Chapter Nine: Research and Remus
"Well, it's a good thing I've already got food, then," Harry snorted at the second note from Snape.
He pulled out the thick tome on the "History and Usage of the True Heir Lineage Potion" and settled down on his bed to begin researching on his new marks with a couple of Mrs. Weasley's pastries.
The book started off with explaining the differences between Heir Marks and Lineage markings. The Stag, Rowan Branch and Serpent were all Heir Marks. The Lineage Marks were pale and well...flat. The Heir Marks were dark, vibrant, almost life-like.
The Stag was the traditional crest of the Potter line, which traced back thirteen centuries and somewhere along the line got associated with the line of Godric Gryffindor (who'd had five daughters and over twenty daughters according to the book). The book truly didn't seem to have a clue as to how but was quite insistent that the Potters were descended somehow or another from Godric Gryffindor.
The Rowan Branch was the sigil of the Gentry family, which had its roots in either the Emrys or Slytherin families, or perhaps both. Again, the book was annoyingly vague. The Gentry family were the traditional rulers of the Isle of Shadows. The Ruling House of the Isle of Shadows was founded by Aethelstan the Bold in 183 BC; the surname of Gentry was adopted sometime during the reign of King Stephen. (Again, the book was more than vague, but at least the reign of King Stephen limited the time period realistically. Though Harry had had to dig through a History of Muggle England book to come up with the fact that Stephen had been a grandson of William the Conqueror and technically usurped the throne from his cousin Empress Mathilda).
With a deep sense of dread, Harry looked up the green snake. A Magi snake. The crest of Slytherin. The snake twined around the branch, suggesting it meant that his mother had been the Heir of both the Gentry and Slytherin lines. His stomach turned slightly as he tried to even begin to imagine how that was possible. Merlin! If Rita Skeeter got ahold of that little fact ... Harry shuddered. The series of articles that would appear in the Daily Prophet if that happened didn't bear imagining.
The only slightly good thing about being a Slytherin Heir was that his Parseltongue talent could be his, not somehow a freak transference of Tom Riddle's powers. After all, there was no known case of a talent being absorbed like that, it was simply Dumbledore's supposition. Then again, there was no other record of someone surviving the Killing Curse ... or was there? Hadn't Crouch-Impersonating-Moody said they likely wouldn't have managed to inflict so much as a nosebleed casting the Avada Kedavra fourth year? One had to be magically powerful enough to overcome another's natural protective magic "reflexes", so to speak.
None of it made any more sense than his mother's sacrifice causing Quirrell to crumble away to dust simply from Harry touching him. How many parents died trying to protect their children from Voldemort? His mother's love was a nice fairy tale but he wasn't eleven anymore. He wasn't that innocent and trusting and he simply could not see how that could possibly be all there was to it.
The runes ... well, maybe his mother did have something to do with his surviving the Killing Curse cast on him by Voldemort. Probably more than maybe, but it wasn't because she died trying to save her baby like countless others during Voldemort's first reign.
Harry shook off his musings; the less thought about the Slytherin Serpent now that it was positively identified the better. Denial was good. He was allowed a day or two of it. Or as much as Snape would allow him, which probably wouldn't even be that much, but he wasn't going to think on it now.
The Lion was the revised Gryffindor Mark, Godric Gryffindor's crest. The Griffin was the original Gryffindor Mark, dating back to the founder of the Gryffindor line, Garadoc Gryffindor. The Griffin was an Heir-Mark though a smaller one. Not the Lion though. Strange. The Ram was the sigil of the Dyfed family, which like the Gentry line supposedly had its roots in the Emrys or Slytherin families.
The Oak Tree, the Blue Lightning, and the crossed Wand and Quill he found nothing on whatsoever.
He gave up on the Lineage Potion book and moved on to the "Noted Families of Ancient Wizarding Britain" which did have a three page chapter on the Gentry family. The most interesting fact was that the eye color of the Gentry family seemed directly tied to the amount of magical ability. Gentry descendants born with blue eyes were squibs, or very nearly. The majority of Gentry family members had had brown to hazel eyes. Green eyed descendants were said to be unusually powerful and often possessed of rare talents. With a sigh, Harry supposed Parseltongue counted as a rare talent. Another thing that made him weird. He quickly moved on from the long winded descriptions of the Gentry eye-coloration-magical connection.
The last page of the chapter had a little bit on the more noted members of the Gentry family.
~Cuthbert, Lord of the Isle of Shadows, invented the Sentry Watch, precursor to all modern wizarding clocks.
~Mathilda created the first pensieve
~Roland, Lord of the Isle of Shadows, invented/created at least 113 magical mirrors. Including the Mirror of Beauty, which fell into Muggle hands and resulted in the story of Snow White, and the Mirror of Erised.
All in all, Harry was rather disappointed on the Gentry Chapter. Morbid fascination drew him next to the Slytherin--well, the Slytherin page. Founded by Septamus. Salazar Slytherin, the Founder of Hogwarts that went Evil. And the "Serpent's Scandal" of the 1920's. The end. That old of a family--including a Founder of Hogwarts--and it rated a grand total of six paragraphs, five of which were devoted to the scandal of 1923.
Harry flipped on through and found the Potter chapter. Very thick. Very, very thick. And even more irksome than the three pages on the Gentry Family and the six paragraphs on Slytherin (there certainly had to be *something* good in a family history that dated almost 3000 years! 870 BC for Merlin's sake! The name of the first of the line. The Founder of Hogwarts who was evil, and five paragraphs on a cheating wife??) The Potters had page after page of "heroics" recounted.
Arthur Potter, Auror. William Potter, Auror. Phillip Potter, Auror, first ever deputy Minister of Magic. Thomas Potter, Auror. John Potter, Auror. Reginald Potter, Auror, caught a rampaging Hippogriff in Bath. How thrilling, Harry thought sarcastically. Joseph Potter, Auror (what else?) caught the most notorious Cauldron Smuggler of the 16th century--Selinius Snape, aged 178. On and on and on. It read like a lecture of Professor Binns' on Goblin rebellions.
Mathilda of the Isle of Shadows got a whole sentence crediting her as the first maker of a Pensieve. Then in the Potter chapter there was a blow by blow recounting of every teakettle tipped by the hippogriff Reginald Potter caught (one Edbert the Smith claimed a dented tin teakettle on the damages list--that was down there. And Wenda, wife of the innkeeper lost a spool of gray thread, also noted) but the invention of a Pensieve rated a whopping sentence?
At eleven or twelve, Harry would have been thrilled to read the chapter on the Potters. Even at fourteen--right up until the last task. Cedric ... that hideous, rasping voice saying "Kill the Spare". Last year. Sirius. Maybe he had just seen too much, or was just getting cynical, but creating a pensieve seemed a lot more important and interesting than a teakettle tromping hippogriff or a 178 year old cauldron smuggler (though the Snape part of that was amusing). The Dyfed family got a whole paragraph. Harry didn't bother looking at the Gryffindor pages. Somehow he had the feeling they would be rather close to the Potter chapter and he really couldn't bring himself to be interested in the slightest at the moment.
"Hoooooo!" Hedwig swooped in the open bedroom window.
"Hey, girl," Harry smiled. "Perfect timing. How've you been, girl?" The snowy owl landed on the bed next to him and gave him an affectionate peck. He gently smoothed her feathers. "I missed you, Hedwig."
"Hoo!" Athena flew in almost angrily. The note she carried held only one sentence, in Mrs. Weasley's handwriting,
Harry James Potter, we are waiting.
Harry winced. "I don't think they're going to be at all happy about any of this," he sighed. Hedwig hooted sympathetically and nudged her head against his elbow. Athena gave a demanding squawk.
He cursed softly under his breath.
He reached for a fresh sheet of parchment, shoving aside the notes he'd made so far, and began writing, wincing at the angry screech Athena shot at him. Hermione's owl was certainly aggravated. Harry doubted Hermione and Mrs. Weasley were in much better of moods. Probably not Ron either.
Mr. & Mrs. Weasley, Twins, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione,
I really am sorry you found out by way of the prophet about all this. I certainly didn't mean for it to happen that way.
I simply couldn't pass up the chance for this though. The advanced defense alone is more than worth taking up the apprenticeship. And I'm going to be starting the other lessons again soon.
Harry chewed his lip. He hated this, trying to write things that weren't going to endanger anyone if they were intercepted. If it got out that Snape was the one teaching him Occulumency, Harry really didn't want to imagine what would happen. It wouldn't be as quick a death for Snape as it had been for Cedric. Cedric was just in the way; Voldemort would have a point to make with Snape before he killed him. 'Mione would surely catch on to what he meant, though. Ron would be aggravated by the fact that he was going to have the extra defense lessons, probably. If not that, then the Occulumency with Snape. Harry continued on with his OWL results. Hermione would want to know them, even if she wasn't speaking to him. Mrs. Weasley too, most likely.
I really am truly sorry. The timing and the situation all around didn't allow for me to write sooner, and then--well, the Prophet beat me to it. I am so sorry.
As letters went, it was definitely one of his worst. With a sigh, he affixed it to Athena's leg. She gave him a rather nasty peck before lighting off out the window. Harry wondered if trying to stay alive was going to cost him his best friends? As much as Ron and Hermione's letters the last few weeks had made him want to punch something, they were letters ... something. The three of them had been through so much.
Harry groaned. "Lunch break, girl."
Hedwig hooted contentedly, just glad to have her master back at the school.
An hour later he sighed, unable to get any further in his research with the books he had in his rooms.
"Here girl, take this to Snape if he's in the castle. If he's not in the castle, you bring it back to me. Do NOT deliver it."
While Harry was waiting for Hedwig to return, he sat and quickly wrote a response to Remus. Damned Prophet, anyway. Hopefully Remus at least wouldn't be too upset with him.
I suppose by now you've read the Prophet. Yes, I am back at Hogwarts. I was very glad to hear from you, hopefully we can visit soon. I'm not sure what my schedule is going to be exactly yet. Please write and let me know you are well when you can--I know you're busy and can't write much, but it is still good to here from you.
Have much to tell you when we get a chance to visit,
PS Do you know anything about the Hellion of Ravenclaw?
PPS Hedwig can wait for a reply if you want her to.
Harry frowned at that. Not much better than the letter he'd sent off to the Weasleys, but somehow he thought it was going to be better received.
Hedwig was back. Harry sighed when the note he'd written was still clutched in her beak. But when she insistently kept pushing it at him he grinned. Under his own quickly scribbled:
Has F. left? Need to go to the library. H.
was an impatiently scrawled:
The idiot has gone. SS
Harry had to chuckle at that. Whatever Snape was doing must have his attention almost completely. "Thanks, Hedwig. Would you take this to Remus? Wait a bit if he asks you to, okay?"
Hedwig hooted proudly, preened a little and gave Harry an affectionate peck before taking wing out the window.
"Hey, Harry, you in there?" Neville called from the entrance to Harry's rooms.
Harry went out into the main room. "What do you need, Neville?"
"Blaise, Milly, Seamus and I all have the rest of the afternoon to study; we were going to take some books outside, want to join us?"
"Sounds great, but I have to stop by the library first."
"Uhm, Harry?" Neville pointed at the runes clearly visible on Harry's cheek.
"I'll tell you all together." Harry sighed.
"Alright, in a bit then?"
"In a bit."
"The Hellion--of Ravenclaw," Remus Lupin murmured staring at the letter in his hand.
"What's that, Lupin?" Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody asked.
Remus showed the older man the letter. The two were holed up in the attic of 12 Grimmauld Place, working on arithmancy equations to see if there was any way possible to bring Sirius back through the Veil. A waste of time, in Moody's opinion, but it was something to keep busy with. Voldemort had been exceptionally quiet again these last few weeks. It also gave them an excuse to avoid the lower floors of 12 Grimmauld Place and the portrait of Mrs. Black, as well as the two identical menaces that Moody had come close to killing more than once simply on reflex. It also allowed for Remus to be kept busy and a close watch over. Albus insisted that Sirius had been the werewolf's mate, and losing Sirius could cause them to lose Remus as well.
The myth of werewolves mating for life was just, that a myth--for the most part--but there were some instances where werewolves did mate for life. The younger thr victim of a werewolf bite, the more likely the myth was to become reality. Remus had only been four when he was bitten, one of the youngest survivors on record. Far too young for him to be anything but the mate-for-life sort of were. Moody didn't quite think that Black had been the younger man's mate, though. Albus was wrong on that.
"Why don't you go see what your pup's gotten himself into now?" Moody shook his head.
Remus looked questioningly at Moody.
"Bah, you know as well as I this is mostly busywork. We might get lucky but..."
Remus nodded slowly. "Albus will never believe it, but Siri wasn't my..." Remus broke off a moment, then swallowed. What point was there in pretending with Moody, though? "He wasn't my mate. My best friend, my brother ... pack." Remus forced the word out, barely a thread of sound, hating to admit just how strong of a hold the wolf had on the man. "Not my mate. My mate's very much alive, just wants nothing to do with a werewolf."
Moody nodded slowly. "Then yer mate is a fool. Wolf or no wolf, you're a good man. Your father'd be proud of you."
Remus' eyes widened in surprise.
"Go on. Go see what that pup of yours is into. You won't do me any good pacing about here," Moody huffed.
"Thank you, Alastor."
Moody nodded "Get going!" he ordered.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Severus left the pile of books he had on the table and headed back to the desk. There were a number of spells he'd found that Narcissa could have managed, so wholly rooted in runic work as they were. There were a handful of others that had darker roots that would be more suited to Alice and the skill with curses and dark magics she had possessed. But none that suited Lily. The spells were too ... no, it had to be something that had been almost completely tuned to Lily's strengths in magic to leave the runes that perfect, and undetectable.
He returned to his desk. Nothing.
Pain flared, burning and insistent in his arm.
"Damn it all, why now," Severus growled. The pain became nearly maddening, stronger by the moment. Something big was at hand, he felt with pure dread.
Remus apparated to the small clearing within the Forbidden Forest where there was a break in Hogwarts anti-apparition wards.
He was nearly trampled by a tall, lean figure in black robes running for the apparition clearing.
"Lupin--what the devil are you doing here? Never mind. Tell Albus I've been summoned," Severus said frantically, wincing. "The Mark's burning worse than usual."
Severus apparated away with a pop.
"Be safe," Remus whispered, swallowing, staring at the empty spot for a long moment, then gathered himself and headed for the castle.
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