day I regained a modicum of freedom. He can shove his missive up his arse."

Tiberius nodded hesitantly and directed his attention to Ted, who seemed as if he was in deep thought. Sirius narrowed his eyes at his cousin-in-law, but he did not interrupt Ted.

Several minutes later, Ted broke from his trace. "No Sirius, take this meeting."

Sirius almost growled. "You better give me a good explanation Ted."

Ted took the envelope from Tiberius. He waved his wand a couple of times over the envelope, and a green light emanated from the tip of his wand. Satisfied with the results of the spell work, he opened the envelope and read the letter inside it.

Ted rolled his eyes as he read the letter. Platitudes and empty words. Not a morsel of meaningful information in this thrice-damned letter. Dumbledore knew that Sirius wouldn't even entertain the thought of meeting him in the near future. This was just a mere pleasantry, no doubt.

He folded the letter and placed it on the tea table with a hint of a grin. Ignoring his request for a meeting might just mean that we are playing into his hands. Let's catch him off-guard.

"Gentlemen, if Dumbledore wants to meet, he meets on our terms. He has too many things to lose. Therefore, we make the rules for this dance."

Tiberius looked at Ted warily and mumbled "What wicked scheme have you concocted now?"

"Come now Tiberius, when have I ever gone wrong?"

Harry, Hermione, and Neville headed for their Ancient Runes class after breakfast. They climbed up the stairs to reach the classroom on the sixth floor. The room was decorated with various charts and diagrams of different runes from different languages. The students in the classroom were from all four houses.

He noted that the professor was seated behind her desk at the front of the classroom. She wore comfortable blue robes and Harry approximated that she was in her late twenties to early thirties. She had long brunette hair that seemed to fall down her shoulders and clear blue eyes. All in all, she was an attractive witch, judging by some of the goofy smiles on some of the male members of the class.

Hermione nudged the two boys and led two of them to a desk with three open seats. As he sat down, Hermione looked at the males of her class with no small degree of exasperation. Harry glanced at her with amusement and whispered, "A knut for your thoughts?"

Hermione squinted her eyes at him and softly inquired, "Do all boys behave like this lot here?"

Harry bit his lip to stifle a chuckle, but Hermione noticed Harry's face twisted in mirth and shot him a sharp look. He ignored her death stare and answered with no small amount of amusement.

"Aye, a lot of them are. Hormones and all that. Unless they're into blokes. Then they do that to other blokes."

"Et tu?"

"Come again?"

"Even you?" Hermione sighed. Harry shook his head and tilted his head towards their professor.

"I'll admit that someone is attractive. However, admitting that someone is attractive and ogling them are two different things. Besides, I rather find witches closer to my own age more fanciable, you see," Harry finished with an exaggerated wink. Hermione's ears turned a rosy pink, and she quickly turned her head away from Harry.

Neville, who sat to the right of Harry, was puzzled by their little interaction. Neville raised an eyebrow at Harry, who chuckled and placed a hand on his shoulder. "My dear Neville, there are some things you ought not to know."

Harry heard Hermione snort, and this only increased poor Neville's confusion. Harry nodded sagely as he gazed at the ceiling. "One day you will learn, dear grasshopper."

"What on Merlin's beard does a grasshopper have to do with this?"

"Elementary, dear Longbottom. Elementary."

"All of that meant absolutely nothing to me, Harry," Neville muttered.

Professor Babbling stood up and clasped her hands together. "Good morning students, welcome to the study of Ancient Runes! My name is Bathsheba Babbling, and I will be your instructor for Ancient Runes till you complete your OWLS. Of course, if you manage to score an Exceeds Expectations or higher, I hope to see you again for your NEWTs."

She paused and observed the room to gauge her current students. Her eyebrows slightly at the sight of Harry Potter, but she continued. "I believe we should first take roll call and then let's proceed with the rest of the class."

She pulled out a piece of parchment from the drawer of her desk and went through the names of the students in the class. Based on the names in the class, Harry surmised that the class composition consisted of students from all four houses.

The professor removed her list and continued with the lecture. "Runes is not just a study of ancient languages. No, this subject branches beyond some esoteric theoretical base of knowledge; there are several practical applications that stem from common household use to more advanced magical structures and phenomena."

Both Harry and Hermione perked up towards the end of Professor Babbling's explanation. Hermione immediately raised her hand, and the professor smiled brightly and nodded at her eager student.

"Professor Babbling, what are the differences between a magical structure and a phenomenon?"

"An apt inquiry Ms. Granger. Take two points for Gryffindor," Professor Babbling energetically remarked. "Magical constructs are permanent or at least more durable displays of magic. Consider wards, most rituals, alchemy and magical enchantments to fall into this category. A magical phenomenon is temporary and typically lasts a few moments before dissipating. Spellcasting is considered to be a magical phenomenon, as are some rituals and potions."

Harry raised his hand this time, he was slightly confused at the answer the professor provided. "Professor Babbling, aren't some rituals supposed to create permanent results or at least ones that last a long time? Why are they in the second category as well?"

Professor Babbling vigorously nodded and clapped her hands twice. "Brilliant inquiry, Mr. Potter. Take two more points to Gryffindor."

She stopped and took note of the students in her class. She never had students who expressed their curiosity so openly in her classes, and she sought that intellectual spark that drove her to the pinnacle of her discipline. This was why, unlike other professors, she tended to allocate points to those students who asked questions.

"This distinction is a major point of contention among many scholars of my field and several other fields. If you ask 100 rune experts about this topic, you would have at least 40 schools of thought. Some consider rituals to be entirely constructs, others entirely phenomena. A majority believe that rituals can be both but differ on which ritual is classed where."

"And what do you believe, Professor?"

"I believe that any ritual can serve any purpose, depending on the intent and execution. It is pointless to argue where the lines are drawn, it is a waste of time. But some of my more esteemed colleagues have spent decades if not centuries debating such menial topics," Professor Babbling replied with a smile.

This time, Susan Bones asked a question. "But Professor, aren't rituals considered illegal by the ministry?"

"Not necessarily Ms Bones, but a rather suitable inquiry. Take two points to Hufflepuff. Some rituals are not considered illegal; rather they are just not openly discussed in public. The ministry uses an entire array of rituals, especially the Unspeakables."

Hermione tilted her head in confusion. Noticing the confusion among the muggle-born students, Professor Babbling explained, "Unspeakables are what you would call ministry-sanctioned researchers and they have a separate department called the Department of Mysteries. There are relatively few laws that bind their activities, and they usually study a wide array of topics. One of the more infamous uses of rituals is to create safeguards for prophecies, or so it is rumoured."

She placed her index finger on her chin and described, "Prophecies are a more mystical form of divination. Usually, a true Seer would get a glimpse of the future and would proclaim a prophecy. Coincidentally, the Seer wouldn't remember their proclamation. But somehow the secretive Department of Mysteries can syphon this knowledge. It truly is curious indeed."

She grimaced, "Divination is such an unpredictable subject that only a select few have even a sliver of talent for. I refuse to believe that Trelawney is even capable of forecasting her own arse out of a cupboard. The dimwit has the gall to spill sherry and then vomit all over my new pristine robes."

The whole class collectively blinked and stared at their new professor. Professor Babbling broke out of her trance and rapidly shook her head. The poor woman turned a scarlet colour that would put the entire Weasley clan to shame.

"Not a word out of any of you!"

The rest of the class went well, and Professor Babbling introduced them to the Elder Futhark runic alphabet. Afterwards, they stepped into the Transfiguration Courtyard, making their way to their second lesson of the week.

Harry, Hermione, and Neville stepped into a sombre transfiguration class. Their classmates whispered under their breaths while they cast not-so-subtle looks at Seamus Finnigan. The third-year Gryffindor had a deathly pale countenance and looked around the classroom uneasily. Dean Thomas and Ron, who sat next to Seamus seemed equally disturbed.

Hermione and Neville had expressions of pure confusion painted on their faces, while Harry had to bite his tongue to prevent a laughing fit. Hermione nudged him and asked quietly, "What on earth happened to them?"

Harry snorted, "I don't know, but I feel like we're about to be thoroughly entertained."

Hermione gave Harry a look and shook her head as she sat down. A few minutes later, Professor McGonagall entered the room and began her lesson.

The lesson was on becoming an animagus, and as she transformed into her form, she noted the dull response from the students. She returned to her human form and pursed her lips at the lack of attention. She sighed, "Pray do tell me what seems to be troubling you lot today?"

Lavender Brown looked around the room with a slightly tense expression and shivered slightly as she glanced towards Harry's direction.

"Professor McGonagall, we just came out of divination and Professor Trelawney divined that Harry would face death by the end of the school year," Parvati responded with a shiver, clearly shaken by the events that transpired not too long ago.

Most of the Ravenclaw students began whispering among each other and the stern professor silenced them with a glance. Harry snorted quite loudly which forced Hermione to give him a reproachful sideways glance.

Once the classroom settled, the Professor crossed her arms in front of her.

"Now that we have all settled down, I would like to inform you that Professor Trelawney has a penchant for selecting a student whose death she will try to predict every year. Last year, it was one of the fifth-year Hufflepuff students, who is still alive and well. In fact, she was one of the three students to record an outstanding in transfiguration, charms, and potions. I would not pay much attention to that hogwash she spews from time to time. Now, let us begin our lesson on animagus transformations."

After the transfiguration lesson, they headed down to the Great Hall for lunch where Luna skipped over and joined Harry, Hermione, and Neville. The four friends discussed their day thus far, while Harry could still hear whispers about the whole Sirius Black debacle. Some were in disbelief, others with scepticism, and the remainder just enthused about the latest scandal. To them, these events are not but an interesting topic to entertain during their downtime. He took one last glance around the hall. He realised that the headmaster was not present and Snape seemed like he had been forced to swallow dragon dung. Remus looked like he still had not comprehended what any of this meant and refused to look anywhere in Harry's direction.

Hermione glanced at him with a hint of concern, noting the multiple discussions surrounding the latest events. Harry shook his head and sighed. There is no point brooding about what the broader population thinks about all of this. However, I am worried about how Sirius will confront Remus soon. Hopefully, he would not do something regrettable that would shackle him to Azkaban for good.

They finished their meals and the three Gryffindor students made their way out to the castle ground for their Care of Magical Creatures class with Hagrid. Harry felt quite excited to meet Buckbeak again and swore to himself not to allow the blond ponce to ruin Hagrid's first class. They made their way down to a clearing between Hagrid's hut and the Forbidden Forest.

Hagrid looked around the class nervously and as he caught Harry's eyes, Harry winked and gave him a thumbs-up. Hagrid smiled and released a deep breath, relaxing somewhat from having a familiar figure. His introduction and lesson seemed very similar to Harry's memory of the events from the original timeline. Then he introduced Buckbeak, and Malfoy attempted the same arrogant stunt as the last time around.

Buckbeak looked down on the arrogant child with no small amount of anger and just before the hippogriff could charge towards Malfoy, Harry pointed his wand towards Malfoy and whispered, "Flipendo."

The knockback jinx hit Malfoy on his side and propelled him away from the raging magical beast. Buckbeak roared in fury and attempted to go after the now disoriented Malfoy. However, Hagrid was quick to the task and immediately restrained Buckbeak. He turned towards the cowering child who was whimpering on the ground.

"I told yerr to watch yerr manner with 'im. Ten points off yerr house and I hope that this would a lesson for all yerr students. Never get on the bad side of a magical creature, 'specially one that can gore yerr guts out," Hagrid growled a hint of annoyance to his tone. He then placated the magnificent hippogriff by feeding him several ferrets and Buckbeak stood down, though not before throwing a menacing glance toward Malfoy, who still had not got up. Hagrid smiled at Harry, grateful for his quick intervention.

"Ten points to Gryffindor for saving yerr fellow classmate. Remember, pay attention to yerr surroundings when dealing with magical beasts. I can't always be protecting yerr lot."

Hagrid glanced at the still-whimpering Malfoy and Harry rolled his eyes at the dramatic performance. Buckbeak was not even able to graze him this time.

He then pointed at Crabbe and Goyle and yelled out, "Yerr two, take yerr friend to the infirmary. He ain't hurt by Buckbeak, but he clearly needs to be checked for a brain by a healer."

The two Slytherin students helped their leader back onto his feet and the humiliated student maliciously glared at both Hagrid and Harry.

"My father is going to hear about this!" Malfoy mumbled under his breath.

Harry rolled his eyes and sneered but refused to comment on the childish remark. Nothing but a spoilt brat who cries foul when things do not go his way. In a way, I am surprised he was able to withstand Voldemort's treatment. If only he could use his latent tenacity to do something more productive.

Hagrid scoffed and ignored the three students who were making their way up to the castle. He turned to the rest of the students and grinned, "Now that he is out of the way, who wants to volunteer to greet ol' Buckbeak over here?"

Everyone, excluding Harry, in the classroom took several steps back from the majestic hippogriff. Hagrid seemed very disappointed, but it quickly disappeared when he noticed how Harry smiled took several steps and bowed. Buckbeak stared into his green eyes and eventually nodded. He grinned and made his way towards the hippogriff. Understanding his intent, Buckbeak lowered himself and Harry quickly got on his back.

Before anyone could let out a word, Buckbeak charged and took off into the air as Harry laughed with pure elation. Hermione's eyes bulged out of her eye sockets and screamed in fear. Neville and the rest of the class looked on with no degree of surprise on their faces and Hagrid let out a deep belly laugh.

"Just like 'is father that one. Not an ounce of fear."

Harry closed his eyes as he held on to the ascending hippogriff and let his magic feel out the air around him. Drawing a deep breath, he felt the elemental magic guiding Buckbeak his flight and he let the magic embrace him. Different from his own, but he felt so free and he let his mastery over the element mix in with Buckbeak. Buckbeak let out a cry of joy and the air around shifted with the display of magic. For the first time in a while, Harry Potter laughed freely and without restraint.

As the two descended from their spontaneous adventure, Harry was met with a reproachful stare by Hermione and a nervous Neville. Harry grinned sheepishly, knowing that he would have to bear the full brunt of Hermione's ire in the next few hours. Hagrid laughed and he helped Harry remove himself from the majestic hippogriff, who then affectionately rubbed his against Harry's shoulder.

Hermione pointedly ignored Harry for the next hour till they got to the Defense Against the Dark Arts Classroom. The room had a similar atmosphere to the one Harry remembered back in his original timeline. He sighed wistfully as he glanced at the ragged man, who seemed very much drained from his nightly excursions not too long ago.

Perhaps I am being too harsh on him. I cannot say that I would not have the same decisions that he made given his circumstances. And he did try his best afterward. He is just as misguided and damaged as Sirius after the war.

Harry shook his head from his stray thoughts and sat down for the lesson. He gave the closet in front of the class an amused look. Ah, the boggart. This will be an entertaining lesson.

The lesson began similarly to the first time around. After a brief introduction, Professor Lupin proceeded to line the students up in front of the closet. And one by one, they attempted to change the boggart and conquer their fears. From snakes to spiders to clowns, Harry got to experience all of laughter all over again. If only these times persisted.

It was finally Harry's turn and as he stepped up, Lupin seemed to be wary and on guard, ready to intervene. But rather than the usual dementor or Lupin's assertion of Voldemort, the boggart took the form of an older Harry Potter.

Boggart-Harry stared at his younger counterpart with no small amount of disdain and anger. He let out several expletives and barked, "You have done nothing. Your attempts are futile and you have changed nothing. The future? Bleaker than what you thought it would be. Everyone will all be dead and it will all be because of your selfish actions. Did you think Sirius or the Tonks family would be able to live long lives after being associated with you? Did you think Hermione will see her twenties after being so close to you? Come to think of it, did you even think this through at all, Potter? Did you think that your luck could save you again, you fucking piece-"

Harry pointed his wanted and gritted out, "Riddikulus"

The boggart shifted into a familiar black down with a top hat. But Harry was not enthused, and the whole classroom remained silent after the incident. Remus, seeing the tension in the air, quickly dismissed his classroom. Hermione seemed very concerned but Neville shook his head and indicated that they should give Harry some space. She reluctantly nodded and walked out hesitantly.

Harry stood rooted, staring into the distance and Remus rubbed his temple before he moved closer to Harry. As he approached him, Harry woke up from his trance.

"I would appreciate it if we do not talk about what just happened. Nor should you discuss this with anyone."

Remus nodded with a sigh, "I will not, each person has their fears to overcome. It is not my place to intervene in those matters."

"Thank you."

Remus waved his hand and two chairs levitated towards them and summoned a tea set and began brewing tea. They sat in companionable silence until brewing was complete. He handed Harry a cup of tea and they both sipped their respective beverages. Harry sighed as he took in his first sip, "You know that you have a lot to answer for, but more so to Sirius than me."

Remus winced and nodded rigidly, "I suppose I do. I was absent for a large part of your life and I apologise for that. I was a mess after that fateful night and swore to not enter Magical Britain for a long time."

He took a sip and glanced at Harry's unreadable countenance. Remus placed the cup on the table and scratched his head.

"Your mother had a similar expression when she didn't know whether to hex someone to bits or tear them a new arsehole with her words."

"Probably one of the first times someone related a trait of mine to my mother, other than my eyes."

Remus chuckled and took a sip of his tea. "I do apologise for being absent if it counts. While I had my circumstances, it is not fair for you or the memory of your parents. Especially with how much James did to help me."

"Then why were not able to visit me for just even a day? For the record, I know that you are a werewolf and that secret will stay with me."

Remus released a deep breath and grimaced, "After the war, a lot of regulations tightened around werewolves. With how You-Know-Who used them as his weapons of choice, they were seen as public enemy one, after many Death Eaters received public sympathy from the Ministry for being controlled by him. I had no choice but to seek shelter elsewhere."

The professor placed his teacup on the table and looked towards the window. He looked like he aged several more years through these few seconds. "But that is a relatively minor obstruction. No, I suppose I was deeply hurt by everything that transpired and sought to put a distance to all that misery. Not realising that I have a modicum of responsibility to at least check in on you."

"But you are back now?"

"I suppose I am now. Professor Dumbledore vouched for me and I was able to secure this position. I would have maintained a professional relationship with you without letting you know of my connection to your parent. Had things transpired differently over the past few days, you and I will not be talking right now."

Harry did not react nor respond to his explanation. He understood what war, betrayal, and death of loved ones. He could empathise and even forgive in due time, but he can not forget the older man's decisions.

Harry nodded, "I can only hope that you can find peace in your own life. I am disappointed that you have been absent from my life but that does not mean I am unwilling to give you a chance."

Remus directed his gaze at him with some hope. "You mean-"

Harry held held his hand up. "I am not going to forgive you and let you enter my life that easily. You will have to earn that right. I feel your situation, but that doesn't mean I agree with your actions."

Remus smiled awkwardly, "Thank you, that is more than what I deserve at this point."

Harry stood up and offered his hand and Remus obliged.

"To new beginnings."

The rest of the week flew by in a somewhat monotonous fashion. Curiously enough, Hermione held her tongue and did not attempt to inquire about the boggart incident. Harry and the team worked on mastering their occlumency skills and magic with the Hat and spent the week getting accustomed to their new class schedule.

Well, mostly getting used to the new quidditch practice regime that Wood devised over the summer. Apparently, he wants to hear no complaints from his team to secure the cup this year.

Hermione no longer looked as if she was running ragged without the extensive use of the time-turner to meet all her academic expectations. According to Andromeda, even a continuous use of a time turner for a week can lead to serious long-term complications for any witch or wizard when he inquires her about the possible use to make the most of his time.

Forget the long-term consequences, even the idea of messing with time is a dangerous game. There is a reason why even Dumbledore avoids time turners as much as he could.

Harry woke up from his trance as Hedwig swooped down and settled on his shoulder. He smiled and they both sat in companionable silence as they both gazed at the great lake. He had been trying to feel the essence of water, something he had been struggling with ever since he began his venture into elemental magic. Wind came naturally, and he had a suspicion that had to do with his innate talent and passion for flying. On the other hand, he can barely illicit the same trajectory for water.

The Hat did warn me to not use the Room of Requirements for elemental magic. Since the room is a magical structure, it can only imitate natural forces. So it is not the best place to learn elemental magic. That, and I could cause permanent damage if I were to practice more advanced elemental magic.

Harry's eyes widened as he made a realization. Gillyweed! I should dive into the Great Lake with gillyweed and then attempt to connect with the water around me. The environment would suit more for water elemental magic.


With a pop, the diminutive and eccentric elf made his appearance with a big grin on his face. Hedwig looked down on the elf and narrowed her beady eyes. Amused at their little by-play, Harry asked, "Dobby, can you ask Andy for some gillyweed? There is something I want to try in the Great Lake."

"Dobby will be back in a flash!"

Within 20 minutes, Dobby acquired a handful of gillyweed which would allow Harry to submerge himself for an hour. He gulped the slippery substance with no small amount of displeasure and immediately felt the changes wash over him. He swiftly made his way into the lake and dived into its depths, spreading his perception around the water. As he dived, he began noticing the shifts in pressure and the subtle threads of magic woven within the water. He closed his eyes and began to reach for those threads and twirled his wand to weave the magic around him.

And then it moved. He felt how the creatures of the lake directed their attention to him, yet made no motion to disturb him. He felt the water around him move according to his wishes. He felt how he could even combine his master over wind and water and breathe without assistance. In the distance, several merpeople noted the disturbance and released a pleasant hum. His magic thrummed and synchronised with the movements under the water and the ancient rhythm sung by the merpeople. It is then he became gained a flash of insight. Harmony through magic gives rise to the ultimate freedom.

Drops of water dripped down from the ceiling of the dark cell. He heard a swish of robes. Another dementor passed by his cell.

Dark and repressed emotions of his past flooded his mind. He felt the helplessness, the grief, and the resentment he felt toward those around him. He remembered the envy he felt for the two pureblood scions and even the aloof werewolf.

He remembered being their shadow for years. He remembered the numerous triumphant conquests of his 'friends'. He screamed. He screamed till his voice cracked and his throat became dry.

But here, in the Demented Prison of Azkaban, no prisoner was spared a fate worse than death. Nary a thought nor sympathy was given to its inmates.

"Wormtail, oh Wormail, how delightful for you to visit us in our time of need"

A feminine maniacal cackle resonated through the halls of the hallowed prison.

Hello Everyone,

Wow, it has been three years since you last saw me. Over that time, I got my master's, moved countries, lost family members, experienced heartbreak, and had many career challenges. A lot of good with a lot of tragedy to sum up, and I am currently regaining some semblance of normalcy so I decided to revisit this story while I have the muse.

I re-read some of the chapters and I felt amused by my writings I suppose. And I kind of want to find healing through this fan fiction, so bear with me.

On another note, I realise that my previous chapters have a lot of content in one chapter, usually above 10,000 words. I think writing a 10,000-word chapter may be somewhat tedious for me so I will cut it down to anywhere between 6,000 to 8,000. More manageable for me I suppose.

From now on, I am going to stick to British English as much as possible. Although, I am more familiar with American English. Moreso to keep the story true to its roots, to the best of my ability. I know that there can be some grammar issues, but bear with me as I try to work on them.

Please do let me know what you think about this chapter and let know what you think!