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That Universe Over There

Chapter Text

Harry blinked as the world around him came slowly into focus. So maybe impulsively touching things in the Department of Mysteries wasn’t the best idea, but to be fair, the day had been rather dull up until that point. Of course, most days tended to be dull when compared with being hunted by insane Dark Lords and overzealous death minions. Thankfully, said hunting hadn’t resulted in any sort of long-term complications for the famous Boy-Who-Couldn’t-Die. No loss of sanity or anything. Everything was perfectly fine, thank you very much. Of course, there was that whole “Master of Death” thing that he hadn’t really figured out yet, and an impressive urge to touch potentially dangerous magical artifacts, but really, everything was fine, which totally explained why he was waking up in an unknown place and getting rained on.

Wait, rain? Okay, so outside, opposite of inside, which is where he was last (probably - the last few moments were kind of fuzzy).

Standing up, Harry took a look around. And then he blinked. And then he rubbed his eyes. Was this some kind of new memory chamber or something? Had he fallen into a pensieve (again)? Accidentally apparated? Wait, he wasn’t drunk, so probably not that one. He still hadn’t lived down that particular incident.

Deciding that the particulars of his arriving at a place of his childhood nightmares were not all that important at the moment, Harry grabbed hi… that wand, and began casting a wide variety of spells, hoping that he’d figure out for sure where he was. Or trip some kind of alarm and have some panicked Unspeakables show up. He wasn’t picky.

All of a sudden he heard a distinct popping sound, and he turned to face whoever had just apparated behind him.

Well. That was unexpected.

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Ivy blinked. Something had just happened. What had happened was unclear, but she was fairly certain this fell under the category of “freaky.” Briefly, she hoped to herself that Uncle Vernon wouldn’t find out, but since Dudley had been the one chasing her a second ago and was now nowhere in sight, it was more likely that she’d be locked in her cupboard without dinner tonight. Which was rather unfortunate, seeing as she hadn’t had dinner last night either.

She was so caught up in her thoughts that she didn’t immediately notice the man staring at her. When she did notice, she jumped back just a little, but he just kept staring at her. Really, what was his problem? So, there they both stood, staring at each other. Blinking occasionally. At least he wasn’t chasing her. That was a good sign, right?

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Of all the things Harry had expected to see (not that he had a lengthy list of preconceived expectations for this particular situation), a little girl who looked suspiciously like him was not one of them. He was fairly certain he had never fathered a child, and even he had, this girl looked like she was a least six. Way too old to be his. He definitely hadn’t slept with anyone at age seventeen. Dark lords and all that. So unless there was some vital piece of information relating to the process of conception in the wizarding world that he hadn’t been informed about (wouldn’t exactly be the first time he hadn’t been told something), this child wasn’t his. That was a relief.

But she looked so much like him. It was like looking in a weird trick mirror at himself as a child, but also as a girl, and of course he just so happened to be standing on top of what appeared to be his old primary school, and wasn’t that just a coincidence and oh Merlin that one unspeakable guy had been talking about gateways, but he hadn’t been paying attention because it sounded too much like portkeys and those things were the devil’s creation, but he had heard something about universes and he thought it was just the guy being dramatic but what if… No. That was ridiculous. He definitely had not been stupid enough to touch something that had transported him into an alternate universe, right? He laughed (cackled?) mentally. What a ridiculous thought. That was certainly not what had happened. But, just to be sure…

“Were you just running from Dudley?”

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Ivy stared at the stranger. Most people asked things like “what’s your name?” or “where are your parents?” How’d he even know Dudley anyway? She certainly hadn’t seen this man before. Even if she thought he did kind of look like her…

“Yes,” she finally said, even if it did come out more like a question.

“And then you appara… appeared here?”

“Yes?” That one was definitely a question.

“Huh,” was all the man said, and then he continued to stare at her. Ivy began to fidget. She knew what he was probably thinking. She was used to her family calling her a freak, but she still hated it when other people said it. After a few moments, the man finally spoke again.

“Last name Potter then?”

Ivy felt her stomach drop a little. So he knew who she was too. She braced herself for the oncoming scorn and just nodded her head in answer to his question. To her surprise, the man actually smiled at that. And not the kind of smile Dudley got when she got in trouble. No, this was a nice smile.

“What’s your first name?”

“I-ivy,” she managed to get out.

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Harry had often been accused of jumping into situations headfirst without a plan. Admittedly they were relatively true accusations (mostly because any plans he made tended to fall apart fairly quickly), but he thought that his track record so far showed that he either had an insane amount of dumb luck or was really good at thinking on his feet. Or both. Probably both.

Still, this impromptu plan would most likely cause Hermione’s eye to twitch in a way that promised eternal pain should it be acted upon. But she wasn’t here, and really, how badly could this turn out?

That was a rhetorical question that he chose not to think too long on. There were alternate young female versions of himself to save and possible alternate universes to wreak havoc upon. Critically thinking through this situation was unnecessarily time-consuming at this point.

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Ivy watched as the stranger seemed to ponder the revelation of her name for a moment. She wished she knew what he was thinking.

“Would you like to come with me?” he finally asked. She vaguely remembered hearing one of her teachers say that children should never go with strangers, but then Aunt Petunia sometimes mumbled that she wished Ivy would be taken away by those strange people, so maybe it was fine? Plus the man seemed so nice. He had a nice smile, and he was smiling at her. Nobody ever smiled like that at her.

“Yes.”

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Harry beamed. She had hesitated for a moment, but she had agreed, so that meant he had succeeded in his attempt to come across as good-friendly-safe rather than evil-stranger-danger. Oh, and sane. Which he wasn’t, necessarily, but that didn’t matter too much at the moment.

“Well then, shall we be off?”

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Ivy glanced behind her. The roof of the school was rather far from the ground, and she still wasn’t entirely sure how she had gotten up there in the first place. Of course, he was on the roof too, so that meant he probably knew the way down. She turned back towards the man and nodded.

“Great! Well, I suppose there isn’t anything you need to get from the Dursleys first?”

She shook her head. He had said Dursleys. Not her family, not her parents, not home. Just their name. She already knew he must know something about them, seeing as he knew Dudley, and knew her last name, but did he know what happened there? Was that why he offered to take her? And if so, why? No one ever seemed to care, or at least, not for long. And what made her think this would be any different? Would he just take her back tomorrow?

As if sensing her thoughts, he bent down and held out a hand. “You never have to go back to the Dursleys again,” he said quietly.

She looked into his eyes. He looked so kind.

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

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Harry was startled by the sudden hug. He didn’t remember ever being so willing to show physical affection. But then again, this wasn’t really him, and even if she was living the same life he had, she was young. Maybe, just maybe, she was not yet quite as broken as he had been.

A small voice interrupted his musings. “How do we get down?”

He took a step back and grinned, remembering his own sense of wonder at being introduced to magic. Now he was going to be the one to do the introduction, and he was sure he would enjoy it immensely.

He held out his hand again, and when she took it, he pulled her into a hug.

“Magic,” he said, as he apparated them from the rooftop.

Chapter Text

Harry was quite pleased with himself. They would need to go to Diagon Alley soon, but there were a few things he wanted to do before that, the first of which would be to explain things to Ivy a bit. And what better place to do that than a magical forest that unicorns could often be seen in. Yes, he was quite pleased with himself. This was perfect.

The sound of someone retching somewhat ruined the moment.

Harry turned sheepishly around. He had honestly forgotten how bad side-along apparition was, especially your first time. Oops.

“Sorry about that,” he said. “First time is always pretty rough. Forgot to warn you about that part, didn’t I.”

The look he got in return left no doubt in his mind as to just how impressed Ivy was with him at the moment. Thankfully, the look only lasted a minute as she promptly turned around and began heaving up the remaining contents of her stomach. On second thought, that probably wasn’t a good thing…

A few quick waves of his wand later and everything was back to normal. And by normal, he meant not covered in vomit. Magic was a wonderful thing.

“So,” he started, “what do you think?”

Ivy blinked at him. “Magic is real?”

“Yup!”

“And that’s how you got us here?”

Harry nodded.

“And magic made me vomit?”

Harry went to protest that it wasn’t technically magic that caused her to vomit per se, but she continued.

“I don’t like it.”

What was wrong with her? Magic was amazing!

“What do you mean you don’t like it? Magic is amazing!” There was no way she would be able to refute such a factual statement.

Ivy just wrinkled her nose. “I thought magic was supposed to be cool.”

Harry sputtered. Of course it was cool. “Of course it is.”

“Well show me then.”

Harry conjured a rabbit. Little girls liked rabbits, right? Ivy did not appear nearly as impressed as she should be. Harry gritted his teeth. He would impress her.

Six conjurations, eight transfigurations, and nearly three dozen other spells later, Ivy finally smiled.

“Well, I guess you can do something with magic after all.”

Harry stared at her, mouth gaping open slightly. This was not how this situation was supposed to go. Granted, he hadn’t really had a plan in the first place, but he knew this wasn’t it.

“So can you teach me?”

That got his attention. “Wait, what?”

“Teach me. Can you teach me magic?”

Harry nodded.

“Great!” Ivy beamed. “Does this mean there are more freaky people than us?”

Harry scowled at that. Nope. This simply wouldn’t do. “We’re not freaky.”

Ivy tilted her head. “But Uncle Vernon always says…”

Harry interrupted her. “We are NOT freaky,” he said again. He wanted to correct her thinking on this as soon as possible. “Look, Vernon and Petunia knew about magic, alright? And they didn’t like it. Maybe it scared them. I know Petunia for one was always jealous of m– of Lily, and so maybe she was jealous of you too, I don’t know. But that means that what they say about magic, or about you isn’t anything you need to pay attention to, okay? Magic is perfectly normal, and there are plenty of people who have magic, like you and me.”

Ivy nodded her head at that, and Harry watched as she seemed to be thinking about what he said.
“So who’s Lily?”

Harry’s eye twitched. It was good he was completely sane, otherwise he would probably have apparated to Privet Drive and burned down Number 4 right then and there. And possibly also Number 10. They had always been terrible people.

Ivy just watched him expectantly, apparently taking this whole leave-with-a-stranger-and-be-introduced-to-magic thing completely in stride. Honestly, he had expected her to freak out a little more by this point.

“Lily was m– was your mum,” Harry said softly.

“Oh.” Ivy’s voice was quiet as well. “Well, that’s a nice name.”

Harry nodded. “It is.”

“Was she a nice person?”

Harry nodded again, barely managing a quiet “yes.”

“And she did magic too?”

“Yes, she had magic.”

Ivy nodded solemnly. “Thank you.”

“For what?” Harry had a pretty good of idea what, but he wished he could be wrong.

“For telling me her name.”

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The next few hours were spent answering questions, talking about magic, and telling Ivy what he could about the wizarding world. He even managed to finally introduce himself after two hours when Ivy reminded him that she didn’t actually know his name yet. He wondered if her being this trusting of him was a good thing. Oh well, he could work with it. She could be as trusting of him as she wanted and he would make sure she was appropriately suspicious of everyone else. It was a great plan.

After mentioning his mum to Ivy, Harry had mildly panicked when the thought came to him that things might be different in this world. Maybe Ivy’s parents weren’t Lily and James. After all, she was clearly not him, so it stood to reason that there would be other differences in this world as well. After that, he tried to stick with the generals regarding the wizarding world that were (hopefully) unlikely to cause too many problems should discrepancies be found.

Harry also began to put together a plan. As lovely as this forest was (even if they hadn’t seen any unicorns yet), they couldn’t very well stay there. Besides, it was getting late and no doubt Ivy would be hungry, though Harry knew from experience that she was most likely quite used to ignoring such feelings.

Essentially, it all came down to the fact they needed money. And to get money they would need to go to Gringotts. Or go rob some muggles. Either way. Thus, Harry began mentally planning how to get money from Gringotts without a key and without antagonizing the entire Goblin nation, as well as where he might take Ivy once they got money.

“Let’s go on a holiday,” he said suddenly, interrupting their lovely conversation on least horrid forms of magical transportation. (Brooms. Definitely brooms)

“I’ve never been on holiday before,” Ivy said slowly.

“Me neither.” And wasn’t that just a sad thought; Savior of the Wizarding World and had never been on holiday, let alone left the country? Very sad indeed. 

“Where should we go?”

Harry paused at that. “Everywhere.”

Ivy grinned, and Harry grinned back. Time to go antagonize meet some goblins.

Chapter Text

Two years, two months, and nineteen days later
“IT’S HEEEEEEEERRE!!!!”

Harry cringed a little as the little menace Ivy ran into the room. There was really no need to ask what had her screaming at the top of her lungs on such an otherwise beautiful Monday morning, but it was only polite, he supposed.

“What’s here exactly, Ives?”

Ivy huffed as she plopped down onto the sofa. “My Hogwarts letter, of course.”

Harry nodded, trying to keep a look of solemn contemplation on his face. “I see. Well, I suppose you want to write them back right away, hmm? I’m sure they’ll understand that you would much rather be homeschooled. So much to be learned from traveling and all.”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Yeah right. I’m going to Hogwarts.”

“Are you sure? Because it’s really not too late to choose somewhere else. I’ve heard lovely things about Castelobruxo, and I know you enjoyed our time in the Amazon.”

Ivy gave him a look that showed just how convincing he was at the moment, and so he resigned himself to a long, drawn-out sigh.

“Fiiiiinne,” he said. “I suppose we’ll have to go back to Gringotts again,” he added under his breath.

Ivy grinned. “Just because you hate going there… Besides, it’s not like it’s going to kill you.”

Harry’s eye twitched. No, a high chance of imminent death wasn’t exactly the problem he had with Gringotts.

Flashback

Harry patted Ivy’s back in what was hopefully a comforting manner. When it was apparent that her stomach was going to retain its contents, he led her by the hand to the main part of the Alley. It looked different from what he remembered, but then again, this was a different universe, and one that hadn’t gone through a second war, so there were bound to be changes. There were a few shops he didn’t remember seeing before, but for the most part the overall layout was the same. And there, exactly as pictured in his memories, stood Gringotts.

Harry could feel Ivy tensing more and more the further they walked down the Alley. He squeezed her hand reassuringly. He had done his best to describe Diagon Alley, and some of the things they would likely see, but he knew no words could possibly be enough.

As they entered Gringotts, Harry briefly wondered how exactly this encounter would go. He doubted he would be able to access any vaults in this world, and they didn’t have Ivy’s key. Perhaps there would be some other way for her to withdraw money from at least her trust vault, but if not he might have to go on a little jaunt around muggle London.

Fifty minutes later:

Harry wasn’t entirely sure what had just happened, and he honestly never wanted to see that many goblins…smiling? grinning? at once. Frankly, they were way more terrifying when they looked so happy. Harry pinched himself just to make sure he was still there.

They had entered the bank and walked up to a teller, but before Harry could open his mouth to say something that would hopefully result in them leaving the bank alive and preferably with money, the Goblin spoke.

“Greetings, Lord Peverell. How may Gringotts assist you today?”

Harry hadn’t quite known what to say to that. He had never seen a goblin acting so…dare he say it…nice.

It only got worse from there. Apparently, the goblins knew all about the whole “Master of Death” thing. They weren’t particularly helpful in explaining what exactly they knew about it, but somehow something about it got Harry a huge vault filled with more galleons than he would possibly need over many lifetimes.

On top of that, he was evidently Lord Peverell in this world. Again, the goblins didn’t seem particularly keen on providing the details of why that was the case, waving it off as something of little consequence. But that came with its own large vault, which held a number of artifacts and an extensive library collection. The goblins had also mentioned something about political influence, but Harry sort of just tuned it out at that point. He figured there was plenty of time for researching the extent of the vault and title later, but right now he really just wanted to get some dinner.

Thankfully he hadn’t actually had to ride the carts down to the vaults. Instead, they had presented him with a nifty little pouch that would only open for him and would allow him to access the money from his vaults easily. He vaguely wondered why he couldn’t have gotten something like that in his own world.

Once the matter of money withdrawals was all set, the goblins had ever so helpfully used a series of legal loopholes to turn guardianship of Ivy over to Harry. It all seemed a little hand-wavy to him, but he was left with the impression that either the goblins of this world were insane, or they really hated someone and were just using him to exact their revenge. He wasn’t quite sure which was worse.

So, the two humans left the bank, one wondering if every magical creature was as nice as the goblins, and the other wondering if nice, helpful goblins were a sign of the end of the world.

End Flashback

The occasional repeat visit to Gringotts tended to yield similar results. The goblins were always exceptionally helpful, providing Harry and Ivy both with specialized services that Harry was certain no other wizard was given access to. And their smiles.

Despite the repeated trauma that was dealing with happy goblins, there were some benefits. Ivy’s eyes had been fixed, as well as most of the residual effects of her time at the Dursleys. The horcrux in Ivy’s scar had been moved into a container and promptly destroyed, and both their scars had been moved to less visible locations since they could not be removed entirely. 

Ivy had made several goblin friends over the course of their unfortunately necessary visits and had even picked up a few words of their language. Harry was frankly too terrified of smiling Goblins to do anything other than walk out as quickly as could be deemed appropriate once he concluded his business there, but Ivy would spend hours chatting away with the goblins while Harry ran other errands. Horcrux hunting did take a bit of time after all.

Harry hadn’t actually managed to get all the horcruxes yet. The diary and diadem were both inaccessible at the moment (considering he’d rather not break into Hogwarts or Malfoy Manor). The goblins had cheerfully taken care of the cup, and Harry had momentarily felt a pang of sympathy for Voldemort when he saw the amount of glee the goblins had while destroying it.

The ring had turned out to the easiest to get and destroy since a few words of parseltongue (and wasn’t THAT a surprise when he found he could speak it again) were enough to take care of the majority of the protections surrounding it.

The locket was a little more difficult in that it involved breaking into Grimmauld place and stealing the locket, all while avoiding being caught in the wards or by Kreacher, but somehow he had managed it. To be honest he had pretty much bulldozed his way into the house, taken the locket, adjusted the memory of the portraits and Kreacher, and hightailed it out of there. There were more Black family members alive than he had known in his time and he didn’t want to risk the possibility of any of them finding out about him or the locket. It wasn’t the most elegant solution but it worked. Hopefully Kreacher would end up a little less crazy too.

And then of course there was the one in Ivy herself, which had been taken care of straight away. Nagini hadn’t been a horcrux until later on in Harry’s own world, but he figured he could probably kill the snake if he came across it anyway just for safe measure.

So, all in all, four down, two to go. Not too bad.

Wary of the happy goblins and slightly fearful of the supposed political influence they kept mentioning (it was almost as if they wanted him to get involved in politics or something), Harry had decided that leaving the country was a spectacular idea, and so, after a few horcruxes had been taken care of, they set off for an extended trip around the world. They moved around from place to place, taking their time and exploring parts of both the magical and mundane world. At first, Harry had worried about Ivy needing a “stable home environment” or something like that, not that he had much experience with knowing what that looked like, but with every new place they went her confidence grew and the smiles became more common, so he figured things were fine the way they were. She picked up on new things quickly, and Harry tried his best to teach her what he could in regards to typical muggle school subjects as well as magic and the wizarding world.

His greatest mistake was not immediately enrolling her at one of the other wizarding schools in the world. Not that he had anything against Hogwarts per se, it had been his first real home after all, but Ivy going to Hogwarts would mean he would be forced to stay in Britain. Harry knew for sure he would somehow be cajoled into getting involved in British wizarding affairs by the goblins, Ivy, or both. The goblins would use their creepy smiles to try and get him involved politically, and Ivy would try and sweet talk him into either saving or taking over wizarding Britain. It was a bit of a toss-up, really.

But, everyone makes mistakes, so now Harry had to deal with an incredibly excited almost-eleven-year-old who had been officially accepted into Hogwarts, which also meant that Lord Henry Peverell was going to have to be officially introduced into British wizarding society. Joy.

Flashback

“What do you mean Henry? My name is Harry.”

“I apologize Lord Peverell, but legally your name is now Henry James Peverell.”

“But why Henry?”

“Well ‘Harry’ and ‘Peverell’ don’t exactly go together, now, do they?”

Harry, or Henry, as he was supposedly named now, blinked. THAT was the reason? He turned towards Ivy, who was nodding solemnly.

“They don’t go together,” she said, repeating the goblin’s words.

Harry ended up with a particularly lovely bruise on his forehead from repeatedly banging his head on the steel table. At least the goblin wasn’t grinning, he thought, as he suppressed a shudder.

End Flashback

“Sooo…” Ivy drawled. “The Alley?”

“Yes, yes, we’ll go to the Alley.”

“And Gringotts?”

“And Gringotts,” Harry muttered.

“So when do we leave? Today?”

Harry grinned. “I have an international portkey scheduled for the 30th so you’ll just have to wait for then.”

Ivy pouted, but Harry wasn’t swayed. He was going to enjoy his last few remaining days of freedom, er… holiday… as much as he could. He had planned this out six weeks ago when they first arrived in Istanbul, knowing Ivy was going to want to leave as soon as her letter came. If he hadn't already had a plan she would have found a way to talk him into leaving early. Nope. Wasn’t going to happen. He was prepared! Harry: 1, Ivy: well, that’s really not important.

Chapter Text

August 1st, 1991

Ivy practically skipped as she made her way through the busy alley. Everything was going according to plan. Someone had found out that the young, reclusive, and extremely eligible Lord Peverell was going to be in Diagon Alley today. So naturally, practically every witch in England was there as well, and Ivy was taking full advantage of the situation. Of course it was a situation primarily of her own making, seeing as she had been the one to leak the news in the first place, but that was neither here nor there. She fully expected to have at least an hour or two before Harry managed to get away from his, *ahem*, “suitors.”

Harry had the until Ivy graduated to find someone and get married, otherwise she was going to find someone for him. She hadn’t bothered to tell him that bit of information, but she figured she’s let him have a little time to try on his own. This was really just a gentle nudge in the right direction. She was truly being very nice about it. She could have sent tips to the international press, but she didn’t. See? Perfect angel.

Ivy headed into Madame Malkin’s. Of all her errands, this was by far the one she preferred to do on her own. Harry had a terrible sense of fashion (at least in her opinion), so even if it was just school robes she preferred to get it done herself.

“Hogwarts, dear?”

Ivy was greeted by a pleasant looking witch. Ivy nodded.

“Got the lot here – another young man being fitted up just now, in fact.”

Madame Malkin led Ivy over to a stool and began taking measurements.

“Hello, Hogwarts too?”

Ivy turned to face the voice. It belonged to a blond-haired boy that appeared to be around her age.

“Yes,” said Ivy.

“My father’s next door buying books and Mother’s up the street looking at wands.”

Uncertain if he was expecting her to offer up similar information, Ivy said, “My uncle’s probably getting chased through the alley by a bunch of witches right now.”

The boy gave her a curious look. “Who is your uncle and why would witches chase him?”

Ivy shrugged. “Henry Peverell.” The boy suddenly looked like he was managing to choke on air. “Apparently he’s ‘eligible’ or something like that.”

The boy nodded. “So, know what House you’ll be in yet?”

“No.” Ivy knew what house she wanted to be in, but she had yet to find out how her stubbornness matched up to the sorting hat.

“Well, no one really knows until they get there, do they, but I know I’ll be in Slytherin, all our family have been – imagine being in Hufflepuff, I think I’d leave, wouldn’t you?”

Ivy hummed. “No, I think Hufflepuff would be rather nice.” The boy looked rather put out at that statement. “I mean, just imagine what you could get away with? No one would suspect a Hufflepuff.”

The boy clearly did not know what to say to that, and so the next few minutes passed in silence. Finally Ivy was finished and was allowed off the stool. As she made her way to the door, the boy called out, “What’s your name, anyway?”

Ivy glanced back and said, “oh, I’m Ivy Potter.” And with that she exited the shop.

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Harry was having a terrible day. He wasn’t sure how all these people knew who he was or that he was going to be here today, but he’d put money on Ivy having something to do with it, somehow. He briefly wondered if he could use the Elder Wand to cast a blanket obliviate over all of Britain, but that might be taking things a bit too far.

Ivy of course was nowhere to be seen, which was just another indication that she had had something to do with this mess. Harry mentally ticked off the list of errands for the day, trying to narrow down which ones she would most likely have wanted to do herself. Getting a wand, perhaps, possibly school robes, and maybe a pet. Knowing her she’d probably end up with a miniature dragon or something. Honestly, she was almost as bad as Hagrid had been when it came to animals. At least she preferred small ones, even if they did tend to be deadly.

Seeing as there were no people running out of shops screaming, Harry figured a wand and a pet had yet to be procured, and so, made his way towards Madame Malkin’s. He had almost reached the shop when he saw the future terror savior of the wizarding world step out. Upon seeing the glare Harry was leveling in her direction, Ivy grinned and shrugged.

After questioning Ivy and determining that she had done nothing worse than possibly prank Draco Malfoy (which was something he could get behind 100 percent), they set off together to finish their errands. One slightly creepy, and possibly somewhat omniscient wandmaker coming up. Harry hoped it didn’t turn into some kind of awkward conversation about his current wand or identity or Master of Death status. Oh, who was he kidding, of course it would.

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It was.

At least Ollivander’s grin wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the Goblins’. Still, Harry had been called “Mister Potter” and had been left with no question in his mind that Ollivander knew way too much about him and was suspiciously excited about something.

Harry had shuffled Ivy out of there as quickly as he could, which wasn’t all that fast considering it took 147 wands before she found the right one. And it wasn’t even the holly wood, phoenix feather wand that Harry had had in his own world. She had tried it (wand attempt number 38), after Ollivander’s little speech that sent shivers down Harry’s spine as he remembered it from his own experience. The wand had promptly burst into flames, however. Burned. Gone. The next 90 seconds had been extremely awkward, but then the wandmaker had simply retrieved another wand and continued the process. Harry wasn’t entirely sure what to make of the situation, but he would reflect on the possible significance another time.

The wand Ivy did end up with was a whole other mystery. It wasn’t even one that Ollivander had made, and it had apparently been sitting in his shop longer than he had. It had both two woods and two cores. Alder and Applewood for the woods, and a Thunderbird tail feather and Horned Serpent horn for the cores. Harry, not actually knowing much about wands, decided that he had best do a little research into wandlore, since Ollivander seemed way too giddy for there not to be some significance in the rather odd sounding wand.

Finally, there was only one errand left. A pet for Ivy. Harry felt his heart clench at the thought of seeing Hedwig again. He didn’t want to pressure Ivy into choosing her necessarily, but… No. If they found Hedwig, she was coming with them. End of story.

And find her they did. It was actually Ivy that spotted her first, and Harry could hardly hold still as they paid the shopkeeper. Of course, that’s when Ivy spotted an “absolutely adorable” European asp that just “had to come with her,” never mind the fact that snakes weren’t technically allowed at Hogwarts, or the fact that being a magical variety of snake it had significantly deadlier venom.

It took Harry a moment to get over the fact that Ivy was literally cooing at the snake. Well, to be fair, it wasn’t like they came across snakes all the time. Still, he was mildly surprised at the whole Parseltongue thing. He hadn’t even checked to see if Ivy could speak or not. Honestly it had rather just slipped his mind. Oh well. One more thing to contemplate. Anything to avoid flirting witches, political responsibility or scheming goblins, really.

After somewhat insincerely lecturing Ivy on how she couldn’t bring a snake to Hogwarts, and completely failing to convince her (though his reasoning hardly even convinced himself, knowing how little that rule was ever actually enforced), they left the shop, one owl and one snake in tow.

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Later that evening, back in the relative safety (meaning private and warded with everything he could think of) of their new residence, Harry thought back on the events of the day, and came to a few conclusions.

One, he would need to retrieve the diadem out of Hogwarts as soon as possible. And maybe deal with the basilisk. No telling how long the castle would actually remain standing once Ivy got there.

Two, he had a lot of research to do. He had spent the last couple years traveling and ignoring all the hints the goblins kept giving him about political power. Well, he was stuck back in Britain for the next ten months, so he might as well look into it. And who knows, maybe it would be fun. He scoffed at that particular thought, remembering his previous encounters with politicians. Well, maybe he could find a way to make it fun. *cough* wreak havoc *cough*. He wouldn’t want to be bored, after all.

Third, he really needed to figure out this whole Master of Death thing. So far the goblins and Ollivander had been the only ones to give any hint as to knowing what that was, but they hadn’t exactly explained anything to him. But honestly, where was he supposed to look for information like that? It’s not like he could Google it. Not to mention the fact that Google wasn’t even out yet.

Finally, he needed to find one sane person to talk with. Harry considered himself a sane person (most of the time), but was it really too much to ask to find one other sane magical person in Britain? He really missed South America sometimes. Maybe he could convince Ivy that they should visit over Christmas. Yes, good plan.

But back to his problem of social interaction. He needed someone. The problem was, all the people he would have gone to before were kids now, or were people that he honestly had no desire to see. How do you talk to someone you know really well when they have no idea who you are? It’s not like you can start up a conversation by saying, “oh hi, yes I knew you nine years from now in another universe. Terrible weather we’re having, isn’t it?”

He also needed to find someone because if he didn’t Ivy would find someone for him. Or worse, she’d try to get him to go on a date. She had done it before, and he was never setting foot in Montréal again as long as he lived, no matter what universe he found himself in, thank you very much.

Well, he could wait another day.

Chapter Text

Draco wasn’t sure what to think. The girl he had met was Ivy Potter? Defeater of the Dark Lord Ivy Potter? And she thought Hufflepuff would be a good House to be in? Her reasoning did make some amount of sense, but still. Hufflepuff. Draco wasn’t sure being able to get away with things was a good enough reason to stick it out in Hufflepuff for seven years. 

“Well. Draco? What do you think of your new wand? Do you feel ready for Hogwarts?”

Draco wanted to roll his eyes but refrained. He was trying to prove he was ready to go to school, and acting childishly would not help his efforts. So he simply smiled at his mother and said, “yes, I am quite looking forward to it. And my wand is great.”

His mother smiled back at him. He knew she wasn’t nearly as thrilled about him going to school as he was. These were the type of rare moments when he wished he had a younger sibling so there was someone else for her to dote on. Just not too much. 

“Mother…” Draco wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to tell her about his earlier encounter. 

“Yes, darling?”

“I met someone today in the Alley.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. I met a girl.” His mother smiled. “Wait no, not like that.” Draco felt his face heat up a bit.

“What was this girl’s name?”

“Ivy Potter.” 

Next to his mother, his father just barely managed to not spew his wine across the table. The only indication of his mother’s surprise was a slightly raised eyebrow. 

“And what were your thoughts on Miss Potter?,” his mother asked, as his father regained his composure. 

Draco thought for a moment. “She said she thought Hufflepuff would be a nice House to be in.”

He thought he saw his father’s eye twitch just slightly, as his mother calmly replied, “well, Hufflepuff is certainly an interesting choice. There are many respectable witches and wizards who have come out of Hufflepuff. I’m sure she will be a credit to her House should she end up there.”

Draco did his best to convey an entirely unimpressed look. “She said Hufflepuff would be nice because no one would suspect a Hufflepuff and you would be able to get away with a lot.”

“Well I suppose there could be some truth to that…” Really. His mother was not helping at all. 

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August 31, 1991

Albus Dumbledore was not having a good day. It was the day before the students were set to arrive, and he still had no word regarding Ivy Potter. Sure, she had sent her acceptance to enroll at Hogwarts, but that had been it. He couldn’t find her, no one had heard anything or seen her anywhere, and the goblins weren’t exactly helpful, so he had no idea if she had visited Gringotts or not. 

Everything had gone downhill from the time Ivy Potter went missing, though in reality it had started with his wand. One day his wand, the Elder Wand, had given out. Sure, it was still a wand and still responded to him, but it lacked the same type of power he had grown accustomed to. Four days later he had found out that Ivy Potter was missing from the Dursleys. Arabella hadn’t known precisely what day she had gone missing, but it couldn’t have been more than a couple days. 

He couldn’t exactly get the ministry involved in finding Ivy, since that would mean revealing that he had not-so-legally placed her at the Dursleys in the first place. Then he had been informed that someone had taken over guardianship of Ivy Potter, and he still hadn’t been able to get the name of her guardian. Normally he would be able to find information like that easily, but since he couldn’t afford to go through normal ministry channels… 

He had watched the spelled quill fill out the Hogwarts letters, but no address had appeared on hers. Just her name. The quill had struggled for a moment, but had eventually moved on to the next letter. Albus had taken that to mean that she was behind some fairly serious wards, which was a good indication that she was safe, at least. Albus could only pray that she would arrive tomorrow at Hogwarts, safe and sound. 

If she was living somewhere with wards as strong as that, it was also likely that she was already aware of the wizarding world, and thus he wouldn’t need to worry about sending someone to introduce her like he had to for muggleborns. 

It was a shame, though. He would have liked to have had an opportunity to gauge her reactions to the wizarding world and help instill proper values and all. She would undoubtedly be seen as a symbol of the light, and he needed to ensure that she followed that path well. 

Still, tomorrow she would (hopefully) be at Hogwarts, and his work could begin. Regardless of who her guardian turned out to be, Albus was sure he would be able to adequately influence her over the school year. The invisibility cloak he had intended to give her had been recalled by the goblins, so he would need to find something else to encourage her with. Maybe providing some other type of memorabilia of her parents? She would certainly be interested in that. No matter, she would be here tomorrow and his plans could begin. 

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September 2, 1991

Harry paced back and forth. Today was the day. Well, technically yesterday was the day, but today was the day he would find out what house Ivy had been sorted into. Hopefully it wouldn’t make much of a difference what house she was sorted into. She would do well anywhere, and make friends, and have a distinct lack of dark lords trying to kill her, and all would be well. 

Speaking of dark lords, he had nearly forgotten about Quirrellmort. He should probably take care of that.

But back to the important matter at hand. Harry didn’t particularly care what house Ivy ended up in, but he had concerns about each of them. She could end up in Gryffindor like he had been. But Harry knew what the Gryffindors were like. He had been one, and he doubted whether there were too many differences between the other Gryffindors in his world and the Gryffindors in this one. On the one hand, Ivy might end up being friends with Ron and Hermione like he had been. Harry knew that her life would not end up the same as his (that was kind of the whole point of this, after all), but the thought that she could have the same good friends he had had was a nice one. On the other hand, Gryffindor might encourage Ivy’s…adventurous tendencies. Plus there were the Weasley twins. Harry had no doubt that Ivy would somehow get them involved. Hopefully Hogwarts would be left standing by the end. 

Then there was Ravenclaw. That seemed like the least likely house to Harry. Sure, Ivy was smart, but she tended to be an act first and research what went wrong later sort of person. He had no idea where that had come from. Plus in Ravenclaw there was a good possibility that she’d be bored. And a bored Ivy was not a good thing. The Montréal incident was a fine example of that. 

Ah, Hufflepuff. The house Ivy claimed to want to be in. Harry had no doubt that she’d have at least tried to talk the hat into it. It would probably have come down to who was more stubborn. Most Hufflepuffs were nice when they didn’t think you were a traitor to wizarding-kind, so Harry could see that turning out well. As per his request as the supportive, yet reasonable parental figure he was, she had agreed to keep all her plans for world domination strictly theoretical, so Harry wasn’t too worried about her suddenly taking over with an army of loyal Hufflepuff minions or anything. Not at all. That’s the beauty of ignoring that little niggling in the back of your mind and shoving it into the furthest recesses of your brain so you don’t have to think about the possibility of the mini you you’re trying to raise suddenly taking over the wo… Yep. No worries whatsoever. 

Last but not least was Slytherin. Harry was fully prepared for an Ivy in Slytherin. Besides the fact that most people would be shocked (not that Ivy would particularly mind), there was a chance that some of the other Slytherins would be upset, what with the whole kill-the-dark-lord-as-a-baby thing. After confirming that Ivy was a parselmouth, Harry had taught her Serpensortia, stressing that it was for emergencies only. Same went with sticking Tiger on anyone. The highly venomous snake (that she had named Tiger of all things - it didn’t even have proper stripes) was only allowed to attack people in case of Ivy’s imminent death. And no, someone being stupid is not a good enough reason to stick a snake on them. Imminent death.

And then there was Snape. If Ivy did end up in Slytherin Harry was going to invest in a pensieve just to catch a glimpse of the look on Snape’s face at the pronouncement. Harry idly wondered what Sirius would have thought had he been in Slytherin…

SIRIUS! 

That’s it. Harry was the worst godson-from-another-universe ever. 

First Quirrellmort and now Sirius. Harry felt like he was failing in spectacular fashion. 

After what seemed like an eternity (it was almost lunchtime for Merlin’s sake), a school owl finally came into view with the expected letter, brushing aside his nearly overwhelming feelings of guilt about having forgotten about his, well technically Ivy’s, godfather for the past couple years. Harry eagerly accepted the letter, presented the owl with a plate of bacon, ignored Hedwig’s glare in his direction, and began reading. He skimmed through the first few lines, knowing he wouldn’t be able to focus on anything else the letter contained until he knew the outcome of the sorting. Ah, there it was. 

Slytherin. 

Satisfied with that bit of knowledge, Harry went back and began reading the letter more carefully. Met some people on the train… good, good. Oh, the Headmaster asked to speak with her after the feast, well no surprise there. Harry had certainly been in that office enough times during his own school years. Asking for a large box of chocolate for…Snape? Huh? Harry reread that part a few times.

My new head of house, Professor Snape, seemed really upset last night. He looked sort of grumpy and worried all at the same time. Could you please send me a large box of chocolates so I can give it to him? Maybe the ones with the exploding strawberry bits. Those are my favorite and they make everything better. 

Sure, until she gets a sugar high and runs around for an hour screaming naming the way each species of dragon is most likely to kill you. Surprisingly it’s not all death by fire. 

Well, that was an interesting take on Snape. Harry wasn’t sure Snape would actually appreciate a box of exploding chocolates from his new student, but maybe it’d be worth it just to get a pensieve memory later…

Harry continued reading until he came to what would forever be known as the paragraph.

I miss you, and I hope you’re not too lonely while I’m gone. 

Well that was sweet of her. He missed her too. 

Maybe you should be friends with Professor Snape. 

Ah. There it was. 

This morning at breakfast I was talking to Draco, and he came up to us and his eyes were doing the same twitch thing that yours do.

Harry resisted twitching his eye at that. He had impressive muscle control at this point.

I think the two of you would get along very well.

Not likely, but by all means, continue.

Oh and speaking of friends, I met Draco again on the train,

Wait, again? Oh, that’s right, she had met him getting robes like he had.

He was very nice and I think we will be best friends. There was another girl, Pansy, who said she was his best friend, and I said we could all be best friends. She didn’t seem very happy about that. Maybe she doesn’t want more friends. I thought everyone likes more friends, but maybe she’s just shy. 

Harry actually snorted at that. 

I met a lot more people on the train and last night, and I think I made a couple other friends too. How many best friends can you have? So far I think I have three. Maybe four if Pansy wants to be friends. But either way I have Draco, and then the two other boys I met. Their names are Fred and George. 

Harry froze. No, no, no, abort, find a time turner, this was not happening… 

They were really nice. Aren’t they the ones you said would be able to find me anytime? That seems like a good thing for friends to be able to do. 

In his defense, Harry had told Ivy not to sneak around or do anything reckless because Dumbledore, Snape, and the Weasleys would always be able to find her. That had obviously backfired. 

Anyway, they asked me what house I wanted to be in, and I said Hufflepuff because I could get away with anything, and they thought that was really funny. Today on the way to breakfast they found Draco and I and helped us get there. They were really nice and said that they were looking forward to having friends in the snake house. Draco said they weren’t friends, but I think he was just hungry. 

Oh Ivy…

So if all three of them are my best friends, can I still have more? There were a few other people I met that were

Here it was scratched out, but Harry could make out something that looked vaguely like…cut? Huh. Wonder what that was. 

really nice. Like this one boy named Neville. He’s in Gryffindor too. He said he likes plants, so I lent him my copy of 101 Venomous Vines of Venezuela. He looked excited. 

Harry had definitely not seen that book in her trunk. He wondered if she had taken any other books with her that could be potentially used for chaos. Harry chose not to think on that any longer, choosing instead to focus on the fact that Ivy had potentially made friends with Neville. Hopefully that friendship continue to grow. It would be good for both of them. If Neville was anything like the Neville he had known, then being around Ivy could help him raise his confidence. And hopefully being around Neville would tone down some of Ivy’s…plots. Harry was choosing to be extremely optimistic about the situation instead of worrying about the fact that a Slytherin Ivy had made friends with the Weasley twins on her very first day. And Malfoy… Well maybe he wasn’t such a prat in this world. If he was, Ivy would show him the error of his ways soon enough, and that was comfort enough for Harry. 

Chapter Text

September 5, 1991

Albus Dumbledore had held many titles over the years, but the title of headmaster was by far the most important, he thought, as he surveyed the students coming into the Great Hall for breakfast. He chuckled a little at the sight of first years dragging their feet to their house tables. The morning after the first astronomy lesson of the year was always the same. Despite countless warnings from older students and teachers that they really ought to take a nap beforehand, most eleven year olds resented any comparison (real or imagined) to the little children they were trying so hard to prove they were not. Thus, the first Thursday breakfast of the year was almost inevitably filled with tired first years, smirking older years (especially those with first year siblings), and a table of amused professors. Even Severus rolled his eyes good-naturedly at the scene (though it was perhaps directed more towards the other members of the staff than anything). Albus chuckled again at that thought, then turned his mind back to the satisfaction that was his position as headmaster. 

Yes, his other titles and responsibilities were important, but none compared to this. Teaching had long been his preferred occupation, and his role as headmaster had only increased his ability to help shape the young minds of their world, even if he sometimes missed teaching the students so directly. If it came down to it, Albus knew without a doubt that he would give up his other positions in an instant if it meant restringing his position as headmaster. The political responsibilities he held gave him ample opportunity to oversee the direction of the wizarding world, and help guide the populace towards the light side of magic, but there he was always dealing with adults who more often than not proved to be stubborn and unyielding in their opinions. Here, at least, he was given the opportunity to help shape those opinions. The young students he oversaw could be taught and molded into great witches and wizards. 

The fact that most of the stubborn adults he mentally complained about had been his students as well at one time or another wasn’t particularly relevant to this line of thought. He would surely be able to sway these children, even if he hadn’t been able to sway their parents, and the wizarding world would be better for it. 

His musings were interrupted by the arrival of dozens of owls bringing the morning’s mail. A beautiful snowy owl caught his eye, and he watched as it landed gracefully next to Ivy Potter, accepting a piece of something as she untied the letter it had brought. The bird was certainly an uncommon breed for these parts, and Albus wondered who had sent Ivy a letter with such a majestic looking bird. Perhaps it was her mysterious guardian. 

Albus had so far been unable to learn anything about Ivy Potter’s guardian. Ever since she had gone missing from the Dursleys he had been searching for the girl, but to no avail. Upon her arrival at Hogwarts, however, he had discovered one possible reason for his failure. Where he had been expecting a girl with a lightning scar and glasses, Ivy had shown up without either, making his descriptions to trusted witches and wizards secretly aiding in his search rather useless. 

As headmaster, he had fully expected to be automatically made magical guardian of Ivy Potter once she arrived at Hogwarts, as was done with all muggleborn (or muggle-raised) students. Here again he was foiled, but it did at least inform him that whoever Ivy had been with the last couple years did have actual guardianship rights. It would be difficult to change that, even if he did know who exactly held her guardianship, but if it became necessary Albus was sure he could find a way to do so. 

He sighed. Ivy being sorted into Slytherin had done nothing to assuage his fears over Ivy’s guardianship situation, or his necessary plans at preparing her for her eventual role. It would have even much simpler if he could have began with a fresh slate. A young witch with no magical background, entranced by this newly discovered world and hitherto unknown knowledge of her parents and their noble sacrifice… But alas, he now had to prepare himself for the possibility that she had grown just as prejudiced as the majority of her house. It was unlikely that she had been exposed to too much dark magic in such a relatively short time and at such a young age, but then again he had seen plenty of students enter Hogwarts in the past with more knowledge of the dark arts than anyone should have in their lifetime. He would have to keep a careful eye on Ivy Potter. 

And all of this because a mysterious stranger had stolen her away from the safety of the home he had so carefully placed her in. 

He was by no means the only one with concerns over Ivy’s sorting. Minerva had been quite shocked at first, but had immediately leapt to the conclusion that it was somehow Albus’s fault for leaving Ivy at the Dursleys all those years ago. He wasn’t quite sure how she had arrived at that opinion, but he did his best to ease her concerns. No need to risk accidentally antagonizing his Deputy so early in the term after all. 

Severus had been quite another matter altogether. In a different set of circumstances the look on the boy’s face when the hat announced the child of his best friend and greatest rival had been sorted into his own house would have been amusing. As it was, it was merely one more thing to sigh about. Severus had of course sworn to protect the child, but Albus worried that with the increased interaction that would inevitably result from his being her head of house, Severus might see the girl more as the daughter of the friend he lost and less as the daughter of the man he despised. Albus wanted him to protect Ivy, but he couldn’t risk Severus actually caring about her. It would make it that much more difficult to convince Severus to return to spying once Voldemort returned. And if Severus were to try to interfere with his plans for Ivy? No, Albus needed his spy, and he needed to keep Severus from growing close to the girl. No doubt some subtle reminders that she was James’ daughter would do the trick. 

The reactions of the rest of the staff had been mixed but lacking in the same type of emotional response as his two heads of house. Of course Hagrid had been a little emotional about Ivy being there in the first place, but he hadn’t said anything about the girl’s sorting. Oh how Albus wished he had been able to adhere to his original plan and have Hagrid introduce Ivy to the wizarding world. It would have made so many things easier and Hagrid would no doubt have done a very good job at dissuading Ivy from considering Slytherin as an acceptable house. But what was done was done, and it did not do to dwell on regrets. Now was the time to gather new information, and adjust his plans accordingly. After a century of planning Albus liked to think that he had gotten fairly good at it. 

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Ivy finished scanning her letter just as two red heads plopped down on either side of her. 

“Hello, Fred, George,” she said. “What are you two doing over here?”

Draco looked liked he was about to jump in with some sort of insult, but she just pushed a piece of toast into his face. He was always so grumpy when he was hungry, and it seemed like he was nearly always hungry. Didn’t the boy eat enough? Maybe not. That could explain why he was grumpy all the time. Especially around the Gryffindors. Ivy had heard somewhere that the color red made you more hungry. That explained it then. 

“We just came to…”

“See our favorite…”

“Slytherin of course.”

“And Draco,” she added. 

“Of course,” the twins said together, giving Draco a smile that seemed to unnerve him. Weird. Didn’t he know that people smiled to make you happy? Why did he look panicked? 

“So how are you kids…” 

“Surviving your first day…” 

“After astronomy?”

“It’s alright. Draco didn’t want to take a nap beforehand though so we’re really tired.” A yawn punctuated the end of her sentence, reaffirming that statement. 

“Of course not! I’m not a baby.” Draco grew quieter, as if realizing just who he was talking to. Ivy didn’t understand why he was so reluctant to talk to the twins. They were so nice. 

Ivy rolled her eyes. “You don’t have to be a baby to take naps, you know. Uncle Henry says it’s one of life’s greatest gifts, to be able to fall asleep whenever you want.” 

“Ah, the mysterious Uncle.” 

“What other wise words has he shared with you?” 

“Well I told him all about all of you and how I made friends.”

Ivy didn’t notice the way all three boys tensed up slightly, although for different reasons. 

“Wait, what did you tell him,” Draco asked. He wanted to know that he was being accurately portrayed to someone as prestigious as Lord Peverell. 

“I told him I met the three of you and that I thought you would be my best friends. I also asked him how many best friends I could have and he said as many as I wanted to. He also said it was a great idea to make fiends in different houses, and that I should keep making as many friends as I could. He wrote something about finding nice kids that I can study quietly with but I’m not really sure what he meant. Oh, and he said that you two would always be able to find me, but he didn’t tell me how you could do that.” Ivy looked at each twin in turn. “So how can you find me? It some sort of charm? Do you think you could teach me?”

Ivy missed the look of slight panic that flashed over both boys’ faces before they were able to choke out an answer.

“‘S not a charm,” the one she was pretty sure was Fred muttered. 

“We just know Hogwarts really well,” said probably-George.

“And we’re really good…”

“At finding people.”

Draco looked unimpressed. “You’re only third years. You can’t possibly know the school better than all the older students. And why would you be able to find people so easily?”

If Ivy had been able to read the minds of the twins (or even their facial expressions a little better) she would have seen the alarms blaring red in their brains as they tried to come up with an excuse. 

“Magic,” said George. Man was this going to be awkward if she was mixing up two of her best friends. 

“Motivation,” said Fred at the same time. And with that they both rose quickly and left the great hall, presumably to head to class or something. Good for them for being so responsible and getting to class early. 

Draco sighed, and then sighed again when Ivy didn’t respond to his first one. “Why do they have to sit with us here,” he said. “They have their own table over there.” He gestured to the (much louder) Gryffindor table on the other side of the hall.

“Because they were being nice and coming and saying good morning. It’s a nice thing to do with friends, you know.” 

“But they’re not my friends.”

“Well they’re my friends, and you’re my friend, so you might as well be friends.” 

Draco opened his mouth to reply but suddenly Pansy was there and Draco was sufficiently distracted. Pansy smirked at Ivy, who smiled back. Pansy didn’t look quite as happy then. Ivy wasn’t sure why. Wasn’t she happy that Ivy had noticed how nice Pansy was being by distracting Draco from his grumpiness? Oh well. She could thank Pansy later. Time for class.

Chapter Text

September 6, 1991

Draco hadn’t stopped beaming all morning. Today was their first day of potions. It was the class he had been most looking forward to, and since his godfather was the teacher it was obviously the best one. Ivy hadn’t been excited for it at all at first, which Draco did not understand one bit. He had asked her why, and she had asked, “isn’t it a bit like cooking?” 

He had sputtered, and said that of course it wasn’t, and then for some reason she had seemed much happier about their upcoming class. Draco wasn’t sure what cooking had to do with anything, or why she would have thought potions was in any way similar (as if he would like something that resembled something as tedious as cooking), but she seemed to have finally realized that potions was the best, so he was satisfied. 

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Ivy went over the things she knew about potions in her head. Henry claimed to not be very good at potions, but he had taught her a few things. Most of all, though, he had drilled into her mind three facts that he said were very important to know about potions. She wasn’t quite sure why, and when she had asked he hadn’t been able to come up with a good response, only saying that it was very important that she knew those three things. So, being the perfect little angel of chaos that she was, she diligently recited the answers to herself all the way to potions class. 

Upon arrival in the dungeon classroom, Pansy had immediately claimed the seat by Draco, so Ivy sat down next to Neville and began asking how he was liking the book she had lent him. At first he had been shy and slow to respond, but upon seeing that Ivy was genuine in her question he seemed to calm down and they began discussing a few of the more vicious of the vines in the book. Ivy was impressed that Neville had read so much of it already. Sure, learning about deadly plants was awesome, but still it had taken her like a month to read that book and here he had had it for a few days and was almost finished. And he remembered little details about nearly every single one. 

Once Professor Snape entered the room, however, the noise quieted to the point where you could have heard a fly sneeze. Which turned out to be a good thing, since the professor was speaking barely above a whisper. 

“Potter!” Even though she had been paying close attention Ivy was still a little startled at the sudden calling of her name.

“Yes, Professor?” 

“What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?”

Oh this was perfect. Just what she had been mentally reciting. “Draught of Living Death, sir.”

The only indication of the professor’s surprise was a slight raising of one eyebrow. “And where would you look if I told you to find me a bezoar?” 

Two for two. This was going great. Ivy guessed that maybe Henry really did know what he was talking about. “The stomach of a goat, sir.” 

Professor Snape gave an almost imperceptible nod, then dropped his voice to its previous volume and asked, “And what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?” 

Three for three. How had Henry known she would need to know this? Had he been asked these same questions? That would make sense. Was this the standard potions introduction then? “It’s the same plant, sir, also called aconite.”

Professor Snape looked at her for a moment, then nodded. “Very good. Five points to Slytherin.” 

Ivy heard a small huff to her left but didn’t too closely at who had made it. Her professor was still looking her in the eye. 

“Tell me, Potter, where did you learn the answers to those questions?” 

Ivy was slightly confused, because weren’t these things she was supposed to know and remember and foR MERLIN’S SAKE DON’T EVER FORGET? At least that’s how Henry had made it seem. 

“My uncle told me I needed to learn those things, and make sure I didn’t forget the answers.” 

Professor Snape looked shocked for a moment, but quickly recovered and said, “Your…uncle? And what, pray tell, did your uncle teach you about potions?” 

“Oh not much, sir. He said he wasn’t very good at it and that I would be much better off just waiting until I came here so I could learn from someone who actually knew what they were doing. He just taught me those three questions and told me to remember the answers.” 

The professor paled a bit, though it went unnoticed by the majority of the students. “And what is your uncle’s name?” he asked softly. 

“Henry Peverell.”

Snape paled further, though thankfully for him most of the eleven year olds currently occupying the room were unable to recognize any change. 

The lesson proceeded as normal after that. Well, as close to normal as Ivy assumed it was likely to be. This was her first potions lesson, after all, so she didn’t have much to compare it to. 

Things were going fairly well, until a boy behind him had a cauldron blow up, and Neville stuck something in their cauldron that must not have been right, because theirs started melting and spewing something that looked not at all like what the description on the board said. The Professor was there in an instant, berating both boys and then Ivy for…something. Ivy wasn’t really paying attention. She was much more focused on trying to avoid the spilled potion mishap that seemed determined to eat whatever it touched. 

“-ter. POTTER ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?”

Ivy jerked her head up at that. She hadn’t been listening, but somehow it didn’t seem wise to tell her teacher that. 

Professor Snape kept going, and she stopped paying attention again, though she did manage to catch the last part.

“-be you should have been in Hufflepuff. I…”

“That’s what I said!” Ivy blurted out, interrupting whatever else Professor Snape was about to yell say.

He stopped mid-rant, and just stared at her unblinking. She vaguely noticed that the rest of the room was looking at her, minus Neville who was whimpering at the boils covering his face and hand. 

After what seemed to be an unnecessarily long time for everyone to keep staring at her, Professor Snape took a deep breath, like Henry did sometimes when his eye had twitched too much and he needed some other way of expressing emotion, and said, “Potter, take Longbottom to the hospital wing. NOW.” 

Ivy glanced briefly at Draco, who just shrugged, then grabbed Neville’s unhurt hand and her things, leaving a still silent group of students staring at them as they exited. 

Well at least potions had been interesting. It beat out History of Magic for sure. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 12, 1991

Today was going to be the best day. Today was the first flying lesson of the year. Henry had already taught Ivy how to fly, of course. It was part of his ongoing attempt to prove how awesome quidditch was. It wasn’t that Ivy hated it or anything, she just wasn’t that into it. Henry assured her that it was just a temporary apathy towards the sport, and that she was sure to enjoy it once she got to Hogwarts. Regardless, Ivy did love flying, and today was her first chance to do that since she had arrived at school. 

Draco had been complaining for four days now about how unfair it was that first years weren’t allowed brooms of their own. Even Pansy had seemed to be annoyed at him. Even Greg and Vincent seemed annoyed at this point, and in the twelve days Ivy had known them they hadn’t so much as twitched an eye at anything. Finally, taking pity on the entirety of Hogwarts, Ivy had asked Draco, “well if first years aren’t allowed a broom, maybe it’s for a reason? Maybe someone died or something. Or maybe something else horrible happened and now they’re being cautious so no one gets hurt.”

That had shut Draco up for a single afternoon until he had gone on an impulsive library research spree and discovered that the reason behind the ban on brooms was actually a bunch of first years a couple decades back who had brought brooms to school, tried to go for a leisurely fly around the lake, and then ended up in the lake because none of them knew how to fly properly. Apparently the giant squid in the lake had been involved somehow. Ivy kind of tuned it out as soon as Draco launched back into his rant about the unfairness of the rule. 

But today was flying day, so Draco would hopefully be happy about that as much as she was. It was also just as likely that he would spend the entire lesson complaining about the quality of the brooms they were using or something as equally pointless as that, but Ivy was an optimistic person. The fact that Fred and George had already complained about the school brooms did nothing to dampen that optimism. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Well this was going…not well. This was not going well. Somehow poor Neville had lost control of his broom, fallen, broken his wrist, and was now being escorted to the hospital wing for the second time in a week. Then Draco had picked up the funny looking ball Neville had dropped, and suddenly the situation had deteriorated into a shouting match. It was, to some extent, Slytherin against Gryffindor, but there was mostly just a lot of shouting. Finally Draco had mounted his broom, taunting the kid Ivy was 97 percent sure was Fred and George’s little brother, and saying that he should see if he could catch the remember…something. Ivy wasn’t quite sure about that last part. 

Deciding that enough was enough and that this probably counted as one of those acceptable times to use spells on people (Henry had said when she was hurt or about to be hurt, someone else was about to be hurt, or people were being idiots), she waved her wand in Draco’s direction and the ball flew into her hand. 

Suddenly she was reminded in a not-quite-so-pleasant way of potions the previous week. Everyone got quiet and turned to stare at her. Even Draco was looking at her with his mouth slightly open. 

“How did you do that?” Draco asked incredulously. 

“Umm…magic?” Honestly. They were at a magic school where they were learning magic. Why was anyone surprised by that? They had been going to the same classes as her. At least she was pretty sure. There was one kid that looked unfamiliar but to be fair she hadn’t even been there two weeks. She didn’t know everyone. Yet. 

One of the Gryffindor girls spoke up. “Well what spell was that?”

“Spell?” What did she mean spell? 

“Yes.” The girl sounded frustrated. “What spell did you use?” 

“I didn’t?” 

“Well you had to have done something. Just waving around doesn’t do anything and we don’t know nonverbal spells yet.” 

Ivy went to reply that no, she really hadn’t used a spell, just had thought what she wanted to happen and aimed her wand in the general direction. It wasn’t like she had done anything exciting. But Pansy cut in with something that was most likely an insult if you went off the offended looks on some of the Gryffindor’s faces and the pleased looks on some of the Slytherins, and the shouting resumed. 

Ivy ignored her fellow students as they descended into yet another shouting match, choosing instead to take a closer look at the odd ball she was holding that everyone seemed so interested in. She’d make sure she gave it back to Neville when she visited him in the hospital wing. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy didn’t get a chance to visit Neville in the hospital wing at all, since by the time she had gone he had already been released. She gave him his ball back, which he accepted gratefully, then they entered the great hall for dinner together, only to find Draco and the yes-that’s-definitely-Weasley boy (“Ron,” Neville whispered helpfully) glaring each other down as best as can be done by eleven year olds. Seeing the newest arrivals, Ron quickly grabbed Neville by the arm, leading him over to the Gryffindor table while saying he had to talk to him, and Draco stomped walked gracefully and with great poise to the Slytherin table, Ivy following in his wake and rolling her eyes. Apparently the argument hadn’t ended during the flying lesson. Oh well. It was dinnertime, and Ivy was determined to eventually realize her goal of getting Draco to eat enough that he wouldn’t be so grumpy. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

A Short Time Later:

“You did WHAT?”

Draco suddenly regretted telling her anything. His sense of self-preservation kicking in, he backtracked a little and said, “well I wasn’t actually planning on going.”

Apparently that was not the correct thing to say. His mother had always taught him not to make a lady mad. His father had muttered something along the lines of “an angry witch is a scary…” in reply, but Draco hadn’t heard the last part before his mother had demonstrated exactly why he should never make a lady mad. Did Ivy count as a lady? Given the look on her face Draco was going to go with yes. 

Ivy seemed to be mentally compiling a list of Draco’s every fault, and come on Ivy, the list can’t be that long, but she eventually spoke. “That is so much worse, Draco. He’s going to go there and be waiting for you and he’ll get in trouble and it’ll all be your fault.” 

Draco was about to explain that that was sort of the point, but thought better of it. “Come on, Ivy. Weasley and Longbottom will be fine. Look, I’m sorry I said you’d be my second but it’s not like we’re going so why does it matter?”

Oh no. That face did not look good. 

“So not only did you drag me into this, you dragged Neville into this too?”

“Technically Weasley dragged Longbottom into this.”

“Because you challenged him to a duel. What were you thinking?”

Apparently that was a rhetorical question because when Draco went to explain his thought process in precise detail Ivy just glared at him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Later That Evening:

“Ivy, come on. What are we doing? We’re going to get caught and then we are going to get in trouble and Snape will be mad at me and then he will tell my dad and then he will tell my mum and then I’ll be in real trouble.” 

Ivy shook her head and continued to drag him down the corridor. “You’re the one who challenged them in the first place…”

“Technically it was only Weasley…”

“AND,” Ivy continued, completely ignoring Draco’s last statement, “we didn’t find Neville or the twins before they headed back to their common room and I don’t know where that is, so now we have to find Neville and tell him not to worry about this stupid duel.”

“Wait, so you don’t care if Weasley gets in trouble?”

Ivy looked surprised. “Why should I? You were stupid enough to challenge him to a duel but he was stupid enough to accept. Plus if we find Neville we’ll probably find him so it’s not like we have to do anything extra.” 

Draco seemed to accept this response, and Ivy found that she didn’t have to drag him quite as hard the rest of the way. 

They were almost there, when Draco pulled Ivy abruptly to the side. “Shh,” he whispered when she began to question him. “Do you hear that?” 

Ivy listened, and picked up on a voice. “Who is that do you think?” It certainly didn’t sound like Weasley or Neville. Or any kid for that matter. 

Draco suddenly looked panicked. “It’s Filch. Quick, we have to run.” 

Had any portraits been paying attention at that moment they would have heard a voice say “I told you this was a bad idea,” with the strangest type of echo. It was almost as if it had been said by more than one person at once. But none of them were, so there was no one to comment on it, or on the sight of two children running through a mostly deserted corridor late at night. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 13, 1991, Morning

“So then what happened?” George asked. 

Ivy was more than happy to continue her tale. “Well we kept running, and found ourselves in the forbidden corridor on the third floor…”

“Accidentally,” Draco inserted. 

“…and we thought we heard Filch coming so we tried to find a room to hide in, and we only found this locked door, so we went in it…”

“Less accidentally.”

“…and went in a room with this huge Cerberus in it…”

“Definitely not on purpose.”

“…so we turned around and ran straight to the common room…”

“Very much on purpose.”

“…except we didn’t know the best way there so it took a really long time and we had to wait for a minute to sneak back in so no one saw us and that’s why we’re really tired this morning.”

The twins looked at each other, then back at their favorite little snake and her slowly-growing-on-them friend. “Wicked,” they said in unison. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sometime Later

Dear Ivy,

No, we may not adopt a Cerberus. And no, you may not ask Hagrid if you can have a Cerberus puppy. You already have a deadly magical creature. No more until AFTER you graduate from Hogwarts. 

With Love, 

H.P. 

Ivy reread the letter one last time. So that’s who the Cerberus belonged to. Good to know. 

Chapter Text

September 14, 1991

“Again Neville, I’m really sorry you got dragged into all of that.”

Neville shrugged. “It’s okay. I could have said no.”

Ivy tilted her head and asked, “well why didn’t you?”

Flashback

“I need you to be my second in a duel tonight.”

Neville brain froze up at that. Ron wanted him to do what?

“Be my second in a duel.” Apparently Neville had spoken out loud. “You know, show up, and beat Malfoy if he cheats or something.”

What Neville wanted to say was something along the lines of: “Why would you do that? Why me? Don’t drag me into this. Why are you the way you are?”

What came out was altogether different. Actually, nothing really came out (which was part of the problem). There was a sort of squeaking sound that was unfortunately audible and he found himself quite involuntarily nodding his head. Merlin, he was screwed. 

“Who is Malfoy’s second?” was the question he finally managed to get out. 

“Potter,” was Ron’s reply. 

Neville’s next thoughts included several words that he was fairly certain he was not supposed to know. 

End Flashback 

“Didn’t get a chance.”

Ivy nodded. “Yeah, I understand. Well sorry just the same.”

Neville just shrugged. It hadn’t ended up being so bad. And they hadn’t even gotten caught, unless you count the Weasley twins, but they had just laughed at Ron’s indignation and said that Malfoy probably didn’t show up because Ivy wasn’t an idiot and had likely made him stay in their common room. So with no worries that the twins were going to tell on them, Neville had gradually relaxed about the whole thing. This whole adventure thing was kind of exciting. Of course that didn’t mean he’d want to do it again. Well, maybe he would, but maybe the next one could be during the day. And not break any school rules. 

“Oi, Gred. Looks like we got ourselves a snake in the lion’s den.”

Neville looked up to see the twins sitting down across from Ivy and him. 

“What’s our favorite snake doing over here?”

“Just saying hi to Neville. And telling him sorry about the whole duel thing before.”

Neville went a little red. Couldn’t they keep it down? He really didn’t want anyone else hearing about this. 

The twins just nodded. 

“Yes, poor Neville, bravely following…”

“Our dear, idiot baby brother…”

“Like the true friend he is.”

Neville went even more red. He could feel it. He must look like a tomato by now. 

Ivy smiled. “Yeah he is a good friend. Still wasn’t nice to drag him into it though,” she said, her smile changing to a frown as she spoke. 

Nope, now he was a tomato. The twins had obviously noticed and were smirking at him. This was all horrible. 

Finally the fates took pity on him. 

“Well sorry we can’t stick around…”

“But we best be heading off.”

Ivy looked at both boys. “How come? It’s Saturday? And don’t say the library because I’m not sure I’d believe you.” 

They pretended to look affronted at that. 

“Hey, I’ll have you know…”

“That we spent plenty of time…”

“In the library…”

“The first week…”

“Of our first year.”

Neville and Ivy both laughed. 

“But as it turns out, today…”

“Is quidditch tryouts.”

Ivy sighed. “What is it with everyone and quidditch?”

Both twins gasped. How did they keep doing things like that so in sync? 

“You can’t mean to say, Miss Potter…”

“That you don’t know about quidditch?”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Of course I know about quidditch. I know plenty about quidditch. I just don’t get what the big deal is.”

With that the twins got up, leapt over the table to some mild protests by surrounding students and a very stern look from their head of house at the staff table, and both knelt on one knee on either side of Ivy. Neville was awkwardly in the way but there wasn’t anywhere to go so he just stayed put. 

“Come with us, o fairest snake…”

“So we can demonstrate to you…”

“Just how amazing…”

“Wonderful…”

“And absolutely brilliant…”

“Quidditch is.”

Ivy rolled her eyes again. “I don’t think watching a bunch of students try out is going to change my mind at all.”

The twins gave her a quality puppy dog eyes look, and Ivy giggled. “Alright fine. I’ll come. Happy?”

The twins whooped and ran out of the great hall, completely ignoring Professor McGonagall’s protests from the head table. 

Ivy turned to Neville. “Do you want to come?” she asked.

Neville shook his head no. “Sorry, I’ve got an essay I need to finish. Thanks though.”

Ivy just smiled and shrugged her shoulders. “That’s okay. I’ll make Draco go.”

For the briefest moment Neville pitied Malfoy. He recovered exceptionally quickly. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So where are we going anyway?”

“Quidditch tryouts.”

“Tryouts already happened, Ivy. Plus I thought you hated quidditch.”

Ivy huffed. “I don’t hate it, I just don’t see why everyone is so obsessed with it. And the Slytherin tryouts were yesterday.”

It took Draco a moment to understand the implications of that sentence. She knew tryouts were yesterday. So why…

“No, no, nonononono. No. We are NOT going to another house’s tryouts.”

“You lost the right to say no to me, Draco Malfoy.”

“Oh would you get over it already.”

“You dragged me into that stupid duel…”

“That I never intended on fighting.”

“…so you can let me drag you into this.”

Draco muttered that she had, quite literally, been the one doing all the dragging. Ivy ignored him in favor of continuing to drag him. Deciding that it was much more dignified to walk of his own accord than to be dragged through Hogwarts, Draco shrugged out of her grasp and began quacking his pace. Maybe people would think she was the one following him. That would be much better for his image. Truth is rather irrelevant when it comes to image, after all. 

“At least tell me it’s Ravenclaw or something.”

Ivy shook her head. “Gryffindor.”

Draco’s protest of “why me” did absolutely nothing to dissuade Ivy. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy was enjoying herself. She had half expected the twins to do something amusing during the tryouts, because, well, it was them, and she wasn’t disappointed. The longer it took for the Gryffindor captain to run the prospects through trials, the more theatrical the twins became. Even Draco was entertained, though he did his best to hide it. 

Both were also entertained by the Gryffindor captain’s growing frustration at the prospective seekers. He was trying to have them go up against each other, but none of them were good enough to actually do much. One kid had almost fallen off his broom, but had recovered in time. Two others had nearly crashed into each other in an attempt to catch the snitch, which had disappeared after that. Draco had burst out laughing at the sight, and the Gryffindors had turned to glare at the two Slytherins. 

A moment later the Gryffindor captain flew over to where Ivy and Draco were sitting. 

“What’re you two doing here?”

Ivy shrugged. “The twins invited us.”

“You,” Draco added unhelpfully. 

“Us,” Ivy said again. 

The Gryffindor had a pained look on his face. “Fred, George,” he bellowed. “Get your brooms over here.” 

The redheads flew over with an entirely unnecessary number of loops and spins, to Ivy’s amusement, Draco’s annoyance, and their captain’s exasperation.

“Yes, oh cap-i-tan?” George asked.

“Why’d you invite a couple of snakes to tryouts? Don’t you know they’re just going to report back to Flint? What were you thinking?”

“Whoa, calm down there, Wood,” said Fred. 

“See, we’re just trying…”

“To do our duty as…”

“The wonderful friends we are…”

“And introduce a couple…”

“Of kids to the fantastic…”

“Sport of quidditch.”

Ivy was fairly certain she saw Wood’s eye twitch. Why did people do that so often, anyway? Sure, she’d made it a game to see how often she could get Henry to do it, but she had no idea so many other people did it too.

“Right,” said Wood. He turned back towards Draco and Ivy. “So you two are new to quidditch then, hmm?”

Draco rolled his eyes and started to say that he was perfectly well acquainted to the sport, thank you very much, but Ivy interrupted the start of that particular rant. 

“Oh I’m familiar with quidditch. I just don’t see what the big deal is.” 

Wood’s eye twitched very clearly that time. 

Ivy continued. “The seeker tryouts aren’t going so well though, are they. Do you need any help having them go up against someone? I could help if you wanted. Except I haven’t got a broom with me so I suppose that wouldn’t do much good.”

All four boys were staring at her. 

“You play seeker and you didn’t tell me?” Draco asked, incensed. 

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Yes I can play seeker. I’m pretty good at it I think. At least that’s what Henry says. And he’s really good so I guess that’s gotta be worth something.”

Wood had a very pained look on his face now. 

Fred hopped off his broom and plopped down next to Ivy. “Here you go, princess,” he said, handing his broom to her. “Go help Wood. I’ll stay here and keep the grumpy dragon company.”

Draco protested that his name was not dragon and that he was not grumpy. Ivy personally thought his protest didn’t help his cause, but she just hopped on Fred’s broom and took off. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Oliver watched the Slytherin first year take off towards his tryouts on his player’s broom. He looked at both of the twins, but they each just shrugged, the one twin then turning and following after Potter. 

Wondering why he couldn’t have just been handed a new seeker on a a golden platter, Oliver sighed and headed off towards the students still hoping for a spot on the team. If nothing else, it was unlikely that Potter was actually worse than some of the Gryffindors. That wasn’t a particularly comforting thought. No doubt if she was even halfway decent Flint would snatch her up next year. 

When he arrived at the group of seeker wannabes he asked, “so where’s the snitch?”

None of the other students met his eye. Finally someone muttered, “we lost it.” 

Oliver felt like crying. “Well then go find it. That’s why it’s called a seeker.” 

“But we already tried that,” one student who was most definitely not making the team said. 

Forty minutes later, no one had even spotted the snitch. He glanced around. Potter and Weasley were sitting on their brooms, chatting away, the chasers who were on the team were on the ground, also chatting, his other beater was still in the stands, talking to the other Slytherin, the seeker hopefuls were still meandering around the pitch, and everyone else had left. 

With a significant amount of willpower, Oliver turned towards the small first year near him. “Potter, think you can find the snitch?”

Potter stopped talking to Weasley and turned towards him, surprised. “Umm, sure? Why?”

Oliver gritted his teeth. “Because apparently we…lost it.”

“Oh, okay. On it.” And with that she took off cheerfully. Well the kid was definitely a natural on the broom. No doubt about that.

He turned towards Weasley, who had a stupid grin on his face. “Oh, shut up Weasley.”

“Didn’t say a thing…” Oliver glared and Weasley mimed zipping his lips shut. 

Less than five minutes later Potter was back. With the snitch. “Here you go,” she said, handing it to him. “Sorry it took me so long.” 

She was sorry it…took her so…

Oliver graciously accepted the snitch. That was it. It now was his desire, no. It was his duty to convince her that quidditch was brilliant. And that she should love it. And play it. Well, maybe not for Flint, but perhaps he could figure out a way to get her into quidditch without her ending up being the star of the Slytherin Quidditch Team for the next six years. 

Chapter Text

Stupid Gryffindors. What did they have that he didn’t have? He knew all about quidditch too. And sure, he wasn’t on a team, yet, but he would be. And he would be the best…whatever position he ended up playing. Not beater, though. Maybe seeker, or chaser. Keeper if he must. Of course he was determined to get Ivy on the team too, and she would undoubtedly be seeker, so maybe he would go for chaser. And he would be brilliant. Much better than those stupid Gryffindors and their stupid grins and stupid ability to get Ivy to play their stupid game. Draco paused and offered a quick prayer asking forgiveness from whatever deity was over quidditch. But still, stupid Gryffindors. 

And stupid Weasley, whichever one it had been, with his stupid grin and his stupid names for Draco (didn’t he know that only his mother was allowed to call him that?), and his stupid comments about his supposed crush on Ivy. DRACO MALFOY DID NOT HAVE A CRUSH. 

Feeling slightly better, Draco now concentrated on ridding his face of what he was sure was a pinkish tint he did not want. Ever. Stupid Weasleys. Stupid Gryffindors. 

So focused was he on utilizing his extensive vocabulary to eloquently describe the stupidity of the color red and everything it represented (mainly Gryffindors and undesirable blushes in this case), that he failed to hear his name being called until he was suddenly faced with an irritated older student practically towering over him. 

“Malfoy!”

Draco blinked. Why was he being yelled at? 

“Malfoy, are you even listening?”

“Sorry, what?”

The older student huffed. “Were you even listening to me? Were you at the Gryffindor tryouts?” 

Why did this student car… Oh wait. Slytherin. Fifth Year. Surname Flint, given name Marcus. Quidditch Captain. Slytherin Quidditch Captain. Draco’s thoughts turned to a couple of those French words his father had made him promise never to let his mother hear (or know where he had learned them in the first place). 

Draco nodded. Flint gestured for him to continue. Not knowing what he was supposed to be continuing, Draco verbalized his response. 

“And?” Flint was clearly agitated. 

“Sorry?” The Gryffindor stupidity had obviously rubbed off on him. That was the last time he let Ivy drag him to a group of Gryffindors. 

“What happened? Who’s on the team? Who’d they get as seeker? What’s their strategy?”

Draco could only utter a very eloquent “umm” in response. 

Flint didn’t take kindly to the (non)response. 

“Come on, what did you see? What happened?”

“Well, Ivy found the snitch.” 

Flint stared at him for a moment. “Ivy…as in Potter? Potter found the snitch? What was Potter doing playing with the Gryffindors?” 

So Draco found himself obligated to tell the entire story of what had led to Ivy retrieving the snitch for the Gryffindor tryouts. He left out a few parts, such as Weasley accusing him of having a crush right as he was leaving, or the Gryffindor Captain going on and on about how Ivy just “had to play quidditch” because her talent was “too good to pass up.” Well, he tried to leave all that out, anyway. It didn’t work out. He thought a couple more of those French words as he felt his face heat up again. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Marcus Flint had been excited to learn that a couple Slytherin students had been at the Gryffindor tryouts. Not only had they shown up, but they had stayed. Wood must have been very distracted to have not kicked them off the field right when they showed up. Oh well. His gain. On the downside, they were both first years. But he had heard that Malfoy at least had a bit of a head for quidditch, so he had hoped to gain at least some useful information from him. Except not only had the kid not even noticed him until Flint was practically shouting his name, but he hadn’t been able to give much description of the tryouts at all. Except for the part about Potter. Now that had been interesting. 

At first Marcus had been incensed that a member of his house had, in any way, shape, or form, helped out Wood of all people. He mentally spit out that name in his thoughts as per usual. 

But the longer he thought on it, the more he decided there was a great deal to be gained by this. First of all, it meant that he had a potential spy among the Gryffindors. Malfoy was obviously useless when it came to that, But Potter was apparently in the good graces fo the Lions. Everyone knew she hung around the Weasley twins, but they didn’t count. Now that she had been accepted in some way by other Gryffindors, there was a good chance she’d be able to tell him what happened with their quidditch team. 

The second piece of useful fact he was able to extract from this information was that Gryffindor was unlikely to have a good seeker. That in and of itself was fantastic news. 

Then, of course, there was the fact that Potter was evidently good at quidditch. That would have been a bit more exciting if Malfoy hadn’t gone on to complain about how Potter didn’t actually like quidditch and how Wood had apparently been heard saying how he was determined to get her interested in the sport. 

Neither of those would do at all. 

Potter would have to be convinced to play quidditch. She didn’t even have to like it, for Merlin’s sake. She just had to be good at it. But if she was to become interested in quidditch, it would absolutely not do to have Wood be able to take the credit. Marcus honestly hadn’t been sure about Potter getting sorted into Slytherin in the first place, but by Merlin she was in his house, so if anyone was going to get her interested in quidditch, it was going to be him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

*thump*

Percy banged his head against the table. If he heard one more person ask him why his brothers had invited two Slytherins to the Gryffindor quidditch tryouts, he was going to lose it. This was going to be it. This would be his end. He always knew the twins would somehow be the death of him. And yet people kept coming up to him, assuming that because he was their older brother he was able to exercise some amount of control over them. Ha. As if. He was the last bloody person in this bloody school they were likely to listen to. 

He had been a prefect for all of two weeks and already he had given up on those two. Sure, he would continue to put up the token protests to their…shenanigans…but in his heart of hearts Percy Weasley had given up. He had at least hoped to be able to stop them from continuing their ridiculous quest to confuse everyone in the school. They were already identical. Why on earth did they need to try and confuse everyone further? Most people couldn’t tell them apart anyway, but they still insisted on answering to the wrong names switching places. It had gone on all last year, and as soon as Percy saw his prefect badge he had been determined to put an end to it. But that, along with any other plans he might have regarding the twins, quickly fell to the wayside. He was a failure. An absolute failure. Two weeks and he had already given up on putting a stop to the twins’ schemes. 

Percy’s internal rant of despair was rudely interrupted by Oliver. Literally the last person he wanted to see right now (as he conveniently ignored the fact that they shared a room and he was thus more likely to see Wood than most other people on the planet right now). He prepared himself for the inevitable quidditch question.

“Perce, I need your help.”

That wasn’t what he had expected. Knowing this would probably end in disaster, but frankly too tired at the moment to care, Percy answered, “with what?”

“I need you to talk the twins into getting Potter to let me teach her quidditch.”

Percy took a full minute to process that sentence. “I’m sorry, you what?”

Oliver repeated himself but it did absolutely nothing to help Percy. 

“Let me get this straight.” Oliver was practically bouncing on his feet by this point. “You want me, to convince the twins, to talk to…Potter was it?” Oliver nodded. “Right. So you want them to talk to Potter, a first year, in Slytherin, because you, Oliver Wood, captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, want to teach her about quidditch. Am I missing anything there?” 

Oliver shook his head. “No. That ‘bout sums it up.”

Percy felt his eye twitch. “Right. First of all, why do you think I’d be able to get the twins to do anything? And second of all,” he said, ignoring Oliver’s attempts at answering his first (mostly rhetorical question), “why?”

Oliver looked confused. “Why what?”

“Why do you want to teach quidditch to some first year Slytherin anyway? You do realize that you’d be essentially handing a player to Flint for next year, right?” 

Oliver waved him off. Percy wondered if he should take his friend to Madame Pomfrey to get checked out. 

“That’s not important. What’s important is that I get her interested in quidditch.”

“Why?”

Oliver stared at him. “Because…well, because it’s quidditch.” 

Percy had heard that answer many times over the past few years, but never in this particular sort of situation. 

“And I won’t let Flint beat me again,” Oliver continued. 

Percy tried to connect that statement but could find no logical connection whatsoever. “Again, you do realize you’d be handing him a player, right?”

Oliver shook his head. “No, you don’t get it. If I don’t get to her first, then he’ll be the one to show her how great quidditch is. I can’t let him beat me again.”

“How is he beating you at anything? How is this anything to win?”

Oliver reiterated several of his previous points. “So, will you help me?”

*thump*

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

At the same time, in another part of the castle

Ivy nudged Draco. “Did you feel that?”

Draco looked up from his book that was most definitely a very serious read related to very serious academics and not at all a novel about dragons that he had brought from home. “Feel what?”

Ivy paused. “I think it was the kind of feeling like when someone’s eye twitches.”

“What are you going on about?”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “No, I mean it. I felt something. And it feels like someone’s eye twitched.”

“Why on earth would you be able to feel that?”

Ivy shrugged her shoulders. “I always feel it when Henry’s eye twitches.” 

Now Draco rolled his eyes. “Well then maybe somewhere someone’s eye is twitching because of you.”

Ivy thought about that for a moment. “Fair enough.”

And with that, Draco turned back to his dragons…er, I mean studying. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 18, 1991

Fred watched as Ivy practically skipped towards Hagrid’s hut. When she had asked them if they knew Hagrid, and if they could introduce her, they had both readily agreed. Then she had started talking about how the Cerberus she and Malfoy had found belonged to Hagrid, and she wanted to learn all about it. Fred supposed it was only natural to want to learn all about the thing that had almost killed you. Still, her enthusiasm had come as a bit of a surprise.

The little Malfoy had absolutely refused to come, and as much as Fred had enjoyed teasing him at the quidditch tryouts, he wasn’t at all saddened at his absence. 

Reaching Hagrid’s hut, George stepped forward and knocked on the large door. The door soon opened, and the gamekeeper looked down at them with a smile. 

“Well, if it isn’t the Weasleys. Come in, come in.”

Fred noticed Hagrid’s smile fall just slightly as he caught sight of Ivy and the green on her robes. He quickly intervened. 

“This is Ivy Potter. She was very excited to meet you and has some questions so we thought we’d do the honors.” 

Hagrid’s smile lit back up. “Oh, of course. And what kind of questions do ya have for me, young lady?” 

Ivy beamed up at him. 

Forty minutes later

This was not what Fred had planned this morning. When Ivy had said she wanted to ask Hagrid about the Cerberus, he had assumed she meant she wanted to know because she had been scared of the one she had seen, or because it was a cool magical creature that could rip people apart. Either was fair. He liked large creatures from hell that could tear you up just as much as the next person, but she didn’t seriously want one, did she? 

He ventured a glance at his twin. Well at least he wasn’t the only one thinking along those lines. 

To be fair, his first indication of the direction this visit would take should have been when Hagrid compared Ivy to their brother Charlie. 

His thoughts were interrupted by the two unconcerned individuals in the room laughing loudly. Fred watched as Hagrid brushed tears from his eyes. 

“Ya know, I haven’t seen ya since you was a baby. Wee little thing you was too. And now look atcha. All grown up and pretty as a picture, you are.”

Ivy’s eyes shot up. “You knew me when I was a baby?” 

“Course I did! Why, I was the one to deliver ya after… well, after it happened. Took ya up in the motorcycle myself, delivered ya all the way to Surrey.” 

Fred wondered if anyone else caught the way Ivy’s face froze at that statement. A quick glance showed that his twin at least did. Hagrid didn’t seem to notice though. 

“You were the one that brought me to the Dursley’s?” Ivy was trying to sound happy but was failing miserably, or at least that’s what Fred thought. 

“Yeah. Never knew their names, though. Just followed Dumbledore’s directions of where to take ya.”

Ivy tensed further. “So Dumbledore was the one that sent me there?” 

Hagrid nodded. “Yeah. Great man, Dumbledore.”

“Why’d he send me there, do you know?”

Hagrid shrugged. “Said you’d be safe. Said it was best if ya stayed with family. Out of the wizarding world for a bit. Less people to bother ya, I suppose.” 

Ivy nodded at that. She smiled, but Fred could tell it was forced. “Well thank you for helping me, Hagrid. It was nice to meet you.”

They continued to exchange pleasantries all the way to the door. As they began walking back to the castle, Fred took a moment to take in Ivy’s face. She was deep in concentration, and she seemed to be bothered by something. What was it about what Hagrid had set that was bothering her?

As they continued walking, Ivy’s face went from concerned to contemplative to something Fred recognized very well. He had seen it often on his twin’s face after all. Ah. The beautiful look of someone scheming. Turning to his twin they exchanged a look and then nodded at each other. Someone needed to look out for Ivy make she didn’t get into too much trouble. And they were obviously the perfect pair to do that. 

Chapter Text

How to free Sirius:

  • Steal Pettigrew from Hogwarts
  • Get Ivy to steal Pettigrew from Hogwarts 
  • Get Ivy and the twins to steal Pettigrew from Hogwarts
  • Ask the Goblins
  • Get Ivy to ask the Goblins
  • Go to the DMLE
  • Go to the Wizengamot
  • Ask the Goblins how to go to the Wizengamot
  • Break into Azkaban 
  • Send a Patronus and tell Sirius to break out of Azkaban 
  • Break into the Department of Mysteries and attempt to get my Hermione here
  • Break into the Department of Mysteries and attempt to get a Hermione here
  • Convince the Hermione here to help

Harry looked at his list. This was not going well. Every one of his ideas so far had merit (shut up, you niggling voice of reason that sounds suspiciously like Hermione in the back of my mind), but they also each had some serious flaws. 

First were the plans involving nabbing Pettigrew. Harry really didn’t want to break into Hogwarts. Hence the fact that the diadem was still there. Although if it became absolutely necessary he supposed he would at least be able to kill two birds with one stone, so that was something. And he didn’t want to risk Ivy getting hurt at all, so he didn’t want to send her after Pettigrew, even with the twins’ help. She could handle herself fairly well but she was still eleven, and Pettigrew was a fully trained adult wizard and death eater who had managed to escape notice for the last decade. 

Then there was the problem of going to the ministry. Harry had carefully avoided anything to do with the ministry, or politics, or wizarding Britain… The goblins claimed he had political power at his disposal, but if he did he certainly hadn’t done anything with it. While he would be the last person to claim knowing anything about politics, he was fairly certain that he couldn’t just waltz in there and say his name and expect everyone to do what he wanted. Unfortunate, really, at least in this case. 

While no one had successfully broken out of Azkaban at this point in time, at least as far as Harry knew, no had successfully broken into Azkaban either. Probably because, despite Hermione’s opinions to the contrary, most witches and wizards did possess some amount of sense. A tiny bit, but a bit nonetheless. Besides, Harry wan’t an animagus, and that was the only way he knew of to get in or out undetected. Hmm. Maybe he should work on that. 

Harry was pretty sure he could get into the Department of Mysteries. He’d done it before, after all. Plus he had been there all the time before ending up in this universe, and it was probably similar. So that part was fine. It was the getting Hermione from his universe over here that posed the problem. First of all, he wasn’t entirely sure she would appreciate it. Second of all, he wasn’t too sure he would even be successful. He hadn’t tried too hard to go back, since he had decided Ivy was more important, but he didn’t think interdimensional travel was likely to be one of those things that he could learn about at the DoM library. And yes, they had a library. The Unspeakables were the nerds of all nerds, and Harry was always surprised that not everyone seemed to fully grasp this concept. Still, interdimensional travel was not likely to be in there, or else surely someone else would have done it by now. 

Of course, maybe someone else had but just hadn’t told anyone and instead had assimilated themselves into society using a new name so helpfully provided by the little happy terrors of the magical world. Nah. Probably not. 

That probably complications associated with trying to recruit a Hermione from another universe had led him to consider recruiting the Hermione of this universe. But then again, she was eleven. Well, almost twelve. But still. 

And the only other plan on his list…

Oh how he loathed dealing with those grinning menaces. 

He quite liked the idea of Ivy asking the goblins for help, since they would probably take over the world on her behalf if she asked. But she wouldn’t be available until Christmas, and Harry already felt bad enough about leaving Sirius in Azkaban for this long. He was a Gryffindor, for Merlin’s sake. He could force himself to approach the goblins for help. He could. He would. Right after he made another list of every possible alternative to that plan. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 20, 1991

Harry walked into Gringotts. He had done it. Well technically he hadn’t done it yet, but he was about to do it, so he was still counting it as a successful day so far. Plus, he’d only been stopped by two witches on his way here. He really needed to talk to Ivy to figure out how to put an end to that. He knew she was behind it. 

Walking up to the nearest available teller, he cleared his throat and was about to speak when the goblin spoke first. 

“Ah, Lord Peverell. What can Gringotts do for you today?” The goblin’s voice was louder than necessary (his grin indicating that it wasn’t an accident), and Harry felt the eyes of several people in the bank turn on him. 

In a much quieter voice than the goblin had used, Harry expressed his wish to speak with a goblin representative about Sirius Black. The goblin grinned more, and Harry heard a small squeak of terror behind him somewhere. Not turning to see who was justifiably scared of the grinning goblin, he continued to stare down the goblin teller. 

“Right this way, Lord Peverell,” the goblin finally said, once again speaking unnecessarily loud. More eyes turned in their direction. Harry’s eye twitched. “Gringotts would be happy to assist you in any way we can.”

Ignoring the quiet murmurings of the surrounding witches and wizards, Harry followed the goblin into the back offices. 

A few other goblins shuffled into the office, and Harry was invited to take a seat. They went through the usual, though blessedly brief pleasantries, and Harry was invited to state his reasons for being there. 

“Sirius Black is innocent and I want to get him out of Azkaban.”

To the goblins’ credit, they didn’t even pause. “Very well,” the one in charge said. “How may Gringotts assist you in that endeavor?” 

Harry squirmed in his seat a bit. “None of the plans I’ve come up with so far seem particularly viable, so I was hoping you might have some suggestions?” He listed a few of his previous ideas, explaining about Pettigrew’s status and the infeasibility of breaking into Azkaban. 

The goblins in the room whispered amongst themselves for a moment before the goblin in charge turned back to Harry. “I believe we have a solution, Lord Peverell. Allow us a few moments to assemble the necessary documents.”

All of a sudden pieces of parchment began flying into the room, and a stack on the main desk began to form. The assembled goblins quickly went through the documents, throwing out some, and putting others back into the pile. In what was quite literally a matter of moments, the goblins had a rather large stack of papers that they proceeded to hand to Harry. 

After expressing his thanks, Harry ventured to ask, “so, what do I do with this?” 

One of the goblins who had been assisting seemed surprised that Harry was asking. “Just take these to the ministry, of course.”

Right. Of course. And do what, exactly? Harry’s confusion must have still been evident because the goblin in charge spoke again. 

“I would suggest taking these to Madame Bones of the DMLE. Just take these there, give them your name, and they will do what you wanted.” 

Harry blinked. So out of all the plans that he had made… And the one he thought was the least feasible… Just show up to the ministry… Tell them his name and…

Harry managed to mumble out a thanks as he was escorted from the goblin offices. He cradled the stack of papers close to his chest, and deciding that there was no time like the present, apparated to the ministry, ignoring the startled faces at both Gringotts and the ministry lobby as well as the fact that it was technically impossible to apparate to or from either location directly. 

Once at the ministry he looked around for some sort of map or sign. He knew where the DMLE offices were in his world, but that wasn’t an absolute guarantee that they were the same in this world. Seeing no such sign, he decided that it was probably close enough to the same, and set off in the direction his destination was probably in. 

Coming to a security desk, he approached cheerfully and asked if this was the way to the DMLE head offices. Upon confirmation of that assumption, and the question of his name, Harry said, “Henry Peverell. Thanks,” and then walked on. Technically he was supposed to get his wand checked, but he was in a hurry and honestly it probably wasn’t the best idea to go waving around the Elder Wand in front of people. Plus the guard didn’t ask, probably because he was too busy gaping. 

Harry continued on until he found an office with a nice little placard indicating that he had arrived at Madame Bones’ offices. Stepping inside, he was confronted with a secretary who asked, “Can I help you?”

“Yes, I would like to see Madame Bones, please.”

“Do you have an appointment?”

Harry shook his head. “No, sorry. Just came from Gringotts to bring these over.” He gestured to the stack of papers in his arm. 

The secretary gave him a once over. “Name?”

“Henry Peverell.”

The look on the secretary’s face changed completely at that pronouncement. Very quickly Harry found himself being escorted to a comfortable looking waiting area and was asked if he wanted, tea, refreshments, and something that sounded suspiciously like the secretary’s firstborn child before finally being able to clarify that yes, he could see Madame Bones, and so sorry, sir, it would be just a moment. 

Harry assured the apologetic secretary that he didn’t mind waiting. And no, he didn’t need anything. And yes, he was sure. And…

After a few moments the door to Madame Bones’ office finally opened and a middle aged looking man stepped out. He gave Harry a curious look before making his way out of the office. The secretary hurried inside and conversed with Madame Bones for a moment before gesturing to Harry. 

“Madame Bones will see you now, Lord Peverell,” she said.

Harry got up and walked past the secretary into the head of the DMLE’s office. This was it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Amelia Bones had seen many things. How could you not when you ran the entire Department of Magical Law Enforcement. But this was its own type of thing, and Amelia wasn’t quote sure how to handle this. The Death Eater trials had all happened nearly a decade ago, and there hadn’t been a petition of innocence in years. 

Then suddenly the mysterious and much-speculated about Lord Peverell shows up at her office, dumps a pile of documents on her desk, from Gringotts no less, and proceeds to tell her that not only is Sirius Black, one of the most notorious of Voldemort’s death eaters, innocent, but he never had a trial in the first place. 

It hadn’t taken long to confirm that Black had not, in fact, had a trial, which in itself was worrying, but then Peverell had gone on to say that Black wasn’t even the Potter’s secret keeper. Instead, he claimed that Pettigrew had been the secret keeper. And that he was still alive. 

Further still, when questioning his involvement in this case, Amelia had learned that Lord Peverell was the guardian of one Ivy Potter. And that the guardianship had not been for the duration of her removal from wizarding Britain. That had led to a conversation that left Amelia with many more questions than answers. 

Albus Dumbledore had been insistent that Ivy Potter had been well taken care of and placed in a safe, suitable location, but upon hearing Lord Peverell’s account, she was most likely going to have to begin an investigation into possible child neglect, or even abuse. 

And as for Dumbledore? Merlin, was he going to be in for some questioning. Muggles? Dumbledore had left the girl-who-lived with Muggles? Amelia didn’t have any personal problems with muggles like many witches and wizards she knew, but to leave an orphaned witch whose family had been targeted by a dark lord did not seem to resemble anything close to the suitable and safe environment Dumbledore had assured them she was in. And if the investigation turned up anything… 

Well, there was no use dwelling on speculation. First things first, she needed to see to Sirius Black’s immediate removal from Azkaban, pending a trial that was nearly a decade late. And for a member (even if possibly disowned) of an Ancient and Noble House, no less. Merlin, she needed a drink. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 2, 1991

“So let me get this straight. You are James and Lily’s son from another universe, except you’re older and defeated old Moldyshorts in your world, you ended up here, kidnapped, sorry, adopted Ivy, the goblins love you, and they helped you help me get freed from Azkaban.”

Harry could admit that it sounded a bit ridiculous even to himself, who was the one who had lived all that, but he just nodded. 

“Okay cool.”

Harry blinked. Wait, was that it? That had gone better than expected. 

Chapter Text

October 3, 1991

Severus closed the door to his office behind him. He rather despised Thursday mornings. The youngest of the Hogwarts students had astronomy on Wednesday nights, and were usually a strange combination of tired and overly hyper the next morning. Plus Thursday mornings he taught both the second year classes. Second years were the worst. They came back after a single year of schooling thinking they now knew everything and that they were somehow qualified to not pay attention to the directions. 

Having attended breakfast at the earliest time, Severus had plenty of time to spare before his first class of the day. Mentally listing off the things he would like to accomplish before having to deal with the twelve year old terrors, he was caught off guard by a sudden knocking on his door. 

Wondering who dared to bother him during this sole moment of peace he walked to the door and threw it open. 

Suddenly the second years seemed a welcome sight. 

Before him was his godson, which was not a completely unusual or unwelcome sight, but said godson was accompanied by none other than Potter, and not one, but three Weasleys. Oh how he missed the days of there being a single Weasley at Hogwarts. It had all been downhill from there. 

Realizing that simple wishes would do nothing to rid himself of the students’ presence, Severus motioned for them to come inside. As they filed inside he was unceremoniously handed a sealed letter and a cage with a…rat? Raising an eyebrow at the students, but receiving no response, Severus sighed and opened up the letter that he saw was addressed to him. Why had it come to him via the students in that case? 

He began scanning the letter. 

…animagus revealing…

…unbreakable cage…

…measures to prevent escape…

…aurors…

Severus glanced down at the signature. It was signed Lord Henry J. Peverell. He sighed. This was really not how he had wanted to spend his morning, but realizing that he might as well proceed with the letter’s request, he placed the cage on his desk and began casting a series of revealing spells at it. 

Apparently the Weasley prefect had already charmed the cage unbreakable as stated in the letter, so the children must have had some sort of prior instruction. Why bring it to him though? The spell to reveal an animagus was certainly within the capacity of a fifth year with superior grades. When asked, however, the prefect simply said that they were told it would be best to bring the rat to him. 

But why him? There were plenty of other teachers at Hogwarts and out of the five students standing there only one had ever sought him out before. 

Sighing again, he prepared to cast the animagus revealing spell. To his utter shock it was positive. 

“Where did this rat come from, Mr. Weasley?” he said, directing his question to the eldest of the present Weasleys. 

“It’s my, well my brother’s now. It’s our pet ret, Scabbers, sir.”

This immediately set the alarm bells in Severus’s mind off. “And how long have you possessed this…Scabbers?” 

“Nearly ten years, sir.”

The implications of this were abhorrent. To have a disguised witch or wizard living with a family for that long without discovery…

“Why now? Why bring this to anyone’s attention now?”

To his surprise it was Potter that answered. “Uncle Henry sent a letter addressed to me yesterday evening, sir. He told me to ask the Weasleys for help bringing the rat to you, and to give you the letter he sent with mine.”

“And how did your guardian come to be aware of this?”

Potter shrugged. “I’m not sure. He just said it had to do with my parents and that he would explain later.”

Severus froze. A thousand thoughts flew through his mind, none of them good or particularly pleasant. Several possibilities were lining up in a way he absolutely did not care for. 

“Draco,” he said, “go to the floo, call the aurors immediately, and request that a pair be sent over right away.” His godson hurried over to the floor and began doing as directed. “Weasley,” he said, again addressing the eldest student in the room, “wand out and be prepared to cast a stunner if necessary.” Weasley nodded and got into position. “The rest of you, stand back.” Surprisingly they all did just that. 

He cast a stunner at the rat, then proceeded to enlarge the cage to a size sufficient for a human. Double checking that the unbreakable charm remained intact, he proceeded to cast the animagus reversal spell. To his absolute horror a familiar face emerged from the transformation. He saw a twitch, and immediately a red beam shot past him, directly hitting the now fully human appearing wizard. Turning, he gave a nod to Weasley, then focused his eye back on Pettigrew. 

A moment later two aurors stepped through the floo. They hurried over to where Pettigrew was being held, and at their request Severus levitated the now large cage off of the desk and onto the floor. 

“Merlin’s beard,” the first auror exclaimed. “What happened here?” 

Severus recounted the previous events. 

The second auror let out a low whistle. “And you say this is Peter Pettigrew?” 

At Severus’s nod the auror shook his head. “Merlin. First Black, and then this.”

Severus’s head shot up. “What about Black?” he asked harshly. 

“Found out that Black’s innocent. Released yesterday. Turns out the bloke never even had a trial. Wasn’t the Potter’s secret keeper at all. Said it was…” The auror trailed off as he caught sight of Potter, and instead just gestured to the still stunned man. 

Severus felt his mouth go dry. “Then there is a good chance you will find a dark mark on his arm.”

The first auror revealed that there was, in fact, a dark mark on Pettigrew’s arm. 

After they aurors asked how they came to be aware of Pettigrew’s presence, Severus handed them the letter, explaining that he had been asked only to contain the rat, perform the spell, and alert the aurors, and had not, in fact, been given any warning of who it might be. 

The auror reading the letter grunted. “Lord Peverell. Makes sense. He’s the one that got Black off after all.” 

Now that was an interesting bit of information. Severus tucked that away for future consideration. 

The aurors proceeded to take statements from each of the students present, then departed with Pettigrew in tow. 

Severus cast a quick tempos and grimaced. So much for getting anything done before his classes. He ushered the students to the door, instructing them to go straight to their classes. 

“And it would be best not to speak to anyone of this incident until the aurors have finished, is that clear?” He received five nods in response. Satisfied, he watched as the five children headed off to their classes, before closing the door behind him and heading off to his own classroom. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Later that day

Severus resisted the urge to let out a lengthy sigh or simply bang his head against the table. Was this it? Was this the moment the headmaster had finally lost it? Severus could think of no other explanation for the man’s insistence that this ridiculous plan would work. 

He had suffered through Albus’s tale of reassuring the Weasley parents that their children were perfectly alright, as if Severus would have let anything happen to them, even if they were a bunch of Gryffindors. Then Albus had asked about what Severus knew about Lord Peverell (which was unfortunately little), and the conversation had gone downhill from there. 

Albus’s “brilliant plan” was to get Sirius Black to contest guardianship of Ivy Potter. What Severus tried to point out, and what Albus seemed decidedly determined to ignore, was the fact that Peverell was the one who was responsible for freeing Black in the first place. Severus doubted that Black would go against the man he no doubt felt incredibly indebted to. Albus had merely waved off Severus’s concerns, stating that he was convinced he could get Sirius to their side, and perhaps even downplay the role Peverell had had in the man’s release. 

Thus, Severus was now resisting the urge to do something unbecoming of his well-cultivated reputation. Like bang his head against the table. If anyone caught him he would never live it down. 

Taking a deep breath, he finally ventured a question, hoping that the answer would restore his faith in the headmaster’s mental faculties. “Why contest Peverell’s guardianship at all? Has something occurred to make him no longer a suitable guardian for Potter?”

What Albus revealed to him next had him using every bit of willpower he possessed to not reach over and strangle the old man with his own beard. 

“You left Lily’s child with Petunia Evans?”

“I believe it is Dursley now.”

The urge to reach across the table increased. “Why…” Severus’s voice lowered to barely a whisper. “Why would you leave a magical child with Petunia? She despised magic and she hated Lily.”

Severus ignored the headmaster’s attempt at an explanation. The man’s attempts at constantly referring to Potter as James’s daughter were more blatant than normal and did not go unnoticed. So that’s how the old man wanted to play it, was it? Fine. 

Severus was not a stupid man. He knew Albus fully expected the Dark Lord to return, and for Severus to return to spying when that occurred. And he was quickly realizing that the headmaster had an interest in Potter that went far beyond the normal concern of a headmaster for his student, even if it was the Girl-Who-Lived. Albus had something planned for Potter, that he was sure. 

There was only one thing to do. And doing so would put him in the path of dealing directly with the one person he loathed perhaps more than James Potter. But for Lily’s child, he could. He would have to approach Lord Peverell. He needed his own information about the man. What sort of person was he? Potter had arrived at Hogwarts looking decidedly well-cared for, and clearly had some magical training already. She was cheerful, made friends easily, and so far was doing very well in the majority of her classes. History of Magic didn’t particularly count, in Severus’s opinion. 

But if what Albus had insinuated was true, and she had been kidnapped by Peverell, why was she so happy, not to mention apparently fond of her guardian? And how had Peverell gained guardianship of Potter in the first place, let alone without alerting Albus to the change?

Severus sighed for what felt like the hundredth time that day. He would need to acquire more information on Peverell to be sure, but he would also need to gain insight on Ivy Potter. It looked like his month of avoiding the first year student, for what he was sure were completely reasonable reasons, was at an end. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 4, 1991

Sirius was a free man. He could leave at any time. There was nothing holding him here. He repeated that to himself over and over as he watched the people around him. He had never been one to shy away from attention, but the gaping and the blatant stares were not the kind of attention he would have preferred. 

He understood, he really did. For years people had believed he was the most despicable type of wizard there could be. He was still angry over the fact that everyone had so readily believed that he would betray his friends like that, but they had, and now their beliefs had been proven spectacularly wrong. And so, they stared. Gaped. Pointed. Whispered. 

At least Sirius could amuse himself by making faces in the direction of witches and wizards who stared a little too long. Sometimes he gave them a just-released-from-Azkaban-and-clearly-insane look, and sometimes he gave them a posh, pureblooded type sneer. Both had produced equally amusing results. 

And Merlin did he need some type of entertainment to keep his remaining sanity intact during this conversation. 

Dumbledore had very quickly sent an owl requesting a meeting with Sirius. He had acquiesced to the headmaster’s request, but had quickly started to regret it. He had never thought his opinion of a man could plummet so quickly, yet here he was. 

Did the headmaster not realize that it was Sirius’s sanity that was somewhat in question, not his intelligence? 

Apparently not, for the headmaster had, over the course of the last hour, spouted so much nonsense that Sirius was tempted to look around to find the Hippogriff responsible for this pile of dung. 

Frankly, Sirius was almost just as offended by the headmaster’s apparent belief that Sirius was either stupid or could be so easily manipulated as he was by the actual content of man’s entreaties. He was a Black. He knew every manipulation technique in the book. He even knew where the book was in the Black library. 

But did the man seriously think he would go against the man responsible for his release from Azkaban? Or that, if Sirius did gain guardianship of Ivy for some reason, he would allow the headmaster to manipulate her continued upbringing? 

No, the warning bells had sounded as soon as Dumbledore had mentioned getting Ivy away from Peverell and helping her back to the light. Dumbledore had mentioned Ivy’s sorting into Slytherin (which Sirius didn’t bother to inform him he already knew about), most likely assuming that Sirius’s well-known loathing of that house would convict him that his goddaughter needed saving. Yes, the warning bells had sounded, and Sirius had learned long ago the consequences of ignoring them. 

Dumbledore also was clearly seeking information on Peverell. Why he simultaneously assumed Sirius had never met the man and yet knew something about him was perplexing, but Sirius merely shrugged at the headmaster’s questions and happily said he knew absolutely nothing. 

The legilimency probe Sirius felt did nothing to endear the headmaster to him. He pushed some memories of asking the aurors who Peverell was to the front of his mind, and resisted the urge to show Dumbledore Amelia’s frankly beautiful rant against the man. It was something he was going to preserve in a pensieve forever. 

Finally, the headmaster seemed satisfied that Sirius knew nothing, and was either completely on board with his suggestions, or a total idiot (Sirius wasn’t sure which), and left Sirius to his own devices. 

Time to go interrogate his godson-from-another-universe. Sirius did not believe the headmaster was up to anything particularly good (at least concerning Ivy and himself), and he needed answers. Who best to get them from than someone who had already lived this? 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“We need to talk.” 

Harry immediately tensed at the sound of the four most anxiety-inducing words in the English language. 

“What about?” he asked, aiming for nonchalant and probably failing terribly. 

“I need to know everything,” Sirius said, coming and sitting across from Harry on the sofa. 

“Okay…um, like everything everything?” 

“Preferably, yes,” Sirius said, raising an eyebrow. “Is that going to be a problem?”

“No, no, definitely not. It’s just… Well, why do you need to know? Did something happen?”

Sirius sighed. “I met with Dumbledore, as you know.” Harry nodded. “And there were a few things he said that I would like some insight on.”

Harry gulped. Is this where Sirius got mad at him for kidnapping Ivy or for accidentally leaving him in Azkaban for a couple extra years? His earlier explanation had gone so well… 

“Well, I found myself in this world, and Ivy appeared at the same time, and…”

Sirius cut Harry off with a wave of his hand. “Not what I meant, although I would enjoy hearing more about Ivy over the past couple years later. No, I meant your life. Before you came here.”

Harry’s mouth formed a small “o.” So Sirius wasn’t mad at him. At least not yet. 

He launched into his life story, beginning with his first year at Hogwarts, but to his surprise Sirius asked him to begin earlier. He began to tell about getting his letter, but Sirius wanted him to start even earlier than that. Finally he asked where he ought to start, and Sirius simply said, “the beginning.” 

So Harry began at the beginning. He started with what he knew of his early childhood, and the events of the night of his parents’ murder. He tried to skim over the years at the Dursleys, but Sirius kept pressing, and Harry, realizing that Sirius must be looking for insight into Ivy’s childhood, eventually gave in and told him the whole of it. The look on Sirius’s face was positively murderous, and Harry once again considered the pros and cons of burning down Number 4 Privet Drive. 

Then, to his utter surprise, Sirius came and wrapped him in a hug. Harry assured him that Ivy had done remarkably well since he had found her, and that he had done his best to mitigate the results of the Dursley’s less than loving care. To his further surprise, Sirius just said he knew, and was so sorry that Harry had gone through all of that. 

With the realization that Sirius actually cared about him, and not just about Ivy, some little piece of Harry broke and he opened up to Sirius in a way that he hadn’t to anyone else except, well, Sirius. There was no other person living or dead that he had shared the entirety of the Dursley’s abuse with, and Harry found that once he started he couldn’t stop. 

It was different this time. The one other time he had shared this, he had been fourteen and recently traumatized. Now, he was a few years from thirty, and felt that he had recovered from most everything that had happened to him. 

But this was Sirius. Even if not the same Sirius he had once known, it was Sirius, and Harry found himself relishing int he opportunity to be completely honest for once. Not once did he question Sirius’s trustworthiness or sincerity. For the entirety of the time he had been in this world, Harry had been focused solely on Ivy and her protection. He had not made any real friends, and had very few acquaintances even. Now he had someone who wanted to know about him. Someone who was interested in him, and not because he had a well-known name or was rich either. Right now he had someone who wanted to know about him, the person who had suffered an horrific childhood, who had killed someone at age eleven, who had seen far too many loved ones die at the hands of a madman, and who had ultimately found himself in an unknown world, completely alone save for a little girl with green eyes who he would never allow to go through what he had. 

So he talked. And continued talking. They talked well into the night, and the first signs of dawn were evident by the time Harry had finished. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius had not expected a happy tale by any means, but the story Harry had told had been downright horrendous. 

He had ignorantly assumed that the story would get better once Harry began on his Hogwarts years. But if anything it got worse. The repeated confrontations with Voldemort, the near-death experiences at what should have been the safest place for him in the world. The horcruxes. And yes, Sirius knew what those were. He was fairly confident his own mother had researched it out at one point not for “scholarly interest,” as she claimed (as if she did anything for so benign a reason), but with the intention of creating one herself. He honestly wouldn’t put it past her to have attempted such a thing. 

Throughout the night one reoccurring theme was Dumbledore’s involvement in the events of Harry’s life. And what puzzled Sirius was that Harry seemed to speak fondly of Dumbledore, even when Sirius asked questions that clearly (to him, anyways) revealed Dumbledore’s manipulation of events to lead Harry to his final confrontation with Voldemort. Harry had died. As in, actually died. Not only that, but he had seen clear evidence of Dumbledore’s knowledge of and belief in the necessity of his death. The more Harry spoke, the more convinced Sirius was of Dumbledore’s manipulation of Harry. He seriously (pun unintentional but duly noted and appreciated) doubted whether the Dumbledore of this world varied so much in his intentions. Between his conversation with Dumbledore and Harry’s story, Sirius was giving more and more credence to those warning bells that had sounded. 

And if he found out that Dumbledore had done anything to put his goddaughter in danger, even Hades wouldn’t be able to hide him. 

And from what Harry had said, not to mention done, Sirius thought there was a good chance he would have plenty of help.
“So, what’s this whole Master of Death thing about, then?”

Chapter Text

October 31, 1991, morning 

Ivy was bored. Nothing interesting had happened in nearly a month, and she was bored. Sure, classes were fine, and it was fun to go flying with Oliver or Marcus, even if they never wanted to go together for some reason. And Fred and George were entertaining, and had shown her how to sneak around the castle easier. Neville didn’t appear to be that big on adventures and when asked if he wanted to go see a Cerberus he had shaken his head no. Ivy’s multi-step plan of helping Pansy be less shy so that they could all be best friends hadn’t yielded anything yet, and Ivy didn’t have any other plans in the works. It was a little hard to play matchmaker from Hogwarts, after all. Unless she found one of the graduating seventh years… Henry probably wouldn’t go for that though. 

So yes, Ivy was bored. 

But today was Halloween, and Henry had hinted that something interesting might happen today. Those weren’t the exact words he had used, but he did mention that since it was the anniversary of her parents’ death, someone might try to do something bad. He also told her to be careful, stay safe, and not do anything reckless. Ivy chose to focus on the possibility that something interesting might happen. She did keep Tiger with her all day though, just in case. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Evening 

Nothing had happened. Maybe Ivy could come up with some way to make the day interesting still. The feast was good and all, but in the end it was just more food than usual. That wasn’t particularly interesting. 

And then…

Okay now it was interesting. A troll? How did a troll get inside the castle anyway? Weren’t there, you know, walls? And wards? Maybe this was the sort of thing Henry had talked about. Maybe someone had helped the troll? 

And poor Professor Quirrell. He was so easily frightened. This must have come as quite a shock. 

All of a sudden the students were being led out of the Great Hall in what was no exactly an orderly fashion. Wouldn’t it be safer to just stay here? Besides, as Draco so helpfully pointed out, the troll was in the dungeons, and the Slytherin dormitories were in the dungeons, so weren’t they technically headed towards the troll? Ivy had to admit that Draco had a good point. Hey, maybe they’d get to see it!

With this optimistic thought in mind, Ivy followed Draco out of the Great Hall. As they moved along with the rest of the mass of students, she saw a little flash of red out of the corner of her eye. Craning her neck to see over the other students who were unfortunately almost all taller than her, she saw Fred and George and…Neville? They were glancing around and hurrying off to one of the side corridors. Maybe this was it. Maybe this was her chance to have an interesting day. Without a second thought she pulled Draco off to the side and in the direction of the twins. 

Draco hardly had time to protest before he was chasing after a running Ivy. Ivy thought it was very nice of him to follow after her so quickly. Why was he yelling out her name though? 

It took a minute to catch up to the twins and Neville, who were also running. When they caught sight of her, and then Draco a moment later, they didn’t even say anything, just kept running. 

Finally they arrive at a bathroom. A girl’s bathroom. And… oh. There was the troll. It was huge. And for just a moment Ivy regretted being so excited about seeing it. A scream brought her attention to another person in the vicinity. Who was that? Oh, looked like Granger. What was she doing here? 

Another scream, a few more screams, lots of screaming. Ivy may or not have been screaming as well. It was a little chaotic. Suddenly she felt something slide around her neck. Oh right. Tiger was with her still. 

§Why iss there sso much running and sscreaming?§ he hissed out to her.

§Ssorry, Tiger,§ she said. §Theress a troll.§

§Yess I know theress a troll. I could ssmell it back in the chicken room.§

§Why didn’t you ssay anything?§

§Sshould I have?§

Their conversation was interrupted by another smash of the troll’s hammer against a sink and the subsequent screaming. Ivy probably ought to help. 

“Hey George, does this count as an imminent death situation?”

George, who was throwing spells as quickly as he could just shouted out “YES.” 

Well Henry had said… 

§Tiger, can you bite the troll?§

§Why would I eat troll? It ssmellss sso nassty.§

§Becausse it wantss to hurt uss.§

§Well why didn’t you ssay sso in the firsst place, ssilly sspeaker.§

With that Tiger threw himself off Ivy in way she didn’t know he was even capable of, and quickly reached the troll, sinking his fangs into the troll’s thick hide. The troll tried to shake the snake off, but the snake evaded every attempt of the troll to hit it or remove the deadly animal from its prey. 

It took a moment, but finally the troll succumbed to the snake venom, and landed with a loud thud on the ground. Tiger slithered back to Ivy, grumbling about nasty, mean trolls who smell bad, taste worse, and want to hurt his short speaker. Ivy was about to take offense to that last statement, when Neville cried out, “what is THAT?” 

Ivy looked at him, and noticed that the four Gryffindors were all staring at Tiger. Draco was also staring, but he already knew Tiger, so Ivy didn’t quite understand why. 

“This is Tiger,” she said. For some reason this did nothing to make the others stop staring. “He’s my snake,” she added. Still nothing. “He bit the troll.” At this point she was just pointing out the obvious, but she wasn’t sure what they were waiting for. 

This seemed to break everyone out of their momentary frozenness as well as make them momentarily forget their very recent trauma. Ivy found herself suddenly hounded by questions. And why was Draco asking so many? Again, he already knew Tiger. 

Finally they calmed down, and Granger asked, “You have a snake…named Tiger? But…he doesn’t even have proper stripes?” 

Draco groaned, clearly expecting the same lecture that he had received when he had asked the same question. 

Ivy just responded with a cheerful, “yep!” and everyone nodded except for Draco, who seemed a little put out for some reason. 

“Umm, guys, there’s still a troll here.” They all turned to Neville, who was blushing a little and pointing to the dead troll. 

“On it!” the twins shouted, before levitating the troll’s club and hitting it over the troll’s head. 

“What was that for?” Draco demanded. 

“Well Potter’s snake can’t very well take the blame for killing the troll, now can it,” Granger said. “Then everyone would know she had a snake and that might not be the best idea. So this way when the teachers find it, we can just say that the Weasleys hit it over the head with the club.” 

The twins nodded along with this statement. Neville looked a little confused but seemed to agree. Draco looked like he was about to protest, but Ivy wasn’t sure why it would be bad for everyone to know she had a snake. Lee Jordan had a tarantula after all. But she just shrugged and said, “sounds fine to me.”

Draco gave her a look, but didn’t protest any further. 

Suddenly several teachers came pouring into the destroyed bathroom. Their arrival brought a series of loud exclamations and questions which Ivy mostly ignored. Ivy did notice Granger start to tell some story about chasing after the troll, but Draco interrupted her and told the teachers that of course Granger hadn’t come looking for the troll, but that Weasley (no, the other one, no not the prefect) had made her cry and she had been in the bathroom this whole time. 

There were various reactions to this statement. Ivy herself wasn’t sure where Draco had learned that particular part of the story, but no one seemed to contest it so it was probably accurate. The twins both looked a little sheepish, which was understandable since it was their brother that had apparently played a part in this whole situation. Neville was clearly wishing that Snape would look anywhere other than in his direction, and Granger looked rather miffed that Draco had accused her of crying. Apparently Draco’s dislike of Weasley was greater than his dislike of Granger. Maybe Ivy could convince the two of them to be friends. Then maybe she could put a stop to Draco’s constant whining about the girl who kept beating him in class. The rest of the Slytherins would no doubt appreciate that as well. Even Pansy got tired of hearing about it, and she didn’t like Granger at all. Of course she was probably just too shy to say anything. Why else would she sit there patiently listening to Draco when no one else would pay him attention? 

Ivy was asked a question by one of the adults present, and realized that this was perhaps not the best moment to think about Pansy and how to get her to come out of her shell. 

She spouted off something that she hoped resembled an answer, but Granger jumped in and began explaining again. Ivy shot her a grateful look. Normally she could come up with answers really easily on the spot but she was getting a little tired. And she was hungry. She hadn’t had a chance to eat much before the whole troll thing. 

After trying her best to pay attention to what was going on to make sure she knew which story they were going with (beat the troll over the head with a club, got it), she sighed a great sigh of relief. She wasn’t entirely sure why, but it seemed like the thing to do. 

After the teachers were satisfied by what had happened, and had both taken and given a number of points, she and Draco were ushered to their common room by a grumpy looking Professor Snape who kept mumbling something about dunderheads and lions. 

Once they arrived at the common room, the professor turned to Ivy and said, “I hope, Miss Potter, that you do not mean to make a habit of letting your snake wander around the castle?”

Ivy thought that wasn’t fair, seeing as Tiger hadn’t actually been wandering anywhere. She had just carried him with her all day. But Draco blurted out, “You knew?” 

Ivy personally thought that if Draco wanted to keep any part of this a secret he was doing a rather poor job of it, but the professor just looked down at the two and said, “of course I knew, though your story seems to have been bought by both the headmaster and the others present. Now, Miss Potter…”

“I promise he won’t bite anyone, sir. Uncle Henry said he was only allowed to bite anyone in the case of imminent death, and George said that’s what this was, so I thought it was okay.” Ivy really hoped that Professor Snape agreed with George’s saying that it had been a case of imminent death. If it wasn’t and Henry found out about it, it wouldn’t be one of those lovely eye-twitching responses. It’d be the disappointed look for sure, and there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that Ivy hated more than the disappointed look. Except cooking, but that was irrelevant. 

To her relief, the professor sighed. “Yes, Mr. Weasley was correct in his assessment of the situation. And since no complaints have been raised so far by anyone in my house I am going to presume that they are either ignorant of its presence, or are amenable to it. Am I correct in that presumption?” 

Ivy nodded. “All the first year girls know Tiger. And the fifth year boys. And Draco. And all the second years. And maybe the rest of the first year boys. I’m not sure. And a few of the third years, and all the prefects.” 

Draco graciously pointed out that actually, all the Slytherins knew. Professor Snape raised and eyebrow at that and Ivy looked at Draco expectantly. 

“You know…” Draco looked at Ivy for help, but she didn’t know what he wanted exactly. “The thing…with Claridge?”

They were both looking at her. Of course she knew the thing with Claridge. He was annoying and had hurt Tracey’s feelings. When Tracey had asked if she could borrow Tiger Ivy had agreed. When the other girls brought the snake back, they all looked very happy, and even Pansy said how wonderful Tiger was. For his part, Tiger had declared Tracey to be his favorite person aside from Ivy. 

Ivy told her head of house and her best friend all of that. Professor Snape looked like his eye was about to start twitching, and Draco protested loudly that he was Tiger’s favorite. 

“No, you’re his favorite boy. Tracey is his favorite person.”

Draco pouted, and Ivy patted his shoulder comfortingly, while Professor Snape sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Just keep your snake from getting out. Potter.”

Ivy agreed cheerfully to this, and she and Draco entered the common room, only to be bombarded by a dozen questions of where they had been and what had happened. And if Draco slightly exaggerated his role in the entire thing, well at least Ivy got the last piece of treacle tart. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 1, 1991

“I know you told me about your school years, but I don’t think I really got it until just now,” Sirius said, putting the letter from Ivy down on the table. “Not until I had my entire life flash before my eyes and a decade of my predicted lifespan lost. Merlin, how did you do it?”

Harry shrugged. “We just did. It’s not like most of it was planned or anything.” 

Sirius nodded. “Well hopefully that will be all the excitement that takes place this year. Have you thought any more about what you want to do about the stone?” 

“Not yet. I’ve been thinking I should probably take care of that sooner than later, just to be safe. And to make sure Ivy doesn’t somehow get the bright idea to go looking for it. As far as I know she still doesn’t know about it at all.”

Sirius agreed that that was probably a good thing, although he doubted whether or not Dumbledore would allow her ignorance to continue much longer, assuming he was planning something similar to what Harry had experienced.

“Oh, and then there’s Quirrell. I should probably take care of that too.”

“What about Quirrell? He’s the one who tried to steal the stone, right?”

Harry nodded. “Yeah. I just need to find a way to get rid of the Voldemort in the back of his head.”

Oh, right. Evil dark lord possessing one of Ivy’s teachers. Somehow he had forgotten that little detail. “Well can’t we just kill him?”

“I’m not sure. Last time I killed…” Harry cleared his throat. “Last time Quirrell died, but the part that was Voldemort got out. And I’d really hate to go hunting for that one. So much easier to get rid of when you know where it’s at.”

Sirius couldn’t argue with that. “So we’re dealing with a wraith that’s possessing a man. Okay. Shouldn’t be that hard. I think there’s a book about it somewhere at the house.” 

They both shuddered at that thought. If they had to, which it was looking like they would, they would endure the trip to Grimmauld Place. But neither could claim to enjoy the prospect. Sirius’s grandfather had died earlier in the year, leaving Sirius the sole heir of the Black estate, including the much-hated house of his childhood. Harry had of course broken into the house a couple years previous, but he wasn’t particularly eager to go back. But go back they would. They were Gryffindors. No dark, infested house could scare them away. Not at all. But then again, they had time, right? No need to rush into a situation unprepared. They were Gryffindors, sure, but they were also adults, fully capable of doing adult-like things such as thinking through things, making a plan, being responsible, and not going out in the rain or on an empty stomach. Perfect. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

More time later than was strictly necessary A respectful amount of time later

Harry and Sirius stared at the door. 

“You open it.”

“No, you open it.”

“It’s your house.”

“Does that mean I can burn it down?”

“No. We still need the book.”

“And then can I burn it down?”

“What about the neighbors?”

“Maybe you can use fiendfyre? You have excellent control.”

“I don’t think Madame Bones would appreciate that.”

“She doesn’t have to know.”

Someone would find out.”

“You could always obliviate them?”

“You plan on obliviating the whole of Britain?” 

“As if you’ve never thought about doing that.”

“Yes, but that was for a good cause.”

This is a good cause.”

“No.”

“It’s a better cause than avoiding going on a date.”

“Is not!”

“Is too! You know what, maybe I’ll set you up on a date. What do you think about that, hmm?”

“Absolutely not.”

“I’m sure Ivy would love to hear all about how her uncle turned down a date arranged by her adoring godfather.”

Harry gasped. “You wouldn’t.”

Sirius smirked. “Wouldn’t I?”

Harry glared. “Doesn’t matter. Let’s just go get the book.”

“And then fiendfyre?”

“No.”

Sirius pouted, but faced with an unrelenting godson-who-was-also-the-master-of-death, he gave it up as a lost cause and entered his childhood house for the first time in years. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I can’t believe Kreacher liked you.”

Harry didn’t stop laughing, the little bastard. 

“He doesn’t like anyone. Well unless they’re, you know, my mother. Or my brother. Or my cousins. Or any of their friends. Okay, so maybe he just hates me. But still, why does he like you?”

“Oh come off it, Sirius. I told you I destroyed the locket. He was bound to be happy about finding that out.”

“Yeah, sure, but he called me fleabag and called you Master Deathy. Hardly seems fair.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “Well I was nice to him and told him nice little things like the fact that I destroyed the very thing he had been trying to destroy for a decade. You bemoaned his continued existence and got in a three-way yelling match with him and your mother’s portrait.”

“I still don’t see why we couldn’t set at least that on fire.”

“We can always come back.”

“And have another lovely conversation with my dead mother? No thank you.”

“Or to see Kreacher.” Sirius couldn’t believe that Harry had the gall to tease him with something so horrifying. 

You can come visit Kreacher. I will stay happily put at home.”

“At my house, you mean.”

“Precisely.”

Harry laughed. Then Sirius stumbled upon the most brilliant idea and grinned. 

Harry, catching a glimpse of Sirius’s grin backed away and shook his finger. “No, no, no. Whatever, you’re thinking, no.”

“I haven’t even said anything yet.”

“But you were thinking it, and whatever it is, no. I know that look.”

“What, you mean this look?” Sirius made the most innocent face he could. 

“I know that one too. No.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “It’s nothing bad. In fact, I think you’ll love it.”

Harry paused. “What is it?”

Sirius grinned again. “Oh, nothing. I just thought of what I’m getting you for Christmas.”

Harry grumbled about how this wasn’t the time to be thinking about presents, but then he froze and looked at Sirius. “No. Don’t. I know what you’re thinking. Absolutely not. You can’t. No. No. Please no.” The last one was said pleadingly but Sirius was unmoved. 

He grinned and Harry sighed. Yes, it was a brilliant plan, and everyone would be happy with it in the end, he was sure of it. How could he not, when Harry was so clearly adored? 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 3, 1991

Sirius drummed his fingers. He wasn’t entirely sure what Harry would think of his most recent idea. 

It had all started as he contemplated life and the fact that this was the first birthday he had celebrated in eleven years. Then he had thought about why he hadn’t been able to celebrate his birthday. Not that his birthday was a huge deal or anything, but it was still nice to have the option of celebrating at least. That had led him to think on the person responsible for making him unable to celebrate his birthdays (not to mention landing him in Azkaban). Pettigrew. Part of him was glad Pettigrew was in Azkaban. Let him have a taste of the dementors for once. But part of him wished he had been able to exact his own revenge. Sure, that hadn’t gone so well last time, but he had waited for this day for nearly a decade. He was determined to have satisfaction. 

And thus, his idea. Which he would need Harry’s help to accomplish. Well, it was his birthday… 

“Harry, you know it’s my birthday today, right?”

Harry looked up. “Yeah?”

“And you said I broke out of Azkaban in your world, right?”

Harry nodded, clearly not following Sirius’s line of thought. 

“How would you feel about breaking into Azkaban?”

Harry choked. “Sorry, what? Why would you want to do that?”

Sirius’s eyes narrowed. “Pettigrew.”

Harry recovered, before responding, “I’m really sorry about that. I just didn’t want to risk Ivy getting hurt and…”

Sirius waved him off. “It’s fine. It was the right thing to do. It just seems a shame that he should be left so cozily in Azkaban now.”

Harry looked like he was about to ask why Sirius of all people was calling Azkaban cozy, but noticed the look on Sirius’s face and, probably realizing that Sirius was not, in fact, referring to Azkaban in that way, cleared his throat and gestured for Sirius to continue.

“So, I was thinking that we could break in, make sure our old friend Pettigrew is fully satisfied with his stay, and then, I don’t know, end it?”

“And you want to do this by breaking into Azkaban?”

Sirius nodded. 

“It’s kind of a terrible idea.”

Sirius nodded again. 

Harry sighed. “I’m in.”

Sirius grinned, but it faltered as Harry held up a finger. 

“On one condition.”

“Sure, what is it?”

“We wait until tomorrow. We don’t need anyone even so much as suspecting that you had anything to do with it. And who knows who might make a connection between his death and your birthday.”

Sirius had no problem with that. In fact, he was delighted. He had assumed that even if he had Harry’s help, it would take some time before they were able to launch such an expedition. Harry seemed to think otherwise, and Sirius wasn’t about to argue. 

“Deal.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 4, 1991

“Well that was…”

“Yeah.”

“Let’s maybe not…”

“Yeah, I’m good.”

“We should go now.”

“Yes, let’s.”

Overall it had gone better than Sirius could have even expected. Harry had apparated them right into Pettigrew’s cell, and had set up a Patronus shield that looked nothing like anything Sirius had ever seen. It kept all the Dementors away, and gave Sirius plenty of time with Pettigrew. He had been a little worried that Harry would find the scene disturbing, but Harry gave no such indication. In fact, the only comment Harry had made the entire time was to ask if Sirius wanted to stop for Indian food on the way home. 

Admittedly, Sirius didn’t feel that much better when he was through with Pettigrew, who now lay dead on the ground. He had sort of hoped that he would have felt a little more…something. Instead he viewed the entire scene with a rather detached sense of emotion. Nodding at Harry to let him know he was through, he watched as the Master of Death erased any sign of their presence. Now it looked as if Pettigrew had died a normal death. Or at least as normal as one would expect to find in Azkaban. 

Giving a silent thanks for Harry’s foresight, since really, they didn’t need anyone questioning Pettigrew’s death, he grabbed onto Harry’s arm and felt the distinct pull of side-along apparition. 

He might not feel better per se, but he would sleep well tonight, no doubt about that. 

Chapter Text

November 9, 1991

“So nothing at all happened during the quidditch game?” This child was going to be the death of him. How do you not notice a bludger coming directly at your face? Severus had noticed, and he hadn’t been sitting even remotely close to Potter. 

“No. Was something supposed to happen?” Why was she so cheerful all the time? 

Severus was fairly certain he could feel his life expectancy dropping by the minute. He would have to keep a closer eye on Potter. Someone obviously needed to make sure she didn’t get into trouble. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

And clearly the headmaster was not going to be that person. Severus sighed. How a man so powerful and generally respected could be so oblivious to reality was beyond even his comprehension. Well, there had been one other… He really didn’t want to think on the dark lord and his descent into madness. He would just need to keep an eye on the headmaster. And Potter. While still gathering information on Peverell. And watching out for his godson because Merlin knows the boy didn’t possess nearly enough self-preservation skills. The troll incident was evidence enough of that. 

Severus had never been so happy to see a snake in his entire life. Despite being a Slytherin, and head of Slytherin house, he did not particularly care for snakes themselves. There was a slight possibility that opinion had been influenced by a certain snake that enjoyed swallowing people whole, but all in all Severus thought it was a perfectly reasonable preference. Potter’s snake was clearly deadly, but if a bunch of eleven year old girls could tolerate, even like the snake, he could tolerate it as well. 

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December 3, 1991

The entire Slytherin table watched as Percy Weasley walked to where Ivy Potter was eating breakfast with some of the other first years. They had grown accustomed to the Weasley twins showing up on occasion, and even a couple of the other first years from other houses, but this was a unique sight. Equally unique was the fact that the Gryffindor prefect was grinning from ear to ear and he walked with a spring in his step. 

The collected Slytherins who were out of hearing range could only guess what was being said, but Weasley was obviously happy about something, and it most likely had to do with Potter in some way and she grinned back at him. Malfoy burst out laughing, and everyone’s curiosity increased. Then, as cheerfully as he had come, Weasley returned to his own table. 

A few Ravenclaws had also noticed, and the quiet murmurings of the students’ whispers could be heard. 

Still speculating on the cause for that rather unusual interaction, the Slytherins, selected Ravenclaws, and a few Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors who had noticed something going on watched as more Weasleys approached Potter. The Weasley twins appearing at the Slytherin table wasn’t altogether unexpected, but they, in contrast to their older brother, were far from cheerful and instead practically dragged Potter out of the Great Hall. She didn’t seem to mind terribly, only rolling her eyes at the twins, so no one interfered. As the observants to the exchange resumed their breakfast, many were left wondering what exactly the first year Slytherin might have done to warrant such reactions. Most could only hope that if the Weasley twins decided a pranking war was in order, that they would be left out of it. 

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Ivy rolled her eyes for the millionth time in the last six minutes. And she thought Draco exaggerated when complaining. Now she was sure he had absolutely nothing on the Weasley twins. 

“Come on, it’s not that bad.”

“Two years, Potter. Two years. 

Ivy rolled her eyes at Fred, again. “You only started it last year, so it’s not really two years.”

“But we planned. And we practiced,” George insisted. “And now it’s over.”

“And is that why Percy was beaming when he came to congratulate me and thank me for being such an outstanding member of society?”

They both scowled at her. She couldn’t help it; she laughed. 

“Percy has been trying all year to ruin our prank, but nothing he did worked. It wasn’t until you let everyone know how to tell us apart that it was ruined,” Fred accused. 

“You do realize I only told like three people, right?”

“But it was who you told. Why did you have to tell Ronnekins about it anyway? I didn’t think the two of you were even friends.”

“We’re not, really. But he was there when I was telling Neville and Hermione. He was very excited to know all about it.”

Both twins sighed in unison. “But that’s just it,” George said. “He was the best part of the prank.”

“Yeah, we know most people couldn’t tell us apart anyway, though I don’t understand why,” said Fred. 

“Especially when there are so many obvious differences between us,” said George. 

Ivy rolled her eyes (number 1,004,283). “Obviously.”

“But we perfected it all last year. When we got home last summer out dearest little brother had such a difficult time telling us apart.”

“Yeah, it’s not like we purposefully switched names or anything.”

“Of course not,” Ivy giggled. “You two would never do something like that.”

Fred and George beamed. “You know us so well,” they both said. Then they sat down with a huff on either side of Ivy. “Well, now that prank is done for. I supposed we’ll have to think up something else,” Fred said. 

“Did you really do all of that just to confuse Ron?” Ivy asked. 

“While that is definitely reason enough, oh little snake, we did also have the added benefit of seeing how many eye twitches we could get by doing it,” George said. 

“Oh, I love that game!” Ivy exclaimed. 

George grinned. “Of course you do. Why else do you think we get along so well.”

“Well, I am sorry about ruining your prank, but I’m sure you have something else you can do, right?”

The boys both assumed an exaggerated thinking pose. Ivy giggled. 

“Well, nothing comes to mind at the moment,” Fred began. 

George tapped his chin. “But I suppose we do have several weeks before the start of the new term.”

“Plenty of time for such geniuses as ourselves to come up with something, I’m sure,” Fred added. 

“Well you’d better think of something soon. Won’t Christmas be too busy to plan something like that?” Ivy asked. 

Fred shook his head. “Nah, we’re staying here. Won’t have anything else to do so I’m sure we’ll think of something.”

“Besides, we’ll have the whole castle practically to ourselves,” George added. “Who knows what we’ll be able to accomplish then.”

Ivy tilted her head inquisitively. “Why are you staying here?”

“Mum and Dad are visiting Charlie in Romania, so the rest of us are staying here,” George explained. 

“Oh.” Ivy nodded her head in understanding. That didn’t seem like very much fun. Maybe she could talk to Henry. That reminded her though… “If we come back to Hogwarts and it’s not standing it’s not my fault, right? I can’t be responsible for Hogwarts getting destroyed over Christmas if I’m not here, right?”

Fred looked at her with a confused look. “Not that I’m not flattered that you think we’d be capable of actually destroying Hogwarts, but we don’t have any intention of doing that. And why would you get blamed for it?”

Ivy shrugged. “Well Uncle Henry said he hoped Hogwarts was still standing by the time I graduated. And that I shouldn’t do anything that could umm…what’s the word. Jepra…”

“Jeopardize?” Fred offered. 

“Yeah, that one. I shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”

Both twins wondered what exactly Ivy had done in her short life to make her guardian warn her against destroying Hogwarts. Choosing to assume that he meant it in a clearly metaphorical way, they each decided that it was probably fine. Unless Ivy managed to get a Cerberus. Then all bets were off. 

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December 5, 1991

“Do you want to come to my house for Christmas?”

Fred looked up from his essay. Yes, despite all assumptions to the contrary, he did actually write his essays. He, like his twin, just chose to do it out of sight as often as possible. No need to give people any reason to believe they were too responsible, after all. 

“Sorry, what?”

“Do you want to come to my house for Christmas? You, George, and your brothers. I asked Uncle Henry and he said I could invite you.”

“Well, we’d have to ask out parents.” 

Ivy nodded. 

Fred honestly wasn’t entirely sure what to think. On the one hand, Ivy was cool, so her guardian was probably alright too. On the other hand, everyone always talked about Lord Peverell in slightly hushed, awed tones. That didn’t bode particularly well for Fred’s slowly developing opinions of the man. To him it meant Ivy’s guardian was most likely either boring or stuck up. He wasn’t old, so that third option was out. But, as he kept reminding himself, Ivy was fine, and she seemed to really like her Uncle. So maybe he was okay too. 

Fred went to say something else but Percy ran up to him suddenly, holding a letter in his hand. 

“Do you know what mum is talking about in here?” Percy waved the letter in front of Fred. Since he didn’t know what their mum had said, he did not, in fact, know what she was talking about. 

“What’d she say?”

“She said she’s glad we’re staying with friends for Christmas and to make sure we behave ourselves. I thought we were staying here?”

Fred glanced at Ivy. She shrugged. “Maybe Uncle Henry already wrote your parents.”

Percy, noticing Ivy’s presence for the first time, said, “oh, hello, Potter.” He turned back to Fred. “So where are we supposedly going?” 

Fred motioned towards Ivy. “Ivy and her guardian, Lord Peverell,” he stressed, knowing that Percy would be on board with any opportunity to suck up to someone as prestigious as that, “invited us to spend Christmas with them.”

Percy looked mildly shocked at that, but pleased. Percy was really too easy to convince, sometimes. “Well, that’s very nice of you,” he said to Ivy. “I’m sure we’d all be delighted.” 

Ivy beamed, and Fred felt better about the situation. Even if Peverell did turn out to be like some of the people Dad had to work with, Ivy would be happy, and that was more important. 

“Oh, I’m so excited. It’ll be so much fun to have more people there! And you’ll get to meet my godfather too. I get to meet him for the first time at Christmas, and I’m sure he’ll be great. We’re going to have so much fun!”

With that she practically skipped out of the room, leaving a slightly frozen Fred and Percy Weasley, who had suddenly remembered that Ivy Potter’s grandfather was, in fact, Sirius Black, the notorious not-actually-a-murderer whose innocence they had themselves played a tiny part in. The great ratscapade was not far from their minds. Not to mention the news a few weeks ago that said the-real-murderer-this-time had turned up dead. But it was fine. It was all fine. They’d be fine. 

Both recovering from their slight moment of we’re-not-going-to-get-murdered-over-Christmas-are-we panic, Percy was suddenly struck with another revelation. 

“Fred,” he asked, “how did Potter get into the Gryffindor common room?”

Fred looked at the entrance to said room. “I…have no idea.”

Percy began wondering who had let such an important secret out. 

Fred wondered how he could get Ivy to share her secrets. 

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December 9, 1991

“Mr. Weasley, I was under the assumption that you and your brothers would be spending Christmas with us at the castle this year, yet none of you have put your names on the list. Has there been a change of plans I should be aware about?” 

George looked up at his head of house. Honestly, why hadn’t Percy already taken care of this. He  was the prefect. That fact that this was in no way covered by a prefect’s duties was conveniently ignored. 

“Uh, yeah. We’re staying with Potter and Lord Peverell.” 

“And have your parents given their approval for such a visit?”

“Yes, ma’am.” 

Professor McGonagall peered over her glasses at him for a moment, and then, apparently determining that he was in fact telling the truth, said, “very well. I hope you boys have an enjoyable Christmas.” Then she smiled and continued on. 

George sighed. They had gotten far more smiles than eye twitches from their head of house over the past week. They were obviously slacking. 

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December 22, 1991

Albus Dumbledore placed the finishing touches on his gift for Ivy Potter. This would have been so much easier to do with the invisibility cloak, but alas, that was long gone. This would have to do. And he couldn’t help but think that it was a rather good idea, if he did say so himself, which he did. After all, he was quite positive that Lord Peverell had not been an acquaintance of James and Lily, so he was unlikely to have many, if any, pictures of Ivy’s parents to show her. Not like the ones now filling this lovely little photo album. Add to that an offer to tell her stories about her parents, and Ivy would no doubt be eager to meet with him and learn all about her heritage. Perhaps he could invite Sirius or even Remus to meet her and share some stories. Not too often, of course, since he didn’t want her growing too attached to either, at least not yet. It was rather unfortunate that Sirius had been unable to gain guardianship of Ivy. And the poor boy had seemed so distraught. Hopefully that wouldn’t negatively impact his ability to influence the Black heir further. 

All of this would have been easier if he had managed to get Ivy to stay at Hogwarts over the holiday. He knew from the beginning that it was unlikely to happen, but one could always hope. He would just need to find a way to get her to encounter the mirror some other time. At least the Weasley boys were spending Christmas with her. He was rather fond of the Weasley family. They were strong supporters of the light, and would no doubt be a good influence on Ivy. Maybe he could suggest that Molly reciprocate the invitation over the summer holiday. He was sure Ivy would benefit from a strong mother figure in her life, and any time spent in a light family’s home would be well worth any effort. 

Yes, things might not be exactly as he would have liked, but all in all his plans, though changed, were progressing satisfactorily. 

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Severus cast a quick tempus. Of course he wasn’t counting down the minutes until the train left. He was just…excited for Christmas… That didn’t sound particularly convincing even within his own mind. But still, two weeks of relative peace and quiet? And sensible adult interaction? There were perhaps three or four people who he considered suitably sensible, and he was staying with one or two of them. Lucius was the fourth and second person, respectively. It really depended on the day. 

His mind drifted back to the subject of many of his recent thoughts. Henry Peverell. Guardian of one Ivy Potter, said to be the most eligible bachelor in Britain, and almost completely unknown. For someone supposedly as prestigious as Peverell, no one seemed to actually know anything about him. Severus had been making subtle inquiries about Peverell for a while now, both at the behest of the headmaster and to satisfy his own curiosity and concerns, but it was hard to find any information about a man that no one had actually met. 

He was responsible for proving Black’s innocence and discovering Pettigrew’s whereabouts, and he seemed to avoid spending time in normal Wizarding gathering places. He was spotted in Diagon Alley on occasion, but was reported to avoid crowds and groups of adoring women. How did a man who never went anywhere gain such a loyal following of…fangirls? 

After learning the details (what little was available at least) of the circumstances of his guardianship over Potter, Severus had begun to research their whereabouts over the past couple of years, leading up to their return to England. A return, yes, because they had apparently hardly stepped foot in the country between Peverell’s taking guardianship and Potter’s letter of acceptance to Hogwarts. Severus had pressed Albus for details, and had finally learned that the quill hadn’t even been able to write out an address for Potter’s Hogwarts letter. That was only possible if they were behind very heavy wards, so clearly Peverell had not wished to be found. Yet he had allowed Potter to come to Hogwarts, and had, by all accounts, remained in the country since their return last summer. 

So what was he hiding? 

It was possible Lord Peverell was simply a very private man, but this seemed to border much too closely to paranoia for it to be that simple. At least that’s what Severus had concluded. It was frustrating, not being able to learn anything particularly useful about the man, but Severus was patient. Perhaps it was time to enlist Lucius’s help. Perhaps he had already looked into Peverell himself. It wouldn’t surprise Severus in the least if he had. Who wouldn’t want to know more about the man who supposedly held so much sway that he could simply walk into the head of the DMLE’s office and demand the release of Azkaban’s most notorious prisoner? 

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December 23, 1991

Sirius cast another tempus, ignoring Harry’s remark that it was the fourth one that hour and that the train would get here when it normally did. He was excited for Christmas and he had no use for that kind of negativity in his life. 

He was about to meet his goddaughter. 

Well, technically he had already met her, but she had been a baby then, so she wouldn’t remember him. Sure, he had met his godson-from-another-universe, but that was different. Today was the day, and he wondered if the Hogwarts express had always been this slow. 

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Remus looked once more at the letter he had received a few weeks prior. He was nervous, and he was willing to admit that to himself. Who wouldn’t be, when faced with the prospect of meeting your friend-you-thought-was-a-murdering-traitor, the orphaned daughter of your other best friends, and her guardian, a man rumored to be the most politically powerful man in Britain? 

He hadn’t had the courage to contact Sirius, but had been delighted by the letter he received form his friend. It gave him some measure of hope that Sirius did not blame him, even if Remus personally thought he should. 

The accompanying letter, sent by Lord Peverell, was a little more disconcerting. He had invited Remus to spend Christmas with them. Nothing about the letter suggested that Peverell was aware of his…situation, and he was fairly confident Sirius wouldn’t have revealed it. Thankfully, the full moon had already passed, so he wouldn’t have to worry about that particular problem over Christmas at least. 

He hadn’t thought of any good excuse to refuse the offer, so he had accepted. It would be nice to see Sirius again, even if he would have preferred to do it in a different setting. And Ivy… Remus wondered who she resembled more. How was she enjoying Hogwarts? Had she been sorted in Gryffindor like her parents? Was she smart like Lily? Had she made friends? Was she safe from people seeking revenge on her for her part in destroying Voldemort? 

Remus sighed. He would find out for himself soon enough. He just hoped that Christmas went well. 

Chapter Text

December 23, 1991  

Percy was mildly annoyed. Anyone else would have probably called him extremely agitated, perhaps a little tense, frazzled, flustered, jumpy, anxious… But mildly annoyed, or maybe slightly irritated was all he was willing to admit to. And really, it was fine. It was all fine. He was only about to meet the most talked about wizard in England. And the most notorious one. Completely fine. And he had to make sure his three younger brothers behaved themselves for two whole weeks. Also fine. And for the love of Merlin, didn’t twelve year olds know how speak at a lower volume for even a second? 

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Ivy watched Percy Weasley yell at a couple second years who were, admittedly, being a little loud. Still, he looked a little…tense? Flustered, maybe? If that’s what being a prefect meant, count her out. 

Her attention was involuntarily drawn back to Draco and his rant-about-Weasley part 4087-c. 

“And why are they staying at your house? And why can’t you come to my Christmas party? I know mother would have sent Lord Peverell an invitation. Surely you can ditch a bunch of Weasleys for one night?” 

Ivy decided to have mercy on the compartment’s other occupants. “Uncle Henry hates parties, and possibly people, or at least British people. It’s hard to say. Plus we won’t go to someone’s house he hasn’t met.”

Draco pouted. Ivy knew he would deny that’s what it was if she called him out on it, but there was really no other name for it. 

“But if you come then he will meet my parents, and then you will be there too, and then I won’t be stuck with…” Draco did not finish that sentence, which Ivy was certain was probably for the best. Usually if Draco managed to stop himself from saying something it was safe to assume it was for the best, given the things that tended to come out when he didn’t manage to stop in time. 

“But I still don’t see why Weasley gets to spend Christmas at your house,” Draco continued. “You’re not even friends!”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “But I’m friends with Fred and George and Percy seems okay.” Draco made a face at that. “And I’m sure Ron is nice enough once you get to know him.” Draco made another face at that. He clearly did not agree, but Ivy could not quite find it in herself to care. 

Deciding that more action was necessary to bring Draco’s inevitable rant to a merciful end, Ivy turned to the person seated on Draco’s right. “So, Greg. What are you doing for Christmas?” 

The boy’s short, quiet responses were insufficient for her purposes. Vince yielded mostly the same results, as did Millie. Theo’s answers were at least longer than the other three, but were equally quiet. It’s like he was still nervous around her or something. Out of all the Slytherin first years, he’s the one she had spoken to the least. Unfortunately Tracey wasn’t in there compartment. She would have talked enough. 

Just then Pansy came back in. She had started in their compartment, but must have gotten bored or something, because she had left over an hour ago. But now she was back, and Ivy had learned that Pansy could outtalk nearly anyone if she set her mind to it. 

“Hey Pansy, what are you doing over the holiday?”

An hour later Ivy was rather proud of herself. Pansy’s return and Ivy’s merciful intervention had been just what was needed. Sure, most everyone had tuned out Pansy about five minutes in, but Draco and Pansy had gotten into a bit of an argument that had proved far more entertaining than Draco’s ranting. Even Theo had put down his book in favor of watching the two go at it. 

It was dark outside by now, and Ivy was getting excited for the train to reach the station. She hadn’t seen Henry in what felt like forever, and she was about to meet her godfather, who Henry had assured her was equally excited to meet her. 

The rest of the train ride went by quickly, to Ivy’s relief. Just before they reached the station, Tracey and Daphne had come to say bye to Tiger, and they had dragged Theo out with them as they left, saying that he needed to convince Blaise to do something or other. 

Not even ten minutes later they arrived at King’s Cross. 

Ivy said a quick goodbye to her friends and rushed off the train. It took a moment to spot Henry, but when she found him she ran his way, completely ignoring the looks she got or the people she may or may not have sort of run into on her way. Finally, she was home. 

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Percy honestly wasn’t sure what to think. This was the man who some said was the most politically influential wizard in the country? Percy had run multiple scenarios in his mind as to what to expect, but this wasn’t one of them. Lord Peverell, for all his name seemed to imply, was…normal. He had smiled widely when Ivy introduced the Weasleys to him, and had chatted happily the entire time. They had taken a portkey, and Percy could swear he heard the man mutter something about the devil’s creation. 

The house too was nothing like what Percy had expected. He had assumed that someone of Peverell’s standing would have a large house at the very least, perhaps even a mansion of sorts. But this was…it wasn’t small by any means, but it was rather unassuming. Percy decided he actually quite liked it. 

Then had come the introductions of one Sirius Black. Lord Black was obviously overcome with emotion at seeing his goddaughter for the first time since she was a baby. Percy felt like an intruder, and noticed that his brothers appeared to feel the same. Thankfully, Lord Peverell escorted them inside, saying they’d let Ivy and Sirius have a moment. 

Once inside, Percy was left to his thoughts for a moment, ultimately deciding that he wasn’t sure what to think. So here he was, standing in Lord Peverell’s rather modest living room, reassessing his world view and wondering what their holiday was going to look like. 

Eventually Ivy and Black joined them inside, and it only took a moment before Percy decided Sirius Black resembled an overgrown puppy far more than a stuffy Lord of an Ancient and Noble House. 

Sirius, as he insisted he be called, began telling them all about what he had planned for the holiday. He cheerfully showed them the quidditch pitch in the backyard, because, yes there was a regulation size quidditch pitch in the backyard. 

Percy had never related to anyone quite as much as he did when he heard Ivy mutter, “Merlin, there’s two of them.” 

Ron was obviously won over by both Black and Peverell at their obvious enthusiasm regarding all things quidditch. The twins quickly joined the quidditch discussion, and Percy and Ivy were left to fend for themselves. 

After a few minutes Ivy rolled her eyes and grabbed Percy’s hand, dragging him to another room explaining that if her uncle had found people to talk quidditch with it might be a while. She showed Percy around the house, ending with a room filled with books and all sorts of little odds and ends. 

“I thought if you got bored you could come in here. There’s all kinds of exciting things here.”

Percy nodded his appreciation and began to look around. There were the usual sorts of books, on a number of topics, but what caught his eye was the large number of books that looked like something Charlie would enjoy if he were here. 

He wasn’t sure Hogwarts even had quite that many books on both dangerous magical creatures and plants. It was an impressive collection, to be sure. 

Ivy showed him a few of her favorites, and he politely indicated that yes, they looked very interesting, and perhaps you can not show those particular books to the twins, please and thank you. 

She didn’t technically agree, but Percy thought he had made a compelling argument. 

After a little while they made their way back to the living room. Quidditch was no longer being discussed, that much was apparent. Instead Lord Peverell was staring down a rather nervous looking Fred and George, while Ron and Sirius both looked on rather perplexed. 

“What’s going on?” Ivy asked. 

Lord Peverell waved a hand in her direction without turning. “Shh. Just a moment. This is important.” 

Percy glanced at Ivy, but she just shrugged and plopped down on one of the sofas. No one else said anything for a minute, as Peverell continued to stare down the twins, who, despite their obvious discomfort, managed to maintain eye contact. 

Finally, Peverell spoke, breaking the tense silence. “Fred, George, drink the tea, please.”

Percy was suddenly filled with a sense of dread mixed with alarm. What exactly was going on? 

Peverell continued to stare down the twins, who slowly reached for the tea in front of them. They each took a sip, and Peverell looked triumphant. 

“Perfect. Now, I’m going to ask you each a question, and I need you to answer completely honestly. And don’t worry, the truth serum in the tea is a fairly mild one.” 

Percy very nearly groaned out loud. This was unlikely to end well. 

Peverell turned towards the twin on his left. “What is your name?”

“Fred Weasley.”

Peverell stared at Fred for a moment, then nodded and turned to the twin on his right. “What is your name?”

“George Weasley.”

Peverell stared at George for a moment as well, then grinned and said, “brilliant! Alright, here you go.” With that he handed them each something that Percy was fairly confident was the antidote to whatever truth serum Peverell had used. 

“That’s it?” Fred blurted out.

Peverell actually looked confused at that. “Yes? I had to make sure I knew which one of you was which. How else would I be able to tell you apart? For all I know you would have given me the wrong names or something. No, this way I know for sure.” 

That gave the twins a moment pause, but then George asked, “wait so now that you know our names you think you’ll be able to tell us apart?”

It did not escape Percy’s notice that the incredulous look on Peverell’s face was matched closely by one on Ivy’s. “Of course. It’s not like it’s that hard. I just needed to make sure I knew which name to put with which face.” 

Percy glanced at Ivy again, confirming that she seemed to be of the same opinion as her guardian. To be fair, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to him to see that they were similar in at least some ways. 

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December 24, 1991

It took Ron less than twenty four hours to decide that this was a brilliant way to spend Christmas. Much better than staying at Hogwarts, for sure. He hadn’t initially been of that opinion, but Sirius and Harry (or Henry? It got confusing with people calling him different things) were the best. His opinion of them, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with their enthusiasm for quidditch. Not at all. They were just really cool people. Who also happened to be big quidditch fans. Not to mention they had a quidditch pitch in their backyard. He was pretty sure it was Lord Peverell’s house, but Sirius kept calling it his quidditch pitch and no one had corrected him. 

Ron’s views on Sirius and Harry notwithstanding, he was still a little confused about Potter. Or Ivy, as he was supposed to call her now he supposed. On the one hand, she was a Slytherin. On the other hand, she was pretty nice. She hung out with Malfoy, but he had also heard she yelled at him about the duel. She was friends with the twins, which Ron honestly didn’t know should be considered a good thing or not. She was also friends with Neville, and Neville was alright, so chances are she was too. A lot of the other Gryffindors seemed to like her too. Even Wood, who was even more quidditch obsessed than Charlie was about dragons, if that was possible, spent time with her flying and trying to get her to play quidditch. Then again, it was entirely possible he had been hit in the head with a bludger at some point. 

Still, Ron resolved to get to know Ivy better. Even if she insisted hanging around Malfoy all the time. He supposed that she might not have much of a choice. Who else would she spend her time with, after all? She was in Slytherin, so there couldn’t be that many nice people to hang around. Maybe he could show her that he could be a better friend than that. Maybe then she’d be his friend and stop hanging around Malfoy so much. Yep. Great plan. 

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Harry had miscalculated. He was excited to see…well, technically “meet” Remus, and Sirius was excited to see Remus again, but he had assumed that Ivy would be excited as well. She had been eager to meet Sirius, after all. Perhaps it was his fault for thinking it would make a great surprise, and for not warning her that someone else was coming, but the meeting between Remus and Ivy had not gone well. Harry wouldn’t go quite so far as to say it had been a disaster, but… 

Sirius had thankfully whisked Remus off to show him around and no doubt catch up on a decade of missed time, while Harry had taken Ivy aside and asked her what was wrong and what was going on. She had clearly stated that she didn’t understand why someone who was supposed to care about her hadn’t bothered to check in on her at all until now. Harry had tried to soothe her over a bit, but he knew she had a valid point. Even he had felt that way to an extent, and she did not have nearly the same desperation as he had had to connect with her parents in any way possible. 

Another thing that had not escaped Harry’s notice (or Sirius or Remus’s for that matter), was the way Ivy had stiffened when Remus mentioned Dumbledore. Harry desperately wanted to ask her about that reaction, but she had long since run off with the other kids to play snow quidditch. Harry had no idea what that was, but it sounded either dangerous or fun (or both, most likely). He would have gladly joined in, but he had a bit too much on his mind right now. A little less on his mind and he might have grinned at the fact that Ivy had been convinced to play quidditch (in any variety) without him. 

What to do about Remus and Ivy. That was the first question. Harry didn’t want to spend the entire Christmas holiday with a guilty feeling Remus and an upset or even shy Ivy. Ivy had been shy at first when they had begun traveling together, but as her confidence grew the shyness quickly left. It had never gone completely away, however, and Harry knew that the fastest way to bring it out in her was with any sort of connection to her life at the Dursleys. He didn’t think she would hold Remus’s actions (or lack thereof) against him forever, but if she felt that he had anything to do with her being at the Dursleys, it might take a lot more time and effort for her to warm up to him. 

Suddenly an epiphany struck Harry. Did Ivy blame Dumbledore for placing her at the Dursleys in the first place? That would explain her reaction to his name. He had long since forgiven his own world’s Dumbledore for that and many other things, but this was a different situation. Ivy had not mentioned any interactions with the headmaster aside from the meeting the first night at Hogwarts, and if that had been her only impression of him, and if she had somehow found out that he had placed her at the Dursleys, she would no doubt have taken that information rather poorly. Harry knew the headmaster had his reasons for what he did, but Ivy did not understand those reasons, nor was he inclined to ask her too. It would be her choice whether or not she forgave Dumbledore for that, but Harry hoped it wouldn’t stand in the way of her developing a relationship with Remus. 

Still uncertain as to what he should do exactly, Harry determined that he ought to ask Sirius. Sirius knew Remus better than perhaps anyone alive, after all, even after a decade apart. Sirius might not know Ivy as well yet, but he seemed to instinctively understand Harry, for which Harry was forever grateful, and he could offer another perspective on the situation. Yes, he would go to Sirius for advice. 

Oh how he loved being able to do that. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius listened to Harry’s explanation and rubbed his forehead. He hadn’t even thought about how Ivy might react to Remus, and her reactions to Remus’s explanation (though rather poorly given, Sirius thought) that he had stayed away because Dumbledore had said it was unsafe for him to contact her had only increased his concerns regarding the headmaster. There was essentially no doubt left in his mind as to why precisely Dumbledore had done as he had. If his apparent plan had succeeded, Ivy’s life would most likely resemble Harry’s much more closely, complete with yearly trauma and near-death experiences. Sirius shuddered at the thought. No, they wouldn’t allow anything of the sort to happen to Ivy. Harry had done an excellent job of raising her so far, and Sirius was determined to help in any way he could. 

For all of Harry’s admissions about the headmaster, both the one in his original world and the one here, Harry did not seem to regard Dumbledore with any great deal of disdain or anger. If it came down to protecting Ivy or keeping peace with Dumbledore, Sirius had doubt that Harry would do all in his power to keep Ivy safe and far from harm. And Harry’s power was nothing if not incredible. 

Perhaps Sirius would need a little more evidence of Dumbledore’s machinations before he could confront Harry with the prospect that the headmaster might very possibly end up opposing them more directly in the future. A man with such carefully laid plans was unlikely to give them up so easily. 

But back to the current matter. Sirius had taken Remus off for a chat after the unfortunate first encounter with Ivy, and was not at all surprised when Remus looked like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. After enduring about thirty seconds of apology Sirius could not take any more, and had simply told Remus to stop being an idiot before grabbing him into a hug that lasted longer than he bothered to take notice of. He wasn’t sure which one of them had held on tighter, but for that moment it felt both as if nothing had happened and as if everything had happened all over. Remus may have been able to grieve in a way that was denied Sirius, but he had also carried that grief alone for a long time. Now they were finally back together, and Sirius was not going to let anything ruin that, least of all a meddling old wizard. As much as he would have loved to curse the man for interfering with what could have been a much earlier relationship between Remus and Ivy, and tell him exactly where he could put his manipulative plans, it was much more important that he think through things first. No more rash actions. He had done that once and he had paid for it dearly. 

No, this time he would act another way. He would see about getting Remus on their side, and he would help Harry as much as possible with finishing off Voldemort and protecting Ivy. He would keep his family safe, no matter the cost. It couldn’t be anything greater than what he had already paid. 

He had been raised a Slytherin, no matter how adamantly he had rejected the path his family intended him to take. Perhaps now it would be good for something after all.  

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 25, 1991

Sirius was officially the coolest person after. After Henry, of course. Ivy had been planning for months about how to wake Henry on Christmas morning, and the more people had been added to the list, the more elaborate her plot had become. She was rather proud of it at this point. She knew Henry would be expecting something, so she had been extra careful to make it look like she was going to wake him up one way, while simultaneously preparing to do it another way entirely. 

The fact that Henry had warded his bedroom against at least seventeen types of liquids (Ivy didn’t no any more revealing charms than that) had proven to her that her bait had been taken. In reality she had bribed Hedwig with a lot of bacon. Worth it. 

Back to Sirius being the coolest person ever. She had gone to cook the bacon, in the middle of the night, of course, so as to not arouse suspicion, and Sirius had walked in on her. At first she was worried that her plan was entirely ruined, but then, before she knew it, she had an accomplice. And not only that, but he had offered to cook the bacon for Hedwig. Yep. Definitely the coolest. He had asked her what her plan was, and, seeing as he was willing to go along with her plan, she shared the details. He had agreed that all of it was rather brilliant (she had preened enough at that statement to make Draco jealous), but he had offered an alternative for the twins. When he showed her the trick he had in mind, she was quick to agree. Besides, if the twins decided to retaliate it wouldn’t be against her. It was a win-win situation, really. 

Armed with plots, plans, and far less sleep than was probably healthy, the two conspirators tiptoed silently to the first floor bedrooms. Ivy had to admit that Hedwig was probably the most intelligent bird in the world, and she finally relented, giving the owl half the bacon up front. With a satisfied hoot (quietly done), Hedwig flew into the door Ivy and Sirius had so carefully opened. Grinning, they turned towards the other doors. 

They passed Ivy’s room, and then Sirius’s room, and then came to the room the twins were in. With a wink at Ivy, Sirius changed into a large black dog, and happily (though silently) trotted into the room. As soon as he made it past the door Ivy got out the materials needed to wake Remus. She wasn’t entirely sure if this was a good idea, but Sirius had assured her that this was, in fact, the best idea of all. 

Her supply consisted of several muggle pranking items, including an air horn, which Sirius labeled his favorite. He had warned her that Remus had excellent hearing, and so had advised her to cast a silencing charm with a timer. Technically he had offered to do that, but she asked how it worked, and when she got it on the third try he just looked at her and said, “that’ll work.” 

Once everything was in position, she moved to the final bedroom, where Percy and Ron were asleep. Counting down from thirty in her head, she prepared for the last phase: the awakening. Thanks to Sirius they were going to be able to get everyone at once. It was perfect. 

Seconds later that house came awake. Mostly with screams, but definitely awake. 

Ivy wasn’t sure what Ron was screaming about, since she had jumped on Percy, not him. Percy had yelled out, “knock it off Charlie,” before realizing who was actually waking him. He had then caught on to the other screams and had rushed out the door. The twins were screaming, which Ivy thought was hilarious, and Sirius was laughing his head off, having already transformed back into his normal self. Henry had come out of his room shouting about traitors and finally Remus emerged, yelling at “Padfoot.” 

Ivy knew he was talking about Sirius, but she was surprised when the twins immediately stopped and stared at Remus. 

“You know Padfoot,” one of them asked. Ivy couldn’t see which one had spoken. 

Remus just gestured to Sirius. “Padfoot,” he grunted. “The bloody menace.” 

Sirius took a bow. 

Fred and George’s eyes grew wide. Ivy briefly thought there were little hearts reflected there. 

And so began the series of revelations that yes, Sirius was Padfoot. Oh, and Remus was Moony. Prongs was James Potter, and Wormtail shall never be spoken of again. Oh, right, he was that rat you helped catch that got sent to Azkaban and then died. Sirius looked positively gleeful at that last part. Ivy wondered if maybe he should have gotten a little more sleep after all. 

The twins were awestruck, Percy looked like his pet had just died, which… Well technically that was kind of true, but Ivy didn’t think that was the reason for his current greenness. Ron looked confused, but interested, Remus looked resigned, and Henry looked liked he would love nothing more than to go back to sleep. Hedwig chose that particular moment to fly into the hall and land on his shoulder. 

“Traitor,” he muttered. Ivy giggled, and he sent a half-hearted glare in her direction before laughing himself. 

“How did you get her to do that?” he asked.

“Bribery,” she stated simply. 

Henry rolled his eyes. “Only worked because she loves you.” 

Ivy grinned. “I know.”

Operation wake-everyone-on-Christmas: Success. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy was nervous. 

She had laughed when Henry showed her the pensieve that he bought. “Entirely for my own purposes,” he had said with a laugh. 

He had finally conceded that she could use it too, if he got to view everyone’s reaction to her sorting. She had readily agreed, and Henry, Sirius, and Remus had all come up laughing their heads off and barely able to out two words together. 

But then Sirius and Remus had both given her their present. Together they gave her a large box, in which she discovered dozens of vials containing memories. When she had looked at them for an explanation, they had told her that they were memories of her parents. She didn’t even bother wiping the tears away, choosing instead to first launch into Sirius’s arms, giving him a huge hug, and then Remus’s, who, though taken a little off guard, had caught her and held her close. 

They explained that they had plenty more they could share, but they thought these would be a good starting place. 

And now she was about to view the first of them. 

Henry was going to watch them all with her, for which she was thankful. He had done his best to tell her everything he knew about her parents, and had managed to procure a few pictures of them, but he himself hadn’t ever known them either, so there wasn’t much more he could tell her. 

This though? These were memories from two people who had known them for years. Who had been best friends with them and had loved them. 

Ivy couldn’t wait, but she was also nervous. What if they weren’t like the idea of them she had built up in her head? What if it just made her miss them more? Or at least the idea of them. She didn’t have any memories of her own about her parents, so she wasn’t sure she actually missed them as much as missed the idea of what could have been. 

Henry was, as always, supportive and comforting. She explained her worries as best she could, and he nodded. 

“It’s up to you,” he said. “You can view them now, later, or over time. And maybe they won’t be like what you’re expecting, but that’s okay. This is an opportunity to get to know them a little better. And I’m sure any questions you have…I’m sure Sirius and Remus would love to tell you anything you want to know.”

He held onto her for another moment and she leaned into his embrace. She had missed this, the warm reminder that someone cared for her. Finally she nodded and stood. “Okay, I’m ready.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Let’s go see my parents.”

With that he took her hand, and together they entered the first of many memories of her parents. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Remus watched as Sirius cast yet another revealing charm on the package. 

“Are you sure you need to do that?” he asked. “I think you’ve covered everything.”

Sirius shook his head. “Can’t be too careful.”

Remus chuckled. “Now you sound like Moody.”

Sirius grinned. “CONSTANT VIGILANCE,” he boomed. 

A small yelp was heard from somewhere down the hall. Remus couldn’t help himself. He burst out laughing, and Sirius soon joined him. Oh, how he had missed this. 

“Maybe I’ll get Harry to check it over too.”

“What’s he going to do that you haven’t already?”

Sirius didn’t respond for a moment, instead maintaining an intense focus on the package in front of him. 

Suddenly he frowned, then cast one last charm over the package. As he watched the results, his frown deepened, until finally he was scowling. 

“What is it, Padfoot?”

Sirius didn’t look up. “Compulsion. Subtle, and well hidden, but it’s there.”

Remus sat up. That wasn’t good. “Compulsion for what?” 

“I’m not sure,” Sirius said slowly. “Hey, go grab Harry, will you? I want him to take a look at this.”

A few minutes later Remus returned with Harry in tow. 

“What’s going on, Sirius?” Harry asked. 

Sirius gestured to the package. “It’s got a compulsion on it. Took a while to find, and it’s devilishly subtle, but… well, just see for yourself.” 

Harry took his wand out and began casting the same diagnostics as Sirius had. Arriving at the same one that had revealed the charm to Sirius, his eyes narrowed and he began casting spells Remus couldn’t identify. Remus looked to Sirius to see his reaction but Sirius was focused solely on Harry.

“Can you tell who cast it?” Sirius asked. 

Harry shook his head. “Not exactly. But not many witches or wizards would be strong enough to cast one as complex and well-hidden as this.” 

Remus noticed how Sirius’s eyes narrowed at that. “What are you thinking, Padfoot?”

Sirius seemed to be debating something inside his mind, but he finally grimaced and said, “Dumbledore. Dumbledore could have done this.” 

“You think Dumbledore would have sent you a compulsion? To do what, exactly? I thought he had dropped the guardianship thing?” Harry seemed perplexed, and Remus could understand.

Sirius shook his head. “It wasn’t sent to me. It was addressed to Ivy, with no sender. Hence…” he gestured vaguely, but they all understood what he meant. 

A few minutes later, Remus decided that (a), Harry was an incredibly powerful wizard, (b), he never wanted to get on Harry’s bad side, and (c), Dumbledore, or whoever had sent this package was going to be deep… he glanced around, just in case one of the kids was nearby and potentially within mid-reading distance. So maybe he was a little paranoid when it came to kids and language habits. Although anyone who had faced Lily Potter’s wrath when her sweet little one year old’s third word was a four letter word from the no-no list would be equally paranoid. 

“Okay, I seem to be missing something here. Why would you think Dumbledore would try to place Ivy under a compulsion? And why here? If he wanted to place one on her wouldn’t he just do it at Hogwarts?” Remus didn’t think it was actually Dumbledore, but maybe playing devil’s advocate a little would help them solve the mystery. 

Harry seemed to be on the verge of a crisis (it was understandable, Remus supposed), but Sirius answered after a moment. 

“If she was place under a compulsion during the holiday, it would give him an out if it were ever to be discovered. He would be able to shift blame for it onto Harry, which might give him enough evidence to bring up a custody hearing. He’s covering all his bases,” Sirius practically spit out. 

Harry asked Sirius a silent question, and Remus caught the small little shake of Sirius’s head in response. Clearly there was something they weren’t telling him, but quite frankly he deserved that. Maybe eventually they would trust him, but for now he would do his best to help.

“So what do we do?”

Chapter Text

December 27, 1991

“Sirius, why didn’t you want me to tell Remus?” 

Sirius looked up. “I don’t know,” he said honestly. “I want to say we can trust him with this, but I have to know he’s not going to go running to Dumbledore.”

Harry nodded solemnly. “And you still think Dumbledore is the one behind the package?”

Even as he asked the question, he knew the answer. Too many things fit for it to be a coincidence.

“Yeah, I do. You mentioned James’s cloak in your first year. I think this is the next best thing in his mind. I’m fairly certain he still doesn’t know that Remus or I have been in close contact with you, or with Ivy, and he’s probably betting that he can win Ivy to his side using her parents. He wouldn’t expect you to be able to share anything about them anyway, so he probably assumed she doesn’t know much.” 

Harry thought back to his own younger years and how much he had loved being able to glean even the tiniest bit of information about his parents. 

“Do you think…” Harry couldn’t quite bring himself to say it. 

“Do I think Dumbledore put a compulsion on you?” 

Harry nodded, eyes staring at the ground. 

Sirius sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. In a way it doesn’t matter. He manipulated your life so you would do what he wanted, fulfill your so-called destiny or whatever nonsense he was following, and whether or not he used some kind of magic on you to make you more cooperative is almost a moot point.” 

Surprisingly, that made Harry feel a bit better. It didn’t matter what Dumbledore had or had not done. Not really. That part of his life was over. Now his focus was Ivy. 

“And what about Ivy?”

Sirius rubbed his brow before responding. “Look, you’re a lot more forgiving of a person than I am. I think we firmly established that.”

Harry let out a wry chuckle. He had witnessed Sirius’s lack of forgiveness. He had prevented Sirius from killing Peter in his world, but he hadn’t been able to bring himself to do so here. Not now that he understood Sirius’s position a little better. 

“You were able to forgive people,” Sirius continued, “including Dumbledore, for things that, frankly, most people never would be able to forgive. Myself included. But I’ve seen you with Ivy, and I know you’ll do anything to protect her. Including going up against Dumbledore if needed.”

“You think it’ll come to that?”

Sirius grimaced. “I don’t think he’s likely to give in any time soon.” 

Harry sighed. “You’re probably right. Maybe once we get this whole Voldemort thing taken care of once and for all he’ll stop. Has he contacted you any more about Ivy?” 

Sirius shook his head. “No. Nothing recently. My guess would be that he’s trying to get a better read on you first. You are quite the mystery of the British wizarding world right now, you know.” 

Harry groaned. “Don’t remind me. I swear every day it’s worse. Where do people come up with all these rumors anyway?” 

Sirius went to answer but Harry put up his hand. “No, don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.”

Sirius threw back his head and laughed. “You’re going to have to face your adoring public sooner or later.”

“Do you have to put it that way? And later is fine by me.”

“You could always let Ivy set up a social calendar for you.”

Harry made a face. “Why do you love tormenting me?”

“She did mention something about how you really ought to date more.” Harry let out a strangled sound that Sirius completely ignored. “I think she might have said something about finding someone for you if you didn’t do it yourself.”

Sirius had the gall to laugh at the expression on Harry’s face. “Where would she even… You know what, never mind. I have half an idea to stick her on you. I’m sure everyone would love to meet the new Lord Black.”

Sirius’s eyes went wide. “You wouldn’t dare!”

“I would too! Besides, you started it. No way am I going to be dragged off into some kind of social event while you get to stay at home. If I’m going down, then you’re going down with me.”

“Well…” Sirius grasped for a retort. “Well maybe I’ll be the one dragging you down with me.”

“Not bloody likely. You would just find a way to get out of it. No, if I’m going, so are you.”

“Fine.”

“Fine!”

“Fine!”

“What’re you yelling about?”

Harry and Sirius both turned to see Ivy standing in the doorway. 

“Nothing,” Harry reassured her. “Just telling Sirius that he’s going to have to come with me to social events and such.”

Ivy clapped her hands. “Oh perfect! I’ll let Draco know we’re coming.”

With that she turned around and skipped out of the room. 

As realization over their newfound situation sunk in, the two men turned and looked at each other with expressions of horror. 

“Did we just…”

“Yeah.”

“This isn’t going to end well.”

“Probably not.”

“It’ll be fine.”

“Speak for yourself. I’m related to Malfoy.”

“Only by marriage.”

“That doesn’t make it better.”

They both shuddered. Harry felt bad for a split second, but that feeling quickly faded. Maybe this would be his chance to get the diary… He wasn’t sure why he hadn’t thought of it before. Okay he did know, but he wasn’t ready to admit to himself or anyone else that he was too scared of the young female population of Britain to actually go to something like the Malfoy’s New Years Eve party. 

Ivy would be happy to see her friends, Harry could nab the diary, and Sirius would be there as well. Maybe he’d be able to get a good pensieve memory out of this. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Draco ran through the manor in search of his parents. Christmas had been wonderful, as always, but now it was even better. Ivy was coming to his party. His family’s party. Same thing. 

He nearly ran into his mother, but she didn’t even chide him for it. She just asked if everything was alright and he said it was. 

“Ivy is coming to our party.”

“Oh?”

“Yes. She just wrote me. Apparently Lord Peverell decided they could come after all.”

His father, who he had not noticed was even in the room until just now, began coughing. 

“Well that’s nice. So they will both be attending?”

Draco nodded. “Oh and she said her godfather would come too.”

His mother beamed. “Well it will certainly be nice to see my sousing again after all this time.”

His father coughed again. 

“Water, dear?”

“I’m fine,” his father got out before excusing himself. 

His mother rolled her eyes ever so slightly. “Well, I’m sure it will be wonderful to have more of your friends here.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lucius sat at his desk. On the one hand, he was finally going to have a chance to meet Lord Peverell. Despite the rumors that continued to circulate, no one actually knew anything about the man. Severus had asked for help in learning more about him, but so far Lucius hadn’t had anything to offer him. But now, he thought, as he viewed the official response sent by Lord Peverell, he would have a chance to observe the man, perhaps even lay the foundations of a future alliance of sorts. The man hadn’t appeared in the Wizengamot, but if he were ever to claim his seat, his name alone would bring him considerable influence. 

So yes, meeting Lord Peverell provided a good opportunity. On the other hand… Lucius had known as soon as he heard of Black’s innocence that he wouldn’t be able to escape the man forever. He honestly had no idea how a man such as Black had been produced by his wife’s family. He was just so…Gryffindor. Yet Lucius knew better than to underestimate him. Even as a teenager when Lucius had been courting Narcissa, Sirius Black had held his own in any argument Lucius had found himself in. He was a Gryffindor, yes, but he had the skills of a Slytherin, at least when he chose to use them. 

As much as he disliked Black, however, he would not do anything to disrupt his wife’s chance at reconnecting with her family. The Black were, for the most part, disowned, dead, or imprisoned. Narcissa had effectively lost nearly every member of her family she had ever been close with, and if Black’s release meant she had an opportunity to have at least one member of her family still in her life, he could put up with Black’s inevitable antics. Perhaps just from a safe distance. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 31, 1991

Remus looked over his charges for the evening. Sirius, Harry, and Ivy were all headed to the Malfoy’s of all places, and the rest of them were thankfully not required to leave with them. 

“You know, you lot could come with us. I’m sure it would be fine.”

Remus saw the four looks that mirrored his own and turned to Harry. “I think we’re fine. Thanks.”

“Right. Right. Okay. Well, we’ll be off then.” Harry continued muttering to himself as he walked to the door, Ivy following cheerfully behind him. 

“Why do I have to wear this again?” Sirius asked, tugging at the collar of his shirt. 

Ivy rolled her eyes. “It makes you look presentable.” 

“Plus if I have to wear it, you have to too,” Harry added. 

Remus watched as the three left the house, one walking cheerfully and the other two grumbling back and forth about “this is all your fault.” 

Once the door closed he turned back to the assembled Weasleys. 

“Alright men,” he said. “What’s our first order of business?”

“Dinner?” the youngest asked hopefully. 

“Right. We can manage that. I think. I’ve lived on my own. This will be fine. Just fine.” He turned in the direction of the kitchen before glancing back. “Just in case, do any of you know how to cook?”

Four grimaces were all he got in response. Remus sighed. “Fine. This will be fine. How hard can it be?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Forty minutes later Remus had learned precisely how difficult it could be. Who knew that chicken was so difficult? Between his own lack of cooking skills and the occasional almost-helpful suggestions from the boys, they had made an utter mess of things. At least nothing was on fire. 

Oh. He spoke too soon.

Well, at least it was all in the pan. 

He had spoken too soon again. 

“Aren’t there, you know, cooking spells and things like that?”

They all looked at Ron. 

“I’m just saying. There’s probably an easier way to do this.”

Remus agreed. It was called a restaurant. 

Percy volunteered to go look in the library for a cooking book of some kind, and the twins helpfully offered to put out the fire. 

Knowing what he and his friends had been like at their age, Remus thought that maybe they should not be allowed near any fire, ever, so he sent them on the hunt for some type of food that didn’t involve actually cooking. 

Percy returned soon after with a book labeled “Household Charms for the Ignorant,” which Remus thought was appropriate. 

“Isn’t your mom…you know, good at this?” Remus gestured to the disaster that was currently Harry’s kitchen. 

Percy grimaced and nodded. “Yeah. Really good.”

“And none of you know because…”

“I think she tried with Bill and Charlie. Me too, actually. But once the twins started getting into things I think she gave up. We probably made a mess of her kitchen one too many times.”

Remus wondered what Percy had ever done to get banned from the kitchen. He reminded Remus of himself in some ways, although he hoped he hadn’t been quite that stuck up about life. That comparison brought to mind some of his own childhood mishaps and he suddenly felt he needed no further information. 

“She doesn’t make you help out or anything?” Remus hadn’t known Molly Weasley well, but that didn’t seem like her. 

“Oh, she does. Just not in the kitchen. I think she specifically keeps us all busy so we don’t invade her space.”

Remus nodded. Understandable. “Well, you seem smart. I’m sure we can figure this out.” 

Percy puffed up a little at the praise and immediately set to scouring through the book. 

Remus finished cleaning up their earlier attempts at cooking and wondered if he ought to have learned at some point. Probably. 

The twins’ heads finally emerged from the cupboards they had buried themselves in, and their arms were full of various food items. Remus decided they ought to only bother with the foods they could identify, or least read labels on, so a bunch of foreign looking foods and foods with labels in a variety of languages were put back. 

“Spaghetti. We can do spaghetti.”

How hard could it be? Boiling water was simple enough. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

It may have taken five of them, but they had managed to make dinner. The pasta was a little soft, and they had narrowly avoided a mishap with the pot on the stove, but in the end they prevailed. 

Percy had found a charm to instantly bring water to a boil, and Ron had insisted that you weren’t supposed to watch a pot of water. None of them had anything to refute that statement with, so they had ignored the pot until it became clear that the water was very nearly gone. In the end, however, no additional fires had been made, there was edible food on the table, and five wizards resolved to learn something about the previously under-appreciated skill. 

A few weeks after the incident, Molly Weasley would read some of the most touching letters from her children she had ever received. They were similar in ways to ones she had received from Bill and from Charlie at some point after each had left home, but these letter were special in that they contained pleas from her children to help them learn how to cook. Maybe it was time to try again. They were older now, so perhaps they would learn something and be able to help her rather than risk setting the house on fire. 

A few more weeks after that, Fred and George received a letter from their sister, telling them that it was all their fault. She wasn’t sure how it was their fault, but she was sure they had something to do with it. It took them a bit to figure out what she was saying, but they eventually realized (with the help of Percy who they had reluctantly gone to), that she was their mother’s guinea pig when it came to passing on her cooking skills. Ginny was apparently less than pleased with the arrangement, and promised to get even with each of them over the summer. Percy was certain this was the first time he had ever been threatened in a letter sent to the twins, and he wasn’t sure he liked that development, and Ron decided that since he was the next youngest, he’d have the best chance of joining up with his sister against his brothers, so as to avoid her wrath. It was the smart thing to do.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 31, 1991 Malfoy Manor 

At least Sirius was here too. 

That’s all Harry could think as he was introduced to dozens of people he probably wouldn’t remember past tonight. Ivy, completely devoid of sympathy for his current plight, had run off with her friends, and he and Sirius had found themselves practically swarmed by people from the moment they entered. 

In what was certainly a turn of events, he and Sirius both let a small sigh of relief at the sight of Narcissa Malfoy. Sirius dragged Harry (who went quite happily) over to his cousin and introduced them. Harry greeted Lady Malfoy with all the correct manners that had been drilled into his head by another Narcissa Malfoy and her sister (Andy, not the other, crazy one). 

Harry was a little surprised to see Sirius so eager to greet Narcissa, but he supposed they were family, regardless of what sides they had fallen on in the past. Harry had heard Sirius complain about most of his family, but now that he thought about it, he couldn’t actually think of a time when Sirius (either of them) had complained about Narcissa directly. Lucius, yes. But never Narcissa. Since Ivy was apparently set on being friends with Draco Malfoy, at least Harry could be reassured that Narcissa was likely as great as she had turned out to be in his world. 

Lucius, on the other hand…

When the man wasn’t trying to kill him, it was actually quite a bit of fun to goad him. That might not have helped the whole now-he’s-trying-to-kill-me-again thing, but that was neither here nor there. Sirius must have thought so as well, since he wasted absolutely no time provoking the man. 

For all his Slytherin cunning Harry wasn’t sure Lord Malfoy hid his emotions all that well. The man was gritting his teeth, but was obviously holding back from responding in kind. Harry noticed that Malfoy’s eyes kept glancing over to where Harry stood. He wondered why, and then the thought struck him that Malfoy probably wanted to make a good impression on him. Oh, this was rich. Harry used every bit of his willpower to not let out a chuckle. Lucius Malfoy. Wanting to make a good impression on him. Oh how things changed. A perk of accidental interdimensional travel Harry supposed. 

Right when it appeared that Malfoy was going to head in his direction, Harry was saved from the encounter by none other than Blaise Zabini’s mother, whose name he couldn’t recall for the life of him. At this point he couldn’t even remember if he had already been introduced to her this evening. 

After the customary introductions were made (that answered that question at least), Harry prepared himself for the likelihood that he would have to endure some amount of flirtation, assuming, of course, that she was currently in between husbands. To his surprise, and utter delight, the first words she spoke to him after the normal pleasantries were altogether different than what he had been expecting. 

“You are friends with Lord Black, are you not?”

Harry nodded, and Madam Zabini hmmed in response. “And is he quite single?”

It was at this moment, after preventing his mouth from hanging open, that Harry began to feel a sense of delight. As he had told Sirius, if he was going to be dragged to these sorts of things, he was taking Sirius down with him. And after all the teasing Sirius had done… 

“Oh, yes, very single.” She seemed pleased with this response. “Are the two of you acquainted?” 

(Please say yes, please say yes, please say…)

“Yes…”

Cue mental notation of triumph.

“…But of course it has been such a long time.”

Harry nodded seriously while inside cackling gleefully. Oh, it was on. 

“And are you…single?”

Madam Zabini smirked a little at the underlying question. “Yes, my husband recently passed away.”

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

“You wouldn’t be if you had known him.”

Grieving widow indeed. “Oh?”

She offered no response, instead choosing to look intently in the direction of Sirius and Malfoy. Sirius must have felt eyes on him because he turned at just that moment and made eye contact first with Harry, and then with Madam Zabini. His eyes narrowed, and he excused himself from his conversation with Malfoy, who did not look at all upset to have the little chat brought to an end. 

A moment later he appeared in front of them. 

“Hello, Sirius,” Madam Zabini said, offering him her hand, which he dutifully kissed. 

“Sabrina,” he said, as he raised his head again. Harry noticed that neither moved their hands with any haste. Interesting. 

The next fifteen minutes were nothing short of a duel. It was the best part of Harry’s night so far, and he absently wondered if there was any popcorn available. The best part was that neither of them seemed to notice his continued presence, so he had a front row seat to the entire discussion, even when their voices became whispered and harsh. 

They threw flirtations and insults at each other in equal measure, and Harry determined to give Remus the memory when he got home. 

As their conversation began to wind down, Harry decided that now was as good a time as any to add his own bit to dialogue. 

“So, how long have you two known each other?”

Both had the decency to look a little taken aback at the fact that they has conducted their entire verbal spar with such a close audience, but when Sirius saw the smug look on Harry’s face he gave a little scowl. 

“Oh, we’ve known each other for ages,” said Madam Zabini, or Sabrina, as Harry was prone to think of her now. Some things you can’t witness without changing how you view a person. 

“She was a year above me in school,” Sirius explained, beginning to look a little uncomfortable. 

Sabrina snorted. Elegantly, of course, but it was there. “Is that what they call it now?” 

Harry caught onto that insinuation fairly quickly. He grinned at Sirius, who was beginning to show signs of a slight blush creeping up. 

“So, how’s your husband?”

Sabrina narrowed her eyes slightly. “Quite deceased, thank you.”

“Oh, another one? How many is that now?”

“Five.”

“And this one met a suitable end, I’m sure.”

There was no question, only a statement, but Sabrina nodded her agreement. “Nothing less than he deserved.” 

Sirius’s mouth quirked up a little at that. “I would expect nothing less.” 

The look they exchanged at this point, in contrast to their very recent near battle of words left Harry feeling like a bit of an intruder. He made excuses, but needn’t have bothered. Neither of them noticed him leave. 

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Escaping the party was less challenging than he had anticipated. He hadn’t been sure if he would be able to do so at all, given the number of people supposedly eager to speak with him (though he had far too much experience with that kind of attention to put any stock in it). But after a while the apparent novelty of his presence abated, for which he was grateful, and he made his escape. 

He had a basic understanding of where the diary was located, but given his desire for this particular scheme to be over with as quickly as possible, he got within the general vicinity of where he believed the diary to be before casting a (rather overpowered) accio. Now, Malfoy certainly wasn’t stupid, so Harry knew better than to expect that to actually work, which it didn’t. At least, not in the way the spell was typically used. What it did do, however, was alert him to the precise location of the localized wards surrounding the diary. 

In truth he could have made quick work of the wards, but he wanted to be able to put them back in such a way that no one would be the wiser. That required a slightly more delicate approach. He still remembered the look on Bill’s face the first time he had simply torn through a series of wards. He was pretty sure his own face had resembled a kicked puppy after Bill’s (rather lengthy) explanation as to why you didn’t just do that. Fleur had made it all better though, by providing them both with some sort of pudding that was French, unpronounceable, but chocolate and therefore delicious. 

Hopefully the two of them would get together in this world. Perhaps he could help. 

At last the wards were down, and the diary was retrieved. Tempted as he was to dispose of it right then and there, Harry knew deep down that it would be best to wait, rather than risk alerting anyone to his actions or to any accident that might happen. He didn’t think the Malfoy’s would appreciate their house burning down, regardless of whether not it was an accident or for a good cause. 

Thankfully the wards were easier to reassemble than to take down, and it was not long before Harry was able to leave Malfoy’s office, diary safely tucked away. He poked his head out the door, and checked to make sure there was no one in sight. That would have been awkward and inevitably led to questions he would rather not have to make up answers for. 

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Having made it back to the party with no one the wiser by the looks of it, Harry resigned himself to spend another couple hours mingling with people he didn’t know, or worse, a few people he did. His efforts to find Sirius were in vain, and someone eventually informed him that Lord Black had requested they let him know that he had left and would see him tomorrow. Traitor. Harry didn’t see Madam Zabini anywhere either, so he had some idea what had prompted Sirius’s departure. 

Wondering if it would be bad form to find Narcissa and just stick by her side for the rest of the evening, Harry decided that the prospect of spending time with one of the maybe three people he felt he could have a decent conversation with in the room was worth any breach of manners that would come from potentially monopolizing his hostess’s attention. Before he could make his way over to her, however, he was stopped by her husband, who Harry was much less eager to converse with. Besides, he had just broken into the man’s office, and that made the situation a little awkward, even if only on his end. 

After the customary small talk and inquiries and other usual conversational nonsense that was an unfortunate part of life, Harry managed to steer the topic to the one thing he could think of that wouldn’t involve personal questions from his host. Lucius Malfoy may have never made it high on Harry’s list (death attempts have a tendency to do that), but if there was one thing he knew, it was that Malfoy loved his family more than anything else. And so, Harry skillfully (in his opinion) turned the conversation to Draco. He felt he had a valid reason for doing so, since Malfoy Jr. was one of Ivy’s best friends. Lucius seemed pleased with the inquiry, and Harry mentally patted himself on the back for the move.

In a rather short space of time Harry had learned more about young Draco Malfoy than he ever had before. He’d have to go to Narcissa to get the good, embarrassing stories, but Lucius was more than happy to talk about his son. Harry shared some of what Ivy had shared with him about Draco, leaving out her friend’s tendency to rant for extended periods of time about a great variety of things. He instead focused on what Ivy had said about Draco being good at potions, a good friend, and yet another quidditch obsessed individual (Harry phrased it a little differently, because obviously that wasn’t a bad thing). 

In what was one of the stranger moments of his life in this new universe, he found himself laughing with Lucius Malfoy over their children’s antics. Then he realized that he really did view Ivy as his kid. In a way it had always been like that, but at the same time, she was technically this universe’s version of him. There was probably some kind of philosophical or psychological something or other to be analyzed, but Harry chose instead to simply embrace the feeling and ignore the question of whether or not it was weird that he was raising his alternate self while considering that same alternate self to be his child. 

Then Harry made the mistake of making some comment about how he was glad Hogwarts was still standing, and that led to a mutual realization between him and Malfoy that they hadn’t actually seen the kids all evening. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal, but it was getting late and there was too much sugar readily available for there to be any guarantees. Looking at each other and nodding, they set off together to check on the kids. More likely than not things were fine, but, well, it never hurts to check, right? Just in case? 

In yet another surreal moment of the night, Harry found himself staring at the disaster zone that was the room the kids had apparently taken over. Some faces he recognized, and some he didn’t, but there were at least twenty children of varying ages engaged in some type of mock battle. It didn’t take long to determine the ringleaders. Ivy, of course, because who else would have had the idea in the first place, and Theo Nott, to both Harry and Lucius’s surprise. The two children were apparently leading their respective “armies” against each other in what might possibly have been some type of reenactment. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Theo that loud,” Lucius remarked. 

Harry glanced at him. 

“He’s normally the quiet one,” Lucius explained. 

Harry nodded. “Well, Ivy has a tendency to bring out…” The worst? Best? “…enthusiasm in others.”

They both grimaced as Goyle tripped over a cushion and knocked his head on a chair arm. 

“Well, they look fine,” Lucius said. 

Harry gave him a look that said he clearly did not believe the situation was fine. 

“Well, no one looks injured,” Lucius amended, clearly ignoring the injury they had just witnessed. “There’s no blood, at least.” 

That was technically true, but Harry was still surprised that Lucius Malfoy, the poster child of pureblood elitism, was content to have his son and a score of other children wage war in his house. 

“And you’re sure this,” Harry gestured to the overall destruction that filled the room, “is alright?” 

Malfoy stared at it for a moment. “It’s fine,” he said, before turning around and heading back in the direction of the main ballroom. “We don’t keep anything important in that room.” 

Harry could understand that, even if he was surprised that Lucius Malfoy was apparently the type of person to embrace such an idea. 

As they arrived back in the Ballroom, they are greeted by Narcissa, who questioned Lucius with a look. 

“Just checking on the children.”

Narcissa smiled. “And how are they?”

“They’ve kept to the blue room.”

“Wonderful,” Narcissa beamed. “I’m so glad they found something to amuse themselves with.” 

Harry personally thought that a mock battle reenactment or whatever was taking place in the ironically named blue room (honestly, hadn’t most of the things in the room been red?) went a bit beyond simple “amusements.” But maybe this was normal? His own past experiences with children he had recognized led him to think otherwise, but Ivy had probably had something to do with it, and it made sense that even pureblood, Slytherin children sometimes acted like…well, children. Chaos and destruction included. 

At least there were no magical creatures for Ivy to… 

Wait. He had explicitly told her to leave Tiger at home, right? He racked his brain for a memory of him doing just that, but could not think of one. There had been the don’t-bring-exploding-sweets talk, and the don’t-give-color-pellets-to-the-peacocks speech, but he couldn’t recall actually telling Ivy not to bring Tiger, and he was in no way prepared to assume that she would have taken it as a matter of course that you don’t bring your venomous snake to a house party. 

With a quick apology to both Malfoys, he dashed back in the direction of the war…er, “blue room,” and thrust open the door. Twenty or so pairs of eyes suddenly focused on him. 

“This is Henry,” Ivy helpfully said. Everyone present slowly nodded their heads in understanding. 

Harry cleared his throat and chuckled nervously. “Umm, hi everyone. Hey, Ivy, could I talk to you for a second?” 

The young Nott scion took that moment to call a dramatic ceasefire, and Ivy bounced over to where Harry stood. 

“Hey, Ives, did you bring Tiger with you?” 

“Of course. Tracey would have been sad if I didn’t.” 

“Tracey would have… Okay. That’s fine. Perfectly fine. And everyone here is okay with him?”

“Oh yes. They love Tiger. Well, Linus not so much, but he knows not to be mean to Tracey now, so it’s all okay.”

Harry truly didn’t want to know, even though he knew he should probably ask. He would ask later. Some undetermined point in the future, perhaps. “Right. Okay. So where is Tiger now?” 

Ivy pointed to a corner of the room where a (very young) Tracey Davis and Daphne Greengrass say cooing over something that was undoubtedly Tiger. What was it with Tiger that set all the girls cooing over him? It was one of the great mysteries of the universe, Harry supposed. And had these people all been this…small in his world? Most likely, but then again he had been the same size. Now they just looked so tiny. It was a little disconcerting if he were to be completely honest. 

He walked up to where the girls sat with the magical, highly venomous snake. “Are you two all right with Tiger?” He needed to double check, purely for his own comfort of mind. 

“Oh yes. Tiger is the best,” Tracey said. Daphne nodded her assent. 

§Yess, I am. And thesse oness are sso nisse. Sso ssoft and warm.§

Harry rolled his eyes. §You think anyone who petss you iss nisse.§

§Not everyone. Sstupid sshopkeeper wass not nisse.§

Harry pinched the bridge of his nose, hoping the snake wasn’t about to launch into another rant about the shopkeeper who kept feeding him the wrong things and petting him the wrong way. Then he realized what had just happened and looked up to see two pairs of wide eyes staring up at him. He smiled sheepishly, contemplating the ethics of obliviating a room full of children. 

“You can talk to him?” Tracey spoke loudly enough that everyone in the room heard. Lovely. 

“Umm, yes?” 

Now, once again, all eyes were fixed on him, this time with the added benefit of several mouths hanging open. 

No one spoke for a minute, but then Tracey blurted out, “that is so cool!”

Well that was one response he didn’t normally get. 

Ten minutes later he had answered dozens of questions. At least they all seemed happy and interested, instead of scared and horrified. That was something, at least. Yes, he had always been able to speak to snakes. No, he wasn’t sure if he was descended from Salazar Slytherin (Harry mentally shuddered at the memory of Slytherin’s face in the Chamber of Secrets). No, he couldn’t command an army of snakes (Daphne looked a little more than saddened by that admission and he unconsciously took a step away). Yes, he agreed it was absolutely wicked. 

Then the children began asking questions for Tiger, with Harry acting as translator. He may or may not have filtered out a few of the snake’s responses, and made a mental note to tell Ivy which words should not be repeated. Ever. Where had the snake even learned some of those? 

Someone mentioned Tiger hanging out in the fifth year boys dorm, and that question was answered. 

It took the countdown to midnight for Harry to finally be able to extract himself from the group of snake enthusiasts. Ultimately it was Narcissa to the rescue, as she came to fetch everyone in for the countdown, and the children dutifully exited their war zone as Narcissa lazily waved her wand, restoring things back to their proper place. 

Harry absently watched as the new year was rung in, and at the soonest polite time, took his exit, Ivy and Tiger in tow. 

It had been one eventful evening, that was for sure. 

Chapter Text

January 1, 1992, 1:00 am 

Harry carried a now sleeping Ivy inside and up the stairs to her bedroom. She didn’t even stir as he placed her on her bed, transfigured her dress into a set of pajamas, and tucked her in. He closed the door softly and made his way downstairs, looking for the rest of the house’s occupants. 

“How was the party?” Remus’s voice carried from inside the kitchen. 

Harry walked in to find an impressive sugary disaster on the table. “What happened here?” He asked. 

Four sheepish expressions was what he got in reply. Apparently Ron had fallen asleep already, his face not moving from its position on the table. 

“We, umm, well, the thing is…”

“We tried making pudding.” 

Harry wasn’t sure you could call the…blob on the table a “pudding,” but he didn’t want to be rude. “Well, it doesn’t look so bad in here.”

Percy grimaced and Remus cleared his throat, but Harry wasn’t paying attention and so missed the indication that it might have looked worse at some point that evening. 

“So, how was the party?” Remus repeated. 

“Oh, it was fine. Sirius ditched me partway through. When he shows up feel free to prank him. I’m open to suggestions.” 

The twins perked up at that. 

Remus chuckled. “I guess some things don’t change. Who was it?”

“Sabrina Zabini.” 

The three Weasleys currently awake seemed a little startled at that information and looked between Remus and Harry, but relaxed when neither showed any discernible amount of concern. 

“Makes sense,” Remus said. “He never fell for anyone like he fell for her.” 

“They were together then? At Hogwarts?”

Remus sighed. “In a way, yeah. Her father married her off right after she graduated. They both knew it was going to happen, no matter how much they wished otherwise.” 

Harry, sensing that this might not be the best topic to discuss with the kids around, decided a change of topic was in order. “So, what did you guys do?”

The nervous laughter was not exactly reassuring. 

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Later that day

“So. Saw Sabrina, did you?” 

Sirius stopped in his tracks. Oops. Right. Remus. The one person who knew all the details from before. “Uh, yeah. Saw her last night.”

“And this morning, by the look of it.”

Sirius laughed nervously. “Yeah.”

Remus just shook his head. “How is she?”

Sirius relaxed. “Good, good. Got rid of the last one.”

“She really did do it then.”

“Yeah.”

“Think she’ll do it again?”

Sirius shrugged. “Maybe. If she finds a good target she might.” 

“Think she’d consider retiring?”

Sirius knew what Remus was asking. “It was a long time ago, Moony.” 

“Doesn’t look like it mattered too much.” 

“I don’t know. So many things have changed, but…”

“Maybe some things haven’t?”

Sirius paused and then huffed a little. “Yeah. Something like that.” 

“Well you never know. Maybe you can still be her white knight,” Remus said, smiling softly. 

“She doesn’t need one now,” Sirius scoffed. 

“Then maybe she can be yours.”

Sirius let out a laugh. “Yeah, that sounds about right.” 

Remus smiled. “It does, doesn’t it.”

Sirius plopped down in a seat across from Remus. They sat together in the silence for several minutes, each man absorbed in his own thoughts. 

Finally Remus broke the silence. “Sirius, I know there’s something you and Harry haven’t told me.”

“Remus…”

“Look, I get it. Just…” Remus sighed. “I’m sorry. I know that’ll never be enough, but I’m sorry. I’m sorry for believing you would ever do that Lily and James, I’m sorry for running away, I’m sorry for not checking in on Ivy like I should have. I’m sorry. I understand if you don’t trust me, and that’s fine, but…”

Sirius held up a hand. “Stop. Just stop. Look, yes, you should have checked in on Ivy. I’m not going to argue that. But the rest? I don’t blame you for that. How could I? We made Peter the secret keeper and didn’t tell you. I thought you might be a spy, for Merlin’s sake. I don’t think any of us ever suspected Peter of being capable of that. And I do trust you, but I have to know where your loyalty ultimately lies now. The things going on now… It’s not just me that’s affected. Hell, I barely have anything to do with it. But it does affect Ivy, and I will do anything in my power to keep her safe.” 

“You think she’s in danger?” Remus was visibly pale. 

“Yes.” Sirius rubbed his hands together. “I can’t tell you everything, but Voldemort didn’t die that night. He had…done things. Done things to make sure he wouldn’t die. And because of that, given the chance he would try to get back at Ivy.” 

Remus leaned back in his chair and rubbed his hand over his face. “Does this have anything to do with the package? With your suspicions about Dumbledore?”

Sirius nodded. “Look, Harry will tell you everything if you ask him, I think. I just need to make sure that you don’t go running to Dumbledore with it afterwards.” 

Remus closed his eyes, sighed, and pinched the bridge of his nose. “And you need to know if my loyalty is with you, or with Dumbledore.” 

“No. I need to know if your loyalty is to Ivy and Harry, or to Dumbledore.” 

“Ivy. No doubt about that. And you. Dumbledore has done a lot for me in the past, but seeing you now, after all this… I’ll admit that as much as I don’t like it, some things don’t add up, even without taking into account the package for Ivy. When he initially told me to stay away, I didn’t question it. But now… After what I’ve picked up about her life before Harry adopted her… Well, I don’t believe Dumbledore would have been that negligent, and honestly, what was he thinking putting her with Petunia? Everyone who knew Lily well knew how much her sister hated magic.”

Sirius nodded, willing to admit to himself that he was relieved. He honestly hadn’t been sure if Remus would side with Dumbledore or not. 

“I get asking about Ivy, but why Harry? Didn’t you just meet him? I know he presented the evidence that got you out of Azkaban, but I’ve never known you to be so trusting. What changed?” 

Sirius grinned. “Not my story to tell. But I’ll see if Harry will come do the honors.” 

Harry was brought into the room shortly, after reminding Ivy and a certain pair of twins that fires and explosions, or anything that might result in either of those, were an outdoor activity, and not a kitchen table activity, please and thank you. 

“So what’s this about?” Harry asked. 

Sirius guided him to the seat he had previously occupied and pushed Harry down onto it. “Story time.”

“Oh, got it. Umm, what do you think…”

“All of it.”

“Really? Oh, great. Okay, umm… Well, where do I begin. Err…”

Sirius turned to Remus. “This is Henry Peverell, originally born Harry James Potter, son of James and Lily Potter. He defeated a resurrected Voldemort, died, became the Master of Death, and accidentally wound up in this world where he found Ivy, figured out she was this world’s equivalent of him, and kidnapped her away from the muggles.”

“…What?”

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“You did WHAT?”

Harry squirmed in his seat a little, even though Remus’s glare was directed at Sirius. And Remus had been taking the story so well. It may have been shock, but you know, tomato, tomato. Wait. Weren’t those supposed to sound different?

“Hey, I personally feel that it was completely justified. Besides, Harry said I escaped Azkaban last time because of Padfoot,” Sirius argued. “Who knows if Peter would have thought up the same thing eventually. He was kind of an idiot, so no guarantees, but I wasn’t going to risk it.”

“Wait, you think I’m mad that he’s dead?” Remus asked. 

“Wait, you're not?” Sirius responded, clearly taken aback by the question. 

“No, of course not. But how could you?” Sirius made to answer but Remus continued on. “How could you do that and not invite me?”

Harry and Sirius both gaped at him, Harry recovering first. 

“I think,” Harry said, “we thought you might not approve, you know, of the whole murder thing?” 

“Does it even count as murder if he’s already in Azkaban?” Remus inquired somewhat rhetorically. 

“Uh, pretty sure it does, yeah.” Harry wasn’t sure what else to consider the…murder. 

“It was revenge,” Sirius offered. 

“Pretty sure that’s still murder,” Harry replied. 

“A revenge murder that you didn’t invite me to,” Remus reminded them. 

“I can make you another one?” Harry wasn’t sure why he had said that, but Remus seemed interested in the idea. 

“Like an effigy?” Sirius asked. 

“Uh, sure. Let me just, you know… I’ll be right back.” 

Harry took off into the backyard. Like he had just told Ivy and the twins, activities that might involve fire and/or explosions belonged outside. He conjured up an effigy that looked remarkably realistic in his humble opinion. He animated it so it would move a little, and then called Sirius and Remus outside. Thankfully the kids were all on the quidditch pitch playing snow quidditch again, so no worries that they would witness…whatever this was going to be. 

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“Well that was…”

“Yeah.”

“Did you know he could do that?”

“No idea.”

“I’m glad he’s on our side.”

“Me too.” 

“Should we put out the fire now?”

“I could always dump it off at Grimmauld Place. Liven the place up for the new year.”

“No.”

“Oh, come on. It’s not even fiendfyre.” 

“Still no.” 

Remus trotted back over to them just then. “Well, that was lovely. Thank you for that, Harry.” With that he took off in the direction of the house, whistling as he went. 

Harry and Sirius looked at Remus, then at the obliterated remnants of the effigy, and then at each other. 

“Remind me to never get on his bad side.”

“Same.”

“Now. Grimmauld Place?”

“No.”

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January 4, 1992

“And you have your coat?”

“Yes.”

“And both your sweaters?”

“Yes.”

“And your…”

“Yes.”

“I didn’t even finish.”

“But I’m almost all packed and the train doesn’t leave until tomorrow.” 

Harry nodded. “Yes, but I don’t want you to forget anything.”

“I won’t,” Ivy sighed. “But if I do you can always just send it to me later.”

“But if you don’t have your coat than you’ll be cold.” 

“I’ll ask Percy or Oliver or Marcus or someone to cast a warming charm.”

“Every time you go out? Wait, ask Percy and who?”

“Oliver and Marcus.”

“As in Oliver Wood and Marcus Flint?” 

“Yeah. Do you know them?”

Harry didn’t have a great answer for that. “Since when are you friends with them?”

Ivy shrugged. “They go flying with me sometimes.”

“Wait, like, together?” Harry was willing to admit to some differences between his world and this one, but some things were just too unlikely to happen, even in a different universe. 

“No, silly,” Ivy laughed. “They don’t like each other. But they each go flying with me. Different days, of course.”

“Right…” Harry needed more information. Who would know… Percy. Perfect. 

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“Percy, can I talk to you for a minute?”

Percy looked up from the book he was reading. “Uh, yes sir. What did you need to talk to me about?”

“I need to ask you about Ivy. She said she’s friends with Oliver Wood and Marcus Flint. Do you happen to know anything about that?”

“Oh, yeah, right. Well, you see, they both decided that they wanted to be the one to get her interested in quidditch, so they kind of started fighting over her. They both like to take her flying, chase after a snitch, you know. Things like that.” 

“Right… umm, thanks.”

“Uh, sure, no prob…lem.” Henry Peverell was already out the door. 

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“Moony, Padfoot, we’ve got a problem.”

“What? What happened? Is everyone okay?” 

Harry winced. “Uh, sorry, Remus. Yeah, everyone’s fine. I probably should have phrased that a little better.”

“What’s the problem?” Sirius asked. 

“Ivy is being fought over by two fifth year boys.”

“Okay, so who are we killing?”

“WHAT? No, no, we’re not killing anyone, Sirius.”

“Hold on, you said Ivy, our Ivy, the eleven year old, is being fought over by a couple of fifth years?” Remus did not look happy. 

“Uh, yeah. But not like that, I don’t think.” Remus growled. “No, they’re just fighting over her and quidditch. But still, she’s eleven now, but she won’t be, and I am NOT PREPARED FOR THIS KIND OF SITUATION.”

“Breathe, Harry. That’s it. In and out. There you go. You too, Moony. Deep breaths.”

“How are you so calm about this?” Remus snapped at Sirius. 

“Easy,” Sirius shrugged. “They put one toe out of line, we go in and end them,” he said, as if were the easiest solution in the world. 

“Okay, back up. I am kind of freaking out over here, but that doesn’t mean we can go murdering people.” Harry thought for a moment. “Not those people anyway.”

Sirius sighed. “Fiiinne,” he said, “we won’t go murdering the teenagers.” 

Thank you,” said Harry. “But be serious for a second.”

“I’m Sirius.” “He’s Sirius,” They said at the same time. 

Harry groaned. “Ha ha. Focus. Ivy. Fifteen year old boys. All of us taking turns to mildly freak out over the situation.” 

“Well I already offered my suggestion.”

“And again, we’re not committing murder. Remus?”

“You umm, you ever given her the talk?”

“What talk… OH. That talk. Ah, no. That would be a no.”

“Well that might be a good place to start…”

“Great. Who wants to do it?”

“Well, you are her guardian…” 

Harry did not appreciate that point being made by Remus at this particular moment. “Well, you’re her godfather, Sirius,” he offered. 

“Oh no, not me. Mm-mm. Not a good plan. Pretty sure we’re trying to teach her something, not scar her for life.”

Harry and Remus both looked at Sirius and blinked. “Point,” Harry said finally. “Well, what about you, Remus?”

Remus shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “Um, well, maybe… that is… Maybe you could find someone else to do it? Like, a woman or something? That’d probably be better, right?”

Yes. Delegate. Solid plan. Ten points to Gryffindor. 

“Okay, I’ll find someone. Maybe when she comes home for Easter? Yeah, that’ll work. But what about right now? What do we do now?”

“Well, you could always ask her about her friends. You know, find out who all her friends are, and see who she’s actually close to. I mean, she might not remember to tell you everything in her letters, right?” 

“True. Oh, hey Sirius. Do you still have those mirrors? Might be good to send one back with Ivy.”

“Oh, good plan. Yeah, I’ll find them. I know I brought them here somewhere…”

Sirius wandered off in search of the mirrors, and Harry and Remus were left to continue brainstorming how to best deal with the newfound problem that was Ivy-is-in-fact-a-girl-and-someday-boys-are-going-to-notice-her as well as the Merlin-what-if-they-already-have issue and the none-of-us-are-prepared-for-this concern. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Ives. How’s the packing going?”

Ivy scrunched her nose. “Same as last time you asked me? Why? You all came in here to ask me about packing? You remember the train doesn’t leave until tomorrow, right? Pretty sure I reminded you of that an hour ago.” 

Harry let out a nervous laugh. “Yeah, yeah it does. So, anyway, we all wanted to come talk to you and ask you about Hogwarts. You know, who your friends are and such. Figured it’s easier to hear about them now, so when you write in your letters we know who you’re talking about.” There. Totally subtle. 

“Okay, what do you want to know?”

“Well, who are your friends?”

Ivy beamed. “Well, my best friends are Draco, and George, and Neville, and Fred…”

“Wait, why did you say George and then Fred?”

“He knows what he did,” Ivy said with a glare. Then her smile returned and she continued. “Then there’s Theo, and Blaise, and Seamus, and Vince, and Greg, and Oliver, and Marcus, and Thomas, and Dean, and Ron, and Percy, and Terry, and Justin, and Wayne, and Ernie, and…”

“Do you have any friends that are girls?” Sirius blurted out. Remus elbowed him in the ribs and he grunted. 

“Oh, sure. Lots.” The three men breathed out a small, collective sigh of relief. “Of course there’s Tracey, and Daphne, and Pansy, and Millie, and Hermione, and Padma, and Katie, and Susan, and Hannah, and Megan, and… Well I supposed that’s about it. I don’t know everyone else very well yet.”

“And, just for curiosity’s sake, is there anyone you don’t like at Hogwarts?” Remus elbowed Sirius again. 

“Linus and Zach.” 

“Um, who?” Harry asked

“Linus Claridge and Zacharias Smith.” 

“Okay, and why don’t you like them?” Harry had known Smith, and frankly that one didn’t surprise him, but he couldn’t remember a Claridge from Hogwarts. 

“Well Linus was mean to Tracey, but he stopped being mean after she scared him with Tiger. The other girls helped I think. And then Zach is just really annoying.” 

“Just remember, you can’t stick Tiger on people just because they’re annoying.” 

Ivy nodded solemnly and Harry felt better. He was getting good at this parenting thing, earlier panic set aside and ignored for the time being. 

Sirius looked like he was about to say something else, but Remus nudged him and spoke before he could get anything out. 

“Well, it sounds like you have made a lot of friends so far,” Remus said with a smile. 

“Oh yes. It’s been loads of fun.”

The three men eventually left Ivy to her own devices once more, and Harry began thinking where he had left that form for Castelobruxo. Just in case. 

Chapter Text

January 5, 1992

Ivy had left them alone for exactly twelve minutes. In hindsight, that was eleven minutes, forty-five seconds too long, but she had really wanted to find Thomas and ask him to translate this very interesting looking spell she had found in one of the books Henry had on the high shelf. Why he insisted on putting all the good books up there was beyond her. Didn’t he know that that’s where all the really good spells were? This one was in some kind of ancient language she didn’t recognize, and Thomas was really smart about things like that, so she had taken it to him to see if he could translate it for her. He had looked so excited his face had gone a little pale, and he had asked if he could take the paper she had written it on and get back to her. She had readily agreed, of course, and was now almost to her own compartment.

The same compartment she had left Draco and Ron in for twelve whole minutes. Perhaps not the most brilliant move in her otherwise illustrious career as a human being. 

Reminding herself that this was the sort of situation Henry had told her she wasn’t allowed to use Tiger in, she breathed deeply, and then entered the war zone compartment. 

Well, nothing was on fire, at least. Pity. 

Poor Vince and Greg. They looked so distraught. Usually they could just stand there and not even do anything and they and everyone around them would be left alone. Assuming, of course, that no one actually knew them all that well. Ron, however, did not seemed at all intimidated by the two, and they clearly had no idea what to do in this situation. Draco was obviously not helping them, since he was busy screaming at Ron, and as soon as they spotted Ivy they turned to her with pleading eyes. 

“I’m back.” Ivy’s announcement did absolutely nothing to put a stop to the shouting match, which had reached an admittedly impressive volume at this point. 

“I said, I’M BACK.”

Both Draco and Ron turned to Ivy, mouths still partially open from where they had paused mid sentence. 

“Hi, Ivy,” they said together, before turning and glaring at each other. 

“Soo… what are you talking about?”

“Nothing,” Ron ground out, teeth clenched and a pout on his face that was closer to the color of his hair than it had been before. 

Draco smirked at Ron, who crossed his arms in front of him, scowling. “That’s right. Nothing at all.” 

Ivy rolled her eyes. Boys. “So basically you were arguing and Draco is winning at the moment?” 

“Is not.”

“Is too!”

Ivy looked at Draco with a smirk of her own, and watched him momentarily shrink in his seat a little before collecting himself and saying in his snootiest voice, “Of course I’m winning. Not that we were arguing, but still, I was winning.”

“Mmhmm. And what were you not arguing about then?” 

Now both Draco and Ron had pink tinged faces. 

“Uh, nothing. Nothing important. Nothing to worry about,” Draco said unconvincingly. 

Ron nodded his enthusiastic consent. 

Ivy beamed. “Great. Then perhaps you should do something else. Like maybe… Oh, I don’t know. You could play chess or something? You both like it, don’t you? You both keep telling me how much you like it.”

The boys shot each other a suspicious look. “I’d much rather play with you,” Ron said. 

Draco laughed. “No, you don’t. You really don’t.”

Curiosity momentarily trumping suspicion, Ron asked, “why not?”

Draco rolled his eyes and then smirked at Ivy. “Would you care to inform Weasley here why it would be in his best interest, no matter how pitiful that interest might be…”

“Hey!”

“…to not play chess with you?”

Ivy huffed. “I’m not that bad.”

“At strategy, technically no. At actually playing the game, yes.” 

“I play the game.”

“You sacrifice your own players because it’s getting too boring.”

“It’s more exciting when they fight.”

“My chess set hates you.”

“It does not.”

“It won’t let me play with you anymore. Remember last time we tried? They wouldn’t move out of there spots no matter what I said.”

“Maybe it’s broken.”

“IT IS NOT BROKEN.” Draco calmed himself before continuing. “Besides, it’s not just my set. Blaise’s set mutinied against you after one game, Daphne’s set insulted you, then started insulting me because I was playing with you. Even Pucey’s set objected to you after the fourth move.”

“Not everyone’s set hates me. Theo’s set works just fine.”

“I don’t know what you did to Theo’s set but it loves you and ignores every rule of chess anytime you ask.” 

Ivy smiled dreamily. “Yeah, that was a fun game.” 

Draco looked mildly outraged. “It was not even a game! You told your pieces to charge and they did. Don’t you get it? They’re not supposed to do that.” 

Ivy just shrugged. Draco hadn’t played chess with her using Theo’s set since the first time they had borrowed it. The only person that would play her using Theo’s set was Theo himself, and he ended up employing the same tactics. In the end their games looked a little bit more like a gladiatorial match and less like a game of chess, wizard or otherwise, but Ivy really couldn’t understand why no one seemed to enjoy it. 

Ron, meanwhile, had begun to look slightly horrified at the obvious affront to the greatest game ever invented (in a non-sports category, of course), while Vince and Greg both looked like they would rather be anywhere else, if their slow movement in the direction of the door that Ivy was still standing in front of was any indication. 

Draco stared at Ivy for a minute longer, one eye dangerously close to twitching. 

“Um, Malfoy, would you like to play a round? I think maybe I’d rather play with you after all.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hi, Neville.”

“Oh, hi, Ivy. How was your Christmas?”

“It was great. How was yours?”

“It was fine.”

“Hi, Dean, hi Seamus.” 

Both boys waved to Ivy, not looking up from the game they were absorbed in. 

“So, what’re you doing here?” Neville asked. 

“Oh well Draco and Ron started a chess game and said they didn’t want me killing their pieces so I thought I’d walk around for a bit and see what everyone else was doing.”

Dean coughed and Seamus made an unfortunate move resulting in some cards exploding a little closer to his face than was preferable. Neville, having by necessity grown somewhat accustomed to the antics of the Weasley twins, didn’t even twitch. 

“Sorry, they what?” was all Neville said in response.

“They started a round of chess. They were arguing over something and it was loud so I distracted them.”

“Um, that’s nice, I guess.” Or a terrible idea. Neville wasn’t sure which. “Are you sure you should leave them in there alone though?” A flashback to a certain duel being issued was at the front of Neville’s mind. 

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” Ivy said, waving her hand. 

“Just then Hermione burst into the compartment. “There you are,” she said to Ivy, who looked at her in surprise. 

“Who, me? Sorry, were you looking for me?”

“Yes. Did you know Ron is in a compartment with Malfoy?”

“Yes, they’re playing chess.”

“And are you sure they won’t, you know, get in trouble?” 

Neville was fairly certain cause trouble would be the more appropriate question. 

“Well, maybe, but it’s part of my new plan, you see.”

“What plan?”

“Well, I’m still working on the details, but I think Draco and Ron could be friends. They just need to spend more time around each other.”

Neville disagreed with all of that but kept his mouth shut. 

Hermione frowned slightly. “I don’t know about that…”

Ivy waved her off. “It’ll be fine. But just in case, do any of you know the silencing spell?”

Hermione beamed. “Yes. It’s on page 127 of…”

Neville tuned out the following conversation as Dean and Seamus resumed their game and the girls began discussing the fifth year charm. Hopefully neither felt the need to go trying it on anyone, or, more specifically, him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas Harrington, fifth year Slytherin, top of his class (not including Percy Weasley who no one had counted since third year), and prodigy of archaic languages and writing systems, did not know where he had gone wrong in his life. Perhaps it was somewhere around the, “hey, Flint, where are you going with that little first year,” or maybe it was sometime closer to the “do you need any help with that, Potter?” Of course, it also could have been the “yes, I can read Sanskrit,” or the “no, you have to jab your wand forward a little at the end, see?” Regardless, he was now deeply entrenched in project keep-Potter-from-accidentally-killing-someone-especially-if-that-person-is-me, an operation of his own design. 

And if the spell she had brought him earlier was any indication, it was going to be a lot harder than he was prepared for. 

He supposed he could always make something up. He didn’t have to tell her the actual translation of the spell. He was smart, he was Slytherin, he could figure something out. 

He had explained his predicament to Flint, who had helpfully replied that Thomas must not, under any circumstances, allow Potter to get hurt in any way that could affect her ability to play on the Slytherin Quidditch Team next year. Thomas had never thought he’d be able to relate to Percy Weasley in any way, but right now he understood why Weasley sometimes sought him out as a partner in Runes. He had always thought it was because they were both at the top of the class, but not he suspected it had something more to do with “no, Wood, adding that rune will not make the bludgers go faster,” which was closely related to “no, Flint, adding runes to the quaffle will not make it sting on impact.” 

None of the other fifth years in his house seemed to understand the urgency of the situation. They only saw little Ivy Potter, first year student with a cool snake that liked their dorm room. Sure, there was the whole girl-who-lived thing, and yeah, some of the parents were still upset about the whole dark lord being vanquished by her as a baby incident, but come on. She was eleven, so obviously not a threat, and a Slytherin, so obviously not that bad. 

But they hadn’t seen the things he had seen. 

Like the one time she had asked for help with a third year spell she was trying to learn because she was “bored.” He had shown her the wand movement, and then she had cast it. Perfectly. Nonverbally. When she had noticed his face and asked if she had done it wrong, it had been all he could do to shake his head and say, “no. That’s fine. Just fine.” 

Or the time where she had claimed boredom (he was beginning to sense a theme…), and had asked if he had any book suggestions. He had offhandedly suggested a particular book that contained certain weather related spells. How to mimic a rainbow indoors, make the lights resemble a sunset, and other nice things like that. Girls liked that sort of thing, right? Later that evening he had had to explain to his head of house the first year girls dorm looked like a hurricane had blown through. Technically it was because a hurricane had, in fact, blown through the room, though thankfully Ivy had missed pronounced one part of the spell so the “hurricane” wasn’t actually full size, but was closer to the size of a dinner plate. Still large enough to get everything wet and knock anything left in the open to the floor, but not enough to cause serious damage. He had forgotten about that part of the book. 

And then there was the time…

A knock on the door roused him from his joyful reminiscing. Someone flicked the door open, and in stepped Ivy Potter for the second time today. Thomas had never been happier to be an only child. He could only imagine what it would be like to have to deal with this all the time. And again with the sympathizing with Percy Weasley. And wasn’t Ivy friends with the Weasley twins? Who had failed to put a stop to that right away? 

“Uh, hey Ivy, what can I do for you?”

“Hermione and I were looking at the silencing charm, and I was wondering if you could show us how to do it?”

“Sorry, you and who?” 

“Hermione. Granger.” Ivy jabbed a finger over her shoulder pointing towards the girl standing wide-eyed behind her. Ah. Gryffindor. First year by the looks of it, probably a muggleborn or something. 

“Uh, yeah, sure.” Thomas began to demonstrate the charm’s movements. 

“Oi, Potter. Whatcha doing here with a filthy little mudblood?” 

Thomas watched both girls’ reactions. The little Gryffindor looked frightened, and was pressed up firmly against the wall opposite the compartment door. Ivy, on the other hand, just looked at Hyslop for a moment as if puzzled by something, then turned back to Thomas and asked, “Could you show me one more time?” 

Thomas obliged her and demonstrated the complete wand motion. 

“Thanks,” she said cheerfully. Then she promptly turned to Hyslop, cast the charm perfectly, then proceeded to cast several additional charms nonverbally, most of which Thomas recognized, and all of which he was both confident and thankful he was not responsible for her knowing. She gave a little harumph, turned on her heel, and stalked out of the compartment. 

“Don’t forget I have dibs for Tuesday,” Flint called out after her as she dragged her Gryffindor friend away. 

Thomas glanced around the compartment. Flint seemed completely unperturbed by the entire situation, not even glancing at Hyslop. Eric Pyrites, the compartment’s fourth occupant, was staring open-mouthed at the door, completely ignoring Hyslop who was frantically motioning at them, no doubt in an attempt to get someone to undo Ivy’s handiwork. Unfortunately for him, it would take nearly twenty minutes before anyone bothered to pay attention to his pleas, and another forty minutes before they were finished. 

“Bloody hell,” Pyrites muttered as they finally undid the last hex. 

Flint scoffed, Hyslop whimpered, and Thomas rubbed his hand over his face. 

How had he gotten himself into this again? 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hermione, are you okay?” Ivy hadn’t stopped pulling her friend along until they were far away from the fifth year Slytherin boys, but now she wanted to make sure Hermione was alright. 

Hermione nodded. “I’m okay. Are you sure you’ll be alright though? Won’t they try to get back at you?”

Ivy shook her head. “No. I don’t think so. If he tries I’ll just make his life miserable,” she said with a smile. 

Hermione gave her a wary look and nodded. “Well, if you’re sure.”

“I am,” Ivy said cheerfully. “Come on, let’s go tell George.”

“Why are we telling George? And why not Fred and George?” 

Ivy scowled. “He knows what he did.”

“But I…” Ivy pulled Hermione forward again before she could inform Ivy that she didn’t know why Ivy was upset with Fred. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And so then I hexed him.” 

Ivy got three matching grins in response. As the unofficial third Weasley twin, Lee was bound to approve as much as George and Fred. And approve they did, giving her a warm round of applause that she graciously accepted with a bow. 

“So, how is our dear little brother faring in the snake car?”

Ivy stuck out her tongue at Fred and turned to George. “You can tell the person that slightly resembles you that Ron is fine, and he and Draco are playing a game of chess.” Fred stuck his tongue out at Ivy and George rolled his eyes. 

“Do you think they’re still playing?” Hermione asked. 

“Well, we haven’t head any screams so yeah, probably,” Ivy said cheerfully. 

“How did you manage that?” George asked. 

“Oh, well they were shouting at each other about something so I distracted them by suggesting they play chess, because they both like it, and Ron said he’d rather play with me, but then Draco said he wouldn’t want to play with me, which is completely unfair, I mean, it’s not my fault if the chess pieces decide they don’t like my methods. Anyway, they decided they’d play chess together instead, so then I went and found Neville, and then Hermione came, and then we found Thomas, and then I made Hyslop cry, and now we’re here.” 

“Wait, did you really make him cry? I didn’t see that.” Hermione didn’t sound particularly distraught at the prospect. 

“Well, I assume I did. I’ll ask Thomas tomorrow.” 

“Well if anyone dies before we get to Hogwarts, we’ll know who was responsible,” Fred teased. Ivy stuck her tongue out at him again, he responded in kind, and soon they were making a variety of faces at each other. 

“Well I think it is a great way to promote interhouse unity,” Hermione said. 

Ivy stopped making faces for a moment to respond. “I think it’ll be funny to see their faces when they realize they’re actually friends.”

The three boys laughed, while Hermione looked slightly put out. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 6, 1992

Pansy stomped up to Draco, who had so far been enjoying a nice, quiet breakfast. 

“She’s corrupting you,” Pansy huffed as she sat down and grabbed food from Draco’s plate, completely ignoring his protests. 

“Get your own… You know what, forget it.” Draco pushed his plate over to Pansy and grabbed a different one. “Who is corrupting me?” 

“Potter.”

“What did Ivy do?”

Pansy rolled her eyes as she grabbed another muffin off of Draco’s plate.

“The basket is right…”

“She had you playing nice with Gryffindors. The Weasley twins are bad enough, but Longbottom is basically a squib, Granger is a know-it-all mudblood, and Weasley is loud and never chews with his mouth closed.” 

“Why would you even know that? You can’t see that from here.”

“I notice things, Draco. And Potter is corrupting you.” 

Draco saw Pansy going for something on his new plate, and pushed the second plate over to her. “Just take it,” he said, putting his face where his plate had just been. 

Pansy accepted the plate cheerfully and commenced picking at all the delicious looking things left on either plate. 

“Hi, Pansy.” Draco looked up to see Ivy there, obviously unaware that Pansy had just been badmouthing her.

“What do you want, Potter?” 

“I was wondering if you would go with me to talk to Lavender and Parvati.” Pansy made a face but Ivy carried on. “They wanted to know about the hair charms we were talking about before Christmas but you know way more about that than I do.”

Draco could literally see the conflict of emotions on Pansy’s face. 

“Fine,” Pansy said finally. “But only because I am obviously the better choice to explain things like that.” She gave Ivy a once over that Ivy either missed or didn’t seem to care about. Probably the second one. 

Ivy just grinned happily before dragging a disgruntled Pansy off the bench and away from Draco’s stolen food. He began to reach for a piece of bacon left on the first plate, but Ivy reached back suddenly and grabbed it. “See you in class, Draco,” she said as she pulled Pansy in the direction of the Gryffindors. 

Draco huffed and wondered why it was his lot in life to have friends who insisted on eating his food. He finally gave in and grabbed a third plate, and began, once again, to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. 

“Hey, are you finished with that?” He looked to see Greg eyeing his plate hopefully. 

Draco sighed, wondered why him, and pushed his plate over. “All yours,” he said. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy watched contentedly as Pansy, Lavender, and Parvati began discussing hair with an enthusiasm that rivaled Neville and Ivy’s discussions about man-eating plants. 

Hermione, watching the three with a suspicious look on her face, turned to Ivy and asked, “is this another one of your plans?” 

“Yep,” Ivy said proudly, noticing that Hermione was really good about keeping her eye twitch under control. 

“Hey, Ivy,” Ron interjected, “do you know what happened to Fred?” 

Ivy frowned. “What do you mean?” 

“Well he’s not here this morning.”

Ivy and Hermione both turned to where George sea with Lee, the other twin noticeably absent. 

“Why would Ivy know? She’s not even in Gryffindor?” 

Ron shrugged. “They just seem to always know where she is, so I figured maybe it went both ways.”

Ivy scowled. “It doesn’t. Not yet.” 

“O…kay… But, do you know where he went?”

“How do you know it is Fred that’s gone anyway?” Hermione asked. 

Ron beamed. “Well they kept trying to trick me, and I thought maybe I couldn’t actually tell them apart after all, but then Ivy told me how to tell them apart for sure, and then Harry gave them a truth serum to make them tell the truth about which one was which so now they can’t fool me.”

“Harry?”

“Uncle Henry,” Ivy explained. Hermione nodded in understanding. 

“Well, I don’t know, but maybe he felt the shame of his actions and decided to not show his face. Or maybe they’re starting their new prank.” Ivy shrugged. “Who knows.”

Ron’s face fell. “Another one? Wait, are they trying to get me again?”

“Not you, I don’t think,” Ivy said, frowning. "Mostly everyone else. They wouldn’t tell me the details but I think I figured out what they’re doing.”

Rona and Hermione both looked at her for a moment. 

“Well?” Hermione demanded. 

“Oh, I can’t tell you. George asked me not to.”

“What about Fred?” Ron asked. 

“He doesn’t count.” 

“Well why not?” 

Ivy scowled. “He knows what he did.” 

With that she turned around and walked off. 

“Wait, what did he do?” Ron asked Hermione. 

“I have no idea.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 10, 1992

“Has anyone had any problems since the beginning of the new term?”

Severus was bored. He wouldn’t admit it, of course, but did the staff meetings have to take so long…

“Well, I did have a new student show up in my class. I wasn’t informed that anyone wanted to transfer in, but he did fine on the assessment quiz I handed out that covered the information from last term.”

“Oh? And who was the student?” 

Most of the staff looked curious. It wasn’t usual for someone to want to transfer into Ancient Runes, after all. Usually this was the point at which students began asking to be transferred out. Severus was also curious, but his it better than his colleagues. 

“Um, let’s see. Ah, here it is. Weasley. The one in third year.”

“Which one, Bathsheda?” Minerva asked. “There are two of them after all.”

Babbling looked confused at this. “Are there? He mentioned something about how so many people mistook him for being a twin. Does he really have a twin then?”

Great. Just what he needed at the beginning of the term. Another mess courtesy of the Weasley twins. 

“Yes, there are most definitely two of them,” Albus said with that stupid twinkle in his eye. Did the man practice in the mirror or something? 

“I seem to have only had one in my classes this term.”

“Same here.”

“Me too.”

Severus wanted to roll his eyes. Of course, he had only had one Weasley in his class as well, but he had taken it as the miracle it was and had not bothered to try to correct it. One down, one to go in his opinion, ignoring the fact that it was technically a required class for them until they completed their fifth year. Merlin, that was a long time away. But had no one else noticed it this entire time? 

“Has anyone else had a Weasley pop up in their class new as of this term?” Minerva asked with a small frown. 

Two hands were raised. 

“Who has had one, and only one, of the Weasley twins in their class this week?”

The hands of every professor who taught a third year class went up, with the exception of Minerva and Filius.  

“Well it seems as if they are taking the opportunity to explore new classes. Perhaps they are trying to work together to obtain their greatest academic potential.” 

Seriously? Did Albus hear what came out of his mouth sometimes? And did he honestly think anyone would buy it?

By the number of heads nodding around the table Severus was beginning to wonder how much longer he could put up with this. How could so many intelligent people act so idiotically sometimes? 

Minerva cleared her throat. Thank Merlin for that woman. Her sense was the only thing standing between Severus and the loss of his sanity sometimes. 

“As…optimistic an outlook as that may be, Albus, I believe this is more likely an attempt to prank the staff of this school. Bathsheda, what name did Mr. Weasley give you? His first name, that is.”

Babbling glanced at her papers. “Frederick George, but he said he goes by his middle name.”

“He gave me the same name,” Septima added, frowning, “but he said he went by Fred.”

Minerva gave a little smirk. “I think I understand the situation then. Rest assured it will be dealt with. Now, how do they appear to be doing in your classes? Do they seem to be keeping up?” She directed her questions at the three professors who had had a Weasley show up only this term, and smiled when all three indicated that there seemed to be no problems with their ability to understand the material or keep up with the subject matter.

“Very well. Thank you. I expect the rest of you will see both twins once again come Monday.”

Severus groaned. Was that entirely necessary? 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 13, 1992

“What do you think McGonagall is doing over there with Weasley?” 

“I don’t know. Looks like she’s giving him something.”

“Yeah but she’s smiling.”

“McGonagall smiles.”

“Are you sure, Cedric? Are you sure?”

“Well everyone’s got to smile sometime, right?” 

Cedric received no response. After a minute his fellow Hufflepuff leaned over again and asked, “Do you suppose it had anything to do with the twins skiving off?” 

“Maybe. Does it matter?”

“No. Hey, which one is it then?”

“Which one what?”

“Which one’s been skiving?”

“Oh, both. They’ve taken turns.”

“How’d you know that?”

“I can tell them apart.”

“Really? How? Which one is McGonagall talking to then?”

“Oh, that’s Fred. And they look a little different up close, but right now it’s easy. You know Potter?”

“Uh, yeah? What’s she got to do with anything?”

“Well, she’s friends with the twins. Except she’s mad at Fred for some reason, but no one knows why. So if you see her scowling at one of them, that’s Fred. If she’s happy, that’s George.”

“That…has got to be the strangest way to tell them apart. What happens if she gets mad at the other one instead?” 

Cedric shrugged. 

Out of curiosity both boys turned around and looked over the Slytherin table until they spotted Potter, who was glaring at the Gryffindor table as she ate her breakfast.

“Yep, that’s Fred then alright.”

“Hmm. Hey, did you hear what she did to Hyslop?”

“You think that actually happened? I mean, she’s a first year,” Cedric said. 

His friend shrugged. “Don’t know. But either way I heard he’s been avoiding her all week.”

“Well it couldn’t happen to a nicer person.”

“Agreed.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Thank you for coming, Mr. Weasley. Have a seat.”

George sighed and sat down, knowing this was never going to have lasted long. 

“Now. I have heard a few things regarding your apparent choice of classes, as well as your absences this past week.” McGonagall peered over her spectacles at him and he may or may not have shrunk in his seat just a bit. There was a reason they had both gone to her class still. 

“I cannot, of course, condone the absences, but I have rearranged your schedule to accommodate your new interests. Unfortunately it seems that there is no way to fit Divination in there as well, so I’m sorry to say that will be one class you will not be able to attend.” 

George took the paper she handed him and looked it over. Runes? He had only meant to go to that for a week, maybe two if their plan held up that long. Now he was in the class?

“Um, Professor, really sorry about skipping class this week, but, um, Runes?”

McGonagall smirked at him. Oh, she was good. “Professor Babbling assured me you appeared to be sufficiently caught up in the course material and said she had no reason to doubt your ability to keep up with the class going forward.” 

Well, Runes wasn’t that bad…

“Wait, Arithmancy? I didn’t even go to that one.” 

“Then I believe you have some studying to do, Mr. Weasley.” 

George gulped and nodded. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“How did this go so wrong?”

“Might have been when we decided to ask Peverell for books on Ancient Runes.”

His brother ignored him. “I mean, the plan was solid. Skive off classes for a couple weeks, see how many people we could convince that there’s only actually one of us, then, after we’ve done that for as long as possible blackmail Percy into making us polyjuice, then bribe Ron into taking it. It was foolproof!”

“Except McGonagall isn’t a fool.”

Fred sighed a dramatic sigh. “Too true. But she doesn’t honestly expect us to take up Runes does she?”

George nodded. “And Arithmancy.”

They both shuddered. 

“I can’t believe McGonagall outpranked us.”

“We have a reputation to recover.”

“Well said, brother of mine.”

“We could always prank the boys annoying Ivy.”

“Trying to get back on her good side then?”

“I didn’t even do anything.” 

George knew his twin far too well to believe that and gave him a look that acknowledged that fact.

“Okay fine, I may have done a little something, but honestly, it wasn’t that bad.”

“Well we could always prank her until she comes around.”

“Do you think that would work?” Fred asked eagerly.

“No,” George deadpanned. “Remember who her uncles are?”

Fred grimaced. He did, in fact, remember who her uncles were. While they had been ecstatic to meet their heroes, they were now slightly more wary about Ivy’s ability to win a prank was should they initiate one. 

“So, Hyslop then?”

George grinned. “Hyslop.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 16, 1992

Severus resisted the urge to bang his head against the table. After years of teaching he thought he was fully prepared to tackle any problems the small idiots children could cause. The combination from hell that was the Weasley twins and Potter was seriously testing that conviction. 

“And Hyslop is where exactly?”

“Hospital wing, sir.”

“And he is there because…”

Harrington shifted in his seat a bit. “Well, you see, he upset Ivy on the train, and she hexed him, but we go it undone, except now he’s been avoiding her, and the Weasleys decided they didn’t like him upsetting her, so now they’re going after him, and now some of the Hufflepuffs have taken to glaring at him anywhere he goes and now he’s paranoid that Ivy has created an army of Hufflepuffs set on destroying him.” 

“And who does this Hufflepuff army supposedly consist of?” The last thing he needed was the upper year Hufflepuffs deciding to retaliate against his Slytherins. They were frequently underestimated in his house, but Severus knew better than to discount the house of badgers. 

“The first year girls.”

“The… Hyslop is having a nervous breakdown over a few Hufflepuff first years?

“Uh, yes sir.”

Severus sighed. 

“And Ivy and the Weasley twins, sir,” Harrington added unhelpfully. 

“And what prompted this… war?”

Harrington looked distinctly uncomfortable. “Corvin called one of Ivy’s friends a…mudblood.” 

“Who?”

“Granger, sir. I believe she’s in Gryffindor.” 

Severus nodded. So Potter was friends with the little know-it-all. Was she determined to befriend the entire lion house?

“Is Hyslop injured or not?” He could deal with the Potter problem later. Much later. Preferably with firewhiskey on hand. 

“I don’t believe so, sir.”

“Then what is he doing in the hospital wing for Merlin’s sake?” 

“He said he as sure he was going to end up there anyway, so he might as well go now.” 

Severus groaned. By the concerned look Harrington was giving him it had been out loud. 

“We will be having a house meeting tonight. I will inform the prefects but please spread the word.”

Harrington nodded and then dashed out the door as soon as Severus indicated he was free to do so. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Draco, did you feel that?”

“What?”

“An eye twitch. It happened again.”

“What did you do this time?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Weasley, can I speak with you for a minute?”

Percy looked behind him to see Harrington looking rather disturbed. “Uh, sure. What did you need to talk to me about?” 

“Potter.”

“Sorry, what?”

“Potter. Ivy. I need your help.”

“I’m not going to convince Wood to give up his flying times…”

“No, not that. I need your help getting her and your brother to get along again.”

“…”

“Your brother? Now of the twins? The one she’s mad at?” 

“I’m sorry, you want me to help you get Ivy to make up with Fred?”

“Yes! Good, you understand.”

Percy did not understand. “And this is important because…”

“Because Hyslop is close to a nervous breakdown, and ever since the hurricane incident I know that I’m somehow going to be held responsible, even though I swear I didn’t teach her any of those, and someone said your brothers were only doing this because Ivy was mad at one of them and they’re trying to make it up to her, but I can’t take this anymore!”

“Sorry, did you say hurricane?”

Harrington waved him off. “It wasn’t that big of one. It was fine.” 

Percy wasn’t sure if he wanted to know more or not. 

“Anyway, will you help me?” 

“Uh, sure.” 

“Thank you,” Harrington practically shouted, before running in the same direction he had originally come from. 

Percy watched him go, trying to figure out how a first year was capable of causing so much trouble for the fifth years of her house, and how Percy had gotten himself mixed up in the problems of the Slytherins. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oliver, I need your help.”

“What? What about?”

“Ivy. Some of the Slytherins…”

“I am NOT giving up my flying times. We have a schedule. It’s perfectly fair and I am not giving up a single slot.”

“What? No. Not quidditch or flying or whatever. No, I need your help getting my brother to apologize to her.”

“Which one? And what’d he do?”

“No idea, but apparently Hyslop nearly ended up in the hospital wing.”

“Then why would we try to get him to apologize for Merlin’s sake?”

“Because that’s how Fred was trying to apologize.”

“And that’s…bad?”

Percy felt the twitch coming. “Yes, it’s bad.”

Oliver didn’t look particularly convinced. “So whydaya need my help? Aren’t they your brothers?”

“Yes,” Percy said through gritted teeth. “But maybe they’ll be more likely to listen to you. You’re their quidditch captain.”

Oliver nodded seriously. “I’ll see what I can do. Can’t have this affecting their practices after all.”

Must everything in the Merlin forsaken school come back to quidditch? It was a silent, rhetorical question because Percy knew what the answer would be should he ask it out loud. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“…And that’s why you need to apologize.”

The twins looked at Oliver speculatively. “Did Percy put you up to this?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re agreeing because…”

“Can’t let you do anything to jeopardize our quidditch prospects, and you already both went and added two more classes. Why’d the bloody hell didya do that?”

“It wasn’t on purpose,” George muttered. 

“And you!” Oliver pointed at George, blinked, and pointed to Fred instead. “You! What’d you do to piss Ivy off anyway?”

Nothing.”

Oliver leveled a glare in Fred’s direction that proved entirely ineffective. 

“Look, it’s not a big deal, alright?”

“It better not be. Fix this, Weasley.”

The twins watched their captain stalk off muttering about Flint’s tricks and “no way am I falling for that.” Neither had any idea what he meant by that. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy was still glaring at…well, Draco supposed it was Fred. Her being mad at one of the twins sure was making it easier to tell them apart. Most of the student body was watching the interaction with poorly disguised interest. Draco wasn’t even trying to disguise his own interest. They were finally going to learn what had cause the fallout. 

“I’m sorry I put raisins in your ice cream.”

That was it? Everyone had been making a huge deal over some raisins?

“And I’m sorry I said they were chocolate chips.”

Ivy’s glare dissipated, and several grumblings were heard, probably from people who had been expecting, or maybe hoping, for something a little more… dramatic. 

“You’re forgiven,” Ivy said with a smile, and not even thirty seconds later she and Weasley were deep in conversation, laughing over something as if they hadn’t ever been at odds. 

If that was how Ivy reacted to raisins, Draco determined to never, ever, get on her bad side. Of course, Hyslop was another argument in favor of that decision. He was fairly certain the house meeting tonight had something to do with that. He really hoped Ivy didn’t get into too much trouble. He also hoped she never overheard Pansy call Granger a… He glanced around. Better to just not think it. He liked his limbs in tact, thank you very much. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Furthermore, I would advise you to each think carefully before so blatantly insulting members of the other houses, particularly in front of those with connections who might take particular offense.” 

He knew literally every Slytherin assembled in the common room knew exactly what he was saying. Make Potter mad at your own risk, because he was too tired to deal with this right now. And also, remember her guardian is that one powerful Lord that no one knows very much about except that oh yes he’s a parselmouth and may or may not have given his adopted child a venomous snake and taught her dangerous hexes and curses. 

“Potter, stay behind.”

The other students shuffled off, a few giving Potter wary looks. He saw Flint pick up a snake that must be Potter’s and level a glare at Hyslop, who shuddered and darted off in another direction. 

He looked down at Potter, who, somehow, had managed to keep a look of perfect innocence throughout the entire house meeting. 

“Potter, in the future, please come to me or to another professor, or to a prefect if you have an issue with another student.”

“Okay,” she said far too cheerfully. Merlin, maybe she should have been a Hufflepuff. Then Severus remembered Hyslop’s paranoid ramblings about her building a Hufflepuff army and thought that maybe the sorting hat had done the Wizarding world a favor. 

“As there was no evidence of your… annoyance with Hyslop, there will be no punishment or further talk of this. And five points to Slytherin.”

“What for?” She said, tilting her head to one side. 

“For impressive spellwork,” Severus said with a single raised eyebrow. 

Potter beamed up at him and skipped off towards the girls dorm rooms. 

He needed a drink now, choosing to ignore the fact that he might have encouraged her more than anything. Still, the fact that she had left so evidence behind was impressive, and things were, for the most part, a little calmer between Gryffindor and Slytherin right now, aside from this whole incident, of course. Still, nobody had died, Hyslop, despite his newfound paranoia of tiny Hufflepuffs, would be just fine, and no one had even accused his Slytherins of acting maliciously. Even better, Potter and the Weasley brat number nine, or whatever one he was on now, had finally made up, thus bringing the escalating conflict to a blessed end. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, Corvin,” Marcus said, drawling out the other boy’s name. “Seems you learned your lesson about Potter.”

Hyslop gulped. “Don’t insult her friends?”

“NO, you idiot. DON’T DISTRACT HER FROM QUIDDITCH! She missed our flying appointment yesterday because she was too busy glaring at Weasley who was too busy trying to make it up to her by going after you to notice it wasn’t working.” 

“Wait, how is this my fault? Those menaces nearly landed me in the hospital wing!”

“You were turning purple, not bloody well dying. Besides, yOU BLOODY WELL STARTED IT!”

At that moment the self-preservation instincts on one Corvin Hyslop kicked in, and he decided against further antagonizing the Quidditch Captain who made up for his lack of height relative to Corvin with sheer muscle mass. Also, he was holding Potter’s snake, who had recently been coming to the fifth year boys’ dorm room with its usual frequency, but had also been demonstrating a distinct dislike of Corvin in particular. 

“Alright, alright, I’ll go apologize,” Corvin grumbled out, before seeing the look on Marcus’s face and deciding now was as good a time as any. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So I’m sorry for calling your friend a… erm, for calling her that.”

Ivy looked at her second least favorite person at Hogwarts. Claridge had been mean to Tracey again so he currently held the number one spot. 

“It’s not me you have to apologize to, you know.”

Hyslop looked like he had swallowed a lemon. “Fine,” he finally spat out.

“And I’m sorry I made it feel like your socks were on fire.” She wasn’t really sorry, but she thought she should at least put forth the effort since he was trying so hard. 

An eye twitch was all she got in response. She should keep better track of these. That had to be at least the ninth one today. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 19, 1992

Hermione watched nervously as the fifth year Slytherin approached the Gryffindor table. At least she was relatively safe here, among so many witnesses and a head table full of professors eyeing the situation with unabashed curiosity. 

“I’d like to apologize Granger, for calling you a… for referring to you in…the way I did.” 

“Apology accepted,” she managed to squeak out. Without further ado Hyslop trend on his heel and stalked back over to the Slytherin table. She glanced over and saw Ivy, who was was giving her a grin and a thumbs up. She had been worried that Ivy would get in trouble, but clearly that was not the case. Hopefully this would be the end of that. She really didn’t like the fact that so many people were still staring in her direction. A few of the older Gryffindors were looking at her in near shock, and a few of the other first years were looking at her in awe. She rather wished they would just look somewhere else. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“How’d she do it?”

Draco looked up at Pansy. “Who did what?”

“Potter. How did she make Hyslop apologize? And why’d he go apologize anyway? All he did was call Granger a mu–“

Draco put his hand over Pansy’s mouth quickly to prevent her from saying the newly forbidden word. “Don’t say it, Pansy.” 

Pansy rolled her eyes and shoved Draco’s hand away. “Why not? You’re not seriously scared of Potter, are you? I thought you were supposed to be friends.”

“We don’t use that term, Miss Parkinson,” a voice from behind them said. 

Pansy squeaked as they turned to see one of the sixth year prefects standing there. 

“Why not?” Pansy blurted out before Draco could stop her. 

“Because it is beneath us as Slytherins, who ought to be setting an example of manners and behaviors becoming the proper wizards and witches we claim to be.”

Pansy looked momentarily horrified but Draco thought it was a valid argument. At least maybe they’d be able to prevent another fiasco.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Do you think he bought it?”

“Bought what?”

“What I said in the letter to.”

“Oh, the one to Lord Deverill about your stance on muggleborns?” 

“Yeah, that one.” 

Sirius shrugged. “No idea. What’d you say again?”

“Well I wasn’t sure what to say, so I just made it up as I went, said something about acting like proper wizards and such and how the term mudblood was beneath me. I tried to sound as stuck up as possible.”

Sirius laughed. “Harry, you basically just insulted the pride of any pureblood witch or wizard who uses that term. I’m pretty sure they’re going to buy it.”

“What? They? What do you mean?”

“What, you don’t think he’s going to keep it to himself, do you?”

Harry was about to say that yes, that’s exactly what he thought, but Sirius continued. 

“Come on, Deverill just got a letter from Lord Peverell, Britain’s most eligible bachelor and favorite gossip topic. Of course he’s going to show it off to everyone. Have you written letters to other members of the Wizengamot?”

“No,” Harry grumbled.

Sirius waved his hand, indicating the complete validation of his statement. “He’s going to show it off to anyone he can, because now he knows something about you that the rest of them don’t.” 

“Is that why the Daily Prophet printed that I am a Parselmouth?” Harry didn’t bother waiting for a response and instead groaned. “I’m going to get dragged to the Wizengamot at some point, aren’t I.”

“Yep,” Sirius said, entirely to cheerfully. 

“Well, if I go, you’re coming with me.”

Sirius’s face immediately fell. “Well, on second thought, it’s not like there’s any rush…”

Chapter Text

February 13, 1992

If Remus had harbored any doubts about Dumbledore’s apparent desire to use them all as chess pieces for his so called “greater good,” well, this was enough to remove all doubt. And if the man persisted he would be tempted to show him just where he could shove his “greater good.” 

“My dear boy,” the headmaster had said. He was thirty one for Merlin’s sake. 

“Oh, we must keep Ivy from going dark…” Right. Because eleven year olds are evil. 

“Have her guardianship changed…” Because you tried so hard to actually meet Peverell. 

“Concerns over the discovery that he is a parselmouth…” Mmhmm, because being labeled “dark” means you’re evil. Got it. Thanks for that. 

“Best to stay away from her for now…” Sure. When hell freezes over and the devil takes up knitting. 

“Keep her safe…” Malleable, you mean. Screw you, you old bastard. 

“Unfortunately may prove a danger…” At that point Remus had seen red, and if Dumbledore had been paying closer attention he would have seen Remus’s eye color change ever so slightly. 

At one point in time Remus would have felt guilty over the headmaster’s words. He knew all too well the danger he posed, but now he could see nothing but lies and manipulations. Little doubts began creeping into his mind about Dumbledore, the famed leader of the light. Questions at the back of his mind that he did not care to think too much on. Had he been another “project” of Dumbledore’s? A way for him to gain a loyal follower or show off how well the light could “reform” the dark? 

Remus could admit to himself that recent revelations had clouded his view somewhat. He knew he may be seeing things now that weren’t even there, and he wanted to be careful. No sense in making the man suspicious, after all. Even if Remus personally thought the man had lost it, Albus Dumbledore was still the leader of the light, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, the Chief Warlock, the Supreme Mugwump, an extremely powerful wizard, and an intelligent man. It would do none of them any good to give him any reason to go against them. Not until they were ready to absolutely destroy him. Er, unless. If, not when. He was getting a little ahead of himself there. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus was done with classes for the day. Only sixty six days left of classes, then exams, and then the school year would be brought to a merciful end and he would have an entire seventy two days (mostly) to himself before having to deal with the miniature demons again. 

Not that he was counting or anything. 

This lovely train of thought was interrupted by the sight of someone stalking down the hall. Normally that wouldn’t attract his attention, but this was not a student, and was, in fact, one of the people he wished to see very least in this world. 

Remus Lupin. Technically not quite as bad as Black or Potter, but Lupin had nearly killed him so Severus thought some trepidation at the quickly shrinking distance was warranted. 

Lupin did not appear to be paying much attention to his surroundings. In fact, he was headed straight for Severus and hadn’t even looked up from the ground. 

As Lupin neared Severus cleared his throat, and the werewolf looked up, surprised. “Oh, hello professor.”

Severus searched his face for any sign of annoyance, derision, or scorn, but found nothing. 

“What are you doing here, Lupin?” Snape said it in his most biting tone, but still did not elicit a reaction. 

“I just had a meeting with…” Lupin’s eyes flashed dangerously and Severus took an unconscious step back. “A meeting with the headmaster.”

Interesting. What had been the discussion that had evoked such a dangerous response from the man in front of him? 

“I see,” Severus drawled out. “I suppose you will be leaving now.” He moved to continue on, and hopefully forget the past three minutes entirely, but Lupin held out a hand and stopped him. 

“How is Ivy doing?”

“Fine.”

“She hasn’t been giving you any trouble, has she?”

Severus raised an eyebrow at that. “No.”

Lupin actually looked relieved at that. “She said you’re one of her favorite professors, but I just wanted to be sure. Besides, as her head of house I’m sure you have had to deal with more of her…antics than others. Well, thanks for letting me know. See you around, professor.” 

Severus sincerely hoped not. As much as he would like to forget the last three and a half minutes, some of what Lupin said was worth reflecting on. Lupin had obviously been in contact with Ivy. Potter. He meant Potter. 

And he would have come in contact with her through Black most likely, which meant Black was also in close contact with Potter, and thus with Peverell. Lucius had mentioned Black arriving to the New Years Eve party along with Peverell, so a close acquaintance at least could be assumed. But for Remus to refer to Potter in that way made Severus suspect that they were on friendlier terms than had been suspected. Certainly more than the headmaster seemed inclined to believe.

And wasn’t that interesting, the way Lupin’s eyes had changed slightly when speaking of the headmaster. Was there some falling out between the headmaster and his former golden Gryffindors? 

It was one more thing to add to his list of facts and conclusions regarding Peverell. The man was still unknown to him, but the information he had gathered thus far was proving to paint a most interesting picture. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Remus was still upset. He had meant to leave directly after his meeting was finished, but he had unconsciously found himself wandering the halls, heading in the direction of one of his favorite spots from his student days. He really ought to leave before he ran into anyone else. 

On the other hand… Well, he was already there. Might as well. Now where had Harry said it was again?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry sighed. The sigh of a man condemned. 

“Who died?” Sirius quipped. 

“Me.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “Come on, it can’t possibly be that bad.” 

“Yes it can.”

“They’re goblins, not demons.”

“Says you,” Harry grumbled. 

“Haven’t they helped you with, well, everything?”

“Yes,” Harry ground out.

“And you still don’t want to go to them because…”

“Because they’re bloody terrifying, is what.” 

“Yeah, I know. They’re scary when they’re mad.”

“No, you don’t get it Sirius. It’s when they’re happy. That’s when they’re truly terrifying.”

Sirius leveled him an unimpressed look that clearly stated he did not believe Harry. 

Happy, Sirius.”

“Some Gryffindor you are,” muttered Sirius, yelping at the stinging hex that soon followed. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I told you.”

“I’m sorry. I will never doubt you again.”

“I told you,” Harry said again in a singsong voice.

“Absolutely terrifying.”

“Mmhmm.”

“Yes, you were right. Happy now?”

“Indubitably.”

“Let’s just get this over with, shall we?”

“After you,” Harry said, gesturing towards the door the head goblin was leading them to. 

“You sure you need me for this? I’m sure you can handle this on your own.” 

Sirius got a small shove in the direction of the door in lieu of a verbal response. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And so that’s why we need a duplicate philosopher’s stone that doesn’t actually do anything but will trick someone long enough for us to go in and murder a dark wizard that should technically have died a long time ago. And also probably a Hogwarts Professor. Still not sure if we can separate them out.”

Harry would maybe have expressed their idea a little more…less murder-y sounding, but at least Sirius got the general gist of it. 

“We will do it on one condition.”

Ooh. Conditions. The goblins hadn’t given any of those before. Maybe there was hope yet. 

“We want to deal with the thief ourselves.”

Harry opened his mouth and shut it again. So they wanted Quirrell or Voldemort? Or both?

“The dark lord remnant is all yours.” Well that answered that question. “But we want the thief. Alive,” the goblin stressed. 

“Right. Any suggestions on how to…” Harry waved a hand. It was a very useful gesture when you didn’t know exactly what to say. 

“You’re the Master of Death. I’m sure you can figure it out.”

Harry went to protest that he didn’t know of anything the title was actually good for, and if there was some kind of “special power” that came with it he sure as hell hadn’t found it, but the goblins had congregated and begun conversing in the language Ivy said he was probably not ever going to pronounce correctly. To be fair, he wasn’t sure he actually wanted to understand what they were saying. Ignorance is bliss and all that. 

“So they want Quirrell, but not his Voldiesite? Know of any way to do that?”

“No clue.”

“I guess we could try…selective murder?”

“Could you stop calling it that?”

“Okay, selective liquidation of the Moldyshort’s remaining assets?” 

Harry made a face at Sirius. “Why would you… never mind. How do you suggest we go about this… selective dispatchment of… oh forget it. How do we kill Voldemort and not Quirrell?” 

Sirius grinned triumphantly. “Close enough. Think there’s any way to draw it out?”

“Like an infection?”

“Yeah, kind of. I mean, he’s basically a parasite in the back of Quirrell’s head, right? So if you can find some way to separate the two…”

“Move it to another container, destroy that one.”

Sirius snapped his fingers and pointed at Harry. “Precisely. Now, how did they take care of the one in Ivy? Something like that could work, right?”

“That… is actually brilliant. Yeah, something like that could work. Then we just treat it like another horcrux.”

“Just treat it like another horcrux, he says. And I do have my moments, you know. Like the time… Or… Well… Oh, or maybe when…”

“Don’t hurt yourself, Padfoot.”

 Sirius shoved Harry, who shoved back, and the two continued their semi-serious (“Don’t even think about it, Sirius.”) fight until the head goblin cleared his throat. His grin was sufficiently terrifying that the two wizards sat down, suitably chastised. 

“If you would place your memories of the events in your world here, we will compare them to what has happened here thus far and use them to construct a suitable replica of the stone.”

Harry felt the eye twitch coming. He tried to think back on all his past interactions with the goblins. Had he ever actually said he was from another world? He didn’t think so, but then again it probably didn’t matter. The goblins always seemed to just know things. 

Eventually he did as requested, being sure to only give the memories that were absolutely necessary. 

Satisfied, the head goblin grinned, and both Harry and Sirius shivered. The goblin obviously found this amusing, since his grin grew. 

“And you’re sure this will work?”

A few of the other goblins looked mildly offended, and Harry now how to wonder if there was something worse than a smiling goblin. Deciding they were equally terrible, Harry thanked them for their help and pulled Sirius out of the bank as fast as could be considered at all appropriate. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Well, that was… enlightening.”

Harry shot a glare at Sirius. “I told you.”

“Yeah, yeah, you did. Several times. So, what now?”

“What do you mean, what now?”

“Well what else are we going to do? It’s a beautiful day…”

“It’s February, it’s freezing, and it looks like it might rain.”

“…There are people to see, places to go, things to do.”

“Not interested.”

“Oh, come on. You can’t remain a hermit forever.”

“Yes I can.”

“Nope. Not going to let you.”

Sirius looked far too smug. Definitely suspicious. 

“I’m just… I’m going to go to… Flourish and Botts. There. Yes. And get some… books for Ivy. That’s it.”

“What books do you need to get for Ivy?”

“Fiction. Definitely fiction. Something with absolutely no spells to learn.”

“Huh?”

“Did you know she learned to conjure a hurricane?”

“She what?”

“Mmhmm. Bad things happen when she’s bored. Last thing I need is another Montréal incident.”

“What happened in Montréal?”

“Not important.”

“O…kay, well you do that then. I’ll just… Ooh, quidditch. Yes, I’ll go look at the quidditch shop.”

Harry looked longingly in the direction of said store, but determined that it was more important to get away from Sirius’s scheming before he got any brilliant ideas of exposing Harry to wizarding society. Besides, any efforts to keep Ivy from getting bored counted as a noble cause in his opinion. So the bookstore it was. Hermione would be so proud. 

He had found a section of fiction that looked promising, although he might not go for the one about the kid who adopts a dragon. No need to go giving her any ideas, after all. Searching for a book that would be less likely to significantly shorten his own lifespan, he was a little surprised by a small “hello” that came from somewhere behind him. 

Turning around he spotted a long girl that looked remarkably like… Wait, no. Couldn’t be, could it?

“Um, hello.”

“What’s your name?”

“Harry.”

“Oh, I’m Luna. It’s nice to meet you.”

Harry smiled. It looked like Luna would be Luna in any universe out there, a fact he was thankful for. “It’s nice to meet you too.”

“It’s my birthday today.”

Harry tried to remember the date. Well, would you look at that. “Oh, so it is.”

Luna nodded and smiled at him. “So you do know. I was wondering if you might. You seem like you’re good about remembering things sometimes.”

At one point Harry had been used to the things he heard Luna Lovegood say. In his defense, however, he had never met this Luna before, she was eleven, and this was the second time just today that someone had alluded to his… unique past. It was mildly disconcerting. And what did she mean sometimes. He had a very good memory. Except for when he had forgotten about Sirius for two years… Okay so maybe she had a point. 

Luna watched him closely, looking for something, though he could not tell what. 

“I suppose you’re too old for me, aren’t you.” Luna sighed. 

Maintain composure. This is Luna. It’s all fine. Harry managed a nod and Luna sighed again. 

“Well, we can be friends then at least, yes?”

“Of course we can,” he said, smiling at her with the slightest tinge of relief. 

She beamed. “Oh good. I was so looking forward to making a friend today. Does this mean we can go get ice cream now?”

“Well, it is your birthday.”

This was fine. It was all fine. But how did she always seem to know things? He sincerely hoped she and Ivy became friends. He could see that turning out very well. Luna was a sweetheart at any age, and had the best ideas, and…would give… He suppressed an eye twitch. No, it would be fine. There was no way Ivy would get any ideas from Luna that might lead to madness and mayhem, right? Right. Of course not. Think optimistically. That’s the spirit. Ice cream!

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oh, look whose alive and finally gracing us with his presence.”

“Huh?”

“The bookstore? Ring a bell? What did you do, read the entire quidditch section?”

“What? Oh, no. Just went for some ice cream afterwards. It’s Luna’s birthday today.”

“You went on a date and didn’t tell me? What kind of godson are you?”

“WHAT? No. No. Not a date. I just ran into her at the bookstore, and she wanted ice cream and, well, it is her birthday today.”

“Mmhmm. And when did you meet her, hmm?”

“Today.”

“Wait, what?”

“Today. At the bookstore. I met her at the bookstore and today’s her birthday and she wanted ice cream.” 

“You took some girl you had just met out for ice cream because she said it was her birthday?”

“No. It’s Luna. Luna Lovegood. Remember me telling you about her? Anyway, we met, and she knew things, Sirius. She always knows things. Still haven’t figured out how she does it. Anyway, we met, and she reminded me that today was her birthday.”

“Right… So just to be clear, this wasn’t a date?”

“She’s ten, Sirius. Well, actually I suppose she’s eleven now. It’s her birthday.”

“So you said.” Sirius sighed. “Well, go ahead and dash all my hopes, I guess.”

Harry shot him a quizzical look. “Wait, you’re… upset I wasn’t on a date?”

“Yes! I feel bad leaving you here all alone every time I go see Sabrina.”

“THAT’S where you’ve been going?” Harry was deeply offended by that admission. “You said you were ‘researching.’”

“I was.”

“Wha… eww. Sirius,” Harry whined. 

Sirius laughed, then laughed harder at the glare Harry sent him. 

“Sorry. Couldn’t resist.”

Harry rolled his eyes and Sirius blew a raspberry in his direction. 

“Come on, can’t you at least act like an adult?”

“But I’m not an adult.”

“Yes you are.”

“Azkaban doesn’t count.”

“You were an adult before Azkaban.”

“Debatable.”

“What’s debatable?” Remus asked, entering the room. 

Thank goodness. Now someone reasonable. “Sirius being an adult.”

Remus nodded solemnly. “True. It’s hard to argue for it when there’s so much evidence to the contrary.” 

Sirius launched a pillow at Remus’s face, which made everyone in the room burst out laughing at Sirius inadvertently proving Remus’s point. 

“So, how was this mysterious ‘business’ of yours?”

Remus rolled his eyes. “There was no ‘mysterious business’ as you call it. I just had a meeting with Dumbledore.” 

Mirth gone, tension up. Both Harry and Sirius shot concerned looks at Remus, who sighed. 

“Don’t worry. I didn’t fall for any of his… arguments. In fact, it was probably good our little interview,” Remus spat out the word, “ended when it did, because Moony was getting ready to rip into him right then and there.”

“That bad?” Harry asked. Remus nodded. 

“So. What did the dear, esteemed headmaster have to say?” His tone was almost sickeningly sweet, but Harry and Remus were both reminded in that moment that Sirius was plenty dangerous in his own right. 

Remus told them what had transpired during the meeting, and Harry noticed that Sirius’s wand hand twitched perhaps even more so than his own. 

“Oh, that reminds me. I made a little stop on the way out.”

With that Remus reached in his bag and pulled out the diadem, dropping it unceremoniously on the coffee table. 

“All yours, if you would care to do the honors,” Remus said, gesturing to Harry. 

Harry nodded, and grabbed the diadem. “Better move this outside.”

Remus and Sirius followed Harry out to the quidditch pitch and watched in mixed awe and horror as he went about destroying the horcrux. Harry burned it with fiendfyre, and both had to admit that his control of the cursed flame was impressive. The snake that erupted from Harry’s wand was not large, but it opened its jaws wide and seemed to swallow the horcrux whole. Satisfied that the task was complete, Harry released his hold on the flame and it returned to his wand, leaving the charred remains of Ravenclaw’s diadem in its wake. 

It was unlike anything Sirius or Remus had ever seen, and both were horrified at the thought that this is what Harry had dealt with at such a young age, as well as angry at the thought that Dumbledore might have one day expected this of Ivy. 

“So, that’s it then. Only one more left, besides Quirrellmort?”

Harry looked up. “Oh no, just Quirrellmort. Diary’s already taken care of.”

“What?”

“When?”

Harry looked a little sheepish. “Sorry, I think I must’ve forgotten to mention it? I got it at the New Years Eve party at the Malfoy's. Snuck in and nabbed it. Figured it was as good an opportunity as I was like to get.” 

Remus let out a low whistle and Sirius chuckled. “Well, that takes care of that then. So we’re down to just the one?”

Harry nodded. “Just the one.”

Chapter Text

February 22, 1992

“Wait, where are you going?” Draco looked anxiously at Ivy. What was she doing? 

“I’m going to go sit by Megan.”

“Wait, you can’t sit there. That’s the Hufflepuff section.”

“I didn’t see a sign.”

“What? No, of course there’s not a sign.”

“Then how do you know that’s the Hufflepuff section?”

“Because that’s where all the Hufflepuffs are.”

“Well maybe it’s really the Ravenclaw section but none of them knew that. Because there isn’t a sign.”

Draco’s eye twitched but his further protests fell on deaf ears. Of course, being the good friend he was, he couldn’t abandon Ivy to the nefarious schemes of the Hufflepuffs. They were far too nice. They must be up to something. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ron looked over the stands in search of Ivy. He knew more about quidditch than Malfoy, and he was determined to prove it. But she wasn’t anywhere in the Slytherin section of the stands, and neither, for that matter, was Malfoy. Suddenly he caught a glimpse of Malfoy in…the Hufflepuff section? What was he doing there? And was that… *gasp.* It couldn’t be, could it? No. It was! Malfoy was sitting with Ivy in the Hufflepuff section? Oh, he was good. But no way was Ron Weasley going to let Draco Malfoy show him up. Not in this. He started to move in the direction of the Hufflepuffs, but decided better and grabbed the two nearest first years he could grab hold of.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey! What are you doing? Let me go!” Hermione didn’t particularly care for quidditch herself, but she was determined to stick it out, and Ronald Weasley of all people was dragging her away for some unknown reason. 

He mumbled a reply but she couldn’t quite make it out. She shot a glance at Neville, who had the unfortunate distinction of also having been pulled away by Weasley, but he just shrugged his shoulders, obviously confused as well. 

She huffed. “I can’t understand you. Why are you pulling us away?”

Weasley slowed down just enough for her to hear his reply. “I need you to go to the Hufflepuff section with me.”

“Erm, okay. But, why are we going over there?” Neville asked. 

“Because Ivy is there and I know more about quidditch than Malfoy does.”

Hermione thought she heard Neville mutter something along the lines of “why me,” but she might have been mistaken. It was a little difficult to hear at the moment. 

She herself had no problems sitting with Ivy, or in the Hufflepuff section, and so, deciding that it wasn’t worth being put out any more by Weasley’s rude behavior, she snatched her arm away and walked towards her friend by herself. Weasley seemed confused, but just shrugged and followed her, still dragging Neville behind him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Pansy looked around for a glimpse of Draco, but did not see him anywhere. She knew he would never willingly miss a quidditch game, so something was obviously wrong. A moment later she spotted him. Oh yes, something was definitely wrong. Why was he sitting with the Hufflepuffs? Oh, and was that… Granger. What was she doing there? Oh, this would not do at all. 

“Come on,” Pansy said. “We’re moving.”

“What?” “Why?” Blaise and Theo looked at her in surprise. 

“Because Draco is over there and we need to save him.”

“Save him?” Blaise mouthed to Theo, who just shrugged and shook his head. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Ooh, Parvati, look! Everyone is sitting over by the Hufflepuffs. Oh and look, Pansy is already there. Come on, let’s go.”

And so Lavender and Parvati too made their way over to the Hufflepuff section.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Padma, why is everyone sitting over there?”

Padma looked to where her friend was pointing and saw her sister and several other first years of various houses sitting together in the Hufflepuff section. “I have no idea,” she said. 

“Do you think we ought to go over there too?”

“Sure. I don’t see why not.”

And so two Ravenclaws joined the growing group of first years, though they were soon joined by the other first years in their house, who were afraid they had accidentally missed some sort of memo. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“What are all of them doing here?”

Justin looked over at Zach, who was this close to getting on his last and final nerve. 

“I believe they’re watching quidditch.”

“I mean, what are they doing here? This is the Hufflepuff section.”

“Funny. I didn’t see a sign,” he said dryly. 

“Hey, that’s what I said!”

Justin turned around and came face to face with Ivy Potter. He laughed. Of course she had something to do with this. He turned back to see Zach scowling and rolled his eyes. Maybe it wasn’t too late to find someone else to sit next to.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey, mind if I sit here?”

Theo looked up to see one of the Hufflepuff first years gesturing to the seat next to him. He shook his head and the boy sat down. What was his name again?

“I’m Justin.”

Well that was helpful.

“Theo,” he said.

“Well it’s nice to meet you, Theo. Welcome to Hufflepuff.”

Theo laughed. “Sorry for invading.”

Justin grinned. “Not a problem. Besides, maybe this way we’ll scare the Gryffindors into thinking everyone is going for Hufflepuff.”

“Hey, I heard that!” Theo couldn’t identify the speaker, though it was obviously one of the Gryffindors. 

Justin rolled his eyes. “Ignore Dean. He’s very… invested in quidditch.”

“And you’re not?”

“Not really,” Justin laughed. “I’m mostly just invested in not having to listen to Zach complain for the next hour or two.”

Theo glanced down the row at Zacharias Smith who was obviously less than pleased at the number of fellow classmates surrounding him. 

“Yeah, I can understand that,” Theo said, grinning a little. He knew Smith. That was all that needed saying, really. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Oliver glanced up into the stands as his team walked onto the field. Ivy had promised she would be here, and he was determined to hold her to it. 

Finally spotting her, he turned to the closest Weasley and asked, “neither of you pissed off Potter again, did you?”

The twin who Oliver was now fairly certain was George by the affronted look on his face said, “Of course not. You and Flint ganged up on us, remember?” 

Oliver did remember. It had turned out that Flint was good for something after all, and they had declared a momentary truce in an effort to strike the fear of the quidditch gods into anyone who might interfere with Potter’s future in quidditch, whether that be by distraction, discouragement, or the introduction of anything that might be considered a conflicting interest. It had only been partially successful, since most of the people they had tried to talk to had run off before they had had the chance to properly threaten them. What had not occurred to Oliver, but had occurred to a few students who had avoided him and Flint for a day or two, was the fact that it was so highly unusual to see the two of them together without any indication of a coming scuffle or shouting match, that it was deemed safest to just avoid them both entirely until whatever strange potion they were on wore off. Besides, practically the entire school knew what the one thing they agreed on was, and no one wanted to get in the way of that. So really, it was probably unnecessary for the two quidditch captains to have done anything at all, since the fear they had hoped to instill was already properly present in most of the student body by this point. Of course, this had not occurred to either of them, and so Oliver did not actually have any of those thoughts or realizations. 

“Why’d you assume we did something anyway?” 

Oliver gestured up to the stands where Ivy was sitting. 

George took a look. “Huh.” He nudged his brother who had come up beside him and pointed out Ivy sitting in the Hufflepuff section.

“Wasn’t me!” 

Oliver and George both rolled their eyes. 

“Any idea why she’s up there then?”

At that moment Katie came up behind them and laughed. “She’s probably just sitting with friends.”

The boys all frowned. “You mean she’s not cheering for Hufflepuff?” Oliver asked. After all the work he had put in… Slytherin he could reluctantly understand. Gryffindor he held out an optimistic hope for, but Hufflepuff? He would have to convene with Flint to strategize. No way could they let the Hufflepuffs take this away from them. This was between him and Flint, a way to settle their long time rivalry once and for all, not to mention the satisfaction of being the one to convince Ivy to play. So no. There was no way he was letting those happy, smiley Hufflepuffs get all the credit. 

“I’m sure she’s cheering for you,” Angelina said, rolling her eyes. “Come on, we’ve got a game to win.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oh look at that. How sweet. All the first years are sitting together.”

Severus did share Pomona’s sentiment, but decided that it probably had something to do with Potter, and since it was occurring in the Hufflepuff section and no one appeared to be injured, it was not really his problem. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

This was not exactly what Ron had planned, although to be completely honest he hadn’t had much of a plan to begin with. He just knew that whatever plan he might have eventually formed, this was not it. How was he supposed to show Ivy that he would be a much better friend than Malfoy if she kept talking to so many other people.

Well, if he couldn’t talk to her, he could at least keep Malfoy away from her. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Draco clutched his sides as he laughed and struggled to breathe. The Hufflepuff team really was pretty bad, and at least someone appreciated that fact. Weasley was hilar… Wait. 

He looked at Weasley, who looked back with a similar expression of horror. With a curt nod they shared acknowledged their mutual desire to never speak of this again. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy looked over at Draco and Ron. Oh yes, this was coming along nicely. 

“I honestly didn’t think this would work,” Hermione whispered. 

Ivy grinned. “Of course it did. Well, I guess it’s not done yet, but still, it’s coming along nicely, wouldn’t you say?”

Hermione nodded and Ivy grinned. The look on their faces… Yep. Totally worth it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Oliver wished it had not taken so long, but at least they had won. Honestly by the end it didn’t even matter who caught the snitch, since Gryffindor was up by so much, but his seeker had eventually found it, making him feel marginally better about his choice. Too bad he was a sixth year and wouldn’t be around for much longer. 

Suddenly he was very nearly pummeled by a small hurricane that turned out to be Ivy. 

“You did so great!” she shouted, jumping up on him and giving him a big hug. 

“Hey! What are we? Chopped liver?”

Ivy stuck out her tongue at George. “I was getting to that.”

“So you weren’t cheering for Hufflepuff?” Oliver needed to be sure. 

“Of course I was. They weren’t very good, but I didn’t want any of them to feel bad.” She said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world, and Oliver felt like he could live with that. 

Walking towards the changing rooms with a koala-like Ivy still attached, Oliver noticed a grumpy looking Flint looking their way and flashed a smirk. Flint narrowed his eyes and Oliver grinned widely. Yep. He had definitely won today. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

February 25, 1992

“Hey, Percy, which one of these do you think Ron would like better?”

Percy looked up from his textbook and saw Ivy holding up two… Well, he wasn’t entirely sure what they were. 

“I have no idea. Maybe you should ask the twins?”

She nodded solemnly and Percy breathed a sigh of relief. 

Wait a second. 

“Wait! How do you keep getting in here?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Neville looked up to see Ivy skipping through the Gryffindor common room. It was a testament to the ever increasing frequency of this sight that only a couple of the older students even looked surprised to see a Slytherin first year running around their common room. 

“Hey, Ivy, what’re you doing?”

“Oh, hi Neville. I was just looking for Fred and George. I wanted to ask them about something for Ron’s birthday.” 

“Oh, is it like what you gave me?” Dean asked, coming over to where Neville sat. 

Ivy shook her head. “No. I didn’t think he’d like something like that as much.”

“Well what is it then?”

Ivy showed them. 

“Um, what is that?” Ivy was holding up… something. Neville just had no clue what that something was. 

“It’s a chess set.”

Neville and Dean looked at the thing Ivy was holding skeptically. 

“Are you… Are you sure?” Dean asked. 

Ivy nodded. “Of course I am. So. Which one do you think he’d like better?”

“Is there a big difference?” Neville could not see one, but that didn’t mean one did not exist. And to be honest he was still rather skeptical that either thing was in fact a chess set. 

“Well, this one had mini dragons that will destroy your opponent if you ask nicely, and this one has little pieces that fly around and try to knock other pieces off their brooms like in quidditch.” 

Dean sputtered, saying that that was not the point of quidditch (based on his own observations Neville felt otherwise, but chose to remain silent), but Neville caught onto one other thing Ivy had said. “Destroy your opponent’s pieces, right? The dragon destroys their pieces?” Internally Neville was thinking please say yes, please say yes, please say yes.

“Mmhmm, sure. Anyway, what do you think?”

Neville, not feeling at all reassured, felt the flying one was the safer of the options and gave his vote for that one. 

“Well dragons sound pretty…”

“NEAT. Dragons sound neat,” Neville said, cutting Dean off. “But obviously flying pieces are so much cooler, right Dean?” He leveled his best glare at the boy, who did not seem to be picking up on the hint. 

“Oh yeah, flying is cool. But the…” Dean let out a little yelp as Neville kicked him in the shin. 

“You’re probably right,” Ivy said. “Well. Thanks guys! This has been a big help.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

March 1, 1992

“Happy birthday, Ron!”

Ron grinned at Ivy as she plopped down across from him. “Thanks!”

She put a package not he table in between them. “This is for you. I wanted to give it to you now so I could watch you open it.”

“Oh, okay. Thanks!” Ron wasn’t sure why she was doing this, because chances were high she’d end up in the Gryffindor common room later anyway. No one had owned up to ever having let her in, or given her the password, yet somehow she kept turning up. It bothered Percy to no end which of course made it hilarious. 

He inspected the contents of the package for a minute. “What is it?”

“It’s a chess set.”

“Are you sure?” 

“Yes, silly,” Ivy said, rolling her eyes. “Here, let me show you. You just have to open it like this.”  

She pressed one part of it and it opened to reveal… oh, that was a chess set. How about that. 

“Thanks, Ivy.” 

“You’re welcome.”

“Hey Ivy, are you ready to…” Malfoy, who had just come up to the Gryffindor table, completely ruining Ron’s morning, gasped. “Is that the Montrose Magpies commemorative chess set?”

“Mmhmm. It’s for Ron’s birthday,” Ivy explained. “Sorry Ron,” she said sympathetically, turning back to him. “They don’t make Chudley Cannons one.”

“That’s because you have to actually win sometimes to have a commemorative set made,” Malfoy said haughtily. 

Ivy rolled her eyes. “I know. Which is why you won’t be getting a Caerphilly Catapults set for your birthday either.” 

Malfoy sputtered and flushed a little pink, and suddenly Ron’s day was good again. 

“Say, Ivy. How come it looks like…” Ron gestured to the unique exterior, which resembled absolutely nothing he had ever seen and certainly not a chess set. 

“Oh, I was messing around with another set, testing its destructive capabilities, and it sort of… melted. Sorry about that.”

A few spaces over Neville choked on something he was eating and had to have Seamus pound his back a few times before he recovered. 

“Oh that’s okay. It looks cool.” It was an honest assessment. It did look cool. It just didn’t look anything like a chess set. 

Malfoy tapped his foot impatiently. “Come on Ivy, can’t we go flying now? Flint said I could go with you two today.”

“Oh, I thought I’d see if Ron wanted to play a round of chess first. Try out his new set, you know?”

Malfoy looked horrified at that thought. “You can’t corrupt his set on his birthday! I won’t let you. Come on, Weasley. Let’s play chess.”

Ivy shrugged her shoulders and scooted over a bit to allow Malfoy room to sit down. Ron absently wondered if Malfoy was actually aware he was sitting at the Gryffindor table. Probably not, but he wasn’t going to be the one to tell him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Draco had to admit, this chess set was pretty cool. And as far as chess opponents went, Weasley wasn’t half bad. That fact was obvious, since Draco would never bother playing with some stupid Gryffindor unless they were actually good. Or, that is to say, not completely terrible. Weasley wasn’t good he was just, not terrible. Yeah. That was it. 

Ivy was still sitting there, but thankfully was not trying to give the chess pieces any ideas. A few other students poked their heads around every now and then to see what was going on, but otherwise they had been left alone. 

That is, until he heard a very familiar voice laughing from just down the table. He looked up to see Pansy laughing with two of the Gryffindor girls. Patil he knew, and he thought the other one was the one that had two colors for a name, although he couldn’t really recall what that might be. 

Why was Pansy sitting there? She didn’t even like Patil, did she? Well, at least she hadn’t. Malfoy was so distracted by the sight of Pansy Parkinson sitting at the Gryffindor table that he completely missed the fact that it was now his turn. Weasley cleared his throat and pointed at the chess board, but Draco could only nod and go back to looking at the girls laughing a little ways away. 

Weasley, now noticing the reason for Draco’s distraction, craned his neck around to see for himself what was going on. 

A moment later they exchanged a look of horror, and both instinctively turned to look at Ivy, who was sitting there, presenting an air of innocence that Draco knew had to be entirely fake. 

He and Weasley exchanged another look, and Draco mouthed the word “later” to him, which was received with a nod. They needed to strategize, and Ivy was clearly somehow the culprit of this calamity.

Just then the two banes of his existence that also happened to bear the last name Weasley walked up to where the trio sat, looked around in what might possibly have been shock, and each handed something to Ivy, who accepted their offerings with a smug look that completely undid any earlier attempts on her part to look innocent. As the twins left Ivy got up and followed them, and Draco and Weasley slowly returned to their game, both mildly unnerved by what they had witnessed. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I can’t believe you did it,” George said. Fred was too busy laughing to contribute much to the conversation. 

“Told you I would,” Ivy said with a smug grin. 

“Yeah I know you said you would, but I didn’t think you actually would.”

“Did… see… faces…” Fred managed to get out in between wheezes. 

Ivy beamed. 

“Alright, so who’s next on the list?”

“Well Oliver and Marcus haven’t tried to injure each other recently, so I’d say that one is going well. Percy and Thomas get along fine. I always see them whispering and glancing my way though, so they might suspect something. Alright, let’s see.” Ivy pulled a piece of parchment out of her bag. “George, if you would do the honors.”

George obliged and pulled out his wand, saying the password and watching as a number of names began appearing on the paper. 

“Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

March 5, 1992

“I need your help.”

The other three students looked to Hannah in surprise. 

“Um, sure. What do you need help with?” Susan asked. It wasn’t common for Hannah to ask for help with things, and certainly not to their quiet little Herbology study group. 

“I need to know where the Ravenclaw dormitories are.”

“Um, why do you need to know that?” Millie asked. Neville felt it was a fair question. 

“Because Terry told Padma, who told Anthony, who told Ernie, who told Justin, who told Megan, who told me, that Ivy was in there yesterday and one of the older students asked her how she got in there, and she said ‘what, like it’s hard,’ and now I need to know if it’s hard.”

Neville wasn’t sure he followed that logic. 

“What would be hard about it?”

“Apparently the password for Ravenclaw is a riddle, and you have to answer it.”

“Oh, that does sound hard.”

“But we don’t know that. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But we need to find out.”

“Why?” Neville felt he needed a bit of clarification first. 

“Because it’s important.”

“So where is Ravenclaw?”

“No idea.”

“Me neither.”

“We could go ask someone?”

“We can’t ask a Ravenclaw.”

“Why not?

“They might get upset.”

“Oh, that’s true. We don’t want that.”

Neville followed all this with growing trepidation. 

“We could ask Thomas,” Millie said. 

“Who’s Thomas?” Susan asked curiously. 

“Thomas Harrington. He’s a fifth year in my house. Ivy seems to always ask him questions and he’s really smart.”

The girls all seemed to agree this was a good idea. Neville did not agree, but could not think of an argument in time, so was also dragged along to go find a fifth year Slytherin that might be willing to tell them the location of another house’s dormitories. Because there was absolutely no way this was going to go wrong. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas flopped down on his bed facedown and groaned. Despite his very thorough analysis of his life choices thus far, he still wasn’t completely sure how he had gotten to this point. 

“What’s wrong with you?” Eric asked. 

Thomas let out another muffled groan. 

“Come on, OWLS aren’t for a bit yet. Surely it can’t be that bad.”

Thomas propped himself up a little before flopping dramatically onto his back. “OWLS are fine. They’ll be fine. It’s all good. Life is fine.”

“Okay… So not OWLS.”

Thomas heaved a dramatic sigh. He wasn’t normally a dramatic person, but this felt like an appropriate moment for such theatrics. Who knows, he might die before he had another chance. 

“I know I’m probably going to regret this,” Kenneth said from his own bed, “but what is causing you such distress, dearest Thomas.”

Thomas shot him a glare. “Shut up, Burke,” he said, though the Slytherin prefect just smirked. Prat. 

Giving one final, dramatic sigh, Thomas stared at the ceiling and spoke. “I just lied to a bunch of Hufflepuffs.” 

Marcus and Eric both burst out laughing and Kenneth gave him a clear look of disdain. “That’s what had you so upset? You lied to some Hufflepuffs?” 

“Not just any Hufflepuffs. First year Hufflepuffs.”

“I’m out,” Corvin said suddenly, throwing his book on his bed and exiting their room. Everyone else just rolled their eyes.

“And what was this oh so terrible lie you told?” Burke said with growing amusement. Bastard. 

“They asked if I knew where the Ravenclaw dormitories were.”

“And you said…”

“I told them I didn’t know.”

“How is that a lie?” Eric asked. 

“Shut up, Pyrites,” Kenneth drawled. “Obviously Harrington here knows all about the Ravenclaw rooms, don’t you.” 

Thomas went red and refused to look Burke in the eye. “It was Ivy,” he blurted out. 

“Potter? What’s she got to do with it?”

“She was there, and somehow these Hufflepuffs got the idea that they need to go too.”

“And you lied to them because…”

“Because she’s corrupting them! I don’t how she did it, but she’s corrupting them.”

“Of course she’s corrupting them. We’re Slytherins. It’s what we do…” Kenneth said sarcastically. 

“Ha, ha. I’m serious. She’s going to have any army by this time next year, and I’m the one that’s going to have to take care of it.”

“How do you figure?” Eric asked. 

“I just do,” Thomas said, staring at the ceiling. This was his fate. This was his life now. He just hoped he survived. 

“So, when you say Hufflepuffs, who exactly are we talking about?”

Thomas wasn’t sure why Marcus cared, but he indulged the question. “Um, Bones, I think? And that Longbottom kid Ivy’s around a lot, and, umm, Bulstrode, I think, and, oh, what’s the other girl’s name. Abbott, I think. Yeah, that’s it. The other one’s Abbott.”

Marcus burst out laughing again. “You…” He kept laughing. Thomas’s glare did nothing. “You’re worried about Ivy corrupting the little Herbology club? Over this?” Still laughing. “You have any idea what kind of books she keeps giving them?” 

Thomas wondered several things at the moment. First of all, how did Marcus know all of this? Second of all, how did he not? Third… Was this… yeah… this was probably going to haunt in someway. 

“You do realize only a couple of those are even Hufflepuffs, right?” 

“It’s the principle of the thing,” Thomas practically shouted, and Eric raised up his hands in surrender. 

Marcus, still laughing, got up and walked to the door. “That’s my girl,” he said, still laughing as he made his way out of earshot. 

Thomas felt betrayed by every single one of his roommates. Did none of them understand what was at stake here? 

This was useless. He needed to find someone who understood. Someone who could commiserate with him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And so I lied.”

Percy was understandably concerned. He could already imagine the chaos. “We have to do something,” he said. 

Harrington nodded. “But what? She’s going to corrupt the Hufflepuffs. I’m only sixteen. I can’t have ‘failed to stop an army of Hufflepuffs from forming’ on my record.”

Percy personally didn’t think that was the most relevant issue at the moment, but he was dealing with a distraught Slytherin and he honestly didn’t know what to do in this type of situation. 

Just then the subject of their discussion walked up to them. 

Harrington shuddered slightly, and Percy took it upon himself to ease his fellow student’s worries. “Hi, Ivy. What are you doing?”

“Oh, just looking for a book I was telling Millie about, but I can’t remember the name of it.” 

“Oh, well what’s it about?” Percy didn’t understand why Harrington was frantically nudging his foot under the table. 

“It’s about magical fungi and their uses.” The nudging got harder and Percy shoved back under the table. 

“Did you ask Madam Pince yet?”

“No, not yet. She’d know though, wouldn’t she. Thanks, Percy!”

After Ivy was out of earshot Percy turned to Harrington. “What was that about?”

“Do you realize what book she was looking for?”

“Wait, why didn’t you just tell her if you knew?”

“You really want me handing over a book on magical fungi and their theorized uses in modern warfare to Ivy Potter?”

“Oh, I see your point.”

“Yeah. Come on. If we hurry we can get it before she does.”

Percy nodded in agreement. That sounded like a good idea. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Irma Pince looked at the two fifth years in suspicion. It’s always the quiet ones, she thought, as they checked out their questionable choice of reading material. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

March 18, 1992

“Alright, I’ve got Famous Wizarding Battles of the Norse Conquest and 100 Sumerian Curses and Their Practical Uses for the Modern Day Militarist. What about you?”

Percy glanced again at the titles in his bag. “Er, I’ve got 1001 Deadly Microbes and their Magical Uses, A Beginner’s Guide to Siege Warfare, and Untraceable Potions, Vol. 1.” 

Harrington nodded. “Good. Alright, I think that covers this week’s list. Any others you heard about that you think we need to check out?”

“No, but Madam Pince was giving me the strangest look. Any idea what that might be about?”

“She did the same to me, and I have no idea. We always turn the books in in excellent condition.”

“Exactly! I don’t know why she seemed to think I’d possibly do something to them.”

“Maybe she’s just worried we’re not spending enough time studying.”

Percy nodded. “That could be. Hey, speaking of which, what did you think of chapter nineteen in Elderkin’s treatise…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

March 23, 1992

“But we have exams and we need to study.” 

“Why are you telling me this, Granger? I do plenty of studying.”

“Well I was trying to tell Ivy, but I couldn’t find her anywhere.”

“Then tell her later,” Draco said. “Besides, we have plenty of time to study for exams. They’re not for a long time.”

“They’re only ten weeks away! We need to start studying now or we’ll never have time to get everything done.”

Draco rolled his eyes. He couldn’t believe he was doing this, but… “Look, Granger. You’re one of the smartest people in our class. You’re going to be fine. And Ivy will study.” He noticed the incredulous look on Granger’s face. “Eventually,” he amended. “So no need to stress about it now. Besides, you’ll have the entire Easter break to study all you want. Go do something fun. And no, making a study schedule does not count,” he added, sensing what she was about to say. He shooed her away and she went, looking a little put out but not as frantic as she had been a minute ago. Ivy owed him big time. 

“Found her,” Longbottom pointed out unhelpfully. 

Draco looked to see some Weasley or other carrying Ivy on his back as he ran full speed down the hall, everyone else darting out of the way to avoid being run into. 

“Fred Weasley, you come back here right now,” someone yelled, chasing after them. Was that? Oh, yeah that was definitely Wood. And he did not look happy. There was someone else though… Flint? Draco decided he did not care to know what was going on and would rather not even chance being implicated in whatever was happening. 

“Come on, Longbottom. Let’s go.” 

Longbottom thankfully did not protest, though he looked a little confused as to why Draco was suddenly pulling him down the hall. 

“Where are we going?” he eventually asked. 

“Studying,” Draco said, not being able to think of any other excuse at the moment.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Draco rubbed his forehead. He felt like he understood his godfather on an entirely new level now. 

“But why does it matter which way you stir it?” 

“I don’t think it does.” Brave words coming from the boy who blew up his cauldron at least once a month. 

Some mild bickering commenced as Draco considered what had led him to this moment of being in an unfortunate study group with every. single. Gryffindor. first year. The boys, that is. Draco wasn’t sure he could handle the entire Gryffindor first year group without major reinforcements. Even this was seriously testing his composure. 

“Enough,” he yelled out, earning himself a glare from Madam Pince, who he quickly muttered an apology to as he winced. Merlin, the lions were rubbing off on him. “Alright, here’s why it matters, because yes, Finnegan, it does matter.”

And so he spent the next hour lecturing the Gryffindor boys about the intricacies of potions, all the while wondering how he had gotten himself into this particular situation. Somehow, he was sure it was Ivy’s fault. 

“Okay, that makes sense,” Weasley said when Draco finished. “But what about this one.” He pointed to one out of their textbook that happened to be the exception to half a dozen different rules. Why was that even in this book? It’s not like it was an important potion or anything. Who used the Snuffling potion anyways? 

Draco noticed all eyes on him, obviously waiting for him to answer. He banged his head down on the table. This was going to be a long afternoon. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

March 28, 1992

Despite his best efforts, Draco had somehow ended up in a study group with the Gryffindor boys for the fourth time this week. At least this time had dragged the Slytherin boys with him, since if he had to suffer they might as well suffer with him. Ivy was conveniently nowhere to be found, and Pansy had been busy planning something with Patil, Brown, and Daphne, and there was no way Draco was getting mixed up in whatever that was. 

So here they sat, four Gryffindors, five Slytherins, sitting at the Hufflepuff table in the Great Hall (neutral territory and all that), studying together for some Merlin-forsaken reason. 

Today’s topic was Herbology. Not Draco’s particular favorite, but one that Longbottom was apparently actually useful in. Weasley, Finnegan, Theo, and Greg were all apparently out of their depths when it came to Herbology. Blaise would of course never admit to a weakness in any subject, and Vince was surprisingly comfortable with it. Thomas seemed to not care about it, much like Draco, but neither did he seem too concerned. 

An hour later Draco had a newfound respect for Longbottom, and a glance at his fellow first years told him they felt the same. He was now beginning to understand why Longbottom wasn’t in Hufflepuff. There was no way a Hufflepuff would know all the different plants that could kill you in under thirty seconds. That just wasn’t a Hufflepuff sort of thing to know. Right? His mind went back unbidden to a certain conversation with a certain girl in a certain robes shop, but he ignored it. Ivy wasn’t in Hufflepuff, and Draco thought that maybe the sorting hat was rather smart, and that is was probably for the best that Ivy was in Slytherin with him instead of with those poor Hufflepuffs. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“It seems your houses have been getting along quite nicely as of late.”

Severus glanced sideways at Filius’s smirk and then at Minerva whose mouth twitched a little. They obviously did not hold the same suspicions as he did. Something was up, and he was determined to figure it out before it ended in disaster. 

“Are you sure you don’t need to worry about them?” Burbage asked, gesturing to the group of Gryffindor and Slytherin students seated at the Hufflepuff table. 

Severus thought they should all be worried, as well as watching Ivy Potter’s every movement, but every time he brought up something along those lines he was waved off. “Well, there hasn’t been any blood yet, so yes,” he said sarcastically. Minerva rolled her eyes at him and Filius obviously caught the sarcasm, but Burbage seemed genuinely concerned. 

“Is that likely then?” 

No one answered her, and Severus couldn’t help but feel a little vindicated at the thought that even Minerva and Filius didn’t have an easy assurance to the contrary. At the same time he wondered where he had failed, as so many of his Slytherins had apparently formed friendships of sorts with Gryffindors. Why couldn’t it have been the Ravenclaws? Or even the Hufflepuffs? Why did it have to be those blasted Gryffindors that always plagued him? 

He could feel James Potter laughing at him from the afterlife and he scowled. 

Chapter Text

April 1, 1992

It was barely five in the morning when Ivy snuck into the Gryffindor tower. She made her way silently up the stairs in search of her accomplice. 

“Did you bring it?” A low voice whispered from the shadows. 

Ivy held up her packages and nodded. Lee grinned, and the two of them made their way silently to the third year boys’ room. 

“Which one do you want?” Lee asked. Ivy shrugged. “Okay, I’ll get Fred, you get George.”

Ivy nodded and they got into position. She tossed him one of the bags.

“One, two three,” he mouthed, and they poured out the contents onto the sleeping twins. 

The twins’ yelps at being hit with the icy sludge woke up the rest of their room, as well as a few students from other rooms. A bleary eyed Percy stumbled into the room for a minute, took in the scene, noticed Ivy standing there looking as innocent as she could muster, and just shook his head and left. 

Ivy gave Lee a fist bump and shouted, “ten points to Hufflepuff!”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

A few hours later Ivy was sitting in the Hufflepuff common room waiting for Justin and Megan to be ready to go to breakfast, when Cedric Diggory walked up to her and said, “you know, the twins are looking for you.”

Ivy nodded. “You didn’t tell them where I was though, did you?”

“Of course not. Hufflepuffs look out for each other, after all” he said with a wink.  

Ivy beamed. Her goal in life had been achieved; she was now an honorary Hufflepuff. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 6, 1992

“Do you have to make friends with every single first year?” Draco personally thought he should have been plenty, seeing as he was an excellent friend, but no. Ivy just had to make friends with all the rest of them. It was also Monday and morning and he hadn’t eaten yet, so he was feeling a little grumpy. 

“No,” Ivy said. 

“But why? I mean… Wait, no? Does that mean you’re not friends with all the first years?”

“No. Most of them, yes. But not all of them.” 

“Really? Wait who are you not friends with? Oh, Smith, right?” 

“Yeah, not him. He’s kind of rude. And he goes on and on about how great his family is and the world is beneath him… hey…”

Draco did not like that look on Ivy’s face. He knew that look. 

“…maybe you should be friends with him.”

Draco took great offense to that statement. “Hey, I’m not that bad. Pansy!” He looked across the table at his other best friend. “Tell Ivy I’m not that bad.” 

“You kind of are,” Pansy said, the traitor. 

Draco’s protests were ignored, and he felt betrayed at the fact that his two best friends were conspiring against him. They were obviously teasing him, which he didn’t mind that much, but did they have to do it together? 

It took Draco a couple days to realize what had happened that morning, and when he did, he couldn’t decide whether to be happy about it or terrified. On the one hand, his two best friends were now friends with each other (finally). On the other hand, those two friends were Ivy and Pansy, and this did not bode well for Draco, Slytherin, Hogwarts, and potentially the Wizarding World, but especially Draco, and no he was not being dramatic (shut up, Blaise). 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 15, 1992

Severus added yet another entry to his dairy that absolutely no one would ever know about, and another check to his running tally of times he had prevented Potter from getting seriously injured. Seventeen had to be some kind of record, and it was still only her first year. Merlin, he was going to need to retire after this. 

Why couldn’t she have gone home for Easter? He had been looking forward to a small break, but instead not only was she still there, but her entire posse had stayed as well, which did absolutely nothing for Severus’s blood pressure levels. He suddenly had a greater respect for Minerva and her ability to see her students through graduation alive and relatively uninjured. He couldn’t quite accuse Potter of behaving like a Gryffindor, but Merlin she was the most Gryffindor-like Slytherin he had ever seen. It was a terrible combination and no one should be able to pull that off. 

And what was he doing? He, who had lied to the Dark Lord’s face on multiple occasions, who had gotten out of near death situations on more than one occasion, and had successfully secured himself a place in wizarding society when so many others in his position had ended up in Azkaban, been disgraced, or forced to buy their way out of their predicament. And yet here he was, slowly losing his sanity to the antics of one eleven year old girl. 

But it wasn’t just her, was it. 

No, it was everything connected to her. Sure, her own antics were something he conveniently ignored as much as possible, but someone was bent on causing her harm. He had made a vow to protect her, and protect her he had, even though it seemed to be happening with much a greater frequency than even he had anticipated. And what bothered him most was that he had still been unable to uncover the person or persons responsible. As suspicious as Quirrell’s behavior regarding the stone had been, Severus hadn’t been able to find any indication of an interest in Potter, and his observations of the other staff members had not yielded any suspicions on his part. It would have been difficult for someone outside of Hogwarts to interfere to that extent, and Severus had no good way of looking into that possibility given his own relative restriction to the Hogwarts grounds. 

It was possible it was a student, though the sophistication of some of the methods used made him doubt that, which was good since he had originally suspected it might be a member of his own house seeking some misguided revenge. Surprising, though not unwelcome, was the way his house had warmed up to Potter over the year. At first he had been concerned about Potter being in the same house as many children of former death eaters, but as the year had gone on she had made an admirable impression on her fellow Slytherins, and had made some formidable allies, particularly among the older students, which had firmly dissuaded anyone else who might have been inclined to cause her trouble. 

Of course, the rumors surrounding her guardian may have also played a part in that. Ever since it had become common knowledge that Lord Peverell was her guardian, respect for Ivy Potter had shot up drastically. Some of the rumors seemed far fetched or outright ridiculous to Severus, but he couldn’t discount any of them entirely until he knew for certain otherwise. He had done that when he had heard Peverell was in fact a Parselmouth, but then Lucius of all people had been able to confirm that fact. 

That information had left Severus both concerned and perplexed as he tried to reconcile the various facts and rumors with what he knew of the man’s actions and views. But what did he really know of the man? What did anyone really know of him. That was the problem, and Severus hated not knowing. 

He flipped back to his ongoing list of facts and speculations regarding Lord Peverell. 

-Parselmouth

-Dislike of term ‘Mudblood’

-Stance on Muggleborns: unknown 

-Political views: unknown 

-Blood: Pureblood, suspected 

-Loyalty to Dark Lord: unlikely 

-Well informed - possible spies or sources of information inside Hogwarts and/or Ministry 

-Aloof, but at apparent ease with members of both light and dark factions 

-Believed to be on good terms with: Black, Lupin, Deverill, Malfoy, Weasley, Zabini

And what a mix that was, Severus thought to himself. Unfortunately, that was the extent of his list. Of course there were a few other things, but he couldn’t bring himself to even write those things down. Like how he had instructed Potter on the answers Severus had asked in the first potions lesson of the year. How had he known? There was no way he could have known, right? But he must have anticipated Severus asking those questions, and that meant that he knew. But how much did he know? That was the question that bothered Severus the most. Lord Peverell rarely appeared to be involved in the wizarding world, but when he did, whether it be in instructing his ward in questions he knew Severus would ask, or in securing Black’s freedom, he seemed to always know exactly what was going on. And if he anticipated the roundabout way Severus would express his grief over Lily’s death, let alone the existence of such grief, what else did he know? 

Severus could admit that he was rather intimidated by the man who had managed to remain so generally removed from the wizarding world yet was clearly capable of precise intervention when it suited him. To cause such a massive upheaval as he had done with Black’s release, and then simply withdraw again, only to be seen occasionally in the Alley or at the one society event he had attended? 

And this was the man Albus was determined to go against. Severus could not understand why the headmaster was so intent on removing Potter from Peverell’s care and influence. If the man knew more about Peverell than Severus did, he sure hadn’t given any indication of it. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time he had hid something, as this year in particular had clearly shown, but Severus honestly believed the headmaster didn’t know any more than he did, which, in a way, made Albus’s determination to be against Peverell that much more concerning. And then there was Severus’s brief encounter with Lupin… 

Severus was fairly confident in his belief that both Lupin and Black were firmly on Peverell’s side, and not on Dumbledore’s. The reasons for that he could not say, but he didn’t think it would be too much of a stretch to say that it had something to do with Potter. 

And it all did come back to Potter, didn’t it. Dumbledore was only interested in Peverell as far as it concerned Potter, it seemed, and both Lupin and Black would be unlikely to side against Dumbledore for any other reason. And he had no doubt that they were against Dumbledore, which meant they knew something. Perhaps he was going about this the wrong way. Perhaps, instead of looking into Peverell, he needed to look into Black or Lupin or both. It was a rather unpalatable idea, but since nothing else had yielded satisfactory results thus far, it could be worth a shot. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 17, 1992

Albus Dumbledore put the finishing touched onto plan 49-C. It was all in his head of course, since the walls literally had ears. And eyes. And the ability to end up in other locations and spill secrets to any number of undesirables. But his plan was nearly complete, and this one didn’t even involve framing anyone. He was rather proud of himself. 

None of his other plans had worked thus far, hence the need for this most recent version. He had nearly given up at one point on a rather bleak looking Thursday, but he had quickly scolded himself and had gone back to planning the best way to stage an encounter between Ivy Potter and Voldemort. 

Ideally he would have tested Ivy a little more by this point. He needed to know her priorities so as to best predict her reactions to the events that might occur. She had received the photo album he had sent, and when he hinted at it she had expressed her thanks. Unfortunately he must have made the compulsion spell a little too subtle, since it did not appear to have the desired effect. He still hadn’t been able to get her in front of the Mirror of Erised like he had hoped, but the fact that she was spending the Easter holidays at Hogwarts made him optimistic that he might finally have a chance to do so. 

Of course, nearly everyone else had stayed as well, so that did put a slight damper on that plan. 

But no matter. The rest of his plan was moving along nicely. She spent plenty of time with the Gryffindors, which was just as he would have wished, and she seemed the naturally curious type, which was also beneficial for his plans. 

She was, perhaps, a little more intelligent than he would have liked, and no doubt time in Slytherin had strengthened her resolve to question things, which was also not to his liking. Still, there was time, and this plan was rather good, if he did say so himself, which he did, because it was. 

Now if he could only deal with Peverell… 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 20, 1992

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Witches and Wizards of all ages…”

“Welcome to the first annual Hogwarts Olympus.”

Ivy elbowed George. “Oh right. Olympics. (Sorry Ivy).”

A cheer went up among the assembled students, and Professor Flitwick clapped his hands with especial enthusiasm. 

“Now, I’m sure you’re all wondering what events we have in store for you,” Fred said. 

“Well, unfortunately Dragon wrangling was vetoed,” George said with theatrical dejection, “but worry not! For in its place we bring you…”

Ivy began a drum roll. 

“Broom Racing!”

“Self explanatory.”

“Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum Bubble Blowing Contest!”

“Also self explanatory.”

“Black Lake Diving!”

“Biggest splash wins!”

“Astronomy Marathon!”

“Stay awake the longest and name as many objects as you can at the end.”

“Fireworks Competition!”

“Build your own and impress us all.”

“Snowball Competition!”

“Make sure to bring your own snow!”

“Snitch chasing, since Wood said he’d strangle us otherwise!” Oliver Wood and Marcus Flint both nodded with satisfied smirks on their faces. 

“Dodgebludger!”

“Where everyone’s a beater and if you’re hit, you’re out.”

“Demon summoning… oh wait, sorry, no, that one was vetoed as well.”

“Ultimate Exploding Snap!”

“Ten times the size, ten times the explosive prize.”

“Food Chain Transfigurations!”

“Construct the most realistic king of the food chain you can!”

“Win with the most screams!”

“Not-quite-in-the-forbidden-forest-because-McGonagall-said-we-can’t-go-there Scavenger Hunt!”

“So step right up and sign up for the events you think you can win.”

“Team events are on your left, individual events are on your right.”

“LET THE GAMES BEGIN!”

Everyone cheered and several students rushed towards the front where the sign up sheets were. Ivy was excited. She and the twins had been working on this for months and it was finally time! She gave Professor Flitwick a thumbs up, which he returned along with a grin. This was going to be great.

 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

This was terrible. How those three menaces had gotten Filius to sign off on this was beyond his comprehension at the moment, but somehow he had been dragged into it as well. Oh sure, it was all in the spirit of “interhouse unity” and “promoting school spirit,” but wasn’t there some way to achieve that that wasn’t so… involved? 

“Um, Professor Snape, sir?”

He groaned internally and turned to face the student who had decided to bother him. 

“Are you the one in charge of the transfiguration contest?”

“Yes,” he said, gritting his teeth. 

“Oh, okay, um, do you know when it’s going to start?”

Severus raised an eyebrow. “As you would know if you had bothered to pay attention to the paper you signed up on, it begins promptly at six pm.”

The student flushed a little and stammered, “oh, uh, right. Sorry, sir. Thank you.” The boy practically fled before he had finished speaking. Severus smirked to himself. At least he still had that. 

His smirk vanished as he saw one person he’d much rather not face at the moment come up to him. 

“Good morning, Severus.”

“Minerva,” he said, dipping his head in greeting.  

“How does your event look?”

He leveled her a glare that had absolutely no effect and sighed. “Remind me why I got stuck with the transfiguration event again? Shouldn’t this be yours, since you’re the transfiguration professor?”

She didn’t even react to his most biting tone. “Because you were specially requested.”

“Wait, what?”

“Potter had the list all worked out of which event she wanted which professor to supervise, and she specifically requested you oversee this one because, and I quote, ‘Professor Snape isn’t scared of anything.’” 

Severus suppressed the warm fuzzy feeling deep inside in favor of annoyance at the smug look on Minerva’s face. He scowled, but she still had no reaction. Damn, he was losing his touch. Or, more likely, she had just known him for far too long for his withering looks to have any effect. He wasn’t sure which was worse. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Do you think we should have asked someone else to referee the snowball fights?”

Fred watched as Professor Quirrell got yet another snowball to the back of his turban, this one curtesy of George. “Nah. I’m sure he’s fine.” He was not sure, but this was honestly the least likely event to rattle the poor man’s nerves, or so he had thought. Maybe the bubble blowing one would have been better after all… 

“Well, I hope he’s okay,” Ivy said. Then she frowned. “Why doesn’t he just put a shield charm around his head so he doesn’t get hit?”

Fred opened his mouth and then closed it again. “I have no idea.”

Ivy shrugged her shoulders. “Well at least this one only goes for another…” They looked at their matching pocket watches they had gotten for this special occasion. “Forty minutes.”

With a synchronized motion that they had definitely not practiced beforehand, their watches returned to their pockets and they both settled in to watch the remaining teams battle it out. 

“I’m not really sure who I should be cheering for,” Ivy said with a small frown. 

“Well, George and Lee have a pretty good team going.”

“Theo is really into it.”

“Yeah, I didn’t know Nott could be so…”

“Loud?”

Fred nodded. He was certain he had never seen the kid speak above a quiet whisper. 

“He’s always like this when engaged in glorious battle.”

“He does this… often?”

Ivy shook her head. “Not really. Oh, but remember what I told you about New Years Eve?”

“Huh. Yeah. It’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it.”

Ivy nodded. “That’s what Uncle Henry said too. Except then he said that couldn’t be right because I’m not quiet.”

“Well I guess it takes both kinds…”

“Do you think Theo and I could take over the world?”

Fred looked at her warily. 

“Hypothetically, of course.”

“Yes. You probably could. Please don’t. Unless I get to be minion number one. Then go ahead.”

Ivy wrinkled her nose. “Why would I need minions?”

“Every person taking over the world needs minions.”

Ivy giggled. “And what if someone else gets to be minion number one.”

“Nope. No one else. I called it. I have dibs on being minion number one.”

They both laughed and Ivy shoved Fred a little, who responded by staging a dramatic fall. Their attention was drawn back to the game in front of them as one snowball hit its target with a particularly loud thud.

They both winced. “That had to of hurt.”

“Do you think Professor Quirrell’s okay?” Ivy asked. 

Fred looked at the spot in the exact center of the back of his head that had been hit. “Sure. Yeah, yeah. I’m sure he’s fine.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus backed away slowly from the beaming student he had declared the winner of the transfiguration contest. The girl had made an impressively realistic dragon, complete with anger issues and fire breath. Just another reminder to not underestimate Hufflepuffs. Or at least underestimate them at your own peril. Out of what Severus would have considered to be the top ten transfigurations based on the criteria, the four scariest all belonged to Hufflepuffs. There was something deeply wrong with that. 

One of his sixth year students had done a lion, and at Severus’s glare had defended it saying that lions were scary. Severus had not been impressed. 

At least his part in this madness was at an end. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“How’d the exploding snap competition go?”

Ivy hadn’t watched that as she had been busy helping set up for the Astronomy marathon that would take place that evening. 

Fred and George stared off into the distance. She waved a hand in front of each of them. “Are you okay? What happened?”

“I can’t believe he did it,” George said. 

“Me either,” said Fred. 

“Who? What happened?”

Fred gave her a look as if it was too terrible a thing to even speak of. She rolled her eyes and looked at George, who was the slightly less dramatic of the two (by a tiny margin, but a margin nonetheless). 

“Percy,” he managed to say. “Percy won the exploding snap competition.”

Ivy couldn’t help herself. She burst out laughing. 

“It’s not funny, Ivy,” Fred said. “It’s terrible! How could we not see that? How could we not know our brother, our… Percy.” He shook his head. 

“I’ve never seen him that competitive,” George said, and they both shuddered. 

Ivy rolled her eyes again. Number three hundred forty seven by her count. It was almost a new record. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 21, 1992

George looked up bleary eyed and still half asleep. “Is it over yet?”

“Not yet,” Lee said. 

George groaned. “Remind me why we decided to watch this one?”

“You said it was a good excuse to stay up all night,” Lee said, chuckling. 

George groaned again. “I take it all back. I am never doing that again.”

Lee laughed and George responded with a rude gesture. 

“Oh, hi Ivy,” Lee said. 

George’s head shot up. “What? Where?”

Lee burst out laughing again and George scowled. “Not funny.”

Lee obviously didn’t believe him as he was now holding his sides, still laughing. George grumbled and turned back over. “Wake me up when it’s over,” he mumbled. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Are we really doing this?”

Wood nodded vigorously. “Yes. We’re doing this. And we’re going to win.”

“And why are we doing this?” Marcus wasn’t sure there existed a reason good enough to jump into the Black Lake at seven in the morning in April. 

“Because Ivy asked us to.”

Okay, so maybe there was one reason. 

“And she said she’d compete in the snitch catching one if we did this.”

Marcus nodded. “Right. Well then. Shall we?”

Wood nodded and the two of them too off running. 

“FOR QUIDDITCH,” they shouted as they threw themselves off the platform and into the freezing water. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Did you know they could do that?”

Draco shook his head. “I didn’t know Daphne even liked flying.”

“Me either,” Theo said. 

“Where’d they even get brooms?”

“No clue.”

“Daphne borrowed Pucey’s and Patil borrowed Higgs’.” Well, wasn’t Blaise just a wealth of information. 

Theo scrunched his nose. “How’d they do that? I thought they’d both be racing themselves?”

Blaise shrugged. “Nor sure. Pretty sure Daph had something on one or the other of them.”

“What about Patil?”

“Oh, Daphne and Padma have been hanging out a lot recently. Also, I’m pretty sure Padma is why Daph has anything on them anyway.”

“So there were threats involved?”

“Probably.” Blaise did not seemed concerned about that at all, and the other two boys decided to just go with it.

The two girls finished first and second by a very narrow margin for the first and second year group, and Draco’s mind immediately went to Quidditch and the chances of convincing Daphne to try out. She’d make a decent chaser, he thought. 

“Won’t work,” Blaise said, as if reading his mind. 

“What won’t work?”

“Getting her into quidditch. It won’t work. She’s good at flying but she hates playing quidditch.”

Draco pouted. Sure, just smash his dreams to pieces, why don’t you. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus and Minerva shared a glance, and each took a small step away from their colleague. What Filius lacked in height he was clearly making up for in enthusiasm. About the Weasley twins. And fire. And things going boom. This did not bode well for Severus’s peace of mind. 

Evidently Minerva thought so as well, and Severus knew that there was hardly anything in the world that so much as fazed Minerva McGonagall. 

“Are you sure you have this in hand, Filius?”

The half-goblin grinned, and it was mildly disconcerting. “Oh yes, I have this well in hand, thank you Minerva. Now, if you want the best view I would recommend sitting just over there…” He pointed to an area that was unnervingly close to the stack of hastily made student fireworks that were about to be set off. 

Hard pass. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 22, 1992

“Hi, Hagrid. You ready for today?”

“Oh yeah. Got everything all set up and ready to go.”

“Perfect! Need any help?”

“Nah, I got it. Thanks, Ivy.”

She beamed and ran off to find her co-conspirators. It was the last day of the games, and so far everything had gone well. She hadn’t actually participated in any of the events herself, but today she would be competing in the snitch catching challenge. Technically Oliver had signed her up, even though she had assured him she would do it. Then Marcus signed her up as well, so she had had to make sure she was only actually registered once. Apparently they really cared about this event. It was sweet, and they had jumped in the lake, so it was only fair. 

But first was the scavenger hunt. To the disappointment of Ivy, Fred, George, and Hagrid, Professor McGonagall had put her foot firmly down and said that it couldn’t take place in the Forbidden Forest. And so, with great reluctance, it was taking place near the Forbidden Forest. Hagrid had measured the exact boundary and everything. 

Once that was done they would have the snitch catching one, where every practice snitch they could find would be set loose at the same time. The goal was simple. The person to catch the most would win. 

The final event would be the Dodgebludger, a game of their own invention. Everyone participating would be given beater bats, and the team left flying would win. They had strategically gone straight to Madam Hooch with that suggestion, and said it would be good beater practice for quidditch hopefuls. It was also at the end in case anyone got seriously injured. Madam Pomfrey hadn’t particularly approved of the idea, but that stipulation caused her to relent just enough for them to get approval from the others. 

Teams of six and a dozen bludgers flying around at once? No way that would go wrong. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“That’s our girl.”

They each gave Ivy a fist bump as she hopped off Marcus’s broom. 

“How many did you end up with?”

“Thirty seven.”

Wood whistled. “Not bad.”

“What’d the next kid have?”

“Nineteen.”

Marcus grinned. Their work was going so well. 

As Ivy left Marcus turned to Wood. “Alright, phase 9-L is complete.”

Wood nodded. “Phase 10-A is a go.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Come on, I don’t hear out congratulations.” 

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Congratulations. It’s not that big of a surprise though, is it?”

“Hey,” George protested. “We worked hard for that.”

“Yeah, and only three people ended up having to go to Madam Pomfrey so I’d say that’s a double win,” Fred added. 

“Yes, but you two are already clearly the best, so it wasn’t that much of a challenge, was it?”

Fred and George beamed and they linked arms on either side of Ivy. 

“Well, when you put it like that…”

Ivy laughed. “Hey, do you think next year they’ll let us have dragons?”

Fred laughed as well. “We’ll be lucky if they let us have it at all.”

“Well, we better start now then,” George said cheerfully. 

Ivy grinned. “Maybe Professor Snape has some ideas.”

The twins laughed at that. 

“You ask him, Ivy.” 

“You go right ahead and ask him.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 23, 1992

“Hey Ivy, where are you headed?”

Ivy glanced up but continued walking. “Hi Neville. I’m not really sure. I just felt like going on a walk, I suppose. Want to come with me?”

“Sure,” Neville said happily.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“What is it doing here?”

“And why is it in the middle of the room”

“I don’t know. It looks kind of weird, doesn’t it.”

“Yeah.”

Neville took a few steps closer and then froze.

“Neville, are you alright?” Ivy was worried. His face had gone quite pale and he stood in shock as he looked into the mirror. She glanced between him and the mirror but couldn’t see anything.

Moving closer to where he stood she too looked in the mirror and gasped. “Neville,” she said softly, “what are you seeing?”

“My… My parents. I see my parents.”

She nodded. “Neville, I don’t think this is a normal mirror.”

He looked at her frantically. “What do you see? Do you see your parents too?” He looked both worried and hopeful at the same time. 

She felt a twinge of guilt but decided she needed to get him out of there. “Yeah,” she said, “I see my family.” It wasn’t exactly a lie, even if wasn’t exactly the truth. 

He looked longingly at the mirror for another moment, but finally allowed himself to be pulled away. As they were walking away Ivy noticed the strange inscription on the mirror. She’d have to ask Henry about it. And make sure that Neville didn’t come back. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Across the room, hidden from sight, Albus sat, now satisfied with what he had accomplished. It had taken several charms to get Ivy in front of the mirror, but now he knew for sure, and he felt a small surge of victory. He would be able to influence her after all, he thought, now that he knew for sure that her greatest desire was her parents. Many of his worries dissipated for now, he returned to his office in high spirits. Now he had some more plans to finalize. 

Chapter Text

April 24, 1992 

“Say, Hagrid, what is that exactly?”

George looked at where his brother was pointing. That had to be the largest egg he had ever seen. 

“Oh that? Er… nothing. It’s nothing.” Hagrid chuckled and was not all convincing in his reassurance that it wasn’t anything of interest. 

“Mmhmm. That’s a really big egg. Where’d you get it?”

Hagrid opened his mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. “Well, you see, there was this fella…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I never thought I’d see a dragon hatch before.”

“You know we’re going to have to tell her about this.”

“You do realize that’s a terrible idea, right?”

“Of course it is, but it’d be worse if she found out and knew we didn’t tell her.”

George grimaced. Fred was right. If Ivy found out they had seen a baby dragon, said baby dragon was still available to see, and they hadn’t told her about it, they would be dead. Dead and gone. 

“Fiiiiine. We’ll go tell Ivy Hagrid has a dragon.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“This is all your fault,” Draco snarled at Fred, who didn’t look the slightest bit bothered, much to his annoyance.  

“How do you figure that?”

“You’re the one who told her while I was still standing there! Couldn’t you have at least waited for me to leave?”

Fred assumed a face of complete innocence. “How was I supposed to know you weren’t interested in seeing one of your kind? Your kinsfolk, if you will.”

Draco went to chase after Fred but the older boy was too fast. “Come on, Dragon, time to go meet your little brother.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Come on, Neville. Let’s go see the dragon!”

Neville had the distinct impression that things like this would have been a lot less common if he had sorted into another house like Hufflepuff or something. Still, he had to admit that he was mildly curious, so… He gave in and followed Ron. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oh, well I’ve never seen a baby dragon before.”

Draco wanted to point out that none of them had, and that was the reason they were all being dragged along in the first place. Technically he was the only one being physically dragged at the moment. Everyone else seemed to be going of their own accord. Crazy Gryffindors. 

“Wait, where are you all going?”

Draco’s hopes soared at the sight of Pansy. Yes! This was his ticket out of this little misadventure. 

“We’re going to go see a dragon,” Granger said matter-of-factly. 

“Oh, I’m coming too then.”

And just like that Draco’s hopes were dashed and he resigned himself to be forever in the company of people with death wishes. A baby death wish, in this case, but a death wish nonetheless. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Wait, when did you three get here?”

Susan, Terry, and Theo all just shrugged, and Draco decided then and there that no Hogwarts House was safe from insanity. It was everywhere, and it was inescapable. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Hagrid opened the door and cast a bemused gaze on the nine little first years beaming up at him. Well, eight were beaming. The little Malfoy kid did not look nearly as pleased to be there. Of course that just might be the kid’s natural expression, and he really couldn’t fault the poor kid for something so out of his control. 

“We’re here to see the dragon,” Ivy said with a huge grin, which Hagrid quickly matched. 

“Well come in, come in. Let me get ‘im for ya.”

The thought that maybe a baby dragon wasn’t the best thing to show a bunch of first years, especially a group that contained ‘where-do-you-find-a-Cerberus’ Ivy Potter, didn’t cross Hagrid’s mind, so excited was he to share his enthusiasm for the small creature with all the eager looking students. 

After they had all oohed and awed for several minutes, one of the little Gryffindors raised her hand, and after a moment he remembered the girl’s name. “Um, yes miss Granger?”

“How are you supposed to keep a dragon in your house? Won’t he get too large? And also, your house is made of wood. The dragon will burn it down for sure.”

That could be a problem…

“Ooh! I can write Uncle Henry and see if we can adopt it!”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 25, 1992

Sirius watched as Harry finished reading Ivy’s most recent letter. He was excited to hear all about the week’s events, and especially about the snitch catching contest, which he was confident his goddaughter had excelled in. 

Harry put the letter down a proceeded to say the longest drawn-out expletive that Sirius had ever heard. He was quite impressed how long Harry managed to hold that out for. 

“That bad?”

Harry leaned forward and let his head bang on the table, then let it thump a few more times for good measure. 

“Okay… Well, what’d she have to say?”

Harry groaned. “Mirror,” he said, holding up one finger. “Dragon.” He held up a second finger.

Sirius was a little confused. Didn’t the dragons happen in his fourth year? And… seventh year? And something about a couple years later going to Romania… That was actually a lot of dragons. “Okay, sorry. Drawing a blank here. What dragon?”

“Hagrid’s dragon,” Harry said, not moving his head from off the table.

“Ah. That dragon.”

Harry grunted but still didn’t move. 

“So that one’s not too bad then, is it. Okay, so mirror? The one you saw your parents in?”

Harry’s head came up and he groaned. “Yep. That’s that one. I really thought we had avoided that particular incident.” He then proceeded to let out an impressive string of curse words. James would be so proud. 

“Alright. What do you want to do?”

Harry grimaced. “Take care of the dragon. We have to do something about the dragon. If we don’t either it’ll burn something down, get Hagrid in serious trouble, or it’ll end up in my backyard.”

Sirius agreed those were all likely outcomes to the situation. 

“And the mirror… How’d she end up in front of it anyway? Last time I only found it because…” Harry’s face darkened and Sirius felt the little cackle of power that emanated off of him. “How much you want to bet our dear esteemed headmaster had something to do with this?”

Sirius was most certainly not taking that bet. “Um, probably, but I have to admit I’m a little surprised that that’s what you’re going with right away. Anything happen I should know about?”

Harry was still scowling. “By this time the mirror was already long gone and the stone was placed inside. There is no reason for Ivy to have found it unless she was meant to go looking for it. Besides, why would she go wandering around? That’s not like her. For all the chaos she causes she doesn’t wander aimlessly, and by now I’m sure the twins have shown her everything in Hogwarts.”

Sirius could understand his logic, even if he was somewhat surprised at its occurrence. “Okay, so say Dumbles did somehow get her in front of the mirror. How do you suppose he did that?”

Harry looked positively furious. “Same way he tried to in December.”

Sirius sighed and rubbed his hand over his eyes. He had the sudden feeling that he was going to be the one holding Harry back in this particular instance. He wasn’t sure he’d do a very good job at it. He wasn’t sure if he even wanted to. 

“So what do we do?”

Harry bounced his leg in agitation for a moment before replying. “We up the timetable. We already had it planned for the end of May, so we just bump it up a little. Go to the goblins, get the fake stone, kill Quirrell, switch them out, and voila, one dead dark lord and one perfectly safe Ivy.”

“Alright. I’ll go get Remus.”

“I’ll write Charlie and then go to the goblins in the morning.”

Sirius sighed and nodded. Time to see if their plans would hold up. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

April 28, 1992

Charlie Weasley reread the letter in his hands for the… well actually he had lost track but it had been a lot of times. Despite rereading it so many times, however, the existence of the letter was still a mystery to him. Sure, Lord Peverell had explained that he was a friend of Charlie’s younger brothers and all that, and Charlie knew that’s where they had gone for Christmas, but that still didn’t explain the slightly cryptic request to come grab a baby dragon from Hogwarts. Oh, and bring friends because dragons are little… Charlie couldn’t make out all the words there but he got the general idea. 

Charlie had a few choices in front of him. One, he could ignore the letter and go about his life, two, he could write back and ask for more details, and three, he could just shoe up and do what Lord Peverell had asked. Well, baby dragons were pretty cute… 

Now as far as friends went… Who would not question anything and just show up in Scotland unannounced to retrieve a most likely highly illegal baby dragon? He spotted Gaines and Warren walking a little ways off. Americans were up for that sort of thing usually, right? Perfect. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Dude, you know I’m not actually a cowboy, right?”

Charlie did not see what that had to do with anything. “Uh, yeah?” 

Chad Gaines clapped his hands. “Great! Then I’m in.”

Charlie exhaled in relief and turned to Warren, who looked at the other two for a moment before sighing and throwing his hands up in the air. “Fine. I’m in too I guess.” 

Gaines slapped Warren on the back and said, “of course you are, Matt. We have a reputation to uphold.”

Warren glared at Gaines who returned his glare with a grin. 

“Uh, sorry, what reputation?” Had they done this sort of thing before? That would be a big help. 

“Hmm? Oh, just that everyone here has certain ideas about Americans, and we’ve done our very best to uphold each and every one of those,” Gaines said. 

Warren rolled his eyes. “What he means is he likes getting called ‘cowboy’ even though he probably couldn’t tell you the difference between the cow and the horse.” 

Gaines grinned unapologetically. “Well we can’t all be farm boys, now, can we.”

“I’m from Chicago.” 

“Yeah, Chicago, Kansas.” 

“Doesn’t mean I know how to handle every kind of livestock out there.”

“But you do.”

“But that’s not the point, is it.”

This all meant absolutely nothing to Charlie. “So, you both still in?”

“Yes.” “Yes.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

May 4, 1992

“And you’re sure this will work?”

At the silence that followed Harry brought his head up and realized his mistake. Oops. Don’t offend the goblins. They don’t like that. Muttering an apology, he gathered his things and the fake stone and rushed out, shivering as the offended look gave way to a grin. There was just no winning with them, was there. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

May 9, 1992

Ivy’s scream woke up the rest of her roommates. 

“What happened?” “Are you okay?” “Who died?”

Everyone rolled their eyes at Tracey’s question. 

Pansy noticed the blood first and said, “that’s it? You woke us up for that?”

“I screamed because I don’t know how it got there,” Ivy said indignantly. “That’s not where the blood is supposed to be.”

Realization hit Daphne first. “Oh, is this your first time?”

“First time what?” Ivy asked quizzically. 

“Your first time… You know what? Maybe you should go see Madam Pomfrey. I think she could explain things better than me.” 

Now all the other girls were nodding solemnly, and Ivy began wondering what kind of secret ritual or rite of passage this was. Whatever it was, it was weird. And mildly uncomfortable, she thought, glaring at her traitorous midsection. 

No one else seemed inclined to expound on this singular occurrence, but Pansy finally rolled her eyes and grabbed Ivy’s hand. “Come on,” she said. “I’ll take you up there.” 

Ivy went to protest that despite the evidence that she had been engaged in some kind of nighttime battle she could in fact get to the hospital wing herself, but decided it was entirely possible Pansy just wanted to have an excuse to avoid Draco this morning. He was still kind of mad about the whole nearly-getting-his-hand-bit-by-a-dragon-because-Pansy-insisted-he-hold-it thing. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

That poor dear. Poppy couldn’t fault her guardian either. That poor man, trying to raise the girl all on his own. Of course there would be some things that he might forget about, or simply not know he needed to do. Miss Potter had taken it all very well, and had asked several questions, which Poppy always took as a good sign.

Unfortunately the poor girl was experiences some rather strong cramping and other less than pleasant effects of her present condition, so Poppy had given her a nice little remedy and a mild sleeping draught. Much better to sleep it off a bit, and it was Saturday after all, so it wasn’t like she would miss anything too vital. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Dude, shouldn’t we have come at night or something?”

“Chad, this is really not the time…”

“No, it’s fine. It’s all fine. We’ll just go see Hagrid, pick the dragon up, and be off. No problem.” Hopefully there wouldn’t be a problem anyway. It was sadly mid morning and if this went wrong there wasn’t exactly anywhere to hide. 

“Umm, just wondering out loud here, but is there a reason there’s so many kids gathered there?” 

There was indeed an impressive number of students gathered around Hagrid’s house. That…might be a problem. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I missed it?”

“It wasn’t that great anyways,” Draco muttered. No one payed attention to him. 

“In our defense, we thought he would come at night or something, you know, illegal dragon and all.”

Ivy glared at George, who shrugged apologetically. 

“You could have come and gotten me.”

“You were in the hospital wing!”

“I wasn’t dying!”

“We didn’t know that!”

Ivy gasped. “You thought I might be dying and you didn’t come see me?”

George, deciding this was a most excellent moment to drag himself and Fred out of the hole they were digging before it grew any larger, said, “Well we would have, except Charlie came and…”

Oh. Maybe that wasn’t the best direction to take this. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

May 10, 1992

“I am a terrible parent,” Harry said, putting down the letter from Madam Pomfrey. 

“I make it a point not to argue until I have at least one or two facts, so what makes you say that?”

Harry handed him the letter. After skimming it over Sirius made a face. “Okay, agreed.” Harry groaned. “But to be fair would any of us even know how to explain that?”

Harry opened his mouth, closed it, and realized that no, he actually had no idea how to explain that particular set of life facts. 

Sirius continued. “So, we failed, but we can still fix this, right? We’ll just enlist some help. Someone who knows things and can explain them.”

“Thanks, Sirius,” Harry said dryly. “Your elocution, as always, astounds me.”

Sirius stuck out his tongue. “Just watch. I’ll find someone. Right now. I’ll find someone right now.” He stood, nodded, muttered something to himself, and marched out the door. 

“Just be back by the morning,” Harry called after him. “We have a murder to commit tomorrow.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sabrina Zabini counted down in her head how long it would take Sirius to realize they were not alone. Twelve, eleven, ten… When he had shown up in her house absolutely frantic she was sure someone had died. Or possibly become undead. But no, it was just Sirius freaking out because Lord Peverell was freaking out because they didn’t know something about how to raise an eleven year old girl. Two, one…

Right on cue Sirius’s face went beet red. “You didn’t tell me you had company.”

Sabrina laughed. “You have eyes, darling, I assumed you could see for yourself.” 

Sirius scowled but didn’t say anything else. 

“Well ladies? Shall we help the poor man out?”

Narcissa looked amused and at her smirk Sirius went even redder, if that was possible. 

Anthea laughed lightly. “Of course we’ll help,” she said. “I’ve had plenty of practice giving this talk, now is as good a time as any to give another one.”

Sirius looked at her in mild shock. “Now?

“Why not?”

Sirius fidgeted. It was cute when he was fifteen and it was endlessly amusing now. “Lady Greengrass, I’m sure there’s no need…”

Anthea cut him off. “There is no time like that present. Shall we?”

Sirius couldn’t come up with an excuse apparently, so he finally offered Anthea his arm and together they walked towards the floo, Sabrina and Narcissa close behind. 

Sirius cleared his throat. “I just… I just need to let Harry know we’re coming. The wards and…” He cleared his throat again and stuck his head in the fireplace, ignoring the three smirks still directed at him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry looked at the there women with no small amount of trepidation. His experience with those types of looks being directed at him usually spelled something unpleasant. Like that one time that Fleur, Narcissa, Katie, and Luna had formed the oddest task force of all time and forced him shopping. He shuddered at the memory. That had not been a pleasant day. Luna had finally taken pity on him and helped him escape their clutches, but still. This look never meant anything good. 

“Well, it seems there is only one thing to do.”

When this was over Harry was going to learn absolutely everything there was to know about Lady Greengrass. He needed to be forewarned if she decided she was going to kill him or something. He honestly had no idea based on her expression alone and it was disconcerting. 

“We’ll just have to see that she learns all the relevant facts as soon as possible.”

Oh, so not dead then. That was nice. 

“Now let’s see. I’ve given this talk plenty of times so I would be happy to speak with Ivy, if that is alright with you,” she said, nodding to Harry, whose vigorous nod earned him two smirks from he other ladies present. 

“I would be happy to give her the other talk,” Narcissa offered. 

Harry and Sirius both let out a sigh of relief. All three women laughed at them. They were truly heartless at the sight of Harry’s plight. Sirius could fend for himself. 

“Well, I suppose that just about covers it then, doesn’t it,” Sabrina added. “We’d best be off then.”

“Would you like to stay for dinner?” Harry had no idea why he blurted that out, and was hoping no one had heard him. 

“We would love to.”

Damn it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

On the bright side, now that Malfoy and the other Greengrasses were here, the discussion on female anatomy had been brought to a blessed end. 

Harry had no idea what he was supposed to say to any of these people. Sirius and Sabrina were entertaining enough when they weren’t making little lovesick eyes at each other, but they were occupied with said activity at the moment so were not at all helpful. He didn’t know the Greengrasses well before so he wasn’t sure what to say to them, and Astoria was currently like nine or some other age that meant she was small and not a Draco-was-annoying-today-so-let’s-go-tease-him buddy. And Malfoy… Well, that wouldn’t normally be as much of a problem, but there was the whole I’m-about-to-go-off-the-dark-lord-you-followed thing at the back of his mind and that made finding a topic to speak to Lucius about a little difficult. Thank Merlin for Narcissa. He was mentally singing her praises when Lord Greengrass asked a seemingly innocent question. 

“So where are you from?”

Harry had gone three blissful years without having to actually answer that question to anyone in Britain. When he was outside the country he just answered “England” and that seems to satisfy people. Here, however, he couldn’t exactly get away with that response. 

Forgetting his well-rehearsed set of responses that he had practiced for just such an occasion as this, Harry said, “London.”

Well, all in all that wasn’t too bad of an answer. And he had lived in London. Once. Very briefly. The details weren’t really worth getting into… 

“Oh, I’m surprised I’ve never run into you then.” 

“Well I… I didn’t spend a lot of time there, you see. A lot of time abroad.”

Harry sent Sirius a small look that signaled his plea for help but Sirius just grinned lazily at him. No help whatsoever.

“Ah, of course. So I take it you did not grow up here?”

“Ah, no. I grew up…” One last glance at Sirius who was apparently going to leave him to suffer alone. “…in Canada.”

He wished someone would cast a silencing charm on him. Canada? Perhaps the one country in the world he did not want to ever talk about. Ever. 

“Oh, whereabouts? My mother’s family was from Canada. We visited there a lot when I was younger.”

Great. Just great. 

“Oh, he’s from Montréal.” Sirius was an absolute traitor and Harry was never going to speak to him again until it was tomorrow and they went to go murder Voldemort. 

“Beautiful city,” Lord Greengrass said. 

“Yes. It is,” Harry ground out, trying to discreetly shoot a glare at Sirius. Or a jinx. Whatever worked at this point. 

“Do you visit often?”

Harry was going to kill Sirius. Slowly. Deliberately. With exhilaration. “No, no, not at all.” Seeing the puzzled frowns around the table he hastily added, “it’s just that my childhood was… less than ideal, and I prefer to make my home elsewhere now.” 

The topic changed thanks to Merlin, Morgana, and Harry’s ability to BS his way through nearly any situation. There. Take that Sirius. Turn any answer into a somewhat ambiguous hint at a tragic past and everyone clams right up. Brilliant. Harry was rather pleased with himself now.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

May 11, 1992

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Fred whispered to his twin. 

“No. This is a terrible idea. We should really probably put a stop to this.”

“How?”

“No idea.”

“What are all of them doing here anyway?”

George glanced at the five first years making their way to the forbidden corridor with varying levels of enthusiasm. “Pretty sure Ivy dragged Draco along as per usual. Ron was bored and just kind of followed. Honestly didn’t notice him there until a second ago. Someone pulled Neville along, but he hasn’t left so he’s fine, right? And I have no idea about Hermione. I thought we were going to tell her something so she wouldn’t go tell on us?”

Fred winced. “Uh yeah, that might be my fault. I may have sort of implied that it was some kind of magical obstacle course. A practical of sorts. Maybe a little extra credit.”

“That’s probably the worst possible idea you could have come up with,” George hissed. 

“I know that now,” Fred whispered back furtively. “It’s not like you had anything better.”

I was trying to get Ivy away from Percy and that Slytherin he’s always hanging around now.”

“Who, Harrington?”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“You don’t think they’d get int he way, right?”

“Doubt it. I mentioned something about Ivy wanting a book on Hydra and they both rushed off. Looked a little panicky now that I think about it.”

“Why Hydra?”

George shrugged. “First deadly thing I thought of.”

“Fair.”

Finally they reached the door of imminent death, or, as Ivy put it, the only thing standing between us and the cutest little hellhound there ever was. That was reassuring for neither their safety not their concerns over her sanity, but here they were anyway. Ten seconds. They could handle this for ten seconds. 

“Alright,” Fred announced with more cheer than he was actually feeling. “Who wants to see a Cerberus?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Need I remind you, again, that we’ve already seen this?” Draco hissed at Ivy. 

“Yes, but we didn’t know how to put it to sleep then, did we.”

“And that makes it better?”

“Of course. Now we can see it up close.”

“You’re insane,” Draco muttered. 

“It’s only for a minute,” Ivy argued. 

Draco just glared at her and she sighed. “Just a quick peek and then we’ll be out. I promise.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Fred let out a string of words his mother didn’t know he knew and then turned towards the shorter people. Oops. Except… None of them actually seemed surprised by what he had said. Well, except Ron, who was arguably the worst person to accidentally teach words to, what with them sharing the same parents and all. 

George pushed up his sleeves. “Right then. No worries. We’ll just put it to sleep while we figure this out.”

Fred aided George in setting up some music for the Cerberus. Once it was finally asleep, Neville asked, “how did you know to do that?”

Fred couldn’t think of a reply. 

“I know more than I ever wanted to about that thing,” George muttered. 

“So, what do we do now?” Everyone’s face seemed to mirror Ron’s question. What did they do now? They were rather stuck at the moment. A door that wouldn’t open, a Cerberus that was asleep, for now, and… huh. Was that a trapdoor?

Apparently he wasn’t the only one that had noticed it. 

“Is this what you meant by an obstacle course?” Hermione asked. 

Fred winced. “Yeah, about that. See, the thing is…” He looked at brother for help. 

For a moment George looked as panicked as Fred felt, but composed himself and said to the rest of the group, “just a moment. We need to, uh, talk for a minute.”

They huddled together and spoke softly so they wouldn’t be overheard. 

“We need to get out of here.”

“No kidding. What do we do?”

“No idea. How’d we even get stuck anyway? Alohomora worked to get in and Ivy and Draco got out when they were in here before just fine.”

Fred thought a terrible thought. “You don’t think someone trapped us in here, do you?”

George shook his head. “I don’t think so. No one knew we were here, right? Besides, who’d want to do that?”

Fred didn’t have an answer for that. “Okay, well first things first we need to keep everyone calm. And whatever we do, we can’t let anyone…”

“Hey, maybe we should just go through the trapdoor.”

“…go further,” he finished. 

“We’re all going to die, aren’t we,” George said. 

“No way. We’ll be fine. It’s just a sleeping Cerberus. And it can’t follow us through anyway, can it.”

They exchanged a look saying that neither of them were the least bit optimistic about the situation, but they couldn’t betray any sign of weakness or fear in front of the first years. Nope. Time to be Gryffindors. 

“So, if this is an obstacle course of some kind, what’s at the end?” Hermione asked. 

“Oh, the Philosopher’s Stone that Headmaster Dumbledore has been hiding here all year,” Ivy said nonchalantly. Everyone else, Fred most definitely included, turned to stare at her.

“The what?”

“The Philosopher’s Stone. Apparently it was made by Nicholas Flamel, and he’s like six hundred years old or something, and it was in Gringotts but someone tried to steal it so it was brought here and there are probably some obstacles between here and there in case anyone were to come try to steal it.” Ivy apparently did not understand why they were all taken aback by that. 

“How do you know all of that?” Draco demanded. 

Ivy shrugged. “Just little bits here and there. Didn’t really put it together until just now actually, but that might be why the door locked. Make it so anyone who tries to steal it can’t get back out.”

“But, we’re not trying to steal it, are we?” Neville did not seem to be completely assured of their intentions. 

“Of course not. But maybe someone else was. Anyway, should we go see what else there is? Maybe there’s a way out on the other end.” 

As reluctant as Fred was to follow Ivy’s suggestion on this particular matter, a glance at George showed that they were in agreement. There wasn’t really another way to go. 

Down the trapdoor it would have to be. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Just relax.”

“I’m trying.”

“Well try harder!”

“This would be a lot easier if this plant wasn’t trying to kill me right now.”

“You know, Professor Sprout did say that you can kill devil’s snare with fire. Maybe we should…”

“Don’t kill it. You can’t hurt it.” Draco was seriously questioning Longbottom’s life priorities right now. 

“Oh come on. Lumos,” he said. The twins quickly followed his example, proving that they were good for something at least. A moment later they had all dropped down onto the ground below. 

“Do you think Professor Sprout would give us any extra credit?”

Draco groaned. This was not how he wanted to spend a Monday afternoon. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy watched all the keys flying around. They looked so funny like that. She wondered what else could be given little sings to fly around. Maybe she could see about giving Tiger…

“Well?” She looked to see everyone eyeing her expectantly. 

“Um, yeah?”

“Are you going to…” Draco gestured to the keys. 

“Oh, right. Which one do we need?”

Hermione pointed to an old looking key floating far above. 

“Thanks.” Ivy drew her wand and brought the key to her. Seeing everyone’s looks she quirked her head and said, “what?”

“You have got to teach me that spell,” Hermione said after a moment. 

“What spell?”

“The one that you just… You know what? Never mind. Come on,” Draco said, dragging her along with the key to the next door. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Neville needed to remember to say no. So much could be avoided if he just remembered to say something in time. Like this. First a three headed hellhound that could have easily torn them apart, then a deadly plant that they had wanted to burn, then… Well actually the keys weren’t so bad. But this? He had dealt with this on an almost daily basis for over two months, and now he was dealing with it again, except this time the chess set was huge and possibly out to destroy them all. 

He sighed, watching Ron and Draco continue their fight over who should play the chess game. A slight movement caught his eye. 

“Um, guys? GUYS,” he said a little louder. Or more like shouted. Either way it got everyone’s attention. 

“What is it,” Fred asked. 

Neville pointed to Ivy, who was now on the other side of the chessboard. 

“Oh, well that looks easier,” Fred said, before making his way in the same direction, only to be stopped by a massive chess piece carrying a very realistic looking sword. Realistic in the fact that yes that would probably kill you. 

“Okay, maybe not. Hey Ivy,” Fred soured across. “How’d you get over there?”

“Oh, I just made the pieces stop moving.”

“She just…” George rubbed a hand over his face. “Little help here then?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ron was happy to be safely across the chessboard, even if he would have liked to test his skills on such a large set… 

His musings were interrupted by a terrible smell that matched a terrible sight. On the ground lay a dead mountain troll. Or at least he really hoped it was dead. 

Realizing that he was the only one of the group that had never encountered a mountain troll, he decided the best approach was to try to appear brave and not scared out of his mind like he was really feeling. 

“Is it dead?” Hermione asked quietly?

Fred rushed to reassure her that it was indeed. 

“That’s good,” Ivy said. “Because I didn’t bring Tiger with me this time.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“That’s it?”

Hermione tried to placate the irate blond to no avail. 

“This is supposed to stop someone from stealing an object that Gringotts couldn’t protect and this is it?”

“Well, to be fair, logic isn’t really a strong point amongst wizards…”

Malfoy either didn’t hear her or didn’t care. He was mad at the apparent simplicity of the riddle and the overall “challenge” and he was not willing to be pacified. 

“Well maybe it’s a really hard riddle…”

Malfoy gave her an exasperated look. “No. It’s not. I bet you already have it all figured out, don’t you.”

Hermione shifted nervously. She did, but that hadn’t exactly been the point she was trying to make… 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy took the potion and stepped towards the black flames. She wasn’t sure why she had said she ought to be the one to go through, yet here she was. She had the feeling she was reaching the end. What awaited her at the end? And how was she supposed to get the others out? 

She stepped through the flames, and then through yet another door. After taking a look around her eyes landed on a person she definitely did not expect to see.

“What are you doing here?”

Chapter Text

“What are you doing here?”

Harry spun around, bucket of ashes still in hand, slowly falling to the ground. This was definitely not how this was supposed to go. 

“What are you doing here?”

“We went to go look at the Cerberus because I missed Fred and George’s brother coming to take away the dragon, but then the door locked and we couldn’t leave, so we had to come this way.”

Harry had already killed one person today. What was one more to add to his list. “And just who else came with you?” he ground out through gritted teeth. 

Ivy looked a little frightened all of a sudden and Harry made a conscious effort to relax his face. He was angry, but not at her, and he needed her to know that. 

“Well, Fred and George, and Draco, Neville, Hermione, and Ron.”

Harry exhaled. That was quite the group. “And how are they?”

“What do you mean?”

“Is everyone okay? Anyone hurt?”

Ivy shook her head and Harry breathed a sigh of relief. “Everyone was fine when I left them in the last room.”

That was good. “So why’d you come through by yourself then?”

“Well, it looked like only one person could go through, and I’m not sure why, but I really felt like I needed to come..”

Mustering every bit of will power he possessed, Harry focused on not letting his rage show. He didn’t want to frighten Ivy more than he already had. “Okay, I’m just going to cast a couple spells on you sweetie. Nothing bad, just need to check a few things.”

Ivy, recognizing their code word for I-need-you-to-trust-me-and-just-go-with-this, nodded and walked the rest of the way over to where Harry stood, making a little face at the pile of ashes nearby. 

Harry glanced between her and the ashes. “I’ll explain later. Alright, here we go.” He cast several detection charms, and upon finding the expected set of compulsions, set about removing them one by one. Due to their strength he was rather impressed that Ivy wasn’t a walking zombie at this point. And also extremely upset at the person who had cast them in the first place. Many things he could forgive, but hurting Ivy was not one of them, and never would be. 

“Did you find something?” Ivy asked in a small voice. 

Realizing that his anger was once again showing on his face, Harry did his best to relax again and nodded. “Yeah. I took care of it though.” 

“Are you mad?”

“Not at you,” he said, pulling Ivy into a hug. “Not at you.”

They stayed like that for a minute, but eventually Ivy asked the previously unanswered question of “so what are you doing here?”

Harry grimaced. As much as he wished he could hide everything from Ivy, that wasn’t going to happen, and he’d much rather she heard this from him than from someone else (Albus insert several creative curse words here Dumbledore). “Well, here’s the thing…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry really hoped this worked. He knew Dumbledore would likely use legilimency on Ivy, so this needed to be perfect. Memory charms were tricky as it was, but implanting false memories into someone who knew otherwise and couldn’t occlude was definitely higher on the scale of oh-this-might-go-terribly-wrong. Still, it was the best plan Harry could come up with spur of the moment like that, so this is what they were going with. 

They would claim “accidental magic” as the reason for Ivy’s “defeat” of Quirrell. Harry was really glad she was more grossed out than scared by the revelation that Quirrell had had Voldemort in the back of his head. He really wasn’t trying to give her nightmares or anything. 

So accidental magic it would be, with Ivy losing consciousness before Quirrell’s um… unfortunate demise. That way the memory could show part of Harry’s memory, at least the part with Quirrell revealing Voldemort at the back of his head. Everything after that would essentially be blocked out. They would say Ivy lost consciousness, or, if absolutely needed, could go with something along the lines of “oh this was super traumatic so she’s suppressing the memories.” Because there was absolutely no way he was implanting a memory of her killing someone. Nope. She did not need to deal with something like that. 

Thankfully Ivy, in true Ivy fashion, had responded to Harry’s explanation and plan with a “okay cool.” Besides the whole being grossed out thing of course, but that was understandable. 

“Okay, you ready?”

Ivy nodded, and Harry began the delicate work that was adjusting, concealing, and falsifying her memory. 

“Done,” he said after a minute. “Okay, I’ll stick around to make sure everyone gets out okay, alright? My guess is that Dumbledore will be down shortly to come check in on you. Avoid eye contact if you can but if not I think these should hold. You’ll probably be in the hospital wing for a while…”

Ivy groaned. 

“…but I’ll make sure to come and see you. Maybe Sirius will be able to drop by as well. We’ll see. Anyway, you all set?”

Ivy, now slightly less dreading the possibility of being stuck in the hospital wing, nodded eagerly. 

“Alright then.” Harry gave Ivy one last hug. “Let’s knock you out.”

Ivy giggled and Harry cast a few spells that would render her unconscious but wouldn’t show up on any normal diagnostic scans. She’d wake up on her own in the morning.

Satisfied with the scene presented, Harry slipped his cloak on and went to check on the others. He was taking no chances. When he found the a few of the others Ivy had said had come with him chatting happily in the room, he assumed a couple of the others had gone back to try to get out that way again. There was now nothing else to do but wait. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

May 12, 1992

It had worked. It had all worked. Sure, it might have taken a few extra plans and adjustments and some liberal use of compulsion charms in the end, but it had worked. Ivy Potter had gone after the stone, and had defeated Voldemort. Albus would really have liked to have been able to get a few more details on the entire encounter, but the details she had been able to provide had been rather vague at best, and his legilimency probe had revealed little else, though it did confirm his suspicions that Quirrell had been in league with Voldemort. 

So, he had been forced to draw his own conclusions, but he felt confident that he had the general idea of what happened, and he was rather pleased with the result. He was a little taken aback at the fact that Ivy had seemed to break through all his compulsions. Of course, it could have happened when Voldemort tried to kill her, rendering her unconscious. But even still, when he had gone to remove them (no need to have people start asking unnecessary questions after all), they were already gone. No wonder it had taken so many to get her there in the first place. 

Overall, though, the plan had been a success. Unfortunately she was now in the hospital wing, still unconscious, and Poppy was pressing him to inform her guardian, which, if Albus was going to be completely honest with himself, he didn’t really want to do. Maybe he could get away with contacting Sirius instead… 

Of course, this would be an opportunity to meet Lord Peverell finally. On the other hand, the best time to meet someone is not when their… the person they have guardianship over is injured and in the hospital. But then again, maybe this would be a good time to be able to persuade him to relinquish guardianship. After all, she had been attacked by Voldemort. It might take some persuasion, but hopefully Peverell would see the need for her to return to the blood wards at the Dursleys, or even go with Sirius, both of which would be much better options than Ivy remaining with her current guardian. 

Yes, that was an excellent plan. Very excellent. And it had the added benefit of getting Poppy to stop glaring at him every time he checked in on Ivy to see if she could remember anything else. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I can’t believe it.”

“Really?”

“Well, alright, I can, but still. Twenty four hours. It took him twenty four bloody hours to notify me.” 

“You do remember she’s fine, right?”

“That’s not the point.”

“I know that, but I’m just making sure you remember. You have to keep your head for this.”

Harry groaned. Sirius was right. He had to stay focused right now, and getting mad at Dumbledore wasn’t helpful. There’d be plenty of time for that later anyway. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I must admit, I am a little concerned that it took so long to notify me.” Harry was keeping his cool, but just barely. 

“Ah, yes. Well, there seems to have been a little mix up with the notification process, what with the change in guardianship and all.”

Harry raised his eyebrow, channeling his inner Malfoy in what he hoped was a passable representation of the pureblood lord he supposedly was. Dumbledore spouted off a few more excuses, but finally Harry managed to get the headmaster to lead him to Ivy. She was awake, and had obviously been for a while now. She smiled when he came into sight and he gave her a huge hug when he reached her, ignoring the look of surprise on Dumbledore’s face. 

“How are you doing?” He could tell she knew what he was asking.

“Good. I’m good,” she said. 

He breathed out a sigh of relief. So far so good then. 

She rehashed the entire story, leaving out of course the part where she ran into him, and even though he had already heard it (and lived it for that matter), he still felt relieved when the story ended. 

After a few minutes he allowed himself to be ushered away by Dumbledore, who proceeded to explain how Voldemort was back and how Ivy needed to go back to the Dursleys. Harry was suddenly very glad that Ivy was not within hearing range of them, and that Remus and Sirius had made him promise not to kill Dumbledore. 

The headmaster, recognizing that he was getting nowhere with this approach, changed tactics and started advocating for Ivy to spend time with her godfather over the summer. Harry wasn’t sure exactly why Dumbledore was so eager to get Ivy away from him, but he did not like it one bit. 

“Yes, I agree.”

Dumbledore was clearly surprised at Harry’s response, probably expecting it to take a lot more time and persuasion before Harry relented. 

“Oh? Well that is good. Ivy will surely benefit from being around someone who knew her parents so well.”

“I agree. I am sure they will have a wonderful summer together.”

Dumbledore’s eyes were twinkling and he was practically beaming. “Ah yes, that will be for the best I’m sure.”

“I’m sure Remus will be happy to share more stories with her as well.”

Harry couldn’t help himself. He watched with glee as the headmaster’s face fell slightly. 

“She has spoken with Remus before?” The man asked a bit hesitantly. 

“Of course. He was our guest at Christmas after all. And he stops by quite frequently to see Sirius and I.”

“Sirius and…”

“Sirius has been living as a guest in my house ever since his release, after all. I know we are both looking forward to having Ivy home again.”

Harry was enjoying himself, and maybe there was a little voice that sounded suspiciously like Remus saying they needed to be careful how they handled this, but at the moment Harry couldn’t bring himself to care. He was angry at Dumbledore. Angry at what he had done, angry at what he was trying to do, and most of all angry that he himself had not seen all of this that much sooner. 

“Yes, I see. Well, if that is all. I assure you Miss Potter is in the best possible hands at the moment and will be looked out for with the greatest possible care.”

Harry had the feeling he was referring to more than just her stay in Madam Pomfrey’s care. 

He exchanged farewells with the headmaster and made his way back to Ivy to tell her goodbye. As he made his way back to the infirmary he was suddenly faced with three red heads who all looked a tad nervous. 

“Could I speak with you for a moment, sir?” Percy asked. 

Harry had no idea what this was about, but he nodded and stepped off to the side with Percy, the twins staying put but fidgeting in place. 

“I just wanted to apologize, sir, for what happened to Ivy. I know the twins can be a bit reckless but I promise they didn’t intend for…”

Harry held up his hand. “It wasn’t your fault, and it wasn’t theirs. Ivy is perfectly fine, and will probably be released any time now.”

Percy seemed relieved by that. “Still, I’m sorry I couldn’t keep a better eye on her. On them. All of them.”

“Percy, you may be a prefect, but that doesn’t mean you can keep an eye on everyone all the time.” Because your brothers have the map, not you. “I do appreciate your efforts at keeping Ivy from causing mass destruction,” Percy smiled and blushed a little at that, “but I in no way expect you to be able to watch her every minute or keep her out of trouble all the time. I’ve spoken to her, and I will continue to try to do my best to keep her safe, but sometimes there are dangers we can’t prevent, and we have to deal with those the best we can. So thank you for looking out for her.”

Harry turned to the twins. “Fred, George, can I speak with you for a minute?” He realized why they were likely looking so nervous, and he wanted to deal with this as soon as possible. 

Percy gave them a little space, and the twins shifted nervously in place, neither really wanting to make eye contact with Harry. 

Harry sighed. “Look, I just wanted to thank you both for keeping clear heads and getting everyone though that safely.”

“We didn’t…” Fred started to say, but Harry cut him off.

“You did. It wasn’t your fault you all got trapped there, but you did do your best to get everyone out safely, which they did.”

“But no one would have gone if it weren’t for us,” George argued. 

“Maybe, but maybe not. Chances are Ivy would have ended up there at some point anyway, but if she had been on her own she might not have made it out, or might have been seriously hurt in the process.”

“But she’s in the hospital and we…”

“Ivy is fine. She had a little run in that caused her to lose consciousness, but there is nothing the matter with her and I’m sure she’ll be set for another adventure tomorrow.”

Both twins sighed at that, looking very much relieved. 

Harry smiled. “Besides, maybe now she’ll stop asking me for a Cerberus puppy.”

Fred chuckled nervously. “Yeah, about that, I think she may be looking into dragons now.”

Harry laughed. “Oh, she is. She tried to get me to adopt Hagrid’s dragon but I wrote your brother and asked him to come get it before she could devise a way to bring it home with her.”

“Wait, you wrote Charlie? No wonder he got here so fast,” George said. 

“You wrote him too?” 

“Yeah, we didn’t know anyone else who knew more about dragons so it seemed like a good idea.”

Harry laughed again. “Yeah, me neither. Haven’t even met him, but I still don’t know anyone else. Glad it all worked out then.”

“Yeah, Ivy was upset she missed it.”

Harry grimaced. “So I heard. I take it that’s part of what led all of you to the Cerberus again?”

“You, uh, you know about that first time?” The twins both looked slightly uncomfortable again. 

Harry couldn’t help but smile. “Of course I do. Parents tend to know what happens with their kids, you know.”

He enjoyed the fleeting look of panic that crossed each of their faces as they no doubt wondered just how much their parents knew about their…antics. He was feeling generous though, so he decided to set their minds at ease a little. “Of course, it helps when the child tells you everything in the first place.”

They both laughed, but as he was turning away Harry caught George mouthing “everything” to Fred. He smiled. Yep. It helps when your kid tells you everything. Also helps when you lived it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Well, this is… Not exactly what we planned…”

“I know, I screwed up,” Harry said. 

“Well, at least you didn’t kill anyone,” Sirius offered cheerfully. Harry and Remus both gave him a look. “I mean, more than one person… Dumbledore. You didn’t kill Dumbledore.”

Harry groaned. “I was this close,” he said, holding up his finger a centimeter apart. He groaned again as he leaned forward and put his forehead on the table. “I’m a terrible person.”

“No, you’re not. Just, maybe let us know if it gets this close.” Sirius’s fingers were touching. 

Harry made another face. “What good’s that going to do?”

“We’ll get to decide if we want to join in or not.” Sirius was far too comfortable with murder as a solution to their problems. 

Harry looked to Remus, but the man made no objection to Sirius’s statement. That was… mildly concerning. All of a sudden Harry was less worried about accidentally on purpose murdering the leader of the light and more worried that these two might end up doing it. 

“Wait, no killing Dumbledore, remember?”

Sirius waved him off. “Yeah, yeah. No killing. Got it.”

“We’re going to have to deal with him in some way another, and probably sooner rather than later,” Remus pointed out to the twin groans of Sirius and Harry. 

“Can it be later?” Harry whined. Yes, whined. Because it had been a long couple of days filled with murder and staging an accidental death and dealing with the person responsible for his eleven year old nearly dying by the hand’s of an evil dark lord, which wasn’t what happened, but Dumbledore didn’t know that so it still counted. 

“Okay, yes, maybe. We should start planning now but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to wait and see how things play out a bit, as long as Ivy stays safe.”

“Agreed,” Sirius said. 

Harry nodded. Ugh. What had been wrong with his Hermione summoning idea again? 

Chapter Text

June 16, 1992

Sirius choked on his coffee when he caught a glimpse of the headline Harry set in front of him. Merlin, that was hot. 

“What’s this?” he asked. 

“I was hoping you knew,” Harry said. “You didn’t do this, did you?”

“What? Of course not. You think it was on purpose?”

“Their entire house burned down, and no one could find a cause.”

“And you’re upset about this because…”

“Okay, maybe not upset per se, but still, what if someone was after Ivy?”

“They weren’t,” Remus said, coming into the kitchen. 

“Wait, how do you know?” Harry asked him.

“Well I’m the one who did it, obviously.”

Sirius was about to argue that it wasn’t in fact obvious, but Harry beat him to the punch. 

You went and burned down the Dursley’s?”

“Their house, yes.”

Harry and Sirius both stared at Remus. 

“They weren’t there,” Remus defended. 

They kept staring.

“They have excellent insurance.”

“Why would you even know something like that,” Sirius heard Harry mutter. 

“Because I did research, obviously.”

Again, not obvious, but it did clear a few things up. Mostly it clarified that this wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. 

“Okay sorry, um, why?”

“Now Dumbledore can’t try to get Ivy to go back.”

It was a somewhat valid point, Sirius supposed. “Hey, can you go do my house next?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Albus took in the charred remains and sighed. It would appear that Peverell would do anything to keep Ivy under his own control, even attempt to kill her last remaining family. Thankfully they hadn’t been home when the attempted murder took place. Unfortunately, however, the last remaining fragments of the blood wards had been destroyed. They had weakened significantly since Ivy’s disappearance, but the fire had obliterated the remains strands. There was also absolutely no evidence tying Peverell to this crime. There was no residual magic, no eyewitnesses, and, worst of all, Peverell had been spotted in Diagon Alley at the same time the fire was said to have occurred. He certainly covered his tracks well, Albus thought with another resigned sigh. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

July 4, 1992

It had only been a couple weeks since the end of the school year, and already Sirius’s respect for Harry had shot way up. Maybe he had been distracted at Christmas with Remus and trying to get to know Ivy and the fact that it was a rather full house, but now that it was just him and Harry and Ivy… Harry was an amazing parent that had managed to keep this little fireball alive, and that was something worth his utmost respect. 

Not that Sirius did anything to discourage Ivy. Of course not. He was a very willing participant in her schemes, it was just that Sirius respected Harry for being the responsible adult in this situation. 

“Alright, so what are we dong today?”

His goddaughter beamed up at him. “I’m going to introduce you to Bogrod and Gornuk.”

Those sounded suspiciously like goblin… No. Nope. Not going to happen. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius shifted in his seat. Ivy had been chatting to the two goblins for a half hour already, and they had all been smiling the entire time. Sirius couldn’t understand them, since they were speaking the goblin language, not, you know, any languages that Sirius actually knew. It would have been fine if he wasn’t slightly suspicious that they were plotting the demise of some unfortunate soul. Well, as long as it wasn’t him he supposed there were worse things they could be doing…

And what in the name of Merlin was taking Harry so long? Ivy might be content to sit there and talk to her goblin friends all day, but Harry was not nearly so eager to remain in Gringotts. Sirius knew Harry had received a letter saying he needed to come to Gringotts as soon as possible for some business regarding his vaults or something like that, but why was it taking so long? 

Sirius sighed. At least the goblins’ attention wasn’t on him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“No.”

Ragnok just smiled at him. 

“No,” Harry said again.

Still he received no reply beyond that bloody smile.

“Just… why?”

“Well, since the previous claimant is now completely deceased, as the next closest eligible heir, and as the defeater of the previous heir, the title now passes to you.”

Why did this sort of thing always happen to him? Feeling like the subject of every cosmic joke ever, Harry did what any reasonable person would do in this situation. He ran. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius looked up at the sudden commotion. Was that… Yes, that was Harry running down the hall followed by several goblins who didn’t look mad, so maybe they weren’t trying to kill him, but still… Should he go… help? He wasn’t sure what to do in this situation. He glanced at Ivy, who looked at Harry, rolled her eyes, and went back to her conversation with her goblin friends. This was proving to be one of the more uncomfortable days of Sirius’s recent experience. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry resigned himself to his fate. Mostly. If he could just get away from the goblins, then maybe…

“Just place this ring on your right hand and sign here,” Ragnok said, the grin on his face causing Harry to immediately comply. 

“Congratulations Lord Peverell-Slytherin.”

Harry groaned. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Come on,” Harry said, grabbing Sirius and Ivy who hadn’t noticed his sudden reappearance. “We’re going.”

Ivy laughed a little and waved a goodbye to her friends who grinned back. Sirius shuddered as he let himself be pulled away. 

“So where are we going?” Ivy asked.

“Brazil.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

July 5, 1992

Remus looked at the letter and accompanying portkey and sighed. Whatever had happened to make Harry and Sirius leave in such a hurry must have been pretty bad. At least they had reassured him they were all alright. No one had died, so that was good. Now Remus just had to go make sure it stayed that way. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

July 9, 1992

“Isn’t this a wonderful place?”

“Yeah.”

“We could just stay here.”

“Agreed.” 

Remus rolled his eyes at the two. Eventually they would need to return to England, but he did have to admit it was rather nice here. 

“What do you think, Ivy? Want to move here?”

“It’s a long ways from Hogwarts.”

“You could always transfer.”

Now Ivy rolled her eyes. “Not happening.”

Harry pouted and Remus laughed, though he couldn’t blame Harry for trying. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

July 24, 1992

“Must we?”

“Yes.”

Harry sighed. 

Remus tried another tactic. “We have to be back in time for Ivy’s birthday.”

“We could celebrate here.”

“You told her she could have a party.”

“We could have a party here…”

“What are you going to do, give all her friends international portkeys?”

Harry looked like he was actually considering doing just that. 

“No,” Remus interjected. He needed to get Harry out before he accidentally gave him any other ideas. “Time to go.”

Harry sighed again. Remus wondered when he had become the responsible adult in this situation. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

July 31, 1992

Harry’s eye twitched. Plan a birthday party, they said. Invite a few people over, they said. It will be fun, they said. He wasn’t sure who had said that, but they were wrong. This was terrible and he absolutely did not enjoy having five hundred people at his house. And how was there even enough food for all of them? He gasped. Sirius.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“You knew about this?”

Sirius wasn’t sure what Harry was referring to exactly. “What this?”

“This,” Harry said, gesturing to the party. “All the people.”

“Um, yes? Didn’t you?” Sirius was confused. Harry did remember Ivy inviting people to her birthday, right?

“No! Why are there so many of them?”

“Them as in people?”

Harry nodded, looking a bit pained. 

Sirius cleared his throat. “I thought you told Ivy to send out invitations to all her friends?”

Harry looked more pained now. “You mean these are all her friends?”

Sirius glanced around at the faces he did recognize. “Well, I think it’s probably more along the lines of her friends and their families, but yeah.”

Harry’s eye twitched. “I’ll be right back,” he said to Sirius. “Hey Ivy,” he said, calling out to the birthday girl, “remember last week when…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry groaned. This was all his own fault, really. When he had told Ivy to tell the printer what she wanted for invitations, he had neglected to stay close enough to hear the number of invitations she asked for. Two hundred. She had sent out two hundred invitations. How did she even know that many people? It was like she had invited all of Hogwarts and their extended families and… He gasped. That’s probably exactly what she had done. Or at least close. And apparently she hadn’t limited herself to Britain either. That wizard was definitely from Spain, and he was pretty sure that witch was Russian or something. Seriously though. How did she know this many people? 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Ah, Peverell. There you are. Been looking for a chance to introduce you to some people.”

Harry groaned internally and automatically straightened, Narcissa’s words from years ago echoing in his mind. “Lord Deverill,” he said, turning and nodding at the speaker. 

“I don’t believe you are acquainted with Lord Harrington or Mr. Pyrites, are you?”

Harry shook his head. 

“Ah, well allow me the pleasure of introducing you.”

Harry reluctantly followed Deverill over to the men he supposed were the aforementioned wizards he was to be introduced to. One letter. He had sent one letter to Deverill, and now he was being subjected to being introduced to the whole of the upper echelons of British wizarding society. And no, he was not being dramatic. He was never dramatic. Quite undramatic as a matter of fact. 

The introductions were made, and he managed to speak with the two for a few minutes. Pyrites he couldn’t recall anything particular about, but Ivy had mentioned Thomas Harrington in several letters and Lord Harrington noticeably puffed up at the compliments Harry paid towards his son. 

Thirty minutes later he had been introduced to another dozen or so fathers of current Hogwarts students that Ivy seemed to have become friends with. Did she have to be that friendly? 

Finally he spotted a familiar face. Well, familiar to him, anyways. He didn’t know why they were here exactly, but he wasn’t about to complain. He made his way quickly over to Andromeda Tonks, thankful that this would be at least one introduction he could look forward to. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry was so confused. Sure, he knew logically that some things were different between his old world and this one, the fact that his counterpart was a girl being just one of those, but he honestly hadn’t been expecting this…

“And you’re sure you never met him?” Sirius leaned over and whispered. 

“No. I’m positive he wasn’t there before. Tonks was an only child.”

Sirius frowned but nodded. “I guess some things were bound to be different.” 

Harry nodded, but he was still a little too frazzled to respond further. Yes, it had been nice being introduced to Ted and Andy, but then they had introduced their son and Harry’s brain had sort of shut off. 

“And you’re positive…”

“Yes,” Harry whispered a little too loudly, drawing a few looks. “Look, I’m sure I would remember if… what was his name again?”

“Taran.”

“Right. I’m certain I would remember if Taran existed in that world, and I’m sure he didn’t.”

Sirius shrugged. 

“Hey, you haven’t seen Tonks here anywhere, have you?”

Sirius gave him a quizzical look but shook his head. “No. Why?”

“Just wondering,” Harry said, a bit too casually. It’s not like he wanted to introduce her and Remus or anything. Of course not. But it wouldn’t be so bad if they met a little earlier, right? “Hey, do you think she still goes by Tonks here?”

“No idea. Might be a bit more confusing what with them having been at Hogwarts at the same time.”

“Yeah, but she always hated her name.”

“Maybe she goes by Dora. That’s what I called her when she was little.”

“How’d Taran end up with such a…”

“Normal name?” Sirius finished for him. 

“Yeah.”

Sirius laughed. “His full name is Taranis Theodore Tonks.”

Harry winced. 

“Yep. Initials have got to be killer.”

“Yeah. Andy?”

“Mmhmm,” Sirius said, taking another sip of whatever and-it-had-better-not-have-alcohol-this-is-a-kid’s-birthday-party-Sirius drink he had in his hand. 

Just then a few other adults came over and Harry groaned softly. 

“Have fun,” Sirius said, chuckling softly as he made his escape. 

Harry had to resort to cursing internally since he didn’t want to offend the little old ladies standing just over there. Suffering through yet another round of introductions he idly wondered what it would take to set Ivy, Remus, the twins, and maybe a goblin or two on Sirius. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Henry, can you come play a quidditch game with us?”

Ivy was the best person on the planet and nothing she did would ever faze him again. 

He made his excuses to the people whose names he had already forgotten and made his way with a much lighter step towards Ivy. Yes, he would absolutely indulge his daughter’s birthday wish. All in the attempt to be a wonderful parent, you understand. Getting out of talking to anyone else was just an added benefit. 

And if Sirius didn’t happen to hear about it, and accidentally got left with entertaining a few older witches, or better, a few younger, very single witches, well, it wasn’t Harry’s fault he had left Harry alone. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

August 1, 1992

Harry looked at the stack of letters with blatant horror. 

“What’s all this?” Sirius asked, gesturing to the pile. 

Remus set down his newspaper. “It’s all the society wives inviting Harry over to meet their daughters,” he said, as if this weren’t the worst moment of Harry’s life. Adult life, he amended to himself, even if this was still pretty close to the top. “Oh, and did you two see Ivy’s birthday party made it into the Daily Prophet?”

Harry let out a sound that was somewhere in between a groan and a sob. 

“What, like dinner invites or something?” Sirius said, sorting through the top few letters. 

“Yep,” Remus said, almost as if he were amused by the entire situation. “Oh, would you look at that. You’ve both made it into the list of top ten eligible bachelors.” 

Sirius snorted. “Yeah, sure glad Harry here beat me out for the top spot.”

Remus hmmed and turned back to his paper.

“Wait, I’m number two, right?”

Remus didn’t respond.

“Remus,” Sirius pleaded. “Come on, tell me I’m number two, right? I can’t possibly be number one. Right? Please tell me I’m right.”

“Oh don’t worry Padfoot,” Remus said with a snort. “You’re not number one.”

Sirius gasped and went to grab the paper out of Remus’s hands, but was thwarted by Remus jerking it out of reach just in time. 

“Come on Moony,” Sirius very nearly whined. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Seventh. I was ranked seventh.”

Harry had heard Sirius the first thirty seven times. Thirty nine now actually. 

“How did I end up seventh?”

Forty. 

Harry sighed. “Yes, poor you. Now can we get back to the actual problem here?” He gestured to the letters of doom piled on the table. 

“Oh sure, back to all your admirers,” Sirius said with a touch of bitterness. 

“I can give them to you if you want,” Harry said hopefully. 

“No. Don’t you remember? They don’t want me. I only came in seventh.”

Harry groaned as Remus chuckled. These two had no sympathy. 

“Why do you even care? You’re already dating Sabrina.”

“That’s not the bloody point. Just become I’m dating the most beautiful woman in existence doesn’t mean they have to go printing sh…”

“Hey, Fred and George just wrote me asking if we could come to dinner tomorrow,” Ivy said with perfect timing that caused Harry to grin and Sirius to redden at being almost caught. “Can we…”

“YES!” Harry shouted much louder than was necessary. “Yes,” he said, his voice regaining a normal volume. “That would be great. Tell them we’d love to come.”

Ivy smiled and skipped off happily to reply to her friends or cause chaos. Possibly one and the same at this point. 

“There, problem solved,” Harry said triumphantly. 

“How so?” Why did Remus have to be so skeptical? Couldn’t he just going Harry in welcoming the fact that he now had an excuse to get out of all these dinner invitations?

“Now I can just say no to all of these. Prior engagement and all that.”

“You know it’d be more effective if you had an actual engagement.”

“Shut up, Sirius.”

Remus gave them both the you’ll-get-there-eventually-if-you-try-hard-enough look. “You have tomorrow covered, yes. But what about the day after that?”

Harry’s eye twitched. A common occurrence in this house really. 

“Hey Ivy,” he yelled out suddenly, running off to where he thought she might have gone. “How are your acting skills? Do you think you could fake being really sick for…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

August 2, 1992

“Hello, Mrs. Weasley. Thank you so much for inviting us over.”

Molly had been half expecting a little girl and a haughty Lord, not a little girl and three men, two of which were dressed in muggle… what were those blue trousers called again? 

She barely caught herself before she started gaping, and instead managed to usher them all inside. Arthur had taken the boys to the birthday party the other day, since Ginny hadn’t been feeling well and had had to stay home. Poor girl. She had so been looking forward to it too. That was part of the reason she had agreed to letting Fred and George invite Ivy and her guardian over. Well, that and the fact that four of her children had spent Christmas with the man and it was high time she was properly introduced to the person they all kept raving about. Since she hadn’t been able to meet him at the birthday party, this seemed the next best way. 

“Remus!” came a double shout from the top of the stairs. 

“Oh sure, I see whose really loved,” the one she recognized as Sirius Black said, rolling his eyes. 

Before she could raise a voice in protest towards the twins the two came barreling past her and nearly ran the poor man over, though he didn’t seem fazed in the slightest. 

“I apologize, Lord Peverell, Lord Black, and Mr…”

“Lupin,” the man currently being tackled on the ground called out. 

The other two men made a face. “What lies did you two tell your mother?”

Oh dear. 

“Nothing. Just your names,” Fred said cheekily. 

Lord Black stuck out his tongue childishly at Fred, who responded in kind. Then he turned back to Molly and with a roguish smile said, “please, call me Sirius, Mrs. Weasley.” He pressed a kiss to the back of the hand she hadn’t realized he was holding. 

She blushed and turned to Lord Peverell. “I’m Henry,” he said, shaking her hand that had dropped somewhat reluctantly. “But please, call me Harry.” 

The little girl who could only be Ivy Potter snorted and Lord Pever… Harry, rolled his eyes and nudged her. 

“Oh right,” she said. “Hi, Mrs. Weasley. I’m Ivy. It’s nice to meet you, and thank you for having us over. Could you tell me where Percy is please?” 

“Oh I believe he’s upstairs in his room, dear. And please, call me Molly.” 

Ivy gave a smile that was likely going to break a few hearts in coming years and bounded up the stairs at a pace that could almost beat the boys. 

Molly turned back to her company. “Well the food is almost ready. Let me just get some of the kids to help finish up and then…” She turned to the twins but they had vanished out of sight. She sighed. 

“I would be happy to help, if you’ll allow me,” Harry said politely. 

“Oh, of course not. Why don’t you just have a seat there and I’ll go…”

“Really, it’d be no trouble at all.”

“Well if you’re sure…”

“I’d love to! Although, do not under any circumstances allow Remus in your kitchen.”

“Hey!”

“It’s true,” Sirius said, grinning. 

“What, like you’re any better,” Remus retorted. 

“Hey, at least I’m allowed in the kitchen.”

“But not encouraged,” Harry said, pushing the other two men towards the sofa. He held out his arm to Molly. “Shall we?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hi Percy!”

Charlie pulled his head out of the closet at the unfamiliar voice.

“You’re not Percy,” the girl said, frowning a it.

He chuckled. “No, I’m not. I’m Charlie.”

Her eyes lit up. “You’re the one who works with dragons?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Percy trudged into his room and was met with a scene from his nightmares. The one from May 7th, if he remembered correctly. There, seated on his bed, was his older brother Charlie and none other than Ivy Potter. Together. Talking about dragons. Merlin, there were two of them. 

Panicking, he latched onto the first topic he could think of to distract them. “Hey Ivy, what’s that?” he asked, pointing to the book she held in her hand. 

She turned to him and held it up. “Oh, this is for you. I thought you might like to read it. It looked like some of the books you were reading before school got out.”

“Um, thank you. What is… oh, Principles of Transfiguration in Pitched Battle…” his voice trailed off at the end. “Thanks, Ivy,” he managed to get out. 

“You’re welcome,” she said all too cheerfully. “Oh, I think it’s time for dinner too.” And then she walked out of the room as if she hadn’t just handed him a book that wasn’t even in the Hogwarts Library, which was saying something. 

Charlie picked the book out of his hand. “Interesting reading choice there, Perce,” he said with a raised eyebrow.

Percy groaned and fell onto the bed. He needed to contact Thomas as soon as possible since they had obviously not made enough contingency plans for the summer holidays. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hi, you’re Ginny, right?” 

Ginny nodded. Ivy Potter was talking to her. This was the best day ever. 

“Nice to meet you. Hey, can I have your brother Charlie?”

Ginny nodded again, a little unsure why she was asking such a strange question. 

“Great! Thanks.”

Ginny stared at the Girl-Who-Lived and slowly followed her towards the dining room. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

In the few minutes he had spent talking to Lord Peverell, or Harry, as he preferred to be called by everyone except Ivy it seemed, Charlie had come to understand so much better the reasons he had received the letter a few months prior. 

Essentially, it all came down to the fact that Ivy was a creature enthusiast, much like himself, except her interest was not so focused in its scope, and her guardian apparently had a nearly full-time job ensuring that his house did not become the next dangerous creature sanctuary. Charlie did volunteer his services should that ever happen, and the look of panic that crossed Harry’s face had sent Sirius Black into a laughing fit that had him grasping at his sides. 

And apparently it wasn’t just creatures she tried to adopt. Somehow the twins had gotten into an argument with her about Charlie himself, with Ivy trying to claim him as her brother now. The twins volunteered Percy as a substitute, then Bill, then Ginny, but Ivy claimed she didn’t even know Bill, and had only just met Ginny, so how could that possibly work (ignoring the fact that she had only just met Charlie as well), plus she was a girl and couldn’t possibly be Ivy’s brother, and Percy was already her brother anyway so that didn’t count. Harry occasionally interjected a reminder that she couldn’t adopt other people’s children, especially when said children were adults and lived outside the country, but she didn’t seem to care about that at all. Everyone else just watched the scene unfold bemusedly. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy was excited. Not only had she met her new brother and given Percy a book she was sure he would love, but she had successfully arranged for the Weasleys to go school shopping with them. Now she just needed to write Draco and Neville and let them know what day they were all going so they could meet up. It’d be so much fun! 

And Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were so nice. She liked them a lot, and Mrs. Weasley made really good food. Like, maybe even better than Henry. She hadn’t even known that was possible. All in all, an excellent day. 

Chapter Text

August 12, 1992

“Did you get your letter today too?” 

“Mmhmm.”

“Did you see all those books by Lockhart?”

“Yeah. Henry says I don’t need to get those though.”

“Why not?” Draco was worried. Ivy wasn’t dropping out of that class or anything, was she?

“He said they’re just stories and won’t help me learn anything.”

“Wait, really?”

“Yeah. I can share my other books with you if you want.”

“Well what did you get then?”

“Oh, I haven’t gotten anything yet. We’re going next week. But Henry had a couple books in the library that he said I could take with me to learn the second year spells.”

“But you already know most of them.”

“Only the good ones.”

“True. I suppose you’ll have to learn the boring ones still though.”

Ivy sighed. “I suppose so.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Narcissa watched the two children talking, not at all planning out their future wedding. But if that did happen she would be well prepared. Preparation was key, after all.

“Ivy dear,” she eventually said, interrupting the children who had changed topics and were now discussing the plants they most wanted to ask the Longbottom boy about, “could I speak with you for a moment? Your uncle had something he asked me to discuss with you.”

“Oh, sure Lady Malfoy.”

“Call me Narcissa, dear.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry bounced his leg a little as he waited for Narcissa to finish talking with Ivy. Did it really have to take so long? He had thought it’s be five, maybe ten minutes tops, but they had been in there for over an hour. Surely there wasn’t that much that Ivy needed to know, was there? Of course, he didn’t have that much experience with “The Talk.” He had picked up things from his roommates, and had had one very awkward conversation with Neville that need not ever be repeated or thought about for the rest of time, but that had pretty much been it. Still, he felt he understood things well enough. So why was it taking so long?

Finally the two emerged. Ivy was smiling and Narcissa was smirking (elegantly, of course, since she was very likely incapable of doing anything otherwise). 

“So, how did it go?” Harry asked with slight trepidation. 

“It was brilliant! Narcissa showed me all kinds of spells…”

Oh no. No, no, nonononono. Abort. Grab the time turner… Go find a time turner…

“…to use if a boy annoys me.”

Oh. That was better. 

“What kind of spells, sweetheart?” Sirius asked. 

Ivy tilted her head. “Well, I can’t remember what they all do exactly. By the way, what does castration mean?”

Harry choked on air and discreetly crossed his legs, noticing Sirius and Lucius doing the same. 

He was vaguely aware of Narcissa asking if they wanted her to explain anything else, but thankfully Sirius was able to squeak out a “that’s fine,” making it not entirely necessary for Harry to answer as well. 

He supposed that was one way to go about it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

August 19, 1992

“You managed to pick the one day…”

“Well it’s not like I remember the exact dates of everything I ever did in my life.”

It was unfortunate, though, that Harry hadn’t remembered this particular date. Somewhere in the vast multiverse there someone was laughing their head off. Why? Because out of all the days he they could have possibly brought Ivy school shopping, it had to be the day of the book signing. Lockhart. The fight. The diary, although Harry knew that wouldn’t be an issue now. Hmm. How how Lucius taken the discovery of the missing diary, he wondered… 

Still, he would be paying very close attention. Just because the diary wasn’t on hand didn’t mean Malfoy wouldn’t try slipping something else to Ginny. 

Oh, and there they went. Arthur and Lucius, fighting in the middle of the bookstore. He probably ought to do something about that. Oops. Look like someone else had already broken it up. Looks like he didn’t need to get involved after all. Shame. 

In his determination to keep a close eye on the Malfoy-Weasley interactions, he had somehow lost track of Ivy. He didn’t actually realize this until he heard her name called out loudly by none other than Gilderoy Lockhart. Harry sighed. He had really hoped to avoid all this, even when he had realized what day it was. 

He gradually made his way over to where the book signing was taking place, and just as he was almost there something caught his eye. He saw Lockhart’s hand resting on Ivy’s shoulder, and noticed how it lingered just a little too long. He saw him glance down at Ivy with a look in his eye that made Harry instantly sick. He saw red, and pushed his way through to Ivy, ignoring both the whispers and the exclamations as he pulled her quickly away. He nearly ran into Sirius who gave him a concerned look, but Harry just shook his head, silently promising Sirius that he would explain later. Sirius obviously understood, because he just nodded and helped them to a deserted corner. 

“Is everything okay?” Ivy whispered frantically.

“I’m so sorry, Ives. I lost track of you for just a moment and I…”

“I’m okay. But what’s going on?”

“Sorry sweetie.” Ivy stiffened slightly. “I’ll explain later. Just promise me you’ll stick right by Sirius or I for now, okay?”

Ivy nodded, though she still looked concerned. Harry couldn’t do anything more to comfort her at the moment. Sirius, likely sensing Harry’s distress, offered to take Ivy to go finish getting her books. Harry nodded thankfully at Sirius. 

What on earth was going on? Was he just imagining things? It certainly didn’t feel like he was. And if he had seen what he was pretty sure he had seen, did that mean it had been the same in his world? Harry felt sick all over again at the thought. 

His reaction to Ivy standing by Lockhart had drawn a great deal of attention, but he was in no mood to pay it any heed. He glared at a few people who looked like they were about to approach him, and thankfully no one appeared brave enough to confront the obviously upset Lord Peverell. He supposed that the name was good for something sometimes after all. 

Seeing the Weasleys exiting the store, he made a snap decision. 

“Percy,” he said, chasing after the bunch, “could I talk to you for a second?”

The teenager looked surprised but agreed. Harry led them off to a small alcove and put up several privacy charms, ignoring the startled look on Percy’s face. 

“Is everything alright?”

“No. I mean, yes. I… I don’t know. Look, I just wanted to ask you to look out for your sister this year. And Ivy, if you could. Actually, all the girls. All the younger years in general. Just, keep an eye on them. And whatever happens, don’t let anyone in a detention with Lockhart.”

Harry said the last part with such vehemence that Percy took a small step back. 

“Is there something wrong with him?”

Harry sighed. “I don’t know for sure. It was just that while we were in there, the look he gave Ivy… Maybe it’s nothing, but I really don’t want to risk it.” 

“You think he’s a…”

Harry nodded grimly and Percy’s face went pale. 

“I’ll contact Professor Snape as Ivy’s head of house and share my concerns, but if you could keep a close eye on things, maybe enlist the help of some others.”

Percy nodded vigorously. “Of course. But wouldn’t someone know? I mean, if he is like that, wouldn’t Dumbledore or someone know that?” 

Harry shook his head. “People are really good at hiding what they want hidden. Add to that a talent for memory charms and…”

“What?”

Harry winced, not having intended on letting that part slip. “I believe he may not have been… entirely truthful in the tales of his exploits. All it takes is a well-placed memory charm to take credit for something someone else did. And if you can obliviate someone of their memories defeating a troll or vampire or whatever else…”

“You could obliviate other memories easily,” Percy finished, eyes going wide. 

Harry nodded, his face hardened. “I’ll do my best to sort it out, but please just keep an eye on things,” he pleaded. 

“Of course I will, you have my word.”

“Thanks Percy. You’re a good man.” Harry noticed the way Percy stood up a little straighter at that and allowed a small smile to cross his face. He knew Percy would do everything in his power to keep Ivy, Ginny, and the other students safe. Now he just needed to make sure he did the same. 

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius slammed his fist on the table. “You can’t seriously be considering letting him in the same building as her.”

“What do you want me to do? I have no proof and he’s already been hired!”

“Then deal with him before the school year starts.”

“I can’t kill everyone that might possibly pose a threat to Ivy. I’ll write Snape, and talk to Lucius. He’s on the Board of Governors, so he might have some ability to change things.”

“That will take far too long and you know it,” Sirius yelled, shoving his finger at Harry. “Why can’t you just deal with it now?”

“You know why! You know damn well why,” he cried. 

The anger seemed to dissipate out of Sirius and he collapsed on the sofa. “What do we do?” He asked, his voice barely above a whisper. 

Harry looked at Remus, but the latter was still staring at the ground, jaw clenched and fingers twitching just slightly. Harry sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”

The three men sat in silence for several minutes before Remus abruptly raised his head. 

“What happened in your world?”

“What?”

“What happened in your world,” Remus repeated. “With Lockhart. Were there ever any signs of…” He waved his hand. “This?” 

Harry shook his head. “No. I… He was a terrible teacher,” Harry said with a dry huff. “But I don’t remember him ever…” Except that was the thing, wasn’t it. He didn’t remember. Those long detentions that seemed to just fly by, leaving him wondering where the time had gone…

Harry didn’t even make it out of the room before he lost the contents of his stomach. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

August 25, 1992

Severus dropped his head into his hands. He was really regretting not pressing Lucius for an introduction with Lord Peverell. Sure, Lucius, and even Narcissa, had supplied him with some useful information, but for some reason he had been unable to bring himself to attempt to meet the man. To be completely honest with himself, which wasn’t one of his preferred activities, everything he knew about the man set him on edge, the most recent discovery most especially. 

Oh yes, he knew that Lord Peverell was also Lord Slytherin. Severus could understand why the man hadn’t advertised that fact, given both his notorious reluctance to present himself in public and the negative connotation the title held among many, but Severus wasn’t sure if he was simply biding his time or if Peverell simply sought anonymity from the gossips that plagued society. 

Subtle inquiries had revealed that neither Lucius nor Albus were aware of this second title, which made Severus suspect that it might be a more recent acquisition. One that coincided uncomfortably with the disappearance of the Dark Lord’s mark. Severus had witnessed too much in his lifetime to be a believer in coincidences, and even if he were not prone to the same conspiracy theory tendencies as the headmaster, he couldn’t help but feel that there was some connection between the disappearance of the dark mark and Peverell, and he was nearly positive it went beyond Ivy Potter’s supposed confrontation with the Dark Lord, a story only Albus seemed inclined to recite. 

Even Potter herself had not confirmed the entire story, only saying that Quirrell was possessed and was seeking the stone. At least that left Severus slightly more at ease at the thought that he might have a few less murder attempts to stop this year, though Severus wasn’t to get his hopes up just yet. 

This entire situation was a mess, and three people seemed to be at the center of it all. And surprisingly, the Dark Lord was not one of them, despite Albus’s assertions. 

No, the three people this entire mysterious mess seemed to center on was Ivy Potter, Lord Peverell, and Albus Dumbledore. One of them was barely twelve, one of them was powerful, far past his prime, and prone to conspiracy theories, and the other was still a mystery with disturbing similarities to the Dark Lord. 

Severus groaned. Albus’s recent probes for information and not-entirely-subtle inquiries made a bit more sense now. Of course Albus had seen the similarities, even if he was likely still unaware of the Lord Slytherin connection. The Parselmouth connection was obvious, but there were other similarities that Severus could only guess Albus had picked up on. Both had seemed to appear out of nowhere, both were reported to be extremely powerful, both seemed to be well informed of everything that was going on… But there were differences too that were too great to ignore. Peverell had not involved himself directly in politics up to this point, nor had he done anything to ingratiate himself to anyone who was an active participant. In fact, his only direct dealing with Wizarding society seemed to have come at his involvement with Black’s release form Azkaban. He had held a massive event at his house that had been the topic of everyone’s gossip ever since, but that appeared to be a singular event that, if Narcissa was to be believed, and she usually was, hadn’t actually been planned by Peverell himself. How you accidentally end up with five hundred people at your house was beyond Severus’s comprehension, but then again he had had the entire last school year to get to know Ivy Potter so perhaps the idea wasn’t so out there after all. 

And even if he did seem to know everything that was going on at any given time… 

With the exception of Black’s release, Severus was only aware of Peverell ever alerting others to what was taking place. And not just anyone, either. No, he seemed to know exactly who to contact to resolve any particular issue he found. 

And apparently he thought Severus was the one to contact with issues regarding his… whatever Potter was to him. She called him her uncle, and he had apparently referred to her as his daughter, so obviously that meant it was slightly complicated and not worth Severus contemplating longer than absolutely necessary right now. 

And so Severus was brought back to the original reason he had dropped his head into his hands and begun his internal monologue. 

Lord Peverell apparently thought, either due to his status as Potter’s head of house or perhaps for some as of yet unknown reason, that Severus was the person to contact to express his…concerns. That seemed a bit of an understatement for what Peverell had written, but there it was. 

Peverell had concerns, and now Severus had concerns, and now there was only a week until students arrived and he would be faced with the subject of said concerns. 

Why was it always the defense professor? Severus had never understood why Albus hadn’t ever bothered to get rid of the purported curse on the position. Yes, it technically hadn’t ever been confirmed that there was indeed a curse, but only an idiot would think it just a coincidence that all the defense professors over the last several decades had only ever managed to last a single year. 

Severus grimaced. No wonder Albus had resorted to hiring this… honestly, anything Severus could say at the moment was bound to be far too complimentary towards the newest trier of fate, Peverell’s suspicions aside. And if Peverell’s suspicions turned out to be accurate, which Severus had an uncomfortable feeling in the region of his internal organs that he might be, then that was all the more reason to think ill of the man. 

Of course, Quirrell had ended up dead, so maybe there was still hope. Now if could just happen sooner, rather than wait until the end of the year… 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 1, 1992

Ivy sat alone in her compartment. She felt a little bad for putting up several wards and spells she wasn’t technically supposed to know yet, but she needed some time to think. 

Henry was acting weird, and she didn’t like it. Something was up, as had been obvious ever since the bookshop, but today the weirdness had been taken to a whole new level. Sure, it was cool that he told her the entrance to the chamber of secrets and the fact that there was a giant basilisk living there, but it wasn’t like Henry to say stuff like that. Usually he was all like, “no bringing a dragon home, Ivy,” or “no you can’t ride a thunderbird to Mexico,” or “no I’m not going to adopt a occamy, no matter how cute it is.”

So it wasn’t that she was complaining at the prospect of meeting a basilisk or anything, because she wasn’t, it was just that for Henry to be the one to suggest it seemed a little out of character for him. 

He had also wanted her not to be alone with the new defense professor, and if she was given any detentions she was to go to her head of house right away. Ivy wondered what a…what was it Remus had called him again? Oh, a pedophile. That’s right. What one of those was doing as a teacher. Still, Henry had promised he would take of it, so she wasn’t all that worried. And his request had seemed reasonable enough, but that’s when Harry had done the whole “by the way there’s a huge basilisk under the school in the chamber of secrets and the entrance in the girls bathroom the Myrtle lives in and you go through the sink and make sure you remember where it’s at, alright? Just in case” thing. 

Just in case of what? Ivy wasn’t sure. Maybe in case she got bored or something? It would certainly be fun to have another snake to talk to. Tiger would probably enjoy it too. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

While Ivy was busy contemplating life in the relative peace and quiet that she had felt befitted the situation, other passengers on the train who she had forgotten to inform of her whereabouts were experiencing varying degrees of panic. 

Oliver was worried because he had wanted to get her confirmation that she would be doing the quidditch team before they got to Hogwarts, just so she wouldn’t forget. 

Marcus had a similar worry, but was slightly more concerned because it was his team she would be playing for. 

Percy was worried because last time he had left her unsupervised on a train she had somehow managed to nearly land a fifth year in the hospital.

Thomas was worried because he hadn’t gotten a chance to ask her about the books she had with her, and, more importantly, if he could borrow the more… interesting ones. For an indefinite amount of time. Perhaps until she graduated. 

Fred and George were worried because they thought she might have had an incredible idea that she was enacting on her own, without them, which of course she would never do, but still…

Draco was worried because he thought she might have finally been stolen away completely by the Gryffindors. 

Neville was worried because he wasn’t sure if Ivy was upset he hadn’t been able to go to her birthday party. 

Hermione was upset because she had wanted to try a couple spells before they reached Hogwarts and no one else was willing to be a guinea pig for some reason.

Ron was worried because Percy was worried and that meant somehow Percy felt the need to sit by him and ask him questions about school. School hadn’t even started, so Ron felt this was entirely unnecessary. 

Ginny was worried because she really wanted to be friends with Ivy but now wasn’t sure if Ivy would want to be her friend after all. 

Pansy was upset because no one else was interested in hearing about her summer, and she had already told Draco, leaving Ivy as the best person left to tell. 

The remaining second year Slytherins weren’t worried, mostly because they were divided into a few different compartments and they all assumed Ivy was in one of the others. 

Luna Lovegood wasn’t worried either, but she mostly didn’t understand why no one had just gone into Ivy Potter’s compartment if they were all so worried about her. Maybe they just hadn’t looked hard enough. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy started at the sound of someone knocking on the compartment door. Maybe she had done one of the spells wrong? It was two hours in to the train ride to Hogwarts and no one had come so far. She had honestly meant to go find her friends by now, but she had gotten distracted talking to Tiger and making a list of books she thought Thomas would like that were in the Hogwarts library. It seemed only fair since he was always recommending new books to her. Of course he had been there a lot longer so he might have already read some of them, but a few of them Ivy was fairly certain no one had checked out for at least a decade or two so those were a fair bet. 

Ivy got up and opened the compartment door. 

“Hello, Ivy Potter,” the girl standing in front of her said, smiling. “People are worrying about you, you know.”

“Oh, sorry, I got distracted.”

“Oh that’s alright. I don’t mind.”

“Well would you like to come in then?”

The girl came in and introduced herself as Luna Lovegood. 

“That’s a very pretty name,” Ivy said. 

“Thank you. My parents gave it to me,” she said matter-of-factly.

Ivy grinned. “And I guess you already figured out my name. So is this your first year? I don’t remember seeing you before.”

“Yes. I’m going to be in Ravenclaw.”

“Are you sure? I wanted to be in Hufflepuff but the hat wouldn’t let me.” Ivy gasped and held her hand up to her mouth. “Oops. I forgot I’m not supposed to tell people about the hat.”

“Oh it’s alright. I already knew.”

Ivy breathed a sigh of relief. “So, how do you know you’ll be in Ravenclaw?”

“That’s the house that I fit best in,” Luna replied. 

“Hmm. Well if not you could always come to Slytherin with me.”

“That’s nice of you. I think that might make your uncle’s eye twitch though.”

Ivy inhaled sharply in surprise. “You know Uncle Henry?”

“We met,” Luna said. “He took me for ice cream on my birthday.”

“And he didn’t even tell me,” Ivy said, scowling. “We could have been friends for… When is your birthday?”

“February 13th.”

“We could have been friends for months already.”

“We can be friends now, if you like.”

Ivy beamed. “Yes, please.”

Luna smiled widely. “I was so looking forward to having a friend.”

“Perfect. I have a good feeling about this.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hi everyone, this is my new friend Luna.”

Neville looked up in relief at Ivy and her new friend. Finally. One other person that wasn’t a Slytherin. Or at least, not yet. Not that he had anything against Slytherins, but they were a little more on the intense side at times. At first it had just been Millie, which was fine, but then Nott had come in and made himself at home, and then Draco had come looking for Ivy but declared himself bored and had joined as well. Pansy had come a bit later, looking for Lavender and Parvati, but had decided she would find them later. Finally the two Slytherins whose names Neville could never put to the right face joined in, and he found himself vastly outnumbered in what was once more or less his compartment. Again, not that it was a problem, but that didn’t mean he minded seeing Ivy and a non-Slytherin. Plus, Ivy had been declared an honorary Hufflepuff, so she kind of counted too. 

Luna turned out to be an interesting girl. He had no idea what she was talking about, but she was nice and said she hoped they could be friends too. 

Neville didn’t think he’d mind that all that much. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas exhaled loudly as he slumped in his seat. The last forty minutes or so had been particularly trying and he hadn’t even gotten around to asking her about the books. And did his fellow students really have to be that dense sometimes? Was their memory really that short? Did they really not remember what happened last time someone insulted one of Ivy’s friends on the train? 

At least Corvin seemed to remember, so that was something at least. He hadn’t made a peep. No, today’s problem idiot were a couple of girls who had been flirting with the sixth year Slytherins boys before Ivy made her appearance, odd little first year in tow. 

The girls obviously hadn’t appreciated being interrupted by the younger students, and upon learning Lovegood’s name had begun making some not so subtle jibes and insults. Apparently her father ran the um… alternative newspaper, and they somehow took offense to that. Well, he supposed there was a reason they weren’t in Slytherin then. 

Ivy had immediately gone on the defensive, and seeing Tiger poke his head out Thomas had decided it was an excellent time to intervene. He had (loudly) offered to take the two girls around to go meet up with some more people but had ended up escorting them through practically the entire train, stopping at any compartment that had some of Ivy’s friends in it (which if she kept this up was liable to get her elected Minister by default), so that she could introduce Luna Lovegood. Thomas was not at all ignorant of the sneers and scowls many students sent Lovegood’s way, but to his relief none of the second years appeared to be bothered by her presence at all. The last thing he needed in his life was a literal war starting amongst the second years, because if some of them had insulted Ivy’s friend there would likely be bloodshed by the end. Or by tonight, to be completely honest. 

At least with the other students they were unlikely to be in as close contact with either girl on a regular basis, which meant less opportunity to potentially initiate a disaster. 

Finally he had seen Ivy and Lovegood to a compartment where it appeared they were content to stay, and he had made his way back to his own compartment relieved that he had prevented any serious injury from occurring. 

Upon his arrival he had immediately slumped into his seat, which is where he remained at the moment. 

“Hey, uh, is everything alright then?”

Thomas glanced up at Corvin, who looked a little worried. Probably wondering if anyone had suffered like he had last school year. “Yeah, everything’s fine. Disaster averted.”

Corvin breathed out a sigh of relief. “Good. That’s good. Sorry about them, I didn’t know they’d be so…”

“Rude?”

Corvin winced. “Yeah.”

Thomas sighed. “It wasn’t just them. A lot of the other students gave the kid looks as we walked by.”

Corvin swore under his breath. 

“Yeah. We’re going to have a problem.”

“Meeting time?”

Thomas nodded. “I’ll find Marcus.”

“I’ll find Kenneth.”

“I’ll… stay right here,” Eric said. Thomas had honestly forgotten he was even there. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Sorry, you want me to what?”

“Watch out for Luna Lovegood.”

“Okay… And we’re doing this because…”

“Because she’s Ivy’s friend and some people are idiots.”

Kenneth ahh’d and nodded in understanding. “Got it. So Slytherin is going to go out its way to be super nice to a first year who probably isn’t even going to be in our house, because a second year is her friend and may destroy anyone who acts otherwise?”

All the other sixth year boys nodded. 

“Alright then. Glad to have cleared that up. I take it we’re to spread the word then?”

Thomas nodded alone this time. “Yeah, might be good to do it sooner than later.”

“I’ll take the prefects,” Kenneth said, standing.

“And the first years we get,” Thomas added.

Kenneth rolled his eyes. “And the first years. Anything else?”

Thomas shook his head. 

Kenneth rolled his eyes one more time and left. 

“I’ve got the fourth and fifth years covered. Don’t worry about them,” Marcus said with a smirk. Thomas didn’t want to know. 

“Alright, second years should all be fine already, so we’ve just got third years and seventh.”

“And the girls,” Eric piped up. “I’ll go do that.”

Thomas rolled his eyes. For being a sixth year Eric sure was acting like he had just discovered girls or something. 

“I’d better go make sure he doesn’t…”

“Put his foot in his mouth?”

Corvin nodded. “Yeah. Or on someone’s face.”

Thomas watched Corvin follow Eric out feeling slightly bewildered. Ultimately, he decided that he once again really did not want to know. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Ivy, can we borrow Tiger?”

Ginny’s eyes grew wide at the sight of the snake emerging from Ivy’s robes. She held her breath as the two Slytherin girls took the snake happily and only let it out when the compartment door was firmly shut again. 

“Ivy, I need to talk to you about something.”

She started. She hadn’t noticed the boy coming in. Ivy nodded and followed him out of the compartment, leaving Ginny alone with Luna. 

“I think we’ll all be great friends,” Luna said. 

Ginny smiled. She hoped so. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Okay what do you need to talk to me about?”

“Sirius.”

Ivy quirked her eyebrow at Blaise. “Why?”

“He’s not a… you know…”

Ivy just stared at him. 

Blaise sighed. “He’s not like, a bad person, is he?”

Ivy frowned. “Of course not. Haven’t you met him?”

“Yeah, but Mum’s dating him and I think things are kind of serious.” Ivy burst out laughing and Blaise groaned. “I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Yeah, I think he’s great. Do you not like him or something?” 

“Oh no, I do. I like him a lot. I was just worried…”

“That he might go the way of the other ones?”

Blaise winced and nodded. Ivy knew he didn’t like talking about his stepfathers, but she also knew that they weren’t exactly the best people in the world. And that his mum had known that and had, er, taken care of it. 

“Well, I think he’s great. And he seems to really like your mum. Remember when we all came over and they didn’t hear us for ten minutes?”

Blaise grinned. “Pretty sure it was at least fifteen.”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “You could practically see the hearts coming out of their eyes.” 

“So gross,” Blaise said, scrunching his nose. 

Ivy mimicked the expression. “Agreed. Now I just need to find someone for Henry to make heart eyes at.”

“You still working on that?”

“Yes,” Ivy sighed. “But I haven’t found anyone.”

Blaise nodded gravely. “Maybe I can help you.”

“Thanks!” Ivy said, grinning. She started to walk off. “Hey, you know, if Sirius and your mum get married, then you can be my brother too!” She said as she headed down the train. 

Blaise grinned. He’d always wanted a… well he’d wanted a brother, but he supposed a sister would do, and Ivy was pretty great. Then his face fell. “Wait, what do you mean too?”

Ivy didn’t answer him. He started to run after her.

“Who else is your brother? It thought you were an only child?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Oliver barely caught Ivy as she came barreling past him, some other boy chasing after her and yelling about being an only child. Perfect. Just who he wanted to see. 

Twenty minutes later he was beginning to sweat nervously. She couldn’t be serious, could she? Was it time to call in the reinforcements? He knew the exact compartments of every member of his team, and he could go find Marcus and have him join in. That might be more effective. But really, was she seriously contemplating not playing?

She stared him down for a minute and then burst out laughing. 

“I’m just kidding. I’ll play if you guys really want me too.” 

Oliver grinned. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey! Slytherin’s got a new seeker!”

Percy stared at Oliver Wood practically skipping down the hallway and shouting out the news with far too much enthusiasm to be considered healthy. It had to be Ivy. There was no other reason why Oliver would be so excited about that. 

And hey, that meant that someone at least had their eye on her. All was well. 

Percy heard a crash from the compartment at the end and reevaluated his statement. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“What’s going on in here?”

Percy looked at the two little second year girls and the terrified third boys. Something had obviously happened, but the Slytherins seemed unwilling to divulge anything. The girls were the picture of innocence, but Percy had siblings so was not fooled for a moment. 

A year ago he would have pressed the matter and demanded that someone explain to him exactly what was going on so he, as a prefect, could handle it. That was a year ago. Now, he made sure there was no blood, asked one last time if everything was alright, and left, figuring that nobody seemed seriously injured and if they were there were other prefects who could handle it. 

After all, Oliver had presumably left Ivy, so he really ought to go check. Just to be safe. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And if you ever say something like that to Tracey again I’ll let Tiger lick your eyeballs instead of your face. Got it, Linus Claridge?”

The boy in question nodded vigorously and Daphne straightened up. She and Tracey both stalked out, waiting until the door was stalled shut to start cooing at Tiger and lavishing their praises on him. 

“You know I could have done that myself,” said Tracey. 

“Yes, but it was my turn to yell at Claridge.”

“Shouldn’t I get more turns, since I’m the one he keeps being mean to.”

Daphne frowned. “I guess that would be fair.” She pouted. “But then who am I going to get to stick Tiger on?”

“I’m sure we can find someone,” Tracey said with a shrug. 

The girls shared a grin. “Has anyone been particularly stupid yet?” Daphne asked.

“Let’s go ask Pansy.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Marcus watched as a few screaming fourth year girls ran out of their compartment. Deciding it was not his problem since Ivy wasn’t there and no one had died, he continued making his way back to his original compartment. He had impressed upon every member of his team the importance of not doing anything that would distract Ivy form quidditch, which, in this case, meant being really nice to a little blond first year named Luna Lovegood. They had wondered out loud what she had to do with anything at all, but Marcus felt he had adequately explained that Lovegood was Ivy’s friend, and being mean to Ivy’s friend meant making Ivy upset, and upset Ivy would be distracted, and that meant less quidditch time, which was a big no-no and would be dealt with accordingly. He reminded them of last year’s events and each seemed to grasp the importance of the situation. Finally, having secured their promises to do absolutely nothing to endanger their quidditch prospects this year, Marcus left contented. This was going to be the year. He was going to absolutely crush Oliver Wood and win the cup by the largest margin in a century. 

Speaking of Oliver, he really ought to go find him so they could finalize their schedule for flying with Ivy.

Chapter Text

Kenneth Burke watched as the last of this year’s first years were sorted. The girl who was apparently under the protection of the entire Slytherin House had been sorted in Ravenclaw, and he had watched carefully for the reactions of her fellow housemates. 

He was not impressed. 

Sure, there was always one or two people who weren’t readily accepted by some in their house, Potter being an example that came immediately to mind. Of course that had been last year, and now she was practically their mascot. 

But the looks of pure loathing he had seen on some of the Ravenclaws’ faces had left little doubt in his mind that Potter’s newest friend was unlikely to receive a warm welcome all around. And since Slytherin had committed themselves to being nice to her, which in Slytherin meant making sure no one else got away with acting otherwise, he was confident this was somehow going to take up more of his time than he would have cared for. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Kenneth refrained from rolling his eyes at the fifth year prefects’ awkward attempt to explain to the first year Slytherins why they needed to be nice to a particular Ravenclaw. The first years were questioning the reasons for the order, and the fifth year prefects had few options of explanations to give other than “the sixth years us told us to,” which wasn’t something they were likely to admit, or “we’re all scared a second year is going to get mad and raise an army of Hufflepuffs ultimately bringing Hogwarts to its knees,” which would be impossible to say in any way that would have them looking like the authority figures they were trying so desperately to be. 

He was sure he hadn’t been that bad last year. 

As the newest prefects unsuccessfully tried to turn the conversation away from the topic of Luna Lovegood, Kenneth decided some intervention would be necessary. Eventually. It was rather entertaining to watch the prefects fail so spectacularly, although they would obviously have to get better before they embarrassed Slytherin in any way. Couldn’t have that, after all. 

On the other hand, that one little brat that kept voicing his objections was getting on Kenneth’s nerves. 

“I understand you have some… concerns about Slytherin’s interest in Miss Lovegood, Mr….”

“Poinston, Anthony Poinston,” the brat said haughtily. Great. Another one of those. 

“I see. And you object to these instructions because…”

Kenneth’s patience lasted for precisely seventeen seconds before he gave up. By the time he was done the first years knew everything there was to know about Ivy Potter, her impressive wand skills, her pet snake that loved hanging out in his dorm room for a reason not even Merlin was likely to have known, her guardian that was, who was it again? Oh right. Lord Peverell, you know, that one really powerful guy your parents have all been talking about for the last year. Oh, and did you know he is a Parselmouth? How neat! Oh, and see that huge sixth year over there? That’s Marcus Flint, the quidditch captain, who will absolutely crush anyone who distracts Ivy Potter from quidditch, and she does get terribly distracted when someone upsets one of her friends, and we wouldn’t want to offend her, the entirety of the rest of Slytherin House (exaggeration was necessary when making a point sometimes), her guardian (and did I mention who that was?), her snake, or every Slytherin ancestor you have ever had, would we? No, I didn’t think so. 

Watching the wide-eyed first years with satisfaction, and deciding that his good deed of the day was done, Kenneth made his way cheerfully past the stressed looking fifth year prefects and towards his dorm room, confident they could handle any other questions the first years might have.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 2, 1992

Kenneth was concerned for the future of wizarding society. Was it really so hard for students to remember simple instructions that had been issued only the previous night? Stay in groups of two or more, their head of house had said. Don’t go anywhere alone. Inform the prefects or head of house directly of any detentions earned. You would think that would be a simple set of instructions to follow, but apparently not. Kenneth glared at the first year until they emitted a small squeak and ran to join their classmates. 

Be a prefect, they said. It’s an honor, they said. 

No. It was a way to get the best and brightest of Hogwarts to babysit the… well, those that apparently required such high levels of supervision. Which looked to be the majority of Hogwarts students, and no, not just the younger years. Fourth and fifth years could be just as bad. 

No wonder Thomas never seemed the least bit jealous of the prefect badge. He was smart. He must have figured this out already. 

Kenneth was offended that Thomas hadn’t bothered to inform him of these facts. 

So now he was a glorified babysitter, relegated to the unenviable position of student herder. Honestly, herding kneazles would probably be easier. 

The reason for this herding was something Kenneth still wasn’t sure on. He had half listened to Weasley’s insistence in the prefect meeting on the train that students shouldn’t be left alone with the new Defense professor, but he had honestly thought Weasley was just paranoid from last year’s revelation that the last person to hold that position had actually been possessed and tried to kill a student. The fact that Ivy Potter was the student and that this warning apparently came from Lord Peverell seemed to fit Kenneth’s theory. 

But then their head of house had given the same instructions. Professor Snape had told the prefects very directly that no student was to be left alone with the new Professor, but he had ordered the entire house to follow a new set of guidelines, leaving out the principle factor for the changes. That had certainly caught Kenneth’s attention, and had made him wonder what exactly was going on. He had questioned his head of house, who had informed him that a word of warning had come from a concerned guardian of one of the students. Professor Snape had given him a very pointed look, and Kenneth had left nearly positive that his professor’s source was the same as Weasley. Why else say guardian instead of parent? 

Kenneth was momentarily brought out of his musings in time to yell at a couple of fourth years who were absolutely not a credit to Slytherin House at the moment. How hard could this be? It was a set of simple instructions. He had never sympathized with Professor Snape as much as he did at this moment. That man was patience itself. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

They had barely finished the first day of classes and already Neville was wondering why him. Why was he the one that was stuck dealing with this? Little help his roommates were at the moment. They were watching him just as intently as the new kid-that-slightly-resembled-a-puppy, and Neville wondered whether it would have been better if they had abandoned him completely rather than stay behind to bear witness to his feeble attempts at explaining the facts of life to the first year. And apparently to his roommates because they had so kindly shoved this on him, saying they didn’t know either. 

Neville sighed and resigned himself to his fate. 

“Alright, so, what happened exactly?” He already knew, but a delaying tactic seemed in order. 

Colin Creevey, with the enthusiastic help of Ron, Seamus, and Dean, explained again what had happened. It seems Colin was a big fan of Ivy Potter, and had run up to her and asked if he could take her picture. He had also asked about her scar, and even though Neville had been sitting right there and had seen the entire thing, he still cringed at that. Ivy didn’t like people asking about her scar. The entire school was well aware of that fact at this point, except, of course, the new first years. 

After Colin had asked about the scar, barely taking a breath before plunging into a detailed account of Ivy’s supposed exploits, Ivy had frantically searched around for something, and had unfortunately made eye contact with Neville, who had suddenly found himself faced with a person who had far too much energy and far too many questions. Ivy had managed to excuse herself from the situation, claiming homework or something like that (Neville had barely been able to hear her at that point), and had left Neville on his own. He had found the other Gryffindor second year boys, but they had been entirely unhelpful and had instead started asking their own questions. It was terrible. 

Neville sighed again. “Alright. First of all, Ivy is really nice.” All the other boys nodded their heads.

“Second, she didn’t do any of the things in those books.”

Colin, and, surprisingly, Seamus, both looked surprised. Neville wanted to ask Seamus why he looked surprised, but decided it wasn’t worth this taking any longer than necessary. 

“Okay, so then she doesn’t like anyone asking about her scar.”

“Wait, so she does have a scar? What happened to it?” How did Ron not know this? They had spent the entire last year with Ivy and… Oh forget it.

“Yes, she has a scar. No, it’s not on her forehead. No, I don’t know where it is, and no, don’t bother asking her. I don’t know if it’s shaped like a lighting bolt or not, and no, I have no idea why all the books show her looking like that.”

All four boys looked mildly disappointed. Neville felt his eye about to twitch. 

“Wait, so she didn’t really do any of those things? But I thought she was really cool?”

The other three boys lit up and began explaining to Colin that Ivy was, in fact, very cool. As they regaled Colin with (only slightly exaggerated) tales of last year’s adventures (Ron having the most exciting tales to tell), Neville took the opportunity to slip out while he could do so unnoticed. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Do you think it’ll be like this every year?” 

Nevile shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe? I mean, everyone here knows, but not everybody else knows yet.”

Ivy sighed. “I guess you’re right.”

“Does it bother you? You know, people asking about the scar?”

“Kind of?” Ivy shrugged. “It shouldn’t bother me, I guess, but I just feel like when people expect to see it they already have some kind of idea about me, and if they find out I’m not like that then maybe they won’t like me.”

Neville was confused. “But everybody likes you.”

“Not everyone,” Ivy mumbled. 

“Well I like you,” Neville declared, and then started blushing. 

Ivy grinned. “Thanks, Neville. I like you too.” She gave him a big hug. “Thanks for talking to Colin for me. You’re the best.”

Neville grinned back. “No problem. Anytime.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 3, 1992

“That was the worst class ever.” 

Ivy laughed at Draco. “It wasn’t that bad. I thought it was kind of fun.”

Draco looked at her like she had just declared dragons were the cuddliest creatures alive. So, basically the look he gave her at least once or twice a day. “It was a quiz on Lockhart’s…” Draco made an exaggerated motion with his hands. “Everything. Merlin, how am I supposed to know what his favorite color is? And why does it matter? And he can’t possibly have defeated a vampire by spraying it with perfume, so why should I care what his favorite one is?”

Ivy laughed at him again and Draco scowled. “You’re upset because you didn’t get a single one right,” she said, giggling. 

“Like you did any better,” he muttered. 

She laughed at him, again. It wasn’t funny. “Well, I don’t know how I did. He looked like he didn’t feel very good while he was reading through mine, did you notice?”

Draco hadn’t noticed, but it didn’t surprise him. 

“Anyway, when he got done reading it he just handed it back to me and said it looked fine. He didn’t mark it at all.”

“Wait, I want to see. What did you put?”

Ivy pulled the parchment out of her bag and handed it to him, and Draco began skimming over it as quickly as he could. “You put a Nundu as his favorite animal,” he said. “Why on earth would you think that?”

Ivy shrugged. “Well he seems to like dangerous creatures, and those are kind of dangerous, aren’t they?”

Draco would have used a slightly different description than that, but okay. 

“So I figured that was a pretty safe bet.”

Again, Draco would have used something other than “safe” to describe a Nundu, even in such a context as this. 

He stopped when he got to one particular line. “You compared him to an Erkling?”

“What? Where?”

Draco pointed out the question in answer. The answer in question. The… oh whatever. 

“Here. See? The question was ‘What sort of creature could Gilderoy Lockhart best be compared to?’ and you put Erkling.”

Ivy nodded. “Oh, yeah. Someone mentioned something about him liking to sing.”

“That’s a terrible comparison to make.”

Ivy shrugged. “It’s not like I read the books.”

“Then how did you manage to get a passing grade on Lockhart’s quiz?”

“Professor Lockhart,” Granger said, suddenly appearing between the two. “Did you not do so well on the quiz?” she asked, looking at Draco who just scowled. 

“Lockhart didn’t exactly grade mine,” Ivy explained, “but Draco didn’t get any right.”

“Didn’t you read the books?” Granger asked.

“No,” Ivy and Draco said together. Granger looked scandalized and Draco allowed himself a smirk, positive that if he had read the books he would have beaten Granger’s likely perfect score for sure. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 5, 1992

§Why can’t I sstay in the ssmelly room with the boyss?§

Ivy rolled her eyes. Tiger was not a morning snake, unless it was for a good cause like chicken, and he had been complaining nonstop. 

§Or the nisse girlss who rub my sscaless and tell me nisse thingss.§

§You can go to Trascey later,§ Ivy hissed. §We’re going to go find another ssnake.§

§Why do you need another ssnake? I’m the only ssnake you will ever need.§

Ivy tried not to laugh at Tiger’s affronted tone. She held out until he started pouting as only a snake can and mumbling about how he was surely prettier than any other snake and all the snakes in the portraits said so. She burst out laughing and received a few strange looks from the few other students in the hall, who were no doubt wondering why she was laughing so suddenly to herself. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas pushed his eggs around on his plate. Somehow he had gotten roped into showing up at a quidditch practice at an hour no sane person should be awake, which explained why both Marcus and Wood were there. He had had no issue with the whole “buddy system” thing Slytherin had going on, and it hadn’t taken long to sort out the reason for it. So he had had no issue, until today. Today, for some unknown reason that made no sense whichever way he looked at it, he was somehow responsible for Ivy until lunchtime. He was fairly certain he had heard something about “babysitting” and “demon child,” from Kenneth, but it was early and he had barely been paying attention. Something about Marcus and quidditch and Malfoy and something that he apparently forgot to tell Kenneth that was now being held against him. So now he was responsible for being Ivy’s buddy for the next several hours. Maybe he could convince her to study in the library. He and Percy had found some interesting looking books there already this term. 

Then again…

Maybe she’d be interested in Arithmancy. Yes. That was a great plan. Nothing dangerous ever happened in that class. He turned to Ivy to suggest just that but immediately panicked. She was nowhere to be seen. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Where is your brother?”

Fred looked skeptically at Harrington, who looked rather panicked at the moment. Surely there was nothing he needed with Percy that called for that level of agitation. 

“Library, probably. Why?”

“I already checked there and he’s not there and I need to find him.”

“Yeah, we got that,” George chimed in. “Why do you need to find Percy?”

“I lost her,” Harrington cried out. Looks like Percy was capable of driving even Slytherins crazy. 

“Lost who?”

“IVY!”

Fred’s mouth formed a small “o” and he shared a glance and a nod with George. 

“Give us just a second,” George said, before darting around the corner. 

Fred smiled serenely at Harrington, who did not appear at all comforted. 

A moment later George reappeared. “She’s in the girl’s bathroom on the second floor.”

Harrington glanced between the two of them before turning around and taking off running. 

“Do you think he’s alright?”

“He’s been hanging around Percy. What do you think?”

“Should we help him?”

“I’m sure it’s fine.”

“Yeah, probably.”

“Although he did seem concerned about Ivy.”

“You don’t suppose she got herself into sometime of trouble, do you?”

The twins exchanged another glance. It was five days into the school year, so yes, it was entirely possibly, nay, likely, that Ivy was in some kind of trouble. 

“We’d better go…”

“Right behind you.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas ignored the confused looks he received as he dashed down the hall and into Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. Somehow he had the feeling that this was not going to bode well for him. 

As he burst through the door he was relieved to see Ivy standing there, no destruction or blood in sight. Just then he heard a giggle behind him. He whirled around and came face to face with the bathroom’s resident ghost. 

“You can come back any time, Ivy Potter, if you’re always going to bring me cute boys,” the ghost said. 

Thomas did his best to not blush at being flirted with by a ghost, because that was weird, and instead gave a half smile and turned back to Ivy who looked entirely too amused and not at all guilty for the stress she had caused him. 

“What are you doing here?” he asked. “We were supposed to stay together this morning.”

“Sorry,” she said, having the decency to look a little guilty at that. “I’m just going to the Chamber of Secrets.”

Had Thomas been stressed? No. That was nothing. This, on the other hand…

“I’m sorry, you what?”

“I’m going to the Chamber of Secrets,” she said again, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. 

Thomas was regretting not trying harder to find Percy so he could drag him into this mess. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas was now convinced he had never experienced shock of any kind in his life. He didn’t even know where to start. They were standing in the Chamber of Secrets, which they had gotten to by sliding down something covered in something else that he didn’t care to think much on. A slide that was in a girls’ bathroom, and was opened in Parseltongue, which evidently Ivy Potter could speak, because the universe hated him apparently. 

“Okay, this has been nice…” No, it had most certainly not. “…but I think it’s time to go now. You know, homework and such.”

“We can’t go yet, silly,” Ivy said, her cheerfulness a stark contrast to the doom and gloom feeling of this secret underground chamber that had been so appropriately named. “We haven’t found the basilisk yet.”

The next several moments were a blur. He was fairly certain he had heard some screaming, but he wasn’t entirely sure where it had come from. There wasn’t someone else down here with them, was there? At some point Ivy had told him to close his eyes, and he had decided that death by basilisk wasn’t the worst way to go. At least it wasn’t completely lame. There had been a lot of hissing and he counted down the seconds until his inevitable death, before hearing something he vaguely recognized as his name. 

Thomas,” the voice said. “You can open your eyes now.”

He gingerly opened one eye, and was immediately faced with a sight he hoped to never see again, no matter whether he died in the next four seconds or a century from now, which honestly wasn’t likely, but he had nothing to lose at this point. There was Ivy, petting a snake that made other snakes look like wimpy little pieces of floss. Said snake was staring at him, but he wasn’t dead yet, so he ventured another eye open. 

“Is that…”

“This is Hilda.”

“You named it?”

“Of course not, silly. She’s much older than either of us. I believe Salazar Slytherin named her, and he’s been dead for ages.”

Well, it’s not like Thomas had anything to refute that statement with. “And I’m not dead because…” Not that he was complaining, of course.

“I asked her if she could close her eyes so it didn’t hurt you.” 

“Oh.” Thomas was at a loss for words. How did one respond to something like that? “What about you?”

“Oh, she won’t hurt me. Besides, the eyes don’t work on Parselmouths.”

“That’s nice.”

“Did you know that when Voldemort…”

He was fairly confident he hid his flinch well enough.

“…went here he got control of Hilda? But he’s dead now so she’s not under his control anymore.”

So much to unpack there. “The Dark Lord went here?”

“Yep! Of course, he had a normal name and not his made up one yet.”

Thomas decided he didn’t need to know, didn’t want to know, and mostly just wanted out, but he couldn’t help but ask one last question. “How do you know all this?”

“Uncle Henry told me,” was her all too happy reply. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas’s life expectancy was rapidly falling, even without the inevitable death-by-basilisk he had been envisioning moments ago. At this rate he was going to be lucky to graduate. 

“You know,” he said, not sure how to put this, “you should maybe not tell anyone about the Chamber. Or the basilisk. Or that you’re a parselmouth.” 

“Wait, doesn’t everyone already know?”

He wasn’t sure to which part she was referring exactly, but he assured her that no, it was not common knowledge. 

Ivy frowned. “But how else did they think I talk to Tiger?”

“Not everyone can speak to their pets, you know.”

“Uncle Henry talks to Hedwig all the time.”

“That’s his owl, right?” 

Ivy nodded. He had no explanation to give her.

“Just, maybe don’t mention it to anyone just yet, alright? Some people have a tendency to freak out over things like that.”

“Really? When we were at the Malfoys’ party and everyone found out Henry was a parselmouth they all thought it was really cool.”

“Yes, well, not everyone thinks that, and some people might not be very nice about it if they found out.”

How do you explain to one of the nicest people (encounters with idiots excepted) in Hogwarts that a lot of people were adamantly opposed to you favorite person in the world because of an ability most considered dark, and that that same level of loathing might easily be applied to you should the ability be discovered? 

Ivy continued frowning. “And you’re sure everyone doesn’t already know?”

He nodded. “Yeah. Pretty sure,” he managed to get out. 

Well, at least she seemed more concerned that everyone else had seemed to miss something she had apparently not actually been trying to hide up to this point, rather than the prospect that some people might react poorly should they actually find out. And honestly it did not fill Thomas with confidence that she had managed to keep something like this a secret entirely on accident. What else had he missed? Well, there was that giant basilisk named Hilda that had either been adopted by Ivy or had adopted her (it was hard to tell) for one thing. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

§Sso what did you think?§

§Sshe wass magnifissent,§ Tiger said. §Our new mother ssnake is lovely.§

§Iss that why sshe called us hatchlingss?§ Ivy asked. 

§Sshe iss very old,§ Tiger said by way of reply. §Sshe can teach uss how to be good ssnakess.§

Ivy hmmed. §Do you think I sshould keep all thiss a ssecret?§

Tiger couldn’t exactly scoff, but she was pretty sure that’s the type of response he was giving. §Of coursse,§ he said. §We jusst found her and I don’t want to sshare.§

Ivy laughed. §Of coursse you don’t,§ she teased. §But I meant about me being able to sspeak to you.§

§Why sshould it matter what thosse people think? If they are mean to you I can jusst eat them.§

§You can’t eat people jusst becausse they are mean,§ Ivy said, rolling her eyes. 

Tiger muttered something about asking mother if he could and just try to stop him, and then demanded to be taken back to the chicken room. Ivy rolled her eyes again and then complied, taking the now content snake to the Great Hall for lunch. 

§I think we forgot Thomass again,§ she said. 

§I am ssure he will be fine,§ Tiger replied. §He probably needss more ssleep, alwayss sso sstressed. I’ll help him ssleep tonight.§

Ivy patted Tiger on his head in appreciation for his thoughtful gesture. 

§Now no more delayss,§ he said. §It’ss chicken time.§

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

When Thomas awoke in the middle of the night with a snake on his chest he was grateful he had had the foresight to place silencing charms around his bed. His reputation did not need the hit that waking the entire Slytherin House with his high-pitched screams would have brought. Of course, that gratitude didn’t come until the screams stopped, and twenty minutes after he awoke he realized it was just Tiger, and so was finally able to move past the terror and onto the feeling of immense gratitude that he decided to focus on for the remainder of the night. 

The next morning when Kenneth tired to wake him he cursed in every language he knew, and then grimaced as he set about undoing the damage he had accidentally caused on a less-than-happy Kenneth Burke. To be fair, he wasn’t much of a morning person. 

Chapter Text

September 13, 1992

Lucius scowled as he read the latest note from one of his sources that no one needed to know about. Absolutely nothing had been uncovered regarding Lockhart, and this would most certainly not do. It was nearly two weeks into the school year and he still did not possess a shred of evidence to use against Dumbledore’s latest excuse for a professor, and although Severus had assured him that Lockhart was being watched closely, he would still much rather have the situation taken care of sooner than later. Despite the lack of evidence he did not find himself doubting Black or Peverell at all. If they said there was reason to be concerned, he found himself surprisingly willing to believe it. 

So where was the evidence? Lucius doubted whether any wizard was capable of leaving absolutely no trail behind, especially for one as acclaimed as Lockhart, regardless of how fantastical his exploits sounded. Unless… 

Oh, and wouldn’t that just be an absolute scandal. The good kind that doesn’t involve you. What if Lockhart had been less than truthful in his stories? It would certainly explain how there did not appear to be any witnesses to any of his supposed adventures, and now that he thought about it, Peverell had hinted as much. 

He sat down to respond to his sources that no, he has absolutely no idea who you are talking about, Mr. Auror. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 16, 1992

Harry handed Sirius the letter from Malfoy. “Tell me what you think?”

Sirius skimmed over it and choked a little as he got to the end. “Is he really…”

“Yep. Seems like it.”

“How did he even…”

“No idea.”

“And we’re going to…”

“I don’t see why not.”

Sirius puffed his cheeks and then exhaled. “Well, I guess that’s one way to go about it.”

Harry huffed a dry laugh. “Yeah, you could say that.”

“It’s a pity we didn’t think of it ourselves.”

Harry gave Sirius a look. “Because we both love the Daily Prophet so much.”

Seventh. But you know what? That’s not important right now.”

Harry didn’t comment, though he dearly wanted to. 

“What is important is that we may have another way to get Lockhart out of there.”

“Yes, I think that was Lucius’s intention when he decided to destroy Lockhart’s reputation and call his credentials into question.”

Sirius didn’t acknowledge Harry’s sarcasm and simply continued speaking. “If people begin to doubt Lockhart, then they’ll place him under greater scrutiny, and that could reveal enough to get him ousted from Hogwarts.”

“Again, pretty sure that was Lucius’s plan.”

“So now we need to make a plan.”

“Or we could just go along with Lucius’s plan.”

“We’re going to need to get a few reporters on our side.”

“Like the ones Lucius mentions here? See, paragraph three.”

“And some credible-ish sources to disparage his character, abilities, all that.”

“Oh look, here’s a complete list on page two.Would you look at that.”

“Somehow we need to get some kind of hard evidence. Photo, preferably.”

“Like the four Lucius included here?”

“I don’t know how we’ll do it…”

“Since Lucius already did.”

“But somehow we’ll manage.”

Harry stared at Sirius. “You really don’t want to have to work with Lucius, do you.”

“What ever gave you that completely accurate and entirely correct idea?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry sighed at the sight of Sirius and Lucius staring each other down. Glaring each other down more like it. 

He cleared his throat. Neither so much as twitched. 

He tried again. Still nothing. 

Finally, deciding that this was going to get them nowhere, he reasoned that someone had to be the adult in this situation, so he left to go see if he could find Narcissa. This was going to be a long night. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 17, 1992

“What do you think?” Harry, Sirius, and Lucius all watched Narcissa and Sabrina closely for any reaction to the plan that was, in their humble opinion, brilliant. 

The ladies nodded politely but without the enthusiasm they were hoping for. 

“What’s wrong with it?” Sirius enquired, definitely not put out at the lack of compliments on Lucius’s their plan. 

“Oh, it’s fine,” Sabrina reassured them. “It’s just that it lacks a little…” She looked at Narcissa.

“Devastation?” Narcissa suggested. 

Sabrina nodded. “Yes. I mean, I’m sure this would be sufficient, but it’s not nearly as devastating as would be preferable.”

“I agree,” Narcissa said. “If you are going to tear someone apart in the press it really ought to be so much more…”

“Calamitous,” Sabrina offered. 

The three men looked at them, each wondering exactly how their plan could possibly be made even more devastating to Lockhart. 

An hour later they found out, and each silently swore to never get on the bad side of these two.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 20, 1992

Lucius put down his morning paper and swore. He ran to the floo, tossed some powder in and called out the address, only realizing that he was forgetting something when he was forcibly thrown back. Oh, right. No one could actually floo themselves into Peverell’s home without his inviting them in first. Hastily rectifying that mistake, he sent a quick message off to Peverell requesting admittance. A reply was soon received and he once again made his way to the floo. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, what’s you looking so chipper this morning?” Sirius asked a scowling Lucius, who thrust him that morning’s edition of the Daily Prophet. 

Sirius let loose a rather creative string of curses. 

“That one’s new,” Harry remarked jokingly as he came into the room. Catching sight of Lucius he asked, “so what’s going on?”

Sirius handed him the newspaper. 

Harry swore. 

On the front page, in big, bold letters was the headline : HOGWARTS PROFESSOR MISSING

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Alright, so what do we do now?”

“No idea.”

“Do you think he’s dead?”

“Or maybe he just ran away?”

“How do we confirm this?”

“I’m not trusting any report until there’s a body.”

“Why wasn’t the board of governors informed of this right away?”

“He’s not an animagus, is he?”

“You didn’t wake up with an extra peacock in your yard, did you Malfoy?”

Lucius scowled at Sirius who grinned. 

“Guys, pay attention,” Harry said. 

“Wait, does this mean we don’t get to use the blackmail folder?”

Lucius and Harry each stared at Sirius for a moment. 

“He does realize it’s not actually blackmail, right?” Lucius asked, leaning over to Harry. 

“Yeah,” Harry replied, “he just thought it sounded cooler.”

“Of course he did,” Lucius muttered, ignoring the voice in his head that said it was, in fact, cooler. 

“So how do you think this happened?” Harry asked a little louder. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Two days earlier

§Why iss everyone bussy?§ Ivy asked. 

Tiger made a little sound indicating either that everyone was stupid or he didn’t care. Or possibly both. §Why do you need ssomeone anyway? I am perfectly acsceptable company,§ he insisted. 

§Of course you are,§ Ivy assured him, §but I’m ssupossed to have ssomeone elsse with me when I go and Thomass made me promisse not to forget again.§ 

§Then go find him. He’ss not sso botherssome.§

§He’ss sstudying.§

§Why doess he have to do ssomething ass ssilly ass that? He already heard it onsce.§

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Terence, could you go with me to Lockhart’s office? Everyone else is busy. It’ll be fast, I promise.”

Terence shrugged and followed the smallest member of the quidditch team out of the common room. He was done with his homework already so it wasn’t like he had anything better to do. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So why do you need to go to Lockhart’s office?”

“I wanted to ask him to sign Hermione’s books. It’s her birthday tomorrow.” 

Terence made a face and Ivy laughed. “I know, but she really likes him for some reason.”

Terence continued making a face that was a combination of horror and disbelief all the way until they arrived at the professor’s door. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oh of course I’d be happy to sign them. Anything for a fan such as yourself.”

Terence scowled at the professor but was out of his line of sight so wasn’t noticed except by Ivy, who rolled her eyes. 

As the professor ran out the door to grab his “special autograph quill,” Terence made a gagging sound and Ivy laughed. 

“You sure you don’t want one too?” 

He scowled. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Oh, thiss iss nisce, Tiger thought. Sso many lovely ssmellss… And are thosse eggss I ssmell? 

He slithered out of Ivy’s robe pocket and went, unnoticed, over to the enticing scent. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Thank you, Professor,” Icy said cheerfully, dragging a grumpy Terence behind her as they left. “See, that wasn’t so bad.”

Terence felt very much otherwise. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As Tiger finished up the last of the eggs that had been sitting there so invitingly in a secure box on the fourth shelf, he heard the silly man who lived here start to mutter. Then he heard his speaker’s name, and began paying closer attention. What did that silly man want with his speaker? He didn’t know what all those things meant. Maybe the big mother snake knew. She was very wise. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

§Don’t you worry about a thing, little hatchling. Mother will take care of everything.§

Tiger slithered away, quite content that the big mother snake knew what to do. She would look out for his little speaker. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Draco, did you hear something?”

“What? Where?”

“Just now? It sounded like it was coming from the over here.”

“That’s just a wall.”

“Well maybe there’s something on the other side of it.”

“Pretty sure there’s not.”

Ivy shrugged. “Maybe it was nothing.”

“Can we please get back to this transfiguration essay now?”

“Why are you so eager to finish?”

“Because I was this close to beating Granger last time.”

Ivy rolled her eyes at her friend and turned her attention back to the essay. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 19, 1992

“Did you hear? Professor Lockhart is missing.”

“Wait, really? Where’d you hear that?”

“It’s all over the school! No one had seen him all day.”

“But it’s Saturday. Are you sure he didn’t just leave the castle.”

“No, he was supposed to host a question and answer session about his latest book, but he never showed up.”

“Maybe he forgot?”

“He reminded us in class yesterday. Nine times.”

“Okay, point. But are you positive he’s missing?”

Yes. Now shush. I have to finish writing my uncle.”

You’re the one that brought this up. And which one, the reporter?”

“That’s the one.”

“What’re you writing him for?”

“He always said to write him if anything interesting happens.”

“How is one professor not showing up today something interesting?”

“Because it’s Lockhart.”

“That’s a terrible reason.”

“It’s still the most interesting thing that’s happened all year.”

“We haven’t even been here three weeks.”

“I know that, but it’s still the only interesting thing that’s happened so far.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 20, 1992

§What do you have there? It ssmellss like other sspeaker.§

Ivy laughed. §It’ss a letter from Henry,§ she said. 

§Doess he have anything interessting to ssay or iss it jusst another boring sset of wordss?§

§Well, he’ss assking about the professsor that went misssing.§

§Ssilly man?§

§Are of Trascey’ss namess going to sstick?§ Ivy teased 

§Of coursse. Sshe hass ssuch good oness.§

Ivy laughed again. §Yess sshe doess. And yess, it’ss ssilly man. No one hass sseen him for two whole dayss.§

§Well, big mother ssnake did ssay sshe would take care of it.§

§Take care of what?§

Tiger didn’t respond, instead finding a warm spot to curl up in. 

§Tiger, what did sshe ssay?§

She received no response. 

§Tiger…§

§Sshussh, little sspeaker. My chickenss need to ssettle.§

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 21, 1992

“Okay, I think we can safely say Lockhart is dead.”

“What? How do you know?”

“Umm… the details aren’t really that important…”

Sirius, Lucius, and Remus all gave Harry a look. They were teaming up against him and it was terrible. 

“See, I got this letter from Ivy…”

“Harry…”

“And I had asked her about Lockhart…”

“Harry…”

“And there’s a slight possibility that he was, um, disposed of by Slytherin’s monster.”

Several awkward seconds of silence followed. 

“Why on earth would she know that?” Lucius asked. “Or think that? Slytherin’s monster? Are you sure that’s even real?”

“Yes,” came the simultaneous replies from Harry, Sirius, and Remus. 

Lucius’s eye twitched but he didn’t say anything further.

“Great, so Lockhart is a Basilisk snack and…”

“WHAT?”

Harry and Remus shot a glare at Sirius. 

“THERE’S A BASILISK AT HOGWARTS?”

“No?” 

Lucius joined Harry and Remus in glaring at Sirius. 

“Would it help if I said everything is under control?”

“No,” came the triple response. 

Sirius looked a little guilty but then seemed to realize something. “Hey, how would Ivy know there was a basilisk at Hogwarts anyway?”

Sirius and Remus both turned to stare at Harry, whose turn it now was to look sheepish. Lucius also looked his way with a single eyebrow raised. 

“I think some explanations are in order,” Lucius said pointedly, his tone indicating that it was not a suggestion. 

The four men took their seats again, Remus muttering something about leaving them alone a week. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry and Sirius explained as best they could to Lucius the situation with the basilisk at the school without revealing any sensitive details about Harry’s origins. Remus seemed content to let the two handle the explanation on their own, returning their occasional looks for help with a look that clearly said “this is your mess.”

When they reached the conclusion of their account Lucius sat for a moment looking rather contemplative. 

“So, the girl-who-lived is a parselmouth. I take it that is not a widely known fact.”

Harry and Sirius looked frantically to Remus, who just mouthed “your mess.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“How did he even figure that out?”

“Merlin, I can’t believe you told Ivy about the basilisk.”

“It was an impulsive decision, Sirius. Besides, it all worked out.”

“Yeah, except for the fact that Lucius Malfoy figured out that Ivy is a parselmouth.”

“It could be worse.”

Sirius went to argue something or other but Remus put a stop to it. “Enough,” he said. “Harry, I can’t believe you told Ivy about the basilisk, and Sirius, I can’t believe you blabbed about it in front of Lucius.”

One week. Remus had left them for one week. That was the last time he left them alone for anything not full moon related, and even then, Harry was a competent wizard and Sirius could change with him. So no. They were not going to left unsupervised ever. He needed to find a job closer to home…

“Hey, just a thought, but what happens now?”

Remus looked up at Harry and noticed Sirius doing the same. 

Harry shifted a bit in his seat. “I just mean, Lockhart was there the entire year before. And this time it’s only a couple weeks into the year, so who takes over now?”

An idea formed in Remus’s mind. It took about four seconds but he was confident it was a solid plan. “I do.”

Sirius spun his head around and looked at him. “What?”

“I do. I go teach. I don’t think it’d be that hard to get Dumbledore to hire me, and that way I can keep an eye on things there.” But not not these two. Oh well. It’d probably be fine. 

“But… It’s a whole year early. What about next year?”

Remus shrugged. “What guarantee do we have that I’d be hired next year anyway? No Sirius in Azkaban means no Sirius escaping Azkaban, so no interest on Dumbledore’s part to get me at Hogwarts. But right now he might be interested, especially if I express concern over Ivy’s safety, and make it sound like I’ll go along with his ideas.”

“I don’t know Moony…”

“How would you convince him of that?”

“I have my ways,” he said, not giving any other details.  

Neither of them questioned him further. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 24, 1992

“That was fast.”

Sirius nodded in agreement. “How’d you manage that, Moony?”

Remus shuddered. “Don’t ask.”

“O…kay? So, are you already to go be the best defense teacher Hogwarts ever had?”

Remus nodded. “Yeah. Say, would you two mind going over the timeline again? I just want to make sure I don’t miss anything.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“No, no, keep going.”

“But that’s… the entire year?”

“I know, but keep going.”

“Alright. So summer after second year…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Okay now talk me through fourth year.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Harry shrugged and continued talking.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And he was in Crouch’s house that whole time?”

“Yeah, why?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, you already to go?”

Remus looked up at Sirius. “Oh, yeah. Just have one little thing to take care of before I go.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 26, 1992

“Remus… who is that?”

“I think you know.”

“Can I ask why he’s in my house?”

“Yes.”

Harry looked at Remus warily. “Okay… so why is Barty Crouch Jr. standing in my house?”

“Glad you asked. Barty, this is Lord Peverell. Say hello.”

Crouch glared at Remus and then at Harry, a silencing charm, muggle gag, body bind, and ropes for good measure preventing him from doing much else. 

Harry’s eye twitched. “SIRIUS,” he called out, his eye never leaving the glaring Barty Crouch Jr standing in front of him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So let me get this straight. You want us to look after him. Crouch. Death eater, crazy person Crouch.”

“Yes.”

Harry’s eye twitched for the forty second time that day. “Great. Glad we cleared that up. Now, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR BLOODY MIND?”

Remus looked far too calm for this. “I’m sure you two will be fine.”

“At the risk of repeating myself for the seventeenth time, why?”

“Because no one deserves that,” Remus replied, his voice betraying no emotion even though the pain was evident in his face. 

Harry deflated, and next to him Sirius put his head in his hands. Neither of them could really argue against that. Just then a pop sounded behind Sirius and they both whirled around to face the intruder. 

“Oh, and this is Winky,” Remus added calmly. “She’ll be staying with you as well.”

Harry groaned and Sirius’s face lit up with what was probably a terrible idea. 

“I’ll be right back,” he said. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius returned a short time later with a scowling Kreacher in tow. 

Harry stared at him for a moment. “Why.”

Sirius grinned. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

This was not how Harry had envisioned his day going. It was Saturday, meaning it was one of the busier days in the Alley, meaning it was the perfect day to stay home and engage in such important activities as flying, reading some parenting books, or writing to Ivy. Not reluctantly acquiring two house elves (sorry Hermione, he thought, cringing), or an insane ex-death eater who tried to kill you in a previous world. 

And also, no, he did not have any residual trauma, Sirius. He was perfectly fine. It was just that he didn’t really want to deal with… this. He mentally gestured to everything. 

And now Remus was leaving. At first he had been excited that Remus was going to Hogwarts, but now he thought it was the worst idea anyone had every thought of in the history of ever. How Remus leave him. He was the one that needed Remus. Ivy had Percy, and those other sixth years that she always talked about, and all her friends in second year, and Luna, and Fred and George, and Tiger, and now the basilisk apparently and… Oh yes, Harry could see where Remus might be needed at some point. 

Fiiiine. Still didn’t mean he had to like it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

September 28, 1992

Of all the terrible Mondays that had ever been, this was the worst. Severus glared down the row of seats at the third worst person Dumbledore could have possibly chosen as the new defense professor. The first, of course, was Black, since he was a terrible human being. The second was Narcissa, because there was no way he would survive her matchmaking attempts if he had to deal with her year round, and the third was sitting a few seats down from him. Remus Lupin. What was Dumbledore thinking? 

No, don’t answer that. It would probably be unpleasant. 

But still, Lupin? Was there really no one else available? Although, considering how long the last one lasted he had to admit, if only to himself, that there might not have been a lot of options. 

And hadn’t Lupin seemed opposed to the headmaster the last time Severus had (unfortunately) encountered him? So why the change? Unless there wasn’t a change… So if Dumbledore hadn’t convinced Lupin to come, who…

Peverell. As with everything else lately, it all came back to Peverell. It made perfect sense, really. Peverell plants suspicions regarding the new professor, and, whether real or not (though Severus was inclined to believe them), limits the amount of sympathy the professor receives once he is disposed of. It was a solid plan, really, to make sure fewer people were interested in finding out what happened to the man, if, indeed, he had had anything to do with it. 

Severus’s gut was telling him that no, Peverell wasn’t directly involved in Lockhart’s disappearance, but it wasn’t a possibility he was willing to discount entirely at the moment. 

So once the other professor was gotten rid of, Peverell was presented with the perfect opportunity to get his own man hired. So why go through all this trouble? Why not simply get Lupin hired from the beginning? Peverell certainly had enough influence to get something like that done. 

Unless he hadn’t had a need until now… 

So what could have changed? 

Severus’s mind circled back to the letter he had received from Lord Peverell shortly before the beginning of the term. Perhaps that was the change? He recalled Lucius’s account of the bookstore incident. Yes, that had to be it. 

Well, regardless of the reasons or circumstances leading up to this, Lupin was here now, and Severus would not let an opportunity to learn more about Peverell go to waste. 

Which meant interacting with Lupin……………. *sigh*

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 1, 1992

“This isn’t working.”

Sirius gave Harry a really-I-had-absolutely-no-idea-please-do-tell-me-more look. 

“We need to do something about this.”

Sirius gave Harry the look once more for emphasis. 

“We need a plan.”

Once more, for kicks and giggles. 

“Well?”

Sirius loved Harry, he really did. But why did he have to be the adult here? As eager as he was to get crazy-mc-death-eater over there to shut up for two seconds about the dark lord and how he was going to come rescue him, he was really hoping to avoid having to deal with this situation directly. Or at all. Not at all would be nice. 

“I’m sure you’ll think of something.” Sirius stood to leave Harry to his planning, but Harry stopped him. 

“Oh no you don’t,” Harry said, putting a hand against Sirius’s chest and pushing him back into his seat. “If I have to deal with Kreacher you can help me deal with baby-daddy-issues over there.”

Sirius opened his mouth to protest but a glare from Harry silenced him before he could begin. 

And then a thought struck. A brilliant, beautiful thought. Sirius, he thought to himself, you are a genius. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry watched as Sirius left the room with growing dread. That was Sirius’s I-have-an-idea face, which often correlated with the I-have-an-idea-that-is-probably-going-to-end-in-disaster face. 

Disaster. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius whistled to himself. This was the best plan he had had in months. Absolutely brilliant, and he was positive there was absolutely nothing that could possibly go wrong. 

Entering the makeshift keep-a-crazy-death-eater-contained room that they were not calling a dungeon on principle (except in his mind on occasion when Crouch got really annoying), he called out to the room’s glaring occupant. “How are you doing there, Crouch? Come on, let’s take a little walk outside.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Sirius… Where are you going with Crouch?”

“We’re just going on a little walk.”

Harry kept a close eye on the two as they made their way to the back door, one whistling cheerfully and one scowling the entire way. “No murder in the backyard,” he called out, just as they were leaving.  

There. That should take care of it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Alright Crouch. Here’s the deal. That guy in there, Lord Peverell? Defeated the dark lord. Did him in. Gone. And now he got you out.”

Technically Remus had, and Harry didn’t want anything to do with Crouch, but that wasn’t important right now. 

“And you know what? No one even knows. He did it without batting an eye or drawing attention at all. Just went in there and BAM! One dark lord gone.”

It was best to stick with simple explanations at times. 

“And not only is he Lord Peverell, but he’s also Lord Slytherin.”

Crouch’s head shot up at that and although he was still glaring Sirius could detect a hint of interest. Now they were getting somewhere. 

“Oh yeah. He’s Lord Slytherin alright. The real one. So much better than that upstart wannabe.”

The shock in Crouch’s face at such a pronouncement was a memory Sirius would treasure forever. 

“So obviously he’s a much better person to follow than old Moldyshorts.”

Crouch didn’t even look appalled by that last statement, Sirius thought with a satisfied smirk. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 3, 1992

“What. Did. You. Do.”

Sirius looked at Harry with perfect innocence. “Who, me? Why, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Did I do something? Hmm, let me think. Oh, that’s right. I just solved our problem. You’re welcome by the way.”

Harry’s face conveyed many emotions at the moment, but Sirius couldn’t help but feel that the gratitude was seriously lacking. Ha. Serious. Like… No, he got it. Moving on. 

“What did you do to him?”

“What makes you think I did anything?”

Harry’s eye twitched. Sirius could agree with Ivy. It was sort of amusing to see.

“He’s been following me around like a lovesick puppy for two days and you want me to believe that you had nothing to do with it?”

“And have you heard him mention Voldie once since then? I don’t think so. So again, you’re welcome.”

Harry’s eye twitched again. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

He had a minion. He had a bloody ex-death eater minion, and Sirius saw absolutely nothing wrong with this. How had his life come to this?

No, don’t answer that. He didn’t need to think about it any more. 

Really it all boiled down to that fact that fate hated him and being the so-called Master of Death had done absolutely nothing to change that. Some good that was. 

And now, thanks to Remus and Sirius, Harry was stuck with Barty Crouch Jr. of all people. And what was he supposed to do with him? Had anyone thought that through? No. They had just flung a crazed ex-death eater with major daddy issues and hero worship at him and expected him to somehow figure a way through this mess. 

Well, there wasn’t really any other option… 

He couldn’t very well take Barty out in public, at least not right now, and if he was ever going to be able to he would need to get Barty a new name, identity, make sure he wasn’t recognized by anyone and… 

That meant goblins. 

Oh, Sirius was seriously going to get it and don’t you even say it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Barty, come here for a second. I have something I want to talk to you about.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 4, 1992

“Haaaarrrrrrrrryyyy…..”

Harry grinned at Sirius’s wail, and gave Barty a mock salute on his way out the door which was returned with a grin. Oh yes, maybe this wouldn’t be so bad after all. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry tapped his finger against his leg nervously. It was always a bit of a tossup when it came to dealing with the goblins. Encounters with them could either be uncomfortable or downright terrifying, and Harry was sincerely hoping for the former this morning. 

“Ah, Lord Peverell, how can Gringotts assist you today?”

Harry took a deep breath. It was go time. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Something was suspicious. At first the goblins hadn’t looked particularly happy with Harry’s request, which ordinarily could be considered a good thing, but in this particular instance did not fill Harry with any measure of comfort. Instead, they had appeared to be rather disappointed in the reason for his visit. Were they expecting something else? 

But now they were happy (*shudder*) again. So what was going on? Definitely suspicious. 

“Alright, here you are. A complete identity for one…” The goblin peered at the top document. “Barton Varinius Parry.”

Harry accepted the stack of documents, wondering if this was really going to work. 

“As per your request a limited access account has been opened in his name, with you as controller.”

Harry nodded. 

“Also included there are academic records and supporting documents that will all be available per request through the appropriate ministry channels. Anything else?”

Harry shook his head, deciding it was better to leave quickly before something could happen. 

The goblin led him out to the main lobby, which was a little unusual since he was usually able to show himself out at this point, but at least he was almost out. 

“Have a very pleasant day, Lord Peverell-Slytherin.”

Harry was sure every witch and wizard for a mile around could hear his panicked breathing. So that’s what the goblins were up to today. 

Harry swore and apparated straight from the lobby, not bothering to walk the rest of the way out. 

Chapter Text

October 4, 1992

Roderick Harrington handed his wife the latest letter from their son. 

“What do you make of this?” he asked.

Samira skimmed it over. “Well that is a rather particular request, but I don’t see why it should be a problem.”

Roderick waved her off. “Of course it’s not a problem, but why now? Did something happen? Is there something he’s not telling us? What if…”

Samira laughed. “Oh you worry far too much, darling. I’m sure everything is fine, and if it were otherwise Thomas would tell us right away.”

Roderick let out a breath. “I’m sure you’re right.” Catching his wife’s smirk he added, “as usual,” and leaned down to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. 

“He probably just got a girlfriend and wants a better way to stay in touch.”

Roderick gasped, to Samira’s amusement. “What do you mean? He hasn’t said anything about a girlfriend. Where would he have met a girl any… Oh right, Hogwarts. But, if he had a girlfriend there he wouldn’t need an owl, right?” He paused to see his wife’s response, but the knowing smile she had was no source of comfort. “Right?” he added once more.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 5, 1992

Thomas walked into his dorm room only to see Eric reading over the letter from his father. 

“Since when do you have a girlfriend?”

“Since when do you read other people’s letters?”

“Since they are sitting on top of a book on courting etiquette.”

Merlin, he had forgotten to stash that book away somewhere. He was now officially doomed. There was no way this wasn’t going to get out by the end of the day. 

“Right, well, let me just move these out of the way…”

“So, whose the girl?”

“…”

“Or…guy?”

“…” Think, Thomas, think. Make up something, fast.

“Hey Thomas, I’m going to go see Hilda. Do you want to come?”

Thomas had never been more happy to hear Ivy Potter’s voice and he didn’t even care that she was suggesting he go see a basilisk. Again. 

“Who’s Hilda? Is that your girlfriend?” 

The sudden look of pure joy on Ivy’s face made his heart sink into his gut and he shot a glare at Eric, who looked confused as if he didn’t know exactly what kind of trouble he was causing Thomas at the moment. The fact that he probably did not, in fact, know what he was doing was of little comfort and therefore ignored. 

Meanwhile, by this point Ivy’s face had reached impressive heights of unadulterated joy and excitement. Thanks, Eric. You’re the worst. 

“You have a girlfriend?”

Thomas winced and braced himself for the oncoming onslaught. 

“How long? Is she pretty? Do I know her? Is she in Slytherin? Or one of the other houses? Is she in your year? What’s her name? Does she go to Hogwarts? Can I meet her? Do you…”

“FRENCH,” Thomas shouted, slightly startling Eric, Ivy, and Corvin who had been sitting inconspicuously on his bed up until this moment. Seeing the three stares he cleared his throat and continued on with the falsehood he hoped wouldn’t come back to haunt him. “She’s French,” he said again, “so you probably don’t know her.”

Ivy’s excitement did not abate in the slightest. “So what’s her name?”

His two roommates stared at him expectantly. Well, in for a penny…

“Adélie.” And now he really needed to write her and see if she’d be okay with this for the foreseeable future. If he was lucky he wouldn’t get a cursed note back. 

“So… who’s Hilda then?” 

“My owl,” Thomas said a little too quickly, wondering if Azkaban was worth strangling Eric. “We’re going to go see my owl.”

Ivy opened her mouth but Thomas rushed over and escorted her out before anyone could say anything else and further complicate his day, existence, and life expectancy. 

As they left out he heard Eric ask Corvin, “since when does Thomas have an owl?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So you named your owl Hilda?” Ivy asked, stroking the bird’s feathers. 

“Yes…”

Ivy beamed up at him. “I knew you liked her. I’ll tell her. She’ll be so happy to hear. I tell her about all my friends you know.”

Thomas couldn’t figure out a way to tell Ivy that he had an owl for the express purpose of covering up any evidence that she went to go see a giant basilisk regularly and just nodded his head. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So who’s Adélie?”

Thomas groaned. How had this reached Percy of all people already?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 6, 1992

“We need to talk.”

Remus watched bemusedly as Snape barged into his office and tossed down a newspaper on his desk. Remus looked at it for a moment and then back at the agitated Snape. 

“That’s yesterday’s newspaper,” he noted, not sure why he felt the need to point that out. 

“Yes I know that is yesterday’s paper. What I want to know is why it says this,” Snape said, gesturing to the headline. 

PEVERELL CLAIMS SLYTHERIN TITLE

Remus winced. Yeah, this hadn’t been the best headline to wake up to yesterday. He had already sent a strongly worded letter to Harry and Sirius. 

He cleared his throat. “Well, it seems that Lord Peverell is also Lord Slytherin.”

Snape did not appear at all impressed with that response. “Thank you, Lupin, for stating the obvious. I am already aware that Lord Peverell somehow claimed the title. My question is why this is coming out now and not a month or two ago?”

Remus opened his mouth and closed it again. “You, uh, already knew about that?”

Snape just glared at him. 

Remus sighed. “What do you want to know?” he asked resignedly, reminding himself that Harry had said Snape was ultimately trustworthy. He really hoped this wasn’t a mistake. 

“How was he able to claim the title? The last known claimant was…”

“The Dark Lord, I know.” If Snape was surprised by his choice of name he didn’t show it. 

“But even he never claimed the full title.”

Remus nodded and rubbed the back of his neck. “Uh, yeah, about that. Seems like your soul has to be fully in tact to be able to claim a title.”

“Explain,” Snape demanded. 

“What do you know about horcruxes?”

Snape paled and Remus sighed. This was going to be a long conversation. 

“Are you suggesting that the Dark Lord created one?”

Remus nodded grimly. “More than one.”

Snape paled further. “How many?”

“Five intentional, one accidental.” 

Accidental?”

“Ivy,” Remus said, interrupting whatever disbelieving exclamation Snape was going to make. “That night, the curse… Part of him was left behind. Ivy’s scar…”

“So she does have a scar.”

Remus nodded. “Yes. It was on her forehead, but when Harry took her to Gringotts they removed the horcrux and moved the scar to a less visible location.”

“Albus wasn’t thrilled about that,” Snape muttered. 

Remus huffed. “No surprise there.”

Snape raised an eyebrow. 

“He has a bit too much interest in Ivy for ou… for my liking.”

Snape’s eyebrow remained raised but he didn’t comment on that further, for which Remus was thankful. 

“So the Horcrux in Potter is gone.”

Remus nodded. 

“And there are five others?”

Remus nodded again. “All destroyed now.”

Snape didn’t hide his surprise at that. 

“After finding the one in Ivy, Harry found the others and destroyed them all.” Not the entire truth, but not exactly a lie. 

“And now he holds the title,” Snape mused. Speaking louder he said, “and I take it the headmaster has not been informed of any of these events?”

Snape must of caught the darkening look on Remus’s face because he sat up a little and his hand tightened around his wand. 

“No,” Remus said, trying (but somewhat failing) to relax and resume a less agitated expression. “He hasn’t been told any of this.” Remus gave Snape a pointed stare that he hoped conveyed the expectation that Dumbledore wouldn’t hear it from Snape either. 

Snape gave him a nod, his hand loosening its grip on his wand slightly. 

“And what of Lord Peverell?”

“What of him?”

“What are his aims? His goals?”

Remus caught the unasked question. Was Harry looking to replace Voldemort in more than one title. “No, he’s…” Remus wasn’t sure what more to share. “He’s on Ivy’s side. He wants her safe, and happy. He… Harry cares. So much. He cares about the people around him, and about Ivy most of all.”

Snape looked like he was about to mumble something about Gryffindor sensibilities or something like that, but to Remus’s surprise he stuck out his hand.

“Well then I believe I would very much like to make his acquaintance,” he said as Remus took his hand. “He seems like an… interesting man.”

Remus let out a dry snort. “You have no idea,” he said softly. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus couldn’t believe himself. Only a few minutes in Lupins office and the Gryffindorness was already rubbing off on him. He had practically just committed himself to being on their side, whatever that was. A side that included (as far as he could tell), Lupin, Black, and Lord Peverell-Slytherin who he had never actually met, though based on the company he kept Severus wasn’t going to keep his hopes up. Although it apparently also included Lucius to some extent. Did Lucius know about the defeat of the Dark Lord? It was an unspoken agreement between the two of them that they did not speak about the Dark Lord if at all possible. It was actually a rather easy topic to avoid. But now it might be time to broach it once more… 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 7, 1992

Fleur looked at her friend who had nearly toppled off her bed from laughter. 

“Qu'est-ce qui t'amuse autant?” 

Adélie handed her the letter that was nearly crumpled from her rolling on top of it during her giggling fit. 

Fleur tried to read it but it was in English and she didn’t know a lot of the words. She scrunched her nose. “Ça dit quoi?”

“Thomas…” Adélie gasped for breath as she tried to regain her composure. “Thomas a besoin d'une fausse petite amie.” 

“Pourquoi?” Fleur asked, frowning. She remembered Adélie talking about the English boy she had become friend with, but wasn’t sure why he would be writing her with something like this. That didn’t seem like a good way to ask a girl out. 

“Tout le monde pense qu'il a une petite amie et il essaie de les distraire du fait qu'il n'en a pas.”

“Et donc il vous a écrit?” Fleur said, still frowning. 

“Il m'a demandé s'il pouvait parfois m'écrire. Félicitez-moi, Fleur, j'ai un faux copain maintenant,” Adélie said saucily. With that she burst out laughing again and this time Fleur joined in, if not quite as exuberantly, wondering if all English boys were this strange. Why ask her to be his fake girlfriend instead of his real one? Was this some strange English custom she was unaware of?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 10, 1992

“Ah, Severus, come in, my boy.”

Severus gritted his teeth and walked into the headmaster’s office. He was thirty two for Merlin’s sake. 

Resignedly he sat down and prepared for the oncoming interrogation, conspiracy theory, or lecture, whatever it might be today. It was probably about Peverell, though why Albus had waited this long to bring it up was beyond him. Maybe he had exhausted his own avenues of inquiry and was now looking to Severus to provide more details? Merlin, he hoped not.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Two hours. It took two hours to convince Albus bloody something something Dumbledore that he didn’t know anything about Peverell-Slytherin, Lockhart’s demise (except for the rumors that Severus knew Albus had already heard), Voldemort’s status or whereabouts, or anything else that Albus might possibly be interested in. It was all a lie, of course, but Severus had been successfully lying to accomplished Legilimens for years. No point stopping now. 

Thank Merlin it was Saturday and he wasn’t needed in the castle this particular day. Finally reaching the end of the school’s wards he apparated on the spot. Time to deal with this, and if he was acting like a bloody Gryffindor it was probably Lupin’s fault. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lucius was enjoying his afternoon tea in peace until the wards alerted him to the presence of someone who was freely admitted. That list was rather short, so Lucius got up quickly to see what was going on. He wasn’t expecting anyone today, and few people dropped by unannounced except…

“Ah, Severus. This is a surprise. Would you care for some tea?”

Severus was obviously not in the best of moods and Lucius sighed internally. His afternoon had been so pleasant up until now, and he had a suspicion that the pleasantness was about to come to an abrupt end. 

“No. I need to meet Lord Peverell.”

Lucius raised a single brow at that. “Indeed. And what is the occasion, might I ask?” An unbidden thought crossed his mind. “Ivy is fine, right? Nothing happened?”

Severus’s eye twitched but otherwise he remained as stoic as ever. “All the students are alive and accounted for last I checked.”

Lucius sighed in relief, glad that he didn’t have to be the one to bear bad news to Lord Peverell who was also Lord Slytherin who confused Lucius to no end while simultaneously managing to intimidate him. And Lucius Malfoy was not easily intimidated. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry felt the little ping of someone seeking access through the floo. 

“Hey, Barty, see who it is, will you?”

Barty yelled back that he’d go check, and Harry turned back to his dinner preparations, only to come face to face with two angry house elves. 

If anyone claimed he jumped and let out a very unmanly squeak in that particularly moment he would deny it. Emphatically. 

“Master Deathy be doing Winky’s job,” Winky declared, glaring Harry down. He absolutely did not take a small step backwards. 

“Master Deathy be doing all our jobs, not leaving anything for poor Kreacher. Master Deathy be being a bad master.”

Harry looked at the two elves glaring up at him and, deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, made a tactical retreat. 

Just as he left the kitchen he heard Barty call out. “Hey, it’s Malfoy. Should we let him in?”

“Yeah, go ahead.” Time to see if their identity thing held. It’d better, for all the trouble it’d caused him.”

“Oh, looks like he brought someone else with him.”

Please let it be Narcissa, please let it be Narcissa.

“Oh, would you look at that. He brought Snape.”

Bollocks. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus sat uncomfortably on the sofa. Despite everything he had heard about Lord Peverell thus far, he was still rather shocked to actually meet the man. And the other wizard here, who kept alternatively throwing both him and Lucius either glares or looks of amused interest, looked very much like that Crouch kid who had died several… Suddenly Severus was much more worried about his sudden Gryffindor tendencies in showing up to Lucius’s home demanding he accompany him to meet Peverell. Also, maybe Albus wasn’t entirely insane, because either that was Barty Crouch Jr., or the Crouch family was much larger than Severus had known. The fact that Crouch was supposedly dead meant nothing at this particular moment. 

“So, what can I do for you, Professor?”

Severus cleared his throat. “I had an interesting meeting with Lupin the other day.”

He watched Peverell’s reaction carefully. Intrigued, but wary. He could work with that. 

“He explained some of the circumstances surrounding your…” Severus couldn’t help but shoot a quick glance at the person he was growing more and more confident was Crouch. “…new title,” he finished lamely, forcing himself to make eye contact with Peverell. 

Peverell stared at him for a moment. He did not feel any sign of legilimency, but he still felt like his very soul was being assessed. 

After what felt like an eternity but apparently wasn’t long enough to make anyone else uncomfortable, Peverell finally spoke. 

“I see,” he said. “And you are here now because…”

Severus cleared his throat and shifted slightly in his seat. Merlin, he was doing terribly at this. He, who managed to remain calm and composed in practically any situation was now reduced to a nervous mess by a man he had just met, who had only said maybe a couple dozen words to him, and hadn’t even appeared upset. 

“I wanted to know for sure.”

Peverell raised an eyebrow. 

“That he’s gone,” Snape clarified, wincing on the inside as he did so. Great move there, Severus. Way to give up personal information right from the start. Also, not the direction he had planned to take this. 

He noticed Peverell shoot a glance at Lucius. Oh, did Lucius not know then? He had suspected not, but it hadn’t really been on his mind when he had made this impulsive decision that he was absolutely regretting. 

“Very well,” Peverell said after a moment. “Yes, the Dark Lord is gone.”

Lucius’s breath hitched a little but Severus paid him no mind. “As to the events leading up to his ultimate demise, I believe you said Remus already explained some of it to you?”

“Yes, he told me about the…” Severus glance over at Lucius. “…pieces.”

Peverell frowned, nodded, and sighed a bit. Crouch or the Crouch impersonator looked positively giddy. It a disconcerting combination for Severus at the moment, as memories of a certain very insane woman came to the forefront of his mind. Merlin, what was he thinking coming here? He wasn’t, that’s what. 

“Well, I suppose I might as well tell the two of you everything, since if you do anything objectionable with it I know right where to find you.” Peverell sounded cheery enough but Severus was absolutely terrified in that particular moment at the not-so-subtly implied threat. Lucius didn’t look nearly as disturbed but Severus could tell that even he was a little disconcerted. “And we’ll need to wait for Sirius, of course. He should be back any minute now.”

The tight smile on Peverell’s face did nothing to reassure Severus. Neither did his next statement. 

“Also, I’m sure both of you remember Barty? He’s legally dead but we got that all taken care of.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius strode through the front door, whistling cheerfully. Today had been a great day, and he had escaped Barty’s pranks for thirty six hours straight now. It was glorious. It was…

“Hi, Sirius. We have company. Why don’t you come join us.”

…the worst day of his life, at least in the last three weeks. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

He had already heard from Lupin about the Horcruxes, but the retelling was just as horrific, especially now that much greater detail was being added. Lucius looked downright sick, and wasn’t even upset when Peverell admitted to stealing one form Lucius’s own house. Quite the opposite, in fact. If anything he looked relieved. 

And it was clear Peverell had the aid of the goblins. That in and of itself was remarkable, since it was something neither the Dark Lord or Dumbledore had ever managed to accomplish. It made Peverell that much more intimidating, if Severus forced himself to be completely honest with himself. 

“Does Dumbledore know?” he found himself asking softly.

“Pardon?”

He cleared his throat. “Does Dumbledore know about the horcruxes?”

Black’s face darkened, and he went to say something but Peverell stopped him. 

“Yes,” he said simply. “Or at least, I believe he suspects.”

Severus drew in a breath. Of course Dumbledore believed Voldemort was still around then. But if he only suspected, how did Peverell come to know?

“How did you find them?”

“I have my ways,” Peverell replied, cryptically. “I am very-well informed.”

Severus felt like that was a bit of an understatement. “Indeed,” was all he could reply. 

Soon the topic shifted and came around to Hogwarts and the going ons there. Inevitably the Lockhart debacle was brought up. 

“And why that fool decided to go searching for Slytherin’s monster is beyond me.”

At Severus’s statement Lucius choked a bit, and all eyes turned towards him. 

“Something you’d care to share?” Peverell asked, though he appeared amused. 

“I may have… hinted that Lockhart was engaged in such an endeavor, yes.”

“Still don’t see why we couldn’t just use the file,” Severus heard Black mutter. 

“So now everyone thinks Lockhart was eaten by a basilisk?” Peverell did not seem at all perturbed by that admission. Wait, basilisk?

“Slytherin’s monster is a basilisk?”

Peverell winced and Black burst out laughing. Severus did not see how this was a laughing matter. 

“Ha! And I wasn’t even the one to say it,” Black crowed. Lucius too looked amused, and Severus couldn’t help but feel that he was missing something here. 

“Ah, yes,” Peverell said, clearing his throat. “Slytherin’s monster is a basilisk. Makes sense though, if you think about it. What else would he have had besides the king of snakes. Or queen, I suppose, in this case. In any event, it does make sense that Lockhart would try to find it, and be, er, caught, so to speak.”

Severus frowned. “Wait, what do you mean queen? Are you saying the basilisk is female?” How on earth would Peverell know something like that?

Black burst out laughing for the second time as Peverell’s face flushed slightly. 

Lucius frowned slightly though and asked, “so it appears the rumor has spread successfully, but what had the reaction been?”

All eyes turned back towards Severus and he resisted the urge to gulp. The meeting with Dumbledore was still fresh in his mind and he wasn’t sure he wanted to divulge the man’s suspicions to their subject. Oh well. He was already apparently a Gryffindor for the day. May as well get it out of his system entirely so he could never, ever, act in this way ever again. 

“Well Dumbledore seems to think that you may be somehow responsible for both Lockhart and Quirrell, and that you may be working with the Dark Lord or may actually be the Dark Lord reincarnated or…” He trailed off, seeing the looks on the faces around him. He knew when he was outmatched, and against Peverell he was sorely, bitterly outmatched. He only hoped that that anger was not directed at him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Harry,” Sirius said softly. “Harry, calm down.”

Harry glanced up at the frightened faces around him and deflated. He was not Voldemort, and he was determined never to be Voldemort, or anything like him, regardless of what Dumbledore apparently believed. Couldn’t that man just leave them alone? 

Making a conscious effort to rein back his magic, he used every trick he could think of to force his anger down. It would do none of them any good for him to lose control right here in this moment. Later he could let it out, but right now he needed to be in control. 

“Sorry,” he said, hoping he was giving a reassuring look. “Sorry, I just… All I wanted was Voldemort gone, and Ivy safe and now, to think something believes I could be like him, or actually be him, I just…” He placed a hand over his face and Sirius put a comforting hand on his shoulder. 

“What do you need us to do?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus wasn’t sure how he was getting roped into this, but not seeing a way out, he too leaned in in anticipation of what Peverell might say. How was he going to handle this? Severus’s curiosity was getting the better of him. Ever reasonable part of his mind told him to get away while he still could, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to do so. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Today had been a day of revelations for Lucius, and he wasn’t sure he could handle any more. The Dark Lord was gone. He had hoped for such, but there had always been a traitorous part of his mind that told him the Dark Lord wasn’t gone for good. Until last spring, that is, when his mark had vanished, and he had allowed himself greater hope that he would not have to face the Dark Lord again. And now he knew why. 

He could understand why Peverell had not trusted him with this information until now, even if he disliked that fact, but he wasn’t quite sure how to take the sudden trust placed in him now. Despite bearing the Slytherin name, Peverell was unlike any Slytherin he had ever met. He could be the perfect pureblood Lord one moment, and then behave shockingly Gryffindorish the next, part of which he felt he could attribute to Black’s influence, but part of which he felt was likely just Peverell’s nature, as confusing as it was. 

If Lucius came out of today with one certainty, however, it would be that Peverell was not aiming to be the next Dark Lord. In fact, the entire idea seemed completely revolting to him, regardless of the power he possessed or the striking similarities he bore to the previous one. 

And Severus… Severus’s behavior had been unusual to say the least. He had behaved in a way unlike anything Lucius had seen from him before, but he had not had time to press Severus for an explanation before he had had to return to Hogwarts. What was going on with him? 

He had shown more emotion than Lucius could ever remember him showing before, and he had seemed quite intimidated by Peverell, who, to be fair, was rather intimidating when angered. Or anytime, really. Best to just stay on his good side. But for Severus to show anything of the sort meant that he had been deeply affected. Lucius would have to keep a close eye on his friend. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 12, 1992

“Harry, you have to leave the house sometime.”

“No, I don’t. And you can’t make me.”

Sirius sighed, closed his eyes, and counted to ten. Then again in French, and once more in Italian. Peeking his eyes open he saw Harry sitting with his arms firmly crossed in front of his chest and closed his eyes again, repeating the exercise in Bulgarian, Russian, Latin, Greek, and German for good measure. 

“I didn’t know you spoke all those languages,” Harry said, drawing Sirius out of his musings over the number eight in Estonian… He couldn’t quite remember…

“Oh, I don’t,” Sirius replied. 

“But, you’re speaking them,” Harry countered. 

Sirius chuckled. “I can count to ten, maybe twenty, ask a girl out, and insult your family honor, but that’s about as far as I got in most of them.”

Harry laughed. Good. Distract him, then drag him out when his guard was down. “Any you do speak?”

Sirius shrugged. “My French is fine, my Italian is decent, and I can get by in Russian in a pinch, but everything else is limited to flirting and insults, mostly.”

Harry grinned. “So maybe not things to go teach Ivy then?”

Sirius mock shuddered. “I don’t need Lily coming back from the afterlife to kick my arse, thank you very much.”

Harry laughed again and Sirius saw his chance. He lunched at Harry, pulled him towards the fireplace and shouted out their destination as he threw a hidden handful of floo powder in. Time for Lord Peverell-Slytherin to make an appearance. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I hate you.”

“I know.”

“So much.”

“I know.”

“You owe me for this.”

“Always.”

Sirius was not at all affected by Harry’s scowl, although plenty of other people were giving them a wide berth. 

“Where are we even going?” Harry demanded.

“Public,” Sirius replied. 

“I hate the public.”

“I know.”

“I still hate you.”

“I know.”

Harry, finally noticing the people giving him wary looks and parting the way as he stormed down the road, gave in a little and slowed his place, putting on the I’m-not-happy-but-you’re-never-going-to-be-able-to-tell face that was part of the standard Pureblood facial expression arsenal. Sirius was actually rather impressed that he could pull those faces off. 

He wiped a fake tear off. “If only James could see you now. He’d be so horrified he’d probably roll over in his grave,” he teased. Harry’s face broke into a sneer worthy of any member of the Wizengamot, but he wasn’t able to hold it an instead burst out laughing. 

“I take it he wasn’t a fan?”

Sirius scoffed. “Understatement of the century right there,” he said. “Probably because he couldn’t pull a face like that to save his skin,” he stage whispered. 

Harry rolled his eyes. “And you could?”

Sirius puffed up. “Of course I could. I learned from the bastards. I mean best,” he said, obviously not at all sorry about the “slip.” 

Harry snorted. 

“How else do you think he managed to get the most detentions out of all of us?”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “By causing the most trouble perhaps?”

Sirius smirked. “No, that honor would have to go to Remus.”

He thoroughly enjoyed the shocked expression on Harry’s face. 

“You can’t be serious,” Harry said, before realizing what he said and groaning. 

“Well as a matter of fact,” Sirius said, laughing at Harry’s put upon expression. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

A few minutes later they had arrived at what was apparently their destination. 

Harry’s face fell. “You can’t be…” He caught himself just in time. “Please tell me you’re joking,” he said, sending a pleading look Sirius’s way. 

“Nope.” Sirius looked far too smug. 

“I hate you.”

“I know.”

Harry breathed in, resigning himself to his fate and thinking of creative suggestions he could give Barty when they got home. 

As they entered, Harry caught sight of some familiar faces (as well as a few unfamiliar ones), and his heart sank. Sirius was so in for it when they got home. 

“Ladies,” Sirius said, greeting the group. “Thank you for joining us.”

Harry gulped and managed a nod at the six ladies seated at the large table. 

“Harry, you know Narcissa, Sabrina, and Anthea, of course, but may I present Lady Samira Harrington, Lady Remei Parkinson, and Lady Carita Burke.”

Harry suppressed an eye twitch. For supposedly hating Slytherins Sirius sure knew a lot of them. Or at least the witches. Actually, no, that made sense. Then again, it was possible they weren’t actually all Slytherins, not that it mattered entirely, but still. And of course it was entirely coincidence that these were all the mothers of children Ivy associated with regularly…

Right. Coincidence. 

“Did Ivy put you up to this?” Harry asked, although not quietly enough it seemed because all six ladies gave him a knowing smirk. It was scary. 

“Nope. I can ask her if you want,” Sirius said with a grin. 

All of them laughed at Harry’s scowl. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, Sirius tells us that you are single,” Lady Harrington said. At least he was pretty sure that’s who it was.

Harry’s face must have betrayed him because Sirius chuckled and said, “don’t worry. All these lovely ladies are married or otherwise engaged…”

“I’m not so sure about that,” Sabrina chimed in. “I’d consider an upgrade.”

Harry’s face flushed at her wink and Sirius continued on as if he hadn’t heard a thing, although a bit louder than before.

“All spoken for, and none of them have daughters they’d try to pair off with you so you’re safe from that at least.”

“Thank Merlin,” Harry muttered. All the ladies (and Sirius) laughed. “Great, so why am I here?”

Narcissa placed a hand on his arm. “Sirius told us how uncomfortable you are in society, dear, and we thought we could all lend you a hand.”

Harry let himself relax and he let out a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. 

“And maybe help you find a nice young woman…”

He’d let his guard down too early. He looked at Narcissa and panicked. He’d seen that expression before. Draco’s twenty first birthday, to be exact, to which he had reluctantly gone, per Narcissa’s persistent request. Command was perhaps the more accurate description. Regardless, he had shown up fully prepared to stand unnoticed on the sidelines, but Narcissa had grabbed him and introduced him to so many witches… So many. He let go a mental shudder at the memory. Narcissa’s face looked far too similar at the moment for his liking, and he knew that if she (and the other ladies present he suspected) had her (their) way, he would find himself married within the year. He had held out once but Narcissa had been acting alone with only occasional assistance from Andy. Now there were six of them. 

Harry gulped. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, how did it go?”

Harry glared at Barty. “You knew?”

Barty looked puzzled. “Of course I knew. Black said it was important.”

Harry’s eye twitched. 

Barty grinned. “And I was the one who suggested Lady Burke. She used to set everyone up.”

Harry’s eye twitched some more, but Barty looked so proud of himself that Harry couldn’t bring himself to say anything. Instead he decided on a different plan of attack. 

“So Barty, Sirius was the absolute worst today, and…”

“Torture?”

“What? No. But maybe a prank or two.”

“I’m in.”

If Barty was determined to be Harry’s minion, well, at least there was some benefit.

“So here’s what I was thinking…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lucius and Narcissa looked up startled as Sirius Black came hurtling through their floo. 

“How did he…” Lucius started to say. “You know what? Never mind. Black,” he said, turning his attention to their unexpected guest, “what are you doing here?”

“Narcissa, you’ve got to help me. He’s after me and he won’t stop.”

Lucius muttered a “thank Merlin” and left his wife to deal with her relative. 

Narcissa smirked. “So he didn’t appreciate being ambushed after all?”

“What? No, but he’ll live. No. It’s the other one. Barty won’t give up. And Harry put him up to it I just know it.”

Narcissa laughed. “And you didn’t go to Sabrina because.”

Sirius mumbled something she didn’t quite catch. 

“Sorry, what was that?”

“She laughed at me,” Sirius muttered a little louder. Narcissa smirked. 

Just then Barty came flying through the floo as well. 

Sirius squeaked and ran behind Narcissa. “You have to hide me.”

Narcissa rolled her eyes. “You are a grown man, Sirius. You can handle it yourself.”

Sirius gasped. "You can’t prove that!” 

Suddenly Barty was nearly on top of him but paused suddenly at the sight of Lady Malfoy. 

“Oh, uh, hello, Lady Malfoy,” he said, clearly debating whether he should focus on his manners or on catching Sirius. 

“He’s all yours, Barty dear,” Narcissa said. 

Sirius gasped again. “You would side with him against me? But we’re family,” he whined. 

He came to my wedding.”

“He was thirteen.”

“But he was there.”

“You’re never going to let that go, are you.”

Narcissa smiled serenely and Sirius knew he was on his own. Only one thing left to do. 

“LUCIUS!”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lucius, hearing some commotion or other in his house and figuring his wife could deal with it, took a seat in his study, opening up a book and settling in for a nice relaxing evening. It would be better if Narcissa was there to join him, but she was rather preoccupied with family matters at the moment, so he would leave her alone to take care of it as she wished. 

A few minutes later he heard his name being shouted and the unmistakeable sound of footsteps drawing closer. Muttering a curse he grabbed a handful of floo powder and called out the first address that came to mind. There was not enough gold in the world to convince him to deal with his wife’s family. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry looked up, expecting to see Sirius or Barty, since by now at least one of them must have tired from the chase. He was actually sincerely impressed at both of them for having lasted this long. But instead of either of his somewhat permanent houseguests, he was greeted with the sight of Lucius Malfoy stumbling out of the floo. He had left it open for emergencies, since two people he was somewhat responsible for were chasing each other across Wizarding Britain, but he still hadn’t expected anyone else to actually show up.

Lucius looked frazzled but it only took a moment for him to regain his composure and his standard pureblood mask. 

“Would you mind terribly if I joined you for a little while this evening? I apologize for showing up unannounced.”

Harry gestured for Lucius to take a seat. “I think it’s probably my fault for making you leave int the first place, so make yourself at home. Tea?”

Lucius thanked him and settled into a seat. 

“So. Sirius?”

Lucius nodded, only slightly betraying his displeasure at the evening’s events. 

“Yeah, sorry about that. Like I said, it’s probably my fault. I… Actually, you know what? It is Sirius’s fault. Feel free to stay as long as you’d like though.”

Lucius thanked him again and Harry settled into one of the strangest one on one conversations he had had in a long time, mentally calculating the chances that Sirius would capitulate before Barty. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Thank you, Winky. Now, how is the deal for new school brooms going?”

When Harry didn’t receive an answer he looked up to see Lucius staring blankly at the space Winky had occupied just a moment ago. 

“Um, Lucius? You alright?”

Lucius was broken out of his trance and turned his focus to Harry. “That was a…”

“House elf?” Harry finished for him. “Yes, that’s Winky. I thought you had house elves,” he said, frowning, thinking of Dobby. Ah, bloody… He’d forgotten to get Dobby out. Hermione was going to show up from another universe at some point and kill him. Brutally. 

“Yes, but you were…” 

Harry sighed, bracing himself for the oncoming discussion of house elves and their welfare. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, it was just… Hermione was way better at this than he was, or at least more dedicated. He tried so hard to explain it to people in a way that didn’t involve calling them stupid, heartless monsters at some point while simultaneously offending the elves themselves, but he was really bad at it and failed most of the time. 

“Yes, I find it works better when I am polite to them, don’t you?” He wasn’t sure why he had said it that way, but he was still grumpy from Sirius’s “intervention” that afternoon and he was feeling a tad snarky. 

“Oh, um, no, I mean, I…”

Never mind. Seeing Lucius Malfoy trip up on something like this was worth all the pain he had suffered today up to this point. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lucius was panicking and using all his willpower to not show it. This was clearly a test of some kind, and he had no idea what the correct response was. And house elves? No one cared about house elves, hence his complete unpreparedness for this situation. Worst of all, Peverell seemed amused at his discomfort. 

This was terrible. What was it about this man that caused everyone around him to lose their composure? Severus had been his way just the other day as well. And why was Lucius so desperate to be in his good graces? His usual answers of political leverage, influence, business connections, and so on and so forth seemed inadequate to describe this particular situation. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 14, 1992

“Hey, are you writing your girlfriend again?”

Thomas cringed. He was never, ever, going to live this down. Someone would find out eventually and he would be doomed. “No, just writing mum.”

Ivy looked excited at that for some unknown reason. “Perfect! Would you mind sending my letter with yours?”

“Why are you writing my mum?”

“Well she is helping Sirius help Henry meet people to date and I wrote all of them telling them exactly what they ought to look for.”

Thomas’s eye twitched. “You godfather asked my mum to help play matchmaker?”

Ivy nodded. “And Kenneth’s mum, and Draco’s mum, and Daphne’s mum, and Pansy’s mum, and Blaise’s mum,” she said, counting off on her fingers. 

Thomas suddenly felt the distinct need to absolve himself of any responsibility regarding any possible outcomes of this situation. “Here,” he said, handing his newly finished letter to Ivy. “Would you mind sending them both off?”

Ivy took the letter. “You want to come see Hilda with me?”

“No, I’m good.”

Ivy shrugged and began walking away. “Say hi to my owl for me,” he called out for the benefit of no one in particular. Better safe than sorry. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

October 15, 1992

Harry had received plenty of strange letters over his lifetime but this had to rank somewhere up there. 

Dear Lord Peverell,

I promise I had absolutely nothing to do with Ivy’s letters and would like to assure you of my complete innocence in the entire matter. Also, please do not hold my mother’s actions against me and if she tries to suggest you meet one of her cousins I would advise you to please decline. 

Sincerely, 

Thomas Harrington

Harry walked around for a minute until he found Sirius, who was seated next to Sabrina, both poring over something or other. 

“Hey Sirius, do you know anything about some letters Ivy sent out?”

The panicked look that turned to sheer, unconvincing innocence was enough answer for Harry. 

“Is it true you despise the color orange and prefer plums to any other fruit?” Sabrina asked amusedly. 

“What? Where did you hear that?”

“Ivy sent me a letter.”

Ivy sent her a… Oh no. Oh no no no. 

“And was yours the only one sent?” Unlikely, but he deserved hope. 

“Remei and Samira both commented on the lovely letters they received for Ivy.”

Harry let his head fall forward to the table with a bang and groaned. It was going to be Montréal all over again. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

LORD PEVERELL-SLYTHERIN: MOST ELIGIBLE BACHELOR LOOKING FOR LOVE?

“I hate you.”

Sirius winced. “I know.”

“This is all your fault.”

“Would it help if I said I originally got the idea from Ivy?”

“What would possibly make you think that would help?”

“It was worth a shot?”

Harry’s eye twitched continuously for nearly an hour. It was a record even Ivy hadn’t beaten yet, and he was determined she would never find out. She didn’t need any more encouragement. 

Chapter Text

October 31, 1992

“Something dreadful is going to happen.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Something dreadful always happens on Halloween.”

“I thought you weren’t superstitious.”

“It’s not superstition, it’s a well-thought out conclusion drawn from previous experience.”

“But you can’t make me go by myself.”

“Watch me. Besides, you won’t be by yourself. You have Sabrina.”

“That’s why you have to go with me. She’s making me go and it’s going to be all Slytherins there,” Sirius pleaded.

“You didn’t seem to mind a couple weeks ago.”

“Are you still on about that?”

“Yes.”

“I said I was sorry,” Sirius muttered.

“No, you said you were sorry for making me have to explain to half a dozen people why someone who looked like Barty Crouch Jr. was running around chasing you.”

“On the bright side we know his new identity will hold up.”

Harry sighed. “I can’t believe that worked,” he said, shaking his head and looking up at the sky.

Sirius shrugged. “Well, everyone here is related anyway, so it’s not that big of a stretch to have some second cousin that looks similar.”

Harry kicked an invisible rock in front of him. “So, do you think it’s too late to back out of this?”

Sirius mumbled something that Harry couldn’t quite make out. 

“What was that?”

“Hmm? Nothing. Just calculating the probability that I would meet an early death if I left you here by yourself.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “Very high. Higher when you consider that you’d be leaving Sabrina here as well.”

Sirius gulped. “Well, let it not be said that I lack self-preservation instincts.”

Harry snorted.

“Okay fine. Let it not be said again that I lack self-preservation instincts.”

“Better.”

“Tomorrow’s no guarantee though.”

“But of course.”

“Once more unto the breach?”

Sirius and Harry shared a glance and both stood up a little straighter. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Ah, Lord Peverell, or should I say, Lord Slytherin. How good to see you.”

Harry grimaced a bit and turned around. “Lord Deverill,” he said with a polite nod. 

“What luck it is running into you here. I was hoping for an opportunity to hear your stance on…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Henry is looking rather uncomfortable, isn’t he,” Anthea said. The other two ladies nodded.

“Shall we help him?” Remei asked. 

“Leave it to me,” their hostess replied. “I’ve been dealing with Magnus for years.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry was only mildly panicking. He had no idea what Lord Deverill was asking him about. He probably ought to pay more attention to the current political climate, but it was a little late for that right now. Suddenly he spied Carita Burke coming their way. He allowed himself the tiniest ray of hope that…

“Ah, Magnus, so good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us this evening.”

Lord Deverill and Lady Burke exchanged pleasantries, and soon Harry found himself whisked away from the uncomfortable conversation. As he was pulled towards a small group of familiar faces he couldn’t help but feel that he had a new favorite person in the world.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

An hour later he decided he actually had six new favorite people, although Narcissa was technically on the list already. For once he was actually enjoying a social event. What a pleasant way to spend an evening. 

“Henry, do you have a partner for the first dance?”

Never mind.

His face must have given him away because Narcissa laughed and said, “don’t you worry, dear. We’ll take good care of you.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

In the end he ended up dancing with each of the six ladies who may or may not be working with Sirius to set him up, but as it prevented him from being forced to dance with any of the witches giving him flirtatious smiles he wasn’t about to complain. A couple of them had tried to introduce him to some unmarried witches, but Lady Burke had once again come to his rescue and had kept introductions to a minimum. Thus, he made it through the entire evening without a single uncomfortable dance or awkward encounter of unfortunate length. 

As they made their way home Sirius asked, “so, does this mean I’m forgiven?”

Harry simply grinned. “Nope.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Ivy wasn’t sure she really felt like celebrating tonight. Despite what had happened on this day years ago she didn’t feel a particular somberness in association with the day itself, but it did tend to make her think a little bit more than usual about her family. Last year had been fine, but this year she was a little preoccupied with thoughts on her family, and it left her in not the most celebratory of moods. 

Most of her friends seemed to sense this, and several offered their condolences, no doubt assuming she was thinking of her parents. She was, in a way, but it was too difficult to try and explain what she was really focused on, so she just accepted their words with a heartfelt smile and thanked them for their concern. This seemed to satisfy most people, but some of her closest friends were not as easily persuaded that she was, in fact, alright. 

In fact, she had been rather ganged up on when it was time to go to the feast. The twins and Draco had both tried a distracting technique, Neville had shrugged his shoulders in apology for their antics, and Hermione had insisted that they head towards the great hall now so they wouldn’t be late for the feast. When she didn’t respond in the way they had probably hoped, they all shot each other looks of concern that were hard to miss. 

In the end it was Luna that had come to her rescue, skillfully directing the others in a way Ivy was almost sure she would never be able to replicate. There just wasn’t anyone else quite like Luna, and Ivy loved her for it. 

Finding herself alone with Neville, they walked together in companionable silence towards the hall, making no efforts to catch up with the rest of the group. 

“Is it hard today?” Neville blurted out, looking apologetic as soon as he did so. 

Ivy shrugged. “Not really. Not in the way people keep thinking, I guess.”

Neville looked like he wasn’t quite sure what to say, so they continued on in silence for another minute. 

Finally, Ivy broke the silence. “Neville, do you miss your parents?”

His breath caught a bit and she felt bad for asking him. “Sorry,” she mumbled. 

Neville shook his head. “It’s alright. I do. I think I miss what it could have been like, you know? If they had been okay?”

Ivy nodded. “Do you think…” She trailed off, and Neville paused, turning towards her.

“Yeah?”

Ivy stared at the ground, kicking an imaginary rock on the ground. “Do you think I’m a bad person if I don’t?”

“Don’t what?” Neville’s voice was concerned, but kind.

“If I don’t miss them,” Ivy said softly. 

Neville seemed to think about it for a minute. “No,” he said finally, shaking his head. “I don’t think so.”

Ivy smiled slightly, though it didn’t reach her eyes. “Thanks Neville.”

He smiled back at her but made no move to continue walking. 

Ivy looked up at him, wondering what he was thinking. 

“Ivy, remember last year, with the mirror?”

Ivy frowned. “Yes?”

Neville shifted on his feet a bit. “Did you, I mean… You didn’t see your parents, did you?”

Now it was Ivy’s turn to shift uncomfortably and Neville flushed. “Sorry,” he said. “You don’t have to tell me.”

“No, no, it’s okay,” Ivy reassured him. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you then, but I wanted to get us out of there and…”

“Why?”

Ivy was taken aback by Neville’s question. “Well, it seemed like a dangerous thing. It showed us something that wasn’t real. It showed us what we wanted, but how did it know that? It didn’t seem like a good thing to be around for too long.”

Neville sighed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

“Sorry, Neville.”

Neville shrugged. “It’s okay. I think you’re probably right. But why did you say you saw your parents?”

Ivy clutched her arm across her chest. “I said I saw my family, which wasn’t really a lie. I… I did see my family. Just not my parents.”

Neville gave her a questioning look. “So you saw Henry?”

Ivy smiled softly. “Yeah. And Sirius, and Remus, and you…” Neville blushed. “And Fred, and George, and Draco, and Percy, and Thomas, and a whole lot of others, but there were some people I didn’t recognize, and…”

Now she brushed off a rogue tear that threatened to fall. “There was someone with Henry. And he looked so happy, and it was like we were a real family,” she finished softly. 

In a slightly uncharacteristic move for the shy boy, Neville threw his arms around her and gave her a big hug. “Does this mean we can be family?” he asked. 

She returned the hug with equal force. “Of course we are.”

Neville smiled at her and she smiled back. “Thanks, Ivy.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Percy turned at the feel of someone tapping on his shoulder. He was surprised to see Neville Longbottom there, but was even more surprised at what the younger boy whispered in his ear. Percy nodded and got up from his seat at the Gryffindor table, to the relief of Longbottom who went to go find his own seat. Fred and George shot him a concerned look and he mouthed “Ivy” at them, but at their move to get up also he shook his head and they reluctantly sat back down. 

A few minutes later he found Ivy, and she expressed her surprise at seeing him there instead of at the feast. He explained that Neville had told him she was out there and could use his assistance. 

Ivy grinned. “Well, he did say you’re the smartest person he knows.”

Percy couldn’t help but preen slightly at the compliment, even if he wasn’t entirely confident his intelligence extended to giving advice on emotion and life problems to preteen girls. Ginny certainly hadn’t been impressed with his efforts in that regard. 

“So… Lon… Neville said that you needed someone to talk to. Is everything okay?” He mentally cringed, because of course it wasn’t okay. At least Ivy didn’t seem to take offense. 

“Yeah, it’s fine I guess. You know, today is the day my parents died.”

Percy felt in no way adequately prepared for this type of conversation, but he wasn’t a Gryffindor for nothing. Taking a deep breath, he nodded, wondering what he could say. “Sorry” just didn’t seem to cut it. 

“Neville said it was okay that I don’t miss them a lot. Do you think that makes me a bad person?”

Percy had been frantically preparing for several sorts of conversations but that was not one of them. “No,” he said. “I don’t think so.”

Ivy looked at him hopefully. 

Percy cleared his throat. “It’s just, you didn’t know them, not really.” Great job, Percy. Way to be sensitive. Where was Penny when you needed help with uncomfortable emotional discussions? “And you can still care about them without spending all your time missing them,” he continued. There. That was a little better. 

Ivy smiled up at him. “You’re right,” she said. “I do care, so that’s alright then, right?”

Percy nodded and smiled at her, feeling relieved that he didn’t completely screw this up. 

“Say, Percy, do you think Henry will get married?”

Oh boy. 

“Um, maybe? Why?”

Ivy mumbled something that he couldn’t make out. Percy nudged her and grinned. “Couldn’t hear you.”

“Because I want us to be a real family.”

Once again, oh boy. Percy frowned slightly. “How are you not a really family?”

“Well, it’s just Henry and I. And Sirius, and Remus, and Neville and…”

Percy chuckled. “Sounds a lot like a family to me.”

Ivy looked up quizzically. “How so?”

“Lots of people,” he said, grinning. She rolled her eyes. 

“But we’re not actually related.”

“So?”

“So, it’s not real, is it?”

“Why not?”

Ivy looked thoughtful. 

“They all care about you, right?”

“Yeah,” Ivy said, still looking rather contemplative. 

“And you care about them?”

“Yeah.”

“Sounds like a family to me.”

“So you really can be my family?”

Percy felt a little lighter at that question. “Of course I can. I could always use more sisters.”

Ivy grinned. “And Charlie,” she added.

“You sure you don’t want the twins?” Percy said with a mock groan.

“Them too,” Ivy said in complete seriousness. 

“Why don’t you just take all my siblings while you’re at it,” Percy said teasingly. 

Ivy seemed to consider it for a moment. “Done,” she said, sticking out her hand, which Percy took and gave a firm shake. 

“Well, should we go into the feast now?”

Ivy stared in the direction of the Great Hall. “Do we have to?”

“I suppose not…”

“Great!” she said enthusiastically. “To the kitchens!” With that she grabbed Percy’s hand and dragged him down the hall. 

“Wait, how do you know where those are?” he asked. 

“Fred and George.” 

“Of course it was.”

“It was one of the first things they showed me.”

“Of course it was.”

“One time we met there in the middle of the night and the elves gave us all the leftover puddings from dinner.”

“I really did not need to know that.”

Ivy just grinned. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 1, 1992

“Molly, is everything alright?” Arthur looked nervously at his wife, who was clutching a letter and had silent tears running down her face. To his relief she smiled at him and handed him the letter she had been holding. 

He read it and was completely surprised by the time he got to the end, nearly choking up himself. 

“Oh Arthur, do you think Percy is alright? It’s so unlike him to write something like that.”

Arthur smiled and wrapped his wife in a tight embrace. “I think everything is just fine,” he whispered. 

With a smile and a nod Molly took the letter again and went to place it in the box she kept her most treasured letters and mementos in. 

Neither one stopped smiling the rest of the day. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Alright, ladies. What do we have?”

All six ladies presented their findings from the previous evening. Ivy Potter’s suggestions had been helpful, but it appeared some of them were slightly exaggerated. What had not been exaggerated, however, was Henry Peverell’s discomfort in society. They had their work cut out for them. 

Nearly three hours later they had something resembling a plan of action. They had a list of social events they felt would be most conducive to their ultimate goal of acclimating Henry into wizarding society, and had a list of people to help him get to know, as well as a list of people to avoid. Priscus Walmsley was a sweet boy but his boisterous behavior and tendency to draw unfavorable attention to himself was not really in keeping with their plans. 

“Do you think Henry would be more suited to someone like Julia Botterill or someone like Helen Plaskitt?”

Remei Parkinson’s question began a whole other round of discussions. It could never be said that these ladies didn’t take their goals seriously. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 6, 1992

Several students scurried around the two sixth year boys guarding a corner of the Hufflepuff table. Most were willing to give them a wide berth due either to their imposing stance or the glares that they gave anyone who came too close or made too much noise. 

Much further down the hall, seated at the Ravenclaw table, five fourth years stuck their heads together. 

“How do we get her out?” Fred whispered.

“Why do we need to get her out at all?” Terence whispered back. 

“Guys, why am I even here?”

“Shut up, Diggory,” came the other four voices. 

“We need a neutral party,” George explained. Cedric nodded but didn’t look particularly appeased. 

“We could snatch and grab?” Adrian offered. 

George and Terence looked at him skeptically. “You want to try that against those two?” George asked, pointing towards the self-proclaimed bodyguards. 

Adrian cringed. “Yeah, maybe not.”

Terence snorted. “No kidding.”

“Okay, well what about a distraction?”

“What are you going to do, release a bludger?” 

The look on Adrian’s face was apparently not what Fred had in mind. 

“No, kidding, let’s definitely not do that,” Fred said quickly.

“Yeah, we do place some value on our lives,” George added. 

“And if we died in a bludger accident the day before the game Oliver would kill us.”

“Aren’t you two supposed to be beaters?” Terence asked, frowning slightly.

“Yes,” the twins said in unison before turning their attention back to Pucey. 

“So no bludgers. That’s a terrible idea.”

“Although maybe a great idea for another day.”

Terence glared at Adrian, who shrunk in his seat a little, worried that he might have accidentally given the Weasley twins an idea. Never a good thing, in the opinion of most of the rest of their year.

“So, any other terrible ideas?” Fred asked. 

“Hey, I don’t see you coming up with any.”

“That’s because genius takes time, my dear fellow.”

“Hey, where’d Diggory go?

The four remains boys looked around.

“Wait, is that…”

“What’s he doing?”

“Is he actually just trying to talk to them?”

“Like that’s ever going to work.”

“Merlin, are they actually letting him near her?”

“What do you suppose he said to get them to do that?”

“Wait, is she getting up?”

“And Flint is letting her?”

“Is he… smiling?”

“Did we seriously just get outsmarted by a Hufflepuff?”

“We’re never going to live this down.”

“Should we go after them?”

“Quick, look away. Flint and Wood are coming over here.”

“Make it look like we’re studying or something.”

“With what?”

“I don’t know, one of you has to have a book, right?”

“Why would you assume that?”

“Well anytime we see Harrington with Percy he always has a stack of books.”

“Yes but they’re like the two smartest people in the school and also Harrington is crazy scary. Have you seen some of those books he carries around?”

“Do you think they’re gone?”

“Hello, boys.” 

The four fourth years each gulped and looked up to see their respective quidditch captains. 

“Hey, Wood. Just talking about you,” Fred said jokingly. 

“And I hope it had absolutely nothing to do with Ivy or any plan to distract her today, would it?”

Fred laughed nervously. “Of course not. Why would you say that?”

Both captains lifted an eyebrow in sync, making the other boys shrink in their seats a bit. 

“Just so we’re clear, no one will distract her from quidditch, is that clear?” Flint said quietly but with an effective amount of intimidation in his voice. 

“Yes sir,” the two Slytherins said quickly, the Gryffindor beaters nodding along with wide eyes. 

After staring their players down for a moment, the two quidditch captains appeared satisfied with the results they had brought about and nodded to the boys before turning and stalking off. 

When they were safely out of range the four boys turned back to each other. 

“That was scary.”

“Whoever let them together?”

“Any chance we can get them to hate each other again?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, where are we going?”

“Quidditch pitch.”

Ivy nodded. “Should I go get my broom?”

Cedric shook his head. “No. Unless you want to go flying.”

Ivy shrugged. “I wouldn’t mind, but I did already go today. Twice.”

Cedric chuckled. “Yeah, I figured as much. You know the others were trying to figure out how to rescue you?”

“Really?” Ivy said, laughing. “From what?”

“Your bodyguards, apparently.”

“Oh, you mean Oliver and Marcus?”

Cedric grinned and nodded. “They were plotting how to help you make your escape.”

Icy laughed. “That’s silly. They just wanted me to get my homework done quickly so I wouldn’t be distracted tomorrow.”

“Alright, well what’ve you got?”

“Well, there’s this part in the transfiguration book I don’t get. I mean, it works when I do it but I can’t figure out why and I have this essay I’m supposed to do.”

“Well let’s take a look, shall we?”

Ivy beamed. “Thanks.”

“No problem.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So how do I fix it?”

“I honestly have no idea.”

“Really?” Ivy deflated slightly. 

Cedric chuckled. “Most people don’t have a problem with not knowing what spell they’re using to get something done.”

“Oh, why is that?”

Cedric laughed out loud. “You do realize most people actually say their spells, right?”

Ivy’s mouth opened and shut. “But what about when I can’t remember which spell it is?”

“Is that what’s happening here?”

Ivy nodded. 

“So you are just, what? Waving your wand around and hoping to get the right result?”

Ivy nodded again. 

Cedric looked up at the sky. “Okay, tell me what you’re thinking when you do it.”

“Well, I’m thinking about what I want to happen.”

“So are you visualizing the result?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

Cedric grabbed a rock off the ground and tossed it to Ivy, who caught it automatically. 

“Okay, how about this. See if you can change that into a stick.”

Ivy put on her best concentrating face and did just that. 

“Okay good. Now change the color.”

A moment later the stick was blue. 

“Now change it into a glass cup.”

Another moment later she handed him a glass cup. 

“Okay, so what did you do?”

“I made it do what I wanted.”

“How?”

Ivy’s brow furrowed as she considered the question. “I… I think I pushed a lot of magic into doing what I wanted it to do.”

“Did you think any spells or words?”

“Just to change the color. I remember that one.”

“Did it feel any different?”

Ivy considered her answer for a moment. “I guess. It was easier, I suppose. I didn’t feel the magic moving so much.”

Cedric grinned. “Great. So how about you try using a spell for the other ones.”

He demonstrated the correct spell a couple times and then Ivy mimicked his actions. 

“Like that?” she asked. 

Cedric nodded. “Just like that. Feel any different?”

Ivy frowned. “I didn’t feel much of anything. Is that normal?”

“Yeah,” he said, chuckling. “You’re not using as much of your magic to make it do what you want, so you’re not feeling it as closely.”

Ivy nodded in understanding before scrunching her nose. “Does this mean I have to remember all the spells?”

Cedric laughed. “It’d probably help, yeah. But that shouldn’t be too hard. Aren’t you way ahead in most of your spellwork anyway?”

“But that doesn’t mean I remember them,” Ivy pouted. “I just remember what they do.”

Cedric laughed again and shook his head. “Only you, Ivy. Only you.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“What are they doing?”

“I can’t see. Budge over.”

“They’re not flying. Why aren’t they flying?”

“Are they doing… homework?”

“You mean to tell me that Diggory got Ivy out of there just to do homework?”

“Looks like it. Here, see for yourself.”

Fred gasped. “He’s corrupting her.”

Terence frowned. “How so?”

“He’s going to make her be all boring.”

“We have to put a stop to this.”

“Come on, this can’t be the first time you’ve seen her studying.”

“But she’s studying on the quidditch pitch. That’s not what it’s for.”

“That’s true,” Terence admitted. 

“So are you in?”

“Yes.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And what are you four doing here?”

As they scampered away Adrian turned to Fred and asked, “where did they even come from?”

Fred just shook his head. “No idea.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 7, 1992

“WELCOME TO THE FIRST QUIDDITCH MATCH OF THE SEASON,” Jordan’s voice bellowed across the speaker. Cheers erupted throughout the stands, particularly in one section of the Ravenclaw section. Pansy wondered why she had let herself be talked into sitting there.

The teams came onto the field, and the cheers grew louder. 

“…PRIDE AND JOY OF THE GRYFFINDOR TEAM AND THE NEW SLYTHERIN SEEKER, IVY POTTER!”

The rest of second years sitting in Ravenclaw cheered particularly loudly at that part. Pansy cheered also, but she wasn’t about to embarrass herself by making a scene. 

What followed was one of the most exciting quidditch game the school had seen for sometime. It was also the only quidditch game most of the students had seen for some time, it being the first one of the year and all, so the general mood was one of excitement. Still, the game was rather exciting. Or at least that’s what everyone around Pansy kept telling her. She didn’t particularly care for quidditch (to Draco’s everlasting horror), and she couldn’t be bothered to follow along too closely, but there were some occasional highlights she found entertaining. 

One of the Weasley twins performed some stunt or other that, while ultimately effective as far as she could tell, very nearly resulted in him falling off his broom. It was comical and Pansy decided that regardless of what else happened during the match that would be the highlight of the game for her. She found the twins incredibly annoying and didn’t understand at all why Draco and Ivy both insisted on hanging out with them all the time. 

She watched the other players, trying to remember all their names. Paying attention to the commentary in an attempt to catch the names was far too much effort. The Slytherin team was easy, especially since they had all routinely interrupted her claim on Ivy’s time the past two weeks. Not that she was bitter about that or anything, but didn’t people realize that the second year Slytherin girls’ girl time was far more important than all this quidditch nonsense? She could almost hear Draco’s gasp in the distance… But even Millie left her precious little Herbology club for their girl time. But did any of those boys appreciate it? No. For them it was all “quidditch this” and “quidditch that” and “no, Parkinson, you can’t kidnap Potter and keep her away from quidditch practice.” 

So how had Diggory managed it? For a Hufflepuff he sure was holding well against her usual threats. He hadn’t even appeared frightened, instead he had looked almost amused, and it was annoying. Oh well. That was a problem for another day. 

Oh look, Draco made a shot. Even Pansy knew Wood was really good so that was probably impressive. She was sure she’d hear all about it later. 

Just then Ivy and the Gryffindor seeker whose name Pansy didn’t know and didn’t care to try and figure out sped by. Had someone seen the snitch? She smiled smugly to herself. And Draco thought she didn’t know anything about quidditch. 

Someone passed the Quaffle to someone else (ha! Draco), and eventually someone scored. Terence eventually scored for Slytherin. He was cute. Oh, and then one of the Gryffindor chasers scored. Did her fellow second years ever get tired of cheering? And did they have to cheer for every single score? It didn’t even matter who scored. Maybe they liked the sound of their own yells. 

Next time she was sitting with the rest of the civilized people over in Slytherin. 

Flint did something that was apparently impressive because a loud roar went up from the Slytherin section. Never mind. They were just as bad. 

Pansy looked around to see if there was any decent group of students she could join. Up on the top row she spotted Granger who was focused entirely on a book and not at all on the game. She sighed, but resigned herself to her fate. It was worth the sacrifice to have a few moments without someone screaming in her ear. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Hermione looked up, startled at the unexpected sound of someone sitting down next to her. 

Seeing who it was, she frowned slightly and opened her mouth to ask Parkinson what she wanted. 

“Are you going to cheer fanatically at any point in this game?” Parkinson asked. 

Surprised, Hermione just shook her head. 

“Good,” was all Parkinson said, before turning her face back towards the match. 

Hermione waited for a minute to see if the Slytherin was going to say anything else, but the other girl seemed determined to ignore her, so she eventually returned to her book, puzzled, but not entirely upset. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“…caught the snitch of course, but it was getting close in points, and did you see that shot I made?”

“Mmhmm.”

“And then…”

Pansy tuned Draco out. A few minutes later she realized he had stopped talking. “Sorry, what was that?”

“I asked if you think the bludgers should go faster.”

Pansy frowned. “Can’t you just throw them harder?”

Draco’s eye twitched. “You don’t throw bludgers, Pansy. You hit them. And they go flying through the air and try to crash into you.”

“Sorry. I forgot.”

“But I just explained it to you on Tuesday.”

“Which I totally paid attention to until I got bored and stopped listening.”

Draco threw himself dramatically onto the sofa. “I can’t believe my two best friends don’t even care about quidditch,” he whined into the cushion.

“Ivy is literally on the team with you.”

“But she doesn’t care.”

Pansy shrugged. “Well I’m sure she’ll go throw bludgers around with you if you ask. Isn’t that what she goes and does with Flint all the time?”

Draco’s eye twitched again. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Why are we even celebrating?”

“No idea. Do you think Wood realizes Slytherin won?”

“I don’t know. Pretty sure he’s lost it, mate.”

The two fifth year boys surveyed the party in front of them. It was unlike any other Gryffindor party they had even seen. Gryffindor had lost the quidditch match, but still Wood insisted that they celebrate. Worst of all, Potter was there. The very reason Gryffindor had lost in the first place. And Wood was happy she was there. They both had to admit though, she could down those candies like it was nobody’s business. 

Eventually, the braver of the two boys (or the one who had drunk some of the firewhiskey that had somehow been smuggled in), called out to Wood. “Hey, why are we even celebrating. We didn’t even win.”

The room quieted down a bit and many pairs of eyes turned towards the two. 

Oops. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Oliver surveyed the rest of Gryffindor House, satisfied that he had done what he needed to do. He had explained in no uncertain terms that tonight they were celebrating quidditch. It didn’t matter if they won or not (alright it did, but it was Ivy so Oliver could live with that and crush Flint in the overall score for the year), because they were celebrating the greatest game ever invented. He had even made sure Percy was safely away on his rounds. No need to give his friend a heart attack at the sight of the unruly bunch, and certainly no need to worry him over the firewhiskey that had somehow ended up here. Besides, Oliver was a responsible person. He made sure only the sixth and seventh years could access it. Well, and that one fifth year, but that hadn’t been on purpose and he had brought it to a swift end. See? Responsible. 

And while there were quite a few faces that looks confused as to why Ivy Potter was celebrating with them instead of her own house, a few well placed glares were enough to make sure that no one caused a scene. Thankfully the wide variety of food the twins and Ivy had managed to procure had made most people quite content to have Ivy as an honorary Gryffindor for the night. Now if he could only make it permanent and get her on his team…

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey did you see that…”

Fred and George turned to look at Ivy but she had disappeared. 

“Where’d she go?”

“I don’t know. Do you see her?”

“No. Should we go get the thing?”

“Wait, there she is.”

“Is she…”

They looked helplessly at Ivy, who lay fast asleep in a small corner of the common room, apparently undisturbed by the noise all around her. 

“Hey, Fred…”

“Yeah?”

“How many of those candies did she have?”

“I don’t know. Why?”

“I think she got a bit of a sugar crash.”

“What do we do?”

“Don’t worry. I’ve got this,” a voice from behind them said, surprising them both but definitely not causing them to jump a bit. Not at all. 

As they watched Flint pick her up and sling her over his shoulder, Fred leaned towards George. “How’d he get here?”

“No idea.”

“Should we be concerned that so many Slytherins know how to get in the tower?”

“It’s probably fine.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As Marcus made his way into the Slytherin common room, he glared at everyone who dared make a noise. 

“Um, Flint, is that Ivy?” Adrian asked.

Marcus grunted and nodded. 

“Is she asleep?”

He glared at Hyslop who had asked his question a little too loudly. 

“So, um, are we going to have our party or not?”

Marcus handed Ivy off to Thomas, who was silenced from whatever protest he was about to make by a glare. They were really quite effective things. 

Thomas glanced around the room, but no one paid him any attention and he eventually headed towards the girls’ dormitories. 

“Now we can celebrate,” Marcus said after the two were out of sight. 

“How’s Harrington supposed to get her there? You can’t get to the girls’ rooms,” Marcus heard some boy say. 

“He knows all sorts of things like that,” some other kid said. “Haven’t you seen him and Weasley? I heard they’re going to take over the ministry when they graduate.”

Marcus rolled his eyes but ignored the rest of their conversation. As long as they didn’t bother him or try and recruit Ivy away from quidditch it didn’t really matter to him what Thomas and Weasley did. 

Chapter Text

November 10, 1992

“Are you sure you want to do this?”

Harry glanced at the concerned look on Sirius’s face, but couldn’t quite bring himself to make eye contact. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Because you don’t have to do this, you know. I’m sure there’s another way, and we can find other things to go off of. I…”

“It’s okay, Sirius, really. I’ll be fine. Besides, I need to know. I can’t… I need to know.”

Sirius sighed and nodded. “Are you sure you want to do it now though? I mean, I’m going to the shack tonight and I don’t want to leave you alone to deal with this. Maybe it’d be better to do it tomorrow?”

Harry shook his head. “I’ll be fine, Sirius. Go to Remus. Besides, I have Barty here,” Harry said with fake cheerfulness. 

Sirius gave him a unconvinced look. “Barty. Your plan for dealing with potential trauma is Barty.”

“Takes one to know one?”

“That is not at all what… You know what? No. I’m staying. There is no way I’m letting the two of you work through trauma on your own.”

“Sirius…”

“No. If we’re working through trauma I get to do it too.”

“Sirius…”

“I have trauma too, you know.”

Harry groaned. “Sirius, we’re probably discovering new trauma, not dealing with the trauma we already have.”

Sirius stared at him for a moment. “Fine. You discover your newest trauma, I’ll go help Moony with his monthly trauma, and sometime all four of us will sit down and cope with our collective trauma.”

“Somehow I don’t picture that going too well,” Harry said with a wry grin. 

“Nope,” Sirius said affirmatively. “But sharing is caring and all that rubbish.”

Harry laughed. “We’re a right mess, aren’t we.”

Sirius chortled. “We should form a club.”

“The we-all-live-at-Harry’s-house club?”

“Hey, would you look at that. We’re way ahead of schedule.”

Go, Sirius.”

“Alright, fine, I’m leaving,” Sirius said with a wave before walking out the door past the wards to where he could safely apparate. Just before he did so he turned around and called out, “don’t do anything I would do!”

Harry chuckled and waved at him. Alright. Time to uncover suppressed trauma, because how else was he going to spend a Wednesday evening at home?

 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry let out a long string of curses. A very long string. It may have included the only Russian words he had managed to really pick up, but by Merlin he knew them. Suddenly noticing Barty’s wide eyes, he paused mid rant. “Um, you okay?”

Barty just nodded his head, eyes still wide. 

“Um, sorry about that,” Harry said, rubbing the back of his neck. 

“Does this mean you’re going to go kill someone?”

Barty looked far too eager for Harry’s comfort. “No, no. Uh, the guy’s already dead.” At Barry’s disappointed look he added, “sorry.”

Barty nodded but then frowned. “Wait, does that mean you were talking about Lockhart? Because I thought you already knew what he did and that’s why he got eaten by the basilisk?”

Harry winced. “Uh, yeah, yeah. Lockhart was a terrible person, but, uh, that wasn’t the only person who did the memory charms.”

Barty’s eyes grew wide again. “How many obliviates did you break through?”

“Uh, fourteen, I think? Not entirely sure.”

Barty gave a low whistle in appreciation. “So, Lockhart wasn’t the only one. Who else?”

Harry saw no good way to get around this conversation, which was unfortunate because the only explanation he could think of to give was the whole, oh I’m actually from another universe and Dumbledore obliviated me as a kid but he died and now I’m here and this Dumbledore hasn’t done anything like that but I’m pretty sure he also thinks I’m the Dark Lord and oh yeah by the way we may or may not need to find a way to stop him from doing the same thing to Ivy and did I mention that I’m Ivy’s alternate universe self just older and with far more near death experiences, except that one time where I really did die?

Because that would go over so well. Also, as much as he liked Barty, he still had some less than pleasant memories associated with that face and he’d rather not have someone try to kill him tonight. He was tired. 

Meanwhile, Barty was still looking at him expectantly. 

“Uh, it was a really powerful wizard who won’t be a problem anymore.”

Barty gasped. “The Dark Lord obliviated you?”

“What? No. No, not Voldemort.”

To Barty’s credit he didn’t actually flinch at the name. Harry felt they were making such good progress. 

“Well, then who? Oh wait, must have been Dumbledore then, huh. Well how come he’s not going to be a problem? He’s still alive, isn’t he?”

Barty came to conclusions way to fast. “Uh, yes, and also yes, he’s still alive, and seriously, how is that the first thing you thought of?”

Barty shrugged. “It’s not like there’s that many wizards you actually consider powerful.”

Barty was far too observant for Harry’s own good. He felt the eye twitch coming on but suppressed it. 

“Right… So, just to be clear, this stays between us, yeah?”

Barty nodded and Harry sighed. 

“Okay, well I just uncovered an entirely new set of traumas to add to my apparently already extensive list if you listen to Sirius, and I realize I am not entirely processing it right now, but it’s inevitably going to hit me at some point in the future, so for the moment I’m going to eat something with absolutely no nutritional value and then get completely wasted. You in?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And I didn’t even do *hiccup* it, but no one believed me and I saw it over and over and my *hiccup* father let my mum die there.”

Harry nodded, vaguely aware that this was something he should maybe ask Barty about. Later. Much later. 

“And what about you? Did your mum die in Azkaban too?”

“No, she was murdered.”

Barty gasped, then hiccuped again. “Was it your dad,” he whispered loudly. 

Harry shook his head.

“Oh, that’s good then.”

Harry grunted in reply and the two lapsed into silence. 

“Barty, what did you want to be?”

“What do you mean?”

“When you grew up. What did you want to do?”

Barty frowned. “But I did grow up.”

“But before. What did you want before?”

“I *hiccup* wanted to be a… a teacher.”

“Really?” Harry said, somewhat understanding that this was something unexpected, although he couldn’t remember why. 

“I wanted to teach things.”

“What kind of things?”

“I wanted to teach all the things.”

“Barty, you can teach all the things.”

Barty burst into tears and Harry reached out to comfort him, remembering that that’s what you were supposed to do when people cried. Someone had said so. 

“I want to teach all the things.”

“You’ll be the best.”

“Do you really think so?”

“Mmhmm.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 11, 1992

Sirius walked into the house and was immediately assaulted by some very…pungent…smells. He wrinkled his nose and walked further into the house. It didn’t look like anything had burned down, so that was a good sign. Eventually he came to the two men sprawled out on the floor, and subconsciously began counting up the empty bottle lying around, calculating the amount of damage he was dealing with. 

And to think he had told Harry not to do this without him. 

A stream of cold water woke the two, and he tapped his foot impatiently as he waited for them to gather their senses. 

“Well,” he inquired, once Harry was sitting upright. “What happened?”

“Henry says we can’t go kill Dumbledore,” Barty said with a pout. 

“Yet,” Harry amended, gesturing vaguely at the ceiling. “Hey, Padfoot, did you know that Barty is going to teach all the things?”

Sirius looked at the two. “Uh-huh. And what happened to not doing anything I would do?”

“Oh sorry, do you want some?” Harry made to hand him a bottle, but realizing it was empty, frowned and put it back on the ground, repeating the same set of actions a few times before Sirius called out for the two elves and got them to help him move the two wizards to their beds. 

 Harry could thank him later. 

“Winky,” he asked once the two were safely tucked in, “why were they both on the floor?”

Winky frowned and looked at the ground. “Master Deathy said not to move them,” she replied. 

“Master Fleabag wasn’t here to be the responsible one,” Kreacher said chidingly. 

Sirius stared at him a moment and then wondered whether there were any more of those drinks left. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 13, 1992

“Why am I here?”

“Because we asked you so nicely.” Draco shot Fred a glare, but really, Draco was just too easy to rile up. 

“You didn’t ask, and it certainly wasn’t nicely,” Draco retorted. “You dragged me halfway across the castle and now we’re staring at a painting of fruit. So I ask again, why am I here?”

“Because, young dragon, we are here to introduce you to the wonder that is the Hogwarts kitchens. Also, Ivy was unavailable.”

Draco gaped. “Ivy knew and she didn’t tell me?”

Fred was about to tease Draco some more but his brother interrupted. “Did you ask her?”

Draco opened his mouth and closed it again. “No,” he finally mumbled. 

George made a well-there-you-go motion with his hand. The fact that Draco didn’t argue the point was proof of the fact that if you wanted Ivy to tell you something, you probably needed to ask her directly. Or just wait until she casually mentioned it at some point. How else could Percy have learned of their late night kitchen raids? 

Fred tickled the pear and they dragged Draco into the kitchens. Fred smirked at the less than perfectly concealed look of awe on Draco’s face. There was hope for him yet. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I can’t believe you two kept us there past curfew. We’re going to get caught and it’s going to be all your fault.”

“Worry not, little dragon,” Fred replied gallantly, “we are far too experienced to get caught.”

Suddenly George stopped in front of them and the two barely managed to not run into his back. “Shh,” he said, “did you hear that?”

Draco began ranting about how it was Friday the thirteenth, and no, he wasn’t suspicious, but wasn’t it just oh so coincidental that they were about to die after curfew and it was all his fault and Fred and George were the best friends anyone could ask for and… Alright, so maybe he hadn’t said all of those things, but to be fair Fred wasn’t really paying attention, since he was busy trying to find the source of the sound George had heard. 

“There,” George cried out a few minutes later. 

The three walked to where George had pointed. It looked to be a broom closet of some kind, but the door didn’t open when George tried the handle. 

“It’s not working,” George muttered. 

Fred was about to give it a go but noticed the absolutely incredulous look on Draco’s face. “What?” he asked. 

Draco pointed to the wand in George’s other hand.

Oh, right. 

Fred nudged George, who caught onto what Draco was getting at. George sheepishly pointed his wand at the door and watched as it opened with a soft click. 

The previously unidentified sound turned out to be a soft humming, and its source was none other than Luna Lovegood, who sat on the ground of the closet, seemingly undisturbed at being locked in there. 

“Hello,” she said softly, pausing her humming for a moment as she looked at the three boys. 

Fred wasn’t sure what to do in this situation. 

“Uh, hi, Luna. What are you doing here?”

“Oh, some of the other students locked me in here and took my wand, so I was humming to pass the time.”

Fred scowled. “Who did this?”

Luna looked at him. “Does it matter?”

“Yes,” Fred said, realizing a second later that George and Draco had said the same. 

Luna seemed to think for a minute before she responded. “Alright, well if you are sure you want to know it was…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Malfoy, what are you doing? It’s past curfew.”

Draco cringed. He had been so close to getting to the Slytherin dormitories without begin caught, only for Burke to find him a mere twenty yards… He had told the twins something dreadful was bound to happen. 

“And what is Lovegood doing with you?”

Luna seemed content to leave Draco to explain on his own. Why was he doing this again? He sighed. 

“We found Luna locked in a closet and some of her housemates took her wand, so we didn’t want her to go back to Ravenclaw by herself, and so now she’s coming with me to go spend the night in Ivy’s room?” Draco did his best to only cringe a tiny bit as he finished his explanation-that-turned-into-a-question-in-case-there-was-a-better-answer-that-didn’t-get-him-in-trouble. 

Burke seemed really upset by this, but his anger did not appear to be directed at Draco, so he breathed a small sigh of relief and let himself relax. 

“Don’t worry,” the prefect said. “I’ll take care of this.”

With that Burke stalked off into parts unknown, leaving Draco to wonder just what he was going to do this late at night. Deciding it probably wasn’t important, he shrugged and went to go give the password for the Slytherin dormitories, but coming to an abrupt halt when he saw Luna standing there with the door wide open. 

“How did you…”

“I gave the password,” she said simply, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. 

“But how did you…”

“Come on, Draco. It’s time for bed you know.”

Suddenly visions of Luna Lovegood and Ivy Potter taking over the world together flashed unbidden before his eyes and he shuddered. Maybe she should have gone with the twins to Gryffindor. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 14, 1992

“Uh, hey Ivy. What are you doing here?”

When she didn’t respond Terry followed the line of her glare to where several older girls were sitting, looking annoyed at the Slytherin’s attention. 

“Ivy?” He tried again. 

“What? Oh, sorry Terry. What are you doing?”

“I came to see what you were up to. No offense, but why are you here? Isn’t it kind of early for a visit?”

Terry’s own grumbling stomach served to reinforce the point that it was early Saturday morning and not even breakfast time yet. 

“Luna needed to get ready,” Ivy said, returning her glare at the older girls. 

“Okay… But why are you here?”

Terry checked to make sure fire wasn’t coming out of Ivy’s eyes. You never could tell with her. 

Some people,” she spat out, her glare giving a fair indication who she was talking about, “locked Luna in a closet last night and took her wand.”

Terry winced. This was going to be bad. So bad. Was it too late to switch houses? Hufflepuff didn’t sound terrible. 

“So, uh, what are we going to do?” he asked, cautiously optimistic that he might not actually get dragged into this. Not that he would tell Ivy no if she asked him to get involved, it was just that…

“No,” she ground out. 

Terry looked up at her in surprise. “Come again?”

“Kenneth told me he would take care of it.” Ivy did not sound particularly happy about that. Terry hid his own joy at that statement. 

“Oh, well, that’s nice. So, what are you going to do?”

She abstained from responding in favor of continuing to glare at the fourth year girls across the room. Seriously, did they have no self-preservation skills? That couldn’t be an entirely Slytherin trait, could it? 

Just then Terry noticed Padma coming down the stairs. He shot her a pleading look and, as inconspicuously as possible, motioned her over. Padma walked towards them, a puzzled frown on her face. 

“Hi, Terry, Ivy. Are you…”

“Going to breakfast? Yes, what an excellent idea,” Terry exclaimed, quickly so no one would have time to protest. “Ivy here was just waiting for Luna,” he said, jerking his head towards Ivy who was still glaring at the fourth years. “And then we can all go to breakfast. Won’t that be great?”

Padma, Merlin bless her very soul, caught on very quickly. “Oh, I can wait for Luna here. You two go. We’ll catch up with you in a moment.”

Terry nudged Ivy, who finally broke her death stare. 

“Oh, hi Padma. It’s okay, we can wait.”

“No,” Terry said, a little too loudly. “Thanks, Padma. That’s really nice of you, isn’t it Ivy?”

Ivy went to open her mouth but Terry spoke before she could say anything. “Alright, let’s get going. We’ll meet you both there?” he asked Padma pleadingly. 

Padma seemed slightly amused by his unease, which he did not understand at all, but she was agreeing so he let it slide. 

Ivy went to do something that looked suspiciously like protest, but he was determined. He began pulling Ivy towards the door, but Ivy managed to get out of his grasp. 

“Here,” she said, pulling a wand out of her pocket and handing it a surprised Padma. “This is Luna’s.”

After that she went along willingly with Terry, to his utter relief. 

Once they were safely down the hall he asked her, “how did you get that?”

“Well,” she said, proceeding to explain to him exactly how she had retrieved Luna’s wand from where the older girls had hidden it. 

By the time they reached the Great Hall Terry was not certain whether or not he was ever going to ask Ivy Potter how, when, why, or where she had done something ever again. On the other hand, some of the spells she described were really interesting…

“So, about that catapult spell, is that something you can do on objects, or does it only work to propel yourself? Also, how do you gauge the force needed to land you in the right spot?”

“Well, if you’re using it on something smaller than a boulder, what you have to do is…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Kenneth was frustrated. It was a matter of house pride at this point to make sure that Luna Lovegood was properly protected and looked out for, and they were failing. He was failing. Unacceptable. That he hadn’t actually been able to do something about it late last night, something he had only realized when he was halfway to the Ravenclaw dormitories, only added to his frustration. 

But now it was a new day, and he was absolutely going to destroy every single one of them. 

Ah, and there were just the right people to help him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“How would you two recommend going about destroying someone?”

Percy’s eyes shot up from the book he had been reading. It was actually a rather fascinating one about delayed reaction curses and… Oh, right. Person. Vaguely disturbing question. 

“Sorry, what?”

Percy was thankful Thomas seemed as confused as he was about Burke’s question. 

“Hypothetically, of course.”

Burke’s tone did anything but convince Percy of the truth of that statement. 

“Yeah, sorry, why are you asking us?”

Percy felt Thomas’s question was valid. 

Burke just gestured to the pile of books they had in front of them. 

Oh. 

Percy shrugged at Thomas’s questioning look. 

“Yeah, that makes sense,” Thomas said, turning back to Burke. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“BURKE!” Thomas shouted, nearly crashing into Corvin as he made his way into their dorm room. “What the hell did you do?”

Kenneth looked neither perturbed nor guilty at Thomas’s inquiry. “I took care of it.”

“You put three fourteen year old girls in the hospital wing.”

“They’ll live.”

“That’s not the bloody… You know what? I don’t even want to know. Actually, no, I do. What were you thinking?”

“There was a problem, I took care of it.”

Thomas felt his eye twitch. “What problem could three fourth years possibly cause you.”

“They locked Luna in a closet and took her wand.”

Thomas felt all the energy drain out of him. Taking someone’s wand was one of the biggest no-no’s there was, and he was positive the fourth years knew that. Everyone knew that. But then to lock a first year in a closet and… Oh, and it was Ivy’s friend, and…

Thomas cleared his throat. “Well, uh, thank you for providing such a swift and relatively bloodless response. Does this, er, does this mean the problem is all taken care of then?”

“Yep,” Kenneth said, popping the “p.” 

“And Ivy’s not…”

“Nope.”

“And Luna is okay?”

“Mmhmm.”

“And nothing is on fire?”

Kenneth looked a little puzzled at that. 

“Just checking,” Thomas muttered. He cleared his throat again. “Well, thanks for that, and, uh, I’ll just… I’m just going to go now.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So, did you figure out what happened?” Thomas seemed nervous for some reason. Percy began to worry that it was worse than they had originally thought. 

“Yeah, it’s, um, it’s all good. Kenneth found out about a little problem of sorts that was going on and he deescalated the situation.”

Percy wasn’t sure he had heard right. “I’m sorry, did you say deescalate?”

“Well it was Luna and…”

Percy groaned. 

“And it’s not like they were actually hurt or anything…”

“There was blood.”

Fake blood.

“They are in the hospital wing.”

“But only until tomorrow.”

“He put fourth years in the hospital.”

“It could have been worse…”

“…”

“And on the bright side he got Ivy to let it go…”

“Oh, well I suppose that’s a good thing…”

“Exactly! Way to focus on the positive, Weasley. Now, where were we.”

“Well I found an interesting possible use of armadillo bile and powdered moonstone in the cultivating of venomous tentacula. See, I think that if you coat the seed in the bile before planting, and then administer a mixture of the two during the early cultivation stages, you may be able to get a plant that responds to simple commands from the caretaker. Now, theoretically, if you were to add boiled rose thorns at the moment the seed first erupts, then…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 19, 1992

“Hey, Harry, do you have any photos of yourself lying around?”

“Er, why?”

“Ivy wants one.”

“Why’d she ask you?”

“No reason,” Sirius squeaked out. Harry looked momentarily suspicious but apparently decided it wasn’t anything to be worried about. Phew. That was close. 

“Okay… well, I’m not sure if I have any. Not of just me anyway. Would one of Ivy and I together work?”

“Uh, no. I don’t think so. She specified she needs a picture of just you.”

“Well I guess we can always take one…”

“Great! I’ll go grab a camera…”

“Do we even have a camera?”

“I’ll just go buy a camera, and then… Yeah, okay. Be right back.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Dear Ivy,

Enclosed are three pictures for you to choose from. In exchange, I demand both photo evidence and a memory (vial enclosed for your convenience). I expect you will choose well. 

Your loving accomplice godfather,

Padfoot 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 24, 1992

“Lupin, I don’t know how, but somehow I am certain this is all your fault.”

Despite having heard Severus long before he arrived, Remus still jumped a little. He almost went to protest that it wasn’t him, but realized that wasn’t actually the best thing to lead with in this moment. 

“What happened?”

“The headmaster wants a dueling club started. And for some reason he has decided that you are the person to do it.”

“Er, maybe because I’m the defense teac…”

Severus waved him off. “Yes, yes. But why, pray tell, was I brought into this? Surely it can’t be that hard to run, can it? And why not ask Filius? Seeing as he is the actual dueling champion.”

“Well, I believe he was asked, but cited a lack of time due to two side projects he is already engage in with some students.”

“And what precisely are those projects?”

Remus refrained form shifting in his seat. He was the pinnacle of calm, he was the pinnacle of calm. “Well, I am not sure of the projects’ exact parameters…”

Severus glared at him.

“…but I believe one has to do with Harrington and Weasley, and the other one is with… the other Weasleys.”

Remus allowed no emotion to cross his face at the mixed expression of weariness and horror that crosses Severus’s. 

“Filius is a responsible individual, I’m sure…” At Severus’s glare Remus cleared his throat. “Well, anyway, I believe that may have had something to do with why the headmaster asked the two of us to head this… undertaking.”

Remus decided it might not be in his best interest to inform Severus that he resembled a pouting child at the moment, as that was unlikely to aid his cause whatsoever. 

“You really don’t want to be around students more than you have to, do you.” It was uttered softly, but Remus could tell he had been heard. 

“This is all your fault.”

Remus sighed. This was going to be a long next few weeks. Not for the first time this school year he sent a small mental curse the headmaster’s way. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 28, 1992

Why did Ivy send Sirius a memory, Harry wondered, looking at the package, not yet noticing the pictures that slipped out the bottom. He placed it on the table, figuring he could ask Sirius later when he got back from whatever party the ladies had graciously excused him from (Harry, not Sirius. Sirius was still made to go, despite his protests that it was a “boring” one). 

Just as he turned to walk towards the kitchen in search of some less than healthy evening snack, he spied something on the ground. Picking it up, he realized it was a picture, though it took him a minute to figure out what it was a picture of. Wait a minute, was that…

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

November 29, 1992

Sirius came strolling through the door, whistling as he went. It had been a pleasant party, an even pleasanter night, and now he was cheerfully optimistic that he was back in time for breakfast. Sundays were Scotch pancake days, and Sirius was behind any breakfast that included that amount of sugar. 

“Hello, Sirius.”

Sirius stopped in his tracks and looked up at where Harry sat, seated on the velvet throne (the high wingback chair they kept around for purely aesthetic purposes, none of which included the fact that it made for an excellent and completely necessary throne-in-the-shadows look. Not at all). 

“Uh, hey Harry. How long have you been sitting there?”

Harry’s eye twitched but he just waved off the question. “Not important. What I do find important, however, is this.” 

Harry handed him a picture and Sirius immediately grinned before realizing that that was not going to help him in this situation. 

“I have no idea what this is?” It probably would have been more convincing had he not phrased it as a question. 

“Oh, I think you know exactly what this is. Tell me, what did Ivy want a picture of me for again? It seems that little detail was never quite made clear.”

“Oh, nothing. I’m sure she just misses you.” At Harry’s unimpressed look Sirius continued. “And, you know, it might be the tiniest bit possible that someone, I don’t know, a friend or something, may have asked for a copy. Probably just a fan of sorts or something.”

Harry’s eye twitched with furious vigor. It was… mildly impressive to tell the truth. 

“This,” Harry said through gritted teeth, gesturing to the photo in Sirius’s hand, “is a bloody shrine.”

“Well, I hear you’re quite popular in Slytherin House these days…”

Harry had once told Sirius that all his life (well, post introduction to the magical world at least), people had constantly told him how much he looked like James. To be completely honest, Sirius didn’t see it. Harry was in no way the carbon copy of James he had supposedly been told he was growing up, or at least Sirius did not think so. Still, the resemblance, when he knew what to look for, was definitely there. This look, however, was entirely Lily. It was a look he was familiar with, and so he did what any rational person would do if they knew what was good for them. 

He ran. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“SIRIUS ORION BLACK, I am going to FIND YOU and I am going to EVISCERATE you and I am going to feed your remains to the first bloody HIPPOGRIFF I can find.”

Harry’s shouts (and threats) rang through the house. For the very first time in their acquaintance Sirius wished Harry had a bigger house. Or maybe that he had bothered to get his own house. And no, Grimmauld Place did not count. Even still…

“Thanks, Barty, for letting me hide out here.”

Barty murmured something in response that Sirius didn’t pick up. 

“Say, how long was Harry sitting there waiting for me to get back?”

“Seven hours, forty two minutes.”

“That is… oddly specific.”

“He’s running on fumes and at least eight cups of coffee. You’ll be safe in another thirty minutes or so.”

“Thanks. That’s a relief.”

“It’s when he wakes up from his nap that’ll you’ll really have to worry.”

“Thanks, Barty,” Sirius said dryly. 

“No problem,” Barty said. His eyes had not once strayed from his book.

“Hey, whatcha reading there?”

Barty didn’t reply, instead holding up his book for Sirius to read the title. 

“Lesser known spell crafters of the eighth cent… Are you serious.”

Barty lowered his book but did not meet Sirius’s incredulous stare. “Pretty sure you are,” he said, no hint of anything beyond slight disinterest in his voice. 

He… had walked right into that one. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey, Millie, why is Poinston sitting on the floor in that corner?”

“Oh, I think Burke told him to go sit there.”

“Why?”

Millie shrugged. “I think he broke one of the rules or something.”

Ivy nodded. “Okay, but why is he staring at the picture of Henry?”

Millie frowned for a moment. “I think Burke said something about going there to think about what he had done and whether Lord Slytherin would approve of his actions.”

Ivy stared at Millie for a moment and then burst out laughing. “This is the best. Oh, I know what I’m sending Sirius now.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry and Sirius exited the pensieve. 

“You have to admit it looked rather effective,” Sirius said with a cheeky grin. 

Harry glared at him. “It’s a shrine. And my… my name is being used to keep students in line. I’m like… the boogie man or something,” Harry said, the horror in his voice growing more evident with every word. 

“On the bright side you are having a positive influence on the bright minds of the younger gener…”

Sirius found himself drenched in ice water before he could finish. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Burke, how is Slytherin keeping everything in order? There hasn’t been a single incident since…” Percy cleared his throat. Since Burke landed three Ravenclaws in the hospital wing. “…for a while,” Percy finished lamely. 

“Oh, its simple,” Burke said with a casual shrug and a smirk. “Any time any of the younger kids mess up I make them go sit in the corner and think about what they have done.”

“That’s it?” Percy was fairly certain it hadn’t worked on any of his siblings past the age of maybe six, and likely never on the twins. “They’re actually doing that?”

“Mmhmm,” Burke said, brushing off an imaginary piece of lint. “They sit in the corner, stare at a picture of Lord Slytherin, and think about how disappointed he would be in them if he found out they are disgracing his house.”

“That’s…” Percy had no words. “That’s nice.”

Burke smirked again. 

After a moment Percy asked, “so, you wouldn’t happen to know who the heir of Gryffindor is, would you?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 4, 1992

“So, I’ve noticed Ivy has been spending a lot of time with the Ravenclaws lately.”

Percy looked up at Thomas, the sudden conversation change catching his attention. “Oh, yeah. Ever since the thing with Luna, I think.”

“Right. Is that why she keeps showing up in Slytherin?”

“Hmm?”

“Lovegood. She’s just there sometimes. And thing is, no one has given her the password as far as I can tell.”

Percy groaned on the inside. There were two of them. At least it was happening in Slytherin, so therefore not his problem. 

“Has anyone said anything?”

Thomas shrugged. “Someone kicked up a fuss at some point but Kenneth shut them up pretty fast.”

“Oh? What’d he say?”

“Told them she had the password so they could go… Well, basically that she had the password so it was fine.”

“He seems to be following her around a lot.”

“Yeah. Hey, did you know Luna called him her big brother the other day?”

“No. Really? What did Burke do?”

“Nothing. He didn’t even react. I’m not sure if he realizes he’s practically adopted her at this point yet.”

“You sure he was the one to do the adopting?”

“True. Hey, didn’t Ivy do that with your brother or something?”

“Try my whole family, but yeah. Charlie especially.”

“The one with the dragons?”

“That’s the one.”

“Yeah, that makes sense.”

The two boys sat in silence for the next few minutes, thinking of Ivy near dragons. After several minutes of silence they both shuddered simultaneously. 

After a few more minutes Percy frowned. “Thomas…”

“Yeah?”

“Do you think its a good idea for Ivy to be spending so much time around the Ravenclaws?”

“Yeah, why? Won’t they rub off on her and get her to study more or something?”

Percy continued to frown. “Yes, but that’s the thing. What if she gets too good at it. What if she starts getting more ideas and… She only researches things she’s really interested in. But what if the Ravenclaws introduce her to more. I don’t think we can cover the library that fast.”

Thomas’s eyes grew wide at the horror of that realization. “We have to stop this,” he whispered. 

Percy nodded. “But how…”

A moment later their eyes met. “Quidditch,” they said together. 

And for that they needed two particular people…

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“We need to talk about Ivy.”

Thomas looked at Marcus and Wood who were busy plotting… something. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know. 

“We’re not giving up any flying times,” Wood said immediately, Marcus nodding along with a determined scowl on his face. 

“No, not that,” Percy reassured them. “We need her to redirect her focus a bit more to quidditch.”

“Why?” Marcus asked, one eyebrow raised. 

Thomas and Percy shared a glance, and at Percy’s nod Thomas went to explain. “See, the thing is, Ivy has a particular fondness for certain books and topics that are…”

“Chaotic,” Percy said. 

Thomas nodded. “And potentially destructive. Remember the hurricane?”

Marcus grinned and leaned back in his chair. “That was a classic,” he said wistfully. 

Thomas’s eye twitched only slightly at that. 

Anyway,” Percy said, “we would like to limit the amount of… destruction that occurs.”

“So you want us to distract her with… more quidditch?” Wood asked.

“Yes,” Thomas replied. “Lots and lots of quidditch.”

Wood seemed immediately content with this proposition, but Marcus still looked a bit skeptical. Darn him for being a Slytherin and doing Slytherin things at inconvenient times. “What’s in it for us?” he asked. 

“What do you mean,” Percy asked with a frown. “I thought you two wanted her involved in quidditch.”

“Involved, yes. But this is us doing your job now. So, what’s in it for us?”

Thomas looked at Percy but only got a shrug. What job was Marcus talking about?

“What do you mean our job?”

“I mean,” Marcus said, leaning forward and grinning slyly, “that our job is to make sure she has her chance to be brilliant at quidditch, while your job,” here he pointed to the two, “is to make sure the fires don’t destroy anything.”

Percy frowned. “Metaphorical fires, right?”

“Sure, we can go with that.”

Percy’s voice got a bit higher. “You haven’t, er, seen Ivy anywhere today, have you?”

Marcus shrugged. “Last I saw she was headed out with your brothers. They were saying something about some new fireworks that Flitwick gave them an idea for. Some project or other they’ve been working on with him.”

Percy and Thomas shared a brief glance of panic. 

“We, uh, we gotta go,” Thomas said, before turning and sprinting out the door, following closely behind Percy who had left right before.

Due to his fast exit he missed the smirk that crossed Marcus’s face at their rapid departure. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Okay, so what about this one?”

“Well this one should turn into a dragon…”

“Should?”

“Only one way to find out,” George said with a grin. 

“Hey is that Percy?” Fred asked, looking over at what looked to be Percy and… Harrington, probably, running out of the castle and shouting… something. It was hard to make out at this distance. 

George shrugged. 

“Maybe they wanted to see too,” Ivy offered. 

“Well good thing these are viewable from a distance,” Fred said. 

“Okay, ready?”

“Three, two, one…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

That evening Thomas Harrington and Percy Weasley made a solemn pack that under no circumstances was anyone to know or hear of their reactions to seeing a dragon made of fire headed their way. There was to be absolutely no talk of girlish screams, panicked shields that were wholly inadequate, or curses that would get them each grounded if their mothers should ever learn of it. But they wouldn’t, because no one, absolutely no one, would ever know. Ever. 

Chapter Text

December 17, 1992

“Hey Sirius, have you seen Barty any…”

Sirius watched in horror as a flash of light burst right above Harry’s head, followed quickly by a loud thunk. Harry had just been knocked out by the largest book Sirius had ever laid eyes on. The fact that it had appeared mysteriously in a flash of light was also somewhat concerning. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry awoke with a pounding headache and an audible groan. Who had let a bludger into the house?

Slowly he sat up, only to find himself being forcibly returned to his previous position by an irate elf. 

“Uh, hi Winky. What’s going on?” His mistake was trying to sit up once more as he asked. 

Winky glared him down until he relented and laid back down, and after a minute she must have been satisfied that he was not going to try to escape again, because she finally began explaining what had happened, not that her explanation made much sense. A book fell out of the ceiling? And Sirius had tried to get him wet? 

Eventually he gave up and asked her to go find Sirius. 

When Sirius arrived he looked equal parts nervous and relieved, and after Harry assured him that he was okay, Sirius too began to explain. 

His explanation was not much better. 

“So let me get this straight. There was a light…”

Sirius nodded. 

“And a book appeared in midair, crashed onto my head, knocked me out…”

Sirius continued nodding along. 

“You tried to wake me by shooting water at me, Winky made you stop, I was left unconscious because I wasn’t getting enough sleep, Barty is downstairs reading the mysterious book, I could have been dying, and…”

“Wait, I thought you said you couldn’t die?” Sirius asked, frowning. 

“That’s the part you focus… Never mind. I said I wasn’t sure, and point is I could have been. Anyway, did I leave anything out?”

Sirius shook his head. 

“Great,” Harry muttered. “And now I’m stuck here because…”

“Because Winky said so.”

“Uh huh. And you started listening to her when?”

Sirius fidgeted in place and Harry finally burst out laughing. 

“Merlin, you’re scared of her, aren’t you.”

Sirius scowled. “Of course I am. Have you seen her angry?”

Harry grinned. “Nope.”

Sirius muttered something about how Harry managed that and Harry grinned some more. 

“I guess it’s just my natural charm or…”

Sirius threw a pillow at his head which shut him up.

“Master Fleabags will stop throwing things at injured Master Deathy RIGHT NOW,” Winky said from the doorway she had suddenly reappeared in. 

Harry was fairly certain his howls of laughter at the sight of Sirius running out of the room at a record pace could be heard all the way at Hogwarts. 

Then Winky’s glare leveled on him and he realized Sirius might actually have had the right idea…

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

When Harry was finally let out of his own bedroom he decided he should probably investigate what had caused the accident in the first place. 

That eventually led him to Barty, who was reading… oh yes, Harry could see how that would have knocked him out. Suddenly being knocked unconscious by a book of all things didn’t sound quite so lame. 

“So, you’re from another dimension then, huh,” Barty said before Harry could say a thing. 

And now Harry didn’t exactly know what to say. 

“I was thinking time traveller myself, but this actually makes a lot more sense if you think about it.”

Harry did not want to think about it. 

“That means you’ve been here, what, four, five years maybe?”

“Three and a half,” Harry said, immediately regretting it. He wasn’t supposed to be confirming this for Barty. 

Barty merely hmmed, apparently not at all uneasy about the fact that Harry was from a different universe. 

Harry decided he didn’t want to know how Barty had come to any of those conclusions really, and a change of topic seemed hugely appropriate at the moment. 

“So, what’s that you’re reading?”

“Oh this?” Barty looked up from the massive tome. “Something one of your friends put together for you by the looks of it. Haven’t made it far yet. Should make for some interesting reading though. There’s this whole section on How-To-Be-A-Dark-Lord.”

“There’s a what?”

Harry snatched the book away from Barty, a “Merlin, that’s heavy,” mumbled under his breath as he did so. 

A Guide to Your Interdimensional Travel Experience was printed in beautiful lettering across the cover, and in small, neat letters at the bottom was printed compiled by Hermione Granger. 

Harry cried. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

It was nearly dinner time and between the three of them they had still only managed to look into a tiny portion of the massive book. It was like the book had been made into a version of Hermione’s bag from when they were on the run. It never ended. Okay, so technically it had an “end,” but Harry wasn’t sure anyone could feasibly read the entire thing in their lifetime. So how had Hermione managed to put it all together? And in only three years? And how had she gotten it to him? And why had it landed on him and not a table or other nice surface to place books on (that were not his head)? And why by Merlin was there an entire section dedicated to becoming a dark lord?

Harry had many questions. So many questions. This was definitely Hermione’s work, though, and the thought made him nostalgic in a way he hadn’t experienced since his first few months in this world. 

“Hey, not to break up the party, but maybe we should eat something. Come back to this a bit later?”

Sirius’s suggestion was met with only mild reluctance on the part of the other two, and to dinner, they went, their meal courtesy of Kreacher, who looked happy to not have to fight anyone for control of the kitchen for once. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Alright, we need a plan.”

Sirius and Barty both nodded. 

“And we need to lay some ground rules.” Harry felt that this appleid to both Sirius and Barty, though for different reasons. 

“First, no showing the book to Ivy when she gets home. No mentioning the book to Ivy. And no mention of me being from a different universes or anything either, to anyone,” Harry said, pausing his pacing back and forth to give Barty a pointed look. Both nodded again, so so far Sirius and Barty seemed to be in agreement, which was good for Harry’s overall health. 

“Second, no using the dark lord how-to section. And no suggesting I use the dark lord how-to section,” Harry said at Barty’s excited look, which quickly settled into a pout. 

“Third, it’s going to take us a long time to go through this. So let’s try to save the plots for when we’re finished, yeah?”

Harry had learned something from Hermione. Namely, that reading about what you should have done after you had already done (the wrong) something was not nearly as helpful as reading about it first. It was tedious work, but such were the trials of life. 

“Okay, so plan. We divide up the sections, sort through them, organize them into main topics, figure out which ones would be the most helpful, and… yes, Barty?” Barty had his hand raised in the air like a student. 

“You mean like the table of contents at the beginning?”

Harry’s eye twitched. “Yes, that’ll do.” For a second there he had forgotten about who they were dealing with. Of course Hermione had a table of contents. 

“Where is it?” Sirius asked. 

“Oh, well it starts here,” Barty said, flipping to one of the first pages, “and it goes until here.” Harry was certain Barty had just flipped through at least a dozen pages. 

Sirius peered over the book and gasped. “The table of contents is thirty seven pages?”

Okay, so maybe a little more than a dozen. But he had thought at least a dozen, so he technically wasn’t wrong… 

“Your friend is very thorough,” Barty commented, with what Harry thought might be awe in his voice. 

Harry was brought back to memories he had long since put behind him. It didn’t do to dwell on the past, since doing so only brought him pain. Since being here he had been focused almost solely on Ivy, and then on Sirius, and now on Barty as well, but this unexpected link to his old world brought those memories to the forefront of his mind once more. 

His reminiscing was brought to a swift end by Barty’s seemingly innocent question of, “why are there fifty one subsections for how to save the house elves?”

Oh, Hermione was going to murder him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Remus sighed. He didn’t need to be a Legilimens to know what was going through Severus’s mind at the moment. Tonight was the first meeting of the new “dueling club,” though why it couldn’t have just waited until after Christmas at this point was beyond him. Severus’s enthusiasm for the club had not, er, grown, to say the least, though he had made sure all the Slytherins would be there. Remus figured it was a I’m-suffering-so-you-must-also sort of thing. Really, it couldn’t be that bad, could it? He made a mental note not to stick Weasley and Harrington together, or Ivy and either of the Weasley twins. Or Ivy with Granger. Or the other Weasley. Or any of the Ravenclaws in her year or… You know what, maybe he should stick her with a third year. Just to be safe. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Alright, let’s have Claridge and…” Remus paused to see Ivy giving him her very best puppy dog eyes. Sirius had some explaining to do. He sighed. “And Potter.” She seemed very eager to go up against the third year Slytherin, and he thought he saw a twitch in Severus’s eye. The bad kind, not the humorous kind. He decided he didn’t want to know. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Two hours earlier:

“And then he chased me up the stairs and they moved right as I was about to get off, and he almost pushed me off! And then he yelled at me and said he didn’t know why I was in Slytherin and I called him and idiot and he said he was going to tell on me but I said I’d tell on him first and then he shot something at me and I was stuck to the stairs for forever and that’s when you guys found me.”

Daphne looked about ready to go show Claridge exactly what she thought of him, but Pansy surprised them all and held her back. 

“So, whose turn is it to get back at him this time?” she asked, perfectly calm. 

“What do you mean? Of course it’s my turn,” Daphne fumed. “Tracey got it last week.”

“Mmhmm, well, don’t you think the rest of us ought to have a turn? I mean, by insulting Tracey he’s really insulting all of us,” Pansy said. 

Millie’s eye lit up in a sort of realization that was so far lost on the rest of the girls still. “Tonight is the dueling club.” 

“Why, would you look at that. So it is,” Pansy said, her words suggesting surprise but her tone indicating otherwise. 

Tracey was the next one to catch on to what Pansy was thinking. “So now one of us just has to go up against him at the dueling club tonight?” She frowned slightly. “I don’t think I know enough good spells to beat him.”

“Of course you do,” Pansy reassured her. “But I was actually thinking maybe Ivy would like to have a go. She does have a particular… talent, after all.”

When the other girls all just looked at her in confusion Pansy huffed. “Last year? Hyslop? This year? The ones who didn’t figure out it was you?”

Ivy nodded. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot about them.”

“Wait, what happened?” Daphne asked, rather excited at the prospect of another Ivy-taking-on-idiots story. 

Ivy went to tell her but Pansy shushed them. “Not now, later. Right now we have to focus on the enemy at hand.”

“You mean Claridge?”

“Exactly.”

Ivy shrugged. “I have a couple things I could do I think.”

Daphne pouted. “Why can’t I just go stick Tiger on him again?”

After a moment deep in thought Ivy’s face lit up. “I have the perfect one,” she said excitedly. “Oh, this will be great.”

Despite the enthusiasm of the other second year Slytherin girls at the prospect of getting back at enemy number one, Ivy refused to share her idea. “Just wait,” she said. “And help me make sure I’m paired with him.” 

The girls all nodded their assent. Their plotting sufficient for the moment, they headed towards dinner, dreams of terrifying older students dancing through their heads. 

And if Harrington looked mildly panicked at the sight of them coming into dinner and raced off into parts unknown, well, it was probably nothing to be concerned about. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Alright, Claridge, you stand here, and Potter, yes, that’s right. Right there. Okay, on the count of three. One, two…”

Claridge shot off a tripping jinx which Ivy avoided easily. They exchanged mostly second and third year spells for a bit, and Remus wondered briefly if he should have stuck to disarming only. A bit too late for that now, but…

Serpensortia.”

Well then. Yes, Remus had heard Claridge had a rather dim view of snakes, ironic rally considering his house, but then again not everyone shared Ivy’s enthusiasm for the reptiles. OF course, not everyone could speak to them either and… Oh. 

Yep. That was Ivy, hissing something at the snake. That was… Not entirely fantastic. 

Remus made a quick survey of the room. Most of the looks were looks of surprise and/or shock. Severus looked particularly pale, as did a few of the other students. Most of the younger Slytherins looked at the snake and at Ivy in awe. Harrington looked… resigned? More to think on later. For now, the issue at hand was… Oh dear. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

§No, not that one. No, go over… Oh, for Merlin’ss ssake. Sstop it. Now go lick him. No, not that one, the other one.”

Why didn’t the snake just listen. Claridge was right there, but no, the snake seemed determined to terrorize the Hufflepuffs. Finally Ivy marched over and picked him up. 

§Lissten up, misster, if you can’t go to the right persson than I’m going to have to ssend you back.§

With that she gave him a bop on the nose and proceeded to vanish the conjured snake. When she finally looked up she noticed the pale look on Claridge’s face. Well, at least it had kind of worked. It would have been better if the snake had actually gone over and licked his hand like it was supposed to, but the moment was over now. 

She turned to find her friends and see their reactions. Pansy, Tracey, Daphne, and Millie were all displaying various degrees of shock mixed with satisfaction, so Ivy was fairly certain she hadn’t entirely botched the payback attempt. She turned to where the Hufflepuffs had been standing, ready to apologize to Justin for the snake. 

Justin did not look, um, particularly coherent at the moment… He was probably just surprised at how cool the snake had been. It was quite a bit bigger than Tiger, after all. 

Wait, why was everyone else staring at her like that? And why did Thomas have a pained look on his face?

“What?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Remus rubbed his face. He should have just said no. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Severus was desperately doing his best to recover from the shock that was the revelation that Ivy Potter was a Parselmouth. Several things made more sense at the moment, but already he could hear the inevitable questions that would come from this. He really should have just said no to this entire thing. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas grimaced. Well, at least she hadn’t mentioned the basilisk, but… He straightened. Nope, no time for idle thoughts. It was time to go full protection mode. He marched over to Percy, who, despite his own shock at the revelation, seemed to understand what Thomas was getting at. Ivy was about to be scrutinized to an entirely new extent, and it was unlikely that people would be altogether kind in their reactions. So protection mode it was. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Fred leaned over to his twin. “Do you think she could teach us?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

This was not Justin’s evening. First there had been a snake in his face, one Ivy Potter hissing behind it, and then Zach had started ranting about how evil Ivy was and how the snake had been about to kill him. Justin tried to point out that the snake have been in front of him, not Zach, but his fellow Hufflepuff was having none of it. 

Finally he gave up and went to go find Theo. 

“Are you okay?” Theo blurted out when Justin finally reached him. 

“What? Yeah, I’m fine. It’s not like Ivy would tell the snake to hurt me or anything.”

“What do you think she was saying then?”

“I think she was trying to get it to go over to Claridge probably.”

Theo seemed to relax a bit. “Yeah, yeah, that makes sense.”

“So, um, everyone looks like they found out we have a test on Christmas. So was all that…”

“Yeah, it’s um, it’s kind of a big deal. Parselmouths are really rare, and the last one was the Dark Lord.”

Justin nodded in understanding. “Except Lord Peverell, right? And now Ivy?”

Theo nodded. “Yeah. And Lord Peverell turned out to be Lord Slytherin too, and Ivy, well, I have no idea about that actually.”

Justin tilted his head. “Wait, so if Lord Peverell is Lord Slytherin, and he adopted Ivy, does that make her the heir or something?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Draco scowled all the way up until Ivy finally came by him. 

“Hi, Draco,” Ivy said cheerfully. 

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Draco asked, scowl still firmly in place. 

“Tell you what?”

“That you are a Parselmouth of course,” he said. 

Ivy frowned. “Sorry, I must’ve forgotten.”

“You must’ve…” Draco leaned his head back and sighed. “Any other secrets you feel like telling your best friend today?”

Ivy thought about his question for a moment. “Well, I love chocolate, but I don’t really like chocolate ice cream. And… Hmm. Well, Uncle Henry likes to go by Harry, but I always call him Henry because otherwise I picture him with hair all over like a porcupine and that’s just weird so…”

“Porcupines don’t have hair,” Draco interjected. 

“…him Henry and besides Harry doesn’t go with Peverell and that’s what all the goblins said too, but I think he doesn’t believe me. Anyway, that’s why I always call him Henry.”

Draco blinked a few times. “You know, I meant more secrets like you being a Parselmouth. And what do you mean you don’t like chocolate ice cream?”

Ivy shrugged. “I like vanilla better.”

Draco gasped. “You heathen,” he accused. 

“Who’s a heathen?” Blaise said, coming up on them suddenly. 

“Ivy,” Draco said, giving no further explanation. 

Blaise just shrugged. “So, Ivy, does this mean you can tell Tiger to stop eating the raspberry mice pops? Tell him to eat the cherry ones instead, please.”

“Sure.”

“Thanks, Ivy.”

Draco watched as Blaise wandered off, wondering how he seemed to be so okay with this. Unless… “Wait, Blaise didn’t know, did he? Please tell me you didn’t tell Blaise before me.”

Ivy laughed. “No, I didn’t tell him. Actually, I think only Remus and Thomas knew about it actually. I don’t remember telling anyone else, and nobody asked about it.”

“Why would someone ask… No, you’re right. No one asked.” Draco sighed. He was going to be getting much more creative with his list of questions for Ivy. Just to cover all potential scenarios and what not. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

A little while later Ivy and Draco made it back to the Slytherin dorms. 

“Hey Draco, what’s the password?”

“You mean you don’t know?”

“No.”

“But it’s been the same one for two weeks!”

“The password changed?”

Draco felt it. It was coming. Oh, yep, there it was. The eye twitch. Yep, that was a big one. Okay, now breathe in, breathe out… “How have you been getting in then?”

“Hmm? Oh, I just ask Clu.” 

“Who?”

“Clu. The snake? That one.” Ivy pointed to the snake that marked the entrance to the Slytherin dormitories. 

“You just ask…”

“Clúmhach,” Ivy said helpfully. 

“Great. Any other snakes you want to tell me about?” Draco asked sarcastically. 

“Oh, well there’s Hilda. She told me yesterday that…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas looked up at the two students entering the common room. He and Percy had decided on a divide and conquer approach. Percy would divide up the gossiping students, and Thomas would conquer Slytherin. It was foolproof. 

“And really, Hilda is very nice. Tiger loves her too.”

Thomas took in the excited look on Ivy’s face and the pale, terrified look on Malfoy’s face. He groaned. And maybe died a bit on the inside, but that was neither here nor there. 

Quickly, but in a way he hoped was more nothing-to-see-here than disaster-is-imminent, he walked up to the two second years. “Ivy, Draco,” he said, nodding to each of them. “Let’s take a little walk, shall we?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

They had barely stepped foot in the common room before Draco found himself being ushered back out. He huffed, but it did nothing to dissuade Harrington. 

Finally Harrington pulled them off to a small unused classroom where they were unlikely to be disturbed. Draco watched with mild interest as the sixth year erected several privacy charms, not all of which Draco was familiar with. He was half tempted to ask Harrington about those later. 

“Okay, Ivy,” Harrington began, “were you telling Malfoy about Hilda?”

“Yeah?” Ivy looked a little sheepish. 

“Can I ask why you were doing that?”

“Well he asked if I had any secrets I hadn’t told him yet, and I told him a couple, but then when we got to the entrance I told him about Clu, and he asked if there were any other snakes, and he already knows Tiger, and the only other one I really know is Hilda.”

Harrington rubbed his hand over his face. “Malfoy,” he said, turning to Draco. “Just so we’re clear, nothing about Hilda will be repeated. To anyone, am I clear?”

Draco’s mind helpfully supplied an “or else,” and he nodded. Vigorously. “So, is there really…”

Harrington sighed. “Yes, there is a basilisk in the school.”

Draco’s mind sort of froze at that point. When it finally resumed functioning again he heard himself say, “there’s a basilisk in the school?”

Harrington looked pained. “You didn’t know?” he asked Draco. “You didn’t tell him?” he asked Ivy. Both shook their heads. 

“I hadn’t gotten to that part yet,” Ivy said. Then she frowned. “Wait, when you said not to tell anyone about the basilisk did you mean Draco too?”

Harrington’s eye twitched and Draco felt sympathetic. 

“Yes, I did, in fact, mean everyone, but I suppose it’s not the end of the world if Malfoy here knows. Just no telling anyone else, alright? Please?” he practically pleaded with Ivy, who nodded solemnly. 

“Wait, what about Fred and George? And Neville?”

Harrington didn’t answer her for a minute. “How about this, I’ll talk to Percy, and we’ll tell the twins.” He mumbled something that Draco didn’t quite catch. “And if you want to tell Longbottom, that’s fine, but please remind him not to tell anyone else, alright?” 

“Okay. And what about everyone else?”

“Not telling anyone kind of includes everyone, Ivy.”

Ivy pouted slightly but Draco was far from brave enough to call her out on it. 

“Fine, but why can’t I tell them?”

“Because if word got out that there’s a basilisk in Hogwarts someone would try to kill it. Also because most normal people tend to freak out at the mention of a giant snake that can kill them with its eyes.” Harrington gestured to Draco as he spoke, and Draco wasn’t even offended. 

Ivy gasped. “They’d try to kill her?” She looked suddenly furious as she met Draco’s eye. “No telling anyone,” she said, jabbing a finger in his direction. 

With two pairs of eyes now watching him for his response to that demand, he felt there was no other option than to nod. He wouldn’t tell anyone. He’d try not to think about it even. Maybe one of the older students would be willing to obliviate him later. Yes. Great plan. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas needed… something not available at Hogwarts. Or to someone technically still underage… But what was age but a number. An unfortunately small number in his case that prevented him from obtaining something stronger than… Well, anyway. Today could probably have gone better. At least Ivy hadn’t conjured a basilisk. No, she had just asked to tell all her closest Gryffindor friends about Hogwarts’ resident serpent queen, had revealed herself to the entire school as a Parselmouth, and had shaved another year off of Thomas’s life span. So no, nothing to see here, just one sixth year student wondering if Hogwarts will still be standing come her fourth year. He and Percy needed to start training some replacements. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 18, 1992

Hermione really did think of everything, Harry mused, as he read through the table of contents. Because yes, he was still on the table on contents. Not everyone can be a speed reader, alright? 

He wasn’t quite sure he would ever need a guide on tenth century combat techniques, but who knows, maybe it’d be something interesting to look at in his spare time. Which he was about to have a lot less of, he thought, looking once more at the sheer size of the book. 

A bright light similar to the one yesterday flashed in front of him, and his first thought was, “not again.”

When he felt no impact he ventured his eyes open a bit, and relaxed his arms from above his head where they had instinctively gone. 

“Hello, Harry Potter.”

Chapter Text

“Hello, Harry Potter.”

As Harry brought his arms down he paused awkwardly part way through and stared. “Luna?”

Luna gave him an amused smile. “Were you expecting someone else?”

Harry stared slack-jawed at the woman in front of him. “Luna?” he asked again, softer this time. 

“Hi, Harry,” she said, smiling softly. 

After what would probably have been an uncomfortable length of silence for most people later, Harry managed to wrap his brain around the fact that Luna, his Luna, was standing in his living room. 

“How did you get here? Why are you here? I can’t believe it’s really you. It is you, right? I’m not just making this up? Merlin, I think that book hit me harder than I thought.” Harry frowned and rubbed the bump he still had on his head. Winky had refused to get rid of it after she had caught him trying to sneak out of bed before she gave her permission. 

“I’m fairly certain it’s me. I don’t know who else I would be,” Luna said with complete sincerity. 

“I can’t believe it’s you. You’re really here. It’s been so long and I…” First the book and now Luna… It was a bit much for Harry’s repressed emotions. And he had been doing so well…

Luna laughed. “Six months isn’t that long,” she said lightly. “Although I suppose it might feel…”

“Wait, six months? What do you mean? It’s been three and a half years?” Harry was confused. Not an entirely unusual state of being, but that didn’t mean it was one he particularly enjoyed. 

Luna’s laugh died quickly. “What do you mean three years? Has it been three years here?”

“Three and a half, yeah. Wait, so does that mean… Is time moving faster here?”

Luna thought about that for a moment. “I suppose. Different universes don’t have to move at the same time, do they. It’s not like there’s a rule about it.”

Harry couldn’t argue with that. Mostly since he had no idea what the rules of alternate universes were, if there were in fact any to begin with. 

“And Hermione did say you might have time travelled. Or ended up in a universe that was at a different time.” Luna got her “I’m a Ravenclaw and I will now figure out the universe” face. Harry had missed that face. “Well, I suppose the best place to start is the year. So what year is it?”

“1992.”

“Hmm… Oh, that reminds me…” Luna proceeded to pull out a piece of parchment from her pocket. “I think I was suppose to ask these first, but I’m sure it’s fine. Now, let’s see. Since it’s you I don’t have to ask a lot of these…”

Harry tried to peek over to see what was on the list. The writing was so tiny though… Probably Hermione’s doing then. Luna moved her finger down the lengthy list, and Harry was happy when she had nearly reached the bottom before starting. 

“Ah. Here we go. You know, it really is lucky that I found you so fast. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to figure out if magic existed here. Now, who are you?”

“Uh, Harry?”

“Mmhmm. Alright, and you are how old?”

“Twenty seven.”

Luna tilted her head for a moment. “I suppose you are older now. When did you get here?” 

“April 12, 1989.”

“And what is the date now?”

“December 18, 1992.” 

“That’s nice. Well, Hermione wanted me to ask you these other questions, but I don’t have a way to tell her the answers so you can tell me if you like, but I think we can just skip them.”

“Wait, you mean you can’t get back?”

Luna shrugged. “I’m not sure. Maybe there’s a way, but I haven’t found one yet. Have you?”

“Uh, no.” Harry grimaced. “So how did you get here then?”

“Same way as you of course.”

Of course. “You were playing, er, working in the Department of Mysteries too?”

“No. I just touched the same thing you did to come here. We sent the book a little bit before I came, and nothing exploded on this end so I thought it was safe enough to try. It did take them a while to figure out what had happened to you, you know. And even when I left no one was sure where, or when, it had taken you. A few of them were able to pinpoint your magical signature on it though, so we used that and hoped the book would come straight to you.”

“Yeah, well, it sure did that,” Harry said, rubbing his bump again with a small scowl. “SO why did you come? I mean, if there’s not a way back? What about your friends, and your dad, and, you know, everything?”

Luna smiled sadly. “Daddy died, and I didn’t want you to be alone too.”

Harry pulled her into a big hug. “I’m so sorry, Luna.” He held her tightly as a single tear feel from her eye. 

After a moment he pulled away slightly so he could look her in the eye. “Luna, why did you come here?” he asked in a way that he hoped did not come across as unkind. 

“Maybe it was my turn for an adventure,” Luna said, giving him a small smile. 

Harry chuckled. “We might make a Gryffindor out of you yet.”

She rolled her eyes good-naturedly as he pulled into a hug once more. 

“I’m so glad you’re here,” Harry murmured. 

“Since when do you have a girlfriend?” came a voice from the doorway. 

Harry and Luna both turned to face the intruder, Harry’s face perhaps a little redder than it was before. 

“Uh, Barty, this is Luna. Luna, this is Barty.”

“Hello, Barty. I never got to meet the real you before,” Luna said, extending her hand to Barty. 

Barty stared at Luna for a moment as if he was processing something… And then he got a look on his face as if he had just figured something big out. Harry did not like it. 

“Wait, so you’re Luna Lovegood, and you know Harry?”

Luna nodded. 

Barty seemed to be getting more and more excited by the second. Harry desperately wanted it to stop. 

“So that means… And you are…” He turned towards Harry. “Wait, then how come you’re a boy and Ivy is a girl?”

Harry felt the twitch coming. Barty was too smart for Harry’s good. 

“Who’s Ivy?”

Harry groaned. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

That was it. Harry was kicking everyone else out his house. Luna could stay, of course. He had practically begged her to stay, though in the end she had agreed without too much trouble. Barty on the other hand? Out. Sirius? Out. Remus? Well it was his fault that Barty was here in the first place, so also out. The fact that Remus didn’t even live there didn’t matter. They were all getting kicked out. 

Why? 

Barty was too smart and he and Luna were getting along far too well. This was terrible. Harry hadn’t seen Luna in three and a half years, and now Barty was stealing all her attention. And Sirius was doing nothing to help, so therefore they were all out. 

Harry wasn’t a huge fan of the way Barty put all the pieces together so quickly. He had figured out that Harry was from another universe, he had figured out that Ivy was this universe’s version go Harry, and he kept shooting knowing little glances Harry’s way. Harry wasn’t sure what it was Barty thought he knew, but he didn’t like it. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius was confused. This lady that had apparently appeared à la yesterday’s book was from Harry’s universe, was the grown up version of Ivy’s friend of the same name, which, Sirius didn’t even want to think about how that was going to work. Oh, and she was maybe Harry’s girlfriend? Harry had not mentioned having a girlfriend before he ended up here, but the glares he was sending Barty’s way were of a rather familiar sort. 

So yes, that was all a bit confusing, and Sirius would need to unpack all that later, but then there was the woman herself. Luna Lovegood. Sirius had been talking to her for forty minutes and he still had no idea what was going on. She was nice though, and Harry seemed happy (when he wasn’t busy sending mental daggers Barty’s way). Then a thought struck Sirius. 

“Wait, does this mean you’re leaving?” he asked Harry. 

“What? No. Why would you think that?”

“Well didn’t she come to get you?”

“Oh no, I’m staying. I don’t know of a way to get back to our world,” Luna said matter-of-factly. 

Sirius opened his mouth a bit and then closed it and frowned. Okay, there had to be something going on between the two. But just in case, “so why did you come here?”

Harry shot him a glare but Sirius ignored it. 

“To see Harry, of course.”

Yep. Definitely something going on. 

Well, it had been a long time since they had last seen each other. So, Sirius did what every good wingman did. He abandoned his friend at the opportune moment, with subtly and strategy, and… 

“Hey Barty, time to go. Let’s let the lovebirds catch up, shall we?”

As he pushed an amused Barty out the door had thought he heard someone choking on something. He momentarily thought about turning back to make sure everything was okay, but Harry was a competent wizard and from his brief experience with Luna (and Harry’s past descriptions of her), he was fairly certain she was more than capable herself. So, putting aside his concerns, he continued pushing Barty, all the way to the apparition point. 

Harry could thank him later. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As happy as Harry was that Sirius and Barty were finally leaving Luna alone, he did have to wonder where the fire was. It was really warm in here. 

“Look, Luna, I’m really sorry about them.”

“Oh it’s alright. They seem sweet.”

Harry wanted to argue that no, they were terrible people, but that would mean arguing with Luna and he didn’t want to do that so he just nodded reluctantly. 

“They were cute.”

Sirius had better not show his face here ever again. 

“They obviously care about you a lot.”

Oh. Well that was a little better, he supposed.

“Still, I’m sorry about them. And what they, um, what Sirius…”

Luna laughed softly. “You don’t need to apologize.”

Harry joined her in laughing. “I’m so happy you’re here, Luna. I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Lucy!”

Lucius came to an abrupt halt. “How did you get in here?”

“I’m family. Narcissa added me to the wards ages ago.”

Lucius felt his eye twitch. 

“Malfoy,” came the voice of the second intruder. 

Lucius was certain these two existed solely to torment him at this point. “I don’t want to know,” he muttered. “Narcissa is outside. Go bother her.” 

“It’s cold outside.”

“Then use a… oh, forget it.”

For being smart the two current banes of his existence could be idiots. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Lucius, come join us for tea.”

Lucius was always happy to see his wife. He was much less exited to see the two wizards with her. 

“You’re still here?”

Black smiled smugly at him and Barty looked like he knew something. Then again, that was a normal expression for Barty to have. Stupid Ravenclaws. 

With great reluctance Lucius sat down as Narcissa waved her wand for the tea to start pouring. 

“So Sirius, tell us more about Harry’s girlfriend.”

Well maybe this afternoon wouldn’t be a complete waste after all…

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Okay, we have 65 and a half hours before the train leaves. How’s the plan coming along?”

Percy check over his notes. “All the second years seem fine, except for one, but apparently Smith is a bit of a drama queen, or so I’m told.”

“Who told you that?”

“Uh, Parkinson, Abbott, Brown, and Patil.”

“The Ravenclaw?”

“Gryffindor,” Percy said with a resigned sigh. “Did you know twelve year old girls could be so ruthless? Do you think they’re all like that? Were the girls in our year like that?”

Thomas sympathized, he really did. But, “don’t you have a sister? Shouldn’t you already know this?”

Percy’s face went a little pale. “They are.”

Thomas nodded. “I think so. Remember Sarah Marchand our first year?” 

They both shuddered at the memory. 

“Greenhouse Four was shut down for months after that.”

“Well, that’s the second years at least,” Thomas said, clearing his throat. “What else did you find?”

“I asked the twins about the fourth years. Seems most of them were content to follow along with what Ivy’s friends in that year had to say, so no worries there.”

“Wait, who else is she friends with in that year?”

Percy pulled out his ongoing Ivy’s friends list from his bag. “Let’s see, so far we’ve got, Fred, George, Lee, Angelina, Alicia, Higgs, Pucey, Diggory, Walker, and Holmwood.”

Thomas frowned at the last couple names. Diggory he knew from Marcus’s numerous quidditch talks, but…

“Both in Hufflepuff,” Percy added helpfully. 

“Right, okay, so fourth years are good. Anything else?”

“Well sixth year Gryffs apparently decided that anything to do with Ivy was somehow Oliver’s and my job so… Yeah, pretty sure they couldn’t care less.”

“Same for Slytherin. Sort of. Mostly I think the girls find it all funny. Something about the ongoing plight of us sixth year guys? Not really sure.”

“Any luck with the other houses?”

“Not yet, but I don’t think most of them will care to be honest.”

Percy nodded. “Probably not. Alright, so that leaves us with… First, third, fifth, and seventh.”

“All the seventh years I saw yelled at me for disturbing them, so I don’t think they care all that much. At least not until tomorrow when they are officially done with the term.”

“Fair enough.”

“And fifth years in Slytherin… Okay this one was split. About half of them think it’s really cool and have declared Ivy the new Slytherin mascot, and the other half also… don’t seem to care.”

Percy frowned. “That’s good though, right?”

“I guess,” Thomas said, shrugging. “But doesn’t it seem like there should be, I don’t know, more of a reaction to this?”

Percy nodded, leaning back in his chair. “Maybe because Lord Peverell was already discovered to be a Parselmouth? And Lord Slytherin? I mean, it might have made everyone a little more, I don’t know, blasé about the whole thing now?”

Thomas raised an eyebrow. “So you’re saying that because one other person was discovered to be a Parselmouth, that it’s what, not a big deal this time around? Old news and all that?”

Percy shrugged. “Not saying it is, just that it might be.” He paused and frowned for a minute. “I suppose you’ll hear more about it over the holiday. Maybe keep an ear out? Hear what kids go home and tell their parents about this?”

Thomas nodded. “Good idea. Okay, so what about the other fifth years?”

“They seem to be going with the sixth years on this one.”

“Not their problem?”

“Pretty much.” 

“Any luck with first or third years?”

“Well I asked Ginny about first years. She said that a lot of them were nervous about it at first but then saw that the second years all seemed fine with it, so at least in Gryffindor they are fine. A few comments about Ivy being the next dark lord or something but someone mentioned Lord Slytherin obviously already doing that so they apparently settled down after that.”

Thomas frowned. “Peverell is trying to be a dark lord.”

Percy shook his head. “Not that I’ve heard, but you know how people get with Slytherin and…” Percy gestured vaguely and Thomas nodded in understanding. 

“I asked around about the first years and Kenneth said Ravenclaw and Slytherin firsties are all fine. I think he, uh, may have talked to a few of them.”

“And I think I probably don’t want to know.”

“Probably wise.”

“Third years?”

Thomas grimaced. “They’re the only real problems I’ve seen so far. Slytherin third years are a bit mixed. Obviously Claridge is going around spouting off that Ivy tried to kill him.”

“Did she?”

“Pretty sure not, but to be fair I didn’t actually ask.”

“Fair enough. And the others?”

“Claridge has a few friends, mostly Slytherin and Ravenclaw from what I’ve gathered, that are taking his side, but the others seem mostly torn between wanting to express outrage of some kind and not wanting to get shown up by the first years.”

“Sounds a bit like Gryffindor then. The third years don’t want to be outdone by the firsties.”

“Any word on Hufflepuff?”

“Not much. I did hear that Scrivens yelled at some of them to stop whining about it until the term was officially over though. So maybe a bit mixed as well?”

“If Audrey yelled at them then I’m not worried,” Thomas said. “Remember third year?”

“Our third year?”

“Yeah. Our third, her fourth. When she yelled at all those seventh year Gryffindors?” 

Percy chuckled. “Yeah. Charlie went on about that for at least a week.”

Thomas grinned. “Been my favorite Hufflepuff ever since.”

“So mix her distaste for the all-Slytherins-are-evil spiel and the fact that some kids were annoying her on the last day of the term and…”

“Like I said. Not worried.”

Percy laughed. “Yeah, makes sense. So, does that mean we’re all set then?”

“For now. We still have to wait to see what the reaction over the holiday is like. And the reaction from parents.”

Percy winced. “Yeah that might not go over so well with some of them…”

“Yours?”

“No, I think they’ll be fine, they know Ivy. But some of the others, especially ones whose kids don’t know Ivy well or actually don’t like her…”

Thomas grimaced. “Yeah, well, I’ll keep an ear out. So I guess we need a plan for the new term then, huh? Just in case?”

“Yes. So here’s what I’m thinking. If we keep the gossip focused now, then…”

Chapter Text

December 20, 1992

“Okay, so Ivy and Remus will be back tomorrow, and we’re going to the Lovegoods’ for Christmas, and… oh, that might pose a problem… oh, and then there’s the Malfoys’ party, which we can totally skip if you want, and then… What are you smiling at me like that for?”

“You’re looking much better than you were before. I was starting to worry about your sanity.”

“Thanks, Luna.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 21, 1992

“Ivy, meet Luna. Luna, this is Ivy.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Ivy.”

Remus nudged Sirius. “Is it just me or does it look like Ivy has hearts in her eyes?”

Sirius smirked. “I’d say so.”

“No, I mean literal hearts. Wait, what did you do?”

“It’s a rather nice effect, don’t you think?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“No need to look so smug, Remus,” Harry said with a scowl. 

“Told you,” Remus replied. Alright, so maybe his smile was a little smug… 

“How did you know she’d like Barty so well anyway? They’ve never met. You have barely met him. You dumped him on us and left.”

Remus shrugged. “We wrote.”

“You wrote… What exactly did you write about? ‘How not to be a death eater?’” 

“Among other things, yes. Mostly about you, Ivy, his hopes that you might decide to take over the world… Things like that.”

“Well isn’t that just bloody fantastic,” Harry muttered under his breath. 

“Yes, it has been working out quite well I’d say, wouldn’t you?”

Remus didn’t try to hide his smug smile or the chuckle at Harry’s eye twitch. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“…kept trying to tell it to go lick Linus, but it wasn’t very good at listening, and that’s why everyone knows I’m a Parselmouth now. Oh, but Thomas made me keep Hilda a secret.”

“Hilda?”

“The basilisk, remember?”

Sirius nodded. “Right. And Thomas knows because…”

“Because he was with me when I met her. Oh, but he did say he would talk to Percy, and then I can tell Fred and George and maybe Neville. He said it needed to wait until next term though. Oh, and Draco knows.”

Sirius gulped. “Yes, well, listen to Thomas. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to go telling everyone about the basilisk?”

Ivy shrugged. “I won’t. He said some people might try to kill it. Wouldn’t that just be awful?”

Sirius could think of other ways to describe it, but let it be. At least the basilisk had proven useful. Still, this was a bit of a contrast to Harry’s own basilisk adventure. He really hoped Ivy knew what she was doing. Actually, he really hoped that Thomas knew what he was doing, and that Ivy could somehow be convinced to keep listening to him. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 25, 1992

“Are you sure you’re alright with going? It’s okay if you’re not, you know.”

Luna smiled at him in the “you’re adorable” way she did sometimes. Or at least that’s what he hoped it was. It was possible that it was more of a “you’re sort of an idiot but it’s okay because I like you” sort of look. Although if she thought he was adorable and an idiot he would still take that. 

“Was it hard to see Sirius?”

“What? No. Why?”

“Why not? You watched him die, and then you saw him here.”

Luna was as blunt as ever. Merlin, Harry had really missed this. 

“Well, it wasn’t my Sirius, you know? I mean, yes, it’s Sirius, and I love him, but they feel… I don’t know… Different? I… Oh.”

Luna smiled. “You love them both, but you recognize that they are different, even for all their similarities. I think it’ll be the same way seeing Daddy here.”

Harry nodded along. “But, so soon, and…”

Luna squeezed his hand. “Thank you, Harry. But it will be fine.”

Harry exhaled. “If you’re sure,” he said, squeezing her hand in return.

“Yes,” was all she said in reply. 

“Okay, we all ready to go?” Sirius’s voice came, followed shortly by the fast chatter of Ivy and Barty. Remus too eventually followed, and soon they were on their way, a rather odd mix of people ready to spend Christmas with the Lovegoods’. 

This will be fine, Harry thought to himself a few times between his home and their destination. It will be fine. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Surprisingly, given most of his past life experiences, it was, in fact, fine. Pleasant, even. There had been that brief moment of panic when Xeno told Luna (older Luna) that she looked just like her mother, but everyone not already in the know seemed to take the fact that there were two Luna Lovegoods in stride. It had taken exactly four minutes to decide exactly how it was all going to work. Luna would keep her name, and she would be claimed as a Lovegood cousin. Other details such as her origin, the fact no one had ever heard of her, the fact that the two Lunas shared a name and a birthday (since Luna was insistent on keeping hers the same, and why hadn’t Harry been able to manage that?), and the fact that she really did look just like Luna only older, well… Those other details were deemed mostly unimportant. No one else seemed concerned by them, so Harry decided to just enjoy the day and work out details with the goblins later. 

Speaking of goblins…

“So, would Monday work to go to Gringotts? It might help if you are there,” Harry said, speaking to Xeno, “to properly claim Luna as a relative and all.”

“Yes, Monday would be fine. I’m sure the girls would enjoy meeting with their friends as well.”

Ivy turned toward younger Luna. This was going to get confusing fast. “Are you friends with Bogrod and Gornuk too?”

Ivy’s Luna (yes, that would work) looked back at her. “No, I don’t think I’ve met them. Maybe you could introduce us? I do know Griphook and Ragnok though.”

“Oh, can you introduce me?”

“Of course.”

Harry smiled. It was so nice to see everyone getting along so well. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

There was something seriously wrong going on here. How else could Harry talking so nonchalantly about visiting the goblins be explained? And when the girls spoke about meeting each other’s goblin friends, Harry had smiled. Smiled. Definitely something wrong here. 

It was a while though before Sirius was able to get an answer out of Harry. 

“Harry, why are you suddenly okay with going to the goblins?”

“It’s Luna,” Harry replied, as if that explained everything. 

Sirius sighed. Perhaps it did. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 26, 1992

“Why are we going there again?”

“Ivy insisted she see her brother.”

“She has a brother?”

Remus gave Barty a side-eye. “Didn’t you read the letter I sent you? The one clearly outlining the Weasley family?”

Barty scoffed. “Of course I did. But you never mentioned they were related.”

“Oh, they’re not.”

“Wait a minute, you just…”

“Remember what I told you about Longbottom?”

Barty shot him a scowl at the mention of his third least favorite name (coming somewhere after Crouch and Lestrange). “Yes, I remember what you said about Longbottom,” he said petulantly. 

“And the part about how she considers him to be a brother?”

“Yes, yes, I remember all that. And the part about their mothers being each others godmothers, and isn’t it just so sweet how they are getting to experience the pseudo-sibling relationship their mothers would have loved them to have, if not for the fact that they’d much rather of had them married at some point, but what can you do. Yes, I remember.” 

“Well it’s essentially the same for the Weasleys.”

“Wait, all of them?”

Remus opened his mouth but didn’t reply right away. “You know, I’m not actually sure about that…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Bill watched their guests with… surprise? Interest? Mild fascination? It was difficult to put a name to what he was feeling and thinking at the moment. Sure, he had heard stories about Lord Peverell, who had at some point apparently become Percy and the twins’ idol (and he wasn’t sure he wanted to know how that came about), and he had heard plenty about Ivy Potter, who was every bit the picture of sweet, innocent chaos that he had imagined her to be. He had also heard a lot recently, especially since being home, about Professor Lupin, who was apparently the best defense teacher any of them had had (and no, he was not at all jealous Fred, shut up). 

But nothing compared to actually seeing them here. 

Seeing them… well., fighting wasn’t the most accurate term, but it would need to do for the moment. 

And not one of them was even using magic. 

Lord Henry Peverell-Slytherin, widely rumored to be one of the most powerful wizards in the world, was currently engaged in a very magic-less scuffle with Lord Black, Professor Lupin, and four of Bill’s brothers. Charlie and the twins weren’t too much of a surprise, but Percy was not someone Bill had expected to see rolling around on the ground, not to mention the fact that he was actually doing something akin to winning whatever…this was. 

Mr. Parry was watching on in amused silence, though to Bill it looked like he was actually considering joining in. Ron looked both excited and confused as to what was going on, Ivy and Ginny were cheering loudly, Ivy having procured popcorn of all things from who knows where, and Miss Lovegood was offering occasional commentary as if it were a sports match. Meanwhile his parents had displayed several reactions before both settling on fond exasperation. It was a hybrid mix of the at-least-they’re-doing-it-outside look and the I’ve-given-up-trying-to-get-them-to-stop look, both of which were rather familiar in the Weasley household. 

So why were Bill’s brothers and a few fully grown wizards rolling around on the ground in a (probably) mock free-for-all? 

Well. Here’s how it started. 

Flashback

“Why did she just call Charlie her brother?”

Percy glanced over at him. “She claimed him as her brother and wants to adopt him.”

That didn’t exactly help Bill understand the situation, so he asked another question. “And how did that happen?”

“Oh, she met him last summer and decided she really liked him.”

“And now he’s her brother?”

“Mmhmm. I am too, apparently.”

“And the twins?”

“No clue. She calls them her best friends all the time, but the only best friend of hers I’ve heard her also call her brother is Longbottom. Of course then there is Luna, but she’s a girl.”

Yes, astute observation there, Perce. Thanks for that. Truly helpful. “So… How many, er, ’siblings’ does she have then?”

“I’m not certain. There is Charlie, obviously, and me, and Longbottom, as I mentioned. And then Luna, who seems to be the only girl so far. And then there’s Thomas, who I think is a brother, but I’m not one hundred percent sure on that one. And Malfoy, though he seems to be more like the twins. Best friend, maybe not brother. Actually I’m fairly certain he has a massive crush on her. And then Oliver and Marcus, but I actually have no idea how she views them. I think they’ve more or less claimed her as their little sister, but I’m not sure that she has done the same. Oh, and then of course you have Kenneth Burke, who Luna claimed as her older brother, and who has unofficially claimed the same of Luna, but he and Ivy are just friendly, and I don’t think he’s part of Ivy’s group in the same way. There are several other people Ivy is fairly close to in some of the older years, but I think that is it as far as her declared siblings go.”

Bill was not sure whether or not he regretted asking. 

“So, essentially she has several older students that she looks up to that she considered brother figures?”

Percy snorted. Bill wondered briefly what had happened to his brother and who this imposter was. “See her over there? With Charlie?”

Bill did. Ivy was currently waving her arms around excitedly and Charlie looked as if he were about to burst out laughing. “Yeah, what about it?”

“See those papers?”

“Yes…”

“Do you know what those are?”

Bill rolled his eyes at Percy. “No, I don’t know what those are. I’m assuming though by the sun look on you face that you know what they are?”

He chose that moment to take a sip of the drink in his hand. It was a very poor decision. 

Those are adoption papers.”

See previous statement on poor decisions. 

“She’s trying to get him to adopt her?”

Percy looked exasperated at that. “No, of course not. Haven’t you been listening to anything I told you?”

Bill had, but didn’t bother pointing it out, figuring it would not do much good at the moment. 

She’s trying to adopt him.”

Lord Peverell, who had been chatting with their father about some muggle thing or other that Bill had no idea about, suddenly paused mid-sentence and half-ran over to them. 

“Sorry, did you say Ivy’s trying to adopt someone?”

Percy gestured over to where Charlie and Ivy were sitting. 

Bill watched as Peverell’s eye twitched furiously. 

“Just a moment,” Peverell said with false cheerfulness, before making his way quickly over to his…daughter? Bill hadn’t actually gathered that bit of information yet. 

He watched as Peverell whispered quietly but animatedly back and forth with Ivy, Charlie watching the entire thing with a grin on his face. Obviously Charlie wasn’t worried about the fact that a twelve year old girl was trying to get him to sign adoption papers. 

Finally Peverell seemed satisfied, though by the pout on Ivy’s face Bill was certain that she was not. Peverell made his way back to where Bill and Percy stood, and began talking to Percy about some book or other that sounded suspiciously like one of the ones Bill had come across in Egypt a couple years back… No, there was no way Percy was reading stuff like that, was there? 

No, of course not. No need to be worried at all. 

He turned his attention back to Charlie and Ivy, Charlie now trying to comfort Ivy or something like that. Eventually he pulled out a small little package from behind his back and handed it to her. She opened it and her face immediately went from pout to full out grin. 

A small model dragon, because what else would Charlie possibly get anyone who showed even the slightest enthusiasm for his favorite creature. 

Ivy gave Charlie a big hug, and Bill could see why she had declared him her brother. From here it looked like Charlie had decided having two little sisters was better than one as well. 

“How come she didn’t look that happy when I gave her presents.” Bill glanced to his right only to find Lord Black standing there with a rather convincing kicked puppy look on his face. 

“Uh, did you get her a dragon?” Bill offered. 

Black muttered some curse or other not in English and Bill suppressed a chuckle at the pout on Black’s face. 

“What do I have to do?” Black whined. 

Just then Charlie and Ivy joined them, Ivy proudly showing off the model Dragon to Peverell, and Percy shooting Charlie a glare that Bill couldn’t quite make out the interpretation of. 

“Charlie, my good man, I need to ask you something,” Black said, getting Charlie’s attention. 

“Yeah? What’s up?”

“How?”

Charlie gave Black a puzzled look. 

“How are you doing it?”

“Doing what?”

Black let out something that sounded a bit like a whimper. “How come she likes you so much?”

“Charlie’s my favorite,” Ivy interjected, before turning back to Peverell. Bill thought he could make out something along the lines of “no dragons in the backyard” and “but there’s room,” but he couldn’t be sure, due partially to the high pitched whine coming from Black. 

“…only met her twice,” Charlie was saying. 

“What am I doing wrong,” Black muttered none too softly.

“You could always settle for seventh,” Peverell piped in. There had to be some connotation to that comment that Bill was missing, because Black took immediate offense to that. 

Then all of a sudden there was no longer a wizard standing next to Bill, but a grim, who proceeded to chase Peverell outside. 

Lupin appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and with a sigh said, “I’d better go after them.”

Still not entirely sure what had just happened, Bill followed Lupin and everyone else as they made their own ways outside to where the grim that he was fairly certain was Black was jumping on Peverell, who didn’t seem the least bit concerned. 

Lupin managed to get in between them for a moment, before he too was pulled in, though he pulled Charlie along with him, making four wizards in all, or three and an animagus as it currently stood, that were rolling around on the cold ground. Then two red-headed blur shots past Bill and joined in. 

End Flashback

Bill wasn’t entirely sure at what point Percy got involved, but very soon there they all rolling around on the cold ground. At no point had anyone actually drawn a wand or uttered a spell. No, they were just going at it like a bunch of muggles. It didn’t appear to be too serious though, and the sides seemed to change every twenty seconds or so, if you could even call it sides. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey, do you want to join in?”

With Ron and Ginny’s attention now firmly on her Ivy repeated her question with a grin. 

Neither looked particularly thrilled at the prospect, but then Ivy pulled out her wand and grinned wider. 

“But, we’re not supposed to use magic outside of school,” Ron said with a frown. 

“Well it’s not like anyone is going to be able to tell.”

Ginny gave her an unimpressed look. “Except mum.” 

Ivy grinned. “I’ve got a plan.”

Ron groaned, and Ginny looked excited. 

Ivy skipped over to Barty and whispered in his ear. He too grinned, and soon was chatting to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. A moment later all three had disappeared back into the house. 

“There,” Ivy said. “Okay, who wants to go first.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

It was complete chaos. Bill wasn’t sure who had shot the first spell, but now the only person sporting red hair was Professor Lupin, and anyone not previously involved in the skirmish was now. Oh, and did he mention they were all using wands now? Himself included, because yes, he too had been dragged into this. Not that he was complaining, really. It was pretty enjoyable, and a good chance to use some of the funny little spells he had picked up over the past few years. Ha. Try finding the counter for that, Charlie. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“WAIT!”

Everyone turned to face Ivy, a few shooting glares at various people who might have dared to hurt one of the girls. 

“We need teams.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Girls against boys. A classic division of teams. And rather lopsided at the moment, it seemed, since there were three girls, only one of whom was actually an adult, versus six adult wizards and four teenagers. Wait, when had Barty showed up again?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“You’re not doing anything. Why aren’t you doing anything.”

“Come on, Sirius. You can’t expect me to actually shoot spells at them. What if I hit them?”

Sirius felt his eye twitch. “Harry, I love you, but they are winning.”

“Yes, but…”

Harry…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Okay, so new teams.”

“Yes. We, your humble minions, beg leave to join your team.”

Fred…”

“Hey, I claimed rights as first minion ages ago.”

“But Henry said I couldn’t have minions.”

“Fred, George, why are you two over here anyway?” Ginny asked. 

“Joining the winning side, of course.”

“We tried to tell them, but nooo.”

“Okay, so team name?”

“Well, most of us are still at Hogwarts, so maybe team Hogwarts?”

“We could each be one of the houses.”

“Someone would have to share, there’s five of us.”

“I don’t mind sharing.”

“Perfect. So I’ll be Hufflepuff, obviosuly. George, you can be Slytherin.”

George gave Ivy a mock salute. 

“Ginny, you want Ravenclaw? You’re smart.”

Ginny beamed and nodded her agreement. 

“Hey, what about me,” Fred protested. 

“Yes, yes, you’re smart too. How about you be Gryffindor then?”

“Nah, I think I’ll join up with Forge over here. We’d look great in green, wouldn’t we.”

“I can be Gryffindor,” Luna offered. 

“Perfect! Then we’re all set.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So can we be team Gryffindor?” Sirius asked hopefully.

“I’m out,” came Barty’s reply.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oh, hey Barty. You joining our team too?”

“They decided to be team Gryffindor.”

“Ah.”

“Wait, so does this mean we can’t have Gryffindor anymore?”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“We are badgers and we are going to destroy you.”

“Wow, Ivy looks really into this. Are you sure this is going to be okay?”

Harry and Percy both shrugged. 

“It could be worse,” Percy said. 

“At least Nott isn’t here,” Harry added. 

No one had any reply for that. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And I was so looking forward to wearing green,” Fred said with false sadness. 

George adjusted the transfigured yellow tie tied around his head. “Just steal one from Draco when we get back.”

Fred’s face lit up. “Oh, that just gave me a wonderful idea.”

George grinned. “I think I know. But later, we have to go get Charlie.”

“On it.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Where did she even learn that spell?” Bill asked to no one in particular. 

Next to him Percy cleared his throat awkwardly. 

Bill gave Percy a sideways look. “What have you been do…”

He didn’t get to finish his sentence, as he was suddenly quite distracted by the rabbit feet he was sporting. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“You know… it’s just a little bit… ironic… that you’re on… team Gryffindor… when you’re… literally Lord… Slytherin…” the Weasley who had the dragons huffed out in between spells. 

“You have no idea,” Harry muttered. 

Barty tucked that bit of information away for later. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“But Arthur, they aren’t allowed to use magic outside of school.”

“I’m sure it’s fine, dear. They are well supervised, anyhow.”

Molly took a good luck at the fully grown wizards getting their butts kicked by her youngest kids who had apparently all joined up at some point. She wasn’t sure this exactly counted as “supervision.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I can’t believe we got out arses handed to us like that,” Sirius said with a groan. 

“Told you,” Fred, Percy, and Barty all said at the same time. 

Harry grinned at Sirius’s scowl. “Come on, Padfoot. You know you were holding back a bit. Nothing to be ashamed of.”

Sirius muttered under his breath. 

“What was that? Didn’t quite catch that there,” Harry said with a cheeky grin. 

“I didn’t want to get them hurt,” Sirius said. “Besides, where did she even learn that one.”

Harry chuckled nervously and noticed Percy doing the same. He shot the boy a commiserating look and Percy visibly relaxed. He laughed again, this time more sincerely. Of course Ivy would have bugged Percy about learning spells. At least someone other than Remus was trying to make sure Ivy learned something that wasn’t likely to result in widespread destruction while at school. And Harry had to admit, seeing Sirius with cat whiskers and a tail was hilarious. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Achoo.

A dozen pair of eyes shot to the harumph that followed the innocent sneeze. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Please adopt me,” Sirius groaned into his cup of hot chocolate. “Or marry me, I’m not picky.”

Arthur chuckled and Molly rolled her eyes good-naturedly as she finished handing out hot mugs. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Sorry your plan didn’t work out,” Percy said to Ivy, giving her a sympathetic smile. 

Ivy shrugged. “It was worth a shot.”

“You know, you don’t have to be official to be family.”

Ivy smiled. “I know. Thanks Percy. I’ll give you your papers on your birthday.”

Percy only partially choked on his hot chocolate.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“What was that all about?”

“Apparently Charlie’s not the only one she got papers for.”

Bill couldn’t help but smile. “Determined, is she.”

Percy rolled his eyes. “You have no idea.”

“Why your birthday though?”

“Legal adult. Don’t need mum and dad’s signatures,” Percy murmured. 

Bill laughed outright at that. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“And I had no idea Xenophilius had a cousin. And such a wonderful girl. Oh, and they make such a lovely couple, don’t you think dear?”

Arthur chuckled. “They do.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

December 31, 1992

“Remind me why I have to go,” Remus muttered under his breath as he fixed his tie. 

“Because. I can’t go alone.”

“Harry, Luna, and Barty are all going, not to mention Ivy.”

“But Harry and Luna are going together, I’m not going with Barty, and Ivy doesn’t count.”

“Don’t let her hear you say that,” Remus said with a chuckle, enjoying the look that flashed across Sirius’s face. 

“That’s not what I meant. But she’s going to go off with her friends, and I’d be left alone, Remus. Alone.”

“And you’re not going with Sabrina because…”

“Because she’s still in Italy.”

“Remind me why she’s there again?”

“Visiting family.”

“You mean the Zabinis?”

“Yeah.”

“I thought she hated them?”

“Well her first husband wasn’t terrible, and yeah, she despises his parents, but she loves his grandfather. She’s his favorite grandchild.”

“I…” Remus wasn’t quite sure what to say to that. “Okay, so she’s not going to be there. But why do I have to go?”

“It’ll be fine.”

“None of those people like me.”

“I like you.”

“Doesn’t feel like it,” Remus muttered. “You owe me.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Ah, Professor Lupin. So nice to make your acquaintance. I’ve heard excellent things about you. It seems you are quite the hit among the students.”

“Lord Harrington,” Remus said with a polite nod. 

“I see Sirius managed to drag you here after all.”

Remus frowned slightly and Harrington let out a soft chuckle. “Samira mentioned how much he’s been complaining about Sabrina begin gone. I believe you have Remei and Narcissa to thank for your forced presence here.”

Remus groaned under his breath and Harrington let out another laugh. 

“Come on, let me introduce you around.”

Remus didn’t even get a protest out before he was dragged away.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“You look like you would rather be anywhere else than here right now.”

Remus turned towards Lord Greengrass. “Is it that obvious?”

“Only to those of us that feel the same,” he said with a smirk. 

Remus groaned. “How do you do it?”

“Watch.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey, have you seen Remus anywhere?”

Harry frowned. “Not for a while. Last I saw he was talking to Greengrass.”

Now Sirius frowned. “I’ll go ask Anthea then. Maybe she knows where they went.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Ladies,” Sirius said with a smile. “Have any of you by chance seen Remus around here lately? He was talking to Nate, but we can’t seem to find either of them.”

Narcissa and Anthea both smirked. “It seems your friend was dragged into Nate’s little party group,” Anthea said. 

Sirius frowned. Remus wasn’t much of a partier… 

“Perhaps it would be more accurate to call it the party avoidance group, dear,” Lady Burke offered. 

That made a little more sense. 

“Try the library,” Narcissa said. “They are probably trying to initiate Lupin into their secret Ravenclaw club as we speak.” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Harry, help me. We have to go save Remus.” 

“What? Why?”

“They’re trying to make him a Ravenclaw.”

Harry sighed. “I don’t think Remus needs rescuing from something like that. And who is doing this anyway?”

“Greengrass, Westbrook, Thorburn, and Bromford.”

“I literally only know one of those names.”

Harry.”

A rather loud crashing sound interrupted Sirius’s protest. 

“Do you think we ought to…”

“Maybe we should…”

“It’s fine,” Lucius said, walking past them. “It’s just the children.”

Harry and Sirius watched him walk off. 

“Is that supposed to make us feel better?” Harry asked. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“…AVENGE YOUR HONOR AND I WILL…”

Greengrass closed the door. “See, everything is fine.”

Remus reminded himself that he was not at Hogwarts, so the kids were not actually his problem at the moment. 

“So, Ignatius…”

Basilius…”

Bromford rolled his eyes. “Nate, Bas, cut it out. We’re going to scare the Gryffindor.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

As Harry opened the door they were met with five surprised faces. 

“See Sirius? Nothing going on. Just five men meeting in the library talking about…”

“Changes made in the most recent edition of Grammatica.” 

“See, Sirius? Changes made in… yes, well. Nothing to worry about, is there.”

“Merlin, you are all nerds,” Sirius said in a horrified mutter. 

Not one of them looked the least bit offended. Remus just rolled his eyes. 

“Sirius, you already know Ignatius Greengrass…”

Nate,” Greengrass corrected. 

“Sorry, right. Nate Greengrass. And this is Basilius Westbrook, Dunstan Thorburn, and Sebastian Bromford. Gentlemen, Sirius Black and Henry Peverell.” 

Pleasantries were exchanged, and Harry left feeling rather amused at Sirius’s growing horror at the suggestion that he too join in their discussion. Apparently Sirius’s eagerness to skip out on social events ended when it came to philosophical and academic discussions. Harry made a mental note to introduce Percy to Bromford though. He had a feeling they’d get along quite nicely. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Did you know Lovegood had a cousin?”

“I certainly did not. Where is she from again?”

“I heard Canada, but maybe it was New Zealand?”

“Well I heard Henry is from Canada, so maybe that’s where they met?”

“They make a lovely couple, don’t you think?”

“Oh absolutely.”

“I’d say our work here is quite done, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Yes.”

“Now onto politics. If we can just get him comfortable enough to start showing up…”

“And Sirius too. Henry will be more likely to go if Sirius does.”

“That’s true. Now, about how to raise the topic…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Lucius paused mid-sentence at the loud crash he heard. It was only the fourth one of the evening, so overall a quiet night. But, just in case…

“Dobby.” The elf popped into sight. “Please go make sure no one is injured.”

The elf popped back off to make sure the children were alive, uninjured (relatively), and still confined to the Gryffindor looking room. Lucius could hardly care less if anything happened to that room, but he’d still just as rather not have any serious injuries to deal with. 

Turning his attention back to the conversation at hand, he noticed the surprised look on a few of the wizards faces. Then someone made a comment about being nice to house elves. Well, since the opportunity had presented itself…

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Barty smirked. It was always amusing to see Lucius doing his yes-you-should-all-definitely-listen-to-me thing. At the moment, not only was he displaying his closeness with Lord Peverell, which, after figuring out more about Harry’s past, was becoming an infinitely amusing source of entertainment for Barty, but he was also making the whole house elf issue appear to be his idea. Only Lucius could give credit to someone else while simultaneously claiming credit for himself. 

Very amusing. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Oh have you seen the lady with Lord Peverell?”

“I have. Do you know who she is?”

“I have no idea. I heard she was a foreign cousin of one of the minor families here.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“No, I don’t know her name. I did hear she is a magizoologist or something along those lines.”

“Oh, how fascinating.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“You know, I heard she does some sort of specialized creature work.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I think she specialized in rare and undiscovered species and creatures.”

“Oh doesn’t that sound interesting.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I heard she was looking for help from a Parselmouth.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I heard they met when Lord Peverell discovered a new species of snake.”

“What a perfect love story.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I hear they were childhood sweethearts.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I heard they just met this summer.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I heard they met in Brazil.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“I heard they met in India.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“How can someone be a specialist in undiscovered species?” Harry asked.

Luna laughed lightly. “Well someone has to be.”

“Apparently,” Harry said, rolling his eyes. “Wizarding logic at it’s finest.”

“Of course.”

Harry laughed and pulled her a little closer as they danced. Why was it so much easier dancing with Luna?

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Almost as many people like looking at you here as they did before,” Luna said with a small laugh. 

Harry did a theatrical groan. “It never stops,” he whined. Harry glances around and brightened. “But it does look like they’re looking at you more than me.”

Luna giggled. “How would you tell.”

“It’s obvious, isn’t it? You’re much prettier than I am. So obviously they’re all looking at you.”

“Only because I’m with you. People don’t look at me.”

“No, pretty sure it’s all you. It just took them longer.”

“Longer for what?”

“To see what I see.”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Unnoticed by Harry and Luna, Barty let out an audible “aww.” 

“You too?” Narcissa said with a conspiratorial smile. 

Barty rolled his eyes. “Like you aren’t already.”

“Never said I wasn’t.”

“Ten galleons says end of the year.”

“Twenty says end of summer.”

Barty sighed. “I really should know better than to bet against you, shouldn’t I.”

Narcissa made a noncommittal hmm. 

“Well, I’m fairly certain Ivy already has a wedding planner going. I’m sure she’d be open to taking suggestions.” 

The gleam that flashed across Narcissa’s face gave Barty a brilliant idea. 

“What do you think about Sirius and Sabrina? They seem to be taking their time.”

“You’re right,” Narcissa said, frowning slightly. “Perhaps we ought to give them some encouragement.”

Barty just smirked. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 2, 1993

“And you have everything packed?”

Ivy rolled her eyes. “Yes, Dad. I have everything packed.”

Harry just rolled his eyes in return. “Hey, wait, what is this?” He picked up a notebook that had a few things sticking out of it. 

“Oh, it’s nothing. Just some ideas Aunt Narcissa gave me.”

Harry frowned. Well, Narcissa didn’t seem the type to give Ivy any suggestions that would be too awful… 

“What kind of ideas?”

“Oh, just some wedding ideas. Nothing too big. Anyway, can I go over to Daphne’s house now?”

“What? Yeah, sure. Just be back for dinner,” Harry called out, as Ivy skipped out of the room.

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Sirius, I think Ivy is planning a wedding.”

“What?” 

“I mean, she hasn’t kissed him, right? She’s twelve. She’s not kissing anyone yet. Right?” Harry’s voice was somewhat pleading. 

“Who?”

Ivy.”

“Who is she kissing?”

“Draco.”

“Wait, they’re getting married?”

Harry nodded, grimace firmly in place. “I think Narcissa is helping them plan it.”

Sirius shrugged. “They’re a little young, but you know how some families are. Like to have things planned well in advance.” He frowned. “You haven’t gotten a marriage contract yet, have you?”

“A what?” Harry’s voice was about three octaves higher than normal. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Narcissa watched Sirius and Harry’s faces with amusement. Eventually Draco came into the room and her attention turned towards her son. 

“Draco, dear, is Ivy your girlfriend?”

Draco sputtered for a moment before regaining his composure. “What? Of course not. She’s my best friend.”

Harry seemed relieved at that statement, even if Sirius did not. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Sirius fidgeted with his fork. He couldn’t really concentrate on dinner, fantastic though it was. 

“Ivy,” he said finally, “is Draco your boyfriend?”

Ivy looked puzzled by the question. “Of course he is. Don’t you remember telling me about my boyfriends?”

Sirius and Harry both choked a little. 

Boyfriends?” Harry coughed out, before invoking Merlin’s name for something that Sirius couldn’t quite make out. 

“Yeah. I mean, there’s Draco, of course, and Fred, and George, and Neville, and Cedric, and Blaise, and Theo, and Terry, and Justin, and…”

Apparently Narcissa hadn’t covered the definition of “boyfriend” in her talk. Sirius did feel a little better though. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Wait, so if she doesn’t like Draco that way, then who does she like?”

Harry and Sirius shared a horrified glance. Draco Malfoy was one thing, but at least they knew him. What if she liked some other boy that they had never met and knew nothing about and…

Remus rolled his eyes at them. “She’s only a second year. Give it another year at least.”

“You don’t know that,” Sirius said indignantly. “We need to know these things, Remus.”

“Fine, I’ll keep an eye out,” Remus said, after giving them a look. “Happy?”

Sirius would be happier if Remus didn’t laugh at their reactions to the very real possibility that their sweet, precious, completely innocent Ivy might have a crush, or even worse, a boyfriend.

Chapter Text

January 3, 1993

“Hurry up, we’re going to be late,” Harry called up, tapping his foot ever so slightly.

“Uh, Harry, the train doesn’t leave for two hours,” Sirius pointed out. 

So maybe it was ever so slightly possible that Harry’s past experiences with the Weasleys and the how-many-seconds-before-the-train-leaves-can-we-get-there game had left an impression somewhere along the line. Maybe. 

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Ivy said, coming down the stairs, trunk floating behind her. 

“Okay, not that this is going to change absolutely anything, but you do realize that you’re not supposed to use magic outside of school, right?” It was a token effort but Harry felt it was sufficient to check off that box on the list of parental responsibilities.

“Yep!”

“Okay, just so you’re aware.”

“Does it still count if I didn’t use my wand though?”

“Uh, not sure about that actually. Sirius? Barty?”

“It’s probably fine,” Sirius said. 

“You haven’t been expelled yet.”

“Thanks, Barty, for that contribution,” Harry said dryly. 

“What are minions for?” Barty said with a grin. 

Ivy came to a sudden halt. “Barty’s your minion? I thought you said I couldn’t have minions. Why do you get a minion then?”

“Because…” Harry scrambled for an answer. “I’m an adult.”

Surprisingly, this seemed to work. Ivy was instantly mollified, and appeared to take Harry’s answer as a reasonable explanation. “Oh, that makes sense,” she said, much to Harry’s relief. “I’ll let Fred know then.”

“Wait, let Fred know what?” Harry watched Ivy walk out the door, trunk still following behind. “Ivy…” 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

So maybe they were just a tad early to the station, but it wasn’t that bad. Ivy didn’t seem particularly convinced of that statement, but what can you do.

“Hey, remember when we waited for that train in Bergen?”

Harry sighed. “Why couldn’t you have brought up the train in Frankfurt? Or the one in Sri Lanka? Or the one in Darjeeling? Did you have to bring up the one in Bergen?” What was he saying, of course she would have brought up the one in Bergen. And… Yep, there it was. She was grinning. She was a little menace sometimes and she knew it. 

Harry sighed. Dramatically. He felt he had earned that much. “One time. It happened one time.”

Ivy was still grinning. “I still can’t believe they thought your accent was real.”

Harry felt his eye twitch. “It wasn’t that bad.”

Ivy grinned wider. Just as she was about to say something though she seemed to have some sort of realization. Harry braced himself. “Wait, is that why we went to the States after that?”

“No?” Harry held onto the tiny, minuscule, infinitesimal hope that somehow he had come across as convincing. 

Ivy gaped. “It is. Oh, wait ‘till I tell Sirius about that. I can’t believe you took us to the States just so you could try to fake an American accent.”

“Hey, I can fake one,” Harry declared stubbornly. “Now,” he added under his breath. 

Ivy just shook her head as if he were saying something terribly amusing. 

Harry most definitely did not pout. Not at all. And there were no witnesses so ha. 

 –––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Okay so maybe they had been really early. Their conversation had strayed all over the place, per usual, but they had ended up spending a long time talking about Luna Lovegood. Both of them, actually. Ivy loved Harry’s Luna, of course, but he had been slightly perplexed when she had called his Luna, well, his Luna. 

“Uncle Henry,” Ivy had said seriously, “you have your Luna, I have mine.”

Harry’s brain had blanked out for a moment as he worried who had told Ivy something or what she had figured out. He was not ready for that particular situation yet. There were so many things he needed to do first. Like teach her occlumency. Or fine someone else to teach it to her. Make sure there was no way for her to make an interdimensional adventure attempt. Or time travel. Would it be rude to go destroy all the time-turners? Probably. He… oh. She probably just meant because there were two Lunas now, huh. And one was her friend while the other was Harry’s… friend. Right. Yes. No need to panic. Still time to work on occlumency.

Harry then gave a small shudder. 

“Yes, you’ll be fine. Okay, here’s your lunch,” he said, handing a small sack to Ivy. “Try to eat that before you empty the trolley.”

Ivy rolled her eyes but took the the sack with a poorly hidden grin.

There was some kind of aww-ing sound from somewhere behind him, but he wasn’t really paying close attention. Someone’s child probably just did something cute. Kids did do that sort of thing sometimes. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“Hey Fred, good news.” The compartment’s occupants all looked up at the grinning Slytherin. 

“Yeah? What is it?” Fred asked. 

“Turns out I can have minions after I’m an adult.”

Fred grinned. Ivy grinned. The others groaned. It was a beautiful moment. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Thomas collapsed on his bed and started laughing into the pillow.

“Uh, everything alright there?”

“We made it,” Thomas said, perhaps a little hysterically, but really, who could blame him. “We made it.”

“You did what?” 

“The entire train ride. Nothing happened. We made it through the entire train ride.”

“Right… So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this has something to do with Potter?”

The twin snorts from Marcus and Kenneth were insufficient to wreck the moment of triumphant joy that Thomas was experiencing. 

“Corvin,” he said, leaning up off the bed, “we made it through the entire train ride and nothing happened.” He gave his roommate a pointed look. 

It only took another second or so for the other wizard to catch on, and when he did, a look of slight awe flashed over his face. “How did you manage that?”

Thomas grinned. “Did you hear about all the new pets students brought back with them this term?”

Corvin’s eye widened. “That was you?”

Thomas shook his head. “Nope. I had nothing to do with that. Just used it to my, well, our advantage.”

Corvin shuddered. “Anyone in Slytherin?”

“Nope. Ivy’s the only one,” Thomas said with a grin. “Heard there’s quite a few in Ravenclaw though.”

“Twelve,” Kenneth interjected. “Four in Hufflepuff, one in Gryffindor.”

“Seven… There’s seventeen new snakes here?” Corvin looked horrified. Thomas couldn’t exactly blame him. 

Kenneth sighed and they all turned his way, only to see a wistful look on his face that didn’t quite match his… well, existence might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it was a close thing. 

“What I wouldn’t give to be in that staff meeting,” he said to the somewhat puzzled looks on his classmates’ faces.

Thomas felt a momentary pang of sympathy for the other heads of house. He wasn’t sure they were prepared for this sort of thing. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 8, 1993

Severus groaned on the inside. Loudly, and with vigor. It was January. In Scotland. Did they all have to be so… cheerful? 

And leave it to Albus to sound optimistic about the number of students that had brought back snakes as pets for the new term. Sure, the headmaster was technically opposing the snakes, but he was doing it in the most horrifically cheerful way imaginable, twinkle and all. 

Staff meetings were terrible. Also, his third year class this morning had ended in four trips to the hospital wing and eighteen destroyed cauldrons. Eighteen. Severus was fairly certain it took a special kind of skill to destroy that many in one go. And the Weasley twins weren’t even in that class, so he had no idea who might be capable of such a thing. It was mildly irritating. 

“Sorry, how many students did you say showed up with snakes?” 

Really, it had already been stated once nearly fifteen minutes ago. Had no one been paying attention?

“Seventeen,” Minerva replied. 

“That you know of,” Severus couldn’t help but add. Sue him, he was bored. Also the twitch in Albus’s eye was worth it, as was the slight upturn in the corner of Filius’s mouth.

“Well that’s one response to Ivy being a parselmouth,” Lupin muttered. 

Severus dearly wanted to deliver some scathing remark about how dare he assume this had anything to do with Potter, but he was almost certain it did, in fact, have to do with her. 

“Oh yes, my Ravenclaws are all excited to learn more about the proper care of snakes,” Filius said. That explained the twelve snakes in Ravenclaw then. 

“It’s so good to see them taking such good care of the little things,” Pomona added. 

“How about you, Minerva?” Severus asked, waiting for the eye twitch… ah, there it was. 

“One, Severus. Lysander Westbrook, if you must know.”

Severus was mildly impressed. He hadn’t thought the little first year had it in him. 

“And what about you, Severus? How many snakes in Slytherin?”

Oh the possibilities with that question. He could see Lupin trying to hold back a smirk, and was momentarily torn between scowling at Albus for assuming his perfect little snakes had possibly done anything wrong, and Potter didn’t count at this point, and scolding at Lupin for finding the same things amusing as he did. 

He settled on a general scowl and acerbic answer. “Just the one, headmaster. Same as always.”

Albus frowned, Lupin moved a hand to cover his mouth, and likely a laugh, and Severus resisted the urge to roll his eyes. 

“Yes, well, snakes are not allowed at Hogwarts, so I am afraid we will have to require all students to return their new pets home. I…”

“Albus,” Minerva interrupted with a tinge of exasperation in her voice, “Miss Potter has had a snake at Hogwarts for the last year and a half and no issue has been raised. Furthermore,” she continued, cutting off Albus’s attempt to interject with something or other, “she is certainly not the only student to possess a pet that is not, strictly speaking, allowed. Need I remind you of the other animals currently residing in Hogwarts?” She didn’t pause for a response. “We have a tarantula, a gerbil, two hamsters, three guinea pigs, one fox, one sugar glider, four ferrets, two hedgehogs, nine salamanders, six lizards, and one miniature pig.” 

“Miniature pig?” Lupin asked with interest. 

“Folant Holmwood, one of my seventh years,” Pomona explained, with a fond look on her face. Severus ignored most of the animals that found their way into the Slytherin dorms, but he knew he would draw the line at a pig, no matter how “cute” it was claimed to be. They had to have some standards, after all. 

“So you see, Albus, despite the rather recently acquired interest in the certain breed of reptile, simply banning that animal is not feasible at this point,” Minerva continued, giving the headmaster a very pointed look. Severus could have sworn he saw the headmaster inch down in his seat every so slightly. Good. 

“Remus, what about your students?” Albus practically pleaded. 

“I’m not a head of house, why are you asking me this?” Lupin asked. 

It only took twelve more minutes to get Albus to give in, and another twenty minutes for the meeting to come to a blessed end, at which point Severus was mentally listing off the requirements for changing his name and moving to Russia, but that wasn’t really important. 

As much as he would love to retreat to the dungeons as quickly as possible, there was still one more little thing he had to take care of. 

“Albus, I need to request the Easter Holidays off.”

The headmaster looked at him with surprise but recovered quickly. “I see. Nothing bad I hope?”

Severus wasn’t sure if he was making up the hopeful sound in Albus’s voice that sounded similar to his I-have-a-conspiracy-theory-that-I’m-really-excited-about voice, but he let it go. 

“I have a rather… pressing engagement.”

Thankfully the headmaster didn’t ask for further details, and approval was given. Had Severus been a Gryffindor or a Hufflepuff he would have leapt in the air for joy, but he actually had some dignity to preserve, so he refrained. 

“Pressing engagement?” Lupin asked him with a knowing smirk after Albus had left. 

“Yes, it is unfortunate that I will not be here to witness the latest attempt by Potter and her little red headed demons to burn the castle down, but some things can’t be avoided.” And some things can if you’re smart and possess sufficient levels of self-preservation, Severus added to himself. 

“Of course,” Lupin added. 

Severus was too happy to give his scowl a full measure of fury so he settled on mildly irritated. Lupin was unfazed but Severus couldn’t find it in himself to care at the moment. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“So how has the reaction in Hufflepuff been to all the new snakes?”

Justin shrugged. “A few people are still upset that nobody else has brought a pig. Holmwood is graduating this year and everyone is kind of upset that Furball will be gone.”

“Furball?”

“The pig,” Justin explained. 

Theo decided not to ask. “And that’s it? Everyone is okay with snakes in there?”

Justing shrugged again. “Well, yeah. We have a lot of animals in there, so it’ll be fine. Totally fine. Who doesn’t like snakes?” Justin laughed nervously and Theo was not fooled for a second. “What about Slytherin?”

Now it was Theo’s turn to shrug. “A lot of people are upset that the other houses have more snakes than we do, and that they didn’t think of it first, since it’s our house and all. A few people tried conjuring them but so far no one has gotten one to last long enough.”

Justin did not look nearly as excited at the prospect of more snakes as Theo was, which he couldn’t quite understand. The snakes were so cool, and it was unfair that Hufflepuff had four when Slytherin, the literal house of snakes, only had one.

“You know, Hufflepuffs don’t summon badgers…”

“Well of course not. Badgers are nasty little buggers, aren’t they.” 

The pained on Justin’s face was probably due to his wishing his house had a more conjure-able animal. Because who in their right mind would try to conjure a badger? 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 9, 1993

“Hey Thomas, can we go tell the twins and Neville about the basilisk now?”

Percy choked on air and Thomas screamed on the inside. 

“You know, I was really hoping you had forgotten about that,” he muttered. Ivy just smiled at him and he sighed. “Percy,” he said, turning towards his friend and the last thing keeping his sanity in check at the moment. “There’s a basilisk under the school, it adopted Ivy, Malfoy knows, and Ivy wants to tell your brothers and Longbottom.” 

“A basilisk?”

“Yes.”

“There’s a basilisk in Hogwarts?”

“Yep!” This time Ivy answered. Thomas would not have answered so cheerfully. “It’s in the Chamber of Secrets.”

“The Chamber… Ivy… Please tell me your Uncle knows about this.”

“He’s the one who told me about it.”

Thomas was having a mini crisis concerning his opinions of one Lord Peverell-Slytherin, and Percy looked like he was having an existential crisis of his own. Thomas tried to remember whether or not he had known that particular fact already, but was drawing a blank. There was just a lot to deal with at the moment. 

“And you really want to tell Fred and George?” Percy looked desperately optimistic. The kind where you know the answer is not going to be what you want but you have nothing else to hope for. 

“And Neville,” Ivy replied. How could the living embodiment of chaos be so cheerful and cute all the time? One more thing to add to Thomas’s ongoing crisis. 

“Thomas?” Percy looked at him with a pleading look. 

Thomas shrugged helplessly. This was all going terribly and he didn’t know what he was doing. 

“But you’re not going to take them there, are you?”

“No, Thomas said I probably shouldn’t.”

For the first time in this conversation Percy looked like there was hope left in this world. “Yes, listen to Thomas. That is a great plan. Let’s do that.”

“Okay, so can we tell them now?” 

Ivy’s smile was heartwarming and reassuring yet terrifying all at the same time. Thomas decided right then and there that he was going to get the most boring, mundane, no-danger-whatsoever job after graduating. Some nice little paper-pusher job in the Ministry perhaps. His father knew people. Lord Peverell seemed to like him well enough. Lord Greengrass was a pleasant wizard. Yes, that sounded like a good plan. He should talk to Percy about that. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Percy sympathized with the look on Neville’s face, and tried not to think too hard about the looks on Fred and George’s faces. He gave Neville a reassuring pat on the back, and tried to offer him some words of comfort, though whether it was for the new knowledge of the deadly creature living in the school or the fact that the boy’s friends all seemed to attract far more trouble than he likely enjoyed Percy really couldn’t say. 

Then a thought crossed his mind, and no matter how much he tried to dismiss it, he couldn’t let go of it. 

“Thomas, can I talk to you for a second?”

Thomas nodded, and Percy abandoned Neville to the slightly more eager conversations of Ivy, Fred, and George, who were discussing the situation with far less horror than Percy felt was entirely appropriate given the circumstances. 

When he and Thomas had each erected a sufficient number of privacy wards, Percy turned to his friend. “You said the basilisk, uh, adopted Ivy?”

Thomas nodded. “Yeah? So she says. The snake calls her her little hatchling or something like that.”

“Right, okay. And did it, sorry, she happen to have anything to do with Lockhart’s disappearance?”

“Er…”

Percy could put two and two together. Both boys focused on their own thoughts for a bit, but it was obvious after a few moments that they had come to the same conclusions.

“We should probably…”

“Not tell anyone about this?”

“Yeah. Right. Probably not.”

“Maybe ask Lord Peverell?”

“Good idea.”

“Anyone else?”

“Better not.”

“Yeah, okay.”

“Do you think Lockhart…”

They made a face at each other and shuddered slightly before dismantling the wards. This was Peverell’s business, and they would just do their job at looking out for Ivy. No need to get other people involved, really. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 10, 1993

“Hey Ivy, where are you going?”

“Owlery. Have a few letters to send.” Ivy held up the stack as proof of her statement. 

“Great, so can we take Tiger?”

Ivy looked at her snake for a minute, apparently listening to what he had to say on the matter. “Yeah, he’s hungry so he wants to go the chicken room.”

To their credit, Tracey, Daphne, and Millie only looked slightly concerned about that statement. Draco, on the other hand, looked positively horrified. “He wants to eat an owl?”

Ivy gave him a funny look. “No, of course not. That’s the owl room. He wants to go the chicken room.”

Daphne gestured for her to explain. 

“The Great Hall. He wants to go the Great Hall.”

Draco looked a little better after that, and Tracey scooped up the snake and began cooing about getting him all the chicken. 

“What’s going on?” Pansy asked, coming up to their little group.

“Tiger isn’t going to eat an owl.”

Pansy didn’t even blink. “Oh that’s nice. Although there’s a really annoying one if he changes his mind.”

Draco made a token sound of protest and everyone went on their merry way. Millie, being slightly more thoughtful at times than some of the others, decided it would be a good idea to share that information with the other snake-owning students. Plus it was a chance to go see Cedric. 

Hannah and Susan. She meant Hannah and Susan. 

Chapter Text

January 14, 1993

“Last trunk,” Barty said, plopping it down in front of the others. 

“Merlin, Harry, how much stuff do you have?” Sirius said with exaggerated pain in his voice. 

“Hey, don’t look at me. Luna’s the one who brought it over,” Harry grunted as he undid the locks.

Sirius turned his pout towards Luna. “Did you have to?”

Luna just laughed. Once Harry was done opening up the trunk the others all peered inside. 

“Oh, this is the one Hermione packed,” Luna said. 

Harry nodded. It looked a lot more organized than the one Ron had packed for sure. 

“What is that?” Sirius asked in a whisper, his eyes wide and full of awe. 

“That’s a broom, Padfoot. Remember those?”

Sirius just stuck out his tongue at Harry. “Is that yours?”

“Yeah, best racing broom on the market.”

Sirius’s eyes went wider. “Do you mean… When did this come out?”

Harry shrugged. “Few years ago maybe?”

Finally Harry couldn’t keep his face straight at the sight of Sirius’s pained expression and he laughed. “Okay fine, it came out in 2002.”

Sirius made a whimpering sound. 

“Your mutt is showing,” Harry teased. 

“Can I?” 

Harry couldn’t help but laugh at the pleading expression on Sirius’s face. “Yeah, go for it.”

Sirius looked like a kid let loose with a hundred galleons in Honeydukes.

From there on out sorting through the contents of the trunk was much less exciting. There were a few things that Harry was happy to see, but he had already replaced most everything by this point, and there was no way he was going to be seen in public in those robes, because yes, Draco, he did have some fashion sense. Or perhaps more accurately, Fleur, Hermione, Narcissa, Astoria, Katie, Hannah, Parvati, and Angelina had some fashion sense and had insisted on dragging him along on shopping trips. But somehow George had snuck a pair of robes past the you’re-twenty-years-old-Harry-you-can’t-keep-wearing-school-robes association. At least if he were ever trapped on a desert island he could use them as a target visible from space. Or he could apparate. Whatever. Back to the main point.

“Okay, last thing. Nice box,” Barty said with a snicker. 

Harry rolled his eyes. “Yea, laugh if you must, but I’ll have you know that Jobberknolls are fierce and, and majestic, and… Luna, it’s not that funny.”

Luna and Barty both let out a full blown laugh. 

“Okay, so what’s the story here?” Barty asked. 

“No story,” Harry tried to say, but Luna beat him to it. 

“Draco got it for Harry because he said Harry reminded him of the bird.” 

Barty raised an eyebrow and Luna took it as an invitation to continue the story, much to Harry’s chagrin. 

“I believe that at some point after nearly dying again Harry shared his entire life story with Draco.”

Barty looked at Harry who sighed and gave in the the inevitable explanation he would have to give. 

“I was drunk, okay? I had almost died, again, though to be fair it wasn’t actually that bad of an almost death. Anyway, I had almost died, I had maybe had a few too many drinks, and Malfoy comes in asking me why I am the way I am, so of course I had to explain, and I guess I shared way more than Draco actually wanted since apparently the question was ‘rhetorical,’ and about a week later I got this with a note saying that this must be my spirit animal or something because it was small and talked a lot right before it died.”

“Who died?”

Harry groaned as Sirius made his way back into the room, the confused look on his face mingled with the leftover euphoria that had come as a result of his little flying adventure. 

“Oh, it’s the box with all the pictures. I was wondering where those had ended up,” Luna said. 

There were a lot of photographs. 

After the war Harry had made it a point to take lots of photographs, a habit he had carried into his new world. There were many reasons for this, and most of them were honestly a bit depressing so he wasn’t going to bother dwelling on them right now. The point was, he had a lot of pictures, and his friends had apparently done a good job of gathering them all up and sending them with Luna. All of them. Yep. Oh dear, was that one the…

“What is this?” Or at least Harry was pretty sure that’s what Sirius asked. It was a little hard to tell in between all the wheezing. 

Harry snatched the offending photograph out of Sirius’s hand and gasped, shooting a betrayed look at Luna. “I thought she promised never to speak of this again?” 

Luna did not look at all bothered by Hermione’s betrayal of Harry, nor by his suffering. “Technically she didn’t say anything.”

Harry’s eye twitched. Leave it to those two to find the loophole. Hermione technically hadn’t said anything. No, she had just included the apparently-not-burned-like-Harry-had-thought photo in a trunk being brought across dimensions where any random stranger could have found it. Any dimension-traveling stranger at least. And who was to say there weren’t some of those so ha. His point was valid. 

Finally Harry tore his eyes away from Luna, only to find Sirius and Barty staring at him. Smugly. Questioningly. Mischievously. Those two were no longer allowed to sit next to each other. 

“So, you haven’t really told us much about your post-Hogwarts adventures, it seems.”

Harry’s finger twitched as he considered the merits of sending a small wandless stinging hex Sirius’s way. 

“Oh, I know this one,” Luna said, smile as present as ever. 

Traitor. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

“You…” Sirius couldn’t even get out another word, he was laughing so hard. 

Barty was just sitting there smugly. “So, what other stories have you got?”

Luna’s face lit up and Harry groaned. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Harry had to hand it to Luna, she really did know how to tell a story. Sure, there were little tangents here and there, and a few creatures that he had never heard of and a conspiracy theory he was pretty sure was somehow related to iPods, but even with the seemingly unrelated bits thrown in there, Sirius and Barty had both listened in fascinated silence, their attention firmly fixed on Luna Lovegood and the many tales of Harry Potter and the I-didn’t-plan-on-that-happening-honest. 

Finally as Luna finished up her latest tale, Harry felt himself reminiscing on some of the other past adventures. When you spend your formative teenage years being hunted by a madman and ostracized then heralded then ostracized and condemned again by an entire society, the bar for interesting days is set fairly high. 

“Any other stories Harry?”

Sirius seemed very into this whole okay-maybe-I-was-not-always-an-entirely-responsible-adult story time thing Harry had going on right now. 

“Well there was that time with Charlie in Romania. Or the time I went with Bill and Fleur to see her parents. Or the time George and I got a tiny bit too drunk, and…”

“Wait, was that the time you apparated drunk?”

“What? No. That was a different time.”

“How many drunk stories do you have, Harry?”

“Shut up, Sirius. Anyway, that one time with George, and hey, did you know that unicorns can headbutt you really hard?”

“With their horns?” Barty asked suspiciously. 

“Surprisingly, no. That’s only if they’re trying to impale you.”

“Unicorns are quite lovely, aren’t they,” Luna interjected. 

Barty looked between Harry and Luna. “Okay, I think I want to hear this one.”

“Well, what happened was this…”

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––

January 17, 1993

“How’s the list coming Harry?”

A jumbled mess of words and several variations on a grunt was what Sirius got in reply. 

“Okay… Well, what have you got so far?”

More grunting, a few more unintelligible words, and a parchment shoved in his face. 

“Alright, let’s have a look. Save the house elves, underlined four times, yes, I seem to recall you telling me that was a particular passion of Miss Granger’s… Fix laws… A little vague but I suppose there’s more in the book somewhere?”

Grunt. Alright then. 

“Right. Fix laws, Keep Cedric alive… Who is Cedric again?”

“Diggory. Cedric Diggory.”

An actual word. Improvement!

“Don’t break into Gringotts… Did you really need to put that on the list?”

Grunt. Well, two steps forward, one step back and all that.

“Oh, I see. Free the Gringotts dragon. Yes, I see how not breaking into Gringotts is on there… Although don’t the goblins love you? Maybe they’d give you the dragon?”

Glare. Ooh. Another step back. Not even a grunt. 

“Or… Maybe they’d give Ivy the dragon?”

Panicked whine. Abort, abort. 

“Or you don’t need to have a dragon at your house and we can find some other way of dealing with it?”

Back to a grunt. Sirius was getting the hang of this. 

“Save… Oh hey, look at that. Save me. Well you already did that, so thanks, and how about I just cross that one off now…”

Mumbled words. Getting better…

“Where’s a quill…”

“Save Sirius from the veil.”

“Wow. An entire five words. I’m flattered.”

Glare. But eye twitch, so still a win. 

“Well that’s not too bad of a list. Is it finished then?”

Harry gave him a uninterpretable stare for a minute before pointing first to the book and then to the list.

Sirius winced. “Okay, fair point. But still, it’s not like the entire book applies, right? For example…” Sirius walked over to the book and began flipping through the many pages. “You don’t have to worry about…” he squinted at the tiny print. “Marriage customs in ninth and tenth century Britain.”

Harry made some kind of strangled sound at that. 

“Okay, bad example. Well, you don’t need to know the major political figures of the Roman Republic or…” Sirius flipped through a few more pages. “How to establish a fake identity using entirely m