AoC 20

Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos

Year 2: The Sacrificial Slytherin

Chapter 3: An Unexpected Equal

By ACI100

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 nor do I make any profit. 

Acknowledgement: Thank you as always to my betas Umar, Luq707, Yoshi89 and Fezzik for their incredible work on this story. 

Self Promotion: I have a discord server where you can chat and read all of my chapters early. If you would like to join, simply copy the link on my profile and change (dot) out for . I had to write it in that format for the site to allow it on my profile.

In addition, you can follow the official ACI100 fanfiction account on Instagram @aci100ff or by using the link on my profile to get even more out of my written works.

Author’s Note:

Well — this fic is rated M for a reason ladies and gentlemen. This is the first chapter I would consider worthy of the M rating in this story, but it is a rather dark chapter.

In light of this, I would like to issue a trigger warning to anybody reading this. This chapter does show scenes containing domestic violence and at least hints at child abuse. I don’t think this is super dark and I won’t warn you all every time I write a chapter that is a bit edgy seeing as the fic is rated M, but since this is really the first time I am doing it, it seems fair to warn you guys in advance.

The Past

July 13, 1992

Greengrass Manor

10:53 PM

Daphne continued the same nervous pacing that she had been using to occupy much of her day. It had been exactly one week since her conversation with Blaise and Tracey out by the lake on her family property, and her promise to Tracey and Blaise had rang through her mind for the majority of the day. 

“One week,” she told the two of them, “in one week, if things haven’t changed, I’ll act.” 

Daphne was a lot of things, most of them centering around the traits that defined Slytherin House, but she was a woman of her word if nothing else. She would not back down from a promise she had made to her friends. Especially not one that was so dear to the heart of her second oldest friend, even if Tracey had not explicitly told her it was. She did not have to. Daphne liked to think that she knew Tracey well and she knew that if she did not act, it would be making a mockery of the sins of the past.

At that precise moment, Daphne heard the door nearest to hers close and the soft click that meant her younger sister, Astoria, had locked herself in for the night, likely to get some sleep. Daphne closed her eyes and took a long, deep breath. She was rather adept at controlling her emotions, but that prowess was about to be put to the test. She knew that if he could see her right now, or, more precisely, know what she was thinking and what she was about to do, Harry would be furious. Sometimes though, people really did not know what was best for them and whether Harry liked it or not, Daphne cared too much to not intervene. 

With that thought serving to reinforce the resoluteness that had fallen upon Daphne, she took controlled, measured steps towards her bedroom door and then, once outside of it, down the long, elegant hallway and staircase and eventually into the main family sitting room, where her parents, Celia and Cyrus, were laying comfortably together on the sofa, watching a movie on the muggle television.

That was an odd thing about Daphne’s family. They were not pureblood supremacists by any sense of the phrase, but they did like to uphold wizarding tradition. They celebrated Samhain and Yule in the traditional fashion when able, and though the Greengrasses would never look down upon a muggleborn witch or wizard on principle, Daphne could certainly imagine her mother or father sneering at one who blatantly disregarded all the wizarding customs. And that was before they even touched upon the topic of etiquette. Celia was a stickler of the highest level for etiquette. 

As a result of these tendencies, the Greengrass family had no qualms whatsoever about exploiting anything in the muggle world as long as it did not derail any of the customs which they cherished. In fact, the Greengrasses owned several major businesses in the muggle world and they had no hesitation whatsoever in watching muggle televisions and films.

When Daphne entered the large, immaculate sitting room, she quickly noticed that of her two parents, it was only her mother who was awake. When her daughter crept near, Celia raised her sapphire eyed stare and met the eyes that looked so very much like hers. “Daphne?” she asked in a soft, quiet voice as not to wake Cyrus. 

“Mother,” Daphne answered, and the seriousness she felt must have been acutely conveyed through her words, her countenance, or a combination of the two, for as soon as she spoke, Celia pushed herself up as much as she could without forcefully waking Daphne’s father.

“What is the matter, Daphne?”

Daphne glanced around the room. “I’m not sure this is the place, Mother.” she said, gesturing to her sleeping father.

At this, Celia shot her daughter a rather calculating stare but after gauging her daughter’s demeanour, she nodded, slowly and carefully extracting herself from Cyrus and sweeping to her feet. Daphne and Celia walked down several halls to one of the several studies within the manor. It was one of the lesser ones in terms of wards and the like, but no sound would escape from the room and Celia and Daphne were both perfectly satisfied with the arrangement.

“So,” Celia said, sounding almost exasperated, “are you going to tell me what else happened at Hogwarts now?”

Daphne had to resist the urge to widen her eyes. “What-what else happened at Hogwarts?”

Celia sighed. “I’ll take that as a no, then. Yes, Daphne, I am well aware that you are not telling me everything. You have yet to explain, for example, why the father of one of your best friends is pressing charges against some of the most notable heirs in Magical Britain, and I would assume that is only the tip of the iceberg.” Celia smiled at her daughter’s look of incredulity. “You are good at your word play, mind games, and all the rest for your age, Daphne. At the same time, you seem to forget who taught you everything you know.”

Daphne tried hard not to blush but was not entirely sure that she had succeeded. “Right.” she muttered before looking up and meeting her mother’s gaze once more, “No, Mother, it isn’t about any of that.” Celia just shook her head, seeming to be almost amused before she indicated for Daphne to continue speaking. “It’s about Harry, Mother; I’m worried about him.”

Celia frowned. “Harry? He seemed quite in control of his situation when I met him at the Weitts’ Samhain Gala.”

Daphne winced. “It’s… complicated.”

Celia crooked a perfect eyebrow. “Is it? Well then, how about you start from the beginning? I find that’s usually a pretty sound way to make sure that you get all of your points across.”

Daphne nodded, and with a fair bit of reluctance and guilt for betraying Harry’s trust, in a sense, she began to recite everything Harry had told her about the Dursleys. She told her mother of that first day in the dungeons, the tidbits he had let slip throughout the rest of the year, the bits he had purposefully told her near the end of the school year, about Dumbledore’s meddling, and finally, about Harry’s lack of response to any of his friend’s letters and the suspicions of herself, Blaise and Tracey. By the time her tale had been completed, her mother’s eyes were practically shooting sparks, and Daphne could suddenly tell exactly why people usually all recoiled from her glares.

“That old codger needs to kick it.” her mother muttered, and Daphne actually gaped at her. She was not sure if she had ever seen her mother let slip such a scandalous comment and she was suitably taken aback by the remark. “I need to talk with your father,” Celia told her daughter, ‘but I promise, Daphne, we will be getting him out soon.”

“Mother?” Daphne asked very carefully. 

“Yes, Daphne?”

“It’s only a vague idea, not really a plan, but I did have a thought.”

“Oh, please do continue.”

“Well, Harry did say his uncle owned some sort of drill company and that they were based out of Surrey. Surely that’s a start, isn’t it?”

Daphne nearly recoiled again at the near feral grin that crossed her mother’s face. “Oh, Daphne, that is so much more than a start.”

July 17, 1992.

No. 4 Privet Drive.

6:25 PM.

Daphne, wearing a formal but conservative muggle dress and high heeled shoes stepped languidly from the muggle limousine that her family had commandeered for tonight’s affairs. Behind her, Astoria climbed out of the vehicle with a bit less grace than her older sister. Astoria was very unaccustomed to wearing heels, and as she was in the midst of a major growth spurt, she was not exactly the most coordinated she had ever been. This was not saying a whole lot, as Daphne frequently accused her little sister of being clumsy. Taking pity on her, Daphne steadied her with a gentle hand on her back. Next, Celia and Cyrus swept from their seats with the grace of royals. Daphne’s mother was wearing a dress not unlike her own, with a stunning sapphire necklace that perfectly accentuated and brought out the tone of her eyes. Her father, on the other hand, was wearing an elegant, grey suit with a black tie and simple, black dress shoes. 

The plan was very simple. Cyrus, acting through one of their many muggle businesses, had made some inquiries and learned that the only company that matched Harry’s description in Surrey was one called Grunnings. And indeed, one of its top executives was a Mister Vernon Dursley. Cyrus had swiftly booked an appointment with the man at his family home under the guise of wishing to potentially invest in or even purchase the business. Of course, if Mister Dursley managed the coup, it would mean some serious bonuses for him. So naturally, the man accepted the meeting with all the haste and excitement of a child on Christmas morning. With that in mind, Cyrus had made sure to look every bit the personification of muggle professionalism while Daphne, Astoria and Celia seemed to simply radiate poise as they followed gracefully in their patriarch’s footsteps. 

When they reached the door, they did not need to knock. Immediately, they were greeted by three people and Daphne quickly realized that Harry’s remarks about the size of his cousin had been drastic understatements as opposed to blatant hyperboles. Daphne, who was rather tall for her age, regardless of gender, was technically taller than him at the moment, but only because of her heeled shoes. His height was not the thing that took her aback, however. The sheer girth of the boy was impossible to miss and he was not exactly chiseled in an athletic sort of way, either. Daphne supposed that if one could somehow get around that, his blue eyes, blonde hair and oddly charming smile could be endearing enough. However, from what she suspected about the boy, she had to try very hard indeed not to glare at him with all the force she could muster. The man was a massive version of his son and the woman was tall, about the same height as Celia, but extremely thin and bony. She was a stark juxtaposition to Celia, who positively radiated beauty, as the two women briefly shook hands.

Then, Daphne’s attention was caught when Astoria subtly kicked her in the shin and jerked her head back in the direction of their son. He was gaping, actually gaping at Daphne as though he had never seen such a sight before. Daphne could tell Astoria was trying very hard not to giggle, and Daphne had to resist the urge to borrow Draco Malfoy’s trademarked sneer. Daphne was a realistic person. She knew she was pretty and would one day be beautiful if her mother’s appearance was any indicator, but seriously? She wasn’t a veela and she didn’t think her appearance warranted that drastic of a reaction.

When the youngest Dursley had picked his mouth up off of the floor, the Greengrasses were led inside and quickly seated at the table. Daphne would reluctantly admit that the food prepared for them was quite good. That, however, did nothing to distract her from the bubbling fury that welled in the pit of her stomach when Vernon Dursley proudly proclaimed Dudley to be his only son, making it blatantly obvious in the process that no other boy inhabited the house in which they stood. At that moment in time, it took a frankly remarkable amount of self-control on Daphne’s part to not remove her wand from her robes, curse the oversized walrus into oblivion, and then quickly find Harry. She did hold back though, for most unfortunately, that was not the plan.

The plan was to go about business as normal for dinner and then for her mother and father to drag the Dursleys into conversation while Daphne slipped off to use the loo. In reality, she would be doing nothing of the sort. Instead, she would be finding Harry, and then they would be leaving this Merlin forsaken place with her friend in tow. That plan, however, did not quite see its conclusion as a loud creak from the stairs caught all of their attention. 

Daphne’s heart rate quickened; she had a feeling she knew who had created that creak. Then, just as conversation resumed a bit tensely a minute or so later, there was a deafening sound of breaking glass from the kitchen and Vernon Dursley was on his feet. Gone was the charming smile he had done his best to frequent for the duration of their meeting. In its place was an ugly, twisted look of fury, a look that was only accentuated by the vivid purple his face had turned. As he stormed off after the sound, Daphne instinctively got to her feet and followed him, a feeling of impending dread rising within her.

Either her mother, father and sister had the same thought or they simply followed her, but before they knew it, all three of them were entering the kitchen, and Daphne had to try hard not to scream when she saw her friend being pinned up against the wall by his throat. Instantly, she went for her wand, but her father was faster. 


Vernon Dursley cried out in pain before releasing Harry, who quickly doubled over and clutched at his throat. Vernon turned, likely to yell at whomever had interrupted his cruelty, but he froze at the sight of Cyrus, Celia and Daphne’s drawn wands. The next words out of Daphne’s mouth, which she was rather proud for coming up with on the spot, as a matter of fact, reduced the colouration of his skin from a vivid purple to a chalky, pale complexion.

“Touch him again and I swear to Merlin and Morgana I will boil your wife and child over a cauldron and force you to watch!”


As Harry watched Vernon Dursley visibly recoil from the words of his best friend, he quietly took note to never piss off Daphne Greengrass if he could avoid it. Even with literal tears of fury in her eyes, the glare he had spotted before doubling over to catch his breath had been positively withering. Even that did not account for the absolute venom in her words, something that took Harry and Vernon both aback. Harry heard a loud thump as he looked up, finally having caught his breath, to see Vernon lying unconscious on the floor. He imagined that one of Daphne’s parents had likely stunned him, since she did not know of that spell as far as Harry was aware. Daphne immediately beeline for Harry, but as she did so, she managed to kick Vernon very forcefully in a not so pleasant area, causing Harry to wince once more.

‘Reminder — never piss off Daphne Greengrass.’

Normally, Daphne was rather mindful of Harry’s dislike of being touched. Now, however, she seemed to abandon all tact as she plowed into him with the force of an eighteen wheeler and promptly began to squeeze the life out of him. She did not cry, but Harry suspected it was a close call. For the first few moments, he was rather tense in her embrace. Then, very slowly and more than a bit hesitantly, he relaxed and actually wrapped his arms around her in return. It was odd seeing Daphne so out of her element — so uncomposed.

“Harry,” she murmured as her parents and sister stood back a bit awkwardly, “are you okay?”

“Fine.” he told her. Truthfully, he was not entirely sure about how he felt about Daphne seeing this place, nor him at his absolute weakest, his most vulnerable. That thought would need more analyzing later with the use of Occlumency, but for now, he needed to figure out what the hell was going on.

Gently, Harry managed to extricate himself from Daphne for all of three seconds before she took a vice-like grip on his arm when looping her own through his. Petunia and Dudley were also unconscious now, as Harry rather awkwardly made his way towards the Greengrasses with their eldest daughter on his arm. “Uh… good evening, Lord and Lady Greengrass, Miss Greengrass.” Harry greeted, not really knowing what to do in the current situation.

“Are you alright?” was the first question Daphne’s mother asked Harry and it was a question that took him a bit aback. He had not been asked that question very often in his nearly twelve years of life, and he honestly had to mull it over. 

“I’m better now, I guess.” he answered carefully, looking speculatively between Daphne, her mother, her father and the fallen Dursleys. “Er… I’m grateful, especially for your timing, but… what exactly are you doing here?”

“Getting you away from this place!” Daphne said forcefully, and even if Harry had suffered at all from Stockholm Syndrome, he would not have dared argue with her. There was a part of him that was utterly terrified. Cyrus and Celia had just used magic, which would mean the triggering of the Trace. For now, he managed to forestall those thoughts by justifying that their eyewitness accounts would be more than enough to excuse him, but the irrational fear did still fight to be felt. Nothing scared him more than not having magic, not having a way of gaining control.

“Where are all of your things?” Lord Greengrass asked Harry.

“Most of them are locked up in the cupboard under the stairs.” he told the man, trying to keep a neutral tone of voice. He could not believe this; he was getting away from the Dursleys. But, he did not forget the veiled threat levelled at him by Dumbledore in his office near the end of his first year at Hogwarts. 

Dumbledore was almost to the door when he paused and turned. “And Harry, please do not try and flee the property this summer. I will know if you leave.” 

Harry turned to Daphne before her parents could react to his proclamation. “You did tell them what Dumbledore told me at the end of the year, right?”

“You mean how he blatantly threatened an eleven-year-old?” Daphne bit back. “Yes, Harry, I did and we’ve got it under control. Now, shut up and go along with it.”

Lord Greengrass let out a loud, vocal laugh as Lady Greengrass smiled and Daphne’s younger sister seemed to try very hard not to giggle.

Harry rolled his eyes, but he could not help but grin back at Daphne. “Of course, your highness.” he responded, prompting Daphne to swat at him playfully, finally seeming to gain a measure of control under the torrent of emotions crashing against her psyche like an incoming tidal wave. 


Harry smiled at her. “I’ve missed you too, Daphne.”

Three hours later, at Greengrass Manor…

It was a rather long drive to get from Surrey to wherever Greengrass Manor was located. In spite of this, Harry rather enjoyed the drive. The limousine was something he had never experienced before. The fully stocked fridge was quite nice after nothing but scraps and water over the past number of weeks. On their way to the manor, they even stopped at a muggle restaurant for Harry to get some food, something that he was rather grateful for. As a whole, the drive was spent mostly in polite silence, with the odd attempt at small talk lasting for a few minutes. 

Finally, the limo pulled through a rather splendid set of gates. Harry thought for sure they had reached the manor proper, but as Daphne told him with an odd smile, they had only crossed the property line. The property, it turned out, was more than vast and seemed to stretch on for ages. They drove down a well kept path that led straight through the rather beautiful forestry and when they finally exited the forests, Harry could have gasped at the sight that greeted them.

They seemed to be atop a marvellous green hill that overlooked a massive valley. In said valley, it appeared, was a brilliant blue lake, acres of land in every direction, and the most magnificent estate that Harry had ever seen. 

Some time later, Harry walked into the guest room, which was about the same size as the room he had kept at Weitts Manor. This one overlooked the sparkling lake as opposed to the lush, green lawns. Upon entering, Harry slumped down on the bed and pressed his hands into his temples, forcefully clearing his mind and trying to get a handle on the myriad of thoughts that had been attacking him ever since Daphne’s arrival at Privet Drive. Frankly, everything that had just happened seemed like an impossibility, and Harry’s mind was going about a million miles an hour in about a million different directions and honestly, it was giving him quite the headache.

“Are you okay?” Daphne asked, gently sitting on the bed beside where he was laying, peering down at him with a look of mild concern.

“I’m fine,” Harry told her, “just… a bit overwhelmed, I guess would be the best way of putting it.”

A long, pleasant silence stretched between them before Daphne broke it with what Harry considered to be a rather bold question. “Harry… did they — did they hurt you, at all?”

Harry sighed deeply, maintaining a clear mind as he pondered whether or not to answer her question. In the end, he didn’t see any reason not to, even though he really wished he could have found one. Daphne had seen Vernon assault him, she had seen the state of his living arrangements and now more than ever, she had quite the accurate understanding of his upbringing, especially after seeing the bars on his bedroom window. He had been sure when she had seen said bars that she would kill the Dursleys, but Cyrus was very strict about it. They would be leaving the Dursleys untouched after he memory charmed the three of them. If Harry was going to randomly disappear, it would not do for the Dursley family to do so at the same time. Dumbledore would already suspect them, and by extension, Harry. They did not need any true crimes attached to his suspicions.

“That was the first time this summer he actually touched me.” Harry answered in a rather hollow voice. “I woke up the morning after arriving and was locked in my room with nothing but my wand.” He neglected to mention the journal he had been sure to retrieve before leaving. For some reason, he wasn’t sure Daphne would approve of his mysterious relationship with the enigmatic Emily Riddle. “I didn’t want to use my wand because it would trigger the Trace.” then, he paused. “Hang on, I never got a letter from the Ministry. How does that work? Your parents used stunners and the memory charm?”

Daphne frowned. “I honestly have no idea.” she answered honestly. “We were ready to appeal directly to the Minister if need be; we would have gotten the charge removed from your record, anyways. But now that you mention it… yeah, that doesn’t make any sense at all, does it?”

Harry shook his head. “No,” he mused thoughtfully, “it really doesn’t.” After a long pause, he decided to come out with it. “Thanks, Daphne for… you know?”

She nodded. “Anytime, Harry. I knew it was bad — I knew it was worse than you were letting on, even.”

Harry closed his eyes. “I don’t like to talk about it.” he told her honestly and with no emotion. “I… honestly don’t like the thought that you’ve seen me there.”

Daphne levelled him with the most pensive and calculating look he had ever seen on her face. It was positively odd seeing it on the face of a twelve-year-old girl. “Anytime that changes, let me know, will you?” she paused. “I have a feeling someone else may want to talk to you about it tomorrow.”

“I’m grateful for your parents, Daphne, but I’m not-“

“Not my parents, Harry.”

Harry blinked. “Who then?”

Daphne gave him a long, studying look. “Blaise and Tracey are coming over before you leave.” she answered cryptically.

Harry tensed. “Leave?”

“I did tell you that we planned this, right? And that I told my parents about Dumbledore threatening you?”

Harry relaxed at once. “Oh, yeah… sorry.”

“You didn’t think we’d send you back to that hellhole after tonight?”

Harry’s eyes darkened and for a second, Daphne thought she may have touched on something too personal. “It’s… not in my nature to accept things going as well as they just did.” Harry answered after a time. “There’s a part of me that still expects to wake up there.”

Daphne hesitated before reaching over and giving Harry’s hand a reassuring squeeze. “You’re never going back, Harry. I promise.”

Harry had to forcefully discard the memory of James Potter saying something very similar months earlier. Once he managed that, there was another long, comfortable silence between the two friends before Harry broke it. “What’s the plan then, Daphne? Where is it that I’m going?”

“Weitts Manor.” she answered to Harry’s surprise. “We can still spend tons of time together; the same goes for Tracey and Blaise, but it gets you away from us and somewhere Dumbledore can’t touch you.”

Harry quirked a brow. “How can’t he touch me while I’m there?”

“Well, for one thing, let’s just say he wouldn’t suspect the Weitts family of taking you in. And for another,” she paused, “let’s just say Dumbledore leaves them well enough alone.” That was an extremely interesting tidbit and unbidden, the memory of Lady Weitts speaking about Dumbledore from last November flowed easily to the forefront of his mind.

Something… odd flashed in Lady Weitts’s eyes, but a split second later, it was gone, and Harry was not even sure he had seen it at all. “No wizard alive has more secrets than Albus Dumbledore.” she said a bit darkly. It sounded quite significant somehow.

“That’s… nice of them.” Harry answered honestly, rather surprised the Weitts would go out of their way to take him in. Perhaps they were closer with the Greengrasses than he had even realized. Or, perhaps Charlotte had been right all those months ago when she told him that her mother liked him.

Daphne shrugged as she stood from her seat on the bed. “Well, I know you well enough by now to know when you need time to think.” she fixed him with a stare. “Just… if you need me, come and find me, ok? And tomorrow… give her a chance, please.” Harry had no idea what those final cryptic words meant, and as Daphne exited the room, closing the door quietly behind her, he was not given the opportunity to find out.

July 18, 1992.

Greengrass Manor.

9:37 AM.

When Tracey arrived the next morning, Harry had the strong impression that she wanted to do nothing more than fling herself at him in much the same way Daphne had done last night at Privet Drive. To Harry’s mild relief, she restrained herself and minutes later, when Blaise effortlessly and elegantly stepped from the flames, he did not look as if the thought had ever crossed his mind.

“A pleasure to reacquaint, my friend.” Blaise told Harry with a small smirk, holding out his hand as if meeting for the first time. 

Harry took it with a roll of his eyes, but he played along anyways. “Indeed it is. I trust you are well, after all these years apart?”

“Oh, Harry, positively splendid, my dear man.” Daphne was looking exasperated and Tracey was visibly trying not to laugh as Harry and Blaise finished their exchange and the four friends made their way out onto the expansive grounds of Greengrass Manor. They did not do much, simply walked and talked for what felt like hours before finally, the four of them made to take seats near the lake. 

“I should go and get my bag.” Daphne said with a sigh, glaring at Harry. “I may as well make a start on some of that homework while Merlin over here is present to help me with it.” 

As Daphne stood, Blaise stood to join her in a single, fluid motion. When Daphne crooked an eyebrow, Blaise merely shrugged. “It would be most rude of me to leave a lady like you alone for such a long walk, Miss Greengrass. Would you do me the honour of allowing me to escort you back towards your lovely home?”

Daphne sighed. “If you must.” she told him, looping her arm through his as the two of them made their way towards the manor.

Harry waited about two minutes before he broke the silence. “I’ll admit, Tracey, that I didn’t expect it to be you who wanted to talk to me.”

Tracey’s eyes widened. “How did you-“

Harry rolled his own eyes in return. “Come on, Tracey. That little performance was well done, don’t get me wrong. Daphne and Blaise could probably be actors, but there were two gaping holes in your plan.” he raised a finger. “One, Daphne could have just called a house elf.” Tracey blushed at this, looking a bit put off. “Two,” he continued, raising a second finger as he spoke, “Daphne said that somebody would want to talk to me last night and hinted it was either you or Blaise.” he looked pointedly at Tracey. “Seeing as her last words before leaving my room last night were ‘give her a chance, please’, I thought it was safe to assume it was you.”

Tracey looked positively astonished but she regained her composure in an impressively short amount of time. “You… figured all of that out that quickly?” Harry nodded. Tracey just shook her head. “You blow my mind sometimes, you know that?”

Harry laughed softly as the warm summer’s breeze rustled his hair. “I try, Tracey, I try.” a pause. “So, what is it you wanted to talk about?” Both of them knew the answer to that question and likewise, both of them knew full well that the other one was aware as well. But Harry had to kickstart this conversation somehow, even if he was unsure if he would let it go anywhere at all.

Tracey shifted to face him, sea green eyes finding emerald. “I know you won’t want to talk about your relatives with me,” she started, not even pausing when Harry’s expression instantly became more closed off, “and you don’t have to, at least not today, but I think you might want to eventually.”

Harry blinked. “You… what?”

Tracey peered curiously at Harry. “Can you promise me, Harry, not to tell anybody about what you hear in the next however many minutes this takes?” Harry frowned but nodded. Tracey sighed. “I understand you, Harry. I understand you more than anybody else does; even Daphne, as much as she wants to try.”

Harry’s frown deepened. “That is a… very bold statement, Tracey. I don’t think-“

“Don’t think I do? Don’t see why anything I say is relevant to you or why you would ever want to share it with the fourth, tagalong member of the group?” Harry winced at her bluntness. “It’s ok, Harry.” she reassured. “I’m not as smart as Daphne or Blaise when it comes to politics and magic and all of the rest. You don’t have to apologize for the fact that you talk to them more than you talk to me. What I am better at than both of them is feelings, and in your case, I understand you better than either of them do. I also know that right now, you have no interest at all in talking about your home life.” She paused. “But, I also know better than anybody that it gets a lot easier once you start talking about it.”

Harry’s eyes widened as the dots came together. He would have never, not in a million years suspected that Tracey… “Tracey, you don’t have to tell me-“

“Shh,” she told him, lifting a hand for silence, “I want to tell you, Harry, because it will prove my point about it getting easier and because I want you to understand why I’d like for you to talk to me. It doesn’t have to be today but please, can you just hear me out and promise not to interrupt or go blabbing?” she mock glared at him. “And don’t call me a hypocrite because I can’t keep a secret!”

Harry managed a very weak, very small smile in spite of himself. “Alright, Tracey, if you insist.” and with those words, Tracey took a deep, readying breath before diving into a story Harry could have never, not in his wildest dreams, have expected.

The Past.

June 23, 1978.

A Nightclub in London.

11:32 PM.

Eighteen-year-old Julie Davis reveled in the music as she twirled in a most satisfying way on the dance floor, joining in the chorus of laughter that was shared by Annabel and some of her other close friends. Just hours earlier, they had arrived back in London after completing their seventh and final year at Hogwarts. Julie would miss the view from her dormitory situated high up in Ravenclaw Tower, but she was excited to move onto the next chapter of her life. For now though, she and her friends had decided to pitch some money together and put in for a hotel in London so they could spend the night celebrating the turning of a page in their lives.

When the current song ended, Julie left her friends to go get another drink. She was not an alcoholic by any means. As a matter of fact, this was only the third time in her life she had indulged at all, but tonight, she was throwing all restraint to the wayside. After getting yet another glass, Julie tried to weave her way back to her friends through the crowd of strangers in the nightclub. As she made to slip past a dancing couple, a tall, well built man came hurrying through the crowd and though Julie’s eyes had time to widen in unison with the stranger’s, neither of them could do anything as they slammed into one another and Julie’s drink promptly fell from her hands, the glass shattering on the floor.

“Fuck!” the man cursed, steadying the smaller girl easily enough. “Shit, my bad, I wasn’t paying attention. Fuck, I’m an idiot; can I buy you another drink?”

Julie, who was still a bit flustered, took a small step back and looked at the man more closely. He was quite tall and well muscled as she had first observed, and he had short cropped blonde hair and dark brown eyes. He was handsome, but in a roguish sort of way. “Um… sure, if you’d like. You don’t have to though; I wasn’t watching where I was going either, so-“

“Nah, don’t worry about it.” the man said, offering her a smile as he waved for her to follow him back up to the bar. “Not much you could’ve done if you ran into me, but I need to watch out for pretty little things like you.” Julie blushed as the man shot her a sort of conspiratorial wink before purchasing her a drink, and one for himself too.

“Thank you.” she said graciously, smiling happily up at him. She had always been quite an upbeat person. Many men and women would’ve been upset with this man, even after he had taken the time to buy them a drink in compensation for his carelessness. Julie, however, was just grateful he had been so generous. “It really wasn’t necessary.”

“Nah, don’t worry about it.” he said again, waving a hand airily. “I’d have bought you a drink even without running into you.” he winked again and Julie found herself blushing from more than just the alcohol. “What’s your name by the way, cutie?”

Still blushing down to the roots, Julie extended the hand that was not occupied with her drink. “Julie Davis.” she told him. “It’s nice to meet you.”

The man took her hand in his slightly more calloused one and shook. “Davis… Davis,” he muttered before shrugging, “can’t say I recognize the name, but I’ll be sure to recognize you, Julie. The name’s Norwich — Josh Norwich.” he smiled at her before looking out over the crowd. Julie wasn’t really surprised he hadn’t heard of her family. Her parents were both muggles, but they lived quite far from London. “Were you looking for someone when I… uh, ran into you?” he asked a bit awkwardly.

“Yes, my friends.” Julie said after taking a sip of her drink, “I’ve no idea where they’ve gotten off to now though.”

Josh winked. “I can help you find them, if you want?”

Julie shook her head. “No, it’s ok.” she said. “You don’t have to-“

“Aww, come on, it’d be fun.” he fluttered his eyelids suggestively in a way that Julie was pretty sure should’ve been her job according to most gender stereotypes, and she could not help but giggle. Josh seemed a very hard guy not to like and the alcohol was making his offer of companionship sound rather attractive.

“If you’re sure, Josh.”

“Oh, Julie, trust me, I’m sure.” 

They spent a fair bit of time roaming through the crowded nightclub looking for Julie’s friends, but they never did quite manage to find them. Julie was mildly annoyed, but at the same time, they had all been pretty drunk, so part of her also wasn’t completely sure if she wanted to know where they’d gotten off to. After her search ended in vain, Julie decided to simply spend time with Josh. He was quite the jokester, as it turned out, and his playful flirting had her flushing head to toe every few seconds. That fact was exacerbated by the alcohol that he kept buying her. So much so, in fact, that within a few hours, Josh had to practically carry Julie to the taxi he had called for her that was set to take her back to the hotel.

“You want me to come and give you a hand?” he asked, his speech just barely slurred.

Normally, Julie probably would have said no, but as she had been drinking, it was her first thought, not her measured one that came out of her mouth. “Please?”

Josh laughed openly as he helped buckle her in before sliding a bit clumsily into the seat next to her. Neither of them said a whole lot during the taxi ride, for Julie had just allowed her head to droop onto Josh’s shoulder and she was pretty sure she had briefly fallen asleep on the way there. 

When they entered her hotel room some twenty minutes later, by which time Julie was very grateful for Josh’s help because frankly, she was rather unsure if she’d have even made it there otherwise, they found that none of her friends had yet arrived. As it had turned out, they had all gone to a party of some guys they had met while Julie was off buying drinks, but Julie would not find out about that fact until quite a bit later.

Josh shrugged. “Weird, well, I s’pose this is it, cutie.” he said, slurring his words only a little bit as he smiled while helping Julie to the bed. The next words out of Julie’s mouth were the most surprising she had ever spoken, but in saying so, they were the words that would change her life forever. 

“Stay with me?”

Josh only paused for a moment but when he grinned, it was a grin worthy of the cat who’d caught the canary. “Sure thing, cutie.”

June 18, 1980.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

4:46 AM.

As Julie sighed with relief upon the bearing of her new child, Tracey, she could not help but allow a weak, tired smile to cross her face. It had been a roller coaster since she’d met Josh nearly two years ago to the day. Since that fateful night in the nightclub, she and Josh had become extremely close and now, they had even conceived a child. Still, Julie felt a prickle of guilt permeate the seemingly unshakable bubble of euphoria that currently seemed to be her psyche. She still had not told Josh that she was a witch. She had an odd, foreboding feeling that if she came out with that revelation, the desired outcome would not be overly positive. Josh was rather traditional in many ways. He was not a huge fan of change in the world and if she just dropped the fact that she was a witch on his head, she was positively terrified how he might react.

Now, as she gingerly cradled her new born daughter in her arms, Julie wondered exactly how she could ever do that. After the birthing of their first child, the risk was far greater. If he reacted negatively, it could not only mean bad news for her, but for the bundle of life that she now held protectively against her body, the bundle which she already loved and cherished more than anything in the world.

November 11, 1983.

The Norwich Household. 

7:14 PM.

Julie sat with Josh as they watched Tracey run around the living room, giggling happily as she gave pursuit to the laser pointer that Josh was casually pointing this way and that. Tracey was a very bubbly, energetic girl, even for her age. Since her birth, she had been rather unfond of the idea of sleep, and when she was awake, she seemed to make it her mission in life to be as active as possible. Julie found this exhausting for certain, but in saying so, there was something undeniably endearing about that habit of Tracey’s. That habit, however, often gave Julie and Josh near heart attacks. 

None more so than now, when Tracey made to turn on a dime and chase the light of the laser pointer. As she did so, she lost her balance and fell, and her momentum was sending her straight towards the wall headfirst. Before Julie or Josh could do so much as move, Tracey’s body spun like a cork in a complete one-eighty, allowing only her feet to slam into the wall. Sure, this still sparked some tears from their three-year-old daughter, but it was a much, much better outcome than what it could have been.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which angle Julie took on the matter, it appeared as if Tracey had just cast her first bit of accidental magic. On one hand, she was beyond proud and it was absolutely exhilarating to know that her daughter would one day walk the hallowed halls of Hogwarts. On another, the look of sheer shock and astonishment on Josh’s face meant one thing and one thing only. 

It was time to explain a potentially unpleasant truth — one she had hidden from him for more than five years.

November 12, 1983.

London, England.

3:17 AM.

Josh Norwich stumbled drunkenly out of the bar in which he had spent much of his night doing his utmost best to drink his problems away. At present, he was positively sloshed, but on another hand, the problems that had arisen in the past number of hours, rather life changing problems, if he was being honest, did not seem to have gone away. His wife was a witch. What the fuck was going on? Witchcraft was something that he had been taught to fear from an early age. Witches were dangerous. He hadn’t exactly followed in the footsteps of his parents in regards to religion, but he did agree with many of the principles they had instilled upon him in regards to sorcery. 

Nothing good could come of such a thing and now his wife and daughter were fucking witches?

“Fuck!” he slurred, not really knowing how else to cope with this information.

He didn’t know what to think. He had nothing but positive things to say about his wife as a whole but if she was a witch, what was he to do? He could not have her using magic, he would not stand for it. Their daughter neither — no, neither of them would be using magic, he decided. He had no desire to leave Julie, at least not yet. Truthfully, she had started out as yet another conquest, but she had become an integral part of his life. Now, he knew he could never trust her, but he could still keep a patchy relationship going for the benefit of them both, and their daughter, perhaps.

August 15, 1984.

The Norwich Household.

9:55 PM.

Julie watched the father of her daughter warily as he unsteadily set his bottle of beer down on the table. Frankly, Julie was miserable. She did not know what to think anymore. The day after he’d apparently gone out on a bender, a very sour, very hungover Josh Norwich had returned to the house and laid down the law in no uncertain terms. They would stay together for the sake of their daughter but the trust that had been forged between them was damaged severely. In addition, he would leave immediately if she performed any magic. As terrible as all of that had seemed, nothing could have prepared Julie for what he said next. Their daughter would most certainly not be going to any school where some crackpot old wizard would teach her magic tricks. Worse still, if they could do so, they would condition Tracey never to use magic at all.

If that hadn’t been enough, both of Julie’s parents had died in a plane crash less than three months earlier, which left her emotionally torn apart for weeks. Quite simply, Julie Davis had been experiencing the worst year of her life and she had no reason to think it would improve anytime soon. If she were anyone else, all of this may have broken her but to the best of her abilities, Julie still maintained her upbeat, bubbly persona and way of life. Privately, she thought it may very well be the only thing that had gotten her through these most trying of times.

There was a large part of Julie that wanted to get up and leave right there. However, she knew that would never work. She did not want Tracey to grow up without a father, a fact that had been cast in sharp relief when she had lost her own. And Josh, for all of his faults, was the one bringing in the majority of the money in the household. London was not cheap, and Julie was unsure whether she could, at present, provide for herself and her daughter. There was also the problem of custody. She wasn’t sure if Josh would attempt to expose the wizarding world over a petty guardianship case, but it was a risk she didn’t want to take, even though logically, the Ministry would of course have smoothed it all over. 

Little did Julie Davis know that everything was about to change.

Tracey, who was playing in the corner, chose that exact moment to stumble, the fairly clumsy child she was, and bump hard into the lamp, sending it careening to the floor where it promptly broke into two, even halves. Josh immediately stumbled to his feet, cursing and tripping over his drunken self as he made his way towards Tracey, yelling at her angrily.

This was another problem with Josh. He had been a rather indulgent man in the best of times and since the revelation of a world of magic, he had, in Julie’s estimation, turned into a sort of raging alcoholic. It was this that had Julie on her feet. She did not think Josh would hurt Tracey, but she also did not want him screaming at her over something accidental. But then, before he could even get close to her, the lamp suddenly began to piece itself back together before slowly, ever so slowly, it drifted back up off the floor and back onto the small table in which it had stood.

Ringing silence was all that existed in the Davis’s sitting room until, with a muffled cry, Josh stepped forward and grabbed Tracey by the arms hard enough for the little girl to yell out in pain.

“Josh!” Julie screamed, even as the man muttered drunkenly about stamping the magic out of their daughter. Julie stepped up behind Josh, reaching up and raking her nails across his neck in order to distract him. The good news was that it worked. He did indeed let go of Tracey as red gouges blossomed on the surface of his skin. The not-so-good part, unfortunately, was when he whirled around and brought his hand up, slamming the back of it hard into Julie’s face and causing her to fall flat onto the floor as blood began to spout out of her nose. 

Tracey was crying again as Josh bent over Julie, his hot, laboured breath that smelled strongly of alcohol tickling her face. “I said no fuckin’ magic!” he slurred. “I don’ give a shit if it’s you or her. No fuckin’ magic means no fuckin’ magic, you hear?” All Julie could do was nod mutely as Josh stumbled off to the restroom, mercifully giving Julie enough time to grab her purse, grab Tracey, and get the hell out of the house.

August 16, 1984.

A London Cafe. 

1:13 PM.

Tracey waited eagerly for her mummy to finish the small salad in front of her. She had been oddly quiet today; even four-year-old Tracey had managed to pick up on that and there was a rather tragic, almost depressed air around her that all older and wiser than Tracey picked up on instantly. A few minutes later, her mother finished and they stepped up to pay just as a family of four queued in behind them. Tracey peered at them with young, curious eyes. The couple were both a lot taller than her mummy and she loved the woman’s pretty hair. They had two little girls with them, two. One of them was a lot smaller than Tracey, cradled in the arms of the father whereas the other was probably about Tracey’s age, but a bit taller and she had the same, pretty hair as her mother whose hand she was holding.

From beside her, Tracey’s mother cursed under her breath as she rifled through her purse, trying to find the correct coins to pay. If Tracey was a bit older and more observant, perhaps she’d have noticed that her mother seemed flustered, almost as if she could not pay and was stalling for time. In a most hilariously ironic and ill timed display, Tracey spoke up right then and there.

“Mummy? Can we get ice cream from the stand?”

Tracey saw the frown on her mother’s face but failed to recognize the sadness in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Tracey, but mummy doesn’t have money for that right now.” Then, to their surprise, a clearing of a throat from behind them caught Julie and Tracey’s attention and Julie flushed as she looked upon the man and woman, who were quite clearly the highest of class and likely impatient for the rabble to hurry up. “Oh,” Julie said with a blush, trying in vain to find more coins in her purse that just weren’t there, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hold you up.”

To her great surprise, the woman smiled easily at her. “No, no, that wasn’t it at all. I was just going to ask you if you’d allow us to pay for your meal and take you and your daughter out for the ice cream that she seems to want so badly?”

Julie’s jaw actually fell agape just as Tracey visibly perked up upon hearing the words “ice cream” uttered. 

“You-you’re quite sure?” Julie asked, not wanting to blow the golden opportunity but also failing to see what these people’s game was.

The woman nodded. “Of course,” she said, stepping up to the counter and sweeping the money Julie had placed there into her hand before handing it back to the woman, replacing it with notes of her own, “it would be our pleasure.” she smiled at Julie and held out her hand. “A pleasure to meet you, as a matter of fact. My name is Celia and my husband’s name is Cyrus. My eldest daughter is Daphne and my youngest is Astoria.”

“That’s a really pretty name!” Tracey spoke up, smiling at Daphne who giggled in return. 

“What’s yours?” the taller girl asked, eyeing the strawberry blonde in front of her with unmasked curiosity.

“Tracey.” Tracey answered excitedly, positively bouncing at meeting a new friend.

Daphne giggled. “That’s a nice name, but I like mine better.” 

October 18, 1984.

The Norwich Household.

8:03 PM.

It had been a number of weeks until Julie and Tracey had returned back home. They had spent as much time in hotels as possible, using much of the money that was saved in the family’s accounts. They did eventually have to return though, and the months since the return had been extremely tense. By this point, Julie and Josh barely spoke to one another at all, and even little Tracey knew something was off. Even she was rather skittish around her father.

The one major improvement in Tracey’s life was Daphne. Since they had met up in the cafe, the two girls had been allowed to spend a considerable amount of time together. Tracey and her mother had been present during a bout of accidental magic from Daphne and when the Greengrasses hastily tried to explain it away, Julie had simply smiled and explained that both her and Tracey were witches as well. Since then, the relationship between Daphne and Tracey had become a lot closer. She had been told by her mother never to mention magic or that Daphne and her family were “witches”, but Tracey had been allowed to go over to the Greengrasses quite frequently. As a matter of fact, the Greengrasses would arrive at their home to pick up Tracey for their planned sleepover the very next morning.

That night, Tracey, Josh and Julie were eating a rather late dinner. As usual, Josh had alcohol in front of him and as usual, he had become exceptionally tipsy. This fact made itself clear only minutes into the meal when Josh made to stand and bumped the table rather hard, sending scalding hot coffee from Julie’s cup cascading everywhere. Unfortunately, most of it doused Tracey, who cried out in immediate pain as rather horrid looking burns made themselves present on her skin.

“Josh!” Julie cried in outrage, sweeping to her feet.

“Fuck!” Josh cursed. To the man’s credit, he did seem to be trying to make a move towards the cold cloth but to his discredit, the burns on Tracey’s body were very clearly too severe to be quelled by a bit of cool water. It was in that moment that with her daughter crying in front of her, Julie did the bravest thing she had ever done in her life and made a choice that would change the life of her daughter forever. 

“Episkey.” she incanted, sliding her wand from her sleeve and aiming it at Tracey, who almost immediately quieted as her burns vanished. Josh, on the other hand, positively swelled with righteous fury as he turned on Julie, reaching out to grab her. Unfortunately for him, there was a flash of white light and he was sent skidding backwards across the floor, a look of absolute fury on his face. Before he could react, Julie scooped up Tracey and made her way up the stairs to the home’s second level as fast as possible. Once there, she quickly bolted into the bedroom and locked the door, making a mad dash to pack everything she could get her hands on, ignoring her daughter’s constant string of questions as she did so. Finally, after about five minutes packing and with a heart rate of around one-hundred-eighty beats per minute, Julie told Tracey to get behind her as they exited the room.

Unfortunately, Julie’s hands were rather full and as a result, she could not hold her wand. As soon as the door was opened, Julie was grabbed forcefully by the throat and slammed hard against the wall. The hastily packed bags in her arms fell in a pile at her feet as she began to struggle to free herself. Tracey was screaming and crying, but Julie did not hear her as she felt Josh’s hot breath on her face. Then, she did the only thing she could when hopelessly outmatched.

She kicked him where it hurt. Then, as Josh staggered back, Julie attempted to get around him and to her daughter but unfortunately, she never made it. In a last ditch effort to stamp out the magic in his family, Josh lunged for Julie without much intention. He slammed into her forcefully and she fell backwards — right down the stairs, head first.

There were several loud thuds as she careened down the stairs and the cries of panic from Tracey and terrified cursing of Josh Norwich mixed in. Then, when Julie’s fall had ended, both Tracey and Josh rushed towards her for very different reasons.

Tracey wanted so badly to make sure that her mother was okay whereas Josh needed to make sure he wasn’t about to go to jail for manslaughter. When the two of them reached the bottom and Josh knelt over Julie, he paled almost at once when there was no pulse present at her throat.

The Present.

July 18, 1992.

Greengrass Manor.

9:53 AM.

In a rare moment, Harry experienced a complete loss of his formidable self-control, as he gaped openly at Tracey as his eyes did their best to bulge out of his head. “What happened then?” He asked incredulously. 

Tracey shrugged as if it was of no consequence. “He left; ran for his life, I imagine. The Greengrasses found me and Mum the next morning and pieced together what had happened. They got in touch with Mum’s best friend from Hogwarts, Annabel, a half blood married to a muggleborn, and I’ve lived with her and her husband, Daniel ever since.” Tracey smiled fondly in spite of the story. “I love them — I honestly love them.”

Harry did not even know how to respond to any of what he had just been told. “Your… father, ugh! I don’t even want to call the bastard that — what happened to him?” 

Tracey shrugged. “He was sent to prison for murder.” Harry’s eyes widened before a rather morbid realization set in. By the law, it should have only been manslaughter, but if the Greengrasses had pulled some strings — possibly with some magic involved…

“Fuck, Tracey…” Harry muttered, not knowing anything else to say. “How can you just… say all that?”

She offered him a sad smile. “It still isn’t pleasant.” she said honestly. “I wish I’d have got to know mum when I was older than five and it hurts to think about it but it does get a lot easier.” she shot him a rather pointed look. “I wouldn’t talk about it for a couple of years until my step parents got me a therapist. Once I started talking about it, it got easier. He once told me that telling is accepting.” she shrugged. “Like I said, the pain never goes away, but it lessens with time.” 

“I would’ve never guessed any of that about you.” Harry muttered, and it was true. In his estimation, Tracey was far too bubbly, far too optimistic for that horrible reality to have been her childhood. 

“It was a long time ago.” she reminded him. “I can barely remember most of that except for the final night. A lot of it was told to me by Annabel, since she kept in contact with Mum until the end.” Tracey sighed. “I’ve grown up a lot since then, but part of it is talking about it and not hiding from it.” she was giving Harry a long, searching glance. Harry noticed that Tracey definitely looked down, as if the story had taken a lot out of her, but she was still very much in control. “Do you understand now why I think I can understand you better than other people?” Harry nodded reluctantly. “It’s different, I know — our circumstances. But if my guesses are true — there are definitely similarities too.” she reached out and took his hand briefly, giving it a quick squeeze. Harry did not have the energy to even think of tensing or flinching away. “Anytime you need me, Harry, I’m here, ok?”

There was a long pause in which Harry watched the small, distant figures of Blaise and Daphne slowly make their approach from far away. “Thank you, Tracey,” he said quietly, having no other words to speak, “I’ll… keep that in mind, I promise.

Author’s Endnote:

So this was a heavy chapter, but it’s one I’ve been planning for a long time. I see so many fics, Slytherin Harry ones in particular, utilize Tracey as a friend of Harry’s, but she is almost always lost in the shuffle. Not only does she never have a purpose, but we rarely learn anything about her. Seriously, I can only think of two Slytherin Harry series/stories in which we learn anything about Tracey, and in one of them, it is VERY LITTLE. In short, I wanted to break that trend with this story and I thought she could be useful in the role I have portrayed her in.

There won’t be a chapter this dark again for a while, so no worries about trigger warnings and such, but I hope you all enjoyed the chapter in spite of the change in tone.

Speaking of the contents of the chapter, please don’t come after me in the reviews for letting the Dursleys off easy. I won’t spoil anything, but hint hint, nudge nudge, there time will come. The same can be said for the other characters who’s heads you’ve been calling for. Patience is a virtue, after all.

Also, a shoutout to Darth from my Discord server for pointing out that degrees of murder are not a thing in the UK. Residing in Canada and also being aware of the American system, I had always assumed that was fairly universal among major first world countries. An additional shoutout to Discord member Haphne Cult Leader for explaining the categorization of murder in the UK.

Please read and review.

PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, July 4th, 2020 at approximately 3:00 PM EST.

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

%d bloggers like this: