Title: A Third Side, pt 3
Author: Anthea Davis
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: ~10,000
Primary Pairings/Characters: Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy. Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, Pansy Parkinson, Susan Bones, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape,
Rating: NC-17. This section, PG-13
Content/Warnings: Canon level violence; discussion of warfare; Ron Bashing; Weasley bashing in general; Ron is a lazy, no good, bad friend; Pagan elements in magic; Harry has rage issues.
Summary: Magic is dying, and the Pureblood Traditions aren’t helping. Perhaps it’s time to go back to an even older Tradition.
Beta: None. Casual spell check. No Bitching.
Author Note: ignore the fact that technically speaking, Harry Potter took place in the 90’s. Timelines have been moved around for the Author’s own satisfaction.
AN: This is a continuation of the EAD offerings in 2016 and 2017. You should really read that first.
“My Lord, there is a goblin from Gringotts who wishes to speak with you as a matter of urgency.” The Head House-elf said, surprising Harry from his research in the Library.
Harry looked at Draco, who returned him frown for frown.
“Why would they want to speak with you?” Draco asked, no note of derision, but plain confusion. “Goblins notoriously keep to themselves.”
Harry had an idea of course and knew that he wasn’t like most wizards in the Goblin’s eyes.
Sure enough, in the Floo room, the Head of the Gringotts Goblin clan was in the fire, awaiting him.
“Lord Potter. We have need of your services. A patron has requested your presence in a rather complicated matter. Mr Malfoy may wish to come as well, it is possible that it may also affect him.”
“Of course, Gnarltooth.”
The goblin quickly disappeared from the flames, leaving the way for Harry to come through.
“Wait, Harry. Gnarltooth?” Draco demanded, a hand on his shoulder holding him back, his voice rising in shock. “Do you know who that is?”
“Of course I do. That’s why we can’t leave him waiting,” Harry said with a roll of the eyes, quickly stepping through the flames.
Moments later he was joined by Draco in the large dungeon-like conference room, though they were the only occupants so far aside from Gnarltooth.
“Greetings Gnarltooth. I hope your enemies are cadaverous and your coffers mountainous.”
“Greetings Harry. Lordship has suited you well. But there is a pressing matter that we must attend, so I apologise for the intrusion. Mr Malfoy, greetings and welcome to Gringotts.”
“Greetings Gnarltooth. May your coffers overflow and your enemies fall before your sword,” Draco said formally, head inclined in a bow.
Harry could only smirk.
“What can I help with?” Harry prompted, but at that moment the door to the room opened and allowed a wizard led by another Goblin entrance. “Neville?”
“Harry! Thank Merlin you’re here,” Neville said, eagerly striding over, arms open to hug Harry in gratitude.
“What’s wrong Nev?”
“I can’t believe my Grandmother,” he started, sitting heavily in the seat that Gnarltooth pointed them to. “She wants to deny me my title until I’m twenty-one.”
Harry looked on, unsure of the politics of the situation.
“Why not? It is the requisite age for assuming titles,” Draco said gently.
“Not when you’re an Earth Mage,” Neville said hotly.
Both Harry and Draco gasped, Draco even more so as he knew what the term meant.
“Really? It has been confirmed?” Draco whispered.
“It has been seen, Mr Malfoy,” Gnarltooth informed.
“What does this have to do with me?” Harry asked, confused.
“The passing of the title of Lordship, in such situations must be witnessed by another Lord so that it might be seen to be done honourably and without compulsion. Mr Longbottom has requested you be his witness, as was his right to request. Madame Augusta Longbottom has denied Mr Longbottom the chance to do this as family business, and therefore it has instead been brought to Gringotts.”
“What do I need to do then?”
Harry could do that, he figured. He could see that Neville was obviously upset but determined. And the whole business with the Earth Mage sounded incredibly interesting. He would have to research or interrogate someone later about that.
The passing of the title worked much like Harry’s own had earlier in the year, though this time he could see the Magic settle around Neville, which was something new.
Soon enough the matter was over, and they were led back into the main cavern where most people did their daily banking. Madame Longbottom was there, her expression one of towering rage.
“How could you disgrace me so, Neville.” She demanded.
“How could you deny me my right?” Neville seethed in return, making the witch take a step back. “Yes, the magic has settled quite quickly. I have the full backing of our ancestors in what I have just done.”
She looked on at him aghast, her face turning pale.
“And as you can see, I also found a Lord who would only be too happy to witness.”
Harry wanted to blush at the attention he received but held fast in his resolve. His respect for the Longbottom Matriarch declining as he got to know both her and Neville more.
“And now, as the Head of this House, I order you to desist in belittling me, my choices and my abilities. You have no idea what a boon it is to have a Mage in our family, and what it will mean for our family’s future.”
Harry and Draco smiled proudly from behind Neville, glad to finally see him come into his power.
Madame Longbottom quickly strode off after being dismissed, leaving Neville to suddenly deflate. “I really don’t feel so good right now.”
Gnarltooth led them back to a parlour in his personal office where Neville could rest up.
“Mr Malfoy,” Gnarltooth asked his attention, and the Slytherin walked over to where the Goblin was seated behind the desk, leaving Harry to look after Neville. “In light of these circumstances, is there anything that I might do for you today?”
Draco froze, wondering how on earth the Goblin could possibly know.
“As I’m sure you are aware, it is customary for a Mage, once in the realisation of his powers, to assume the Patriarchy of his Family, regardless of who the current Patriarchy is held by.”
Draco just nodded, unsure of what he wanted to do. He knew it was his right, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to paint such a large target on his back either.
“Do you know which Mage you are?”
Draco could only nod. “Druid Mage.”
“I will advise you of something that My Lord Potter has been already made aware of. Humans aren’t the only ones that breed Seers. Our Goblin Seers, which are hidden from the outside magical world, have seen much of what is to come. The time for staying one’s hand is coming to a close. The time for action will soon be upon us.”
Draco took it as the advice that it was. It was time to man up. It was time that Harry stopped standing in defence of their world alone.
“Gnarltooth. Would it be possible to take my title today,” Draco asked formally, watching as the Goblin gave a feral grin.
“But of course, Mr Malfoy.”
“Harry,” Ron yelled enthusiastically, calling across the Entrance Hall.
Harry could only groan as he wasn’t sure he wanted to be accosted so early on arriving back at Hogwarts.
“What’s with Neville?” Ron asked once he reached Harry’s side.
“What do you mean?” Harry asked, not noticing much of anything different about the other boy, apart from the fact that he looked more confident.
“He just looks more stuck up or something. And Mum said she saw you at Gringotts with him the other day, thought you might know something.” Ron shrugged.
“No, we only just saw each other.” Harry lied, the words falling out of his mouth before he even thought about it.
“Hmm. Fine. Don’t tell me then.” Ron sneered nastily, making to stride off.
Harry sighed a deep breath of regret and relief. It was short lived when Hermione quickly replaced Ron at his side.
“Did you have a good holiday Harry?” She eagerly gave him a warm hug.
“I did, thank you. And thank you for your present. I love it,” Harry returned. “How was your holiday?”
“Grim. I returned home to spend Christmas with my Parents. You would not believe the state of the Muggle world at the moment. Troops are already being sent, and they think they knew who was responsible for the attacks, though they haven’t caught them yet. It’s like the world has gone crazy.”
“It certainly doesn’t sound good,” Harry agreed.
Being back at classes was a surreal feeling, especially as Ron was still ignoring him for the most part, though already the redhead was gradually thawing, especially when it came time to do homework.
“I swear he’s a git. He gets his giggles by torturing us,” Ron moaned, looking at the roll of parchment he had yet to fill.
“I believe the term you are looking for is a ‘sadist,’ Ronald,” Hermione advised, not looking up from her own scroll.
“Yeah, that. He’s evil is what he is.” Ron said darkly. “Hey Gin,” he brightened, eagerly welcoming the distraction.
“Hi Harry,” Ginny said pointedly when Harry didn’t look up as she approached.
“Hey Ginny,” he smiled awkwardly, looking back to his homework.
“Did you have a good holiday?”
“Eh, yeah. It was fine. And you?”
“It was boring. I wish you could have stayed with us here at the Castle.”
Harry snarled internally, hating the fact that she was trying to make him feel guilty. Now that he was more aware of it, he hated being emotionally blackmailed. He refused to say sorry. So instead he said nothing, continuing to write his essay.
“You weren’t alone, though, were you? That would have been horrible.” Ginny prodded, taking a seat next to him, close enough that they were touching from hip to knee, regardless of the amount of space left on the lounge.
“No. Professor Dumbledore said I had to take a guardian. Professor Snape accompanied me.”
“That’s HORRID mate,” Ron exclaimed. “Having to spend all your time with that greasy git. I knew you should have taken us.”
“It was fine, guys. We mainly kept to ourselves except for meals. And he didn’t really say much of anything even then.”
“Well, at least you know now for the future that you should just take us instead.” Ron grinned like the decision had been made and settled. Harry just let it go, the ensuing argument just wasn’t worth the energy right now.
“Severus, welcome back to Hogwarts. I trust your stay with Mr Potter was not too trying?” Dumbledore greeted.
“Indeed not. Though that is not the reason that I have come to see you. I was Called several days ago he only released me last night that I might come back in time for Classes.”
“And you left Harry alone?” Dumbledore demanded voice laced with anger and disappointment.
“The situation was beyond my control. I was unable to get word to you of the situation. I impressed on him the need to stay where he was at the manor.”
“Something he did not heed. My sources place him at Gringotts but two days ago.”
“The little bastard,” Severus said with venom.
“You were unaware for what purpose he might have had for going there?”
“I know of no possible cause.”
“My source also mentions that Draco Malfoy was also with him,” Dumbledore prodded.
“I know nothing,” Snape groused, “I have been attending Voldemort for the better part of a week if you will remember.”
“Indeed, Severus. I apologise.” Dumbledore sighed. “Is there any news you can bring us?”
“Yes, he made mention of a journal, while in reference to a ‘mudblood infestation.'”
Dumbledore sat back thoughtfully.
“And your opinion?”
“Salazar Slytherin’s Journals.”
“Indeed,” Dumbledore nodded. “If the rumours of such a journal are true, I believe you might be right, dear boy. We can assume such Journals were not in the Chamber of Secrets then. Otherwise, Tom would already be in possession of them. No, they are hidden elsewhere. Do you have any clues?”
“Very well, we shall begin our research there then.”
“How on earth did you manage to slip your two limpets?” Draco jeered as Harry and Hermione entered the alcove in the Library.
“With great difficulty, you might imagine,” Harry said with an exhausted smile.
“Yeah, he’s been pretty intense this past week,” Neville said, grinning at Harry.
“Intense wasn’t the word I would have used,” Hermione snorted, unloading her book bag.
“The Weasels’ were quite put out then, they did not go with you for the holidays,” Pansy asked, curious. She had been much too interested in berating Draco for his neglecting her letters.
“That would be an understatement.” Harry laughed.
“So where are we at?”
All eyes turned to Luna who had only just entered their alcove, Susan Bones and Terry Boot trailing after her.
“May we join you?” Luna asked, taking a seat at the table, motioning the other two to join her.
“Be our guests,” Draco said with a wary frown.
“Thank you,” Luna said, gifting them all with a big smile. “Our circle is finally complete.”
They all looked at each other awkwardly.
“What circle?” Susan asked, her tone one of scepticism.
“I welcome you all to our first official meeting of the New Conclave.” She announced.
“That didn’t exactly answer my question,” Susan groused with a frown.
“This is it, Luna?” Pansy asked, her expression one of growing excitement.
“We’re all here,” Luna nodded.
“So we’re really going to do this?” Draco asked the excitement building in him as well as the idea that these people here might just, in fact, manage to change the world as they knew it.
“Why am I here?” Susan demanded, Terry too looked quite interested in what the answer would be.
“We are the New Conclave, and it is our task, handed down by the Fates to affect change in our world, to reclaim leadership from the corrupted Ministry and restore the balance of Magic in our world,” Luna explained.
“Why us? Why me?” Neville asked quietly in the ensuing silence.
“Why not you, Neville?” Pansy said surprisingly gentle.
“A lot of reasons, I can assure you.” Neville retorted.
“And there are even more reasons why it should be you,” Luna said, smiling directly at him.
“What kind of change?” Terry asked, frowning.
“The best of changes that will see our Realm not just surviving the coming darkness but flourishing once it’s passed.”
“I’m with Neville about this, why us? What right do we have to dictate our views on everyone?” Susan asked, making to stand up again.
“What right does the Ministry of Magic have to face those same decisions? They have stripped the power from the people and instead hold us hostage to their corrupt whims. It is our job to see balance restored. Perhaps one day in the distant future, mankind will be given another chance to self-govern, but unfortunately, it is not anytime soon. This is by the will of the Dagda and Danu. Fate has decided our path.”
“You’ll have to forgive us that don’t believe you,” Hermione snorted.
“They already do forgive you, Hermione,” Luna said, turning her smile to the witch, making her very uncomfortable.
“Where are we supposed to start?” Terry asked, still quite sceptical.
“With a plan. Draco?”
Draco looked at them all, judging whether or not now was the time to announce his extensive plans. They all looked at him expectantly, so he knew he had to take a leap of faith that no one here would betray them.
“The plan is to almost entirely segregate the Magical population from the muggle one.”
“What?” Hermione demanded harshly.
“I said almost, Granger. Calm down. This will call for greater and more invasive laws to ensure that the Magical Realm is kept a secret from the Muggles until such a time as there is even a hope for peace. That time will most probably not be in our very long lives, nor that of our children’s.”
“What do you mean? The Secrecy Act isn’t enough?” Susan asked.
“No, it isn’t. It isn’t widely known, but Muggles are not in a position to welcome us with open arms, and we are not in a position to adequately protect ourselves should they get it in their head’s to wipe us out. Their technology, weaponry and sheer numbers will see us extinct before you can say Quidditch.”
“I had no idea,” Neville murmured.
“No one does,” Hermione said, having settled back in her chair admitting defeat for the time being.
“What do you plan for us to do then?”
“We need better wards,” he nodded at Harry, “and we need new ways to introduce Muggleborns into our society, one which ensures that once they have joined us, that there will be no going back. There will be no living half in and half out. Magic is demanding us to make a choice.”
“Muggleborn’s are not going to like that,” Hermione blew out a breath.
“There will also be a greater need for education and orientation when these Muggleborns join our world, one that will preserve our ways and traditions. I’m not saying that we should shun all Muggle developments, but be more aware of what Wizarding traditions or practices will be lost because of it. Not one hundred years ago, homosexual partnerships were accepted to the same extent as heterosexual partnerships. It has only been in the ensuing years that prejudice has been introduced to our way of life, leading to inequality. This needs to stop.”
Harry could certainly agree to that, remembering their discussion when they had first brought this up. Though he was glad to hear that same-sex partnerships were allowed in the Magical Realm, or else his designs on the blonde Slytherin would be a hard battle that he wasn’t sure he would otherwise be able to win.
“These are all fair goals to strive for, but I fail to see how the exclusion of the Muggle world is the only way to achieve them,” Terry said, Susan, nodding her agreement.
“Then please, your suggestions would be very welcome,” Draco waved them on, keen to hear their ideas. But the following silence was telling. “I have been working on these plans for several years now. While I happily welcome any suggestions or ideas, I do enjoy a good debate, I think I’m right on this score. And this is not just the Pureblood elitist talking, but so far the only thing that makes sense.”
“What about my family?” Hermione asked, her voice hitching.
“This generation of Muggleborns will be the hardest, as there is already precedent for the visiting of each side. But in the future, I would like to see Muggleborn families entering the Magical Realm full-time, or them giving up their child to the Magical Realm. The only other alternative I see would be to strip the child of their magic, and Obliviate the parents.”
“Kind of harsh,” Terry breathed.
“Again, I welcome any other ideas, but so far, this is the only way I think this is going to work.”
“Thanks, Dobby,” Harry said, heartfelt at the House elf’s willingness to help.
Dobby popped away leaving Harry in the dorm by himself. Or so he thought.
“So you’ll tell Dobby things, but not your best friend, then?” Ron sneered, moving away from the shadows.
“Dobby! The stupid elf! He suddenly your best friend, huh?”
“Ron, what are you talking about?”
“You’re always whispering with each other. Whisper, whisper, whisper.” The redhead snarled, a strange kind of gleam in his eyes.
“Hardly, mate. He was just taking my jumper to be cleaned. I got ink all through it from my bag.” Harry laughed self-deprecatingly.
“Likely story, ‘mate.'” Ron exaggerated the last word in a snarl.
“You can come take a look if you like,” Harry said, holding the bag open for the boy to look in.
“That’s why you wanted to go off on your own, isn’t it? Wanted to spend time with your new little ‘mate.'”
“Ron, you really are coming out of left field,” Harry said, concerned.
“I bet you got up to all kinds of things with your new little ‘mate.’ But remember, he’s your servant. He’s only a stupid house elf. Of course, he has to like you, and listen to you. Even agree with you.”
“I know what he is, Ron. Doesn’t mean that he’s not intelligent and has his own worth.”
“His own worth, eh, his own Worth. So, I’m worthless, is that right?”
“What? Ron, no, I never said that!” Harry said earnestly.
“But I bet it’s what you’re thinking, though, hey ‘mate.'”
“Well with that attitude you’re giving me right now I’m certainly thinking a lot of things, but worthless isn’t one of them!”
“What has that stupid house elf got that I don’t, huh? Why is it that you’re suddenly so much more interested in spending time with everyone or anyone else, but me?”
“Ron,” Harry sighed, thinking that this might be the crux of the matter. “I want to do well with my classes. I want to pass and leave Hogwarts and get qualified for a job I want to do. That means that I have to do my homework. It also means that I’m doing my own research and actively taking my education seriously.”
“Of course you’re going to pass mate, you’re Harry Potter. Like they would fail you. And you know they’ll offer you a spot in the Aurors. It’ll be great working together like that!” Ron beamed, emotions flipping so quick he was surprised whiplash wasn’t involved.
“I don’t want to be an Auror, Ron.”
There he’d finally said it.
“What, don’t joke, Harry. Of course, you’ll be an Auror.”
“I don’t want to be one, Ron. After Voldemort’s gone, I want a quieter life, one where I don’t have to risk my life every other day.”
“Harry, stop this crap. I know you’re going to join the Auror’s with me. It’s not funny anymore.” Ron said darkly, the anger coming back full force.
“Do you see me laughing?” Harry said, anger creeping into his own voice. “I’ve never wanted to be an Auror. That’s always been you, Ron. I really have no interest in a job like that. It’s just not something I could see myself doing for the rest of my life.”
“Oh, and just what do you see yourself doing? Huh? Lording it up in your big mansion, looking down on all the little folk huh? Play the part of the rich man? And you call me lazy!”
“You are Ron. And you’re dragging me down with you. I have interests that I want to pursue, ones that I know that you would pay me out for, purely for the fact that I’ll have to work for it. That’s not how the real world works, Ron. You may think everything’s been given to me on a platter, but that’s only because that’s all you ever want in life.”
“Oh, and just what does Harry Potter want to be? A herbologist? A daycare worker?”
“No, I’m actually interested in Wards.”
“That it huh? That’s all you’ve got to say?”
“Oh no, I’ve got lots that I could say. Like how you’ve got delusions of grandeur! You want to be a grand Ward Master? Is that it?”
“Don’t play dumb, Harry. I should have known that being just the Boy Who Lived wasn’t enough for you! Of course, you’d want more!”
“For god’s sake, Ron. I do not!” Harry bellowed, the leash on his anger finally broken. “How could you even think that? Or say that? For someone who claims to know me, you know absolutely nothing about me if that’s what you think. I have an interest in wards and how they work. It doesn’t mean that I want yet more titles in front of my name so you can say I rub it in your face. I would be perfectly happy being a no one Ron! It’s you who has the delusions of grandeur.”
Ron just laughed darkly. “Fuck you, Potter. Fuck you! I never want to see your face again.”
Harry sat on his bed in confusion, wondering what the hell had just happened. He had no idea where the hell it had possibly come from. It seemed as if Ron was begging for a fight. He sighed as his anger still simmered just beneath the surface. The things that Ron had said, or assumed were preposterous, and he wondered how Ron could have ever thought such ridiculous things.
He had known that the redhead would blow his top when Harry finally told him he didn’t want to be an Auror. But he certainly hadn’t expected that.
“Master Harry?” Dobby said fearfully, pulling on his ears as he nervously looking around.
“It’s alright Dobby. He’s not here.”
“Master Harry, Dobby is sorry that he was the cause of your argument with your friend Wheezy.”
“No, don’t be sorry, Dobby. This is not your fault. It’s his fault if anything. And you’ve been a better friend to me than he has for months now anyway. I’m glad to be rid of him.”
The following days Harry was torn by a see-saw of emotions. It wasn’t until Draco pulled him out of one of their after-school meetings of the conclave that he finally got to talk about it.
“So I’ve been leaving you to yourself to deal with this shit with the Weasel, but that’s obviously not working,” Draco said, pulling and pushing him until they were settled on the hidden lounge in their customary position.
“I thought I was doing pretty well, actually,” Harry said, a force to his tone that had been all too prevalent ever since the fight.
“Well, you’re not,” Draco advised. “How do you feel about the whole fight then?”
“Fuck him,” Harry snarled, his body tense.
“Yuck, Potter. Not an image I wanted, thank you VERY much.” Draco snorted, covering his face with his hand.
Harry gave an involuntary laugh. “I meant he could go and get fucked.”
“Merlin, Harry. You aren’t helping here. I don’t think there’s a Scourgify strong enough to get rid of that mental image.”
Harry laughed again, laughed until he was sobbing.
“Shh. It’s alright Harry.” Draco rubbed the boy’s back, hanging on to him tightly. “It’ll be okay.”
“I can’t believe he’s not my friend anymore. I’ve lost my first ever friend.” Harry sobbed, voice hitching.
“It will be okay Harry. Do you want to be friends with him again? Can you forgive him, do you think?”
“No!” Harry said with force. “Not this time. Not after what he said.”
“Okay then. So, it’s definitely over.”
“Yeah,” Harry sniffled.
“Then how do you think you’ll move past this then?”
“I don’t know. I’m still so fucking angry at him. The things he said or implied. I wonder how he could ever have been my friend.”
“I don’t know either Harry. But maybe it’s time to start thinking about this as another lesson to learn, another goal to make in this life’s journey. How are you going to get over it?”
“I’m not ready to forgive him!” Harry said hotly, roughly wiping the tears from his face.
“Alright then. How about forgiving yourself?”
“What was it that was so distasteful that you reacted with anger? What is it that you see in Ron that you refuse to see in yourself?”
“I don’t know. A lot of things I suppose.” Harry said petulantly.
“I guess there is that,” Draco said with half a laugh. “Let’s start with an easy one then. How about his slothfulness. You don’t like lazy people, do you?”
“No. Especially not how he is. How he just demands that things be given to him, like I had a choice in the matter.”
“No, most of those things were beyond your control. So perhaps it was the laziness and demand to be given things that you hate, and seeing them personified in Ron was what got your hackles up, hmm?”
“The Dursley’s were like that, too,” Harry said quietly. “They would just sit there and expect me to cook them breakfast, and woe betide I get something wrong or burn something. They just sat there and did what they wanted while I did everything for them. And then when they thought I was finished, they would put me away in the cupboard until they needed me again.”
“Perhaps Ron’s attitude reminded what you feel like when you were back with them perhaps. Maybe that’s what got your hackles up, and now that you were in a position to fight back, you took it.”
“Yeah,” Harry sighed, scrubbing his face of the last remnants of tears. “I could never do that around them. I’d get beaten by my Uncle as soon as he found out about it.”
Draco struggled to keep himself detached from what the other boy was saying, but it was a hard battle. “You know they had no right to make you their slave.”
“Funny that. That’s where it all started. Ron thought I was replacing him with Dobby as a best friend. He wanted to remind me that he was just a stupid House Elf and a slave to me. I can’t say how much that idea offends me.”
“Because you were raised a slave.”
“Yeah. I guess. The thought that Dobby is my slave, it scares me. It makes me want to release him to be a free House Elf again.”
“But you won’t because you know what that means to Dobby. So here is something for you to forgive yourself for, and to see that the position that you were in shouldn’t have been debased the way they had made you feel.”
Harry just looked over his shoulder in confusion.
“Dobby and other house elves take great pleasure in serving others. You could say that they live for it, and you know that that is certainly the case. But they truly cherish doing their work, and you know Dobby especially holds a great love for you. He always will. And even if he is a servant to your master, you have to accept that that’s the role that he plays in your life, as it is as much his wish, as it is his biological imperative.”
Harry nodded slowly, the concept in his mind sullied by his own memories of life with the Dursley’s. But he knew that Dobby was happier than Harry had ever seen him and that he loved the work he did. He was only too eager to do anything that Harry asked of him. It scared Harry the lengths that Dobby might ever go to in his servitude to him.
But he knew that he would never turn the elf away, just as Draco had said. But he had never realised that he had such a problem or that it offended him so much. He wondered now how much he held himself back from Dobby and the role he played in his life, purely to allay those deep-seated issues.
“What’s going on up there,” Draco said, tapping Harry’s head gently.
“I think I’m going to have to reevaluate my entire relationship with Dobby.”
“Perhaps. Or you can acknowledge that it is an issue that you had, accept it, and move forward with the knowledge you have gained.”
“It’s never quite that easy, though, is it?”
It was all over the school the next day that the Golden Trio had been split, and for once it was actually reported correctly that Ron had chucked a shit fit. For the first time, Harry was treated like the victim, much to Ron’s disgust.
Harry was almost horrified at a number of people that tried to console him, to the point that he started hiding between classes. That night there was going to be no hiding, as Dumbledore sent out notes that there was to be an order meeting.
Harry and Hermione stuck together, sitting on the far side of the room from the Weasley clan. It made no difference anyway when the twins happily plonked down beside Harry.
“Mr Potter, Miss Granger, what on earth have you done to put dear Ronnikins in such a wonderful mood?” Fred said by way of greeting.
“And can you make sure to do it more often?” George added.
“This shit is solid gold!” Fred finished gleefully.
Hermione of course tutted, but both the twins ignored her in favour of pumping Harry for information.
“We had an argument. He left me with the impression he never wanted to see me again.”
“That should be interesting,” George started.
“Considering you share a dorm together.” Fred finished.
“And classes,” George added.
Harry could only smirk. “Well that’s his problem, isn’t it?”
The twins laughed evilly, clapping Harry on the back.
“If we could all just settle down.” Dumbledore began, looking pointedly in their direction. Both of the twins mimed locking their mouths shut.
“Very well. We have a very short meeting tonight, mainly so that we might touch base since last we gathered. Severus once again brings us news on a possible lead. We have been led to believe that Voldemort is looking for something, something which we have gleaned to possibly be the secret Journals of Salazar Slytherin, within which are rumoured to be dangerous spells created by the Founder in order to, if the rumours are to be believed, remove the Muggleborns from our midst. It is not necessary that we believe that these rumours hold some truth, only that Voldemort thinks they do. Therefore, it is a matter of urgency that we endeavour to either find the Journals ourselves or ensure that Voldemort does not find them.
“In light of this, I would suggest that we take some measures to counterattack and ensure that his attention is divided. Shacklebolt, I ask that if possible, you could step up your goals that we have discussed previously. Mr & Mr Weasley, is there anything in your repertoire that may be of assistance at this time?”
The twins looked at each other, visually fighting a vicious eyebrow war for several moments. “We’ll come up with something,” they said in unison in the end.
“Thank you. Is there anything else that anyone would like to bring to the Order’s attention?”
The Headmaster’s office remained silent, so Dumbledore took that as not. “Very well. Stay safe everyone.”
The room’s occupants quickly escalated into chatter. Luckily there was no one paying attention to Harry and Hermione.
“I think we should tell the others,” Harry whispered. Hermione nodded her agreement.
They were unable to meet for the rest of the week, as School work picked up for all of them, as well as various extra-curricular activities.
Harry, however, made it a point to catch up with Draco the day after, pulling the boy into the Room of Requirement.
“What’s the matter, Harry?”
“What do you know about Salazar Slytherin’s Journals?”
“Not much, it’s mainly just rumoured now, as they haven’t been sighted in nearly a thousand years.”
“Voldemort seems to think that they might be his key to destroying all the Muggles.”
“That is one of the rumours, especially in pureblood circles,” Draco admitted, actively trying to wrack his brain for more information.
“Severus and Professor Dumbledore seemed to think that Voldemort is after these journals. If he should succeed, it’s quite horrifying to think about.”
“Very much so,” Draco agreed. “Leave it with me, I’ll see if I can do any digging of my own.”
“Thanks, Draco,” Harry said, plonking himself down in the seat that was conjured at his requirement, a visible load falling from his shoulders.
“Everything else alright?” Draco said, taking his customary seat behind Harry.
“Just tired,” Harry said with a sigh, leaning back into Draco.
“That I can understand. Everything going alright with the Weasel? Do I need to punch him out?”
Harry laughed, “No, nothing like that yet. Though I might still take you up on that one day.”
“I’d be only too happy to oblige.”
They fell into silence, taking comfort for a moment from what the other could provide.
Harry eventually started to feel a low-level awkwardness enter him as he continued to let his mind wander. He was feeling very comfortable leaning up against Draco, and he could only assume that the other boy felt the same, considering the number of times that Draco engineered it so that they wound up seated as they currently were.
He was beginning to come around to the idea of liking the boy, much more than in a close platonic way. And it was nothing like the brotherly feelings he thought he had felt for Ron, nor the sisterly feelings he still felt with Hermione. It was something new and deeper, and stronger than he had ever known.
He just wasn’t sure how to tell Draco that.
They sat together for the remainder of their lunch break, reluctantly breaking apart when the bell sounded for the beginning of the next class. Draco felt like kicking himself that he had wasted his time with Harry when there were important things he knew needed to be done, but he found himself unable to deny the time that Harry willingly gave him. He was well aware that Harry was touched starved to an unnerving degree and was only too happy to wrap himself up in Draco’s arms. Draco was only too happy to oblige, happily relishing the time Harry gifted him.
But now, he grimaced, he would need to sacrifice his time with the Boy Who Lived that evening after class.
“Sir?” Draco knocked on the door to Severus’ private potions lab.
Once inside, Draco closed and locked the door, then raised the strongest privacy wards he had ever been taught.
Severus only lifted his eyebrow in curiosity, not missing a beat in his stirring of the cauldron.
“Sir, there is something I wish to discuss with you,” Draco began, Severus merely blinked, so Draco took that as his approval.
“When will you be telling the Headmaster that Slytherin’s journals are in your possession?”
Severus instantly glared, still never missing a beat in his stirring. “Bloody Potter,” he snarled.
“I had no intention of revealing such information. I think it best suited that no one should know where they are. That way neither Voldemort nor Dumbledore will be able to use them.”
“It’s true then, there is something in there that could wipe out the muggles?”
“Indeed, Draco, there is. Something which could just as easily be turned against Wizarding kind. No one should be in possession of such a weapon.”
Draco visibly deflated. “No, you are quite right.”
“As it stands, I must now move them once again, now that you have made me aware of your knowledge.”
“Please Severus, you know I would have no such intention of using such a weapon. Your current hiding place is well suited, one I only found because I know you so well.”
“Your father could claim the same, you realise?”
“No, I don’t believe Father would find them, actually.”
“No, I don’t suppose he would. Besides, he would need to leave Azkaban first, so it shall be safe for now.”
“What will you do about Voldemort?”
“As I have always done. Not make it my business unless My Lord should make it so. He is so far interested in obtaining it himself that he has yet to entrust anyone with the knowledge. I’ve already spoken at length with Dumbledore that we can’t allow Voldemort to know that we know. This confidence was only made, however obliquely, to myself and Mr Macnair. And Mr Macnair is in no position to speak with anyone again.”
Draco winced, the thought that at any time it could be his Godfather in such a position, that of six feet under, was a morbid one.
“I can only hope that Dumbledore will take such precautions then. I believe Harry has been quite worried about his faculties of late.”
“He’s not the only one.”
“Honestly Ron, grow up, for Merlin’s sake. Harry was here first. If you wish to sit by me, then sit. I shan’t be moving until we have class. Honestly, this stupid grudge you have going on.” Hermione sighed heavily, almost at the end of her rope. Harry at least had been adult enough about it, though she could see that he was still quite upset. Ron, however, she was ready to strangle.
She was interrupted a moment later from her glaring at Ron by the arrival of the morning’s mail. She quickly took receipt of her subscription to the Daily Prophet, placing a few knuts in the pouch on the owl’s leg. Before it left, she offered it a piece of bacon which it happily took. She untied the string from around the paper and unrolled it as was her morning custom.
The rest of the table was disturbed by her loud gasp as she stared at the headline. “Muggle War Breaks Out??”
She quickly scanned the article, hoping to glean as much information as possible, as quickly as possible. However, she was quite disappointed when there were no true facts presented. For the most part, it was an article that expounded on rumours that there was the chance for a Muggle war, and then information about previous wars that had taken place. On horseback. In fields. And with swords.
Hermione growled softly under her breath, once again disgusted with the willful ignorance that the Magical realm seemed to live under.
Those around her quickly got back on with what they had been doing when there was nothing further from Hermione. Only Harry was still waiting, sitting across from her.
“They’re idiots! I swear there aren’t two brain cells to rub together.” She huffed, folding the paper up in protest.
“The paper?” Harry questioned, taking the paper from Hermione when she huffed again and offered it to him.
“Well,” He said after reading the article. “At least they’re reporting something on the War.”
“There is that I suppose,” she admitted grudgingly. “But why would they then go on to give all that false information?”
“I think it’s Fudge, actually. He has had all this time to admit that Voldemort is back, and yet he still doesn’t. The fact there has been no further word on what happened in the DOM a few months ago. It wouldn’t surprise me if it were the case that he was doing the same about what the Muggles’ advancements.”
“I told you not to run any articles about their Merlin damned War! We don’t need to know anything about it! It’s not like it will affect us anyhow.” Fudge roared, yelling at the Editor in Chief at the Prophet Headquarters. “Now I’ll be made to look like a fool for not reporting it officially at the Ministry. This is your fault, Baxley.”
Broomhilda Baxley merely glared back at the bumbling man that was striding irritably about her office. “The People had a right to know. Be grateful that we at least were light on the details. Besides, if I’ve had one Muggleborn in this office asking why I haven’t reported on the full scale, and potentially ‘naclor’ war, then I’ve had a hundred. This Paper would be a farce.”
“Then why on earth did you make it a headline page? Surely a small column in the World News section would have been a much more appropriate place for it.” Fudge condescended, a disappointed frown on his face now.
Baxley just rolled her eyes, “It needed to be done. People had a right to know what could happen.”
“And it was not your right to make that decision. It was the Ministry’s, and it was being handled.” Fudge growled, contradicting himself.
“It is too late now, people will have seen the article. What do you plan to do about it?”
“What needs to be done,” Fudge growled resolutely, leaving the office without a second look.
“No, I refuse to even contemplate the idea. There is no way on this earth that I will ever do that!” Hermione said shrilly, arms crossed over her chest, her face puffed up red in rage.
“You don’t even know what you are talking about,” Draco said, two high patches of red on his cheeks, the only outward signs of his own anger.
“I know enough to realise that what you are proposing is Dark Magic.”
“Exactly, you don’t even know what Black Magic is, let alone what we’ll be doing!”
“It involves blood magic!” Hermione snarled.
“And that is not synonymous with Black Magic! It isn’t even inherently Dark Magic. It’s Grey Magic, completely dependent on what the blood will be used for!”
“Once we start down this path, where will we stop? We’ll be the next Dark Lords and Ladies. I’m not doing it.”
“Aargh!” Draco growled, pushing back from the desk with enough force to leave the chair skittling back. “It’s people like you that are propagating the fears and misinformation in this bloody world. Once you’ve got an idea in your head, you take it as gospel that that is the only way things can be. You’re wrong. The world is not Black and White. There are shades of grey. Times when the intention is more important than the act.”
“Hermione, Draco’s right. Most home wards are blood-related,” Harry said, quietly but firmly. “Not just the old pureblood wards either. The wards around Hogwarts are blood wards.”
“Some Herbology practices, as well as some plants actually thrive on blood-related spells, charms, and rituals.”
“It’s wrong,” Hermione ground out through her teeth.
“Where did you hear it was wrong?” Terry asked, hands still holding open to separate books that he had been reading through, the parchment in front of him filled with notes and the quill still at attention ready to keep going.
Hermione sighed heavily. “Everyone knows that Voldemort uses blood magic. It’s how he resurrected himself back in Fourth year during the TriWizard Tournament.”
“So because Voldemort uses a wand, wands are therefore evil too?” Pansy sneered, not impressed with the logic at all.
“I suppose not, but come on, it’s blood!”
“This isn’t a muggle thing, is it?” Harry broached, he was probably the only one that could pose this question without having his head ripped off.
“I don’t know. Maybe,” Hermione sighed heavily. “Something in me, something in the back of my mind says this is wrong.”
“Genetic memory can be quite confusing to one’s conscious mind,” Luna stated, surprising all of them.
“Genetic Memory? If such a thing even exists,” Hermione snorted.
“No, that actually answers a lot. And it is something that exists, as it is something that usually guides us every day. Same with soul memory. Something that has happened in a previous life or a family members life can affect you today.” Draco sat back down again as he mused.
Hermione groaned inwardly as all of them on the table seemed to be either nodding in agreement, or looking very interested. This was getting ridiculous.
“Well, believe what you want. But I’m not taking part in a blood ritual. I’ll be sitting this one out,” she said calmly, but resolutely.
They all watched her pack up and leave quietly, not looking at any of them as she left.
Hermione sighed heavily as she strode back to Gryffindor tower, but it was still crowded this early in the evening before dinner, so she put her things away instead and grabbed her heavy cloak to go for a walk outside.
The air was still frigid, and the snow was built up high away from the paths. The courtyard seating was also free of any fresh snow, something she was sure the house elves saw to, which gave her another little twist in the back of her mind that irked her.
She wasn’t sure how they didn’t understand that what they were talking about doing, would set them down a path that she wasn’t sure that she could sway them from in the future. Once they saw that the blood magic they used in this ritual was so successful, then they would only be too happy to allow it to happen again, and again. She didn’t trust that they might one day become corrupted by it. Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.
It was something she had been reading about in the histories and politics for the last several months. It was childish to think that they were somehow magically free from corruption. She wished fervently that she never found herself where her moral compass was skewed, but she could not ignore the fact that one of the others might someday be so skewed.
She plonked herself down on one of the outdoor chairs, her mind running in thoughts of worst case scenarios, and just how she might be able to pull any of them back, should such a thing be needed. She shook her head, knowing it would be futile.
The smile returned to her face when a snowflake landed on her hand. Immediately she looked up to watch it start falling but was confused when the sky was devoid of any clouds. The Sun was setting far in the west, and there was barely a breeze. She looked down again at the snowflake on her hand, only to find a minuscule being seated on top of her hand.
She looked at it bewildered, carefully lifting her hand to her face to get a closer look, careful not to jostle the being. It was such a tiny being, barely big enough to be as tall as her smallest nail, it was all the palest blue, almost transparent, but seemed to have a glowing blue aura around it of a similar colour. There were no defining features but for the small little wings that flapped slowly.
“Aren’t you a beautiful thing,” Hermione murmured, watching as the being twirled around happily at her words. “Do you understand me?” There was a vigorous little nod that took Hermione’s breath away.
“This is amazing. How have I never seen anything like you before?”
The being fluttered its wings faster, taking off from Hermione’s hand. She wanted to frown, upset that this being was leaving now, but instead, it flew up to eye-level, coming closer and closer until it touched the middle of her forehead. Hermione was forced to close her eyes at the barely there touch, but suddenly her mind was full of thoughts and feelings that she knew were not her own. The clearest of all that was imparted to her was the word, Sylph.
“I didn’t think it was going to be this hard,” Draco moaned, cosied up with Harry again on their lounge in the Library, Pansy commandeering the other love seat in the alcove.
“Nothing in life this important is ever this easy,” she sighed in return.
“I had no idea that Hermione was this prejudiced,” Harry added. “I knew she was beyond stubborn, but I had thought that she would have been much more interested in learning the truth, than what she had been told.”
“You are going to have to work with her, Draco,” Pansy advised.
“I know, you needn’t remind me.” Draco’s head thumped back on the headrest of the lounge. “It promises to be a painful task. I know she doesn’t trust me.”
“I’m not sure she trusts many people, actually. Especially in the Magical Realm. Information hasn’t exactly been forthcoming from the adults in previous years,” Harry said darkly.
“Sound like you have some trust issues of your own,” Pansy said with a snort, making Harry laugh.
“So what if I do? At least I own up to the fact. Hermione is going to be an entirely different kettle of fish.”
“Harry!” Hermione suddenly burst into the alcove, her wand laid flat in her hand pointed straight at him. “You are difficult to find when you want to be!”
“Sorry,” Harry said with a blush.
“It’s quite alright, but I think I just had something quite miraculous happen.” She turned to Draco and Pansy, “What do you know about Sylphs?”
“She’s the Air Mage then,” Pansy said to Draco who only nodded in return.
“The what?” Hermione and Harry questioned.
“Air Mage. Neville is the Earth Mage, something which doesn’t surprise me in the least. But Hermione being the Air Mage both does and doesn’t.”
“Hmm… Considering the members of our Conclave, it doesn’t surprise me, actually,” Pansy added, thoughtfully.
“My question still hasn’t been answered?” Hermione said tersely. “And what are Sylphs?”
“Sylphs are being that are a part of Elemental Magicks, Old magicks that used to be more abundant thousands of years ago. They are the ones that deal with air and all the forces that are contained therein. You are an Air Mage, and it is your dominion when you enter your majority.”
“Are all of us going to me Mages?” Harry asked curiously.
“To build the Conclave that has been seen by Luna, and to be recognised as a Conclave of the Realm, then yes, we will all need to be Mages. Three guesses which one you are, and the first two don’t count,” Draco said with a poke in Harry’s side.
“I have no clue,” Harry said, frowning. “What kinds are there?”
“Well, we already have Earth, and we will soon have Air, so there is still the Fire and Water Mages, as well as the Warrior Mage, Druid Mage, Bard Mage and Spirit Mage.”
“Which one do you think I am?”
“Warrior Mage, you dolt.”
“Oh,” Harry said, turning quiet.
“So what does it mean, that I’m supposedly an Air Mage? Just because I saw that Sylph?”
“It’s one of the early signs, yes. Neville would have seen the gnomes at some point, though his Title was dumped on him with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, due to his grandmother’s interference.”
“You think I have some kind of Magical history hidden or something?”
“You had to have been, to have been a Muggleborn. Magic is very, very rarely spontaneous like that. It’s quite possible that someone in your heritage was a squib.”
“Well, I don’t know my genealogy, as I was adopted,” Hermione declared, refusing to look up from the book she clutched in her hands.
“Hermione, you never said,” Harry said in wonder, drawing himself out of Draco’s hold to sit up and take Hermione’s hands in his own.
“Never seemed like the right time, and they have been the most wonderful of parents. I never wanted you to think that I was in some way competing with you, or something equally as stupid.”
“No, I know you aren’t like that, ‘Mione. You could have told me.”
“Well, I have now,” she said with a watery smile.
“Then you have never cast a genealogy charm on yourself?” Pansy asked somewhat delicately.
“No, I’ve always been worried about what I might find out,” Hermione grimaced, shrinking back in her seat.
“I can cast it if you wish. If you don’t, we can leave this discussion where it is and forget about it.” Pansy prodded.
“No, I think it’s time I knew. Cast away,” Hermione said with a wave of her hand, still looking resolutely at the closed book in her hands.
A murmured charm later, she felt the magic touch her gently and then writing began appearing in the air before her. Practically in front of her eyes was her own name written in gold cursive that seemed to flutter in the air as though on invisible parchment.
“Pretty impressive,” Pansy said, following the forks in the tree with her finger. “In the long run, you are from the Noble House of Myfanwy, a family who was thought lost some several hundred years ago.”
“At the time of the last true Conclave, actually. A great Grandmother of yours was one of its members. It seems it is in your blood, Granger.” Draco said, looking through the tree himself.”Loosely related to most Noble houses, though obviously quite some generations back. Even a tie with Merlin himself.”
Hermione sighed, taking all the information in. It was interesting to hear it all and know that she had come from an actual magical family, that she would have Family Magic settle on her. But she still refused to look at the names that would be written above her own, afraid of what the knowledge could mean for her. But she knew that she had to see. Knew she had to deal with it.
Arabella and Gordon Myfanwy-Kirk. There she had seen them, though she felt let down when the names meant nothing to her. Though the fact that they were both deceased gave her some closure to the whole saga. It had worried her that perhaps she had been abandoned, and unwanted. Perhaps even because of her magic. To know that it was probably not that case seemed to release a weight from her shoulders that she had had no idea that she had been carrying.
Harry squeezed her hand tightly, supporting Hermione through it all.
“So there will be a Title then,” she seemed a little put out about it, but Harry knew that it had nothing to do with the magic, but instead being somehow linked to all the Pureblood snobs that she had been so against for all these years.
“Indeed. Waiting to be claimed through Gringotts, I would imagine. And with it, your Mage inheritance.”
“Is Mage inheritance always linked with a magical title?” Harry asked, curious.
“If you are a mage, then yes, it is usually at least kick-started by the conferring of a Family Title. Why?”
“You said I’m a Warrior Mage, but I’ve already gotten my Family Title. I don’t think I have the Warrior Mage thing.” Harry said quietly.
“That’s impossible,” Pansy snapped before Draco could say a word. “No, that is just purely ridiculous.”
“Perhaps Luna was wrong, and I’m not supposed to be part of the Conclave,” Harry said quietly, drawing himself away from Draco, as though preparing himself to separate himself from them all together.
“No no no, Luna was not wrong. I know you are the Warrior Mage. Something has happened, something or someone has blocked you from receiving the magic,” Draco said, face clouding in anger again.
“How did you feel when you got your Family Magic?” Pansy asked, her face clouding in a frown as she too sat up in her chair, conjuring parchment and quill to her hands.
“Umm, I’m not sure. There was a lot of wind, that was flowing around the room, but it settled on the ring, and that was it.”
“And what changed inside you? Did you feel anything happen to your magic?”
“Umm, no, I don’t think so?”
Draco went suddenly deathly pale, his eyes flinty. He stood jerkily from his seat behind Harry and quietly left the room.
Harry sighed, folding in on himself a little more. “I’m sorry if I’ve led you guys astray, but I honestly didn’t know. I’m really sorry.”
“There’s nothing to be sorry about, Harry. You haven’t led us anywhere. Draco is just extremely angry right now, and I’d guess he doesn’t want you to see it. He’s not angry at you, only at whoever managed to bind your magic, it appears.”
A loud banging on his door jerked Severus from his work. He barely caught himself adding more asphodel root than was needed in the potion, but he managed to save himself, and quickly put a stasis charm on the potion to attend to the commotion.
The banging had barely ceased as he quickly made his way out of his personal lab and through to his rooms where the banging was emanating from.
He knew that his Snakes would never dare demand his attention unless there was a dire emergency in the Common Room, but as no alarms had gone off, he was left bereft of what or whom it could possibly be.
He reasserted his classroom glare and threw the door open.
“Mr Malfoy, for what reasons are you banging away at my chamber door?”
Draco, however, was still seething so much that he could barely think to get the words out. “Has anyone ever asked you to brew an Anti-Inheritas potion?”
Severus regarded the boy before him who was gritting his teeth. “Your father would never do such a thing, Draco. He would never wish to see the Malfoy line end with himself.”
“I do not ask for my sake,” Draco said, struggling to keep himself calm.
“Then whom do you ask for?” Snape raised a bored eyebrow, when in fact, he was insanely curious. Had been curious for over a decade.
“Pardon me? Did you just say Harry? As in Harry Potter?” Snape struggled to keep himself from roaring.
Draco could only nod his head in confirmation. “Did you brew that potion for someone?”
“No, unfortunately, I brewed a different potion, one which would display many of the same characteristics, but instead of binding the magic, would instead transfer it to a guardian. It is usually used in such cases where the Head of the Family for some reason becomes insane, or is afflicted with some other mental malady, and is, therefore, unable to hold the Family Magic. As you know, it is only through death that the Family Magic is claimed by the heir. Quite often it is a relief to family members that someone else holds the reins, as it were. But this? This is obscene.”
“Who requested it?”
“Professor Dumbledore, of course.” Snape breathed loudly through his nose.
“And so he has held the Potter Family magicks as well as the Dumbledore Family Magicks, for what, the last fifteen years?”
“Yes, held both and kept them separate,” Snape said, suddenly sitting down quite heavily in his chair. “Everything makes so much more sense now.”
“Severus, what do you mean?”
“Keeping such strong magicks and staying in control of both of them is reckless, but keeping them for so long, when the magicks have no intention of joining, that would send anyone quite insane.”
~ tbc ~