Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos
Year 1: The Forsaken’s Ascension
Chapter 11: Alliances and Atrocities
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my betas Yoshi89 and Umar for their work on this story. Additionally, a massive thank you is extended to Fezzik. She became a beta for me at a later date and has graciously agreed to assist me in revising these early chapters.
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October 31, 1991
The Gryffindor Common Room
Charlus frowned at Ron, who was still digging ruthlessly into the desserts that had been brought to the common room along with the rest of the feast. The feast was continuing in the common rooms so students could safely finish the meal without worry about the troll.
“The troll couldn’t have just snuck in,” Charlus was saying. “The wards around this place are crazy.”
Ron frowned. “You reckon someone let it in then?”
Charlus shrugged helplessly. “I don’t see how else it could have got in. Trolls are definitely dark. They’re wizard killers and their skin will deflect most magic.”
Ron blinked. “You… uh… don’t take this the wrong way or anything… but you seem to know a lot about some stuff, but then you’re clueless about stuff like Potions and a lot of the Charms theory and stuff like that.”
Charlus rolled his eyes. “I’ve told you,” he said in a low voice, “Dad’s made sure I’ve studied defence for ages. I didn’t actually get to use the magic, but I studied a bunch of creatures and some spells.” He shrugged. “I’ve known about trolls forever. I never studied Potions. And Charms… well, Dad was always more into Transfiguration. I think I’m pretty good at that.”
Ron raised his hands. “I’m not insulting you, mate. It’s bloody cool and all, it’s just really weird how you can go from clueless to brilliant just like that.”
“I don’t know if that made me feel more or less insulted.” Both boys snickered, but their humour was cut off by the magically magnified voice of Professor Dumbledore, which rang through every inch of the castle, sounding graver than any had ever heard it before.
“ALL STUDENTS ARE TO REMAIN IN THEIR COMMON ROOMS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE IS GIVEN. LESSONS ARE CANCELLED UNTIL ALL OF YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD OTHERWISE. ALL TEACHERS, PLEASE REPORT TO THE STAFF ROOM IMMEDIATELY, THANK YOU.”
Everyone in the Gryffindor common room fell completely quiet for several moments before the room exploded in chatter.
“What do you think happened?” Ron asked Charlus.
“Surely the troll didn’t… you know… kill anybody?”
Ron frowned. “Nah, can’t have. They said it was dealt with, didn’t they?”
“Yeah, but it could’ve got someone before it was dealt with.”
The two boys exchanged nervous glances. “The cloak?” Ron whispered, causing Charlus to frown.
“The cloak!” Ron continued in a low voice. “You wore it that night to the hospital wing!”
“Uh… yeah, I did.”
Ron beamed. “We can sneak out under the cloak and go eavesdrop on their staff meeting!”
For a moment, Charlus looked frozen in shock. Then, his face split into a wide, mischievous grin as he clapped Ron on the shoulder. “That’s brilliant!”
About ten minutes later…
Ron and Charlus slid effortlessly into the staff room. The door had been left open, as the teachers, who had escorted all the students to the common rooms, were clearly unconcerned about them approaching.
When the two first year Gryffindors slipped into the room, there was only Dumbledore present. He sat at the head of a long table, and the twinkle that was usually present in his eyes was noticeably absent. He was drumming his long fingers on the desk as if in deep, anxious thought. The appearance of Dumbledore like this, the man whom Charlus had known for years and never seen rattled actually sent a shiver up his spine.
Footsteps quickly came from the doorway behind them, and Ron had to stamp on the surprised Charlus’s foot to get him moving. Both boys slipped to the far corner of the room, watching the professors file in and all take their seats. McGonagall and Snape sat closest to Dumbledore, with the rest of the staff filling out the table. Only when everyone was present did McGonagall speak.
“Albus, what’s happened?”
Dumbledore seemed to slowly come out of a trance. His fingers stopped drumming and with what seemed to be a great effort, he opened his eyes, which he had closed some time ago. He looked up and at each of the professors in turn.
“There is no polite or eloquent manner in which I can break this news to you.” When nobody so much as breathed, Dumbledore paused for a moment before speaking. “This evening, while dealing with the troll, I was alerted to the tripping of the wards behind the locked door on the third-floor corridor.” If possible, the silence around the table seemed to grow heavier, even more oppressive. In spite of himself, Charlus felt himself lean forward. That horrible image of the three-headed dog had been permanently and vividly painted in his mind’s eye. Perhaps now he would get the answers his father had most uncharacteristically refused to give him.
Dumbledore took another few seconds to peer at each of the professors in turn before he closed his eyes again and broke the news to the staff and, unknowingly, to Charlus and Ron. “I quickly left to investigate, and when I entered the third-floor corridor — I found a seventh year Slytherin student dead at the feet of the Cerberus.” Almost the entire staff gasped as one. “It was… not a pleasant departure from the land of the living. Very… messy.”
Ron gasped too, but thankfully, his sound of surprise was masked by those of the teachers. Charlus’s eyes were as wide as saucers and his heart was in his throat as his skin lost all noticeable colour.
A student… dead?
“Who was the student?” Snape asked, and his voice was so soft, so fearful, that Charlus hardly even recognized it, and likely would not have at all if not for his eyes.
“Terence Higgs. I presume he took advantage of the chaos to go and investigate.”
“Do you think it was him who let the troll in, Albus?” McGonagall asked.
Charlus and Ron were still so far in shock, they barely registered the impulse to lean forward and listen even more intently.
“Impossible!” snapped Snape. “There is no way Mister Higgs, an admirable student in Defence Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration but by no means a prodigy could have gotten that creature past the wards.”
“I am inclined to agree with Severus,” Dumbledore answered carefully. “The exception to this, of course, would be if Master Higgs was acting under the influence of another.” He paused. “I wish this was unnecessary, trust me, but I must ask each of you to submit your wands for Priori Incantato.” All the teachers nodded, ashen-faced. Nobody objected. “Amelia, would you be amiable to going first?”
“Of course, Headmaster.” She stood, smoothly striding over to Dumbledore and handing over her wand. Charlus watched in fascination as Dumbledore pressed the tip of his wand to hers. His dad had told him about this procedure. It was one that was commonly used by the DMLE and was nearly impossible to fool.
The ghost-like re-enactments of Hurst’s last number of spells flowed into the air. The only things revealed were older years’ defence spells that Charlus did not recognize, but that she had demonstrated to her older students earlier that day.
One by one, Dumbledore tested the wands of each and every one of his staff members but found nothing. When the last wand, Snape’s, had been checked, he sighed.
“My apologies. I do not mean to imply a lack of trust, but it would be a practice of malfeasance on my part if I did not at least check.”
“W-What will happen now?” Flitwick asked, still sounding as horror-struck as Charlus felt. He had grown up hearing that Hogwarts was the safest place on earth and less than two months into his stay, a student had actually died — no, been killed. “Will the Aurors investigate, Albus? Surely you would not have them discover the stone?”
“They will not. Due to the death of a student, they are permitted to investigate, as I am sure they will.” He looked around at all of them. “As far as any of you are concerned under the questioning of the Ministry, Terence Higgs was murdered by the troll in the second-floor corridor nearest the out-of-order girl’s lavatory.” All the professors nodded mutely. “If the Aurors have no reason to investigate the third-floor corridor, I think it unlikely they will make a point of it. If they do, there are — other ways to ensure that most unfortunate event does not come to pass.”
Snape sneered. “By which, you mean ensuring your lap dog leads the investigation.”
“I still fail to see, Headmaster, why you involved Potter at all.”
Charlus bristled, but Ron took a firm hold on his sleeve. “That slimy-“
“I would trust James Potter with my life. Just as I would in the case of yourself.” He peered at Snape intently. “If these events do come to pass, should this not answer that very question most precisely?”
Snape scowled. “If you told your dog to roll over, he would do so. You would not need to give Potter justification to follow you blindly, Headmaster.”
“That is enough on the matter of James, Severus.” Dumbledore looked around the room. “I must impose all of this information under the oath of secrecy you all took at the beginning of this school year in regards to the stone,” he told them all. They all nodded. Dumbledore sighed once more. “I must go inform Bartemius of what has happened, and I shall likely need to meet with the boy’s parents as well. Lessons will likely remain cancelled for the duration of the week and well into next, as I estimate the Aurors will call the castle home for at least that long. I would not have the students mingling about with Aurors in the castle.” Dumbledore swept to his feet. “Well, I must be off.”
As the teachers all filed out of the room, Ron and Charlus were left shocked at what they had heard, terrified of its implications, and curious as to whatever stone was so important that Dumbledore was willing to lie point-blank to the Ministry of Magic in order to keep it hidden.
October 31, 1991
Harry’s mask, this time, fell apart completely. Even all four members of the Weitts family showed varying degrees of shock.
‘This day will just never end.’
“You’re… quite certain, Hestia?” Regent Weitts asked, to which the elf nodded urgently.
“The Headmaster be telling the Hogwarts elves to come tell Hestia, sir.”
“Who is it, Hestia?” Grace asked. Her voice was soft but remarkably still neutral. Harry had to applaud her. There was, he was quickly learning, a reason why she was at the top of the food chain in the house of cunning, and not all of it had to do with her wand work.
“They do not be telling, Mistress Grace.” The elf answered. “Just that nobody can come back to Hogwarts ‘til the Headmaster says it’s okay, miss.”
Harry’s heart rate quickened. Now that the initial shock of that bomb had settled enough for him to implore a degree of cognitive thinking once more, Harry wondered what on earth that would mean for him.
Evidently, the Weitts Regent was thinking along the same lines. “Did the elves say for how long the students would be unable to return to the castle?”
The elf shook her head. “Just when the Headmaster says it is okay, sir.”
“Thank you, Hestia.” Lady Weitts dismissed the elf with a wave of her hand. There was complete and total silence in the entrance hall of Weitts Manor for several moments after the elf’s departure.
“I suppose we best try and get a hold of Lord Potter, then.” In spite of himself, Sigmund Weitts sounded rather unsure of himself. Harry tensed only for a second, but it was apparently enough to give him away.
“Isn’t Lord Potter an Auror, Father?” Charlotte asked him, seeming to take the man a bit by surprise.
“He is. He’s one of the three Senior Aurors along with Amelia Bones and Kingsley Shacklebolt.”
“Well… won’t he be called to Hogwarts then?”
The Weitts parents exchanged looks and Grace shot a rather calculating glance towards her younger sister. “It is certainly a possibility.” Regent Weitts answered. “But I imagine he would at least like to take his heir in for the night, and I’m sure he could come to arrangements after that point.” Harry bit down hard on the emotion that threatened to show across his face.
“You do not wish to be sent to your Father, do you?” It was Lady Weitts who asked the question, and her stare seemed to make it oddly impossible for Harry to lie.
“I… can’t say the idea is thrilling.”
“Harry,” Charlotte said with a roll of her eyes, “the gala is over. Stop dancing around the point — it’s obvious.”
Harry saw Grace’s lips twitch as he frowned at Charlotte, who just glowered challengingly back at him. “I would rather not.” he finally admitted. “But I don’t exactly have much of a choice-“
“Nonsense,” Lady Weitts cut in, surprising Harry once more, “Charlotte is likely correct that your Father will be called into Hogwarts, and if you don’t wish to be sent to him, you shouldn’t have to be.” She turned to Charlotte. “Can you please show Heir Potter to one of the guest rooms, Charlotte.”
Harry debated telling her something along the lines of she didn’t have to do this. He didn’t though. Partially because he had no desire to argue with the course of action, and partially because she obviously knew that already.
“It’s settled then,” said Sigmund. “I’ll send an elf for your trunk from school and a letter to Lord Potter to inform him of the situation. Should I inform it of any other belongings?”
“No, sir. He always left everything in his trunk, which was protected by a Parseltongue password. Perhaps he was paranoid, but he preferred to define it as cautious.
“Well, that was easy,” said Charlotte, beckoning for Harry to follow her. “This way.” he followed her out of the room, and only once they were out of earshot did he ask the question.
She quirked an eyebrow but did not break stride. “You’ll have to be more specific than that.”
“You manipulated your parents into offering me a place to stay. I… appreciate it and all, but why did you do it?”
Charlotte’s lips twitched, but she managed to suppress her rather obvious smile. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” she said brightly. “Anyway, Mother likes you.”
He blinked. “How can you possibly know that?”
“Because she would have scoffed at the idea of housing you if she didn’t,” Charlotte told him bluntly. “I think she was on her way to offering you a room anyway.”
Harry had no idea if that was true or not, and as such, he didn’t really have a response. Charlotte led him to a rather beautiful painting of an overhead shot of a tropical island surrounded by the sea. She lifted her hand and pressed it flat against the painting, causing it to simply swing forward, revealing a hidden, narrow staircase.
As they climbed to the top of said stairs, Harry Ignored the rather jarring revelation that the manor apparently had secret passages and decided to try and get a lay of the land. “How many floors are there?”
“Three, not counting the basement. We’re on the top one now. We were on the ground floor before, as I’m sure you probably guessed.”
She led him down a long hallway and passed several ornate doors before stopping in front of one of them. “I’m in the next room to the left. If for any reason you need anything you don’t trust an elf for, come and get me. A bathroom is attached to the room and if you want to summon an elf, just call Hestia’s name.”
“Wait, Charlotte… Was it that obvious? My relationship with my Father, I mean?”
“It depends on who’s watching you, I guess. It was for me. You haven’t spent as much time with him as is proper. If whatever I saw at the train station is true, which I’m certain it is, your childhood didn’t look great.” Harry flinched at the reminder of her seeing that memory.
“You didn’t want to go to your family Manor, and you act surprised by something that is in most Manors of old or powerful families from what I know of. Your family has always been pretty secretive, so I’m sure yours is probably full of them. So yes, to me, it was pretty obvious you didn’t get along with him, but I’ve been told I notice things I probably shouldn’t at my age.”
“You don’t speak like somebody your age probably should,” Harry added as an afterthought, mentally trying to figure out how he could be less obvious about his personal life in the future.
She laughed softly. “I’ve been told, but neither do you. Neither do most magical children. It’s just how that works.”
Harry blinked. “I’ve… never heard about that.”
“I guess it isn’t really taught. Basically, your body absorbs magic from all around you to use. Most of it gets projected back out, which is how you cast. A tiny amount of it always gets stores though. Not enough for it to even really be considered magic. At the end of the day, magic is a form of energy. When we store this little bit extra, it helps with a few things. It does give a slight increase to brain functions. Not a massive one, or anything.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re smarter than muggles, but it does mean we can pick things up faster. That’s why a lot of magical children have more advanced speech patterns. It’s also why there’s such a difference between noble and non-noble children. All of the noble families spend a huge amount of time on English, and since the kids pick it up faster, they usually speak much more advanced than they should for their age.
“This also works for healing in the same way. If a magical and a muggle both have the same injury, the magical will heal first if the conditions are the same. Not by a huge amount, but they will. Because some of that energy speeds up the healing process. It might be used for other things too, I’m not sure. Those are the two main examples that are already used.”
Harry idly wondered whether that was one of the reasons for wide-spread bigotry against muggles, but he didn’t comment on the thought. It was too late and he was too tired.
“We should really be taught this,” he muttered.
“Yes, but everybody should really be taught a lot of things they aren’t. Etiquette and such comes to mind. Just another way of making it harder for muggleborn and muggle-raised students.”
Harry nodded. “Charlotte… thanks… for everything.” Merlin, he was bad at thanking people. It wasn’t as if he’d had a lot to thank anybody for in the past, so he supposed it was only natural.
She peered at him for a few seconds before answering. “You’re welcome.” She smirked. “You’re too interesting for me to just let you go.”
November 1, 1991
Harry awoke early the next morning, still seemingly unable to curb years of habit in regards to his sleep schedule. The opportunity to truly examine his surroundings for the first time presented itself. He was in a massive room, and he meant massive. He wasn’t sure if it was the size of the entirety of the Dursley’s first floor, but if it wasn’t, it was very close. The carpet was a lush red, and much of the room was open space. On the opposite side of the room from his bed was a titanic, walk-in closet that contained a generic, but tasteful looking wardrobe. Beside the closet was a door that Harry assumed led off to the bathroom. The door attached to the wall on his left clearly led out of the room. To the right, another door led out onto a beautiful balcony that overlooked a shimmering blue lake that seemed to sparkle invitingly in the early morning sunrise.
Not quite knowing what to do with himself once he had showered, Harry rummaged through his trunk and pulled from it his Transfiguration textbook. For the first time, he flipped to the second year portion and began to read, taking notes on his: questions, assumptions and, observations. He became so engrossed by the task that he didn’t look up from the book until a soft knock resonated against the door. When he peered over the book, he had to blink at the sudden excess of light that had flooded the room since he had last paid any modicum of attention.
Getting to his feet and setting the book down, still open on the bed, Harry stepped in front of the door and pulled it open. Charlotte was there, dressed in far less formal robes than she had been dressed in the night before. These were a simple black.
“Good morning,” she greeted him, still seeming a bit groggy.
His lips twitched. “Not a morning person, are you?”
“Obviously not as much as you. Breakfast is being served in the dining room if you’d like to come down with me. If not, you can have an elf show you the way later.”
“I’ll come.” He wouldn’t eat much, but he had been forcing himself to eat breakfast to the best of his abilities all school year, and this was about the time he would eat on a normal morning at Hogwarts. It wouldn’t do for him to off-put his body’s natural schedule. Charlotte nodded and gestured for Harry to follow her, which he did. “I don’t suppose I could get away with that trick you used for the passage last night?”
“No, nobody but a Weitts could do that.”
“I assumed as much, but it was worth a shot.” A thoughtful expression crossed his face. “How does that work, anyway?”
“I have no idea. I would say you could ask Mother since she definitely knows, but it’s family magic, I think. If it is, she wouldn’t tell you even if she could.”
He couldn’t help but think that family magic sounded rather interesting. Absently, he wondered what the Potter family magic might include.
They slipped through the same passageway that they’d used the previous night and made their way down the narrow staircase. It took Harry’s eyes a shockingly short amount of time to adjust to the darkness.
The walk was much shorter than the one to the ballroom. They promptly turned a corner and Charlotte pushed through a door, admitting them into the large, white-tiled dining room. Grace, along with Regent and Lady Weitts had already taken seats at the table.
“Good morning, you two,” Lady Weitts greeted. Regent Weitts nodded his agreement but did not look up from the morning paper.
“Morning Mother, Father.” Charlotte turning to her father. “Is there anything in the paper about Hogwarts?”
The man snorted softly. “Of course not. I doubt Dumbledore will let that information go public.”
Harry twitched. He wanted so badly to ask so many questions, but he was ungifted at that in the best of times, and he was still a bit uncomfortable around this family, or adults in general.
“Is something wrong, Mister Potter?” Lady Weitts asked him. Harry noticed that she had dropped the title of “Heir”. It was still formal, but much less so. He supposed it would only make sense, especially if they had the potential of spending multiple days together in the same house.
“Not at all, ma’am. Just… curious, is all.”
“About what, exactly?” she asked him, folding her hands in front of her nearly empty plate as she focused her attention entirely upon him for the first time in a non-formal setting. Harry still found those eyes rather off-putting.
“Dumbledore,” he admitted. “I know that he’s powerful politically, but does he really have the pull to cover-up the death of a student?”
Lady Weitts sipped her tea before answering, but, to Harry’s slight surprise, she did answer him. “I suppose, to use a quotation similar to the one you yourself used last night, it would depend on how you define a cover-up.” Harry noticed that both Grace and Charlotte were also listening to the conversation attentively. “If you are asking me if he can keep the information from officially being made public, then the answer is almost certainly a yes, presuming that the cause of death is not proven to be overly dramatic. If you’re asking me whether or not he can keep anybody outside of Hogwarts from knowing, then the answer is a resounding no.”
“Do you think the students know?” Charlotte asked.
“Doubtful. They certainly know something has happened, though I doubt they know what.”
“Surely they’ll figure it out though?” Harry asked slowly.
Grace sniffed lightly in amusement. “You haven’t been at Hogwarts long enough to understand how the rumour mill works.”
Harry peered at her inquisitively. “Care to enlighten me?”
“Certainly.” Grace acquiesced with a small smile. “There will be forty different theories out there by the end of the week, and everybody will be so overwhelmed by all of them that nobody will know what to believe.”
“That seems… extremely counterproductive.”
Grace’s smile grew by the smallest of margins. “Quite.”
Harry eyed the four of them critically for a moment. “I’m not one of Dumbledore’s worshippers,” he prefaced, “but, for some reason, everything I’ve heard about him doesn’t make it seem like he would be the type to hide a murder from a school.”
Something… odd flashed in Lady Weitts’ eyes, but a split second later, it was gone, and Harry wasn’t even sure he’d seen it at all. “No wizard alive has more secrets than Albus Dumbledore.” It sounded quite significant somehow.
Harry’s curiosity was piqued, but he got the impression that this was not a topic to push the woman on. Instead, he took a seat, pulling a small amount of fruit and a piece of toast towards him and he began to eat slowly. Regent Weitts stood during that time, bidding them all a good day as he left, likely to go and help run one of the Weitts’s numerous businesses.
“What were all of your plans for the day?” Lady Weitts asked the three of them after a few long moments of silence.
“I have a couple of essays I may as well finish,” Grace answered. “Aside from that, I’m not entirely sure yet.”
Charlotte peered at her mother. “We’re still having lessons today, right?’
“Of course.” her mother told her. “After them, you will be free.”
Charlotte shrugged. “Maybe I’ll floo over to the Greengrass’s to meet up with Daphne and Astoria if you don’t mind?”
“Not at all.” She turned to Harry. “And yourself, Mister Potter?”
Harry had to resist the impulse to answer hastily. “I don’t really have a whole lot to finish, so I’ll probably spend most of my time reading and studying.”
“Admirable,” Lady Weitts commended. “We have a family library if such a thing interests you. I only ask that you stay out of the rows nearest the wall opposite the entrance. They contain some rather… heinous magics that you do not need to be aware of as of yet.”
Harry had to bite down on his surprise in order to stop it showing on his face. He had expected that the Weitts family would have a family library, but he had certainly not expected, not even in the slightest, to be given access to it. “Thank you, ma’am.”
The woman nodded to him. “I’m sure Charlotte can show you there before she begins her lessons.”
Ten minutes later, Harry was standing alone, staring in awe up at the towering shelves of books. It had a very different feel from the Hogwarts library. It was… more foreboding. Harry quickly scanned some of the shelves for tomes that might interest him. A very old looking book titled An Entry to Obscure Curses caught his eye. It wasn’t overly close to the forbidden section, so he doubted it contained anything too deadly. Some of the curses certainly seemed — questionable, but he doubted any were outright illegal. He had been going back and forth between that book and one on transfiguration for several hours when Harry heard Grace speak from behind him while he was reading the book on curses.
“Careful of that one.” She indicated a curse that would not directly damage, but would greatly weaken a person’s skin, making it prone to flaking, cuts, and a whole number of things that were not as pleasant. “It’s not exactly legal.”
Correction on the nothing illegal assumption.
“I doubt you’ll report me,” he answered carefully. He felt as if she was testing him.
Harry saw the ghost of a smile flicker on her face. “Hardly.” After a moment, she waved her wand, causing a different, far larger book to come floating down to him from a shelf far closer to the forbidden section. The tome was massive. She directed the tome to land in front of Harry.
The Subtleties of Deception, Detection and Defence.
“You will want to stay near the beginning of this book for now,” she warned him. “But I think it has the potential to be… very useful; potentially for you, in particular.” She gave him a pointed look. “That entire book is not strictly legal, so I encourage you to be careful with it.”
Harry blinked. “Do you mean… I can-“
“Keep it,” Grace told him with a nod, eyeing him speculatively. “I would hate to see your enemies strike back at you so soon, Potter, least of all when they are common between us.”
Several messages were understood by Harry in the next few seconds. One, Grace knew or at least suspected that he had set up the incident with Malfoy the night previous. Two, she thought Malfoy attempting to strike back at Harry was highly possible, if not outright likely. And three, she herself wanted at Malfoy, potentially for hurting a friend of Daphne’s, who may have also been a friend of Charlotte’s. However, she couldn’t involve herself directly with first year drama.
In general, the older Slytherins pretty much left well enough alone in terms of the first years. They would enter the fray in more extreme circumstances, but for the most part, they just observed.
Harry nodded, shoving his own book aside and reaching for the new one. “Thanks,” he commented off handedly. Grace nodded, though Harry, who had lowered his head over the book in question couldn’t see it. She made her way off for books to use as resources for her essay a moment later, leaving him alone once more.
The book was nothing like anything Harry had ever read or heard about before. It spoke of the concept of wards, something he had never really understood before. He had known they were protection of some sort, but nothing really beyond that. This book explained them in far more detail, but it also seemed to have instructions as to countless different wards. Also, Harry noticed, it had instructions on how to break them. He could see, now, without much issue how and why this book was completely and wholly illegal.
Illegal as it might have been, Harry thought this book would be dead useful, and he intended to put all of the book’s contents to good use at some point in the future.
November 7, 1991
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The Seventh Floor
The next number of days were some of the oddest in Harry’s life. The idea of spending his time at a manor was odd enough as it was, and that was before he considered the other four occupants of the home. Not that he interacted with any of them a whole lot. He spent the majority of his time locked up in the Weitts family library, at least while he was not spending time with Daphne. Usually, she came over to Weitts Manor, but Harry had visited her ancestral home twice as well.
He read quite a bit of a few books similar to the one on obscure curses and thought them rather useful. He read some more random tomes as well, and he spent a large amount of time nose deep in the book of wards, detection spells, anti wards, and some other similar magics that Grace had gifted him. It would be difficult for him to manage any of them at the moment, particularly with no knowledge of Ancient Runes, but he thought a proximity ward would likely be a good starting point.
Grace, like Harry, spent much of her time studying, though Harry suspected her own study was as much out of obligation as it was desire. Charlotte spent a fair bit of time at the Greengrasses’, and some with him and Daphne, but she seemed to have morning tutoring sessions with her mother.
This, Harry noted, was one of the advantages that purebloods and wizarding families, in general, could easily lord over muggleborn and muggle raised witches and wizards. He had read through his book on the Wizengamot and looked for references to the Trace. It was hard to say, as Harry wasn’t really equipped to decode all of the legal jargon involved, but it sounded, at least to him, as though the Lords and Ladies of the Wizengamot had written that law in a way that they could blatantly ensure their own children could remain ahead. Knowing at least a little bit about the politics that dominated Magical Britain, he suspected they probably had done it for that exact reason.
He respected the cunning on display, but he still harboured a fair bit of resentment on principle.
The students weren’t allowed back at Hogwarts until the next Wednesday, a full six days after the events of Samhain. They weren’t liable for the schoolwork they had all missed, as he found out upon his return to the castle that classes as a whole had been cancelled, but they were absolutely pounded with prep that first day back.
Upon their arrival back at school, one other thing that did not take long to establish itself once more was the house rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin. Harry had, of course, been mindfully aware of the rivalry since his first day at Hogwarts, but beyond the petty drama with students like Weasley and his brother, it hadn’t really affected him all that much. He hadn’t entered the duel back in September over house rivalries, quite the opposite, as a matter of fact.
Now, with Saturday’s Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin fast approaching, the tensions between the two opposing sides were stronger than ever, and the hospital wing very suddenly had quite the large influx of arrivals.
Harry suspected Malfoy would have been directly in the centre of the fray, but the blond Slytherin first year had yet to return to the castle after the incident at the manor. Harry privately thought it had been a rather well-played move on the part of his parents. He was fairly sure that the house would have torn him apart upon his return. If Lord and Lady Malfoy waited, the storm would likely blow over.
That was not to say that Malfoy would get off scot-free, oh no. He was quite sure he would have a rough integration back into the house, but between his family name and older acquaintances, Harry was fairly sure that his plan had actually damaged the senior Malfoys, (who had been on the receiving end of a rather scathing article by a reporter by the name of Rita Skeeter in the Daily Prophet), as much as it had damaged Draco.
He didn’t really care one way or another, if truth was to be toldr. He had accomplished his goal of political sabotage, and if the wider world looked down on Malfoy’s family and by extension, him for at least a little bit as a result, all the better, in Harry’s opinion.
For all of the supposed morals that Gryffindor House cherished, unfortunately for Harry, he found out that they, unlike Slytherins, had absolutely no qualms of taking advantage of first-year students. He found this out on Thursday night when he’d left for a round of exploration after telling Daphne and Tracey he would be back before curfew. After weeks of this, neither of them batted an eye anymore.
As Harry was examining a rather interesting tapestry on the seventh floor, however, double and triple-checking to assure no secrets were hiding behind it, he hissed in pain as a Stinging Hex caught him in the rear end from behind.
He spun, wand shooting from his holster only to freeze at the sight of four Gryffindors who looked to be at least fourth years.
The one in the lead, a tall, well-muscled boy with short-cropped dirty blond hair, chiselled features and dark-brown eyes just snorted with amusement. All four of them already had their wands drawn and aimed at him.
The boy in question smirked arrogantly at Harry. This boy reminded him painfully of Dudley, and that fact only made him angrier and more defiant. He was thoroughly covered, so escape was not an option. He had no way of creating a diversion or distraction and knew full well he had no chance against four fourth years. If he was going to be sent to the hospital wing, probably in a rather humiliating manner at that, he was at least going to show these bullies that he had a spine. He would go fighting.
Harry couldn’t help but think how idiotically Gryffindor that sounded. He also realized he didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter, so he just set his jaw and stared the quartet down the best he could.
“What are you going to do, firsty?” the leader asked with the same easy confidence that showed itself in his smirk. “Hit me with a tickling charm?”
His friends laughed, but Harry still did not take a step back. He could feel the tension building. He knew that any second, somebody would cast the first spell and all hell would break loose.
He was half right.
All four of them cast at once.
Harry countered with the first spell that flashed into his mind. He had never actually tested his shield against spell-fire, and the first time he had succeeded with it at all was when he’d used it to stop the troll, but it was the only spell he could think of with a chance of saving him here.
There was a distortion in front of Harry and a split second later, his shield flared as all four spells made impact. The shield collapsed, but it had absorbed all four spells to Harry’s shock. The magical backlash of his shield being shattered sent Harry staggering backwards a few steps. Luckily for him, the others were as shocked as he was, so it took a moment before the next spell came; one that opened a nice sized gash on his cheek. He raised his wand, knowing that his effort was in vain but also knowing all too well there was only one way he would accept defeat like this…
Four spells shot past Harry from the opposite direction, something that surprised him far more than his shield holding a moment earlier. The Gryffindors, who were completely caught by surprise, almost all fell at once. The dirty blond in the lead was the only one who didn’t, having blocked the first spell. All three of his friends fell. One had a rather large amount of blood seeping from his leg. Another was on the ground, sobbing and clutching at his wand arm in apparent agony. The fourth was writhing on the floor as if he was being tortured. Vaguely, Harry recognized the last spell as one that Flint had attempted to use against Grace.
The only boy left made to aim at Harry again, a snarl of fury on his lips. Before his spell could get far, a shield shimmered in front of him and absorbed the spell without issue. Suddenly, Harry had a vaguely familiar girl at his side. He had seen her in the common room, but never interacted with her, as she was obviously several years older than him. She was average in height for her age and had a curvaceous figure accented by full, pink lips, soft facial features, golden-blonde hair and dark-blue eyes.
The Gryffindor hesitated.
“Where is that famous Gryffindor bravery, Prichard?” the girl said in a poisonously sweet voice. “What’s the matter? Not so eager to duel when your opponent isn’t a first year?”
The boy scowled. “There’s four of you not including Potter,” he dismissed. Harry glanced behind him. There were indeed three others: two girls and a boy, all seeming to be about the same age. The girls were both a couple of inches taller than the one who stood beside Harry, but not overly tall. They were both lean and athletic looking with light-brown hair, sharp features, and dark eyes. Harry noted that they were twins.
Seriously, how many twins were there in this place?
The boy was quite tall and well built. Not quite Crabbe and Goyle kind of brutish, but he was clearly large for his age. He had brown hair that was slicked back and blended well with his hazel eyes. There was a sharpness behind those eyes that Harry did not miss.
“I’ll happily take you on alone, Prichard; if you’re willing?”
The boy — Prichard, hesitated. “I’ll bet you would, Rosier. I’m sure Death Eater Daddy’s taught you all kinds of tricks.” It was a decent quip, but Harry could tell it was a façade. He was nervous.
“Make one more comment about my Father, Prichard, and I won’t leave you with the choice. Either duel me or take your friends and leave.”
Prichard seemed to hesitate. Harry could see the exact moment that he backed down and could see the self-hatred flash in the boy’s eyes as he helped his friends to their feet and led them off.
‘Rosier,’ Harry thought, ‘Sacred Twenty-Eight — Ancient and Most Noble House — Conservative faction — potential Death Eater ties.’
“Are you all right, Potter?” Rosier asked him, prompting him to blink in surprise. He understood why they had backed him up. House unity was the number one unwritten rule within Slytherin, but he had expected them to leave as soon as the Gryffindors did. Unless they took house unity a bit more seriously than appearances.
“I’m fine, thanks. I’ll just need to get this healed, I guess.” He indicated the still bleeding cut on his cheek.
“I can fix that if you’ll let me,” Rosier twirled her wand around her fingers as she spoke.
Harry hesitated. He was not the trusting type, and a Rosier offering help to the halfblood brother of the Boy-Who-Lived screamed of a setup.
“I’m not going to curse you,” she promised, her voice softening a margin.
Harry peered at Rosier intently and was sorely tempted to use Legilimency, as he now knew it to be called. In the end, he did not, though when he nodded, he did so extremely reluctantly.
“Come here.” She tgestured for him to step a bit closer to her. Again, he hesitated but obeyed. She reached out and slid two cool fingers under his chin to tilt his head up to look at her. Harry tensed, but he resisted, with tremendous difficulty, the urge to flinch away. Rosier’s eyebrow rose for a fraction of a second before she gently traced her wand over his cut, healing the wound without issue.
“Non-verbally at that.” the older boy commended.
Rosier smiled, evidently proud of the feat. “With the amount I need that spell, I figured it was a good one to work on.” She pulled her hand away from Harry’s chin and extended it to him, a confident, winning smile on her lips. “A pleasure, Heir Potter. Calypso Rosier, Heiress of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Rosier. My friends,” she introduced, gesturing to the three teenagers behind her who crept closer to them, “Flora Carrow and her sister Hestia; Heiress of the Ancient House of Carrow.” Both sisters inclined their heads slightly to him, though their faces both remained impartial. “And this not so charming gentleman is Cassius Warrington Jr. Heir of the Ancient House of Warrington.”
Harry saw… something flicker across Warrington’s face. He thought it had been disgust, an emotion far too deep and real for the light jab, but he could have simply imagined it.
He formally greeted all of them before looking at Rosier. “Uh… thank you. Is-is there any way you would tell me that spell you used to heal my cheek?”
Rosier shrugged. “Seems harmless enough. The incantation is Episkey and there’s no wand movement. Visualise what the process of the thing you want to be fixed would realistically look like and how it would be accomplished if you know what to imagine. If not, you can still pull the spell off, but it’s more difficult and takes more power.”
‘Harry glanced at all four of them. It still baffled him why they had gone to such lengths for a halfblood first year who was related to The-Boy-Who-Lived, but he was hardly going to complain.
“You ought to be more careful the week of a Quidditch match,” Warrington warned him quietly.
“I was just exploring. I wasn’t expecting to get jumped by Gryffindor…”
“Fourth years,” Rosier finished. “Same as the four of us. The one in the lead was Tobias Prichard, but he goes by Tobi and gets rather annoyed at the use of his full name.”
Harry nodded, still a bit uncomfortable around these four.
“Well, I’ve done my part for house unity today,” Rosier declared, shooting another smile in Harry’s direction, though this one was smaller, more conspiratorial. “Come and sit with us in the common room or at a meal, Potter. We would be interested to hear about some… rumours that have gone around about you. Bring Greengrass, if you like, and Davis if you must.” Her voice held no contempt, but Harry did not miss the phrasing, even if she didn’t deny Tracey a spot. In fairness, he supposed that could have been as much due to her house standing as a result of the Malfoy incident as her blood status.
Harry nodded. “Thanks, Rosier. I’ll keep it in mind.”
November 8, 1991
A Room in The Dungeons
By the time Friday came around, Harry had completed the mountain of prep they had been tasked with, something that absolutely astounded both Tracey and Daphne. “How far ahead are you?” Daphne had asked him with narrowed eyes.
He had shrugged. “If Weitts was being honest with me about the task involved, I could breeze through the Transfiguration exam. Charms would be doable, but that one will take a little bit of work to perfect.”
Daphne rolled her eyes. “Harry, it’s November! How can you possibly sound disappointed?”
He had merely shrugged her off. That was far easier than explaining his need to outshine his brother and outstrip his father. Those were desires that Daphne, as much as Harry liked her, would not understand. For better or for worse, Daphne had grown up in luxury, with all of her needs essentially catered to since birth. She was the perfect personification of a pureblood princess.
That week’s double Potions lesson had surprisingly passed without much issue. It had been Tracey’s turn to go with Daphne, so Harry had paired up with Zabini, as was their normal routine by this point. Harry was rather impressed when his potion looked just as good as his friends’. Mind you, the other pair had finished before them, but not by much.
He was happy that he only had morning classes on Friday, as he had been rather distracted all day with the prospect of his “lesson” that night with Professor Hurst. As the day went on, his nerves only mounted, and he was eternally grateful he didn’t have to perform transfigurations while his mind was firmly in other, unrelated places.
When the time had finally come, Harry tested the secret passage that Hurst had mentioned. Even though he had to go completely out of his way to reach that suit of armour, he found it cut the travel time nearly in half. How that worked, he had no idea, but he decided, for now, to chalk it up to magic and move on.
He took a moment to simply stand outside of the door and gather himself before slowly but resolutely, he knocked.
Harry pushed the door open and stepped into the room, instantly pausing in surprise. Apparently, Professor Hurst had seen fit to make some adjustments to the blank room. Several torches now hung from brackets on the walls, and on the wall furthest opposite Harry, there was a line of what appeared to be training dummies.
“I hope you have no objections to the changes in furnishing,” she said by way of a greeting.
“No,” Harry said reflexively, “of course not. I would have added some stuff too if I knew how.”
Hurst eyed him. “You’ve been using this room fairly often then?”
“Yes,” he admitted. “I use it to practice spells and such. I would use it to study with friends if I could, but we would need desks or something.”
Hurst’s lips twitched. “That could be arranged If your performance is up to par until — say — Christmas?”
Harry blinked. She had given him an incentive, and one he rather wanted to claim. “Thank you, Professor.”
She nodded “Now,” Hurst told him, “you told me that you wanted to know how to fight, correct?” Harry nodded. “Well, I spoke of foundations in the lessons. Though some of that speech was certainly for dramatic effect, I tend to practice what I preach. We shall start with the basics today: accuracy, proper stance, wand grip. If we get to dodging, even better. You will be practising a great deal of that while we work up to the… finer points.” By finer points, Harry thought she meant actual magic.
That first night wasn’t overly taxing magically. They ran through everything she had told him and had him work on his accuracy, which actually didn’t seem half bad. She did, however, correct the way he attacked in general.
“You’re too predictable,” she said bluntly, “too readable. Your movements are sloppy and telegraphed.”
Harry furrowed his brow. “What do you mean?”
“Fire the full-body-bind at the dummy.” He obeyed her, quickly drawing out the circular movement and stabbing his wand towards the target. “There,” she indicated, “tighten your wand movement. If the circle is smaller, it is still a circle, and therefore satisfies the temporary necessity for the wand movement. When you stab your wand towards the dummy, wait until the last possible second; the same goes for any spell. You are aiming and then firing. Only point your wand at the target at the last possible second, thereby giving them as little opportunity as possible to react.”
Harry couldn’t fault that logic. “Yes ma’am. I understand.”
“Good. Now, let us see it in practice.”
November 9, 1991
The Great Hall
The tension in the Great Hall was greater than any Harry had ever experienced when he, Tracey and Daphne entered it the morning of Slytherin’s first match of the season against Gryffindor. Harry’s eyes quickly darted towards the Gryffindor table. Charlus was sitting with the rest of the Quidditch team. He was looking down at the porridge in front of him, appearing to be rather pale and more than a little bit nervous.
“I think my dear brother is feeling the pressure,” Harry noted absentmindedly, drawing the attention of his two friends onto his brother.
Daphne’s lips twitched and Tracey giggled. “He looks like he might throw up!”
Harry sighed dramatically. “Don’t get my hopes up, Tracey.”
“Do you really not like him that much?” she asked.
Harry shrugged. “I actually don’t care about him one way or the other, but it would knock the arrogant prat down a peg or two.”
“Too true,” Daphne agreed in a voice full of longing. When she made to take a seat at the end of the table, Harry caught her eye and subtly jerked his head to a place quite a way further up said table. Quite close to the middle, actually. Closer, as a matter of fact, than Malfoy and his group of friends sat before he was removed. Daphne’s eyes widened and Tracey seemed as if she would ask something, but Daphne elbowed her subtly and the two of them followed Harry to a few empty seats near Rosier, Warrington, and the Carrow twins.
The conversation around them died instantly. Harry could have taken them up on their offer the day before, but he hadn’t. He knew that if he did it the morning of the Quidditch match when everybody would be in the hall, it would make more of an impact. If people saw his alliance with four fourth year students who seemed to be regarded quite highly, they would probably get the hint that he was more than Charlus Potter’s twin brother.
By the completely blank, completely indifferent mask worn by Daphne at present, Harry figured she at least knew exactly what was going on, if not the backstory behind it.
“Good morning Potter, Greengrass, Davis.” Rosier greeted as the three first years took the seats nearest them.
“Good morning, Heiresses Rosier and Carrow. You as well, Heir Warrington, Miss Carrow.” Harry reciprocated. “My two friends,” he introduced, “Heiresses Daphne Greengrass and Tracey Davis.”
The two girls received a smile from Rosier and nods from the other three. Warrington looked rather twitchy.
“Are you on the team?” Harry asked him, eyes narrowing.
Warrington nodded. “Was on it last year too. Chaser.”
“Any idea what the Gryffindor team is looking like?”
“Their keeper is a mad man, but actually quite good. Their beaters are terrors, both on and off the pitch. Not sure about their chasers. Johnson was the only one on the team last year. She was decent, I suppose. And then there’s your Brother.”
“Wasn’t… Higgs the seeker for Slytherin?”
Warrington sighed and closed his eyes. For a minute, Harry had thought he had gone too far, but the boy was answering a moment later. “Yeah, he was. Decent seeker. Nothing special, but decent.”
“What happens now?”
“We’re using David Makehay. He’s a third year who came out for chaser and got picked up as a reserve.” Warrington scowled. “He is no seeker, but he is a decent enough flyer that if your brother is useless, he’ll be able to nab the snitch.”
“You don’t sound that confident,” Daphne observed cautiously.
Warrington shrugged. “In the team, I’m plenty confident. In Makehay, not as much.”
“Just make sure you’re a hundred and fifty points up,” Hestia Carrow instructed, identifiable from her sister by the heiress ring on her finger. “Can’t be that hard.”
Warrington snorted. “I’d love to see you try and throw a quaffle, Carrow, let alone score fifteen times.”
“My apologies for not wasting my time on a completely useless sport.” she retorted sharply. Warrington made to bite back, but Rosier cut him off.
“Yes, yes; Quidditch is a perfectly noble pursuit of your time and all of that. We’ve heard it a million times, Cassius.” Warrington mock glared at her but did not have the patience to do much more than that.
They didn’t talk much as they waited in the hall. Rosier asked Harry and Daphne questions here and there. She never really asked Tracey anything, but she had no objections to Tracey cutting into the conversation, as long as it was tactful. Tracey was unusually restrained today, seeming to have made an effort to be on her best behaviour. Harry appreciated it greatly.
Finally, the Gryffindor team got to their feet to thunderous applause from the Lions, Badgers, and about half of the ‘claws. Charlus’s legs appeared to be shaking, and Harry smirked. Evidently, Daphne saw them too because she smirked back at him. The applause for the Slytherins was more restrained, though Harry was quite proud that at least his house had the dignity not to boo the opposing team before they even left the hall.
Fifteen minutes later, Harry, Daphne and Tracey had gotten themselves seats and were watching intently as the players, each one being announced by Lee Jordan shot out onto the pitch. Harry rolled his eyes at Charlus’s grandiose introduction and even more so at the tidal wave of applause that accompanied it. Wizards seemed to have done a lot of idiotic things over the years, though making a messiah out of a child was up there.
The match started off simply enough, if a bit brutally, but Harry could not help but be entranced by the game. He actually found himself envying Charlus for a moment before he ruthlessly squashed the emotion. That was a rabbit hole he did not need to go down. Slytherin was good, but Gryffindor was clearly better coordinated as a team. They struck early, making it 10-0. There was a moment of nearly unbearable tension when Charlus dove for the snitch, but Harry cheered passionately along with the rest of his House when Flint fouled him hard. Johnson scored the penalty, but Harry would much rather Gryffindor double their lead then win the game.
A few minutes later, Harry heard a gasp and looked up, only to frown in confusion. “Daphne, I doubt you’re a Quidditch fan, by any means, but can you explain to me what the hell my brother is doing?” Charlus seemed to be jolting up and down swiftly, almost as if his broom was a bucking bull.
Daphne looked up and frowned too. “That’s odd. Maybe he’s just incompetent?”
Harry shook his head. “I doubt it. Father seemed quite the Quidditch fanatic. I doubt this is Charlus’s first time around the block. Plus,” he added with grudging respect, “nobody incompetent can make a catch like-” but he trailed off when Charlus’s broom gave a particularly horrifying lurch and he nearly fell. Whatever Harry thought about his brother, he didn’t want him to die.
“It’s his broom!” squealed Tracey. “Look! It’s not going where he’s leaning at all!” True to her word, Charlus was visibly trying to counter-steer the broom to no avail.
“Is it possible to curse a broom?” he asked.
Daphne shrugged, trying to hide her concern. “It’s possible to curse just about anything, but it would be extremely difficult to curse a Nimbus 2000, I’d think.”
It had to be one of the teachers then.
Harry, completely ignoring Flint, who was taking it upon himself to score multiple times while nobody was paying attention, directed his omnioculars towards the teachers’ section. Sure enough, he saw not one, but two teachers looking intently at Charlus and muttering.
Snape, and, to Harry’s surprise, Sinistra, their Astronomy professor.
Neither of these options seemed overly likely to Harry. Snape hated his brother, that much was true, but it was also way too obvious if Snape did it. Plus, he thought if Snape were to kill Charlus, he would assure the body was never found, let alone seen. On the other hand, Sinistra had absolutely zero motivation to murder Charlus and if Harry was being honest, he wouldn’t have thought her capable of it.
Something on the edges of the scene caught his attention. Harry saw a figure moving hurriedly towards Snape. A second later, Harry recognized a head of bushy, brown hair, and widened his eyes as he realized that it was Granger, of all people. On the way to Snape, she ploughed through Sinistra, who didn’t even seem to realize Granger was coming at all. Harry had to suppress a manic laugh as Snape’s robes were suddenly lit with what he recognized to be bluebell flames.
He would have to send her flowers.
He directed his eyes back up to the sky, where Charlus was flying normally once again.
Whatever his twin’s drawbacks, Harry was happy for his survival, even if it did mean Slytherin quickly lost the match due to a rather dramatic catch on Charlus’s part. The one thing that bothered Harry was that, in being too caught up watching Granger light his Head of House on fire, he had not looked up after Sinistra had been knocked forward.
He had no idea which of them was the guilty party.
A bit of a different scene than what I’m sure many of you were expecting in terms of the match. Some of you have doubtlessly figured out what is going on here. For those who haven’t, without spoiling anything, I would advise you not to extrapolate this too far onto other scenes and plots to try and answer some other burning questions.
It should be noted that I have not made any mistakes with the Priori Incantato scene. I am aware that canonically, it should have shown the AK performed by Hurst in the last chapter. There is a plausible reason it didn’t, which will be revealed in year 1’s final chapter.
Also, in the books, it’s not said exactly how old the Carrow twins are. They are, at most, a year older than Harry, as they are at Hogwarts in HBP. Obviously, I have decided to change that, but I figured I would point that out before anybody attempted to correct me on it.
Please read and review.
This chapter was revised on October 13th, 2020 with the help of Discord Editors Asmodeus Stahl and rawmeat898.
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