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Posted originally on the Archive of Our Own at http://archiveofourown.org/works/1926747.

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Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Draco Malfoy, Neville Longbottom,
Ginny Weasley
Cross-Posted on FanFiction.Net, this is epic length it covers the
years before and through all 7 books i kid thee not, and you'll be
subjected to my brand of crazy you poor unsuspecting readers, as in
the Potters survive that Halloween, and there's a twin brother there
too, also there's angst, and some humor, and the occasional bad
poetry, But mostly angst, and Severus and Harry have father-son
relationship, posting here 'cause some of my readers wanted to read
the whole thing even without internet, Disclaimer for the whole thing: I
don't own Harry Potter, why must you keep asking if I do and hurt me
so
Published: 2014-07-09 Chapters: 76/? Words: 489944

Family Bonds
by xXDesertRoseXx
Summary

When, after that fateful Halloween night, the wrong Potter twin is hailed the Boy Who
Lived, how will Harry's life turn out? With a power he knows not, an ancient prophecy
and one Severus Snape practically raising him, interesting at least is a given.

The Prophecy
"The son of the father who is not the father
Born under the moon of Claiming and of Thunder and of Hay
Born as the seventh month dies
Will bring the end to an era of darkness
And the beginning of the years of prosperity
For all that is magic
And the father of the son who is not the son
Father in heart and soul and everything but blood
Will protect and guide him
Shelter him and lead him
He will teach his son, the more worthy of a pair
The sworn protector of his brother
The neglected child
To overpower the darkness of his time
And united with the one who Sees and her sister who is not her sister
The keeper of magic that is old
The father and the son will find
Their path in life."

Once Upon A Halloween


The Dark Lord was contemplating. There was a choice that had to be made and, for all intents
and purposes, he had to choose wisely. His dilemma was simple; a prophecy had been made
concerning him over two years ago. That, on its own merit, was not something he had considered
completely unexpected. After all, he was intending to leave an everlasting mark in the history of
the wizarding world and thus had expected that, somewhere along the way, a prophecy would be
made.
So no, it wasnt the prophecy in itself that had him immersed in his thoughts. It was the content
of said prophecy that had done so; the mere notion that he, Lord Voldemort, the greatest wizard of
the century, would be defeated by a mere child. A child that was born as the third month died, a
child of parents that had thrice defied him and lived to tell the tale. And, to his great discontentand partially because of his long list of enemies- the candidates were three.
Born first, early on the thirty first of July a year and tree months ago, was Neville Longbottom,
the son of Alice and Frank Longbottom, two of the most feared aurors that had ever attacked the
Death Eaters lines. The parents themselves had only recently defied him for the third and last
time. Voldemort smirked at the memory; Bellatrix had been a little overzealous while extracting
information from the couple and thus, the two found themselves locked up in the psychiatric ward
of St. Mungos hospital, suffering from the aftereffects of a lasting torture under the Cruciatus.
That dealt with one nuisance and also left their son unprotected, under the care of a grandmother.
The Dark Lord knew for a fact that finding and killing the boy would be a matter of routine for
him. But was the Longbottom heir the child he had been warned about?
Born second was Adrian Orion Potter, son of Lilly and James Potter and older of a pair of twins.
He was born a few minutes before midnight on the last day of July and, along with his younger
brother, he was a better candidate to the prophecy, considering he was born closer to the end, ergo
the death, of July. The third candidate was the youngest Potter heir, a boy that was born only
seconds before the clock pointed midnight as his informant and close family friend Peter Pettigrew
had supplied. The twins were born much closer to the timeframe the prophecy had suggested and
besides, they were halfbloods. And as much as he would like to forget it, the Dark Lord was a
halfblood himself.
It had to be one of the two. And it was in such thoughts that Lord Vodemort found himself
standing outside the theoretically protected house of the Potter family at Godrics Hollow. And
what a fitting name that was for the place the Potters lived, the Dark Lord thought acidly. The
parents themselves were gone from the house, courtesy of Pettigrew, who had opted to baby-sit
the children while they were gone. The only other two that could pose a threat to his plans, Peter
had assured him, were detained by the moon herself. Werewolves and full moons dont mix after
all and neither do werewolf friendly animagi.
Voldemort walked steadily through the strong protective spells and rituals that covered the house
as if they werent even there, their protection demolished under the weight of treason. He was
welcomed at the front door by Pettigrew. He made a mental note to kill the cowering rat sometime
in the immediate future. He detested traitors and the plump man would soon fulfill his purpose
thus rendered less than worthless to him. Maybe he could let Bella have some fun. She detested
rodents.
They are on the second floor my Lord. The rat said bowing. Voldemorts lips twisted in a
sneer. In the nursery. Passing Pettigrew by without showing any indication of hearing him, the
Dark Lord strode to the stairs, his black cape bellowing behind him. What a nuisance prophecies

were! But this one had the possibility of becoming a force to be reckoned with in the future and
thus had to be prevented now that there was still time. The door to the nursery was wide open, yet
another courtesy of Wormtail. Voldemort walked in and stood facing the two cribs. There lay two
babies, both sporting thick black hair. Not that it really mattered, since he would kill them both just
to be sure, but Voldemort wondered which was which. That was easy to define, he thought. With
a light movement of his wand, both children found themselves under a strong silencing spell. He
had hated crying, absolutely detested wailing babies while he was at the orphanage; he would
have none of it now. With another stabbing movement of his wand the boys were both suspended
mid air facing him and shaken out of their sleep.
Two pairs of eyes opened at almost the same time. The first baby, the one on the left, had hazel
eyes, just like his father and was crying loudly under the silencing charm. Vodemort, who had
never bothered to ask anything more about the two boys but their names and the hour of their
birth, guessed that one had to be Harry James, finding it natural for the child who resembled his
father the most to bear his name. Because the second boy, slightly paler but with the same unruly
black hair, had eyes of the brightest green, shining like gems, the very colour of the curse by
which he was about to die. That had to be Adrian, Voldemort deduced.
And he didnt appear to be frightened by his presence, only alarmed as he stared at him with
wide eyes. Strangely, if his eyes werent green they would look much like but Voldemort
abandoned that trail of thought, finding it useless. The boy was about to die anyway. Because
now that he had laid eyes on the twins, there was no doubt in his mind that, if one of the two was
to defeat him, that one would be the boy staring back at him defiantly in his young age; the Potter
with the Avada Kedavra eyes.
Voldemort briefly considered what a pity it was that the parents werent there to be dealt with
too. But having to suffer the death of their children, for people like the Potters, would be worse
than death.
Good-bye little Adrian. Voldemort said sarcastically as he pointed his wand at the green eyed
child. The green light that had claimed the lives of so many before headed this time towards the
child. And there, just seconds before it touched his forehead, the killing curse reached what
appeared to be a golden bubble that surrounded the baby, the impact creating vine like patters on
the unexpected shield, before the curse rebounded. And with his crimson eyes wide in shock and
terror, the man once known as Tom Marvolo Riddle, could only watch as his own magic turned
against him. Upon impact, his body was reduced to fine dust, his soul being forced out but not
departing the world of the living as it should.
And as the soul of the Dark Lord fled from the now crumbling -due to an immense whiplash of
raw magic- house and a traitor followed suit, trying to save himself from the damage he had
caused, the shield that surrounded the young wizard expanded momentarily to shelter his brother
as well as himself from the falling debris. As the roof came down the shield took hit after hit, the
only sound in the room being the cries of the hazel eyed boy and the crumbling walls. The shield
started to flicker and fail, small unprotected patches being created on it surface as the last parts of
the roof came down on the two children. And it was through one of those cracks that a sharp piece
of concrete fell -surrounded with the soft light of the shield as it scraped it passing trough- and
caused a deep gush on the right hand of the hazel eyed Potter boy.
By the time when the shield failed completely, the ceiling had given its place to the dark starry
sky; the two boys were saved. Two frantic figures chose that exact moment to appear, seemingly
out of nowhere, being informed of what had chorused inside their house from a dozen of alarm
spells triggered by the collapse. With screams of Adrian! and Harry! they trotted over the
remnants of what had been their house for the past year and a half, following the loud cries of their
son.

Adrian! Lily screamed as she ran to cradle her crying boy, observing with terror the bleeding
on his hand. Wheres Harry? She asked scared as her eyes searched for her younger son. James
ran over to Harrys crib to find his second born child passed out, seemingly sleeping. His heart
almost broke considering his son was dead, until he perceived Harrys soft and steady breaths.
Hes here Lily! Hes alive! He said holding his son to his chest where Lily could see him. With
tears in her eyes but laughing in relief, the two young parents made their way out of their
destroyed house, questions beginning to burn themselves into their minds. How could the boys be
alive? What had happened to Peter? And where in the world was the Dark Lord? Unable to
answer any of the questions themselves, they headed to the one person who they could trust in
enlightening them. They apparated, each with a baby in their arms, to the gates of Hogwarts.
It was over fifteen minutes and a message delivered by a silver doe -Lilys patronus- later when a
positively panicked professor McGonagall came towards the gate running. She was completely
out of breath and had to inhale deeply for a few moments, uncharacteristically audibly, before she
could utter the password to unlock the gate.
James, Lily! She screamed and hugged both her once students as hard as she could while
trying not to wake the now sleeping boys. Youre alive! All of you! By Merlins beard, its a
miracle!
Slow down Minerva! James ordered once he escaped from the head of Gryffindor houses
death-grip. What are you talking about? She stepped back and looked at them surprised, her
eyes wide behind her glasses.
You dont know? She muttered before shaking her head distracted, finally regaining some of
the calm countenance she was famous of possessing. Please come with me. She simply stated
and entered the schools grounds, closing the gate behind them as the Potter family followed her
inside.
What is going on Minerva? Lily asked as they walked in a fast pace. We were in an Order
meeting when the alarm charms we had placed over the house were activated. The house was in
ruins when we got there! Minervas only answer was to hasten to the castle.
Minerva! James exclaimed as they ran to catch up, thankful that his boys were still asleep. I
will not take another step if you dont give me at least a summary of what happened tonight! And
to prove his point he stopped, his wife immediately following his example. Seeing the determined
look in both Potters eyes, the Transfiguration professor sighed and motioned them to keep
walking.
Ill give you the basics but we have to get to Albus immediately. He has been searching for all
four of you for the last ten minutes; he should have guessed you would come here, but its only
normal for him to be distressed in a night like this. Minerva explained. Your sons were attacked
by the Dark Lord tonight.
They were what? Lilly asked feeling the blood draining from her face as the world started
spinning around her, only walking still because of the adrenaline coursing through her body. She
looked at her husband to find him looking paler than death and holding onto Harry tighter than
was necessary. She easily mirrored the movement with Adrian as Minerva kept talking. He went
there to kill them personally. She then stopped and turned around to stare at the two frightened
parents. There has been no news of him since. His Death Eaters are fleeing. The Dementors
returned to Azkaban. Rumor has it She stopped to steady herself and looked intently at the two
sleeping children. Rumor has it that hes dead.
Dead? Both Potters asked in shock.

How? James questioned without missing a beat.


I dont have the faintest idea. Minerva admitting as she began walking again. Thats exactly
why you have to go to Albuss office. Being too shocked to even question her anymore, they did
as commanded and the rest of the walk was spent in silence. When they reached the Headmasters
office, they found the old man pacing up and down impatiently, almost jumping in surprise when
the door burst open.
Lily, James! He exclaimed and ran to them leaning closely to examine the twins, his eyes
standing at Adrians no longer bleeding wound and widening momentarily before he was shaken
from his thoughts by an agitated Lily.
What happened Albus? She simply asked him and he motioned for them to sit down. It was
going to be a long explanation and besides, he felt his own legs giving up on him.
First of all, I believe we have to get our hands on Sirius Black before he disappears. The
Headmaster stated.
What does Sirius has to do with this? James asked confused. Its a full moon tonight and hes
out with Remus.
Voldemort managed to find and enter your house, disregarding the fidelius. That can only mean
that the secret keeper, Sirius, has betrayed you. The old wizard answered gravelly. The shock he
received upon learning the true secret keeper was only surpassed by the two Potters horror upon
realizing they had trusted their two sons to a traitor and worse yet, one they had thought to be a
close friend.
I cant believe Peter betrayed us. James muttered almost incomprehensibly. Lilys face was wet
with tears.
Im afraid it is true. Came the grave response from Albus. But he will be dealt with. He
added decisively. What is of the greatest importance right now is tonights assault against your
sons.
So its true? Lily asked with voice thick from crying. The prophecy it really happened
didnt it?
Yes, I believe it did.
So is the Dark Lord truly gone? James asked in disbelief.
For now yes. The Headmaster offered. But not forever, I fear.
He will return then? James asked confused and even more scared than before. If he did, then
what would that mean for his children?
Im afraid thats inevitable; Voldemort always had too much a great wish to live to stay dead.
Albus said closing his eyes and rubbing them tiredly, looking for a moment exactly as old as he
was. But thats where Adrian comes in.
Adrian? Lily asked looking at the sleeping boy in her arms.
What do you mean by that? Is he the Chosen One then? James asked never taking his eyes of
his eldest son.
I believe so. Albus said standing up.

I believe so. Albus said standing up.


But how can you be so sure? James insisted, not wanting to even consider his boy would be
facing such a difficult destiny.
Im afraid its quite clear. Albus stated and, with a soft flick of his wand, removed the blood
from the wound on Adrians palm, healing the wound in the process. His charm was followed by
two gasps of terror; there, on the sleeping boys palm, a red jagged scar, somehow resembling a
lightening bolt, was clearly visible. The scar is infused with magic. Very strong magic indeed,
that feels nothing like Voldemorts.
So it is true then. James said resigned as he slummed back into his seat.
It is. And young Adrian saved himself and his brother tonight and with him, the whole
country. The Headmaster offered.
What does that mean for Adrian, for his future? Lily asked, hot tears trailing down her cheeks.
He will live a normal childhood, as normal as can be, he deserves that. Albus said after a short
pause. But after he reaches a certain age he will have to be trained; we will do everything
possible to assure Adrian will survive this. Both Potters nodded, not seeing any other alternative.
The night at the Headmasters office was spent in talking and deep contemplation as the wizarding
nation celebrated the downfall of a Dark Lord and the birth of a hero.
And as they toasted to Adrian Potter, hailing him the Boy Who Lived, Harry was sleeping
peacefully in a conjured crib, blissfully ignorant of how that very night would affect his life.
Nobody bothered to check the youngest Potter for any scars that night. And in all truth, there
werent any. But if anyone had known were to look and had done so in time, they would have
noticed a strange black mark appearing on the young boys hipbone, before fading away. And
unknown to the people discussing in the Headmasters office, the two sleeping children and the
celebrating crowd, the wheels of Fate had began to turn, signaling the time had come for a much
older prophecy to start unfolding.

Of First Meetings
It had been almost a year since that fateful Halloween night. It was now July and the Potter
family was preparing to celebrate the twins birthday that very afternoon. A lot had happened
since the downfall of the Dark Lord, even in such a little time. The last of his Death Eaters had
been locked in Azkaban, now under the watch of the same Dementors that were aiding their fallen
leader only a few months ago. Those of the dark army who had money enough, influence in the
Ministry and the prudence to not shout their alliance with Voldemort from the rooftops, had
escaped imprisonment, claiming to have fallen victims of the Imperius curse. The magical
community of England was starting to get back on its feet.
For the Potters, that meant they could finally come out of hiding. They had moved, after two and
a half years of running, back to James family house, a manor situated not very far from Hogwarts.
Lily and James had gotten back their jobs at the Ministry, James working again as an Auror along
with Sirius and Lily at the Charms division. Even Remus Lupin, the werewolf of the extended
Potter family, had been recently hired in the same Ministry, his extensive knowledge of magical
law and his status as a godfather of one Adrian Potter, offering him a steady job in the newly
created Werewolf division. The new Minister, Cornelius Fudge, had been cajoled by a certain
Headmaster into not repeating the mistakes of the past and ostracising creatures such as the
werewolves; Remus was the only logical choice for the job after that.
It goes without saying that the fall of Voldemort and the end of the war had signified the
beginning of a wave of changes for the wizarding world. And for a twenty one year old man, the
end of the war signified something much greater that the end of his spying days. He just didnt
know it yet.
Severus Snape was looking at his reflection on the bathroom mirror. It had been a strange day for
him; his last living relative, his uncle, his mothers brother, had died the day before and he had just
returned home from the funeral. It wasnt the death itself that had him disorientated. His uncle had
been very sick as a child and growing up he simply never got better. According to the healers that
were watching over him during the last years of his life, it was a miracle he had gone on living for
so long.
It wasnt even the fact that Severus would miss him, even if having his last blood relative pass
away was quite a hit. Marcus Prince had never cared for his nephew and had allowed him to keep
on living with his father, even knowing what he had gone through as a boy. So, missing him was
out of the question. It was just that his uncles death had brought upon him something he had
never considered during the previous years of his life. His uncle had died childless and, due to
wizarding law, it was he who was going to inherit. And that meant he would inherit everything.
Severus had always lived under the concept that his mother had been disowned by her family for
marrying a Muggle. And it was quite certain that nobody had ever contacted him while he was
growing up. Thus, finding the family fortune in his hands was the last thing he had expected. He
almost felt like laughing, almost being the key word.
It had been one of his main concerns while at Hogwarts every single time James Potter flaunted
his fortune at Lily, that he could never offer her the same. It had stung but she had reassured him
time and time again that it didnt matter. And for her, it truly didnt; it was by his own hand that he
found their friendship damaged and he was quite aware of the fact. But he had apologised; Merlin
had he apologised! Not that she had listened as he tried to approach her time and time again. And
then she had gone and started dating James Potter in their seventh year. And then she married him.
Severus hadnt really thought the situation through; by the time he had managed to gather his

wits enough to consider what he should do from then on, he had found himself with the Dark
Mark on his left hand and his life pledged to a megalomaniac madman. The fact that said madman
was the most powerful dark wizard of the last centuries did nothing to help his case. So, Severus
followed his orders and offered the part of the prophecy he had overheard unable to do anything
else but obey.
Then Lily had gotten pregnant and he had lost all his will to live. Nothing sounded more final
than her being the mother of James Potters children. When he realized just what the prophecy he
had presented to the Dark Lord would mean for Lily, he simply wanted to die a slow and painful
death. Not seeing any profit coming from such a move, he offered his life to Albus Dumbledore
instead and played spy for almost two years. The night Voldemort had fallen, while the rest of the
wizarding world was celebrating, he locked himself in his house and cried the tears he had denied
himself during the past years.
Not wanting to run into Lily or her family, he had worked like a madman on his potions mastery,
travelling the world, running away from what he feared the most. Not that it helped; in the end, all
his hard work resulted into becoming the youngest potions master in four hundred years and
returning home far too soon. A month after his return, he was approached by Dumbledore who
offered him the position of Potions Master in Hogwarts after Slugghorn quit. Not caring enough to
go looking for a job and considering he had to live somehow, he accepted. Starting next year he
would be a professor in the school where he passed the happiest and worst moments of his life. A
few days later, his uncle had died.
And as he stared at the stranger in the mirror, he could see every last of his troubles etched on his
face. He was thin, far too thin for his height. His cheeks were shallow and there were dark circles
under his large black eyes. Minerva had once said his eyes looked just like black tunnels; empty
and devoid of any feeling. The eyes of a dead man. Maybe she was right, the young man
considered. The prominent nose and high cheekbones, the cleft on his chin, all clashed together in
a way that should have made his face handsome. Instead he looked like a man who had spent
years in Azkaban, like a man twice his age. His shoulders slumped even more and he had to fight
the urge to break the mirror into tiny pieces with a hex. Or his fist, it didnt really matter at that
point.
He would have run home and hidden there until the start of the school year if it wasnt for his
pride. Because somewhere deep down those unreadable eyes, damn it, there was still some part of
himself left! And he should better recover that part fast; he didnt know how and he didnt know
why, but Lily had convinced her husband to invite Severus to the twins birthday party. A whole
afternoon spent in the presence of the Potters, Black, Lupin and a blissful Lily. And did he deny
the invitation? Of course not because, apparently, that small part of himself that still inhabited his
body was a masochist. He had accepted and now he would have to go.
With a sigh he looked away from the mirror and the haunted eyes he had come to hate. He
straightened his black clothes, the only colour he wore nowadays, and walked towards the
fireplace slowly biding his time; he was already late anyway. Grabbing a handful of floo powder
he braced himself mentally and threw it in the fireplace before stepping in the now green flames.
Potter Manor. He stated with a dead voice and closed his eyes as the world spun around him.
When he felt he was slowing down, he moved his right leg forward and landed gracefully in the
main lobby of the Potters residence. The house was filled with people; acquaintances of the
family, the Weasleys, Hogwarts staff and many others. And journalists of course, having come to
cover the event. Severus felt like he was suffocating. He was just about to turn around, grab some
more floo powder and make a run for his life, when a soft hand touched his shoulder.
Im so glad you could make it Severus! Lilys excited voice came from somewhere behind

him. He gulped and turned to face her with a strained smile. She was just as beautiful as she
remembered her; her long, dark red hair was shining and her green eyes twinkled with life. Her
smile turned into an expression of worry as she took his appearance in. He smirked at her concern
and closed his eyes in exasperation; Lily hadnt seen him since graduation four years ago. He was
now towering over her at six feet two but he weighted less than he did back then. He opened his
eyes again and felt his heart constricting painfully as her smile had returned full force.
Its nice to see you too Lily. He muttered and watched her eyes shine with happiness as she
looked right behind him. The knife that had lodged itself in his gut started twisting with fervor. He
looked over his shoulder and found James -that pompous prat- waving at them holding a baby in
front of the cameras. Once the mini photo shoot was over, James trotted towards his wife and her
childhood friend.
Adrian is sure getting heavy! He said happily as he handed the giggling boy to Lily. With his
black hair and hazel eyes, the toddler was an exact replica of his father. The knife twisted harder.
Hey there Snivellus! James added with mock playfulness as his eyes landed on Severus.
James! Lily admonished turning slightly pink with embarrassment.
Its alright Lily. Severus reassured her, swallowing the insult he was dying to throw back. I
wish both of your children happy birthday Potter. There. At least nobody could say he hadnt
tried being civil. James looked slightly taken aback before mistaking the young potions master try
at politeness for surrender. He smirked and brought Lily closer in a one armed hug.
Thanks Snape. He said smugly. Got everything I need right here. He added for no apparent
reason. The prat thinks this is a game! Severus thought furiously but denied James the pleasure of
seeing him squirm. Lily, who didnt understand the sub-context, as she was absorbed in cooing
her son, turned to her husband with worry;
And where is Harry? She asked looking around frantically.
Relax Lily! James said with a smile, softly caressing his sons scar. I left him with Remus;
you know how much he dislikes cameras. And it was true that the boy couldnt stand the abrupt
flashes of light and the cries of Look here Adrian!.
If you would allow me Lily, Severus said, unable to stand the looks exchanged between the
two Potters for a second longer, I would like to walk around a bit and talk to some colleagues
from Hogwarts. Its rare to find them all together outside school.
Youre working at Hogwarts? James asked shocked.
Youre looking at the new potions master, Potter. Severus offered with a smirk. Now if you
would excuse me. He said swiftly and bowed his head to Lily before walking away. Well that
went awful, the young professor thought and exited the main hall of the house, completely
ignoring the members of Hogwarts teaching staff that waved at him. He just wanted to find a
quiet part of the house to regain his strength.
As he walked through the first floor, he caught a glimpse of Sirius Black who stared back at him
menacingly and his werewolf friend; he quickly exited that room too, finding himself in the less
crowded dining area. Still considering four people where far too many for his taste, he proceeded
to a hallway and from there straight into the first door he found. It seemed to be some sort of a
study; Severus entered the room and closed the door behind him. Finally, he thought, some peace
and
Hello. Came a soft voice from the floor, next to his left leg. Startled, he looked down only to

find Lilys eyes staring back at him. That couldnt be right. He shook his head and looked again.
They really were Lilys eyes, or rather very close to what her eyes looked like. The pair of eyes he
found himself looking at was darker and more intense in colour, almost unnatural on a small, pale
face. He found himself looking at the younger Potter twin.
Hello. He found himself answering. So not identical twins then, he noted. The boy, satisfied
with the response he had gotten, turned his attention to a book filled with colorful pictures he had
lay open on the floor before him. The two-year old -Harry, Severus reminded himself- had the
same unruly mop of hair his brother and father sported. But his face had more of his mother in it
than his brothers. Besides the eyes, where Jamess face was round, Harrys was, well not exactly
angular, but more oval to heart shaped. Severuss eyes searched the boys face for more
differences as if his life depended on it. The boys lips seemed fuller, more like his mothers and
his nose shorter than Jamess. And why do I care? He asked himself as his attention shifted to the
book the boy was looking at.
It was a book meant for children his age so they would be able to recognize the basic spells; it
consisted of nothing more than moving pictures but it helped familiarize the child with magic at a
young age. Severus had just never heard of a child looking at one voluntarily. And since when did
a Potter pick up a book that didnt concern quidditch out of school? The boy -who had realized
Severus was still looking at him- turned his eyes back from the book to the young mans.
Hello? He asked this time, his brows frowning adorably. Wait, what? Did I just think James
Potters son adorable? Half shocked and half confused with himself, Severus sat opposite the boy
and considered him with caution. Harry seemed to do the same.
Hello Harry, Im Severus. He stated. What am I doing? The boy nodded and pointed at
himself.
Arry. He said softly and waited expectantly.
And what are you looking at Harry? Severus asked in a voice he barely recognized as his.
Since when do I speak softly? And since when do I talk to babies? Briefly entertaining the thought
he was hit with one too many Cruciatus curses during the war, he focused back on the baby.
Magic! The boy exclaimed with a smile and glittering eyes. Will you look at that? Severus
thought and found himself smiling? I must be losing it, he figured as the boy turned a page of
his book.
Wed. he started proudly, pointing at a picture of a stupefy curse. Wed? Severus considered
puzzled. Then it hit him; baby talk. He looked at the spell once again; wed wed meant Red!
Satisfied with his deduction, he nodded positively.
This is called Stupefy. He said to Harry. Stupefy. He repeated, pointing at the spell. The
boys eyes widened.
tupefy? Harry pronounced and pointed at the spell too. Severus chuckled and, ignoring his
surprise that he could still produce such a sound, nodded at Harry.
Yes, well done Harry. Stupefy. Severus took the liberty and turned a page on the book. The
bright white beam of the Lumos spell was next.
This is called Lumos. Its used to see in the dark. He pointed at the picture again and repeated
the name of the spell.
Lumos! Harry said with glee, giggling slightly, causing Severus to smile along.

Correct. Now this one He said turning yet another page as Harrys eyes sparkled with
happiness. The young man had no idea how long he stayed in that room with Harry. But
somewhere along the way, he had forgotten he was talking to Jamess child and just kept on
teaching the boy, feeling lighter than he had in years. It was only when a soft cough from the door
broke their concentration that he realized they had almost finished the book. He turned around
swiftly and met yet another set of sparkling eyes. Although, when Headmaster Dumbledores blue
eyes were concerned, twinkling would have been more appropriate a word.
I see I have found both our missing persons at once. The Headmaster chuckled happily as he
entered the study. Severus rose to greet him and Harry simply looked between the two of them
with wide eyes.
Yes. I felt like walking around the house a little bit and I found young Harry here so The
young professor trailed off as he felt a soft pull at his cape. He looked down and found Harry
looking at him with his arms open in the universally acknowledged sign for babies to state pick
me up. Severuss eyes widened at the prospect and, ignoring the chuckling coming from the
Headmaster, he focused on the longing in Harrys eyes instead as he picked him up from the floor.
The boy, who was still clutching the book in his hand, placed his head on Severuss shoulder and
closed his eyes, sighing contently. Severus almost chocked on his breath.
I believe you have made a new friend Severus. The old wizard offered joyfully as he petted the
boys unruly hair.
I Severus Snape found himself in a situation he rarely did; unable of coherent speech. Harry
was very light for a boy his age and had that distinctive scent that only babies could attain. And
suddenly, Severus felt a connection with the boy; he felt that Harry was somehow his
responsibility now, that he was supposed to protect him and love him and help him grow up to be
the man he was supposed to be. Suddenly, Severus Snape felt like a father.
Quite interesting. Babies are very good at judging characters you know. The Headmaster
continued as he walked out of the study, leaving Severus with no other option but to follow him.
After passing the dining room that was now empty, Severus realized that, if he went forward, he
would have to enter a room filled with people -where Lily was waiting next to her husbandholding her child in his arms. He froze at his tracks and Dumbledore followed suit, concerned at
how distraught his youngest professor looked all of a sudden.
Here Albus, take Harry. He said as he softly removed the slumbering baby from his shoulder,
trying to ignore the pang of loss that had -unexpectedly- stricken him. Harry woke up and
regarded him with wide eyes as he was passed to the Headmaster of Hogwarts. I have to go.
Give my regards to Lily. He said and stepped backwards towards the main hall.
Sev? A small voice sounded and the potions master looked startled at Harry who had
apparently remembered his name.
Good bye Harry. He said trying to ignore the pleading tone in which his name was uttered. I
will see you soon. He added, not knowing if the boy could understand or if he would keep his
promise, and left the room and the Potter manor in a whirlwind of black cloth and green flames.
Quite interesting young Harry. Albus Dumbledore stated regarding the young boy who was
still staring at the now empty corridor clutching his book tight. Maybe you can help him, little
one. He said sifting Harry so he could hold him better in his arms. Maybe you already have.
He added and walked towards the room where a great birthday cake was about to be brought in.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Hogwarts had always been beautiful during winter. Well, Severus thought, Hogwarts had always
been beautiful, disregarding the season. But there was just something about the fresh snow that
made it all feel purer in a way. Cleaner. As if the sparkling blanket of white gave you a clean slate,
an opportunity to start over. Or something like that, Severus berated himself for his
sentimentalities. Just what he needed in a day like this.
It was Christmas. He had never been truly partial to the holiday. Not that he had even been
partial to any holiday; after his mother had died there was no notable celebration of anything at his
home. Birthdays and holidays came and went with no apparent change in his and his fathers
everyday life. He used to pretend it was okay with it, that he didnt want to celebrate anyway, but
deep down he missed it. He tried to recall the last time he had seen a Christmas tree in his house or
any other type of holiday decoration; his memory failed him. He shrugged his gloomy thoughts of
the past away and focused on his current predicament; he had opted to spend his holidays at
Hogwarts of course. And Christmas dinner was fine, just as the whole winter break while the
castle was almost vacant student-wise.
Severus couldnt believe the dunderheads he had been given for students were for real; it was a
fight just to prevent his classroom from blowing up and the melted cauldrons! Merlin the melted
cauldrons! How on earth had his students managed to melt fourteen cauldrons during mid-term
alone? Given the cauldrons destroyed would have been thirteen but Sybill Trelawney and her
crazy mumblings about the bad luck brought by said number -and why oh why had he ever had
the idea to mention just how many melted cauldrons he had at his class during lunch?- had almost
driven him insane; he had destroyed the fourteenth cauldron by himself one day when she had
visited the dungeons just to make the divination professor stop.
And speaking of visits, back to his latest problem; the Potters had been invited to Hogwarts for
Christmas day. Why? Only Dumbledore knew. And, when you thought about it, even that was
doubtful considering half the time it was difficult to see if Dumbledores actions were planned at
all or were merely inspirations of the moment. Not that the man couldnt plan ahead. Severus was
well aware that the Headmaster could plot faster than he devoured his beloved lemon drops; and
for those not in the know that was very fast indeed.
Maybe this whole thing was a plot after all; maybe Dumbledore was testing him to see if he
would crack under pressure. Plausible. Why else would he have decided to call the Potters along
with the fleabag and the werewolf over? And even if Lupin wasnt all that bad, the mutt was
impossible, just like James Potter. Then there was Lily. Severus didnt really want to go there.
Thinking of her with James on a daily basis made him sick. Thinking of her with James during
holidays, thinking of all those stolen kisses under the mistletoe he had witnessed back in his
seventh year, was reason enough to jump from the seventh floor window. Something he would
do, if he didnt know how to fly. Damn.
And now he would have to add two sons in that blissful family picture. The famous and much
celebrated Adrian, the boy who lived, and Harry. A memory of large, sad green eyes and his
name called resurfaced at the memory of the boy. He had thought often of Harry. The boy had
seemed to be at ease with him whereas seventh year students feared even his shadow -and how
sad was that considering he was only five or four years older than them? And he had actually
made Severus feel something else than pain and hatred, something that hadnt happened since
before the war. He had made him feel part of a family too, something that hadnt happened since,

well, ever.
Severus considered how futile those thoughts were; the boy was barely two when he had seen
him last and it had been six months since then. Six months for Harry would be one fifth of his life
so far; Severus didnt expect Harry would even remember him. And it really didnt matter his
heart fell a little at the realization; he had survived worse.
It was exactly the Potter visit that had him locked in his office. The family had arrived sometime
during the morning and had just taken lunch. Severus, who didnt eat much anyway, had decided
to pass, and had spent his morning reading instead. Harry would like reading growing up, he
thought randomly and let his head hit the desk behind which he was seated with a groan. Where
had that one come from?
He knew he had promised Dumbledore to attend at least one of the meals for the day, but he just
couldnt do it. And he shouldnt be forced to! Why should Albus dictate what he should do after
all? The war was over and he was not his spy any longer! With that in mind he rose from his chair
with conviction; he was going to tell Dumbledore he would be dinning out and he was going to
do it now!
He exited his office, his cape bellowing at his wake as he ascended the stairs, making sure he
took the long way round, not wanting to run into any of the castles visitors. He made it to the
Headmasters office ten minutes later and made a quick rehearsal of what he wanted to say; he
wasnt going to be bossed around like one of the students! He was a teacher here and his own
man and Albus should better remember it! Satisfied with what he had planned, he turned towards
the gargoyle that marked the entrance to the office.
Jelly Slugs. He said with a strong voice, flinching slightly at the preferences the Headmaster
had in candy. Jelly Slugs? Terrible. He marched to the stairs and straight towards the offices door,
which he then proceeded to knock with decision.
Enter. Came the voice of the old wizard and Severus, without further ado opened the door.
With his gaze directed at Albus, he walked forward and greeted him.
Headmaster. He offered curtly.
Severus my boy! We missed you at lunch. The Headmaster said his eyes twinkling.
And you will miss me at diner too. Listen Albus you must understand
Sev! A childs voice interrupted his planned speech and startled the potions master beyond
expectation.
As I said, Dumbledore said, his mustache trembling at Severuss surprised expression we
missed you at lunch. The black clad wizard turned to the source of his voice slowly and found an
excited Harry, sitting on the large purple sofa in the headmasters office, his eyes wide open,
waiting to be picked up once again. Severus felt like smiling, and maybe he did too. Come on
Severus, dont leave the poor child waiting! Albus urged on and Severus obliged him. He
stepped closer to Harry and picked him up.
Hello. Harry said once again, his voice coming muffled from Severuss shoulder.
Hello to you too Harry. The potions master offered and this time smiled for real.
You arrived just in time Severus. Albus declared standing up from his desk. Minerva is
showing James and Lily the area that is being set up for Adrian to practice at when he turns seven
and I was about to head there too. I would summon a house elf to take care of little Harry here, but

you two seem to like each other well enough. Dumbledores eyes twinkled. You wouldnt mind
watching over him for an hour or two now, would you?
I no, its alright. Severus mumbled and the Headmaster nodded.
Lovely. Ill come by to collect him in two hours from now at your office. Until then
gentlemen! He stated, leaving a surprised professor of potions and a happy two and a half year
old boy behind him. As he descended the stairs to meet with the rest of the Potters, his eyes
twinkled with mischief at how Severus had just saved him a trip to the dungeons. The plan had
been to leave Harry to his care from the start, but he didnt have to know that.
Its just the two of us again Harry. Severus said to the little child as they looked at each other.
Would you like me to show you around a bit? Taking Harrys laughter as a yes, he left the
office, with the boy in his arms. This was the Headmasters office. He said as he climbed down
the stairs carefully. His name is Albus Dumbledore. Hes weird. Harry laughed again. The two
of them moved around the floors for a while. Harry was completely excited about the whole
castle, or at least seemed to be, as he never stopped smiling, giggling and staring around him with
awe.
Hello professor Snape. One of the resident specters greeted them. And hello to you too little
one. Albus left the baby in your charge I see? Well move on then! And he went through a wall.
Severus just shook his head. Ghosts.
That was the Friar, the ghost of Hufflepuff. The school is filled with spectres.
pectres. Harry agreed causing Severus to chuckle.
Yes, Harry. The castle is filled with specters and portraits; theyre everywhere. And to prove
his point, he walked to the grand staircase. This is called the grand staircase Harry; it allows us
access to every floor of the castle. And look. He said and pointed to the walls. All the walls are
covered with paintings. Harry nodded and they started descending to wards the dungeons.
Severus couldnt believe how easy it was to talk to the child. In the beginning he thought that he
felt that way because two year olds dont judge. But then Harry would giggle, or look at him with
those big green eyes of his and he would realize that he felt comfortable, oddly enough, because
he was talking to Harry. Not James Potters son; just Harry.
These Harry are the dungeons. I work here mostly. My classroom is here too; Im a potions
teacher. Severus explained.
Potions? Harry asked confused.
Why yes Harry; potions. Severus said with a smile. Come on, let me show you. And he
walked towards his office hastily. He approached his desk where he had left a just brewed Skelegrow potion for the infirmary. This is a potion. He said pointing the vial to the boy. I made that
for madam Pomfrey. Shes our medi-witch. Harry stared at the vial for a while and then looked
around the room in wonder. His gaze stood at a portrait Severus had hanging on his wall. It was
the only one in the room and was, surprisingly, empty.
Powtrait. Harry stated pointing at the dark blue canvas that was framed on the wall.
Exactly Harry. Severus said as he looked at the painting himself. Do you know why I picked
that specific painting? He asked as Harry looked at him with wide green eyes. I was at the attic
of my mothers house. I inherited it a few moths ago you know. He explained. I was at the attic
and looking at her various possessions that had been stored there by her relatives when my eye

caught that painting. It was obvious that its an enchanted portrait. The thing is, nobody knows
whose. I even asked Dumbledore, but he couldnt call the person who was supposed to be
depicted forward. Its a mystery that painting. Its an empty canvas where there was supposed to
be a person. He looked at Harry and smiled sadly. It reminded me of myself. So I kept it. Harry
yawned.
Sleepy. He stated, his eyes barely staying open. Severus chuckled.
So I see. He sat down at his couch softly, and rearranged Harry in his arms so he would be
more comfortable. You know Harry, I have no idea why I just told you all that. Harrys eyes
turned at him confused, as he looked at him under thick eyelashes. Its not like you can
understand so I really cant understand why I bothered either. He said with a chuckle. Harrys
head fell to the side on Severuss shoulder suddenly, the boy having drifted asleep.
Night, Sev. He whispered before fainting out completely, making the young professor smile.
Maybe thats why I bothered. He offered and watched the boy sleep for a while. Do you
know about the Houses of the school? He asked a sleeping Harry softly. I guess you dont.
There are four of them And he went on talking to the slumbering child as the minutes ticked
away, lulling Harry deeper into sleep. And as he was absorbed by the two year old in his arms, he
never noticed a pair of midnight blue eyes watching the two of them from a normally empty
canvas. Neither did he notice the fond smile that adorned the face of the mystery person of the
portrait that had finally made its appearance. By the time Albus Dumbledore knocked on the door
of Severuss office to collect Harry as promised causing Severus to lift his eyes from the boy, the
person of the painting had once again disappeared.
And as the potions master was wondering when would be the next time he would see the little
boy, not really daring to hope it would be any time in the near future, he had no way to hear that
person answering his unasked question.
Soon Severus. Soon.

Where Dumbledore Intervenes


Severus was seething. It wasnt that he was averse to socializing as a concept. But he preferred
choosing the people with which he was socializing with. The Hogwarts staff would have, of
course, been his first choice or some of the Ministry officials he had met last March in a potions
conference. Maybe even some of the people he had met during his travels. As he had tried to
remind Albus over and over again, he wasnt a recluse or anything of the sort. He just appreciated
his privacy. Privacy; now that was a word that seemed to escape the Headmasters otherwise vast
vocabulary.
Somehow, Dumbledore had managed to volunteer him for some sort of he had no idea really
what he was supposed to do. All he knew was that he was expected to report first thing in the
morning of the third of August at the Potter manor. So much for being able to decide what he
wanted to do for himself. And what exactly did Albus think? I need somebody to help the Potters;
who can I torture more at the process? Why Severus of course! The potions master snorted in
disgust as he grabbed some of the floo powder from the pot next to his fireplace. And he had
hoped he would get to move on with his research that day. How nave of him.
He arrived at the Potter manor at nine thirty in the morning, not a minute later than he was
supposed to. If anything else, he wouldnt be frowned upon for his lack of punctuality. He hadnt
been invited to the birthday party of the twins that year and, even if it had stung a little bit, he
figured it was for the best. Last years experience had been less than pleasant. He stopped at his
trail of thought with a smile. Admittedly last years party had started out as awkward but it had
turned out to be quite interesting in the end. Harry seemed to have that effect on him for sure. But
facing Harry, Lily and her dimwitted husband playing the perfect family? Severus could think of
better tortures found in hell. No escaping it now; he was at the Potter manor and ready to face the
Potters.
But where were the Potters? Severus moved closer to the door he remembered leading to the
main living room and found it empty. Actually there where white sheets covering the furniture as
if the family had moved or was going to be absent for some time. What was going on?
Severus my boy! Albus Dumbledore exclaimed entering the living room from the hallway.
Right on time, as always.
I seem to be the only one. He stated pointing at the sheets. Did I miss a memo or something?
Where is everybody?
On the record, the Potter family has gone to spend August in France. The Headmaster said
casually. Off the record, they are somewhere in Istanbul, visiting a specialist on magical cores.
Lily though it would be best to monitor Adrians progress growing up and Sirius mentioned that
the best healer he knew that specified on that, somewhat elusive subject, was in Istanbul. Ergo,
James, Lily, Sirius, Remus and, of course, young Adrian left early this morning for the east.
Severus considered what he had heard in shock.
And what about Harry? It didnt sound like Lily to leave her youngest son behind.
Harry is still here, in the study as a matter of fact. Albus explained. I assured his parents that
he would be well taken care of in their absence.
Impossible! Severus exclaimed seeing red. How could they just leave on of their boys
behind Albus raised his hand to stop the younger man from his rant.

I understand what youre trying to say Severus and under any other circumstances you would
have been correct. Dumbledore offered, his eyes losing some of that twinkling element they were
notorious about. But both Adrian and Harry are theoretically too young for such journeys; if Lily
and James werent so anxious to find out what exactly happened the night Voldemort attacked
their children and Adrians role in defeating him, the whole endeavor would have been postponed
for sometime in the future. But alas, one can not do much to stop parents from worrying over their
children. Severus still didnt like that reasoning but kept his silence, sensing that the Headmaster
too wasnt so fond of the idea himself.
What I dont understand is this; what is that expert going to tell them anyways? Severus
wondered out loud. Adrian is far too young for his magical core to have stabilized yet and, even
if it had, finding ones core is a very private matter. The potions master said considering the
whole journey and its purpose. Come to think of it, Im not sure it is an attainable goal even for
adults if they dont spend the time needed to concentrate on searching for their core. What is this
expert supposed to do anyway?
Hes going to put young Adrian under some tests, stimulating his magic and waiting for bouts
of accidental magic. Albus explained. Hes then going to analyze the data collected and draw
any conclusions possible over Adrians abilities.
This is idiotic, you must know that yourself. Severus offered after some contemplation. I
persist in my opinion that Adrian is too young; why should he go all through that trouble? I mean,
has he even started showing outbursts of accidental magic yet?
No, as a matter of fact he hasnt and I believe thats what prompted the trip. Albus said
sighing. But thats not the reason why I asked you come here.
I figured as much. Severus offered curtly.
As you have noticed yourself, young Harry has been left here, under my care. Severus
nodded, waiting to see if the conversation was sifting towards where he thought it was. It was
surely too much to hope for, but still
I figured as much too.
Well, while I might not be in complete accordance with the journey to Istanbul, I should like to
be there to monitor the results since it is happening anyway. Albus continued. I could leave
Harry in the care of the manors house elves but I would rather he stayed with someone who is
familiar to him. And I couldnt help but notice that you
You want me to watch over Harry for you? Severus asked incredulously. He had half guessed
that would be the point of Albuss speech, but hearing it coming from the Headmaster made it
seem so much more surreal than he had originally believed.
Yes, that was the idea. But you seem distressed over it; if youd rather I found someone else to
watch over Harry for this month Albus trailed off.
Thats not what I meant and you know it! Severus hissed through clenched teeth. The
manipulative old coot! The younger man knew he was being played, but this time he was willing
to let it pass. Albus wanted him to spend a month with Harry? Fine. He could think of fates much
worse than that. The little voice in his head saying that he couldnt think of something better was
soon charged with defiance and was accordingly smothered. Does James Potter know I will be
the one watching over his son? Nobody said he had to make it easy for Dumbledore, he thought
watching the old wizards smile drop slightly.

He knows Ill have somebody trustworthy watch over Harry. Albus said and his smile
returned. Lily knows though.
Oh. Severus said and nodded. That had been unexpected and, truly, he couldnt find anything
to say that could possibly reduce the impact of such a statement. You said I have to watch over
Harry for a month? The young professor asked, feeling his chest warming up at the thought.
So youre willing to help? Albus asked raising his eyebrow quizzically, his eyes twinkling
madly behind the multifocal lenses of his glasses.
I believe that was implied, yes. Severus offered drily. The old coot was enjoying this a bit too
much.
Excellent my boy! He said clapping his hands once. I have prepared everything you will
need.
You acted on the concept that I would agree before you even asked? Severus wondered
aggravated as he followed the Headmaster to the study where he had first met Harry.
You know me, Severus! Albus explained happily. Ever the optimist!
That you are. The potions master agreed with a smirk refraining to phrase a more spontaneous
retort. He was about to make a comment on how Albus was far too much of an optimist to
maintain a firm grip on realty, when the Headmaster pushed the door that led to the study open.
There, on the couch this time, sat a three year old Harry staring at yet another book. The colorful
images this time where those of magical plants. Severus felt all of his anger melt away at the sight.
Why was he complaining at that point again? It was a mater of principle, he guessed.
Harry my boy! You have a guest! Albus exclaimed in a way of presenting Severus to the
toddler. Harry was startled out of his concentration and turned to the door confused. A smile
formed on his face.
Sev! He said loudly, jumping from the couch and running towards the black clad man,
hugging him -which meant throwing his arms around Severuss legs and holding on for dear lifewith such a force the young professor almost toppled over.
Hey there, Harry. Severus mumbled and messed Harrys already disheveled hair. He bent
down to pick him up this time without waiting for the child to ask. Nice to see you again little
one.
You havent forgotten each other I see. Albus said happily as he noticed the interaction
between the boy and the young man.
It seems we have not. Severus affirmed, all previous doubts about taking care of Harry for a
month having disappeared from his mind the moment he laid eyes on the boy. He silently
wondered how he could miss somebody he had only met twice, as much as he had missed Harry.
Which is great, I assure you. Dumbledore stated and turned to Harry.
Severus will take care of you while your parents are away. He said to the boy, talking softer
than usual. Will you go with Severus, Harry? He asked and the potions master heart constricted
with fear. What if the boy said no, or started crying? To his surprise, Harry turned to him with
those large eyes and asked;
Can I come with you? To say that Severus was surprised by the hope with which the question
was asked -let alone the double take he had to do just to assure himself that, yes, the three year old

boy in his arms had spoken clearly and understood every word spoken- would be putting it mildly.
If you wish. He stated softly. Do you want to come stay with me Harry? He asked the boy
softly under the ever twinkling stare of Dumbledore. Do you want to? His question was
answered with a vigorous nod from the boy.
That settles it then! Albus exclaimed with joy. I will accompany the two of you to your house
Severus and then I will depart for a pressing business meeting I had to postpone to make this
appointment. Severus shot him a questioning look which caused him to elaborate;
The Minister has been dealing with some interdepartmental trouble and has asked of my opinion
on the matter. The Headmaster clarified and Severus smirked. The day that Fudge would not
consult Albus on how to run the Ministry would signify the end of an era, he was sure of that.
You better go then before the Minister decides to do something radical. Severus commented as
Harry observed the whole conversation questioningly.
Radical? Albus asked leading the group of three out of the study and towards the fireplace.
Like deciding for himself. Severus explained smirking and Albus silently congratulated himself
while chuckling. Nobody had ever managed to bring out that teasing aspect in Severuss character
before Harry came along. The young professor might have not noticed yet himself, but once in the
childs presence, he finally resembled the twenty two year old man he was.
None of them could know at the time, but this was meant to be the first of the many times when
this scene -with the exception of the Headmasters presence- was going to repeat itself in the
coming years. And, of course, they could have absolutely no idea where Dumbledores
intervention that day was going to lead. Everything was now into place; the Fates had set the
pieces into motion and it was now up to a young man and an even younger boy to work their way
towards their future.

As The Years Go By
It had been exactly four years since the first time Albus Dumbledore trusted Severus with Harry
Potter. Month after month, it seemed to become more of a necessity than a sporadic occurrence for
the younger Potter twin to be left under the potions master protection as his parents were getting
more and more focused with training Adrian. It wasnt that Harry was going unloved by his
family; there had been no such motive behind his parents actions. Still the facts remained.
First, it had been the experts; the elder Potters along with a fretting Padfoot and a caring Moony
travelled at the far corners of the world trying to find an explanation as to how Adrian had
vanquished the Dark Lord at the tender age of one. The tests were inconclusive, just as Severus
and Albus had predicted. It had been proved that although, yes, it was true, Adrian had great
potential, the indication of something unique just wasnt there. As the Headmaster repeated over
and over during the years, it would be surprising if something out of the ordinary was found;
Voldemort had been defeated under specific circumstances that demanded an extensive use of
accidental magic to come forth. It had been a matter of survival and it was impossible to be
repeated, a theory that was, in its base, quite true.
Then started the bouts of accidental magic. At the age of six and a half, young Adrian stopped
one of his toys from falling down the stairs, summoning it back to himself. That caused quite the
commotion and it was swiftly decided that, according to plan, at the age of seven, Adrian would
start his magical training. So it had happened and that August had found the majority of the Potter
family training with Adrian somewhere in Wales and Harry staying with Severus at Spinners End
as per usual.
It had been quite an interesting confrontation when one James Potter had found out where his
son had spent that first month while the rest of the family was in Istanbul. Dumbledore had to
intervene before things got ugly; it was only after Sirius had come up with the idea that Harry
could spend some times with his Aunt and Uncle, the Dursleys, when Lily had put her foot down
and, in a row that Severus swore he would remember until his very last moment, James had finally
been convinced. Once he was reassured that Severuss house had more wards than necessary and
after a private talk with and exasperated Dumbledore, he had grudgingly agreed on Severus
looking after Harry when needed.
That was how Severus ended up looking over Harry -who was in turn looking over a brewing
potion in the fireplace- smiling from his armchair while supposedly reading a copy of the Daily
Prophet. Things had changed drastically for the young professor since Harry entered his life.
While he was still the same at school, brooding and down right scary to some of his students and
still got berated by Madam Pomfrey regarding how thin he was, he had finally started to heal.
With every smile Harry bestowed on him, the weight on his heart lifted slowly, up to the point
where, as long as he was in the boys presence, he found himself in a position he had forgone long
ago; he found himself being happy.
Harry had been a constant surprise for him and he was grateful for each moment they spent
together; his smile widened at the thought that this time would now expand. He felt a pang of guilt
over it too, knowing that Harry would miss his parents more, but he couldnt help rejoicing
considering how his everyday life would be starting that year. It had been agreed that Harry would
stay with him during the summer while Adrian trained, but that wasnt so different than the past
four years.
What was different would be what was to follow; Harry would now be spending more of his
days with the potions professor. Every Monday, Tuesday, Friday and during the weekends,

Adrian would be undergoing training with his parents and various members of the Hogwarts
staff, getting an early start on whatever he could in a broad field of magic. That would mean that
Harry would spend his days in Severuss quarters at Hogwarts during those three working days of
the week and the weekends, returning to Potter manor every night to sleep. Severus felt that he
couldnt ask for more.
The potion seems ready Sev. Harry stated, turning to look at the young man with a smile. He
always called him Sev and that made him smile wider.
Is it now? He asked and rose to approach the fire. Harry was right. Excellent. He simply
stated and, with a swift movement of his wand, bottled the Pepper-Up potion and extinguished the
fire. Harrys eyes brightened as he observed the display of magic as always and then dimmed as
he focused on Severuss wand. The young man sighed understanding the cause of the boys
disappointment. Adrian, in order to train properly, had received his wand at his seventh birthday.
Even if it would be used only for training, Harry had felt -once again- excluded.
Severus shut his eyes tight considering the injustice of it all; after all, Harry had shown his
aptitude with magic sooner than his brother. As a matter of fact, it was on that first day four years
ago when he had just brought the boy to his house that Severus first realized said aptitude. Harry
had accidentally bumped on an end table, causing the vase sitting on top of it to tumble to the
floor. Thing was, it never did touch the floor; it instead disappeared and subsequently reappeared
with a loud popping sound on its original place, eliciting a sigh of relief from the three year old
wizard. Severus was exhilarated when, after a few quick questions uncovered this was the second
time something like that had happened as it seemed Harry had managed to escape a fly down the
stairs after tripping on a carpet a few months prior to the incident.
And what had happened when Severus had tried to tell Harrys family? The Row had
happened, thats what; after James almost having a coronary when he realized his son had spent a
month with his nemesis, Severus found himself less inclined to share such information. It felt
private, something that he could keep between Harry and himself. And anyways, the boy had
since then done magic in front of his parents, a few days before his seventh birthday. Severus felt
like finding James and hitting him with something heavy and ideally metallic at the memory.
Harry had been congratulated of course but did it ever pass their minds that maybe he should be
trained too now that Adrian was? No, of course it hadnt. And it didnt matter in the least that he
was clever beyond his years and thirsty for knowledge; he just wasnt Adrian. Severus had been
there when Harry found out he wasnt going to get a wand as his brother would; he saw that
sparkle go out in the boys emerald eyes and that almost lead to hexing James and Sirius on the
spot. Only the look that Harry sent him, a pleading look, a look that conveyed all his need to get
out of his family homes kitchen where that confrontation had taken place, stopped him as he drew
his wand.
Are you all right Sev? Harry asked concerned as he noticed the clenched eyes of the man that
had become his guardian.
Im fine Harry. Just remembered something. He smiled at the boy who still looked at his drawn
wand with large sad eyes. Severus smiled fondly at the sight of his eyes; he had managed to spare
Harry the need of glasses, a fate that his brother would fall under. It was a potion he had come up
with, researching for days and nights when he realized Harrys eyesight was failing. James would
never allow him to use such a potion that was made by himself -brilliant as it may be- and Lily
would unfortunately never trust it if it wasnt approved by the Ministrys Potions Division; it was
something that they had never managed to agree on, bending the rules a little bit when needed.
Still, he would have abided her wishes if he wasnt convinced that the potion should be
consumed during the first moths after the symptoms became obvious; the Ministry needed at least

six months before giving approval and that would have been too late. Besides, he was not
interested in going public with the potion just yet. He was still working on some improvements on
the basic formula so it would cure all types of eye failure and mot just myopia.
Can you show me how to make a Blood Replenishing potion now Sev? Harry asked smiling
softly. Severus chuckled; that had been the point of todays exhibition. He was trying to make
Harry forget of the fact that he wasnt going to train along with his brother by training him a bit on
his own. Besides, it wasnt his fault that the boy absorbed any and every information thrown his
way like a sponge! The room that Harry was using in Spinners End was filled with books on
Herbology, Potions and Astronomy and everything else Severus had found that could give him
the basics on magical theory in a way a seven year old would understand. He had after all taught
the boy how to read himself two years ago, as the plan was both Potter boys would be home
schooled before attending Hogwarts.
Of course I can. He said twirling his wand. I promised after all.
Youre the best Sev! Harry exclaimed and hugged him, making Severus smile again; if only
his students could see him now!
Yeah, yeah kid. Whatever you say. Harry giggled excitedly and run to put his dragonhide
gloves on as Severus lit the fire again. And while were on it, tell me Harry; why did I put out the
first fire even though I knew you would use those puppy eyes of yours to blackmail me into
brewing yet another potion? Harry giggled again and turned said eyes full force on the young
man who rolled his own eyes at the boys antics in turn.
Because of the Ashwinders. There had been ingredients of magical properties that had fallen in
the flames that were, on their own account, lit with a wand. Harry explained as Severus smiled
proudly. I guess you didnt want the house to blow up? Harry concluded approaching with the
ingredients Severus had left on the table by the fireplace for him.
Exactly Harry. Severus said taking the ingredients from Harry to begin explaining which was
which. Now if only those dunderheads I have for students could remember that, I wouldnt have
to deal with all those molten cauldrons after every lesson. Harry giggled again. Yet again, I trust
they would find another way to destroy said cauldrons; their imagination sometimes surprises me!
This time he joined Harry chuckling softly himself. It was an hour later when the final ingredients
had to be added in the potion when it happened;
So I stir seven times clockwise and one time to the opposite direction? Harry asked
concentrating on the bubbling potion.
Exactly; now if we did everything right -which of course we did- the potion will change colour
from the green that it is now to a dark red. Thats how youll know its done. And he smiled at
the small gasp the boy made as, after a few stirrings, the potion became noticeably browner. And
now, if you keep going that way, soon His sentence was interrupted by a loud croaking sound;
a Hogwarts owl had just entered from the window and flew over the two wizards, intent on
delivering its letter in time. Severus felt that something would go wrong before it happened and
still didnt have time to react; the owl flew over the fireplace knocking a vase filled with mandrake
root inside the boiling potion. Severus only managed to shout Harrys name when the reaction
began; a huge pillar of green flames rose from the cauldron, scorching everything it came in
contact with and spreading as the mandrake root boiled. Severuss only coherent thought was to
protect Harry as the flames spread to the rest of the room. He had managed to grab his wand when
a bright blue shield unfolded in front of them both.
He turned his eyes to Harry and what he saw made him drop his wand in shock; the boy had
extended his hands forward and was the sole reason why they werent being burned to a crisp by

the flames. He was the one conjuring the shield. The flames died down, leaving the wall over the
fireplace black with smoke. Severus turned around to find the rest of the room completely
unharmed. Harrys hands fell at his sides and he breathed in deeply. A smile of pure relief etched
in his face, only to disperse into thin air as he turned to Severus. The young man was left
speechless.
Sev, are you all right? Harry repeated for the second time that evening.
I you Yes, Im fine Harry. Severus muttered staring at the boy and plopping on the floor
unceremoniously.
You dont look fine, Sev. The boy stated with the disarming simplicity only a child could
master.
Im just surprised. He explained.
Why?
What you did just now Have you ever done anything like that before? Severus asked as
Harry started at him perplexed.
Accidental magic? Lots of times. The boy stated, not understanding what Severus meant.
No, Harry what I meant was, have you ever done anything like that shield before? The black
eyed elaborated.
I dont think so? He looked at Severus worried. Why? Is that bad?
Bad? No. The potions master stated. Its advanced; I have never heard of any form of
accidental magic displayed in such a way.
Oh. Harry offered, not really knowing what to say.
Harry, do you mind if we took a small trip to Hogwarts? Severus asked after some
consideration. I think the Headmaster should hear about this.
Okay. The small boy readily agreed as Severus pushed his body off the floor.
And what about the wall? Harry asked, his eyes widening, as he took in the almost burned
down fireplace.
Youre all that matters now Harry. The bloody wall can fall down for all I care. Severus
offered, fixing the fireplace with his wand just enough to make it usable and summoning some
floo powder from his room, given the one next to the fireplace had been used up when the
cauldron exploded. He extended his hand to Harry who was looking at him with a soft smile on
his face.
Thanks Sev. He said as the older wizard threw some powder in the flames.
For what? He asked distracted as Harry hugged him once again.
For caring. Severus was left speechless yet again, staring at the boy.
Of course I care kid. Hey look at me. He said softly as he kneeled to face Harry who was
looking at the floor, avoiding his eyes. I will always care. I love you kid. Harrys eyes snapped
back at Severuss filled first with shock and them brimming with tears. It was the first time

Severus had said that to the boy, even if he had admitted it to himself years ago.
I love you too Sev! Harry stated holding onto the young professor tighter, making Severus
shed a tear of his own. I wish you were my Dad. The boy whispered startling the man out of his
wits.
Harry I you already have a Dad. He stated with a heavy heart, knowing deep down that he
wished for the exact same thing. Not because Harry was Lilys son, no; just because Harry was
Harry.
I know.
And as much as it hurts to give it to him, he loves you; all your family does. Severus added
with a sad smile.
I love them too. But sometimes I just dont like them very much. Harry admitted, tears flowing
down his face, breaking Severuss heart a little. He just didnt have anything to answer this time.
Dont you want to be my Dad? Harry asked disarmingly.
More than anything kid.
Then why cant you? Harry asked timidly, his eyes boring into Severuss. Why couldnt he
really, he wondered. He couldnt be his biological father of course, but a father figure? Wasnt he
already one?
Harry you already have
I know James is my father! Harry shouted shutting his eyes as tight as he could, new tears
cascading down his cheeks as he shook with furry. I know okay? But hes not my Dad! He
snapped his eyes open and Severus was left staring at him, not knowing what to say. Hes
Adrians Dad; he plays with him, he takes him to Quidditch games, he teaches him stuff. He
doesnt do that for me. You do. He is my father but youre my Dad! Harry exclaimed. Why
cant you be my Dad? He whispered, his voice broken. This time it was Severuss time to hug
him. He felt something hot trailing down his face and only Harrys trembling hands wrapped
themselves around his torso did he realize it has tears.
From all the things he could have ever expected from a seven year old that hadnt even made the
list; he still didnt dare to believe it. Could the boy really feel that way? Obviously yes, he could.
And in that case, what could he say? There was only one option that remotely made sense.
Okay Harry. He pulled back and looked the boy in the eyes, his voice thick.
Okay?
If you want it too, theres nothing else in the world that I want as much as being your Dad.
And as the held each other once again, happier than they had ever been, eyes shut, crying tears of
joy, they had no way of noticing a soft white aura surrounding them both. As it often happens
with those things, the light was gone the moment their eyes opened.
Are we still going to Hogwarts? Harry asked after a few moments making Severus laugh, a
full-blown laughter that had been unused since before the war.
Yes we are. Severus answered wiping the boys cheeks from any traces of tears. Hand in hand
they walked into the flames and on to Hogwarts they went, landing carefully on the floor of
Severuss office.

It was about time you two appeared. A voice said surprising both of them and causing Severus
to draw his wand and stand protectively in front of Harry and the source of said voice. His eyes
widened, a reaction mirrored by Harry who was peeking behind Severuss protective form. I
almost believed I miscalculated.
Who are you? Severus asked threateningly as he stared at the smiling man with the dark blue
eyes in the portrait; the portrait that was supposed to be empty. He was old, probably as old as
Dumbledore, with long, luxurious robes in the same colour as his eyes. His white hair and beard
could give Albus a run for his money and his whole stance spoke of power.
Now thats the question! The man exclaimed chuckling. I was bornMyrddin Emrys, but most
people simply know me as Merlin. And observing the wide eyed wizards in front of him, the
man in the portrait smiled wider and, with a polite bow added; Merlin Ambrosius, at your
service.

Ignorance Is Bliss
Harry and Severus stood frozen as the man in the portrait claimed to be the most powerful wizard
of all times. Severus was the first one to react at the statement.
No, youre not. He stated simply, not knowing what else to say.
Yes, I am but I knew you were going to say that Severus. The man that was or wasnt Merlin
retorted merrily.
He does have quite an impressive beard. Harry stated, causing the man in the portrait to laugh
and Severus to turn and stare at the boy confused.
How is that in any way indicative? The potions master asked.
Merlin was said to have a beard like that. Harry answered while Severus simply cocked an
eyebrow in disbelief. At least I tried! The boy exclaimed, never taking his eyes of the old
wizard.
Thank you Harry! The man who claimed to be Merlin offered, his hand patting his beard.
First of all, how do you know our names? Severus asked lowering his wand, realizing that a
portrait couldnt do any magic no matter who was painted on it. Not that he believed this was
Merlin. And secondly, Merlin never had any portraits made in his image.
That would be true; I have not. The old wizard acquiesced.
Excuse me sir but arent you a portrait? Harry asked confused. Severus nodded in accordance.
Yes and no; this is not exactly a portrait. I would guess it is a window if anything else.
A window to where? Severus asked getting more and more agitated by the second.
Tell me Severus; what do you know of Avalon? The potions master regarded the strange man
startled while Harry observed the conversation captivated.
Avalon is supposed to be a magical island, created by magic. It is also the legendary abode of
Morgana Le Fay. Severus answered in a monotone voice. How is this relevant?
Because that painting is indeed a window to Avalon. Or rather to me, since I reside in Avalon
presently. The man said shrugging.
Avalon does not exist. And you are a painting; I dont know whose painting, but definitely not
Merlins. The young professor stated emphatically. This was going nowhere and he had to make
sure Harry wasnt harmed by whatever it was his magic had done; there simply was no time for
deranged portraits, no matter whose they claimed to be.
If Im just a painting then how do I know young Harry over here just showcased an incredible
amount of power in just a single accidental magic incident? The man said more serious this time,
making both wizards gasp. And if I am just a painting how can I do this? And by this, the man
meant drawing his wand and casting a wordless spell towards Harry and Severus; a dark red mist
flew from his wand and swarmed over the two wizards who, in a matter of seconds, collapsed in a
heap on the floor.

Where are we? Harry asked looking around him, feeling dizzy. Everything had been dark
when he had first opened his eyes but now he could make out forms of what seemed to be
furniture? It was furniture! He and Severus -who was getting up from the floor for the second time
that day- found themselves in what appeared to a study or a small personal library. The room was
two floors high, filled with bookcases. There was a fireplace and a desk in front of them and the
way in which the room was decorated -with dark wooden floors and furniture and fabrics in dark
hues of blue, green and red- made Severuss mind wander to the library at Hogwarts. Actually a
mixture of the library and the Headmasters office.
I have no idea. He answered to the boy, once again covering him, using his body as a live
shield while they moved towards the fireplace. Just stay close.
Okay. Harry mumbled as he latched onto Severuss cloak.
No need to fear. A voice came from behind them, causing Severus to turn rapidly should the
need arose to defend Harry. Really, there is no need. The man from the portrait said. Problem
was, he was no longer in a portrait; instead, he was walking confidently towards the two wizards,
stopping only at a few paces from Severuss raised wand.
What have you done to us? He asked furious. What is this place?
On my way to proving Im indeed not a portrait but Merlin -which is getting annoying- I moved
straight to the second part of our meeting, figuring I could explain you whats happening while
were here. As to where we are He looked around with a smile. Why it appears to be a library
of some sort. Truthfully, I have no idea.
How can that be? Severus asked as Harrys grip tightened on his cloak. You brought us
here!
I did, but I did not choose the setting. Merlin, as Severus had decided to call him until proven
wrong, admitted. I believe were in your mind at this moment Severus, thats what the spell does.
I needed a place where we could speak in peace and, since I casted the spell, the mind chosen
couldnt be mine.
Are you telling me that this is my mind? Severus asked bewildered, lowering his wand. This
day was just getting stranger by the second.
Yes, thats exactly what Im saying. Merlin confirmed. I love how youve decorated by the
way.
Thank y Wait a minute! Severus protested clasping his head. This conversation was giving
him a headache. Can you prove it?
That Im Merlin? The old wizard asked seemingly exasperated.
Lets assume that you are Merlin. Severus offered resigned. Can you prove that this is my
mind?
No, but you can! Merlin said with a smile.
What? How?
This is your mind; just change something by will. Concentrate and youll see. Go on! Merlin
prompted. Severus sighed and turned to look at Harry who had turned pale; figuring he had
nothing to lose at the moment he observed the room around him. I seemed a little dark so he
turned towards the wall further away from them and closed his eyes imagining a large window.

What alerted him was a soft gasp from Harry. He opened his eyes only to find the wall across
them had disappeared and in its place stood a two storey high vitro.
Merlins be Severus started before turning at Merlin himself who regarded him critically.
Never mind that. He muttered rubbing his temples. This really is my mind, isnt it?
It is. The old man agreed smiling.
And you really are Merlin. Severus stated this time in shock. He was talking with Merlin, the
greatest wizard of all time! Inside his head. And Harry was there too. Suddenly the prospect didnt
look that great. I need to sit down. He said and immediately an armchair, similar to the one he
had back home appeared; he landed on it unceremoniously. He conjured two more and motioned
the two remaining members of the unusual group to sit down.
Yes, I am Merlin, as Ive been trying to say for quite some time now. Merlin agreed with a
smile. And you are Severus Snape and this young man over here is Harry Potter; the Boy Who
Lived. At that a pair of black and a pair of green eyes snapped towards him in fear. The what?
But sir Im not Harry began, stopping to clear his throat as his voice came out more like a
croak. Im not the boy who lived; my brother Adrian is.
I beg to differ Harry. Merlin said sighing. And this one I can prove.
How? Severus asked, feeling the blood drain from his face. Not Harry.
Thats one of the reasons you have been brought here. Merlin explained. At this very
moment, this very conversation is taking place in our subconscious. Physically you two are still at
Hogwarts and I am in Avalon; and I can assure you, all three of us are passed out cold on the
floor.
How does that prove anything? Severus asked, already having an idea of what Merlin was
indicating.
I see youre beginning to comprehend what I mean Severus. The old wizard said. Since were
in this state, our consciousness has subsided, leaving space for our subconscious to take over;
unbelievable things can be achieved in such a state of mind. You can create a whole room out of
nothing. He stated pointing to the room all around them. You can defy the laws of nature. And
you can make it so that you can recall memories long forgotten, even if you were nothing but a
one year-old baby at the time the actual event took place. He concluded in a grave voice.
Is that true? Harry asked quietly as Merlin nodded. Can I could I see?
Harry no! Severus protested. Even if what you say its true, He started turning towards
Merlin are you going to subject a seven year-old into watching his attempted murder?
If what Im saying is true -and Im afraid it is- do you think that it will matter in the future if he
has seen it or not? Merlin asked. Its your choice Harry; just remember that its your past and, no
matter how much it hurt you at the time, it can do nothing to harm you now. Its just a memory.
Harry, who had turned white as a ghost, nodded.
I want to see it.
Harry Severus began softly to have Harry interrupt him.
Sev, Ive been hearing about that night all of my life; I want to see what happened. I must. He
pleaded with him, fearful but resolute.

If you feel that way. Severus resigned after a thoughtful pause. Who was he to forbid Harry
from finding out what had really happened the night that changed his life forever? How are we
doing this? He asked Merlin with a sigh.
Its your mind Severus. Just cast the spell you normally would cast to retract a memory and let
things take their course. Severus nodded once and turned towards Harry.
Just think of the memory you want to remember Harry. If at any time you want to stop seeing it,
tell me and I will end the spell at once. Understand? He asked holding Harrys shoulder as they
both stood from their seats. Merlin followed suit and Severus brought his wand to Harrys temple.
Trying to be as gentle as possible, he said the incantation and softly extracted the silvery essence
that was Harrys memory. Instead of seeking a vessel, it spread like liquefied silk, creating a large
screen of twirling lights before it stabilized to the image of a nursery. Two cribs were clearly
visible in the room as the three walked in through the open door.
They didnt have to wait for long before the black clad figure of Lord Voldemort entered the
room. Harry and Severus cringed -Harry never having seen the face of the Dark Lord moved
closer to Severus holding onto him as strongly as he could- while Merlin watched with disdain.
They watched as Voldemort pointed his wand at the two past Potter boys and Harry and Severus
gasped in shock as he decided to firstly attack Harry, mistaking him for the firstborn. By the time
the golden shield covered the room and Voldemort fled, Harry was sobbing and Severus wasnt
faring any better. They stood long enough to see the debris fall through the shield onto Adrians
hand creating the famous jagged scar on his palm before the memory went blank and the found
themselves back at the library. This time it was raining behind the stained glass.
And now you know. Merlin stated as Severus did his best to comfort a distressed Harry.
But all those years How come nobody realized? How didnt Albus? The young man asked
stroking Harrys hair.
The scar was there, infused with strong magic and Voldemort had vanished. Harry on the other
hand, didnt bear any signs of being the one who had defeated the Dark Lord and was
unconscious when his parents arrived home. Merlin explained. Nobody saw anything beyond
what they expected to see.
But the prophecy Severus said swallowing hard. The mere thought that he had almost
caused Harrys death was driving him insane. He still couldnt believe the scene he had just
witnessed.
The thing about prophecies, The old wizard said is that they can be very tricky to decipher.
What prophecy? Harry suddenly asked, drying his tears without letting go of Severuss now
wet shirt.
Before you were born, Severus said, stopping Merlin from talking, feeling he had to do this
himself there was a prophecy made by one Sybila Trelawney, the now divination professor in
Hogwarts. In the prophecy it was stated that the one with the power to defeat the Dark Lord
would be born when the seventh month died. Severus closed his eyes in pain. I heard that part
of the prophecy and it was me he swallowed hard trying to find his courage; he knew Harry
would hate him after that but he had to tell him. It was me that gave Voldemort that information
Harry. Its my fault that you almost died!
Harry stood absolutely still and regarded Severus carefully; he kept his eyes shut which did
nothing to prevent a few tears from escaping them. Severus had told him of his part in the war, not
hiding a thing from how he got involved or why, a few months ago, when Harry had seen the

faded Dark Mark on his hand. Harry had hugged him and told him that it didnt matter and that he
had turned out fine in the end, making the man chuckle despite himself. But he had never
mentioned the prophecy; he had believed it to refer to his brother after all. But now, after having
seen what almost happened, the burden in his heart was far too heavy; Harry had almost died and
it was his fault and nothing could ever
Havent we had this conversation before? Harry spoke softly and Severus looked at him
guardedly. The boy was smiling at him and he couldnt help but hate himself more for it. Did he
deserve such kindness, he wondered.
Harry you dont understand! You almost died and I
But I didnt! Im fine, look! He said coming closer and hugging Severus tight, Im fine, Dad.
He whispered making Severus break down to uncontrolled tears, completely forgetting the third
party of their company. It wasnt for another good fifteen minutes and a hundred more apologies
that they both remembered of the man that had brought them there.
Im you didnt have to see Severus muttered as he sat back in his armchair, never letting
go of Harry. Showing his emotions openly was something he didnt often allow himself and
showing them to a complete stranger? Severus felt completely mortified of his reaction.
It is more than understandable. Merlin said smiling. But Harry is right; no matter the mistakes
you made in the past, you cant stop living. You have been given a second chance Severus and I
suggest you use it. Severus nodded once. You seem to have done a great job up to now.
He was born like that. He said motioning at Harry. Im just along for the ride.
Youd be surprised, Severus, at how much you have affected him. Merlin said as both wizards
watched him carefully. As much as he has affected you, I imagine.
So, am I really the Boy Who Lived? Harry asked in wonder, unable to withhold his questions
for another second.
Yes. And I believe you should both hear the complete prophecy before you draw any more
conclusions.
There is more to it? Severus asked shocked. And how can you know there is?
Yes, there is more. Merlin nodded with a smile. And as for how I know it lets say that
being married to my wife has its benefits.
Wife? Severus inquired surprised.
You have heard of the famous which and seer Morgana Le Fay I assume. Merlin stated
chuckling.
Morgana is your wife? Morgana Le Fay? I thought you were enemies! Severus exclaimed.
We didnt start of on the best ground but I would advice you to not believe all of the stories you
hear, especially about me. But the point here is that my wife is a seer and, due to circumstances Ill
explain immediately, she did see the prophecy that was made that night.
This is just Severus exclaimed, finishing his sentence with a shrug that stated his confusion.
Let me start from the basics then. Merlin said. There are two conditions for those who live in
Avalon; one, we do not reveal the way to find it to outsiders and two, once we enter we cant

leave and we dont intervene with the rest of the world.


Then what is this if not an intervention? Severus asked confused.
There is a general exception to the rule; if by any chance upon entering, one has left unfinished
business with the rest of the world, they are entitled to intervene, granted that they find a way to
do so without leaving Avalon. Merlin elaborated.
And your unfinished business was? Severus asked expectantly as Harry waited in silence.
A few years before Morgana and I passed through the gates of Avalon, she made a prophecy
that involves the two of you.
Morgana Le Fay has made a prophecy regarding us? Harry asked in awe.
Yes. But Im afraid the context of that prophecy I can not yet reveal.
What? Why cant you sir? Severus asked annoyed. It does concern us after all.
It does concern you two but not only you. Merlin stated calmly. There are other people
included whose time to hear the prophecy has not yet arrived. When it does, you will hear it too.
He concluded and Severus nodded; he didnt know much about prophecies and he wasnt about
to question Merlins knowledge on the subject. But I can tell you the second prophecy made
solely about Harry; Morgana saw it too as a direct consequence of her own prophecy, thus Im in
the place to extend that knowledge to you. Merlin said and removed an odd looking wand from
his pocket. He moved it vertically once and an eerie voice echoed in the room.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... born to those who have
thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his
equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the
other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark
Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ..."
The room fell silent as the ominous words rang in their minds. How could this be, Severus asked
himself yet again. And what would happen now? And what
Wait a moment! The young professor exclaimed, making both Harry and -to his eternal
surprise- Merlin, jump on their seats. The prophecy states that whoever was chosen to defeat the
Dark Lord would be marked as his equal. No matter how Adrians scar came to be, wasnt he the
one marked?
Valid point. Merlin offered waving his wand towards Harry in a swift movement, pausing over
the boys waist. But Im afraid untrue; Harry, if you wouldnt mind, could you please lift your
shirt? Harry looked at the old wizard perplexed and then turned to Severus questioningly. After
he received a brief nod, he lifted his shirt slightly to show
What is that? The green eyed boy exclaimed with fear as he noticed the top of what appeared
to be a mark on his hipbone. He lowered his jeans ever so little and was met with the sight of what
resembled a type of a Celtic knot. It wasnt similar to anything else he had ever seen; it was black
and shaped like an eight pointed star, almost three inches tall and two, maybe two and a half wide.
That is the mark referred in the prophecy; it was not created because of Voldemort but was
forced to appear sooner than it should due to his intervention, thus marking Harry as his equal.
Merlin explained.
But what is it? Severus asked fretting. It wasnt there before, was it Harry?
No! The boy said softly touching the mark as if afraid he would get burned. His reaction made

Merlin chuckle openly.


You think this is funny? An annoyed Severus asked, swearing the continuous and rapid
change between fear and anger was going to lead him straight to St. Mangos.
Harry just reminded me of another young wizards reaction to his mark. He had barely turned
seven himself and he thought he had been cursed and was doomed to die within the day. The old
wizard said merrily.
Is there someone else with a mark like Harrys? Severus asked in relief. If you tell me where
he is, I will go and
No need to search far Severus. Merlin stopped him with a smile. Youre looking at him. He
stated and lifted his right sleeve; there, on his forearm, stood a mark similar to Harrys. It was
black too and fashioned like a Celtic knot but it was surrounded by small orbs, barely a quarter of
an inch wide, situated between and above the points of the knot.
But what is it? Harry asked again, calmer now that somebody else had a mark like him.
Severus on his part -even if he would later deny he even broke a sweat- was close to
hyperventilating. Harry, his innocent little boy, was sharing a mark with Merlin?
Its called an emblem Harry; during my time it was more common to find one amongst witches
and wizards. Once they reached a certain age, they preformed the spell necessary and, if they were
magically strong enough, their emblem would appear on some part of their body. Merlin
explained. The main emblem depends on the wizard and his abilities are stated on it. He pointed
at some runes fashioned inside the lines on the knot. Those will appear when you first use an
ability you possess. But see those circles surrounding the emblem? Harry nodded. You see
Harry, emblems were, besides of a boast of how strong a wizard was, a way to mark your
progress in magic. Each time you begin apprenticing, meaning each time you begin to study a
subject on magic, you create the possibility for such a circle to appear. Once your magic deems
you have reached an appropriate level in the specific subject, the circle will appear, marking you
an apprentice on that subject of magic. That circle will remain black until your magic has once
again deemed you ready to be called a master on that subject. When that happens, the color of the
circle will change according to the subject you study. Take for example this one. Merlin said and
pointed a dark green circle in the upper right corner oh his mark. That circle marks me as a
master of potions, while that one he said pointing to a dark blue circle marks me as master of
charms.
And Ill get circles like these? Harry asked in awe.
Yes you will; if you practice that is. Merlin said with a smile as Harry regarded his emblem
with a renewed interest. You took it better than I did; I insisted I was going to burst into flames
for a whole hour after I was told what an emblem was. The old wizard admitted, making Harry
giggle.
Excuse me for a second. Severus said with a forced calm voice. If I understood correctly, you
said that the emblem only appeared after a spell was cast. In Harrys case though
In Harrys case, just as in mine, it was our magic itself that created the emblem. I never did
figure out why, but after many years I have concluded that it was its way of saying; hey notice me,
Im here! Merlin said in utmost seriousness.
Really? Its just a caprice of your magic that made it appear? Is it just random? Severus asked
unconvinced.

I never said it was random; I believe that my magic, just as Harrys begged to come out, to be
trained, to expand, and the emblem was the way it made it known to us. Merlin elaborated. Not
that hard to grasp I believe. He said looking at Harry fondly.
Then theres a lot to talk about when we get back. Severus said and sighed.
What? Harry asked taking his eyes off his mark. Why?
Youre the Boy Who Lived, Harry. Severus said with a rueful smile. Dont you think they,
and by they I mean your family first and foremost, will want to know? Harry just stood looking
at Severus in deep thought, his expression too contemplative to be pulled of flawlessly by a seven
year old.
If we do tell them, what do you think will happen? He asked in all seriousness.
I suspect they will start your training as they should have already. Youll even get a wand! He
tried to sound cheerful but inside he was slowly dying. Training for Harry meant he would never
get to see him until he enrolled to Hogwarts in four years. Maybe he would get to see Adrian
instead but really, hed rather not. Adrian wasnt Harry; nobody was Harry. Severus felt like he
was losing his family all over again.
So they will take me to see all those unnecessary experts and have me read textbooks I have
already finished? And what will happen to Adrian?
I cant know what your training will require; as for Adrian, he will probably switch places with
you. That shocked Harry to the core; would they really do that?
But he turned to Merlin and asked Im stronger than Adrian, right? The old wizard
nodded with a smile, seeing where Harry was headed. Severus frowned; Harry wasnt one to
boast. If Im stronger, wont Adrian need more training than me? The boy asked hopefully
looking at Severus who smiled softly after a soft moment of surprise. He will be a target once we
grow up, if the Dark Lord returns, wont he? Wont training help him survive?
Its very noble of you Harry, but you need to train too. You will be the primary target when the
Dark Lord returns whether your parents know it or not. Severus said with a sad smile.
You can train me then Sev! Harry said smiling.
Harry, I couldnt possibly
Yes you could! The boy insisted with a passion, his eyes glowing with a feverish light. Ive
seen the books they intend to give Adrian for training and you have already helped me with much
more difficult stuff! And you wont take me all over the world just to see experts who wont find
anything! And Adrian can keep training and I wont have to go to all these gatherings he goes
with our parents! Harry said in one breath and then softly whispered. And I wont have to go
away Severus felt his spirits lift; maybe he could do this. He was after all the youngest potions
master in centuries and proficient in many different branches of magic. And to top it all, he was
also a professor. He turned his eyes to Merlin, silently asking him for his advice. The man was
smiling like crazy.
I think its a great idea! The old wizard exclaimed as Harry jumped up and down excitedly.
But you said Harrys magic is reaching out to be expanded and
And did I mention I was mostly self-taught? Merlin asked with a smile. There was no such
thing as a wizarding school in my time, just lots of books. And, if I may say so myself, I didnt
end up that bad.

But that will mean you wont be able to tell anybody youre the Boy Who Lived Harry.
Severus stressed his point to make sure the boy knew what he was getting into.
I dont care! Harry stated with a smile. Adrian will get the training he needs and I will be left
alone to train as I want. Oh, please Sev, say yes! And at the sight of those huge, pleading eyes,
he couldnt say anything else. Harry was jumping up and down with joy as Severus approached
Merlin smiling softly.
Are you sure this is the right thing for him, sir? He asked the famous wizard who also smiled at
the antics of the little boy in front of him.
He has the potential to be someone great Severus and to do that he needs more than just
training, not that you wont be able to give him that. He needs someone to love him
unconditionally and to guide him through the rough patches along the road.
And do you think thats me? Severus asked disbelieving.
I know thats you Severus. Merlin answered cryptically.
You know?
Remember how Harry called you when you told him about the prophecy?
He called me Dad. Severus whispered.
I cant tell you how the prophecy my wife made goes exactly but I can assure you that you are
supposed to help Harry though his life; and not because a prophecy dictates it. Merlin explained.
Prophecies are mere guidelines you must understand; you are supposed to help Harry with his
life because youre the one who wants to help him the most; youre the one who cares the most.
Could you imagine giving him up?
I would never! Severus swore at that moment that he would stand by Harrys side no matter
what.
Sev! Do you think I can get a wand now? Harry asked out of the blue, approaching the two
men.
You do not have a wand? Merlin asked confused.
No sir; Im only seven.
In my time we got our first wands at seven. The old wizard commented shrugging.
Thats so unfair! We have to wait until were eleven! The boy complained, crossing his hands
over his chest, making the two men laugh at his attempt to be stern.
It does seem unfair. Merlin noted and then added in a more serious tome. About your wand
now Harry, Im afraid there might be a problem.
What problem, sir? Severus asked confused. To his surprise, Merlin drew his own wand; the
young man realized why it had seemed different on first sight. It was simply because it was; the
main body of the wand was wooden, as normal as it could be, but the handle was decorated with a
white metal.
The metal is silver and its not just for decoration. The old wizard clarified. This is a custom
wand; its specifically designed to respond to my magic. It has a core of various materials in a

different quantity than normal wands so that it can respond better to me. It is modeled to much my
core perfectly. He turned and looked at Severus. Explain to your wandmaker that you want a
custom wand and he will explain what you have to do in turn.
What would happen if I bought a normal wand? Harry asked curious.
It would work at first and then it would burn out; you need a wand accustomed to you Harry.
Though wandless magic is possible, it cant be used for everything; your wand will be your
greatest ally. Severus was considering asking how could a wand burn out when the room seemed
to shift on its axis. Dear me. Merlin muttered. The spell must be wearing off.
If we need something, if we have any questions Severus began to ask before Merlin stopped
him.
I will not be able to help; I will seek you out when the time is nigh for you to learn the second
prophecy.
But if we need something
Trust in Harry Severus and trust in yourself; you will do great. Merlin reassured him as Harry
Held tight onto his waist to prevent himself from falling as the room shifted again.
How can you be so sure? Severus asked, fighting to keep his eyes open.
If I have learned one thing and one thing alone in my life that would be to trust my wife.
Merlin said smiling. Severus was unconvinced.
I understand the second prophecy is about Harry, but are you sure its about me too?
If you want to be sure Severus, the second prophecy, among others speaks about the man who
is supposed to teach Harry, the man who is supposed to guide him; the father of the son who is not
the son, father in heart and soul and everything but blood. Now tell me Severus, who else could
that be? I can feel it inside you two, the magical bond between families. Trust yourself and trust
Harry, Severus.
And with those words, Severus woke up on the floor of his office, Harry stirring next to him. He
stumbled to his feet and gently shook Harry awake. The boy opened his eyes slightly before
closing them again with a sigh.
Dad? He asked as Severus picked him up.
Its just me Harry. The potions master offered, still not knowing what the proper way to react
to such a statement was.
I know. The boy answered as Severus headed to the fireplace to take them home. Tomorrow
they would have to make a trip to Diagon Alley but for now, Harry should rest and he was
coming down with a headache himself. With a last glimpse at a now empty portrait, Severus
walked into the green flames, his mind already planning the curriculum Harry would be most
interested in.

What's In A Wand?
The next day dawned much like the one before. Severus tried to ignore the first rays of the sun
coming from the eastern window in an act of defiance; he might be a professor now but it was
August damn it! With a groan, he buried his head underneath his pillow, deciding to sleep for at
least an hour more or so. He had seen the most amazing dream last night, involving Merlin, Harry
and himself having a conversation about how Harry was the Boy Who Lived in a library he had
conjured inside his mind. All that of course, after Merlin had cast a spell on him and Harry from
the usually empty portrait in his office. He grunted at his imagination; no wonder he felt like his
head had been ran over by a pack of rabid Hippogriffs.
Then again, in his dream Harry had called him Dad, something that in Severus's books was worth
all the headaches in the world. Of course, that only solidified the fact that he should sleep more
and dream less but
"Sev, Sev, Sev!" Something small and hyperactive started bouncing on his bed with glee, startling
him halfway to a heart attack. "Wake up Sev!" That something -which under close inspection
through heavy leaded eyes turned out to be Harry- kept bouncing on the bed coming closer and
closer, begging him to wake up.
"By Merlin's beard, Harry!" Severus groaned hiding his head once again under the pillows; he
had managed to take a quick peek at the clock on his bed table. It was still twenty past six.
"The sun isn't even completely up yet! Have some mercy kid."
"But Merlin said I should get my wand and you promised we'd go today! Come on Sev! You
promised!" Merlin had said what? How did Harry know about his dream? Goblins' gold! Severus
rose from his bed with a sudden jerk, eyes wide open and hair in complete disarray. So was it true,
he wondered as his eyes travelled towards Harry.
"Your wand?" Severus asked trying to ascertain he had heard correctly.
"Yes! You said we could go today? Oh, do you still have a headache? Sorry for bouncing on the
bed. Do you want me to bring you some tea?" Harry was speaking rapidly, barely stopping to take
a breath, making Severus smile slightly despite himself.
"I did promise did I not?" Severus asked as he rubbed his eyes open. One last check couldn't
mind "And how is your mark today?" He asked half expecting Harry to look at him like he had
gone insane.
"Just the same as yesterday! Look!" He stated and pointed at the part of the symbol that was
visible over his jeans; it was undeniably there, just as Severus had remembered it from his dream,
or more likely, from last afternoon's events.
"Okay fine, we'll go." Severus decided to resign to his fate; so, he had met Merlin last day and he
discovered being part of a prophecy along with Harry, who was in truth the one supposed to
defeat the Dark Lord for good. Now he was also supposed to train him in secret as the Potters and
the rest of the magical community of the country and the world- believed his brother was the
actual Boy Who Lived. And he had agreed on that because?
Because Harry had given him that look he was directing at him once again. Oh, and because,
apparently, Merlin thought it was a great idea and so did an ancient prophecy made by non other
than Morgana Le Fay, incidentally Merlin's wife. His life had sure gotten more complicated since
Harry had appeared. And he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Come on we'll be late!" The boy exclaimed and jumped off the bed and towards the stairs.
"Slow down, Harry! First of all, it's dangerous to run down the stairs and secondly, the shops in
Diagon Alley open at seven. We have exactly," he turned once again towards his alarm clock
"thirty five minutes till then."
"Oh okay." Harry said considering what he had heard. "I'll go make breakfast!" he stated and
walked down the stairs with a skip in his step. Better go down to help him, Severus thought to
himself as he had a quick shower and got dressed. Harry had already been dressed when he woke
him up he realized and tried to imagine when the boy had woken up himself. Shaking his head
with mirth, he went down the stairs and towards the kitchen where he found the seven year old
wizard pouring tea carefully into two cups he had placed on the table. Smiling at the view he
approached him.
"Good morning officially, Harry." He said smiling wider as he eyes the toast Harry had placed on
the kitchen counter. "How long have you been up?"
"Since five; I couldn't sleep!" He stated excitedly drinking his milk in large gulps.
"Slow down Harry! You won't get a wand if you drown yourself!" Severus admonished
cheerfully as Harry's eyes bulged and he drank slower.
"Sorry Sev." The boy murmured, his cheeks blushing a faint pink.
"It's understandable." The young professor said smiling. "But we have to make a few things clear
if we're really going through with this." Harry nodded. "One, your wand will stay with me when
you are at the Potter Manor; those hours you can read up on theory that will help you practice."
Harry nodded his head in agreement. "Two, you will not speak of this to anyone; if you want
things to stay as they are, your training is to be kept secret." Severus regarded the boy carefully.
"If you want to tell your parents at any given time I won't judge or try to stop you, but, once it
happens, it will be final, okay?"
"I won't tell Sev." Harry stated resolutely. "I'm the one who asked to be trained like that,
remember?" Severus smiled and continued.
"Number three, you'll have to study hard. Not that I doubt you will, I just had to get it out of my
chest." The potions master added as he noticed Harry was just about to protest. "And finally, let's
not speak about meeting Merlin outside these walls." Severus said with a smirk. "It will be hard to
train you from St Mungo's psychological ward." Harry giggled at the last statement but agreed
nonetheless.
"Now can we go?" Harry asked unable to rein his enthusiasm any longer. He was practically
bouncing on his chair and Severus decided to take pity on him.
"Go get your cloak." He stated in a form of an answer as Harry giggled excitedly before giving
him a tight -albeit short- hug and running to get his cloak. The boy had potential, Severus had
always known and having a wizard like Merlin agree was just added proof to that fact. Severus
couldn't wait to see how Harry would evolve with the years; and, as the green eyed boy came
back inside the room bursting with joy, he repeated the oath he had silently given last day. He
would be there for Harry come what may and he would make certain that, no matter all the
prophecies and destinies, the boy would enjoy his life; that Harry would have a childhood he
could be able to look back and smile at fondly when he was older and not spend all his days
single-mindedly devoted to training. Defeating all the Dark Lords in the world would never make
up for such a loss.

"Ready Sev!" Harry exclaimed grabbing the young man by the arm and leading him towards a
repaired fireplace. Severus marveled on the fact he had had enough presence of mind last night to
cast the spells needed without damaging the wall any further. They flooed to the Leaky Cauldron
and from there walked straight to Diagon Alley without stopping to converse with anybody; not
that there were many people there to begin with at such an early hour.
"First stop Gringotts and from there we go for your wand." Severus said to the skipping boy
beside him, bringing him to an abrupt standstill. "What's wrong Harry?"
"It's just that Sev I don't have any money and" Severus started laughing at the great shock of
the boy.
"Harry, I will be responsible for you training, so I believe it falls to me to present you with all the
necessary equipment, may that be a wand or whatever." The potions master assured Harry,
motioning him to start walking again. "Besides kid, I have told you about my mother's family and
all the money I have inherited from her. I believe it's time I put them to good use." His smile
seemed to reassure the young boy enough to stop protesting. Talking about his mother's
inheritance Harry would need space to practice and his house at Spinner's End didn't allow such
luxury. Maybe it was time But he would think about that later, he decided, as they entered the
grand marble building that was the magical bank. After a fast ride on the wagon that Harry -and
Severus though he was loath to admit it- enjoyed, they entered the vault where Harry just
observed the piles of gold in awe as the young professor gathered the money needed for the day.
It was ten minutes later that the two wizards stood outside Ollivander's, Severus remembering the
first time he lay eyes on that shop to buy his wand; his mother had died a year prior and his father
had let him go alone. He took the scared boy's hand and led him through the door, determined he
would never had to live through such an experience.
"Mr. Snape! Or professor now, is it not?" An old man with white hair and the most intense blue
eyes Harry had ever seen asked; Harry couldn't make heads or tails of him. "And young Harry
Potter! Earlier than I expected to see you, but then again your brother was here a few days ago
himself. An ebony wand he chose, with a dragon's heart string; flexible and good for
transformation, just like your father's! I say he chose, but in truth it is the wand that chooses the
wizard Mr. Potter." Harry was getting more and more agitated as Mr. Ollivander spoke and
Severus, understanding the boy's fear, stopped the wandmaker's monologue.
"We would like to get Harry his wand Mr. Ollivander."
"But of course! Now tell me Mr. Potter, which is your wand hand?" Harry looked at Severus
confused.
"Your dominant hand Harry." He said smiling.
"Oh, I'm right handed sir." Harry said startled and proceeded to follow Mr. Ollivander's
instructions as a silver measuring tape flew around him on its own, taking measures of his arm,
hand and palm.
"I see!" Ollivander said clapping his hands once. "I will return shortly with"
"Wait a second Mr. Ollivander!" Severus stopped him before he managed to go behind the
counter to fetch a wand.
"Yes, Mr. Snape?" The wandmaker asked surprised.
"Harry will require a custom made wand." Ollivander's eyebrows were lost inside his hairline as

he regarded Severus.
"I can understand why you would want a custom wand Mr. Snape but let me assure you that,
besides the rumors circulating about such wands, not everybody can use them!" Ollivander said,
picking one of the boxes behind the counter. "It is a rare occurrence for such a wand to be made
and trust me when I say, most wizards, almost everyone I have even met, have their magic
identifying perfectly with that of the creature from which their wand core is derived."
"I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job Mr. Ollivander, I'm just stating that"
"Try this wand Mr. Potter; oak with a unicorn hair for a core. Just give it a wave." The old
wandmaker stated ignoring Severus. The young professor was seething but opted on not stating
anything just to get the satisfaction of saying 'I told you so' later on. He nodded at Harry, who had
looked at him for help, with a smirk. Harry observed the wand in the box in front of him warily;
give it a wave, Mr. Ollivander had said But maybe he picked the wand from its box carefully
and waved it as he had observed Severus do countless of times.
"Lumos." He commanded and watched in shock as a bright light erupted from the tip of the wand,
getting brighter and brighter for a few seconds, before it burst into splinters in his hand. Ollivander
regarded him with wild eyes while Severus smirked; so that's what happens when a wand burns
out.
"As I said Mr. Ollivander, Harry will require a custom wand." He spoke calmly as he approached
the startled boy to make sure no splinters had injured him in any way.
"I'm so sorry Mr. Ollivander." The boy uttered his apology with wide green eyes.
"It's quite alright my boy." Olivander stated shocked. "Follow me Mr. Potter, Mr. Snape." And he
took a golden key from his office, leading the two wizards to the workshop of his store through a
locked door. "It has been quite some time since I have made a custom wand." He uttered as they
walked; the workshop was a large space filled with various types of wandwood and cores,
ingredients inside boxes, the smell of wood and wax filling the area.
"What does a custom wand entail exactly Mr. Ollivander?" Severus asked interested.
"The main idea of a custom wand is that various core ingredients gather together to form a single
core that depicts the magical trace of the wand bearer." The old wandmaker explained. "Based to
arithmancy studies there are three types of assorted wand cores; a three parts, a five parts and a
seven parts core. Judging from the quite violent reaction Mr. Potter elicited from his attempt at
magic, I believe a seven parts core wand will be able to regulate and depict his magical signature
better." Harry was just staring at the two men expectedly. Severus nodded in understanding.
"And how will that work?" He asked, trying to comprehend how Harry's wand would operate.
"There will be one core ingredient, the central part if you want, that depicts the basic character of
the bearer's magic. Then, three supportive core ingredients to capture the variations of his magic
will be added, followed by three binding ingredients that balance the effect of the core. Then the
wandwood will be chosen, followed by a metal to bind the handle and help the magical flow. I
believe that covers it all." Ollivander said motioning for Harry to come forward. The boy did as
asked.
"And what will Harry have to do?" Severus asked finally. Ollivander turned to Harry who was
looking at him confused and a little bit scared.
"No need to fear Mr. Potter. I want you to close your eyes for a moment." Ollivander said,

causing Harry to turn to Severus for aid.


"It's okay Harry, do as Mr. Ollivander says." Harry sighed and nodded, closing his eyes.
"Now, I want you to breathe slowly in and out. In and out. Try not to think of anything specific,
just focus on breathing." Harry felt a little stupid, standing there doing nothing, but kept breathing
deeply as instructed. Finally, as he relaxed, he started feeling a soft buzz coming from around him,
as if various pieces of the room vibrated softly.
"What's that buzzing sound?" Harry asked in soft voice, not opening his eyes.
"Your wand Mr. Potter." Ollivander answered cryptically. "Now I want you to open your eyes
slowly and focus on that sound." Harry opened his eyes carefully and tried to see where the sound
was coming from; it seemed to be everywhere. "Follow the sound Mr. Potter and bring me the
objects that produce it." Harry walked around the room hesitating. The loudest noise was coming
from a box on the far corner of the room He traced towards it slowly and fumbled around a bit
until his eyes fell on a golden feather that seemed to radiate warmth. He reached for it and, the
moment he touched it, that warmth extended from it to his body and the humming stopped. He
turned confused at the wandmaker. "Bring the feather here Mr. Potter and keep going."
"Okay" Harry said nodding as he left the wand on the table where Ollivander had pointed and
moved around the room following the humming. Six more ingredients were gathered on the table
before a soft whispering sound caught Harry's attention. It was different than the other
components, softer somehow and the last of the two sounds remaining; it turned out to be a branch
of wood of a dark brown colour. The last murmuring sound came from an assortment of boxes on
a self in the back of the room; he had to climb on a chair and move a few boxes around to locate
the source of the sound. It was a small wooden box which he opened only to find a large piece of
a gleaming metal. "It's purple." Harry stated confused as he touched the lump of metal in the box.
"So are these all?" Severus asked carefully eyeing the assorted items as Harry approached with the
metal.
"They are. And quite the collection they make." Ollivander said, picking up a red phoenix feather.
"Curious. Very curious." He stated observing the feather.
"Excuse me sir, but what's curious?" Harry asked softly.
"It's curious that this feather is destined to be a part of your wand Mr. Potter when a second
feather given by the same phoenix lies in the core of the wand that gave your brother his famous
scar." Ollivander said as Severus moved closer to put his hand on the shoulder of a frozen in fear
Harry. Did that man have to intimidate his poor boy further?
"I would appreciate it if you told us what the rest ingredients of the wand are." He said trying to
change the topic.
"Why yes, as I said, an interesting collection of ingredients!" Ollivander exclaimed. "The main
core you selected is from a golden phoenix, quite a rare bird, even amongst phoenixes. Then for
support you have yet another phoenix feather -quite a fiery temperament!- the heart string of a
Hungarian Horntail and dear me, a heart string from a Nundu."
"A Nundu?" Severus asked the image of the giant deadly leopard, native in Africa, coming to his
mind.
"Quite interesting, no?" Olivander asked as Harry stood in awe of what was to be his wand. "And
to bring them all together you have picked a Unicorn's and a Thestral's hair -quite the opposites-

and that golden hair is from a Re'em."


"Isn't a Re'em some sort of ox?" Harry asked in surprise.
"You could say that Harry." Severus muttered thinking of the tales he had heard of the
magnificent golden haired creatures.
"The wandwood you have chosen is called Lignum Vitae. The hardest wood in the world that is,
many call it ironwood. If you believe in fairy tales, it's said that Merlin's wand was made from the
very same wood but that's just speculation of course."
"Don't you say?" Severus asked humorously as Harry blushed a deep crimson.
"And the metal you have chosen is called hepatizon. It's now singularly goblin made but it has its
origins in ancient Greece; it was once called Corinthian bronze." Ollivander said contemplatively.
"And when will the wand be ready?" Severus asked, feeling how nervous Harry was getting
under Ollivander's gaze.
"I normally don't have a lot of work during this time of the year, so if you stopped by this
afternoon around four, it should be ready." The wandmaker said, walking the two wizards out,
intent on starting to work immediately.
"I can trust your discretion of course." Severus added darkly as they exited the store, channelling
the part of him that had made Death Eaters cringe at the mention of his name. The wandmaker
nodded.
"It is a pleasure to make such a wand and possibly a one in a lifetime opportunity; you can trust I
will not speak of it to anyone." Accepting his word, Severus bid him good day and led Harry out
in the street. He would still keep an eye on Ollivander; the man was generally disinterested of
what happened in the outside world and too devoted to his work to even bother telling about the
wand but should he choose to speak well, Severus thought, accidents happened daily. He
smiled at Harry who was still looking at the now closed door of the shop over his shoulder.
"That was interesting." The green eyed boy commented numbly as Severus chuckled. He was
extremely proud of how Harry had dealt with the, admittedly scary, wandmaker.
"Your wand will be amazing Harry." Severus said making the boy's face shine with happiness.
"No need to return home just to came back in the afternoon." The potions master offered,
pretending not to notice the wide smile on Harry's face as he spoke. "I say we spend our day here
and"
"Thank you Sev!" Harry said laughing, holding onto Severus for dear life. "Can we go to Flourish
& Blotts too? Oh and at Quidditch Quality Supplies?" Harry asked prattling happily on Severus's
side. Severus just laughed at his antics and nodded. He could not remember what the last time
since he had had so much fun visiting Diagon Alley had been. Perhaps never.
After a lengthy stop at Flourish & Blotts and a dozen of purchases later, the two wizards headed
for the Quidditch store where Harry talked about all he knew about the sport how much he would
like to learn how to fly on a broom or go to Quidditch game, something his father and Adrian did
together all the time. Severus grudgingly admitted he did enjoy the sport, or used to, before the
whole experience was somewhat ruined by James Potter during his fourth year. He narrated how
James and Sirius had tried to pull a prank to the Slytherin team and ended up in detention, making
Harry burst in laughter. They ate in the Leaky Cauldron and when the time came, returned to
Ollivander's for Harry's wand.

"Welcome back!" The old wizard greeted them merrily. "Mr. Potter, I'm proud to present you with
your wand." Ollivander opened a black wand box and pulled back the protective cloth, allowing
the wand to show. It was beautiful to Harrys' eyes. The dark colour was complimented with the
soft gleam of the hepatizon that twirled in delicate vine patterns on the hilt. Harry softly gathered
the wand in his arms and the held it confidently as a familiar warmth entered his body. "A perfect
fit!" Ollivander exclaimed.
"What is the metal doing?" Severus asked noticing something on the wand; and truly, it was like
the metal of the hilt moved and extended towards the base of the wand, softly carving the wood,
creating a pattern that looked a lot like
"Is that a Celtic knot?" Ollivander asked interested. "It's customary for a wand such as yours to
create a symbol on its base; you can say it's the wand's way to identify, to name itself." The
wandmaker explained. "Does that symbol mean anything to you Mr. Potter?" Harry simply
nodded as he stared at the familiar star now etched on his wand. Here we go, thought Severus
simply, sharing a knowing look with Harry and a smile. So many things to do and, for once, all
the time in the world to achieve them. Severus started planning.

Home Is Where The Hear Is


It had been close to a week since Harry had first acquired his wand and ever since the days at
Spinner's End had fallen into a steady rhythm; wake up, eat breakfast, practice, have lunch,
practice, stop for dinner, sleep. A program that would have, perhaps, seemed exceedingly dull to
an observer, but Harry was having the time of his life; with every new spell he tried, he could fell
his magic stirring inside him, finally getting the training it had been begging for. And while the
green eyed wizard was focusing on his studies, a matter of some importance was bothering
Severus's thoughts.
He was once again seated on his favorite armchair, watching over Harry as the boy brewed a
simple shrinking potion on his own; it was the third time he had tried to brew something alone and
Severus was proud to report all previous work they had done while Harry was growing up was
showing. All his attempts so far had been successful -not quite perfect yet but better than what
many first year students had managed in his class- and Severus felt more proud for his progress
than he had for any of his students. Then again, he figured, he didn't love any of his students like
they were his own children. And that led him back to his present debate.
Harry would need a place to train his magic in full scale; at the moment, the problem wasn't so
obvious because he was still teaching him simple spells such as Lumos -to which he had already
shown some aptitude- and Alohamora, so that he could get an idea of how his magic felt before
they moved to more advanced spells. But later on, even with the simplest defense spells, they
would need space that was simply not offered by his house at Spinner's End. There was always
the alternative
"And once to the left" Harry was murmuring as he stirred the potion, smiling when it took the
soft pink colour it was supposed to. Severus held back his chuckle so he wouldn't cut the boy's
concentration short. The green eyed wizard was doing a great job and he had the means to help
him evolve further; how could he be selfish enough not to do so?
Because there was a place where he could train Harry in every luxury but He closed his eyes
and sighed. He hadn't visited his mother's family estate since his uncle had died. And back then he
had skimmed through the objects now in his possession, had taken only what had seemed to be an
empty canvas -and see how that one turned out- before he left a few quick orders to the house
elves and fled the estate as fast as possible. He was in a dark place back then and being in his
mother's home had stung.
Truth be told, Severus thought as he opened his eyes to peer at Harry and his now green potion, it
still stung. The Princes where supposed to be his family and his only connection to the magical
world after his mother had died. But instead of caring for him they had acted on their pureblood
prejudices and completely shunned him during his childhood. It was the first time in over a decade
that he had stepped foot in the Prince estate when his uncle had died ad he had spent the next five
years pretending it didn't exist. But now
"Sev look!" Harry exclaimed as he pointed at the soft green and bubbling potion. "I think it's
ready!" He smiled with joy, his black hair even messier because of the fumes and his green eyes
sparkling. No point in dwelling in the past, Severus thought as his spirits lifted at Harry's
expression of happiness.
"It is ready." Severus confirmed as he stirred the potion gently before gathering it in a vial and
labeling it, storing it in the cabinet where he had decided to keep all of Harry's potions. "Well
done Harry! You do seem to have gotten the knack of it." The potions master commended making
Harry's face shine with the praise.

"You think so?" He asked with wide eyes. His hand absentmindedly rubbed the spot next to his
navel, were the top of his emblem was located.
"Yes, I do. All you need is practice, but the talent is already there." He added observing Harry's
movements. "Does your emblem hurt Harry?" The potions' master asked worriedly.
"No." Harry answered noticing what he was doing. "It felt warm a few seconds ago, but other
than that"
"Let's take a look at it." Severus offered, trying not to sound as worried as he felt. He would have
to find a book on emblems and fast. He hated the idea of walking into this blindly. Harry
acquiesced and lifted his shirt slowly.
"What is that? Look!" The green eyed boy exclaimed with excitement. There, on the right side of
his mark, stood a small runic symbol inside a circle.
"I see." Severus said with a smirk as he translated the rune.
"What? What is it Sev?"
"Your magic seems to have acknowledged your efforts as much as I did; this symbol marks you as
an apprentice in potions." The black eyed man offered with a smirk. "Your godfather would have
a coronary if he ever found out your first apprenticeship turned out to be in potions."
"Apprenticeship?" Harry asked with wide eyes, staring at the small mark that had added itself on
his emblem. "I'm a potions' apprentice now?" He was bouncing on his toes with giddiness as he
spoke.
"Yes, and as I said, you have to practice to improve further; it's quite official now after all."
Severus confirmed with a smile, ruffling Harry's hair, ignoring the disgruntled "Not my
hair!" from the boy. "And speaking of practicing," Severus said determinedly, this latest
development having solidified his decision "I will need to be away for a couple of days to arrange
for a let's say better setting for your future training. I trust you will keep up with your studies
while I'm away. I'll check on your progress every night." He added mock seriously.
"A better setting?" Harry asked curiously. "Where?"
"That's a surprise Harry." Severus offered assuming an equally mock superior air. "You shall soon
see."
"Will I like it?" The boy asked mischievously.
"You will love it, you cheeky brat!" The potions' master exclaimed affectionately, ruffling Harry's
hair further, eliciting another half-hearted complain from the boy. And true to his word, Severus
left early in the morning to visit his solicitors and further survey his estate, making sure it would be
ready to welcome Harry. He even did a bit of remodeling upon glancing at the -admittedly
extended, due to the collective efforts of his ancestors over the years- library to model a room quite
close to a familiar setting of a few days ago. Harry would get a kick out of it, he was certain.
The house elves were delighted with the forthcoming arrival and Severus himself felt the closure
taking leave of Spinner's End brought. Spinner's End was the house where he grew up in and
most of the memories made there where painful. The Prince estate however, even if it carried the
sting of his mother's family rejection, offered a fresh start, a chance to make new memories for
himself and the boy he had come to care for as a son. Maybe this would turn out for the best. For
Harry and for himself. All that was left, the potions master thought as he returned to Spinner's End

at the evening of the second day, was to tell the boy.


"Harry?" Severus asked on the third morning after the declaration of him finding some place to
practice.
"Yes, Sev?" The boy spoke over his pancakes.
"Remember the place I told you about, the one I would find for your training?" He asked with a
smile.
"Yes?" The boy asked back expectantly, his pancakes close to forgotten.
"I found it."
"You did?"
"I did. And I'm considering, I'm planning actually, to move there permanently." Severus offered
with a smile. "If you approve of course."
"If I approve?" Harry asked confused. "Sev it's your house." The boy said solemnly.
"It's your house too; you'll be spending more time there than the Potter manor Harry. And besides,
your opinion matters to me." Severus stated truthfully. He was enveloped in a hug so forceful, he
almost flew off his chair.
"I love you, Dad." Harry whispered in a tight voice, causing Severus' heart to race. His honorary
title felt better every time.
"I love you too, son; that's why I'm asking." How right the title suited the boy, Severus marveled.
"So, where is this place?" Harry asked after a short pause.
"It's some good miles further to the north from Hogwarts, in the closer to the Highlands. I have
told you about it; it's my mother's ancestral house." Severus said.
"You want to go back there?" Harry asked softly, showing an understanding older than his years.
Severus met his concern with a soft smile.
"It will do me good, I think. And it will help with your training." The potions master reassured the
boy.
"So, when can I see it?"
"Eager, aren't we?" Severus chuckled at the sparkle in Harry's green eyes. "I thought we could
apparate there after breakfast."
"What are we waiting for then?" Harry asked and moved to get his travel cloak. Severus chuckled
again and caught the boy from the collar of his shirt.
"I said after breakfast, Harry." He said pointing to his still untouched pancakes. Harry dug into his
breakfast with renewed fervor, wolfing the pancakes down in a few short minutes.
"Now can we go?" He asked after washing the pancakes down with his milk.
"Since you managed to not choke on your breakfast, I believe we can." And Harry bolted out of
the room in haste, returning faster than Severus had ever thought possible. In a few seconds Harry
had grabbed hold of Severus' hand and they had apparated in what appeared to be a forest of some

sorts. The first thing Harry noticed was the chill in the air; it was definitely colder than what he
had been used to in the summer, even at the Potter manor that was up in the north too. The boy
looked around, but all he could see was trees on the left and right of what appeared to be a private
road.
"Sev, I don't see"
"Turn around Harry." Severus offered with mirth. Harry did as advised and froze in place, as he
tried to comprehend what he saw. He blinked owlishly a couple of times.
"Ehm, Sev?" His green eyes were wide in wonder and, even though he was addressing the
potions master, stuck at the building in the distance. "Is this where we'll be staying from now on?"
The boy's voice came out squeaky, making Severus laugh and feel for the first time the warmth of
having his house considered their home openly from the boy.
"Yes." He answered laconically, withholding his laughter.
"Sev?"
"Yes, Harry?"
"Your house."
"What about it?"
"It's a castle." Harry said, finally turning to look at the amused black eyed man.
"It might not have occurred to you Harry, but I had already noticed. And it's actually called
Silbreith." Severus admitted, using all his training in Occlumency to keep the smile off his face.
"Oh." Harry quipped, turning back to stare the building in the distance that was apparently
Silbreith. There, peaking over the trees of the thick pine forest, nestled on what appeared to be a
hill, stood the castle Severus claimed to be his ancestral home. It wasn't as grand as Hogwarts for
sure -Harry had trouble believing any castle could hold a candle against Hogwarts' splendor- but it
was breathtaking in its own accord. Harry could see the turrets from where he stood and counted
two, no three towers rising from the main body of the castle.
"Shall we?" Severus asked with a smile and took a shell-shocked Harry by the hand to lead him
towards the castle.
"Are you sure we can stay here?" The boy whispered as if he feared they would be overheard.
This time Severus couldn't help himself; he laughed, a rare unguarded laughter that was becoming
more of an occurrence as he spent more and more time with the green eyed boy.
"Considering I own the place, yes, I'm sure." Severus stated lightly.
"Wow!" Harry stated in lack of better words to express himself, eliciting yet another laugh from
the potions master.
"Would you like to hear a bit about the story of this place?" Severus asked, knowing that harry
was going to ask soon anyway.
"Sure!" Harry readily agreed.
"Well, it was built, in its original form, as a keep during the third goblin rebellion when the battles
spread nation-wide." Severus explained. "Over the years the estate expanded to include the forests

around, was surrounded with an outer wall and made unplottable. I, being the owner of the estate
and the last Prince heir, have the ability to apparate inside said wall. Anyway, during the past
centuries, rooms, galleries and floors were added, until the castle came to be what it is today."
Severus concluded.
"Are there many families that have castle as their ancestral houses?" Harry asked peering towards
the castle yet again.
"In Europe quite a few to begin with." Severus explained. "But many were abandoned due to lack
of heirs or the demise of the whole families; having the ownership of a magical keep in the Middle
Ages meant fighting in wars, leading armies to battles." The potions' master elaborated. "The
families whose ancestral homes are mansions are younger, as pureblood families go."
"So the Prince family is older than the Potter line?" Harry asked smiling.
"Why yes." Severus affirmed with a smile of his own. "We didn't always bear the name Prince the line is called Snape now after all- but the actual bloodline has risen to power before the
Potters."
"That's brilliant!" Harry exclaimed.
"I will have to agree." Severus offered chuckling. They continued to walk in silence as Harry
appeared to be considering what had been said. "Out with it Harry."
"I was just wondering" The boy trailed off. "What happens to those castles that are left without
an heir?"
"Good question Harry." Severus conceded. "You see, the magical signature of the family is still
present on the castle so it cannot just be bought. In result, they remain vacant up to the moment
when a wizard or witch appears to break the preexisting wards. It's a very strong form of blood
magic, so it's easier said than done."
"But then the castle can be bought?" Harry questioned further.
"It wouldn't come cheap, but yes." Severus confirmed considering the boy's question. Something
was going on in that brain of his, he could tell. "As a matter of fact, there is a castle like that not
far from here, vacant for over a century." The boy regarded him with bright eyes before nodding
once. "Is there anything that bothers you Harry?" The potions master asked as the main gate of the
castle appeared around the corner.
"It's just a thought." Harry admitted, sending Severus a look that seemed to belong to a face much
older, allowing a glimpse of the man he would one day be shine through. "It's just a thought still
but when I have something certain you'll be the first to know Sev, I promise." The boy offered
and then proceeded to tug on Severus' hand, urging him on. "Come on Sev! I'll race you to the
entrance!" And he took off running before the young professor managed to agree -or disagree for
that matter. They both ended up entering the hall still running, Harry laughing all the way there
and Severus smiling at the boy's antics.
"Where do you find all that energy?" Severus asked feigning astonishment.
"I won, I won, I won, I" Harry's sing song voice fainted as he took in his surroundings. The
hall was larger than he had imagined it to be, the style much similar to Hogwarts, the stained glass
windows showering summer light in a room that appeared frozen in the Middle Ages.
"I take you approve?" Severus asked smirking.

"You think?" Was all the answer he got.


"Minnie, Alfie!" The potions' master called, causing two house elves to appear with a loud
crackling sound; one was male and one female, both donning what looked like a pillowcase with a
coat of arms embodied on the white, clean fabric.
"Master Severus is here! We are happy to receive you sir!" A squeaky voice exclaimed, her owner
the female elf called Minnie. Both house elves approached and bowed deeply.
"Harry, these are Minnie and Alfie." Severus introduced them. "Minnie is the head house elf of
the castle and Alfie is her husband."
"How many house elves live here?" Harry asked confused as to why a head elf was needed.
"Twelve." Severus offered. "This is a big estate Harry." The potions master reminded the boy
who nodded in awed agreement.
"Hello Minnie, Alfie; I'm Harry. Nice to meet you." The boy greeted them politely, causing the
two elves to smile and then look confused between him and Severus.
"It's an honor to meet you too, Master Harry." Minnie spoke for both of them once more. "Forgive
us for staring Master Harry, but we didn't know Master Severus had a son." Severus's eyes
widened in surprise as Harry blushed.
"Harry is not my son, not biologically at least." Severus stated, stressing the biologically part.
"Why would you say he's my son though?" Severus wondered, thinking the assumption a long
shot and knowing house elves generally tried to assume as less as possible.
"Forgive us, Master Severus." Minnie said hurriedly bowing her head. "But Master Harry looks
like you sir; something in his eyes, something in his magic." The elf looked disgruntled. "But if
Minnie was wrong, Minnie will"
"None of that now that I'm the master of this estate Minnie. You are forbidden to punish yourself,
understand?" Severus interrupted her, guessing -correctly- what she was about to say.
"Thank you sir; the Master is most kind sir." The female elf said bowing, tears of gratitude in her
eyes.
"Besides Minnie, in a way, you were right; Harry is to be treated exactly as my son while he
resides inside these halls. Pass the word on to the other elves too." The two house elves nodded.
"Thank you!" Harry exclaimed and threw his arms around Severus. "Dad." He added in a
whisper. Severus smiled and ordered the house elves to show Harry the available bedrooms so he
could pick the one he liked the most, while he withdrew to the quarters appointed to the head of
the Prince, now Snape, line to think.
The words of his house elf rang still in his ears. Something in Harry's magic she had said, and it
hadn't been the first time he had heard words like that being uttered. Hadn't Merlin said something
similar? Now, Severus knew there was no way a magical adoption could have taken place as the
Potters would have had to disown Harry first, something that was highly unlikely to happen. But
there was always a different possibility altogether to be considered and Harry had indeed shown a
tendency to attract old magic It was something he would have to look at and what time would
be better to start but now?

Masters Of The Keep


Harry was pacing the floors of his new home -and it was home indeed, for he could no longer
deny where his heart felt it found its haven- looking around in awe. Sev had always managed to
surprise him, but the seven year old wizard, despite his vivid imagination, had not seen that one
coming; a castle, really! And to add to that, a castle that used to be a keep, the headquarters of a
family of warriors that once upon a time, a long, long time ago, led their armies into battles against
goblins and dueling kingdoms.
It didn't take more than that for Harry's mind to start producing images of a time long gone as he
run through corridors and pathways, pretending to be a knight or a great warlock on a mission.
With no fear of getting lost -Minnie had said all he needed to do was call for her before she went
off to supervise the lunch preparations and an apparent renovation at the west tower- he climbed
up and down stairs and run through galleries, a great line of Severus' ancestors and prominent
figures of the magical world looking over him, smiling from their portraits. It had been a shared
opinion amongst them that the boy's appearance had brought a new lease of life inside these halls
and to their master as well.
Harry must have been walking around for a full hour before he came upon a set of great, double
wooden doors. They reached all the way up to the ceiling and Harry couldn't help himself he did have a curiosity streak after all and Severus hadn't said he was disallowed from entering
any rooms in the castle. And those doors reaching all the way to the ceiling were unbelievably
inviting With a sigh and a soft smile he made up his mind.
"Better apologize for what you've done than regret not doing it, I say!" He muttered to nobody in
specific and pushed the door open with all of his strength. His mouth slacked open at the sight;
long live his curiosity streak! It had led him to the castle's library; and it was a room he could recall
easily. He spun around slowly as he observed the room; it was immense and the ceiling was twice
as high as the corridors' outside the door. Well, the second floor might have had something to do
with that, he ventured. Because there was a second floor, fashioned around the empty space that
allowed a great portion of the arched ceiling to be seen, and he could see rows upon rows of
bookcases on both floors. The chandelier that hung from the ceiling was unlit but the metal shone
in the light coming from the stained glass window covering the central part of the wall further
away from him, behind a grand double staircase that led to the upper floor.
"Wow." Harry croaked in shock as he regarded the room petrified for a few more seconds. As he
snapped out of his stupor he walked around the room, half expecting Merlin to show up around
the next corner; it was, after all, most definitely the library from Severus' mind. And as the boy
started pondering on the suspicion he had fallen asleep and was dreaming, he heard his name
being called from the stairs.
"You found your way to the library I see." Severus stated chuckling as he walked down the stairs.
Harry was once again surprised and not just because he had thought he was alone in the room.
Severus looked different; with a quick assessment, the boy understood exactly why that was. He
was still wearing the black slacks from that morning but gone were his black cape and shirt. They
had been replaced with a white shirt and a dark green vest which, paired with his smile and the
few pounds he had put on, made Severus look healthier and every bit the twenty seven year old
man that he was. He was holding two leather bound books in his arm and had a spring in his step;
it was Severus as he should have been, as he would have been if it wasn't for Voldemort.
"No black cloak?" Harry asked with a smile.
"I didn't feel like wearing black today." He stated shrugging.

"You were right." The boy stated happily, making Severus' smile widen. He truly had felt like
wearing something brighter today, a feat on its own accord as black had been all he had worn
since graduation. "This room is amazing!"
"It is." Severus agreed chuckling. "I remodelled it a little to appear like my dream library and I
believe the outcome has rewarded my efforts." The potions master smiled at a vigorously nodding
Harry. "And how do you like the castle so far? Did you pick a room yet?"
"I did. Minnie said it's in the family quarters, a few doors away from yours." Harry admitted with
a smile. "And I love the castle!"
"It's a good thing you do, because we will be spending a lot of time here." Severus offered.
"May I ask you a question?"
"Anything kid."
"What do we tell my family?" Harry asked. "I mean, what happens if they come looking for me at
Spinner's End only to find it empty and me gone?"
"I see your point." Severus said thoughtful. "But Harry, in all honesty, when was the last time
your family came to pick you up from my house?" The young professor asked with a sad smile.
How long had it been since he had last dreamt of Lily living in his house with Harry and himself?
Close to a year, maybe a year and a half, he discovered startled. He had no more time to ponder
on that subject however as Harry responded.
"Never?" His answering smile was just as sad. When had the last time he had wished his parents
would come pick him up from Severus' house been? Too long ago to remember exactly, he
realized. Maybe before his fifth birthday. It didn't really matter anymore; Harry had decided that
wanting to stay with Severus more than he did with his parents was a natural result of his growing
up and didn't mean he did not love his family. It was just that staying with Severus was now a
choice made happily and consciously instead of a choice made for him until his parents claimed
him.
"Never." Severus agreed. "And this castle Let's just keep it between us until I'm ready to share,
or at least until you're asked directly okay?"
"Okay Sev!" Harry said nodding, making Severus smile yet again at how considerate the boy
was. "And what are these books?"
"I figured out these books have been in here since practically forever, so there was bound to be
something about emblems in their midst." The potions' master stated, pointing at the larger of the
two books that was bound in dark brown leather.
"And you found a book?"
"Yes. Apparently emblems were a hit up until the eighth century before falling out of grace during
the first goblin rebellion when it was thought wiser to not showcase your magical abilities to your
enemies." Severus explained placing the first book on a table and seating down along with Harry
who opened the book eagerly and skimmed through the first page.
"Can I read the book too?" Harry asked. "I promise I won't rip it or"
"Relax Harry." Severus assured him chuckling. "I found the book for you and even if you decided
to rip it into a thousand pieces you wouldn't be able; all the books of the library are magically

protected."
"That's a relief; this looks ancient!" Harry exclaimed. "Heavy too" He muttered as he tried to
lift said book.
"You should exercise more Harry." The young man mock scolded him. It was a thought though.
"And what about the second book?" Harry asked ignoring the suggestion.
"That's for a bit of personal research; it's something that popped into my mind while we talked to
Minnie today. If I get something precise, I will tell you." Severus said glancing at the black leather
book in front of him.
"Okay." Harry agreed readily, knowing he was going to find out sooner or later. "Sev?" The boy
asked after a short pause.
"Yes?"
"Could you come with me to explore around the castle a little?" The boy asked shyly.
"I would think you have seen the majority of it by now" Severus said with humor as the boy
blushed.
"There're still the dungeons that I haven't seen, the east wing and tower too and did you know the
western tower is being renovated?" The boy asked in one breath.
"So you did see all the rest?" Severus chuckled raising an eyebrow and quite doubting the boy
had time to explore everything. "I was only joking you know." Harry narrowed his eyes in an
attempt of a stern look that was completely ruined by a small pout that fought its way on his lips.
"I'll let you play around a little more in the library but then you have to come with me mister!"
Harry stated in his better Molly Weasley imitation, making Severus burst out in laughter, an
example soon followed by the boy.
"Fine, fine, you win!" Severus conceded, wiping a couple stray tears from his eyes. "Just let me
take a look around to see if I find anything else that I need. You may do the same." The potions'
master said, quite uselessly, as Harry had already approached the closest bookcase and read the
titles in the lower selves. "If you find a subject you like but can't reach the books, call for me. Oh,
one last thing!" Severus exclaimed as if he had just remembered. He reached in his pocket and
produced Harry's wand. The boy's eyes widened. "As long as you're here, you might as well carry
it but don't try new spells without me around, or without me knowing." He stated intently and
placed the wand in Harry's extended hand.
"I promise Sev!" The excited boy said, looking at his wand in awe. Severus laughed as he
watched him practically hop away; Harry's approach of magic was refreshing to say the least. He
was interested in every aspect -maybe not divination but still- learning the basics without prejudice
and then deciding if he wanted to know more. But even in his young age he could understand the
need for a spherical regard of magic and Severus couldn't help but feel a little pride knowing he
was the one that had instilled such an understanding in the boy; Harry would grow up to think for
himself and that was one of the best things he could wish for the boy.
Severus turned his attention towards the upper floor and ascended the staircase once again; he had
come up with something quite interesting on why Minnie had considered Harry and himself
family; a soft smile crept into his face. You have to love magic, he thought to himself and strongly
resisted the urge to whistle as he moved towards the bookcase he wanted.

Harry, in the meantime was looking over the many titles at his disposal; books on every subject he
could think of were flashing before his eyes and he was slowly getting dizzy with trying to choose
one. After a couple more minutes wandering around thus, he made the decision to just grab the
largest book he could find and start from there. It was a soft brown leather bound book, decorated
with carvings of magical animals and entitled The Art Of Warfare Vol.2: Magical Creatures In
Battle. Never having come across any strategy book before, the green eyed wizard became
engrossed into his reading almost immediately. It wasn't so much the text, he barely got to read
that, as it was the pictures; beautifully drawn pictures of soldiers moving on fields preparing for
battle an magical creatures such as hippogriffs and trolls aligned, ready to attack. He spent a good
fifteen minutes just watching the tactics the book suggested and was just about to search for a
different subject when he decided to turn the page.
His eyes widened in awe. The next chapter of the book was devoted to a breed of creatures that
were considered to be one of the greatest assets in battlefields. They weren't something Harry had
ever heard before and even in the text it was stated they were rare. He stopped reading for a
second and instead turned to look at the moving painting on book. There, standing on its two back
legs was a war-unicorn. They were -in contrast to normal unicorns- of a dark colour, black or a
deep brown, as depicted on the book, and much taller than their white coloured brothers. They
were strong and very difficult to tire, with a large silver horn and a much smaller one -barely one
fifth of the larger horn's size- right beneath it. But despite the fact the unicorn was amazing on it
own merit, that wasn't what had caught Harry's attention. No, what had caught his eye was this;
on the side of the unicorn that was visible, right on the top of the war-unicorn's back leg a soft
silvery glow could be seen. A silvery glow in the shape of an emblem.
"Sev!" Harry shouted as he picked up the book and ran to the stairs, climbing them as fast as he
could. He was on the second floor in a matter of seconds and found himself face to face with a
startled Severus Snape, his wand in hand and his eyes searching the area for Death Eaters.
"What happened Harry?" Severus asked when he was certain they weren't being assaulted. "Are
you alright?" He crouched on his knees to take a better look at the boy, making sure he was
uninjured.
"I'm fine Sev!" Harry reassured the now confused professor.
"Then why did you shout?" He asked realizing Harry didn't even appear scared.
"Look!" He said pointing to the open book. Severus regarded the boy with a half amused, half
exasperated look.
"You scared me half way to death because of a book?" He asked with a smile only to have his
eyes widen just as Harry's had a few moments ago when he noticed the emblem.
"See?" Harry asked excited. "What do you think this is?
"One would say it's an emblem" Severus muttered as his eyes flew over the words, trying to
find an explanation. And he did, a few seconds later, but that didn't help with his surprise. "Listen
to this." Harry nodded and waited as Severus cleared his throat.
"War-unicorns, besides being the most trusted amongst the equine used for battles, appear to
have the ability of forming a close connection with their riders, creating a bond akin to that of
friendship. In cases where the wizard or witch has acquired an emblem it is quite often the case
that the unicorn will produce a replica of said glyph on itself as a symbol of the bond created. No
knowledge of how that is possible has been acquired by the time this book was written, but it is
generally believed that the process is the result of some sort of a ritual." Severus stopped reading
and looked at Harry with an eyebrow raised.

"Wow." Harry stated. "You think there might be a book on war-unicorns in here somewhere?"
The boy asked, looking straight into Severus's eyes.
"There might be." He agreed. "Expect it to be pretty old like this one." Severus commended as he
looked skeptically at the tome Harry had brought him. "Tell you what; why don't we go look at
the dungeons and ask Minnie to appoint an elf to search for any books on war-unicorns?" The
young professor offered. "It will take us forever if we try to search by ourselves and I can't
summon a book without knowing its title."
"Can't you just summon it based on its context?" Harry asked after some consideration. Severus
smirked at the question; he was definitely doing something right raising him.
"I could but this library is filled with books dating back to a thousand, maybe more, years ago. I
even noticed some scrolls back there." Severus explained. "To my knowledge, war-unicorns were
used in combat until early in the fifteenth century; can you imagine how many books in this library
will mention them?"
"A lot?" The boy asked with a smile.
"A lot." Severus agreed chuckling. "It would be better to ask somebody who already knows
where they are." Harry nodded and Severus summoned Minnie who in turn summoned an older
elf -called Watt- and explained what they were looking for. He asked for any books found on warunicorns to be sent at Harry's room while the books he had gathered himself to be left at his
quarters. After thanking both elves the two wizards left the library talking vividly.
"War-unicorns are brilliant!" The green eyed boy exclaimed as they walked down the corridor.
"How comes I've never heard of them before?"
"Well, since they're no longer used in battles they aren't bred in England anymore." He considered
his answer for a while and then added. "Actually they aren't bred in Europe at all; there are some
wild war-unicorns in central Europe, I believe, but the only place I've heard of them being bred is
the Arabian Peninsula. I even heard some rumors about Morocco, but either way they're not
exporting." Harry was listening with amazement.
"I would love to see one" They boy stated dreamily. "And I would love to travel someday. I've
never left England you know." He added wistfully. Severus stopped in his tracks and looked at
the boy with wide eyes. His mind flashed back to a time when he was not much older than Harry,
during the summer after his first year at Hogwarts.
A black haired boy and a red haired girl with bright emerald eyes were sitting by a lake talking
animatedly to each other.
"After finishing school I would like to work at the Ministry." The girl said. "I know it's too soon
but I've heard so much about their Charms division!"
"And the whole school knows how much you like charms!" The boy added with a smile.
"What would you like to do after school Severus? Become an Auror or something?" The girl
asked.
"I don't know Lils." The boy answered looking at the lake absentmindedly. "I would like to travel
someday. You know, I've never left the country."
"Sev?" Harry asked looking at the potions master with a concerned expression. "Sev are you
alright?"

"Yeah" The young man trailed off and then looked at Harry with a smile. "Yes, I'm fine kid.
You just reminded me of a boy who had the same dreams as you at your age." Harry looked at
him surprised.
"Whom?"
"Me." Severus answered and looked at Harry's eyes earnestly. "I promise you will travel Harry.
I'll take you see the world, I swear." He said solemnly, well knowing the burden Harry would
have to bear in the future; he would make sure the boy would live his life to the fullest. Harry just
stared at him blankly before hugging the life out of him.
"Thanks Dad." He said fighting off his tears.
"Don't mention it Harry." Severus said, feeling the now familiar warmth in his chest. "You've
been thanking me an awful lot lately."
"With reason." Harry stated, making Severus chuckle once.
"And as for war-unicorns, well I can't promise you I will show you one, but I can teach you how
to ride." Harry's head snapped upwards to look at Severus with amazement.
"You know how to ride?"
"My mother taught me before she died and I was deemed unwanted from her family." Severus
said with a soft smile. "You know this castle has stables right?" He asked the boy whose eyes
widened for the umpteenth time that day.
"With horses?" He asked and Severus chuckled.
"It's customary to have horses in your stables Harry."
"Well the Potter manor has stables but father said the last one to keep horses there was his
grandfather." Harry stated and Severus noted he didn't call James "Dad" but stuck with the more
formal term "Father". His heart leapt a little at the implication but he tried to ignore it.
"That's a waste of space." He stated and smiled. "Well there are horses in our stables and they are,
of course at your disposal. We can start lessons anytime you want." Severus said smiling at the
sparkle his statement created in the boy's eyes. "And I'd better see to that Quidditch pitch being
repaired" He trailed off as he started walking again, looking at Harry with the corner of his
eyes.
"You have a Quidditch pitch?" The boy asked excited.
"Potter manor has one too." Severus reminded him with a smile.
"Yeah but I've never used it." Harry explained. "Father and Sirius taught Adrian how to fly this
July but they never asked if I wanted to learn too." He blushed and looked at his feet while
Severus cursed under his breath.
"Do you want to learn Harry?" He asked already knowing the answer.
"Sure." The boy stated, trying not to look excited.
"Then I'll teach you that too." Severus stated turning at a now smiling Harry. "It's time I started
enjoying Quidditch again myself."

"You mean it?"


"Don't I always?" Severus asked rhetorically, assuming a mock superior air. Harry laughed and
the black eyed man congratulated himself for lifting the boy's spirits. The conversation turned
towards the castle and how the various repairs where proceeding. Severus explained he was
renovating the western tower, which was the tallest of the keep, so they could use it for astronomy
lessons and so on. They reached the dungeons soon enough and Severus led the way towards
what he remembered was the potions lab. His smile widened at the sight and at Harry's
exclamation of "Wow".
The lab was much larger than he had expected; not quite as large as the one at Hogwarts but then
again this one wasn't supposed to fit twenty students and their cauldrons. They looked around for
a while and Severus made a mental note of the ingredients he would need to buy so he could stock
the now empty ingredient cabinets. After inspecting the room closely they went to observe the rest
of the dungeons. They found an armory -to Harry's delight- and a vast empty room probably
designed for training. Exactly what we needed, Severus thought. The castle apparently came
equipped with its own holding cells and Harry's imagination once again led him to a time of
battles and heroic deeds. The morning was spent in walking around the castle and its fields,
including a visit at the stables where the house elf in charge -a shy female elf who introduced
herself as Millie- showed them around and gave them the name of the eight horses currently
residing there.
It was already early afternoon when the two wizards remembered they had to eat. Minnie decided,
eying their thin bodies suspiciously, to feed them double rations than they usually ate. They
decided no training was to take place that day and instead opted for a short trip to Diagon Alley
for potions ingredients and a few items needed for Harry's upcoming astronomy lessons. Severus
was trying to decide which telescope would fit Harry better as the boy absentmindedly looked
over some charts that depicted various constellations when he bumped into an old man who
seemed just as absorbed as himself.
"Forgive me sir, I didn't see you standing there." The boy said blushing profusely. The man
smiled kindly and waved his hand dismissing the apology.
"No need for apologies young man. I didn't see you standing there either." He explained. Harry
took that moment to observe the man closely; he was old, almost as old as Dumbledore or Merlin
had looked and he had kind brown eyes and a short white beard. His equally white hair was long
and he wore a pale green wizard's hat on his head that matched his long robes. The man's eyes
twinkled as he noticed the boy observing him. "Tell me, are you interested in astronomy? It's very
rare to see a boy your age in such a store."
"I'm actually here to buy a telescope sir." Harry said blushing again.
"So you are interested in astronomy!" The man exclaimed. Then he looked at Harry with worry.
The boy couldn't be older than six, maybe seven years of age. "But are you here alone?"
"No, sir." Harry said with a smile. "I'm here with Sev." He said and pointed at Severus who was
conversing over a telescope with the shop's owner. The man cocked his eyebrow at the
introduction but let it slide.
"So you're interested in astronomy." He repeated. "But how old are you?"
"Seven sir." The boy stated, looking at the old man with curious green eyes. He didn't want to
give out more information than necessary but the old man felt trustworthy.
"Seven and interested in more than Quidditch! Will you look at that!" He said good-naturedly.

"I'm interested in Quidditch too. Sev says I have a curiosity streak a mile wide." Harry explained
with a smile, making the man laugh.
"Ah, curiosity! Troublesome at times but where would we be without it?" The man exclaimed.
"And sadly very few possess creative curiosity anymore; it's good to meet a fellow spirit." Harry
laughed lightly at the man's words. "But where are my manners?" He wondered out loud. "My
name is Nicholas. And you would be?"
"I'm Harry, sir." The boy said and shook the old wizard's extended hand.
"It is nice to meet you Harry." The man stated with smiling eyes.
"Nicholas!" A woman's voice sounded from outside. Harry turned to look and his eyes met with
an elderly woman that looked about the same age as the man. "What are you doing in that shop
again? You have more charts than you'll ever need!"
"Ah! That would be my wife." Nicholas said conspiratorially. "I believe that's my cue to leave. It
was a pleasure meeting you Harry." He said looking at the boy with a smile. "I have a feeling we
shall meet again." And like that, he turned around and left a slightly confused Harry Potter looking
at his retreating form before shrugging his shoulders and joining Severus at the registry.
"You're always in that shop, Nicholas!" The old woman commented with a fond smile, trying to
look exasperated at her husband of many years.
"My dear Perenelle, I fear I'm too old to change my antics now." Nicholas said smiling.
"I know that look, Nicholas." His wife stated as she took in his pleased look. "What did you do
this time?"
"I believe I made a very interesting acquaintance today my dear." He stated as they walked
towards the Leaky Cauldron. "A very interesting acquaintance indeed!"

November Rain
It was a surprisingly sunny day for November in the Highlands, one Harry Potter thought to
himself as he skipped towards the dungeons of his guardian's castle early in the morning. The sun
peeking through the windows did nothing to lessen the cold outside but it was a nice change from
the endless grey that had surrounded the castle for over a week. The young boy walked
effortlessly through the corridors of the keep that he had come to call home over the past three,
almost four now, months.
Everything had gone as agreed during the summer; Harry spent three out of five working days of
the week plus weekends at Severus's house and none was the wiser that that house no longer was
at Spinner's End. Harry liked it better that way; things back at Potter manor had made a slight turn
for the worse if anyone wanted his opinion on the subject.
With the more rigorous training Adrian had to undergo, Harry found himself spending less and
less time in the presence of his parents. Once again, he wasn't mistreated or anything and he got
letters from them every time it was required for them to stay away for longer than two days. He
just couldn't help but feel excluded as he stood at the family table and heard stories of what Adrian
had seen or how Sirius and his father had gotten a new exciting mission from the Ministry and he
ended up finding out after it was over. True, they weren't supposed to discuss it before it was over,
but he didn't miss the conspirartory glances between his father and Adrian that clearly stated his
brother had known beforehand anyways.
And then there were the stories from Adrian's training; they were the worst of it all actually. It
wasn't that they went on and on about his brother's training. It was that they spoke in half
sentences, as if keeping a secret, as if Harry wasn't fit to know. He couldn't blame Adrian for that
as his brother, who had noticed Harry's sometimes hurt expression, had solemnly promised he
would teach him everything he knew the moment they started attending Hogwarts. That had
brought a soft smile to the green eyed boy's face and had served to reinforce his decision to allow
his brother to get all the training in the world.
Speaking of training, Harry thought, a very characteristic smirk -adopted from the very man he
had set out to find- appearing on his face; that was going rather well. In addition to the first mark
he had received on his emblem, a few days ago his magic had deemed him ready to receive the
mark of an apprentice in the Dark Arts. Harry was shocked to say the least when Severus
translated his newly acquired rune as he couldn't, for the life of him, remember ever practicing a
single spell characterized as dark. The potions master had regarded his rapidly panicking honorary
son with a blank expression before resolving into laughter; it took him a few minutes before he
was somber enough to explain to Harry that his magic had no way of differentiating between the
Dark Arts and Defense Against The Dark Arts, as that was a relatively modern term used to
separate the dark spells authorized by the Ministry from the ones forbidden.
Harry smiled at the thought of the man he had come to call his Dad. He remembered fondly some
of the happiest moments in the castle during their stay there; the surprise party he had thrown for
Severus for their first month in the castle for example. Harry, admittedly acting quite sneakily, had
made a point of getting all of the house elves to stay silent as he finally gathered all he needed for
his surprise just three days before the actual date. He had asked Minnie to bake a cake and
everything and used all his pocket money to buy Severus and himself two tickets for a game
between the Hollyhead Harpies and the Tutshill Tornadoes that was on the day that marked one
month of their stay. Severus had stood completely frozen in shock the moment he entered the
living room that day; Harry largely attributed that to the huge banner writing "My Home Is My
Castle!" that he had placed himself -as good practice for his levitation spellwork as any!- on the

wall.
Then there was that one time, early in September, when Severus explained to him what that
project of his was. Apparently all the talk of him and Harry being a family had peeked his interest,
so he did some research and go figure; magic would never cease to surprise him! It had turned out
that, back at that first day when Harry had called him Dad, their magic had acted on its own and
performed a ritual that, as Severus explained, had fallen out of practice for almost a millennia.
The boy rolled his eyes at remembering Severus's reaction from then on; the potions master had
deemed him a magnet of old magic of any kind with a very theatrical expression and went on -in a
quite successful Shakespearian dramatization- to predict how he would end up an old wizard with
a beard longer than both Dumbledore's and Merlin's combined, locked in his tower, studying
endlessly over charts and books. It was the day Harry discovered how very difficult it was to stay
cross at Severus Snape when he was going out of his way to depict exactly how Harry would
look at the age of one hundred and fifty, even donning said beard to be more descriptive.
Back at the ritual however; turns out their magic had reacted and performed what was called a
family bond specifically the, in Severus's words,Unum Genus Vinculum. It was a bond used
during the time their castle was first built to bind a child under the protection of an adult, making
said adult a third parent in magical terms, in case the family of the child was killed during a battle
or siege. It wasn't legally binding or anything and thus didn't appear in the Ministry's books, but
magic had acknowledged them as father and son and that was a secret both wizards treasured.
And now, Harry was on his way to find his honorary father who had once again skipped
breakfast, lost in his studies. Severus, being the good man he didn't believe he was, had begun a
new project after witnessing a scene at Potter manor almost a fortnight ago;
Harry was getting ready to depart from his family's house one Thursday afternoon and was
reading a book by the fire as he waited for Severus to floo over. The flames burned green and the
boy peered at the clock over the fireplace; Severus was always in time but their appointment was
in ten minutes and Harry knew for a fact he had a staff meeting in Hogwarts that afternoon. And
truly, it wasn't Severus who came out the flames but a disheveled and tired Remus Lupin.
"Hello Harry." The werewolf greeted the boy who swiftly put down the book he was holding and
rose from the armchair to meet him.
"Hey there, Moony." Harry greeted back observing the dark circles under the man's eyes. Remus
was only twenty eight but looked older than his years, the first grey hair already making its
appearance. He was looking especially tired that afternoon and Harry could guess why without
the help of his astronomy studies; it was the full moon last night.
"Is James home yet?" He asked as he sat down on the couch rubbing his eyes.
"No, my parents and Adrian made a last moment stop to Diagon Alley; something they needed
for tomorrow's training session but I have no idea what." Remus nodded and sighed tiredly,
making the boy's heart constrict. He hated that Remus had to go through that torture every
month; he was a great guy and he surely didn't deserve all that suffering. And thinking back on
the story he heard of how he came to be a werewolf he felt like tracking that Fenrir character and
teaching him a good lesson himself. Maybe he would do that one day.
"I'll just wait then."
"Do you want me to get you something to drink?" The boy asked concerned.
"Some water would be nice." The werewolf admitted.

"Water would be nice but I was thinking of something stronger." Harry said with a smile, making
Remus look up at him surprised. "Don't get me wrong Moony but you look like death." The man
chuckled mirthlessly but nodded.
"No offence taken." Harry smiled and called Gus, one of the two Potter family house elves and
asked for a glass of firewhiskey and a bar of milk chocolate, making Remus chuckle
appreciatively. "It's good to see somebody in the Potter household has grasped the importance of
chocolate." The amber eyed man stated.
"Remus, if I had learned one thing from you, that would be that everything feels better after a bar
of chocolate!" And as if on queue, Gus reappeared with a pop and handed the tired man the
required items. Remus sighed and sipped on his drink in silence as Harry sat quietly, giving him
time to rest. A few minutes later the flames in the fireplace burned green once more and the black
clad professor -Severus still wore black in sake of appearances at school- stepped out the flames.
His eyes immediately fell on Harry before darting to the slumped form of Remus on the couch.
"Good afternoon Harry, Lupin." He stated in a monotone voice, the faade of the stern potions
master on while a third party was in the room. Remus rose to shake his hand, which Severus did
without hesitation. From the three remaining Marauders -Peter Pettigrew was widely treated as
dead- the potions master regarded only Remus with respect. Harry had been informed of the
prank his father and Sirius had attempted to play on Severus while in school, surprisingly not
from the intended victim but from the werewolf himself; Remus had been worried that Severus
would treat Harry with prejudice because of the long living feud between him and his father and
wanted him to know how it had all started. Harry had swiftly reassured him that prejudice was
not an issue and had wisely refrained from revealing any knowledge of the feelings he always
suspected Severus held for his mother.
"Good afternoon Severus." Remus greeted the professor with a tired but polite smile. "You have
come to pick Harry up I assume?"
"Yes." Severus answered laconically as Remus sat back down on the couch rubbing his tired eyes
with a sigh, missing the concerned look that was etched on the black clad man's face. "Are you
ready to go, Potter?" he asked instead of commenting.
"Ready professor." Harry offered with a smirk that went unnoticed by the werewolf, carrying out
the charade. They bid goodbye to the werewolf and flooed in Severus's office and from there to
the castle.
"Lupin looked awful." Severus commented as they stepped out in the large hall.
"First day after the full moon." Harry reminded him. "Unless someone comes up with a more
permanent solution than the Wolfsbane, he will look like that for three days each month. Maybe
more." Severus had paused on his way to the kitchen -it was pointless to eat in the dinning room
where the table was meant to seat more than forty people with ease- and Harry turned to find a
determined expression plastered on his face. "Sev" He started as he regarded the newly ignited
fire in the young potions master's eyes.
"You made an excellent point, Harry." He simply stated and left in a fluid motion of his black
cape. Harry managed to see him climbing the -admittedly breathtaking- double staircase in the
main hall, easily guessing he was heading for the library. There was no force in the world that
could compete with a decided Severus Snape, Harry thought shrugging as he continued his way
to the kitchen. Something told him he would have to take Severus's dinner to his study that night.
"Good evening master Harry." Minnie greeted him as he entered the kitchen. "Hasn't master
Severus arrived with yous, sir?" She asked concerned.

"Oh he has." The boy answered absentmindedly. "He just needed to visit the library first."
"Is everything alright sir?" The house elf asked confused.
"Yes, Minnie." Harry said with a smile. "But I'm afraid I've created a monster."
And that was the reason why, once again, Harry found himself walking to the dungeons,
reminding Severus he had to eat to survive. He knocked on the door to the potions lab twice.
"Come on in Harry." Sounded the voice of the potions master. Harry opened the door and smiled
fondly at Severus who was brewing a standard Wolfsbane in a cauldron. "Good morning Harry."
The older wizard stated distractedly.
"Good morning to you too Sev!" Came the amused greeting from the boy. "You need to shave."
He stated as he noticed the stubble on Severus's face. "And eat breakfast while you're at it, before
Minnie hunts you down and force feeds you." That seemed to break his concentration.
"I skipped breakfast again didn't I?" He asked rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
"The most important meal of the day, as Minnie never fails to remind me." Harry stated laughing.
Minnie had, during the past months, taken up personally the role of mother hen to both Severus
and Harry to the two wizards' great amusement. Needless to say, they adored the elf to bits. "And
we're supposed to ride up to the Quidditch pitch today to oversee how the restoration's going."
Harry reminded him. It turned out that the last three or four generations of Princes had decided
Quidditch was useless and had allowed the pitch to fall into decay. That and the fact that it was
located almost three miles and a half away from the castle gave them the perfect excuse for not
caring for its condition. It also gave Harry and Severus the equally perfect excuse to ride in order
to get there; Severus had indeed kept his promise and, when the weather allowed them, the two
wizards rode around the fields of the estate. The boy had come to enjoy those moments immensely
and had discovered a natural talent for horse riding in the process.
"I'm supposed to test the spells they placed today right?" Severus asked trying to remember
exactly what said spells were. Turns out, it wasn't just the field itself that needed tending to; there
was a series of specific wards and spells required for a Quidditch pitch to be in perfect condition.
"Yep. And you'll be happy to know it's a lovely day out there; no cloud in sight whatsoever."
"That's something at least." Severus agreed. It was an hour later that found the two wizards riding
towards the field, after Severus had been properly scolded for missing his breakfast by a miffed
house elf and treated to a double ration, to Harry's great amusement.
"So at what hour did you wake up today?" Harry asked as they rode side by side, passing a lake
that was part of the estate.
"A few minutes before sunrise I think." Severus admitted. "I had an inspiration, or thought I had
an inspiration." He sighed exasperated. "It's all in the basic ingredients; there's something missing
I'm sure. I wish I knew what."
"If anyone can find it Sev, that would be you." The boy assured him decisively.
"Thank you for the vote of confidence Harry." Severus said smiling. "But really I feel like the
solution staring me in the eye and I just can't see it."
"You will; it took four years of intensive study to develop the original Wolfsbane, not to think
about how long it took for the concept to be thought alone." Harry stated making Severus smirk.

"Someone has been studying potions I see."


"And someone has forgotten I'm an apprentice in potions, says I." Harry stated with a wide smile.
"Cheeky brat." Severus said fondly.
"What can I say?" Harry asked. "You must be raising me right!" He exclaimed and urged his
horse faster, soon followed by a chuckling Severus. He had placed more than a dozen charms on
that saddle to make sure Harry wouldn't fall down even if a troll tried to throw him off the horse
with its club, but the boy didn't appear to need it. They reached the Quidditch field laughing and
Harry observed carefully as Severus showed him how to test the wards. The spells and charms
required where too advanced for him still, but it never hurt to learn the theory, as Severus
reminded him. Checking for the wards of course, demanded looking towards the sky quite a lot.
And looking towards the sky reminded Severus a very crucial detail about the weather in late
autumn; it was -in addition to cold and cloudy- completely unpredictable.
"No cloud in the sky whatsoever, right?" He asked Harry amused.
"There wasn't one when I last checked." Harry stated sharing the same amusement. Both were
dressed quite warmly for the occasion, Severus's surprising preference of military style overcoats
having rubbed off on Harry. Still none of their outfits was waterproof and shielding charms
couldn't completely protect them from the storm that was gathering ahead.
"Maybe it would be wise to head back." The potions master suggested, hurriedly completing his
checking of the wards. Harry could only nod his agreement as he approached the horses. They
both headed back a few minutes later but the clouds seemed to beat them to it.
"I believe it's time for those rainproof spells Sev." Harry proposed as the first thunder made its
appearance overhead. Severus drew his wand in agreement and they stopped their horses so he
could cast properly. "Sometimes I wonder if we'd be better off living in a sunnier place; a desert
perhaps?" The boy asked joking but Severus didn't react. He just stood, seemingly petrified, his
eyes wide in surprise, his hand extended as he had just begun to cast the spell needed. "Sev?"
Harry asked confused. As if that was the sign the skies expected, a heavy curtain of rain fell over
them, drenching them to the bone. Harry was beginning to worry. Severus hadn't moved a muscle,
not showing the slightest reaction to the downpour. His mind however was racing.
Desert, Severus thought, his mind travelling back to the list of ingredients he was considering for
improving the Wolfsbane. A desert, as in those large usually sand-filled wastelands where only
few specimens of flora are native. And in one of those deserts, there was a specific plant, a tiny
little flower, a very rare flower, that bloomed only during the summer when the heat was at its
worst. It wasn't the complete solution to the Wolfsbane's problem, Severus was certain about that.
But it was a hell of a start.
"Severus?" Harry's concerned voice pierced his thoughts as if coming from afar. "Severus!"
"I'm fine Harry. More than fine actually!" The potions master could feel the smile spreading on his
face as he spoke. "I feel amazing and you know what?" He asked the bewildered boy.
"No?" Harry stated, looking at Severus as if he had gone crazy.
"Remember what I promised you last summer? That I would take you to see the world?" He
asked and saw a small smile breaking on Harry's face despite his confusion.
"I remember."

"I believe I should make good on that promise, don't you think?" He asked and started riding back
towards the castle. "Come on Harry! There's lot to do and I'll need your help!" Severus called
turning his horse slightly to face the still frozen boy, completely disregarding the heavy rain. Harry
commanded his own horse to follow, chuckling all the way back to the castle. This had blackmail
material written all over it!

Desert Sands
Severus was sitting in his study, looking over the final touches of their upcoming journey; and by
their, of course, he meant his and Harry's. He smiled at the thought of the boy. He couldn't believe
it was almost a year since Harry had practically moved in with him and together they had started
living in his mother's family castle. It had easily been the best year of his life and a year of a lot of
firsts. He had celebrated his birthday for the first time in his adult life; he had celebrated Christmas
for the first time in his adult life too. He remembered the day fondly.
Harry had spent Christmas day at his house of course but he had come over on Boxing day and
they had exchanged gifts amongst laughter and jokes. The castle was completely decorated for the
occasion, fully equipped with a huge Christmas tree that Harry had cajoled the potions master into
buying. It did look great, Severus gave him that. Harry had given Severus a camera, stating it was
high time they took some family pictures and Severus had given the boy his first broomstick, a
Nimbus 1500, the fastest model to date. He had bought one for himself too and, once spring came
around, Harry had the opportunity to show yet another natural talent, in flying this time. Severus,
who had slowly started rediscovering his affinity for the game, had easily declared the boy would
be a gifted seeker.
And that wasn't the only area where Harry had proven being gifted; they had made great progress
with his magical training too and now, barely eight years old, Harry had received his third
apprenticing mark in Charms. Not that it surprised Severus; Lily had always been gifted in that
area. He smiled softly at the progress he had made himself; he had finally reached a point in his
life where he could think of his time with Lily fondly, the burning pain that used to be there
having dissolved. He was healing.
With another smile, he rose from his chair and let his mind wander back to the journey at hand and
his travelling companion; Harry had turned eight yesterday and thus had stayed at Potter manor
where his family had returned for the customary celebration. The boy was loath to admit it but he
had missed his brother; Severus merely smiled at the thought. Adrian wasn't half bad, he had to
admit, but he couldn't understand how nobody had noticed just how much different from the
supposed boy who lived Harry was. If his family had taken the time, they would have noticed his
extremely fast development on any topic of magic that fell into his hands. Truth be old, the potions
master conceded, they had both gone out of their way concealing the truth. Case and point,
Severus thought with a smile as he caught his reflection in the mirror.
Last March they had hit a brick wall in Harry's training; the boy had started practicing magic that
was taught in second year at Hogwarts and the more advanced spells seemed to take a lot out of
him. The solution turned out to be much simpler than Severus had originally thought and was
given, surprisingly, by Minnie when commending for what seemed to be the hundredth time how
skinny the boy was. Harry's body simply wasn't strong enough to support the magic coming from
his core. Severus had at first thought to increase the boy's rations and disallow him to leave the
table until every last bite was gone, but that would do nothing for his strength; in the long term, he
didn't want Harry to just gain weight. His body needed to get stronger.
That part of the problem was solved by one of his ancestors, Sir Edwin, when he was passing in
front of his portrait in the north gallery. The old knight was quite certain the system they used to
train children for fight was still usable; upon being asked what that system did, Sir Edwin had
graced him with a "For sword fighting lessons of course! Young men these days!"
After a week's worth of research, Severus had discovered a statue in the dungeon, in the very
same room they used for practicing magic. Apparently there was a spell that caused the statue of

the knight to start moving and teach what it called "the fine art of swordsmanship". Said fine art
included swinging a broadsword around the room and Severus had swiftly decided to participate
actively in that part of Harry's training. Somewhere along the way he had discovered that, after
spending his day teaching students bent on exploding his classroom, hitting things with a sword
was an immensely satisfying outlet of his frustration.
Of course, all that sword training, horse riding and Quidditch practice had woken his appetite and
soon, he found his body transforming; he had, for the first time in his life, gained muscle and
admittedly looked healthier than ever. Problem was, he knew he was bound to capture the
attention of one madam Pomfrey in the end and then would be forced to answer questions he'd
rather leave unasked. It turned out that concealing and image shifting spells were a great
investment; when at school or outside the castle he changed his appearance to what it had been at
the beginning of the school year. He was half certain his students would have trouble recognizing
him without his black cape and haggard appearance.
Harry completely disapproved of course and only gave in when Severus agreed in disguising the
height the boy recently gained too. That, in combination with showing no sign of his knowledge
to his family had seemed to fool even Dumbledore who never thought of looking past what he
expected to see. The potions master had of course taken extreme caution with his spells, making
them blend into his natural magical signature; but the fact remained that Albus simply never
looked.
And now there he was, completely free of disguises, waiting for Harry to arrive so they could
depart. The potions master smirked at the thought; he had always wanted to visit Morocco. It was
a stroke of luck that had the very flower he was seeking to be in that very country. He had been
searching all year and even had to take a couple of weekend trips to France -that Harry had
enjoyed more than he had, if that was possible- in search for a map with the exact location he was
seeking. He had the time pinned down to the second and all that was missing now was getting
there.
He exited his study, after a quick glance at the clock, and started making his way towards the hall
where Harry was due to floo at in fifteen minutes. He had made reservations at a wizards retreat
near the location and had opted on getting there ten days early; for one, it would be better to find
the location beforehand and not search at the last moment and secondly, he wanted Harry to see a
bit of Morocco too. The boy had been extremely helpful with his research, staying with him
during the long nights at the library, even if that meant sleeping on the couch while Severus
worked. They both deserved the vacation, Severus concluded.
He reached the hall were the fireplace was lit, ready for Harry's arrival. Severus sat on the corner
of the couch and mentally checked the items he needed to take with him. Satisfied he had
everything he needed, he turned his attention to the flames. He didn't have to wait for long; the
flames soon shone green and through the fireplace came an extremely excited Harry Potter.
"Can we leave already?" He asked hugging Severus, who hugged him back and lifted the
concealing charm from his person, giving Harry back the four inches it hid.
"Nice to see you too Harry. I'm fine, thanks for asking." Severus stated neutrally, making the boy
blush. "Excited much?"
"Just a little." Harry admitted sheepishly.
"And to answer your question we'll leave in an hour by portkey." Harry smiled expectedly.
"Did you get an approval by the Ministry?" It was no secret between them that Harry had wanted
to travel by portkey for ages.

"Even asking for approval by the Ministry would require stating the names of those using the
protkey and the reason of leaving the country." Severus explained. "Luckily I do know how to
create a slightly illegal portkey that can take us to our destination without having to explain why
I'm trying to smuggle a Potter out of the country without parental consent." The potions master
explained with a down right self-satisfied smirk, sending Harry in a fit of laughter.
"I promise I won't complain about being smuggled out of the country, Sev." Harry promised,
wiping the tears from his eyes as Severus gave him his wand. They had decided he'd better carry it
with him in case of emergency and only that. The hour passed in small talk, Harry narrating how
Adrian had finally admitted he needed glasses and his mother's surprise when it turned out that he
didn't; thankfully that had been accounted as a result of inheriting Lily's eyes and thus no more
questions were asked.
The Potter family, minus one, had left again for the rest of the summer, after a short visit from
Ronald Weasley, the sixth son of Arthur Weasley, if Severus remembered correctly. Apparently,
he and Adrian had met one day in the Ministry and became quick friends. Harry himself admitted
enjoying the boy's company, even if he did have some sort of obsession with the Chudley
Cannons. A lost cause, Severus agreed as the team hadn't seen a place other than last since the late
nineteenth century.
The hour passed faster than expected and soon the two wizards found themselves holding their
trunks in one hand and an old frying pan -the portkey- in the other.
"Three, two, one" Severus counted backwards and Harry felt a strong nudge behind his navel,
as if an invisible hand was pulling him backwards; his hands locked down on his trunk and the
portkey as the world started spinning. When the sensation seemed to lessen, Harry prepared
himself and sifted his weight backwards while extending one leg forward, a trick Severus had
taught him so he wouldn't land on his face. He opened his eyes the moment he felt solid ground
beneath his extended foot and looked around him in wonder; the first thing that got to him was the
heat. Severus had warned him about it of course, but he never expected something of that
magnitude. It was scorching and even the air was hot as he inhaled. Then it was the setting itself;
he was standing on crackled golden-red earth that dissolved into sand in the distance when he
looked back. And when he looked forward
"Do you only stay in castles or something?" Harry asked the potions master amused. In front of
him stood a Kasbah, a Moroccan citadel in perfect condition, the golden coloured walls standing
proud on a granite cliff. A shallow river flowed between them and the settlement while palm trees
and green desert bushes contrasted brightly with the red hues of the ground.
"What can I say?" He asked rhetorically. "Call me sentimental, but it reminded me of home."
"Okay, Mr. Sentimental." Harry stated and smiled. "Now can we go?" Severus chuckled and
lifted the two trunks in the air with a flick of his wand. They walked under the desert sun slowly,
passing the wooden bridge in the river and continuing towards the Kasbah.
"What do you say we try and blend in with the locals a bit?" Severus asked winking at Harry.
"There's no point in trying to follow the trail on the map with that sun." Harry regarded him
confused.
"Sev, don't get this the wrong way, but we just arrived from Scotland. I can bet you every single
person in this country is more tanned than my whole family has ever been put together. And the
two of us? We're considered pale even back home. How do you suggest blending in?" The boy
asked amused.

"You do make a good point Harry, but what I meant was maybe buying some local clothes, visit
the wizards' bazaar in the nearby town, take some pictures, play tourists for a while." Severus
explained smiling.
"Oh." Harry stated, his smile widening. "We could do that."
"Yes, we could." Severus agreed as they approached the entrance of the Kasbah. They entered
through an amazingly high gate, fashioned in the one of a kind detailed woodwork found only in
Morocco and into what appeared to be an inner garden. The building was rectangular in shape,
with a shallow marble pool filled with clean water in the middle, the inner walls reaching upwards
to a brass and clear crystal dome that gleamed in the sun. They approached the reception where a
pretty, young woman, maybe twenty one or twenty-two years old, with dark hair and large grey
eyes was handing the key to a couple in front of them.
"Enjoy your stay in our Kasbah!" She spoke with an accented voice and a polite smile. Harry's
eyes gleamed mischievously as he noticed the girl's smile widening and reaching her eyes as she
regarded Severus appreciatively. "Good morning sir!" She greeted him, her eyes blinking rapidly
a couple of times, her voice deepening. Severus blinked once in shock, but shook it off quickly.
"Good morning." He started and the girl smiled even wider, her eyes fluttering at the sound on his
voice. Harry did his best not to laugh, as Severus kept speaking. "We have a reservation under the
name Black." He smiled at the name Harry had picked as their alias, after deciding the name
Potter was easily recognizable even across the borders. Black was selected as it was common
enough and was a lovely pun to the mutt who would most probably keel over and die if he ever
found out Severus had used his name to sneak out of the country.
"Oh yes I see, father and son. And what a lovely boy you have!" She exclaimed looking at Harry.
"He looks like you, if I may say so." The two wizards smirked looking at each other. "Severus is
it?" She asked the potions master with yet another wave of fluttering eyelids.
"Yes, quite right." Severus offered, his large dark eyes wide. Harry tried to hold back his laughter;
with his wide eyes and shy smile, Severus was giving the receptionist a full blown puppy-eye
look. He appeared completely different than he ever did, for the first time looking younger than his
age and the best thing was, Harry thought in glee, that we was doing it completely unintentionally.
The effect on the girl was immediate; she sighed softly and assumed a dreamy look, the key
forgotten in her hand. This was taking forever, Harry thought.
"Could I have the key miss?" Harry asked sweetly as he widened his eyes, mimicking Severus
perfectly. The girl smiled at him too and gave him the key.
"What a sweet son you have, Severus." She said sighing once more, completely forgetting any
formalities.
"Ah yes." The potions master mumbled as he looked at Harry confused for a second, before
realizing exactly what had happened. That cheeky brat! "Thank you for your help miss" he
trailed off smiling at the girl who returned the smile tenfold.
"Asmae." She whispered.
"Asmae." Severus repeated her name causing her to blush.
"If you need anything just call the reception." She stated with a wink. "Are we to expect a Mrs.
Black too?" She asked coyly.
"Nope!" Harry quipped before Severus could respond. "Just Dad and me, Miss Asmae." The girl

smiled at Harry.
"What a lovely boy you are!" She stated. The man behind Severus and Harry cleared his throat
politely. Harry turned around and noticed that a small line had formed behind them.
"We should better go to our room; thank you again, Asmae." Severus bid her goodbye.
"Don't mention it, Mr. Black. Your room is on the fourth floor, suite eight. A house elf will take
care of your trunks; just leave them by the elevator." The receptionist explained with yet another
smile. "Enjoy your stay!"
"Thank you, Miss Asmae." Harry added as they walked towards the elevator.
"What was that?" Severus asked cocking one eyebrow in surprise.
"Come on, Sev!" Harry exclaimed in mock reproach. "I'm eight and even I could see she fancies
you!"
"What?" Severus asked in shock. "No she was just Aren't you too young to know stuff like that
anyway?"
"Sev, did you forget that I have spent a great time of my life near the original Mr. Black?" Harry
said shaking his head as they entered the elevator. "Whether I wanted to or not, I picked up a
couple of things."
"But did you have to go all sweet and innocent on the poor girl? She had half a mind to adopt you
by the end, I'm sure." Severus complained, still unable to wrap his mind around the concept.
"Me? I was going all sweet and innocent?" Harry asked surprised. "And what about you with that
lost puppy look and then being all charming and stuff." Severus's eyes widened this time in terror.
"What. Lost. Puppy. Look?" He asked, pausing between each word.
"And you didn't even notice" The boy said shaking his head as the elevator stopped at their
floor. The doors opened to reveal a luxurious corridor, covered with a thick carpet. "Suite four,
six here we are!" The boy exclaimed pointing at the door.
"We're not done with that conversation you know! Lost puppy" Severus grumbled under his
breath, making Harry giggle. The door opened and they entered a room that took Harry's breath
away. It was large with two king sized canopy beds, and was fashioned in the same rhythm as the
main lobby. Linen hung from the ceiling and the view from the windows overlooked the river and
the sand dunes in the distance.
"I love it!" Harry exclaimed and jumped on the bed excitedly. It took an hour to place all their
clothes in the closet and have the dreaded puppy conversation -Severus filed the information away
for further use, his Slytherin side emerging- before they left the room to look around the town.
Severus explained how this town was once a muggle fortress that was eventually abandoned
before wizards and witches of the area took residence and rebuilt it.
True to his word, he took Harry to the local bazaar, where they roamed around and ended up
buying an astronomy chart for Harry and some potion ingredients that were rare back in England
for shared use. By the end of the hour, Severus wore a soft grey, linen shirt that reached just above
his knees with a pair of black linen pants, having wrapped a long red scarf loosely around his
neck, as was the fashion amongst the wizard community of the town. Harry's shirt was a soft blue
and his scarf white, but they both welcomed the lighter clothes and the cooler feeling the linen
provided.

They ate in a local restaurant, Harry snapped pictures of the two of them and everything that
moved, rented two horses for the period they would stay and then returned to the hotel to leave
their purchases, shower and sleep. When the sun started falling to the west, they left the hotel once
more, as discreetly as possible, and led their horses over the river before Severus unfolded the
map. They made a quick assessment of their location -the parchment was after all more than four
hundred years old, so accuracy wasn't its strong point- and rode southbound, parallel to the river.
This was going to be the first of at least a fortnight worth of long nights, Severus realized as the
evening star rose in the horizon. The search for the flower known simply as Elosa had begun.

Moonlet Discoveries
Six nights, Severus thought sullenly. It had been exactly six nights since they had started looking
for the flower and he could feel they were getting closer every time. It wasn't that he was
impatient, no; he would keep coming night after night for months on end if it was just up to him.
Even Harry, at his young age, didn't complain on the nights he spent on horseback when he could
be sleeping on a soft bed back at the Kasbah, fully understanding why finding the flower was
important.
No, it was the time that was ticking against them that made their search all the more
urgent. Elosa, the flower they were after, only bloomed in the last summer month and even then,
only when the moon was in the sky. Severus knew that only left them a window of opportunity
for a few hours every night. And they still only had twenty nights in total before the elusive desert
flower buried itself under the sands for another year. They were riding towards an assortment of
rocky cliffs in the west, having left the river behind them after the second night; they should be
getting close. If those were the cliffs depicted in the map, then the flowers should be somewhere
amongst them. It truly wasn't that far from the town they were staying in; if they knew the road,
Severus believed it would only require three hours of continuous riding to reach the cliffs. The
problem was, this was the desert; and if you didn't know the road, you couldn't just ride in blindly,
wizard or not.
So the routine had been the same every night; they rode with stops every fifteen minutes, they
checked the surrounding area and compared it with the map, marked their progress and returned to
the hotel just before the sunrise. The first night had been a shock; Severus had travelled quite a lot
for his mastery in potions but his path had never led him to a desert and especially not at night.
And while he knew the temperature dropped during nighttime, he hadn't expected such a great
difference. Having learned their lesson the first time, they were now equipped with thick cloaks
which they wore every night since.
Harry had joked they looked like desert bandits. Severus laughed at how close the green eyed
wizard was to the truth; since Elosa was a protected type of flora, as he explained to the boy,
them taking it out of the country wasn't exactly legal. Thankfully, the pedals weren't used as they
were but had to undergo processing and be turned into oil that could easily be smuggled out of the
country. Harry had unexpectedly smirked at the prospect and something glowed in his eyes, a
light that Severus simply called The Glint. He had a feeling it was a look that would return to
Harry's eyes in the future. The boy's only question after that had been whether there was any type
of customs control when they left the country. Sure there was, the potions master had replied; if
you flew by broom or used a legal portkey, you had to declare everything. Harry had just rolled
his eyes and turned his attention back to the map, deciding an improved Wolfsbane potion was
worth a bit of smuggling.
"Hey, Sev." The boy turned to the potions master smiling. Both of them had acquired a soft tan,
something a few girls back at the hotel had commended, much to Severus' amusement. It had been
many years since the last time he was enjoying drawing some attention and the first time that
attention had been solely female. Harry made fun of him at the beginning until a blond girl about
his age had grabbed him by the arm and introduced him to her parents as her boyfriend. The
terrified boy was saved by Severus and had sulked for the whole day, adding to the potions
master's entertainment.
"Yes Harry?" Severus asked, their voices the only sounds that broke the silence except for the
whooshing of the wind over the sand dunes.

"Maybe I should have asked before, but why is this flower so special?" Harry inquired. "I know
it's supposed to stabilize the Wolfsbane and keep its effects from dissolving, but why that flower
especially? And what kind of a name is Elosa anyway? It's not local, that's for sure."
"It's a bit of a sad story, should would like to hear it." Severus warned the boy.
"Do you have better plans for tonight?" Harry asked amused as he brought his horse closer to
Severus's so they wouldn't have to speak that loud. After getting used to the calm of the desert,
any type of excess sound was too much.
"Cheeky brat." Severus muttered, noting he used the term more and more while they were abroad;
it was nice to see Harry acting like the young boy he was for once and not continuously carrying
the burden of being the boy who lived in secret and his brother's hidden protector. Sure, the boy
tried not to show it, but sometimes it was as clear as day in his eyes.
"Will I get the story tonight or you'll play Scheherazade and tell me tomorrow night instead?"
Harry asked cocking his eyebrow. The movement reminded Severus himself too much to keep the
good-humored banter going. For too long.
"I will tell you if you remind why did I ever give you any works of literature on the first place."
"Because, and I quote you here, a well rounded education is always better than mindless training."
Harry quipped.
"I was right too." Severus said nodding once, making Harry laugh. "The story of the flower goes
like this; back at the late fourteenth century, the German Ministry of Magic sent a search team in
what today is the country of Morocco; they were ordered to find help for a wizard war that had
started in middle Europe. And by help I don't mean reinforcements or new forms of magic, no.
The main cause of trouble at the time was poison; a new type of poison had been created for the
battlefield and had the potency to kill massively; it was charmed into the water and the food and
killed indiscriminately. The search party was sent here after a small plant that was famed for its
magical ability by the locals."
"The Elosa?" Harry asked intrigued.
"Exactly." Severus confirmed. "Only that the flower was unnamed back then. The one that bore
the nameElosa at the time was the twelve year old daughter of the party's leader. He mother had
died of the poison earlier that year and her father, a famous for his magical prowess wizard of the
time, had volunteered to lead the expedition. He had taken his only daughter with him, not having
any surviving relatives to leave her with. They lived in this desert for over a month and remember,
back then the town we're staying at was abandoned still."
"So what happened?"
"Allegedly, Elosa was walking around one night when a soft blue light coming amongst a pile of
rocks caught her attention; she moved near and, to her great surprise, the light turned out to be
emanating from a bunch of small, bell-like flowers, that seemed to reflect the light of the moon.
Wanting to share her discovery, she ran back to the camp where her father was still asleep. She
did however find some of his men who, exhausted from the long wait, jumped at the opportunity
to find the rare flower and return to their families. What none of them noticed was the moon."
"The moon?" Harry asked completely absorbed.
"Yes the moon. Elosa only blooms under the moonlight Harry. Of course, none of the members
of the group -and certainly not a little twelve year old girl- had any knowledge of that fact. It was

as you understand only natural to pay no heed to the lunar eclipse that was set for that night."
Harry's eyes were wide as he hung from Severus's lips.
"And?"
"The girl did lead them where she had seen the flowers but without the moonlight, the plant had
retreated back into the sand. In a burst of rage, one of the men drew his wand and pointed it at the
girl; the rest of the men jumped at her rescue but a stray curse hit her in the end. It is said that her
father, who was awoken by the shouts, found the spot only moments after the fatal curse had hit
the girl." Severus shrugged as he continued. "As you understand, the moon soon came out again
and the flowers resurfaced."
"And they took them back to Europe?"
"They did; as it turned out, the flowers themselves had no healing quality. What they did was help
stabilize the effect of the potion in which they were added. One drop of the oil produced from the
petals of the plant is said to prolong the effect for large amounts of time; nobody ever truly
measured. The point of the story however is that the flower was proven to be completely useless
for the healing poison they needed. The antidote was eventually created and the flower simply
passed into history as Elosa. Nobody knows what happened to the girl's father. The flowers were
considered a myth, until a French botanologist stumbled over them by accident three centuries
ago; he catalogued the flowers and brought a small specimen back. It's his map we're following."
Severus explained.
"But if this flower's abilities are so powerful," Harry stated confused. "Why isn't it used for more
potions? It should be famous."
"Think about it, Harry." Severus said smiling softly at the boy's furrowed brow. Eventually, the
green eyed wizard sighed as he reached a conclusion.
"Because nobody really means for potions to be permanent; they're supposed to act and then
dissolve." The boy said, making Severus nod with no little amount of pride.
"If we were at school I would award you fifty points for that, Harry." The potions master assured
him. "That's something wizards fail to understand about potions; they are highly dangerous if they
remain inside the body for more than needed; many of the ingredients are poisonous by nature and
those that are not still aren't supposed to last forever. Take the Skelegrow potion for example;
because of the time it takes to act, none of its ingredients is poisonous. But can you imagine what
would happen if it never stopped working?"
"The patients' bones would keep growing?" Harry asked making a grimace, gripping the reigns of
his horse tighter.
"Exactly. The potion would have to do something and when it found no bones to re-grow, it
would work on the existing ones. It's actually one of the problems when overdosing with said
potion." Severus elaborated.
"But what about the Wolfsbane? Don't we want its effect to be permanent?" Harry asked.
"Do we?" Severus asked, wanting Harry to work this out on his own.
"I get it." The boy said after some minutes of thought. "We want the effect it has every full moon
to be permanent. But the Wolfsbane doescontain poisonous ingredients so it can't be active all the
time."
"Once again, points to whatever House you'll be chosen for." Severus said smiling. "If I just

wanted an ingredient that kept the effect of the potion going on forever, I could possibly recreate
the effect in my lab back at home, thus this whole excursion would have been pointless. It's a
different reason that, in addition to its ability to sustain the effects of a potion, makes this flower so
special." The potions' master waited patiently for Harry to catch on. The boy didn't disappoint.
"It's the reaction it has under moonlight. If you can find a way to reproduce the flower's original
reaction to the moonlight in a potion, then you will have a Wolfsbane that is only activated when
the werewolf is affected by the moon, making only the desired effect permanent." Harry
concluded. "That's brilliant!"
"Well thank you, Harry." Severus said with a smile as their horses reached the cliffs. "Of course
that will require a lot of research and quite possibly a long list of ingredients to eventually produce
the desired effect; but it's a start." They rode for a while in silence.
"You were right though." The boy admitted, looking at the moon.
"I was right about what?"
"It was a sad story." Harry said with a soft smile.
"I did warn you." Severus retorted pulling an insulted -and much exaggerated- face. Harry
laughed at his antics.
"You did; it was interesting though. I wonder" Harry said and trailed off looking in the
distance.
"You wonder?" Severus prompted the boy.
"Forget that." Harry said looking mesmerized ahead, his voice that of a person in daze. "Right
now I wonder if the story affected me too much or if there is truly a blue glow coming from the
rocks over there." The boy stated and pointed towards some rocks in the distance. Severus's head
snapped at the direction Harry had pointed out so fast he felt dizzy. It didn't matter though; Harry's
seeker talent had caught on a very different glow than that of the golden snitch this time.
"Harry?" The potions master turned to the boy solemnly.
"Yes, Sev?" The black eyed professor's answering grin was all the answer Harry needed.
"Race you to the flowers!" Severus exclaimed and urged his horse forward, Harry immediately
following suit with a laugh. They reached the glowing flowers within minutes and were rewarded
with the sight they had been hoping to see; more than they hoped really.
"A few flowers between some rocks?" Harry asked with a face-splitting smile. A small valley had
appeared before their eyes, previously hidden from the sharp rocks. And in that valley, thousands
of glistering flowers promised hope under the moonlight.
"Maybe the story erred a little." Severus admitted and dismounted his horse in one fluid
movement, helping Harry do the same. They tied the reigns on some rocks and swooped into
action, each holding a small sickle whose blade was made by the purest silver. Harry cut the
delicate flowers right above the two large leaves near the ground, as Severus had instructed him so
they could grow back next year, and placed the flower with the stem in a soft linen bag he had
crossed over his back. It was a slow process and every flower produced barely enough amount of
oil to be considered a drop.
"To tell you the truth Sev," The boy began as he continued cutting carefully, making sure he
didn't step on the plants he had already harvested "I believed it would take us the whole month to
find out where the flowers were." Harry admitted with a smile that was met with a mock austere

glare by the potions master.


"It's good to see you have faith in my navigation skills, Harry." Severus commended feigning
hurt.
"But it's true; remember that one time when you were lost in the forest back home?" Harry asked
laughing, reminding Severus of an event that had occurred last May. "If the horses hadn't known
the way back we would be lost! In the fields of our own home, can you imagine?" Severus smiled
at the "our home" reference.
"What you seem to forget is that you were right there with me and equally lost." Severus offered
chuckling.
"And you seem to forget that you're the adult in this family; did you expect a seven year old to
lead you back home?" Harry asked seriously, pointing his sickle at Severus. "I think not!' Severus
just rolled his eyes and continued working, too happily concentrated on the "family" part of
Harry's remark to retort. They would have to return again the next night and maybe the night after
that, but they would have all the Elosaflowers they could need.
It must have been twenty minutes later when something caught Severus' attention. The horses
seemed restless all of a sudden. He looked up in the sky and towards the desert but the sky was
clear and the wind was mild; there was no single indication of a sandstorm in the horizon and,
even if that was the case, they would be pretty much protected in the cliffs. That natural protection
and a handful of protective charms would be all they needed really. The horses however still
seemed restless and tried to break free from their binds. Harry turned to face the now neighing
horses and put his sickle and bag down to approach them.
"Easy, boys." He said calmly, petting the animals softly. "Sev, any idea why they're worried?"
The horses didn't seem to relax no matter what.
"No, and the weather seems Harry behind you!" Severus exclaimed he heart stopping in his
chest. On the rocks behind Harry stood a large snake ready to pounce on the boy. Severus
remained frozen; the slightest move could cause the snake to strike and nobody could draw a
wand faster than an attacking snake.
The snake regarded Harry who in turn looked at it straight in the beads it had for eyes; it was a
long snake, of brown colour and, as most of the snakes in Africa, apparently poisonous. Harry
didn't even dare to blink. The snake seemed to make its decision and drew its head farther back,
ready to strike.
"Stay away from my eggs!" Harry's eyes widened further at the whistling voice. Had the snake
just talked to him? Never taking his eyes from the ready to strike snake, he moved his lips slowly.
What did he have to lose anyway?
"Hello?" He asked softly. The snake snapped his fangs closed in a swift movement.
"You're a speaker, human?" The snake asked. Harry, half considering he had already been bitten
and currently suffering the side effects of the poison, was somehow certain the snake was a
female.
"I guess." He answered regarding the snake with some fear, now mixed with awe.
"Why are you threatening my eggs then?" The snake asked lowering her head ever so slightly.
"I am not." Harry defended himself. "My Dad and I are just here for the flowers. We hadn't
realized there was a nest here."

"So you're not here for my eggs?" The snake persisted seeming however less agitated now.
"I swear we will do nothing to endanger your eggs." Harry stated solemnly. "If you show me
where your nest is, I promise we won't even draw close."
"It's over there, behind those rocks." The snake said pointing at a pile of rocks away from the
flowers.
"We're only here for the flowers; we won't go near your nest." Harry repeated.
"You seem honest speaker. And you are little older than a nestling yourself. If you promise to keep
away from my nest, you can stay." The snake agreed.
"We might need to come back again the next few nights." Harry warned her. "The flowers only
come out under the moonlight."
"I know, young speaker." The snake agreed. "Stay away from my nest and gather all the flowers
you want."
"I promise we will."
"Good then." The snaked conceded and, just like that, turned her head and slithered away. Harry
let out an audible sigh of relief and turned to look at Severus. Without Harry's knowledge, the
potions master hadn't been able to remove his eyes from the boy while he conversed with the
snake. After the initial shock faded and when he was assured that the snake wouldn't attack, his
mind started working faster than a galloping unicorn, making the connection. Harry was talking to
the snake, hissing and nodding, understanding exactly what it was saying. Harry was talking in
Parseltongue. Harry was a Parselmouth.
"Sev?" The green eyed boy asked in fear. "Did I just talk to that snake?" A small grin spread on
the potions master face.
"You know what, kid?" He asked as the grin turned into a full blown smile. "I think you just did."

Proper Introductions
"I'm still not so sure about that." Harry stated over his green mint tea. They had ended up leaving
the valley not long after the snake incident the night before; and 'not long after' of course meant
they were gone the moment they had grabbed the linen sacks with the flowers and reached the
horses. Severus had casted a tracing spell so they could find the valley easier next time just before
ridding away.
The three hour ride back had been almost silent as Harry led his horse looking blankly ahead,
following the path he had memorized over their search for the flowers. The potions master could
tell his newfound ability had unnerved him and it was no wonder, what with all the stories about
Parselmouths being evil. He had tried speaking to him a couple of times but he stood motionless as
if he hadn't heard his name being called. Severus had simply sighed and waited patiently until they
had arrived at the Kasbah.
The room was just as they had left it and he quickly placed the flowers in one corner before
turning to face Harry; the flowers could wait. He had finally gotten through to the boy he had
come to think as his son only to realize Harry wasn't unnerved; he was terrified. And it hadn't
taken him long to uncover that the core of his fear didn't reside on the ability itself. Harry had
known Voldemort was a Parselmouth -probably from a conversation he had caught from the
Potters or Dumbledore since Severus had never mentioned that detail- and had developed the
irrational fear that his ability made him similar to the Dark Lord somehow. His fear had only
intensified when, while putting on his pajamas, he had noticed three new runes had appeared on
his emblem; only this time the deep green symbols had appeared on one of the lines of the emblem
and not around it. Harry had paled and stood shell-shocked for twenty minutes when Severus
translated them as 'Parselmouth' before the potions master managed to make him talk.
Severus had stood frozen over the way Harry had chosen to regard his new ability and had, as
decisively as he could, assured him he had nothing of that sort to fear from Perseltongue. He had
explained how it was only an ability, a rare one at that, and he should make the best out of it. The
boy had burst to tears then, silent and shaking, and had asked Severus if he hated him for being a
Parselmouth. After some gentle probing he had uncovered his fears were rooted deep, their source
being a conversation Aidan had had once with James; the older Potter had -probably joking to his
defense- told Adrian that he would never forgive him if he showcased such a 'dark' ability.
Severus had felt like screaming; as gifted as Harry was, he was only eight and had been even
younger when he had heard James's threat. It hadn't been easy to reassure him that hatred was
completely opposite for how he felt for him. Harry had finally fallen asleep a little after dawn and
not before Severus had made a list of a number of Parselmouths that had been a far cry from evil.
He actually believed he had won the boy over at the mention of Merlin -the runes had been there
when he had seen the great warlock's emblem after all- but had continued nonetheless.
Parseltongue was still the topic of their conversation the next morning over breakfast. They were
seated in a table close to the window that Harry had chosen upon realizing that, if one looked
intently, would be able to just make out the shapes of the rocky cliffs in the distance where they
had found the Elosa flowers.
"What's not to be sure about, Harry?" Severus asked rolling his eyes, sipping on his own tea; the
sugar they added to that thing could kill you, he thought, but neither he nor Harry could help
having a sweet tooth. "Parseltongue is an ability that can be very useful in tough spots as we
found out last night." The potions master tried to repress a shiver caused from thinking just what
would have happened had Harry not proven out to be a Parselmouth.

"That is true." Harry conceded with a sigh as he took a small gulp of his tea. "The sugar in that
thing!" He muttered regarding his tea with a smile, making Severus burst out laughing.
"Look Harry, there's nothing to worry about; Parseltongue is just another language. Weird, I'll
give you that, but a language none the less." Severus reminded the boy after sobering up. "If it
makes you feel better, we'll do some research once we get back home." Harry smiled openly at
that.
"We could do that, I suppose."
"Good." Severus agreed with a smirk. "And now we can put that matter to rest and enjoy our
breakfast; the stubbornness you demonstrate sometimes is unbearable, kid."
"Makes you wonder from whom I picked up that trait." Harry responded with a smirk of his own.
Severus simply chuckled once in acknowledgment.
The rest of their stay in Morocco went by in a much more relaxing manner now that they had
located the flowers. They did return for the next three nights, not running into that snake again
much to Harry's relief, until Severus deemed they had enough flowers to last them for a decade.
They stayed in the Kasbah for another week, just as long as it took them to finish the process of
turning the petals into a clear, light blue, luminous oil which Severus packed carefully -with a
dozen of protective and cushioning charms- in his trunk. Since they had a couple more weeks of
vacation time they decided to continue their journey towards the sea. The day of their departure
from the hotel produced probably one of the funniest memories of Harry's life, one at which he
would look back and laugh for years to come. They had packed their trunks and were just about to
leave the room when there was a soft knock on the door.
"Are we expecting someone?" Harry asked confused.
"No." Severus replied in the same startled way. "Did you order room service?" He asked back
and went to open the door, his hand reaching for his wand, the moment Harry shook his head
negatively. Severus opened the door and stepped back, ready to hex any possible threat to
oblivion, only to be met with the blushing figure of
"Asmae?" Severus asked in shock, quickly withdrawing his hand from his wand holster. Harry
smirked, sitting comfortably on the bed from where he could observe the scene about to unfold
with ease. Asmae and a couple of her friends working at the hotel had gone out of their way to
make sure they had everything they wanted. Harry had taken full advantage of the fact and had
assumed his most innocent look to ask -and receive- fresh chocolate croissants every morning.
Severus had told him it wasn't kind of him and he should stop asking for them immediately; Harry
didn't heed his words, mostly because the potions master was at the time munching on a croissant
himself.
"Good morning, Mr. Black." Asmae greeted him with a smile. "I noticed you were checking out
of our hotel today and stopped by to see if you would need any help." Severus resisted rolling his
eyes at the woman; he deeply doubted the receptionists of the hotel were supposed to help their
customers pack.
"We're ready to go, Miss Asmae." Harry offered with a wide smile.
"Yes, as my son said, we've packed already." Severus agreed. "Thank you for your
consideration." He smiled politely and bowed ever so slightly.
"Then I hope you enjoyed your stay in our hotel." She said smiling wider.

"Yes we did; everything was perfect." The potions master stated and looked at the woman
expectedly; what did she say she wanted again? When she didn't make a move to leave he decided
to speak. "So, if that would be all?" His voice trailed off as he expected her to go.
"Just one last thing." She said, her smile turning into a grin. Severus blanched slightly. Harry
whished he had some pop-corn. "Severus?"
"Yes?" He asked regarding her with slight fear. He was about to ask her what exactly was that she
wanted from his life when she burst into movement; she grabbed him by the collar of his shirt,
pulled him downwards and kissed him with all she had. Severus's brain functions froze; whatever
he had expected, well, that wasn't it. Once he managed to restart his brain after the shock, he
discovered, to his great surprise, that he was kissing her back. Finally, Asmae stepped away and
looked at the stunned potions master with dilated eyes and a flushed face.
"OOwl me." She stuttered with a weak voice before smiling brightly and leaving the room,
winking over her shoulder. "It's always the quiet ones " She murmured as she reached the
elevator with a face-splitting smile. Back at the suite, Severus closed the door and turned to Harry
with a confused expression on his face.
"What was that?" He asked, sounding completely lost. Later he would realize he hadn't felt that
pang of guilt and disappointment he would have gotten in the past when thinking the girl he was
kissing wasn't Lily.
"That went well." Harry said blankly before collapsing on the bed, shaking with laughter. Severus
looked at him as if he had gone crazy before giving up himself and smiling. His smile soon turned
into chuckling and chuckling turned into laughing and before he knew it he was trying to catch his
breath.
"That did go well, if I may say so myself." The potions master commented between gasps. From
all the things that could happen
"So are we leaving?" Harry asked, his eyes gleaming.
"Yes." Severus asked wiping his eyes. "Why wouldn't we?"
"I thought that maybe you and Asmae would like to spend some time together." Harry said,
looking more innocent than Severus thought was possible.
"That's it, kid! You're forbidden to mention anything of the sort about girls until you're
thirteen and you're never staying in the same room with that mutt again." Damn that Sirius Black
and the influence he had on his poor, innocent Harry! Harry's eyes widened again and he added a
pout for a good measure. Severus turned away and levitated the trunks so that they could go, with
a single thought in his mind; must not look Harry in the eyes. Must not look Harry in the eyes
They left the hotel, Severus putting all the avoiding techniques he had developed during the war in
use, and apparated away. They spent a few days in Marrakech visiting its famous wizard bazaars
-souqs Severus had said was their proper name- before heading north to Fes and even northern up
to Tangier. It was there where Severus realized Harry had never swam in the sea before so he
made it his goal to visit as many beaches as they could in the week they had left. And they did,
Harry finally putting the swimming skills he had acquired from swimming in the lake back home
to good use.
They had decided to spend their last night in Morocco in Tangier again, seated at the porch of
their hotel room, looking over the see. Harry closed his eyes for a moment thinking back at his
first journey out of England. It had been more than he had hoped for really. He opened his eyes

again to peer over the see, to the faint lights from the European coastline; it had been a very clear
day after a surprising rainfall and Gibraltar had been visible throughout the day.
"We should go there sometime." Harry stated sipping from yet another cup of tea. He couldn't
even recall how much of the hot beverage he had consumed but he didn't complain.
"Hmm? There? Where exactly?" Severus asked startled; he had been doing some thinking back
himself, specifically their two day excursion to the Atlas mountains. He still couldn't believe how
much fun he had had; it seemed to have been years -actually it had been years- since he had been
able to be himself in front of people who weren't Harry as he had during the past month. But it
had happened and he had the pictures to prove it; Harry was actually planning to arrange them
into albums once they got back home. That had put a smile on his face; Harry didn't know, but
that would be his first family album ever.
"You know across the Gibraltar Strait? I would like to see Gibraltar." Severus nodded with a
smirk.
"It can be arranged." In his mind he was already making plans for a weekend excursion
somewhere down the line. "Anyway, you should better be prepared; I have not the faintest clue
about what ingredient I might need next for the Wolfsbane. Or were we'll have to go to get it for
that matter." The potions master winked conspiratorially as he spoke. Harry laughed.
"Well, I'm hoping for India. Or Norway." Harry offered with a smile. "Anywhere in Scandinavia
really."
"Who knows maybe we'll end up in the Arabian peninsula next." Severus offered, they had
looked around for war-unicorn sightings in Morocco but rumors seemed to have been just that;
rumors. And Harry really wanted to see a war-unicorn up close, even if he didn't press the matter.
He never would, it was in his character, but Severus could tell.
"We might." Harry answered with a bright smile and raised his glass in a toast. "To our first
vacation abroad!" Severus laughed and clicked his glass with Harry's.
"And to the ones to come." He added as the boy nodded vigorously. The next morning was bittersweet. Both wizards had missed the castle they called home but returning meant having to hide
again. It was for the best though, Harry decided as he made sure he hadn't left anything behind; he
had, after all, just spent an amazing moth travelling.
"All packed?" Severus asked as similar thoughts played in his mind too. It wasn't going to be
easy, turning himself back into the distant and cold-hearted man that had been his faade for so
long, he imagined.
"All packed." Harry agreed. "Ready to go home!" Severus couldn't resist smiling at that. He
levitated his trunk and looked expectedly at Harry; the boy had asked to be taught the spell and
Severus had complied. Harry pulled out his wand and said the incantation out loud, causing the
trunk to lift steadily from the floor, the spell executed perfectly.
"Well done, Harry!" Severus praised the green eyed wizard as they both walked out their room
and checked out from the hotel. The apparated to an empty field outside of the city where Severus
pointed at a rock with his wand to create the portkey they would use. "Portus!" They both held
onto the rock and in a few seconds Harry felt the now familiar pull as the portkey activated. When
he opened his eyes he was back at the castle. After a month away, the boy was surprised by the
happiness that gripped him as he stepped foot inside the halls. He had been more homesick than
he had thought.

"Master Severus, Master Harry!" The small form of Minnie greeted them, the house elf bristling
with excitement. "Yous have returned sirs!" She exclaimed and, before Harry could help himself,
he had launched forward and hugged her.
"Missed you, Minnie!" He said and let her go, startled to see the tears brimming in her eyes.
Severus smiled fondly at the scene.
"We have missed you." He stated in agreement. "Without you, who's supposed to yell at us if we
skip any meals?" He joked as the house elf observed them with an appraising eye.
"You have gained some colour sirs." She stated happily. "And master Harry has grown again!"
"I have?" Harry asked confused.
"You have, I think." Severus stated walking next to the boy. Harry definitely had grown since
they had left. Must be the sun and the open air, Severus figured. After a nice breakfast and a few
hours of rest, Severus decided to train with his sword a bit, something he had neglected while on
vacation. He wanted to start working on the Wolfsbane as well, but he had to stop by at Diagon
Alley first; he would need to get a pure silver cauldron for the potion and there was only one place
that he knew of where such standards would be guaranteed. He pushed the door to the training
area open only to realize he wasn't alone. "We had the same idea, I see."
"Oh, hi Dad!" Harry offered startled as he balanced his sword. Harry used a much smaller sword
than Severus did but it was heavy nonetheless and the boy had already worked a sweat. The
potions master had made sure all the swords in the room had been coated with a blunting charm of
course, the very moment they had decided to start training. "I figured I had some catching up to
do." The boy admitted as Severus nodded.
"We both do." They fell into training then, Severus casting the spell needed to activate the statue
that served as their instructor after they had warmed up a bit. Two hours later and their granite
tutor had deemed they could stop for the day. Severus had the distinct thought that they were
getting better but it was hard to be sure with so many of his muscles sore. Well at least now
I have muscles to be sore, he thought before they parted ways for their respective rooms and, after
a quick shower, met at the kitchen for lunch.
"I was thinking I should spend some time at the western tower tonight." Harry said as they had
dessert. Minnie really missed us, Harry thought, munching on the chocolate cake the house elves
usually prepared for Christmas. "You know, put the new charts I bought to use."
"Fine by me if you feel up to it." Severus agreed smirking slightly. "Just don't fall asleep by the
telescope again." He warned the boy good-naturedly before getting another bite from his cake;
they should have it more often he decided. If Lupin had ever been right about one thing that
would be it; chocolate did make everything better. Then again, Lupin was usually right about
many things, Severus conceded, thinking of the one member of James Potter's group of friends he
found tolerable. And speaking of Lupin "I'll need to visit Diagon Alley tomorrow morning for
the cauldron I've been telling you about." Severus stated, gaining Harry's attention immediately.
"From that specialized store? Milles & Trafford's right?" The boy asked, thinking back when he
had first heard the name. It was the last night in the valley when Severus explained that high
quality Wolfsbane was solely prepared in cauldrons of the purest silver. It was one of the reasons,
according to -an admittedly very irate when explaining- Severus, why so many poorly produced
Wolfsbane potions where out there on the market; they were barely effective but cheaper to
produce.
"That's the one." Severus nodded. "They're the only ones I can trust for a solid silver cauldron."

They ate the rest of their dessert -also known as half the chocolate cake- making small talk about
their vacation, developing magic pictures, astronomy and the prospect of learning the recipe for
the chocolate fudge cake they were eating. Harry did go to the western tower that night and would
have fallen asleep too if he hadn't reminded himself of the trip to Diagon Alley due the next
morning. He returned to his room and did his best not to fall asleep in his clothes, his body still
getting used to the cooler temperature of Scotland.
The next morning found the two wizards occupying the castle in the kitchen eating the remaining
chocolate cake, deeming it a great waste to let it undisturbed. After a scolding from Minnie -yous
sirs should eat more than chocolate for breakfast!- they apologized profusely and decided to
proceed with their trip to Diagon Alley, properly chastised and without mentioning their intention
to visit Florian Fortesque's while there.
For the first time in a month they used glamour spells to conceal their appearance, Severus
deciding Harry should appear a couple of inches taller than he had when they left, which was
quite a loss from the total of eight inches he had gained since they had first started using the
concealment spells. And certainly, neither of them was overjoyed with having to cover the tan
they had acquired from their time in Morocco but sacrifices had to be made.
Diagon Alley was filled with families getting ready for the new school year -it was the thirtieth of
August after all- and Harry had a blast from all the students cowering once catching sight of
Severus. It must be the cloak, he decided and followed closely, doing his best to look demure and
frightened himself. Appearances could definitely be deceiving, the green eyed boy thought as he
compared the image Severus was projecting and his real self; he idly wondered what the reactions
of these now frightful students would be had they witnessed the feared potions master as he truly
was. The girls would get a kick out of it, he was sure.
They approached Gringotts and took a turn left where the road split; at the right side of the road
where a few more shops, including Ollivander's and then Diagon Alley dissolved into Knockturn
Alley. On the left side however, began a district of more specialized shops and -further down- of
the buildings housing magical businesses such as Daily Prophet and the main offices of Nimbus
Racing Broom Co. the company responsible for the Nimbus series.
The area was much less crowded and the average customers' age climbed from somewhere around
fourteen to fifty or sixty. Milles & Trafford's, the shop they were looking for, was one of the
buildings closer to Gringotts, only a five minutes walk from where the road split. Harry was busy
following Severus and looking from one shop to the next mesmerized. He whished he could have
an extra set of eyes so that he could take in more of the new images around him and almost missed
the actual shop as his attention was turned to the building across the street that sold rare plants, the
building looking something between a regular store and a greenhouse.
Milles & Trafford's was a stone-made building just like most of the shops in Diagon Alley and
though the window Harry could see the great variety of cauldrons and other delicate looking
equipment, be it made of metal or glass. Severus smiled softly at the awed look on Harry's face
and led the boy in with a little nudge. Harry easily followed, wanting nothing more than to enter
the building himself. The green eyed boy was easily the youngest customer in the shop and did his
best not to touch any of the items around him while at the same time dying to ask what each and
every one of them was.
The sage looking wizards and witches around him conversed over issues such as the latest
developments in arithmology theories or the pending decisions of the Wizegamond and the boy
listened rapturously, trying to take everything in at once. Severus was speaking with the owner
explaining exactly what he required and neither he nor Harry noticed a wizard in luxurious dark
purple robes spotting them from the other side of the store. But the old wizard had spotted them

indeed and he was now approaching them with twinkling brown eyes and an excited smile.
"Very nice to see you again, Harry!" He exclaimed as he reached the two wizards. The boy
turned around startled and regarded the older man confused before recognition washed over his
face.
"Mr. Nicholas?" He asked with a shy smile, as the potions master observed the scene surprised.
"I see you remember me, young man." Nicholas offered smiling as he turned to observe the black
clad man that was accompanying Harry. He looked tired and probably older than he really was,
Nicholas thought. Definitely appeared in dire need of some fattening up as his wife would put it.
But there was something in his eyes there was protectiveness there and a deep love for the
green eyed boy, Nicholas was sure. And most importantly, the moment he realized he was being
observed, those eyes seemed to freeze over, turning into an abyss of black and dark grey, locking
all their secrets somewhere deep inside. A master Occlumence perhaps?
"I'm Severus Snape." The man introduced himself, his tone precise and curt. What a strange
young man, Nicholas thought as he regarded the person Harry had affectionately called Sev a year
ago; he didn't look like someone who would take being called Sev lightly. "You seem to know
each other?" He asked looking from the boy, who smiled sheepishly, to the older man and back.
"Oh, we met almost a year ago to the day." Nicholas offered chuckling once. "In Diagon Alley
again; I believe you had taken him to buy a telescope?" Severus cocked an eyebrow remembering
the day in question.
"I see." He stated laconically. "And your name would be?" His face betrayed nothing but, from
the brief first look he caught before the black clad man hid behind a mask of ice, Nicholas could
tell that a great part of Severus's reaction was provoked by his protectiveness of the boy. He was
acting much like a wolf, he noted, protecting his cub. It would be interesting to observe if the
younger man, in all honesty, didn't look so intimidating. Severus on his part, was trying to came
up with a reason why the old wizard seemed so familiar; he was certain they had never met in the
past.
"Forgive my manners." The old wizard offered apologetically. "Nicholas is the name; Nicholas
Flamel, at your service." That settled it, Severus thought, his eyes widening. It definitely explained
why the man was so familiar; he was Nicholas Flamel. The Nicholas Flamel, as in the world
renowned alchemist and sole known creator of the Philosopher's Stone. Harry was regarding the
exchange with curious eyes; he knew that name. Flamel Severus seemed to recognize it too and
from his expression, Nicholas was somebody pretty important.
"It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Flamel." Severus said, his voice betraying nothing of his inner
turmoil as he extended his hand in greeting. He was conversing with a six hundred old alchemist;
that didn't happen every day. What's that sparkling in Sev's eyes, Harry wondered. Nicholas
wasdefinitely someone important. "I'm a great admirer of your work."
"Oh well." Was Nicholas's only comment as he shook the potions master's hand. "It's a pleasure to
meet you too. I had a feeling young Harry's and mine paths would cross again one day!" He stated
as he winked at a blushing Harry. "Now young man, I knew you were interested in astrology but I
never imagined meeting you here too."
"I'm not the customer this time, Mr. Flamel." Harry stated with a short laugh. "I just tagged along.
Not that I complain, mind you; this shop is amazing!" It was Nicholas' turn to laugh.
"Yes, I figured you would like it." The old wizard stated. "And what would you be looking for
here Mr. Snape, if I'm allowed to ask; you still are much younger than the usual clientele."

Nicholas inquired.
"You see I" Severus started trying to come up with a viable excuse when the owner of the shop
returned with a smile.
"You're in luck, professor!" He exclaimed with a smile. "We have on of the cauldrons you require
in stock! Not an easy feat when looking for pure silver eh?" He asked before noticing Nicholas. "I
didn't see you there, Mr. Flamel! An honor to have you at our shop as always! I suppose you're
here for your order?"
"Of course. Everything ready?"
"Everything you required arrived yesterday evening!" The owner assured him. "I shall go and
fetch them immediately." Nicholas nodded and the merchant left after adding; "One of our
employees will bring you the cauldron in a matter of minutes, professor Snape."
"So a pure silver cauldron?" Nicholas asked cocking an eyebrow. "An interesting purchase; not
many potions require it and not many wizards -especially of your age- seek to buy one. But then
again, professor Snape, I knew I had heard your name before; you're the potions master in
Hogwarts correct? The youngest potions master in the last four centuries if my memory serves me
right."
"You would be correct, Mr. Flamel." Severus said nodding, trying to suppress his shock of the
world renowned alchemist having heard of him.
"Please do call me Nicholas, professor." The older man requested.
"If you call me Severus." The black clad man offered back with a soft smile.
"Agreed." Nicholas stated laughing. "So, Severus, tell me." He started looking between him and
Harry. "Would you happen to be young Harry's father?" Harry and Severus smirked, the
similarity in their reaction not going unnoticed by the old wizard.
"No, Mr. Flamel." Harry answered for both of them.
"No?" Nicholas questioned; that did explain the boy calling the potions master Sev. But then
again "I could swear you were father and son; you do look alike."
"We've been getting that a lot." Severus admitted with a smirk. "But no, I'm just looking after
Harry for his parents." And yet you love him as your own, Nicholas thought as he looked at both
of them contemplatively. He had just noticed it but something was a bit off with their
appearance and it wasn't just their weight and overall paleness for this being the end of August.
You wouldn't get it on first glance, not even on second or third, but after carefully observing them,
you just couldn't miss it.
"And how come your parents aren't with you at this beautiful summer morning?" Nicholas
inquired confused; twice now during the summer months he had witnessed Harry with Severus.
"They are busy, sir." Harry replied shrugging his shoulders. And apparently the boy wasn't much
bothered by the fact, almost as if he was used to it.
"I see. And I must insist you call me Nicholas too; I feel old enough already!" Harry laughed at
the declaration.
"All right, Nicholas." The boy agreed.

"I wonder if you two young men would be" Nicholas started only to be interrupted by the
merchant who returned with a box filled with delicate looking items. Not vials exactly, Harry
noted as he observed the strange looking, glass-made objects.
"I hope that everything is of your liking?" The shop owner asked as Nicholas pulled out the sole
bronze item from the lot; it looked like a sphere in the size of an orange. Nicholas pulled out his
wand and tapped it once, causing the sphere to open and from within smaller spheres to appear
and start floating around the central one as it closed and floated in turn over Nicholas' palm. The
smaller spheres where green, blue, red and grey in colour, seemed to have one symbol each
carved in a darker hue on their surface. Triangles? Harry wondered as he watched them rotating;
before he managed to ponder on the strange symbols once more, Nicholas tapped the sphere again
and it returned to its primary condition.
"Yes, everything is perfect as usual." Nicholas reassured the man who then left to greet some new
costumers in the shop.
"Always at your service, Mr. Flamel." He stated and turned towards Severus. "Your cauldron will
take only one more minute, professor."
"Interested in the Element Deriver Harry?" Nicholas asked with a smile; he hadn't missed the
interested look on the boy's face.
"Is that how the sphere is called?" He asked in awe. "Elemental you said? That was what the
symbols on the coloured spheres stood for? They looked like runes, but not quite." Harry stated
blushing at the ever growing smile on Nicholas' face.
"You noticed them?" He asked intrigued. "And yes, you would be right. The symbols stand for
the elements but they're not runes; they are called alchemic symbols Harry." Nicholas exclaimed.
Harry's eyebrows nearly disappeared under his unruly hair.
"Alchemic symbols?" He asked confused. "Are you an alchemist then?" He asked his eyes wide.
Severus chuckled.
"That would be correct once again." Nicholas affirmed. The shop employer finally arrived with
the cauldron for Severus; Harry's eyes widened once again. It was brilliantly made, intricate
patterns covering the gleaming silver.
"Your cauldron, professor." The shop employer stated as he placed the cauldron carefully on the
desk. Severus nodded once and paid the price required -quite a costly sum Harry decided- as
Nicholas observed the purchase with keen eyes, his interested piqued. "Would you require
anything else?"
"No that would be all." Severus stated as he completed his careful inspection of the cauldron,
casting a quick spell to assure it was solid silver. Satisfied, he turned to the shop employer. "I will
send my house elf later today to pick it up." He stated and turned his attention back to Harry and
Nicholas; he wouldn't risk walking around with such an expensive cauldron and he'd rather not
explain why he would have to put it under a concealment charm to the owner.
"As I said before, an interesting purchase." Nicholas stated with a smile.
"I believe it is, yes." Severus agreed as Harry nodded.
"And now back to what I meant to say before we were interrupted." The alchemist continued. "I
was wondering if you two gentlemen have the afternoon free." Severus and Harry turned to each
other sharing a look; they could spare one afternoon.

"We do." They said at the same time, turning to look at a chuckling Nicholas.
"Lovely! Then how would you feel coming over my house for tea around five?" Nicholas asked.
"Perenelle, my wife, would be overjoyed and I would like to show you exactly what this sphere
does, Harry." The boy felt like jumping up and down in joy; a real alchemist wanted to teach him
something! He turned to Severus -who looked slightly surprised at the declaration- expectedly.
The potions master smiled.
"We would like it very much." Severus acquiesced as Harry smiled and hugged him with a soft
"Yay!"
"It's settled then!" Nicholas said clapping his hands once. "You can floo over at five by simply
stating you want to visit Flamel castle." Harry's eyes gleamed as he looked at Severus; yet another
castle. "I will connect my fireplace to the main floo network for the afternoon."
"We will be there at five sharp." Severus reassured him and with that they exited the shop, the
three wizards walking together towards the Leaky Cauldron chatting animatedly over Hogwarts.
When they reached Florian Fortesque's their ways parted as the two younger wizards felt drawn to
the new 'Triple Chocolate Surprise Sundae' advertised on the chalk board; of course they wouldn't
be able to eat it there -for their cover's sake and all- but nothing stopped Harry from going in and
buying two to go.

Alchemy
Harry had nearly chocked on his ice cream when Severus explained exactly who Nicholas Flamel
was. He was at the moment staring at the potions master with a half crazed look, sporting that glint
again.
"You could have said something!" The boy accused him.
"What exactly?" The potions master asked, clearly amused. He leaned back on the sofa, taking in
the afternoon sun, glad he could lift the glamour now that they were away from the public eye.
They were seated at the back porch of the castle -one of four actually- that allowed a great view of
the grounds and the glistering lake in the distance, taking full advantage of the elevated ground on
which the keep was built. And to think that he used to live at Spinner's end, knowingly ignoring
this estate! He owed Harry quite a lot, he decided.
"I don't know!" The boy exclaimed. He was mortified; he had actually asked the only known
creator of the Philosopher's Stone, the holly grail of all alchemists around the world, if he was an
alchemist! "You could have dropped a hint or something!"
"I was quite shocked myself Harry." Severus stated with a smile. He opened his eyes and took in
the panicking figure of the boy that was, for all intents and purposes, his son. "And I don't think
he cared; you seem to have made quite an impression on the man. He did invite us for tea after
all." The potions master reminded him.
"He did." Harry agreed, smiling now. "And he said he wants to show me how the Elemental
Deriver works! Did you hear that Dad? Nicholas Flamel wants to show me how an alchemic
instrument works!" Severus almost didn't comment on Harry's statement upon being called Dad
once again.
"Why shouldn't he Harry?" The young professor finally asked with a smile. "By goblins' gold, the
man has lived long enough to recognize talent when he sees it!" Harry blushed a new shade of
crimson at the statement, making Severus roll his eyes fondly; the boy had no sense of self-worth.
"He did know who you are." Harry deadpanned; it was Severus's turn to blush, even if he tried to
look unaffected by the praise.
"He's Dumbledore's friend so he must have picked it up from him." The potions master offered as
Harry shook his head in exasperation. When would Severus stop selling himself short?
"Nonsense; you are the youngest potions master in centuries, he said so himself."
"Whatever." Severus dismissed Harry's statement with a wave. "The point is that we're invited to
his home in an hour. I always wondered where he lived and I've been dying to see an alchemist's
lab." The potions master admitted almost gleefully.
"You and I both!" The boy exclaimed with excitement before another wave of fright hit him. "But
Sev!" He called in a small voice.
"What now?" Severus questioned with a smile.
"I know nothing of alchemy! What if I say something silly or"
"Harry, calm down will you?" Severus said, chuckling at the fretting boy. "No matter how smart
or talented you are," Harry snorted and Severus threw him and unimpressed look "you're only

eight and alchemy is a rare branch of magic. There are very few true alchemists in the world and
they keep the secrets of their trade; Nicholas won't expect you to know anything." The green eyed
wizard relaxed visibly at the reassurance.
"I'm just excited is all."
"I hadn't noticed." Severus stated drily. Harry chuckled at the nonchalance of his tone and rubbed
the back of his neck.
"I see your point."
"Now what do you say we eat something before we floo over?" The potions master asked pulling
himself up from the couch he lay on. "Minnie said we have roast today." Harry jumped up too and
walked towards the kitchen; Minnie's roast was legendary in his opinion and if the same didn't
apply for the rest of the world, it should be.
"You won't find me saying no." Harry laughed at the amused potions master.
"I didn't think I would." Severus muttered under his breath with a smile. The roast did live up to
its reputation, as expected, and five o'clock found the two wizards well rested and well fed. They
stood in front of the lit fireplace and shared one last look before stepping into the flames,
concealing charms in place.
"Flamel castle," Severus called with a clear voice and the world started spinning. The next time
Harry opened his eyes, he found himself in a completely different hall, but unmistakably in castle;
an old woman dressed in green robes moved to greet them.
"Good evening, young men!" She stated in a warm voice. Harry smiled winningly at her and she
returned the smile. "I'm Perenelle and you must be Severus and Harry, if my husband has
informed me correctly."
"Indeed we are." Severus offered. "It's an honor to meet you, Mrs. Flamel."
"Perenelle." She corrected him with a smile. "Nicholas will be with us shortly; he seems to have
forgotten himself in his laboratory again." She stated shaking her head affectionately; Severus
guessed it was a very common occurrence in the Flamel residence. "Please follow me to the living
room." They did just that while Perenelle explained how her husband seemed to lose touch of time
when getting new equipment for his lab.
"Not unlike someone I know." Harry stated as he turned to look at a smiling Severus with a smile.
"Men of intellect!" Perenelle exclaimed with a smile. "They all are the same deep down." They
reached the living room and sat down, Perenelle serving them tea with a load of shortbread
cookies eyeing their seemingly too skinny frames with an appraising eye. That was the time
Nicholas chose to appear, running in from a corridor in great haste.
"Forgive me for my tardiness." Nicholas exclaimed as he walked towards them. Severus and
Harry rose to greet him. "I was studying a new scroll and I was certain I had one more hour before
five!" Harry smiled as Nicholas patted him on his back.
"Apparently Severus here has the same issue." Perenelle informed him with a knowing look,
making the potions master blush a faint pink.
"Guilty as charged madam!" Severus exclaimed, making them laugh; after some light
conversation, Perenelle offered to take Severus to the greenhouses of the castle where a great
variety of rare specimens thrived after Nicholas showed them his lab. The two wizards skipped to
the lab in joy as Nicholas explained where exactly the castle was situated; apparently, they had

landed themselves in Northern Ireland. They walked towards what seemed to be the dungeons,
much to Severus's surprise.
"Metallurgy is a great part of alchemy you understand." Nicholas offered observing Severus'
expression; there it was again, he thought. That detail that seemed slightly off. "As it is, it makes
no sense to keep my lab above ground; it would be completely inconvenient. So, I separate my
time spent for my studies between the lab and the astronomy observatory I keep at the highest
tower."
"You need to forge metal in alchemy?" Harry asked intrigued.
"If you do your job right, there comes a time when forging metal becomes a necessity." Nicholas
agreed, looking at Harry. Intelligent, he thought as he studied Harry's furrowed brow. And a
mystery. They walked to the lab casually conversing. Nicholas smiled at their expectant faces
before pushing the door open; they held their breath and entered the room. They exhaled
simultaneously.
The room was wide and filled with all shorts of equipment; vials and metallic mechanisms were
strategically place around the room. A library filled with scrolls and vials of colorful liquids
covered the greater part of the back wall but that wasn't what caught Harry's eye; the ceiling of the
room was covered in what appeared to be a system of chains, pulleys and hooks, created to lead
something from the great fireplace in the corner to the middle of the room where a great, stone
built, round well was found. On closer inspection, the green eyed wizard realized it wasn't a well
at all; the walls were too short, only reaching his waist and it was too shallow, the bottom on the
same level with the floor. It was more of a grand basin, if nothing else.
"Wow!" Harry stated with sparkling eyes.
"Best compliment I ever got for my lab." Nicholas commended seriously, making Harry blush
lightly and Severus smile knowingly. Perenelle appeared then and offered to show Severus to the
greenhouses; the potions master was overjoyed in the prospect. Perenelle Flamel was known for
her affinity in Herbology and she had had six centuries to gather her collection. He left a slightly
fidgeting Harry behind with a very excited Nicholas. "So, Harry, what do you think of my lab?"
"It's" Harry tried to find the proper words. "It's different." He stated after some thought. "I
haven't seen how it works so that's all I can think about." He offered as an explanation.
"An honest answer." Nicholas said smiling. "And since you're being honest, tell me, has Severus
informed you about my work?" Harry blushed yet again.
"He did. I had no idea of who you were before." He bowed his head in shame, stirring a laugh
from the old wizard.
"That's understandable, Harry! You're only eight after all." Nicholas reassured him. "So, what did
Severus tell you about my work exactly?" Harry looked at him confused.
"He said that you're a famous alchemist and the sole known creator of the Philosopher's Stone."
Harry stated matter-of-factly.
"I see." Nicholas stated as he walked around the room. "And what do you think about it?" Harry's
green eyes locked with his brown ones in surprise.
"What do I think about what?" Harry asked confused. "About your work?"
"Yes and no. Let me rephrase my question; what do you think about the Philosopher's Stone in
particular?" That was an unexpected question, Harry thought. What did he think about the

philosopher's stone? He hadn't much considered what it stood for. Severus had just repeated what
he already knew; it was a Stone that gifted the user the ability to create as much gold as he would
ever want and produce the elixir of life. Grant him eternal life, as the potions master had put it.
Harry pondered on that fact as Nicholas regarded him carefully; the alchemist could almost see the
gears turning in the boy's head.
"Honestly, sir?" Harry asked after a few more minutes of thought.
"As long as you call me Nicholas then yes, an honest answer would be what I seek."
"I had never thought about it but it Well, it rather scares me." Nicholas's eyes twinkled as a
small smile crept on his face.
"Unlimited gold and no fear of dying scares you?" He asked softly. "Many people dream about
that their whole lives!"
"Yes but" Harry began, trying to put his thoughts into words. "All the money in the world can't
buy you love. And, if you live forever, how do you deal with what you leave behind? With the
people who are left behind too Did that make any sense?" Harry had tried to think what going
on forever could be like. And it was great until he thought of Severus dead, his family gone, even
Minnie. Then, it was lonely.
"I've walked this earth for over six centuries, Harry." Nicholas stated in a calm voice and chuckled
as Harry's eyes widened. "Yes, six centuries! And I've never gotten an answer to that question that
has made more sense than yours." The alchemist stated and approached Harry to place a hand on
his shoulder.
"Thank you?" Harry asked confused, his face burning.
"No." Nicholas said with a smile. "Thank you, Harry." The alchemist chuckled once more and
then his smiled widened as he reached a decision. "Tell me Harry, would you be interested in
learning more about alchemy?" The boy almost forgot how to breathe.
"Really?" He asked in shock. Nicholas nodded. "I would love to!"
"Splendid then!" Nicholas stated as his smile widened. "How about I give you the basics today?"
He asked and chuckled again at Harry's vivid nodding; he pulled out his wand and conjured two
chairs next to a desk filled with various unknown instruments and motioned Harry to sit, taking a
place across him. "First things first Harry; let's talk about the Tria Prima or, as they're otherwise
known, the Three Primes"
The hours went by like a breeze for the alchemist and the green eyed boy and it was only after
Perenelle came to knock on the laboratory's door that they realized just how long it had been.
Nicholas, who had just finished explaining what the Elemental Deriver was, turned towards the
door with a start.
"I see you kept yourselves busy." She commended as Severus simply looked at the unlikely scene
unfolding in front of his eyes; the greatest alchemist in history was explaining Harry how a strange
alchemical instrument worked.
"We did." Nicholas agreed with a smile. "I suppose it's time for you to leave?" He asked and
Severus nodded.
"It's almost eight thirty." The potions master informed them, smiling slightly as Harry's eyes
widened. Eight thirty? The boy thought. Whatever had happened to seven thirty?

"In that case" Nicholas pulled out his wand and summoned an empty parchment and an old one
from the bookcase; with swift copying spell, he duplicated the table of what seemed to be three
columns of runes and their explanations. He also summoned an old book from one of the top
selves. "I want you to take these, Harry, and study them carefully." Harry smiled and nodded,
almost glowing once he received the book and scroll.
"Thank you, Nicholas!"
"Excuse me?" Severus asked confused.
"Oh I knew I had forgotten something!" Nicholas commented with a sigh. "Severus, could you
indulge an old man, I wonder?"
"What are you up to, Nicholas?" His wife asked, smiling mostly at the boy standing next to her
husband.
"Indulge you, Nicholas?" The potions master asked. If this was going where he thought it was
"From the few minutes we spent together"
"Over three hours." Perenelle admonished.
" I noticed that Harry shows an aptitude for my art." Nicholas continued with a smile.
"An aptitude?" Severus asked; he kept as calm as possible on the outside but on the inside he was
doing a victory dance.
"Yes. I would like to make it an appointment between the two of us, let's say every Saturday? I
would like it very much if I could teach him about alchemy." Nicholas explained as Harry nodded
emphatically. Severus smiled proudly, unable to keep that emotion from his face.
"I see no reason why you should not."
"Thank you, Sev!" Harry exclaimed and run to hug the potions master. "Thank you, thank you,
thank you!"
"Don't mention it, kid." The black clad man stated, ruffling Harry's unruly hair affectionately.
Nicholas, who observed the scene fondly, did a double take at the two wizards. Could it really be
that simple? And then it was gone, before he could think it through.
"Let's make it a morning appointment then; next Saturday at ten?" The alchemist asked.
"Ten would be just fine." Severus agreed as Harry nodded, clutching the book to his chest.
Nicholas nodded with a smile; but there was something Inwardly he sighed; indulging his
curiosity had been the main reason why he had chosen to live for that long after all.
"Lovely then; now what do you say Perenelle takes Harry for something to eat while we talk for a
while?" Severus looked at the old wizards stonily. "There's just something I've been meaning to
ask. Nothing bad, I assure you." Severus nodded and a curious Perenelle escorted and equally
confused Harry to the kitchen. Once the door closed, Severus turned to face the old alchemist; this
didn't foreshadow well, he imagined.
"How can I be of service?" The potions master asked calmly.
"I just couldn't help but realize a couple of things and I wanted to run them by you." Nicholas
stated, clasping his hands behind his back; he started pacing.

"By all means, I'll be glad to listen."


"Firstly, we have established that you're not Harry's father." Nicholas stated as Severus nodded
once. "Yet you seem to be with him almost every day?"
"I'm watching over him for his parents, I have already told you so." The potions master stated
icily.
"Every day though?" Nicholas asked. "You seem to be in place to make an arrangement for all his
Saturdays."
"His parents are away a lot."
"Yes, his parents." Nicholas stated running a finger on the back of a leather book, facing away
from Severus. "I suppose Harry has parents, ergo a last name." Severus recoiled at the statement
slightly. Of course this would come up sooner or later. And what could he say to that?
"I can assure you that Harry has both parents and a last name." He simply commented. Nicholas
chuckled.
"And then there's the other thing I noticed; I was looking at you and Harry this morning and
something just felt off." Severus regarded him coolly as his heart was beating like crazy.
"Off?"
"Yes. The way you looked was just wrong. I'm six hundred years old Severus; I used to pride
myself that I can see through any glamour spell but you? You sure pulled a number on me, young
man!" The alchemist exclaimed as Severus blanched.
"I would say that I don't know what you're talking about but I'll choose not to insult us both. So
instead I'll ask; what are you going to do with that knowledge?" The potions master asked
steadying himself.
"Severus, curiosity has always been a trait of mine." Nicholas stated smiling. "I can't help it. I just
want to know."
"Very well." Severus started weighing his opportunities. "Harry's last name is Potter; he's the twin
brother of the Boy Who Lived." No need to tell him the whole truth, he decided. Harry had to be
kept safe. "And yes, we both use glamour spells, but the reason why is private. Having sorted that
out, I may not have your experience, but I am a master Occlumence; I'll guard my secrets."
Severus stated icily. There.
"I have no doubt you will." Nicholas stated thoughtful. "Harry is a special young man. He's
intelligent, you know he is, he has a will to learn and I'd be damned if I didn't notice his talent.
And he's a great boy; he has been raised well. By you mostly I presume." Severus looked at him
confused.
"I have lived long enough to keep many secrets Severus; in the beginning I found it hard to do so
but now?"
"Now what?"
"I have discovered that the best way to keep a secret is simply to never learn it!" Nicholas stated,
laughing at the openly shocked face of the potions master.
"Excuse me?" The potions master asked for the second time in the last ten minutes.

"It's simple, really." The alchemist said. "You don't have to tell me why this disguise is necessary
and I will not ask. But I would like you and Harry to feel you don't have to disguise yourselves
while in these halls; nobody enters my home without permission and both Perenelle and I have
mastered Occlumency centuries ago." Nicholas stated.
"So you're telling me that you won't tell a soul about this?" Severus asked seriously. "Not even
Dumbledore?"
"Albus is a friend of mine and an old colleague but I don't see why this should concern him. No,
he will hear nothing of this. I'm ready to take the Unbreakable Oath if needed and so will
Perenelle once I explain the situation to her." That caught Severus off guard.
"But why?" He asked moving closer to the alchemist. "Why would you do such a thing?"
Nicholas chuckled.
"My age has come up a lot during this conversation, but I will bring it up once again; in all my
years I have never chosen to teach a single person, Severus." That revelation did come as a small
shock to the black clad man.
"Then Harry?"
"Harry as I said has showed an aptitude for alchemy. He wasn't the first person that I have ever
met to show such a talent but he was the only one that has showed such a character in so young an
age." Nicholas explained. "He's going to do great things, that boy. And I want to help." And at
the sincerity of his words, Severus could only smile.

Springtime
It was almost midnight on a Saturday, eight months after Nicholas had expressed his wish to take
Harry in as his apprentice. That chilly April's night, Harry Potter turned his telescope towards
Hydra; he had been studying the skies for over two hours and this was the last constellation he
wanted to observe before calling it a night. He had been doing a lot of astronomy lately, since it
was needed, not only for improving his general knowledge, but for his studies in potions and
alchemy too.
Astronomy, he had realized, along with history of magic, herbology, arithmology and runes subjects he had taken up during the past months- although not categorized as a separate branch of
magic -ergo couldn't appear on his mark- were undoubtedly useful in his overall studies. Potion
making for example counted a lot on herbology, astronomy and in some cases even ancient runes,
while arithmancy helped bounds with his spellwork and general understanding of magical
theories.
And speaking of things that appeared and didn't appear on his emblem, Severus had discovered an
incredibly helpful book in his library after Harry acquired the rune that marked him as a
transfiguration apprentice. He had actually been pretty miffed having missed it during his first
search, but Harry had just laughed it off; Severus had been buried neck deep into scrolls and
books, trying to keep up with his teaching and his Wolfsbane research.
Anyway, according to the book, an emblem didn't mark apprenticing and mastery in magic
conventionally. It turned out that you were recognized as an apprentice in a field of magic if you
showed dedication and worked hard towards the goal you had set. Mastery was a different thing
altogether; an emblem didn't mark you as a master when you had acquired all knowledge possible
on a subject, no; you were considered a master if you completed a deed -and the book was
positively shady in the description of said accomplishment- that marked your dedication to that
field of magic. Harry supposed that the ultimate mark of dedication one could pay to alchemy -the
apprenticing symbol of which had just appeared a few days ago and was his pride and joy since
then- would be the creation of the philosopher's stone. Not an easily accomplished feat as Harry
had discovered.
His lessons on alchemy had started last summer and continued non stop since that August
afternoon. Nicholas and Perenelle had become in their own special way a part of Harry's and
Severus's everyday lives and the green eyed boy now had his very own alchemist's lab -not quite
as impressive as Nicholas's yet- right across the potions lab in the castle's dungeons. That suited
Harry just fine as he was able to pop in and out of his laboratory to Severus's and help as he could
with his research.
In the meantime, while looking for ingredients suitable for the Wolfsbane, Severus had made some
progress with smaller assignments on the side; he had almost perfected the potion he had used to
cure Harry's eyesight and had now proceeded to make variations of it for other types of eyesight
deficiencies. The Hogwarts potions master had even come up with a few other healing potions but
he had put them on the side to continue his work with the Wolfsbane.
Admittedly, Perenelle's greenhouse had proven to be of great help to both the potions master -who
had acquired rare samples of plants helpful for his work that were now also growing in his own
greenhouse- and Harry alike, aiding him in enriching his knowledge of herbology.
Both Flamels had kept their promise, Harry thought as he inked his eagle feather quill and wrote
down the exact location of every star that composed Hydra on his chart, keeping some notes on
his notebook on the side. There had been a couple of raised eyebrows the first time -that very first

Saturday- when the couple had seen them without their glamour but that was it. As a matter of
fact, Perenelle had been overjoyed at how much healthier they truly looked and hadn't failed to tell
them so. Nicholas had even added to their concealment charms offering some of his own that were
even harder to detect. Harry couldn't be happier for their reaction; feeling accepted and welcomed
for just being who he was had left his heart a little lighter.
He wrote down the last few lines on his notebook and stifled a yawn; a quick glance at his pocket
watch -a Christmas present from Nicholas- confirmed that it was half past twelve. He pocketed his
watch and swiftly gathered his notes and telescope; he figured it would be better if he made the
walk down to the dungeons. More likely than not, Severus was still there working as it would be
full moon in a week. The boy rubbed the back of his neck and stretched as he started descending
from the western tower. He waved at a few portraits that were still awake and kept walking,
passing through galleries and hidden pathways to the dungeons.
Studying had helped taking his mind off things but, now that he wasn't doing something mentally
challenging to occupy his mind, he had free time to spare in his hands; time that his treacherous
mind used to ponder on the events of last Friday morning. It had been one of the rare Fridays
when he had the chance to eat breakfast with his brother before leaving the manor; they usually
talked at night and were rarely alone. But that morning, Harry was overjoyed to be in his brother's
company.
Adrian and Harry were talking animatedly since they had both woken up quite early in the
morning -an uncommon occurrence for the hazel eyed twin. Harry was listening carefully as his
older brother talked of the places he had seen while travelling with their parents.
"And Paris has this great district in the wizard part of the town where you can get almost every
book in charms you might ever dream of! Mom went crazy the moment we stepped foot on the
market but Dad and I were just running around with Sirius trying to find the nearest Quidditch
supplies shop" Harry nodded over his cereal, his eyes alight; it had been ages since he had
actually had the time to talk like that with his brother. Adrian was just the same as ever;
optimistic, lively, a little loud and considering Quidditch to be the meaning of life. Even if they
lived under the same roof, he had missed him.
"And did you live at the arrondissement des sorciers?" Harry asked, thinking back to when he
and Severus had travelled to Paris for a weekend last November; they had stayed at the unofficial
twenty-first division of Paris also known as the wizards' district or the "arrondissement des
sorciers".
"How did you know it's called that?" Adrian asked surprised; Harry shrugged it off and simply
stated;
"I looked it up while you were gone." Harry said and winked "I can read too, you know!" Adrian
chuckled at his brother and threw him some cereal which Harry dodged with ease. "All this
training has made you violent." The green eyed boy offered mirthfully as his twin maturely tried to
throw him a paper towel.
"Why did you have to remind me?" Adrian asked, his head falling on the table next to his plate,
the paper towel forgotten in his hand.
"Oh, come on!" Harry insisted. "It can't possibly be that bad, can it?"
"You have no idea how bad it is!" The hazel eyed twin complained, eyes locking on his brother's
emerald ones. "I've been learning all sorts of defensive magic, and last month we ever began
some first year offensive spells! Why? I mean we're not even supposed to go to Hogwarts for three
more years!" Harry inwardly sighed and refrained from rolling his eyes. His brother was

complaining and was a little less advanced than he would have wished, but he was making
progress; defensive spells were definitely a good thing to know.
"Well, at least you're doing magic! I'll have to wait until I turn eleven and go to school for that!"
And even if that was a lie, at least his brother seemed to cheer up a little after that.
"That's something, I guess." Adrian said, his smile widening. "And I think I'm getting better at
casting too; when I first casted an Incedio -you know that fire spell- I almost burned Ron's hair
off! I had never seen him running so fast before and" But Harry didn't pay attention after that.
Ron? What had Ron been doing at his brother's training?
"Ron is there often when you train?" The green eyed boy asked, trying to mask all traces of hurt
from his voice.
"Oh, yeah." Adrian answered lightly, not noticing the changed in his brother's mood. "Sometimes
when I train in Hogwarts Mr. Weasley brings him around so we can play Quidditch afterwards."
Harry nodded in understanding as he continued with his breakfast, all his appetite lost. Ron could
be there while Adrian trained but he wasn't even allowed to find out what his brother was training
in? Lily had entered the kitchen at that moment and Severus had arrived to pick him up a few
minutes later, under the scornful gaze of one James Potter. And Harry had cried that night, while
Severus held him in his arms.
The green eyed wizard sighed as he took the last steps towards the potion master's couldn't say he
was surprised when he noticed the light coming from beneath the door of Severus' lab. He
knocked twice and entered.
"Still sweating over that scroll, Sev?" The green eyed boy asked, the moment his eyes fell over the
potions master. Severus was sitting back on his armchair staring murderously at an ancient scroll
on his desk; if looks could kill, that scroll would have been ashes by now.
"Hey, kid." Severus greeted him, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "Finished with astronomy for the
night?"
"Yes; I just needed to take a few notes on the effects of constellations on alchemic charms. I think
I have understood the connection to alchemic fermentation but" Severus chuckled.
"It's nice to see you still believe I understand what you're talking about." He stated, making Harry
laugh. The boy had the tendency to sprout random facts about alchemy at the potions master who
just listened with a fond smile; he had almost gave up on reminding him that he had no clue what
the alchemic processes he was babbling about were.
"It went great." Harry simply stated as he sat across the potions master.
"Have you started working on these charms you were talking about?" Severus asked and Harry
nodded. Apparently, alchemic charms and plain charms where a completely different aspect of
magic. First and foremost, alchemic charms did not require a wand to be casted with for the simple
reason that they weren't incantations; alchemic charms were small glass bottles, filled with magical
ingredients and brought together with various types of oil, sealed tight and bound with metal
cords. They sometimes contained runes and -the most complicated ones- sigils and their purpose
was to enhance the alchemic processes, such as the converting of metals. Some worked as
protection measures, boosting wards while others acted as defense or offence mechanisms;
Nicholas had mentioned an alchemic charm that, once activated, could engulf an area of a square
mile in complete darkness, unable to be dispersed before the charm wore off, while only its creator
could see through it.

"I have started studying the simpler ones." The boy stated placing his notebook on the desk. And
how's deciphering that scroll going?" Harry asked pointing at the parchment. It was old and
cracked at places and Severus had acquired it last Christmas in Norway by fluke; he remembered
Harry stating he wanted to see Scandinavia and decided on taking him there on the second week
of the winter break. The rest of the Potter family would be in Paris, visiting a transfiguration
theorist who might have had a lead on Adrian's scar. Severus mentally wished them good luck
with that and booked a reservation in a chalet near the fjords. While travelling they had stumbled
upon a merchant that had had that scroll for sale.
Severus had immediately noticed the images; those of a man turning into a werewolf. Harry still
had trouble imagining how the transformation was even possible; the drawings were very detailed
and the look on the man's face depicted his pain perfectly. Harry winced thinking how Remus -the
always polite and kind Remus- had to endure that torture once a month.
"I have translated the runes." Severus stated matter-of-factly. "But it seems to be written in some
code and the worst thing is it describes some kind of herb that's supposed to control the change, to
regulate it if you want." He stated and pointed at a couple of runes near the end of the scroll. "It's
the name right there, but in the form it was known in northern Scandinavia at the time; if only I
could figure out what the original name was... I'm just so close it's frustrating!" Severus exclaimed
his lips forming what could only be described as a pout. Harry burst into laughter. "What?"
Severus asked surprised.
"Goblins' gold! The p-pout!" He said trying to breathe again.
"What pout?" Severus asked darkly, his eyes narrowing.
"You're sulking, Sev!" Harry explained as he sobered up.
"I'm not sulking!" Severus huffed offended. "I'm brooding at the worst! And, being the owner of a
castle and the last heir of an ancient bloodline, I'm entitled to brood." He stated contemplating.
"Actually, if I want to honor my status, I should brood more." Harry started laughing again as
Severus rose from his armchair and stretched.
"Ready to call it a day?" Harry asked rising up from his seat too.
"What time is it?" The potions master asked yawning.
"One fifteen." The boy replied looking at his watch.
"I was ready over an hour ago." He stated eyeing the watch. "You rather like that watch don't
you?"
"I like pocket watches in general, I think." Harry replied shrugging his shoulders.
"Tell you what." Severus offered as they walked to the door after Harry picked up his notebook
from the desk, peering at the scroll one last time. "What would you say if we stopped at the
kitchen on our way to our rooms for a hot chocolate?" Harry smirked.
"I would say lead the way Sev."
"There's a good lad." Severus offered smiling. They reached the kitchen half asleep on their feet
and Severus prepared two mugs of the hot liquid, placing one in front of Harry.
"Got to love chocolate." The boy sighed taking a sip.
"I do." Severus confirmed smirking at his cup.

"So, what's the translation for that mysterious plant of yours?" The green eyed wizard asked as he
eased back to his chair; jokes set aside, Severus had spent weeks translating the scroll.
"If I have the whole translation correct and have deciphered the text without missing something and trust me I haven't- then the plant is supposed to be called, listen to this; the purple stone herb."
Harry cocked an eyebrow in confusion.
"The what?" That was quite anticlimactic
"As you heard it. What I got from the scroll is that the herb wasn't a part of the native flora and
was brought there by a traveler. My guess is that whoever wrote the scroll had no idea what the
actual name of the herb was and thus settled on describing it; it could be anything! Any type of
herb from whatever country that traveler was from!"
"A bit less dramatic than what I expected. And what makes it so important then?" Harry asked.
"The effect of it, as described in the scroll, is recurring and pain reducing. It might be the key that
will allow the Elosa flower to retain its ability of reacting to the moon to some extent." Severus
explained deep in thought. "I don't know."
"Well, as I have said time and time again, if anyone can solve this then you can." The boy said
with conviction.
"Thank you, Harry." Severus replied draining his chocolate, looking the boy carefully. "It's still
bothering you, doesn't it?" He inquired; Harry didn't even need to ask what it was that Severus
was referring to.
"Yes." He simply answered. "I just don't get it, Dad!" He exclaimed. "I mean, not training me is
one thing but I thought that the whole purpose of not allowing me to even know what's going on
was so that Adrian's training would be kept secret! If Ron is there, why can't I be?" That was a
valid question, the potions master couldn't deny that.
"I can't tell you how your parents' minds work Harry." Severus said, his tone somber as he
regarded the moisture in Harry's eyes. "But for what it's worth, I think that Ron doesn't really stay
while Adrian is training; he probably drops by afterwards to play Quidittch with your brother."
And that was quite possibly the truth, Severus thought; there was no way neither the Potters nor
Dumbledore would allow someone other than his instructors to watch Adrian train. The risk was
far too great. Harry nodded once; Severus had told him the same thing last night but that bitter
taste his brother's revelation had left on his mouth still lingered. "And we could talk about this all
night but it's getting late and I should suggest we go to sleep before Minnie catches us here."
Severus added seriously and Harry gulped down the remaining chocolate in his mug.
"That wouldn't be so pleasant." The boy stated, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips as
Severus nodded emphatically. That house elf had a heart of gold but could frighten a troll
sometimes. Harry climbed into his bed and practically passed out after reading only a couple of
lines from his copy of Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, one of the works of literature -in
this case a play- that Severus had deemed imperative for him to read; the potions master was
adamant he should read something more than the Tales of Beedle The Bard. Not that he
complained; it was nice to read something different and just for the sake of reading from times to
times, even if he couldn't get all the hidden meanings in the pages. Severus however reassured him
that understanding would come with time and so Harry had just decided to enjoy the stories for the
moment.
His eyes closed as he drifted to sleep, book still held tight in his hands; that night Harry dreamt of
a day were the whole world knew what he was capable of. He dreamed of the day he could be

finally seen as his brother's equal by the people he knew and not just be the afterthought. All
memories of the dream were gone come next morning; all that was left was the image of a proud
smile on Severus's face and -strangely enough- of a black and silver horse running in the distance.
Sunday was spent peacefully between studying, horse riding and a bit of Quidditch practice and
Harry's spirits lifted little by little. Soon Monday had dawned, finding Harry back at the training
room in the dungeons, practicing transformations and Severus at Hogwarts, practicing his
patience. It wasn't that he disliked teaching, he thought as he approached a Ravenclaw second
year student who had done Merlin knows what with her potion. The girl in question shrunk in fear
and simply nodded at his instructions. He uttered a few words to the third of the Weasley boys in
Hogwarts to date, Percy, who barely breathed until the black clad man moved away. No, he didn't
dislike teaching; he was rather fond of it.
And he imagined he would love his job if only he could teach without this mask he was hidden
behind. When he had started teaching in Hogwarts it had been a natural reaction to hide behind his
mask, not wanting to be exposed to the world again. But now? Well, he felt as if he could give it a
try. But, he reminded himself with a smirk -since he never smiled at Hogwarts- Harry's security
came first and in order for the present status quo to remain unchanged, images had to be kept.
Besides, Severus thought and his smirk widened behind the essay he was supposedly reading,
when the time did come for him and Harry to take off their masks he just couldn't wait for their
reactions. He made a mental note to have Harry take pictures when the day came.
He spent the remaining of his lessons in quiet, simply giving instructions and trying to act every bit
the prejudiced man he was supposed to be; Albus had appointed him as the Head of Slytherin
House this year and he was making everything he could to discomfort the man; he should have
been more attentive to Harry when he had the chance!
To add to his discomfort he had even kept applying for the Defense Against the Dark Arts
position, fully known that Voldemort had placed a curse on it some years back. Albus of course
denied and Severus was pressing more and more, knowing the Headmaster wouldn't give in. This
year especially, after Quintus's decision to take two years off come next term so that he could
practice his profession beyond theory, Severus had enjoyed pressuring the man to appoint him a
spot he no longer desired.
His research for the Wolfsbane had reignited his passion for potions and he wouldn't change his
job for the world. He idly wondered what would happen if Albus ever did give him the position.
He did his best to hold back his laughter; the old coot would flip for sure. During lunch break -as
he couldn't afford looking anywhere near the Headmaster in fear of laughing- he focused instead
on the journey he had planned as a surprise for Harry this summer; they had been all over Europe
during the fall and winter, taking a few weekends off, after Harry's alchemy lessons, and had
visited France -Severus had even started teaching Harry the language a bit- Gibraltar, Spain, Italy
and the general area of Scandinavia. So for the summer, the potions master had something special
planned.
It wasn't that he needed any ingredients this time, no; he could order most of the stuff he wanted with the exception of that darned mystery herb!- but he had always wanted to visit the country
himself. He poked at his food faking discomfort while wondering how Harry would react when
he told him they were going to India. He smirked; that would be something else worth capturing
in film for sure!

Going On Eleven
Harry was sitting on the kitchen table in Potter Manor, waiting patiently for his brother and father
to return from the Quidditch field. He was munching on his breakfast slowly, biding his time. His
mother was in her room getting ready and Sirius with Remus were bound to arrive any moment
now. The green eyed wizard sighed studying his wand. Today was the day he was heading to
Diagon Alley with his family -and some of the Weasleys, probably Ron and the twins, maybe
even Percy but he rarely stayed with them anyway- to shop for his and Adrian's first year at
Hogwarts.
It wasn't that Harry wasn't excited at the notion of going to Hogwarts; no! It was something that
he had craved since he was five and understood what Hogwarts was. But going to Hogwarts had
a number of implications chained to it; for one, he would have to spend his months away from the
castle he called his home for more time than he had ever been used to, returning there only for
summer holidays; he was going to miss the place he grew up the most. Then there was the fact
that he would have to keep up appearances all the time. It felt odd knowing that he was six inches
taller than his brother but had never been able to actually witness it as the glamour worked just
fine on reflective surfaces. So he could feel he was taller, he could feel his shoulders were wider,
he could feel he wasn't the scrawny boy that looked back at him from the mirror. He just couldn't
see it. At least his eyes were unchanged, Harry noted as the emerald green stared back at him
everyday, the only truth in a visage made of lies.
He allowed himself to think back to those past two years. The trip to India had been a blast for
sure; he had loved the country to bits and Severus had even taken him to visit the Indian Ministry
of Magic, located in the legendary -thus unplottable and Muggle-proofed- Black Taj Mahal. It
contained one of the most celebrated libraries in the orient, and a pure treasure for alchemists
across the globe. Egypt, had been another favorite for certain.
Severus had been a hit too, Harry thought chortling; the potions master had finally loosened up
towards the fairer sex and -when outside the country- had even flirted back, much to Harry's
amusement. He was so different under the disillusionment charms, healthier and much happier, the
shadows in his eyes disappearing when away from the public eye. And he had enjoyed the
changes in his person himself, even if there were a few incidents that Harry had been sworn to
never mention again; that little issue with the druid woman from Ireland last spring for example
and her vow of abstinence. That had gone well.
Harry remembered the scene and almost chocked on his orange juice while recalling Severus's
expression as he walked in their room the morning after. He was as pale as a ghost and muttering
things such as "And how should I know?" or "What type of covenant demands abstinence these
days? Not even the bloody Sisterhood does that!" Harry had sworn to never allow him to live it
down. Neither that nor the incident with that Duke's daughter who may or may not have been
engaged. Severus in return, had sworn to never allow Harry to live down his reaction to the birds
and the bees talk that Sirius gave him and his brother that June as part of their preparation for
Hogwarts, so Harry deemed they were even.
If only people could see the real Severus Oh, they would be shocked to next Sunday! Harry
had the feeling they would be shocked if they knew the real him too, even excluding the Boy
Who Lived thingy. He had kept busy the past two years, earning two more apprenticing marks,
one in White magic -apparently all healing spells counted as such- and one, surprisingly, in Blood
magic.
Both Severus and Harry where confused over that fact until the potions master went all out and

did some extensive research on the subject with Nicholas's help. Blood magic was an assortment
of spells, charms, potions and, apparently, alchemy; Harry had studied bits and pieces of that area
of magic through the years and once he started reading on sigils, the balance tipped and he was
deemed an apprentice. Since then he had done a bit of research and found out what exactly
separated Blood magic from the rest; it was rituals.
Harry was fascinated by the thought; a ritual was a type of incantation that did not require a wand
and was much lengthier than a spell or a curse. What was more interesting was that rituals were
rare; Harry was still in the process of searching the library for any ritual that might be found inside
its pages with little luck so far; that didn't mean he would stop though! Besides, blood magic had a
great connection to wards and that brought him just a step closer to a plan that had started forming
in his mind when he was but seven years old
His persistence had aided him in more than one situation and more recently, in his study of
alchemy; one of the greatest surprises he got from his lessons with Nicholas was that metal
transformation -even when it involved gold- did not require the philosopher's stone. The alchemist
had informed his pupil of that detail after the Christmas holidays this year and Harry had almost
fainted. Nicholas had given him an assignment; he had stated that they could continue with theory
but if he wanted to practice, truly practice alchemy, then he would have to make at least one speck
of gold in his lab.
The green eyed boy had taken the assignment to heart and spent every single free hour he had to
spare in his lab until, three months later, he emerged with not a speck as requested, but an ingot of
the precious metal, two inches wide and four inches long. Nicholas had been overjoyed and
congratulated him while Severus had celebrated the event with an impromptu trip to Italy for the
weekend.
Harry, being eleven since the end of July, had the ability to open his own account at Gringotts and
Severus had taken him to do just that; the green eyed purchased his own vault at the wizarding
bank where that first bar of gold had slowly been accompanied by the various products of Harry's
alchemic studies and some galleons which he had earned selling said products, through Nicholas
of course. The profit of the first golden bar he ever sold however -and of many after that first onewent straight to the account for werewolves unable to purchase their Wolfsbane that had been set
up by Remus five years ago. Severus had hugged the boy so tight, Harry had almost thought he
would suffocate.
Speaking of the Wolfsbane, Severus had made great progress himself; his hard work was finally
paying off and he was one step from completing the potion. It was that herb however, that
mystical herb described at the scroll that kept the key, Severus was sure of that; not that it stopped
him from progressing with the rest of the potion however, a fact that had now almost led him to
success. He was much more optimistic about it these days. Nicholas had even helped him along as
he could and so had Perenelle with her excessive knowledge of herbology. But even these two
stood miffed by the mystery that was that single herb. They had both agree that the name was
more of a description than scientific cataloguing and that was all they had come up with up to that
moment. Well, that and an extensive list of flora that could fit said description.
Harry was ready for another trip down memory lane when his mother entered the kitchen. Lily
approached him and kissed him on the top of his head affectionately.
"I can't believe my boys are going to Hogwarts!" She said, looking at Harry with misty eyes.
"Better believe it, mom." Harry said with a smile.
"And I can't believe you got your wand without me being there." She added after a short pause.
Ah yes. That had been a sore spot between him and his family but an ingenious plan on Severus's

side. Harry had to somehow justify he wouldn't need buying a wand so he and Severus had
decided the best strategy would be to reveal part of the truth. Harry claimed that Severus had
bought it for him as a birthday present carefully omitting to mention which birthday it had been
for. It had also been decided that a part of the truth would be suitable for the core of the wand too;
a core of phoenix feather was quite close to the truth after all.
"Mom!" Harry protested. "You can buy me an owl instead and we'll be even okay?" Lily just
smiled at her son and hugged him.
"I just can't believe how much you've grown!" And if you only knew, Harry thought.
"Don't I get a hug too?" James asked as he walked through the door, Adrian in tow. He did get his
hug from his wife and Adrian was next.
"Mom!" The older Potter twin protested, making Harry smirk. Although they had completely
different characters and didn't look alike like the Weasley twins, Adrian and he were so similar in
some aspects. It felt nice to have that connection with his brother.
"Hey, Harry!" James exclaimed, ruffling Harry's hair.
"Hey, Prongs!" Harry greeted him back; he had called James Prongs as long as he could
remember; James seemed to actually like it, having always been attached to his marauder title.
"Ready for your shopping trip to Diagon Alley?" He asked sitting down eyeing the pancakes on
the table. Adrian followed his example adjusting his glasses in a very James-like movement.
"Only since I was five." Harry offered smirking. James observed the smirk as he had done
countless of times before and tried to pin point exactly what it reminded him. Not finding anything
familiar he just shrugged it off and proceeded to eat his pancakes.
"Harry has a point." Adrian confirmed winking at his brother who smiled back. "I mean you saw
our reaction the first time we stepped foot in the castle. You shouldn't be surprised."
"Well, it still strikes me as odd, thinking how I won't be seeing you at home." Lilly added, pouring
Adrian some orange juice. Well, I wasn't around the manor that much anyway, Harry mentally
commented as he nibbled on his pancakes.
"I can't wait till we go to Hogwarts!" Adrian exclaimed with a wide grin. "I bet the Gryffindor
common room will be amazing! And living in a castle" And then there was that, Harry mused.
Not living in a castle, since he had already done that and loved every moment of it. But his parents
believed it was given he would be a Gryffindor, just like the complete Potter family before him.
But he wasn't so sure of it himself. For one, he was raised by Sev who was a Slytherin and he had
picked up more than one of his traits. And he had also been influenced by Nicholas who, back in
his time, had been a Ravenclaw. Harry figured he would do rather well in these three Houses; it
wasn't that he believed himself not loyal enough for Hufflepuff, just a little too much on the sly
side to be in the House of the fair and just.
Severus had declared, when the subject had been brought up a few weeks ago, that he was certain
Harry would be a Gryffindor, shocking the boy speechless. The potions master was adamant
Harry would be in the House of lions because, since he had many of the characteristics of all four
houses, the hat would be forced to look into his heart. Harry had deadpanned that if the hat was
judging based to what lay in your heat then Severus himself would be a Gryffindor too. His
reward for that comment had been a hug and some hair ruffling. Harry sighed; he would just have
to wait.

"Ready boys?" The voice of Sirius Black sounded from the hall.
"Think they heard you, Sirius? Maybe you should yell some more?" The amused -and less loudvoice of Remus Lupin asked.
"Show some excitement, Moony!" The dog animagus deadpanned. "It's the boys' first Hogwarts
shopping spree!" They had reached the kitchen by then, only to find the Potter family had burst
into laughter.
"Oh boys!" Lily exclaimed. "We can always count on you two for a good laugh."
"Of course!" Sirius stated unashamed as he plopped next to Harry on the table.
"How's it going, kiddos?" He asked, his grey eyes smiling.
"I think he meant good morning." Remus clarified.
"We had figured as much, Moony." James said wiping his eyes. "And yes, we're ready to go if
you two have no more plans to make us choke on our breakfast."
"Nah, we're good for today." Sirius stated. And thus -after James and Adrian finished their
pancakes- they flooed to Diagon Alley. The morning had gone relatively well, Harry thought,
with the exception of a few smarmy comments towards Severus from James and Sirius when
Harry's wand was referred.
"Did you make sure it works?" James asked laughing.
"I can't cast spells yet." Harry had replied falsely and through tight lips. He hated when his father
and Sirius spoke so lowly of Sev. "But Mr. Ollivander said it fit me perfectly."
"Just saying, kiddo." Sirius offered. They had been prevented from adding more after a stern look
from Lily. The shopping had gone without a hitch -if you excepted a few stares at Adrian- and
Harry could honestly say he was excited to get his official Hogwarts books; he might had started
covering fifth year material in his private studies but being in school just felt new. He realized that
some part of him couldn't wait for September first. The last shop they visited for the day, after
staring at the new Nimbus 2000 that had been on display for some good ten minutes, was the
Magical Menagerie. Half an hour later, Harry and Adrian stepped out with two owls; a large
brown one for Adrian -newly named Apollo- and a snow white for Harry. The green eyed boy
had taken an immediate liking to the owl and had chosen the name Hedwig, after a Viking witch
queen that had led her people to glory back when Merlin was still at his prime.
They had met the Weasleys -Arthur, Molly, Ron, the twins and Percy- at the Leaky Cauldron and
the boys had talked about Quidditch a bit. They spoke of the teams they supported and the
chances Chudley Cannons had to win the league this year. Harry just smiled and added his bit
from his corner; the boys had no way of knowing, but he and Sev were avid fans of the Bulgarian
Vratsa Vultures and went to their games often, even if that meant travelling abroad. Nation wise
they supported the Hollyhead Harpies, becoming their fans after that first game they had attended
when Harry was seven and had bought the tickets as a present for Severus.
They parted on the light note of seeing each other at the platform on September first. The next
week passed like a breeze and August the thirty first found Harry and Severus at the balcony of
the castle looking at the lake as they did every summer.
"I'll miss this place." Harry muttered as he looked at Severus. "And I'll miss being me."
"You'll still be yourself at Hogwarts, Harry." The potions master offered smiling ruefully.

"You know what I mean, Sev." The boy stated looking at his hand as if he was going to miss it
too. Yes, Severus thought, I know exactly what you mean. "And I guess I'll have to lay low, try to
be average and"
"Hey!" Severus stopped him, earning a confused look from the boy. "Average?" The potions
master asked incredulously. "Why would you think that?"
"But I'll have to downplay my abilities and"
"Sure you can't start casting fifth year spells or mass produce precious metals in the dungeons
but average? What made you think that?" Severus asked sipping his iced tea.
"So you're saying"
"I'm saying that I'll be bloody angry if you don't end up first in your year for the simple reason that
you can do it with your eyes closed." Severus stated lightly.
"Dad?" Harry started with a smile.
"Yes Harry?" Severus prompted mirroring the boy's expression. Harry hugged him.
"Love you."
"I know." He offered in a thick voice. "Love you too, kid." They just stood watching the field for
a while before Severus spoke again. "Now, have you packed everything?"
"Yes. I think I have." The boy answered.
"Have you placed disillusionment charms over your extracurricular books?" They had agreed
Harry should take some extra books with him at Hogwarts so that he could continue with his
studies.
"Yes and all the locking and warding spells and charms I could think of are on my trunk too. I
won't even comment on the enchantments you put on that thing"
"Taken your alchemy notebook?"
"Yes and if anyone opens it -provided they will have opened my trunk first- will find it empty."
Harry was working on sigils at the moment, a part of alchemy that, as Nicholas had explained,
demanded something other magic areas lacked; imagination. The alchemist had suggested Harry
to do something creative as practice and when Harry had suggested potions, Nicholas had
reminded him that you could only be so creative with a potion before it exploded; he had
suggested cooking instead and the green eyed wizard had found himself covered in flour in no
time. Truth be told, Severus had helped both at the cooking and the getting covered in flour part.
"Speaking about alchemy, has Nicholas appeared a little agitated to you during the past month or
am I imagining things?" Harry asked worriedly. Severus sighed.
"He has been worrying over something, Harry, I can tell you as much. But I have given my word
to him that I won't reveal the reason why." Harry started to protest. "He didn't tell me either; I
found out from a different source -who has also sworn me to secrecy but I'll digress- and Nicholas
asked me not to tell you so I wouldn't worry you."
"And not knowing won't worry me?" Harry asked cocking an eyebrow. "And what other
source?" The boy asked confused. Severus chuckled.

"I believe you'll figure it out on your own soon enough; this way I'll get to keep my word and
you'll be able to ease your worries." Severus stated. "Besides, I don't know the actual reason
behind his worry myself." The potions master added.
"But"
"But nothing, kid. You'd better make sure you have fun at Hogwarts and that's an order!" Severus
stated imperiously.
"I will." Harry added laughing. "Sev?"
"Yes?"
"You really won't mind it if I end up in Gryffindor?" The boy's question was casual but his eyes
betrayed how deep his worry ran.
"Of course I won't!" Severus reassured him. "I want you to enjoy staying in whatever House you
get sorted at and that's an order too. Wolf's honor." Severus swore on his animagus form. Both of
them had taken the potion to find out their forms the day after Harry's birthday. The potions master
was a bit shocked when they both ended up being wolves -a bit too close to being a dog he
thought- but figured it was to be expected with all their research on the Wolfsbane. Harry just
smiled and reminded him your animagus form is supposed to tell something about your character
and Severus send them both into peals of laughter when he suggested a deep part of them both
wanted to throw back its head and howl at the moon, creating a rather interesting mental picture.
Harry had sworn to work on his transformation every night and show Severus his progress over
the Christmas holidays if no other opportunity arose.
"Okay, Sev." Harry stated in a much lighter tone.
"And now on to more important matters." Severus stated standing up. "I have asked Minnie to
make that chocolate cake"
"Yay!" Harry exclaimed and made a beeline for the kitchen, leaving a chuckling Severus behind
him. The next morning, Harry was awakened not by his mother, as he had expected, but by his
father who ushered him and Adrian in the living room and gave them one last gift before they
departed for Hogwarts.
"Is that" Adrian began, touching the silvery cloth reverently.
"You invisibility cloak?" Harry asked, his voice just as awed as Adrian's; every good story his
father had ever told them had began with this cloak of at least included it at some point.
"Yep! And I want you guys to have it; I would give you the map too but Filtch confiscated it on
our last year and we never got it back so" James explained, clearly still pained by the loss.
"The cloak will be great, Dad." Adrian stated and Harry nodded.
"Just don't get into too much trouble wearing it, or your mom will kill me." The boys laughed but
readily agreed and the cloak was soon tucked into Adrian's trunk. They went to pack the rest of
their personal belongings, or rather Adrian did as Harry fed Hedwig and placed her in her cage
with a promise to let her fly to Hogwarts once they boarded the train.
The ride to the station was rather amusing with the car being magically enlarged on the inside to
accommodate the entire Potter family, Ron who had slept over, Sirius, Moony, three trunks and
two owl cages. Sirius had been trying to convince the three almost students that this year the
sorting would include a troll; Ron almost believed him, as Fred and George had told him

something similar, even if Adrian had let it slip about the Sorting Hat a month ago.
Their arrival at King's Cross coincided with the Weasleys' -more out of luck than planning- and
farewells were exchanged once they reached Platform 9 . The red steam engine was ten minutes
from leaving when Harry noticed the Weasleys had brought their younger member, Ginny, with
them; the redheaded girl used to have a crush on Adrian when she was younger which had faded
away with the years and Harry had discovered he liked spending time with her, finding her a
smart, if rather shy girl. He waved at her while boarding the train and she smiled back before
resuming asking her mother when she could go to Hogwarts herself.
Last hugs were exchanged as the train departed for Hogwarts and Harry with Adrian looked back
at their teary eyed parents as they waved them away. Harry barely managed to see their father
placing a comforting arm around their mother's shoulders before the train took a turn and the
station was hid from their eyes. The Potter twins shared a smile and sat back down in the
compartment they had found with Ron. Adrian and Ron spoke lightly about what they expected
of Hogwarts while Harry made the effort to check through his spellbooks for the year once again
munching on a chocolate frog he had gotten from the cart; he'd better make sure he wouldn't cast
more advanced spells while at school, at least not until after Christmas holidays when he would be
able to use research in the library was the source of said enchantments. He was thinking about
how different Severus would have to act at Hogwarts -the green eyed wizard had been
forewarned by the potions master himself- when the door of their compartment opened and,
Neville Longbottom, a boy who Harry had seen once or twice in the past entered asking if they
had seen his toad.
After assuring him that they had not, he left, only to return minutes later, followed by a bushy
haired witch, already dressed in her school robes. It so happened that the very moment she did,
Ron had pulled out his wand as Adrian was attempting to teach him a simple levitation spell.
"Oh, are you trying magic? Let's see it then." Her tone was bossy, Harry noted and her front teeth
a little too large but her brown eyes showed no ill intentions. Ron looked rather taken aback from
her request.
"Er, all right." He pulled out his wand and pointed at the silver sickle, the coin they had used as
target; a bit too heavy for a first try, Harry thought, but then again Adrian had already covered the
first year material. Once Harry had heard just how far into his studies Adrian had gone he was a
bit disappointed; he had wished his brother had a larger head start than that, but Severus had
explained it was a rather admirable feat for a boy his age. Then he had smiled proudly at Harry
and kept explaining a fairly complicated transformation theory to the green eyed wizard.
"Wingardium Leviosa." Ron said flatly, completely missing both intonation and wand movement.
"Are you sure you're doing right?" The bushy haired girl said. "I've done a few simple spells
already and they've worked for me. I've read about this spell too but never tried it myself. Nobody
in the family is magic" And she kept going on and on about Hogwarts as Harry tuned her out.
"I'm Hermione Granger by the way. And who are you?" The three boys looked at her quite
shocked.
"I'm Ron Weasley."
"Adrian Potter."
"Harry Potter." But Hermione didn't much pay him attention as she seemed to have stuck at
Adrian's name and started reciting all the books he had been featured in. Harry just smirked as
Adrian turned crimson.

"Anyway, we'd better go and look for Neville's toad now. You three better change you know. I'd
expect we'll be there pretty soon." And thus she left, taking Neville with her.
"Whatever House I'm in, I hope she's not in it." Ron mumbled and the Potter twins laughed.
"And don't worry about the spell, Ron." Adrian said. "It's rather complicated." Then he seemed to
remember something. "Hey, Harry!"
"Yes, Adrian?" He asked still smiling at Ron's comment.
"I promised to teach you when at school remember?" The hazel eyed Potter twin asked smiling
wide. Oh. That.
"Yeah, I remember." Harry answered smiling; Adrian had remembered of a promise made years
ago and, even though he wouldn't need the training, the thought alone counted far more that all the
training in the world.
"Do you want to give the spell a try?" Adrian said. "I'll correct you if something's wrong." Harry
smiled and pulled out his wand, having half a mind to cast the spell wrong for the sake of
appearances when Severus's prompt to be the best in his year came to mind. He'd better put the
bases early.
"Wingardium Leviosa." He commanded and the coin rose immediately from the floor, floating
mid air where Harry indicated with his wand. Ron's jaw fell slack and Adrian blinked once.
"That's great, Harry. Really great." And he smiled proudly.
"I've been reading our new books." The green eyed boy stated as he lowered the coin on the floor
and gave it to his brother.
"Mom will be glad to know at least one of us took after her!" Adrian stated laughing, causing
Harry and Ron to follow suit. They were still laughing when the door opened again to reveal
Draco Malfoy. There had been a mutual dislike between the Malfoy and the Potter families for
years but Harry had tried to oversee it when he had first been introduced to the Malfoy heir.
Unfortunately, the blond hadn't extended the same courtesy.
"The Potter twins and the weasel." He sneered flanked by two of his friends. They were much
larger than the blond and as tall as Harry when he wasn't under a concealment charm. "Still unable
to tell the wrong sort from the bad I see?" He asked staring at Ron.
"I think we manage just fine thank you." Harry stated calmly and to stress the discussion was, as
far as he was concerned, over he picked up his spellbook and resumed reading. Or at least
pretended to, waiting for the three boys to leave. That was when Draco picked the moment to not
only insult Ron's family but to also order his lackeys -Crabbe and Goyle- to grab their remaining
chocolate frogs. Harry just sighed and pulled out his wand again. He cast two simple yet effective
leg binding spells, causing the two advancing boys to trip and fall on the floor.
"That was brilliant mate!" Ron exclaimed as Adrian hooted. Harry just stared at a dumbfounded
Draco and spoke calmly.
"I'll lift the curses if you take your friends and leave, Malfoy." The blond started at him wide-eyed
while the two boys on the floor waited for his decision. "Did you hear me?"
"Yes." He stated.
"Okay then." And like that he lifted the curses with a flick of his wand and Crabbe and Goyle

stood up hastily and stumbled out of the compartment. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't
insult my friends in the future, Malfoy." Harry added; Draco's eyes turned into slits as he huffed
once again before walking away.
"You really did read ahead on our books, didn't you?" Adrian asked smiling brightly.
"Yeah I did." Harry answered shrugging.
"That was brilliant!" Ron repeated as they sat down on their seats. They only managed to
exchange a few words before Hermione returned to their compartment to inform them that they
were reaching Hogwarts any moment now. The boys ushered her out so they could change into
their black robes, something they had barely managed to do before the announcement to leave
their trunks in the train and get ready to disembark sounded from invisible speakers; Harry was
fairly certain it was a charm of some sort. Severus had started teaching him how to sense
enchantments, but he had only managed to get the basics before the term started. Harry took in a
deep breath and descended the few steps that separated him from the platform.
"Firs' years! Firs' years this way!" Hagrid's voice sounded in the distance, calling them all to him.
Here we go, Harry thought and followed the Gamekeeper's voice.

The Beginning Of Term


Harry found himself in a boat along with his brother and Ron, following the rest of the students
through the lake and towards the majestic castle in the distance; the green eyed wizard found his
mind divided between excitement and terror. He repeated to himself that he had nothing to fear,
quite unsuccessfully. But he'd be loath to allow his fear to stop him so he simply looked at the
castle and tried to breathe. Not an easy task.
The first years were greeted by Professor McGonagall who was looking as strict as ever, her smart
eyes looking over the frightened eleven year olds. She led them all to a small room down the hall.
It was hard to be awed by the castle, Harry thought as he looked upwards towards the arched
ceiling; no place like Hogwarts! Professor McGonagall explained what the Houses were and gave
them the main idea of the Sorting Ceremony that was about to begin before leaving them to wait,
with a final admonishing to straighten their clothes and look smart, as she put it, her eyes staying a
bit on a smudge Ron had on his nose and Neville's cloak. Neville, who had found his toad,
Trevor, by then, started to nervously fumble with his cloak while Ron rubbed his nose.
Harry himself had to fight to not fidget or try and straighten down his hair; he only managed to do
so when remembering it was part of the glamour spell and any attempts on taming it wouldn't have
any effect whatsoever. Not that his unruly hair could be helped otherwise. But when Minerva
McGonagall gave you that look, you couldn't help but wondering if there was something you
could do to straighten your clothing, or saluting her.
Professor McGonagall returned and asked them to form a line before leading them through a
grand door to the Great Hall; there, seated at the four Houses' tables, were the students of the
school, illuminated by the light of thousand floating candles. The sky on the enchanted ceiling was
the perfect image of the night sky above and, even if Harry knew it was an enchantment, he found
himself trying to locate the various constellations, the familiar action soothing his nerves a little. In
the far end of the room the green eyed wizard could just discern the black clad figure of Severus
Snape. He smiled slightly; whatever happened he would not be alone, not with Sev there.
He moved along with the rest of the students to be, his heart much lighter. Professor McGonagall
placed an old torn hat on a stool; the Sorting Hat, Harry thought, recognizing it from both
Severus's and James's descriptions. Despite his anxiousness for the sorting ceremony, Harry had
quite anticipated this moment. And not one to disappoint, a mouth-like slit appeared on the front of
the hat, just above the rim, and the hat started singing;
"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see.
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me!
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts' Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all!
There's nothing hidden in your head

There's nothing hidden in your head


The Sorting Hat can't see
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be
You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve and chivalry,
Set Gryffindor's apart.
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true,
And unafraid of toil.
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
If you're a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm the Thinking Cap!
As everybody applauded the hat, Harry noticed professor McGonagall stepping forward once
again, this time carrying with her a scroll that was apparently the list of all the first years, as she
began calling them alphabetically. In the meantime, the young wizard was pondering on the words
of the Thinking Hat; if it could see anything in ones mind, wasn't it dangerous that it would tell
someone? Severus, after the matter had been thoroughly discussed, had pointed out that the spell
which allowed the hat to work had it bound with the school and forced it to keep its secrets. What
it saw inside the students' heads was part of the school's secrets so, the very same spell that kept it
from being a simple hat, bounded it to keep whatever it saw to itself. But since the Hat wasn't the
one he had fear of looking into his mind and telling, he did a quick check over his Occlumency
shields.

Severus had warned him that the headmaster was a master Legillimens and had taught him the
basics over the summer. He was nowhere near the potions master level yet of course but he had
cultivated the ability to store his thoughts separately, raise a shield strong enough to alert him if
someone tried to read his mind and give him just about enough time to flee and call for help.
"Granger Hermione!" The transfiguration professor exclaimed and the bushy hair witch they had
encountered in the train moved excitedly towards the hat and all but pulled it onto her head. Harry
noticed Adrian and Ron share a look and then cringe when she was sorted to Gryffindor; Ron
even groaned in protest. Neville was sorted in Gryffindor, Draco Malfoy at Slytherin -oh the
shock! He would have begged the hat if he wasn't already cut out for the House but Harry envied
him a little for he would be in the same house as Severus- and then
"Potter, Adrian!" The professor called and whispers spread in the Great Hall.
"Did she say Potter?" One asked.
"The Adrian Potter?" Someone inquired.
"That's what I heard!" Another agreed. Harry just rolled his eyes; frankly, Adrian hated the
attention and he didn't want his brother to be uncomfortable in Hogwarts after dreaming of
attending since before he could remember. In the meantime, Adrian had put on the Hat with a
determined look; they didn't have to wait long; Gryffindor was what the Hat called before ten
seconds had passed. Harry clapped harder than anyone else in the room as the table in the far left
cheered. He could distinctly hear Fred and George chanting "We got Adrian! We got Adrian!"
"Potter, Harry!" McGonagall called, a small smile on her face. Harry walked with his head held
high, stealing one last glance at Severus who nodded once in support. His name being called
didn't cause any commotion but Harry liked it better this way. He pulled the Hat over his eyes and
the Great Hall was lost from his sight.
"So the second Potter twin!" A voice whispered in his ear. "And you know some Occlumency!
Quite impressive for someone your age! And now let's see what Great Merlin!" The Hat
exclaimed, quite at loss. "You, young Harry, hide more secrets than all the students I have ever
had the pleasure to sort put together. And what you hide is Astonishing!"
"You won't tell, will you?" Harry thought softly, cringing inwardly.
"Even if I wasn't forced to keep what I see for myself, I would not; I see how you protect your
brother young Harry and it's admirable." The Hat then paused. "But where to put you? You're
more than smart and knowledgeable so Ravenclaw would fit you; you're sly enough to hide your
secrets so Slytherin would do too. And loyalty is right there along with bravery and chivalry, yes.
But what would be best?"
"Doesn't something stick out?" The boy wondered, interested in the conversation; after all, how
could he not want to know what a magical object which's job was to look into minds for centuries
had to say about him?
"Everything in your mind sticks out, my dear!" The hat exclaimed. "What can I say? Is that
Alchemy? Oh my boy, you know Alchemy! No matter what house you get sorted to, I'd advice
you looked into the extra curricular activities the school has to offer!" The green eyed wizard
mentally nodded, a soft smirk forming on his lips; this wasn't as bad as he had thought it would be.
And as the hat kept deliberating and mumbling to itself about his characteristics -daring mixed
with fluidity of thoughts and a certain disregard for the rules being the latest argument- Harry
remembered Severus's words.

"Would it help if you looked into my heart?" He asked in the mental equivalent of a small voice.
No matter what House he was fit for, he was going to be a Hatstall, he could just see it coming.
"Would you let me look into your heart, young one?" The Hat asked seriously.
"I have a lot of things to hide, but not in my heart." Harry answered decisively, feeling brave all of
the sudden. The Hat chuckled.
"I can only see inside your head, but even if I could look into your heart I believe
wouldn't need to. It takes great courage -the greatest courage perhaps- to allow someone entrance
in your heart Harry. And since your mind fits all, your heart will find its home
in GRYFFINDOR!" The hat shouted the last word and Harry smiled; so did Severus, even if
ever so slightly. He quite enjoyed being right.
"Well done, bro!" Adrian offered patting his younger brother on the back once, smiling happily.
The green eyed wizard smiled back; all was well -with Ron being sorted to Gryffindor too- and, at
last, his time at Hogwarts could begin. He hadn't realized just how starved he was so, after the
sorting was over and Dumbledore made his version of a welcoming speech, he surprised himself
with pilling food on his plate and proceeding to eat every last bite, chasing it down with a slice of
treacle tart and -of course- some chocolate souffl.
The jovial atmosphere of the feast was somewhat dimmed at the grave warning from Dumbledore
that the students weren't to approach the third floor corridor on the right-hand if they didn't want to
die a painful death. Whispers travelled around the Great Hall once again and Harry's mind swiftly
started making up scenarios of any shape and form. The only reason Dumbledore wouldn't allow
students to enter a part of the school, would be if something was being guarded at Hogwarts
which was, after all, the safest location in the country, beating even Gringotts. But what had to be
guarded in a way that might endanger the students? What could be so important? His clouded
mind barely noted that he was missing something, that there was a connection he wasn't making
while he should, but he was far to tired to push further.
He just followed Percy -who had been made a prefect and was obviously proud of it- to the
Gryffindor tower not needing to memorize the path there since, even if he hadn't spent so much
time at the castle, the tales he had heard in the Potter manor had painted an almost perfect picture
of where the lions' common room was. Harry smiled as he laid eyes on the famous painting of the
Fat Lady and just stumbled in and straight to his bed. He did try and clear his mind a bit while
brushing his teeth but only managed to do the basic work required for Occlumency as he felt
almost ready to drop down and sleep on the floor.
The next morning Harry and Adrian received congratulatory letters from their parents and
godparents for being sorted into Gryffindor "How did they find out so soon?" Adrian had
wondered out loud. Harry was sure Prongs or Padfoot had asked Dumbledore the same night of
the ceremony- and the green eyed wizard had also received an unsigned note, written in a precise
cursive hand he would recognize everywhere, that simply stated;
Congratulations.
P.S.: I told you so.
Harry stole a look towards the potions master with a smile, holding his laughter and quickly
concealing the note before anyone could see it. Whispers concerning his brother followed them
around all day making Adrian blush slightly but Harry was unconcerned; he simply wanted the
classes to begin. As much as he wanted to help his brother, it felt good to be able to achieve
something for himself and be recognized for his efforts plus, he wanted to make Severus proud.

First lesson of term was Herbology and the first years found themselves heading towards the
greenhouses -specifically greenhouse one- where professor Sprout did her best to teach them how
to recognize fungi and herbs. Harry, who had already covered a lot of ground in Herbology
thanks to the greenhouses both in the Flamels' and Severus's castles greenhouses, was able to
recognize them all and add a few extra things for their uses -nothing too much so that it wouldn't
be on the book's footnotes but just enough- surprising the professor and gaining Gryffindor fifteen
points all by himself. Adrian congratulated him and Hermione tried to corner him for some
questioning on the extra tidbits of information he had provided and Harry had to swiftly dodge her
and head towards the next class.
He was completely disappointed with his History of Magic class as professor Binns, who was a
ghost, made no point to gain his students' interest. Harry tried to take notes but he soon found it to
be a useless task; Severus had already taught him all there was to know -or at least all he needed to
know- about goblin wars and he hadn't bored him halfway to death while doing so!
Another disappointment had been Defense Against the Dark Arts, a lesson Harry had anticipated,
wanting to see how he would react in a proper duel since he wasn't up to Severus' level to have
one yet. The whole classroom smelled of garlic and professor Quirrell seemed terrified of his own
subject.
Charms had been an amusing lesson; they hadn't started their spellwork as of yet, but professor
Flitwick had fallen off his chair -or rather the books on the chair on which he was standing onwhile calling Adrian's name during roll call. Harry had to stifle his laughter as he hid behind his
book while Adrian turned beet red. Astronomy had been a breeze and professor Sinistra was
utterly pleased with Harry's knowledge on the subject; his classmates had been equally pleased for
the points he got for Gryffindor. Hermione had gone as much as to ask him how come he wasn't
sorted into Ravenclaw. Harry had just shrugged and pointed out that her statement was like the pot
calling the kettle black; she had simply smiled at that and turned her attention into finding the
correct path to the dormitory.
The first transfiguration lesson had been an interesting experience; Professor McGonagall made it
quite clear that she would take no nonsense in her class, giving them a talking-to the moment the
lesson started. She then proceeded to transform the desk into a pig and back again, making the
whole class -including Harry who always loved seeing transformations- gasp. She then gave them
the task to turn a match into a needle. Harry pretended reading through the theory for a few
minutes while his classmates tried their hand at the incantation -mostly unsuccessfully though
Adrian had already turned his match pointy- and then waved his wand confidently and
transformed his match into a perfect needle. Professor McGonagall stopped her rounds around the
class and approached his desk, picking up the needle and showing it to the whole class, rewarding
Harry with an unusually warm smile.
"Well done, Mr. Potter." She stated regarding him with smart eyes behind her glasses. "Have you
tried the spell before?" In every truth, Harry hadn't used the exact spell as Severus had started his
training with turning small pebbles into buttons before advancing to more complicated
incantations.
"No professor, but I have read through the theory; I've done some research with my Dad's books
too." The green eyed wizard added thinking of Severus's castle's vast library.
"Ah yes." She added nodding, smiling again. "James had always had an affinity for
Transformation." And, after rewarding five points to Gryffindor, she continued with her rounds.
Harry smiled at Adrian who returned the gesture with a thumbs up for his gaining of points. At the
end of the lesson, only Adrian had had managed to complete the transformation after Harry while
Hermione had managed to turn her match halfway.

Before Harry could blink it was Friday, the day that marked their first potions lesson; it was to be
with the Slytherin students but that wasn't what troubled Harry. He would now see Sev as he was
at Hogwarts and he wasn't sure he liked it. The potions master had warned him that his faade was
nothing like he had been used to. The green eyed boy had pointed out he had expected it but in
truth he was a bit gloomy; he wished he could see Severus teach like he was meant to and mostly,
he wanted the other students to see too. He made his way down to the dungeons, his mind barely
registering the comments his brother and Ron made on Severus or Adrian inviting the redhead
over at Hagrid's with the two of them that aftrenoon. They had just sat down, Harry and Adrian
sharing the same table while Ron sat on the one right next to Adrian with Neville, when Severus
burst through the door with a bang, his black cloak bellowing behind him. Suddenly, Harry
understood perfectly why every student was afraid of him and smirked before he was able to help
himself; boy where they in for a surprise one of these days!
Severus proceeded into explaining them exactly what they were going to do in potions and exactly
what their importance was. His voice was precise and detached, lacking the warmth Harry had
been used to. Still, he had captured everyone's attention easily and had caused Harry to smirk
imperceptibly at the "dunderheads" comment; some things never changed. He proceeded to call
out the name of the students and, just like Flitwick, he paused when reaching Adrian's name. But
no comical reaction followed; he just regarded Adrian with a piercing stare, making him fidget a
little, before proceeding to Harry and the rest of the class.
The green eyed wizard knew what was to come next; Severus had asked him how far into potions'
material had Adrian gone and Harry had in turn asked his brother. The older Potter twin had
laughed and simply stated that James didn't think potions would be necessary for his training as of
yet; they had concentrated on spellwork and he had simply looked into his first year book a bit.
Severus had been livid; James had let his feud slip into his son's education it seemed. What would
happen if Adrian was targeted with a potion? What if he needed to produce a healing one himself?
An antidote even?
And like that, it had been decided to check exactly what Adrian did know on potions; Harry had
protested knowing that might weight against Severus but the potions master had just shrugged it
off with a smirk, reminded him such a reaction was expected of him. Not that it make Harry like
the idea more.
After he had called all the students, the potions master unexpectedly -for all the rest- turned
towards the hazel eyed Potter and called his name.
"Mr. Adrian Potter." He began. "What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel into an
infusion of wormwood?" Adrian looked lost and turned to face Ron who was equally confused.
Hermione raised her hand, Draco, Crabbe and Goyle snickered while Harry stifled a sigh. This
was elementary first year knowledge and for someone with Adrian's training it should be easy;
obviously his brother hadn't bothered with the subject at all.
"Nothing?" Severus asked noticing the lost look on the elder Potter twin's face. Inside he was
seething; he really couldn't take it out on the boy but he ought to know, at least, the basics. Maybe
if he asked something from the first chapters of the book "Let's try again. Where would you
look if I told you to find me a bezoar?" He looked at Adrian expectedly as the boy's eyes widened
behind his glasses. Harry grinded his teeth together in an attempt not to groan; that was mentioned
in the second chapter of the book, right after the introduction of lethal potions and ingredients.
Hermione's hand was quivering at that point but Severus ignored her.
"I don't know, sir." Adrian repeated. Ron glared daggers at Severus as Draco laughed out loud.
"What is the difference between monkswood and wolfsbane?" He finally asked and Harry cringed
at his brother's blank expression; now that one was mentioned on the very first paragraph of the

first chapter, where it was stated that potion ingredients could be found in various countries with
different name. It was the eleventh page of the book for Merlin's sake!
"I don't know. But I think Hermione does. Why don't you ask her?" Adrian stated, causing a few
laughs. A sharp glare caused Hermione's hand to drop and Harry suspected that, in addition to his
annoyance over Adrian's ignorance, Severus didn't tolerate other students interrupting without his
permission -even if it was in the form of a quivering hand, something that Harry himself found
mildly annoying.
"One point will be taken for Gryffindor for your cheekiness Mr. Potter." The potions master stated
and turned to Harry. "Mr. Harry Potter." He began and Adrian's eyes turned into slits; he glanced
at his brother and nodded encouragingly. Harry wanted to bang his head on the table; Severus had
to show him the same treatment as he too was a Potter and that would only widen the void
between the potions master and his family. Well, at least I can answer, Harry thought. "Do you
think you could answer the questions I asked your brother?"
"Yes, sir." Harry stated with a nod. "Asphodel and wormwood, in combination with some more
ingredients, produce a sleeping draught so powerful it is known as the Draught of Living Death, a
potion that has gained some recognition in Muggle folklore." The green eyed boy offered. "A
bezoar is a stone taken from the stomach of a goat and it will save you from most poisons with the
notable exception of those using dragon's blood. Thankfully, dragon's blood is included to only a
handful of potions as it tends to purify and is thus incompatible with most of the key ingredients of
deadly poisons." Harry explained, remembering what Nicholas had told him of dragon's blood.
That information was widely accessible and Harry remembered seeing a copy of Dumbledore's
book on the subject back at the Potter manor so he figured he could include as much. "As for
monkswood and wolfsbane, they are the same plant which is mostly used for healing potions; it is
also known as aconite." That should cover it, Harry thought. Adrian was beaming at him and
Harry smiled back timidly. His eyes caught Seamus' who winked and then Hermione's who
looked at him astonished.
"Well, why aren't you writing that down?" Severus asked smiling inside with pride; he made a
mental note to award five points to Gryffindor when he would be alone in his office. The rest of
the lesson flowed easily, for the Slytherins that is. Harry was caught between laughing out loud
and blaming himself for what Severus was going through Maybe if it hadn't been for himself
the potions master wouldn't have to try so hard, the boy thought as he stopped Neville, with whom
he was paired with, before melting the cauldron on which they were working on. Neville thanked
him soundlessly as Severus passed them by; the boy seemed to shrink at the potions master's
presence. The potions master in question had caught Harry's expression and figured he would
have to speak to the boy; he was terrified of what Harry would think of him after the lesson and
his worst fears seemed to have come true.
The afternoon passed in a blur, Harry being stirred out of his self-imposed guilt only by the rocks
Hagrid called cakes, and the three boys found themselves back to Gryffindor common room. The
green eyed boy went to fetch his book on sigils -disguised as a copy of the first year
Transformation book- as he did every night when his eyes fell on his owl; Hedwig was
surprisingly perched on the left corner of his four poster bed, a letter tied on her leg. The note was
simple and short;
"Meet me at my office tonight; use the cloak. We have to talk."
Harry wondered what could be the problem, his mind immediately jumping to the worst scenario;
had Severus realized how much easier his life would be if he didn't have to pretend for his sake?
He gulped and retrieved his book, burning the note with a quick Incedio. As interesting sigils
were, he had no chance concentrating, his mind flying to the appointment he had later that night.

He waited patiently for the whole house to fall asleep, making a show of going to bed himself; he
remained wide awake until well after midnight before retrieving the invisibility cloak from his
brother's trunk and heading for the dungeons, leaving an utterly confused Fat Lady behind. He
practically ran down the Grand Staircase but, once he reached Severus's office, he froze. Now
you're just being silly, he accused himself and knocked once before entering. Severus was there,
seating on his armchair, the glamour spells lifted. Harry swiftly followed his example and entered
the room, taking off his cloak.
"Hey, Sev." Harry started lightly, his eyes meeting Severus's and then widening in surprise; he
expected to find annoyance, maybe some guilt, but not worry.
"Harry." Severus stated and motioned him to sit down. "I'm going to cut straight to the subject."
The potions master started releasing a breath he had been holding; from all the ways he had
though for getting what he wanted to say out, addressing it directly seemed the best way; he was
never one to beat around the bush anyway.
"Sure, Sev." Harry said, confused now more than anything else.
"I know we have already talked about this still I couldn't help but notice how you reacted during
your potions lesson this morning; Harry you know that's not really me right? It's just a mask I have
to wear." Severus explained in on breath. "I want you to remember that." To his surprise, Harry
laughed. "What?" The potions master asked confused himself while the boy laughed even harder.
"That's it?" Harry asked wiping his eyes. He still wasn't sure if his tears were from laughing so
hard or from pure relief; probably it was both.
"What more is there?" Severus asked and the concentrated on the boy. "What did you think I was
going to say?"
"That you're tired of wearing said mask and you blame me for ruining your life." Harry stated
lightly while Severus's jaw dropped. He thought what?
"What?" he asked incredulously. Severus closed his eyes and massaged his temples slowly.
"Haven't I told you not to stand right above your cauldron when your potions are boiling? The
fumes are bad for you." Harry laughed some more.
"I'll try to avoid them in the future, Sev." The boy promised.
"But seriously, Harry." The potions master stated opening his eyes and moving closer to the boy;
he placed his hands on Harry's shoulders and looked straight into his eyes. "How can you think
you've ruined my life, kid? I would have to wear this mask whether it was for you or just to be
ready for when Voldemort returns; it's a result of a choice I made before you were born and the
burden is mine alone to bear." He explained. "I want you to remember Harry, that you are the
only reason I'm there behind that mask. Because before you, I was the mask; I was cold and lost
and didn't give a knut for what would happen to me; you brought me back, kid. And for than, I
thank you." Harry smiled and hugged the potions master.
"It wasn't that bad, the lesson I mean." Harry admitted. "I was trying not to laugh thinking of their
expressions if they knew how you really are though." The boy smirked.
"I imagine that often myself." Severus admitted with a chuckle.
"And Dad?"
"Yes, Harry?"

"You might have to wear that mask but you're not alone, okay?" He asked softly earning himself
another hug.
"Thank you, Harry." Severus offered. The silence was complete for a hew moments until Harry
exclaimed;
"I just can't believe how much Adrian is missing from his training!" Harry said agitated, his fear
over his brother's survival returning; he didn't want to remind himself often, but he knew -deep
down he was certain- that Voldemort would return one day. It was difficult to consider and it was
just as damn unfair as it was definite. And when he did, Adrian would be a target; maybe the
prime target if Voldemort hadn't realized his mistake, something quite possible since he had gone
into hiding, completely disconnected from the world who had hailed Adrian Potter the boy who
lived.
"I know." Severus stated grimly. He sighed. "But there is nothing we can do for now; just try to
nudge him a bit towards the right direction; he has to improve." Severus stated and then smiled.
"And speaking of studying, how's your transformation going?" Harry smiled.
"I haven't made a huge progress." He stated and brought his hand forward. "But I can do this."
And as he spoke, his hand was covered in black fur while his nails became longer and wolf-like.
"That is some progress." Severus said smiling proudly.
"And you?" The boy asked and the potions master smirked, as he transformed his hand halfway
between a paw and a human hand, his progress more obvious than Harry's.
"Brilliant!" Harry exclaimed as Severus smirked.
"I know." He stated with a self-satisfied air.
"Oh you think you're so smart, don't you?" Harry asked feigning an exasperated sigh.
"I think I'm adorable." Severus stated seriously, sending both of them in a new fit of laughter.
They spoke for an hour or so, Harry explaining just what had happened during his first week and
Severus informing him of how the school's staff had praised him during the beginning of the year
meeting.
"They did?" Harry asked, his eyes shining.
"Of course they did, kid!" Severus stated, tussling the boy's hair.
"I wish you wouldn't do that." He stated, trying in vain to straighten his hair.
"Keep wishing, Harry." Severus offered; it was sometime after three that Harry finally slid out of
the office, his glamour charms back in place and his father's cloak hiding him from prying eyes.

There's A What In The Dungeons?


The second week of school started as good as the first one had, with the anxiousness somehow
abated. Harry had joyfully discovered that his studies allowed him to finish his homework in
record time and that in turn gave him time to spend in the library where, while pretending he was
reading on first year material, he was progressing with his personal studies. At night he
concentrated on his animagus transformation, having it made the target for September to be able to
transform his hand into a paw completely. Maybe even start with the rest of his arm.
He was reading on some counter-offensive spells -the book disguised as his charms textbook- and
had just taken a note on one that was supposed to stop you mid-fall, a charm that was often used,
in a slightly varied form, in broomstick making, when his brother entered the library. Harry made
a mental note to read more on the spell after devoting his attention to his brother. Even if he wasn't
furious, Adrian entering the library voluntarily was always a bad sign.
"I don't believe it!" The hazel eyed Potter exclaimed.
"You don't believe what exactly?" Harry asked confused.
"Our flying lesson!"
"What about it?" Harry asked his curiosity piqued. He had been looking forward to that lesson
himself.
"It will be a double lesson with the Slytherins!" Adrian exclaimed. Harry sighed in relief.
"I though it was canceled by the way you acted!" The green eyed wizard admitted smiling.
"The Slytherins, Harry!" Adrian pressed on. "Just what I needed! Malfoy to ruin our first flying
lesson." Harry regarded him thoughtfully; in truth, Malfoy had been quite annoying with telling
everyone willing to listen -or not, it didn't seem to matter- how talented he was at Quidditch.
"Just don't pay attention to him, Adrian, and you'll be fine." Even if his brother, Draco Malfoy and
broomsticks painted a rather scary picture in his mind, he wasn't about to share his thoughts on the
subject with Adrian.
"He'll do something to ruin the lesson, Harry!" Adrian complained. "I'm sure." Harry too felt it
was possible but opted on being an optimist.
"Let's just enjoy the lesson and see what happens from there." And he gathered his book to lead
his brother out of the library as Miss Pins was giving them a very annoyed glare from behind her
desk. The next morning, the day of their first flying lesson, Neville received a Remebrall from his
grandmother. A rare object indeed although Harry doubted its usefulness; what good would it do
you to remember you had forgotten something if you couldn't tell what it was? Malfoy seemed just
as interested in the Remebrall, as he snatched it from Neville only to be forced to return it with the
appearance of professor McGonagall.
The talk then reverted back to Quidditch tactics after that and last summer's finals of the Quidditch
World Cup held in Peru. Harry smiled inwardly; Severus and himself had been in every single
game, leaving the country under their usual alias. Adrian had wanted to go like crazy, and so had
Ron for that matter, but it was deemed impossible as they couldn't just stay in Peru for a month.
Severus and Harry hadn't needed to, even if they did spend a couple of weeks there visiting the
sights; apparently, when you had the ability to make portkeys -even ones of the slightly illegal

variety- you could just go back and forth as you pleased, when you pleased. Spain had been
hailed the winner of the World Cup, which was to be held in Britain next. The three boys quickly
finished their breakfast and headed for the grounds were Madame Hooch, a woman with short
gray hair and vivid yellow eyes, like those of a hawk, was waiting.
She gave them am introductory speech about how they should handle their brooms and the basics
of flying, while Harry amused himself with wondering if next year he could apply for the Seeker
position in the Gryffindor team; it was common knowledge that the younger years' students
weren't usually picked for the team but Harry -if he said so himself- believed he had a fair chance.
Besides, the Gryffindor team was kind of desperate for a good Seeker as they had been finishing
last since Ron's brother Charlie had left the school. Madame Hooch gave the signal and Harry
ordered his broom to move.
"Up!" And the broom, even if it was an old model -a Comet 36, Harry wondered. That thing
belongs in a museum!- flew straight into his extended right hand. It was one of the few that did
and Harry's mind went back into his first horse ridding lesson, when Severus had explained that
horses could sense the fear of their riders. Could broomsticks do the same, Harry wondered
interested as he mounted his broom and waited for Madame Hooch to count down. Apparently,
Neville didn't as he kicked down a bit too early and his broom flew up and out of control. Harry
winced sympathetically as he crashed into the ground. A broken wrist was Madame Hooch's
verdict, as she led Neville to the infirmary, alerting anyone who felt tempted to take a flight in her
absence to the dangers of expulsion. Again apparently, Draco didn't care.
"Did you see his face, the great lump?"
"Shut up Malfoy!" Adrian exclaimed, his temperament flaring. His reaction didn't exactly
foreshadow a nice and quiet resolving of the situation, Harry imagined sarcastically, inwardly
cursing Malfoy for provoking his brother.
"Yeah, shut up, Malfoy!" Parvati agreed, taking Adrian's side immediately.
"Saint Potter and look! Neville's got a girlfriend!" Pansy Parkinson, a Slytherin student, with a
face slightly reminding Harry of a picture of he had once seen of his Aunt's Marge favorite
bulldog, exclaimed. "I never thought you'd like fat little crybabies, Parvati."
"Look!" Said Malfoy, snatching something shiny from the grass. Oh no "It's that stupid thing
Longbottom's gran sent him!"
"Don't touch that, you git!" Adrian exclaimed forcefully, moving forward, ready to strike, Seamus
and Ron -the later halfheartedly- holding him back. Everybody stopped whatever they were doing
to watch the exchange.
"Make me!" Draco deadpanned smirking. Harry started getting angry; not just because Draco was
about to get in trouble but for Neville too; the boy was having enough trouble adapting and fitting
in as it was. He didn't need something like this going on behind his back. Especially not while he
was injured.
"Give it here, Malfoy." Harry stated calmly, the bantering stopping as his voice echoed,
surprisingly commanding. Malfoy smirked once again.
"I think I'll put it somewhere for Longbottom to find -how about- up a tree?" And he took off on
his broom, Remembrall clutched in his hand. He did fly quite well, Harry admitted as he watched
Draco steadily gain height.
"Give it back you!" Adrian yelled and tried to get on his broom as Hermione blocked his way,

telling him that he could be expelled.


"Come and get it, Potter!" Malfoy taunted him and Adrian moved to mount his broom; Harry
sighed and made his decision; he took off himself. After all, Draco hadn't specified which Potter
and besides, he had quite reeled the younger Potter twin up. He had no right to torment Neville
just because he thought him unimportant. No right at all.
"Harry!" Adrian called from the ground, having frozen mid-step at his brother's dare. Looking
back, the green eyed wizard realized that Adrian had never seen him fly before. He flew higher
with a sharp tug on his broom, reaching a stunned Malfoy in no time as his classmates gasped.
"Give it here," he started calmly "or I'll knock you off that broom."
"Oh really?" Malfoy asked, not sounding so certain of himself anymore. Harry smirked and sped
off towards Malfoy, flying so close around him that the blond boy had to grip his broomstick tight
in fear.
"Really." He offered smiling serenely, facing Malfoy once again; the Slytherin's already pale face
had turned into an ashen colour. "Have you forgoten what happened in the train already,
Malfoy?"
"Catch it if you can then!" Draco stuttered and threw the Remembrall as far away as he could;
Harry's trained eyes watched it first rise and then fall towards the ground, as if in slow motion; he
leaned towards his broom and sped straight after it. And there, just a few inches over the green
grass; he caught it effortlessly and flew back to his cheering classmates. He had just dismounted
his broom, his brother and the majority of the students staring at him in awe when he heard it.
"Harry Potter!" The unmistakable voice of Minerva McGonagall echoed in the abrupt silence. Just
my luck, Harry thought and turned to face his doom. Between protests from his brother and
classmates and murmurs of "How dare you? It could have been your neck!" from the
Transfiguration professor, the green eyed wizard allowed himself to led back to the castle and
surprisingly towards the Charms classroom?
"Excuse me Professor, but this isn't the way to your office; where are we going?" Harry asked, his
curiosity overcoming his fear; it wasn't that he feared expulsion as he knew he hadn't done
anything to warrant it, but he had promised Severus to do his beast and he was loathe to break that
promise.
"To get Wood." She stated simply. Wood? Harry asked himself. What was wood exactly? Wait a
minute! He gasped in shock as it all clicked inside his mind as Professor McGonagall knocked on
the door. Wood was the captain of Gryffindor's Quidditch team! And in truth, a burly fifth year
was called from his class, wearing a mask of pure surprise on his face as McGonagall introduced
them after leading them into an empty classroom and unceremoniously ousting Peeves from it.
"Potter this is Oliver Wood. Wood -I have found you a Seeker!" Harry's mouth dropped and he
stared at the professor stunned. A what? Oliver's expression was the same, if not worse, but soon
turned into giddiness as McGonagall explained him what had happened.
"Have you ever played Quidditch before, Potter?" Oliver asked, looking as if Christmas had come
early.
"I've only flown a little over the summer, but I've never played an actual game." And that was in a
way true, as two people couldn't play a normal game of Quidditch.
"And he has the built for a Seeker too!" Oliver exclaimed, tears in his eyes. Harry held back a

smirk; no, he didn't have the built for a seeker, actually being taller than most boys his age. Not
that they could see that. But he was in a peak physical condition and he was agile; he knew he
would do more than fine. It was soon resolved that Harry would be the Seeker for the Gryffindor
team -after promising to train hard- something which earned a grin from McGonagall; the
professor stated that his father would be thrilled once he found out. Harry vaguely remembered
how Prongs had mentioned that Sirius and himself had tried for months to get into the Quidditch
team while on their first year. He ventured to the Great Hall with a smile a mile wide; this was
going to be fun!
"You're joking!" Ron exclaimed stopping mid-bite as Adrian's eyes widened behind his glasses.
"Nope!" Harry offered with a smile, filling his plate with anything he could find, his appetite
having doubled.
"A Seeker?" Adrian asked in a muffled voice; the older twin himself had aspirations to become a
Chaser for the team later on. But they were still first years!
"Yep!" Harry offered taking a bite of some kidney pie.
"But the first years never You must be the youngest House player in about" Ron tried to
think back.
"A century." Harry stated after swallowing. "Wood told me."
"Wow!" The two boys exclaimed.
"I know!" Harry said happily, his eyes turning towards the staff's table where McGonagall was
talking to Severus. The potions master's eyes widened as he turned towards Harry, his face
otherwise a stone mask. Nobody in the Great Hall had a way of knowing that inside his head he
was doing a victory dance! Harry smiled and turned his attention back to his brother and his
friend. "I start training next week." Harry explained. "Only don't tell anyone. Wood wants to keep
it a secret." That was when Fred and George decided to snoop in and congratulate him, Wood
having already told them as they were on the team. So much for secrecy
"But we can write about it to mom and dad, right?" Adrian asked, his eyes gleaming.
"Yes, of course." Harry stated smiling. "Imagining Sirius's face, aren't you, brother?" Adrian
broke out laughing and Harry soon followed suit. The green eyed wizard had just asked Lee
Jordan to pass him the mashed potatoes when he noticed Draco's self-satisfied smirk from the
Slytherin table being addressed to his brother. Weird that, he thought; he turned to his twin and
show him exchange a fiery glare with the blond. Did I miss something? The boy wondered before
being distracted by Seamus who wanted to know if he was alright and how exactly had he
managed to not get himself expelled. That's when he caught the death glare of one Hermione
Granger, also focused on his brother and Ron, and figured he had definitely missed something. He
tried to press the matter further but it was time for their first class of the afternoon and the three
boys made their way to Charms, Ron and Adrian keeping the conversation strictly to Quidditch.
The lesson itself had been fun, as they had started with little charms that Harry could perform
since he was seven, something that easily gained him points for his House. At the end of class,
Professor Flitwick winked at him conspiratorily and Harry figured that the only one
who wasn'tspreading the news of his position in the Gryffindor team was, in fact, himself. As
things were, Harry hadn't managed to breach the subject of one death glare too many with his
brother. He and Ron had gone to bed early, whispering in hushed tones all day, and Harry had
followed suit after finishing his extracurricular studies. He was seated on his bed, the curtains shut
tight around him and locked in place with a quick charm as he was trying out his animagus

transformation, when he heard Ron whisper.


"Half-past eleven. We'd better go." What? Go where?
"Ready!" Adrian whispered back. For what?
"Don't you think we should tell your brother too?" Ron asked as Harry listened to them getting
ready to leave the room.
"No." Adrian stated. "He's a great student but he hasn't been through the same dueling training I
have. I just don't want him to get in trouble." He sounded sincere and that scared Harry the most;
what was he going to do? The two boys snuffled out the room and Harry moved instantly once
they did, drawing the curtains closed again as if he was still inside his bed after he left it; it never
hurt to be cautious. He would have gone after them in a second if he hadn't stopped for the
obvious; he hadn't heard any sound of a trunk opening. Could it be that yes, it was, he thought
miffed as he pulled the invisibility cloak from his brother's trunk. Damn it all! If Adrian had to get
out of the common room in the middle of the night, couldn't he just take the cloak with him?
That's what it was for, after all!
Harry threw the cloak over his shoulders and covered himself up completely; there was no way he
would leave Adrian on his own out there! He was fully planning on giving his older brother a
piece of his mind when he heard murmurs from downstairs. It was Hermione, who was apparently
berating his brother and Ron, sounding very much like she knew what she was talking about. So,
Hermione could know what was going on, but hecouldn't? That stung a little.
"Why don't you bother about your own business?" Adrian hissed at her as they moved out of the
common room, Harry right behind them. Hermione warned them on not loosing the points she had
won from Professor McGonagall and turned to leave, only to realize the Fat Lady had gone out
for a late night visit. And to make things better, Neville was discovered sleeping outside the door,
having forgotten the password. Harry was busy pulling out his hair at their complete bad luck as
the round faced boy -thankfully healed from what he could see, not that a sprained wrist was
something Madame Pomfrey would have a problem with- tagged along. Harry followed them
silently, trying to gather what they were doing from their conversation. It had something to do
with Malfoy and the Trophy Room -as that's where they were heading- and immediately Harry
felt his heart constricting. His brother and three classmates fully planned to stay put in the room,
waiting for Malfoy; and what about Filtch? He was known to pass by said room at least once
every hour. He was just about to give them a piece of his mind when Hermione spoke again.
"We should go." She said being the voice of reason. "Filtch might be here soon."
"We're here for a duel, Hermione!" Adrian exclaimed. "We can't just back away! It's a matter of
honor!" Harry felt like running head first into a wall. As if Malfoy would keep his word!
"Yeah!" Ron supported him. "It's also a matter of family pride; Adrian can't back down from an
issued challenge!" Hermione looked as much annoyed as Harry felt, while Neville looked at
Adrian in awe. What challenge? An underage wizard couldn't accept or issue a formal wizards'
duel without parental consent! Surely Adrian would know that! Now Harry was certain Malfoy
wouldn't show up and his fears were confirmed once he heard Filtch talking to Miss Norris
outside the room. Five sets of eyes widened and the four broke into a mad rush, Harry following
close behind; Adrian urged them through a hidden passage behind a tapestry that led just outside
the Charms classroom. Swift thinking; Harry inwardly praised his brother for at least that. Only if
he would employ his wit more often
That was when Neville decided to start running in the complete darkness and promptly sent Ron
and himself tumbling into an armor, effectively alerting Peeves; to make things better, Ron

decided to take a shot at the ghost, right about when Adrian had him half-convinced to let them
go. Panicking at the sound of Flitch approaching due to Peeves's yelling of "Students out of bed!
Students out of bed in the Charms corridor!", said students run away madly. We seem to be doing
that a lot tonight, the green eyed wizard thought sarcastically. And here I was, figuring I wouldn't
get enough physical training in Hogwarts and His thoughts were abruptly halted once he
realized exactly where they were heading to.
Oh no! Harry begged as they reached a locked door which Hermione swiftly unlocked with
an Alohamora spell. Harry's mouth dropped as he followed them inside; the only protection
placed on the door of the Forbidden Corridor was a locking charm? He listened a little to Peeves
taunting Filtch outside when his attention zeroed into more important matters. He just stood there
and looked stunned at a huge three headed dog guarding the corridor; so a locking charm wasn't
the only protection there; good to know! The four other students swiftly become alert of said
Cerberus -that was the name of the dog's race if Harry remembered correctly- and turned to leave
immediately, but not before the green eyed boy -having been trained to hone his observation skills
through the years with Severus- noticed a trapdoor beneath the dog's immense paws. He didn't
hang around to solve that riddle as he opted to follow his brother out the room, judging that was
the best idea Adrian had had the whole night.
They returned straight into the common room where the Fat Lady had returned from her night
stroll and flew into their beds after Hermione told them about the trapdoor and thoroughly berated
them on how they could have all be expelled. Talk about prioritizing, Harry thought sarcastically
as he ran upstairs first beforeshe completed her rant, swiftly staffing the cloak in Adrian's trunk
and diving into his bed. Adrian and Ron talked of the dog all night long as Harry tried to figure
the whole thing out himself. So the dog was guarding something; Harry had to admit, a Cerberus
was the ideal creature -after a griffon- to guard something valuable. His mind flew back to the
attempted theft in Gringotts; Hagrid had said something about it hadn't he? Now that he could
recall that evening without the fear of Severus being mad at him, he could clearly distinct Hagrid's
attempts to avoid the subject altogether.
Adrian had seen Hagrid exiting Gringotts on the day they had gone shopping and had asked about
what he was doing there, hadn't he? And Hagrid had just changed the subject and had talked
about something else -something as obnoxious as the weather? Harry had trouble recalling
something he hadn't bothered paying attention to- immediately.
Anyone who knew Hagrid could tell you what a terrible liar he was, so his reaction could only
mean he had something to hide. And that Cerberus had his name all over it! But what could be so
important that had to stay hidden at Hogwarts? Well, the castle was the safest building in the
country. Nicholas had once said that Nicholas! Harry's eyes widened in shock as he thought
back to his mentor's unease during the summer and Severus's cryptic words that he would find out
why on his own. Combine that with the fact that Severus had promised someone else than
Nicholas his silence and that the alchemist was a great friend of Dumbledore's and presto! So
whatever it was guarded in Hogwarts was Nicholas's possession. Problem was, Harry thought
gulping uneasily, that there was only one object he could think of being hidden in the school that
Nicholas wouldn't trust in the safety of his own castle.
He had to talk to Severus as soon as possible Harry figured and tried to get some sleep; the mere
notion that the Philosopher's Stone could be hidden in the school was unnerving enough without
taking into consideration the reasons why such a move was deemed necessary. Needless to say,
sleep eluded him that nigh; it was a tired Harry, sporting a terrible headache that rose from his bed
at the crack of dawn.
The green eyed wizard didn't get the chance to reach Severus until a little before breakfast the next
morning. He had tried to get his brother to talk to him about last night first, but Adrian was lost in

a vivid conversation with Ron; they stopped talking when Harry or anybody else approached
them, but the green eyed boy had fleetingly caught the word trapdoor. Resigned that they
wouldn't tell him anything, he left the Great Hall early, claiming he had to send a letter to their
parents on his new Seeker position before Herbology and headed for the grounds, making a swift
turn after leaving the hall to the dungeons.
He didn't have to wait long as, after a few minutes, Severus appeared in the corner, heading for his
office. His eyes brightened as he saw Harry but he refrained from a verbal acknowledgement until
they entered his office. When the door was closed, he turned at the boy and smiled.
"So, a Seeker in your first year?" The potions master chuckled.
"Yep!" Harry stated with a smile. "You should have seen Professor McGonagall when she
announced Wood I would be the next Seeker. She was glowing!"
"And she was unbelievably smug when she announced the Quidditch Cup will be at her desk by
the end of this year." Severus agreed, his eyes widening as if he had only just realized something
of the greatest importance. "I've been training the opposition!" He exclaimed mock appalled.
"And quite well I might add!" Harry offered laughing. He quickly sobered up as he remembered
the reason why he had come over. "But that's not the reason why I'm here." And he went on
explaining what exactly had happened last night. Severus regarded him with a half confused and
half horrified expression; he couldn't believe Harry had stood in the same room as that -solely for
the lack of a more appropriate word- dog!
"And Adrian didn't take the cloak with him?" He asked sitting on the corner of his desk as the boy
paced the room.
"No!" Harry exclaimed. "And what was he thinking accepting a duel from Malfoy? It wasn't even
official!" Severus nodded as he thought of what had transgressed last night. Unfortunately, there
was no way he could punish Malfoy for what he had done without evidence or without
incriminating Harry in the process.
"And I'm not too happy that you followed them. The incident with Fluffy is also something I
would prefer you had avoided." Severus added sternly.
"Fluffy?" Harry wondered out loud. "The Cerberus is called Fluffy? Who names a Cerberus"
He instantly thought of Hagrid and sighed. "Never mind." The potions master smiled slightly
besides himself.
"And you noticed the trapdoor, didn't you?" Severus asked impressed.
"So did Hermione." Harry stated shrugging it off.
"So, any ideas on the subject?" Severus asked expectantly.
"A question actually." Harry clarified with a smirk.
"Let's hear it then."
"Who's after the Philosopher's Stone that managed to terrify Nicholas enough to hide it in
Hogwarts?" Severus laughed at the blas tone Harry had used to ask the question, a perfect
imitation of himself while trying to mask his emotions on his most agitated state.
"It took you long enough." Severus offered. "I thought that you would have made the connection
when that article on the almost theft got published in the Prophet." Harry sighed.

"I was distracted." He admitted theatrically.


"I should imagine." Severus stated. "And as for your question, well, think this through; can't you
think of anyone that would want his life restored and is desperate enough -and capable- to break
into Gringotts?" The green eyed boy sobered up in a moment, blanching slightly.
"Voldemort?" Severus nodded grimly.
"Of course it's just a speculation, as Dumbledore last informed me he was still hiding in some
corner of the world but my bet's on him." The potions master affirmed as Harry sat down on a
chair disheartened.
"Do you think he'll come after Adrian?" Harry asked after a long pause. He looked terrified of the
prospect; his brother was far more advanced than his classmates -with the notable exception of his
twin- but he was nowhere near ready to stand his ground against a Death Eater, let alone a wizard
of Voldemort's caliber.
"I think it's a possibility." Severus said thoughtful. "But unless Adrian actively seeks him out, he
won't try anything before restoring his body and that's the worst case scenario." Harry nodded in
understanding. It was somewhat of a relief, as the Stone was well guarded.
"Do you think he might get a chance to go anywhere near the Stone?" Harry asked deep in
thought; the prospect was simply too much to handle.
"If he gets inside help." Severus answered in the same tone.
"Inside help?" The green eyed wizard wondered. "A teacher?"
"Yes." They pondered the possibilities for a while until Severus noticed the clock and the fact that
Harry had exactly fifteen minutes to get to the Greenhouses. They bid each other goodbye and
parted ways with the promise to speak again on Friday night. From that point on September flew
by like a breeze swiftly followed by October; caught between his lessons, his animagus
transformation, his additional studies, Quidditch practice and worrying about Voldemort, it was
Halloween before Harry could blink.
The past two months he had received a new Nimbus 2000 and a two long congratulatory letters one from his parents and one from an overexcited Sirius, all promising to come and see his first
game- he had had a breakthrough in his study of sigils and had managed to transform most parts of
his body into his wolf form; Severus was quite certain that by Christmas he would succeed
completely. And to top all that, Voldemort hadn't made a single move; so, it was no surprise Harry
was in such a good mood as he walked towards the first class of the day of the great Halloween
fest. Harry entered the Charms classroom and greeted professor Flitwick as he moved to sit down.
He had been paired with Neville for the lesson, not wanting him to feel left out after Adrian
swiftly avoided him and sat next to Seamus. Ron had been paired with Hermione to both their
mortification.
"Good evening class!" Professor Flitwick started in his characteristic voice. "Today we'll start
working on levitating charms, specifically theWingardium Leviosa." A joyful murmur spread in
the room; it was no secret that they had expected this lesson ever since Professor Flitwick had
made Trevor, Neville's toad, fly around the room. "Now can anyone tell me why mastering this
spell is crucial for your future education?" The Charms professor asked; Hermione's face showed
great concentration and Harry knew she was trying to remember where the reason had been stated
in their textbook; it hadn't been. It was just part of the general Charms theory. Harry smiled
inwardly at her disgruntled expression when he raised his hand. "Mr. Potter!" The tiny professor
exclaimed with a please smile.

"It's not the spell itself that we need to master; it's the wand movement." Harry explained as
Flitwick nodded in agreement smiling. "It's a wand movement on which many spells, even
advanced ones, are based. The Wingardium Leviosa charm requires the same wand movement but
not the same amount of magic needed for the more advanced charms."
"Excellent Mr. Potter!" Flitwick exclaimed clapping once. "Three points to Gryffindor! Now, as
Mr. Potter said, remember the wand movement we learned" And he went on explaining what
they should do exactly. Harry levitated the feather he and Neville where practicing with, getting
another praise from the Charms professor, he then tried to explain Neville how to cast the spell too
when a loud banging sound cut his explanation short; Seamus had set the feather he and Adrian
were working with on fire, and Adrian was trying to put out the flames with his hat. At the same
time, an irritated Ron tried and failed -waving his wand completely wrong- to perform the spell.
Hermione tried to correct him, he seemed to get angrier and then she proceeded to show him just
what he had done wrong, casting the spell. Ron just sulked as Hermione was congratulated for her
efforts and Harry returned to helping Neville. When the lesson was over he followed his brother
out, approaching him just in time to hear Ron, who was talking to Adrian about Hermione,
declare;
"It's no wonder no one can stand her, she's a nightmare honestly!" Adrian didn't have time to reply
as a girl with very recognizable bushy hair that was quite obviously crying, passed them by.
"I think she heard you." Adrian commented.
"Nice going there mate!" Harry excalimed sarcastically.
"What?" Ron complained. "She must've noticed she's got no friends!" The redhead concluded.
Harry just sighed and simply moved towards the Great Hall. He paused as he thought about the
situation a bit better and turned towards Ron.
"You should apologize when you see her next.' He told him, only to be rewarded with a rather
nasty look.
"Why? She was being such a know-it-all and she"
"Tried to help you?" Harry asked, cocking and eyebrow. "Albeit she did it in a slightly high and
mighty way but she meant well and you know it." The green eyed boy commented as Ron
deflated and blushed.
"He got you there mate." Adrian agreed.
"Fine, fine." Ron grumbled under his breath. "I'll bloody tell her I'm sorry when I see her next."
He didn't seem too pleased with the situation though.
"Just remember; a stiff apology is a second insult. The injured party does not want to be
compensated because they have been wronged; they want to be healed because they have been
hurt." Harry offered with a smirk and walked to the fest leaving a gaping Ron and a half amused,
half confused Adrian behind; ah, the joys of a well-rounded education... He would have to thank
Severus later.
The Great Hall was decorated magnificently for the occasion, thousands of live bats flying
overhead, making the candles' flames twinkle; Harry smiled as he walked to the Gryffindor table.
His good mood was somehow dampened -somehow being quite a lot- from Parvati's admittance
that Hermione had locked herself in the dungeons' girls lavatory crying. Harry had noticed she had
been absent from the lessons that day and, though he had been worried, he had hoped she would

have come around by the time of the feast. To his merit, Ron looked ashamed. Harry was just
about to ask him to go found her and work things out, when a terrified Quirell entered the Great
Hall.
"Troll -in the dungeons- I thought you ought to know." He stated as he reached Dumbledore's
chair before promptly tumbling to the floor in a dead faint. The school actually started to clap as
Harry's face turned ashen, Severus was looking at Quirell enraged and the green eyed boy could
only guess why; but Quirell? Could it be him that was helping Voldemort? The Headmaster
ordered the students to be accompanied to their common rooms and Harry reluctantly followed
Percy, having half a mind to go to the forbidden corridor -he suspected Sev would cover that
front- when it hit him; Hermione dungeon troll. Goblins' gold! He swiftly turned around, just
in time to see Ron and his brother heading for the dungeons themselves. Now he really would
have to hurry.
He practically flew down the stairs, his heart beating hard inside his chest, his wand withdrawn.
He took a sharp turn left and then jumped back behind the corner; Adrian and Ron were near the
girls' lavatory door and his blood ran cold when he noticed the troll was in there too. Hermione
was in danger! And then his blood turned to ice as his brother and Ron locked her in with the troll.
They turned to leave before Hermione's scream brought them to their senses; the two boys swiftly
returned, unlocked the door and entered the bathroom, almost giving Harry a heart attack in the
process.
He approached the room in a dead sprint and found himself looking at a terrified Hermione
shrinking under a sink, Ron and Adrian taunting the troll and throwing stuff at it and the bathroom
itself in various stages of destruction, the stench coming from the creature surrounding the debris.
The troll was hiding him from the two boys while Hermione's eyes were closed. Without stopping
to think, he pointed his wand at the twelve feet tall creature and sent a powerful curse against it,
strong enough to break through the creature's magic resistant skin, possibly breaking one of its
legs, at the same time when Adrian waved his wand to send a weak stupefy at it.
The troll tumbled and fell with a loud thumb, in pain but still alive; Harry half hid behind the door
-not that the present occupants of the bathroom were paying any attention- as Ron flicked his
wand making the troll's club take flight and hit the creature on the head, knocking it out. The
green eyed boy sighed in relief; suddenly he could hear voices and footsteps in the distance now
that the yelling and growling had stopped. It was just a second before a group of teachers Dumbledore included- appeared that he managed to duck behind an armor. Professor McGonagall
was the first to speak, chewing Adrian and Ron out before Hermione jumped to their rescue,
taking the blame all on herself. Points were subtracted and awarded when Dumbledore's voice
interrupted.
"The troll's leg seems to be broken; by a curse nonetheless." Harry could practically hear his eyes
twinkling in his voice; the Headmaster was extremely pleased.
"Broken?" Professor Sinistra asked. "But it would take a great deal of magic for a spell to get
through the skin of a troll!" The silence was broken by Hermione's timid voice.
"Adrian hit the troll with a Stupefy." She offered and a round of gasps echoed to where Harry was
hiding.
"Quite extraordinary, if I may say so myself. " Albus said chuckling and Harry itched to follow
his example; so they thought that Adrian had knocked down the troll? At least something had
gone well that night! A great deal of explaining he didn't want to do would have been required
otherwise. The three students were escorted back to the Gryffindor tower, passing by Harry, never
guessing he was hidden there. Harry followed them from behind, hiding in the shadows; once
they reached the third floor they were met with the sight of one Severus Snape -thank Merlin,

Harry thought- walking towards the group where he was swiftly informed of what had happened.
When they started to move again, he turned towards Harry's general direction and whispered with
a smile;
"Nicely done Harry. Nicely done indeed!" And then he joined the rest of the teachers, leaving a
proudly smiling Harry in his wake. It was only then, as the potions master's black cloak bellowed
when he turned around, that the green eyed boy noticed Severus' pants -almost the complete right
leg from the knee down- was torn into shreds.

Quidditch
Harry had snooped back into his room that night while the rest of the common room ate -a
courtesy of Hogwarts' house elves as their feast had been somewhat interrupted- only to descend
the stairs a while later, making certain he would be seen doing so and putting up his best shocked
face when his brother explained what had happened. Or rather, what he thought had happened.
"You know Mom is going to skin you alive for this stunt, right?" Harry asked cocking an
eyebrow. Adrian blanched and Harry chuckled, the fact that his brother was alive and well while
he could have been killed by that troll finally seeping into his heart. He pulled Adrian into a hug;
promising yet again he would look out for his accident prone brother.
"But Prongs and Sirius, after they get over the initial shock mind you, will be proud. Might even
get you a present." Adrian laughed too and patted his brother's back. "And I think knocking down
a full grown troll is wicked!" Harry stated, unable to help himself; it was wicked if he was allowed
to say so himself, thank you very much!
"Thanks bro!" Adrian exclaimed and looked over the food. Harry laughed again.
"You three better grab something to eat; you must be starved!" Harry stated and promptly
followed his own advice. He had to wait for a couple of hours before everybody was asleep and
he could sneak out with the invisibility cloak; Severus could be hurt, he realised. Sure, he hadn't
limped or anything when he had climbed down the stairs but his dad could be stubborn as a
gryphon sometimes, especially when it came to showing any traces of pain or discomfort. He
could have been bleeding to death and smile rather than showing it! With that thought he doubled
his speed and reached the castle's dungeons in a record time. He knocked on the door rather hard
and, sometime after the forth knock, Severus -who didn't appear to have attempted to sleep at allopened the door. Upon seeing nobody, he swiftly moved a little to the left, smirking when he felt
Harry pass by him, and closed the door.
"What brings you down here, Harry?" Severus asked as the green eyed boy removed his
invisibility cloak. "Any more trolls I should know of?" Harry rolled his eyes and sat down on an
armchair.
"I swear Adrian is trying to scare me to death sometimes but that's not the point."
"Oh?" Severus chuckled slightly at the businesslike air the green eyed wizard had assumed, one
that reminded him of himself when worried.
"Are you hurt?" Harry asked his eyes intent on his leg.
"Am I hurt?" Severus asked back perplexed; he hadn't seen that coming.
"You went to check on Fluffy while I was trying to prevent my brother from being beaten to a
pulp by a troll, didn't you?" Harry offered flippantly, his worry not quite successfully masked by
his tone.
"As a matter of fact I did."
"And Fluffy" Harry's eyes lost some of their fire which was replaced instead by that watery
quality and subtle sparkle, accompanied with the pleading look that he had come to associate with
what the boy called 'puppy eyes'. Oh no "Fluffy attacked you didn't he? I saw your right leg
was" The boy trailed off, his eyes wide and pleading. Severus's heart melted into a puddle of

goo at the sight; Harry could be right down adorable if he felt like it. Or maybe it was
unintentional. Yeah, right
"Look, Harry, I"
"Don't try to hide it if you're hurt, okay Dad?" Severus sighed with a smile.
"I could have been hurt; that bloody dog almost got my right leg, but it seems swordfight practice
has been good for my reflexes." And to stress his point, he showcased said leg which was skinny
and overly pale due to the glamour charms but otherwise completely unharmed. "I moved out of
the way on the last second but he managed to tear my trousers with his claws; a small price to pay
if you ask me!"
"So you're not hurt?" Harry asked smiling wide.
"Nope!" Severus offered as the boy hugged him with a loud 'Yay!'.
"And, besides almost being clawed by a Cerberus, how did your night turn out?" Harry asked, his
curiosity returning now that he knew Severus was unharmed.
"You mean, did I get sight of anyone coming for the Stone?" Severus guessed taking a seat
opposite of the boy.
"I was going to ask, if you caught a sight of Quirrell coming for the Stone, but okay." The potions
master's eyes widened for a second before he started laughing.
"So I'm not the only one who noticed the convenience of a troll, a troll of all things, breaking into
the school while everybody was gathered together for the feast?" Severus asked after sobering up.
"You mean nobody else did notice?" Harry asked confused. "But but trolls are stupid! And
Quirrell is the Defence against the Dark Arts teacher and he conveniently passed out when the rest
of the school was rushing either towards the dungeons or the dormitories!" The boy vented as he
paced the room. "And we know -you said- Voldemort will seek inside help to get the Stone!" He
finally exclaimed and sat back down on his chair exhausted as if he had run a few miles; his mind
was spinning and his breath was coming out fast. He was close to hyperventilating and the potions
master jumped to his rescue.
"Harry! Calm down please." And with a wave of his wand, he summoned two cups of hot
chocolate from the kitchens, passing one to the worried boy in front of him.
"Thanks, Sev." Harry mumbled and took a small gulp of the warm liquid. He would need to keep
his excitement in check, it seemed.
"Now think about it a little, Harry; the rest of the student body doesn't know about the Philosopher
Stone being in the school. The teachers have no way of knowing why the Stone is here; I only
know because of Nicholas and because, well, I actually pressured Albus into telling me, just for
the kicks of it." Harry chuckled at the thought. "And even if they did about Voldemort being after
the stone, do you think it would be Quirrell they suspected? Stuttering and afraid of his shadow
Quirrell?" The potions master asked as Harry stared at his cup.
"I guess not." He looked up back into Severus' eyes. "But what about Professor Dumbledore?
Doesn't he suspect Quirrell?" Severus sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Dumbledore has the habit of allowing people the benefit of a doubt; sometimes that holds more
danger than it does good, but he's unshakable on the subject." He looked at Harry who was
considering the latest details. "I will try to broach the subject with him, but he can be quite

stubborn."
"I see." Harry stated blankly, the sparkle in his eyes dimming.
"But enough of that for a night!" Severus declared, his smile widening at the confused look he
received from the boy.
"What?"
"I said enough of that; nobody got closer to the Stone than I did tonight, nobody got hurt and you
managed to bring a troll to its knees with a single curse." Severus explained. "I believe we should
look at the bright side of the night's shenanigans, don't you?" Harry burst out laughing, which had
been the point all along.
"Shenanigans, Sev?" He asked amidst laughter. "Really?"
"Why yes, really." The potions master nodded once seriously, waving his wand to take off the
concealing charms from his appearance. "That's better." He admitted while Harry followed his
example. "Now, I would like to hear what really happened tonight." Severus prompted and so
Harry explained. The night passed quite calmly after that, both wizards doing their best to push
any unwelcome thoughts to the back of their minds.
And in such a way, November started, bringing along the usual cold Harry had gotten used to
around this time of the year and the beginning of the Quidditch period. Now that, in dire contrast
to the cold weather, Harry had never faced before and, as a result, was at loss as to how he should
deal with it. On the one hand, he had always wanted to play in a real Quidditch game and Wood
was running around the school singing praises of the green eyed boy's abilities, boosting his
confidence and making him eager for the first mach. On the other hand, never having played an
actual game of Quidditch before meant he couldn't know how he was going to react during a real
match while under pressure, that simple fact leaving him filled with dread. Not knowing which of
the two contrasting feelings he should follow -dread or excitement- Harry did a little bit of both,
his predicament causing Severus to secretly chuckle with mirth.
His parents had sent him an encouraging letter, reminding him they would be there for his first
game. The letter would have been more encouraging had it not been accompanied with a bright
crimson envelope, quite recognisable as a Howler, addressed to his brother. Both Harry and
Adrian had never imagined their mother could yell like that. Severus, when Harry asked his
opinion on the matter the same evening, seemed less surprised.
There had however been an obvious change from the past two months and it had more to do with
the way Adrian and Ron treated Hermione and how she reacted to them in turn. They seemed to
have bonded since that Halloween night, Harry thought with a smirk. There are some things you
can't share without ending up liking each other, the green eyed boy mused, and knocking out a
twelve-foot mountain troll -or thinking you did at least- is once of them. That of course had meant
that, from what Harry could see as his brother had firmly kept him out of that subject, the bushy
haired girl was now actively involved in their search of what could be hidden under that trapdoor.
Harry shivered at the thought of what would happen if they ever knew.
The days passed and the game was approaching fast. Harry had tried to fend of his anxiety by
doing some of what he called fun research in the library. He had come up with that term when
helping Severus in his researches, claiming that since the research wasn't meant for one of his
projects it was done for pure fun. Severus on the other hand claimed that the only thing he could
come up with for a five-hour research amidst dusty volumes that could be characterised as fun was
the name Harry had given it. Both were well aware Harry had just said that so Severus would
allow him to stay in the laboratory with him; none of them minded to point that fact out.

Using the term research, the green eyed boy meant jotting down spells and charms used on
broomsticks so that they could fly and operate without malfunctioning. The abundance of spells he
found -some quite useful in other areas of his studies- had prompted a conversation with Severus
the day before the match. They were having a cup of hot chocolate in Sev's office, as it had
become customary, and Harry tentatively spoke of his thoughts.
"Sev?"
"Yes, Harry?" The potions master asked back, trying to conceal his smile; every time Harry
started a conversation like that it meant he had come up with something he was dying to tell him
about.
"I have been doing some research lately." Harry stated.
"Not very surprising in itself, but do continue." Harry smiled and did just that.
"Since the match was approaching I figured I could look up a few things on broomsticks while I
was in the library, you know, so I could get my mind off the actual game." The boy admitted as
Severus listened attentively.
"Go on." He pressed and Harry continued after breathing in deeply.
"And I found myself thinking over what Nicholas had said, about how taking up something that
would force me to be creative might help me progress as an alchemist." The boy said looking at
Severus. "Do you think that maybe I could, I don't know, tweak a little with one of the old brooms
when we get back home?" Severus' eyebrows almost got lost in his hairline. That was it? "I mean,
as long as I don't let it interfere with my studies." The boy hastily imputed, misunderstanding
Severus' expression. "I'll do it on my free time I promise and"
"Harry stop!" Severus exclaimed smiling. "Of course you can. You didn't even have to ask."
"Really?" Harry asked his eyes brightening.
"Yeah, really." Severus reassured him. "You like Quidditch, don't you?"
"Of course I do!" The boy exclaimed, like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"And you would enjoy doing a little research on the subject." Severus stated as Harry nodded
emphatically. "Then I want you to do it, Harry. Why would you think I wouldn't?"
"I thought, because of Voldemort and everything, that I should practice more and not waste my
time"
"Living?" Severus interrupted him with a cocked eyebrow. "Harry, Merlin knows -and I think he
really does- how hard you've been studying!" The potions master offered seriously.
"I have to, Sev; it's not that I don't enjoy learning. But if I don't keep going I might not survive
this." Severus's heart clenched in his chest.
"Harry, look at me for a second." He spoke softly and Harry raised his eyes to the older wizard's
face. "Yes, you do have to study and yes, it will help you survive. But tell me, what good is
surviving if you don't get to live a little?" Harry's eyes widened as he tried to come up with a
viable answer.
"Well, I I"

"You will read more on those spells and, come the summer, you'll start taking those old
broomsticks that have been gathering dust in the cellar apart." Severus stated decisively. "I might
even help, if you'd like." He was rewarded with one of Harry's patented bear-hugs for his offer, an
action he freely interpreted as a yes.
The next morning Harry's stomach seemed to have sunk and promptly gotten stuck somewhere
close to his knees. His heart was beating a mile per minute and his ears were buzzing. Maybe he
shouldn't play like this; he felt more fit for the infirmary at that moment than the Quidditch pitch.
Still, he ordered himself to swallow some of his breakfast -which he figured must have been pretty
tasty if the way Ron was wolfing it down was any indication- and left the Great Hall sooner than
the rest of the student body along with his team. He caught the eye of Severus before leaving the
room and the small, undetectable if you didn't look for it, nod of encouragement he sent his way.
He swiftly changed into his red and golden robes, as every team seemed to compete dressed in
their House colours, and moved closer to the rest of the team; Wood was giving his customary
speech, with the twins happily intervening, having apparently heard it one time too many. The
sounds of footsteps brought Harry out of his reverie and the whole team got ready to enter the
pitch. He approached Madam Hooch who was refereeing and listened to the speech he gave the
teams on fair play, the two Houses' rivalry obviously having in the past extended to the Quidditch
pitch. It seemed that she was staring mostly to the Slytherin Captain as she spoke, a boy named
Marcus Flint, who had something of a troll about him. Harry breathed in deeply; time to live a
little, he decided and mounted his broom. Madam Hooch gave the signal and the game was on.
His fears seemed to all have been for naught as any worry he might have had dispersed once he
took flight, the wind rushing through his hair and robes. He looked around rapidly as he searched
for the elusive golden Snitch, having half an eye for what was going on with the game. As he
searched, his eyes fell on a banner his brother and his classmates had made for him; 'Potter for
President' it said and made the boy smile widely. He also caught sight of some long, dark red hair
that undisputedly belonged to his mother on the stands reserved for the players' families, right next
to the teachers. He quickly turned his eyes on the game as Gryffindor scored.
He looked around the pitch but could find no sign of the Snitch; he continued his search even
while dodging a Bludger sent his way from the other team's beater. His sudden plunge must have
surprised everyone but him for he heard a collective gasp and applause as he returned to his
search.
"Nice one, Harry!" Fred or George Weasley exclaimed, sending the Bludger to Flint with some
viciousness. Harry chuckled and went back to his search. The only gleam of light he had seen so
far was coming from one of the twins' watches and then There it was! Right beneath the
Slytherin goalposts and actually standing quite still; Harry thought he would have missed it if it
hadn't been for all that training in the field back home; Severus' castle was equipped with a formal
sized Quidditch pitch -the one they used in Hogwarts was about three fourths of the professional
court- and Harry had often insisted, with Severus not complaining, to stay close to nightfall while
he chased the Snitch. Locating it here, in broad daylight, now seemed quite easy. In the corner of
his eye he noticed Alicia Spinet, one of the Gryffindor chasers making her way towards the
goalposts, Quaffle in hand; this looked promising.
Without dwelling on his thoughts too much, he turned his broom towards the same direction as
Alicia's and, being much higher than she was, dove downwards and in front of her, speeding like
a maniac, causing all players to spread around the field, the way now clear for Alicia who threw
the Quaffle in, earning yet another ten points for Gryffindor. Harry didn't stay to watch however,
as he dove yet lower and towards the Snitch who had moved just enough to cause Harry to
execute the equivalent of a back-flip while on broom. Unconcerned, the green eyed boy rose from
where he flew, near to the green grass, and flew high again, his right fist in the air, the Golden

Snitch trying to escape from his fingers. With the final whistle, the team flew to him as the crowd
cheered. The Slytherin Captain looked homicidal but the Slytherin Head of House had a proud
glint in his eyes.
"We won!" Oliver Wood yelled over and over again as Lee broadcasted the score -170-0- loud
enough to be heard above the cheering crowd. Later, in the Gryffindor changing room, Harry was
congratulated by his parents, a smiling Remus and a shocked Sirius.
"Ruddy Hell, Harry!" The dog animagus exclaimed, surprise colouring his every word. "I didn't
know you could play that well!"
"And that back-flip in the end?" James stated proudly. "The mark of a genius I tell you!"
"Well I always said he took more after me" Lily stated, sending everyone -but James- in peals
of laughter.
"Where's Adrian?" Harry asked concerned after some small-talk was made.
"He was talking with Hagrid along with Ron and a brunette." Sirius stated wiggling his eyebrows.
"Has Adrian found himself a girlfriend?"
"Hermione is a just a friend, I believe." Harry answered, saving his brother from Sirius's merciless
teasing. The Weasley twins approached them then, smiling two identical smiles as they greeted
everybody.
"There you are, Harry! Great game mate!" One of them, probably George, exclaimed.
"We just came to warn you"
"that Oliver has been praising you to everyone willing to listen"
" so if he comes this way, you'd better run"
"less he decides to proclaim his undying love to you!" And like that they both left, leaving
behind a perplexed Harry and his shaking with laughter family.
"Well, that was interesting." Harry stated as he noticed Professor McGonagall approaching them.
"Good morning, Professor." The boy greeted her and she graced him with a small smile.
"Mr. Potter." She said. "I'm glad to see my choice to allow you in the team was rewarded!" Then
he turned to his parents and family "Nice to see you all."
"Good to see you too, Minnie!" Sirius exclaimed as Harry tried to rein his laughter. Minerva eyed
Sirius scathingly.
"Sirius." He turned her attention back to Harry. "I just hope all that practice hasn't prevented you
from finishing your Transfiguration essay?" The professor asked, making Harry smile, surprising
his family; nobody smiled under Minerva's glares; Harry wouldn't have either -he usually felt the
need to salute her or something- but the exhilaration from winning the mach was still there and
besides;
"I finished it yesterday night, Professor; I knew there would be no time today." Minerva smiled
again at his answer and nodded.
"Young Harry is the first in his year you know." She informed them, causing the boy to turn beet
red and his mother to hug him.

"You didn't tell us, Harry!" She complained, messing up her younger son's hair.
"I study a lot." Harry shrugged it off.
"First in your year?" Sirius asked mock horrified as James nodded.
"If we don't take care, you'll be a prefect in no time!" His mock shudder turned real as Lily turned
her eyes glaring at her husband. "I was just kidding, Lils!"
"Congratulations, Harry." Lupin stated unfazed by his best friends' antics. "And don't listen to
what he says; your Dad's very proud of you." James was still being chastised and Harry's mind
flew momentarily to Severus, hoping that he was indeed proud.
"Great game, bro!" Adrian's voice sounded from the door and soon, after some quick
introductions were made, the small group returned to the castle. Harry thought there were some
conspiratory glances exchanged between his bother, Ron and Hermione but he had no chance to
press the subject as he soon had to bid his family goodbye; his brother and his friends had
disappeared to Merlin knew where when he turned back to look for them.

Christmas Wishes
And the conspiratorial glances and hushed tones continued for the whole month and as Christmas
drew nearer, Harry's nerves where being actively tested. At least his animagus transformation was
almost completed, he thought with pride. He could now turn his whole body to a wolf except his
head, but the process was almost done. He has heading to the library for some more sigils studying
-while he was supposed to research charms- when he noticed three most recognisable figures of
his brother and his two best friends, the trio that had become inseparable during the past month
and a half. And they were going to the library.
Now, Hermione he could accept cutting down her free time to study but Adrian and Ron? And so
close to lunchtime too? No way! Besides, this wasn't the first time something like that had
happened. The green eyed boy had often caught Adrian and his two friends looking over books in
the library but, as he usually was the first one there, he had no way to approach them without
being seen. But today presented a unique opportunity.
Without further thought, he waited for them to enter the library, counted to one hundred and
followed them in. He took a quick peek at them just to make note of the subject they were looking
at -Biographies and Recent History? Why?- and swiftly chose the row behind the one they were
at. He pressed himself close to an opening between two bookcases and did his best to listen to
their whispering. His efforts were soon rewarded by Ron's annoyed voice sounding muffled
behind the bookcase.
"Are you sure we're looking at the right books?" He asked almost whining.
"These are the books on great wizards and witches of our century, Ron! If Nicholas Flamel is
mentioned anywhere, it should be here!" Hermione answered agitated and Harry's brain did a
double-take. Nicholas Books Adrian What?
"Yeah, but we've been looking for a bloody month and a half!" Ron complained.
"Look, Ron." Adrian stated, the soft scuffling sound accompanying his words indicating he had
knocked some books over. "If we don't find out who Flamel is then we have no clues as to what
Fluffy guards." They knew the dog was called Fluffy too? But how? Harry tried to think back to
when their strange behavior had started. As Ron so graciously had mentioned, it had been a month
and a half ago Right after his first Quidditch game actually. But what could have caused such a
change to occur? His mind was working on overdrive, trying to put the pieces together.
"He was talking with Hagrid along with Ron and a brunette."It was surprisingly his godfather's
voice that came to mind. That's right; Adrian had been late that day because Ron, Hermione and
himself had been talking to Hagrid. Hagrid who had given the Headmaster the Cerberus that was
now guarding the Stone. Hagrid who, without a doubt, knew why a Cerberus of all creatures was
needed to guard whatever was guarded in the school; Dumbledore would have told him. Hagrid
who couldn't lie to save his life; a few questions and a slip of the tongue and his brother could
have easily learned about Nicholas.
"But why can't we just ask someone already?" Ron whined; it was a good question actually.
"Because that's the easiest way for Snape to find out, Ron!" Adrian whispered back and Harry
cocked an eyebrow in confusion; what did Sev have to do with all this?
"I can't believe Dumbledore hasn't done anything about the git yet!" Ron exclaimed. Hold on a
minute!

"And he was right there in the third floor corridor the night of the attack!" Hermione agreed.
"Just to think that my brother had to spend so much time with him growing up!" Adrian added in
anger. "Dad always said he was bad news!"
"I bet that's why Harry's so skinny and pale! Snape must have him doing chores all day!" Yeah
right, the wizard in question mused; I had to live in a castle and travel around the world. Woe is
me! Harry couldn't believe his ears; they thought that Severus was behind all this?
"Now stop it both of you!" Hermione whispered. "We need to keep looking!" And I need to get
going, Harry thought his mind intent on tracking down one Severus Snape. The potions master
would be furious, Harry thought, and he would have every right to be too.
"So let me get this straight; they think that I'm behind this?" Severus asked and broke into a fit of
laughter. The green eyed boy just looked at him surprised.
"I don't think you heard me. They think that"
"Oh, I heard you!" Severus assured him wiping the tears from his eyes. "But let's be honest here
Harry; whom did you think your brother would suspect? Flitwick?"
"I just hoped oh, I don't know!" Harry said seating deeper in the armchair next to the roaring
fire in Severus's office. "I just hoped that Adrian could look past all the nasty stuff Prongs and
Sirius say about you. Guess I was wrong" He mumbled the last part out.
"It's fine really; I take it as a tribute to my amazing acting skills." Severus stated seriously, making
Harry laugh, which had been the point all along.
"At least they have no idea where to search for Nicholas. I mean I was eight the first time I heard
his name and even back then I knew it reminded me something important; you would think that
Adrian with all his training would have read about him somewhere." The boy complained.
"Well, there are always those Chocolate Frogs collective cards" Severus trailed off, making
Harry chuckle.
"I didn't know Nicholas has one. He's been rather trying to keep a low profile."
"He doesn't have one per se; he's mentioned on Dumbledore's though."
"You should know." Harry stated dryly. "Sometimes I believe you have more of a sweet tooth
than Remus and that says something."
"It does indeed." Severus agreed with a smirk. "Anyway, as long as they keep searching in the
wrong books we'll be on the clear. And it's good to see that they're scared of me enough to not go
around asking; they might end up asking the wrong people." The potions master concluded.
"Like Quirrell?"
"Exactly like Quirrell." Severus agreed, his tone somber. "But now tell me; are you still planning
on staying at Hogwarts for the holidays?"
"Yep. Adrian begged he could stay since Ron would too, what with his family going to Romania
to visit Charlie and everything, and I figured it'd be best if I stayed too." Harry stated. "Besides
Prongs has decided to take my mother abroad; something about a second honeymoon." Harry
immediately wished he had swallowed his tongue; how could he let something like that slip?
Severus however seemed bent on surprising him that day.

"Good." He offered. "Lily deserves to be pampered once in a while." And in all honesty, he
meant what he had said. He had even surprised himself a little, but he had finally managed to think
of Lily and James together and not get even a tingle of pain in his gut. He just wanted to see the
woman he cared about happy and if James Potter could do that, then fine. He still loved Lily, he
realized; he was his first and truest friend and a great woman. He just wasn't in love with her
anymore. The realization brought a smile to his face.
"You okay, Dad?" Harry asked and Severus's smile widened.
"I'm actually great, thank you, Harry." Thank you for everything kid, he thought as he looked at
the surprised young wizard. "I was just asking because I figured it would be as good opportunity
as any to complete our animagus transformation."
"Really?" Harry asked with a face splitting smile.
"Really."
"You know you could have completed the transformation a month ago or so." Harry stated selfconsciously. "You didn't have to wait"
"Harry, I wanted to wait; we started this together." Severus stated in his I'm-not-kidding voice and
Harry smiled again.
The holidays started soon and the first day of Christmas break saw Hermione Granger leaving the
castle, whispering something to Adrian and Ron that Harry was too far away to catch. Not that he
needed to strain his imagination to figure out what it was about. He sighed; how he wished his
brother would let him in on what they were planning! Then again, he figured, that was a little
pretentious of him, considering what he was hiding from his brother himself. Still, he found a
reason to be happy; he was to complete his transformation that night; all he had to do was wait till
everybody was asleep and snatch the cloak. He smiled at the thought.
Midnight found him smiling still, having just sneaked out of the Common Room, under the nose
of a rather surprised Fat Lady. Severus answered the door on the first knock and, after their
glamour spells had been removed, they swooped into action. After practicing changing separate
body parts at first, Severus deemed them ready for the full transformation.
"Just remember to keep thinking of how you want to end up; picture the wolf." The potions
master reminded him as Harry nodded. The boy closed his eyes and concentrated. He held a
picture of the black wolf he was attempting to become and commanded his body to start the
change. The first thing he became aware of was the tingling sensation of fur sprouting on his
body; then came the odd sensation of having his body pulled or pushed until it was shaped in the
form instructed. When he could feel the changes no more, he opened his eyes. The world around
looked different he decided; the colours were off and had he really heard somebody walking on
the floor above him through some good four feet of compact stone? Apparently he had. Oh and
there was another wolf looking at him expectantly across the room. He almost jumped until he
realized it was Severus. He let out a bark that seemed to be the wolf equivalent of a chuckle.
Harry approached Severus and used his paw to push him back a little, only to have the potions
master -now turned wolf- swat him across the back of his head, his teeth showing in some type of
wolfish smirk. Severus the wolf was taller than him, Harry noted, but that was probably because
he was younger. With an excited laugh -howl- Harry jumped up and landed on all fours, running
around the room for a while, barely noticing and amused Severus shaking his head. The potions
master changed back, motioning Harry to do the same; it took some concentration, but Harry soon
found himself in his normal body smiling wide at the potions master.

"That was wicked!" He decided, Severus laughing at his antics.


"I will have to agree." He stated. "Now let's see if we can get the transformation occur faster; it
has to come like second nature." And they did just that, training for an extra hour before any of
them was satisfied with the progress they had made for the night. Harry was practically jumping
up and down with joy; he was an animagus! An official and proper one! And the proof was, as he
suspected, edged on his mark. He had felt the customary heat that could only mean something had
changed in his emblem; and truly, there, right beneath the line that marked him as a Parselmouth,
inside one of the horizontal lines that composed his emblem, stood the two runes he could himself
translate. Animagus.
He left Severus's office smiling like a maniac, a book under his arm that Severus had brought from
home; he had found it only a few days ago and had figured that the boy would like to take a look
at it. It was entitled Eormenlf Dordra or in modern English, The Legacy of the Animagi. It was
written in runes and the potions master wanted Harry to try his hand in translating it. Harry spent
most of that night doing just that.
It was of no surprise that he found himself rudely awakened -and much too early- two days later
on Christmas morning from the ever anxious to open his presents Adrian. Harry would have
laughed at his brother's antics had his bedside clock not informed him that he had slept only for
five hours; he was still working on that book, keeping notes on the side as he went through it; it
had proved quite an interesting read, especially the parts were it stated how the transformation
affected the human form of the wizard just as much as the wizard's personality affected the
outcome of the transformation. Apparently there were some characteristics that slipped through
from one form to the other, but Harry was still looking into that part. Back to the present however,
he was faced with a pile of presents at the foot of his bed and an anxious twin brother who was all
but jumping on said bed to wake him up.
"Come on, Harry!" Adrian said excited. "We've got presents!"
"And a Merry Christmas to you too, Adrian." Harry chuckled as his brother shrugged and wished
him back.
"Merry Christmas, Harry." Ron uttered amidst yawning, having quite obviously been awakened
in the same way as the green eyed wizard had been.
"Yeah, yeah! Merry Christmas to y'all! Can we open our presents now?" Adrian exclaimed
exasperated as he regarded the pile of packages in front of his bed. Harry and Ron laughed at him
but complied nonetheless, quite eager to go through their presents too now that they had
somewhat woken up themselves. Harry knew he would have to visit Severus's office later to get
his gifts from the potions master and the Flamels but the presents in front of him now looked just
as promising.
He started unwrapping and found a hand-made flute from Hagrid, a brand new and equally handmade emerald green sweater from Mrs. Weasley -Harry loved those and the warm feeling that was
hidden in every stitch- a book of spells best utilized for pranks from Sirius and a yearly
subscription to Transfiguration Weekly courtesy of Remus, accompanied a note stating that,
though he might not understand everything he read, it would do him good if even half of what
Minerva had claimed about his potential was accurate. And coming from Minerva McGonagall,
the werewolf had stated, it probably was. Remus had no way of knowing the boy had wanted to
subscribe in that magazine for ages but didn't know how to get it past his parents; he made a
mental note to thank him personally for that.
His parents had got him brand new Quidditch supply, including a preservation kit for his new
broomstick which Harry regarded with a smile. They were in Paris, their letter informed him, and

apparently having a blast. He took a small bite of the delicious chocolate fudge that accompanied
Mrs. Weasley's sweater before Fred and George burst in to kidnap them for a family outing as
they called it. Harry found himself smiling all the way to the end of the day -it definitely had
something to do with the flower adorned bonnet which Dumbledore wore instead of his wizard's
hat; Harry could see the tiny indicators of Severus doing his best to hold back his laughter too.
He walked briskly towards Severus's office, an hour before curfew, having mentioned to his
brother that he had -quite conveniently- forgotten his potions textbook in the dungeons but never
had gotten around to reclaim it. Ron couldn't understand why in the world Harry would want to
visit the dungeons voluntarily on Christmas of all days and the green eyed boy quickly reminded
him of the three feet long essay they had to write on the eight basic ingredients of potion-making.
Ron just blanched and nodded sullenly as Harry left the common room. He knocked on Severus's
office and entered swiftly, locking the door behind him and getting rid of any concealment charms
he was sporting.
"Merry Christmas, Dad!" The boy exclaimed as he ran to hug the potions master who returned the
gesture.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Harry!" Said honorary proclaimed Dad wished back. "So, how was
your first Christmas away from home?"
"Odd." Harry announced immediately. "But any day when Dumbledore chooses to wear a bonnet
would be odd." Severus burst into the laughter he hadn't allowed himself all day.
"That man sometimes is too much for my poor nerves; try keeping an impassive face when sitting
next to that!" The potions master agreed and pulled out his wand, waving it once, summoning two
packages from behind his desk. "I suppose you would want your presents." He stated with a
smirk.
"I would rather like them, yes." Harry agreed neutrally before grinning at the parcels in his hands.
They both looked like books of some sort and he first unpacked the one that looked smaller; it
turned out to be the gift from Nicholas and Perenelle; it was truly a book, from the alchemist's
personal collection, according to the letter that accompanied it. Rubedo was its title and Harry
stood gapping at it for a few moments, before Severus broke the silence.
"I take it you didn't expect such a gift?" The potions master asked bemused.
"Expect? It's the that's the" Harry mumbled incoherently.
"In full sentences now, if you please." Severus stated chuckling as Harry recomposed himself.
"It's a book on the last step of creating the Philosopher's Stone." Harry spoke in a soft voice. "The
last chapter of the Magnum Opus, the secret of all secrets in alchemy." Severus was now staring at
the book just as awed as Harry. "Can you understand what this is? Nicholas must have written this
himself!" Harry exclaimed as he reverently turned the pages of the -now clearly- hand written
book. This was it; the final stage in becoming a full fledged alchemist.
"Are you trying to tell me that Nicholas sent you the guidelines to create a Philosopher's Stone?"
Severus asked in a disbelieving voice.
"No, not the guidelines." Harry explained touching the book gently, almost afraid it would
disappear. "It's the text that describes how the process looks like, the end result if you like; every
alchemist has to find their way to reach it but It's like Nicholas has deemed me worthy to try
and reach that level. This is This is huge, Sev." Harry explained seriously and Severus placed
his hand on his shoulder, understanding what this moment must mean to him.

"You did great, kid." He stated simply and Harry smiled before blanching and starting to panic.
"But It's too soon!" He exclaimed suddenly. "How could I be ready?"
"Harry, breathe!" The potions master ordered. "You said it yourself; these are not the guidelines; it
could take you years to reach that level." The boy seemed to calm down at Severus's logic.
"Sorry for that." He apologized blushing. "It's just Nicholas's present kind of caught me by
surprise."
"I noticed." The potions master offered with a smirk. Harry placed the book carefully on the
Severus's desk and started unwrapping the potions master's present. First thing that he noticed was
a silver ring with carved runes on it that Severus explained was charmed with a powerful traceme-not spell. "As long as you have it on," the potions master explained "you will not appear on
any magical tracing device; it even blocks your trace to the Ministry, provided you'll contain
yourself to only a couple of minor spells in a Muggle populated area. I just figured it would be
easier than renewing that spell every week." Harry smiled and placed the ring on the thumb of his
right hand, covering it up with a concealment spell. He moved to the main part of the gift. It was
another book, entitled
"No way!" Harry exclaimed, running to hug Severus as tight as he could, a copy of The Art of the
Broom-smith held tight in his hands. "Where did you find that book?" He asked excited.
"I may or may not have bought a percentage of Obscurus Publications, the agency that once again
may or may not print the original textbooks for the broomstick manufacturers." Severus stated
calmly looking at the gaping boy.
"Really?" The older wizard nodded with a smirk. "Wicked!"
"It is." Severus offered before dissolving into laughter. "But seriously now, this is just the first
book of a series. Once you finish it, I'll give you the rest to read."
"Thanks, Dad!" Harry stated brightly.
"Don't mention it; if you're truly interested into learning something new I'd be loath to not help
you with it." The potions master reassured him. Harry smiled and pulled out a small package from
his pocket, neatly wrapped in a dark blue paper with a gold ribbon. "What's that?" Severus asked
confused.
"A dungbomb, only wrapped very nicely." Harry stated dryly. "It's your Christmas present!"
Severus's eyes widened; Harry always got him a present every Christmas -he was the only one
that did anymore actually- but this year he had expected that with school and everything Not
that Harry could give him a better gift than calling him Dad, still he couldn't help but feel that
warmth spreading in his chest.
"Thank you, Harry." The potions master stated, taking the gift from the boys extended hand.
"Open it first" Harry mumbled. "It really isn't much; I mean, I made it by myself since I didn't
have time to buy anything If you don't like it" Severus in the meantime had unwrapped his
gift carefully and opened the small box to find an equally small, sealed glass vial, wrapped with a
wire of some off black metal, containing what seemed to be iridescent crystals of some deep blue
substance and a small heliodor with a carved sigil on it. The vial was filled with what seemed to
be a translucent oil and was emitting a faint blue glow and a strong surge of magic.
"Is that" Severus trailed off, looking at the tiny vial in shock.

"It's an alchemic charm." Harry stated blushing. "This specific one is of the enhancing type and
it's designed to help you with your spell work." Harry explained. "The sigil allows it to store the
unused magic which gets left behind when casting a spell; you can then use it anytime you want
by simply clutching the charm when you cast another spell" The boy concluded blushing
deeply. Severus just stared on.
"And you made this by yourself?" Severus asked, looking at the charm with awe, sitting back in
his armchair.
"Well, I asked Nicholas to send me the ingredients by owl but I designed the sigil and put the
charm together, casting the spells needed for the past month or so myself. I know it's not much
but"
"Harry." Severus stopped him and looked straight into his eyes. "This," he started pointing at the
charm "is a very rare, very valuable magical artifact. And for you making it by yourself"
"But it's basic sigil-smith." Harry stated. "Any alchemist can"
"And how many alchemists are there? That are active today I mean." Severus asked seriously.
"And from them, how many do you think would part with such a charm willingly?" Harry looked
at him confused, never having considered the fact before; how many other alchemists were there?
"Very few, I can assure you." Severus offered as if reading his mind. "And none of them at
Nicholas's level. Trust me when I say, this charm is it's exceptional, Harry." Harry blushed even
more.
"Thanks." He muttered inaudibly as Severus pulled him into a hug.
"Have I mentioned you're a genius lately?" And they both laughed. Harry soon had to leave as it
was now almost curfew; he placed both books in his bag and bid Severus goodbye, leaving him
staring at the charm before having to go out for his rounds. Harry himself skipped to the
Gryffindor tower. The moment he entered the common room, he headed straight for his bed, as
fast as he could without actually running, pulled the curtains around him and pulled out Nicholas's
present from his bag; he wasn't sure how long he had been reading -it must have been hours- but
his attention was suddenly captured by the sound of a trunk opening and closing, disturbing the
otherwise quiet room. The green eyed wizard peaked behind his curtains slightly and barely
managed to catch sight of his brother before he disappeared under the invisibility cloak; and it had
been such a lovely day so far
Harry held back a sigh and stood up to follow his brother, quickly casting tracing spell on him as
he walked through the common room's opening; he would just have to be extra careful and hope
Adrian didn't choose to go past the areas Severus would be patrolling for the night. Which meant
what? The area around the library? Goblins' gold! Could his brother truly be heading No way!
But, as Harry came to realize, Adrian was indeed heading for the library. Hiding in the shadows,
the younger Potter twin followed his brother's trace through the school and waited outside as he
entered the library; it would be no use to follow him in there. He didn't have the cloak and besides,
he had a pretty good idea where his brother was headed. If he was right he would only have to
wait for a couple of minutes before
An expected piercing scream broke the silence of the night into teeny tiny pieces. Maybe Adrian
should heed Hermione's advice for once and readHogwarts A History. If he had read it, he would
have known that all books in the restricted section scream bloody murder if a student tried to read
them without permission. Not one to disappoint, Filch appeared through a hidden passageway Harry made a mental note to remember that one- and run straight for the library, his cat Mrs.
Norris following closely. The trace he had placed on his brother clearly indicated he had ran right
under Filch's extended arm -the irony- and was now running towards the East Wing and away

from the Grand Staircase. Something told him that his brother was completely lost.
Harry waited for Filch to exit the library and enter the same hidden passageway through which he
had come from before following his brother. While moving thus hidden, he could hear two pairs
of footsteps coming his way; one had to be Filch while the other
"The Restricted Section? Well, they can't be far, we'll catch them." Severus's falsely cold voice
echoed through the corridor as Harry hid into an empty classroom waiting. When the two men
passed him by, he exited the room and kept following his brother's trace. Adrian seemed to be
hidden in a classroom two doors from the one he had chosen; he also showed no indication he
would leave anytime soon. But what could he be doing in that empty classroom?
Whatever it was, it had already taken him half an hour at least, Harry thought after some more
wait. The cluttering of an armor was heard in the distance -probably Peeves was back to his old
tricks- and that seemed to remind Adrian he had to move; he exited the classroom almost inaudibly
and run back the way he came. Harry would have followed him, but he couldn't help his curiosity
piquing; what could lie in that room? He quickly stepped through the door his brother had left
slightly open and looked around. On first glance, it looked just like what you'd expect from a
presently empty classroom, the desks and chairs pilled up near the wall, their dark forms quite
clear in the background. What was out of place however stood right in the middle of the room,
claiming his attention.
It was a magnificent mirror, as high as the ceiling, with an ornate gold frame standing on two
clawed feet. There was an inscription carved on top; Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi.
What kind of language was that? It wasn't old English for sure Harry pondered the writing for a
few seconds until it hit him. This was a mirror after all; why not read the inscription backwards? I
show not your face but your heart's desire. That made more sense in a way and raised more
questions at the same time. But what could the inscription mean he wondered, as he finally looked
into the mirror. His breath caught in his throat; his reflection showed him as he really was, without
his concealment charms. Could he have forgotten to cast them? Of course not! He remembered it
quite clearly! As he looked at the mirror again, he noticed his reflection wasn't on its own. He
looked behind him, but the room was empty.
Still next to him on the mirror, with one hand on his left shoulder, stood Severus. But not the
Severus everybody knew and feared; it was Sev as Harry knew him, his real self. And next to
them stood Harry's family; they were all smiling, no trace of the ever present fear in their eyes.
Sirius and Prongs didn't look at Sev with disgust and Remus seemed healthier than ever. Harry
smiled at the reflection, thinking just how great it could be if Suddenly he frowned and shook
his head. What did the inscription say again? I show not your face So is that what my heart
desires the most? Harry wondered. To be free to be myself and accepted for it? The green eyed
wizard touched the image with his fingers once, tentatively. He then sighed and turned his back on
the mirror and its false promises; if he ever wanted to make his wish come true, what he really
shouldn't do was stand there and waste away wishing; he would have to act. He closed the door
behind him and walked away, hating the mirror just a little. And when his brother and Ron
disappeared the next night, Harry didn't bother to follow them.

Was That A Dragon's Egg? But Of Course It Was!


The nightly visits of his brother to the mirror continued for a few days until stopping abruptly
before managing to alert Harry too much. Adrian seemed decided to not use the cloak for the rest
of Christmas holidays, burying it deep into his trunk and the green eyed wizard couldn't be
happier for his decision. The beginning of term brought out Oliver Wood's fanatic side to the
surface; the second match of the year for Gryffindor was drawing near and this time it was against
Hufflepuff. Harry laughed with mirth as he returned from one of the muddiest trainings he had
ever had, remembering how Severus had mentioned he was even willing to referee if that gave
him the opportunity to fly.
He had a quick shower and headed for the Common Room, meeting a hopping Neville near the
entrance. Harry just looked at him frozen for a second before approaching him and casting the
counter-curse; it was quite obvious that someone had tried the leg binding curse on him.
"Are you alright, Neville?" Harry asked helping the round-faced boy stand straight. "What
happened?"
"Malfoy." Neville mumbled as they entered the Common Room. "I met him outside the library.
He said he'd been looking for someone to practice that on." They had approached Adrian and his
friends at that point and Hermione overheard the conversation.
"What are you two talking about?" Neville explained in a few short sentences and Hermione
reacted immediately. "Go to professor McGonagall! Report him!" Neville shook his head
resigned.
"I don't want more trouble." Ron encouraged the shy Gryffindor to not allow Malfoy step all over
him, but Neville got the message wrong.
"There's no need to tell me I'm not brave enough to be in Gryffindor, Malfoy's already done that."
"What he meant," Harry explained. "Is that you shouldn't allow Malfoy put you down. The Hat
chose you for Gryffindor, never forget that; it's been on that job for quite some time to know what
it does and obviously thought you brave enough. You're worth twelve of Malfoy." Neville looked
at the younger Potter twin surprised.
"Harry's right!" Adrian added, searching in his pocket and pulling out a Chocolate Frog, giving it
to Neville. "You're a Gryffindor! And where's Malfoy? In stinking Slytherin!" Harry didn't
necessarily agree with the characterization chosen for the House of snakes but let it pass this once
seeing the weak smile it put on Neville's face.
"Thanks Adrian" Neville said taking the frog. "I think I'll go to bed D'you want the card, you
collect them, don't you?" And the boy gave Adrian the card. Harry's heart skipped a beat at the
image of the Headmaster on it, recalling Severus's words. A small sing-song voice in his head
reminded him that truly no good deed goes unpunished.
"Dumbledore again." Adrian stated sullenly. "I must have him over five times. I'm only
missing" and then he gasped as he turned the card around to read the text. He looked at Ron
and Hermione as if he wanted to tell them something and then stopped looking at his brother.
Knowing there was nothing he could do at that point, Harry smiled -or tried to without being too
sure of his success- and turned to leave.
"I'm going to read a bit on Transfiguration Weekly. I've never managed to look at the latest one

what with all of Wood's training." And he left for his room, quickly retrieving said magazine and
running back downstairs, catching his brother's exclamation as he went.
"I've found him!" Ruddy hell. Hermione was nowhere to be seen when he returned but she soon
made her reappearance, holding a quite familiar tome in her hands; Harry recognized the book as
it was the same copy of Dumbledore's work he had seen back at Potter Manor. When Hermione
turned the pages and pointed at a page to a shocked Adrian and Ron, Harry wasted no time. He
left the Common Room, unnoticed by the encompassed in their finding trio, walking calmly until
the Fat Lady covered the opening behind him; after that he ran in a mad rush all the way to the
dungeons, scaring a few fellow students on the way and ignoring all chastising to slow down from
the portraits -mercifully not running into a professor- to, finally, knock out of breath on Severus
office's door. The potions master opened the door confused as Harry rushed in.
"We've got a problem." Harry stated gasping for air.
"Don't we always." Severus muttered as Harry explained the situation at hand. "Yes, it seems
we've got a problem." He agreed rubbing his temples. "Of all the rotten luck"
"My thoughts exactly." Harry stated nodding gravelly. "And now what?"
"Nothing, what could we do?" Severus stated sighing. "We'll just have to be twice as careful to
not let your brother ever approach that trapdoor. Not that he could get past Fluffy or any of the
other trials that easily but he'd better not even approach it." The boy nodded, having heard about
the trials before the chamber where the Stone was kept the same night he told Severus he knew
about the Stone.
"It's just so frustrating!" Harry exclaimed after some thought. "I feel like he's going to deliver
himself to Voldemort if he keeps going that way."
"We won't let that happen Harry." Severus stated decisively. "But remember, we don't want
Voldemort to know of his mistake yet, if he doesn't already. You keep an eye on your brother and
I'll do the same with Quirrell. It's all we can do for now." The boy nodded again, not really liking
their options.
"Do you think there's anything more you can do on Quirrell's side of the equation?" He asked not
liking the idea of the renegade teacher running around the school unobstructed.
"Maybe he and I are a little overdue for some quality time; I might as well threaten him to his face,
see how that goes." At least that would be some progress Harry thought.
The days passed quite quickly after that and soon it was the time for the second game of the
season. Maybe the Snitch felt that Harry's heart was far too troubled to stay tuned into the game
for long and it decided to indulge him quickly; maybe he just had talent enough to pull it off. No
matter what, it seemed to be the fastest Snitch catch anybody present could recall; no team had
time enough to score a single point as the green eyed wizard caught the elusive golden ball in less
than four minutes. Oliver was ecstatic, jumping up and down with joy; they were now first in run
for the house Cup, right in front of Slytherin.
His parents couldn't make it this time but Sirius could, much to Harry's amusement; the dog
animagus was looking at him with awe and was already planning his career as a professional
Quidditch player. Adrian was actually agreeing and that didn't much help Harry's case.
After some light conversation with him and Remus -who looked unimaginably pale, only three
days after the full moon- he decided to put his Nimbus back in the lockers before returning to the
castle, parting ways with his godfather and honorary uncle who would accompany Adrian back to

Hogwarts before leaving the castle.


He was walking quite lost in thought, surprisingly not because of the Stone or Voldemort for
once; from something Sirius had let slip out for his parents' second honeymoon and the cross look
on Moony's face that caused him to change the subject faster than Harry could blink, it seemed
that their trip hadn't been quite the success. He had just exited the lockers when a hooded figure
left the castle quite in a hurry; hood or not, he would recognize Severus anywhere. At the same
time the sound of a different pair of footsteps snapped him out of his reverie and he instinctively
hid inside a closet. The second pair of footsteps turned out to belong to no other than Adrian.
The hazel eyed boy entered the lockers and came back with a school broom a few seconds later apparently not having managed to pry Harry's Nimbus Two Thousand as the green eyed wizard
had placed enough spells on it to not even bulge from its position; some nastier ones too did
someone decide to be persistent. Hoping on it, he followed the potions master from above. Harry
sighed in frustration and went back to retrieve his own broom. Why, oh why did this have to
happen every single time?
Taking the long way around, Harry followed his brother by air, having an odd sense of dj-vu.
His brother finally landed on a tree next to the sound of Severus's voice and Harry landed
noiselessly in a thick breech tree right behind his brother; he could just make out two shapes in the
dark clearing beneath them.
"Oh, I thought we'd keep this private. The students aren't supposed to know about the
Philosopher's Stone after all." The potions master stated coldly. "Have you found a way to get
past Hagrid's beast yet?" Severus asked and Harry didn't need to hear the stuttering to know it was
Quirrell who answered. Seems that Severus had decided to have that conversation after all, the
boy thought with a smirk.
"B-b-but Severus, I"
"You don't want me as your enemy, Quirrell." The potions master stated, making Harry want to
applaud.
"I-I don't know what you"
"You know perfectly well what I mean." Quirrell seemed to be shaking, Harry noted. Good. The
green eyed wizard tried to hear what Severus said next, but a loud hoot from an owl, hidden
somewhere among the trees prevented him from doing so.
" just like the troll incident on Halloween. I'm waiting." Oh, Sev had confronted him about the
Halloween fiasco. Harry wondered what could Quirrell possibly have to say to that.
"B-but I d-d-don't"
"Very well. We'll have another little chat soon, when you've had time to think things over and
decided where your loyalties lie." And on that tone, he pulled his cloak's hood over his head again
and left the clearing and what appeared to be a petrified Quirrell behind him. Harry waited for
both the Defense teacher and his brother to leave before flying back to the school himself and
running to the Gryffindor Tower. At least now, he imagined, Adrian would abandon the foolish
notion of Severus being behind it all. His hopes had proven to be for naught as, while he was on
his way to the Common Room, he caught his brother, Ron and Hermione running into an empty
classroom; a little eavesdropping later and the green eyed wizard was ready to hit his head against
the wall. Hard.
Apparently the whole confrontation in the forest had convinced Adrian of quite the opposite. He

now seemed to think that not only Severus was trying to steal the Stone -apparently the trio had
already realized it was the Philosopher's Stone that was guarded under that trapdoor- but now he
was certain that it was the potions master that had let the troll into the school -cursed owl and its
hooting!- and that Quirrell was what was standing between him and his goal. To put it simply, he
was convinced that Quirrell was the one protecting the Stone and Severus the one out to get him.
Bloody prejudices! Harry walked sullenly back into the Common Room where he was engulfed
by his partying housemates that congratulated him for such an exemplary win. Severus was going
to love this, Harry thought sarcastically.
As it turned out, Severus didn't, even with his caustic humor. What both of them found amusing
however was catching the trio with their ears stuck on the door of the forbidden corridor, trying to
listen if Fluffy was still there, alive and well.
"You know," Severus stated during one of their weekly swordfight practices "what I find
interesting is that your brother believes that, in a fight between me and that Cerberus, I'd win."
Harry, who was caught mid-swing, almost lost his balance from the mental image. What they
didn't find amusing was their inability to act further.
Harry found himself at the library, doing some reading on the second book from the broommaking series Severus had bought him, when Hagrid made his appearance; a strange image on
itself -not that Hagrid was stupid; he just generally preferred a more practical approach than
research. The green eyed wizard observed him from the corner of his eyes, trying to remember
which category of books was the one he was looking at. It was the magizoology part of the library
of course, but those three bookcases were solely on dragon care? Nah, that couldn't be right!
Just as he had decided to go and look for himself when Hagrid left the library, Hermione
approached him. Knowing that this was a conversation he most likely would want to hear, he
moved as close as possible while remaining inconspicuously seated on the same bench. He could
just make out their voices;
"And we know that the dog's guarding the Philosopher's St" Ron stated, causing Hagrid to
shush him, only to have Adrian ask him about the other means of guarding the Stone except
Fluffy. Harry felt he should prepare for the worse when he heard the giant invite them to his home
to explain later.
Without deliberating on it much, Harry run to the Gryffindor Tower -thinking he was doing quite
a lot of running these days because of Adrian and his friends- and grabbed the invisibility cloak,
hiding it under his robes. He then proceeded to walk casually towards the Great Hall, waiting for
his brother to arrive; it only took a total of twenty minutes before the trio made its appearance.
Harry waited till they exited the Great Hall and then followed them, hiding under the cloak the
moment he reached the first dark corner. He walked just a few feet behind them and swiftly
entered the giant's hut along with his brother and his friends, sitting in the far corner of the sole
room that composed Hagrid's home.
Despite good weather the fire was lit behind the grand chair Hagrid was seated on and the curtains
were drawn shut to the sunny day outside -the first after a line of rainy weeks. Harry sat there and
tried to contain his gasp of shock as Hagrid explained everything to his twin brother though their
expression when they found out that Severus was one of those assigned to guard the Stone was
priceless. Not that it said much since Quirrell was one of the Stone's guardians too but... There
was no holding his gasp however when Adrian noticed the dragon egg in the fireplace. Hagrid
was actually trying to make it hatch? And where did he get a dragon egg in the first place? As
Ron mentioned, quite correctly, dragon breeding had been banned for three hundred years! Harry
left the hut that afternoon with one more reason to be worried.

"He's got a what?" Severus asked his face a mask of shock. He thought he had heard that Hagrid
had a Norwegian Ridgeback's egg hatching in his hut but that couldn't be the case.
"He's got a Norwegian Ridgeback's egg hatching in his hut." Harry repeated.
"Why?" Was all that Severus could think of asking, all other questions paling in comparison.
"I've been asking myself that since I saw the egg."
"Any ideas?"
"On why he has the egg, or on what he should do with it?" The boy asked.
"I would say on both but, for the sake of whatever is left of my mental health, let's stick with how
to deal with it part." Severus offered. Harry shrugged.
"If we tell anybody about the egg, Hagrid looses his job and might even end up in Azkaban for
endangering the lives of students." The raven haired boy stated. "Hagrid might be a little
spontaneous at times, but his job is his life. I don't want to see him loose it." Severus nodded.
"I see your point." The potions master agreed with a soft smile. "And Azkaban truly isn't the place
for him. But he can't keep the egg."
"I don't see him parting with it before it hatches." Harry imputed.
"You said he has placed it over open fire already?"
"Yes."
"In that case the hatching process has already begun; the dragon will be ready to hatch in a few
days." Severus informed him.
"Lovely." Harry commented drily.
"At least nobody else knows but Adrian and his friends."
"No, just my brother, Ron and Hermione and now the two of us." Severus nodded.
"But what to do with a dragon?" They both stood to contemplate the situation. Harry suddenly
had an epiphany.
"Charlie!"
"Who?" Severus asked snapping out of his reverie.
"Charlie Weasley, Ron's older brother, the one that works with dragons in Romania!" Harry
exclaimed. "I might be able to hint something to my brother so that Charlie will be on the top of
his head. They already tried to get Hagrid to get rid of the egg."
"It's the best we can do." Severus agreed. "Let's just hope that nobody finds out about it." But it
wasn't to be; from all the people in Hogwarts, it seemed that Draco Malfoy was the one who
found out. Harry couldn't be sure since he didn't follow his brother to Hagrid's hut every day, but
he knew the dragon had hatched, that Hagrid called him Norbert and that Malfoy had been
smirking far too much towards the trio's direction tonot know. What a mess; almost as much as
Ron's hand that Norbert had treated as his new chew toy.
And then, four days after that incident, Harry heard that his brother, Hermione and Neville -and

who could have seen that one coming- had cost Gryffindor house one hundred and fifty points in
a single night, trying to snuggle the dragon out of the castle. And landed themselves a detention.
Ruddy hell. And the detention, as Severus found out from a raging Minerva McGonagall, was to
be at the Forbidden Forest.
"The Forbidden Forest?" Harry chocked out in disbelief.
"I don't know what your brother said, but he must have really angered Minerva." Severus agreed.
"But we can't let them into the forest alone!" Harry exclaimed, crazy scenarios weaving
themselves into his head.
"No we can't." Severus stated thoughtfully before smirking. "You know, maybe it's time to give
those wolf forms of us a chance to run in their natural environment. Don't you think so?" The
answering smirk he got a perfect copy of his own. And so it was decided; next night found Harry
leaving the Common Room after his brother and rushing to meat Severus at the exit of the
dungeons; it took him a little longer than was expected since Adrian had forgotten the cloak,
apparently, in the astronomy tower while smuggling Norbert out. None of them had mentioned
that to their parents of course as the hazel eyed Potter twin had received his second Holwer this
year even with that little detail left untold.
"About time." Severus whispered to him the moment he turned around the corner. "Filch just took
Adrian and the rest out to the grounds; he always tends to give those serving detentions long
speeches though, so we should have enough time. Harry nodded and they left, two hooded figures
hiding in the shadows approaching the forest quickly. Once they were hidden, they placed their
wands inside the holsters Severus had got them -ingenious inventions really that tightened or
loosened with the animagus's transforming body, allowing them to carry their wands on their
person even when transformed- and turned themselves into a pair of black wolves. Severus, who
was more familiar with the Forbidden Forest, led the way.
They ran swiftly through the thick trees, sense of sight and hearing much improved in that form. A
light between the branches ahead and the voice of Hagrid chastising Filch informed them that they
had reached their destination. They watched as the small group of six -if you included Hagrid's
dog Fang- split in two, following the silvery traces on the forest floor; unicorn blood. Harry turned
to look at Severus who just shook his head; he hadn't heard anything about unicorn blood. This
was bad, really bad. Only one person -if he could be called that- they knew of was desperate
enough to kill unicorns for their blood and, if their assumptions where correct, Adrian was in a
whole more lot of trouble than they initially thought.
Adrian was in the same group with Hermione and Hagrid at the beginning; they met with two
centaurs in their way, Bane and Roran, that seemed intent on repeating that Mars was shining
unusually bright that night. Harry wasn't truly professed in the centaur's version of soothsaying not that he was in the wizards' techniques, but he digressed- still, them repeating it over and over
couldn't be good. But those two were actual centaurs and, despite his worry, he couldn't help but
feel a little awed. The groups soon changed, after a rather stupid move on Malfoy's part that made
Severus growl viciously, and Adrian found himself stuck with the blond and Hagrid's dog.
As luck would have it, they followed the trail that led them straight into the clearing where the
dead unicorn lay. Harry's heart tightened in his chest; the image of the unicorn dead on the ground
seemed fundamentally wrong; his mind quickly entertained the idea of what a war-unicorn, who
had ways of defending itself much more aggressively than its white haired cousin, would have
done to its assailant. Now that would be a sight.
Not that he got to ponder on the mental image of the Dark Lord being chased around by an angry,
seven feet tall war-unicorn for more than a few seconds. A hooded figure entered the clearing and

bowed down next to the unicorn, drinking its blood. A blood-churning scream later -courtesy of
one Draco Malfoy- the hooded figure that could be no other than Lord Voldemort himself, stood
straight and started advancing towards the frozen older Potter twin. Harry was ready to transform
back and do he didn't know what exactly. Something. Anything. But what?
The sound of approaching hoods stopped him as a third centaur, a younger one, with ash blond
hair and a palomino body, jumped behind a tree and attacked the hooded figure. Voldemort run more like floated- away and the centaur approached Adrian.
As he introduced himself as Firenze, Harry felt close to crying; his brother was almost attacked by
the Dark Lord, right there, in front of his own two eyes. His heart was beating like crazy, his mind
was clouded. His brother had almost died and he had done nothing but stare. He followed Severus
who in turn followed Firenze who had taken Adrian on his back and was leading him to Hagrid.
He barely registered the two angry centaurs they crossed paths with and the relief never reached
his heart once his brother was reunited with the rest of the group.
He felt worthless; all of his training and he had done nothing, his brain freezing in fear. What if
Firenze hadn't been there? Would he have acted in time or would Severus have had to intervene?
The potions master led them back to where they had entered the forest and reversed the animagus
transformation, soon standing in front of the green eyed boy back to his normal self, waiting for
him to do the same.
He could instinctively tell something was wrong with the boy, more than the shock of just meeting
with the most feared Dark wizard of the century. And when Harry did transform back, one look
into his misty eyes was all it took to confirm his fears. He didn't know what was going on in
Harry's head and the boy had the tendency to think too much. He didn't know what to do to fix
whatever was wrong. All Severus could do was hold Harry tight as he cried with a desperation he
had never witnessed in the boy before.

Through The Trapdoor


Severus was observing Harry from a distance; for the first few days after they had returned from
the Forbidden Forest, the boy seemed like a shadow of himself, not making eye contact, stealing
glances at his brother just to assure himself he was still there. And then, out of the blue, a few days
before the exams started, a new fire started burning in Harry's eyes and he talked to Severus about
just what had happened.
The potions master couldn't believe in his ears; was Harry seriously blaming himself for being
scared upon meeting the Dark Lord essentially for the first time? Upon witnessing said Dark Lord
drinking unicorn's blood in a dark clearing inside the Forbidden Forest? Everybody would be
scared, hell, he had been scared too! And he made sure to tell him so; after all, only a fool or a
madman could stand in front of such a scene and not feel fear and Harry was neither. But what he
had to say, even if it soothed the boy's guilt -and it was just like Harry to feel guilty about
something he could not control, that incorrigible, lovable son of his- did nothing to quench that fire
in his eyes.
Harry had seen Voldemort, had felt for the first time just how real the threat he posed was and he
was determined to fight. The potions master didn't know if he should be terrified or not, seeing
Harry so decided. He probably would have been -he was always afraid something would happen
to the boy, he couldn't help it- if he wasn't so proud at the same time.
Harry on his part had done his best to overcome his guilt; in all truth, he couldn't say he had
succeeded completely, but a late night realization while he was revising for his Transformation
exam made him snap out of his self-pitying. What in Merlin's name was he doing? He was
supposed to be training, he was supposed to be improving! He felt so angry at himself for not
reacting so he had decided to pick up a book and hide behind it? His anger flared and burned
away any traces of fear that might have been left behind; it flared, it rose and burned and with a
final burst dispersed, leaving behind clarity and calmness as such he had never felt before.
He would train. He would improve. And he would never allow himself to freeze in a situation like
that again. He couldn't promise to himself that he wouldn't be afraid, for his heart he could not
control and really, how many times had Severus warned him against trying? But he wouldn't
allow his fear to stop him again. And Harry had chuckled, his heart lighter than it had been for
days. He had run down the stairs to the Common Room and gave his brother a tight one armed
hug, leaving him startled.
"What was that about?" Adrian, who was deep in a conversation with Ron and Hermione, asked.
"I just finished what I needed to review for Transformation and felt like sharing." Harry stated
with a wide grin, before walking back to his bed to actually finish revising.
"See what studying too much can do to you, Hermione?" He heard Ron ask as he walked away.
"You should stop before you lose your marbles too." Harry had spent his days since then studying
as always, his decisiveness reinforced. The exams passed like a breeze, for him at least. Hermione
had seemed determined to surpass his scores but even she stepped back after Harry transformed
the mouse he was given to a snuffle box made of pure gold and precious stones, its design so
ornate even Professor McGonagall had to pause before smiling widely at him.
The last exam -History of Magic- came to an end in a general atmosphere of joy; they were finally
done! The results would be out in a week and, with the last Quidditch game two days later, the
official end of their first year at Hogwarts was nigh. Harry's good mood lasted only up to the
moment when he caught sight of his brother's shocked face as he dragged Ron and Hermione with

him towards Haggrid's hut; something told him that Adrian had finally wondered where Norbert's
dragon egg had come from. He and Severus had already drawn the conclusion that the incident
had Quirrell's name written all over it. The chance it was a coincidence was one in the million if
one considered the timing and Harry and Severus had taken that Quirrell knew how to get past
Fluffy as a given. All he was missing now was the opportunity.
With that knowledge, the potions master had sent Nicholas a letter, telling him of his worries, but
the alchemist, knowing that if the Stone wasn't safe in Hogwarts then it wasn't safe anywhere,
answered that he would take his chances. Harry had sighed and hoped they would be able to stop
any attempts Quirrell made. He was returning from Severus's office after reading that letter,
thinking of how he might yet persuade Nicholas to hide the stone elsewhere. He entered the
Common Room with a sigh, not really expecting to find anyone awake so late at night; he should
have known better; right there, in the middle of the floor, lay the clearly petrified body of one
Neville Longbottom.
Harry's mind jumped into action; Neville had clearly been petrified after everybody else had
already gone to sleep, or else someone would have noticed. And since the chances of an outside
attack targeted on Neville was highly unlikely, it must have been one of the Gryffindors that had
casted the Petrificus Totalus. The only reason to do it would be if Neville got in their way. And
after the one hundred and fifty points lost and a detention in the Forbidden Forest, there were only
three people Neville might oppose to sneaking out at night. Besides, there were only three people
that might have reason to. And who knows how long they were gone already. Oh brother, what
have you done?
Harry turned around immediately without alerting Neville -who seemed to have dozed off
anyway- to his presence. He left the Common Room in a daze, heading for the third floor and the
forbidden corridor, his wand in hand. He wanted to go and get Severus first, but one second of
delay might even be too much. The green eyed boy ran as fast as his feet could take him, not
caring -maybe hoping at that point- if he met with a teacher on his way. He didn't though and by
the time he reached the forbidden corridor he was in a half mad state. Fluffy was barking from
behind the door and only then did Harry realize he had no idea how to get past him. But for once
subtlety wasn't the point; if he had to tear a Cerberus to pieces in order to get to his brother then so
be it. He pushed the door open softly, not wanting to alert the dog of his presence immediately.
The dog was barking over the open trapdoor, making it clear that someone had gone through him;
at least his brother had survived that. He scanned the room quickly, his attention being drawn by
two things; one, the invisibility cloak was discarded on the floor. Two, a harp lay half broken a
few feet away. There was only one reason why the harp should be there. With a
quick Reparo that got the dog's attention the harp was as good as new. Another flick of his wand
made the harp strings produced sound; the spell wasn't going to last for long, and the sound
produced couldn't be classified as a tune exactly, but it seemed to affect Fluffy nonetheless; his
eyes closed and he fell on the floor in a heap. Harry grabbed the cloak, threw it around himself
and walked towards the trapdoor.
He cast a Lumos down the trapdoor, the beam from his wand illuminating what appeared to be
some type of a crawling plant. Highly doubting the possibility Dumbledore had asked Professor
Sprout to plant honeysuckle, Harry held on his wand and jumped. The plant did break his fall and
then proceeded to try and break his bones, vines encircling his legs, marking the plant as a Devil's
Snare.
"I don't have time for this" Harry mumbled and pointed his wand at the plant. "Incedio!" Bright
red flames erupted from his wand, causing the plant to retreat close to the wall. The boy took off
running the same second. The next door he pushed led him to a room where thousands of
multicolored birds fluttered around; three broomsticks were thrown haphazardly next to the exit

door and Harry could only guess who had used them. He approached the door to find it locked
and he instinctively knew there was no spell he could cast that would get him through without the
key. And speaking of keys
He looked up again; the birds turned out to not be birds at all, but winged keys. And the one he
was looking for must be old, the boy thought, and large, silver and tattered if it had already been
used twice. He picked up a broom and took off, his eyes searching manically for the right key.
And he found it a few moments later, his Seeker talent coming through, with almost jerky
movements, he placed it in the keyhole and opened the door. He tightened his grip on his wand,
secured the cloak around him and opened the door. There seemed to be a huge chessboard in front
of him while an open door waited for him across the room.
For a few seconds he was afraid he would have to play his way through when luck decided to be
on his side. A disheveled and crying Hermione appeared amongst the rumbles, running towards
the chessboard her eyes stuck somewhere in the left corner of the room where a passed out Ron
lay; Harry had no time to stop. Whishing the redhead was okay, he saw his chance and took it,
running across the room the same time as Hermione. The presence of someone who had
apparently already beat the chessboard proved to be enough to stop a second game from
beginning.
The stench coming from the next chamber was enough to forewarn him of what was to come
before the fainted troll came into view. Harry doubled his speed; only one trial left, he knew. And
then the final chamber where his brother stood alone with Quirrell, or even Voldemort. Flames
engulfed both entrance and exit as he walked through the second to last door. The message on the
parchment Severus had left was clear and Harry debated his choices. There it was, he figured,
picking up the small vial; there was barely enough left for one person. Not pausing to think he just
gulped it down and walked through the black flames, the icy sensation of the potion boding well
with the cold feeling in his chest.
He walked hastily towards the next chamber only to pause in shock with what he found. Quirrell
was there as expected and so was his brother, mercifully still standing even if he was wrapped in
thick rope head to toe, and behind them the very same mirror he had held his brother so captivated
six months ago. The mirror that showed your heart's deepest desire. How good could it be that it
was in this chamber? Not very good, Harry could bet on that. Quirrell went on explaining how he
had let the troll in the school and how he worked for Voldemort. Adrian put up a brave front, but
Harry could tell he was intimidated.
"I see the Stone I'm presenting it to my master But where is it?" Quirrell mumbled to himself,
turning his back on Adrian who just stood petrified. "Maybe the Stone is inside the mirror. Do I
have to break it?" The Defense teacher was getting more agitated by the second. "What does this
mirror do? How does it work? Help me, Master!" Harry stood petrified as a voice answered to his
plea, seemingly coming out of Quirrell himself.
"Use the boy Use the boy" Quirrell turned to wards Adrian and, with a flick of his wrist the
ropes bidding Adrian into place disappeared and the boy was free too move. Quirrell ordered him
to get close and look into the mirror. That's just what Adrian did. Harry couldn't understand what
was going on.
"Well?" Asked Quirrell impatiently. "What do you see?"
"I-I'm shaking hands with Dumbledore." Adrian stated. Harry knew his brother well enough to
tell he was lying. "I've won the House Cup for Gryffindor." Quirrell cursed again and pushed the
boy aside. Adrian seemed to take the hint and decided to run. He turned around, his hand
clutching over his pocket. And it was at that vey second that Harry realized his brother had
somehow gotten the Philosopher's Stone.

"He lies He lies" The high voice sounded again, coming from Quirrell without him ever
moving his lips.
"Potter, come back here!" Adrian didn't stop. "I said come back!" And he pulled his wand to cast
a quick Stupefy; Adrian fell head first on the floor and there he lay as the voice spoke again.
"So this is how it ends Adrian Potter, the Boy Who Lived will die tonight Let me look at him
before he dies I have waited ten years for this" The voice said as Harry moved closer quietly
his wand pointing at Quirrell under his cloak; he was ready to do anything that might be needed...
"Master, you're not strong enough!" Quirrell protested.
"I have strength enough for this" The voice insisted and Quirrell started unwrapping his
turban slowly until it was all gone and then turned around. Harry bit into his cheek as not to
scream; he bit so hard he could taste the coppery tang of his own blood. So that was Lord
Voldemort? He looked at the man that had tried to kill him and his brother as babies, the man that
was threatening his brother's life once again, or at least what was left of him. A deformed,
snakelike face with red eyes stood where the back of Quirrell's head should be, looking at his
fainted brother with pure malice.
"We meet again, Adrian Potter." Voldemort said. "I expected more from you; at least last time we
faced each other you managed to look me in the eyes." He scoffed. "You won't get a second
chance. Kill him off and take the Stone; it's on him somewhere!" The Dark Lord ordered with a
cold voice.
"Yes, Master." Quirrell said obediently, almost reverently.
"Goodbye, Adrian Potter." Voldemort said as Quirrell turned towards the fainted boy. As
Voldemort was talking, all the fear Harry felt, the mortification of his brother's impending doom
that had caused him to freeze, instantly transformed to red hot anger and from that to a scorching
white rage. Voldemort was a monster and Quirrell was helping him. The Dark Lord tarnished
what he touched, polluted it, eradicated it. And now he went after his brother. One of his first
lessons in alchemy crept into his troubled thoughts as he grasped his wand tight under the cloak.
"If all else fails, Harry, always remember; fire purges all that is impure." Nicholas's voice rang
inside his head. In the years to come, Harry would look back and wonder how he had managed to
do what he did; it wasn't that he had practiced a wordless spell before. All he would remember
afterwards was that, as Quirrell raised his wand towards Adrian, he had pointed his against him
and had pushed all his will to one single incantation, the only large scale spell he knew;
"Saevit Infernalis!" And though not a sound left his lips, a large, deep red wave of flames sprung
from his wand and hit Quirrell -who was leaning over Adrian, ready to deliver the final strikestraight into his chest, throwing him to the other side of the room. The Defense Against the Dark
Arts teacher screamed with all he had as the fire, instead of going out, grew and grew, spinning
around him like an infernal tornado, engulfing him and spreading upwards, the flame tongues
licking the ceiling.
Dark smoke, faintly reminiscent of a human form, flew from the raging flames to the room and out
the door with a terrible scream; the Dark Lord had abandoned Quirrell and was fleeing the battle.
He passed over Adrian as he flew, cursing him again for whatever magic it was that was stored in
him that had almost caused his demise for a second time.
All Harry could do was look at the Dark Lord as he escaped. He wanted to run at his brother, he
wanted to make sure he was safe, that he was alive but his body refused to cooperate as his brain

finally caught up to what he had done; the flames still raged on, and Quirrell was inside them;
there was no way he could escape them. He had killed him. He had killed. Instead of going
towards his brother he took a step backwatds, his hand -still grasping his wand- falling limp on his
side and under the cloak. A few seconds ticked by as the flames began to disperse. Harry barely
registered footsteps echoing swiftly on the corridor behind him and only noticed Albus
Dumbledore when he passed him by.
The older man took a look at the flames frozen before leaning over Adrian. Harry couldn't take
this any longer. Barely controlling his own two feet, he walked like he was under the Imperius
curse until he reached the exit of the chamber. When the light from the fire he had ignited stopped
painting the walls orange, it was like a haze lifted from his head, and the full weight of what he'd
done hit him like a tone of bricks; he broke into a mad sprint and tried to outrun his memories and
guilt, heading towards the exit. He used a retraction spell to climb up the trapdoor, barely aware of
his own actions. Fluffy was still asleep from whatever spell Dumbledore had casted on him but
Harry didn't stop to watch. He just kept running, not even noticing the cloak sliding from his
shoulders and down to the floor, a few feet from the three headed dog.
He flew down the stairs, almost tripping and falling twice, but he didn't care; he kept running. His
breath was coming out in short puffs, but he didn't let that stop him; he kept running. His lungs
were burning from the overexertion but he ignored them; he had to keep running. There were no
torches lit at that hour in the dungeons so he kept going in the dark, not bothering to shed light on
his way; he would be alright as long as he kept running.
He reached a familiar door and started banging on it with all his might, not caring about who
would listen. Severus opened the door confused; he had just finished reading on something
relevant to his Wolfsbane research and was about to turn in for the night. He tried to ask Harry
what had happened but his pale face and tearstained cheeks silenced him; he simply opened the
door wider and let him walk inside his office, locking the door behind them.
"What happened, Harry?" He asked but the boy remained silent, his eyes unfocused, as if he had
fallen in some sort of trance.
"I met Voldemort." The boy stated softly after a few minutes of silence. Severus gasped as he felt
the world spinning around him. What?
"Harry"
"When I went back to the Common Room I realized Adrian, Ron and Hermione had gone after
the Stone." Harry explained, his eyes still locked somewhere on the wall across the room, near the
empty painting of Merlin's. "I followed them and found Quirrell threatening Adrian; somehow my
brother got the Stone -there was that mirror there, the one I told you about last Christmas and the
Stone was in it- and then I realized Voldemort was there too. He was possessing Quirrell or
something, sharing his body. Adrian tried to escape, Quirrell knocked him out and Voldemort
ordered him dead." The boy stopped, tears flowing down his face again, falling from unblinking
eyes.
"Harry, is Adrian alright?" Severus said fearing for the worst. Harry shrugged.
"He was still unconscious when I left him, but Dumbledore had just arrived. I guess he'll be fine."
If Adrian wasn't the issue here, what was?
"What happened, Harry?" Severus asked for the second time that day.
"Quirrell was going to kill Adrian, Dad." The green eyed boy stated, his voice thick, looking
straight at the potions master's eyes for the first time since he had walked into his office.

"But he didn't." Severus stated, not liking where this was heading; had Dumbledore stopped
Voldemort in time?
"No he didn't." Harry agreed, his voice breaking, his body trembling. "Because I killed him first."
And the boy fell to his knees and wept.

Of Guilt And Grief


Severus couldn't believe his ears. Harry had had to Merlin no! He was just a child. Not even
twelve yet and he had had to Voldemort woulddie, Severus decided there and then; maybe it
wouldn't be by his own hand, but he was going to help and, if he got his way, that bastard would
die slowly and painfully. The potions master kneeled down and held Harry close; it took some
effort as the boy didn't seem to want to be touched. Severus knew the feeling all too well.
"Harry, look at me." He ordered, his voice clearly indicating he would not be ignored. Harry did
look up, his green eyes looking lost. "I know it feels like hell right now but this wasn't your fault,
Harry."
"But I killed him! I stood there, raised my wand and killed him! I burned him, Sev!" Harry said,
his voice almost unrecognizable from the pain. He sounded older, as if he had aged a decade in
the last hour. Severus closed his eyes and sighed.
"When I was nineteen, Harry, just about a year and a half before you were born, I was under
Dumbledore's orders, spying for the Order amongst the Death Eater lines." The potions master
said and Harry looked at him confused. At least I have his attention, Severus thought. "I was
sixteen when I joined the Dark Lord, not even out of school yet; I wasn't the only one from my
House who joined him that year. There was this boy, Benjamin Alexander; he was a fifth year,
but Voldemort never cared much about how old his recruits were. He was a shy kid, from a poor
family, and only joined so that he wouldn't be shunned for his humble origins. When I turned
eighteen and left school, I offered myself to the Order's beck and call, trying to make something
good out of the worst mistake of my life. Benjamin he took a different path."
"But what does that have to do with" Harry began and Severus stopped him before he could
continue with his question.
"You'll see." The potions master assured him with a sad smile. "As I was saying, Benjamin
followed a different road; he had always had a malleable character and his involvement with the
Dark Arts in the end corrupted him"
"There's no good and evil There's only power and those too weak to seek it." Something
Quirrell had said to his brother rang into Harry's mind. Had Quirrell always been like this?
"By the time I turned nineteen, I was a full-time spy for the Order and he was one of Voldemort's
best; he tortured indiscriminately, he killed who he was told to kill and then some, he never
showed mercy." Severus seemed lost in his thoughts of a time much darker than the present. "One
night, Voldemort had sent a group of Death Eaters to search for some of the Order's members in
hiding; I was paired with Benjamin. Despite my efforts for the opposite, we located a wizard and a
member of the Order that had been married with a Muggle; he had three kids, all under five years
of age. Benjamin crushed into their house before I managed to get there; he didn't feel like
waiting. By the time I reached the house he had already tortured the mother with the Cruciatus for
half an hour and had made the kids watch. Once he saw me he laughed." Severus clenched his
eyes shut. "He laughed, Harry, and told me to pick which one of the kids I would like to kill first.
And to prove his point, he cast the Killing Curse on the mother, right in front of my eyes. The
children were crying, the father looked lost and I could do nothing to help. Benjamin said that,
since I couldn't make up my mind, he would pick first; he pointed his wand at the youngest child,
a girl of two, just a baby."
"And what happened?" Harry asked, his voice sounding less haunted now, the tears had stopped
falling from his eyes.

"I did choose; I chose Benjamin." Severus stated. "I had known him since he was eleven, but the
boy I knew and the man he had become were two different people altogether. I cast an Avada
Kedavra on him and altered the memories of the family so that they wouldn't remember my face
and left. I had never felt emptier in my life." Severus admitted closing his eyes again; he had never
shared that story with anybody before; he had never thought he would, but this seemed to be the
right time. He felt a soft touch on his hand, and opened his eyes to see Harry had placed his palm
over his clenched fist.
"It's wasn't your fault, Dad." The boy said. "He would have killed that girl if you hadn't stopped
him; he was too far gone."
"Yes, he would have killed that girl." Severus agreed. "And what would Quirrell have done had
you not stopped him?" The boy remained silent. "Harry?"
"He would have killed Adrian." Harry mumbled.
"Yes he would have. How could you not protect your brother, Harry?" Severus asked.
"I could have disarmed him I could have"
"You couldn't have." Severus stated. "Quirrell was possessed by Voldemort; disarming him
wouldn't have done you any good at all." Severus stated.
"But"
"Besides, Harry," Severus continued "Quirrell died the moment he relinquished his body to the
Dark Lord. Voldemort used him merely as a vessel; he would have never allowed him to live. It
would be like having a living, breathing testimony of his weakest hour and he would never allow
that." Severus stated. "I also doubt that Quirrell would have survived Voldemort leaving his body
after being fused with him for so long. No, he has been dead since he agreed to this."
"And you you don't hate me?" Harry asked. "Don't you think I'm just like him?"
"No! Of course I don't hate you!" Severus protested loudly, grasping the boy's shoulders and
giving him a good shake. "And you're nothing like him; even if it wasn't for the fact that you were
saving your brother's life, you stand here now, crying over the death of a man that would have
killed you in a heartbeat." A new hope sparkled in the boy's eyes as he took the potions master's
words in. Maybe he wasn't on his way on being the next dark lord as he feared.
"But why does it hurt?" He asked earnestly, his eyes wide. Severus felt the moisture gather in his
own eyes but tried to keep himself together for Harry's sake.
"Because you care, Harry. And because you care, you could never take a life lightly." Severus
stated with a smile. "I just want you to understand something; if ever your life is in danger, or if
the life of someone you care about is threatened, you can't hesitate. Promise me you will always
look after yourself in such a case, Harry." The boy was still pale, but the first shock was slowly
leaving his system, the pure relief of both him and his brother being alive and Voldemort averted
piercing the armor of terror his recent experiences had created around his heart.
"I promise." He said in a small voice; at least it was steadier than before.
"Now, I want you to do me a favor." Severus said. "I'm going to make you a mild dreamless
potion and I want you to take it and try to sleep for a while." Noticing his panicking expression he
elaborated. "You can sleep here, on the couch, but you have to; you're running on adrenaline right
now and it won't last long." Harry wanted to complain, but his eyelids suddenly felt heavy. Maybe

he was tired. Just a little bit. He moved towards the couch and Severus quickly mixed a few
ingredients in a glass vial. Once the process was done, he gave the potion to Harry.
"What about Adrian?" The boy asked looking at the potion.
"I'll go check on him for you; besides, I doubt he will awaken before morning." The potions
master assured him. "And I'll cover for you being out of your Dormitory too; you just rest." Harry
nodded once, placing his wand -he was still clutching it in one hand- in his holster and sculling the
potion down in one gulp, making himself comfortable amongst the soft pillows Severus had on his
couch.
"And, Dad?" Harry asked, slightly yawning.
"Yes, Harry?"
"I love you." The boy stated and closed his eyes.
"I love you too, son." The potions master stated and kissed the top of his head affectionately.
"And I'm proud of you." The boy's breath evened out and Severus closed his eyes and let out a
long breath of relief. A part of him wanted to cry; deep down he knew that Harry would
eventually have to fight and, being the one meant to stop Voldemort, even be involved in a fight in
which he would have to end somebody's life. But for it to happen so soon
Oh yes, there was a part of him that wanted to cry till morning. But there was another part of him,
the part that won out, that just wanted to break something. He pulled out his wand and left the
room, going down the hallway and entering one of the large storage rooms that could be found in
the dungeons; this one was filled with old desks and other piece of furniture no longer used in the
school; the ceiling was tall and arched, piles of wooden furnishing reaching high. Perfect.
Severus closed the door behind him, locked it, placed a silencing charm on it and turned his wand
towards the piles of furniture. His thoughts were a jumbled mess and his eyesight was bleary as he
started casting spells to all directions. And though no noise could be heard outside, Severus
howled spells right and left, reducing bookcases and school desks to splinters. How had he
allowed this to happen?
Another pile of desks exploded under a rapid succession of bludgeoning spells. The potions
master looked around, a feral glint in his eyes. He spotted yet another pile and some little part of
his brain rejoiced that Hogwarts seemed to have so many spare furnishings. Why could he not
protect harry when he needed him the most?
He cast every single exploding spell he could think of, breaking and crashing whatever he could
find around him, the minutes flying by as he vented his frustration. He looked around the room
frantically, trying to locate something else to destroy; there was nothing left. He paused looking at
the charred pieces of wood that used to be furniture. Had he really done all this? He sighed. But of
course he had.
His brain somehow more collected now, he started repairing what he had broken; not everything
was salvageable -there was a pool of molten metal on the floor that Severus simply cleaned up not
remembering anything metallic ever being in the room, let alone melting it- but the room didn't
look much different after he was done. He returned to his office to check on Harry, who was still
asleep.
It was pure luck that he returned when he did, because a couple of minutes later, a startled
Minerva McGonagall knocked on his door. Her face was pale, her lips forming a thin line. Some
of the anxiousness in her look turned into relief and then confusion as her eyes fell on the sleeping

Potter twin on Severus's couch.


"So, Harry is here?" She asked shocked. "We've been searching everywhere I had begun to
fear he was"
"Harry came running in my office about half an hour ago; he woke up to get some water and
found his brother gone." He explained. "I never got the details as he was quite startled himself; he
told me that his brother knew about the three headed dog and that he feared he might have gone to
the forbidden corridor. Harry himself doesn't seem to know more than what he heard from his
brother on the subject, but I fear Adrian might know more about what lies beneath that trapdoor
than would be prudent." Severus tried to keep his expression as neutral as he spoke, a task
extremely difficult as his heart was hammering in his chest, every heartbeat bringing yet another
sting of pain as he thought how many things could have gone tragically wrong that night. "I just
persuaded Harry to drink a dreamless potion and I was on my way to inform you. But why were
you looking for him?"
"Harry was right and so were you." Minerva explained, taking of her glasses to rub her eyes.
"Adrian found out about the Stone and went down the trapdoor himself with Ronald Weasley and
Hermione Granger tonight. Both he and Weasley are unconscious right now. I didn't manage to
get much, but He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was involved and Albus said that so was Quirrell.
Adrian stopped them from getting the Stone, Severus!" Minerva exclaimed. "Merlin knows how,
but he did it!" Severus closed his eyes and sighed gently. Yes, Minerva; Adrian. One day you will
know
"Have the Potters' been alerted of tonight's events?" He asked, trying to change the subject
slightly.
"Yes, but when we tried to get Harry" She paused and glanced at the sleeping boy. "But why
didn't he come to me when he couldn't find his brother? I'm the Head of his House after all!" And
her eyes turned disbelieving on Severus.
"And -as you know but seem to forget- I'm the one that helped raise him." Severus stated in what
he hoped to be a calm voice, even if he couldn't prevent the icy undertone that laced his words.
Minerva's eyes widened before turning to the ground.
"Of course, Severus." She simply stated recomposing herself. "We should go to Albus; he has
requested your presence too, along with the rest of the staff." Severus nodded.
"Just let me write a quick note for Harry; the potion wasn't very strong and he might wake up
before I return. He will want to know his brother is safe." Minerva nodded and left the office, after
informing him that the meeting was to be held in Dumbledore's office. Severus pulled out a
parchment and wrote down what Minerva had told him and what he had told her in turn to cover
for him. He explained that Adrian was alright and placed a spell that would make the parchment
appear blank until Harry cast the correct spell. He folded the note and wrote Harry's name on the
back before going to attend the meeting.
The Potters had arrived about an hour after Harry had burst into his office, close to three thirty in
the morning. They had been extremely worried, as was natural, and were soon joined by Sirius
Black and Remus Lupin. Severus just observed them from a distance, having half a mind to
comfort a tear-stained Lily. She was still his friend, no matter what. But he couldn't go near as
both her husband and his mutt of a friend would skin him alive. All four of them, Lupin included,
were hovering around Adrian's bed, Lily sitting on a chair holding her son's hand.
"What happened to him, Albus?" James asked the headmaster the moment he stepped into the
infirmary.

"It's a long story I fear" He started only to be stopped by a growl, coming, apparently, from
Sirius.
"We have time; start talking. Now." Sirius's tone was icy and completely the opposite from what
Severus had expected of him. Maybe the mutt wasn't all that bad after all, the potions master
thought, fighting the urge to smirk.
"As you wish." And he began to explain about the Philosopher's Stone and how it was kept in the
school. Once that part was finished he explained how Adrian had somehow found out about the
Stone and how he had stopped Voldemort from getting it.
"Voldemort was here?" Lupin asked, his gold-flecked eyes zeroing on the headmaster.
"Yes, he was."
"And how did my son stop him?" Lily asked, speaking for the first time since she saw her son.
Because he's amazing, Severus thought, his mind straying to the boy sleeping in his office. That
would be an interesting question to hear answered anyways.
"When I reached him, Adrian was unconscious and Quirrell -who had served as Lord Voldemort's
vessel- was being consumed by flames. There was barely anything left of him by the time the
flames died down." Albus stated seriously.
"Flames?" James asked. "Albus, are you trying to say that What are you trying to say?" James
asked staring at the headmaster, not really wanting to believe what he was hearing.
"It appears that Adrian, once again, managed to reach the same magic that helped him stop
Voldemort the first time. His magic reacted to threat once again and saved him." Albus explained.
Severus knew he should be relieved they didn't suspect Harry for anything but a part of him
wanted the boy to be credited for his accomplishments for once. This wasn't the right time
"How could you not know, Albus?" Lily asked, never taking her eyes from her son. "How could
Adrian enter that room with you not knowing?"
"I never expected anyone to get past the Cerberus, Lily." He admitted gravely. "I thought the
Stone protected; how could I expect three children, barely twelve years old would try to reach it?"
Well, one would suffice, Severus thought. The Weasleys arrived at that moment, running towards
Ron who lay in the bed next to Adrian. It was only when the twins and Percy arrived, still
wearing their pajamas, that anyone asked about Harry.
"He's sleeping in my office." Severus stated as James's eyes looked at him accusingly.
"And why is that exactly?" He asked, his eyes narrowing. Severus, glad he had taken the time to
take that room to pieces so he could suppress the urge to hex James into oblivion, proceeded to tell
him what he had told Minerva.
"I believe he feels guilty for knowing Adrian had gone near that dog and not telling anyone; he
seemed convinced that his brother was somehow harmed and that he could have prevented it."
Severus offered. Not that far off the truth and would explain some of Harry's guilt. James seemed
to step back after that. Severus left the infirmary and accompanied Albus back to the chambers
under the trapdoor. The Headmaster gathered the invisibility cloak from the floor where it lay and
looked at it with a sigh.
"Tricky cloak that one; meant to protect but helped his current owner to get in danger splendidly,
wouldn't you say, Severus?" The potions master couldn't care less about the cloak but nodded

nonetheless; the Headmaster had always been interested in it. Severus braced himself as he was
about to see just what Harry had been through. Minerva, Fillius and Pomona Sprout joined them
so that a better estimation of what had happened could be made.
The Devil's Snare was self-explanatory, even if most of the evidence of what had happened there
was covered up by the burn marks Dumbledore himself caused in the room while trying to reach
Adrian. That was lucky, Severus pondered. They had used the broomsticks and the correct key to
get through, even if Flitwick did say that somebody tried an Alohamora spell on the lock. Minerva
was still in denial that twelve year olds could win against her enchanted chessboard but Severus
reminded her that they had gone through his trial just as easily. His greatest shock came when he
entered the chamber where the Stone had been hidden. There was that mirror Harry had told him
about and Severus made a point of not looking into it; he already knew what he wanted the most;
seeing it might have been too much. But it wasn't the mirror that caught his attention.
The far wall of the chamber was scorched, the golden-beige coloured stones that composed the
rest of the room turned black. Another blackened circular mark was on the floor, its diameter close
to ten, maybe eleven feet. And in the middle of the circle lay something that looked like it had
once been the owner of the purple cloth -that had once been a turban- lying in front of the mirror.
Severus could see why Harry was so scared when he walked into his office. Whatever spell he
had used, it had been powerful; it was a wonder how he had managed to cast it, control it and then
walk -let alone run as he suspected the boy had done- all these floors down to his office. It was
serious spellwork and it normally should have taken a great toll on his strength at his age. Then
again, Harry had never done things normally.
"Did Adrian do that?" Pomona gasped. No, as a matter of fact he didn't, Severus thought behind
his Occlumency walls; not that he believed Dumbledore would try something in his state of shock,
but it never hurt to be cautious.
"Yes, he did." Dumbledore affirmed. Severus glanced at the burned stones and the remains of the
man that had tried to kill Adrian Potter and wished -for the hundredth time that night- that he had
been able to deal with him instead of Harry.
He was deep in thought when he returned to his office at the break of dawn and almost collided
with Harry as the boy exited his office, the note he had written him in hand. The boy looked at
him expectantly.
"How's Adrian?" He asked his eyes wide with worry. "Has he come around yet?"
"He was still out when I left the infirmary; he got himself a rather nasty bump on the head but
Madam Pomfrey is certain he will be fine in the morning. He should be up any time now." Harry
sighed in relief and Severus opened the door to his office so they could talk uninterrupted for a
while.
"I had figured he would have hit his head; he fell on the floor rather hard after Quirrell cast a
stunner on him" The boy's green eyes turned to the floor as he mentioned Quirrell's name.
"If you hadn't done what you did Harry, your brother wouldn't be waking up." The potions master
reminded him. He quickly explained what he had told his parents had happened and they worked
on Harry's story for a while. Half an hour later, the boy got ready to visit his brother.
"And, Sev?" He asked turning back from the door.
"Yes, Harry?"
"Thanks; I kind of lost it back there." Harry admitted.

"Considering everything Harry, you handled it great." Harry nodded. "Just enjoy being alive,
Harry, and having your brother alive too. Go see him; I have a letter to write for both of us; we
have to inform Nicholas."
"I will try to enjoy myself; say 'hi' to Nicholas from me." Harry entered the infirmary only to be
enveloped in his mother arms; he listened to the formal version of what had happened last night
and he offered the story they had come up with Severus. He had woken up for some water and
didn't find Adrian and Ron in their beds; he found Neville paralyzed on the floor and he ran to
inform Severus afraid of the worst as he had heard his brother talk about what exactly lay behind
the locked door in the forbidden corridor. His story was easily accepted.
Adrian woke up sometime after eleven, Ron having woken up two hours prior. He explained
what had happened from his side, how he found out about the Stone -Harry pretended to be
surprised, not quite successfully as he was still quite shocked himself. Thankfully, nobody paid
him any attention at the moment- and why he had gone after it.
"And when we heard professor Dumbledore was out of the school we knew that" Professor
McGonagall was the one that cut Adrian's narration short, blowing her nose loudly in her -very
much plaid- handkerchief.
"They came to me and I told them that the Stone was safe!" Everybody looked at her in shock, not
being used into such outbursts from the strict professor. Harry, who had come to understand how
much guilt can weigh on you, decided to speak.
"You couldn't have known, professor." Everybody turned to look at him, the shock transferring
from the crying Transfiguration teacher to her green-eyed student. "The headmaster himself didn't
suspect anything and left the school; how could you know?"
"He's right, Minnie." Sirius seconded. "You had no way of knowing." It was a mark of how
disturbed Minerva was as she didn't tell him off for the nickname. They talked a bit more, along
with the Weasleys and Hermione when the matter turned to more school orientated matters. The
Headmaster informed them that rumors had started flying across the school already and how a few
members of the Slytherin House -Malfoy, Ron muttered under his breath- had tried wrecking
havoc claiming Adrian was so severely injured, he had to be transferred to St. Mango's.
"Do me a favor, Harry." The hazel eyed twin spoke darkly.
"Sure, anything."
"Kick their butts in the match tomorrow!" The match? Harry thought; oh right, Quidditch. He had
completely forgotten about it, but somehow the promise of something normal calmed him down a
little. Life goes on I guess, he thought and nodded.
"You got it bro!" And he did just that, helping Gryffindor win their first Quidditch Cup in years.
Wood was in tears for a whole hour, and the party in the Common Room went on long past
midnight. The whole week after that went on smoothly with the exception of Harry's nightmares;
various scenes where he reached his brother just seconds too late or simply watching himself
casting that spell over and over again. Severus told him it would pass; he just had to remember he
had acted to protect, he had done what was needed.
The results of the exams weren't much unexpected; Harry was at the top of his class, followed by
Hermione and his brother whose training had already put him ahead of the curve. What was
surprising was Gryffindor winning the House Cup, after some last minute awarded points from the
Headmaster. Harry found himself at Severus's office that night, laughing merrily for a change at
the potions master's disgruntled expression.

"As if losing the Quidditch Cup wasn't enough!" He exclaimed pacing up and down his office.
"Were did these points come from?"
"I guess stopping Voldemort counts as an extracurricular activity?" Harry asked lightly, openly
smiling for the first time since the Stone incident. They were leaving Hogwarts the next morning
and Harry rejoiced knowing that in a short week he would be back home; he had missed the castle
he had grown up more than he had thought he would.
"Interesting point of view." Severus stated dryly as Harry broke into laughter once again. "I will
have you know" The hooting of an owl stopped him. Finally, after a week of waiting, Nicholas
had written back. Severus unfolded the letter and started reading.
"What does Nicholas say?" Harry asked.
"Hang on! I haven't made it past 'Dear Harry and Severus' yet!" The potions master stated,
peering over the letter. He kept on reading. He wished he hadn't.

Loss
Harry had often visualized how he would spend the first day back in Severus's castle. He figured
he would be ecstatic to return home; he would do a bit of horse riding, having missed it while he
was at Hogwarts. He would start working on his broomsticks project, utilizing the books Severus
had bought him. He would do some more research on Animagi. He would practice alchemy,
trying to grasp the concept of the last step to creating the Philosopher's Stone. He had never
imagined this.
His life had changed since he read that letter in Severus's office; the potions master had read it first
of course. He had turned ash pale and dropped down on his chair, the letter hanging loosely from
his fingers. After getting incredibly worried and receiving no response from Severus, Harry had
snatched the letter and read it for himself. And it had changed his life more than the encounter
with Voldemort had managed to. He could still recall the letter by heart, the words etched in his
mind, leaving painful marks upon his soul.
Dear Harry and Severus,
I know this letter will not be what you expected. I know you have thought you could leave all your
worries of the Stone and nothing pains me more than knowing I will add to your troubles.
Albus approached me a few days ago, the next morning after I received your letter, and told me
the official version of what happened in Hogwarts regarding the Stone. It is interesting sometimes
how he ignores the truth even if it's right there, under his nose. But I digress, that is not the reason
why I'm writing this letter.
The Stone has been returned to me the same day Albus came to visit. He asked me what I was
planning to do with it; I haven't told him yet. I believed I had to tell you first. I've destroyed it. Yes,
I have. You are smart you two. You must already understand what that means. Perenelle and I
have enough elixir still to tidy up a few affairs left and then, we will die. When you'll be reading
this letter, it will be already over.
I know you will think me cruel, saying goodbye through a letter. Had I thought a last goodbye
would make our parting easier, for any of the parties concerned, I would have flooed over the
moment we decided the Stone had to be destroyed. But it had to be done this way; else it would
have been too much for this old heart to take.
I would tell you to not feel sorry for us; we've lived a full life. It was longer than most, but you
were the ones that filled it. Over the years it had only been Perenelle and I for far too long. And
then there were you; we have always thought you the children we never had. You've brought light
in the lives of two very old people and for that we are forever in your debt.
Severus, I want you to know that I have absolute faith in you; you will succeed with your
research. You will raise Harry right, as you already have and when the time is nigh, you will live
your life to the fullest. I know you have to keep your secrets for now but it won't be forever.
Harry, you have more talent in alchemy than I have ever witnessed. You remind me of myself in
your age, always looking for the next discovery, never stopping, never tiring. And that curiosity! It
has always been what led me too you know! You're closer than you think to unlocking the deeper
mysteries of my art, but we both now that's not the end of your studies. Remember what I've told
you about the Stone, Harry. I'm not the only one who's ever created it; I'm the only one who
managed to use it prudently enough to not meet an untimely end because of it. You have a
creative mind Harry; use it, hone it and never stop believing in yourself. You will survive this, I

know.
For the life of me, I don't know what else to say! All these thoughts in my mind and nothing
relevant! I would just like you to know that Perenelle and I went on living for so long because we
always hoped that we would find what truly made our lives worth it around the next corner. And
we found two stubborn wizards that did just that.
We go now, knowing that, with the Stone destroyed, there is one less danger, one way less for
Voldemort to return. We have watched the first war unfold and if we can stop a second from
happening, we will do it. After all, for someone who has lived as long as we have, death is
nothing but the next great adventure.
Keep living your lives, stay happy and remember my sons; your life is only beginning. Don't let
anyone get in the way of your happiness. I will do my best to watch over you from wherever I am
and I knew Perenelle will do the same. Forgive us for the pain we might cause you and know we
have loved you like our family, our own children. Until we meet again -hopefully after a long,
long time,
Nicholas & Perenelle Flamel
P.S.: You'll receive a letter from our lawyer for a private reading of our will. I hope some of the
things included will help you when we won't be able to.
It had hurt. It still did as they left the Flamels' lawyer's office after the reading of the will. They
hadn't even managed to be in the funeral; how would they ever explain their presence? Harry's
family had been overjoyed for Adrian's recovery and had departed, in general atmosphere of
happiness, for wherever they went to train Adrian. Harry had managed to cover his grief in their
presence. It hadn't been really difficult if one considered the overall numbness Harry felt. With the
occasional fits of anguish, emotion eluded the boy.
Nicholas had left him his private book collection that now lay in his -newly fortified with all spells
known to wizards and goblins and transferred to the depths of Gringotts- vault. He had asked
Severus to stop by so he could pick up some of Nicholas's notes; he needed to do something. He
couldn't just stand and let time pass him by; he just didn't know what yet. Severus had gotten all of
Perenelle's magical plants that were now being transferred to the castle's greenhouses, under the
watchful eyes of Minnie.
The night passed awfully slowly, for both inhabitants of the castle. Severus gave up trying to sleep
sometime after three in the morning, and headed to his lab. Harry hadn't even pretended to try and
sleep; he was seated on his bed -not even having removed the covers; Minnie would have his head
for not even trying to sleep- with the book Nicholas had given him last Christmas, the scrolls he
had taken from his vault and his own notebook open around him. At morning break he moved all
of the assorted items to his lab. He only kept one scroll with him, taking it to breakfast; it was old,
the paper delicate.
And there was something between the many symbols written on it That sigil which had been
designed in the middle of the page The quickly scribbled a note at the bottom of the page He
had suspected that scroll existed and Nicholas seemed to have made it easy to find, placing it
inside one of the books he knew Harry would need immediately. It couldn't be by accident.
The green eyed boy sat across the kitchen table from a very concerned -and tired- potions master.
It wasn't that Severus himself wasn't grieved; he was just as much in pain as he had been when his
own mother had passed away and Nicholas had been the only decent father figure he had had in
his whole life. But he understood. In a way at least. The Flamels had made a choice; given, it was
not a choice he agreed with, but it was still their choice.

They had realized that, with keeping the Philosopher's Stone, they would endanger those they
cared about the most and the whole magical community with them. So Nicholas had simply
chosen not to and Perenelle had followed. Although he knew it was the responsible thing to do,
that their sacrifice might have saved the lives of many, Severus couldn't help but wish they had
been just a little selfish. Still, he told himself he understood.
Harry was a different cause altogether, the potions master thought. He had been almost completely
silent since the moment they left the lawyer's office last afternoon. He had just grabbed a few
books and some of the alchemist's notes and had withdrawn into his room, not to emerge until this
morning. He didn't seem to want to speak and Severus had no intention to pressure him. Harry
had to deal with this in his own way and Severus understood that too. Still he hoped the boy
would come out and express the grief he had been keeping inside. He had been forced to hide it
for a week and now he didn't allow it to surface.
Harry's grief, combined with his fear over losing his brother and his -completely misplaced if
anyone asked the potions master- guilt over Quirrell's death, had driven the boy into a state of
deep contemplation that no child his age -no matter how charismatic they may be- should be
allowed to enter.
Severus watched as Harry ate with no true appetite, his green gaze fleeting towards an old scroll
he had brought with him presently lying next to his plate on the table. It was filled with the
obscure and secret alchemic symbols that made no sense whatsoever to him but which the boy
seemed to understand perfectly. Suddenly, Harry dropped his fork and hut his eyes, the hand that
was touching -almost caressing- the scroll trembling.
"Harry?" Severus asked, trying to sound more composed than his rabid heartbeat dictated. The
boy opened his eyes as a response, making Severus almost regret he had ever interrupted whatever
he was thinking. For a moment there Severus had thought that Harry was finally ready to shed the
tears he had been holding all this time. Then he realized it was neither pain nor anguish -although,
Merlin, both feelings were there- that made his eyes burn like a blazing emerald fire. It was
determination.
"I'm going to my lab." The boy declared a -now steady- hand clasping the scroll from the table.
He took a few steps and stopped, turning to look at Severus over his shoulder. "This might take
some time." The potions master nodded once; at least now he was doing something, he thought.
"Take all the time you need." Harry returned the gesture and swiftly exited the room. He knew he
should feel gratitude for Severus's understanding -his Dad was amazing that way too, hi thoughtbut that knowledge was prevented from becoming an actual feeling by a dam placed around his
heart. Maybe not a dam, Harry pondered; it felt more like a gaping hole, a bottomless abyss that
surrounded his heart. Any new feeling that tried to enter was lost in its depths that, at the same
time, kept all the feelings that hurt trapped inside.
He entered his lab and stood frozen, his decisiveness faltering for a second. Last time he had been
there it was for his last alchemy lesson before school started -he winced at the word 'last'; if only
he had known back then just how final that would be- and Nicholas had been with him. He had
promised that, come this summer he would have gotten the main idea of the stages required for the
construction of the Stone and the alchemist had chuckled, stating that he expected nothing less.
Well, Harry had also expected him to be there but he wasn't. He clenched his eyes shut and
breather in deeply once, before bursting into a flurry of activity.
Books were opened and notes were consulted as the apprenticing alchemist became lost in his
work. He had a purpose now; he wasn't going to stop before he completed what he was after. He
had to do it. He just had to. The day passed and so did the night. Severus didn't ask him to stop,

didn't ask him to leave the lab. Instead he brought him his meals there and even asked for a
comfortable couch to be placed inside the room where Harry now spent most of his time for the
nights he would have to sleep there. The potions master himself was occupying the lab next to
Harry's also engulfed in his research. Overworking yourself wasn't the best way of coping with a
situation like this but it seemed to be both his and Harry's poison of choice.
The days passed, the nights flew by and in a course of just over a month, Harry rarely left the lab
for more than visiting the western tower, looking through his telescope and keeping some swift
notes of whatever he was observing. And one Wednesday morning in the middle of July, at the
crack of dawn, Harry was ready.
He walked into the middle of his room, were a shallow, well-like construction made of dark stone
lay, filled up to one third with fourteen inches of water. Harry looked at the cold water for a
moment pensively; this was it. He didn't dare hope for it might yet fail. Besides, his feelings hadn't
quite returned to their normal state. He made sure one more time that all the ingredients he would
need were at arms length. Assured that they were, Harry pointed his wand towards the ceiling;
"Adventum!" As a response to his spell, a sigil painted there glowed gold as his magic was
activated. The circle covered most of the ceiling, its centre right above the well. It was intricately
designed, alchemic symbols intertwined with runes. Its central feature was an eight point star
larger than the rest, although in the complex symmetry of the sigils heptagrams, hexagrams and
pentagrams were combined with the rest of the symbols. Harry observed his work for a moment; it
had taken him the better part of two weeks to design; two weeks when he had practically foregone
sleep and rest but the end result was worth it he thought.
He turned his attention back to the water and smiled; he started adding the ingredients with what
he hoped was the correct order, stirring with a quick spell when he saw it was needed; nothing but
the ingredients and magic could touch the surface of the liquid until the process was completed.
The concoction changed many colours before, finally, after two hours, a white mist rose from the
well and started spreading across the room. Harry pocketed his wand and pointed his hands, palms
open towards the water, ready to execute his first ritual ever.
"Concitasti et resurge
Mutabis, solidatae
Tu reges metalla iam
Tu vitam aridiate produces"
His palms shone with the same light as the sigil on the sealing, two gold-coloured sigils appearing
there. The water started boiling and twirling, creating a maelstrom inside the well as a golden light
appeared in the middle of it all. The liquid changed and became the mist that surrounded it but
didn't evaporate; if anything, it seemed to be drawn to the bright light in the centre. The more the
mist concentrated there, the more the light changed from gold to red, until it became a dark
crimson. Harry's hands burned but he didn't even dare to blink lest he missed it.
And suddenly the spinning stopped and the light from his palms faded into nothing, the only light
coming from the sigil in the ceiling as the torches on the walls had been extinguished sometime
along the spell. He looked at his palms and was half-surprised to find them unmarred though he
knew no scarring would occur; he had succeeded, he could feel it. He waved his hand once over
the last traces of mist in the well and looked inside.
While Harry was occupied in his lab, Severus had woken up early and, as he was used to doing
the last month, decided to walk to the greenhouses. He had been forced to expand on the pre-

existing ones as the plants Perenelle had left him proved to be too much for his greenhouses. He
walked silently amongst the rare specimens of flora touching a leaf here and then; the plants, as if
they understood their mistress was gone, had withered and were kept to life only through magic
spells Severus cast every day. He knew not what to do with them, as he knew not what to do with
Harry.
The green eyed boy hadn't emerged from his lab save from visiting the west tower and the potions
master was worried. If this went on for any longer he would have to take the situation into his own
hands. Harry had to stop obsessing over whatever it was he was doing; maybe this had gone on
for far too long already Yes, Severus thought; he would have to tell Harry to leave his lab, even
for a little while, this afternoon. Maybe a nice horse riding expedition to the lake would
"Dad?" Harry's voice sounded from behind him, making him jump. The voice was somewhat
hoarse from being practically unused for so long but it was unmistakably Harry's. Severus turned
around and, yes, it was truly Harry, holding a folded, dark blue cloth in his hands.
"Harry?" Severus looked at the boy; he appeared pale tired, dark circles under his eyes. But the
eyes themselves sparkled with more life than they had since the Quirrell incident. "Have you
finished your project?" He asked calmly. Harry nodded.
"Yes." The boy stated simply and moved towards a table where a few empty pots lay. He placed
the cloth down and Severus noticed for the first time that there was something wrapped inside it.
"I rather took my sweet time, didn't I?"
"It's okay Harry." Severus reassured him, more than happy now that he was outside that dungeon.
"And what was your project?" Harry smiled slightly.
"It's right here." He said and pointed at the cloth. "Why don't you unfold it?"
"Okay." The potions master stated curious and placed his hands on the cloth. He gasped;
whatever it was, it was very powerful magically. He could feel the magic oozing through the
fabric, prickling his palms. Carefully, he touched the cloth unveiling the object hidden within;
whatever it was, it was quite small and "What is Harry!" Severus looked at the object in
question in complete shock. This couldn't be. It couldn't! His eyes turned to Harry who was
smiling softly, the smile never reaching his eyes.
"It's weird how much havoc this thing can wreck." He stated softly looking at the now unfolded
cloth. There, in the middle of the blue velvet, not larger than a walnut, stood a dark crimson
crystal. It looked so innocent lying there but both wizards knew it was anything but. "You can
touch it Sev; it won't bite, I promise." Severus did just that, tentatively reaching with his hand and
lifting the crystal. It was cool to the touch, cooler than it would be were it a normal crystal. There
was no mistaking it.
"A Philosopher's Stone." The potions master said, his voice thick from disbelief. "Your project
was You made this?" He asked putting the Stone down, almost afraid to hold it for too long.
Instead of a response, Harry lifted his shirt; one of the symbols around his emblem, the one that
stood for alchemy, was now a dark red, the same colour as the Stone.
"Yes, I did." Harry stated looking at the Stone himself, letting his shirt fall back into place. "It's so
bloody small, isn't it?" Harry asked closing his eyes and sighing. Severus was at a loss of words.
This should be impossible. And still, there was the Stone and there was Harry, with a mark that
deemed him a master of alchemy and a sad smile that told of how little it mattered under the
circumstances.
"Harry this This is" He took in a calming breath. "Do you understand what you did?"

"Quite." Harry stated, his smile broadening a little. "After all, it did take me a full month."
"A full month? A month, Harry?" Severus asked incredulously, combing back his hair nervously,
his hands shaking. "It has taken others their whole lives and most never succeed. Only
Nicholas"
"Actually no; there were others before and after him." Harry interrupted. "They just misused the
Stone and it caused them to meet rather violent ends in the hands of those who craved it for
themselves. And Nicholas himself created his first Stone when he was fourteen." Severus was just
as awed as before.
"You're not even twelve yet, Harry." He reminded him -and himself- patiently.
"Well, I did study under Nicholas for years. And I really wanted to prove" He chuckled dryly.
"You know, I don't even remember what I wanted to prove!" He started chuckling and then burst
out laughing; it sounded a bit strange to his ears -strained too- but it truly wasn't forced. Severus
looked at him like he feared for his sanity.
"Harry?"
"Oh, I just realized I made a Philosopher's Stone for no apparent reason!" And at that explanation
he started laughing again, the sheer absurdity of the situation causing Severus to join him.
"You don't need me to tell you how amazing this is, Harry; amazing is an understatement in this
instance." Severus's eyes fell back on the Stone. "It is rather small." He admitted causing both of
them to chuckle again. "So, a master alchemist, right?"
"For whatever that's worth." Harry stated, looking at the Stone himself.
"And have you figured out what to do with the Stone yet?" Harry's brow furrowed in thought;
that he hadn't considered. He had just wanted something to keep him going, something to prove
that Nicholas was still with him in some way. He took his eyes from the red stone and looked
around him, for the first time observing the state of the plants. These were Perenelle's plants he
noticed with a start. They didn't seem to be faring that well. Suddenly everything was clear.
"Yes. Yes I have." Harry stated and pulled out his wand as Severus kept looking at the Stone.
"And what would that be?" He asked.
"Reducto!" Harry exclaimed, the bright white spell turning the Stone into fine dust. Severus just
looked between the dust-that-used-to-be-a-Philosopher's-Stone and Harry in rapid succession.
"What?" He asked, deep down knowing Harry had done the right thing. He wouldn't have said no
to some warning in advance though!
"I believe we have established that a Philosopher's Stone is more trouble than it's worth." Harry
said with as smile.
"Couldn't you have warned me first?" Severus asked cocking an eyebrow playfully. "I'm at an
advanced age you know; what if I get a heart-attack or something?" Harry burst out laughing,
marvelling at how lighter his heart felt. It seemed that watching the stone turn into dust had
brought him some sort of closure.
"Watch it!" He warned him between chuckles. "If it comes down to you dying of old age, I'll
make you another Stone. Deal?"

"Deal." Severus stated, laughing himself. "And I guess the Stone is useless in this form?"
"It can't be repaired magically and it has lost most of its abilities as it is; it could still be used for
creating a life drought though." Harry stated seriously.
"Then what are you going to do with the dust?" Severus asked concerned.
"Just watch." With a couple of quick spells and a few flicks of his wand, the red dust rose in the
air and small portions found their way inside the pots around the greenhouse. Disregarding the
confused potions master, Harry walked towards the water valve and turned it on, water spraying
over the plants. It only took a few moments for the plants to start absorbing what was left of the
Philosopher's Stone; the reaction was immediate.
Everything brown seemed to turn green or purple, even red, whatever their normal colour was
supposed to be; the plants around grew and blossomed, looking healthier than ever, the envy of
any herbologist in the wizarding world. Severus looked around him in wonder. Had Harry just?
"There." Harry stated with a smile. "I think Nicholas would approve, don't you think?"
"Ehm, Harry?"
"Yes, Sev?"
"Am I seeing things, or did you really just use a Philosopher's Stone as garden fertilizer?" Harry
just blinked blankly a couple of times after that declaration.
"Well it worked, didn't it?" They looked each other for a moment and burst out laughing again.
There was still pain and there would be for a very long time; but now they could truly start to
move on.

Of Faces New And Not-So-New


Three weeks had passed since the creation and subsequent destruction of the Philosopher's Stone
and things had started to slide back into a rhythm. Harry was resuming with his studies and
Severus went on with his research. It wasn't until the end of July when the two wizards had been
hit with the sudden realization that Harry's twelfth birthday marked a decade since they had first
met.
"Wow." Harry had eloquently stated as Severus filled their glasses with butterbeer. "A decade?"
"I know." Severus agreed with a smile. "Sometimes I can't believe that little baby I remember has
turned into you. You've grown, Harry." The potions master kept his sentences short on purpose,
not trusting his voice not to break.
"It was bound to happen, I guess." Harry shrugged it off. "But a decade?" For someone who is
twelve, Severus thought, a decade means so much more than someone as old as Nic than
someone older. Thinking of the alchemist still stung. Not that he had expected it wouldn't but still,
he was supposed to be able to rein his feelings; he prided himself in that. But the Flamels' loss was
still raw and hurt him just as much as when his parents had died. Maybe even a little more.
"You're still young; when you get older, a decade will have far less significance."
"Said the old guy." Harry stated rolling his eyes. "Because really, Thirty-two is such an old age!"
The sarcasm was clear in his voice and Severus chuckled at how much the boy sounded like him.
"Okay, you might be right." Severus admitted.
"You know I'm right." Harry deadpanned. "Hey, Sev?" The boy continued after a short pause.
"Where do you think we'll be after another decade?"
"Who knows?" Severus wondered. "Hopefully in this porch, drinking something stronger since
you'll be of age." He joked lightly.
"Maybe you'll be in a stable relationship by then!" Harry smirked while Severus huffed. "Married
even!"
"Are you trying to play matchmaker, Harry?"
"No. That would mean I have already found your match and I haven't. Yet."
"Why you" The potions master mock-chastised him and threw him a pillow.
"Violent much?" Harry asked playfully, causing a content smile to creep on Severus's face; the
Harry he knew was slowly making his reappearance.
"Anyway," Severus stated, lifting his glass "here's to the next ten years; may they be just as crazy
as the last ten. Or we would be bored."
"Let's cut down on near death experiences though." Harry offered before drinking.
"Let's." Severus agreed, joining in the wishful thinking before sipping on his drink. Speaking on
keeping things not boring and amidst it all, the green eyed wizard had also begun, as he had put it
himself, experimenting with the older broomsticks in his spare time; and by experimenting, he
meant taking them apart and placing them together again. A week ago he had also started trying to

create a broomstick of his own; nothing too complicated of course. He just wanted to see what it
took to make a broom fly.
Harry had decided to try his hand in broomstick making a couple of days after his twelfth birthday
to be exact, after his family had come and left again; Adrian had seemed rather annoyed with the
program that had been set for him. Apparently, the fact that Harry's spell had been attributed to
Adrian's hidden magic had prompted an extensive round of magical trials to see if his powers
extraordinaire would stir again when the older Potter twin was in need. Obviously, nothing had
happened up to that point but that didn't seem to make them stop.
The green eyed boy smirked remembering the expression on his brother's face the day he had to
take off again for training; it would do Adrian a world of good, he figured. And while his brother
was travelling to Merlin knew where, Harry was moving on with his private studies. While he still
had been unable to enter his alchemy lab -he had been carefully avoiding the room after
completing the ritual for the philosopher's stone- there were other subjects that could claim his
attention and take his mind off the more painful aspects of his life.
And as such, Harry, at that warm morning of the eighth of August, found himself seated on the
back porch of the castle reading the book Severus had given him last Christmas. He hadn't had
much time to translate it at Hogwarts, but now he found himself encompassed in the pages of the
book. There was a little, passing and vague piece of information there, maybe something he had
mistranslated. He would have to ask Severus. Speaking of Severus, Harry thought, looking over
his book towards the forest, were was he?
Harry had let it slip that any attempt he might make in creating a broomstick, after he did some
tests for a week on how to make pieces of wood levitate at will, would be much more productive
if it was tried on different types of wood. Severus, stating that he wanted to help, had gone off to
the forest a couple of hours ago. Wherever had he disappeared to? Harry returned to his book,
only half his mind still in it; he had had one bad experience too many recently to be at ease with
such a delay.
"There you go!" Severus exclaimed from somewhere behind Harry's back, startling him enough to
drop his book. The boy turned around rapidly; Severus had brought back the wood as promised it
seemed. Harry started laughing at the sight.
"Severus, you do remember you're a wizard, right?" He asked trying to breathe normally.
"Yes." Severus stated cocking one eyebrow in confusion.
"And that you could have used your wand to cut some wood?" He stated eyeing the axe on the
potions master's right hand. Severus smiled.
"I decided to go with the traditional approach." He offered chuckling. "Plus, I felt like breaking
some sweat."
"Yes, you look like it too." Harry agreed mock seriously.
"Fine, be like that; I can always take the wood I brought you and"
"Okay! I'll stop, promise!" Harry stated and pulled out his wand to levitate the pieces of wood
from the floor. He had been practicing silent spells lately and he had quite the success with the
simple ones; he had tried a Stupefy too but decided to read some more on the silent spells' theory
before recasting that; Severus swore the grand tapestry in the main hall would never look the
same. Harry, up to that moment, couldn't for the life of him understand how the tapestry had
frozen; he wasn't even aiming at it! Putting all thoughts of his spell casting aside, he looked at the

eight different branches floating in front of him, all in the perfect size and cleared from leaves or
smaller branches that had once been attached on them.
"The three thicker ones are oak, the three light ones are willow and the other two are ash."
Severus stated.
"They're perfect, Sev. Thank you."
"You don't have to thank me; I just want to be there the first time you make one of them into a
working broomstick!" The potions master stated with a smirk; it was bound to happen after all; if
Harry could make a Philosopher's Stone, a broomstick should be a walk in the park.
"If you don't mind being a lab-rat I would have you test them too." Harry stated happily.
"Oh I don't mind!" Severus looked like a five year-old with that wide smile and the twinkling in
his eyes.
"Just don't sue afterwards and you can use whatever I make all you want." Harry stated with a
smile. It had been a slow process from then on; he had chosen to start with a willow branch and
the first he had to do was give it the right shape. If anyone had told him he would be using
Arithmancy for any Quidditch related activity a few months ago, he would have them admitted at
St Mango's in the blink of an eye. Still, here he was, carefully working over charts to ascertain the
broom would have the right form. He had even tried his hand in a few designs of how he wanted
the end result to look like, but he was still a far cry from happy about it.
The weeks passed -complete with a surprise trip for five days in Tunisia courtesy of Severus- and
before Harry knew it, it was the last week of August. It was the night before his family's
programmed trip at Diagon Alley and Harry found himself in his room at Potter Manor, going
over one of his designs. It held some promise, he thought as he rolled up the parchment and set out
for a bit of studying on advanced Transfiguration before dinner; he was studying on permanent
transformation of inanimate objects, a subject usually dealt with at the seventh year in Hogwarts.
Needless to say, he was captivated.
He ended up studying till after midnight and only just managed to brush his teeth before falling
asleep. He was almost certain he heard a banging noise from the next room -his brother's- but he
was fast asleep before getting to ponder on it. Next day had started quite interestingly as the whole
house seemed to be in various states of sleep when Lily saw fit to wake them up at seven in the
morning. Adrian was still wearing his pyjamas' bottoms with his robes looking a little preoccupied
about something, James was murmuring of the unfairness of it all and the brutality of being
awaken so early and Sirius looked right down mutinous, having carried his pillow in the kitchen
with him; he was presently sleeping with his head on the kitchen table.
"He can sleep anywhere, can't he?" Remus asked, looking at his life-long friend, smiling.
"Lucky bastard" James muttered, making his sons giggle and Lily slap him around his head.
"James, watch your language!" She admonished, making her husband roll his eyes. "I married a
five year-old."
"Seems so." Harry chirped over his cereal. He was the only one seemingly unaffected from the
early hour.
"You seem awfully cheerful this morning." Adrian said annoyed. "It's unnatural."
"No, I'm just brilliant that way." Harry quipped, causing the table to laugh and Sirius to mutter
something incomprehensible in his sleep. Remus moved towards the dozing dog animagus and

pulled the pillow underneath his head, causing him to wake up rather abruptly.
"I'm up! I'm up!" He exclaimed panicked before he realized just what had happened, the booming
laughter and the pillow in Remus's hands, quite giving it away. "Moony!" Sirius whined. "I can't
believe you just did that!"
"And I can't believe you fell asleep on the kitchen table, but you did." The werewolf deadpanned
while Sirius pouted. The atmosphere remained jovial as they headed to Diagon Alley and
continued in the same spirit when they met the Weasleys. Adrian ran to Ron, immediately starting
to whisper something at him as Harry shook his head; he had a feeling that he would hear about it
soon. He turned to the rest of the group; his mother had approached Molly and they were talking
in equally hushed tones while the only other female of the group followed them, looking mildly
amused. This was to be Ginny's first year in Hogwarts, Harry realized as he approached the only
Weasley daughter.
"So, how do you feel about going to Hogwarts for the first time?" The green eyed boy asked
while they walked towards Gringotts.
"Excited I guess. Happy. Terrified." She said with a shy smile.
"That's about right." Harry agreed, remembering how his own feelings mirrored hers last year.
"Just be yourself and you'll do great; the Hat knows what it's doing and besides, if you need
anything, you have four brothers in the school you can turn to, not to mention Adrian and myself."
Ginny rewarded him with a bright smile. The large group walked together around the Alley, the
children peering at their school lists. Harry sighed; this Lockhart character was all over his letter.
He thought of the picture of the blond wizard with the unnaturally white teeth smiling from the
front page of Witch's Weekly and sighed once more. He had tried to read some of his books and,
even if the theory behind his adventures seemed correct, there was something that just didn't feel
right. Harry had written it off as the author's pompous air and had been happy to put the book
down and never read another work of his again.
His mother and Mrs. Weasley -and apparently Hermione from what he had overheard from
Adrian and a complaining Ron- had a different reaction altogether. Mrs. Weasley usually giggled
when Gilderoy Lockhart was mention and his mother had taken into sighing dreamily. Harry
thought it was funny to watch; his father didn't. James was rather ready to badmouth the blond
wizard and Lily fully prepared to huff at him when he did.
After shopping for new ingredients and everything else that did not require a visit to the bookstore,
they approached Flourish and Blotts. The line in front of the bookstore was impossible to say the
least and mostly composed of witches of various ages. It didn't take that long for Harry to find out
why. Gilderoy Lockhart was signing his autobiography Magical Me that morning and the crowds
had flocked to get a glimpse. The boy sighed and looked towards his mother and Mrs. Weasley;
the two redheads were swiftly rearranging their hair and the word 'conspiracy' appeared in bold
letters in the green eyed boy's mind.
"Oh come on, Lils!" James complained rolling his eyes. "Can't we come back tomorrow?"
"Absolutely not!" His wife stated and walked forward towards the line. Hermione and her parents
were there too, Harry realized, the bushy haired girl waving at them from the line, cheeks blushing
in anticipation. Harry heard a soft snicker and turned towards the sound -the only one that wasn't
either a complain, a groan or an high-pitched giggle- and found Ginny looking incredulously at
the scene unfolding in front of them. The moment she noticed Harry was looking at her, she
blushed an impressive crimson but Harry smiled encouragingly; it was nice to see that not allthe
female population of the country had gone crazy.
"Come on children!" Molly exclaimed. "The line's long enough without your stalling!"

"Do we have to?" Fred complained.


"Oh come on kids! It will be so much fun!" Sirius offered in a successful interpretation of a black
haired woman that was trying to convince her children a few paces ahead, making them laugh.
The wait would have been bearable, Harry thought, hadn't Lockhart decided to grab Adrian and
have him force-photographed for the Daily Prophet. The poor boy looked dazed, squirming and
doing his best to hide himself from the photographer and a smiling Lockhart. James was about to
protest, when Lockhart offered Adrian his whole collection of books for free but was abruptly
stopped when the wizard author announced he would be the next Defence Against the Dark Arts
teacher.
Are we never to have a normal professor in this subject? Harry lamented as hopes of actually
doing something interesting this year flew out the window; the only professor he had ever had on
the subject was a Voldemort possessed nutcase and now this? He was about to voice his thoughts
to Ginny when a different type of commotion caught their attention; the Malfoys had arrived and
they had just met with the Weasleys, namely the Weasley patriarch. Harry gulped, his hand
tightening around his wand innately as he approached the ruckus; for some not so odd reason, this
didn't foretell well.
"The famous Adrian Potter." Draco sneered at Adrian who was staggering under the weight of his
newly acquired books; he unceremoniously dropped them into Harry's arms, telling him to burn
them or something while Draco continued. "Can't even walk into a bookstore without making the
front page." Harry placed the collection of Lockhart's work in Ginny's cauldron, mouthing that he
would buy new ones for himself and turned to Malfoy before his brother pounced.
"I would watch that tone, Malfoy." The green eyed boy stated calmly. "Your comment tasted
strongly of jealousy." Draco's eyes turned into slits as he regarded the younger Potter twin while
Adrian snickered.
"What's going on here? Dad said he's seen Malf" Ron began as he approached the Potter twins.
"Oh, it's you." Ron stated looking at Malfoy like he was something less than dirt. "Bet you're
surprised to see Adrian here, eh?" Ron asked smirking, holding the stack of his collection of their
new DADA professor tight. Hermione next to him offered a disgruntled tat of her tongue at the
redhead's reaction; Harry wondered momentarily how he ever managed to hear it amidst the
general chaos around. The cacophony around was a bit louder that usual, but so far he had only
attributed it to the book signing; now however
"Not as surprised as I am to see you in a shop, Weasley." Draco spat back, effectively snapping
Harry out of his reverie. "I suppose your parents will go hungry for a month to pay for all those."
Ron turned beet red and dropped his books in Ginny's cauldron too. He moved to attack Malfoy,
but Adrian and Hermione held him back. A fruitless effort since Lucius Malfoy and Mr. Weasley after the older Malfoy made a harsh comment regarding the state of Ginny's books- decided it
would be a great idea to attack each other inside the bustling shop.
Not even the complaining owner couldn't separate them while the Weasley twins, James and
Sirius were cheering Arthur the whole time. Thankfully for everybody included, Hagrid made a
surprising entrance -he had apparently been shopping for Flesh-Eating Snail Repellent in
Knockturn Alley, something that caused an identical mischievous gleam on the Weasley twins'
faces- and got everybody out relatively unscathed.
"I can't believe you did that!" Lily stated, looking at her husband. "You stood there and cheered?
You're an Auror, James!" She was fuming as Prongs was mumbling his apology; still, nothing
could compare with the glare Mrs. Weasley directed to her own husband. The fact that she had
barely managed to dodge a rather hefty tome on the Sisterhood that had almost hit her in the eye,

didn't help either.


"A fine example you set for your children brawling in public what Gilderoy Lockhart
must've thought" Arthur just looked properly chastised, appearing right down miserable,
nursing a cut lip.
"He was pleased." Fred informed everyone. "Didn't you hear him as we were leaving? He asked
that bloke from the Daily Prophet if he'd be able to work the fight into his report -said it was all
publicity" Harry rolled his eyes; a year of Lockhart's teaching and he was afraid all they would
learn was how to pose effectively so that the camera only captures your good side.
"Lockhart sounds lovely." Ginny muttered next to him. Harry turned to her and smirked.
"Just imagine all the knowledge he could impart on us!" The green eyed boy whispered in an
obviously fake state of awe. "I can see it already; a full month devoted on his favourite fashion
trends. Oh, the joy!" Ginny giggled at his sarcasm.
"Well, there has to be some knowledge in that ponce." The redhead girl stated. "He did write all
these books after all" She reminded him and Harry nodded.
"And the theory is correct but the way he writes"
"I guess you also thought that mentioning his favourite colour is lilac was irrelevant to how he
dealt with that Yeti?" She asked and Harry's eyes widened in surprise.
"Have you already read his books?" The raven haired wizard asked. Ginny blushed a deep hue of
red.
"No, just that one, A Year with the Yeti." Ginny explained. "Mom's a fun and the book had been
laying around the house for some time so I figured, why not?" Harry nodded smiling.
"And yes, to answer your question, I do believe it's irrelevant, unless the poor Yeti in question
jumped of a cliff once it saw him approaching, its eyes burning out at the sight of said completely
lilac-clad ponce." Ginny burst into laughter, drawing the eyes of their families, if only for a
second, before Sirius dragged them all to Florian Fortesque's for an ice cream. His childish
behaviour however did lift their spirits a bit and Harry suspected part of it was intentional this time
around. Harry spoke with Ginny for the majority of their stay, the girl telling him a story of how
she was once attacked in Knockturn Alley.
"And what were you doing in Knockturn Alley?" He asked interested.
"I was about five and had gotten lost." Ginny explained. "I was so scared my mind started playing
tricks on me, I swear." Harry nodded, understanding the feeling; Merlin knew how many
nightmares his mind had subjected him to lately.
"And what happened?"
"Let's put it this way; if you think that my Dad was scary while brawling with Malfoy, you would
have thought him terrifying back then." Harry laughed at that, trying to imagine the usually calm
Mr. Weasley fighting off a group of wizards. Well, he could certainly do it, he thought, especially
if it was to save his only daughter.
The return to Potter Manor was uneventful; Ron had tagged along for the night and at the moment
he was off at the grounds, swimming at the pond. Harry had returned to his room and was
catching up on what they would be required to learn this year, making notes of subjects he might
need revise before leaving for school. The list was unsurprisingly short; Harry pulled out his
History of Magic textbook, and did the best he could with all the goblin rebellions he would have

to remember. Considering there were fifteen of them, his head was throbbing by the time he went
down for dinner. Adrian and Ron were lost in an argument over Quidditch once more. Shaking
his head fondly, Harry sat down on the table.
The rest of the summer passed like a breeze; Harry had been so focused on his studies -partially
because he was trying to not think about last May and June too much- he barely realized August
was over and the next term was about to begin. He was seated at the back porch of Severus's
castle once again -it was becoming something of a ritual for the last day of summer- carving the
details on his first handmade broomstick ever; it was of crude design, he could tell, and the
cushioning spells left a lot to be desired but it was unmistakably a broomstick and, most
importantly, it flew.
"It really does fly" Severus trailed off, his hand over the hovering broomstick. Harry smirked.
"For somebody who was certain of my success only weeks ago, you seem rather surprised, Sev."
Harry stated.
"Well, I never expected you'd make it so fast!" The potions master deadpanned, a sly expression
on his face. "And will it stay up once it begins to move or should I expect an explosion?" Harry's
eyes turned into slits as he grabbed the broomstick and mounted it in one swift movement. "I was
joking!" Severus exclaimed as Harry took off. Admittedly, the boy thought, it was nowhere near
as good as his Nimbus Two Thousand. But his calculations had been absolutely correct and,
though it still lacked on comfort and speed, his first design was aerodynamically perfect, flying
steady through the sky. Harry smiled and did a few turns around the porch before deciding no to
push his luck.
"An explosion?" He asked happily. "Nothing so dramatic I fear."
"Goblins' gold, it really flies!" Severus stated excited, grabbing the broomstick from Harry's hand
and following his example as the boy laughed at his antics. "And it's steady too!" The potions
master exclaimed from right above Harry.
"That was the sole point at this level." Harry answered, sitting on the couch and pulling out the
notebook he kept on his broomstick designs, jotting down a few notes on additions that had to be
made; the series of books Severus had purchased had been read already, and now he had
proceeded to add some of the spells he had found during his research. And if that doesn't count as
an imagination-sharpening activity, the green eyed wizard thought, then I don't know what does.
"That's a memory worth to buy a Pensive for! You just made an operational broomstick!" Severus
stated dismounting the broom.
"Gee, you look more excited than when I made the Stone." Harry observed laughing.
"I was shocked then, Harry; at least you warned me in advance this time." The boy nodded in
agreement.
"Fair enough." Harry stated. "It's a real pity that Pensives are so rare; I could maybe make one, but
it's another area of magic altogether; blood magic, transfiguration, knowledge of runes and a bit of
alchemy. Sigil carving too!" Harry shook his head. "It would take years of research to even make
an attempt at it." Severus nodded.
"It requires some knowledge of potions too." Severus stated his look contemplative.
"You're not thinking of making one, do you?" Harry asked disbelieving; no doubt Severus was as
brilliant as they made them but Pensive-making was a specific, very secretive art.

"Not quite." The potions master mumbled.


"But you thought of something." The boy pressed on.
"Well yes." The potions master smirked. "Just an idea still; but if I get something more specific,
you'll be the first to know. I might have found us a shared project for next summer" And at that
prospect, Harry's smile could rival a dozen Lumos spells at once.

Ever Heard Of The Word "Competency"?


Harry was getting worried. The Hogwarts Express had just departed from Platform 9 and there
was no sign of his brother on the train. Adrian had opted on spending the last night of the summer
at the Burrow and, even if the green eyed wizard had caught the trademark red hair of the
Weasley family in the platform, seconds before the train departed, his brother's rave hair was not
amongst them. Sighing in disappointment, Harry stood up from his seat, let Hedwig out of her
cage so she could fly to the school and left his compartment in search of his brother. And he had
hoped it would be a peaceful train ride too!
The first Weasleys he met with were the twins that had informed him Adrian and Ron had indeed
been right behind them when they entered the platform. Then he waved at Ginny who smiled
back dazedly; she seemed to be deep in thought Harry realized, as she scribbled to what must have
been her diary. He didn't envy her; the first few weeks of the first year could be a shock. He
decided to let her think in peace and continued his search. It wasn't Ron or his brother that he
found next however. It was a very worried Hermione.
"Harry, have you seen Ron and Adrian?" She asked, cutting straight to the chase. Nice to see you
too, Harry thought drily.
"Hello, Hermione. No, I've been searching for them myself." The Gryffindor girl tugged the
corner of her school robes -had she put them on already?- anxiously.
"If you find them please come tell me." And she turned around and left, continuing her search.
Harry shook his head at Hermione's antics. Still, he couldn't shake his own worry; where could
Adrian be? An hour and a half later, he was back at his compartment, laying on the seats, deep in
thought. There was no denying it; neither his brother nor Ron seemed to have boarded the train. A
thousand different scenarios started to weave themselves inside his head and he immediately
regretted sending Hedwig to Hogwarts. He could have informed his parents if she was still there.
Think rationally Harry, he ordered himself, twirling the concealment ring Severus had given him
last Christmas on his thumb. Our parents were at the platform and so were the Weasleys; if Adrian
had a problem, if he didn't manage to board the train for any reason, he would have already been
found and helped. That did nothing to calm his frantic heartbeat or placate his over imaginative
mind. He had a bad feeling about this; when did his brother go missing without getting into
trouble? Never, a voice sing-songed in the corners of his mind as he sighed again.
Suddenly, the compartment door opened to reveal a slightly ruffled Neville Longbottom. His hair
was askew, his school uniform was haphazardly buttoned up and he was sweaty and panting as if
he had just ran all the way to the compartment's door from London. His eyes fell on Harry and he
ducked his head in what the green eyed boy interpreted as shame.
"Come in, Neville!" Harry said instead of a greeting. "Are you alright?" The boy nodded once
and entered the compartment, sliding the door closed behind him. Silently he sat across Harry and
seemed to contemplate his latest statement -well, nod- before retracting it and shaking his head
negatively instead. "What happened?" Harry asked concerned.
"Malfoy." Was all the brown eyed boy said, before lowering his head in shame.
"Of course." Harry muttered, putting down the book he wasn't reading anyway and turned his full
attention to Neville. "What did he do this time?"
"He ugh" Neville gulped once and lifted his head to look Harry in the eyes. "He walked into

my compartment and started making fun of me having a frog for starters." The boy said, pointing
at a bulge on his robe's pocket where his pet frog, Trevor, was currently residing. "Then he started
asking if I had brought another Remembrall with me and then Pancy, she was there too, started
wondering out loud how a coward like me ended up in Gryffindor." He blushed and bit his
bottom lip then, presumably to prevent himself from crying, or from embarrassment, from saying
too much. Harry knew that had always been one of Neville's problems; he didn't see himself brave
enough for Gryffindor. Personally, Harry thought he was being obstinate in his disbelief,
obstinacy being a characteristic flaw of Gryffindor in itself.
"He's just a bully. All his friends are." The green eyed wizard stated seriously. "You shouldn't pay
much attention to him, Nev."
"But he's right." Neville persisted, his gaze on the floor once more. "Everybody knows I'm almost
a squib." Harry snorted, gaining the other boy's attention.
"You're not a squib, Neville." Harry offered. "First of all, there's nothing wrong with being a
squib. But you have more than proven that you can cast spells." The green eyed wizard reminded
him. Neville smiled softly and pulled out his wand, looking at it contemplating. It seemed worn,
Harry realised, as if it had been used for many years instead of one. And as if it had seen rougher
days, he imagined, as his own wand was still in pristine condition; "your greatest ally", Merlin had
called it and Harry had taken his word for him.
"I just want to do my parents justice." Neville admitted. Harry looked between the wand and
Neville rapidly before he made the connection.
"Nev, is that Is that one of your parents' wands?" It would make sense if it was, the boy figured;
it would definitely explain the wand's state -it seemed as it had seen battles- and Neville's
inconsistent perform in spellcasting.
"It is, was, my father's." The boy admitted, his head hang low. "Grandmother says I should work
harder to make him proud. She said that, one day, I will be worthy of his wand, I don't know if I
ever will." Harry, listened to his monologue with wide eyes.
"Believe me when I say I mean no disrespect, but Nev, you can't cast spells with someone else's
wand. Well, you can," Harry amended, seeing Neville's eyes widen in confusion "but the result
won't be the same. This wand," he said, pointing at said wand in Neville's hands "doesn't
recognise you as its master. You weren't chosen for it and you didn't win it in a duel. It's fighting
your magic every time you cast a spell." Harry explained.
"You think so?" The boy asked, looking at the wand critically. His eyes shone with a timid hope,
just a little sparkle, but it seemed to transform his whole face. "But My grandmother says"
"She wants something to remember your father by. But you shouldn't be it." Harry offered kindly.
"I think a wand of your own would do miracles for your spellcasting."
"Really?" Neville asked, his smile openly hopeful now.
"Of course!" Harry assured him. The other boy smiled a little brighter before losing all his
newfound joy in the blink of an eye.
"But what do I tell my grandma?" He asked terrified. "I asked her, last year, if I could get a wand
of my own and she looked at me as if I had insulted her."
"But she surely must see" Harry begun, but Neville's forlorn expression informed him
otherwise. "You know what?" He asked smirking. "Give me some time to think about it." He had
heard stories of Neville's grandmother. Augusta Longbottom was known for her strict character

and seemed to have been the one from where Neville had inherited his stubbornness. "I'll figure
something out." Harry promised, making Neville's smile widen again. They went on talking about
anything and everything for the next few hours, buying something to eat from the cart and having
fun with Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Beans.
Harry couldn't believe how he hadn't spent more time with Neville last year; he was genuinely
interesting and he seemed well versed in Herbology -his personal favourite subject- making for a
great conversation. He decided to amend for last year's neglect starting immediately; it felt nice to
have someone his own age to talk to. Only when Neville left to retrieve his trunk promising to
meet with Harry at the carriages did Harry realise what had happened; he had forgotten of Adrian!
How could he forget of Adrian? Sure, he was with Ron and their parents were at the station with
them probably but still. How had he forgotten of his brother? He was his responsibility after all!
The night began to fall and Harry changed into his robes with trembling hands, all the time
blaming himself; something must have gone wrong. It must have! He descended the train,
following the rest of the student body towards where he thought would be the famous horseless
carriages of Hogwarts -with the exception of the first years who headed to the boats- his mind
barely reminding him that they were in fact dragged by Thestrals; the hair of one of their kind was
a part of his wand core and they were only invisible to those who hadn't witnessed death. He
should have expected the sight that greeted him but, with worrying about his brother, it hadn't
even crossed his mind.
All thoughts of Adrian were violently expelled from his mind once more as he locked eyes with a
pair of dead, white ones. The Thestrals were of skeletal appearance, with rich black manes and
tails, milky white eyes and two horns sticking on each side of their heads. And he could see them.
His mind flew back to images of blazing fire and a man screaming as a voice snapped him out of
his reverie.
"Unnerving, isn't it?" George Weasley asked. "Carriages that move on their own, I mean." He
elaborated.
"Don't worry too much!" Fred added, pushing a reluctant Harry inside. "You'll get used to it."
Harry nodded numbly, trying to get the image of a dying Quirrell from his mind with mild
success. He waved at Neville to join them in the carriage and had only half his mind focused at the
conversation as the Thestrals started pulling the carriages towards the castle. It was only after they
got seated at the Gryffindor table and Percy wondered out loud where his brother was that he
managed to snap out of his dark mood.
"I don't see Adrian either." Seamus, the sandy blond haired boy in Harry's year stated.
"I couldn't find them on the train." Harry offered, causing whispers to break around the table. The
Shorting Ceremony began -with a radiant Ginny joining them in Gryffindor- causing the talk to
subside for a while until Filch made an appearance, followed by his cat Mrs. Norris. He whispered
something to Severus who was obviously shocked enough to let it show for a moment before
rising from his chair and walking swiftly towards the grounds, Filch trying to catch up. Oh,
something had definitely gone wrong, Harry thought.
He ate as fast as he could and then asked Percy for the password, proclaiming he wanted to leave
sooner to write a letter to his parents asking if Adrian was alright. Percy agreed, barely able to hide
his worry for his own brother, and Harry sped off towards the general direction of the Gryffindor
Common Room before dessert was served, making an abrupt turn towards the Dungeons when he
got out of view. Minerva McGonagall had been informed of whatever the incident was from Filch
who, unable to catch up with Severus, had turned back to the Great Hall. The Transfiguration
professor's pale complexion and tight lips was all the confirmation Harry needed.

He sped down to Severus's office, knocking on the door. Nobody was in so the boy started pacing
up and down the corridor nervously. Mercifully, Severus appeared around the corner, his cloak
bellowing behind him, his face an angry mask. As he approached, he noticed Harry and opened
his door, ushering the boy in.
"What did my brother do?" Harry asked resigned.
"He and Ronald Weasley crushed a flying car on the Whomping Willow." Harry started
coughing, choking on plain air as he tried to comprehend what he had heard. Adrian flying
car crashed Whomping Willow? He must have gotten something wrong.
"Were in Merlin's name did they find a flying car?" The boy's eyes unintentionally skimmed over
the empty portrait of the most famous wizard of all times, hoping he might appear to answer him.
"I have a feeling that it's -was- Arthur's but I can't know for sure. I'm certain that he didn't fly it to
the station!" Severus stated hiding his face in his palms as he sat behind his desk.
"And they really crashed on the Whomping Willow?" Harry croaked, certain he wouldn't like the
answer.
"From all the places in the Hogwarts' park they could have landed!" The potions master
exclaimed. "They were unharmed, miraculously may I add. Just a bit shaken. Minerva must be
chewing their heads off as we speak." Harry nodded.
"But why would they use a flying car?"
"Apparently they missed the train."
"So instead of waiting for their parents they thought, hey, why don't we fly to Hogwarts? Just
imagine how much fun that would be!" The green eyed wizard exclaimed confused.
"Apparently." Severus repeated. They stood in silence for a while, lost in their respective
thoughts.
"Any idea why they missed the train?" Harry asked. "Fred and George told me they were right
behind them when they entered the platform." The potions master shook his head negatively.
"Minerva appeared before I had snapped out of my shock of their survival enough to ask them."
"I'll try to find out tonight." Harry offered.
"Have you eaten anything?" Severus asked, realizing that, in order to arrive in his office before
himself, Harry had most likely skipped dinner.
"I don't think my stomach can handle anything right now" Harry trailed off; he had heard
everything about the Whomping Willow from Prongs, Padfoot and Mooney. The mere thought of
his brother approaching it let alone crashing on it with a flying car made him shiver.
"Here." Severus offered, waving his wand and producing some of that amazing hot chocolate
from the kitchens. Harry took it gratefully. Maybe some warm chocolate would do him good. He
took a few gulps and twirled the cup in his hands.
"I saw the Thestrals tonight." He muttered, the ghost-like horses reappearing in his mind now that
he was somewhat reassured his brother was safe.
"I thought you might." Severus nodded softly. "Just remember, the Thestrals, despite their

appearance, aren't evil creatures and besides, you have the hair of one"
"Inside my wand, I know." Harry stated. "They just reminded me of well, of the reason why I
can see them." Severus looked at the boy seriously.
"Harry, we talked about this; you can't let it run your life." Harry nodded.
"I know and I'm not. I'm not!" He insisted catching Severus's inquiring glance. "It's just proving
hard to forget is all." The black clad professor sighed.
"I will tell you the truth Harry; you will never forget it completely. There will be times when you
will remember but, as time goes by, it will be easier to deal with every time." Harry nodded once.
"Can I borrow some parchment and a quill?" He asked, confusing the potions master quite a bit.
"What for?"
"I'm supposed to have left the fest early so I could send a letter to my parents; I better write it, just
to be safe." Severus nodded and passed items Harry had requested to him with a smile. Harry
wrote a few lines in haste and bid Severus goodnight, knowing he should better return.
"And remember what I told you, Harry." The boy nodded and ran to the Gryffindor Tower,
making it there only seconds before the rest of the Gryffindors; he had to speed to the stairs
towards the boys' dormitory so that he could hastily strap the letter on Hedwig's leg and send her
off, climbing down the stairs to meet with his housemates. A few moments later, when his brother
returned and he was certain he was still in one piece, Harry felt the tiredness of the day catching
up with him. He retreated to his bed with a few short goodnights and after making his brother
promise him he would tell him exactly what had happened in the morning, Adrian and Ron soon
following his example.
The hazel eyed Potter twin did indeed honour his promise and told Harry of how they had found
the passage to the platform blocked and how they had decided to take the car which turned out to
truly be a creation of Mr. Weasley. When Harry asked them why they didn't wait for their parents,
the two boys exchanged a lost look. Harry just shook his head with wonder. It was only when he
asked his brother if he had any idea why the passage was blocked for him and Ron since
everybody else had made it through that he realized his brother was holding something back from
him. The supposedly inconspicuous look he exchanged with Ron spoke volumes and Harry was
suddenly hit with the realization he was once again being excluded from something quite
important in his brother's life.
The lessons started that day, as always. Well, there was the matter of two Howlers addressed to
Ron and Adrian that morning and Harry found himself once again dumbfounded on just how loud
his mother could scream; even if the voice was amplified magically, it was still an
accomplishment, Harry thought.
The walk to Herbology had been quite interesting too. A first year student, a boy called Colin
Creevy managed to snap a photo of Adrian, asking him if he could sign it too. Adrian on his side
stood confused and was eventually pushed towards the Greenhouses where they -unfortunatelyrun into Lockhart; dressed completely in turquoise that day, he was walking briskly next to a very
disgruntled and bandaged professor Sprout -Harry could see the infamous Whomping Willow
with many of its branches in casts in the distance- heading towards the gathered second year
students. The majority of the student body was ushered in Greenhouse three while Adrian was
withheld by the blond professor. Noticing his almost fearful expression, Harry decided to take pity
on him and not just leave him alone. He approached professor Sprout with that purpose.

"Professor?" He asked timidly.


"Yes, Mr. Potter." She was obviously still annoyed on Lockhart enough to make Harry's appeal
easier to get through.
"I was wondering Could I wait here for Adrian?" The Herbology teacher clearly didn't expect
such a request. "You see professor, we first ran into Lockhart in Flourish and Blotts a few weeks
ago and there had been a, well, an incident including a reporter from the Daily Prophet and"
Harry knew professor Sprout had heard about the incident seeing how the picture taken that day
had made first page on the papers. "What I'm trying to say is that Adrian has been a little
uncomfortable around Professor Lockhart since and, with all due respect, the Professor does get
carried away sometimes"
"Alright, Mr. Potter." The plump professor stated, her cheery personality that had been dampened
a little from Lockhart's attempts to criticise her work returning. "You can stay. And three points to
Gryffindor for standing up for your fellow students." She turned to the rest of the class as Harry
exited the Greenhouse smiling softly. That had gone better than expected. Then again, Professor
Sprout was the Head of Hufflepuff House; loyalty would have to go far with her. He heard voices
coming from around the corner.
"Adrian, Adrian, Adrian" Lockhart exclaimed theatrically. "When I heard, well, of course it
was all my fault! Could have kicked myself!" What? Harry froze on his tracks, his curiosity
getting the better of him. Had he missed something? Adrian must have been equally confused
because he hadn't spoken yet himself. "Don't know when I've been more shocked. Flying a car to
Hogwarts! Well I, of course, knew at once why you'd done it. Stood out a mile. Adrian,
Adrian, Adrian."
"What?" Harry mouthed inaudibly.
"Gave you a taste of publicity, didn't I? Gave you the bug. You got onto the front page of the
paper with me and you couldn't wait to do it again." Harry would have laughed if it wouldn't blow
his cover; this was far too great as blackmail material to pass by.
"Oh, no, Professor, see" Adrian voiced, sounding just as surprised as Harry was.
"Adrian, Adrian, Adrian." Lockhart continued unfazed. Harry, who had peeked just a little around
the corner, could see the blond Professor had placed a hand on his brother's shoulder. "I
understand. Natural to want a bit more once you've got the first taste and I blame myself for
giving you that, because it was bound to go to your head" Harry snorted silently. As if Adrian
gave a Knut for fame "But see here, young man, you can't start flying cars to try and get
yourself noticed. Just calm down, alright? Plenty of time for that when you get older. Yes, yes, I
know what you're thinking. 'It's alright for him, he's an internationally famous wizard already!' But
when I was twelve, I was just as much of a nobody as you are now. In fact, I would say I was
more of a nobody! I mean, a few people have heard of you, haven't they? All that business with
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named!" Harry had to bit on the inside of his cheek hard to not break out
laughing. "I know, I know -it's not as good as winningWitch Weekly's the Most-Charming-Smile
Award five times in a row, as I have- but it's a start, Adrian, it's a start."
"Now, wait a minute Professor" Adrian was getting rather red in the face and was about to
showcase the famous temperament they both had inherited from their mother. And since, in
Adrian's case, said temperament was paired with James's attitude, Harry showed fit to intervene
before his brother found himself with a detention on his first day."
"Hello, Professor!" Harry exclaimed brightly as he walked towards the pair, seemingly not
noticing his brother's angry face. Gilderoy hadn't anyway.

"Young Harry Potter, if I'm not mistaken!" Lockhart exclaimed. "I think I have heard you're first
in your year, correct? And Adrian's brother too?" No, I'm his Great Aunt, Harry thought
sarcastically but let it pass.
"Yes, I am." He turned to his brother. "Professor Sprout sent me to get you Adrian; we're starting
our lesson." He smiled at his brother and turned to face Lockhart again, channelling his inner
Hermione the best he could. "And I've been dying to ask you Professor, when you tracked down
those vampires in your book, Voyages with Vampires, did you use a traditional tracking spell?
Because from what I understood it had to be a variation to work so exceptionally!" Lockhart's
brilliant smile faltered a little at Harry's question.
"Ah, yes, as much as I would love to pass down my knowledge, I fear I have delayed your
brother from his class for too long. Time to go!" And with a hearty wink, he turned around and
left. Harry winked at his brother in turn.
"I figured you might need rescuing." He stated, making Adrian laugh.
"Best brother ever!" The hazel eyed twin exclaimed, placing his hand over Harry's shoulders.
"That bloody git!" He continued, glaring daggers towards the direction Lockhart had disappeared
to. "If he keeps going that way, I swear he'll regret it!"
"You know what, Adrian?" Harry pondered out loud, an interesting idea popping into his head.
"What?" Adrian stopped as he was about to enter the greenhouse.
"Wouldn't Lockhart look great with green hair?" Harry asked and entered the greenhouse, leaving
a stunned brother to trail inside a few seconds later. Adrian passed him a piece of paper with a
single word written on it right after Harry answered a question Professor Sprout had asked about
Mandrakes. Brilliant, the parchment wrote. Harry smirked at his brother who was silently
explaining what had happened to Ron. Now there was a plan worth considering
They were introduced to a boy named Justin Finch-Fletchley, a second year Hufflepuff who was
seated on the table next to the one Harry was sharing with his brother, Ron and Hermione. He
shook all of their hands, complimenting them on their, well, their existence in general, Harry
figured.
The rest of the day passed completely calmly as expected. And what truly went as expected, as far
as Harry was concerned, was the DADA lesson. Lockhart had started the lesson with the single
word 'Me', pointing at his image on the cover of one of his books and making some stupid joke
about his smile. The green eyed boy didn't need anything more to confirm that the whole year was
going to be a complete disappointment. And, though no confirmation was needed, the test
Lockhart handed out served to do just that; fifty-four questions on himself later -with only
Hermione getting all of them correct- it was a mostly amused class at which the Defence Professor
introduced the creatures they would learn about that day.
"Yes." Lockhart announced, lifting the sheet that covered a large cage on his desk with a flourish,
"Freshly caught Cornish Pixies." People chuckled around Harry and he smiled a bit himself. Now
Cornish Pixies were a nuisance but as long as they were kept locked Harry blanched as
Lockhart moved towards the cage.
"Well they're not -they're not very- dangerous, are they?" Seamus, who was seated right in front
of the cage, asked smiling.
"Don't be so sure!" The blond Professor waggled a finger annoyingly at Seamus. "Devilish, tricky
little blighters they can be!" Harry watched Lockhart carefully; he was far too close to the electric

cloured, shrill-voiced faeries, who were at the moment content to rattle the bars of their cage,
making funny faces at the students. "Right then." Lockhart stated, his hand on the latch of the
cage's door. Harry gasped he wouldn't. "Let's see what you make of them!" And he opened the
cage.
"He did." Harry whispered and pulled out his wand, rising from his chair where he sat next to his
brother who followed his example. Behind them, Ron and Hermione did the same and got ready
to face the pandemonium that spread around them. Some pixies flew right out the window,
shattered glass falling on the floor. Others set to tear the classroom to shreds while two grabbed
Neville from his ears and left him swinging on the chandelier. Students duck under their desks,
while Lockhart encouraged them to face the pixies. His own attempt -a rather silly wand
movement and an incantation that sounded like Peskipixi Pesternomi, a spell Harry had never
heard of before- ended up in a complete failure, with his wand following books and parchments
out the window; Neville almost landed on his head as the chandelier gave way under his weight.
Enough was enough.
"Desimotus!" It was a spell he had picked up from Severus's library during the last Spring break
while researching for incantations he could use on his broom designing. A small orb, transparent
and seemingly made of the air in the room, left his wand and hit one of the pixies. Upon contact, it
expanded in a single circular wave around the classroom, stopping all pixies mid-air, frozen in
place. Harry pointed towards the cage, sending the pixies in, approaching it himself and latching
the door once they were all inside. He turned to look at Lockhart with narrowed eyes; the
professor in question stared back stunned, his eyes wide under the table he was hiding. He opened
his mouth either to speak or simply because he couldn't help it but was saved by the bell.
"Very good, Mr. Potter; fifteen points to Gryffindor!" And he took off towards the hallway, as fast
as he could without running, leaving his stupefied students behind him. Harry sighed and
pocketed his wand, moving towards Neville to help him stand up.
"Thanks, Harry." The boy muttered, straightening his robes.
"Don't mention it. You okay, Nev?"
"Yeah." Neville stated and then added, mostly talking to himself. "Why does it always have to be
me?"
"That. Was. Wicked!" Ron exclaimed, patting Harry's shoulder. Harry smirked.
"Seriously Harry, that was great!" Adrian added, looking at the still stunned pixies in the cage. A
few more students congratulated him while they tried to salvage their books in time for the next
lesson.
"Can you believe him?" Ron complained as he gathered his Transfiguration book from across the
room.
"Whom?" Adrian asked.
"Lockhart."
"He just wants to give us some hands-on experience." Hermione defended him, using her wand to
clean some ink of her Charms homework.
"Hands-on experience?" Harry snorted. "Hermione, he had no idea what he was doing"
"But he seemed so knowledgeable when he hid under the desk!" Adrian offered, causing Ron and
Harry to laugh.

"Rubbish!" Hermione protested. "You've read his books! Look at all those amazing things he's
done"
"He says he's done" Ron muttered and Harry nodded wholeheartedly.
"Goblins' gold!" The green eyed wizard exclaimed as he picked up his, now falling apart, Charms
textbook to cast a quick Reparo spell on it. "Last year it was Quirrell, now this!" He looked
around him, taking in the mess that was once their Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom; the
windows where shuttered, the iron chandelier was on the floor, desks lay broken around and bits
of paper that used to be books and essays were slowly being gathered by the students. The pixies
at least were still unconscious. He turned to Neville that was still trying to locate his bag. "Has
Dumbledore ever heard of the word competency?"

Of Elves And Voices


Harry lay on his bed reading a bit on a book he had been meaning to start at the beginning of term;
it was a book on basic Gobbledegook, the language of goblins. It was a book he had asked
Severus to provide him with, right after he had made that first broomstick fly. For it was a given
fact that, if you wanted to even have a chance at marketing a product in the wizards' community
and making profit out of it -and Harry couldn't help but think about doing just that- you would
have to take it through the goblins first. It was also a given that goblins generally disliked wizards;
learning their language and their mannerisms was a great step towards any semblance of a friendly
business relationship. Severus, who had actually learned the basics of the language while training
to be a potions master, had decided to resume his studies himself.
The green eyed boy read the pronunciation of a particularly difficult verb slowly. The problem
with Gobbledegook, Harry surmised, was the fact that, while vowels did exist, they were
pronounced in clipped sounds, making the rest of the word sometimes sound like a growl.
"Kahrgur." Harry repeated; it was apparently goblin speech for the word provide. He proceeded
like that, writing down whatever he wanted to ask Severus later. The potions master had insisted
that Harry had an aptitude for foreign languages, taking in French swiftly for his young age since
he had started teaching him when he was eight. Harry simply insisted Severus was a great teacher;
and the weekends in France had admittedly helped. He closed the book after a good half an hour
of more studying and tried to sleep; the events of the day before flew back to his mind the moment
he shut his eyes.
Oliver Wood had entered the second-years dormitory at the crack of dawn, waking him, gladly
informing him that he had booked the Quidditch field for an early training session. Harry got
dressed observing the still pink-and-gold sky outside his window and wondering -neither for the
first, nor for the last time- if Oliver was completely sane and envying his brother for sleeping;
Adrian had made it as a back-up chaser for the team on the try-outs and thus had the luxury of
sleep. He kept them in the changing rooms for hours, showing them new moves used from
Quiddditch teams around the world during the summer, insisting that, now they had the Cup, it
was their job to secure it. The boards with schematics and new strategies kept coming and soon
half the team was asleep. Harry's stomach rumbled and thus his joy was undeniable when his
brother entered the room, bringing him some toast for breakfast.
"You're a life saver, Adrian." Harry stated as he munched on his toast.
"Don't mention it."
"Aren't you finished yet?" Ron asked confused when the team made it out of the changing room.
He and Hermione were sitting at the stands, waiting for the team.
"Haven't even started."
But apparently, it wasn't just Oliver that had had the idea of an early practice. Once they finally
reached the field, they found the Slytherin team was already there, claiming they had booked the
pit first. And Draco was with them as the new Seeker, bringing with him seven brand-new
broomsticks; Harry could clearly read Nimbus Two Thousand and One. As Marcus Flint, the
Captain of the Slytherin Team, stated, they had a written permit to use the grounds do they could
test their new Seeker. Harry wondered if Severus was aware how Malfoy got into the team; well,
of course he would be, but what could he do? He was the feared Head of Slytherin, the big bad
bat from the dungeons; he had an image to uphold.

And then Malfoy had to go and call Hermione a Mudblood and Ron had to curse him with his,
broken from crashing on the Whomping Willow, wand. The poor boy had been coughing out
slugs the whole morning. Hagrid had explained to Hermione what all the commotion over the
expletive Draco called her was about as Harry brewed a swift draught for Ron's stomach. Harry
still couldn't decide what had been worse; watching slugs pouring out of Ron's mouth, or tasting
the treacle toffee Ahgrid had offered him that seemed to have cement like properties. He sighed
and stood up; there was no way he could sleep; his mind was filled with Quidditch tactics,
transformation incantations, a new sigil he was trying out, words in Gobbledegook and thoughts
of whether he should switch to ash wood in his broom making.
Adrian was serving his detention -helping Lockhart with his fan mail- Harry realised. Maybe he
should sneak out and wait for him outside Lockhart's office; they could make a quick stop at the
kitchens afterwards
His mind made up, he silently pulled out the invisibility cloak, draped it over his shoulders,
grabbed the notebook he used to jot down his thoughts on the broomstick he was designing and a
pencil, just in case he would have to wait. Ron -who had detention with Filch- was still out
himself but the rest of the year was sleeping. The green eyed wizard slid out the common room,
walking down dark corridors and moving towards the Defence professor's office. When he did
arrive, he wasn't surprised to find the door closed. He simply sat down on the floor and started
going over his notes; he was in the process of writing down a part of an arithmancy formula
designed for improving the standard breaking charm often used on broomsticks, making it
unbreakable. It was a prospect worth the effort, Harry believed.
He kept reading and writing his thoughts down for what seemed to be over an hour until he was
finally starting to get sleepy. He was slowly regretting coming so early; he should have known
Lockhart would have piles upon piles of fan mail waiting to be answered. His eyelids were getting
heavy and he was doing his best not to fall asleep in the corridor when he heard something that
chased all tiredness from his mind.
"Come come to me Let me rip you Let me tear youLet me kill you" What was that?
Harry stood up in a swift movement, looking around frantically. He had heard a voice, he was
sure; it wasn't exactly disembodied, not like one of the numerous spectres in the school. It was
coming right out of the walls. Harry looked around him frantically. The corridor was dark, but
Harry's night sight was good enough to see it was also empty. And his hearing, which had been
gradually improving since his animagus transformation, had definitely caught the voice
reverberating through the stone walls. He had heard a voice and it wanted to kill.
The door of Lockhart's office opened then, the noise of creaking wood startling him; Adrian
exited the office looking beyond relieved, Lockhart ushering him out, smiling as he claimed that
time flew when you were enjoying yourself. None of them seemed the least frightened and Harry
immediately knew that neither his brother nor the DADA professor had heard the voice. Harry
gulped and tried to calm his nerves. He had been falling asleep right before he heard the voice
after all and ghosts in Hogwarts could go through walls He shook any grim thoughts away; he
just needed to catch up with his sleep. For the moment however, he settled for catching up with
his brother who was already leaving, cursing Lockhart under his breath.
"Pssst!" Harry called his brother, making him jump in fear.
"Don't do that!" Adrian complained when a chuckling Harry lifted the cloak slightly so that his
brother could slide in. "What are you doing here, Harry?"
"I couldn't sleep and I figured, after hours in the same room as Lockhart, you could do with a visit
to the kitchens."

"You have a point there."


"I know." They walked carefully towards the kitchens where a group of excited house elves
flooded them with all the food they could ever eat. Harry thanked them politely, his brother
catching his attention. Adrian was looking at the numerous elves around the room, almost as if he
expected to spot a specific one amongst them. But as soon as it came, the look was gone and
Adrian turned his full attention to a caramel clair. Harry just shook his head, thinking he was
imagining things again and that he was long overdue for a good night's sleep. The two brothers
laughed quietly all the way back to the Gryffindor tower at Adrian's recount of his detention.
The days passed almost quietly; all September and the greater part of October had to offer Harry
in terms of hardship was his Quidditch training. Wood was beyond angry that Slytherin had
secured seven Nimbus Two Thousand and One broomsticks for their games and was trying to
make up for the fact with having his team double their training. Harry wouldn't particularly mind
hadn't it been for the fact that autumn had brought an unusual amount of rain that year. As it was,
half the times a practice was over he was covered in mud. Adrian, who, as a replacement had to
get some training himself, was grumbling silently about the treatment they underwent while Harry
had become quite an expert in mud-removing spells of all sorts.
Harry was returning from one of his practices one afternoon when he met his brother, still covered
in mud -the replacement team had finished their practice an hour ago while Harry, being the only
Seeker Gryffindor had, Oliver not being pleased with any of the understudies, had been forced to
stay under the rain for a bit longer- conversing with Nearly Headless Nick, the Gryffindor ghost.
"Hey, Harry!" Adrian called his twin from the corridor where Nick had just departed. "Did you
shower already?" The hazel eyed boy asked, making Harry roll his eyes.
"No, but I happen to be a wizard." And with a flick of his wand and an incantation, his brother's
robes were mud-free too. Adrian smiled.
"You're getting good with those spells."
"For once brother, I'd rather I didn't." Harry answered. "Was that Nearly Headless Nick you were
talking to back there?"
"Yep! You won't believe what happened" Adrian started narrating how Nearly Headless Nick
had problems being admitted to the Headless Hunters, how Filch had caught him for dripping mud
all over the floor, how there was a strong possibility that the genitor was a Squib and how he had
come to be invited to Sir Nicholas's deathday party.
"A deathday party?" Harry asked confused. "Who would someone celebrate their own death?"
"Got me there, but I promised to go." He looked at his brother with a smile. "Say, Harry"
"Nope, not happening." The green eyed wizard stated, correctly guessing his brother was trying to
have him tag-along on Halloween. "I've been waiting for the feast for weeks and besides, I don't
fancy staying in the same room with a large amount of ghosts that could float through me at any
given time. I'll pass; Ron and Hermione might want to come though." Adrian huffed.
"Fine! But if we end up having a blast"
"I'll bow to your higher intelligence." Harry finished his sentence, dramatically bowing to
emphasize his point. Adrian chuckled at his brother's display and pushed him playfully on the
shoulder.
"Race you to the common room!" The hazel eyed boy proclaimed, speeding off. Harry just

chuckled and run to catch up with him.


The next evening found an exhausted Harry in Severus's office. The potions master was listening
to him complain about Oliver's tendencies of slave-driving with a smile on his face.
"And I swear, he thinks he's training Vratsa Vultures or something! Maybe even the British
national team!" Harry exclaimed sulking over his cup of hot chocolate.
"First of, with how the national team's been playing lately, that could be an idea."
"Thanks." Harry commented drily.
"What?" Severus asked smirking. "Oh, come on! How bad can Wood be?"
"We're practicing almost every day, under pouring rain." Harry stated. "Even Professor
McGonagall -and you know how much she likes having that Cup in her office- had to tell him to
lay back a little." Severus's eyebrows rose in surprise; Minerva really loved having the Quidditch
Cup in her office.
"And why has he been going so hard on the team this year?"
"It's those bloody brooms Malfoy went and bought for Slytherin." Harry explained sighing.
"Oliver's convinced he has to gain back any type of advantage we had through training."
"Are those broomsticks that good?" Severus asked confused. He was mad at Malfoy for buying
his way into the team, but there wasn't much he could do without blowing his cover. Still, he
hadn't read or heard anything too exciting about the new Nimbus model.
"That's the thing; they're not!" Harry said forcefully. "They out-speed the Two Thousand model
only by five miles per hour and their design is pretty much the same; if any modification has been
made, it concerns the long distance travels settings. And I've told Wood as much but did he listen?
No, because, apparently, what do I know?" Yeah, what do you know? Severus thought
sarcastically. You just seem to have a knack at designing racing broomsticks is all.
"But why would Nimbus Co. produce a model so similar to its last?" Severus asked after some
consideration. "Makes no sense; they made their reputation based on every model being much
better than the last."
"There's been a rumor flying around that the Comet Trading Company has been trying to launch a
model for the Quidditch World Cup in two years and the Nimbus Racing Broom Co. has been
trying to beat them to it; they launched the Two Thousand and One model in haste as most of their
efforts were focused elsewhere." Harry stated.
"And you know that how?" The potions master asked intrigued; the boy never failed to amaze
him.
"I overheard it when we were at Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley last summer with my
brother." Harry explained. "Anyway, if the Two Thousand and One is any indication, I don't see
them making the deadline." The next week passed uneventfully, Halloween drawing near; Adrian
was getting more and more frustrated for agreeing to attend Sir Nicholas's party, but as Hermione
had stated, he couldn't back out on his promise. And , while she and Ron were quite excited about
the party still, Harry couldn't get the appeal. So, on Halloween afternoon, he waved his brother
and his two friends goodbye as he headed towards the Great Hall. The decorations were just as
spectacular as ever, live bats flying close to the ceiling and the abnormally large pumpkins Hagrid
had provided having been carved and lit.

He sat next to Ginny Weasley on the Gryffindor table and managed to get a good look on her for
the first time in weeks; she looked pale and quiet, nothing like the Ginny he knew. He softly
remembered Percy making her drink a Pepper-Up potion a few days ago. And now she was
playing with the food in her plate, only seldom eating something.
"Hey, Ginny." He greeted the girl softly. The redhead jumped on her seat as if startled.
"Oh, hey, Harry." She greeted him back. Her voice sounded just as tired her eyes looked and the
green eyed boy decided he didn't much like it; he'd rather have her smiling.
"I'm sorry to ask Ginny but, are you alright?" She regarded him confused. "I mean, you look
tired."
"Oh, that." She actually smiled a little. "I haven't been sleeping that good lately." Ginny admitted.
"Never been away from home before; the stress must be getting to me." Harry nodded once, not
entirely convinced; he tried to engage in small talk, but all he got in return was short answers; not
rude, but very much unlike her. He was about to ask her if she was well again, when Fred
interrupted him.
"Is Ron, Adrian and Hermione really at Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party?" He asked with a
wide smile.
"Yes, they are." Harry confirmed, his mind still focused on Ginny and her strange behavior.
"Wicked!" Both twins exclaimed.
"Not so much; I bet they'll be starving by now." Ginny spoke softly, slightly surprising Harry in
the process.
"How so?" George asked.
"I don't expect food is being served in a party for ghosts." Their sister pointed out. Harry nodded
smiling; that was something he hadn't really considered.
"You know what?" He asked, taking the last bite of his treacle tart. "The feast is almost over
anyway; I'll walk to the kitchens to see if the house elves can drop something by the Common
Room later tonight."
"You have been raised a gentleman, young Harry." Fred stated, assuming a proud countenance,
George wiping an imaginary tear from the corner of his eye. Harry just shook his head at their
antics, knowing fully well that if they were in his place -though unlikely since the Weasley twins
always got in trouble together- they would do just the same. He left the table, barely registering
Ginny stating she was feeling tired. In the kitchens, needless to say, the elves were overjoyed at
the prospect of serving Adrian Potter and Harry was half debating returning to the feast when he
heard it.
" rip tear kill" It was the same voice he had heard back when he was expecting his
brother to be done with his detention. It was moving away from him and this time he was sure, it
was coming through the walls. He pressed his ear on the cold stone and tried to listen; " so
hungry for so long" The voice moved further away and Harry started running to catch up
with it. " kill time to kill" It sounded as if the voice was coming through the ceiling; was it a
ghost? He ran faster, reaching the corridor next to the Great Hall. For a moment he thought the
buzzing noises from the students still at the feast would prevent him from hearing anything else
but he was soon proved wrong. " I smell blood I SMELL BLOOD!" Harry's stomach lurched
as he looked around him hopelessly; the voice had come from just around the corner. He pulled

out his wand and moved slowly towards it.


The first thing he noticed as he turned was the water on the floor. It was quite dark, light coming
only from two torches and the moon peering in the tall arched windows, but it was enough for
Harry to catch the reflection on the stone floor. Then there was something written on the wall, in
large, bold letters, right between the two windows;
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN
OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR BEWARE
And right beneath that ominous phrase, the most unexpected thing; there, hanging from her tail
from the torch bracket was Mrs. Norris, Filch's cat. Harry jumped back shocked, splashing in the
puddle of water beneath his feet. How was that possible; Mrs. Norris didn't look stunned; she
looked frozen in time, petrified. A few pairs of footsteps broke him out of his reverie and his
fight or flight instinct -flight winning- kicked in. He jumped backwards again and hid behind a
thick tapestry that was covering a nook on the wall, the footsteps approached, followed by voices
Harry was shocked to recognize as his brother's and his friends.
"Pudding might not be finished yet" Ron mumbled hopefully.
"Well, we could give it a go." Adrian stated, the hope equally noted in his voice.
"We shouldn't bother; the feast should be almost... Look!" Hermione stated gasping; they must
have seen the writing on the wall, Harry figured. And they had, if the exclamations they made
were any indication.
"Maybe we should try and help" Adrian offered.
"We don't want to get caught here, trust me." Ron countered and they moved to leave; but it was
not to be. The feast must have ended for the whole student body seemed to leave the Great Hall
and flood the corridor. Harry dared to peek behind the tapestry when the voices got closer and,
once realizing a group of students -all standing on their toes, some even jumping up and down,
trying to see what was going on- was positioned right in front of him, he slid out from his hiding
place and mingled with the student body. He managed to make his way to his Housemates, his
mind heavy with thoughts. He wanted to visit Severus immediately, to tell him everything that had
happened, but he knew leaving the Gryffindor tower that night, even under an invisibility cloak,
would be dangerous; there were bound to be extra security measures and the potions master would
most probably be patrolling the grounds.
Adrian, Ron and Hermione had been all but questioned about being found in the vicinity of the
incident and Harry felt guilty for not saying he was there first; but how could he even begin to
explain he had followed a voice there? That was the same reason he decided not to visit Severus
after all; the potions master gave him a few strange glances during their potions lessons but Harry,
though admitting something was bothering him, opted on not clarifying what it was before
examining the subject further himself.
Adrian was being avoided -for the first time ever- from some students but was trying not to think
about it too much. Instead of dealing with those students, he chose to group closer with Ron and
Hermione and the sight of those three whispering at the Common Room was a daily occurrence.
Harry, feeling he couldn't take on worrying about them too, tried to procure a copy of Hogwarts a
History but all the books available had been already taken from the library and the wait list was
two weeks long.
But where else could he find out what the Chamber of Secrets was? He could of course ask

Severus, but Harry wanted to approach him with another idea than being crazy and hearing
homicidal voices. His questions on the subject were answered, surprisingly, by Professor Binns.
Apparently, the Chamber of Secrets was built by Salazar Slytherin himself and it contained a
terrible monster bend on ridding the school of Muggleborns and Squibs. Harry's mood couldn't get
much worse. Between studying, trying to find evidence that no, he wasn't crazy, and Quidditch
practice, he had started sympathizing with the spiders he one day found fleeing the castle.
As the days drew nearer and nearer to the first Quidditch match of the season, Harry's nerves were
close to snapping. Lessons with Lockhart had been a nightmare; not keen on bringing any more
live creatures in his class, he was happy to read passages from his books and reenact some scenes;
usually it was Adrian he chose for said reenactment but, when his brother refused to play the
werewolf, Harry was pleased to see Lockhart pale and lose that infuriating smile of his at the boy's
far-too-real-for-comfort howl.
Neville -with whom Harry had been getting to spend more time with- had congratulated him while
trying to stifle his laughter in his fist as he returned to their shared desk. They mostly sat together
at class lately and Harry had been proud to say that his new friend had been tentatively getting out
of his shell. It felt good to have a friend that he could call his own in midst of everything that was
happening at Hogwarts -and in his head.
And things only took a turn for the worse when, a day before the Quidditch match, Alicia Spinnet
was injured falling down the stairs; the girl swore she couldn't remember tripping but with a huge
bump on her head and a slight concussion, it wasn't unexpected. What also wasn't unexpected was
that Madam Pomfrey had forbidden her to play Quidditch the next day. Adrian took her place
instead and Harry had to practically force feed him that night. He tried to calm him down,
reminding him that their parents would be there for the match but that only succeeded in
terrorizing him even more. No matter what Harry said, he couldn't shake his brother's crazy idea
that Sirius and James would never allow him to live it down if they lost tomorrow.
Harry was staring at the curtains of his bed that night unable to sleep that night. Despite his many
worries, the game was what stuck out most at the moment and Harry found himself tossing and
turning on his bed. Any further thoughts he might have had on the subject were brought to a
standstill when his brother's startled voice echoed in the room. At first, Harry supposed it was a
nightmare but was about to check on Adrian anyway when he head him talk.
"What are you doing here, Dobby?" Dobby? Harry thought confused.
"Dobby has come to warn you sir." The voice answered; Harry had heard many of his species
speak before and he knew without a doubt that his brother was talking to a house elf; Adrian's
face as he looked at the elves in the kitchens flew to his mind. So he knew this house elf? From
where?
"Warn me of what?" Adrian whispered.
"Adrian Potter should not have returned to Hogwarts, sir! Dobby had hoped that when Adrian
Potter couldn't board the train"
"How do you know about It was you! You stopped us from boarding the train!" Adrian
accused the house elf silently. Someone -Neville judging from the spot where the sound originated
from- snored loudly and the conversation between the unlikely pair became even more hushed;
somehow, Harry had no problem listening to them.
"Dobby ironed his hands afterwards as a punishment, sir." The elf stated piteously and Harry
shook his head resigned; it was truly hard to stay mad at a house elf for long.

"You can't keep me away from Hogwarts Dobby, I told you so." So this Dobby was trying to
keep him away from the school? Why?
"Terrible things are happening in Hogwarts, sir. Dobby wants only what's best for you, sir. And
now that the Chamber is opened again" A gasp was heard and Harry wasn't certain whether it
was Adrian or the house elf that produced it.
"The Chamber had been opened before?" Adrian asked eagerly. Nice question there, Harry
thought as he moved closer to his curtains, trying to catch every word that might come from the
elf.
"Dobby shouldn't say bad Dobby!" And then a few thuds were heard along with his brother's
whispered protests that clearly showed Dobby was punishing himself.
"Stop Dobby, it's an order!" Even if Adrian wasn't the elf's master, the direct order was obviously
enough to prevent the elf of causing extended damage to himself.
"Adrian Potter must leave Hogwarts sir, or terrible things will happen, sir." Yes, we got it, terrible
things will happen, care to elaborate? Harry thought anxiously.
"My brother and friends are here Dobby and one of them is Muggleborn; I can't leave them and
go!" The house elf was sent in a delirious speech of Adrian's greatness and his chivalrous heart
while the hazel eyed Potter tried to convince him into saying what he knew of the Chamber.
Unfortunately, their increasing in volume conversation woke somebody up.
"Watsup?" A groggy voice sounded from the other side of the room before a soft cracking noise
announced the house elf leaving.
"Ron, you won't believe what happened again!" Adrian whispered to his redhead friend; Harry
had the fleeting suspicion he would have to fly tomorrow with only a few hours of sleep. He was
right.

Petrified Students And Suspicions


The next morning, Harry woke up with a headache from all the information he had gotten last
night, the usual dread before a Quidditch match and the strong notion he would have to speak
with Severus immediately after the game. He had delayed it for far too long already and he could
see the potions master was very close at giving him a detention just to get him talk. He threw away
the covers, rubbed his eyes open and headed for the bathroom to throw some water on his face,
waking his brother up in the process.
The two boys, along with Neville who had woken up to wish Harry good luck, were soon at the
Great Hall with the rest of the team, eating silently at the empty table of the Gryffindor House
before heading to the field. Harry almost forgot his own tangled nerves in his attempt to calm his
ashen faced brother; Adrian was fidgeting, fixing his glasses that weren't even slipping from his
nose, trying to straighten his hair or his robes.
"Once you get out there, you'll feel much better." Harry insisted, smiling confidently. Not that he
felt confident at all about winning the game, but he knew for sure that most of the hassle was
getting at the field. Once you were there, you were far too focused on playing to actually care
about your anxieties.
"You think?" Adrian asked hopefully.
"I know." Harry stated, winking at his brother in a perfect imitation of Lockhart.
"Team, gather around!" Wood called as footsteps were heard above them, the tall-tale sign that
students were gathering on the stands.
"There we go again" George muttered.
"Slytherin has better brooms than us," he began. "No point denying it. But we've got
better people on our brooms. We've flown at all weathers" ("Too true." Muttered George
Weasley. "I haven't been properly dry since August.") "and we're going to make them rue the
day they let that little bit of slime, Malfoy, buy his way into the team." Eyes sparkling with a crazy
gleam, Oliver turned his eyes towards Harry. "It'll be down to you, Harry, to show them that a
Seeker has to have more than a rich father. Get to that Snitch before Malfoy or die trying, Harry,
because we've got to win today, we've got to."
"So no pressure, Harry." Said Fred, winking at him.
"Is he always like that?" Adrian asked a little scared.
"Scary and paranoid?" Harry asked back lightheartedly.
"Yes."
"Yes." Harry repeated as an answer.
"Oh." Adrian simply stated smiling faintly. The team made it out amidst loud cheers from their
House -Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff too, both Houses had spent too much time losing against
Slytherin to not hold a bit of a grudge- and boos from the green clad fans of the Slytherin team. It
was pouring, but the two teams paid no notice and gathered in the middle of the field. After the
promise of a clean match was made to Madam Hooch, the teams took off. Harry immediately
began looking for the elusive golden ball, not wanting Malfoy to get his hands on it first.

The blond Seeker proved he wasn't above cheating when he grabbed the back of Harry's
broomstick to stop him from getting the Snitch. Harry had turned to Fred and George, trying to see
why they weren't throwing a Bludger at Malfoy, only to find them defending his brother with all
their might from a Bludger that seemed to be targeting him specifically. A few near misses of
Adrian's head and Oliver had to call for a timeout.
Adrian had vehemently refused to forfeit the match just because a Bludger was trying to decapitate
him and Harry, caught between his usual urge to protect his brother and his thirst to win the
match, vowed to get the Snitch as fast as he could. And he did just that, getting the Snitch right
under Malfoy's nose; literally too, since the Slytherin Seeker was so absorbed with making fun of
Adrian who was avoiding the Bludger with all he had, he didn't notice the Snitch hovering next to
his head.
The team had gathered to celebrate in the middle of the field when Harry caught it with the corner
of his eye; the Bludger that had been targeting Adrian during the whole game was coming
towards him yet again; it hit his brother straight to the chest, and knocked him of his broom, before
returning to finish the job. Not having time to draw his wand from such a distance, Harry simply
placed himself between his brother and the Bludger. The sickening crack and the searing pain on
his left arm easily informed him of a broken bone. He pulled out his wand swiftly with his right
hand and pointed it at the Bludger.
"Reducto!" He bellowed, the jet of magic from his wand turning the Bludger into fine dust.
"Harry!" Adrian called shocked. "Your arm! What were you thinking?" His words were coming
out slurred and Harry realized he had hit his head falling.
"That I'd rather my brother kept his head on his shoulders." Harry admitted with a pained smile.
"Ouch, by the way."
"Adrian! Harry!" Lily's voice echoed in the field, rising above all the ruckus around. "Harry, are
you alright?"
"Great catch, kiddo!" Sirius called from behind her. "Malfoy never saw what hit him!" Lily glared
at him and Sirius stopped in his tracks. "Sorry, Lily."
"It was a great catch though." James added.
"James, could you stop it!" Lily hollered and turned her attention back to her amused, albeit in
pain, son. "Harry what were you thinking! And Adrian, are you alright?" She added, noticing the
swelling bump on Adrian's head. The boy simply nodded, regretting moving his head the very
next moment. Harry was more vocal in his response;
"Why does everybody ask me that? Would you rather I'd let Adrian get hit?" That seemed to
placate her a little as she gathered her youngest into her arms, minding his arm.
"You're an amazing brother, Harry. And I'm proud of you; but if you ever do something like that
again you'll be grounded until you turn seventeen." She stated amidst tears.
"Clear the way, clear the way!" Lockhart's voice broke through the gathering crowds. Neville,
who was following after him, run as fast as he could to reach Harry first, pointing at Lockhart's
hand as he went. The blond professor's wand was drawn and Harry could guess he wanted to try
healing his arm. Nodding thankfully to Neville for the heads up, he turned to his family;
"What do you say we take this to the infirmary?" Harry asked, more than glad when his parents
agreed, taking him away from a disappointed Lockhart. Harry caught Severus's eye and send him

a look that clearly stated 'talk to you later'. The potions master nodded and smiled slightly, before
shaking is head and waking towards the Slytherin team; this was one of the few times he could
scold Malfoy without raising suspicions and he wasn't letting it go to waste.
"But why would a Bludger do that?" Remus wondered while Madam Pomfrey worked on Harry's
hand. "They're not supposed to target players specifically."
"Well this one did." Sirius offered, looking pensive.
"I don't know how to thank you, Harry" Adrian mumbled for the tenth time that hour. The
hazel eyed twin had his head bandaged and was lying on a bed next to Harry.
"Nonsense!" Harry retorted. "You're my brother, Adrian; jumping in front of a rampaging
Bludger is the least I could do. If anything, I should have moved faster!" Adrian smiled weakly
and nodded once. Harry wasn't fooled and expected to be thanked all over again in about ten
minutes. The hazel eyed twin had a concussion and some bruised ribs and would be forced to
spend the night in the infirmary.
"And it was a brave thing to do." Lily stated, ruffling her green-eyed son's hair.
"Was that the Reductor Curse you used on the Bluger?" James asked interested.
"Yeah, it was."
"That's advanced magic Harry, for your age." James stated with a smile. "And it was a potent one
too!"
"I found the spell in the library last month; I hadn't really tried it." And it was the truth; he hadn't
tried that specific spell before. It was just the first one relevant that popped into his mind.
"My son, the bookworm." Lily said fondly.
"I resent that!" Harry huffed in annoyance, causing some laughter. "No, really, I do! Here I am, in
the infirmary, being treated for a broken bone I got playing Quidditch and yet you call me a
bookworm!"
"He's got you there, Lily." Sirius offered with an amused smirk.
"Speaking of your broken arm," Madam Pomfrey stated, "you're good to go. Now, it was a nasty
one and it might sting a bit for the rest of the day. If you don't put much weight into it for the next
couple of hours it will be completely fine by nightfall."
"Thank you, Madam Pomfrey." Harry said smiling. "Will you be alright?" He asked his brother, a
bit guilty he got to leave before him.
"For the third time, I'll be just fine, Harry! Ron and Hermione will drop by later anyway; just go
have fun." Harry smiled and nodded in agreement; the party of five walked all the way up to the
Gryffindor tower, where the adults, with a strong feeling of nostalgia, said their goodbyes and left
the boy to return. The greeting by his Housemates was loud to say the least. A few of Fred and
George's fireworks flew around the room and someone had obviously paid a visit to the kitchens
judging from the abundance of food laying around.
"Amazing catch, Harry!" Neville exclaimed, running to greet his friend. "But is your hand alright?
And how's Adrian?"
"He's just fine." Harry assured the boy. "A little startled and dizzy from a very impressive bump

he managed to get on his head, but otherwise unharmed. And Madam Pomfrey healed my arm in
no time." He said smiling. "Thanks by the way, Nev; who knows what would have happened had
Lockhart managed to reach me!"
"Don't mention it, Harry!" Neville stated smiling back at the green eyed wizard. "That's what
friends are for, right?" Harry's smile widened at the proclamation, threatening to tear his face in
two. Friend. He used to think he had had friends before, but that title was mostly held by Ron and
Hermione. And those two were friends of his brother that occasionally hang out with him too. But
a friend all of his own? Someone that had chosen to befriend him for himself? He had never had
that before Neville.
"That's exactly what friends are for, Nev!" Harry agreed and pushed his friend towards the twins
that were once again showcasing their aptitude for all things prak related in the middle of the
room.
It was late at night when Harry finally had the occurrence to take the cloak from his brother's trunk
and slip outside the Common Room, trying to find an easy way to broach the subject of him
hearing voices to Severus; was there even a way to broach such a subject and not end up sounding
crazy? He was at the bottom of the Grand Staircase when he heard it.
" tear kill" Harry froze.
"Not again!" He mumbled as he ran towards the voice, wand drawn. Rationally it was the wrong
thing to do, run towards an unidentified danger. But what could he do? Last time it was Mrs.
Norris who got petrified; what if something worse happened this time?
" I can smell you so hungry" The voice was going upwards again and Harry followed.
" kill time to kill" The sound was coming from a few corridors up still. It was close to the
infirmary? Harry doubled his efforts, thinking of his brother.
" die, Mudblood!" Harry run the few stairs stood frozen at the sight than greeted him. On the
floor lay a prone form, a small body, his camera still held in front of his face. Colin Creevy lay on
the floor petrified. Harry couldn't tell how long he stood there; a noise was heard from the stairs
bellow him and he looked down to see the Headmaster, clad in woolen robes and a nightcap, a
steaming cup in his hands, climbing the stairs. Not wanting to be found there, Harry walked softly
towards the corridor behind him, running only when he turned around the first corner. Out of
breath he knocked on Severus's office.
"Calm down, Harry!" Severus exclaimed as the boy entered the office in a half invisible blear.
"What happened?"
"Colin Creevy. He's been petrified! Dad, I was just there! It was the voice. I followed it there."
Harry was breathing heavily, pacing up and down the room. How could this have happened?
"A student petrified?" Severus asked numbly. "And you followed a voice? What voice?" The
flames in the fireplace turned green and Severus placed the invisibility cloak swiftly on Harry
before hastily replacing his disillusionment charms and approaching; the face of Minerva
McGonagall appeared on the burning embers.
"Severus!" She called; there was anxiousness in her tone, panic even.
"Minerva? What seems to be the problem?"
"A student was found by Albus on the Grand Staircase. A first year student petrified! It's awful,
Severus!" Harry had never heard the usually collected Deputy Headmistress sound like that.

"Calm down, Minerva." Severus spoke evenly. "Is the student at the infirmary?"
"Yes, Albus carried him there." She breathed in deeply. "Can you come over? We need your
confirmation that it's the same thing that happened to Filch's cat."
"I'm on my way. Should I alert the students?"
"Albus said we shouldn't; they will find out tomorrow, we shouldn't spread panic in the middle of
the night." The potions master nodded.
"I will be there in a few minutes." McGonagall's face disappeared from the fireplace and Severus
turned back to Harry who took off the cloak.
"Sev, I"
"I'll be back in an hour tops. You should stay here and try to relax; then I want you to tell me
everything." He waved his wand producing a cup of hot chocolate as Harry sat in an armchair.
The minutes ticked by slowly as Harry thought. The voice had to be real; how else could it lead
him to the place of the attack? But why was he the only one to hear it? He looked at the empty
painting on the wall deep in thought. What was happening in Hogwarts this time?
In the meantime, Severus had reached the infirmary. The student was indeed a first year
Gryffindor called Colin Creevy and a great fan of Adrian Potter. He had apparently sneaked out
of the Gryffindor Common Room to snap a picture of his hero. Hoping he had caught a glimpse
of the attacker, Albus had opened the lid of his camera; a thick grey smoke and the smell of
burned plastic was all his action revealed. Dumbledore seemed to know who the Heir was,
Severus thought as he returned to his office, having verified Creevy had fallen victim of the same
fate that had befallen Mrs. Norris. Albus knew but still seemed perplexed as to how it was
possible. And a perplexed Albus was never good news.
Then there was Harry, the potions master thought quickening his step. The boy had avoided
speaking to him for a few weeks; that in itself was highly unusual. The fact that he seemed
preoccupied was unnerving. The way he looked earlier that night was right down disturbing; he
had been pale and going on and on about a voice that had led him to the scene of the crime. He
opened the door to his office, a pair of emerald eyes boring into his immediately.
"Is Colin really"
"Yes, he has been petrified." Severus confirmed; Harry sunk back into the armchair.
"Oh." He mumbled softly.
"You wanted to tell me something before Minerva called." The potions master reminded him,
sitting right across him. Harry lifted his eyes contemplative, as if he was trying to fond the right
words. That too, was never good news.
"Last spring, Ron Weasley told me that I was loosing my mind from all the studying I was doing."
Harry began, remembering a conversation from last May.
"Why is this relevant?"
"I think he was right."
"On you studying too much?" Severus offered, trying to lift his mood.

"Not that. The losing my mind part." Harry corrected him.


"And what made you think you're losing your mind?"
"I" Harry looked at the floor crestfallen. "I may be hearing voices that nobody else hears." He
finally admitted.
"Voices?"
"Well, one voice really. Quite the bloodthirsty one; it keeps repeating that it wants to kill
someone" Harry looked back at Severus's eyes with fear.
"To kill you said?" Severus asked. Harry hearing voices was not a good thing indeed. Mostly
because it was Harry who was hearing them and that probably indicated a magical threat rather
than insanity. And with the resent attacks
"Yep." Harry agreed trying and failing to sound lighthearted. "I hear a murderous voice coming
from the walls. Not a very good sign for my sanity, I fear."
"For argument's sake," Severus began as he rose from his chair to sit at the corner of his desk,
closer to Harry. "Let's say you're not -and I truly believe you're not- crazy." Harry nodded, quite
liking the idea. "And if you're not crazy, there has to be another explanation for the voice."
"Like what?" Harry asked, sitting straighter in his chair.
"You said you're the only one who can hear it?"
"Yes." Harry confirmed. "I was waiting for Adrian to get through with his detention with
Lockhart first time I heard it." Harry explained rubbing his eyes. "I thought that Adrian might
need to see a friendly face after so many hours locked in the same room as Lockhart, answering
his mail, but the detention went on forever and I was half asleep on the floor. When I heard the
voice, I passed it off as a ghost playing tricks, quite possibly Peeves."
"Reasonable enough." Severus agreed.
"The second time, was right before Mrs. Norris was petrified. Adrian, Ron and Hermione had
managed to get stack at Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party without food and I had, kind of,
ditched them to go to the Halloween feast; I decided to ask the house elves to prepare something
for them and take it to the Common Room when I heard the voice, claiming it wanted to kill,
heading towards the Great Hall; I had just read the message on the wall when Adrian showed up;
I hid behind the tapestry and mingled with the students when the feast was over."
"And why didn't you tell me then?" Severus asked confused.
"I wanted to, but I thought I just wanted to have a better explanation than being crazy before I
said anything." Harry looked ashamed as he admitted why he was avoiding him; it was silly of
course, Harry thinking that he could ever believe him crazy, Severus thought.
"You know you can talk to me about anything, right?" The potions master asked.
"Yeah."
"And I want you to; even if it is about voices you hear that shouldn't be there." He thought of his
statement a bit better. "Especially if it is about voices you hear." He corrected.
"Do you" Harry gulped. "Do you think if I had told you sooner Colin wouldn't"

"No. Don't shoulder the blame for that too." Severus warned him. "We have no idea what's
responsible for these attacks and who this Heir is. Well, Dumbledore seems to know, but even he
couldn't do anything to prevent the latest attack." Harry nodded once, not completely convinced.
"Anyway, the third time I heard it was tonight; I followed it all the way to the place where I found
Colin. But I was already on the way to tell you. After Dobby popped in last night"
"Dobby?" Severus asked confused.
"A house elf that visited my brother last night" Harry explained, narrating what he had heard.
The potions master rubbed his eyes tiredly; how could a house elf know what was to happen in
Hogwarts before it did? How could an elf know about the attacks? And if the elf, Dobby, did
know, why did he warn Adrian and not the Headmaster?
"Let's take one thing at a time here before I lose my mind." Severus suggested.
"Okay."
"First of all, promise you will always come to me when something bothers you; the way I see it,
hearing you out and helping every way I can is in my job description." Harry smiled.
"I promise, Dad." Severus smiled back.
"Now, back to that voice; I believe we can say for sure that it's not a product of your imagination."
Severus explained. "It has led you to the place of the attacks twice already."
"So you think that the voice and the attacks are connected?" Harry asked.
"Admit you have already thought about it, even fleetingly." Severus stated, cocking an eyebrow.
Harry nodded; he had thought about it, but only after the second attack. After all, the first time he
heard the voice there had been no petrified victim to account for.
"After tonight I did, yes."
"And if it's not just in your mind, it's real. And if it's real, why are you the only one hearing it?"
Severus asked, the question sending both of them into a contemplative silence.
Harry concentrated, gathering his tired mind as better as he could. What made him different than
the rest of the present occupants in the castle that could lead him into hearing voices? Well,
he was an alchemist,Harry thought, but hearing voices -just like in most magical arts, with perhaps
the notable exception of Divination- was generally frowned upon amongst alchemists too. His
eyes widened at the next possible solution; on one hand it would make sense, as, in essence,
he did possess an ability allowed him to hear voices that others didn't and, on the other hand, it
would make no sense at all. For why would a snake be attacking Muggleborn students?
"Sev?" Harry asked tentatively.
"Any ideas?"
"Just one."
"And that would be?" The potions master urged him on.
"Could me being a Parselmouth have had anything to do with that voice I've been hearing?"
Severus cocked an eyebrow as he pondered the green eyed boy's suggestion. Because while, yes,
it was the most viable explanation -when Salazar Slytherin got involved snakes always followed-

it didn't quite foreshadow well.


"It most probably does." The potions master agreed, nodding absentmindedly. "But I'm not sure if
that's reassuring."
"You'd rather I'd gone mental?" Harry asked with a soft smirk.
"No. Not really." The potions master agreed, his expression still one of worry. "Still, you do
realize that, if it's indeed a snake you're hearing -and what else could it be with the Heir of
Slytherin supposedly in Hogwarts?- then it's a snake with homicidal tendencies, strongly
prejudiced against Muggleborns and with the ability to petrify them. And it's somehow slithering
unseen around the castle, at the beck and call of whoever this supposed heir is." Harry leaned
back on his chair.
"I see your point." He admitted. "What I don't understand is," Harry begun after a lengthy pause
"what kind of snake could do something like that? What species has the power to petrify?"
"That, Harry, is yet another good question." Severus stated, making a mental list of the abilities of
each kind of snake he knew. Many could poison, some had magical properties of various types
and many -magical or not- could kill. But petrify? "And one I'm afraid I can't answer." The
potions master concluded with a sigh. He could already feel a massive headache coming his way.

Restricted Potions And A Strange Diary


Harry was fuming; it was true that it wasn't the first time it happened, but he was slowly getting
frustrated. Adrian was whispering with Ron and Hermione again, their hushed tones not passing
as anything close to the inconspicuous conversation they aimed for. And it wasn't that Harry was
opposed to Adrian having his secrets and his own life; he imagined being opposed to something
like that would be pretentious at the least, considering the secrets himself kept. But they were
twins. And while he kept his secrets, the green eyed boy thought, he did it to protect his brother; if
telling wouldn't put his brother in immediate danger, he would have told him everything. But this
wasn't a life and death situation; it was some sort of mischief Adrian was going to get involved
with along with Ron and Hermione and, once again, he wasn't included in their private circle.
So he just watched them from behind his Charms textbook, talking and plotting, ignorant to him
observing them. But then again the rest of the Common Room seemed oblivious to their
conspiratorial conversation; his fellow Gryffindors were currently far too absorbed looking at the
next grand pyrotechnic display of the Weasley twins to notice, so the golden trio -as the students
had taken to calling Adrian, Ron and Hermione- had no reason to believe they were being
watched. Harry sighed and tried to concentrate on his textbook again; it was Charms, this time for
real, just not of the second year. Though anyone that looked at what he was reading would be
none the wiser, he was studying sixth year material.
His attention however, as it usually went when his brother was plotting something that could
possibly prove dangerous for his own wellbeing, just wasn't in it. It had been a hectic month since
Severus and Harry had realised it was a snake that caused the attacks; what type was still uncertain
and Severus was getting on his last nerve, looking down right murderous while reading all the
books he could find on the subject. Harry himself was dividing his time between trying to find out
what his brother was up to and moving on with his studies; the potions master had urged him to go
on, reminding him that falling behind schedule would do nothing but prevent him from dealing
with the snake when the time came.
Severus of course, had no intention of letting him deal with Slytherin's monster alone -probably
didn't even want him near a ten mile radius of it, Harry realized- but he was doing his best to make
sure the green eyed wizard wasn't obsessing over it. Harry, on his part, was trying to fill his free
time with anything else but the snake, since he had hit a dead end on his own research; so he read
on alchemy, charms, hexes, potions, runes and even his animagus transformation
"are you sure we have everything we need?" Ron asked from across the room. And speaking of
animagus transformations, the green eyed wizard thought, he really shouldn't have heard Ron
from that far away; the redhead was whispering after all. He had noticed occurrences like that
before and a bit of careful reading on some old parchments from Nicholas's collection Severus had
smuggled in the castle confirmed his suspicions; it seemed that, once an animagus transformation
was completed successfully, elements of the human and the animal form leaked to each other. It
was usually the stronger or one of the strongest characteristics of each form, so Severus and Harry
had been experiencing some improvement in their hearing, one of the strongest assets of a wolf. It
also explained, the green eyed boy guessed, why both his and Severus's wolf forms were pitch
black, what with their hair and everything. And it definitely gave him some insight on Sirius's
character.
"Everything is set; don't worry, Ron." Hermione assured him and then they resumed talking,
whispering too softly for even Harry to hear in the crowded Common Room that was still too
noisy, despite the firework show was over. Harry knew enough to understand that, when asking if
they had everything they needed, Ron was referring to potions ingredients. After a disastrous

potions class where a Filibuster firework had magically appeared inside a cauldron filled with
Swelling Solution that ended up on various students, a fuming Severus had discovered some
ingredients from his personal storage had gone missing.
After Harry had eavesdropped on his brother a bit, they had managed to put two and two together
and the green eyed wizard had to restrain Severus from slipping some truth serum in Adrian's cup,
reminding him it was slightly illegal to drug students. And though they had no real evidence of the
golden trio being behind the theft, the potions master had made the unnerving discovery that the
ingredients taken were used primarily for the Polyjuice potion. Harry was still mentally recovering
from that one.
"Studying for Charms?" Neville's voice sounded tired as he slumped next to his friend on the
couch, his DADA textbook -well, one of them- in his hand and a look of hopelessness on his face.
"Yes." Harry offered simply, smiling sympathetically at his friend's predicament.
"I swear, if I read another line on how amazing Lockhart is, I'm hexing him next chance I get!"
"That's the spirit!" Harry exclaimed, congratulating Neville who was still a bit taken aback from
his own proclamation.
"Lockhart's books are messing with my mind, I swear." Well, at least you're not dealing with the
voice of an unknown murderous snake, Nev, Harry thought tiredly.
"I think your mind is rebelling against Lockhart's writing, honestly." Harry offered. It was nice to
see Neville expressing himself without feeling embarrassed, even if it was just when he was
around, the green eyed wizard surmised.
"Between Quirrell and Lockhart, it's no surprise I can't cast a good defence spell to save my life!"
The brown eyed boy stated self-depreciatingly. Harry pondered on that for a few seconds; there
was a war coming, sometime in the future, and he didn't know when exactly; maybe it would be
in a decade, maybe in a month. What would happen to Neville then? He shivered at the thought;
his mind was made up without hesitation.
"Look, Nev," Harry began, taking a spare scroll from the table in front of him where his
completed transfiguration essay lay, inking his quill and writing down the titles of a couple of the
books he had read and had helped him with his basic spellwork; he knew that if Neville wanted to
improve -and he knew that his friend not only wanted to that but also had what it took to achieve
it- he would have to start with the basics. "Here are some books that have really helped me out."
Harry said and gave the small list to Neville. "You can start with those, you can borrow them from
the library, and then continue with our year's normal curriculum. Once you've read them, I'll help
you practice. How does that sound?" Neville just looked between the list in his hands and Harry
in utter disbelief.
"You mean it?"
"I wouldn't offer to help you if I didn't mean it." Harry assured him with a smile. "Isn't that what
friends are for?" Neville's answering smile was blinding, his eyes moist.
"That's exactly what friends are for!" He answered and Harry chuckled at the role reversal. He
couldn't wait till Christmas day; Neville was bound to be stunned with his gift. He had been
working on that idea for months and Severus had been overjoyed to help.
Well, Severus had been overjoyed that Harry had finally found a friend his age in general and
wholly approved of the green eyed wizard's choice; Neville Longbottom was a timid boy, he had

said, but only due to the way he was raised. He had potential, Severus was sure, and had gladly
agreed to help orchestrate what Harry had in mind. And that was the only thing that Severus had
enjoyed the past few weeks. With everything that was on his mind, he was very close to his
breaking point.
So, it came as no surprise to Harry that the potions master chose to unleash some of his pent-up
frustration just to torment Lockhart. The green eyed wizard didn't mind anyway; the prancing idiot
had managed to take a Duelling Club and turn it to a theatre, thus Severus had actually
volunteered to help him just so he could get a chance to curse him to oblivion. Harry was one of
the students clapping when he hexed Lockhart with a vicious Expelliarmus to the other side of the
room. Even the ponce had realized he was out of his league and hastened to pair the students for
some practice.
Adrian was just about to duel with Ron, Harry taking his place opposite to Neville when his
brother caught Draco's sneer from the other side of the room; the staring contest evolved into a
duel, with Lockhart shouting at them that they were only supposed to disarm their opponent. The
blond had even gone and used some basic burgeoning spells that were inadmissible to duels
between minors and would have caused serious damage had someone else been his opponent
instead of Adrian. One of the deflected curses from Adrian's shielding charm almost hit Justin
Finch-Fletchley in the face, resulting to the poor boy fainting from the mere shock.
And while Harry and Severus were unsuccessful in their attempts to find the attacker or the kind
of snake that caused the attacks, a day after the Duelling Club incident, Justin was found petrified,
having escaped bodily damage from Draco's curses only to be assaulted by Slytherin's monster
pet. And even worse? Petrified next to him floated Nearly Headless Nick.
"How in bloody hell can you petrify a ghost?" Harry had exclaimed furiously at Severus's office
that night. It was a mark of how preoccupied the potions master was that he didn't even caution
the green eyed wizard to watch his language. And worst thing was, it had been Adrian who had
discovered the victims and Peeves who had stumbled over Adrian; once again rumours flied
around the school with the poltergeist feeding the fire, up to the point were everybody suspected it
was Adrian himself that was the Slytherin Heir. That had only seemed to have intensified his
brother's urgency to finish whatever it was he was planning with his friends and Harry's urge to
bang his head against the wall.
And there they were, a few days before Christmas holidays, planning to stay in the castle once
again. Their parents would be busy for most of the holidays and, while the Potter twins would floo
over a day before Christmas, they would spend the greater part of their holidays at Hogwarts. That
worked just fine for Adrian it seemed, but not for Harry who, besides dreading that whatever his
brother was planning would prove catastrophic, had also been dying to try out his latest design; all
those sleepless nights and the pent up worry had led to some very productive late night designs on
his broomstick side-project.
"Studying for Charms?" Fred asked plopping down next to Harry on the couch startling the boy
from his thoughts.
"Yep." Harry answered laconically, closing the book as he scooted over for George to sit down
too.
"Blimey mate! Is that all you do?" George asked cocking an eyebrow. They seemed in a much
more serious disposition than they usually were, Harry realized, and couldn't help wondering why.
A letter in Fred's hand, on which he could just make out the writing of their mother told him part
of the story; and the fact that the twins had gotten detention again, blowing up Merlin knew what
a few days ago told him the rest.

"Trouble at home?" He asked calmly as the two of them looked at each other.
"Perceptive, aren't ya?" George asked sighing. Whatever that letter was, it must have been pretty
bad.
"So I've been told." Harry agreed with a nod. "And that means I'm right?"
"Yeah." Fred confirmed. "Mom learned of our latest detention and"
"I get it." Harry assured him.
"I'm not sure you do." George stated, sharing a look with his brother. The green eyed wizard
regarded them carefully.
"And why would that be? Surely, your mother can't be that angry"
"It's not that, mate. It's just that"
"everybody knows you're some sort of renegade Ravenclaw, joining Gryffindor just for the
better Quidditch team." Fred completed his brother's sentence in a matter-of-fact voice.
"What?" Harry asked confused. "Nobody thinks of me like that! Do they?" Suddenly the
Common Room felt just a bit smaller.
"They do; even Flitwick said so once." Harry's eyes widened in confusion.
"Professor Flitwick thinks that I'm a renegade Ravenclaw?"
"No, but he said you should be in Ravenclaw and you know what? That's actually why you
don't get it." The green eyed boy opted on agreeing; he surely didn't get it now.
"I must admit that you lost me."
"What Fred means," George explained "is that you're the top student in your year and the
Gryffindor Seeker. Mom was talking to Remus who told her something about a magazine
subscription he got you for Christmas last year and she tends to compare" He mumbled almost
inaudibly. Harry smiled sadly.
"My mother does the same you know." The twins' attention shifted from looking at the carpet
gloomily to him in a fraction of a second.
"She does?" They chorused, two identical, confused pairs of blue eyes staring back at him.
"Not consciously, I think, but she does." Harry assured them shrugging. "Just with my mother
she's not one that will send a letter about it but I can see it sometimes, when Adrian and I are in the
same room with her. It's the little things in my case, but I get what you mean." Fred and George
regarded Harry just a little differently, not like they had never seen him before, just as if they had
discovered something about him that they had never imagined was there. And Harry on his part
understood there was more to the twins than playfulness and pranks.
"Maybe you do get it after all." Fred admitted, stealing a glance towards Adrian.
"Well, at least you don't get the comparison shoved in your face." George offered.
"Was it the detention that did it this time?" Harry asked curiously.
"It's not just that." George admitted.

"OWLs are coming next year and Mom wanted to know what we're thinking of doing after
school." Fred explained. "She was hoping we'd want to work in the Ministry, we said no, and
things just got nastier from that point."
"I see. And just what do you want to do after school?"
"We were thinking of opening our own shop in Diagon Alley." George confessed after a short
pause. "A jokes' shop, just like Zonko's."
"You sure have the knack for it." Harry said smiling; he could see that happening in a few years.
"I wish Mom saw it your way." George was looking at the letter in Fred's hands as he spoke.
"Well, that's not as important as it seems now." Harry stated. "You can't decide for your future
based on what everyone else wants you to do. It's your future after all."
"Yeah but"
"Look at it this way." The green eyed wizard interrupted Fred. "If you follow a career you don't
really like, you'll end up miserable or at least forever live to wonder what would have happened if
you had followed your dream. Do you think your mother wants that?"
"No" They both mumbled.
"Exactly. If you try and see it her way, I believe you'll find out she's just scared; your mother
understands that it will be easier to just work at the Ministry. It will give you a steady job and an
income that will support a comfortable life for you. Having your own business is that much more
risky, I guess. But if you really want it and work towards making it true, you'll win her over
eventually, don't worry." Harry said, trying to reassure the twins.
"Our little Harrykins has gone and matured on us!" Fred exclaimed with a smirk, his eyes finally
sparkling again.
"And so smart too!" George seconded.
"So smart, I seldom understand a word I say." Harry offered seriously, causing a round of
chuckles. "But really now, if opening a shop is what you want, give it a try. I, for one, would put
money on that idea."
"We might just take you up on that one, Potter!" George threatened.
"So, should we expect you to follow our path and not become the perfect Head Boy everyone
expects?" Fred asked.
"The perfect Head Boy? Merlin forbid!" Harry exclaimed in mock fear.
"Then what should we expect from you? A career in Quidditch perhaps?" Harry chuckled once.
"Quidditch, you said?" He asked, thinking of the half finished designs of race broomsticks inside
his trunk. "That's a thought."
"I'm happily surprised, my dear boy!" Fred announced in his best Dumbledore imitation.
"Jubilant I would say! Ecstatic!" George added, imitating Percy and shaking Harry's hand for a
good measure.

"I just can't get your surprise. I'm already a renegade Ravenclaw, as you said; what's stopping me
from being a complete wild card?" The green eyed wizard rationalised with a smirk.
"Nothing we can see!" Both twins exclaimed. The evening passed pleasantly after that; Harry
decided to spend more time with the twins in the future. There was definitely more to them than
what met the eye and he could connect to that a bit.
The week ended and the majority of the students returned home for the winter break. Hermione,
the Weasleys, Neville, who had asked his grandmother if he could stay -and be spared the grand
family reunion, citing he needed to study as a reason- and the Potters were practically the only
ones left in Gryffindor house and even Harry and Adrian left for the day before Christmas, as their
parents would be away for a week and return just after New Year's Eve. Harry thought he might
have been seeing things, but there was some sort of tension between Lily and James that wasn't
there before. He wrote it off as his imagination as he returned to the castle early on Christmas
morning.
Presents had been exchanged and, after having a good laugh at the newly enchanted -courtesy of
the Weasley twins- Percy's Prefect badge, that now read Pin-Head, the green eyed Potter twin
walked towards the dungeons to Severus's office. His brother and his friends seemed over excited
that morning, but it was Christmas after all and besides, the only interesting thing that Harry had
gotten out of his brother was that, when he had gone to Dumbledore's office after discovering
Justin and Nick, Fawkes had regenerated.
So, deciding to enjoy Christmas day, Harry told Neville not to give him his present yet and meet
him at the Great Hall in an hour; like that, he was dungeon bound and had just enough time to
exchange his gifts with Severus before going to fetch Neville for his Christmas surprise.
"Merry Christmas, Harry!" The potions master exclaimed when the boy in question entered his
office. He was in a good mood from what Harry could see and that promptly put a smile on his
face. Severus had gotten him some freshly cut ash branches, perfect for the broom he was
designing, a professional broomsmith kit -all prototype models were made using those tools he
explained, after Harry got over the fact said tools were made from pure silver- and a scroll he
insisted he would give him later, just to heighten the suspense.
Harry on his part, presented him with three large tomes on potions, neatly wrapped in dark green
paper, titled Scinncrft DrenceBrowan, or The Art of Potion-Making; the books were clad in the
finest dark brown leather with swirling patterns of silver on their backs. Severus opened the first
one, with a child-like excitement. His mouth fell open at the sight.
"Were did you find these texts?" He asked, his eyes skimming over recipes and potions rare or
forgotten.
"I asked Minnie to visit my vault and find anything there was on Nicholas's collection on the
subject of rare potions; it was mostly in different scrolls and in various states of fraying parchment,
but I asked her to bring those I found interesting at school a few at a time, since I didn't finish the
whole thing during the summer. I only read a few in detail, but I did my best to catalogue them
and make legible copies out of the originals. According to their titles and some brief reading of
their descriptions, I believe my classification is understandable." Harry stated shrugging, his eyes
still stuck on a delicate silver instrument in his tool-box. A tool he almost dropped as Severus
enveloped him in a hug.
"You just have to go and surprise me every single time, don't you?" The potions master inquired
laughing.
"I'm trying." Came Harry's muffled response. "I take it you like your gift."

"You think?" The potions master asked with a wide smile. "I love it!" He turned the pages softly,
his smile widening by the second; he couldn't believe some of the potions that were included in
there.
"Good." Harry stated exhaling.
"No, Harry; it's perfect." Severus closed the book and placed it carefully on his desk. "Love you,
kid."
"Love you too, Dad." The green eyed boy offered back. "And now, about that scroll."
"Ah, the scroll." Severus stated taking said parchment from the desk. His smile widened as he
handed the o