Harry Potter and the Return of the Heirs
By J.C. Vascardi

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Disclaimer: All characters and places featured in this story that relate to Harry Potter are the property of J.K. Rowling, various publishers, and Warner Brothers. No money is being made on this story and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. The only things about this story that I own are the storylines, places and characters that are not featured in the books.

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Chapter Thirteen

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As had become their routine over the last month since Nick's birthday, professor and student were stretching near the lake in preparation for their morning run. Before now, the conversation between the two had focused on the Weasley family and Bill's various adventures in Egypt. Running low on things to talk about, however, Bill decided that it was time Nick start talking about his family for once. But, first, he had another question about an observation he'd made recently.

"I couldn't help but notice that Nearly Headless Nick has been spending an inordinate amount of time around the Slytherin table lately. What's up with that?"

"Oh, well, he's been trying to enlist my help in getting him membership in the Headless Hunt."

"How does he expect you to do that?" Bill asked, totally confused.

"Well, it seems that Nick did some research and it turns out I'm like the twentieth great-grandnephew of its leader, Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore. So, he's hoping that I might have some influence with him, since I'm the last of the Delaney wizarding line."

Bill nodded and after a pause, added, "You have my condolences, by the way."

"Why?"

"Well, you said you're the last of the Delaneys," Bill said. "That and you live with your grandmother, so I just assumed that your parents are dead."

"Hasn't anyone ever told you never to assume?" Nick asked with a grin. "Of course, I can see why you came to that conclusion. I suppose I should rephrase my earlier statement: I'm the youngest of the Delaneys. My parents are still alive though, in a manner of speaking."

"What do you mean?"

"My dads are patients at St. Althea's Hospital in France, where they've been in comas since I was two. They were involved in a car accident, which left them with permanent brain damage. The healers try not to show it, but I don't think they're very optimistic about their recovery."

"I'm sorry."

"It's okay, you kind of get used to it after so many years."

"Isn't it hard to be so far away from them?"

"Not really," Nick answered. "I always have a part of them with me."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, there's this," Nick said as he pulled a silver chain with an oval locket from under his shirt. "The locket has their pictures in. Plus, my name, Nicolas Phillipe Delaney, comes from their middle names, Stephan Nicolas Delaney and Jean-Luc Phillipe Byrne-Delaney."

"Would you mind if I asked to see them?"

"No, not at all," Nick said as he stopped and opened the locket. Bill came over, took the locket in his hand, and gazed down at the pictures of Nick's two dads.

"They're both very handsome," Bill said after awhile. "You look a lot like both of them."

"Thanks," Nick said with a smile, as he tucked the locket back into his shirt and the two of them continued their run.

Bill and Nick began talking more about Nick's family and his grandmother, like what it had been like growing up with her while his dads were in a coma. They became so engrossed in their conversation, that Nick wasn't really paying close enough attention to the ground beneath his feet and he soon felt himself flying forward after catching his foot on a tree root.

Bill tried to catch Nick, but wasn't quite fast enough and soon felt himself falling too. The two men landed in the grass in a tangle of limbs, with Nick lying on top of Bill. Nick looked down into Bill's eyes and stared, mesmerized, for a few seconds before he decided to close the distance between their lips. It wasn't long before Bill was eagerly returning the kiss as he raised his arms from the ground and wrapped one around Nick's waist, pulling him closer, and placed his other hand behind Nick's head.

"I've wanted to do that for a month now," Nick said when they pulled apart a few minutes later.

"So have I," Bill revealed.

"I know you're my professor, but I'm hoping you're open to being more."

"Well, normally, I'd probably say no," Bill said. "Seeing as how you're my student and it's against school rules for the professors to date the students."

"Unless they're seventeen," Nick said. "Then it's perfectly okay, seeing as we're both consenting adults."

"You've been talking to Harry, haven't you?"

"Yes, I have," answered Nick. "I hope you're not mad at me, but the reason I started running in the morning was because I was hoping that we could get closer and start dating."

"I think I can overlook it," Bill said with a grin, "but only because you're so damn cute. Just don't expect any special treatment in class."

"I won't," Nick said as he leaned down and kissed the tip of Bill's nose. "Not like I would need it though; Potions has always been one of my best subjects."

"Yeah, that's true, you do very well in my class," Bill agreed as he returned the gesture. "What time is it?"

Moving so that he could look at the digital sports watch he'd bought in Muggle London, Nick said, "Damn, we should get back to the castle. Breakfast started twenty minutes ago."

"I'd like to stay here with you, forever, but I guess we should go."

"Yeah, we should, but first," Nick trailed off as he leaned down and pulled Bill into another quick kiss, before he stood up, helped his Potions professor and now boyfriend to his feet, before the two of them headed back to the castle.

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Surprisingly, despite the late hour they returned to their dormitories, nobody had noticed Ryan, Justin, Harry, Draco, Hermione, and Susan's absences, or if they did, they didn't say anything to the professors about it.

It's now been two weeks since Ryan found out that he was Rowena's heir and he's been enjoying it immensely. One big perk about it was, of course, Rowena's quarters, because Ryan and Justin now had a place that they could go to snog without the fear of anyone catching them. True, Rowena's portrait is there, but she gladly made herself scarce when asked to give her young relative and his boyfriend some privacy.

Ryan had yet to tell Matt and Oliver about being Ravenclaw's heir, but that was because he hadn't been successful in getting them alone long enough to tell them. Tonight, he had decided to risk getting in trouble and go to their shared quarters in the staff wing. Justin agreed to go with him, partly for moral support, but also because Ryan had decided that it was time to tell Matt and Oliver about his relationship with Justin.

"Ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be."

"It'll be okay, honey," Justin said as he rested his chin on Ryan's shoulder and wrapped his arms tightly around his boyfriend's waist.

"Yeah, we'll have the cloak," Ryan said, "and you are a prefect, so on the off chance that we do get caught on the way, you might be able to help out."

"Well, you'd better hope we don't get caught," Justin said. "Prefects are no more allowed in the staff wing without permission then the regular students are."

"So what happens if there's a problem and you need to get a professor from the staff wing?"

"Inform Adrian or Katie and have them go get the professor." Justin revealed, referring to Head Boy Adrian Pucey and Head Girl Katie Bell. "They're the only students in the school allowed to enter the staff wing without permission and only then in cases of emergency."

Ryan nodded as he wrapped the cloak around Justin and himself, before the two boys left Rowena's quarters and began to sneak towards the staff wing. Halfway there, Ryan noticed Professor Lasinius standing in a vacant hallway looking out the window at the grounds below.

"Maybe Professor Lasinius would help us," Ryan said. "He seems to like me and he did make me his assistant in class. What do you think?"

"It's worth a shot, at least," Justin agreed.

Ryan and Justin inched behind a statue and removed the cloak. Ryan stuffed the cloak into the pocket of his robe, before Justin and Ryan walked back out into the hallway and Ryan cleared his throat, causing Professor Lasinius to turn around.

"Ah, Mr. Cromwell, Mr. Finch-Fletchley, a bit late for you to be out isn't it?"

"Well, Professor, we were hoping that you could help us."

"Go on," the Professor said.

"Ryan and I need to talk to Professors Cromwell and Wood," Justin revealed. "They're in the staff wing though, and even prefects like me aren't really allowed there without permission."

"Yes, Mr. Finch-Fletchley, I know the rules," Professor Lasinius commented with a smile. "However, if you'd like, I can escort you to their room. None of the other professors will say anything as long as you're with me."

"That would be great, Professor," Ryan said. "Thank you."

"It's my pleasure, Mr. Cromwell," Professor Lasinius said. "Follow me."

Ryan and Justin followed Professor Lasinius, and soon found themselves entering the staff wing of Hogwarts Castle. As they arrived at the door to Matt and Oliver's quarters, Ryan prayed silently that they weren't about to interrupt a private moment between his cousin and his fiancÚ. Professor Lasinius knocked on the door and a moment later, Matt answered, fully clothed much to Ryan's relief.

"Why Valen, what an unexpected pleasure," Matt said. "Please come in."

"I would love to, Matthew, but I have other matters I must attend to. I'm simply escorting two students to see you and Oliver."

It was at this point that Matt notices Ryan and Justin standing behind Professor Lasinius and said, "Ryan? Mr. Finch-Fletchley, isn't it? Please come in. Are you certain you can't stay Valen? We just had some tea and biscuits delivered from the kitchen."

"I thank you for the offer, Matthew, but I'm quite certain. Good evening," Professor Lasinius said, before he turned and headed down the hall to his own quarters.

"Who was at the door, honey?"

"My cousin and Mr. Finch-Fletchley," Matt answered as he ushered the two boys into the room. "Valen escorted them here, but he had other matters to attend to."

"So, what brings you here, Ryan, Mr. Finch-Fletchley?" Oliver asked.

"Um, you can call me Justin."

"Oh, of course, Justin," said Matt, who to be honest wasn't sure what his first name was, since Justin wasn't in his class. "Please, both of you have a seat."

"Would you like some tea and biscuits?" Oliver asked as he motioned to the tray on a nearby side table.

"No thank you, Professor," Ryan said.

"Now, Ryan, we're not in class," Oliver reminded. "You needn't call me Professor. I'll be your cousin-in-law in a few short months."

"A few short months?" Ryan asked. "Does that mean that you and Matt have set a date?"

"Yes, Ry, we have," Matt said with a smile as he took Oliver's hand in his and kissed it. "Ollie and I will be married on the 23rd of December."

"So soon?"

"Well, we've been together since we were fourteen, so I'd hardly call it soon, Ry."

"I know I'm just messing with you, Matt."

"So, back to the reason for your visit," Oliver prompted.

"Oh, right, well, you guys know that I'm gay," Ryan said and Matt and Oliver nodded. "Well, I wanted to tell you that Justin and I are together now. We've been dating for a little over a month now."

"That's great, Ryan!" Matt said as he pulled his cousin into a hug. "I'm glad that you found someone."

"You two make a very good-looking couple," Oliver said.

"Thanks," Justin said with a smile.

"There is something else I need to tell you," Ryan said after ending the hug with Matt.

"What's that, Ry?"

Taking a deep breath, Ryan said, "I'm Rowena Ravenclaw's heir."

Matt and Oliver just looked at Ryan blankly for a few minutes, before they both burst out laughing. When they finally got control of themselves, Oliver said, "Good one, Ryan."

"I'm not kidding."

"Ryan, stop telling tales," Matt said. "You're no more Ravenclaw's heir than I am."

"Technically, you are though."

"What?"

"Technically, you are Rowena's heir, Matt, but I'm the recognized heir since I found her quarters."

"You found Rowena Ravenclaw's quarters?" Oliver asked, the grin on his face clearly saying that he didn't believe Ryan.

"You two don't believe me."

"No, Ryan, we don't," Matt said. "I know grandmother didn't raise you to tell lies, so come one, just admit that you're kidding and let's move on."

"I'm not kidding!"

"Ryan, there's an old Muggle saying: seeing is believing," Justin said. "Perhaps we should just take them to Rowena's quarters. They'll have no choice but to believe you then."

"I knew there was a reason I loved you," Ryan said as he kissed Justin on the cheek. "Come on you two."

"Why do you insist on taking us on a wild goose chase?"

"It's not a wild goose chase, Matt," Ryan said. "I really am Ravenclaw's heir, but since you don't believe me, I'll just have to show you the proof."

Matt looked at Oliver with a questioning look and Oliver just shrugged and said, "Well, there's no harm in playing along with him."

"You know, you two are going to be eating your words very soon."

"I seriously doubt that, Justin," Oliver said.

"Care to put your money where your mouth is?" Justin asked with a sly grin, which looked a bit out of place on a Hufflepuff.

"Sure," Matt said, confident he was about to make some quick money. "Ten Galleons say that Ryan is only kidding."

"You're on, Matt," Ryan said. "I hope you're prepared to lose. Care to make a wager, Oliver?"

"Hmm, how about if I win, you give me your invisibility cloak and if you win, I'll get you Puddlemere season tickets."

Knowing that he was going to win, Ryan had absolutely no qualms about betting his grandmother's cloak and said, "You're on, Ollie."

"Hey, only Matt has permission to call me that," Oliver said as the four of them left Matt and Oliver's quarters and headed for the Ravenclaw hallway.

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Meanwhile, in an unknown location, a teenage boy with black hair stood with his back against the slimy, stone wall of his prison. The boy was deathly pale and so thin that you could see every bone in his body. His clothes were all ripped and damp and bruises, scratches, and a thick coating of dirt covered all of his exposed skin. His feet ached from standing too long and he wished desperately that he could sit down, but the cold steel manacles encircling his wrists held him in a standing position.

He had no idea how long he'd been in this prison and it was impossible to keep track of time, as there were no windows. His chin lay limply against his chest as he wished that he could just die and leave this torture.

The sound of his cell door opening soon broke the silence of the room and he realized that his captor was coming for his daily visit. For a while, the boy tried to get a handle on how long he'd been here by counting the number of times his captor came to visit him. He lost track quite a while ago though and was never sure if it was really a very accurate measure of time, because while he thought his captor only visited once a day, he couldn't be sure, since he had no clue whether it was night or day.

"And how are you doing today?" the smooth voice asked.

The boy didn't bother to raise his head or even reply, which only made his captor angry.

"Look at me when I talk to you, boy!" the man shouted. "I am Lord Voldemort and you will show me the proper respect!"

The boy still didn't respond to his captor. He knew he would get punished, but he long since stopped caring because he figured out that his captor, this Lord Voldemort as he called himself, enjoyed causing him pain and would still do it even if he did show him the respect that he demanded.

"Idiot boy, now you will feel my wrath! Crucio!" Voldemort shouted as he raised his wand at the boy, who shivered as the immense pain coursed through his body.

Voldemort held the spell for a couple of seconds before he stopped, glared at the boy and said, "You'd better start showing me the proper respect or I may just kill you next time."

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To be continued...

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