Harry Potter and the Return of
By J.C. Vascardi
* * *
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.
Author's Note: This story takes
place during Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts. I will be trying to follow
the Order of the Phoenix canon as much as possible. I may however deviate from the
canon occasionally if the story I am trying to tell would be better served by
doing so. Even though this story takes place in Harry's sixth year, it is
mostly AU because it was written before the release of Harry Potter and the
Half-Blood Prince. Now, I would also like to say that I'm an American, so
while I will try to use some of the British terminology that I'm familiar with
to make this story more real, there will likely be instances when the
characters may sound a little more American then they would otherwise. For
those of you who care about such things, I apologize in advance.
Feedback is very much
appreciated. You may contact me by email at JCVascardi@yahoo.com or you can contact me at
JCVascardi on Yahoo Messenger and AOL Instant Messenger. For updates on my
writing progress, check out my writing journal at: http://www.greatestjournal.com/users/jcvascardi/. Also, feel
free to check out my website at http://jcv.5u.com/all/jcstories/.
* * *
* * *
Minutes after the tragedy at
Malfoy Manor, Draco emerged from the fireplace in the drawing room of Cromwell
Hall, followed shortly there after by a loud pop as Charles apparated into the
"Welcome to Cromwell Hall,
Draco," Charles said. "I think you will be comfortable here until
"Thanks... for getting me
out of there," Draco said. "And for dealing with father."
Before Charles could reply,
Matthew and Oliver walked into the room. They were so busy kissing each other
as they were walking, they didn't notice the room wasn't empty until Charles
cleared his throat.
Matthew pulled away from Oliver
and spun around to see his father standing there, along with Draco Malfoy.
"Father! I didn't expect you home so early. What is Malfoy doing here?"
"Draco will be living here
now," Charles said and held up a hand to hold off any of his son's
questions. "I will gladly give you an explanation, but first, I think you
owe me one."
"Oh, well, um... you see
dad, I'm gay."
"Yes, I guessed that
"Yeah, well, Oliver is my
boyfriend," Matthew said.
Oliver corrected as he wrapped an arm around Matthew's waist. "I'm sorry
we didn't tell you, sir, but we were keeping it a secret because of Matt's
Charles nodded. "Yes, that
was probably a good thing. Katrina would have had your head on a platter if
she'd found out that you were gay, Matthew. She was mad enough as it was when
I refused to pull you out of Hogwarts after your second year, so that you could
start at Eton."
"Oh, I remember those
fights," Matthew murmured as he thought back. "She was furious with
you for weeks. Figured that after two years of education at Hogwarts I'd
learned enough to control my powers, and should then go and have a `proper'
"Yes. Well, Matthew, if
being with Oliver makes you happy, then, so be it. Welcome to the family,
A moment later, the house-elf,
Barin appeared with a pop. "What can Barin do for you, Master
"Please tell my nephew to
come down immediately," Charles said. "I have to be getting back to
work soon, and I need to tell him something before I go, so please ask him to
floo down, its faster than walking."
Charles," Barin replied and he disappeared.
"Why don't we all sit
down?" Charles asked. "Once Ryan gets here, I'll explain what
Draco's doing here. I assume Ryan knows about you and Oliver, Matthew."
"Yes, I know about
them," Ryan answered as he stepped out of the fireplace. "I've known
"Matthew, I'm wounded,"
Charles said with a grin to let Matt know that he was only kidding.
"Telling your cousin Ryan, who you've barely seen in six years, before
your own father?"
"Well, they didn't
actually tell me," Ryan interjected as he walked over. "I put it
together on my own after I um, well... suffice it to say, that Matthew and Oliver
really need to learn to use a silencing charm when engaging in certain
"Ryan!" Oliver and
Matthew exclaimed in unison, as they both turned several shades of red.
"I didn't need to know
that," Charles mumbled, and sighed. "Anyway, let's get down to
business. Ryan, I'd like you to meet Draco Malfoy, he'll be staying with us
for a while."
"Pleased to meet
you," Ryan said as he sat down on a nearby armchair.
"You might want to rethink
that," Oliver mumbled, but loud enough that Charles heard.
"Oliver, if you are going
to be a member of this family," Charles said. "I'd really appreciate
it if you would refrain from insulting its members."
asked. "Malfoy is family? How?"
Charles said, stressing the name to tell everyone they should stop calling him
by his surname; "is your second cousin, Matthew, Ryan. You see; your late
grandmother Lucinda's maiden name was Malfoy. She was the sister of Abraxas
Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy's father and Draco's grandfather."
"I don't recall father
ever mentioning an Aunt Lucinda."
"I'm not surprised,
Draco," Charles replied. "Your family disowned my mother. They had
never seen eye to eye on anything, they were furious when she was sorted into
Ravenclaw, instead of Slytherin. The last straw came when she had two brief
romances with people that they did not approve of, followed by her marriage to
my father, William Cromwell, whom they didn't approve of either."
asked, honestly curious since his grandmother never gave many details about her
time as a student.
"Well, the second romance
was with Jonathan Potter," Charles answered. "Harry Potter's
grandfather. The first one... well, I'm not sure I really want to talk about
that one. It turns my stomach to know that my mother was ever involved with
"It can't be that
bad," Ryan said.
"Oh, it can be... trust
me," Charles muttered.
"Come on, dad,"
Matthew urged. "The way you're talking, you almost make it sound like
grandmother was involved with Voldemort."
"She wasn't was
she?" Ryan asked when Charles didn't say anything to dispute his son's
"Well, yes. Actually, she
was," Charles admitted finally. "He wasn't known as Voldemort then,
of course, but yes, as much as it sickens me to say it, your grandmother was
romantically involved with him for about a year."
"I can't imagine my family
having a problem with that," Draco said. "I mean; he was a
Slytherin, right? I would have thought they would have been pleased."
"Draco, have you ever
heard the name, Riddle?"
"No, I can't say as I
have. It's not a pureblood family name, that much I know."
"You're right, it
isn't," Charles said.
"What does that have to do
with You-Know-Who though?" Draco asked.
"Well, during his school
days, he wasn't known as Lord Voldemort you know," Charles elaborated.
"While he was a student at Hogwarts, he went by his real name, Tom
Riddle. His mother was a witch, but his father was a Muggle."
"Ah, I see why my family
had a problem with it now," Draco said. "Dating a half-blood breaks
about half a dozen rules listed in the Malfoy Family Code of Conduct."
"Code of Conduct?"
Oliver asked. "You mean; your family actually has written rules
that dictate you should act like a stuck-up prick?"
"Oliver, I thought I told
you not to insult members of this family," Charles said.
"It's okay," muttered
Draco. "I fully admit that I've acted very badly. Oliver has every right
to not like me."
"Yes, well, I think under
the circumstances, he should show you a little compassion."
"Well, Ryan," Charles
answered. "It all has to do with why Draco will be living here now. You
see; I've just come from Malfoy Manor, where I was witness to Draco's father,
using the Killing Curse on his mother, while Draco was curled up on the floor
watching. Judging by his position and mental state, I'm guessing, that not
only was he in shock from witnessing his mother's murder by his father's hand,
but that he was also recovering from the effects of the Cruciatus Curse."
Matthew, Oliver, and Ryan all
visibly paled upon hearing this news, and Draco brought his legs up onto the
sofa and buried his face in his knees as he began to cry. Ryan quickly crossed
the room, sitting down next to Draco, and wrapped him in a comforting embrace.
Draco resisted at first, but finally gave in when he started to sob into Ryan's
shoulder, and Ryan gently rubbed his back.
Once Charles saw that Ryan
seemed to have the situation under control, he stood up. "Well, as much
I'd like to stay, I really have to get back to work and file my report about
what happened today. I'll see you all later."
* * *
About three hours later, Molly
Weasley was standing in the front parlor of Grimmauld
Place when Percy's owl, Hermes, flew through
the window and landed on the back of a nearby chair. Molly took a rolled up
parchment and what looked like a copy of the Daily Prophet from the owl's
outstretched leg, and gave it an owl treat before it flew out the window.
Unrolling the parchment, Molly
noticed that it was Daily Prophet letterhead.
* * *
From the Desk of Percival
Assistant Editor, Daily Prophet
Thought you should tell
Dumbledore what's happened, if he doesn't already know. Here's a special
edition of the Daily Prophet, which will be coming out shortly.
P.S. Thanks for the dinner
invitation; I'd be glad to come over. I'll see you tonight.
* * *
A few weeks after his family
had accepted him back, and he had joined the Order, Percy began to seriously
rethink his priorities in life and decided that the job of Junior
Undersecretary to the Minister, while certainly prestigious, was not for him.
So, he asked to be transferred back to the Department of International Magical
Cooperation. The Minister refused his request, and even wanted to promote him
into Umbridge's old job as Special Assistant to the Minister, but since it was
his loyalty to Fudge that had almost cost him his family forever, the thought of
becoming Fudge's puppet did not appeal to him.
So, in a move that stunned his
family, Percy tendered his resignation from the Ministry, and went to work as a
typesetter for the Daily Prophet. It wasn't long after Percy started working
there, that the Daily Prophet's Editor, Barnabas Cuffe, took a liking to him
and his work ethic, and promoted him to the vacant position of Assistant
Editor, since he was highly over-qualified for the typesetter job. Percy was
also made the heir apparent to become Editor upon Cuffe's retirement, since
Percy was the most qualified person on staff to take the position.
Setting the note from her son
aside, Molly unrolled the special edition of the Daily Prophet, and gasped as
she read the headline:
* * *
Special Edition - August 24, 1996
ESCAPED DEATH EATER LUCIUS
The list of charges include
spousal murder and child abuse.
It came to our attention after
nine this morning, that Lucius Malfoy, who had escaped from Azkaban shortly
after the mass revolt of the Dementors, was taken into custody at his home
after casting the Killing curse on his wife, Narcissa Black Malfoy. We've
discovered that his casting of the curse was witnessed by the couple's
sixteen-year-old son, Draco, as well as Lucius' estranged cousin, Charles
Cromwell, the son of the late retired Auror Lucinda Cromwell, the sister of
Lucius' father, who works as an Auror for the Ministry.
According to Mr. Cromwell, he's
had very little contact with his Malfoy relatives over the years, and this was
in fact, the first time since their graduation from Hogwarts, that he had
talked with Lucius Malfoy. He said that there has always been a rift between
the two branches of the family, ever since Lucinda Malfoy married his father,
the late William Cromwell, a union which the Malfoy family did not approve of.
Young Mr. Malfoy was
unavailable for comment, but Mr. Cromwell issued the following statement,
"I went to Malfoy Manor because we had received intelligence that Lucius
Malfoy was there, and using one of the Unforgivable Curses. I arrived just in
time to witness my cousin casting the Killing curse on his wife. I quickly
disarmed and stunned him so he could be taken into custody. I later found out
from Draco, that his mother had been trying to protect him from Lucius, who had
been using the Cruciatus curse on him."
Newly-appointed Minister of
Magic, Rufus Scrimgeour, the former Head of the Auror Office at the Department
of Magical Law Enforcement, has confirmed that the last two spells cast with
Mr. Malfoy's wand were indeed the Cruciatus and Killing curses. As a result,
Mr. Malfoy has earned himself a one-way ticket back to Azkaban Prison. Due to
the mass revolt of the Dementors, the Ministry has recently acquired two Welsh
Greens, a Hungarian Horntail, and a Norwegian Ridgeback to act as guards at the
We here at the Daily Prophet,
would all like to extend our deepest sympathies to Draco Malfoy for the tragic
loss of his mother.
* * *
"Is something wrong
Molly?" McGonagall asked when she entered the room to discover a
distraught Molly Weasley.
"Minerva, oh, it's just
"What is it?"
McGonagall asked as she walked closer to her former student.
"Percy sent me this
advance copy - a special edition of the Prophet," Molly said as she held
it up. "Lucius Malfoy was arrested at his mansion this morning."
"Why would you say that
"Because he was arrested
after using the Killing curse on Narcissa," Dumbledore said as he entered
exclaimed in surprise as both women turned to see the Headmaster standing
there. "You knew?"
"I just came from the
Ministry," Dumbledore clarified. "I was in a meeting with Minister
Scrimgeour when Kingsley brought Lucius in. It seems that Charles Cromwell
witnessed Lucius casting the curse on Narcissa, in front of Draco. According
to Charles and Kingsley, it would seem that Narcissa was trying to protect
Draco from Lucius, who had been using the Cruciatus on him for unknown
"Oh my, that poor
boy," McGonagall murmured. "It's sad to think of one so young having
the Cruciatus cast on them, but even worse for a child to witness their
mother's murder, especially when their father is the murderer."
"Yes, it is,"
Dumbledore nodded in agreement. "Charles has taken Draco to his home in Yorkshire. Seeing as how
Charles' mother was Lucius' aunt, the Minister has appointed him as Draco's
guardian, until he turns seventeen next year."
"Well, as sad as it
is," McGonagall said. "This may actually be a good thing."
"Well, Molly, with Draco
living with Charles, it's possible that we'll begin to see a new Draco Malfoy.
It's also very likely that Voldemort has just lost a potential follower. One
less Death Eater to worry about is always a good thing in my opinion."
Molly and Dumbledore simply
nodded in agreement.
* * *
Voldemort screamed as he tossed the special edition of the Daily Prophet into
the nearby fireplace. "He knows how short-handed I am right now, and then
he goes and gets himself carted off to Azkaban."
"Maybe it's for the
"What was that
Goyle?" Voldemort asked angrily as he looked over at his follower.
"I just said that maybe it
was for the best," Goyle reiterated. "Lucius told me that Narcissa
was always undermining his attempts to get Draco to follow you, so maybe now
that she's dead..."
"Are you a total idiot,
Goyle?" Voldemort shouted. "Draco is living with Charles Cromwell
now. Do you expect me to just waltz into the home of an Auror and take him?
Not to mention the fact that Charles is the son of Lucinda Malfoy Cromwell. I
went to school with that wretched bitch, so I know first hand how powerful she
was, even as a teenager. She may be dead now, but I'm not stupid enough to
think that she didn't teach her son everything she knew. Raiding the Potters'
house in Godric's Hollow was different... they weren't Aurors."
"I didn't know that."
"Of course you didn't, you
pea brain," Voldemort yelled as he raised his wand and pointed it at
Goyle, before adding, "and for speaking when you aren't spoken to, Crucio!"
Goyle dropped to his knees as a
wave of pain washed over his body. Most people might scream from it, but all
of Voldemort's Death Eaters had learned not to make a sound when he inflicted
pain on them, because it only made him angrier. Or one step closer to St.
Mungo's, depending on how you looked at it, considering that most people, including
some of his Death Eaters had begun to think Voldemort was quite insane, not
that they'd ever dare tell him that. After a moment, Voldemort ended the curse
and yelled, "Get out of my sight. Wormtail!"
Goyle quickly left the room, as
the man known as Wormtail, or Peter Pettigrew, scurried over to his master's
"I want you to arrange a
strike party," Voldemort said as he unconsciously clenched and unclenched
his bony fingers into fists. "We need to strike the boat taking prisoners
to Azkaban, and free Lucius. I don't care if you have to send every Dementor
we have, but we must get him before that boat reaches Azkaban. We do not have
the resources at the moment to organize a full-scale prison break, now that the
Ministry has four dragons guarding the fortress."
"Yes, my Lord,"
Wormtail muttered, and with a bow, turned to leave.
"Oh, and Wormtail?"
"Yes, my Lord?"
Wormtail asked, turning once more to face his master.
"You had better
succeed," Voldemort said threateningly, his ominous red eyes flashing with
cold fury. "Or I will make you wish you had never been born!"
* * *
Draco's Journal - August 25, 1996
I still can't believe that my
mother's gone. She didn't deserve to die. Oh Gods, my mother is dead. Why? Why?
Oh, if my jackass of a sire were here, I know he'd probably want to kill me
right now, considering I'm sitting here crying my eyes out as I write this. I
will not call him my father any longer; I refuse! He is nothing to me other
than the one whose seed helped bring me into this world. The Gods as my
witnesses, I swear if I ever see that man ever again, I will not be held
responsible for my actions. He deserves to die a slow and extremely painful
death for what he's done to my mother! I can hear my mother's voice in my
head, saying that I shouldn't let my anger consume me and I know that she's
right, but right now, my emotional wounds are just too fresh.
I am extremely grateful for my
sire's cousin Charles getting me out of there. He certainly seems like a nice
person. Ryan, Matthew, and even Oliver comforted me after Charles left for
work. Ryan told me that he knows how I'm feeling right now, since he recently
lost his grandmother, who had raised him from birth like her own child. He
said that he can't possibly imagine how painful it must have been to actually
witness my mother's death, but he could understand how painful it is to lose
one's mother, nonetheless. Matthew also understands the pain, since he lost
his mother about a year ago.
When I watched Lucius kill my
mother, I suddenly felt very, very alone; so having Charles, Matthew, Ryan, and
Oliver around makes me feel a little better. Well, I suppose I should stop
writing now, and get some sleep. Charles brewed up a batch of Dreamless Sleep
potion yesterday when he got home from work, and gave me a few vials of it so
that I would be able to sleep without any nightmares. I begged him for a
Memory Charm, but he refused, saying that a Memory Charm would only be hiding
from the truth, and that wouldn't be a good thing in the long run. I realize
that he's right, but it's going to be very hard dealing with the memory of
watching my mother's final moments. I don't think I'll ever be able to get the
look on her face out of my mind.
* * *
Charles had the next day off
and decided to stay home with Draco, while Matt and Oliver took Ryan shopping
in Diagon Alley. Understandably, Draco was not in the mood to go shopping. Charles
wrote a note to the goblins at Gringott's, telling them that he was now Draco's
legal guardian, and to allow Matt to collect some money from Draco's vault.
So, with the note, Draco's supply list, and his vault key in hand, Matthew and
Oliver flooed over to Diagon Alley with Ryan. Matthew and Oliver both had
their apparition licenses, but the wards surrounding Cromwell Hall only allowed
Charles to apparate through them, so the floo was quicker in the long run, than
walking out to the edge of the wards, especially since Ryan couldn't apparate
The goblins didn't give Matthew
any trouble about accessing Draco's vault when they made their first stop at
Gringott's. Matthew, Ryan, and Oliver were rather taken aback by the huge
amount of galleons in Draco's private vault. The Cromwell and Wood families
were by no means poor, but the sheer quantity of galleons in Draco's vault
alone, was certainly impressive. Matthew was sure that even if he combined
what was in his vault with Ryan and Oliver's vaults, Draco would still have
Looking at the shopping list
that Draco had supplied, Matthew did take a lot more galleons then one would
normally think would be necessary for back to school shopping, but he could see
from what all Draco had on his list, that the larger amount would definitely be
"Hey, Ry? I see some
friends from school I'd like to say hello to. You think you'll be okay on your
own, while Oliver and I go over and talk to them?" Matthew asked as they
were leaving Gringott's.
"I'm not a baby anymore,
Matt," Ryan admonished with an amused grin, and remembered how protective
Matt had always been of him before Lucinda had taken him to Asheville. "You
two go on, I'll be fine. I'll just go to Madame Malkin's, get fitted for my
robes and place Draco's order. If I'm not there when you guys finish up with
your friends, I'll probably be next door taking care of our book lists."
"Okay, then, see you in
awhile, Ry," Oliver said with a smile as he walked off with Matt, holding
Ryan couldn't help but smile at
the two of them. 'Well, I guess now that Uncle Charles knows, they don't really
care who knows they're together,' he thought. `It's about time.' Ryan watched
them for another minute, before heading into Madame Malkin's shop.
Walking into the shop, Ryan saw
Madame Malkin for the first time in almost six years. The shop was empty right
now, so Madame Malkin came over quickly when she heard someone coming in. She
cocked her head to one side as she looked him over. "Is it? No, it can't
be," she murmured. "Little Ryan Cromwell?"
"Not so little anymore,
ma'am," Ryan replied.
"My, my you certainly have
grown into a fine young man since I last saw you," Malkin said with a
smile. "I only wish it was more pleasant circumstances that brought you
back. I was so upset when I heard about your grandmother's passing. Please
accept my most heartfelt condolences, she was a great woman, and I'll miss her
"Thank you, Ma'am."
"So, I take it you're here
for your Hogwarts robes?" Malkin asked. "I'm assuming the standard
robe with the Hogwarts seal, instead of a house seal?"
"No, I've already been
sorted into Ravenclaw," Ryan answered. "Professor Dumbledore called
me to his office for a private sorting ceremony, because he thought I'd feel
too out of place being sorted with the first years."
congratulations," Malkin said with a smile. "I was in Hufflepuff
myself, but Ravenclaw is a fine house. If you'll just step up on the stool
here, I'll get started on your measurements."
"Oh before I forget," Ryan
said as he stepped onto the stool. "My cousin, Draco Malfoy is staying with us
now. He didn't feel up to coming with today, but here's his list. He said you
had his measurements."
Madame Malkin nodded and took
the list from Ryan. "Yes, I do. His measurements will have changed within
the last few months since his last visit, but a simple Auto-Resizing Charm will
handle that. Stand up straight please."
Waving her wand at Ryan, and
muttering an incantation, a tape measure appeared from thin air and started to
take Ryan's measurements as Madame Malkin began to fill Draco's list. The door
soon opened, and another customer walked into the shop. From the angle he was
standing at, Ryan couldn't see who it was, but he soon found out when he heard
someone say, "Hey Ry."
"Hi Nick," Ryan said
when he recognized the voice of Nicolas Delaney.
"I take it you know each
other?" Malkin asked as she looked up from Draco's list.
"Yes, we met the other day
in Professor Dumbledore's office," Nicolas replied. "I'm
transferring to Hogwarts, so he called me over to be sorted. My name's Nicolas
"A pleasure, I'm Madame
Malkin. If you'll please just step up on that stool next to young Mr.
Cromwell, I'll take your measurements. What house were you put in? I can see
to it that your house emblem is placed on your new robes."
Nicolas answered as he stepped up onto a vacant stool. Madame Malkin nodded,
and then waved her wand at Nicolas, as another tape measure appeared and began
to take his measurements.
"In addition to the school
robes, I'll pretty much need a whole new wardrobe," Nicolas said after all his
measurements had been taken. "I'm sure a good portion of the clothes I have
won't be all that appropriate. Hogwarts is in a very different climate then
what I'm used to at Beauxbatons."
Madame Malkin nodded.
"Well, why don't you browse the racks and let me know if there's anything
you like. I can easily change the colors of something you like, if need
Nodding, Nicolas began to
browse as Madame Malkin started to get to work on Ryan, Nicolas, and Draco's
school robes. For lack of anything better to do while waiting, Ryan browsed as
well, since he took out a few extra galleons in case he saw something he
* * *
Meanwhile back at Cromwell
Hall, Charles was sitting at his desk in the library, while Draco laid on one
of the sofas, reading a book. The sudden pop breaking the silence caused a
startled Charles to jump. He looked over to Draco and smiled, noting the boy
merely turned a page. `Nerves of steel,' he thought, and shook his head before
turning his attention to the house-elf.
sir," Barin said. "You have company."
"Please show them in,
Barin," Charles replied as he relaxed.
"Yes, sir," Barin
answered before he disappeared, only to return moments later through the door,
accompanied by a tall, black haired man in flowing black robes.
"Ah, Severus, I was
wondering when I would be seeing you," Charles said as he stood from his
"I've come for
Draco," Severus answered as he walked into the room.
"Now, Severus, you know I
can't let you take him," Charles replied calmly as Draco silently watched
"I am his godfather,"
"I am not disputing that
fact, Severus. However, the Ministry has granted me custody of Draco until he
reaches his age of majority."
asked. "I'm his godfather, you're just his, what are you again?"
"First cousin, once
removed," Charles replied. "I know the Ministry should have named
you to be his guardian, Severus, but I think we both know why they
Severus sighed and then nodded,
as he placed a hand on his arm. "The Dark Mark."
"Yes," Charles said.
"I know that you're on our side, but as I'm sure you know, it's not
something we've told the Ministry about."
"Yes, in case the Dark
Lord has spies in the Ministry," Severus muttered.
"Exactly. Tonks, Kingsley
and I make sure the other Aurors don't come after you, but as far as the
Ministry is concerned, you're still a Death Eater, and they don't know that
you're working as a spy."
"You are?" Draco
asked, speaking for the first time since Severus entered.
"Yes, Draco, I am,"
Severus said. "Charles and I are both members of a group that Professor
Dumbledore organized to fight against the Dark Lord. I go to all of the Death
Eater meetings, and then report to Professor Dumbledore on what the Dark Lord
is planning. I trust you can keep my secret?"
"Of course, Sev,"
Draco said, using the nickname that Severus has grudgingly allowed Draco to
call him for the last several years. "I wouldn't do anything to get you
"Severus, if it would make
you feel better," Charles interjected. "You're welcome to stay here
until school starts, and then you can be with Draco. I'll even let you have
access to my private potions lab, as long as you don't mind living with three
Ravenclaws and a Gryffindor."
Severus asked with a sneer.
"Yes, my son Matthew's boyfriend,
Oliver Wood," Charles replied. "Now that they've finally deigned to
tell me about their relationship, after being together for seven years and
getting engaged, Oliver has moved in."
"Ah, well, I guess I can deal
with Wood. He was a fairly decent student for a Gryffindor, though much too
wrapped up in Quidditch if you ask me. Nonetheless, I do want to be here for
Draco, so as much as it pains me to say, thank you, Charles."
"My pleasure, Severus.
Barin, please prepare a room as near to Draco's as possible."
Charles," Barin said and he disappeared.
* * *
Exiting Madame Malkin's
together, Ryan and Nicolas were extremely happy about the existence of
shrinking charms, otherwise they would both have had their hands quite full
with their recent purchases. Ryan and Nicolas both bought the requisite school
robes, new dress robes, and new cloaks more suited to the colder winter season
of Northern Scotland. Nicolas found a few items to augment his wardrobe, but
ultimately decided that a trip to Muggle London before school started would be
in order. Ryan and Nicolas talked while they shopped, finding out more about
each other. For example, they found out that they both liked blue and green,
both liked reading, and Ryan found out that Nicolas would be reaching his age
of majority soon.
"That's cool that you'll
be seventeen, soon," Ryan said. "I can't wait until I'm
"Yeah, I know, I'm pretty
excited," Nicolas replied.
"How was it to start
"I don't think it was that
different," Nicolas answered. "I certainly wasn't the only one at
Beauxbatons who started a year late because of my later birthday."
"When is your birthday
anyway?" Ryan asked. "Mine is April Twenty-First."
"So you ended up starting
a year late because your birthday was only nine days after the cutoff?"
"Yeah, that's pretty much
it," Nicolas said. "Oh well, it was kinda fun in a way, having an
extra year off before starting school, but I must admit that it was also kind
of lonely, because most of my friends were able to start on time."
Ryan and Nicolas continued
walking, although the crowds in Diagon Alley had grown quite a bit while they
were in Madame Malkin's so even with Flourish and Blotts being next door, it
was taking awhile to get there. As they were nearing the entrance to the
bookstore, someone bumped into Ryan and threw him off balance, but Nicolas
managed to catch and steady him.
"I'm so sorry," a
teenage girl said. "These crowds are making it almost impossible to see
where you're going."
answered Ryan, "no harm done."
"I'm Hermione Granger, by
the way," the girl said and held out her hand.
"Ryan Cromwell," Ryan
murmured as he shook Hermione's hand. "And this is Nicolas Delaney."
"I don't think I've ever
seen either of you around," Hermione said.
"Well, I've lived in France until last
month," Nicolas replied. "And Ryan has been in the States for the
last six years."
"So, will you be going to
answered. "We're just taking care of getting our school supplies."
"Who're you talking to
Hermione?" a raven-haired boy asked as he walked up, along with two
"This is Ryan Cromwell and
Nicolas Delaney," Hermione said. "I almost ran Ryan down, and we got
to talking. They're transferring to Hogwarts for their... which year are you
"Sixth," Ryan and
Nicolas said in unison.
"A pleasure to meet
you," one of the red heads said. "I'm Bill Weasley. The other
redhead is my brother, Ron and this is Harry Potter."
"So, are you going to be
sorted with the first years?" Ron asked.
"No, Professor Dumbledore
had us come to his office to be sorted," Ryan answered. "He thought
we'd feel too out of place among the first years. I'm in Ravenclaw."
"That's cool," Harry
said. "What about you Nicolas?"
answered, and couldn't help but notice the sudden look of indifference on Ron's
face. Hermione couldn't help noticing it either. "You'll have to forgive
Ron, but he thinks all Slytherins are inherently evil, especially since
You-Know-Who was a Slytherin."
"Don't forget that
insufferable git Malfoy," Ron muttered.
"Ron, would it kill you to
show a little compassion?" Bill asked. "The boy did just
lose his mother."
"He's still an
insufferable git, and an evil Slytherin bastard."
"Personally, I don't find Draco
to be all that bad," Ryan interjected. "Though, I haven't known him
"You've already met
Malfoy?" Harry asked.
"Yes, he's my second
cousin," Ryan said. "Just met him yesterday though, after my Uncle
Charles brought him home, right after what happened at his family's
"I knew the name Cromwell
sounded familiar," Hermione said. "I saw it in the Daily Prophet
yesterday. Malfoy has made it his life's work over the last few years to annoy
and insult us, but I'm willing to cut him some slack."
"Hermione are you bloody
"No, Ron, I'm not
mad," said Hermione. "It's just that I don't even want to imagine
how hard it must have been for Malfoy to see his own father kill his mother.
The article also said that Lucius had been using the Cruciatus on him, so I
think he deserves some compassion."
Ron opened his mouth to say something,
but Harry stopped him by saying, "Ron, I know you don't agree, so just
please agree to disagree. I'm not in the mood to watch my two best friends
fighting right now."
"Agreed," Bill said,
giving his younger brother a look that said 'Don't even think about arguing
"Well, we were just about
to get our books," Harry said. "Would you care to join us, Ryan,
replied. "Nicolas and I were just on our way there. I have to buy
Draco's books, too."
"He didn't come
today?" Hermione asked.
"No, he didn't feel up to
it," Ryan said. "So, he just gave us his shopping list and his vault
"The goblins actually let
you into Draco's vault?" Bill asked.
"Well, my Uncle Charles is
Draco's guardian now," Ryan answered. "So, he wrote them a note.
I'm here with my cousin Matt and his boyfriend, but they went off to say hello
to some old friends from school."
Bill, Harry, Ron, and Hermione
nodded before accompanying Ryan and Nicolas into Flourish and Blotts.
* * *
To be continued...