Chapter 2 Meeting an Angel
"Excuse me, are you an angel?" The smaller boy asked, though the taller blonde one nodded agreement.
The medieval priory connected to the cloister through a series of public rooms, private sitting areas with cosy fireplaces and small bookcases. Though made of stone, ancient runes carved into the very stones of the buildings kept the castle at a moderate temperature year round. Portraits of knights long gone decorated the corridors and rooms. Framed pictures of the bravest of non-military men and women were also scattered around. Their brief history of how they won their Order of Merlin award, and other victories were also done on small plaques underneath their pictures.
Albus Dumbledore had his own picture, with not one, but two plaques. A third for his more recent titles had been delayed. It was decided to wait another fifty or so years. Maybe once the warrior-turned-statesmen was safely dead, they could finish it all at once!
Classes and practice rooms were in the tall tower whose top floor had a private dining area for the knights. The view from there was magnificent.
The practice fields contained areas for single and team dueling, target practices of all sorts of modern and ancient warfare, large pits for battle magics, and a separate area for flight attack targets.
There was a small enclosed colosseum that could be used for a variety of events. It was much larger on the inside and had its own unique infrastructure. It was used to train the upper cohort prior to those knights going into the field.
There was a powerful timing device that could allow years of training to happen in weeks when needed. And since the world thrived on emergencies, it was used on a far-too-regular basis. High command kept trying to get away from using it. Plans were to stop sometime soon.
The stables were well maintained, and while the complex had a variety of helpers including house-elves, the building was a common place for misbehaving students to serve detention.
The central meeting place was the Great Hall. Located on the main floor and centered in the complex, the room was usually set up with long tables and benches. Ancient and modern battles were captured in stained glass, the abbreviated histories of those battles in small plaques under the windows. The high table was where the professors and teaching knights took their meals. There was a magnificent chair in the center of said table where the main administrator sat. Knighting ceremonies were held in the hall. For the times when a visiting royal was present, that chair would be further enhanced to be more ornate for those events.
Knights and squires of all ages could be seen studying in the hall at all hours, or taking in a snack. Meals were served at set times, but there was a small table fully stocked of healthy treats that was continuously available.
This was the core of the Order, and on a Sunday afternoon, the hall would swell to include many of the world's active knights if they were available. They would attend High Mass in the chapel, and then enjoy a peaceful meal with their fellow knights and their squires.
It was to this complex that a trio of young people were taken. What was unusual about these children is that only one was an unwanted orphan, and all had resources available to them. Most foundlings and orphans came to them with only the clothes on their backs, and sometimes not even that.
"Are you going to make fun of my hair, too?" Hermione asked. Her Italian had hardly any English accent, but just enough Oxford for both of the boys to switch to English.
"Never!" They said together.
"I'm Harry Potter, and this is my brother Neville Longbottom. Well, my godbrother, but it's practically the same thing."
Hermione looked at them both through squinted eyes.
"You don't seem to be laughing. I put the last trio of boys to laugh at me into the hospital!" Hermione was in a foul mood, and these two had perfect timing to be targets. "And I lost my placement for advancement at school! And it's on my permanent record!"
She sniffed back tears. Hermione always cried when she was angry, and didn't want to do so in front of anyone!
Both boys had only an inkling of what she was saying, but if she was here, then that meant only one thing to do! Welcome her!
"I'm sorry those boys were mean to you. Can we please know your name, you know, since we are going to be going to school together. We can be friends!" Harry stated.
Neville had retreated more into his shell after his great-uncle's most recent attack on him. But Harry had blossomed in the week away from his aunt. But as shy as Neville was, he could feel her magic, and it was so amazing!
If he had shared that feeling, that he could feel the warmth and power of her magic, then anyone could have told him that meant that he too was magical. But Neville just nodded at what Harry was saying, and tried to look as non threatening as possible.
Neville didn't like bullies any more than Harry did.
"I suppose. I'm Hermione Granger. I never heard of magic until a few days ago."
"Same here. I mean, I just learned a short time ago. I can't wait to learn more though! It will explain all of the odd things that happen around me." Harry stated.
"Um, I grew up around magic, but haven't done any yet. That's why I'm here. I'm useless."
This last was said with such deep sadness, that Hermione lost all of her anger and resentment.
"No! Of course not!" And then she hugged him!
Harry had seen a lot in his life. Watching Dudley chowing down on a huge dinner while Harry felt his empty stomach was rumbling. Eyeing Dudley opening a pile of presents, and denying Harry the broken red car that had been binned. His aunt hugging and kissing his cousin, all the while the both of them called him names.
But Harry had had something happen when Hermione walked up, and he knew that she was someone special. Her magic called to him, and his magic called to her.
And she chose someone else to love.
Now, Harry was only seven, not quite eight, as was Neville, but his little seven year old heart broke right then. Not that he showed it.
Crying was not allowed, or screaming, or whining. All against the rules. So Harry stood there, stoically, and then the most amazing thing happened.
Hermione hugged Harry too!
She had comforted Neville, until he pulled away, embarrassed, so she embraced Harry, and murmured into his shoulder how she was glad that they would be friends.
Harry's spirits soared!
And so on that day, a new trio of friends was born, inseparable. Well, inseparable until a certain British politico interfered. But that was not this day.
This day was one of new beginnings for all three, and the start along their path.
Their path to Destiny.
When the wards fell at Privet Drive, Dumbledore tried to floo Arabella Figg, but the connection was closed.
He then flooed Professor Snape, who wasn't in his office as he was teaching.
Sending for his spy, he cast spells on his devices. Not good.
"Headmaster, the elf said you had an emergency? I left a pair of prefects in charge of the first years."
"Good Severus. The wards on the house where Harry Potter lives have fallen. Please, tell me. Has Lucius been more active of late trying to find the lad? Any rumors, news?"
"If the wards fell, shouldn't we be calling the aurors? What if they are attacked?"
"The Dursleys? I suppose that is a possibility, but Harry Potter isn't there."
Severus Snape pinched his nose. Very few magicals cared about the safety of muggles, but even though he despised Petunia Evans from their childhood, he would still fight to protect her, if only because she was Lily's sister, Lily's blood.
"Harry Potter is alive, but far away. And until letters are addressed I won't be able to find him!" The great wizard concluded.
"Is it possible that the family just moved? People get new jobs. Jobs far away from here," the former Death Eater stated longingly.
"Your contract ends if Harry Potter does not get his letter or after he finishes his NEWTs. Since he did accidental magic and summoned a book in front of me as a babe, I'm sure that he is magical. That was the agreement for you avoiding Azkaban." The Headmaster chided gently.
"I wonder if trying to teach dementors how to brew potions would be more difficult than hard-headed, hormonal, distracted, dunderheaded, disruptive teenagers?" Snape pondered aloud.
"Likely not, but think of the rewards of molding the next generation!"
Severus pictured a potion that would cause mold to grow on all of the students. Color coordinated to their house, of course. Likely, not what the man meant.
"Shall I go? See what I can find?" Snape offered. Anything to get away from the castle for a few hours during the school year.
"Yes, my boy. You do that, and I'll get someone to cover your classes."
"You did study advanced alchemy sir. You could teach for a day."
"Yes, yes. Very well. Off you go. Send a patronus if you need help! Here's a portkey to a nearby neighbor. She's out, or I could let you floo. You can floo back if you wish."
Severus grumbled under his breath about dotty old men. After all, there was a reason that the Dark Lord feared this man, and Snape was no fool.
Dumbledore would not be happy to find out that the family had moved, no suspicious people lurking about there recently. A limousine had been noticed. Obviously that was the job offer for Vernon. Sales manager, promotion to Argentina, or so they had heard.
If the boy was in Argentina, the headmaster would have to hand deliver his letter. Snape thought that Potter could move to the moon and still have the Headmaster after him, but he would not let that thought show.
The Dark Lord and Light Lord were two sides of a coin. Both wanted to rule Britain in their way. One believed in killing anything that disagreed with him or didn't have magic, the other believed killing to be always wrong, no matter how many lives were lost with that...morality.
If someone gave Snape truth serum, when he hadn't recently ingested the antidote, and asked him where his loyalties really were, the answer would surprise many.
Lily Evans. That was the reason he lived and served. If her son should die in the conflict then he would be released from that service. Same too if he himself were killed. Severus had killed and would gladly kill again if it would bring her back, or protect her only child. The first was impossible, even with magic. The second, all too likely, even with Dumbledore's unreasonable mandates. He would be forced into situations where he would have to take a life. Again.
It was the only thing that he and Mad-Eye Moody had ever agreed upon.
And now, to Diagon Alley. Might as well do a little shopping. Dinner was being served soon to his little snakes. He had no patrols to run afterwards, so this was just a chance to enjoy, savor a few teenager-free moments alone.
"How are you feeling now?" Charles asked, watching the boy working on his maths.
The knight shuddered. He disliked arithmancy intensely. Oh, he could do it well enough to keep himself alive in the field, but it was runes, languages, and magical creatures that were his specialties.
"Hey! You're the man who rescued me from my cupboard! I never got a chance to thank you. So, um, thank you, Sir Knight. I'm Harry Potter."
"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter. I'm Charles Hector. I did visit you at St. Michaels but you were still out from your surgery. I hope that you are well now."
"You're Sir Hector! I've heard stories about you! You helped take down a chimera!" Harry's eyes gleamed.
"Indeed." Charles shuddered in unpleasant memories of death, and blood, and loss of innocent life. But it could have been much, much worse. Such a pleasant magical village too.
"Please, sir knight. I haven't had the chance to ask. Why is the Knight Commander Sir Romano, but you are Sir Hector? Some seem to use their last name, others their first."
"You choose your name after the trials and just before the ceremony. There were three other Charles in my cohort. No others had the last name Hector, so I chose that."
"That makes sense. Monseigneur Brown said that you might mentor me?"
"Indeed. The three of you. You and Neville and Miss Granger are all British, and near the same age. I will be speaking to each of you individually. You understand how classes here work now, and Miss Granger will indeed thrive in this environment. You too, are driven to succeed."
Harry waited for the tall man with broad shoulders and dark skin to finish his thought, but he kept his own council about the third one of their new group.
"Have you been told how this works? That you become apprentices until you are ten. Then, if you are still interested in becoming a knight, you apply to be a squire. If we work well together, mentors often take their students as squires. But let's say Hermione and Neville aren't interested, or Neville doesn't have magic. Then they would still stay here and learn, but still be apprentices. We know that Hermione is magical, and she says that she will study to be a knight. She of course would have to be paired with one of the Dames of the Order. I have not talked to Neville about it. But it's a moot point until he expresses magic."
"I'll help Neville. He's with the arithmancy teacher right now. I don't think that he's had much maths beyond counting and some simple adding and subtracting. He didn't know how to multiply or divide yet!" Harry shared, thriving in an environment where he was encouraged to go at his own pace, but make progress. No more holding back! Never again!
"Good. You know how this works. We help each other, call on each other. No one here is alone. The Cavaliers in France had a saying 'All for one, and one for all'. We have a different saying. Et domus sumus. Go to the library and look it up sometime. I expect to hear what that means when I see you next." Sir Hector commanded.
"You mean, I can use the library too? It's not just for the knights?" Harry's eyes were full of wonder.
"The library in this building is for you as well. The knights mostly use it because it's convenient, and they know where things are. Many have their own personal libraries of essential books. When you get kitted out, you get the start of one yourself."
Sir Hector explained that most of the teaching of the Upper school was done in time compression, and then knights were off to the field on missions. There was no separate physical building for the upper school other than the use of the colosseum. Anyone not taking vows were taught at the Lower school. All of it being called Ecole Merlin.
"So there are people, maybe like Neville, who grow things, and help who don't have magic, but stay here. Serve the knights?"
"Yes indeed, young Harry."
"I want to be a knight, and rescue people from horrible monsters!" Harry stated.
"Like chimeras?" Charles asked.
"Like Dudley!" Harry pronounced, quite sure that his cousin was worse than any magical creature.
"And they all lived happily ever after. The end". Sister Gisele said. "Good night, boys. Sleep sweet."
The rocking chair she was sitting on moved itself back to the corner. The boys were already snuggled in their beds.
"Sister Gisele, do you think that she was potioned? The princess that was asleep?" Neville asked.
"Quite likely. It was a terrible curse, you know. Without the other fairies' help, the poor girl could have woken up with her family long dead, and she alone with no one that she knew or loved around."
"Well, at least she would have you, Sister G." One of the other boys claimed.
The aged sister, long retired from fighting, but still helping by nurturing the young ones. She was the administrators secretary by title, but acted as his deputy at times. Always a bit gruff with the children, especially caustic with errant knights, she kept them all in line.
"Yeah. You're hundreds of years old. At least she'd have you!" The boy teased, and yelped at her light stinger. "Hey!"
"I'm not hundreds of years old, my boy. Thousands. Get it right next time!"
She threw her head into the air and sniffed, leaving a room full of laughing, happy foundlings and orphans who indeed had found a family there.
A few weeks after the wards fell at Privet Drive, there was something very unusual at the following Wizengamot meeting.
Delores Umbridge delighted in killing muggles from time to time (and muggleborns secretly). She had escaped a sentence to Azkaban due to Lucius Malfoy testifying for her. But while he was her alibi, she was his, so used that to get in with his friend Fudge, and slime her way into political power.
Delores was ambassador-at-large, sent to places where her talents were needed. Miss Umbrige loved the prestige, and enjoyed the going back and forth. She didn't mind being sent to Azkaban for errands for Cornelius at all! She had managed the dementors for the Dark Lord as they didn't affect her, and had no problem going there when the minister needed her to.
There were a few death notices from Azkaban that Delores Umbridge cheerfully delivered. Sirius Black, and all of the Lestranges were no more. Some sort of plague had done them in, Bellatrix lasting the longest, but all had succumbed. No healing was allowed to prisoners sentenced to life there. All bodies burned in place to prevent the spread of disease.
A goblin in the chambers was not uncommon with the death of a Lord or Heir. The bank had magics that could find even Mad-eye Moody if they had need. They would just never disclose it to anyone else, certainly no wizard!
The Gringotts representative was on the agenda. When it came time, the being didn't speak, just handed over two letters.
One was from the current Lord Black, stating his sorrow at the deaths in the family. He upheld the new Heir's right to vote the seat, and confirmed that said heir did inherit the personal properties from his godfather Sirius Black. The Lestrange holdings had been rolled into the Black vaults, with a few personal bequests already handled. The signature and ring seal was verified, it was Lord Black.
Murmuring went through the gallery, wondering who this godson and new heir was?
Dumbledore's reaction was faster than others, and tried to stop the reading of the second letter. But he was waved down. Pale, the man waited for the axe to fall.
The second letter was very simple.
'Hello, my name is Harry Potter. I just found out that my godfather died. I didn't even know I had one, so it's hard to feel sad for someone I didn't know, but I will try. I asked the little man who came if that meant I had a godmother. My aunt doesn't like me reading stories that mention fairies or magic, and sends me to my cupboard without food when she catches me. Of course, magic isn't real, but I do have a godmother. The little man said she was sick, but that her mother-in-law was alive and well. I ask her to vote for me. I don't understand this voting thing, but I guess I will learn more about it. The little man said that Dumbldore was voting for me, and while he meant well, I don't want to give him another vote as he left me with my aunt. And she really doesn't like me. He says that I will learn more when I am eleven, and get my letter to Hogwarts to learn magic. I didn't mean to laugh at him, and did apologize, but for an adult, even a short one to believe in such nonsense seems silly to me. I can't wait to meet my godmother, I hope she gets better soon. I'm sorry that she is sick.
Sincerely, Harry Potter.'
That caused quite the disruption and calls for Dumbledore's head on a staff!
Lucius Malfoy had been allowed to vote for the absent Lord Black, as he had claimed his son was heir after Sirius Black died, and the current Lord Black had never visited or claimed any illegitimate child as heir. He was not married, so couldn't have legitimate children.
Lucius Malfoy stood, and walked away from the Black seat in the chamber, head high in the air, but scowling. He debated a moment taking the Lestrange chair, whose vote he currently held, but knew if the men were dead, then it too would be taken away. Best just to head to the gallery.
Amelia Bones authenticated Harry Potter's letter. With the vote going to either August Longbottom or Lucius Malfoy, Dumbledore accepted defeat with some grace. She was clearly the better choice and the formidable woman grinned most viciously.
Between her and her hat, Regent Longbottom looked ready to eat them all, carrion and living. Although, with some of the old fossils still on the Wizengamot, one could understand. Didn't Lord Rosier fight with Napoleon's wizards?
The old woman stood. "With the death of Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange, I declare that family line Extinct!" the woman intoned with such veracity, she scared one poor man near her into fainting.
Lucius tried to make a motion that his wife was sister to Bellatrix, but neither of them had close enough blood ties to claim the seat.
An ancient device was activated, and no close blood relatives were indicated. The chair sank sadly into the floor. Another of the Sacred Twenty Eight forever gone.
Cornelius Fudge stood, "For Outstanding Philanthropy and willingness to serve the public good, Lucius Malfoy will be assigned one of the seats-at-large."
Lucius nodded to his friend, and made his way to the lowest tier. Still, it was better than no seat at all, and he didn't even have to front the coin for it!
Dumbledore groaned, and knew that things were going to be far more difficult now more than ever. He had hoped, for just a moment, that Malfoy had lost all of his political power in the Wizengamot. But no. Now, people would be remembering young Harry's letter and asking questions he didn't want to answer. He still hadn't confided in anyone that Harry Potter was missing, and now Augusta would want to meet him!
Impossible! Where was that headache potion he kept here for emergencies?
Back at school, Regulus visited his brother's godson regularly. He also took a particular delight in helping a new recruit to full health, and spent time dueling with Padfoot. The new adept's real name never to be mentioned in public, for both of their sakes.
As soon as he was at full health, the school administrator had plans that would keep the man safe. But in the meantime, it would just take time for Brother Paddy to recover fully.
Monseigneur Brown couldn't wait to introduce his brother to his godson!
Narcissa Malfoy was incensed that her sister had likely been killed in prison and nothing was done about it!
The Black family was now her and Draco. She would never accept the half-blood Harry Potter as Head of House. All of that gold! And her sister's wealth had been folded back into the Black vaults as she had borne no child.
She looked at Bella's favorite necklace, goblin made, taken by an elf from the Lestrange vault as it had been willed to Narcissa. She put it on, swearing to find out who killed her sister and exacting revenge. If only her Master had come back as he had planned! Then Bellatrix would still be alive! And the loss of the gold hurt as well. If Bella had only known her situation, Narcissa knew her sister would have helped!
The Malfoys weren't as wealthy as everyone thought, and she had to come up with alternative revenue streams. Narcissa would never sell this priceless article though. Nor wear it into the bank, for they would take it by the easiest way possible.
Which would be to remove her head and remove said necklace from her cooling body.
Thinking of the greedy goblins, she reviewed the recently received flyer. Gringotts was requesting items for the upcoming sales event. Yes, people would come from all over the world for the grand auction.
Malfoy Manor was full of useless books, long dead ancestors nobody wanted to talk to, and discarded nicknacks. While the goblins kept a percentage, they were discrete, and the gold was deposited that day to the designated vault.
A little brown diary, with the initials 'T.M.' and the last name of 'Riddle' was stuck in an old potions text. Rare, full of dark potions that were illegal to make in Britain. The book was not illegal to own here though, or sell. It would be valuable enough to raise quite a bit of gold.
Besides. If she wanted to use such a book, she would have to get a better copy. This one was full of scribblings and notes and such!
She sent a copy of the flyer anonymously to Professor Slughorn, Severus Snape, and Healer Flint letting them know that there were some interesting books coming available at the next auction.
The lady of the house gladly sent the potions' reference to be sold, not noticing that her Master's diary went with it. Carefully and magically stuck next to a very dark potion and ritual.
Sister Gisele put down the magical tapestry loom that she had been showing the girls how to use. The lesson had just finished, and she dismissed everyone, but the English girl stayed behind.
"Why aren't the boys learning this as well?" Hermione demanded.
"Miss Granger, while there are female knights, they make up only eighteen percent of the fighting force. However, most of the support staff, instructors of the non-military arts and so far are women. I'm not going to stop a boy from being in this class, but neither is it a requirement. Aren't you here because you were interested?"
"Yes, I did sign up. But I think that the boys should at least learn how to sew on a button!" Hermione opined.
"One has to have magic for this class. I wouldn't want to hurt your friend Neville's feelings by asking all of the boys that have expressed, and then leaving him out? Wouldn't that make him feel bad? The magic is in the game he is playing now. Your parents could play it."
The sister looked at the girl, and thought she saw the problem. She was feeling alone!
"Miss Granger, do you see this thread? What if it broke at a bad time? What could I do about it, do you think?"
Harry looked up from the battle simulation that he and Neville were working on. Oh sure, the teachers made it into a game, but there were points won and lost for everything.
At their level, they didn't have to worry too much about weather and resources, just troop movements, cover, terrain, innocents, and a few magical animals tossed in.
Monseigneur Brown coming in to be with the younger students was uncommon enough that everyone straightened up.
"Mr. Potter, Mr. Longbottom. I want you to meet Brother Paddy."
Three weeks had helped, but the man was still skeletally thin from Azkaban.
"Hello boys. I knew your parents. Good people, proud to have fought with them. It's an honor to meet you."
Harry squinted at him. Ever since the healers removed the bit of Voldemort from his head, he could see just fine. He just couldn't talk to snakes anymore. But seeing how that was viewed as evil, Harry was fine with it.
"Have we met before? Your magic? I mean, you seem familiar somehow."
The man quickly turned into a large, far-too-skinny Grim.
"Wow! You're one too!" Harry said, but he couldn't help it, laughing, he reached out and patted the dog, and hugged him. Harry smiled brightly and laughed. The wizard then turned back, holding the boy close.
"Wait, what? You're too young! You have an animagus form?" Brother Paddy inquired, setting him down. Reluctantly.
"Don't you mean forms?" Neville asked.
Harry turned into a corbie, a wolf pup, and a spindly-legged fawn in quick succession.
The last brought tears to the man's eyes.
"Oh, pup! That was wonderful! But how?"
"I believe it is called magic, Brother Paddy." Harry intoned pompously, but with a smile. "Wanna play this cool game with us?"
"Yes, Harry, I believe I do."
Sister Gisele stormed into the administrator's office without knocking. Again.
"What is the meaning of this?" She demanded.
"It's just some correspondence that I have asked you to prepare and I will sign." Monseigneur Brown tried to defend.
"And I'll be in here so many times to ask questions since I don't know what's going on that it will take far longer than if you just took care of it yourself! We have had this discussion before! Don't annoy me with this sort of nonsense, again, or you won't like the consequences!"
She stood there, steaming at him for a moment, and then turned and stalked away, leaving said letters on his desk.
Reaching for a drawer, the monseigneur took a headache draught. He sometimes wished he didn't have a battle-honed secretary, but she really was right. There was a lot of information that was not clear, and would require hours of research. He then remembered a bright squire with good research techniques. Sending for the girl and her mentor, he tried to focus tired eyes on the next task.
He needed to get some good sleep soon. He was going on far too short of hours.
The sister was back with another complaint. People didn't call her 'Sister Grumpypants' behind her back because of her sweetness and light.
His 'Cousin Regulus' persona with the staff worked most of the time to bring harmony. But it didn't work now against this battleaxe!
In addition to normal classes, Monseigneur Brown encouraged the younger children to learn and memorize several sets of runes. The early work laid a foundation for when they could take the magical class.
Hermione made flashcards with Sir Hector's help, and they quizzed each other at random times., more often with her prompting.
The trio had bonded over their shared heritage, not they weren't friendly with the other students there.
One day, Sir Hector had just left with Harry to go riding again, but neither Hermione or Neville liked flying so they stayed in.
After a few hours of quiet reading and study for magical theory and basic arithmancy, Hermione moved on to runes. The Granger girl had particularly bad timing with her drive to get them to achieve this day.
Neville had visited his parents that morning and was feeling very odd about it all. He loved his gran, in a way, but never wanted to live with her again. And while he loved his parents, it was difficult seeing them so, so...lost. Broken.
It made him feel quite alone, and wishing for a family of his own. As bad as they were, wouldn't muggle parents be better than none? Look at Hermione.
Hermione's parents sold everything but the house they owned, and moved to Italy somewhere close by. A mixed village that was open about magic. Just to get away from the muggleborn prejudice of Britain and live near their daughter's school. Hermione went home to sleep each night and be with her family. He shuddered. Okay, the whole muggle thing was odd, but still.
Of course, Hermine just had to quiz him on Norse runes. Boring! He had an herbology text and it was far better than any rune.
"Neville, what's this?"
"Not now, Hermione." Neville said sharply, without even a please, waving her away.
"Manners! Go on! Just a few, and then we will head to dinner. Oven roasted chicken, and some kind of interesting pasta."
"There's a surprise! Leave off, Hermione. I just want to be alone. Please!"
"Just one then!" The girl pushed.
Neville reached up and took the card, beyond frustrated. The rune started to glow with power, and Hermione had the presence of mind to take it quickly from his hand and throw it out the nearby open window. About the third level down, there was a loud boom.
"What in the world?" "What was that?" "Who set off the bomb?"
Hermione looked at Neville in wonder then pounced on him. "I knew it! I knew you were a wizard! I could feel your magic! Oh Neville!"
Neville swung her around in glee, practically dancing with the girl.
Harry came into this wondrous scene, and carefully took a step back, but Neville saw him.
"Sir Hector wanted me to ask if you heard a loud noise. But I should get to dinner…"
"No, Harry! It was Neville! He charged the rune! And it exploded!" Hermione informed him.
"Wow! That's great! If you could figure out a time delay, it wouldn't even scan as magic, would it? Something we need to consider carefully with the mail?" Harry was pondering again, missing the point that his godbrother wasn't a squib.
Harry took to magic like a duck to water. And military strategy as well. His father was an enchanter. Someone who had known James Potter brought Harry some magic mirrors recently, and talked about the limitations of only two being connected. How after a few hundred miles, they wouldn't work. Hogwarts to London was stretching it, which made them useless in the field.
Harry had taken three days of looking at notes and diagrams, asking questions, and came up with a whole new way of looking at things.
While Harry couldn't yet do the work, he had shown this new idea to Brother Paddy who just had to create a new set of mirrors. At least a dozen could be linked, and the theoretical distance was easier to measure in AU (astronomical unit) versus miles or kilometers, it was that strong.
Harry had been told so many times at Privet Drive that he was worthless, and he just refused to accept that message. Not from people like his aunt and uncle who tried to be so normal. But would never be.
The Dursleys were safely in Canada, and Dudley was apparently not having fun as he didn't particularly like sports, and everyone there was as mad for hockey as everyone back on Privet Drive had been mad for football. Of course the rumors floating around were that they were in Argentina, but that was a diversionary tactic.
Neville was the only one struggling at school. His confidence was non-existent. His entire self-worth was based on magic. That worldview was something that the other two didn't share at all!
Neville Longbottom had thought himself a useless squib. Now, he was a wizard! That was going to be something that would take him a while to accept!
Neville walked over and gave Harry a huge heartwarming hug. "I did magic! I felt it! I did magic!"
Harry then looked to the sooty window. The rune had been tossed just in time, for it had started to smoke quickly before exploding. Harry looked out the window and saw others peaking out their windows.
His wide smiled was echoed in the other two, until the door banged open.
Deputy Gisele was not to be crossed! Or disturbed. Or disrupted.
"Good afternoon, Sister, can we help you?" Harry asked innocently.
She scowled at him, but he just kept his eyes on her mustache and tried to look as innocent as he was.
The other two broke in seconds.
"It's all my fault, really, I'm so sorry." "I didn't mean to, I'm sorry." Neville and Hermione said together.
She tried to look stern, but a small smile crept on her face.
"Well, at last Mr. Longbottom! We were hoping that feeling safe here would help. We'll have a special pudding tonight. Just for you in celebration." She said in perfect Italian. No trace of the strong German accent she had when speaking English.
"Sister Gisele, il dolce, per favore."
"Non budino." Hermione added.
"You want cake, not pudding. I understand. Your Italian is improving everyday students."
"Thank you, Sister. We need to clean up in here. It was an accident. Do you want us to help anywhere else?" Harry asked.
Harry was the only one of them ever beaten for making a mess, even if he hadn't done it, so he certainly wanted to clean it up.
"It will give me something for students to do as detention. Again, congratulations Neville. You should think about what you want to say to your grandmother."
The women swept out of the room.
Now the boy was depressed again, but it was Harry who saved the day.
"I suggest not saying anything. The Hogwarts letter will come to the estate due to the wards, right?"
"Yeah, but she'll want me to go there, back to Cherry Hill, back home. I was only allowed to go here 'cause she thought I was a squib!"
"Hogwarts is still years away. She won't know if you don't tell her! Try not to worry about it. And I'll consult Brother Paddy. You can stay here!"
"The new recruit doesn't respond to Patrick. Do you know his real name?" Neville asked, looking for a diversion.
"No, but he has grey eyes and black hair like the headmaster. Even if he's way younger than Monseigneur Brown. And they seem close." Harry pointed out.
"Family then. Well, this coming weekend, if there's time, we can research that. But now, it's celebration time." Hermione opined.
Harry stated his thoughts out loud. "This is the way it should be. When I 'expressed' magic, I got sent to my cupboard for a week with no food."
"This way is definitely the best. Our families are so messed up. Mine punished me for being a muggle, yours punished you for being a wizard. If we could have switched as babies, do you think either one of us had a chance for a decent family?" Neville asked seriously.
They shared a look.
Brother Paddy in his Grim form, also called Paddy, dodged the ball Hermione had thrown quite badly.
One of the boys scoffed at her. "Nice shot, Granger!"
Harry changed into his mighty wolf form, well, wolf form. He felt quite powerful in it.
And he was mighty cute!
The canine chased after the boy who had been mean to his friend. The boy shrieked like a girl, and now there were two moving targets for accuracy practice.
The Grim barked in such a way it was a laugh, and Harry pounced on him.
This was how 'Mighty' got his animagus name.
All of the students in their cohort who had expressed magic were getting wands, custom made for them. Wand based classes were starting soon. But they would be in the same format as the other classes. Instructions given, a safe place to practice, and learn at their own pace.
Monseigneur Brown had called Harry in for an important consultation.
"I wonder what my wand would have been with that piece of Voldemort in my head." Harry asked the headmaster.
"Good question, likely one at Ollivander's. We will visit there if the newest legislation goes through when you get your letter. But we have powerful friends and allies, so I hope it doesn't."
"Will I have to go back to Britain? I really don't want to!" Harry pouted, but was stopped with a firm look.
"Who knows. Rumors are rife with Dumbledore tricking you back to Britain where he rules. But for now, we are going outside of the wards. We need to prepare. Let's go over this again. If you are kidnapped…"
"I promise to cooperate with my captors and act like they are rescuing me."
"Good. Do you have your emergency supplies, Harry?"
"Moke skin bag, invisible to most unless you look for it, and it is part of my pocket. Tent with food for a year for four warriors, extra wands, the library, a few weapons, and potions lab. That one is not stocked yet. But will be soon?"
That last was a question to him.
"Yes, but I want to be careful about you being outside our wards. Neville too. Too many spies around. Augusta might find out somehow about Neville being magical."
"If she demands that he come back?"
"She signed over her rights. Alice is so much better, not competent enough yet to be released, but it's Frank's progress that is just stunted. The potions that they were fed for years did more to harm them than help them. With Malfoy being a frequent and large donor to St. Mungos, I can't help but worry that some of that damage was deliberate."
"Alice is my godmother! My only living family!" Harry agained whined, but the second strong look was clearly a warning to stop now or face cleaning the stables without magic... again.
"Harry! I consider you family, and I know that you love Brother Paddy as well. Don't you?"
"Yes, but it's not the same!" Harry whined, brushing a tear from his eyes. He visited Alice often, and read to her everyday. But while she was better, she was just so empty. She did like hearing his voice, though. It was supposed to help his progress in languages, and so far he had three in addition to Italian. The magical potions laying the base for quick learning.
"And what if Dumbledore turns me over to Vernon! He'll kill me!" Harry was clearly stressed about the entire situation. Overstressed.
"Deep breaths! This is why we go through this. To plan. For you to feel the panic here, and not out in the world.
Kreacher popped in just then, and handed over a potion begrudgingly. He pulled his ears, and didn't criticize the heir to the house, which meant that the elf wanted to talk.
"Hello Kreature. I'll let you talk to my guardian. It's nice to see you."
Harry was dismissed with a nod, and an extra assignment to write down an action plan if Dumbledore did try to take Harry by force, however unlikely it was. And make a two-columned list. Resources he had, including his knowledge, and resources he yet needed.
The busy headmaster focused on his adoring elf. The elf beamed at him now that the half-blood was gone.
"How is mother today?" Regulus asked Kreature kindly.
"Kreacher serve mistress while alive, now she's gone, and Kreature only has portrait to serve. Kreature much rather be here with his master. Mistress missing you deeply. Kreacher understands why you have to trick her, but you should be having children, and siring a proper heir for the House!"
Kreacher made no attempt to hide his true feelings for Harry Potter.
"I am acting as Lord Black, but remember that dark ritual that nearly killed me? The healer says that I will never father children. I'm sorry. This allows me to take further vows for the Order. Vows I take seriously. Augustus votes for me as regent for Harry. Once the Dark Lord is dead, and I mean truly, really dead, then I can have a nice party and declare myself. Until then, no one will try to assassinate someone who is dead."
"But you killed Mistress Bellatrix!" The elf whined.
Regulus thought it was his day to hear nothing but whines.
"Kreacher! How do you know that?"
"You have access to poisons and such. Terrible things. Mistress Bellatrix died of horrible disease. I know that you did it! I just know! And she is Black blood!"
"Kreature, if she was free, would she help purebloods have a better life, or would she just be the Dark Lord's attack dog?"
"Mistress Bellatrix likes to kill muggles!"
Silently, Regulus handed over a list of names, all pureblood. All killed by the Dark Lord or Bellatrix.
It was not a short list.
"The Dark Lord killed my father. We both know that my grandparents, Orion's parents contracted him to marry my mother when they found no other suitably pure families. And Voldemort tried to kill both of my father's sons! What do you want from me, Kreature? To hold goodness and mercy for the Dark Lord in my heart? I am bound to a mission to save the wizarding world from evil by whatever means necessary."
"Then why hasn't you killed that pink toady witch? The one who used to kill muggles with Mistress Walburga?"
"As far as I know, she didn't kill any witches or wizards. Wanted to put them on trial for stealing magic, what idiotic nonsense, but only killed muggles. That I have proof for, at least. There are lots of those muggles in the world, you know. I can't go around killing witches who kill them for a hobby. Not my job. But if she puts one toe out of line, and hurts wizards or witches, that is something different."
Regulus only partly believed the party line of 'non-interference' without invitation. He figured that phrasing it as though he still held onto pureblood dogma would help secure his position with the cranky elf.
'If I ever find proof that Delores Umbridge is killing muggleborns, I will deal with her directly, invitation to help Britain or no.' Regulus thought to himself.
House-elves could get away with a lot. If Kreature knew that his brother was not dead...best not to even think it around him.
Bellatrix was his cousin. Was Black happy for causing his cousin's death? Part of him wishes it had not been necessary. But she was very dangerous, and the possibility of the Dark Lord being resurrected was real. He wouldn't profit from her death though. That was just evil. No. Other than destroying the trinket from her vault that led to another step in the process to kill Voldemort forever, he wouldn't take anything from her for himself. He had already had Kreature deliver Bellatrix's bequests to Narcissa. Saving out only some Black ancestral jewelry, and a nice nest egg for Neville as a small recompense for his parent's loss by the Lestranges, the rest was given to the Order.
The million galleon worth of investments that guaranteed the Lestrange seat would be given over to the Order as well. The line was extinct. So sad in a way, but they had bred nothing but monsters for a while. If only they would have repented, raised their children to do good.
Far too late now.
Regulus was debating turning over the Headship of his family to Harry when he left for Hogwarts. Regulus had moved the non-entailed Black vaults to Gringotts Rome years ago. The Black million galleons worth of investment that guaranteed the Black seat was now in trust to Harry Potter.
No one could touch those monies. Not for either seat, and the Order would never ask for them to be turned over. It was a trust for the family, not something that benefited individuals. Even if someone cut off Harry's hands and stole his rings would they be able to get those monies. Vote the seat, maybe, if the Wizengamot didn't arrest said horrible person. But then they would have to come up with their own deposit. That sort of fighting had happened before. And the goblins wouldn't put up with theft.
The rest of the non-insignificant amount left in the Black family vault would be invested however Dumbledore decreed as he claimed to be his Regent. Hee-hee. Poor, poor man who believed in giving the wrong people second and third chances. Well, it was a way to move money without being obvious about it.
Monseigneur Brown had not tried to move the locked-down Potter vaults. These were left alone and in London for now. Moving them to Rome would be too obvious. No one could access these except to deposit gold. Dumbledore had the key anyways. Regulus was just waiting for Harry Potter to come of age, or at least fifteen when knights took the first set of vows. Then! Then Regulus could start making some choices on what to do with the Potter vaults, and the rest of the Black vaults.
Working on his Occlumency, he pushed the sad thoughts that Harry struggled with to the forefront of his mind.
What would he, Regulus, do in a situation where he was forced to be in close proximity to a magic-hating muggle who had broken his bones and deprived him of food? He picked up a mirror.
"Brother Paddy, come to my office when you get a chance. I have a job for you."
"It's not proper for a male knight to take a female squire!" Sister Gisele shouted. Again.
"No, it isn't. But Dame Rebecca Flores made it clear that she will expect the girl to fly more and get over her fear. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but Hermione has parents. Parents who might object to some of her methods. I would not like to lose a student over this. And Lieutenant Dan Granger will pull his daughter if he finds out what this training entails." The headmaster was clearly trying his best to be the friendly 'Cousin Regulus' that got everyone working together at school. Sister Gisele was not buying it.
Sir Hector stood as still as a statue. He learned as a child that her eyes followed movement. To stay still was to stay safe. Such training had saved him more than once in the field.
"What say you Sir Hector?" Regulus was trying to recruit help for his position. Or maybe add more targets for the Sister's wrath.
"I think that we should ask the children. But I will say this. It's not just the animagus forms. Harry has a unique affinity to magical creatures that Hermione does not. She is strong, and has good aim with a wand, bow and dagger now. She is fearless in the battle simulations, and will not back down if either Neville or Harry is in danger. I feel that she would be better served to have an instructor who is mentoring others that Hermione is not so protective of. She doesn't always make good field decisions." Sir Hector opined.
"Very well. Sister Gisele, you win. I will speak with Dame Rebecca Flores and ask her to moderate her approach. The squire ceremony will proceed Saturday. Her Majesty will send a representative, or may come herself. Harry Potter is a celebrity even in Italy, and she is one of the few in the know that he is here. She will not let it leak, and since the apprentices are minors, the names will not be in the newspapers." Monseigneur Brown stated.
"What about Neville?" Sister Gisele asked. She was concerned about her little foundling being left out. The boy had no strong battle skills yet at all. Not that he was weak magically. Just still timid, despite the supportive environment.
"He has no interest in being a knight. He is happy to grow plants for the order, and does a splendid job of that. Gets rare plants to bloom that much older students can't manage. He already has caught the eye of the Potions departments, and they are thrilled with him." Sir Hector stated. Information that they all knew, but just confirming so it was clear that the boy had his own talents.
"I'll release funds for a new greenhouse and allow the potions department to request some of the more expensive plant components to be grown here. This can be the Longbottom legacy, benefiting many people. The boy does have great worth, and we need to show him that. He does have talent." The headmaster concluded.
Riding a hippogriff to the rescue would never be one of them.
Sir Hector swung the practice sword a little too close to Neville's ear. He immediately had Harry, Hermione and Brother Paddy aiding the boy. Dame Rebecca was in the field at the moment. Charles was watching over her squires for a time.
Brother Paddy called Sir Hector a bad name, and the game split with Nevile and Charles versus Harry, Hermione and Brother Paddy.
The students were growing better and better, and Brother Paddy was going to be sent on a mission soon. He said that there was a reason he couldn't take the Oath, and it had nothing to do with money. Harry was confused by that, but accepted it. They had been together for almost three years now.
Harry didn't want to lose Brother Paddy's companionship. The animagus wasn't a full knight so couldn't take Harry as his squire even if Harry wasn't already Sir Hector's squire. Harry attacked Neville with a will, his practice sword only stinging when it did make it through.
The boys grinned at each other when it was Hermione who managed to disarm the knight. Neville immediately dropped his sword.
"I yield! I don't want to be green or pink or anything else for a day again. Thank you very much! Neville declared. The adult animagus pouted, and put away whatever was in his hand back into the pouch at his waist.
Sister Gisele never swore, took everyone to task around her who did.
'I don't care if you are warriors, from a long line of warriors, watch your mouth or eat soap!' was heard more than once around the school.
The soap bubble charm had been used on the most senior of staff. More than once. For the smallest swear!
And never, ever, ever, take the Lord's name in vain around her. Oh sure, it was more about breaking promises than using His Holy name as a swear, but still. It was the newcomers' nightmare to get caught saying it.
To see her ignore three men turning the air blue around her while this stern, stiff woman shed tears?
Apocalypse was here, Sister Gisele was crying.
They should have seen this coming. Augusta had warned them three years before about it!
"Get the boys up here. Hermione too. Dumbledore won't know about her attending here, and with her occlumency skills, she won't reveal any secrets. And she is whip smart."
"You can't think of sending the girl in just because the boys are going? She's from a squib line! You know how she'll be treated there." Gisele argued vociferously.
Cousin Regulus was gone, and in his stead, in full military garb and honors was Monseigneur Brown.
"Miss Granger, future Captain Granger told me what she would do to me if I thought of leaving her behind! Besides, she figured out how to copy books, and wants a chance to replicate every book in Hogwarts. I hope to have them out by Christmas."
"She'll be done copying those books in three weeks, and still be head of the class. No one can do better than her, muggleborn or pureblood." Sister Gisele stated proudly.
The Granger parents came in, Mister Granger in full uniform.
"Thank you for including us in this. We can hire a local elf to look after the Italian house garden and such, just as we do our house in Britain. The practice isn't that busy. We don't mind the quiet."
And with the Granger house paid for by Harry Potter at his insistence, they didn't need to make so much, so working part-time allowed them time for other pursuits. Like Art for the missus, and shooting for the First Lieutenant. Both were volunteering at the school The house in Britain had been in the family for a few hundred years, and they would never sell that.
Neville came in, steam coming out his ears almost literally. "I'll cast her from the family! How dare she do this to me!"
"She found out that you were a wizard, and was afraid you would stay here for your schooling given a choice."
"But she used the Black seat as well! Betrayed Harry's and my trust!"
"And in just over six years, you both will have power to do something about it. For now, you are children who will be breaking the law if you don't go."
"But why is Hermione going? She'll be in danger! We've heard you talking about Dumbledore and then put up a privacy charm. We're not seven years old anymore! We can do the arithmancy and see that he is plotting something else other than what we've talked about." Harry pointed out.
Regulus hung his head for a moment.
"All of us are angry, because others have power over us. You have to know that our legal team has been working on this. The caveat did make it into the bill."
"The one that says that we can leave if we get hurt?" Neville asked. "But it's a school. Oh, sure, paper cuts from books and the occasional broken bone in DADA. But nothing really bad."
"Young man! How can you be so cavalier about a broken leg or arm?" Mrs. Granger demanded of Neville. "Comparing it to a paper cut?"
Neville looked to Hermione for help with this one.
"Mum, remember that potion that I took to heal my teeth? And the other when I smashed my hand? It took minutes to fix in the wizarding way."
"I suppose. Even with you coming home regularly, and sharing, it's still like hearing a fairy tale, love." Emma stated.
"You'll all have a full set of emergency potions and portkey in your field kit. If you get hurt at school, and they withhold care, use it, and get away! Don't worry about waiting for a healer. You are all much more important than that." Brother Paddy warned.
"That is what pensieves are for. You all have your brooms?" Their headmaster asked.
Hermione blanched, and Neville didn't look much better. Harry grinned though. Despite the extra training, brutal at times, Hermione could fly and did fly well. She would never enjoy it.
"Did Brother Paddy get you a Comet 360 as I requested?" The headmaster's eyes narrowed, looking between them.
"I can positively say that I have a broom-shaped package in my tent that he told me not to open yet. And I have that old Starlight 9 broom in my emergency kit, just in case it's a large dog-biscuit or something, I do have a backup. He wanted me to have something to open later when I was feeling sad after he left on his mission. Which I will try not to do until I'm in secured private quarters, as first years aren't allowed their own brooms at Hogwarts."
"Well, due to your celebrity, we did get that restriction lifted. You are meeting the escort tomorrow in Diagon Alley. Your disguise is ready, and has Gisele very frustrated with me, I'm afraid.
"Isn't she always frustrated with you, headmaster?" Hermione asked quietly.
"Only when I am here, Miss Granger. Only when I'm here." He responded blandly.
They all laughed at that. Harry knew that he was lucky to have this man as a mentor. For the last several months, they had been planning on a scenario that brought Harry and Neville back to Britain.
They did not expect all of the changes, but the main ones came as no surprise.
At least Dumbledore hadn't found Petunia yet. Not that Sister Gisele wouldn't do, with polyjuice, of course. That gave them another month, as 'Petunia' would arrange a meeting place with their escort. But Sister Gisele would not be alone.
Anyone messing with her, messed with the Order.
And they were all very protective of their cranky, crotchety, soap-spell wielding sweet Sister.
The oversized cargo pants were perfect. With the invisible earbud, he could receive messages from people close by. The spell would only last a few hours to make his pocket fabric transparent. It would allow anyone monitoring the mirror to see and hear at least some of what was going on around him.
"Just don't put the mirror in your back pocket. Please! No sitting on it!" Brother Paddy begged.
"You cast the unbreakable charm on it. Twice. You do good work!"
"I wish you could bring your dog with you." Brother Paddy said.
"Oh sure. A nice big Grimm. This is England! You know that people would be up in arms, fainting, waling, gnashing teeth. We're supposed to help with those situations. Sir. Not cause them."
"You wound me to the core young man!"
"How? By calling you sir?"
"That's it! You're gonna get it now!"
But their play was interrupted by the headmaster.
"Brother Paddy, trouble in Argentina has broken out again. I'm so sorry. The Knight Commander has requested that you be released for departure in two hours. That gives the elves time to pack, and for you two to share a meal together before you have to go. Be well, brother, and don't forget that you are very, very important."
Brother Paddy got up and gave the headmaster a warm embrace before godfather and godson left together.
Monseigneur Brown shuddered. He had a very bad feeling about this mission. He had been badly hurt in an interrupted dark ritual. Rumors had been rife, and their Order's sabotaging efforts had only delayed the fight. Now, his brother was going to be in the thick of it. At a time he should be shadowing Harry in the Alley!
Shedding a tear or two, the man wept, wishing he wasn't so badly damaged for the nth time that week.
"Harry, there are things going on that you haven't been told." The animagus said sadly. "Things I want to tell you but can't. Not now at least."
"Yeah, 'cause I'm a kid."
"No, because you are a warrior that we have known was going into enemy territory. We can give you a dragonhide vest, every weapon known to wizard or muggle, but if you know things that the enemy wants to know, and if you're captured…"
"Yeah. Truth serum if they're nice. Torture if they aren't." Harry shivered.
"Should anything happen to me, I have left you a journal to read. When It's safe." The man coughed, so wanting to tell his godson who he truly was. At least they had seen each other's animagus forms. Well, Sirius knew of three of his godson's but knew he was keeping some a secret.
"Lots of ways to torture a person too. Like threatening people they know that you love." Harry quoted. "I'm sorry that you care about me like that."
They sat down together, and started eating while Daisy packed Sirius' stuff. She was the elf that he bought and bonded with to care for the Granger's property in Britain since muggles can't own them in Italy. Not in Britain either.
"Make it obvious that you are making friends on the train with Neville and Hermione. No one will question your relationship later. I met your, I mean, I met good friends on the way to school. These are things that we will talk about one day. In the meantime, your father would want you to have this."
Brother Paddy handed over a dragon skin bound book. Quality parchment inside. The handwriting on the first pages was rough, but got neater as it went along. There was a separate folded parchment.
A photograph fell out of four boys. One appeared to be Harry, and he tried to snatch it up at Brother Paddy's quick accio.
"Tell Hagrid that you want pictures of your family. I'll keep this for now. Take care, Harry. Follow the plan, break all of the school rules you want at Hogwarts. Here are plenty of prank ideas. Just have fun."
The man showed him how to work the Marauder's Map, but refused to answer any questions right then about the inventors. Just how to use it and let him know that his father James had a stag patronus and was nicknamed 'Prongs'.
"You'll figure out some of it on your own. But I just can't talk about it right now."
The man handed over a shrunken trunk of pranks and prank components.
"I'll see you at Christmas, Tweety." Brother Paddy laughed.
"Turn into a nice, large corbie, and do I get any respect? No! I get a budgie's nickname. A yellow budgie. A muggle yellow budgie!"
"What do you want to be called?"
"Nightstalker! Deathwing! Nevermore! Anything but Tweety!"
"Edgar Alan Poe. Why they make kids read it, I do not know. Gave me nightmares. I wouldn't recommend it." Harry said, hugging his mentor tightly.
"Take care, Brother Paddy."
"Don't worry, we'll get you out of there! I promise. And there's still a month before school starts. Maybe I'll be back in time to see you off on the train even if I can't go shopping with you tomorrow."
They embraced again, and Harry left to go up to his dorm, while a very sad previous Prisoner of Azkaban left to go get ready to face another Dark Lord summoning. Yeah.
At least it kept him in top form!
A/N: When reading this to my family, one of my children said something about a RWBY reference. But I have not seen the show, or even been in the same room when it was watched so my Edgar Alan Poe reference was from my own early readings of his works and of course, the esteemed Vincent Price.
More background of Ecole Merlin will be coming in future chapters.
Minor edits 5/27/2021