- Death-Major Character
“You really shouldn’t have moved your office into one of the ritual magic classrooms, you know that. Anyone with the right words or the right spell could turn an open circle like that to their advantage. There was a reason we kept them keyed to only let certain staff members in.” Belinda reached down to ruffle Harry’s black locks.
Everyone’s eyes went wide as her touch actually connected. Harry blinked up at her for a minute and then wrapped both arms around her waist to cling. It felt strange, being semi corporeal after so long as being just a sword was always a bit strange but she was taking it in stride.
“The Headmaster’s office has always been here!” One of the newer – for a given value of newer – portraits barked.
“No, it hasn’t.” Belinda shot him a look of utter disdain. “It was originally down by the Dining Hall, where any student could come to ask questions if needed. Granted it wasn’t the Headmaster’s office back then but the concept is the same.”
“What?” Malfoy sounded vaguely shell shocked.
Belinda glanced at him over her shoulder to see that all of the color had drained out of his face, leaving him a chalky white color. She didn’t smirk when she caught sight of his arm, the cloud of magic that had surrounded it was gone, forcibly ejected from his aura when the wards reset. She’d been a bit worried that he’d be ejected with it but he didn’t appear to be that far gone yet.
“Since I helped make them I can remake them, the fact that I’m just a magical presence trapped in a sword actually helps with that, I didn’t even have to bleed for them this time.” Belinda ran her fingers through the hair on the back of Harry’s head as he started shaking ever so slightly.
It looked like the emotional melt down portion of the evening had started, at least Ginny looked like she was still numbed over. That was probably a bit of a bad sign but Belinda could only really deal with one crying child at a time without throwing magic at the problem, a fact that Helena had found hysterical.
“What did you do?” Dumbledore croaked.
“I reinstated the original governing structure of Hogwarts, four seats for four founders with the teachers weighing in on any matter that can not be decided among them. As such, the four who exemplify the traits of the founders most will be chosen from the populous of the school. They’ll be here in a few minutes.”
The bark of a badger reverberated throughout the room.
“Hufflepuff has already been chosen, that was fast.” Belinda turned towards the door, Harry shuffling along beside her, so he didn’t have to let go.
She was pretty sure Harry was crying but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at him. She was going to have to do something about his home life, she’d never managed to cry in complete silence even when she was trying. She didn’t know anyone who could besides the too skinny twins who’d been staying at the castle full time.
“Is there any particular order or is it random?” Ginny asked.
“Random, as soon as each aspect of the wards finds someone to anchor too then they do.” Belinda explained.
“And if it’s a student?” The stern faced woman asked.
“Anyone under age gets passed over the first go around but if the magic can’t find anyone qualified among the adults, it starts going down in age until it hits the oldest person who qualifies.” Belinda waved off the concern.
They waited and waited until three minutes later when the roar of a lion and the hissing of a viper joined the badger’s call. It took even longer for the final triumphant call of an eagle to ring out.
“That, was not reassuring.” Belinda mused as the door to the office banged open and three teens tumbled into the room. “And that would be why? How old are you two?”
Two of them were identical, magical twins, great, that was always a trip and looked vaguely like Ginny and Ron so they were probably related. Above each of their heads was half of a ring made of crackling silver magic, Slytherin’s chosen because of course the wards would pick twins for her father’s house.
The girl was tall with chocolate skin and hair as black as a raven’s wing. The hair was swept back and pinned up like she hadn’t wanted to bother with it that morning. She wasn’t wearing an over robe and her shoes were missing for some reason but was in most of her uniform. A flaming crown of gold floated above her head marking her as Gryffindor’s chosen.
The twins were not of age, they weren’t even close to being of age. If the two of them were older than fifteen Belinda would eat her own pommel. She didn’t even have the energy to be any more angry right then and that was a shame because more yelling might actually let her feel better about this situation. How were all the other students in her father’s house so screwed up that none of those above fifteen were able to retain their house values?
How young was Rowena’s chosen?
Belinda felt her magic run as cold as ice. The twins were young, scarily young, so young that Belinda almost wanted to protest the claiming even though she knew it wouldn’t do any good. But, the eagle had rung out last.
‘Belinda, you are a woman of Slytherin house and you will not disgrace your father’s name by hexing every adult in this for being an imbecile.’ Belinda told herself.
Mrs. Weasley gasped in shock as her twins and the black haired girl skidded to a stop in front of Belinda and Harry. “Fred! George! What are you two doing here?”
“Hey, Mum.” They waved awkwardly at her before grinning at Belinda.
There smiles were sharp, like a pair of fox kits just learning to hunt. All playful energy with only a hint of the predators they would become peeking through. They were also wearing red and gold ties, the same color as the girl’s.
Belinda realized with dawning horror that a Slytherin student hadn’t been chosen for the Slytherin seat. The head of her father’s house was to get a piece of her mind when she got around to talking to them. She liked Gryffindors and those of Gryffindor house, she’d been betrothed to Leonhart after all and had loved him enough to stay with him after she died but this wasn’t just a touch insulting.
The door opened again and a woman strode in, she was plump and looked like she had a pleasant nature. Her robes were grass stained and muddy around the hem. She held a pair of gardening gloves in one hand and there was a broad brimmed hat sitting atop her messy curls. A black circlet floated above her head, shining like the volcanic stones that Rowena had brought back from her travels one summer.
“Madame Sprout.” The stern faced woman sounded a bit relieved.
“It appears that the mother of my house has chosen me to stand for her in this matter.” Madame Sprout sounded cheerful up until she caught sight of the three students standing in front of Belinda, then her face darkened in fury.
Belinda had to restrain herself to a self satisfied smile. At last an adult who actually understood the concept of letting children be children rather than being completely unconcerned when they came into your school with a Horcrux and decided to go spelunking only to encounter a basilisk. Belinda may have only been sixteen when she died but sixteen had been a different perspective back in the ten hundreds and her father still hadn’t treated her with the flagrant lack of supervision that these children were being subjected to.
There was someone behind her though, someone much shorter than she was and Belinda felt dread beginning to pool in the pit of her stomach. There was no way that the person standing behind Madame Sprout was in their upper years.
The boy stepped around the teacher carefully, trying not to bump into her and looking beyond nervous. He was small and blonde with eyes bluer than the clearest of skies. He looked vaguely like Malfoy but aged down considerably and with features that were a tad softer around the edges. There was a ring of bronze magic floating around his head like wisps of crystallized cloud and he couldn’t have been any older than Harry.
Belinda brought both hands up to her face and resisted the urge to scream into them. After a moment she let her hands fall and opened her mouth to speak.
“Draco!” Malfoy barked in disbelief.
The younger Malfoy flinched in on himself at that, trying to pull further back in on himself without actually looking like he was doing it. Malfoy strode forward in two fast steps and was abruptly gone.
“Huh, guess it just took the right motivation.” Belinda mused.
Something would have to be done about Draco’s home life as well then, if the wards had that kind of reaction to his father moving towards him. What kind of threat it had clocked him as was a mystery but Belinda wasn’t taking any chances that he was actually a decent person.
Getting the Council of Hogwarts sorted out had been a cluster fuck of epic proportions, especially with the fact that half of them were underage but once they’d figured out who would be the proxies it was just a matter of getting them there. The twins had picked their brother Bill as their proxy and Draco had picked a seventh year by the name of Magnus White.
Professor Sprout had become the de facto head of the council once they got the proxies into the room, all of them had had her as a Herbology teacher and they all knew she knew what she was doing. It would have amused Helga that her chosen had taken over, Godric and Rowena had normally been the ones steering the council.
There had been an interesting interlude in those discussions when the Minister of Magic had come barging into the office and Dumbledore had tried to lie his way around Belinda’s existence and the Horcrux issue. Belinda had shut that down immediately by handing the dairy over to Amelia Bones, a lovely woman who was in charge of something important involving the law and turned to Harry.
“Remember, Harry, lying is tacky and should only be used if you know for sure you won’t get caught. Half truths and misdirection are your best friends.” She’d enjoyed the red color the old goat’s face had gone.
On another note, Godric’s chosen refused to wear shoes and since no one could really make Banhi wear them now that she was on the council it didn’t really matter.
Sorting out the issues between Draco and Harry had been a bit more complicated but getting the two to sit down and actually talk about the issue rather than just letting them scream insults had gone a long way towards that goal. As it turned out, Draco had been under the impression that Harry had been raised with the ‘courtly manners’ that ‘purebloods’ were apparently force fed from birth while Harry had just thought Draco was being a git. The fact that Draco hadn’t quite learned the meaning of tact yet, a skill his father clearly didn’t have, had hindered the situation greatly.
Their first meeting had consisted of blatant – to Belinda at least – attempts to impress what he saw as a shy halfblood he’d never met and made the worst comments possible for it to actually work. The second, on the train, had resulted in a brief altercation involving Ron’s pet rat, which had made Belinda sigh in exasperation and resist the urge to shake them like naughty puppies.
They were sitting cross legged on the floor of the ritual room or at least the two boys were, Belinda was floating a few inches above the floor while she tried to explain where the flaws in both their logic lay. If Draco was anything like Rowena then that was going to be a task and a half but he was young enough that there was still hope to break him of his stubbornness if it was a trait.
“So Harry tells you no when you ask for his hand in friendship.” Belinda repeated.
Draco sniffed and stuck his tiny nose in the air, Belinda resisted the urge to coo. “He didn’t just refuse it, he threw my words back in my face and said that Weasley was better than me.”
Harry was starting to realize something, Belinda could see it, she just hoped it was the right thing. If they could get this sorted out they’d be golden and she could keep the both of them at Hogwarts with her over the summer. Dumbledore had tried to protest but Belinda had reminded him that he wasn’t actually in charge of the school anymore and since she was a Guardian of one of the houses she outranked him anyway.
“You.” Harry paused, blinking rapidly. “That actually hurt. I just thought you were insulted or, or indignant about it.”
And there was the breakthrough she’d been waiting for.
Draco blushed, face almost going the shade of red as the tie that Harry was wearing around his neck. That was an interesting reaction, Belinda remembered having a similar one to Leonhart stumbling head first into the realization that smacking a snake out of her hand was a bad idea. Granted the snake had been a viper but still, he should have known better.
Draco tried to look haughty but his blush isn’t helping matters. “No, I wasn’t.”
“Yes, you were.” Belinda interrupted before it could turn into a “was not, was too” argument. “And Harry was angry because you’d just insulted his first friend. Now can you two hug and make up, it’s time to go eat.”
They hugged, it was awkward and adorable and Belinda had a moment of unadulterated glee as she watched another bolt of realization spark to life in Harry’s face. It looked like the Gryffindor curse was still firmly in place, watching this love story unfold was going to be the most amusing thing she’d experienced in centuries.