Content Harry Potter Crossovers
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Hermione and I apparated to Hogsmeade directly from Grimmauld place. We arrived in the central square with a soft, dual pop of displaced air. I glanced around at the number of Hogwarts students thundering around; noting absently that it must be a Hogsmeade weekend. I frowned briefly in thought, trying to remember the calendar on my desk. This wasn’t a scheduled weekend; it must have been a spur of the moment decision.

It still seemed that my fame (or infamy, if you prefer) was still intact since I sat my NEWTs. Many of the shopkeepers still stared at my forehead, and many of the younger students skidded to a halt rather than run around me. Despite all the friends I still had here in their seventh year, I simply could not get over just how tiny some of those younger students were. Even though only third years and above were allowed to visit the village, the younger ones just looked miniscule to me.

"Was I ever that small?" I asked Hermione.

She smiled back at me. "Harry, besides Blaise, you were the smallest child in our year for a long time. You’ve only just caught up to me, and I’m average height for a girl."

I grumbled good-naturedly for a little while, not really trying to stop a smile from forming. It was exactly my size that gave me an advantage as a seeker. It was a trade off I could easily accept.

We stopped by the fountain briefly as we made our way to Hogwarts. It was almost a ritual of mine. I'd stopped here to look into the waters every weekend since its erection. As calming and pleasant as it was to just sit there and listen to the gentle play of water on stone, I made it my duty to ensure that each of the sacrifices made on that day were still remembered. I stared into the water, watching Cho giggle and wave at me before dancing away, then at Grawp, grinning and eating sloppily.

The other Hogwarts students who had fallen were all there too. Of course, they had been there since the unveiling, but I had to check. As silly as it sounded, I had to make sure none of them were ever forgotten.

Hermione wrapped an arm around my waist and laid her head on my shoulder. She never really liked coming here; she preferred to remember those who had fallen in her own way. But she knew it was important to me.

I reciprocated the gesture, pulling her hip against my own, leaning my cheek against her hair. "Come on, 'Mione. Let's go and see what the Master Manipulator wants."

She made disapproving noises with her tongue as we set off towards the enormous castle. "Really, Harry, it's time you put aside this ridiculous feud you have going with him. Honestly, you've proven your point; you finished your NEWTs without having to submit to him, let it go already."

I smiled, not bothered by her words. "It isn't ridiculous at all, Hermione. He tried to force me back to a place where I wasn't safe, he attacked me for refusing, and finally ended up trying to blackmail me into staying."

She hissed between her teeth in frustration. We'd had this exact conversation many times before. "Yes, he made mistakes! Why can't you just forgive him?"

I raised my eyebrows in surprise. "I have forgiven him!"

Hermione mirrored my expression. "Bollocks! You refuse to talk to him!"

I smirked at her use of language, if only to tease her a little more. She’d been spending quite a bit of time with Blaise. "Just because I've forgiven him, doesn't mean I've forgotten. Remember the old saying, 'Fool me once, shame on you...'"

She gave a little growl. "'Fool me twice, shame on me', yes I know. I just wish you'd get over it already. He's not trying to keep secrets anymore, he's not trying to manipulate you anymore, he's not trying to imprison you at your relatives' house any more, why can't you at least talk to him civilly?"

"You're so sure of that?" I asked slyly.

She actually had the grace to blush. "Um, sure of what?"

I grinned at her. "That he's not trying to manipulate me."

Her blush deepened. It would appear that Hermione still hasn’t learned how to lie convincingly. "I… I just know."

I gave her hand a squeeze. "It’s OK, ‘Mione. I know that he’s contacted you, and asked that you use whatever influence you have to get us into the same room."

Her pert, little mouth formed a perfect ‘O’. "You know?"

I chuckled softly. "’Mione, Dumbledore has tried to get Tonks and Shacklebolt to get me to talk to him. Remus and Arthur too. Not to mention Ginny and Ron. He’s even asked Blaise, though she told him straight out that he should go and stick his head in a bucket of something rather nasty and drown himself." I paused as Hermione stiffened. "Blaise definitely has some issues with the old coot. I know she’s put her memory of Ron belting Dumbledore with the poker into her family’s pensieve. I know, because I’ve caught her gleefully watching it over and over again. At any rate, if all those people have been approached, why on earth would I think that you haven’t?"

She bit her lip, looking quite cute and vulnerable. "I suppose. I love you, and even though he did attack you at the Burrow that one time, I still respect Professor Dumbledore. And I think you should listen to him. I don’t want you to be in danger, at least, any more danger than you usually are."

"How sweet," I said, hugging her tighter.

She struggled out of my embrace. "I’m serious, Harry. If Professor Dumbledore has any information about your safety, I want you to listen and take his advice."

We walked in silence for a minute or so, getting closer to Hogwarts. "I can’t promise that, ‘Mione. I will promise that I will listen, but he has manipulated me far too often in the past for me to blindly take his advice and run with it. I’ll hear what he has to say, then I’ll take it away and think about it." I held up a hand to stop her as she drew in a breath to speak. "I will think about it neutrally. I won’t let the history between us to affect my judgement. Ok?"

 She closed her mouth so quickly that I could hear the soft noise of her lips connecting. "Fine," she agreed. "But I have the final say on whether you are thinking about things neutrally."

I gave her a cheeky grin. "Sure thing."

Her expression was priceless, trying to figure out why I’d agreed so quickly.

Hogwarts hadn’t changed. The magnificent, imposing castle stood just where it had resided for over a millennium, drifting through the stream of time like a graceful swan. Very much like a swan in fact. On the surface, everything appeared calm, serene. Underneath, there was a heck of a lot of activity.

Hermione and I stepped around a shrieking first year Hufflepuff, who came barrelling through the main entrance, crying her eyes out. Judging from the amount of water dripping from her clothes, I’d hazard a guess that Peeves was enjoying himself tremendously. We stepped in and made our way towards the Great Hall, figuring that most of the professors would be at lunch. We got maybe half way there before encountering a Prof-, well, an employee.


I rolled my eyes, sighing at Fate’s predictability, before turning around. "Snape," I replied, if not politely, then with no real venom.

Snape hadn’t aged well. He looked nearly as old as Remus, and given Moony had been transforming on a monthly basis for thirty years, that was not a good thing. Grey hairs had appeared in abundance through the greasy man’s scalp, which gave him a look as though he’d just wandered through an old room full of cobwebs. Lines were etched deeply into his face; making the usual sneer of loathing he had when talking to me even more pronounced.

"What are you doing here?" he demanded.

I ignored the question, looking the man up and down. Even his usual, fastidious hygiene had taken a hit. His robes were stained, and a couple of his fingernails were crusted with some potion reagent. "You look like shit," I said, trying to suppress a smile.

Snape’s eyes flashed with anger, a most common occurrence around me. "Answer me, Potter!"

I shrugged and half turned away from him. "Why should I bother?" After all, even though I did have a valid reason for being here, he wouldn’t see it as such. No matter what I said, he’d take any opportunity to curse me he could get.

Snape had his wand out and pointed at me halfway through my response. Ah, it is so nice to be proved right. Again. His dark eyes glittered dangerously, while his right eye twitched rapidly. Despite Hermione’s gasp of shock at his sudden action, I didn’t move. I wondered just what had happened that had set him off.

Snape just stood there silently, the tip of his quivering wand aimed (more or less) at my heart. "Is something the matter, Snape?" I asked casually. "I can’t recall the last time you physically threatened me without taking the opportunity to insult me or my father first."

Nothing. No response. The oily git just stood there, his spine as straight as though I’d interrupted him giving himself a broomstick enema. Ugh, not a pretty mental picture. Sometimes I wonder about my sanity.

"Mr. Potter! Professor Snape!" screeched a familiar voice.

"Professor McGonagall!" wheezed Hermione, thankful for the interruption. I think Hermione was expecting us to begin blasting each other across the room. To tell you the truth, I was beginning to think that Snape was going to try it, consequences be damned.

McGonagall stalked down the corridor towards us, her stern face tightly bound into an expression of disapproval. "Severus! What is going on?"

Snape continued to snarl at me, all but ignoring her. The uncomfortable tableau was held for a few seconds more, before Snape gave a hiss of dismissal, lowered his wand with a snap, turned and wordlessly marched off. His exit left the three of us alone to take a deep breath and sigh with relief.  

McGonagall’s sigh was the deepest of us all as Snape disappeared around the nearest corner in a swish of his billowing black robes. Despite her obvious frustration with her colleague, she still rounded on me and demanded, "Mr. Potter. Can’t you at least try to get along with Severus?"

I flashed a look of frustration towards her. "You don’t think that’s a bit difficult when that bastard threatens me with his wand before the conversation gets past the initial salutations? If a parent of any student was here and saw that, they’d pull their children out of Hogwarts so fast there’d be a bloody sonic boom!"

Her expression turned blank for an instant, before a small frown appeared on her brow. Ah, she didn’t know what happened when something breaks the sound barrier. So much for the supposed wizarding superiority. She gave a quick shake of her head and her face grew stern. Well, sterner. "Am I to believe you did nothing to antagonise him?"

I quickly shook my head as Hermione took a breath in preparation to defend me. I deliberately stepped forward and put my face right into McGonagall’s personal space, "What fucking wonderful double standards you have. Just before the end of my last year here, Dumbledore was quite adamant that ‘Sirius was much too old and clever to have allowed such feeble taunts to hurt him,’ after Snape needled him about remaining in the house, suggesting he was a coward. Are you telling me that Snape is not old or clever enough to prevent feeble taunts from hurting him? Or that perhaps just that he cannot take what he so lavishly gives out?" I hissed, feeling the trembling sensation of my magic manifesting itself in the air around me.

McGonagall’s eyes narrowed, but she didn’t back away. "He has been under a great deal of stress recently," she said, ignoring the potential for violence in the air. I’ll have to give her credit, she definitely belongs as the Head of Gryffindor.

 I slowly leaned back, letting my anger fade. "I can tell; he looks ten years older than when I saw him at the Ministry. What has happened?"

McGonagall’s lips were so tightly pressed together and straight you could have used them as a ruler. "I assume you have not been to the store run by the Weasley twins recently?"

I shook my head. "Ron and Susan have been working there. Let’s just say that they have a different opinion on what levels of public displays of affection are appropriate, let alone comfortable to onlookers, than most."

McGonagall blinked, and actually half failed to suppress a smile, seemingly pleased that my anger was dissipating more quickly than the last time I screamed in her face. "Miss Bones and Mr. Weasley are becoming quite the couple then?"

I snorted. "You could say that. Anyway, why did you want to know if I’ve visited the twins recently?"

McGonagall drew in a deep breath. "They have produced a rather… frustrating… line of products centred on and around Severus. Not only was he humiliated by the photographs taken while unconscious, but an entire subculture has grown around the incident. I understand a song has been written detailing the events leading up to his unfortunate… accident."

I raised my eyes to the heavens, even though we were indoors. "Unfortunate, my…"

Both Hermione and McGonagall cleared their throats in unison, glaring at me with identical expressions. It took all my will not to laugh at the sight.

I held up my hands in supplication. "My… foot. He barged into the washroom looking for a fight. I simply, um, accommodated him. As for whatever song was written about him, he did bugger all to prevent the Slytherins from writing a song about Ron’s Keeping skills, remember?"

McGonagall sighed softly, turned and began to lead us to the Great Hall. "I remember quite well, Mr. Potter. But acting in the same childish manner does not excuse the behaviour in the first place." She continued in silence for a few moments before continuing. "While I could never speak ill of a colleague, I do find it very easy to believe that Severus would, well, seek you out, Harry. For some reason, you are like a rash to the man. He appears unable to leave you alone."

Hermione coughed, and I rolled my eyes. "Now you notice. I could have used that sort of observation when I was a student here, Professor," I said.

"Yes, well, given the amount of leeway the majority of the faculty gave you, I’m sure it evens out."

Hermione and I exchanged glances. "Are you including the fact that every single defence instructor I had tried to kill me?" I asked with a smirk. I wasn’t truly worried, I had long ago come to terms with the fact that I was in danger so long as I was a part of the wizarding world, but it felt good to prod back occasionally.

McGonagall stopped in her tracks, causing Hermione to nearly bump into her. "If you insist on bringing that up, perhaps we should discuss some other things, such as your intolerable behaviour towards myself and Auror Shacklebot during your last summer with your relatives, hmm?"

I waved that away. "Considering the level of trust I had with the wizarding world at that point, I think I responded quite respectfully, given the situation."

McGonagall rounded on me. "Respectfully? Good grief young man, you spat in my face!"

I gave her a cheeky grin. "Not deliberately. Only in the process of telling you to fu-"

"Harry!" squeaked Hermione.

"-um, telling you to go away," I finished lamely.

 McGonagall huffed to herself. "We were only trying to help. We had your best interests at heart."

I sighed, feeling that familiar tendril of anger stirring in my belly once more. "You don’t want to use that argument with me, Professor. Whenever anyone in the wizarding world has claimed to have my best interests at heart, I always ended up in a very bad situation. Considering that, are you at all surprised that I acted as I did?"

McGonagall, still striding towards the Great Hall, nodded stiffly. "Your actions that afternoon were analysed by a great many people, Mr. Potter. Most came to the conclusion that you needed space. Myself, I knew that insisting on staying would merely provoke you further."  

I didn’t get a chance to respond, as the three of us entered the Great Hall. Lunch was well underway, though with less than half the usual number of students in attendance. Dumbledore sat in the middle of the High Table, along with perhaps half the usual staff. He looked up from his lunch at our entry, and rose to his feet quickly and began making his way around the long table.

"Harry!" an excited squeal erupted from the Gryffindor table.

I turned just in time to catch an exuberant, redheaded missile. Ginny gave me a tight hug, her cheek pressed against my chest. "It’s been ages!" she said.

I returned the hug, not fighting the smile that appeared on my face at her exuberance. "Hey, Gin. It’s good to see you. But what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in Hogsmeade?"

Without releasing me, she turned her head and looked up at me, a mock expression of indignation on her features. "I had detention from Snape this morning."

"Professor Snape, Miss Weasley," corrected McGonagall.

I turned to face the Gryffindor Head and raised an eyebrow. "And yet, I understood exactly who she was referring to, without your refinement."

Before McGonagall could respond, Dumbledore arrived at our little group just inside the doors to the Great Hall. "Harry, I’m glad you’ve finally decided to come and visit. Shall we retire to my office?"

I looked blankly at him, not prepared to simply give in. I had no intention of giving away any advantage I had. I needed a way of implying that he wasn’t the reason I was here. Ginny’s presence here at lunch was a bonus.

"Nope," I responded coldly. "I told you before I’m not interested in discussing anything with you. I’m just here for a DA lesson." I grinned down at Ginny. "Gin, why don’t you go and round up all the onyx rings. Meet us in the Room of Requirement. I’ve got some good stuff this time. Come on, ‘Mione," I finished, holding out my arm to Hermione. Ginny gave me a look of surprise before she glanced from me to Dumbledore and back. Deciding something, she twisted her onyx ring and tapped it with her wand, informing all wearers of a new time.

The look on Dumbledore’s face suggested that he’d just been hit in the guts with a bludger. By steering Hermione away from the old coot, he didn’t get a chance to sense Hermione’s confusion at the sudden change of events. Mind you, Hermione had a bit to say once we’d left the Great Hall.

She poked me in the ribs. "Why did you go and say that?" she hissed.

I grimaced slightly at the sudden pain. "I will not allow that man to have any more control over the situation than necessary. By implying that he is not the reason we are here, it means that he will have to come to me. That gives me the power to allow the conversation to take place. On my own terms."

Hermione opened and closed her mouth a couple of times. "I still think it was rude," she finally said, a bit lamely. I noticed the slight tinge of red to her cheeks, and I hid a smile. She was just arguing for appearances now.

I nodded in agreement as we walked towards the Room of Requirement. "Yes, it was, I agree. And I’m sorry that things have progressed so far that it has come to that. But in the games that the Headmaster plays with his minions, subtleties are everything. I’m not so vain as to think that I can out manoeuvre him, playing his own game on his home turf, given he has decades more experience than me. So I need every advantage I can scrounge up when we finally meet."

Hermione was silent for a while, long enough for us to reach our destination. We entered the newly furnished room, ready for the lesson. She turned to face me, her lower lip caught between her teeth. "Harry, I really don’t think you need to treat a conversation with the Headmaster as a game, let alone a battle."

I sighed, and took her hand in mine. "’Mione? I love you, and respect your analytical ability beyond any other. But this time, in this specific instance, you are wrong. He has kept too much from me for too long in the past, and I made some bad mistakes that others paid the price for. I won’t let that happen again."

Her face darkened. "But," she began.

I put a finger on her lips, stopping her from speaking. "I can’t lose you, ‘Mione. Not like I lost Sirius. I will speak with Dumbledore, but I will put myself in a position of strength before I do so. I can’t afford to do anything else."

After I kept him waiting for about three hours, I finally sent the onyx rings away to practise what we’d covered. They certainly weren’t used to such a long session, and despite the usefulness and obvious practical applications of what I was showing them, there were many not-so-subtle glimpses at various watches and other time-pieces before we finished. Still, most of what we covered was used for first year Auror cadet training, which I’m sure will piss off whoever the Defense teacher is this week. Not to mention Snape. And the Headmaster. I can’t imagine that he was really expecting me to continue to show up and corrupt his students. After all, a great deal of what I passed on today would have been absolutely invaluable to someone like, oh I don’t know, say, Fred and George…

Am I a bastard or what?

I slowly lowered myself into one of the armchairs in front of Dumbledore’s desk. The old wizard took his own seat behind the desk, absently picking up the crystal container of lemon drops. He leaned forward slightly and held out the delicate container, an expected, yet faintly odd gesture. "Lemon drop?" he offered. I declined with a shake of my head, as did Hermione. He nodded absently and returned the container to its accustomed place on his desk. I finally noticed what was odd about the gesture. He used his left hand.

Dumbledore took a deep breath. "Before we begin, Harry, please let me say that I am truly sorry for going against your wishes to be left alone."

"Again," I said emotionlessly.

"Indeed," he replied weakly. "I cannot express how sorry I am that I was forced to go against your wishes. I shall not intrude upon your time any more than necessary."

He stood and stepped over to one of his many cupboards, extracting his pensieve from the dusty interior, holding it in his left hand. "I’m sure this looks familiar, Harry. Miss Granger, have you ever come across a pensieve in your studies?"

Hermione nodded quickly. "Yes. Harry has one. He’s been kind enough to allow me to view some of his memories."

"Ah, excellent," Dumbledore replied. "It does my old heart wonders to see a strong childhood friendship grow into such a deep, trusting relationship." He rather unsteadily set the overfull container on his desk, still using only his left hand, before returning to his armchair. "Harry has already had the opportunity to examine a few of the memories in my own. I had intended on telling you exactly what happened that set me on the course of breaking your trust once more, but I think it would be better for you to view the events yourselves."

With that, he drew out his wand. My breath caught in my throat just as Hermione’s did less than a second later. "Professor!" she gasped. "Your hand!"

Several silver figures rose from the surface of the pensieve. "Later, Miss Granger. It is a tale for much later. For now, I implore you, simply observe."

I blinked a couple of times to focus; putting Dumbledore’s charred and blackened hand out of my mind. Even so, it was difficult to put out of my mind the sudden uncomfortable sensation in my lower belly on seeing the ruined appendage.

I focused intently on the silvery figures floating above the pensieve as they assembled themselves into a formation that appeared very familiar to me. We were going to be observing a session of the Wizengamot.

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