Chapter 27 What do the rest of them think?
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: What is 'The power he knows not' and how did Harry get it? How did Harry survive the killing curse and what does Sirius Black have to do with it? Who is the voice Harry is hearing in his head?
From last chapter: Harry has just finished an extremely busy morning at Ollivander's working on his staff. He makes to King's Cross just in time to jump on the train and head back to Hogwarts. For the first part of the trip, Harry and his friends will be taking time in chamber eight of his trunk to train – and in Harry's case, sleep.
Note: It has been pointed out to me that very little has been said by or about Hermione, Ron, Neville, Susan and some of the other people in the story since they first met 'The-boy-who-has-too-many-hyphens-in-his-name'. So we're going to take a few minutes to see how the rest of the gang is feeling about the first half of their school year.
Chapter 27 – What do the rest of them think?
A/N – This chapter takes place as the students are returning to Hogwarts from their winter vacation. It is meant to be a 'review' of some of the changes that have occurred to them over the first three months of the school year.
Try to picture each of the students in their train compartment, thinking about how their lives have changed since meeting Harry. They are all sitting there, thinking, and ignoring everyone else while they are off in their own little dream world.
This is meant to be a 'catch-up' chapter for some of the other key players in the story that I haven't done a good job of including.
Some of the insights may be more complete then others. Please enjoy and remember... You get what you pay for.
Now on to the story:
Hermione. Reflections on the first half a school year in the magical world:
During the trip back to Hogwarts from the winter break, Hermione sat at her favorite desk with a forgotten book on it, thinking about how much her life had change in these past few months.
She still couldn't believe just how lucky she had been to find THE Harry Potter that first day on the train! Of course she'd read all about him in some of the 'additional' reading material she had picked up at Diagon Alley like 'Modern Magical History' and 'The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts' and 'Great Wizarding Events of the Twentieth Century'.
She was very upset and even a little disappointed when Harry told her that all the stories in those books were just someone opinion of what happened; That no one really knew what had happened when Harry met Voldemort the first time all those years ago. She had argued with him many times, but his convictions were set. One of these times he pointed out the contradictions and inconsistencies between the stories. All he asked was "How can they all be correct when they disagree and contradict each other? If one is right, which one? And how would you know?" (A/N 1,000 points to anyone who can identify the basis of that argument)
She absentmindedly turned a page in the book out of habit.
It was the first time Hermione had taken the time to realize that not everything written in a book was the gospel truth.
"But why would anyone write something that wasn't true?" She asked.
"I can think of several reasons off the top of my head," Harry offered, "One reason may be that they want to intentionally spread 'misinformation' around to confuse the public or an enemy. But I would think the more likely reason is that it seems just about anything with my name on it is guaranteed to generate interest in the product and increase sales."
"What do you mean by that Harry?"
"It is almost guaranteed to make them money regardless of what they write about me – even if it is false."
Hermione had started being more critical in the things she read these days. The information in what she read had to pass several test first:
First, did it sound correct?
Next, did it agree with what she 'knew' or had read in the past. On more than one occasion she found herself revising what she thought she knew to something that was 'more correct principle' (as she liked to say it. Heaven help us all if she were 'wrong' about something).
Last, how did it make her feel inside? Did it make her feel like she was growing inside? Was her knowledge expanding? Would she be better able to help those around her with this information? Would she be able to keep herself safer with this information?
It had been a great advantage to be with Harry and the others. From them she could learn about the magical world at-large. Right now, for the most part, she was appalled by the bigotry and backwards thinking of the wizarding world in general, and Great Britain in particular.
From Harry – and his trunk – and Library in said trunk – she had access to some of the most authoritative book on any subject she was studying. She loved being able to take the spell and charms they were learning in school and finding out the history and background on it. It seemed that by doing this it was much easier doing the spells the next time they went to class.
She still can't believe how much more 'powerful' she was now. She had gone from a magnitudo de magica (size of magical core) reading of 485 on her first day to now over 1,150! That put her will within the 'Standard Power Witch' range. If she continued at this rate, she could be within the 'Low Sorcerer (Sorceress) level by the time she left Hogwarts!
She knew her number could have been higher, but since most of her time in Chamber 8 of Harry's trunk was spent reading from that wonderful library that Harry had, she had not put in as much work as Neville or Susan, but at least she put in more time then Ron.
The more time she spend with Harry and the others, the more she learned, and the greater her desire to learn more. She knows that she has been given an unparalleled opportunity to learn magic – REAL magic.
She still got mad at Harry when he disappeared on her from time to time. It wasn't so much that she misses Harry, but she missed Harry's trunk and the library inside where she can learn magic in a way few can.
She notices how much she (and the others) had all grown closer together (for the most part – thank you very much Ron). The increase of power also seemed to be affecting there physical bodies as well. Hermione also noticed that she and the rest of 'Harry's crew' were among the tallest students in the first-year. She could understand that for herself, since she was one of the oldest students in their year, but both Harry and Neville were born in late July – but now they could easily pass for a second or third year student.
Hermione had always been a mature young lady for her age, but these days she felt even more confident and mature. She found it much easier talking to the professors and older students in the school and wondered how the rest of her life would be in the wizarding world as Harry Potter's friend.
Ron – A pure-blood with a problem
Ron was a little more reluctant to enter chamber 8 then the rest of his 'friends'. He felt like he had a lifetime of attitude and behavior to overcome, and more then a few personal problems.
All of Ron's problems were issues he brought upon himself
Growing up he had seen his bigger brothers leave home to attend Hogwarts and distinguish themselves in their own unique way.
Bill had been tops in the school in charms and leadership. The leadership led him to be selected as a prefect, and later as head-boy. By excelling in charms, he was able to land a prestigious job after Hogwarts as a curse-breaker for the goblins at Gringotts. He was powerful, brave, decisive and self-confident – he had to be if he was going to 'breakaway' from Mum. Just what did Bill mean when he said that Mum was 'over-bearing' and 'suffocating'? I mean, Mum's hugs can be a little powerful, but not quite 'suffocating'.
Bill was everything Ron wanted to be. But even if he was all that – someone would always look at him and say; 'Oh Ron, You're just like Bill.' Not exactly what an 11 year old young 'man' wants to hear.
Then there was Charles. Maybe not as tall as Bill, but packed with hard muscles and quick reflexes. Traits that landed him on the House Quidditch team in his second year as the best seeker Gryffindor had seen in many, many years.
Starting with his third year at Hogwarts, his love for the game and drive to be the best seeker ever, lead to his selection at Captain of the House Quidditch team until he graduated four years later. A move that was sure to upset a few of the older players you would think, but everyone knew, that between Charles' love of the game and his skill as a seeker, it was the correct chose.
Gryffindor enjoyed four years of Quidditch cup championship. Something that had not been done by any house for the last 450 years!
After graduation, the Cannons came trying to get Charles to fly for them. The team coaches and trainers promised him a great career on the field and many more 'adventures' off the field. Those last words were said when Molly was busy in the kitchen or otherwise occupied.
Ron remembers sitting in the front room of the Burrow or on a stump out by the family's Gerry-rigged Quidditch field listening to the coaches and trainers stories listening with wide eyes and active imagination. Surly there could be no finer team in the entire league the Chudley Cannons!
Nevertheless, Charles had other plans. Professor Gribble-Plank had made it her life mission to talk to him about Dragons and Dragon reserves in far-away places. It may not be as glamours as be seeker on an third level international quidditch team, but the thought of flying with Dragons thrilled him even more than seeing the golden flash of a snitch on the other side of the Quidditch patch.
So what was the point of Ron doing well in Quidditch? Even if he was a great player and captain of the team, he would always have someone looking at him and saying: 'Oh Ron, You're just like Charles'. Not exactly what an 11 year old young 'man' wants to hear.
Next came Perfect Prefect Percy.
Ron had seen that even from a very young age that Percy had mapped out where he was going in life from what he would accomplish in all areas of his life. From his per-Hogwarts learning; to the classes he would take each year in Hogwarts and the grades he would get in each class (nothing below an 'O' would be acceptable to him); to working in the Ministry as an assistant to the under secretary to the Minister; to his ultimate goal of becoming the youngest Minister of Magic at the young age of 53. Almost 10 years sooner than anyone else in history!
Of course Ron didn't see the battle Percy had with the Sorting Hat that wanted to put him in Slytherin given his ambition and drive to a single goal. Percy finally even won that battle and was sorted into Gryffindor as his brothers before him. Now he was in a position where he could put his plans into place.
All the reports that came back to the Burrow regarding Percy were always 'perfect'. He had 'perfect' attendance in all his classes. All of his homework that he handed in was 'perfect'. He was THE ONLY non-Slytherin to get a passing mark in ALL his potions assignments. Of course, he only got this because he started bottling two samples of each potion he made. One was for Professor Snape, the second was to give to Headmaster Dumbledore to show that he had brewed the potion correctly and the Headmaster could 'encourage' Snape to judge the potion on a more equal basis. Even Percy didn't know how many discussions the Head of Slytherin and the Headmaster met to see how a person who was so obviously Slytherin had been 'miss-sorted' into Gryffindor.
By the time Ron had gotten to school, Percy was right where he expected to be – a 5th year prefect with a clear path to being the Head-boy in two more years.
So even if Ron worked as hard as he could and got perfect scores with perfect attendance in all his classes, there would always be someone there looking at him and saying: 'Oh Ron, You're just like Percy'. Not exactly what an 11 year old young 'man' wants to hear.
If Percy had taken the 'high-road' away from Ron, the twins had taken the 'low road' away from him as well.
The twins held the record for most detention and days missed from class in each of the years they attended. They were known throughout the school for their pranks and practical jokes.
It was said that each teacher cringed anytime the twin's shadows darkened their classroom doorway.
It wasn't that they weren't smart, in many regards they were even smarter then any of their previous siblings. It's just that they decided to put their considerable talents to other uses – making people laugh.
Of course, it didn't help Ron when they told him that he would have to wrestle a Troll to see what House he as to be sorted into; or that they kept on implying that the school was going to run out of food at any moment because of the opening feast. He also didn't know how it seemed they always knew where he was at or how they could get from one room to another quicker then him or his friends, and he knew they didn't pass him along the way.
Ron liked a good joke as much (if not more) than the next person. But he really, really didn't want someone to look at him and say: 'Oh Ron, you're just like the twins'! Not exactly what an 11 year old young 'man' wants to hear.
That left his younger sister Ginny. The only girl in the Weasley direct line for several generations. She would be coming to Hogwarts the very next year – enough said. He really, really didn't want someone to look at him and say: 'Oh Ron, you're just like your sister'! Not exactly what an 11 year old young 'man' wants to hear.
That brought Ron's thoughts to the people he was currently sharing a compartment (well, trunk in the compartment anyway) with on the way back to Hogwarts.
Of course first was Harry Potter. I mean he's THE-BOY-WHO-LIVED for goodness sake. He had heard stories about him for as long as he could remember. Now he got to meet him IN PERSON! It was both a great thrill and a great disappointment at the same time.
The thrill part came in just meeting him and seeing that he really did have the scare on his forehead where Lord V... V... He-who-must-be-named tried to kill him.
The disappointing part came in the fact that, just to look at him, Harry Potter wasn't that different looking then any of the other first-year boys that he had seen. Shouldn't there be a bright blinking sign over his head saying 'Boy-Who-Lived here. Look upon my greatness' or something. Then there was all this reading and training and stuff.
Ron was very grateful that Harry had removed the bind from off his core so that his power rating went from a modest 240 to a respectable 480 after. I mean that is only about 20 points below where you need to be to be able to perform most magic that a normal wizard needs to do throughout his life. Now to have a power rating 920 half way through the first year of school! If what Harry and Hermione keep saying that will put him close to a power rating of 2,800 by the time he graduate! That's more powerful then most witches and wizard, at least here in Britain.
But what was he going to do with that power? If he went the ministry, he would always be compared to his dad or Percy. If he went into Quidditch he would be compared with Charles. There was no way he would work for the Goblins – they just gave him the creeps.
Maybe he could keep on working in a greenhouse with Neville like the one Harry had suggested. I mean it had made enough money to get him a wand of his own now, but for some reason he didn't see Neville being content with staying in a greenhouse. Not after the changes that he had seen during the first three months of the school year.
Everyone had heard about the fate of the Longbottom's. His parents in the long-term care ward at St. Mungo's. Rumor had it that their son Neville was a squab. Maybe he was before coming to Hogwarts, but with the removal of the two binds on his magical core, and the amount of time Harry was spending with him, Ron felt that Neville might now be the second most powerful wizard in their year. No question who was the most powerful. Ron didn't think there was a charm, spell, jinx or curse known to the wizarding world that Harry couldn't perform... Well, maybe some of the Dark curses... but that was about it.
When Harry announced that Neville was his 'god-brother' Ron had been shocked. Now he could see how close the two young men had really gotten. It was one of the main sources of jealousy he felt against both Harry and Neville. His only saving grace was that Neville was in Hufflepuff and not Gryffindor. If he had been in Gryffindor, he didn't know how he would react. He still had a long way to go on with the training disks his family had received from Gringotts. He forgot that Harry was only going to be in Gryffindor for two years, and then he would be going on to Hufflepuff where he would be spending even more time with Neville and Susan.
The girls on the other hand weren't too bad.
It was clear that Susan liked Neville a great deal, and was the only one of the four 'additions' that worked harder then Neville – as if she had something to prove to him.
Susan's aunt WAS the director of the Aurors in the DMLE, so maybe she was trying to impress her. But Ron really felt that she was trying to impress Neville.
That left him to think about the remaining person in the compartment – Hermione Granger. A new magical user with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. But really, why bother. Didn't she know there were no muggle-born witches that were department heads in the Ministry of Magic? Oh, there may be one or two who worked in the lower-level positions or on part-time assignment with the Aurors or Unspeakables on special cases, but nothing permanent. About the only thing she could look forward to was possible teaching in some small school where the students and parents were so poor that they didn't care about the genealogy of their teachers.
But Ron had to admit to himself, there was something special about her. Every time he was near her, he got frustrated so easily. He had a hard time finding the right words to say, and often spoke without thinking. He also found it even harder time concentrating when he was around girls in general and Hermione in particular.
His biggest problem with her was that she always had to have the last word, and she always had to be right. Ron found himself arguing with her just so he could prove her wrong about something, but had never been successful.
The only person that seemed to know how to handle Hermione was Harry. He would listen to her politely, and then respond. I guess it did help that Harry could show her – in a tome or scroll where her logic was lacking.
Why couldn't he (Ron) do that when he talked to her?
At the beginning of the year Ron didn't see what the big deal was regarding teaching girls or having them train with them in chamber 8. His expectations of a witch were that they grew up, get married, had children, and took care of the house. Why should Susan and Hermione for that matter work so hard? Now, after three months with Harry, and with the help of the Goblins training disks, that attitude was beginning to change.
He knew from his Gryffindor training disks that there was something off in his view of muggle-born magic users in general, and women in particular, but he hadn't taken the time to stay with the disks. It was just too unpleasant and brought into question his thoughts and beliefs regarding the importance of blood in the wizarding world, and the role of women in it.
Yes, after all was said and done, Ron was one mixed-up, messed-up wizard.
Neville – from lump of clay to towering powerhouse.
Neville was currently in the dueling portion of chamber 8 with Susan testing themselves against the targets and dummies Harry had let them use. It felt great to have a wand that responded to your power, and not one you had to force to work with you.
He just could not believe that changes that he had experienced during the first three months of schooling at Hogwarts.
To find out on his very first day that not only did Harry Potter want to meet him, but also he went so far as to let him know that he was his 'god-brother'! Neville didn't think his day could get any better than that.
But wait, there's more! As the pitch man says.
Not only does Harry come out an tell Neville he's his 'god-brother', he also tell him that there have been, not one, but two binds placed on his core and that if he wants', Harry could take them off of him and asks Neville if he wants that done.
What would you say in that case? Not only 'YES', but 'heck YES' (A/N I'm trying to cut down on my swearing).
For as long as Neville could remember, he didn't feel part of the magical world. He couldn't feel the power coming from a cauldron of a slowly simmering potion, or the power from an adult as they cast a 'Repario' on a pane of glass he had broken in his grans' greenhouse because he wasn't looking where he was going. In fact, the only time he remembered any magic was when his uncle dropped him out of a three-story window, and instead of falling to his death, he bounced when he hit the ground!
Neville had been more then a little surprised when his Hogwarts letter came. He was grateful to see it, but also a little frightened that he would end up being the laughing stock of his class, and an embarrassment to his family name.
Now, with the binds off his core, he felt completely different. It seemed that for the first time he could see the world as it really was. Colors were brighter, his thinking was clearer. He felt more alive then he had ever been. But the biggest difference now was that he could feel magic! Not only his own magic, but the magic in others as well.
He could feel the power radiating off Harry when he cast a spell. He could feel the intent of the magic; whither it was good or evil.
For the first time in his life, when his friends or professors talked about how to do a spell, he understood what they meant. It was almost as if his magic understood what was being said and couldn't wait to try it.
He still couldn't believe the difference he felt as the binds came off him.
The first bind was like someone had turned a light on in the room, but the second bind was like someone had started a bonfire in his soul that couldn't be put out!
The reading, studying and training that he was allowed to do with Harry and the others in the Room of Requirements and Harry's trunk had just been fantastic! He now had the time and people to come to understand the concepts that the professors were talking about in class. He was not only able to complete his homework assignments, but also understand the concepts behind what they were studying. Hermione had been a great help in that regard.
The other person Neville found himself drawing strength from surprisingly was Susan.
She had been one of the first to recognize the change in him and had been encouraging him the whole time. It didn't hurt that they had both been sorted into Hufflepuff. He found it was easy to make an excuse to spend time with her when they were in the commons area of their House. It was also a welcome surprise to see how good she was in Herbology. Neville had always prided himself in his knowledge and skill he had developed in his Grans greenhouse. He found in Susan a person with just as much knowledge, skill and devotion on the subject.
He was always surprised when Susan would give him a little hug, even the occasional kiss on the cheek.
He remembered when he returned home at the beginning of the winter break. His Gran couldn't believe the change that had come over him! He had grown so much since he had been gone that she even tested him to see if a doppelganger had taken his place.
After he had told his Gran what Harry had found, and corrected (he hadn't told her about the training in the trunk) she was shocked and demanded a meeting with the young man and his guardians.
That was a memory he could use to practice his 'Patronus' spell with!
Upon arriving home at the Longbottom Manor, Madam Augusta Longbottom turned on Neville and demanded to know what had caused the change in the boy. Neville stood straight and tall, looking his Gran eye-to-eye and told about meeting Harry on the train to Hogwarts. How Harry had called him a 'god-brother' and offered his friendship to him after just meeting him.
He told her of the oath he had taken to protect Harry's secrets, and the general outline of what had transpired after that.
Madam Longbottom was not all that pleased that Neville had made an oath that she could not get around. She tried to intimidate him as she had done many times before while he was growing up. But this was a different Neville. This Neville would not be intimidated. He let his Gran know that he did love and respect her, but that his word and oath were more important, especially one given to his 'god-brother'. He told her that if she wanted that information, she would have to ask Harry herself.
So Madam Longbottom sent a harshly worded owl to Harry informing him that she expected to see him and his guardian on Boxing Day at four o'clock for High Tea, and would be expected to explain his actions with regards to her grandson.
Neville had warned Harry that his Gran may be a little 'upset' with what had happened, but he shouldn't worry about it... too much...
When Harry received the owl, he smiled, and wondered what her reaction would be when he brought Sirius with him.
Promptly at 3:55 PM the floo at Longbottom Manor came to life as Harry stumbled out in his finest 'Head-of-House' robes. Fortunately for him, Neville was there to catch him. "Thanks Nev, I glad it's just you here. I would have hated for your Gran to see my entrance like that."
"No problem, bro." Neville said while laughing. "I can't believe the great 'Boy-Who-Lived' has so much trouble with the floo. I'm glad there's at least one thing that I'm better then you at."
"Quiet you or I'll take your Christmas present and go home," Replied Harry.
Both boys moved out just in time for the floo to come alive again. Harry turned to see Sirius step out as leisurely as if he were taking a Sunday stroll.
"How do you do that? You've just got to show me! Please?" Harry plead with his godfather.
"So still have some uses for the old man after all now do ya Harry? I'll have to see if I can fit some time in for you. You do know how busy my social schedule is. Newly freed Head of an ancient house with money and good looks?"
"Ya, Padfoot, I know exactly how busy your 'social schedule' is... it nonexistent! Zero! Zip! Nada! If I hadn't dragged you out here you still would be held up at Lupin Manor trying to 'adjust' to being free by consuming another bottle of Ogden's finest. I'm just trying to get you out of your rut and give you a chance to really get out. But I'm serious – don't say it – when I tell you that I really do need your help with some of this magical forms of travel like the floo. I'm just pants at it, and you do it so smooth even after not doing it for ten years."
Harry knew he was taking a chance here. Sirius really hadn't been out of Remus' home much since being released from Azkaban. He just didn't know how to act anymore. It was like he stopped growing during his time in the wizards prison. If anything, he had reverted back to his time at Hogwarts! Sometimes Harry wondered who was more 'mature'?
On the one hand, he viewed himself as a fun-loving Marauder, always looking for a joke or a way to prank an unsuspecting victim. On the other hand, he was a 30 something year old head of one of the oldest and feared family's in the wizarding world with all the responsibilities and headaches that brings.
Harry's little tirade caught him a bit of guard. He didn't expect the words to hit him quite so hard. The problem was, he really didn't know how to act right now. Harry acted much more mature then he did most of the time, and the fact of the matter was, Harry had been the 'Head' of is family longer than he had – and he acted like it.
Harry could see that Sirius was taking his little talk harder than he had meant it, and had to do something quickly before he slipped back into his shell.
"Come on Padfoot, I really need you right now and you need to keep your wits about you. You're about to attend High Tea with one of the Grand Dames of the wizarding world – Madam Augusta Longbottom. You remember, Frank's mum. Just think of all the stories Frank used to tell you and my dad about her. Remember all those 'Daughters of the Goblin Revolution' meeting he would tell you about. This is the 'big time' Padfoot! If you can survive a High Tea with Madam Longbottom word will get out that you're really 'back' and well on the road to a truly spectacular social life."
For his part Neville was a bit shocked at the conversation between Harry and the person that until recently was thought of being even more evil the Bellatrix Lestrange. He was quit surprised at how fragile this person seemed to be, but then, it had only been three months since he had been released from Azkaban.
Sirius for his part was coming out of his self-pity. He thought about the friendship he had with Frank and Alice and a genuine smile showed on his face.
Looking up, Sirius noticed Neville for the first time, and the smile got even bigger.
"Forgive me Lord Longbottom. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Lord Sirius Orion Black, head of the House of Black. I offer you my hand and strength in any worthy endeavor you chose to undertake, and my thanks for being such a good friend to Harry in my absents."
Neville was shocks at the word offered by this man he had just met. Coming out of his stupor, he stepped forward and accepted Sirius' hand. "Lord Black, welcome to my humble home. I accept your hand in friendship and cooperation, and pledge to you my hand and strength in all righteous endeavors as well."
A flash of magic sealed the offers between the two houses. Neville was a little surprised. This had been the first time he had done anything as the acting head on the house of Longbottom.
"It really is great to have both of you here. I hope you had a chance to read that book regarding High Tea with a member of The Daughters of the Goblin Revolution. Gran's gone and pulled out all the stops. I really think she's trying to intimidate both of you, but mostly Harry. Now come on, Tea is being served in the formal sitting room."
Harry and Sirius follow Neville down the hallway to the formal sitting room. As the Grandfather clock in the hall struck the hour, Neville opened the door and introduced their guests to his Grandmother. Sirius went first, and greeted Augusta as an old friend, and took her hand as a proper Lord / Lady would exchange.
For her part Madam Longbottom was taken back a bit by the familiarity Lord Black had shown towards her and wanted to show her displeasure, but one look at that ruggedly handsome face and smile and she just couldn't.
When Neville announced 'Lord Harry James Potter, head of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter', Madam Longbottom's left eyebrow raised to show the disbelief at her grandson's statement. But as Harry entered the room she found herself catching her breath.
Here was a young man the same age as her grandson, wearing the formal robes as a head-of-house. What impressed and shocked her was the aura of power that was coming off the young man, the piercing green eyes that looked like they were judging your soul. She saw the sword he wore on his side – a custom that not many heads of house continued today.
Shacking her head, she schooled her facial features – after all, this was the young man she was mad at.
Harry greeted her as an equal. "Madam Longbottom, it is a great pleasure to finally meet you. I have had the pleasure of being with Neville during my time at Hogwarts. I can now see why my father wrote that it was always good when a Longbottom was by your side."
Madam Longbottom was shocked by the young lord's declaration. "It has been a family tradition for as long as our history has been kept. Where there was a Potter, there was always a Longbottom. It is good to see that some things do not change with time." Augusta's eyes became unfocused for a few moments as she thought about how Frank and James were always getting into trouble as they grew up. She had to be VERY firm with him with regards to not becoming the 'fifth' marauder during his time at Hogwarts. It was the only time they had spent much time apart. Still, after Hogwarts Frank and James both went became Aurors, and later partners.
Coming back to the present, she quickly schooled her feeling back into the hard matriarch that had been maintaining the House of Longbottom until her grandson could assume his responsibilities upon reaching his majority.
She turned a hard eye to Harry and gave him the once-over as if to ask 'what right do you have to wear those robes?'
Harry, sensing her question volunteered the answer. "As the last living Potter it is my right and duty to wear these robes, and perform the functions of the head of my house. "
Augusta just raised her eyes and head slightly as if to acknowledge the statement, but not the fact that it just might be true.
"I am sure there are many things we can discuss but now is not the time. I believe you know the others present?"
Harry looked around and found that in addition to Sirius and himself, Susan Bones was there with her Aunt, Madam Bones. Sirius had made his way over to Amelia, while Neville was visiting with Susan.
"Of course Madam, shall we?" Harry offered his hand to help Madam Longbottom up out of her chair.
Ignoring his hand, Madam Longbottom got up and went to where the elves had set the tea and scones for High Tea.
What followed could best be described as a olde custom best left in some old, dusty history book. Everything seemed to be scripted down to who was served first; how much cream and sugar was to be placed in each cup; how the tea was poured; how many times you stir the tea – with which spoon; what order the scones and pastries were taken and eaten; even what subject were appropriate to talk on while tea was being served.
The men were expected to stand each (and every) time any of the women stood, entered, or exited the room. Sirius had to be reminded to stand by a house elf sticking him in the butt with a pin when he didn't stand fast enough when Susan got up to get another scone – a breach of protocol, but not as big as Sirius' mistake.
Harry and Neville had talked about what would probable happen and so had just resigned themselves to the torment inflected by Madam Longbottom.
After tea had been served, and the service trays taken away, Madam Longbottom turned to Sirius and Harry to grill them on the real reason she had brought then over on Boxing Day.
"Lord Black, we are very pleased that you have been returned to us from that despicable Azkaban to take your rightful place in the wizarding world, however, I must protest the actions taken by your ward with regards to my grandsons health! Do you have anything to say for yourself?"
"You must excuse me Madam Longbottom. It has been more difficult coming back into the wizarding world then I thought it would be. Since Harry was eight years old, he has been cared for by Goblin appointed guardians and caregivers. I'm still trying to get to know him myself. You must realize that this is just the second time I've really had any time to spend with Harry. The first time was the night he was able to capture that traitor Peter and secure my release from prison."
"Why don't you ask him yourself? He is an emancipated minor after all, and I hear sometime acts quite mature for his age?"
Sirius looked like he'd been forced to eat dragon dung. He felt like he was abandoning Harry to the wolves. But he really didn't know how to act in this type of situations.
"Well Mr. Potter, (She felt he was far too young to be considered a true 'Lord') Just what do you think give you the right to experiment on my grandson in releasing his core? Don't you know that he could have been kill through your carelessness?"
The smile on Harry's face faded quickly as he realized that a gauntlet had been thrown down, and it was up to him to either pick it up and accept the challenge that had been issued, or ignore it.
Looking at Madam Longbottom he know that she would only respond him and his position if she were given a display of power relating to his claim. He had to show her that he had earned the right to be the head of house by deeds, and not because he was the last Potter alive.
His eyes grew cold as they began to glow with power. Bringing up his aura, he raised his hand and took the illusion off the Potter ring to show that he was in fact in position of it and that it had accepted him as its true heir.
"Madam Longbottom, you will show me the respect that is due me as the legal head of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter!"
"You claim to know the customs and traditions of the Ancient and Noble Houses, so you know that I could not wear this ring if I were not the true and rightful heir and by so doing being declared a legal adult. You will address me a Lord Potter as is my right! IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?" The last part of the message was assisted with a little bit of power put behind it.
Shocked Madam Longbottom nodded her head and offered an apology.
On the other side of the room were an equally shocked Madam Bones and Lord Black. Sirius knew Harry was powerful, but had never seen anything like this before. In fact, the only person that he knew that to show an aura like that was Headmaster Dumbledore – but never that strong.
Madam Bones for her part was shocked both by the coldness of Madam Longbottom's question, but even more so by young Lord Potter's reply. 'Just how powerful is this young man'? She thought to herself. She knew that young Lord Potter was the only person under seventeen that the DMLE did not have a power reading on. And try as she might, she couldn't get one either.
After a few moments, Harry pulled in his aura, and schooled his face into a more pleasant appearance.
He then told all those present how he had discovered his heritage at the age of eight, and that as he read his parents journals, the fact that her daughter-in-law, Alice, was Harry's godmother, and that Lily was Neville's so as far has he was concerned they were 'god-brothers'.
He told them how he 'read' how his parent had found out about the power block that had been placed on all magical children if their initial core reading was above '40', and how is 'Ma' had plead with him to find and tell the Longbottom's. They of course that 'Ma' referred to Lily in her journals.
He told of the spells found in his families glamors to show: if a block was binding a persons magic; how to remove the block; and find the size of a person's magical core.
"Then it was you who provided that information to St. Mungo's and the Minister?" Madam Bones broke in. "Why didn't you let everyone know? Most families would be compensated by the Ministry for the use of a family charm like those! They have the potential to be real life savers if 'You-Know-Who' ever comes back!"
"Madam Bones, I didn't want the notoriety or need the money from the Ministry. All I want is to have a normal childhood."
Neville, Susan, and Sirius all had to cover their collective laugh at that comment.
"Madam Longbottom, I felt I had a responsibility to Neville, as a god-brother, to remove his bindings as quickly as possible. He had spent the last eleven years with that handicap. I couldn't let it go for one more day."
"Then what about me and Ron Harry?" Susan asked. Why did you remove ours as well as Neville's?" Looking at her aunt, but talking to Harry, "am I a god-sister or something?"
Harry let out a small laugh while Madam Bones shook her head 'no'. "No, sorry Susan, you're not a 'god-sister'. At least, not that I know of. But both you and Ron were there in the same compartment as Neville. It really wouldn't have been fair for me to remove the blocks from Neville and not you now would it? I guess if you want, maybe we can ask you Aunt for a big time-turner and go back and put the blocks back on you – what do you think?"
"No thanks Harry! I like my life just like it is now thank you very much! Just asking." Susan sputtered.
Turning back to the Longbottom matriarch Harry continued. "Did Neville ever tell you that he had not one, but two blocks on his core?"
Madam Longbottom shook her head no. Neville just blushed a bright red.
"Yes, two blocks! One from the Mediwitch when he was born, and the second by a very powerful witch or wizard that didn't want to have Neville reach his full potential as a wizard."
"Who?" Madam Longbottom asked.
"I have my suspicions, but just think for a minute. Who did Neville meet while he was still young that might want to keep him weak?"
Madam Longbottom face paled as she thought about the possible, then suddenly looked up into Harry eyes.
"That bastard!" (A/N – so much for not swearing) She said heatedly. "That dirty, rotten, stinking bastard! Wasn't it enough that I lost my son and daughter-in-law but that he had to almost ruins my grandson's life as well?"
Neville came and sat by his Grans' side and put a comforting arm around her frail shoulders.
"Now do you understand why Harry did what he did? I was barely above a squib when Harry met me on the train. When he removed the Mediwitch's bind my power almost tripled, and when he removed the second, it doubled again. I'm currently already at the power range of a regular wizard, and if I train hard, will be a low ranking Sorcerer by the time I graduate from Hogwarts. I have never felt more alive or seen things more clearly than after having those blocks taken off my core."
"I for one am glad Harry found those spells in his family glamor. I would hate to think where I would be if I had to go through life as weak as I was. Now, I can train and do my duty when it is my turn to head the house of Longbottom."
Madam Longbottom looked up at Neville, and for the first time in her life saw something more then a reminder of Frank and Alice lying in the long-term care unit of St. Mungo's.
Turning to Harry, she spoke in a shaky voice. "It would appear that I not only owe you an apology, but my gratitude as well Lord Potter. Please accept the apology of an old witch who is far to set in her ways for her own good."
"I gladly accept your apology Madam Longbottom, and pledge to you and Neville my support and protection as long as I can give it."
Yes, this year was going to be a great year as long has Neville had Harry by his side.
Susan Bones – From wall flower to Heir of Hufflepuff.
Susan was enjoying her trip back to Hogwarts inside Harry's trunk. Right now, she and Neville were at one of the training stations brushing up on some of the spells they had learned, and practicing their accuracy with some of the targets. From Susan's point of view, these last three months couldn't have been more life changing.
She had always just viewed herself as a war orphan, living with a kind, but very busy aunt.
That all started to change when she met Harry Potter and more shockingly, Neville Longbottom on the first train ride to Hogwarts.
Susan remember her Aunt telling her that The-boy-who-lived would be in the same class as she was, and that she should look for him, and try to get to know him – Who knows, she might even come to like him. Susan always blushed when she thought of her Aunt teasing her about that. But it also made her a little mad, like her Aunt was trying to run her life. Besides, wouldn't Mr. Potter have enough girls hanging around him? He was the most famous eleven-year-old in the magical world now, wasn't he?
She had been surprised with the way she and Neville hit things off. He looked so lost that first time on the train when he was looking for his toad, Trevor. She couldn't help herself in wanting to go out and look for it with him.
That was how she met Harry.
Opening the compartment door where three first-year students were sitting, and wondered if she had missed a memo somewhere, I mean, here she was looking for a toad, and here was another first-year with a pet rat! What were these people thinking?
Harry had asked her to go a bring Neville back, which she did quickly, only to be pushed aside by Draco Malfoy and his two thugs.
She thought about what had happened next where Draco allegedly tries to use a liquid version of the Imperius Curse on Harry, and ended up getting on Crabbe and Goyle instead.
She felt a little strange sitting there next to Neville when Harry called him his 'god-brother'. Of course, she knew all about his parents and how they had been driven insane by the Lestrange's, but to see his reaction was... unique.
She felt like she was invading on a private conversation between Harry and Neville, and felt honored just to be there and hear it for herself.
When Harry mentioned the 'binds' that were on all of the magically-raised children, and asked if they wanted them off, there was no hesitation on her part. 'YES' she wanted it off! But when his ask for a magically binding oath that they would not disclose his secrets, she got a little concerned. Eventually she decided to give Harry her oath, and was brought into the wonderful world of Chamber 8, where she could read, study, and work to improve herself and her magic. That was just before her first 'day' at Hogwarts. The night Sirius Black was released from Azkaban.
She couldn't believe it when that 'rat' turned into an ugly round-faced man. She knew it was serious when she saw 'Mad-eye' Moody and Lord Ogden in the Headmaster's office along with her Aunt. She knew most of the history behind the attack on the Potters, but to hear that Sirius Black was not their secret-keeper meant that in all probability, he was innocent! She, with Neville, Ron and Hermione were taken back to their common rooms before everything came to a conclusion, but the next morning there was a special edition of The Prophet declaring to all the wizarding world that Sirius Black was innocent, and was now a free man.
The time a school had been great. She, Neville, Hermione and Harry were all at the top of their classes in scholastic and power. A fifth person, Ron Weasley, was there most of the time as well, but he didn't seem to want to work as hard at getting the work done as the rest. He was still in the upper third of their year, but there was so much more he could do if he would just quit arguing with Hermione and get to work!
It seemed like Harry was always full of surprises. Like when he asked her to get in touch with her Aunt for something he had found out at Gringotts. She was totally blown away when the Head of the Goblin Nation told her that she was the heir of Helga Hufflepuff! She had heard rumors about the chalice of Hufflepuff and how it would change into a horn-of-plenty or cornucopia during times of great need. But to see it in front of her was another thing all together!
Now Harry had offered to have Helga's greenhouse re-built – it was all too much to take in!
While she was friends with Harry, she started to have some deeper feelings for Neville.
He was a lot like her. An orphan from the last war, living with an overprotective grandmother, with limited exposure to the rest of the magical world.
Neville had been sorted into the same house as her, and she could see with the encouragement and training he was getting from Harry that he was a great 'Puff. It didn't hurt that he was also outstanding at Herbology either, probable even a little better then her if she were honest with herself.
Her time at home had been very enjoyable. Neville was able to get her and her Aunt invited over to Madam Longbottom's Boxing Day High Tea. This was considered one of the high points for alot of the old families.
By herself, Madam Longbottom may not have been very important, but her connection within the 'Daughters of the Goblin Wars' would give just about anyone access to the 'real' power in the magical realm in Great Britain.
Susan had been told by Neville that this year would be a very private affair since Gran wanted to talk to Harry and his guardian alone.
Aunt Amelia was more than a little pleased in Susan being invited to Madam Longbottom's function. It was almost as if Madam Longbottom still held a grudge against Amelia for not getting to Frank and Alice's aid in time to prevent them from the current situation.
Susan had enjoyed being with Neville, even briefly over the holidays. The 'encounter' between the 'Immovable Object' (Madam Longbottom) and the 'Irresistible Force' (Harry) would be something that would be forever imprinted on her mind. Really, Madam Longbottom didn't stand a chance against Harry, but she only had herself to blame.
Aunt Amelia spent most of the evening talking to Sirius Black. It would appear that he had been an Auror before being sent to Azkaban. She had been a few years ahead of Sirius in the Academy. To Susan, it looked a lot like two old friends catching on old time, but there was something in the way her Aunt was looking at the newly released Lord that said, maybe things are going to get a little more interesting around here.
Her Aunt was very pleased with Susan's development (magical) over the first three months of the school year. When she tested Susan to see just how it was going she was shocked to see that her rating was almost 1300!
"What have you been doing at that school Susan?" Aunt Amelia asked. "When you left here you were at 220 and now you're almost at 1300!"
Susan was almost embarrassed to answer.
"Well, you know about Harry removing the bind on my core on the way to Hogwarts? All I can say is that there are some other... things... that Harry has that help us use our core more and help it grow and expand."
"Is it something that you can tell me?"
"I'm sorry Aunt Amelia, no."
"Oh, well then, how many other is young Lord Potter helping then?"
"Me and three others. Neville, a pure-blood named Ron Weasley, and a muggle-born by the name of Hermione Granger."
"Ah, I see now. How are things going with young Lord Longbottom these days?" Amelia loved teasing Susan about her infatuation with Frank and Alice's son and heir.
Blushing, Susan simply replied, "You'll just have to wait and see on Boxing Day."
Talking a rest at her training station, Susan looked down at her wand, then up at the dummy targets and thought, 'I wonder what the next three months will bring'.
Sirius From Prisoner to Lord over the House of Black
Sirius had just finished seeing Harry off to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express and took a few minutes to think about how much his life had changed since hearing the name 'Harry Potter' again three years ago.
He had been considered the 'right-hand of Voldemort' when he was thrown into Azkaban without a trial. He felt so stupid having Peter of all people get the drop on him and make it seem that he was the one who had betrayed James and Lily.
It really didn't surprise him that the jailers and warden at Azkaban felt that he had 'earned' the rights to the cell next to the Dementor's keep. James had been a well-respected Auror, and Lily seemed to be loved by everyone she met. Most of the Aurors on staff had had a chance to meet and greet (pinch the cheeks of) young Harry at one time or another. Almost without exception they felt he (Harry) was the best of both parents, so having the 'opportunity' to punish the one who took his parents away was too good to pass up.
Ever since he had been visited by 'Mad-eye' Moody and having the 'Thea' protocol symbol placed on his cell door Sirius thought that the end was at hand. Either the Ministry was going to come and give him the Dementor's kiss any day, or they were just going to forget about him and let him die of boredom and old age. But every day Simons would come by with food and medicine to help him heal. It was nice to have someone to talk to for just a few moments each day.
Every day Sirius would ask Simons if there was any news regarding Harry, and everyday all Simons would say was that he was unable to say anything with regards to young Master Harry.
Looking back, he should have realized that Simons knew who Harry was, and how he was doing, but he had to keep the secrets of his Head-of-House and master. Now if he would have thought to ask about Lord Ravenclaw...
Sirius still wondered if part of it was a dream when Simons told him to get ready – he would be leaving Azkaban tonight. How was he to leave? It was well past nightfall, and the transport barge only made one, two trips across the channel per day, there was no way he would be leaving this rock anytime soon.
The next thing he knew, a lad, looking very much like his best friend James Potter was standing there talking to him. He still remembered the shock he felt when he realized that young Harry was standing in front of him... He thought for sure he had lost his mind at that point. How had Harry gotten out here? Maybe he really was as strong as ol' 'Mad-eye' had said. How did he put it? '… we will get ya out. Either that, or your godson Harry is going ta come out here and take this place down stone by stone until he finds ya.'
Maybe Harry had had to take the prison apart to find him. All he knew was that one moment he was in Azkaban and the next he was standing in the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts, a whirl-wind meeting with the goblins, and then home to Remus' new pad.
It seemed like there was a disturbance out in the hallway between the Headmaster's office and the meeting with the Goblins. Until he had Remus show it to him, he wasn't even aware what Severus had try to do, or what Harry did in response. It still made him smile seeing Snivellus slam into the brick wall that appeared out of no-where.
He had tried to get back into the swing of things, but the guilt he felt from letting Harry down was almost worse then being in prison. It took a lot of work talking with Remus, Min, and Prof. Flitwick before he even started feeling better.
Unfortunately, during that time he had found how to escape all his troubles in a bottle of Ogden's Finest Fire-Whiskey.
It wasn't until the Boxing Day High Tea at the Longbottom's that he found a reason to climb out of the bottle and stay out.
Amelia Bones was also present with her young ward, Susan, who seemed to 'have feelings' for the young Lord Longbottom.
Amelia had been a few years ahead of him at Hogwarts and the Academy and was known as a fair, hard working 'Puff. To her credit, she had climb up the ranks through hard work and detention to detail. Her husband was one of the first causalities in the first war making sure that children from an orphanage had time to get out before one of Voldemort's first attacks. It looked like since that time she hadn't had time to look for anyone else since she had Susan to look after. It didn't hurt that Amelia always did know how to take care of herself as well.
Who knows, maybe Harry, Neville, and Susan can plan some other get-to-gathers as the years roll by...
Professor Dumbledore – Leader of the light to Gringotts Outcast
For the first time in many years, Professor Dumbledore found himself at a loss.
After many years, Harry Potter had come to Hogwarts. He gave new meaning to Sir Winston Churchill's saying '...a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma'.
Just who was this Harry Potter?
Not all of his dealing with young Mr. Potter had been what he would call 'pleasant'.
From the time he met young Harry at Gringotts; to being present when he removed the wards around his former home on Privet Drive; to having been 'encouraged' to return the founders items; this person 'Harry Potter' had been one person he could not seem to be able to control.
A point in fact was that after three years he was still on probation at Gringotts.
Was he powerful? Yes, without question.
Was he intelligent? Yes, only Ms. Granger seemed to be his equal among the first year students – though he thought Mr. Potter was hiding his true potential.
Was he dedicated to the side of Light? That was yet to be seen. Dumbledore knew that as long as Harry was worthy to hold Durendal he would not be evil. However, he had already seen Durendal reject him once after bringing down the blood wards at Privet Drive... Might that not happen again?
A/N I was going to include more people, but feel that you have been more then patient with me in getting this 'make-up' chapter out.
To give you a quick look at what the others were thinking about:
Harry's caretaker. Loved to see him grow and learn. Teaches him how to balance hard work, and having fun.
Guardian of Harry, friend to Lupin. Tells him many stories regarding his parents. Feel that Harry is as close to a grandson that she will ever have.
Teaches Harry about the wizarding world
Unable to understand the little brat.
Still thinks he's the top of the heap – too bad it's a dung heap. He doesn't have a clue with what would happen if he were to attack Harry or one of his friends. Relies completely on his father to instill fear in his fellow Slytherin.