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Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling does.

Rose was having afternoon tea with her Aunt Ginny and cousin/best friend Lily. Uncle Harry, both of her parents, and Hugo were in still Louisiana. Rose had tried going back to sleep after her Mother had gone to meet with Uncle Harry and Professor McGonagall. She had been lightly dozing when her Mother's otter patronus had awakened her saying she would be going to help her Dad and Hugo overseas and would contact her as soon as she was able. Her Mother said that Aunt Ginny would stop by and invite her over later. Aunt Ginny eventually sent a note via owl and a few hours later she flooed over to the Potter cottage in Godric's Hollow.

Picking up her half full cup of tea, she added a bit more sugar and picked up another raspberry biscuit. Rose was overly fond of sweets, and was often compared to her Uncle Ron. She wasn't quite sure how to feel about that. Although, during the family's annual summer reunion he'd still put away more food than her and had come out the victor boasting bragging rights. It was a good thing Rose was so active, and constantly trained in defensive maneuvers. The vigorous training she did during the summer was primarily for the end of term dueling championship.

"How is your training been going this summer, luv?" Aunt Ginny asked her. "I feel like I've hardly seen you all summer, even when you've been here you're always working with Harry."

Rose smiled at her Aunt. "Don't be offended, Mum," spoke Lily next to her on the couch. "She's only been talking to me this summer since I'm one of the few people willing to throw jinxes at her for sport."

Her Mum looked at her daughter comically horrified. "You what?"

"Don't worry Mum, it's all in good fun. She asked Albus first, but he's simply too sweet natured. She's just upset that she lost last year to a second year and a tripping jinx."

"Oh shut it Lily," Rose snapped at her friend. "At least I got in the finals." Rose had gotten to the finals in her bracket as a third year, but had ultimately lost to a second year girl from Ravenclaw. The girl was a fellow member of the D.A. and Rose would admit to her skill, but knew she was better.

She had been angry after the loss, and her Dad had caught her throwing a tantrum in her room. Well he had called it a tantrum, she called it being angry.

Her Dad looked around the room seeing the torn sheets and broken glass littering the floor. When his gaze swept over to her her fair skin turned a bright pink. She waited for him to say something while she fidgeted under his stare. He stayed silent and watched her with his arms crossed and leaning against the door frame.

"I was angry," she stammered out.

He made another quick cursory of the room, "I can see that."

"It's just that I'm so much better than her!" she finally revealed flopping down to sit on her bed. "I've dueled her before during D.A. practice and I always beat her. It was a bloody tripping jinx for Merlin's sake!"

Huffing she avoided her Dad's gaze as he sat next to her. "You are a superior duelist and talented young witch."

Rose turned her head to look at him. He wasn't one to give false praise, even to make her feel better.

"On your worst day and her best, you may still defeat her; however, it only takes one second of weakness and a lucky shot to kill even the greatest of wizards." He reached out and tucked one of her curls behind her ear.

"But that doesn't make any sense! How can you train for dumb luck?"

His eyes softened, "You are your Mother's daughter."

She smiled at him briefly recognizing the compliment, but then slumped her shoulders, "How will I ever get to the finals though?"

Rose felt him lightly grasp her chin and turn her face to look directly into her eyes. "I will not tolerate self-pity. You train for every possible situation, as well as the ones that are not possible. You develop your strengths and your weaknesses so that you have none. And then…"

His eyes lost their focus and he gently released her chin. "And then what Dad?"

He turned back to her, "You pray some fool doesn't kill you."

How the conversation had turned so dark, she didn't know. Rose looked at him, "Is that how you survived both wars?"

He raised both eyebrows and nodded. "That, and your Mother."

Rose rolled her eyes and kissed his cheek softly.

"Honestly, I don't know how my Mum kept up with all of us," Aunt Ginny said referring to her and her brother, and no doubt her Mum and Uncle Harry. Lily laughed at her Mum and Rose chuckled.

Aunt Ginny shook her head and roller eyes at the girls. Rose knew she fully supported the fact that most of her brood were so adamant on learning to defense, but she was most grateful that they lived in a world where learning defensive maneuvers was not a matter of life or death.

Rose was exceptionally skilled for being so young and she knew it. But she also had a large pool of highly skilled witches and wizards at her disposal. Even the plump and lever loving mother to all, Molly Weasley, had killed one of the most vicious Death Eaters ever known, Bellatrix Lestrange. Aunt Ginny told her it was one of the most frightening duels she'd ever seen. Well, despite Voldemort and Uncle Harry or…well there were a lot to choose from if you thought about it.

Rose always thought Neville, er Professor Longbottom was exceptionally brilliant killing Voldemort's snake Nagini. She'd have to remember to properly address him during term, she was always horrible at remembering things like that.

At first it hadn't been easy getting her Dad and Uncle Harry to agree on helping her advance her skills. One of the first things Rose and a majority of the cousins had done upon entering Hogwarts was sign up for the legendary Dumbledore's Army, or the DA. And while it wasn't a clandestine meeting of rebellious students anymore, it was a skilled hands on club where students learned the most advanced defensive and offensive spells to protect themselves from the Dark Arts. It was supervised by a Professor, usually Professor Krum or her Dad, but it was managed by the student President, which was always a nominated 7th year. True to the clubs history weakly sessions were held in The Room of Requirement.

There was also a big school wide dueling tournament at the end of the school year. It was a voluntary tournament of course, and anyone could participate. There were two brackets, or age categories really. The students in years 1-4 were combined into one dueling bracket and the years 5-7 were in another. While one victor came from each division the two champions would face off in one final duel determining the overall Hogwarts Dueling Champion.

Since the creation of the Hogwarts Memorial Dueling Championship, every champion thus far had also been a member of the D.A.

It had become a rather large event, and was even featured in The Daily Prophet. The winner received a large sum of house points, which every participant received. The amount of house points was determined by how far you went in the tournament. The victor went to the first witch or wizard to disarm their opponent and in three time allotted rounds. Four judges, including the Headmistress, two Hogwarts Professors, and one special invited guest were present to determine the victor if neither participant had managed to disarm the other after the three rounds. Two arbitrators were also present ensuring the duel followed protocol and neither student violated the rules.

The tournament followed traditional dueling protocol in terms of fairness and formality. There were important differences however. The tournament allowed all forms of spells except unforgivables and dark magic. Her Dad had configured a list of other spells that weren't necessarily dark, but not accepted in the tournament due to possible fatalities, such as an entrails expelling curse. Not that students didn't get injured, because they most assuredly did. Madam Yang, Hogwarts' resident mediwitch, and a few of her staff were always on hand during the tournament.

Because of the high potential for serious injury, each student needed to have their Professors sign off that they were passing their classes. Furthermore, each student needed a written recommendation from one Professor, was subject to a medical exam by Madam Yang prior to the tournament, and required written consent from their parents and/or guardians in order to participate.

The requirements were quite extensive really, if Rose thought about it. It did deter a few students from trying to participate, but the more serious ones always signed up. Her Mum certainly approved of the regulations. She had made a few comments saying how medieval some traditions were in the magical world and how dangerous the Triwizard Tournament in her fourth year was.

Rose believed that if it wasn't a little dangerous, it wasn't worth even attempting.

A soft hooting at the window nearby alerted them to her family's ebony colored owl, Hermes. Rose went over to the window and took the bit of paper from his beak. She idly read it while she stroked the feathers on his head.


We're home safely and all is well. We've brought a guest back with us. Your Dads in a temper though.



"Is your Mum home Rosie? Did it go well?" Ginny asked.

Rose looked up and smiled. "Yes, she said it did, but Dads in a foul mood apparently."

"Well that's normal." Lily piped up from her spot on the couch.

"Lily!" Ginny scolded.

"Well, it's true Mum. Although, he dotes on Al." Lily rolled her eyes.

"Albus is his Godson, Lily. You know he loves all of you in his own way."

"Ya, alright then." Lily waved her hand at her Mother and ignored the look she was giving her.

The three of them were distracted by the sounds of the floo being activated followed by a loud crash and a curse.


"Harry?" Ginny called getting up from her chair. "Are you alright?"

"Yea, I'm fine. Perdita left her toys on the floor by the floo again."

Rose watched her Uncle Harry come around the corner brushing the soot from his clothes. He chastely kissed his wife on the cheek before turning to her.

"I thought you'd be at home." He said.

Rose smiled and held up her note. "Mum just sent a post, I was about to leave."

Harry put his arm around Ginny and she looked up at him inquisitively. "Hermione said Severus was upset. I thought everything went well?"

Harry sighed. "It did really. I mean yeah, we have a few things to do still, but for the most part Ms. Carey will be at Hogwarts come the start of term." He paused and looked at her. "Minerva said a few things to Severus, apparently." He said quietly trying not to be overheard by the girls. "I'll tell you later."

"Before you leave, I have a book I borrowed from Hermione. I'll be right back." Ginny removed herself from her husband's embrace and left the room

Hermes, tired of being ignored nipped at Rose wanting a treat. Lily picked up a raspberry pastry and broke off a piece for him. Hermes nipped at it but didn't seem all that interested. "Sorry it's not bacon." She lowered her voice, "I know they aren't fantastic either, Mum made them." Hermes took the rest of the pastry and flew out the window.

Rose and Harry snorted and Lily grinned at them shaking her head.

Ginny came back around the corner holding a book and paused upon seeing the amused look on their faces. She looked at them suspiciously, "Did I miss something?"

They shook their head and continued to laugh. Ginny huffed but walked over and handed the book to Rose, who nearly dropped it when Perdita almost ran into her.

"Daddy your back!" Perdita ran full force and jumped up into Harry's arms. He reflexively caught her and then grimaced at her state of dress.

"Ugh, Perdita your filthy! I leave for a day and your covered in-well I'm not actually sure what you're covered in but," he sniffed her, "what is that smell?"

Perdita giggled at him and struggled her way back into his arms to peck him lightly on the cheek. Harry sighed and surrendered.

"Tell your Mum and Dad to get in touch with me in the next few days will you Rose? I've got to head to the Ministry right away, it seems I've discovered a new magical creature."

Rose nodded and laughed as he made his way to the bath with the clearly amused Perdita.

Rose said her goodbyes and headed over to the fireplace and took a handful of floo powder.

"Ugh, Mum I think she was rolling around in dung!" Lily exclaimed.

Rose laughed and threw the floo powder into the fireplace.

"Hogwarts, Snape Residence!"

Harper sat sullenly watching the steam rise from her teacup. She could feel Hugo staring at her from the other side of the room. Ever since she had woken up from her accidental magic episode she had noticed him glancing at her.

The cup was warm in her hands, but no matter what she still felt cold. Harper couldn't stop dwelling on her final goodbyes to Walter and Mary Jane. It had been one of the hardest partings in her life, besides that of her parents. Except that she hadn't gotten to say goodbye to her parents, they had just died. Apparently, almost had she. Most days, she wished she had.

Harper couldn't cry. She wanted to, almost felt like she might while hugging Walter and Mary Jane to her chest, but the truth was she hadn't cried in a good long time.

"Why you gots ta leave?" Mary Jane asked.

"I'm going to school. But I'll be back in the summer, you'll see." It was a lie, but they would never know. They'd be going back into foster care and placed into knew homes, most likely in separate households. And so would she, come summer time. They would not remember much anyway since their memories were going to be altered. She'd been assured that is was perfectly safe and would be done by a highly trained and skilled professional and the memories to be altered would only pertain to magic. Harper still feared they would forget her. She wouldn't blame them if they did, they were rather young.

"I don't want to go back." She whispered.

Walter shook his head. "No go, no go!"

"You ain't going back to the Calvins. It'll be great. You'll get another family, and they'll be real nice. They'll make you breakfast and buy you toys."

"But, only if you behave, you will right? Promise me," she held out both of her pinky fingers. "You've got to swear it."

They nodded reluctantly and intertwined their pinkies with each of hers.

Harper leaned down and whispered into Mary Jane's ear, "You look after Walter, he's still a babe. If anyone ever touches or hurts ya, you scream. You scream as loud and as much as you can and run. Got it?" Her eyes went wide and she clutched her rabbit to her chest. Harper watched her swallow and her eyes steal over resolutely. She nodded.

"It's time to go now kids," said Ms. Ava holding out her arms and picking up Walter and grabbing Mary Jane's hand.

They waved at her and she watched them until they turned the corner.

Harper couldn't help feeling that she might never see them again.

A loud crash brought her back to the present and she looked up from her tea cup in time to see Hermione wince. Professor Snape had been quiet on their trip to Hogwarts. This wasn't really a trip considering she had touched a cracked and faded pot and the next moment they were outside the gate of Hogwarts. Magic was filled with surprises.

Harper thought she knew what it might feel like to be squeezed through a tube of toothpaste. To her everlasting embarrassment she had gotten sick and nearly threw up on Hermione.

Another loud noise, this time a bang, followed and pop issued forth from behind the door to her right. Professor Snape had gone in there shortly after they arrived at the Snapes home. Admittedly, she was a bit surprised when she realized that Hermione was Hugo's Mother, and thus married to Professor Snape. She was even more surprised when she discovered that they planned on taking her to their home to stay until the school term began. Which was only a couple of weeks, but still, they hardly knew her. Harper expected to be staying with a magical foster family or something, maybe even Hogwarts. She found it odd that they wanted her around.

Hermione brought over a plate of sandwiches that looked delicious. She set the tray down on the table in front of Harper and took a seat next to her.

The fireplace came alive with a burst of green flame and to Harpers amazement a teenage girl emerged brushing off her clothes. Harper tried to keep the astonishment off her face, but wasn't sure if she was successful or not.

"Hey Mum," the girl walked over and took a sandwich.

"Watch the soot Rose."

"Oops, sorry Mum." The bushy haired girl sat down next to Hugo messing with his hair. "Hey squirt."

Hugo glared at his sister, and she made a face at him.

Yet another crash was heard from the other room. Everyone looked up and Hermione winced.

"I didn't much care for that vase anyway," she said.

"You were right, Dad is a bit mad." Rose munched on her sandwich.

Hermione sighed and cast a silencing charm, effectively quieting the noise coming from the other room. "He's fine, just letting out some steam. It's been a trying couple of days for him is all. Speaking of which, this is Ms. Harper Carey. She's going to be staying with us for a week or two until term starts."

"Alright, then. Is she bunking with me?"

"If you don't mind." Rose shrugged her shoulders. "Happy to. You going to Diagon alley?"

"We're going Saturday," said Hugo taking the sandwich from his sister that she had just picked up from the platter.

Rose indulged him and took another sandwich for herself. "Saturday? Why not before then?"

Hermione looked at all of the children. "I thought we might rest for a day or two. Harper's just travelled overseas and learned she's a witch in less than 24 hours and it is a lot to process. There is a large time difference as well."

Harper set her tea cup down, tired of being talked about. Hugo met her eyes for a moment.

"Oh I forgot, Auntie G wanted me to give you this book back." Rose handed the book to her Mother.

"I forgot she had this."

Harper stood up feeling tired both physically and emotionally. More than anything she wanted to sleep and be alone. Something in her eyes must have given her away because Hermione smiled sadly at her and got to her feet.

"Here now. It's about a six hour time difference and you technically haven't been to bed yet from the day before. Let's get you settled, does that sound good?"

Harper nodded.

Harper sat in a pair of borrowed pajamas atop a spare bed that Hermione had conjured in Rose's room. Harper wasn't sure if she liked Rose yet or not. It was too early to say yet; she was a little loud for her tastes.

The room was nice and clean. There were posters on the walls of people on brooms, and of ancient ruins among other things. The most peculiar objects lay scattered about the room and she couldn't help but feel out of place and truly and completely alone and unsure of herself for the first time in many years.

Harper had always had to fend for herself but at least she always knew where she stood. This was a completely different world to her and she had no idea what to expect.

It was still early for where she now was, barely even dusk. Harper pulled back the covers of the bed and felt the soft sheets and the mattress she had been given. It was odd to have so many nice things around her.

Getting into the bed she laid her head back on the soft pillow and pulled the covers up to her chin. Staring up at the enchanted ceiling that looked like the night sky full of stars she couldn't help feeling at peace. It reminded her so much of Louisiana and when she would sneak outside and lay in the grass gazing up into the stars.

The door creaked open and she turned her head to the soft knock that accompanied it. Hermione walked into the room taking care to close the door softly behind her.

"Do you mind if I sit?" she asked referring to the bed. Harper shook her head.

She took a seat on the bed besides her and Harper turned to look at her. "Rose is going to bunk with Hugo tonight. I thought you might like a room to yourself for a night or two." Harper let out a relieved sigh which Hermione chuckled at.

"I've brought you something." In her hands she revealed a large brown book with a crest on the cover that featured four different animals.

"This book is very dear to me." Harper watched her stroke the cover lovingly and wondered how someone could ever feel so emotional about a book. "It was the first book concerning the magical world I ever read. It called Hogwarts: A History. It's about Hogwarts, and all of its wonderful secrets. I thought you might like your very own copy to keep."

Harper stared at the book. She didn't often possess personal items and it had been a while since someone had given her anything. When she didn't move to take the book, Hermione showed her the cover and pointed to the crest on the front.

"Hogwarts has four noble houses that you can be sorted into. While you are at Hogwarts, your housemates will be like your family." She pointed to the lion, "The lion is for the courageous house of Gryffindor, the serpent represents the cunning house of Slytherin, the badger is for the loyal house of Hufflepuff, and the eagle represents the intelligent house of Ravenclaw."

Harper stared at each creature mesmerized. "This book helped me tremendously throughout my years as a student. It especially helped my first year as I grew up as a Muggle and both of my parents aren't magical. I'll just put it on the stand for you, alright?"

As Hermione was about to leave Harper reached out her hand from under the covers and gently touched her arm. "Can you read some, just a little?"

Hermione smiled and picked up the book and sat up toward the head of the bed so Harper could see. She opened the book to the first chapter.

"I'll start from the beginning shall I?"

"Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution." - Kahlil Gibran

"There is no friend as loyal as a book."

-Ernest Hemingway

As we are getting closer to Harper first sorting….which house do you think she will be in?

Please review, it only takes a second!