Harry Potter and the Elder Sect
Chapter Two - First Contact
A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor do I own any of the characters from the classic Screen Gems Television show mentioned herein. But you knew that.
October 31 1986
Albus Dumbledore smiled expansively as he presided over the holiday feast. Halloween had always been his favorite holiday, and this one was shaping up to be one to remember. The dessert course had just been served, and the Headmaster was quite looking forward to the rhubarb crumble that had just appeared before him.
Albus reached for the custard only to have all thoughts of pudding vanished from his mind when two women suddenly appeared in front of him.
The Great Hall suddenly filled with quiet as it someone had cast a silencing charm over the entire space. Every eye in the room focused on the two women, both clad in Muggle clothing, the elder of the pair wearing a heavy coat with matching handbag and hat, while the younger was dressed casually in a stylish blouse and denim trousers.
"You wanted to speak with us Mr. Dumbledore?" the younger stranger asked.
The Headmaster rose from his seat and bowed in a gallant manner. "Dear lady, I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage."
"I am Samantha Stevens, and this is my Aunt Clara," the blonde woman said. “Your note from last year made this meeting seem important.”
The older woman was looking about the Great Hall, "It's as if I'd never left," she said in a wistful tone, "almost nothing has changed."
As startled as he was by the older woman’s words, Dumbledore believed he had covered his shock well. She had been at Hogwarts before? Certainly not during his tenure… How old was this woman anyway? “Perhaps if we were to retire to my office?” he suggested.
Severus Snape immediately noticed Albus’ body language and rose to accompany the Headmaster and the two unknown women who had somehow achieved the impossible and apparated into Hogwarts. The Slytherin was utterly unsurprised to see that Minerva was doing much the same thing. She was, after all, Albus’ handpicked successor.
Still, there was something about these two women. It was more than just the way they arrived at the castle… There was something about them that brought to mind… no, surely not. He was imagining things, how dangerous could these two women really be?
They could not be, could they? Severus ran his hand through his unruly curls and his mouth went dry as he watched the tall blonde in her disgusting Muggle clothing walking along with the older woman on her arm. She was… She was dangerous. There was no longer any doubt in his mind. This woman was…
“Sevie, Sevie such a whinging bitch,” a much hated voice broke into his contemplation of the two strangers. “So full of himself he makes me itch!”
“Peeves!” Dumbledore thundered, seemingly enraged that the poltergeist would intrude on a meeting of such importance. “You will…”
“Peeves?” the older woman gasped.
The effect of the woman’s words on the incarnate spirit of distraction was as immediate as it was amazing to Severus. The poltergeist froze in midair before slowly rotating in place to face the old woman.
“Lady?” the specter asked incredulously before moving to the woman’s side and taking her hand in both of its. “Our Lady has returned?”
“I’m only here to visit,” the woman said. “This is my niece Samantha. Samantha, this is Peeves, one of my happier accidents.”
“How do you do, Peeves?” the tall blonde asked as if speaking with poltergeists was an everyday occurrence. “I’m always happy to meet one of Aunt Clara’s friends.”
Severus blinked and again attempted to gain control of his hair. The insufferable ‘geist was somehow the responsibility of this strange old woman ‘Clara’?
“How have you been Peeves?” the old woman asked.
“Peeves is doing well, in everything he tries,” the ‘geist answered in rhyme as it so often did. “Defending Hogwarts, Peevesey is, and fighting all the lies.”
“What lies?” the blonde asked.
“The lies they tell of Master Salazar,” Peeves answered. “Lies that have been told so long and spread so far. They tell that Slytherin struggled with the others of the four, and that he and Godric fought a war.”
“What? How could anyone believe anything so incredibly foolish? Salazar and Godric were like brothers, they died side by side, each defending the other,” the woman named Clara asked incredulously.
“The living only believe what they have read,” the ‘geist said sadly, “and never listen to the dead.” Then Peeves perked up. “Our Lady has returned, I must tell the others, I’m off now to find my brothers!”
The poltergeist vanished into the stone wall, leaving behind the goo that it was renowned for.
“You… You know Peeves?” Minerva asked, using her famous Gryffindor trait of stating the obvious as a question while the quintet resumed their journey to the Headmaster’s office.
“I’m afraid that I’m responsible for Peeves,” Clara admitted. “Salazar wanted an imp for one of his Defense classes, but couldn’t find one, so I… well; I sort of summoned him… for a short time I thought. I never imagined he would last so long.”
“Madam,” Severus said, once again sweeping his hand through his hair attempting to get control of his blond curls. “You keep using the name Salazar… Surely you are not claiming to have known Salazar Slytherin, the Greatest of the Founders of Hogwarts?”
“The Greatest of the Founders?” Clara smiled. “That title has survived all these years? Salazar proclaimed himself the greatest of us on my wedding night when he managed to drink Godric into a stupor. Helga and I let the pair of them suffer through their hangovers the next day as punishment. Neither of them could brew worth a damn so they were totally dependent on Helga for their potions.”
“And we have arrived,” Dumbledore announced as he stopped before the gargoyle that guarded the entrance to his office, cutting off the conversation. It was obvious that Dumbledore was a bit surprised when the gargoyle did not move aside for him automatically. It was only then that Severus noted that the statue seemed to be staring wide-eyed at the woman who claimed to have known the founders.
“Oh Bealdread,” the woman said, as she stroked the gargoyle’s head with her left hand. “Look at you, you’re looking so well,” she then seemed to notice that the Hogwarts staff was staring at her. “Oh dear, could you move aside please Bealdread? I think there is a meeting I’m holding up.”
At her request, the gargoyle all but leaped to one side to allow access to the moving staircase. Dumbledore gestured for the two visitors to precede him up the stairs before following himself. A quite flustered Minerva followed the Headmaster, and Severus brought up the rear.
Who were these women? Why were they here? The older woman, she spoke of Salazar and Gryffindor and Hufflepuff as if she… and she claimed to have created the ‘giest… and that damned gargoyle obeyed her as if…
No. Just, no. It just was not possible.
By the time Minerva entered the Headmaster’s office she found the two visitors seated in front of Albus’ desk. Who were these two? And how did the older one know so much about Hogwarts? That thing with Peeves had so flustered the witch, Minerva could hardly concentrate.
Then yet another surprise piled on when the Sorting Hat chimed in. “It’s about time you came back.”
Minerva could see that Dumbledore’s shock at the hat’s unsolicited comment. She knew that the hat was not always silent between sortings, however, it rarely spoke unless it was first addressed.
“Whatever it is you want to speak about, it will have to wait, Hat,” Albus said quietly.
The hat contorted its shape to offer the impression of a face. “I wasn’t speaking to you Albus.”
“I thank you for coming Mrs. Stevens,” Albus said as he settled into his own chair, clearly perplexed by the hat’s comments. “I appreciate the chance to discuss Harry's inheritance and his future in his birth parent's society.”
The name ‘Harry’ pulled Minerva from her daze. There was only one ‘Harry’ Albus ever spoke about. These people had Harry Potter?
“Potter?” Snape sputtered, while pushing his hair from his face. The Head of Slytherin House had obviously made the same connection. “This is about Potter? You are actually negotiating to get that pampered princeling to attend Hogwarts?”
“I don’t care for your attitude sir,” the blonde woman said in an ice-cold tone. “My son is neither pampered or a princeling.” She turned to Dumbledore and continued. “Who is this ill-mannered oaf, Mr. Dumbledore, and why is he here?”
“I apologize for my associate’s lack of manners Mrs. Stevens,” Albus said with a hopeful smile. “Allow me to introduce Professor Minerva McGonagall, my Deputy and Hogwarts’ Transfiguration Mistress, and Professor Severus Snape, Hogwarts’ Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House.”
Minerva found herself nodding to the young woman while Severus simply glared as Albus continued. “I assure you that Severus does not represent Hogwarts in this discussion.”
“Yet he is still here,” Stevens noted.
“Head of Slytherin House?” the older of the visitors asked. “Truly? Salazar would be crushed to learn that the guiding aspects of his life have come to be so ignored by those who claim to honor his name.”
“How dare you Madam?” Severus demanded standing from his chair.
“Sit down Snape,” the Sorting Hat interjected. “You have no idea whom you are speaking with.”
Again, the Hat inserting itself into the conversation shocked Minerva. Something very odd was happening, but she was not sure what. “I do apologize for my colleague’s reaction.”
“I must say Mr. Dumbledore, none of this is doing anything to convince me that this culture has anything to offer my son.” The blonde said simply. “You present to me a grown man who is driven to unthinking insults by the mere mention of a child’s name, and then you tell me that not only is he a teacher at what purports to be Britain’s finest school of wanded magic, but he holds a position of some higher authority? He then screams at a guest in your office and it falls to an enchanted hat to chastise him, and to your deputy to offer a rather limp apology while you do nothing, and still the belligerent oaf remains.”
“You have to understand Mrs. Stevens, Severus’ position requires…”
The Headmaster’s justifications were interrupted by a new voice. “If this is one of your lies Peeves,” that new voice echoed, sounding almost corroded by the lack of use, “your suffering will be horrific.”
Each of the people in the Headmaster’s office were looking to the stone wall where the voice was emanating as Peeves the Poltergeist passed through the wall followed closely by a glowing form in ethereal chain mail and a battle helm, the ghost’s armor was covered in a silver ichor that was quite obviously the spectral equivalent of blood. Once the specter was fully in the room, it faced the headmaster. “Peeves tells me that My Lady is back with us,” that damaged voice boomed in the enclosed space.
“Hello Gemmel,” Clara said quietly.
The ghost focused its attention on Clara, its eyes blazing from deep inside the helm. In a smooth motion, the Bloody Baron of Slytherin house removed his helmet and knelt before the woman. “My Lady!” the ghost whispered.
Minerva glanced over to Severus and saw that he was amazed as she. Never before had she heard the Bloody Baron speak, much less kneel before anyone.
The woman called Clara rose from her chair, and reached out for the ghost, somehow touching him. She raised his head gently so that she could see his face, “Rise, Gemmel of Malmesbury. You do me honor in serving so well, for so long.”
“I failed you in the last task you assigned me, My Lady,” The ghost rasped, refusing to meet the woman’s eyes. “That is why I remain tied to this plane. It is my penance.”
Again, the living inhabitants of the room were treated to a flare of brilliant silver light when yet another ghost entered the Headmaster’s office. The Grey Lady of Ravenclaw stood before them, the usually taciturn ghost seemed to hesitate, and then she raised her left hand to her mouth. “Mother?”
Clara blinked. “Helena? Oh, Helena, it has been so long.”
Minerva stared open-mouthed as the Ravenclaw House ghost and the inexplicably odd woman embraced both the living and dead in tears, murmuring to each other.
Minerva searched for the words to ask the question, but Severus beat her to it.
“Who are you people?” He demanded.
“I don’t know how someone with such a high opinion of his own intelligence could possibly be so dense, Snape,” the Sorting Hat snapped. “Put the pieces together you fool. She has spoken of Salazar, Godric and Helga as peers, Peeves is subservient to her, The Bloody Baron swears fealty to her and the Grey Lady calls her mother. Even a dunderhead such as yourself should be able to puzzle this out. You are in the presence of Rowena Ravenclaw.”
“Ravenclaw?” Minerva gasped.
“That was a name I took on when I went adventuring among the mortals,” Clara said quietly, her expression wistful. “I met three wonderful people and together, we tried to make the world a better place. I like to think we succeeded, at least for a while.”
Both Snape and McGonagall blinked at her word choice. Mortals? What did the woman possibly mean by that?
“And the Founders didn’t fight?” Dumbledore ventured.
“Of course we fought. We were all opinionated people, but that didn’t mean we didn’t love each other. Helga was the sister who didn’t see me as a colossal disappointment, Salazar was the brother who could always make me laugh, and Godric… Oh, the way that wonderful infuriating man made me feel,” the old woman’s eyes filled with tears and her niece joined her embrace with her spectral daughter.
“Father and Uncle Salazar didn’t fight a battle against each other,” the Grey Lady’s long unused voice rasped. “I was on the continent, and even I heard what happened.”
Albus rose to his feet. “Please, tell us, what happened?”
Clara sighed. “Salazar Slytherin did in fact destroy the founders, but the murderer wasn’t my friend Salazar. It was Salazar the Younger who killed my friends and forced me to kill him in kind. Helga and Salazar had nineteen children in their 92 years together, and the Younger was the last. I assisted in raising him, I played games with him in this very room. He grew to manhood and became obsessed with the idea of magical purity. He believed that he was so powerful because both of his parents were powerful. He wanted to ban the newer magic users from the school.”
“Muggleborn?” Minerva ventured.
“Muggle-born?” Samantha asked incredulously. “Surely you don’t believe that the spontaneous manifestation of magical talent has anything to do with marijuana?”
The wand users shared a confused look before Dumbledore’s expression changed to one of understanding. “Ah, yes. I encountered that phrase in the 1920s on a visit to New Orleans. I think that it was simply a chance duplication of a phrase. When we say ‘Muggle’ we refer to those who sadly, have no access to magic, and ‘Muggleborn’ are those who, as you put it Mrs. Stevens, spontaneously manifest magic. Our use of the term long predates the slang term for cannabis.”
“That’s where I encountered the term as well,” Samantha smiled. “I wonder if we might have crossed paths back then?”
His eyes twinkling, Albus shook his head. “I like to believe I would recall a young woman as attractive as yourself Mrs. Stevens.”
Snape snorted at that. Dumbledore ignored his Potions Master and continued. “You were saying Lady Ravenclaw?”
“I blame myself for what Salazar the younger became,” the old woman said with her eyes downcast. “He was so very powerful as a child I came to believe that he might be a newly emerging Elder, so I took him aside and taught him separately from the other children in the castle. I was wrong, his skills plateaued rather early, but he was still quite powerful for a wand user, his parents’ son after all. As he grew older, he decided to believe that the newer magic users ‘taking his magic’ caused his limits. He wanted them banished if not destroyed outright.”
“And the founders disagreed?” Minerva asked. “All of the founders?”
“Yes, of course. The whole point of the school was to train young magicals so that they weren’t a danger to themselves or others. Most of the major witchhunts of the time were sparked by a young child suddenly manifesting their power,” the old woman’s eyes focused in the distance, as if she was straining to see the events she was describing. “The arguments between father and son escalated, until Godric joined in on his oldest friend’s side. The younger became infuriated at that, and one day when both Helga and I were away, he attacked the castle. When Helga and I returned, we found that he had killed both his father and my beloved Godric.”
“Oh, my!” Minerva murmured.
“Helga moved to avenge our men, while I tried to understand what had happened. I was never all that quick to deal with emotional distress you see, and while I was shocked into inaction Helga was slain by her son.”
“So, what happened?” Dumbledore asked.
“I’m ashamed to say that I allowed my anger at the loss of my husband to overwhelm me. I destroyed Salazar the younger utterly,” the old woman said quietly. “I destroyed the son so thoroughly as to not even leave a body. So I am likely to blame for the destruction of the father’s reputation over the years.”
Silence reigned in the Headmaster’s office for several moments before Clara once again spoke. “I never expected this old castle to affect me so. If you will excuse me, I believe I would like to explore my old home for a while, and speak with my daughter and her betrothed. There is still the reason for our visit to deal with after all, and Samantha is Harry’s mother now.”
Samantha waited until her aunt had left the office before speaking. “Your note asked for an opportunity to discuss Harry's inheritance and his future in his birth parent's society, but your staff here both seem to think that your goal is to convince me to have Harry attend your school.”
“Harry’s inheritance is my primary reason for my asking for this meeting, I assure you Mrs. Stevens,” the old man said, his eyes twinkling. “And I believe that his association with his birth parents’ society could best be served by his attending Hogwarts, as his inheritance provides for.”
“And why would he need to attend this school?” Samantha asked.
“Why, for the education of course,” Minerva responded. “Harry will need to know how to discipline his magic before it can do harm to himself or others.”
“Our school system back home is wonderfully well rounded, far more so than what you offer here,” Samantha pointed out. “And I have arranged for my children’s magical education with some of the finest tutors available today. Given what I have seen here,” she paused to glare at Snape, “where you inexplicably employ a man who is prone to raging insults at the mention of my son’s name, this is not something you can offer.”
“Hogwarts,” Minerva said stiffly, “is without peer, we are the finest institution of magical education in the world.”
Samantha locked eyes with the other witch. “You don’t understand do you? You’ve accepted that Aunt Clara was your Ravenclaw, but you haven’t made the connection to what we are. Amazing. Fine, I suppose I will have to show you,” the blonde woman checked her watch and then raised both her hands to shoulder level. “You will notice, I am not holding a wand?” and she twitched her nose.
The foursome found themselves in another place. All three of the wand users tried to go for their wands, only to discover that other than their heads, they could not move.
“This is my family room, at my home in Westport Connecticut,” Samantha said quietly. “In our current states we are quite invisible and intangible. My mother is about to start a lesson for my two eldest children, Harry and his sister Tabitha. The children are unable to see or hear us, though my mother is quite capable of both, though she will likely ignore us and carry on with her lesson. Watch and listen, then you can tell me if your Hogwarts can match the education Harry will get with us.”
“Today,” Endora announced, taking her cue from Samantha’s explanation and paying no attention to the invisible visitors in the room, “We will looking at self transformation,”
“Self transoration?” Tabitha asked. “What’s that?”
“Transformation,” Harry corrected her. “It means to change from one thing to another.”
“I rather suspect that both of you have already done this once or twice,” Endora noted. “At your age it’s important that you have a good grounding in the technique before you change yourself into some inanimate thing and then the rest of the family will spend a few weeks looking for you. That happened to your Uncle Arthur. When he was about your age he decided it would be fun to transform himself into a sword, and the next thing we knew my boyfriend Alaric had picked Arthur up and my younger brother was being used to sack Rome.”
“Cool,” Harry said. Auntie Endora could be scary sometimes, but she always had the best stories.
“Alaric?” Tabitha asked with a single raised eyebrow.
“I was going through a bit of a rebellious phase,” Endora said with a shrug, “and there was nothing like a Visigoth to annoy father. You will find out about things like that in a few years, Tabitha. For now, however, let us see what you can do. Something simple to start with, let me see what kind of puppies you two would make.”
“Thank you Mother,” Samantha said as she ended her spell, causing the Hogwarts staff to find themselves in the Headmaster’s office and once again capable of movement.
“Animagus transformation by children?” Minerva asked incredulously the image of two golden Labrador puppies frolicking in that well-appointed room still foremost in her mind, “how is that possible?”
“That wasn’t an Animagus transformation,” Samantha corrected, remembering the term from lessons from her own childhood, and understanding for the first time the spectral cat at the feet of the other woman. “That was basic self transformation. Something, as my mother suggested, they had both most likely already done on their own once or twice.”
“I had no idea,” Dumbledore admitted, “how powerful is the boy?”
“All three of my children test out in the normal range for young witches and warlocks,” Samantha paused for a moment to allow the wand users to collect themselves. “So, do you still believe that your school has much to offer my son?”
Snape looked up at the mention of the word ‘warlock’. That was only a ceremonial title… wasn’t it? These people were… Elders? Then Potter was an…
“A connection to his birth parents’ society?” Dumbledore suggested weakly.
“My children are being raised as citizens of the United States, but as they age they will, like most of our people, likely end up being citizens of many nations.” Samantha smiled. “I have lived in six different countries over my lifetime, including both England and Scotland. If Harry ever wishes to make a connection to the society of Magical Britain, he will, on his own terms for his own reasons.”
“Where was the boy’s scar?” Snape asked.
“Scar?” Samantha asked. “Why would Harry have a scar?”
“From the forensic evidence of the scene of Harry’s birth mother’s death, it appeared that the Dark Lord had cast a killing curse on young Harry,” Dumbledore explained. “That curse was somehow reflected back. All evidence suggested that the boy should have a prominent curse scar.”
Samantha smiled. “Harry doesn’t have any scaring beyond the one he got when he fell out of a tree last summer, and that’s on his left calf. Harry had nothing to do with the defeat of your evil wizard; he was just a toddler then.”
“Then how was the Dark Lord defeated?” Snape demanded.
“Our people have a connection with members of our family. My aunt felt her grandson, James Potter die violently, and responded by going to where the last of her line was at the time. She got there too late to save James’ wife, but not too late to teach the murderer what happens when you attack our family.”
“But…” Dumbledore seemed confused. “There is a prophecy…”
“A prophecy?” Samantha asked. “That’s not good, they can be nasty. Tell me what it says.”
Clara returned to the Headmaster’s office dabbing her eyes with her handkerchief only to find Samantha exiting the office in the company of the three wand users.
“Aunt Clara,” Samantha said when she spotted her aunt. “There’s a prophecy that might concern Harry. We’re going to need to check the Book of Prophecy to see if it actually applies to him.”
Clara nodded. “We need to do it now. The Witches Council is rarely happy to see me, but I will need to be there, as Harry is of my line.”
Samantha nodded and turned back to the Headmaster. “A most illuminating discussion Mr. Dumbedore. I am not convinced that Harry should come to your school, because, frankly, I don’t see the point, but since it was apparently the intent of Harry’s birth parents that he do so, I will leave the choice up to my son. After Harry turns eleven, I will allow you to make your case to him.”
“Thank you Mrs. Stevens. I’m sure that Harry will make the right choice.”
“Mr. Snape?” Clara said hesitantly. “I’ve been speaking with Gemmel, he tells me that your hostility toward my grandson is likely caused by the competition you had during your school days with the boy’s father.”
Snape said nothing, simply pushing his tangled blond locks from his eyes so that he might better glare at the woman.
“While I would question the maturity of a man who so dwells upon a childhood rivalry so fully that he would willingly transfer those feelings to an innocent, I can’t help but feel that perhaps a peace offering of sorts would go a long way toward healing your damaged soul.” The old woman gestured. “Good day Mr. Snape.”
“Yes, goodbye everyone,” Samantha Stevens said as she laid her left hand on her aunt’s shoulder and the pair vanished.
Severus Snape felt his scalp tingle and he wondered what the old woman had done to him. Then he could see the unruly strands of hair that had always been the bane of his existence suddenly began to unkink and straighten. His now straight hair parted so that it fell on either side of his face. For the first time since he could remember, he could see clearly without having to brush his curls from his eyes.
Did he dare hope? Would it be permanent? Was this happiness he was feeling?
That was when he saw the look of shock on the faces of his colleagues. With a trembling hand, he reached up to touch his changed hair. His hair felt… wet? He rubbed the strands between his thumb and forefinger and found the residue to be.,. slick. He pulled the longer strands before his eyes to find that his hair was no longer the golden blond of the Prince clan, his hair was black with a thick greasy sheen.
Again. They had humiliated him again.
Throughout the castle, a scream was heard. “POTTER!”
“So, what you’re telling me is that Harry is destined to face an evil wizard someday?” Darren asked as he cuddled his wife to him, staring at the darkened ceiling of their bedroom.
“Well, if you’re so sure…” Darren joked. “So that school principal has a prophecy, and it sort of matches one that the Witches’ Council has, right?”
“Yes,” Samantha said nodding in the darkness.
“And how evil are we talking here? Baba-Yaga baby eating evil or Witchie-poo from H.R.Pufnstuf evil?”
“Baba-Yaga is a very real, very nice person who got a whole lot of lies spread about her,” Samantha huffed. “And you know how much I hated the whole ugly witch stereotype typified by that horrid Witchie-poo character.”
“Uh huh,” the ad-man answered. “And Glenda the good witch was a controlling psychopath who used an innocent girl to do her dirty work in a covert power grab. Now answer the question.”
“Probably closer to Witchie-poo.” Samantha admitted. “He has a lot of power for a wand user, but he never seemed to be able to focus long enough to actually achieve anything.”
“Ok, could this evil wizard get through the protections you have around the kids?”
“Not on the best day of his life,” Samantha assured him.
“So, nothing to worry about,” Darren noted as he leaned down to kiss his wife’s forehead.
“But Harry is going to grow up, and go out into the world where I can’t protect him.”
“But Harry is a Stevens,” Darren said. “He isn’t some wimpy wand waving wizard. He’s a mega-scary Warlock. If this Voldemort guy is dumb enough to attack our son, he’ll get what’s coming to him.” The man smiled in the dark. “And Harry is likely to turn whatever is left of the poor fool over to his sister, and then the real torture will start.”
Samantha raised herself up on her elbow so that she could look down onto her husband’s features. “You know, sometimes I miss the days when you were terrified of magic.”
“I’m still terrified babe,” Darren laughed. “But after you’ve been changed into something more than a dozen times, the novelty sort of wears off you know? The not caring really annoys your mother, and believe me, no evil British wizard could possibly be more scary than Endora.”
“Ready?” Tabitha asked with a mischievous grin.
“We’re probably going to get in trouble,” Harry agreed. “So we better make it worth it.”
“You worry too much,” Tabitha giggled as she peered through the bushes to keep an eye on her target. “If mean old Jeremy hadn’t thrown Cathy’s dolly to the Metzer’s nasty dog we wouldn’t be doing this.”
Jememy is a third grader,” Harry noted. “If we goof this up, he’ll pound us good.”
“So, we don’t goof it up,” Tabitha said in a tone that suggested a dismissal of all other arguments.
Harry suspected that she had learned that from her grandmother. Auntie Endora could be really scary when she wanted to be. Ok, fine, Harry decided. Jeremy was a big jerk, and he needed to be taught a lesson about messing with people smaller than he was. Harry concentrated for a moment, picturing the scariest thing he could imagine.
“Cool!” Tabitha breathed when she saw what he had done. “Where did you come up with that from?”
“Dunno,” the transformed Harry rumbled. “A scary monster I sort of remember from an old story.”
Tabitha’s brow furrowed. “What old story?” she asked. “I don’t remember one with a monster like that.”
“You know,” Harry explained, trying to remember where he had heard of trolls for the first time. “The story with the big deer, the dog, the wolf and the rat. They fed the spotty Git to the troll, and the troll got sick.”
“I don’t remember that story,” Tabitha said shaking her head, while wondering what a git was, and how one got spotty, "But you look really scary and cool. I’ll try that too.”
Gladys Kravitz stared in horror. She had just noticed the two oldest Stevens kids hiding behind their mother’s viburnums and had been about to open the window for a better view of what the pair might be up to, when the boy… Harry was suddenly replaced by a huge beast with a club. A scream died in her throat as the girl, Tabitha looked up at the… troll like thing, spoke to it for a few moments, and then transformed into a similar beast herself.
Then the pair of horrific creatures leaped snarling out onto the sidewalk, where Jeremy Jacobs was walking with a pair of his friends.
Gladys felt like an icy fist had closed around her heart. Was she witnessing the murder of three young boys?
“Abner!” Gladys screamed as she raced through the house searching for her husband. “Abner!”
“What is it Gladys?” Abner Kravitz asked as he entered the kitchen from the attached garage wiping his hands on a shop towel.
“Monsters!” Gladys gasped as she wrapped him in a hug that threatened his ability to breathe. “The Stevens kids, they changed to monsters and attacked Jeremy Jacobs.”
“Gladys,” Abner said, softly stroking his wife’s hair in an attempt to calm her. “Those kids are a bit rambunctious, but they’re hardly monsters.”
“No,” she insisted. “They changed. I saw them, one minute they were children, and then they were huge hairy beasts.”
“That sounds more like teenagers than monsters,” Abner quipped. “Look Gladys, I was out in the garage, there weren’t any monsters on the street. I heard the kids screaming and yelling and kicking up a fuss, but that is just what kids do.”
“Abner, I swear…”
“Gladys, look,” Abner said as he guided his wife back to the window that looked out into the street. From there they could see the Stevens a child playing on their front lawn, walking stiffly with their arms outstretched like movie monsters, ‘Rawring’ at each other and then breaking into giggle fits. “They’re just playing.”
“But I saw…”
“Maybe you need a bit of a lay down, you know how you get these spells.”
“Ever since the Stevens moved in,” Gladys complained as she allowed herself to be lead away.
“Welcome back to Hogwarts, Sirius,”
“Thank you Albus,” the new head of House Black said as he took his seat. It had not been easy to get this meeting. It had taken almost Malfoy level throwing his weight and bank account around. The more Dumbledore had not wanted to talk to him, the more Sirius was convinced this conversation needed to take place.
“So, what can I do for one of our more illustrious graduates?”
Black’s eyes narrowed. Albus was really laying it on thick. “You know Albus, the funny thing about being a Hogwarts graduate is that everyone thinks they know you, and people you have almost no association with will tell you things.”
“Things?” the Headmaster asked.
“Interesting things,” Black confirmed. “For example I am told that you’re going to end up with a budget surplus this year,”
“We were lucky in a few bequests,” Dumbledore nodded.
“And I hear that you’re going to need a new Defense against the Dark Arts instructor in the fall.”
“Sadly, that is also true; Auror Blankly has passed his physical and is looking forward to returning to active duty with the force.” The old man’s eyes took on a sly look. “Would you be hinting at an interest in the position?”
“Oh, Albus, no, that wouldn’t be a good idea,” Sirius smiled. “The issue of course would be Seventh year girls… I keep getting older, but they stay the same age…”
Albus blinked and seemed almost to choke. Sirius silently congratulated himself for shocking the old man. “The most interesting thing I’ve heard recently is that just over six months ago, you met with the people who have Harry Potter.”
“People I don’t know have my godson,” Black said simply. “This is unacceptable. The son of James and Lily Potter needs to be with people who care for him.”
Dumbledore looked pensive for a moment, “I think perhaps that honesty is called for today.”
“Honesty Albus?” Sirius asked, unable to resist tweaking the old man. “How unusual.”
“Harry is with relatives.”
“No, he isn’t.” Sirius said dismissively. “You forget that James and I are related in half a dozen ways. Harry is not with any of the relatives that James would have ever acknowledged, nor is he with Lily’s family. I’ve checked.”
“Sirius…” the old man sighed. It was obvious that Dumbledore was trying to decide what he could tell Sirius. “Harry is with relatives from James side, and please, trust me when I tell you, Harry couldn’t possibly be any safer anywhere in the world.”
“You’ll pardon me if I don’t find that comforting,” Sirius responded. “As I recall, you offered the same assurance about the Fidelius charm.”
“And I was as wrong then as I am correct now,” Dumbledore said. “Sirius, would you say that I am a powerful wizard?”
Sirius’s surprise at this change of topic showed in his face. “Of course.
“And if I were to tell you that the people raising Harry since that horrible night were powerful enough that I am less to them than a first year student is to me, would you believe me?”
“You’re talking about the Elders?” Sirius asked incredulously.
“I am,” Albus admitted. “I’m surprised that you know of them.”
“My mother used them as Bogeymen, she was always telling me that the Elders would come and get me. So now you’re telling me that they are real ?”
“Very real,” Albus confirmed.
“But…” Sirius’ mind was racing. “What is their interest in Harry? Was it the way he killed Voldemort?”
“Well, no, not really.” Albus paused for a moment. “It turns out that Harry didn’t have anything to do with what happened to Voldemort. It was his grandmother.”
“His grandmother? She’s been dead for…”
“Not James’ mother. Sirius, one of the women who visited, she is… well, the castle, the ghosts and even the Sorting Hat all identified her as…”
“She is Rowena Ravenclaw,” the Hat interjected. “Just come out and say it old man. None of us are getting any younger.”
Silence filled the room for a moment, until Sirius broke it.
“Harry is being raised by Rowena Ravenclaw?”
“No, actually, Harry is being raised by Rowena’s niece, Samantha Stevens,” Albus replied. “Rowena is an Elder as is her niece, and so, evidently, is young Harry.”
Sirius seemed to consider that, and then nodded.
“You don’t seem surprised.”
Sirius looked up, “Oh, I’m surprised alright, and more than a little bit terrified. The Elders are real, and my godson is one of them. Though this news does explain a few things the boy did before…”
“Yes,” Albus agreed. “His incidents of accidental magic were quite strong. Unfortunately, the Stevens family has quite firmly requested that they be left alone.”
“I need to see my godson Albus.”
The Headmaster considered that for a moment before nodding. He took a card from his desk drawer and quickly scribbled an address on it. “I hope you don’t regret this Sirius.”
“So do I,” the head of house Black said as he pocketed the card. There was a short pause before he continued. “So,” Sirius asked, an evil grin appearing on his face, “what the hell happened to Snape?”
Samantha lifted Adam from his car seat, and turned to head in to the house. Tabitha and Harry were at school, and she had had a pleasant morning shopping with her youngest.
“Doggie Man!” Adam exclaimed pointing at the large black dog that had taken to hanging around the neighborhood over the last few weeks.
“Yes,” Samantha agreed. “Doggie Man.” This had gone on long enough. It was time to do something about this particular stray.
“Hungry fella?” she asked of the dog. “Why don’t you come on into the garage and we’ll see if we can’t get you something to eat.”
The dog cocked its head to one side, seeming to consider the offer before following the attractive woman into her garage. As the woman passed through the doorway leading inside the house, she slapped the control that caused the garage door to start to close.
The dog jumped at the sound of the motor starting, but stayed where it was, waiting patiently. After a few moments, the woman returned without her youngest child, but also without the promised food.
“Well, here we are,” she said as she crossed her arms under her breasts. “Do you really think you’re fooling anyone?”
The dog cocked its head again, as if trying to understand what she was saying and the woman sighed. “If you insist I can force you back to your natural form. I’m told that if I do it, the transformation will be spectacularly painful, and you may lose the ability to transform on your own.”
The aspect of the dark haired man in what appeared to be expensive robes of a type Samantha had not seen worn since the 1400s suddenly solidified in front of her. It was odd, that the dog aspect took on the look of a spectral flare. “What gave me away?” he asked.
Samantha smiled. “You mean other than the astral aspect of your human form that flares over your dog’s body?”
“You can see the magic behind an Animagus transformation?” the man asked incredulously.
His only answer was a single raised eyebrow. The man hesitated, it was clear he was intimidated. “My name is Sirius Black.”
“Nice to finally meet the real you Mr. Black. I was starting to wonder what kind of pervert was hanging around the neighborhood watching my children. Given your reputation, and how I heard you participated in the death of eldest son’s birthparents, why shouldn’t I be doing horrible things to you before handing you over to the police?”
“I am Harry’s godfather.”
Samantha was not sure what she had been expecting the man to say, but she certainly had not been expecting that. “Are you really? Odd that Lily Potter’s sister didn’t know about that.”
“You’ve spoken with Petunia?”
“Of course I have. We aren’t barbarians Mr. Black. We didn’t kidnap Harry. I approached Petunia and Vernon three days after Harry came to live with us. A most unpleasant couple,”
“I’ll say,” Black agreed.
“They refused to speak with me at first; I’m afraid I forced the issue and insisted. They were quite clear that they wanted nothing to do with Harry and wanted no contact from me. They were quite willing to surrender their rights to the boy.”
Sirius had only checked at the Dursleys for Harry, it never occurred to him to ask those wretched people if anyone else had approached them about his godson. “They hate magic.”
“They hate anything they don’t understand,” Samantha corrected, “which extends to almost the sum total of the universe. After I left the Dursleys, I went looking for James Potter’s family, and found that he did not really have much in the way of close relatives. Everyone I spoke with told me you were his closest friend, and you were under arrest for being involved in the Potter’s deaths, the death of someone named Peter Pettigrew and a large group of normal Londoners.”
“That was a mistake, I’ve been cleared,” Sirius pointed out. “Why didn’t you contact Albus Dumbledore?”
“Why,” Samantha asked in a puzzled tone, “would I contact the Headmaster of a school about an orphaned toddler?”
“Dumbledore is…. He’s the Leader of the Light…”
“Leader of the Light?” Samantha’s confusion deepened. “What does that even mean?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Sirius Black sighed. “Look, what I want… what I need is to speak with Harry. Will you allow that?”
The blonde woman looked deeply into the man’s eyes, as if trying to see into his soul. “I suppose that can be arranged. Without your wand of course,” she twitched her nose and his wand was instantly in her left hand. “Come in Mr. Black, we can have lunch and you can meet Harry’s little brother Adam while we wait for school to let out. A word of warning Mr. Black. If you even think about harming a single hair on the heads of any of my children, I will destroy you, and no Leader of the Light, the Dark or even the Plaid will be able to protect you.”
School let out at 3pm, and the Stevens children’s bus arrived in front of their house at exactly 3:22. Six-year-old Harry Stevens raced into the house, a man on a mission. His favorite television show was on tonight and he knew that he would only be allowed to watch it if his homework was finished and checked by his father.
Having two worksheets of math problems and a six word spelling list to study meant that he didn’t really have any time to spare.
By the time Tabitha made her way into the kitchen having spent several minutes finishing her conversation with her friend Lisa before coming inside, Harry was already at the table working hard on his first math problem, trying very hard to resist counting the addition out on his fingers.
“The weirdo dog guy is gone,” Tabitha noted as she grabbed a cookie for herself before sitting down at her own seat at the kitchen table.
“Good,” Harry said as he finished with his first problem. “He was starting to freak me out.”
“Why?” Tabitha asked as she started on her own homework. “I mean, sure it was creepy the way he was always staring at us, but I just figured he was here to make sure we didn’t let the neighbors know that we’re witches and warlocks.”
“That can’t be right,” Harry noted. “I mean, if he was here to see what we were doing, why did he leave a ghost of himself over the dog? No one else does that. There was something… weird about his magic.”
Tabitha considered that for a moment, “I hadn’t thought of that,” she admitted before looking over at Harry’s worksheet. “What did you get for the first one?”
“There you two are,” Samantha noted as she came into the kitchen. “Harry you have a visitor.”
Harry had been about to take a bite out of a cookie, but he paused in a bit of confusion. “A visitor? Who? No one said they were coming over.”
“Hello Harry,” Sirius said as he stepped into the Stevens’ kitchen. “My name is Sirius Black.”
“Hey,” Tabitha noted. “You’re the dog guy, only now you’re a guy dog.”
“The observant young lady is my daughter Tabitha, Mr. Black,” Samantha explained.
“Hello Mr. Black,” Harry said hesitantly, clearly wondering who this adult was and why the man wanted to speak with him. “Have we done something wrong? Is that why you’ve been watching us?”
“No, you’ve done nothing wrong,” Sirius said shaking his head. “I’ve just been looking for you for a very long time.”
“Looking for me? Why?”
Sirius sighed. This was not the way he imagined this meeting with his godson. For some reason he had expected the boy to recognize him and leap into his arms. “Harry, I’m your godfather.”
That explanation got him a pair of blank looks from the two children. “Mr. Black, we don’t really use the whole concept of godparents in our family,” Samantha pointed out. “You had best explain what you mean.”
Sirius nodded and tried to think of the best way to explain himself. “James Potter was my best friend in the world, and he married a wonderful woman, Lily Evans. After a while, James and Lily had a son. You.”
Harry nodded. “Grandma Clara has told me about how she found the bad guy trying to hurt me and she messed him up real good. That’s how I got here.”
Sirius paused, wondering at the power of this Clara woman to have dealt with Voldemort so casually. “Your Mum and Dad asked me to look after you if anything happened to them; they named me your Godfather. I was the third person to hold you after you were born, after your Mum and Dad. I lifted you up, looked into your eyes and promised you that I would do whatever I had to do to make sure you were safe. And then you peed on me.”
Tabitha started giggling, while Harry blushed. “Sorry,” he murmured, his eyes down.
“Don’t be,” Sirius laughed. “We had a deal, you and me. I was going to protect you, and you were going to keep me from getting a big head. Then that ‘bad guy’ your grandmum told you about attacked your family one Halloween night. James and Lily were killed and you disappeared. No one could find any trace of you, so I went hunting for the person who betrayed your family to the evil wizard, thinking he had you. I got into a bit of trouble over that, but believe me; I never stopped looking for you.”
“So, what does all of this mean Mr. Black?” Harry asked quietly. “Are you taking me away?”
“Merlin! No!” Sirius exclaimed. “I can’t even imagine what your mother might do to me if I tried, or what Lily would do to me once your mum was done with me and I was on the other side. All I want is a chance to be part of your life.”
Harry nodded and looked up smiling. “That sounds ok, if it’s ok with Mom and Dad.”
“Of course it’s ok Harry,” Samantha assured the boy. “We would like nothing more than for you to know of your birth family.”
“Cool,” Tabitha grinned. “We’ve got a new uncle. That means more presents for birthdays and Christmas!”
“Tabitha!” Samantha scolded.
“Mr. Black?” Harry asked.
“Sirius Harry, call me Sirius. When I hear ‘Mr. Black’ I feel like I’m back in school about to get a well-earned detention.”
“Sirius…” Harry said, as if trying out the name for the first time. “I don’t remember anything other than living here, but I remember sort of stories that Tabitha doesn’t know. The stories all have a big deer, a wolf, a rat and a big dog in them. The big dog I remember looks a whole lot like your dog form. Does that make any sense?”
“It does,” Sirius said with a wide grin. “James could change into a stag, that’s your big deer, we called him ‘Prongs’ because of the antlers. The wolf was our friend Moony, and I was the world famous Padfoot.”
“And the rat?” Tabitha asked.
Sirius exchanged a look with Samantha. “We called the rat Wormtail. I’ll tell you more about him when you’re older. Moony is still around, your mum can invite him over if she wants.”
“Why,” Harry asked looking at the ceiling, “do things always have to wait until we’re older?”
“Mate, believe me,” Sirius said in his most serious tones. “There are things I’m still not old enough to know.”
“Ok,” Harry said, clearly not convinced. Then a look of concentration crossed his features. “What’s a spotty git?”
Two Years Later:
“You’re looking a bit rough Remus,” Darren Stevens noted as he set the highball glass next to the rumpled man.
“Ahh,” Remus sighed after he took a sip of the amber fluid. “I needed that. Top drawer hooch as always, Darren. The last full moon was a bit rough, and then Harry’s party…”
“Only you wand waving crazies would call my 12 year old Macallan Single Malt ‘hooch’ for no reason beyond it doesn’t make you burp fire,” Darren huffed from his place behind the wet bar.
“Hey,” Sirius interjected, “a good belch is the sign of a quality buzz.”
“To Sirius!” Remus said, raising his glass. “The ultimate connoisseur.”
“Damned right,” Sirius agreed while draining his own glass. “Remus is right about Harry’s party though. Who knew that riding herd on a dozen 8 year olds could possibly be so draining?”
“I’m just pleased that it went as well as it did,” Darren admitted sipping from his own glass. “The magician was a big hit.”
“He was seriously cool,” Sirius nodded. “I was watching everything he did and I couldn’t spot a thing. If I didn’t know he was a Muggle, I’d have been wondering where he kept his wand, or if he was one of Sam’s people.”
“Well,” Samantha announced as she entered the room, “they’re finally down for the night. New family rule, Remus never, ever supplies the cake, for any party, ever again, until Adam is at least 19.”
“Hey,” Remus protested. “That was an excellent cake.”
“It was,” Sam admitted, “and that’s part of the problem. That ‘Honeydukes’ bakery you use makes the most delicious chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted and somehow manages to get twelve pounds of sugar into a two pound cake. All twelve of those kids were literally bouncing off the walls in a sugar rush. I actually felt sorry for the ponies.”
“I never had ponies at my birthday parties,” Sirius pouted. “My dear mother always had snakes at all of our birthday parties, to see if any of us could talk to them.”
“For the love of god why?” Darren asked.
“The ability to speak to snakes is considered by some to be the sign of a powerful dark magic user,” Remus supplied. “She was probably hoping Sirius was an up and coming Dark Lord.”
“You didn’t miss out on much Sirius,” Samantha said as she took her seat on the sofa. “Snakes almost never have anything interesting to say. Mostly they complain about the weather and how far away everything is. Occasionally you’ll find a real orator who complains about how unfair it is that they don’t have any way to manipulate the world around them that doesn’t involve putting things that taste bad in their mouths, but for the most part, blah blah blah.”
Remus and Sirius just stared at Sam for a few moments. “Sometimes, it’s so easy to forget you aren’t what we would consider a ‘normal’ witch Samantha,” Remus noted. “And then you say things like that that point out just how much more powerful you are.”
Before Samantha could respond, there was a soft musical chime and next to her on the sofa was suddenly a woman who could have been her twin with dark raven hair. “Sorry, I’m late,” the newcomer said, her arms laden with brightly wrapped gifts. “Today’s other party ran long. Where is the birthday boy?”
“Hello Serena,” Samantha sighed. “Harry is in bed, it’s almost 10 o’clock.”
“Oh, poo!” the beautiful woman pouted. “I wanted the kiddies to have a chance to see their favorite Auntie.” It was then she spotted Sirius and Remus. “Well, hello there,” she said with a predatory gleam in her eyes before turning back to Sam. “How do you do it Cuz? First Darren, then that delightful Cottontop, and now these tasty little morsels? Oh, my,” Serena gasped before shooting Samantha an evil grin. “They’re wand users, you naughty girl.”
“I’m right here, Serena,” Darren pointed out.
“Of course you are, Darren,” she said shoving the gifts in her arms onto Samantha’s lap and rising to her feet. “Take care of those for me won’t you Cuz? I need to meet your guests.”
“Remus, Sirius, this is Serena,” Samantha sighed while trying to balance the collection of giftwrapped packages. “My cousin.”
“Oh, don’t get up,” the raven-haired woman said as she slid onto Sirius’ lap and combed the fingers of her left hand through his hair, while her right stroked his chin. “Love the beard, what was your name again?”
“Sirius,” he replied. “Sirius Black.”
“Oh, you’re English. What fun. Samantha and I spent part of our childhood in England, it was wonderful.”
“Oh?” Remus asked, enjoying the look on Sirius’s face as he found himself being the one being pursued for a change. “When was this?”
Serena’s face took on an expression of concentration. “You know, I’m not sure. What year was it London had that big fire?”
A/N: For Bob. Who just wouldn’t stop nagging about this one.
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