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.

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/.

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Chapter Eight

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Harry's Journal September 4, 1996

After their initial shock had worn off, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny understood my reaction to finding out who that Charms book I borrowed belonged to. Ginny no longer felt it necessary to research the owner, since she didn't think anything that my mum would have written in the book would ever be dangerous. Hermione said that she might have been a little worried if it had been my father, seeing as how he was a Marauder and all, but she said she didn't worry about my mother.

I'm truly happy to finally have something of my mother's. While it is true that I have her eyes, it's nice to have something tangible that I can actually touch. I've had my dad's Invisibility Cloak since my first year, and the Marauder's Map since my third, but I've never had anything of mum's.

Hermione said that I should go talk to Professor Flitwick though, to ask him if I can keep the book, lest he remember loaning it, and then take points away from Gryffindor for not returning it. I don't have Charms again until second period on Thursday afternoon, but Hermione said I should probably ask before then if the opportunity arises.

Despite what Bill and Hermione said, Ron is still taking immense pleasure from what happened to Malfoy, he's just being careful not to do it in front of them. Ron hasn't tried to give Neville any points for breaking Malfoy's nose, but he did convince him to play a game of wizard's chess with him last night. I watched enough of the match to know that Ron was playing poorly on purpose; he probably figured that after what Neville had done, if he couldn't give him points, he'd at least give him bragging rights to claim that he'd beaten the undisputed Gryffindor chess champion. It's not like it would be hard for Ron to schedule a rematch later, and mop the floor with him, because Ron was hands-down, the best chess player in the tower.

Well, it's about time to head down for breakfast. Perhaps I can stop at Professor Flitwick's office on my way, and ask about the book.

* * *

Harry was walking down to the Great Hall for breakfast, when he decided to detour through the Charms corridor, hoping to run into Professor Flitwick. As it happened, luck was on his side, because Professor Flitwick came out of his office just as Harry turned the corner.

"Good morning, Professor Flitwick," Harry said as he caught up to his diminutive professor.

"Good morning, Harry," Professor Flitwick answered.

"Professor, you remember that book I borrowed yesterday?"

"Oh, yes! With everything that happened with Mr. Malfoy, I completely forgot about it."

"Well, um, I was wondering if I could keep it."

"Why? Surely you have your own copy."

"Well, yes, I do," Harry said. "It's just that when I looked at who owned the book before me, I had a bit of a shock. It was a pleasant one, but a shock nonetheless."

"What do you mean, Harry?"

"Well, of all the books you could have loaned me, you somehow managed to give me my mum's old book."

Professor Flitwick stopped walking and turned to look at him. "I did?"

"Yes," Harry said as he pulled the book from his bag, opened the front cover, and showed it to his professor. He had packed it with his others this morning, just in case he had the chance to talk to Professor Flitwick. "See?"

"Well, I'll be, what a coincidence."

"So, as I said, I was sort of hoping I could keep it. I have very few things to remember my parents by, so it would really mean a lot to me."

"Of course, Harry," Professor Flitwick said almost immediately.

"Had I realized I had Lily's book all this time, I would have given it to you years ago. She was such a gifted student, your mother. A good professor tries never to favor any of his students, but it was very hard when it came to Lily. She was probably one of the best students I've ever had the pleasure of teaching."

"Thank you, Professor," Harry said with a smile as he placed the book back in his bag. Harry was so happy that on impulse, he knelt down and hugged Professor Flitwick, something that he had never done before; but at that moment, he was just so caught up in his emotions, that it seemed like the right thing to do. Professor Flitwick patted him on the back and smiled when the hug ended, before the two of them resumed the walk to the Great Hall for breakfast.

* * *

Twenty minutes later, Harry had just finished eating breakfast, when he noticed Ryan and Nicolas standing up from their tables and heading for the doors. Hermione and Ron were once again distracted by each other, so they didn't notice when he stood up and left the table to catch up with his newest friends.

"Morning Harry," Ryan said with a smile.

"Morning, Ry, Nick. Where are you two off to?"

"Hospital wing," Ryan answered, "to visit Draco."

"You mean he's still in the hospital wing?"

"I assume so," Nicolas replied. "I didn't see him in the common room all evening, and his bed hasn't been slept in."

"Hmm, well, that does sound like Draco," Harry muttered, and when he noticed the curious looks from his friends, he elaborated. "In third year Magical Creatures class, he got a very minor scratch from a Hippogriff, and then proceeded to miss classes and pawn his work off on other students for weeks. He even used his injury to get out of playing a difficult Quidditch match in unfavorable weather, even though by then, he was no more injured than any of us are now."

"Well, I think I'm beginning to understand why you dislike him so much," Ryan said.

"Ron would say dislike is an understatement. He'd say he hates him. Malfoy has gotten Hermione, Ron, and I into so much trouble over the years and done everything he can to make our lives a living hell. So, Ron's hatred of him isn't totally unfounded. Hermione hates the fact that Malfoy calls her a Mudblood every chance he gets."

"Sounds like he's been truly terrible in the past," Nicolas commented. "I don't know him that well, but we do share a dorm room, so I have been keeping an eye on him. He seems to be very quiet and withdrawn lately. Of course, after what happened to his mum, I can understand why."

"Yeah, I've been thinking of trying to bury the hatchet with him myself," Harry revealed. "Um, look, if I tell you two a secret, will you swear to keep it to yourselves? Nobody, especially Ron, must know about it."

"Sure, Harry, you can trust us," Ryan said.

"Okay, well, the night before last, I found Malfoy alone in the bell tower. He was crying, something which I never thought I'd witness. Being a Gryffindor, I felt compelled to help him, and to make a long story short, he ended up crying on my shoulder for awhile and then we had a civil conversation for about an hour after that."

"Wow. So you think you two might be able to be friends?"

"I'm not sure, Ry," Harry admitted as they arrived at the hospital wing. "I don't think an hour of civil conversation is enough to make up for five years of fights and insults, but I suppose it could be a step in the right direction. I certainly wouldn't be opposed to ending my rivalry with him though, because I have far more important things to worry about."

"Such as?" Nicolas prompted.

"I'd rather not get into it," Harry answered, as the three of them walked into the hospital wing to see it was almost empty, with the exception of Draco sitting up in bed eating breakfast, his nose looking perfectly fine.

"Here to visit Mr. Malfoy?" Madame Pomfrey asked when she saw them. "Or is there another reason you're here?"

"Visiting Draco," Ryan said. "He's my cousin and Nick is his dorm mate, so it only makes sense we'd drop by."

"Yes, that's true," Madame Pomfrey agreed. "That doesn't, however, explain why you are here, Mr. Potter. I can't imagine you coming to visit Mr. Malfoy, at least not of your own free will."

"Well, I hadn't intended to, but I got to talking with Ryan and Nick, and here I am."

"Yes, here you are," Madame Pomfrey agreed. "Well, I can let you all in to see him, but I don't want you starting anything, Mr. Potter."

"Trust me; if anything gets started it'll be Malfoy starting it."

"Keep an eye on those two for me, will you?" Madame Pomfrey asked, looking at Ryan and Nicolas.

"No problem," Ryan answered, as Nicolas nodded.

"Well, I have to work on my lesson plans for my seventh-year class," Madame Pomfrey commented. "So, I'll be in my office if you need me."

Harry, Ryan, and Nicolas nodded to the nurse, before they headed over to Draco's bedside. Harry and Nicolas sat on the neighboring bed, while Ryan sat at the foot of Draco's.

"Hey, Draco," Ryan said. "How's your nose?"

"It's fine; I wanted to leave yesterday, but Madame Pomfrey insisted I stay. I guess fixing a broken nose is one of the more complicated breaks to fix, and requires more time than usual in the hospital wing."

"So you think you'll be up for going to your classes today?"

"Yes, Delaney, I will be."

"You're welcome to call me Nick, you know."

"Thanks, but I really don't know you very well yet, so I think I'll stick with Delaney."

"Fair enough," Nick said, sighing, and Harry could tell that he'd rather Draco called him Nick, but he wasn't going to push the issue.

"So, Potter, what brings you here? I can't imagine you'd be concerned for me."

"Well, actually, I was, Malfoy. Maybe it's the Gryffindor in me, but I was concerned. I was sitting right next to you when that teapot hit you, after all. Close enough to hear your nose breaking, in fact."

"Okay, Potter, you don't have to rub it in."

"Well, just be thankful you're a wizard, Malfoy. If you were a Muggle and broke your nose, you'd be wearing a splint for the next few weeks."

"Trust me, Potter, I thank the Gods every day that I was born a wizard. Of course, then again, there are times when I wish I wasn't, or more accurately, that my sire wasn't."

"Why?" Nick asked.

"Well, if he wasn't a wizard he couldn't have used the Cruciatus curse on me all those times, and he couldn't have used the Killing curse on my mother."

"Why did he use the Cruciatus on you, anyway?"

"He was punishing me."

"Punishing you?"

Draco sighed, before drawling, "Yes, Potter, I'll say this slowly, so that even you will understand. My sire felt it was necessary to punish me whenever I did something he didn't approve of. The morning my mother died, he was punishing me for something that really wasn't even my fault."

"What was he punishing you for?" Nick asked.

"For coming in second best to Granger in grades," Draco elaborated. "He felt that as a pureblood, I shouldn't allow a muggle-born to achieve better grades. It wasn't the first time that he'd tortured me because of that. That's the biggest reason I think, that I've always been so cruel to Granger over the years, and started calling her that name meaning `dirty blood' in second year. I was angry, and blamed her for my pain."

"It's not Hermione's fault that Lucius tortured you, Malfoy."

"I realize that, Potter, but think about it for a moment; assuming that is, you are capable of thought. In second year, when I started calling Granger that, I was only twelve years old. My sire had already been using the Cruciatus on me for years for various things, but Granger beating me academically during first year incensed him more then I'd ever seem him. He used the curse on me for several minutes at a time, almost daily throughout the summer. I realize now that it wasn't really Granger's fault, but at the time, I did blame her."

"So you don't blame her now?"

"No, Ryan, I don't. I realized awhile ago that it wasn't Granger's fault. The only person I should really blame is my warped, jackass of a sire."

"If he's been so bad to you, why did you get so upset at me last year after he'd been sent to Azkaban?"

"Oh Gods, Potter, are you really as stupid as you sound? I've told you that my sire punished me whenever I did something he didn't like. Well, it was for that reason that I have always acted a certain way in public. If I hadn't gotten mad about his imprisonment and he found out that I didn't, he would probably have killed me for disloyalty."

"Cut the crap, Malfoy. Everyone knows you're a junior Death Eater in training."

"No, Potter, I'm not," Draco said as he rolled up his left sleeve to show that there was no Dark Mark. "I don't want anything to do with that madman who calls himself the Dark Lord; I never have. As for my sire, after what he did to my mother, I don't want anything to do with him either."

"Does this mean you're not going to act like you used to?"

"Yes, Delaney, it does. I only acted the way I did, out of fear of what my sire would do to me. Now, I could care less, and I intend to act the way I want to. If my sire doesn't like it, he can just go fuck himself for all I care."

Looking at his watch, Ryan said, "Well, first period is going to start in about five minutes, so I guess we should say goodbye, Draco."

"Madame Pomfrey!" Draco called out.

The nurse emerged from her office and asked, "Yes, Mr. Malfoy?"

"Am I free to go? I don't want to miss fencing class."

"I was against Professor Dumbledore adding fencing and archery to the offerings, but he didn't listen to me. They're such violent classes which will probably cause their fair share of injuries. I realize we're at war, but still. Oh well, Professors Lasinius and Firenze have assured me that they'll be using dulled blades and arrows with rounded heads for now, so I guess there won't be too many injuries. You're free to go, Mr. Malfoy, just be careful. I was able to fix your nose this time, but each successive break makes it harder to fix, even with magic."

Draco nodded, before he stood up and followed Ryan, Nicolas, and Harry out of the hospital wing. The four of them had fencing class this morning, and they walked outside in silence, to the edge of the lake where Professor Lasinius had told the class to meet him.

* * *

Professor Lasinius was standing near to a large rack of swords when the boys arrived. He was dressed in the same ocean blue robes that he had been wearing at the arrival feast, however, there was now a black dragon hide scabbard attached to his belt. Harry couldn't help but notice that Head Boy, Adrian Pucey, and Head Girl, Katie Bell, had come and he didn't understand why they'd come to a sixth-year class.

"Welcome to Fencing, sixth and seventh-years," Professor Lasinius said as he turned to address the class. "I am Professor Lasinius. Now, I know some of you might be wondering why Mr. Pucey and Miss Bell are here, since you usually don't have classes with other years. The fact is, Mr. Pucey and Miss Bell were the only seventh-year students who signed up for my class. So, rather than teaching a seventh-year class with only two students, I decided it best just to ask them to join this one.

"Now, first, let me say that I expect each and every one of you to take this class veryseriously, and not goof off. While it's true that we will be using dulled swords for the moment, which would have a hard time cutting parchment, let alone skin, I want to impress upon you that this will be one of your more dangerous classes. If I see any of you handling swords in any manner deemed inappropriate, I will not hesitate to take points, give detentions, or if necessary, remove you from this class, permanently."

Professor Lasinius paused a moment, before continuing, "Now, I'm going to call your names. When I do, come over here and I'll determine which of the swords in the rack is best suited to you. Once everyone has a sword, I'll give further instructions."

Class went rather well, as far as Harry was concerned. Professor Lasinius didn't assign any partners, which at first Harry thought was rather odd, considering his other professors had all said that Professor Dumbledore wanted multiple house classes to be mixed up so that housemates wouldn't be together. Adrian Pucey did, in fact, ask about that, and Professor Lasinius responded by saying, that he had permission from Dumbledore to ignore that particular request.

Professor Lasinius explained that Dumbledore agreed with him that assigning partners in this class would be wrong, at least until Professor Lasinius had an opportunity to assess everyone's skill level, and then assign partners accordingly, regardless of houses.

Most of the students in class seemed to have very little experience with a blade, and it showed. There were a few students, however, that stood out, perhaps the most obvious, being Ryan Cromwell. When class was over, Professor Lasinius dismissed everyone except for Ryan, who he asked to stay behind.

"I was very impressed with your performance in class today, Mr. Cromwell."

"Thank you, Professor."

"If you don't mind my asking, where did you learn to fence so well?"

"My late grandfather, William Cromwell," Ryan answered. "He started giving me lessons shortly after I turned five, and continued until his death, when I was ten. He also taught my cousin, Matt, who helped me practice quite a bit when we were growing up."

"So, Matt continued tutoring you after your grandfather died?"

"No, shortly after grandfather passed away, my grandmother and I packed up and moved to the United States. She never actually said as much, but I always assumed that it was too painful for her to be at Cromwell Hall without my grandfather around; too many memories."

"Yes, that would make sense," Professor Lasinius agreed. "Now, I'm not really sure what to do with you, Mr. Cromwell. Your ability outweighs most of the other students, and I'm not sure I'll be able to partner you with anyone who would be an appropriate challenge."

"I don't mind, Professor," Ryan said. "It just feels good to be fencing again, I've missed it. I didn't really get the chance to practice much in the States, because my grandmother didn't know the first thing about it, and most of my friends at school had never so much as looked at a sword, let alone used one."

"Well, I do feel that a student with your past experience should be challenged, so, since there is an un-even number of students in class anyway, would you have any objections about partnering with me for the year? I'll see to it that you get plenty of practice, and perhaps you can help me to keep an eye on the class; sort of like being my assistant professor."

"Wow, I don't know what to say," Ryan murmured, awe-struck. "Sure, sounds good."

"Good, Mr. Cromwell," Professor Lasinius said. "Now, do you need a note to your next professor, explaining why you were late?"

"No, I have next period free," Ryan answered. "So, I'm heading up to the library to do some research with a friend."

"Okay then, Mr. Cromwell. Well, don't let me keep your friend waiting."

"Goodbye, Professor."

"Goodbye, Mr. Cromwell," Professor Lasinius said as he watched Ryan head back to the castle.

When he was sure that Ryan was out of earshot, he smiled, muttering to himself, "He certainly has turned into a well-rounded, and capable young man since I last saw him."

* * *

To be continued...