- Character Bashing
- Death-Minor Character
- Discussion-Child Abuse
A/N: My references to Apollumi prison were due to the inspiration of Keira Marcos.
“You Awakened at 4 years old?”
“Yes, or so. My spirit animal appeared by that age and kept me company and helped to regulate my senses. I didn’t realize what I was for many more years but I knew I was different.”
“I see. Well, you said you can speculate based on your life experiences. Please elaborate for us. What was your life like around the time you Awakened?”
Harry closed his eyes for a moment, tightening his hand in Pupple’s fur, Astrum appearing to Harry beside Pupple, Draco’s love pouring over their bond. “When I learned about Sentinels in my primary school, I realized what I was. Muggles know about Sentinels and Guides but believe them to be very rare. I understand why now, of course, since it is a magical gift and those in the muggle world are squibs, sort of. At the least they don’t have enough magic to use a traditional wand. But at that point I didn’t know I was a wizard, I didn’t know anything about magic or the magical world’s existence. So, I researched what I could in secret about Sentinels. Typically Sentinels Awaken due to stress, whether physical or emotional or both. If you add in severe isolation, it adds to the likelihood. This is, of course, for those that Awaken suddenly, not gradually.
“My relatives are not nice people. They have a need to be seen as normal, like others around them. The idea of magic frightens them because it isn’t normal, it is in their terms freakish. They knew I was a wizard and they didn’t want me to be. Their purpose in life regarding my existence in their lives was to make me normal.
To that end, my aunt would work me like a slave, having me do chores from cleaning the various rooms in the house to weeding the garden to mowing the grass – that is using a machine to keep it at a uniformly small height, to washing the clothes and dishes and even cooking meals, which I often was not permitted to eat, and if I was it was often the scraps and leftovers. She was rarely physical in her interactions with me. She actually hated touching me at all and would only swing things at me, whatever was handy, a pan, a book, a towel.
“My uncle was more – hands on – in his approach. He often beat me bloody and locked me in my room for days on end. My room was a small cupboard under the staircase leading to the upper story of the house. That space was my bedroom, playroom – for a given value of play for someone whose only toys had been knicked from the trash, and my punishment spot.
“My uncle was in charge of the punishment that was meted out for any accidental magic outbursts – or to them if I did anything freakish or if anything they considered freakish happened around me. My aunt would lock me in my cupboard and I would be alone there until my uncle arrived home from work and he would then handle the beatings. That is what my childhood was like. I assume that one time when I was very young, I was locked in by my aunt and stressed fearing my uncle’s reaction to whatever had happened. The isolation and stress Awakened me and brought me my companion so I was never alone and isolated again.
“My cousin was also quite evil to me, he would chase me with a gang of friends and beat me up when he caught me but while I dislike him, I can’t bring myself to really blame him. He is what his parents made him to be. He was never taught any differently. Maybe one day he’ll be able to change if he is exposed to new ideas but as it is, they ruined him. He is a bully and a thug who surrounds himself with those like him and terrorizes those smaller and weaker than him. I actually feel more pity for him than anything else.”
Interrogator Fitzgerald swallowed. “That’s very mature of you, Lordling Potter. You said that muggles know about the Awakened. Did there come a time when your relatives or any other muggles discovered your state, as you Awakened so very young?”
Harry nodded. “I was 8 years old when on the walk home from school I smelled a large amount of natural gas in the neighborhood. I knew it was dangerous and told my aunt. When she realized I wasn’t lying, she made me pretend to lose my keys in the pipes under the street to give a normal reason for smelling the gas. She reported it to the authorities and they fixed everything, a leak that would have destroyed most of the neighborhood if hit with a spark. She knew about Sentinels and knew that I must be one and she hated me even more than before. During her rant about it and through later research, I discovered that my great grandfather, my aunt’s grandfather, Brian Corvin, Awakened as a Sentinel and left his family to be with his Guide, Bellamy Graunt. She hated Sentinels and Guides her whole life because she saw how it hurt her grandmother and mother. When she told my uncle about it, he beat me worse than normal and kept telling me to turn my senses off every time thereafter. I pretended to them that it had worked but I think my aunt was still suspicious. She definitely hated me more than ever. I never told anyone else because there wasn’t anything they could do about it. The gifts so rarely show up in the muggle world that there is no structure for what I was.”
“I’m very sorry.”
Harry shrugged. “My childhood made me who I am and my Awakening brought me both my spirit animal and my Guide, so I won’t complain.”
Fitzgerald smiled. “Alright, can you tell us about the day you had a feral episode at Hogwarts?”
Harry blew out a breath and nodded. “I was cornered near the entrance hall doors by Hagrid -“ Harry explained the entire sequence that he remembered about the time with Hagrid and what Dumbledore did and said in his office. “I was just very threatened by his words and actions. Draco is my everything and he wanted to take that away and hurt us both. I couldn’t bear the thought, not after everything I’ve been through.”
“Thank you, Lordling Potter.”
Judge Gaberden motioned for to the chair. “You can go now, Lordling Potter. We’ll be viewing the memories you’ve provided now and you don’t need to see that. I do promise that the situation with Sirius Black will be looked into right away.”
Harry stood and nodded his head in thanks. “I hope it is all cleared up soon.”
Harry and Draco were hurrying into the castle with their yearmates after Herbology. The snow was piled high around but unlike two weeks before on Valentine’s Day, the class hadn’t been cancelled as the snow had fallen gradually rather than swiftly. The spells on the paths hadn’t been overwhelmed by the sudden influx and kept them clear with a bit of help from the house elves.
As the group entered the main doors, Harry caught a scent thick in his nose that he recognized. It was one he hadn’t smelled in over a decade but he had been building sense memories since birth and his Sentinel Gift allowed him to recall them even though he couldn’t recall the actual making of the memory itself. He slowed down and allowed his classmates to pass by, latching on to Draco’s hand and tugging him close enough to whisper. “I smell Sirius. He passed by here within the last ten minutes or less.”
Draco huffed a laugh. “Let’s follow it. It’s good practice for you and I want to meet him. And I know you do, too, no matter how nervous the idea makes you. He’s your third parent, in blood and magic, Sirius Black is your father, not your godfather.”
Harry nodded and took a deep breath in through his nose, filling it with the scent and beginning to move. The two followed the trail up one set of stairs and down two hallways when Harry caught a whiff of wormwood and anise, the scent he associated with Professor Snape headed their way. He pulled Draco into the closest alcove behind a statue and waited.
Two minutes later, the professor appeared in the corridor and stopped less than ten feet from their alcove. He turned to the wall and knocked a pattern of three-two-five against the wall which sounded like wood not stone as his knuckles struck it. A door appeared and opened and Sirius Black stood in the doorway. He nodded to Snape and motioned him to enter, closing the door behind him.
The two boys shared a look and Harry sighed, leaning back against the statue, his left hand resting against the back of its right leg. Draco gave him a sad smile and pulled him close in a hug and Harry’s hand ran up the statue’s leg from ankle to knee as he leaned forward. He felt a change in air pressure and spun Draco around, putting his own body between his Guide and the change.
In the back of the alcove a small archway had appeared. Harry relaxed as he heard nothing within the corridor. Draco shrugged behind him and gave him a nudge forward. Harry laughed lightly and moved through the archway, one hand behind him grasping Draco’s non wand hand.
Once both boys had passed through the arch, it vanished into a wall again but this side had a large protruding brick in it. They stepped forward and as they reached about six feet in, the wall to their right turned transparent and voices filled the passageway.
When they looked, the boys saw Sirius Black and Professor
Snape in a small lounge room, seated on a pair of armchairs angled to face one another. Both men had glasses of some type of drink in them, Harry assumed alcoholic as it didn’t appear to be water nor did it have the consistency of juice, pumpkin or otherwise.
Harry bit his lip and looked away, “Sorry.”
Neither man made a comment, not even looking at the transparent wall. Draco reached forward and touched it and it was solid. “I don’t think it is transparent both ways, Harry. They can’t hear us or see us.”
Harry’s eyes widened, “Oh, like in a police station on the telly. They watch the bad guys from one side and the bad guys can’t see them.”
Draco nodded hesitantly. “I suppose. You’ll have to tell me more about those later and what a telly is. But let’s see what they’re talking about.”
Harry nodded and turned back to the scene before them. Sirius took a sip of his drink and Snape scowled into his own before sighing. “I don’t even know where to start. I – I hated you and the other Marauders for so long. I just-“
Sirius held up his free hand. “Then I’ll start. I was an arse when we were in school. I know I have an excuse, more or less, with what Dumbledore did to me, to James, to you. The spells, the alchemical potions. But I started off as a git before he ever got his hooks into me. On the train, I was an arsehole to you for no other reason than I wanted James to like me and think I was cool. My home life was a nightmare and frankly, I didn’t exactly know how not to be an arse. I saw memories of the trial. I suppose I was like Harry’s cousin, I was raised to be an entitled snobbish git and I was. Regardless of the excuses of the magical coercion and control, what I did at Hogwarts was still me doing it even if I wasn’t myself. It was my wand that cast the spells, my hands that made the ‘prank’ potions, my mouth that sent you after a transformed werewolf, though in my defense on the last, I was actually compelled to do that one directly, but still it was me. So, to start off, I apologize for being a bully and an arsehole to you, Snape.”
The professor sighed, “Severus. Feel free to use Severus, Black. This is all hard enough without echoes and formalities.”
Sirius nodded. “Feel free with Sirius.”
Severus took a sip of his drink and set it down on a side table. “I forgive you though. Dumbledore will not enjoy his ‘next great adventure’. I don’t believe in the Christian hell but I do believe in Lady Magic and I am positive that she and her lord are not happy with Albus Dumbledore. He cursed me so young, and so specifically, I don’t even know who I really am. I don’t even know what I did to gain his attention. He planned from the moment I stepped into the castle at 11 to make me a Death Eater and eventual spy for him within the ranks. I remember the boy I was when I walked through that barrier at King’s Cross with Lily and her parents and know he wouldn’t even recognize the me from the past two decades.”
Sirius nodded, “Well, he got what punishment we as a society could give him. His much vaunted and loved reputation is utterly destroyed. He is seen by all as his true self, a dark lord who we allowed to rule us and shape us for over seventy years. His magic has been bound so tightly that he can’t even perform a lumps charm, the only thing his magic can do is keep him alive. And he’s in complete isolation in a totally white room in the ICW prison, no contact with any living being for the rest of his life. I know some pushed hard for Azkaban and the dementors or even the Kiss but I agree with what Lord Ogden said. Azkaban makes you relive your worst memories but what would be bad memories to us would be triumphs to him. And those in the afterlife have their grievances and deserve their chance to make sure his eternal soul feels the weight of their displeasure when his life ends.”
Severus pinched his nose. “I know. Apollumi is the better choice. He’ll recall his downfall and the destruction of all of his plans. You know, he brought Nicholas Flamel’s stone to the school this year? That wasn’t revealed in the trial as it didn’t come out until after. Or at least the DMLE didn’t want it to get out or didn’t know the full extent of everything until three weeks ago. I suspect he was going to pretend it was destroyed while he used it in secret.”
“Why the fuck would he bring that to a school?”
“As a mix between bait and trap and test, I believe. He wanted to bait You-Know-Who into coming out into the open in the hopes of getting him fully destroyed or maybe re-embodied to have an enemy to fight. And a test for Harry Potter. He put the stone behind a veritable gauntlet of traps starting on the third floor and had several staff members add their own traps. Hagrid’s contribution was the first, a fully grown cerberus behind a door that a basic unlocking charm could open. My own trap was a riddle and potions that were actually all poisons. But he replaced the riddle with an easier one and replaced the poisons with prank potions and flame freezing potions.
“The DMLE was not happy with the staff, besides myself and Hagrid, Pomona, Minerva, Filius, and Quirinius had traps. Filius and I were investigated and let off due to Dumbledore’s compulsions on us, though more developed on myself and basic on Filius. Minerva and Hagrid were both removed from the school and tried for various crimes that were uncovered and are in Azkaban for thirty years and eighty years respectively. Pomona was found to be negligent with children’s safety for placing a devil’s snare in the castle and is on probation. She likely won’t be Hufflepuff’s Head next school year.
“And as for our Muggle Studies professor turned DADA – he’s dead. Three weeks ago, we were informed that the students would need to be kept to their dorms stringently the next night because the aurors would be dismantling the whole thing. Quirrel went that night to try to take the stone before it was out of the school. He never discovered how Hagrid got the hellhound to be docile so he tried to curse it.”
Sirius’ jaw dropped. “Hellhounds are more impervious to spell fire than a dragon!”
“He didn’t know that or couldn’t care. The alarms for the unforgivable went off and half of the staff and five on site members of the DMLE, including Rufus Scrimgeour and Amelia Bones, were witness to the dog ripping him apart and the heads fighting over the remains. They were also witness to the shade of You-Know-Who fleeing the dead body and promising a return and retribution on those who wronged him.”
“So Voldy possessed a teacher and was in the school all year?”
Severus nodded. “And you should be more careful with the irreverent nicknames. I call him by the hyphenated moniker for a reason. I refuse to refer to him as the Dark Lord any longer for several reasons and his name which starts with a V was in the past under a spell to inform him when someone used it, who it was, and where they were, much like the trace on underage wands. I don’t want to fall into the trap of getting used to it and him coming back and getting caught because I couldn’t stop. Since Potter and Malfoy removed the mark from me, I am no longer a slave and have no wish to be in his presence again. And the term you used may be unique enough and close enough to trigger it. If you are going to be Potter’s guardian?”
Sirius nodded. “I am. And that explains several deaths during the war. And Dumbledore knew, I bet. And encouraged us to not fear the name. Asshole. YKW wouldn’t have come after him for using it but others? Damn it.”
“Yes. And that is a mouthful. One thing since you will be taking guardianship of your son, beware of Lucius Malfoy. He is-“
Sirius laughed. “Oh, I’ve got old Lulu by the short and curlies. I’m Lord Black now that I am free and certified sane and moderately healthy – still working on both of those a bit, regular and mind healers every week – so I took the title. And Lucius married into the family when he married Narcissa and the contract gave Black primacy, of course. Malfoy is an upstart house with barely ten generations of magic and is from France less than five generations back besides. So, I am enforcing primacy and the contract as a whole. So unless he wants to pay me most of his fortune – most of which was from Cissy’s dowry – and lose some of his magic besides, he’ll obey the contract he signed. And that means that he’ll be busy with trying to get my lovely cousin Cissy knocked up. The contract called for at least two children, so he’s behind. And he knows I am serious about it too. And Cissy knows I will support her so she’ll keep him in line. Draco will spend the summer with Harry and I. And the boys will alternate school breaks between us.”
“Good.” Both men picked up their glasses and drank, falling silent and staring at the floor. After several minutes, Harry and Draco left the secret corridor and returned to the alcove.
Draco just held Harry as he processed all he had heard and cuddled him as he buried his nose in Draco’s neck. It was only the first year at Hogwarts and already in just six months the entire world had changed, for the wizarding world as a whole, but especially for Harry and Draco. Change was good in this case but scary nonetheless. And Harry worried about what price would be extracted for his good fortune. But that was a worry for the future when the bill came due. For now, he would soon have his third parent he had his Pupple, and he had the boy he loved, his Guide. The rest of the world could wait.