Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix
Published: 09/26/2004
Updated: 09/26/2004
Words: 89,188
Chapters: 19
Hits: 87,944

Laocoon's Children


Story Summary:
SEQUEL TO STEALING HARRY.````Ten years ago, Lucius Malfoy got to Peter Pettigrew before Sirius could, and the universe changed. Sirius spent years watching from a distance, until one day, when Harry was eight, he took Harry from the Dursleys. After two years in hiding, Harry returned to the Wizarding world to attend Hogwarts, only to find himself once more at risk -- once more facing Peter Pettigrew, who would like nothing better than to see Harry dead in the service of resurrecting Voldemort. ````Follow Harry and his friends -- brave Neville, clever Padma, and shy Draco -- as they are caught up in the battle for dominance between the Order and the Death Eaters.

Chapter 19

Chapter Summary:
Author's Note:
Thanks to my beta-reading braintrust: Heidi, Judy, Nny, and Tai for their grammar/style/continuity betas, Em for her Art!Betas and illustrations.

Slytherin played Ravenclaw in the week following the end of exams, three days after the misadventures of the children and Professor Snape; Harry, sore but eager, was allowed to participate only after Severus joined the fray, because Albus Dumbledore was far too pleased by the sight of Sirius Black and Severus Snape arguing the same side to deny them the pleasure of seeing Harry play.

Severus, who after three days was still feeling ill and whose heart made noises that mildly worried Madam Pomfrey, was only barely allowed to attend the game on the condition that he be accompanied by the Healer and obey her mandates absolutely. Madam Rosmerta, a Hogsmeade resident and friend of Dumbledore's, was asked to grade his students' papers and give them their marks, and the results were therefore rather more lenient --and butterbeer-spotted -- than his students would have expected.

The day of the game was sunny and warm, and perfect, because Slytherin won; Sirius even caved and wore a green shirt, though he made up for it by wearing scarlet wizarding robes over it. Still, the spirit of the thing counted.

The children, who had missed out on the joy of seeing their Gryffindor prank victims discomfited at breakfast, were heartened by the way Neville's former bullies avoided their eyes, and sat hunkered in a corner of the stadium, occasionally scratching at the ink under their shirts. The solitary girl, whose shoes had been vandalised by Padma, had received a Howler from her parents, demanding to know why she wanted yet more shoes. Revenge was sweet, and also apparently effective.

It was the day after the game, and the day before exam scores came out (Draco already knew he'd passed Transfig, and Padma had been quietly informed she'd set the record for first-year Charms scores) when Harry was called into the Headmaster's office, to find Remus, Sirius, and Dora waiting there for him.

"Harry, please be seated, if you would," Dumbledore said gravely, and Harry settled himself on the empty chair between Sirius and Remus. "I'm afraid I have some rather serious and unpleasant news I'm obliged to share."

Harry waited patiently. If he had been found out in his lie, there was nothing to be done about it now; if he was being punished, the adventure had been well worth it.

"Having ascertained that Peter Pettigrew is now at the height of what power he has," Dumbledore said slowly, "it has been decided that London is no longer a safe haven, even the excellent protection of the Tonks house."

Dumbledore nodded at Dora, who looked unusually grave -- even her normal pink-or-blue hair had settled into a sober shade of dark brown.

"To return to London, especially a house easily accessible through Diagon Alley, would endanger not only yourself but also the Tonkses and Mister Longbottom. Unfortunately, therefore, we have agreed that a return to Betwys Beddau is wisest."

Harry watched two months' worth of summer plans go straight to hell.

"I know this must be a disappointment," Dumbledore said, "But we do think it is best."

There was a soft snort from Sirius which told Harry that Dumbledore's definition of "we" was different from Sirius'.

"We're taking you this afternoon," Remus said, "As soon as you can pack your things."

"This afternoon?" Harry demanded. "But I haven't had my exam scores yet -- nobody's leaving for days!"

"Which is precisely why you must leave now," Dumbledore said, in that infuriatingly reasonable tone. "You'll be allowed time to say goodbye to your friends, pack properly, and collect your scores."

"But I -- "

"This is not negotiable, Harry."

Harry glanced at Sirius, whose face was set with the determination of a man who is going to follow orders he thinks are idiotic, and then at Remus, who looked more regretful than anything.

"We've already moved back to the River House, Harry," Remus said. "The decision was made the day after everything happened."

"But I won't even be able to send letters to my friends -- they won't be able to send me anything -- " Harry stammered, as the impact of Betwys Beddau's isolation hit him fully. "This sucks."

He thought he heard a half-laugh from Dora, but when he glared at her, her face was fully composed.

"Regardless, it is what must be done to ensure your safety and the safety of your family," Dumbledore answered. "Pettigrew is unaware of the location of the house, or even where in the world you will be; it is the safest place for you until you can return here."

Harry scowled, but there was nothing to be done; after some of the usual farewell pleasantries, Remus and Sirius went to wait in the library with Dora, while Harry packed and said his goodbyes.

He had done quite a bit of packing already, in anticipation of taking the train home with the other students; now "home" would be the windswept Welsh town of Betwys Beddau, full of standing stones and Muggle children. Nobody to play Exploding Snap or Wizard's Chess with except for Remus and Sirius; nobody who knew what Hogwarts was. He wouldn't get to visit Padma's house or have living-room-sleepovers with Neville like they'd plotted. No camping out in Dora's old tent that she'd charmed with shooting stars on the inside roof.

Neville could still have Draco to stay, but he wouldn't get to be there, and he was sure if it was just Neville pestering his parents and not the combined forces of two boys, Draco wouldn't get to stay for nearly as long.

No letters. No visits to Diagon Alley. No wizarding sweets for three. Whole. Months.

A little voice inside him said it was really only two months and a week, but Harry could not be bothered to be logical at a time like this. He paused as he picked up the box he kept his cloak in -- Padma had thoughtfully stuffed it into a pocket of her robes and returned it to Harry after the whole mess was finished.

At least, he thought, his parents were sane. He'd be allowed to run more or less wild in Betwys Beddau, and Sirius never scolded if he spent hours in the garden that led down to the river, reading or drawing or just daydreaming.

Not like Draco. Going home would be even worse for Draco.

His friends were waiting for him as he came up the stairs out of the dungeons, bookbag over his shoulder -- the house-elves had already appeared to take his trunk to the train station. No doubt Dumbledore had summoned the other children as soon as Harry had left.

Padma, who looked upset, didn't say anything; she just hugged him and pressed a sack of fizzing whizbees in his hand (she'd obviously thought over the Wizarding Sweets Dilemma as well). Neville said it was awful, and shook his hand, promising to write him letters anyway and they'd find some way to smuggle them to him. Draco put out his hand to shake as well, and Harry, instead, put a box into it.

"S'my cloak," he muttered. Draco frowned. "You should have it. On account of your mum. So you can hide really well if you have to."

"I haven't got anywhere to hide it," Draco answered. "Well, I have, but what if she takes it away?"

"Don't let her," Harry said simply. "Or give it to the house-elves, they'll keep it safe. Take good care of it. It belonged to my dad."

Draco, still frowning, held the box against his chest and nodded. Sirius appeared, then, and he had to say goodbye once more, and shake all round, and stow the sweets in his pocket, and then it was time to leave.

None of the grown-ups spoke until they were on the train, Remus and Dora on the seat opposite, Sirius next to the window with his arm slung around Harry's shoulders.

"We'll transfer just outside London, and continue on Muggle transport," Sirius said finally. "It's a long trip, but we've got a sleeper reserved on the Muggle train, and when we reach Powys we'll take broomsticks from there. The train's crammed with Aurors -- "

"Five or six," Dora added.

" -- and we'll be at the River House tomorrow afternoon."

Harry nodded, and watched the landscape pass.

"We've arranged your room already," Remus said. "On the bright side, you won't have to help us move -- we did all that beforehand."

Sirius said something about the trouble moving, and Remus went off into a story about it; Harry, half-listening, closed his eyes and tried not to think about three months without magic, or his friends, or anyone who knew anything at all about Hogwarts.

On the other hand, he thought, he was alive, which was something. And he would have three months in Betwys Beddau, which was sunny in the summertime and did have brilliant rocks for climbing on.

"Oh," Sirius said, and dislodged Harry for a minute to dig in his pocket. "Dumbledore said this was for you."

Harry took the letter with a small thrill; it might have come from Dumbledore, but the green ink reading Harry on the outside was in Professor Snape's handwriting.



Having been informed of the decision to return you to the River House for your holidays, I thought it would be better to write to you than to say goodbye in person, as your time is better spent packing and preparing for the journey. By the time you receive this I will be already on my way to another part of the country for my health, so you see we are both under summer orders.

Enclosed you will find your official Hogwarts letter stating that you are not to use your magic at all outside of term time. You will also find your exam scores for this year's classes; they are adequate enough for an ordinary child, but I shall expect better of you next year. Mister Flint has informed me that your performance as Seeker was satisfactory, and that you will be returning to play for Slytherin house in the fall. As you will not be allowed broomstick flight until your return, I expect you to diligently study the playbook that Mister Flint provided you with at the beginning of your tenure on the team, and to compose at least five new stragetic plays.

I anticipate that you will, as all my students do, forget everything you have learned this year. I have therefore composed a reading list that will remind you of the basics, if nothing more. They are books easily acquired in Muggle bookshops or already in the possession of your dubious godfather, and you will be examined on their contents when you return to Hogwarts.

Do try to stay out of trouble. I didn't risk my life so that you could be killed by a stray Muggle automobile over holidays.

I remain your professor,
Severus Snape

Fell, Bethany. "Herbology Basics"
Friede, Emily. "Magical Portraiture, a Guide for Beginners"
Juniper, Katrina. "The Boy Who Lived: A Biography"
Lockhart, Gilderoy. "Wandering with Werewolves" (for absurdity value.)
Schaeffer, Taisma. "Things That Creep"
Shelley, Mary. "Frankenstein"
Taylor & Tandy's "Elements Of Style"
White, T.H. "The Once and Future King"


Harry passed the second sheet of parchment to Sirius, who grinned and slapped him on the shoulder.

"Harry, look at this. Ninety-seven in Potions, ninety in Charms, ninety-four in Transfigurations -- these are great scores! Look, Remus, a hundred in Magical History -- "

"Eighty-four in Astronomy?" Remus asked, examining the scores.

"I kept falling asleep," Harry said.

"That's his lowest score, though -- full marks in Herbology as well, ninety-five in Defence -- "

"Ought to have given you a hundred, all things considered," Remus said, with a grin at Harry. "I think surviving a year of classes with a homicidal lunatic counts for something."

"Snape didn't give him full marks for surviving his," Sirius said, and Harry gave him a good-natured scowl.

"Dumbledore added a note saying your friend Padma took top of first-year, tied with Hermione Granger -- what an awful name to give a child -- and Neville and Draco both passed somewhere in the middle of their class," Remus said.

"What's the letter say?" Sirius asked.

Harry folded it and tucked it into his pocket. "Nothing, just some summer reading I have to do."

Betwys Beddau wasn't going to be so bad, after all.