After Harry had left the gathering. The three Gryffindor's were escorting Luna to see her head of house.
"It is fine, really all of my stuff comes back to me eventually. Padma Patil often assists me in recovering items that do not" the ethereal blond said looking down at the ground which caused the other three to look and see she had no shoes
Ron looked skyward for a moment and began counting to once he got to five his head came down and the rage in his eyes caused everyone to step back, "Neville I am going to get both Flitwick and McGonagall could you please stay with Hermione and Luna while I am gone."
"Ronald you don't have do this it will be okay." Luna said quietly "it's all in good fun at least they don't lock me out of the common room. Any more …."
"No it is not!" He broke off to walk of before stiffening he turned slowly "What do you mean anymore?"
"Ron, Neville go get Flitwick" Hermione cautioned while reaching out and taking the young blond by the hand over to a nearby bench the boys both went off searching for the diminutive professor. "Luna, how long has this been going on."
Luna looked at Hermione as if seeing her for the first time "Since first year. At first it was because I had weird eyes they said, then it morphed into something completely different. More hateful. Marietta and Cho have been the ring leaders my only ally until last year was Padma Patil and it has not been pretty in house for either of us."
"Last year? The DA?" Hermione asked "I knew Marietta was a bit of bitch but Cho surprise me a lot"
"Yes because of the DA and in particular the only because my perceived relationship with harry did they leave me alone. this year as we did not seem as close they began to mess with me again. Over the last month half of my possessions have gone missing, homework destroyed and as a result my studies have suffered"
"Miss Lovegood, why did you not come to me if people were bullying you for being different?" A small Voice squeaked out as the head of Ravenclaw stepped up to the two young ladies.
"I was told that if I went to anyone it would only be worse for me in the end that they knew of Slytherin boys who would have use of me." Luna said shrinking in on herself "and now it seems like that will come to pass the raised her head nodding toward the distant forms of Cho Chang and Marietta Edgecombe looking at the small group gathered around Luna who were both frowning and pointing.
Flitwick who was normally a bright and cheerful man looked darkly at the 7th year Ravenclaw students seeing Padma Patil walking toward the castle he called out "Miss Patil, Miss Chang and Miss Edgecombe could you come here I would like to speak with you three and Miss Lovegood. It will not take but a moment of your time. Lokjield Could you attend me for a moment" with a pop a house elf dressed in chainmail with a short sword strapped to his waist and a small round shield with a shiny steel boss on its back appeared.
"Reported as ordered Sir." The elf said crossing his arm so his fist touched his chest as he bowed "How may I serve."
"Well my old friend you can start by not calling me sir I have not been your commander in a long time" Flitwick said with a smile "Secondly could you and the others Retrieve Miss Lovegoods things, make a note of where they were taken and by whom."
"Yes Sir!" Was the only response he got before the soft pop.
Hermione looked as if she were going to ask a question but then motioned for Ron to take her place "I have to run up to the tower and grab something "Meet me in the hospital wing in an hour" she said distractedly "Neville would you come with me?" they walked away not noticing that Ron held Luna close to him as Flitwick tore stripes off the two graduating Ravenclaw. 15 minutes, an equal number of of detentions assigned for next year , a loss of 1000 points, Cho losing her badge, all parties involved receiving a note in their transcripts and the aurors being called on some Hogwarts Alumni, Flitwick escorted the teens to the hospital wing.
For a short time Romilda watched harry sleep occasionally running her fingers through his hair. 30 minutes after she stroked his cheek and harry pressed his cheek into her hand turning onto his side his arm reaching for her she looked down the ward to the office where Pomfrey and Lupin were talking she sighed and crawled under the covers and let Harry hold her and slowly fell asleep.
After watching the children fall asleep madam Pomfrey applied a charm that would let her know when they awoke a long overdue conversations were going happen in the office.
"Poppy, what did you mean when you said an old man decided not to let you do your job." Remus asked quietly.
The matron regarded the man with a quirked eye "While Albus Dumbledore was a great man he was also foolishly optimistic of Harry's living situation. While it protected him from the dark lord and minions it did not protect him from the predations of his relations. When I brought it up during the staff meeting he always dismissed it as not that bad. They were starving him Remus, he had broken bones that did not heal right, the scars across his back and he would not let me do anything. He bound me to the castle and to silence. He will not be going back there I will adopt him if I have to."
Remus's Blood began to boil the wolf rising to the surface one of the few members of his pack had been cruelly hurt and apparently it had been done with the tacit knowledge of his mentor and friend. He wondered how many others had been hurt, coerced, compromised and outright betrayed by the old man's decisions… so lost in thought he did not hear his own wife come up behind him until he felt her hands on his shoulder he looked up surprised for but moment and then leaned into her hand and slowly wrapped his arms around her waist and held her sobbing as he finally let go the dam he held in since that fateful night when he lost his pack. Remus cried for what seemed like an eternity and as he began to calm he heard the sound of Tonk's heart beating every second beat though there sounded like an echo.
"Nym, you know how as a lycanthrope I have enhanced hearing and smell?" Remus asked tentatively
Nymphadora Tonks drew in a breath and spoke softly "you heard the second heartbeat, the heartbeat of our child. You are going to be a father Remus."
For a moment Remus recoiled inwardly then his inner wolf surged to the fore and he let out a howl as he picked his wife up gently kissing her before setting her down then reality set in "What if he is born with lycanthropy? I do not want him to live that kind of life."
"Remus John Lupin there has never been any proven research that any baby born with the disease even when both parents are afflicted" Madam Pomfrey said angrily "that is all pureblood dogma. Besides you have 5 months before your boy sees the light of the world and while I do worry for him and his mother if you would like I can always give the future Mrs. Lupin an exam" to which Remus nodded dumbly and an hour and a half later she finished her charting. "Now that mother and baby have been examined we have to see to our young man in that bed out there first. Now as I said he is not going back to them blood wards be damned."
Then Remus remembered "you said you would adopt him did you mean it?"
Poppy opened a drawer and pulled out a sheaf of parchment and hand it to him "I had this drafted after his first trip to the hospital wing." She spoke gravely "All I need is another witness"
"Well Lass you have more than one" Spoke the gravelly voice of Alastor Moody "Potter could do worse than to have you as his mum"
"But Albus said the boy needed to return" Elphias Doge said frown before being interrupted by Minerva McGonagall
"So he could be humbled? To be abused so he would not turn out like Tom Riddle? I was there the day Albus placed him in with those people, they are the worst examples of humanity if they had magic they would be Deatheaters. His first letter was addressed to the cupboard under the stairs! You have seen their house they had two other bedrooms they could have given him. And do not get me started by how thin he is or the marks on his body that are in places that cannot be explained by children playing rough" Minerva said with sneer her Scottish brogue coming to the fore she took a moment to gather herself. "If he is to be adopted he should be consulted first."
"Aye that he should" Moody agreed.
Harry awoke with a start as he heard a howl his whole body ached but noted he could see clearly without his glasses. He saw Romilda's exotic face peaceful in sleep snuggle against his body then he noticed something else he was six inches taller then he heard Remus's question to madam Pomfrey and the various responses with regret he climbed out of bed and Romi as he now thought of her rolled into his place basking in the warmth.
He turned to face the office and started to walk when a hand on his shoulder and a voice stopped him "you scared us, you scared me Harry" Hermione said as she then gave him a hug "Don't do it again please" she pleaded a lone tear coursing down her cheek before stepping back into Neville's arms. It was then that Harry noticed Ron was holding luna from behind his arms wrapped around her waist
"I did not mean to! it is just …" Harry could not find the words to continue. He looked down at his feet "It is all on me now that Dumbledore is gone. Gods I wish I could run away 'Mione but if I run everyone I hold dear will die. Romi, You, the Weasley's and untold thousands could die if I don't do something." He tapered off trying to hold the enormity of his task he turned to walk to the mediwitch's office and ran straight into Romilda. Who did not look impressed or happy with him
"You may have this task and it may come down to just you and him." She emphasized ech point with a jab with a finger into his chest before she rested her hand on his cheek "but you are not alone! Not now, not ever again." She had deliberately glossed over the death part of his commentary at her touch Harry's resolve broke and he leaned into her hand a and he dropped to his knees holding Romilda tightly.
Hermione for her part was stunned never in the six years she had known harry had he expressed himself so much and was even more surprised seeing him initiate a hug. She approached the two and motioned Romilda's and mouthed 'take care of him' the look she gave the younger girl conveyed the unsaid 'or else' and as one Harry's friends wrapped Harry and Romilda in a group hug
For her part Romilda's understood the meaning clearly and nodded her head and returned her attention to the young man she was holding.
In the office Madam Pomfrey's alarm ward went off "Mr Potter has awakened earlier than expected or warranted She stuck her head out of her office and saw the group hug in process and leaned back in "Harry Appears to be in good hands , Now who will be my witness?" The matron queried looking around the room Elphias doge scowled
"Poppy I know you mean well but he really should return to his relatives" the man said his scowl intensified "Dumbledore said"
"I do not care what that old man said!" the matron screamed as she marched over to her desk and opened a drawer pulling out a very thick sheaf of papers. "Do you know what this is? Of course you don't being a gentleman of leisure you would not know the sordid details of Mediwitch's job. This is Mister Potter's medical file which I cannot show you as you are neither his parent nor guardian. I cannot even discuss it with except to say that the environment he grew up in was abusive and the man you seem to revere so much bound me to silence nearly killing me with my own healer's oath"
Elphias eyes widened at the size of stack poppy was waving in his face "I am certain Albus had a good reason…"
"Oh I am sure he thought he did" came a low quiet voice that caused everyone there to turn to the door seeing the students arrayed behind Harry gave pause to all the adults "I could handle the things he did to me, but the fact he almost hurt Madam Pomfrey in order to keep me in that place is unconscionable. Sorry I could not help but hear you arguing about where I am going to stay this summer given that in less than sixty days I will reach my majority if Madam Pomfrey is still willing to give me a home I would be glad to take it."
Silently Minerva picked up a quill passed it to the matron who signed then passing it to Shacklebolt who as a member of law enforcement looked at the document and the sheaf of papers sighed and signed the document as an Auror before putting it in the middle of the table and held out the quill hesitantly Molly Weasely, one of Dumbledore's most ardent supporters reached out and grabbed the quill and was about to sign when all hell broke loose. Doge drawing his wand pointed it at the document on the table only to be hit by multiple stupefies, a disarming hex before being banished into a wall by harry himself when everyone in the room looked at the kids the question seemed to hang in the air finally Romilda whispered something to harry and he looked around at his friends and they all nodded he turned back to the adults "he was never going to allow you to sign the document Mrs. Weasely his behavior was a little to fanatical" Harry paused "There is more to this every year there has been something. First year the "traps" protecting the philosopher's stone could not keep three 11 year olds out let alone Voldemort. Second year there are only so many things that can petrify someone and damage a ghost,
Third year is confusing after some frank discussions with my godfather and uncle Remus I checked my family vault and found my mother and fathers journals Dumbledore was the one who performed the Fidelius it was at his urging Sirius convinced my parents to change to peter Pettigrew and threw aspersions about Remus's loyalty. He knew Sirius was innocent make of that what you will." He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts "Fourth year I am not sure if he really knew you were being impersonated or not moody but after the tournament was over both Mione and I managed to get a copy of the contract and rules of the tournament as my guardian he could have nullified draw and the cup would have rekindled. Fifth year he ignored me and we all saw how that went down.
This year was all about learning about the man who would become lord Voldemort and his horcrux" Harry paused again and paled "I have this scar, given by a curse that never leaves a mark, given to me by a man who made other soul containers, what if he went to my house that night used my mother's murder for the ritual but whatever my mother did offered me a measure of protection but also bound the resultant horcrux into my forehead…." Harry's voice faltered to a whisper "neither can live while the other survives for him to die I have to do so as well? Is that all I am a sacrifice?"
The air was silent for a moment before Molly Weasley snapped the quill while signing the document "Poppy you now have custody of our boy. May I perform some detection spells on him; not the standard ones you see but some other esoteric ones I learned before the children were born?" Molly asked after receiving a nod from the matron "Harry this may feel a little uncomfortable and for that I apologize.
Animas Excitat deprehendere" she whispered and an azure light emitted from the tip of her wand enveloping harry his soul pulsated white from the center of his being outward save where his scar was that pulsated black with several tendrils burrowed in his soul "He was right" she said the defeat lacing her voice "there are methods we can use to remove it but they are going to be painful and I don't think I can do that to you harry"
"More painful than the cruciatus?" Harry asked Molly shook her head as nothing was more painful than that and has she had never discussed the night of the third task with him had a question in her eyes. "The night of the third task he was very liberal with the use of that spell if it is not more painful than that please I would dearly love to be free of his influence."
Molly one again looked to the Poppy, "Perhaps we should give you two a moment alone to talk"
Harry nodded and then looked to his guardian "two things, Can I call you Mum" he paused waiting for answer" Pomfrey opened her arms and engulfed him in a warm hug a whispered 'yes' "is it alright if Romi stays mum?"
Poppy shocked from the way he addressed her nodded her assent. And motioned for the others to clear the room.
Romilda was a little confused she could understand harry wanting a mum but she did not understand why he wanted her to stay for this discussion she was not disappointed "I think you should layout the ground rules for living under your roof" harry said
"Well son, the rules are simple if your girlfriend is over you may not be in your room with a closed door, Pick up after yourself, get your homework done. Assist me with chores at home and here in the hospital wing "
Harry blushed a bright crimson at the thought of having romi in room alone "hold on a second mum. Forgot an important item. Romilda Vane would you be my" only to be silenced by gentle kiss and a whispered yes.
Turning back to his mum Harry set his shoulder "I want this thing out of my head. Mrs Weasely said it is not as painful as the cruciatus so I am inclined to let her try. No matter what mum I trust you to heal me and keep me whole."
Poppy nodded "Molly, we would like to go forward with the procedure"
Molly looked conflicted as she walked into the room "we will need to Harry to lay on a bed and for his safety we will have to perform a modified Petrificus spell."
Harry complied by getting up onto the bed removing his glasses and handing them to his girlfriend "could you keep these I don't want anything to happen to them " after receiving the nod and hand squeeze harry then looked at the women who he considered his mother's "Mrs. Weasely I know how you feel about hurting me and how you feel about the way we have put our lives in danger But if I can be free of his influence there is so much more we could do I know it. So when you are ready do it and do not stop until it is done." Then he turned to him mum "you sure you can handle this mum?"
Poppy considered the question for a moment before shaking her head "No! However, I want you to be free of him. Molly when you are ready. Ms. Vane please go into my office and do not come out until I give the all clear!"
Molly gathered herself and cast a spell she had hoped she would never have to on a another human being "Sever Inferorum Animas Excitat"
Animas Excitat deprehendere – Detect Souls
Sever Inferorum Animas Excitat - sever souls