- Character Bashing
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Alternate Universe
- Urban Fantasy
Chapter 1 - Graduation - A celebration with family and friends.
“Ladies and Gentlemen; Witches, Wizards and other Assorted Beings. I am pleased to present to you: the newly graduated Ilvermorny class of 1998!”
The auditorium erupted with screams and cheers of celebration, as Harry and his classmates, along with their families and friends responded to the Principal’s announcement.
With the ease of careful practice, the rows of – now-former – students removed their mortarboard caps and wandlessly, silently levitated them en masse into the air over their heads.
But then the synchronization broke down, as each graduate used their favourite spell, charm, or hex to modify their airborne cap. There were explosions in a multitude of colours, spectacular transfigurations into new and strange objects, even conjured creatures swarming through the skies.
Initially, Harry’s choice of modification was subtle. The dark haired teen’s cap simply continued to rise until it had nearly reached the ceiling. Then, the square block of the mortarboard began to distort itself, compressing and expanding simultaneously. Meanwhile, the red colour bled out of the satin, turning it a matte black. Given its position, it practically disappeared from view in the shadows.
This was all a part of the plan.
A sharp grin spread across Harry’s face, highlighting the shape of his eyes, as a dull red glow appeared in the shadows where his modified cap had hidden. Then, a low rumble began. Nearly inaudible at first, it grew and grew until it had captured the attention of the entire audience below. By that point, Harry’s grin was practically ear-to-ear, though his attention remained focused on his working.
The roar reached a climax, and a burst of flame shot out from the shadows. It was immediately followed by the soaring figure of a dragon, its black hide accented with glittering bronze spikes. Those in the know would recognize the model for the transfiguration. It was Minunat, the Hungarian Horntail that Harry had faced during the Triwizard Tournament over three years before.
Despite the mess that had been the end of that event, Harry’s encounter with the mother dragon had been one of the highlights of his school years. So, he wanted to celebrate it. And if he got to show off in the process, well, so much the better.
The faux Minunat continued to dive while still roaring until she had nearly reached the heads of the assembled audience. Then, in a moment stolen from the Lord of the Rings, her dive was redirected into a soar. She shot across the auditorium, rapidly approaching the now vacant podium, where she exploded into a shower of fireworks.
After a moment of shocked silence, the entire audience began to cheer. Out of habit, Harry’s eyes went to where he knew Pads had positioned himself. His restless guardian was – unsurprisingly – leaning against one of the room’s walls. In fact, he was quite close to one of the exit doors. Amidst all of the noise and hubbub, Pads was an island of calm.
Catching Harry’s glance, the older Wizard shot him smirk and a nod, a complement to a well-executed prank. In addition, Harry felt a pulse of warmth – approval – pushed down their bond. It was a comfort. Even with all of the progress that he’d made over the years, Harry would always bear the scars of his abuse – that little voice inside that told him that he was a worthless, good-for-nothing brat.
But through it all, Paddy was always there, his rock.
The sun was warm on Harry’s face as he shut his eyes and tilted his head back and into the light.
Graduation had wrapped up several hours ago, giving way to numerous parties for the various individual graduates. Of course, Pads’ status as a member of Ilvermorny’s staff had given the Gramander Clan first choice in claiming a spot on campus for their celebration. And since it was a beautiful sunny May afternoon, naturally they had staked out an out-of-doors location.
The lawn beside the Ilvermorny sciences buildings was substantially covered by a wide variety of blankets, cloaks, and other seating, with a large barbecue pit and table, loaded with leftovers along one side. These were the detritus of a summer feast, one that had only recently been consumed.
Now, however, the area was mostly empty. Its former inhabitants had scattered across the campus, visiting others. All that remained were Harry, his adopted Grandfather Percival ‘Percy’ Graves, and his current backrest – a happily snoozing Padfoot.
“How does it feel, grandson of mine?” Grandfather Percy asked with a smile. His salt-and-pepper locks had long ago faded into grey, and wrinkles distorted his features, but the old Wizard’s eyes were still sharp as he gazed upon his son and grandson. The affection in his eyes was unmistakable, a mark of the joy that the unexpected, untraditional family had brought to him. As always, the sight gave Harry a mixed sense of comfort and awed disbelief.
“What?” He asked, flushing. He’d missed the question.
“Being a graduate.”
“Oh.” Harry shrugged. “Doesn’t really feel real yet, I guess. I mean, I know in my head that I’m done, but it hasn’t really hit me here.” He reached up and patted his chest.
“That’ll come,” the other man said.
“I know,” Harry agreed. “Penny says the same thing.”
“Well, she would know,” Grandfather agreed. Harry’s cousin on the Scamander side, Penelope Wakefield, had graduated from Ilvermorny the year before. She was now enrolled in a program for Magical Medicine in New York City.
“Yeah. I’m sure that once I head across the pond it’ll start feeling a bit more real.”
“Quite. How are preparations going there, anyway?”
“Well,” Harry paused for a moment, gathering his thoughts. “Um, Uncle Isaac put us in contact with one of the porters at Oxford. See, he’s a squib from one of the old families and is still in touch with people on the other side. Turns out, that there are certain Warded apartments in the college that are currently unoccupied.”
“They were originally designed for younger scions of the Magical Nobility back when it was traditional for them to pursue a Mundane education. With Pads’ status as Lord Regent Black, it was easy for him to open one up for our use. It’s a proper house in miniature, too – with a private lab and small courtyard for growing plants – so Pads will have room for his research.”
Then Harry smirked. “Not that he’ll have much time for that. Mister Black’s already been sending over lots of letters in preparation for Pads’ arrival. Apparently, he wants to make sure that his House’s position remains secure once he finally retires.”
Grandfather chuckled, turning it into a cough as Padfoot stirred in his sleep. “Yes, Pads did mention that. Not that I blame Sig. He doesn’t really have anyone else to groom, at least not yet. I think that he’s still hoping one of his grandsons might take up the job eventually.”
“But of course Rigel and Eddie are far too little, now.”
“Indeed. Well, between Sig, Lucius, and our Artemis, Pads will be in good hands there.”
“…so long as he doesn’t get too hex-happy.” Harry couldn’t help but chime in.
“Quite right, my young grandson, quite right. Now, I’m certain that you must have friends to see; you don’t have to hang around here and keep this old man entertained.”
“Oh, I don’t mind, Grandfather.”
“Nonsense. This is your last chance – at least for some time. Go, have fun.”
Leaning forward, Harry pushed himself off the blanket where he sat. A bit of over-compensation had him bouncing on the balls of his feet for just a second. The breeze from his movement felt good against the warmth of the sun, and he couldn’t help but smile.
He knew exactly where he wanted to go.
“See you later, Grandfather!” he called, before darting off.
Glancing back, Harry was struck by the image. If a Mundane were to stumble on the sight, they would assume that it was just an old man and his dog, enjoying a sunny afternoon. For Harry, however, that was his family.
“Uncle Moony!” Harry shouted as he bounded up to where the man stood, chatting with a group of young Witches and Wizards. Taking advantage of his momentum, he leaped onto the werewolf’s back.
Thanks to the older Wizard’s enhanced strength – a side effect of his Lycanthropy – and long experience with the teen’s habits, Remus Lupin had anticipated the leap. Thus, he was able to remain on his feet despite the additional weight. Still, he couldn’t help but grunt at the impact.
“You’re far too big to be doing that now, Harry,” he said with a growl. “After all, you are the big, strong Ilvermorny graduate, are you not?” Of course, Remus’ gruff words were just a front. His actions said otherwise, as he swept an arm behind his back to help Harry get a better position there.
“I’ll never be too big, Moony!” Harry responded, taking advantage of the offered aid. Despite the rapid approach of Harry’s eighteenth birthday, he was still several inches shorter than his uncle at only 5’5”. Between genetics, the abuse, and his Magical parasite, the teen was unlikely to grow much further. He would forever be stuck as one of the shortest people in the room.
Still, it did have its upsides.
“Don’t get too comfortable, there, midget,” Nymphadora Black Tonks proclaimed from Remus’ side. “I still owe you for that shock earlier.”
The colourful Metamorphmagus was in the midst of an Auror exchange year in Boston, which made it easy for her to pop up to Mount Greylock for the weekend ceremony.
“But Dora, how could I possibly have shocked an intelligent, diligent Auror like you? After all, what does old Moody say – ‘Constant Vigilance’?”
Rolling her eyes, Tonks had chimed in on the last two words. “Not when I’m off duty, squirt. Excellent job on that dragon, by the way,” she added, offering him her fist to bump. It was a habit that she’d picked up from one of her American co-workers, and had gleefully introduced to the rest of the family.
Tightening his hold on Remus with his other three limbs, Harry reciprocated the greeting. To no one’s surprise, instead of finishing the gesture Tonks took advantage of Harry’s outstretched arm. Grabbing hold of it with both hands, she attempted to pull him off Remus’ back.
The resulting scuffle was short but intense. In the end, all three of them ended up collapsed on the ground panting, with those around them laughing hysterically at the absurd sight.
“I’ll get you for that… Nymphadora,” Harry huffed with a laugh of his own.
“Don’t call me that, you… brat!” his cousin retorted.
“Here,” a hand was thrust in front of Harry’s face, as all three ‘combatants’ were helped to their feet by those around them. “Thanks for the free show,” his helper said, teasing.
“No problem,” Harry replied with a flirtatious wink. Most of the gathered Witches and Wizards, including Harry’s helper, were past or present members of Ilvermorny’s ‘pack’. In an effort to support the members of their student body who were Lycanthropy positive, the Ilvermorny staff had organized a club, a wolf pack.
Given Pads’ secondary canine form, he, and Harry had easily become auxiliary members of that club. Interestingly, though Harry had yet to find his own second – animagus – form, he was still able to spend full moons with the pack. It seemed that something about his parasite was repulsive to transformed werewolves. While they’d never actually test it, Harry and the others had hypothesized that the Obscurus would prevent Lycanthropy from taking hold in his body even if he was bitten. After all, the disease was a sort of curse, something that the parasite wouldn’t want its host to bear.
Glancing over, Harry saw that both Remus and Tonks were also upright, brushing the dust off their clothes with efficient swipes. They were each chatting with their own helpers as they did so, obviously continuing earlier conversations.
From his spot off to one side, Harry noticed the quick glances that each of them shot the other. While he knew that Dora’d held a long-standing crush on the older Wizard, this was the first indication that Harry had seen that the inverse was also true.
Grinning, he reached out to tell Pads the news. Harry was expecting to find his guardian’s mind still in a state of drowsy contentment, as it had been when he left the man’s side. Instead, he was hit with a muted spike of new grief.
But before he could dig any further, Pads’ Patronus came bounding over to Remus’ side.
“Remus, Harry, I need you to help me round up everyone and come back over to where Percy and I are sitting. An unexpected Owl Post just showed up, and….” Pads’ voice grew hesitant and sorrowful. “There’s been a Death.”
A death in the family brings the recent Ilvermorny graduate Harrison Grim (Potter) back to Britain for the first time since the events of Irregular Homecomings. Over the years, Harry’s passion for helping others – especially abused children – has not waned, and now he’s finally ready to start the process that will lead to his chosen career. Pursuing both a Mundane education – Oxford University, Psychology and Social Studies – and an apprenticeship with a Mind Healer at the same time might seem like an ambitious schedule, but Harry is determined to do what it takes to make his dreams a reality.
But Harry isn’t the only one whose plans are coming to a head. The ascension of a new Peer is always a time of uncertainty – even with the Scamanders’ careful succession planning. Besides, there is still a Dark Lord and his followers waiting in the wings – and an old schemer who sees Harry as a tool for the ‘Greater Good’.
This is Part 4 of the Obscure Guardian Series, which features an Obscurial Harry rescued from the Dursleys at age 5 and raised by Sirius Black in America with the family of triad Tina Goldstein/Newt Scamander/Percival Graves. Keep in mind that this is in no way canon compliant for ‘Crimes of Grindelwald’, as I started this series long before the second Fantastic Beasts movie came out.