Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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58. Creatures

Tonks wasn't sure what it was about Remus Lupin but every month saw her arriving at Hogwarts just that little bit earlier and had her leaving later too. Using the excuse of passing on information about classes might fool Remus for a while yet, but she wasn't kidding herself. She'd never met anyone quite like him, he was smart, witty and his self-deprecating sense of humour never failed to make her smile.

It was such a refreshing change from some of the boastful macho arseholes in the auror department who were always trying to impress her, even more so now since the chamber incident. That Tonks was continually seeing Remus at his worst just intrigued the female auror all the more, what would he be like when he wasn't just about to transform into a dark creature? She did have a plan to see him outside Hogwarts, and not at this particular point in the lunar calendar either, it was time to let him know of these plans.

"I understand we'll be seeing more of each other over the holidays, Sirius has roped all of the Tonks family into going to Florida with the gang." She was sure that news had raised a small smile but his answer gave nothing away.

"With all the friends they've invited along, a few more adults will certainly be welcome. With Susan there too, Amelia will be delighted that an Order of Merlin holding auror will be accompanying the group."

Both had been so engrossed in their conversation, Padfoot was able to sneak right up to them before transforming. "You'll both be together in Sweden too, especially since you're our best man and bridesmaid..."

Two loud 'what's!' had Sirius back pedalling. "Sorry Tonks, I thought Henrica had asked you..."

"She wants to see me after I lock you two up for the night. You've just left her though, didn't she tell you that?"

The marauder sported a wide grin as he answered. "We didn't have much time for talking..."

Remus interrupted Sirius' boasting. "...and just when were you going to ask me?"

This dented Sirius' smile. "I didn't think I needed to ask you, who else was going to be my best man?"

"Oh, I thought you were going to ask Harry..."

"Don't be stupid! Why would I chose a handsome goblin to stand beside me when I can have you there to make the groom look good!"

Tonks was affronted and was just getting ready to rip Sirius a new one when Remus burst into laughter.

"He's frightened Henrica will finally come to her senses and ditch the old mutt."

"Too true, I'm not taking any chances. That woman is the best thing that ever happened to me and I can't wait to get a ring on her finger."

Tonks now recognised this form of gallows humour for what it was, this pair's way of dealing with a situation that must be horrendous for both of them. Sirius was going to have to be a helpless witness while his best friend suffer the pain and indignity of becoming a werewolf, and their banter probably developed over years of facing this together. As they made their way through the tunnel under the whomping willow, Tonks was pleased that she'd just been presented with yet another opportunity to get to know the enigma that was Remus Lupin better. Since the best man and bridesmaid were required to dance with each other too, it wasn't going to be a hard decision for her when Henrica asked the question.

-oOoOo-

Peter emerged from the tunnel and stood on French soil, it actually felt really good to escape from Britain. Peter was smart enough to know though that it was only the country he'd escaped from, his troubles would follow him around the globe. With the resources Potter and Black had at their disposal he would soon be a dead wizard, unless he could once more gain the protection of his master. Discovering where the dark lord was hiding would be an impossible task except that this death eater had help not available to anyone else. That fateful night his master had been banished, Peter had been the first person to race into the partially destroyed house in Godric's Hollow. Finding young Harry still alive was an even greater shock than discovering his master was no more.

His master's wand was lying there though, and Peter had grabbed the precious item before barely making it back out the house undiscovered as a distraught Hagrid arrived. He removed that wand from his tattered robe and laid it flat on the palm of his hand. "Point me."

The wand spun a couple of times while seeking its master before settling down on a bearing that was roughly east. Peter lined himself up with a landmark on the same bearing before the wand was once more safely stowed away. He would certainly make better time as Peter but Wormtail would be the safer option until he reached some less populated areas. With no idea of the distance he would have to travel before he reached his master, the rat put its best paw forward to continue his quest.

Even finding his master and helping him return to life was fraught with danger, the wand he had safely tucked away on his person had killed its fair share of death eaters too. The difference was that, if Peter did nothing, he would eventually be captured and only one fate awaited him then. He might still die at the dark lord's side, or even by his master's own wand, the difference being he would have a chance to live first. When Peter looked at the problem like that, his decision was not a hard one.

-oOoOo-

"We have some hard decisions to make!"

Padma was lying flat on her back, struggling for her next breath and knackered from their sword practice. She was receiving messages of pain from places in her body she didn't even know had muscles, and silently swearing to curse her betrothed for suggesting they should really learn how to use their new swords. Since Neville was currently faring little better, it was left to Harry to ask what those decisions were.

"We all have to decide on our course electives for next year, and also what to do about the marauders." That last one certainly got the other three's attention so Hermione focused on that first. "We set up the marauders because Hogwarts had another crap defence teacher, now we've got Professor Lupin. What do we do come September? I don't think there is any way we can fit two classes a week into our schedules nor take two years worth of students at the same time - especially since they will be at different levels."

The groan came from Padma as she now saw the problem. "The new first years! I don't want to abandon the current marauders, that's just not an option but how can we tell the new first year they're not welcome?"

Harry then added to their potential problem. "Don't forget, the new first years will have another two Potter scholarship students amongst them. How could I say no to someone I'm effectively sponsoring?"

Neville was also lying on the floor knackered, his eyes may be shut but he was listening to every word spoken. "What if we kept working with our marauders and the four guys took their own class of the new first years come September?"

That idea found favour with all of them but Hermione then took Neville's solution one stage further. "If we're saying this club should now run with every new intake of students, we need to make plans. How about getting some of our friends involved now, working alongside us and the guys so they could be ready to take their own class of first years later?"

This was an idea that Harry really liked, here was a legacy they could be proud to leave Hogwarts with. "I think we need to approach Augusta and McGonagall with this, get it formalised. By the time we're ready to leave Hogwarts there could be a Marauders club running almost every night of the week."

"If that means we won't be able to get this room to practice fencing then it gets my vote. Oh, and no, I am never getting up in the middle of the bloody night to exercise or wave a sword at someone."

"Patil, I've seen you when you get up in the morning, I wouldn't trust you anywhere near a sharp object. Does Neville know how grumpy you are?"

"Neville honey, remind me when I'm not half dead that I owe Granger an arse kicking."

"Yes dear, can you help me up first or will we just sleep here?"

"Neville Longbottom, the first night we spend together will not be on a cold stone floor with both of us too knackered to do anything. It had better be a damned sight more romantic than this."

Hermione bent down to help her best friend to her feet. "It's really only this bad for the first couple of weeks..."

"...and then the pain goes away?"

"Oh no, your body just gets used to it."

"Granger, what kind of a friend are you? You don't even have the decency to lie to me!"

Harry was also helping a groaning Neville to his feet. "I haven't felt this bad since Professor Weasley's very first lesson, I seem to remember the second one was just as bad."

"You use different muscles for fencing, Neville. Just be thankful we're using swords and not battleaxes, the training for that is brutal."

Padma was now on her feet and attempting to glower. "See, Hermione, that's how you do it - tell us how lucky we are and that the situation could be much worse."

"Oh, I was going to tell you that Betsy gives wonderful massages but if you'd rather..."

Padma spun round and kissed Neville. "Goodnight, see you in the morning. C'mon, Hermione, let's go." Hermione found herself being dragged out of there by a stiff gaited Padma, leaving two laughing boyfriends behind.

"Sorry Neville, I know nothing about massages and the goblin cure can be as bad as the pain of sore muscles."

"I'm almost afraid to ask what it is?"

"Oh, nothing sinister, just lying in a bath of ice water. After ten minutes, you don't feel a thing!"

Neville could quite believe that. "I think I'll stick to hot baths, and one of them sounds great just about now."

After dropping Neville off at Gryffindor, Harry entered Ravenclaw to find Hermione waiting on him. "Padma's getting a massage just now, it will put her to sleep and she'll feel much better in the morning."

"Sounds like you're speaking from experience there, I didn't even know elves could do that."

"Neither did I until Betsy offered. When I was back in Crawley at the end of last summer, I was really physically pushing myself hard. I was in severe pain one night, missing you like crazy and lying in bed crying. Betsy helped my aching muscles and told me what you had been up to all day, she really got me through a tough time. I just can't understand why anyone would mistreat an elf, they're so loyal and trusting - they're certainly part of our family. Mum and dad adore Dobby, and he just loves working for them - I just wish there was some way to ensure all elves were treated as they should be."

Harry leaned forward and kissed his bonded gently on the lips. "When you get so passionate about something your eyes actually sparkle, it's so beautiful I just had to kiss you."

This led to her cheeks blushing and those same eyes avoiding his. "Sorry, Hermione, I didn't mean to embarrass you..."

"You didn't, Harry, it was just my mind rushing off in another direction." With Harry remaining silent, Hermione was left to explain her remark. "Every time you do or say something like that, it does funny things to my insides. I never expected to be kissing anyone at Hogwarts and then I met you. You are mine and I am yours, I am also the happiest witch in the world - I just keep wishing we were a bit older so we could practice some of the things running through my mind."

Her head was down and that blush grew deeper still as Harry wrapped Hermione in his arms. "You are mine and I am yours, that means we'll eventually get to do whatever is running through that wonderful mind of yours. Add in what's running through my head and it will take us years to do it all, I'm looking forward to spending those years with you."

Hermione's head had shot up and she was now looking him in the eye, searching for any sign he was just saying these things to make her feel better. "I'm sitting here with a beautiful girl in my arms, a girl who is my mate and wife to be, do you think you're the only one with thoughts like that? I think it's our hormones, Hermione. I stop them from getting away from me by knowing that you are mine, and the day we both want will come soon enough. This will shortly be our second summer together and I don't intend to spend one day of it away from you..."

He didn't get to say anymore, Harry was too busy with Hermione kissing him.

They eventually parted and a rather breathless Hermione attempted to look on the bright side. "Three more summers after this one and we'll never have to say goodnight at the stairs again."

"You're getting the hang of this, Hermione. That sounds so much better than four and a bit years!"

-oOoOo-

Another year she'd have to wait, another year because they wanted to see safety protocols introduced to cut down on the injuries and eliminate any possibility of fatalities. Dolores didn't want to see less fatalities, she wanted more! The Tri-Wizard Tournament would show Hogwarts for the farce it had become, while at the same time raising her own profile to a point where she couldn't be ignored. Coming straight after the Quidditch World Cup, the name Dolores Umbridge would then be on everyone's lips - she'd see to that.

The biggest surprise for Dolores was finding such an ally at Drumstrang. She would certainly be secretly rooting for their champion to win the tournament, that way she could be assured they would be a pureblood. That so many purebloods were literally forced out the ministry sickened Dolores, especially since she never got a promotion out of all the sudden and unexpected vacancies. She knew one day Dolores Umbridge would be back on top, and then it would be time to pay back all those who had wronged her. The scar on the back of her hand was all the reminder she needed of who sat on the very top of that list.

-oOoOo-

They were sorting through the list in Augusta's office. Unlike last year, the selection committee had no reason to exclude the person who ran Hogwarts from the meeting.

"So, we're agreed? Pauline Nott and Natalie McDonald will be the Potter Scholarship students for next year."

Sirius and Amelia both nodded their agreement to Minerva, Natalie was a muggle born while Pauline was a pureblood. Apart from one of them not being a wizard, they really couldn't have picked two more balanced or deserving cases.

Having watched the success of the inaugural Potter scholarships, this year's were allocated more along the lines of which students would benefit most from joining this rather exclusive family and gaining that personal as well as financial support. Natalie's parents were somewhat older than was considered the norm to have a first child, her mother being in her mid forties before conceiving their 'miracle baby'. With her father going to be sixty on his next birthday the couple were understandably very protective of their only child. Discovering that Potter support system would be in place for Natalie might be the only reason the McDonalds would allow their daughter to attend Hogwarts, and might also be the only reason they could afford it. For Pauline Nott, this scholarship would completely remove any taint that lingered from her father's deeds - that was worth more than gold to the remaining Nott family.

Now that all three were happy with their decision, Augusta revealed the real reason she was so keen to have this meeting in her office.

"I've finally decided that muggle studies simply can't continue being taught the way it is, just by spending time with Dan and Emma I can tell the entire course is a load of tosh! It hasn't been updated in at least fifty years and leaves Hogwarts looking stupid to anyone with even a modicum of muggle background. This is simply unacceptable to me."

She was finding no disagreements from her audience, though all three wondered where Augusta was going with this. "I have checked abroad and discovered that each country sets its own muggle studies curriculum, apparently muggles aren't the same the world over and there are tremendous differences in these curriculums. This leaves us with a massive problem, more than one actually. If we were to bring a muggle into the castle to teach the course, we are all aware that they would either be ignored or simply disbelieved by the very people who would benefit most from this course. What we need is someone of impeachable breeding yet with enough understanding of muggles and their world to pass on that knowledge to our students. Now, if this person then had a wife who was already a professor here..."

Sirius couldn't contain his laughter, thinking he'd just been pranked by a master. It was only as his laughter wound down that he realised everyone else in the room was taking this suggestion seriously.

"I think that's a wonderful idea, Augusta, Susan raves about the difference Henrica's made to the history course. With her and Remus in the castle, Sirius would have plenty of support on the best methods to get his points across."

His former head of house agreed with Amelia. "Having Lord Black teaching muggle studies would certainly remove the stigma that's attached to the subject by the pureblood children, and we all know Sirius has more experience of that world than any of us."

Before Sirius could raise any objections, Augusta revealed this was certainly something she'd put a lot of thought into. "Emma and Dan have been looking over the former course and its objectives, after they stopped laughing both started forming new ones for us. They've also had the advantage of having Harry, Padma and my Neville staying in their home, giving them a fair idea just how clueless we are in relation to their world. They would be delighted to work with you on this and are certainly a resource you should use. Both you and Henrica being Hogwarts professors would see you living and working together in the castle, and also allow you to see Harry and Hermione every day."

Augusta handed him some printed sheets with the Grangers' proposed course objectives, Sirius surprised himself by understanding all of it. When he then started thinking about the best way that could be taught to the students, Sirius knew what his answer would be. Her last point too really resonated with the marauder, Sirius was being offered an opportunity to spend every day with those he loved and perhaps begin the journey to make the Black name stand for something good and worthwhile. He had no intention of making it easy for them though, there was always budgets to consider and the longer he held out the more course materials he would be able to wring from Augusta and Minerva.

As the conversation progressed, Augusta's apprehension began to dissipate. She was sure she had her new professor of muggle studies.

-oOoOo-

As the conversation with Whitefang progressed, Barchoke's apprehension just grew and grew.

"I can't really put my finger on it but I just know they're up to something. One day that spoilt whelp, Dragonbreath, was walking around as if a dragon had chewed his nuts off, next you'd have thought he just inherited a mountain of gold. He's more focused on his training too, that's totally against everything the arse has done before."

Barchoke knew Bloodfang was far too wily an operator to give anything away, his son though was a whole different matter. The animosity between Dragontooth and Harry had been present right from their first meeting, with Harry coming off second best in the early exchanges. It was only after Harry started to dominate their clashes that the real trouble started.

"Always said you killed the wrong brother, Bloodfang is the real brains of that family - which is why it wan't him who issued the challenge! His son though takes after his stupid and impulsive dead uncle, without inheriting his uncle's skill with a blade. Without his father's gold and influence behind him, little Dragonbreath would be using his fancy blades to peel vegetables. Making soup is about all the gobshite is good for."

"Do you mean as a cook or as an ingredient?"

Whitefang's laughter rang out at that before the old goblin became serious again. "Those two are bad to the bone, and would ruin any cauldron of soup. Trouble is coming though, just make sure it doesn't catch you unawares. I can see you or Harry having to kill them both, that would be a day to sell tickets for the pit."

"We'll take precautions, my friend, and here's a little something for your troubles." A bag of gold coins left Barchoke's hand and disappeared into the old goblin's tunic. "I know you'll listen out for any more information on this, I would certainly appreciate hearing it."

Both parties understood that appreciation would come in the form of a bag that jingled but Whitefang surprised the ambassador by stopping at the door. "That's a son to be proud of you've got there, you and him are doing wonderful things for the nation so you don't even need to ask. Besides, I hate that bastard Bloodfang's guts!"

As he left, Barchoke then focused on the immediate problem, locating the threat. Harry was safe in Hogwarts for another few weeks but there were two people currently in their medical facility that would be a juicy target for those barbarians. He would arrange a guard and speak to the healers about the possibility of moving them, Emma had turned Kingussie into a fine home for their children so perhaps that could be a possibility.

He would need to contact Augusta for her opinion.

-oOoOo-

Augusta was currently speaking to the second years just before their history class ended.

"We are going to try something this year that hasn't been done before. Since I know some of you will be struggling with which electives to choose, I had hoped to arrange an evening where the professors could put on a bit of a display to promote their subject - and perhaps help you reach your decisions."

As she'd expected, this was met with a wave of enthusiasm though Augusta was surprised to see Harry's hand immediately go up to ask a question.

"Is this a voluntary event, Madam Longbottom?"

"I hadn't intended to make attendance compulsory, Centurion, I was hoping you could configure the room of requirements so we could hold it there."

This received a shake of the head from Harry. "Sorry Madam, I have already chosen my electives and will not be attending."

Having kept the fact that Sirius was going to be the new Muggle Studies Professor a secret, this was going to be their big reveal. She was really keen for Harry to be there, his non-attendance would certainly put a damper on the evening and probably encourage others not to go. "You really should attend, Centurion. I guarantee there will be a surprise or two and I don't want to be forced to make it compulsory."

This didn't sit well with Harry. "Should you make this event compulsory, I still wouldn't attend and certainly contest any punishment handed out because of that."

Hermione could tell from the way Harry was sitting that this couldn't end well, Augusta too wasn't used to being told no. Hermione just didn't understand what Harry's problem was here.

Neither could Augusta, nor could she let a student challenge her authority - even if it was a student she knew well. "I'll give you a moment to explain that answer, Centurion Crow, then you and I will be heading for my office."

Harry never backed down an inch. "When you say these professors are putting on a bit of a display of their subjects, Madam Longbottom, what exactly do you mean? Does the Care of Magical Creatures Professor perhaps have my father there to tell us how we should look after him - feed and water twice a day while keeping his cage clean? What about Professor Lupin or Professor Hobson, will they be modelling for the Creatures Professor? Perhaps a house elf, centaur, merperson in a tank even? You will perhaps understand why the very mention of that subject disgusts me, and since Hermione is far better at teaching me about muggles than anyone you could possibly find I will not be attending this display evening. As I said, I have chosen my electives."

The bell for end of class rang throughout the stunned room, allowing Harry to pack his stuff and leave without another word being spoken. He didn't get far though before his arm was grabbed and he had a face full of an exceedingly angry Neville.

"Who the hell do you think you are, talking to my gran like that - you crossed the line, Crow!"

"I was not aware I insulted your grandmother, it was certainly not my intention. She asked me for something, I said no. She asked for my reasons, I gave them."

"I don't give a shit about that, it was the disrespect in your entire manner that I'm talking about. You just trod all over her as if she meant nothing, she means bloody everything to me!"

"I wasn't talking to your gran, I was talking to the Hogwarts High Inquisitor..."

"Yeah, and Nott wasn't trying to kill your father, just the Goblin Ambassador. Would that have made you feel any better if they'd succeeded?"

At that both girls interceded, physically pushing themselves between the two and forcing them further apart. Hermione managed to get a shocked Harry turned and heading in the direction of a certain alcove she knew of, they were bigger this year but she solved the problem by plonking Harry down and sitting on his lap. At this moment in time the only thing Hermione was certain of was their talk this year wouldn't be interrupted by their two best friends bringing them some dinner.

"Harry, you are mine, and I am yours."

"Why are you saying that now?"

"I just want you to understand that, no matter what we say here, that's not going to change. People argue, Harry, it's not the end of the world. We need to talk about this and be totally honest with each other."

"You are mine, and I am so bloody lucky!" That Harry ended his proclamation with a light kiss to her lips was Hermione's first indicator that things might not be as bad as she thought they were.

"First, I agree with everything you said in there about those the ministry class as creatures." This drew a smile from Harry but Hermione was far from finished. "Can I ask you if you think Augusta or Neville agree with your opinion too?"

"I thought they did..."

"Of course they do, Harry. We've both seen Augusta sitting chatting to father late into the night, they certainly consider each other as friends. We both know Remus and Henrica fit squarely into that category too, for all members of the extended family." Stopping and taking a calming breath, Hermione then continued with trying to explain exactly what he'd done "I know the creature situation disgusts you, and I share that disgust, but you just dealt with Augusta as if she was Dumbledore - you stomped all over her. She already shares your views but had probably never thought of the situation from that angle before, all you needed to do was gently point that out to her."

"...and that's why Neville was mad?"

"Neville was way beyond mad, Harry, he was bloody livid. Anyone else would have received a punch in the mouth before they could leave the class."

"I never intended any insult to his gran and clearly said so, why did he then need to bring father almost being assassinated into it?"

"That was just his temper talking, we both know how he feels about father..."

"...yet he doesn't know how I feel about his gran?"

Hermione left that for a moment before asking the question that was the crux of the matter. "Are you prepared to apologise to Neville, even though you think you did nothing wrong? Is their friendship not worth that? We both know Padma is involved in this as much as I am."

"A goblin should always do the honourable thing, Hermione." He paused and Hermione could see there was more to be said, she sat quietly on his knee and waited on her mate putting his thoughts into words. "I'm frightened I'm beginning to forget just who I am, Hermione. There's a war going on inside me that's every bit as crucial as the one outside Hogwarts, I'm going to have to make decisions here and now that will affect us in the years to come."

Now that she'd got him started speaking about this, Hermione had no intention of letting him stop. She did have to correct his misconception though. "We're going to have to make decisions, Harry, now spill it!"

They were still sitting there chatting when Penny and Percy found them hours later.

"There's only fifteen minutes to curfew, are you two okay? Percy sent Neville to bed and I made sure Padma got to her dorm, when I didn't find either of you there we came looking."

This saw a groan coming from Harry. "Does the entire castle know what happened?"

It was actually Hermione who provided the answer. "Harry, our entire year group watched it happen. You two weren't exactly quiet. You know how this place works, it would have been all over Hogwarts within minutes."

This had the agreement of the Gryffindor prefect, though Percy had noted an anomaly he thought was worth mentioning. "Normally people's responses go along house lines, not this time though. I think everyone is so shocked that you and Neville were actually fighting."

"We weren't fighting, Percy, we just had a disagreement."

The prefect in Percy didn't seem impressed with that. "You weren't fighting because your girlfriends got between you, and that's the only reason you're not in trouble. That will change if you don't both head to your dorm right now."

Deciding that was a good idea, Harry and Hermione headed off to Ravenclaw Tower hand in hand.

-oOoOo-

Augustus cradled his precious stone disk in his hand, allowing the blood seeping from his damaged fingers to coat his ticket out of Azkaban. Rookwood was delighted with how things were going, he was actually ahead of the schedule he set himself, and that was before he redesigned the runes to protect two people. The delicate work he was doing for this stage meant that he had to carve during the day, there was no way to work by sense of touch now.

While this was risky it also held the advantage of allowing him to lie here and dream of what this treasure he held in his hand could possibly bring to him. The death eater had been putting everything he'd heard spoken about in the wing together to formulate a plan, and not just those relatively recent comments either. Even with this protective disk and a straw wand Rookwood understood the odds of him escaping the prison, getting off the island and reaching the mainland were still heavily stacked against him.

Knowing that fact, Rookwood was willing to attempt something so audacious that he might find himself dead before he set foot outside the high security wing. If it worked though, Augustus could find himself achieving everything he'd ever wanted. That he would have Potter to thank for this was something Rookwood hoped he got the chance to do, thank the little shit personally and painfully. With all these pleasant thoughts running through his mind, Augustus Rockwood was certainly the only person in the high security wing who was smiling.

-oOoOo-

It was hard to believe Harry and Hermione were smiling as their swords flashed and clanged at speed, Sirius certainly struggled to believe what he was seeing this morning.

He at least had the sense not to disrupt their concentration and waited for a break to announce his presence. "Merlin, when did you two get so quick?"

"Sirius, what brings you to Hogwarts on a Thursday morning? Is everything all right?"

"Harry, I was just going to ask you that! I got a floo call from Henrica to say that you and Neville had a big fight, and that I should get my arse to Hogwarts. Then I find you two fencing like a couple of maniacs in the courtyard, what's going on?"

"Oh, this is so getting old. We never had a fight, Padma and Hermione were there - do you think they would let us do something stupid like that? We had an argument over the way I spoke to Augusta, I intend to sort it at breakfast."

That news took away most of the worries Sirius had. "Glad to hear it, now what's this I hear you're not taking the subject your godfather is going to be teaching? You are both looking at Hogwarts new Muggle Studies Professor." After receiving their genuine and heartfelt congratulations, Sirius though he had the entire situation under control. "So, can I assume I'll see you both in my class?"

The serious expression that came over both of them warned Sirius there was more going on here than he thought.

"I'm sorry, Sirius, my answer is still no. I'm also intending to drop a few subjects next year too, I feel I'm losing my way in Hogwarts and treating my time in the castle as a bit of a holiday. That attack on father shows the death eaters haven't gone away, and Voldemort is still out there too. I need to train more to meet that threat, and sitting in muggle studies with you isn't going to do that for me. Hermione and I intend to set our own timetable to prepare for this threat, we can't really live our lives in peace until this threat is dealt with."

Turning his attention to Hermione, Sirius asked if she agreed with this new regime Harry wanted to instigate.

"Harry actually wanted to deal with the entire situation by himself, we were up most of the night while I convinced him that simply was not an option - an invisibility cloak can certainly come in handy. Compromises were made and now both of us are getting what we want out of this. Professor Weasley thinks our magic is reaching the point where we can start to learn some of the more destructive curses, we intend to do that come September but not just at the weekend anymore. We're only taking two electives while dropping herbology and astronomy. Since Harry has no intention of sitting his O.W.L.s anyway, there really is no point in continuing with these subjects, they won't help us fight who we need to."

This puzzled Sirius as he knew how seriously these two took their education, they weren't placed in Ravenclaw by accident. "If you don't sit your O.W.L.s, what are you going to do about N.E.W.T.s?"

"We don't intend to sit them, we actually don't intend to be here past fifth year now."

Harry's glib answer had Sirius once more turning his attention to Hermione. "...and you're okay with this? What will you do?"

This was met with a wide smile that confused the hell out of Sirius until Hermione explained the reasoning behind it. "My brilliant bonded mate pointed out something to me that he'd sneakily researched, the muggle legal age to get married in Scotland is sixteen. Do you know we actually live in Scotland now? I plan to marry the Baron of Kingussie the summer he turns sixteen, any further planning past that will depend on the situation with Voldemort and his death eaters."

A horrible thought just struck Sirius. "Aw shit! I guess I get to be the one that passes this piece of news on to Dan and Emma?" That these two planned to marry a year earlier wouldn't create too many waves, especially since it was legal to do so. What would spawn the hurricane though was the thought of their son and daughter training to fight death eaters and Voldemort.

As the implications of this sank into Sirius, Harry's arm slipped around Hermione. "Told you he was the best godfather in the world!"

The best godfather in the world had kept them late delving deeper into their plans so everyone was already sitting at breakfast when they arrived in the great hall. Padma was unsurprisingly at the Gryffindor table keeping company with Neville and Parvati. The atmosphere was so thick with apprehension and expectation that you could have cut it with a knife, all eyes were on the couple as Harry escorted Hermione to a seat beside Luna before heading alone to the staff table.

"Madam Longbottom, if I offended you in any way yesterday, I offer an unreserved apology. My intention was merely to inform, never to insult." Harry then shifted his attention and offered a respectful bow. "Professor Kettleburn, I meant no slight on you or your abilities as a professor either, you merely teach the course that is dictated to you. That I have issues with the material you are obliged to teach should not reflect negatively on you, your subject nor Hogwarts."

Harry received a nod of acceptance from the professor before Augusta stood. "For myself, no apology is necessary, Centurion. I am we'll aware no insult was intended. Instead, I would like to offer an apology of my own. You are attending Hogwarts as a goblin, something that was forgotten yesterday, and your reaction could and should have been anticipated."

With a rueful smile, Harry answered Augusta. "No apology needed, Madam, forgetting I'm a goblin is an easy mistake to make." He didn't add it was one he almost made himself, that would be discussed when only family were present.

Harry returned to sit beside Hermione and Luna while everyone around them ignored the elephant in the room - the confrontation that was still to come.

They were making their way to herbology when Neville approached. "Harry, I'm..."

"Don't worry about it, Neville, I hear the word 'creature' and the red mist descends. I shouldn't have..."

"You didn't do anything, Harry, it was..."

Padma had seen and heard enough. She was delighted these two were able to get over this, both had a stubborn streak a mile wide and, as she'd suspected and hoped, Hermione had clearly been working on her mate as much as she'd been doing with Neville. "Okay you two, enough! Do you intend to keep that up all day? Pack it in and let's not keep Professor Sprout waiting. Hermione, did you guys miss dinner last night?"

"Oh Hogwarts looks after her champion, we had something brought up to us in Harry's room. We spent half the night talking and we'll need to tell you about it."

"It's the half of the night you spent when you weren't talking I want to hear about!"

"Now, Padma, that would really be telling!"

Parvati kept her voice low so only her sister could hear. "Did she just say they spent the night together?"

Padma just couldn't resist teasing her sister, the fact that it was true just made it all the sweeter. "It wouldn't be the first time, Pav, or even the second."

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