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Scion of Gryffindor
24 - Sep 1, pt 2

By Crys

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Harry / Tonks ship

Harry and Cissy apparated to Hogsmeade early that evening, timing their arrival shortly before the Hogwarts Express usually arrived.   They headed toward the train station at a leisurely pace.

"Are you sure, Cissy?   You know full well that I can afford -"

"Harry, how many times do Andy and I have to say it?   We do not want you spending your money on guards for us."

"At least let me put some wards up."

She arched an eyebrow at him.   She somehow managed to not be condescending, but it was close.   "What wards can you put up that Andy and Ted have not?"

He sighed.   "Okay, I'm not trying to be egotistical, but weren't you the one that was impressed with the wards on my Keep?"

"The anti-post ward you mentioned?   Yes, but I thought it was there -"   Her eyes widened.   "Morgana, are you saying YOU put that ward up?"

Harry shrugged modestly.

Cissy was now considerably more impressed.   "Well, in that case, yes, please put some wards up for us."

Harry nodded his acceptance.   "How's Draco taking all of this?" he asked, changing the subject.

Cissy looked at him in surprise.   "Forgive me for saying so, but I was under the impression that the two of you didn't get along."

Harry laughed.   "'Don't get along' is an understatement, as you're well aware.   As for why I'm asking . . ."   He thought for a moment.   "Well, two reasons, I guess.   Ever since Sirius's Will reading, he's gone out of his way to be polite.   I'm trying to do the adult thing and let the past remain in the past with regards to my attitude toward him in return.   Second and more importantly, I know you're concerned, and I take care of family."

She nodded acknowledgement of his points.   "He is . . . confused.   His life - and mine, come to that - were under Lucius's absolute control for so many years that Draco was never given the option of thinking for himself.   Now that Lucius is in Azkaban, his entire world has been turned upon its head.   The Malfoy name is still powerful in certain circles, but Draco is recognizing that that means very little at the moment.   For all of his supposed allies, Lucius is still in prison, after all.   Draco, now that he is permitted to think for himself, is realizing that following the Dark Lord may not be in his best interest."

"Hence you wanting to speak with him before the beginning of the school year."

"Yes.   That, and I simply miss him."

"Not to gloat, but the fact that it's me is part of the problem, isn't it?"

She let out a long breath.   "Yes.   Lucius and Severus have reiterated for years what a foolish Gryffindor you are.   The fact that you've been proven correct over and over and his father is now in prison . . .   Well, as I said, poor Draco doesn't know which way to go."

"Get him away from Tom, Cissy.   One way or another, it'll end up killing him."

She sighed and frowned in worry.   "I am aware of that, and I am trying."

"For what it's worth, good luck," Harry said in sympathy.   He turned back forward just as they got within sight of the train station.  

Coming from the direction of the castle, a large form was leading the first in a string of thestral-drawn carriages.   "'Arry!"   Hagrid's ready smile flickered a little when he turned to Harry's companion.   "Cissy."  

"Hi, Hagrid," Harry greeted his first magical friend.

"Hagrid," Cissy greeted him with a bit more reservation.   She saw the confusion on the half-giant's face.   "I simply wished to greet my son.   Baron Black was kind enough to walk with me."   She turned to Harry.   "If that is all, Lord-Baron, I shall take my leave."   She made a half-bow, half-curtsey movement that included a very stylized hand gesture.   Getting Harry's polite, if slightly confused, nod in reply, she turned and headed toward the station.

"Wha' was tha' all about?"

Harry turned from watching her.   "You heard that I inherited the title of Baron Black from Sirius?"   Hagrid nodded.   "Cissy divorced Lucius Malfoy yesterday.   Technically, I'm her Patriarch, as she's a Black again."

"Well, don' tha' beat all?" Hagrid said with a shake of his head and a laugh.

"The entire past month has been surreal, but that is one of the stranger parts," Harry agreed.

"Ah, before I ferget, Perfesser McGonagall said to tell ya tha' they're all ready."   Hagrid frowned.   "Come to tha', how did she know I'd see ya 'ere before the train arrived?"

"I set up an appointment with her when I was here a couple weeks ago.   Thanks again for letting me have one of your hairs, Hagrid," Harry added in an attempt to sidetrack the conversation.

It worked.   Hagrid laughed again and ran one hand down his huge beard.   "It's not like I don' have enough o' me own, 'Arry!   Besides, I know ya won' do nothing wrong wi' it."

Harry smiled up at the big man, touched by the absolute faith he had in him.   "No, I won't do anything wrong with it."   A shrill whistle in the distance was heard by the both of them.   "I'd better let you get those carriages to their places.   Great talking with you, Hagrid."

"Take care, 'Arry!"

Harry hurried back toward the castle and was pleased to see a small group standing at the gates.   As he neared, he recognized Madam Bones and Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Flitwick, plus a knot of what he assumed were aurors.

Dumbledore's face lit up when Harry approached.   "Ah, Harry!   I am heartened to see that you have changed your mind about attending Hogwarts this term."

"No, I haven't, Headmaster," Harry replied coolly.   He turned to McGonagall.   "Is everything ready, Professor?"

She flicked a glance in Dumbledore's direction before nodding to Harry.   "Yes.   I invited Madam Bones along, as we will probably have need of a few of her aurors.   To get her to come at all, I had to explain . . . one or two things."

Amelia Bones left the group of aurors and approached, looking at Harry curiously.   "Is what Minerva told me correct?" she asked quietly.

Harry, not knowing what she'd been told, looked to McGonagall with a raised eyebrow.

The professor discreetly tapped her hand where her own family ring sat.

Harry nodded and raised his hand so the Gryffindor ring was visible, careful to keep it invisible to the aurors behind her.   Knowing that he was going to be at Hogwarts that afternoon, he'd worn it on the hand opposite his Potter signet ring.

The head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement looked at it for only a few moments.   "I see.   Very well, Lord Gryffindor.   What is this all about, then?"   Fortunately, she kept her voice down.

"When I was helping Professors McGonagall and Flitwick -"

"Minerva and Filius," Flitwick piped up, attempting a stern expression and waving a finger at Harry.

Harry laughed.   "When I was helping MINERVA and FILIUS," he stressed to Flitwick's pleased smile, "renew the wards over Hogwarts, I added one.   Everyone crossing this line," he moved his hand over the ward boundary line that he could faintly see, "that has a Dark Mark will have a very visible reaction.   I have every reason to believe that several students are already Marked."

Dumbledore, looking ashen, stepped forward.   "Harry, please think about -"

"I thought I previously asked you to refer to me as 'Lord-Baron'?" Harry interrupted.   He knew he was being rude toward a very powerful and influential wizard, but he also had to make the man realize he had no control over him any longer.

Dumbledore hardly slowed down.   "Lord-Baron, then.   Please think about it.   What kind of message are you sending if you have these children arrested?"

"Maybe that I would like to protect the REST of the children from Death Eaters?"   Everyone winced.   Harry went on relentlessly, "No matter their ages, they ARE Death Eaters, and you know that, Headmaster.   They are going to be arrested shortly.   The only question is whether you want to take the credit for it or if you want to announce to the world that I, and all of my various but largely useless titles, are at odds with the Headmaster of Hogwarts."   Harry hated to use his celebrity status in this way, but he had to get Dumbledore to back down.

Cornered, the Headmaster bowed his head in acceptance.   "Very well.   What ward did you cast, Lord Gryffindor?"

"Don't call me that," Harry hissed with a head jerk toward the fortunately oblivious group of aurors.   Calming himself, he answered the question, "Their Dark Mark will flare with pain.   I think."

"You think?" Bones repeated.

"The ward I used will react to the Brand of Ownership Spell that the Dark Mark is derived from."   Flitwick looked impressed at this bit of information as Harry continued, "Unfortunately, from what I know about the ward, it doesn't react to all ownership spells the same way.   As we know, the Dark Mark is used to signal or punish his servants.   My best guess is that it'll react in one of those two ways.   Again, unfortunately for them, even the signal mode is painful."

Bones was looking at Harry in clear surprise and admiration.   "I'm curious on how you know so much about this, Lord-Baron.   Even accounting for the rumored mental connection you share with You-Know-Who . . ."   She trailed off in a clear question.

"Lord-Baron Potter has been privy to a great deal of Order information over the years, Amelia," Dumbledore whispered.

Harry was surprised, not having known she was an Order member.

McGonagall answered his unspoken question.   "Amelia isn't a formal member, but rather an informal associate of our group."

Harry nodded.

Flitwick, who had been quiet for the past few minutes, pulled out his wand and started casting spells.   Harry watched him put up what appeared to be a Silence Wall Spell at the ward boundary and then conjure waist-high hedges and fieldstone walls on the path that the thestrals had to take to get to the castle.

Harry would have asked Flitwick what he was doing, but the first of the carriages was coming up the path.   Once the carriage started following the newly-created path, Harry saw what the wily professor had done.   A carriage would let the students out right at the gated entrance.   The students in the next carriage couldn't see what happened at the gates - and the ward boundary - until the previous carriage had moved out of the way.

Stepping back into the lengthening shadows, Harry watched McGonagall and Dumbledore greet the first group of students (some fourth year Hufflepuffs if he recalled correctly) after they crossed past the gate and headed toward the castle.

Bones finished speaking with her aurors, and they moved so as not to be visible from the carriages but still have good lines of sight in almost all directions.

Bones and Flitwick joined Harry in his out-of-the-way location.   "Very clever," Harry grinned at Flitwick, waving at the path the professor had created.

Flitwick nodded, accepting the compliment before his face took on a sad, serious expression.   "I happen to agree with your actions, Lord-Baron.   I just wish we didn't have to make them."

Harry sighed.   "I don't want to sound cynical, but wishes haven't gotten me anywhere in life, Professor.   And call me Harry, please.   Both of you."

They both nodded acknowledgement as all three watched a group of young Slytherins pass the ward without incident.

"Oh," Harry said a minute later.   "Professor, you asked to see my new magical focus?"

Flitwick brightened.   "Indeed, but I'm quite certain I asked you to call me Filius not five minutes ago."

Harry laughed as he rolled his sleeve up.   "You did," he acknowledged.   "However, after five years in your class, it's kind of hard to break a habit."   He pulled the band off of his arm and presented it to the Ravenclaw professor.

"Exquisite," he murmered, turning it over and over in his hand and peering intently at the carving.   "I recognize the crests, but what are these other designs?"

Harry took the band back and gazed sadly down at the etching of a large dog.   "My family," he whispered, too quietly for the other man to have heard him.   He shook his head and answered as he slipped the band back on his arm.   "That's a very long story, Filius.   Perhaps sometime I'll tell you, but I honestly don't feel up to it at the moment."

Flitwick nodded his acceptance of that answer, and they all looked forward again just in time to see Cissy, Draco Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle step out of a carriage.

Harry and Bones tensed.   Flitwick muttered, "Oh, dear."

Draco hugged his mother and crossed through the gate without any problem, looking at Dumbledore and McGonagall oddly as he did so.

Crabbe and Goyle, following on his heels, made it one step onto the Hogwarts grounds before they both clutched their left arms and fell to their knees.   Aurors moved forward at the same time that Draco spun in place to face his two followers.   From thirty feet away and the other side of a Silencing Wall, Harry watched Crabbe and Goyle get stunned and then levitated off out of his line of sight.   Draco and Cissy had watched the whole thing in shock.

Dumbledore looked over at Harry, a sad look in his eyes.   Harry kept his face expressionless and shook his head slowly.

Cissy stepped forward and hugged her son again, speaking first with him and then Professor McGonagall momentarily before turning around and walking out.   As the carriage moved out of the way, she spotted Harry, Filius, and Bones and headed toward them.   She addressed herself toward Madam Bones.   "Very clever ploy, Madam Bones."

Bones shook her head.   "I didn't think of it.   I believe it was the headmaster who did.   I'm just here to provide the aurors."

Cissy slowly shook her head as she faced Harry.   "I don't believe the headmaster would do such a thing.   He is far too . . . trusting and forgiving of those who have proven they do not deserve such."

Harry let the comment pass.   "Did you or Draco know about them?" he asked instead.

She shook her head again.   "I did not know for certain, and Draco has not indicated one way or another."   After a moment with no further questions, she gave him a curt nod.   "Lord-Baron."   She nodded to the other two as well.   "Professor, Madam."   Without another word, she turned and walked back toward Hogsmeade.

"That was . . . unexpected," Bones said.

Harry laughed.   "The entire last month has been one unexpected event after another, Madam Bones."

"Amelia, Harry.   Call me Amelia."

"Severus," Flitwick suddenly said.

Harry looked at him in amusement.   "No, I'm Harry, you're Filius, and she's Amelia."

Amelia giggled, briefly resembling her niece.

Flitwick gave Harry a sour look for the joke.   "No," he said in mock aggravation, "I meant I had news about Severus.   I didn't see him arrive, but Min said she's locked him in his rooms until the welcoming feast.   He apparently recovered quickly after crossing the ward."

Harry nodded at the news and flicked a glance at Amelia.

"I know," she said simply.   "Remember, I'm an 'associate' of the Order, so I know of Professor Snape's position."

The three of them idly chatted about classes and their times at Hogwarts as students continued arriving.

Harry's only moment of tension came as one carriage disgorged Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Neville.   Ginny spotted him and waved cheerfully.   Ron turned his back and sulked off.   Hermione didn't follow either extreme but looked pensive instead.   Neville, not understanding everyone's reactions, cast Harry a confused look before following the other Gryffindors.

Flitwick looked a question at Harry, but Harry was reluctant to admit how strained his relationship with his two best friends had become.

By the end of the night, Theodore Nott, Pansy Parkinson, two seventh year Slytherins, sixth year Ravenclaw Michael Corner, a seventh year Hufflepuff girl Harry didn't know, and seventh year Gryffindor Jack Sloper all ended up being arrested in addition to Crabbe and Goyle.

As the last carriage was pulling away, Flitwick turned to Harry.   "I'm not sure that thanks are in order, Harry, but despite it all, I'm glad you did what you did."

"Yeah," Harry quietly agreed.   "I wish we didn't have to do that, either."

Harry, standing at the back of the Great Hall under a Disillusionment Charm, listened to Dumbledore's post-sorting announcements.

"Before we eat, I have two announcements to make that bring me a great deal of sadness.   As many of you have already noted, Mr. Harry Potter is not sitting with us and will not be joining us this year."   He raised his hand to the increased volume of muttering.   "Please, please.   Now, I understand that the reason that Mr. Potter is not coming back to Hogwarts is because he wishes to have a more directed education than we here at Hogwarts can provide."

The reactions to this were varied.   Most of the professors Harry knew took the news with visible sadness.   Snape, his expression very sour since before Harry had entered the room, suddenly looked almost gleeful.   A new professor, a corpulent man Harry didn't know, looked very upset by the news.   Among the students, it was taken about as he expected.   The DA members were nearly rioting, the Gryffindors were depressed, the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs looked vaguely saddened, and the Slytherins were varied between indifferent and happy.

"Lastly, I'm sure many of you have questions regarding the slight change of procedure with your arrival at the castle gates.   This bit of subterfuge was unfortunately necessary.   We have identified nine students carrying Voldemort's Dark Mark."   He waited for the shudders to subside before going on.   "Those nine students are currently under arrest by the Ministry's Department of Magical Law Enforcement.   The staff will have no information that will not be reported by the Daily Prophet, so please refrain from asking us for more information than we have.

"Now that the unpleasant news is out of the way, I have only a few more words for you.   Rutabaga, spleen, and calcium."   He clapped his hands, and the welcoming feast appeared on the tables, effectively diverting the attention of all the students.

Across the hall and through his disillusionment, Dumbledore's eyes met Harry's.

Harry gave him a single nod and turned, leaving the Great Hall.

Thumb absently rubbing the Gryffindor signet ring, Harry walked down the path toward Hogsmeade.   "I'll be back, girl.   Don't worry about that.   I'll be back eventually."

Death Eater Students Arrested

Last evening as the Hogwarts Express carried all the students to Hogsmeade station to begin another year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore had a surprise awaiting them.

Apparently adding another ward to the already formidable set over the school, the headmaster used the school's magic to identify Death Eaters as they arrived.   Four sixth year Slytherin, two seventh year Slytherin, one sixth year Ravenclaw, and a seventh year from each of the remaining two houses were exposed as Death Eaters and immediately arrested.

"I dislike the necessity of what has been done, but it was decided that we cannot allow Death Eaters free reign in the school to wreck havoc upon the innocent students," Headmaster Dumbledore said.

Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement Amelia Bones had this to say, "We of course cooperated with the leadership of Hogwarts last evening, resulting in nine arrests.   Their ages will not come into play as they're all confirmed Death Eaters."

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Author Notes:

Bunny (Tonks residence needs some protection) by Chris. The words are for kittykatluver because she asked.