“Mum…Mum!!” Harry sobbed as he ran to Moria in a panic, his eyes wide and frightened. The figure was after him, the one who had made the horrible green light, the laughter, the screaming. Everything. But this time it didn’t fade.
It grew louder.
“Harry…” Moria said softly. “Harry, breathe…”
“I can’t! I can’t!!”
Moria was quiet and gentle, helping him sit down and curl up into the fetal position, rubbing his back in soothing circles as he shook and shook, before he began to settle down.
“It’s okay…” Moria gently repeated, knowing that occasionally he had such bad attacks. They thankfully were infrequent, but any trigger, such as those murders that had shown on the telly recently, even though he couldn’t understand completely was going on, would affect him. It seemed she’d have to figure out that channel block…
“Why…why did he have to hurt them?” Harry wheezed, shaking as Moria stood and walked over, grabbing a worn out quilted blanket and wrapping it around him. He watched her as he curled around the blanket and she made a small cup of milk with simple flicks of her wand.
“Because he was a bad man Harry…”
“But it was so wrong…”
“Yes…that it was…” She replied gently, rubbing his back. She was quiet for a little while.
“Mum…do you ever miss them?”
She turned and looked at him and opened her mouth to reply-
He jumped, glancing at Max who was sitting next to him, concern on her face. “Harry, breathe. Just breathe, okay?”
“What’s wrong with him?” He vaguely heard Ron ask and Hermione quickly shushed him, but Harry only shrugged. Something heavy was plopped on his shoulders. A robe, he figured out rather quickly and slowly he began to calm down.
“He’s having a panic attack.” Another voice, Geoffrey, he recognized informed. “He had them occasionally when he was younger…not frequently though.”
“…‘m fine.” He croaked, and was relieved to see his voice was finally coming back. “Where’s your dad Geoff?”
“Still talking to the conductor. I’ll go look around. Dad has to have a stash around.”
“Chocolate. Harry probably needs a bit more than my dad gave originally.”
“Wait, I have a frog.” He heard a different voice, this one in front of him say and he looked up to see Ginny sitting there, now fishing around her pocket, before she found the familiar box and pulled it out, extending it to him. He just stared at her, blinking as phantom rays of sun broke through the grey clouds and casted her in a soft glow, her hair turning almost seeming to glow. He felt something form in his stomach and warm slightly.
“Thanks.” He murmured, blushing slightly. Ginny smiled, a blush on her cheek.
“That must have been pretty scary, going against a dementor.” Nysa remarked, pushing her hair back, even her hand trembling.
“So…that’s what those things look like.” Harry finally managed through a tight throat,
shaking his head to ward off the thoughts and the distant scream that came back.
“Yeah. Nasty things.”
“Everyone else ok?”
“Yeah, though Max scared us for a little bit.”
“Huh?” Harry asked groggily looking up at his sister as she glared at Nysa. “What are they talking about?”
“Nothing…I’m fine.” She replied. “I’m not one who passed out, so it should be you we’re more worried about.” Max replied. Harry seemed to think otherwise.
“It was just…I think I conjured up a nightmare of something else because it was a completely different timeline.” She explained shortly. He looked about ready to argue but she nudged the chocolate frog box into his hand.
“Talk later, eat first. Mum is going to be so pissed when she finds out what happened.”
Harry internally groaned, not wanting to think of what was going to happen when Moria found out and began to eat the chocolate frog, looking at Max, clearly relaying that he wanted an explanation from her later. She gave a brief nod but looked at her lap. None noticed a raven flying near the window watching them before flying ahead and disappearing into grey sky.
“Dumbledore, I need to talk to you.”
The Headmaster looked up as the other teachers made their way out of the teaching lounge. Moria stood there in front of him.
“It’s about the Dursley’s.”
“I will advise them that there should not be any other visitor-”
“No. Albus…I’m not taking them back there.” Moria interrupted. “I’m not going to put Harry back into that family and let Max back there. Hell, I’m half-tempted to gain custody of their youngest son because of how they treat him.” Moria snapped, before shaking her head. “But with Harry…I can’t…I can’t put Harry through that again. Protection or not, Lily and James wouldn’t want me to keep doing that to their son.”
“Albus, please. I don’t care what type of trouble I’ll get into, but I can’t keep sending him back there. There’s enough protection at my place where he can be safe during the summer.” Moria continued. Dumbledore observed her, glancing at Basilio whose expression was blank. Chelsea peeked from the doorway. She had been itching to leave, wanting to make sure that all of the medical supplies at the infirmary was in tiptop shape before students arrived. It was her first year here as an new nurse under Pomfrey, but now she was looking at her friend worriedly, not wanting to leave Moria alone. Whether it was because she wanted to comfort Moria or make sure the retired auror didn’t kill her.
“…Very well…” He finally said gently and Moria’s shoulders slumped and an expression of relief flashed across her expression. Basilio watched Dumbledore a bit more with a puzzled expression on his face, as though he couldn’t understand Dumbledore before shrugging and looking at Moria.
“Thank you Headmaster.” Moria replied with a tired smile and then turned to meet up with Chelsea. Basilio followed her, glancing at Dumbledore who seemed pensive.
“That’s wonderful.” Chelsea sighed in relief. “If he hadn’t I think I would have charmed the bastard Vernon and Petunia.”
“There wouldn’t be enough charms in the world.” Moria replied dryly, her shoulders seeming to slope as they walked as Chelsea shrugged. The Italian Auror frowned watching how exhausted Moria suddenly looked. He placed a hand on her shoulder.
“You alright?” Basilio asked in concern.
“Hm? Oh, yes. I’m fine…it’s just hard to say no to what Dumbledore says. So it’s exhausting.” She remarked dryly.
“He means well.”
Basilio glanced at the two girls as they began conversing about the planning for the school. Something was bothering him…something he couldn’t quite place. It might have been just the fact that or him, the Headmaster at their school had a very rough and gruff type of attitude and was one to demand attention in a rather loud and intrusive voice.
Albus Dumbledore didn’t seem like that all, yet seemed to portray a strength that wasn’t seen all too well yet could be felt.
“Moria, can I leave for a little bit? I want to go see Gia for a late dinner. He and I have some things that need to be discussed anyways.”
“You sure you don’t want to stay for dinner here? With your stomach I’m surprised it wasn’t trying to eat Snape.” She asked with a grin.
“I’ll have to try it some other time. Besides, you know I don’t do well to sit for long periods of time listening to speeches.”
Moria chuckled and then nodded.
“Tell Gia I said hello.” She reminded and he waved his hand as he walked back towards where Moria’s office was to use the floo. Chelsea sighed dreamily.
“Merlin, look at that butt.” She whispered.
“Chelsea Cavendish.” Moria scoffed with a laugh. “Already on the prowl?”
“Hey, you always have to keep your eyes open.” She replied, grinning wickedly. “All the good ones disappear like that!” She added with a snap of her fingers.
“No they don’t.” Moria replied with a grin that echoed one of a fox. “You just don’t look in the right places.”
“This coming from the woman who is married to—quote/unquote—the bad boy of Gryffindor from her graduating year.” Chelsea teased and Moria sighed as they walked around the corner and spotted the students walking towards the Great Hall. When she spotted her children, however, her smile slid off her face.
All of the children looked pale and were rather quiet in comparison to last year or the year before that…but Harry looked about the same color as Nearly-Headless Nick and he was muttering something to McGonagall who had a look of worry on her face.
She hurried towards her children, the thought of her husband and what a year this was going to be like disappearing into the corners of her mind.
“I still can’t believe those creatures are going to be around our school.” Ginny complained as they climbed the steps up to the tower. Max was quiet as she thought about everything. Would her father come here of all places?
Logically it wouldn’t be wise; in fact it would be rather stupid and brazen.
However, if what her mother had said was true…
Max sighed, scratching the back of her head as Ginny stooped to pick up Merlin, the 1 year old cat yawning loudly and apparently wishing to be lazy and desired to be carried rather than walk. Normally Max would do so, but she seemed preoccupied with her thoughts.
“Hey Max, can I ask what you felt when-” Ginny began to ask but ran straight into the girl. “Max, what’s-”
And then she noticed.
Max’s bed and hers stood out from the other three which had been pushed farther away from them, the other girls trunks seeming to barricade their beds from the others.
“What the bloody hell?!” Ginny snapped, looking at Angua who gained a look of panic on her face at the enraged redhead. “What the hell are you three doing??”
“Precautions.” Bonnie tersely replied placing a jersey into her dresser. “Never hurts to be too careful.”
“Careful? Careful of what exactly?” Ginny stated coldly as she looked at Max’s back, concern mounting. Max wasn’t even looking at the other girls, now more focused on her bed.
“Careful in case Sirius Black gets in here. You never know what he would do, since his daughter’s sharing a dorm with us. He might try to take her back and could kill us if he thinks we’re in his way.” Bonnie explained and glared at Max who was now continuing to drag her trunk to the corner her bed was in. Bonnie then looked back down at her books. “I suggest you move too, Ginny. No telling what will happen with a murderer’s daughter in-”
Ginny slamming her trunk down onto the ground hard enough to where it nearly burst open shut the blond girl up. As she turned to look at Ginny, her eyes widened as she spotted Ginny pointing her wand at her.
“Another word and I’ll have you sniffing bats for weeks.” Ginny warned as Max set up her area of the dorm silently, but even from where she was standing, Ginny could see Max was shaking now. “Take that back.”
“I said take. That. Back.” Ginny repeated angrily.
“I don’t think-”
“Ginny, it’s fine.” Max replied softly, not bothering to look up as she finished placing her clothes into the dresser.
“No it’s not!!”
Max didn’t answer instead she turned and began to walk to the door. She paused briefly at the door and turned to look at the other suitemates.
“I am curious though, Bonnie. If what you say is true, I wonder how he will react if he did go in here and saw how you all came up with this plan of yours.” She explained shortly, before exiting. Ginny glanced at the other girls, to see their faces were all bloodless. She gave a huff and then hurried after Max who was goingdown the stairs silently.
“You should have made her apologize.” Ginny hissed out.
“It wouldn’t have done anything.”
“Wouldn’t have done-! What are you talking about??” Ginny asked angrily. “What she said was rude!”
“She would have apologized without really meaning it. So it would be empty. Besides, what she said is something I’m going to be hearing through out the entire year probably.” Max finally said, turning to look at Ginny, giving a smile. But to Ginny, it was clear it was forced and she was struggling to keep her composure. “I’m going to have to get used to it right?” She asked, swallowing.
“It doesn’t mean you have to!” Ginny adamantly replied.
“I suppose not…but to make things easier for my mother…I’m going to have to.” Max finally said, swallowing.
“So you’re going to suffer in silence?” Ginny asked. “Do you remember what happened the last time you did that? You didn’t speak for nearly a year!!”
“Ginny, I’ll be fine this time. And if it gets worse, I’ll tell you and Mum. I promise.” Max replied.
“…I still think it’s a bad idea.”
“I don’t want people to give my Mum grief because she tells them to knock it off and they think I’m using the fact my mother is a teacher against them. And I’m always going to run into people who are cruel. And I can’t always stop it with attacking someone, a hex, or a punch to the face. Violence only bequeaths more violence.” Max remarked. Ginny stared at her as Max smiled at her gently.
“Thank you though…for defending me.”
“I’m your friend, I’m supposed to. And you might not be willing to put up a fight, but if I hear anyone making comments about you about your dad, they’re sniffing bats. Understand?” She asked and Max sighed before nodding, and Ginny huffed before she stomped down the stairs. Max stared at her receding form before closing her eyes and opening and closing her hands, taking deep breaths as her face crumpled into an expression of sadness in pain. Then she sharply inhaled, her face changing back to a neutral expression before she hurried after Ginny.
She could do this.
She could handle this…she knew she could.
It was in her blood after all.
Giacintro looked up and spotted Basilio walking up to him. “Hey Bas.”
“How are you?” Basilio asked sitting down, the chair creaking slightly a bearish grin on the man’s face. Giacintro shrugged as he watched Basilio settle and wait for a waitress to appear. He was still confused however at the sudden arrival of Basilio. But it was a nice night out and he couldn’t blame his friend to want to be outdoors rather than in a castle.
“Good, I suppose. Why are you here? Shouldn’t you be-”
“Ssshh…secret remember. It’ll sound weird outside here.”
“True.” Giacintro responded.
“Well everything’s squared away with Dumbledore and Harry won’t be having to go back to his aunt and uncle’s house, thank Merlin. From what Moria had said about the last year in those letters and what happened this summer, I think she would have barricaded the door next summer after what happened this summer.” Basilio remarked, pausing to ask the waitress for water and a plate of chips.
“Hm…” Giacintro agreed as he continued to read the files before sighing and placing the files away, going for his food. He cringed at the sight of his fish and chips. He really should try something new or by the time he got back to Italy, he’d be sick of fish. He lamented slightly at the fact there was so much food and he was going to have to waste it when he spotted a mangy black dog in an alley way.
“Here boy…here…got some…nice…fish and chips.” He muttered, whistling to the dog that plodded over warily to him. He set the tin filled with chips and a partially eaten thing of fish and watched as the mutt devoured into it hungrily.
“Good dog. Eat up, this will probably taste better than the garbage you have to eat.” He remarked as the dog continued to eat the fish and chips happily. Basilio chuckled before growing solemn.
“To be honest I’m surprised she let him manipulate her into letting him go there.”
“It shouldn’t be all that surprising in actuality. Even though she’s healed, there has to be mental scars from her time with her uncle.” Giacintro remarked. “And even if the scars had started to heal when she went to school and met her friends, they had to be torn back open when they died and her husband was jailed.” He added and noticed that strangely the dog had looked up from the plate and had looked at him oddly at that, before returning to eating, but seeming to go slower as though to listen to what was being said.
“Perfect to manipulate, perfect for following orders. A perfect soldier. But she seemed fine when we met her. Did something change?” Basilio asked but Giacintro shook his head.
“No. She has always been good at hiding her emotions…or not recognizing them.”
“Mhm… Moria was never one to show if something was bothering her.” Basilio agreed and this time Giacintro didn’t miss that the dog looked up, his ears alert and his eyes lively.
“…yes…” He replied, keeping a slight hold on his wand as he kept a slight gaze on the dog, who was just staring at the remaining fish and chips.
“…She said so herself…” Basilio commented. “That telling Dumbledore he wasn’t going back was the hardest thing she’s had to do, and not for the idea of leaving the that wretched family behind, because that was the primary reason for her going to tell Dumbledore that he wouldn’t go back. She said it’s hard to say no to the man.”
“You don’t get to live as long as that man does without picking up a few things along the way.” Giacintro remarked. “Knowing the right buttons to push is one of those skills.”
“You don’t like him.”
“No, I like him fine…”
“But it’s his methods that I don’t like or agree with.” Giacintro continued exhaling the smoke from his cigarette as he tossed another scrap to the dog though the animal now seemed uninterested with eating. “He may be a great wizard, but that doesn’t mean his methods are always just as great.”
“And those methods all circle around her?”
“I think they circle around Harry.” He replied and watched as the dog suddenly hurried away. “He managed to convince her to leave a country she had never left before to the mainland and into a country she didn’t even know how to speak the language, basically dropped her off, and left her there to figure things out. He used that as a basis to protect Harry. But from what? It would have been easier for her to have her magic sealed and her living as a muggle in England…no one would have known if she played it right, but he decided for Harry’s sake was to leave the country. I don’t know…it just…doesn’t it feel strange.”
“…It does. It makes me wonder what he knows and doesn’t know.” Basilio replied taking a sip of his water. Giacintro glanced down the alleyway the dog had run down to see it was empty.
“Yeah…and what he isn’t telling anyone.” Giacintro added taking a stab at his food.
Meanwhile Sirius stumbled forward as he shifted back into his human form, leaning heavily on the alleyway wall for several moments, before sliding down behind a dumpster, panting as though he had run a mile. His heartbeat echoed in his head and he felt as though something or someone had just tore his heart out of his chest. The man’s words echoed in his head as he hid in the shadows.
She was alive. She had been alive this entire time?
She had been raising Harry??
If that was the case, why had he seen Harry storming out of the Dursley’s home…maybe it had been a visit? The person next to him easily could have been a friend he had acquired from school that wanted to tag along. But a more pressing question surfaced in his mind.
If she had been alive…why hadn’t he known?
Had they been forbidden to tell him?
Hated him because he couldn’t protect their daughter? Couldn’t save her?
Had she moved on…believed he had actually betrayed James and Lily?
He swallowed roughly then pushed away and transformed into a dog again hurrying away. He knew what he needed to do…
And knew where he needed to go.