batsutousai: (HP-motherseyes-Harry)
[personal profile] batsutousai
Title: Déguiser
Author: [livejournal.com profile] batsutousai
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] magickmaker17
Rating: PG-13 for now
Pairings: Intended - HP/LV, Possible - HP/DM, Possible - NL/HG, SB/RL
Warnings: AU, an attempt to not copy the book, bit of Ron-bashing
Summary: When Albus Dumbledore leaves Harry Potter on the doorstep of the Dursleys, the last thing he expected was for an unknown relative to disappear with the boy for ten years. Enter Thomas Potter, a man who intends to change the past, the present, and the future.

A/N: So, clearly, I had more trouble with this chapter and finding time to work on it than anticipated. Between tracking down freshmen computers, my friends returning and classes starting, I'd completely forgotten I needed to write this chapter. The rest of this school year is looking like it'll be much the same, with reading, papers and non-fanfiction writing cutting into my time for this fic. Sorry. I'll try and update at LEAST once a month, but I can make no promises.
On the other hand, my beta is on campus with me now, so I won't have to worry about emailing chapters to her, only remembering to hand them to her/take them from her when she drops by my room.

The letters this year are going to be a bit more...interesting...



-~/\~-
Chapter Nine - The Third Year
-~\/~-


'Uncle Thomas,
'It's weird having Sirius and Remus here. Snape seems the most pissed off, though. Course, I'd probably be pissed off if I walked into breakfast on the second with orange robes, too. McGonagall told Sirius off, but I'm sure he'll continue to torment Snape. It's worth losing extra points in Potions to see Snape get it from Sirius, 'specially since every time Snape takes points just because he can, Sirius gives them back. And Snape can't really complain, since Sirius is fair to the Slytherins too. He even protected a first year Slytherin from one of the seventh year Gryffindors. It was almost nice of him.
'The rest of this week has been rather quiet, actually. I had Muggle Studies and Arithmancy already. Muggle Studies is basically what you said it would be, a throw-away class. Arithmancy is more difficult than my old math classes by a little. It's an interesting class, but I'm reserving opinion on it for now. I've got Ancient Runes on Monday, so I'll let you know about that class next week.
'Harry'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas!
'So I've decided you should be the first person I write home with Talbot to. I know Harry told you about how I'm taking as many classes as I can? Well, I swore to Professor McGonagall that I wouldn't tell anyone, but I think you don't count, since there's not much you can do about it. They gave me a time turner! So I can take all of my classes. It's weird knowing that I'm in two different places at the same time.
'Divination is really stupid. Next time they give us a list of classes we can sign up for, I'm going to take a page out of Harry's book and ask you what you think. Why did I decide to take this class? I'm dropping it at the end of this year.
'Arithmancy is really interesting! Far better than Divination. Harry doesn't seem to like it as much as I do, though.
'Muggle Studies is interesting, but somewhat boring too. It's basically a retelling of everything I grew up knowing. Harry really likes it, for some reason. I'm sure he's just enjoying watching me try not to correct Professor Burbage when she says something that I know is wrong. She said at the beginning of class that she's a half-blood, but she continues to make little mistakes.
'Care of Magical Creatures is... weird. The Headmaster got his younger brother to come teach it – apparently he works in Hogsmeade – and Professor Dumbledore seems particularly fond of goats. I hope they get a better professor next year. I don't know how long I can stand hearing about goats. At least Nev and Draco are in the class with me. They keep Weasley from trying to partner with me, like he did in Divination.
'So, is it okay if I write to you weekly? Like Harry does? It's nice to have someone to write to who actually understands what I'm talking about when I mention something that I haven't mentioned before.
'Hermione'


-~/^\~-


'Harry,
As long as your godfool is out of my hair, he can feel free to do whatever he wants. Including driving Snape spare.
'Tell me how your first class with Sirius and Remus goes as well. I'm most interested to know what they've got planned.
'Love,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Hermione,
'Of course you can write to me weekly. Getting letters from you and Harry are the best parts of my day. It's wonderful to hear things from you two when you're away at school.
'A time turner? Be careful that you don't work yourself to exhaustion. If you find yourself getting tired, don't think twice about turning yourself back for a few extra hours of sleep. I don't want to have you ill just so you can keep up with your studies. Taking care of yourself comes before getting to class on time.
'Mmmm... See, for Harry, I simply asked around to see what everyone else had taken and let him know what they said.
'Are you sure that your dislike of Divination isn't because of Mr Weasley? You may want to try and pair up with someone else in your class next time. Ask someone in Gryffindor who's in the class with you tonight and try it again.
'Keep in mind that Muggle Studies has to be taught to the Ministry's standards, and the Ministry is run by bigoted purebloods. There are going to be a lot of things wrong in your book and that the professor says.
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas,
'You asked me to let you know if anything happened, and something did. We did boggarts in class today and Harry managed to make his way up to the boggart before Sirius or I realised that he had. His boggart is you, dead. It shook him up quite a bit, but we managed to calm him down over a cup of tea and some chocolate with Hermione and Neville's help. I am still worried about him, however.
'Remus'


-~/^\~-


'Uncle Thomas,
'How are things back home? Everything going well?
'Ancient Runes is very much an interesting class. I'm beginning to see what Hermione loves so much about studying. And Draco's in the class with us, so we all sit together.
'Defence was an interesting class. We did boggarts.
'Hope you write back soon,
'Harry'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas,
'Oh, I'm really worried about Harry! We did boggarts in Defence and his was you, lying in a puddle of blood. He's been really quiet since class. Sirius tried to prank him to cheer him up and he smiled a little, but it didn't last long. I don't know what to do!
'Hermione'


-~/^\~-


'Harry,
'Everything is doing just find here. The store is as boring as ever – perhaps more so without Sirius around to drive me spare.
'I did hear about your Defence class. You seem to have everyone worried about you. If it helps any, I have no intent to die any time soon. Kaz adds that he'll happily find a Necromancer to bring me back just for you if I do die.
'Smile some for me, okay? You worry me when you worry your friends.
'Love,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Hermione,
'Remus did let me know about what happened, but thank you all the same for making sure I knew. If he hasn't cheered up by the eighteenth, let me know and I'll come up there for a visit.
'How was your Ancient Runes class? I heard about it from Harry, but you didn't tell me. Come now, you can't not let me know!
'I hope things with Mr Weasley are better as well.
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas,
'Whatever you said to him worked. He and Sirius are plotting against Severus as I write this. Impressively, they've dragged Hermione in as well.
'Remus'


-~/^\~-


After the boggart incident, letters between Thomas and his various letter-writers at Hogwarts were more of the same as previous years, though he now had both Hermione and Remus writing as well as the occasional bad joke from Sirius or odd comment that Draco didn't want to tell his father but thought Thomas would be amused with.

The first Hogsmeade trip was spoken of with excitement by both Harry and Hermione when the notices about the date were first posted and Thomas cheerfully wrote them back with candy suggestions. In return, he got a pile of candy by owl the evening of the trip with a letter about his sweet tooth. In return, Thomas didn't send the usual haul of Hallowe'en candy since, he said, they seemed to have gotten enough. That was met with owls of complaints from all four students as well as Sirius, so Thomas sent the candy up the next weekend with warnings to the students to not let Sirius near the stuff.

When Christmas break came around, Thomas found himself glad to have Harry home almost more than years previous. Harry seemed to be particularly grateful himself and Thomas quickly realised that, although his nephew had put a smile back on his face and acted like he'd gotten over the boggart, he hadn't really. The fact that he wasn't over the scare yet was most obvious when Harry climbed into bed with Thomas his first night back and continued doing so for the rest of the holiday.

At the end of break, Thomas pulled Harry to the side and informed the boy that if the boggart was still worrying him when he got back to Hogwarts, it was okay to write more letters or seek out Sirius and Remus for a cup of tea and some candy. Also, Thomas didn't mind coming up to Hogwarts if it would help. Harry had nodded his understanding and happily wrote almost daily letters to Thomas for the next couple of weeks and left his friends to sit with Thomas during the Slytherin/Ravenclaw match.

By the beginning of February, Harry's continuous letters calmed back down to one a week and Thomas found himself wishing his nephew had continued the theme.

Things were reasonably calm until the final Quidditch match of the year where Gryffindor clobbered Slytherin. Sirius, acting like his usual immature self, had happily baited Snape on the walk back to the castle – Harry had talked Thomas into staying for the after-game celebration, so he walked back to the school with Sirius and Remus – and Snape had angrily returned the favour by snapping back something that had to do with Remus being a werewolf – Thomas didn't catch exactly what was said. Everyone within hearing range froze, and that included a fair number of students.

"Severus, that was out of line," Dumbledore stepped in serenely.

"Albus, you continue to let Black get away with his childish antics and I refuse to be the butt end of his jokes. If he and the werewolf return next year, I'm resigning!" Snape had snapped back, then shoved his way through the crowd of students who had stopped to see what was going on.

Remus had gone white and Sirius attempted to cheer everyone up by saying, "Well, Moony got good marks in Potions. He could take Snivellus' position."

"Sirius..." Remus whispered even as Dumbledore frowned at the name.

"Sirius, shut up," Thomas said, then cast a spell that forced Sirius into his Animagus form and collared him. He handed the leash to Remus. "Take him to your office and lock him up before he says something else stupid."

"I'll come with you, Professor Lupin," Neville said, stepping bravely out of the crowd, Hermione nodding at his side.

Remus smiled grimly. "Thank you, Hermione, Neville, but I think I'll be fine on my own." So saying, he moved through the crowds of students who parted before him dumbly. Once Remus was passed them and in the school, the students broke out in whispers.

Hermione turned to Thomas. "Oh, Thomas, what's going to happen now?" She glanced up at Dumbledore. "Please don't fire Remus and Sirius, Professor."

Dumbledore let out a heavy sigh. "I will see what I can do, Miss Granger, but I make no promises."

"But–"

"Hermione," Thomas offered softly. "Right now, I think it's Remus' choice."

Hermione looked like she might cry at that comment and, next to her, Neville bit his lower lip. Both students knew as well as Thomas did that, if the choice was left to Remus, he'd be ready to leave that night.

Thomas ushered the two students through the crowds and up to their common room where a small party had already gotten started. One look at the glum faces of Hermione and Neville had Harry asking, "What happened?"

"Your godfool finally pushed Professor Snape too hard," Thomas replied gently.

"Snape told everyone that Remus is a werewolf!" Hermione added angrily.

Those who hadn't know – which was most of the Gryffindors – turned to stare at the upset Hermione in shock. An upper year broke the silence with, "Kindly Professor Lupin?"

"Yeah," Harry said. "And now he's going to leave, isn't he?" He turned to look at Thomas hopelessly.

"Most likely he's already packing," Thomas admitted.

"Good!" a voice called from the back of the room. Students turned to look, and a red-faced Ron Weasley came into view. "It's better that we're not being taught by a Dark creature!"

Thomas grabbed Harry's hand as his nephew took out his wand with a furious look, but he wasn't quick enough to stop Hermione, who stalked between her House mates and smacked Ron across the face. Very quietly she said, "Remus Lupin may be a werewolf, but he's a better person than you'll ever be." Then she turned and escaped up the stairs to the girls' dorm.

The House stared after Hermione for a long moment, then turned their eyes on Ron. Wisely, the youngest Weasley boy made a tactical retreat up the stairs to his dorm, so the many eyes of Gryffindor turned back to where Harry was putting his wand away with a scowl and eyeing the stairs up to his dorm.

"Harry..." Thomas said warningly as the boy's eyes strayed to the stairs again.

Harry let out a sigh. "I'm going to go check on Remus. Coming, Nev?"

"Yeah..." Neville whispered, then hurried out the door with Harry.

Thomas was left to stare back at the hoards of lions. And stare he did until they started returning to their party, though it was much less rowdy than it had been before. Once all the eyes were off him, Thomas walked over to the bottom of the girls' dorm stairs and cast a discreet, only barely legal spell, then started up the stairs. When he reached the dorm that Hermione shared with her two fellow year mates, he knocked on the closed door. "Hermione? May I come in?"

The door flew open and Thomas found himself with an armful of Hermione. With a smile, he picked the girl up and carried her over to what was obviously her bed – if the piles of books next to it were anything to go by – where he sat down with her in his lap.

Thomas simply hugged the girl until she tugged away enough to look up at him. "Thank you," she mumbled, rubbing at damp eyes.

"Of course, child."

Hermione sighed. "How could Ron say that, Thomas? How could he be so cruel?"

Thomas sighed. "Hermione, you must understand that most of our world thinks like Mr Weasley. Werewolves are seen as monsters and often the Ministry will allow someone who kills a werewolf off with nothing more than a few words while a werewolf who, even accidentally, turns a human can be put to death. Werewolves, vampires, and other creatures that aren't human are treated by wizards the exact same way Muggleborns are treated by purebloods."

Hermione shook her head. "Why? They can't help what they are."

"Child, if I understood the minds of people like Mr Weasley I would love to explain it to you, but I don't."

"It's not fair," Hermione whispered. "Remus is the kindest person I know, but he's hated for something he has no control over."

"I know," Thomas replied gently. "It's not fair, but there's not a single thing you or I can do about it beyond being kind in the stead of those who hate without reason."

Hermione nodded at that. "Will you come with me to check on Remus?"

"Of course. Harry and Neville went down there earlier."

Hermione got off Thomas and helped him to his feet, then led the way down the staircase. When Thomas paused at the bottom of the stairs to cast the counter to the spell he'd put on the stairs on his way up, Hermione wrinkled her nose, but waited until they were out of the common room to ask, "What spell was that?"

"Hm? Oh, it just kept the stairs in the form they were already in so I could walk up them," Thomas explained.

Hermione giggled. "Don't teach that to any of the other boys in the Tower."

"And get a flock of owls with letters from their parents about how I shouldn't be teaching their children barely legal spells? No thank you."

Hermione shook her head. "Thomas..."

"What?" Thomas asked innocently.

Hermione just shook her head again.

-~/^\~-


When Thomas left that evening, Remus came with him. Sirius had been talked into staying until the end of the year so Dumbledore wouldn't have to try and find another professor for the last two months. Thomas had gotten a promise out of Sirius that he would leave Snape alone for the rest of term; the last thing any of them needed was for Snape to find something against them that was even worse than outing Remus, not that Sirius thought that would happen.

When Thomas and Remus left, Harry, Hermione and Neville weren't the only students there to see them off: Fred and George had come with their best friend Lee Jordan and most of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Ginny Weasley had come with a few of the younger year girls in both Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas dragged a pile of their friends from Gryffindor House, Draco showed up with a couple of Slytherin third years and a gaggle of various Hufflepuffs followed the Slytherins at a distance. Surprisingly, McGonagall and Flitwick had accompanied a tired-looking Sirius to say good-bye, as well.

Thomas stood back and let Remus say his good-byes to his students and co-workers, then helped him with his bags and out the door. After the main doors closed behind them, Thomas commented, "You sure were popular for an evil Dark creature."

Remus smiled. "Thanks, Thomas."

Thomas shrugged. "Are you planning to stay at the house tonight, or run to your cottage to sit in gloomy silence?"

"You have such a way with words."

"Stay at the house tonight. For my sake, if not your own."

"Of course."

-~/^\~-


Lucius surprised Thomas by writing a furious letter to his fellow Death Eater when he found out about Remus' resignation. When Thomas asked, Lucius had shrugged uncomfortably and said, "Draco says Remus was the best professor he's had yet. I don't see the point in scaring away a good teacher because of a childhood grudge."

"Be careful, Lucius," Thomas had commented dryly in return. "You're beginning to sound like a mature adult who isn't dead-set on crippling the Light." That had earned him a sneer.

Letters from Harry and Hermione after Remus left weren't as cheerful. Without Sirius pranking Snape constantly, there was little to cheer the children up during breakfast, and seeing Snape's smirk during meals and classes only seemed to make things worse. Not even Lucius' letter seemed to demolish Snape's eerily happy mood.

Thomas managed to talk Remus into moving into the house with him at least until term ended and Harry returned home, so he had someone to eat dinner and discuss the paper with. The two easily fell into a pattern of going to work at the bookstore in the morning, taking lunch together after they got off and had gotten home, then sitting around reading letters or the paper or a book in the small, downstairs library of Thomas' home together until dinner. Often, their reading time would spark a conversation about whatever they were reading. Thomas found Remus' presence a refreshing change from Sirius' excitable self or the evening silence of having no one but Kaz for company. Likewise, Remus seemed to enjoy being around someone who didn't care if he turned into a monster when the moon was full.

It was the sixteenth of May that Thomas broke their unspoken rule to keep their after work conversations light and inquired about something one of his werewolf friends had once told him: "Remus, can't werewolves tell who their mate is when they meet them?"

Remus froze, looking like he wasn't going to answer.

Thomas frowned at the silence. The past month of quiet with Remus had made him wish the werewolf would stay in the house with Sirius and himself full-time, rather than only visit occasionally. Chances were, if the two were together and there was another person in the house, Sirius wouldn't be as much trouble.

Remus glanced up over the top of his book and reached up to rub at his eyes tiredly. "What makes you ask?"

Thomas considered the best way to respond and decided to be blunt. "I rather like having you here all the time and I wonder if your presence won't have a positive effect on Sirius."

Remus twitched, then set his book to one side with a wary look. "How did you know he was my mate?"

"The dragons told me. Why aren't you two together?" Thomas replied evenly.

Remus fingered the bottom hem of his shirt and murmured, "It's not that simple."

Thomas leaned back in his chair with a disapproving frown. "Remus, if you've met your mate, you should go for him. Surely by now you've learned the dangers of ignoring chances."

Remus flinched. "But, don't you see? If we'd mated before Sirius ended up in Azkaban, one of us would have died. Or gone insane."

"I'm not entirely convinced Sirius isn't."

"Thomas!"

Thomas sighed. "Remus, if you'd mated, Sirius may have never ended up in Azkaban in the first place because you would have been there to stop him from going off, half-cocked, after Wormtail."

Remus shrugged uncomfortably. "They didn't trust me."

"Again, it probably wouldn't have been the case if you'd mated," Thomas replied calmly. He'd read up on the pros and cons of mating with one's mate after the dragons had mentioned that he had one. Research had taught him that having a mate often grounded one and you always knew when your mate was lying – a sort of Legilimency was involved – as well as most of their secrets. The cons involved a slow encroaching of insanity appearing before the mating occurs or after, depending, and even, in some cases, death.

Truly, Thomas considered as Remus bit his lip and signalled the end of the conversation as far as he was concerned by picking his book back up, he himself was a bit of a hypocrite when it came to mating. After learning that his mate would basically be able to read his mind, he'd considered tossing the two gift stones from the dragon out to sea and never thinking about the whole mess again. The last thing he wanted was someone knowing all his secrets, and Occlumency didn't work against your mate.

Another interesting thing Thomas had learned from his research was that only humans with some form of creature blood had the ability to mate so intimately, and it had been known to skip generations. A trip to Gringotts later earned him the proof that the Potters weren't completely human after all. Apparently, a slightly insane ancestor had gone out, gotten smashed, impregnated a dragon, then ended up having to take care of the resulting child when the dragon angrily hunted him down and forced it on him. Thomas decided that was as much as he wanted to know and left his research about the Potter family history there. On the other hand, it offered another reason as to why the various dragons through-out his life had seemed to like him to some extent, even before he'd saved that abandoned dragon's nest from poachers when he was seventeen.

Subtle inquiries at the Malfoy household earned him the knowledge that both the Blacks and the Malfoys laid claim to some very diluted elven blood, from back when elves would actually mingle with humans. Really, the richer, more influential pureblood families were more likely to have magical creature blood, unless someone was bitten by a werewolf or vampire, and as a result, those pureblood families tended to want non-humans to have more rights. The Dumbledores had no creature blood and, therefore, Albus Dumbledore wasn't very concerned with the topic; whereas, Lucius did have creature blood and his views on non-human rights were more aligned with Thomas', though he didn't have quite the amount of political power one would need to get non-humans more rights. Something which Albus Dumbledore had more than enough power to manage.

Dinner was a silent affair, as was their quiet moment after dinner, before they retired. Remus didn't really speak again until the two were getting ready for bed. Thomas was just about to say 'good night' when Remus said, "I'm scared."

Thomas blinked in confusion. "What?"

Remus took a deep breath and meet Thomas' confused gaze. "I'm scared that Sirius won't accept me."

Understanding dawned and Thomas nodded. "May I impart upon you what the dragon said to me when I asked what would make my mate actually want to be so?"

Surprised, Remus nodded.

"It said, 'It will eat at him until he accepts you, just as it will eat at you until you accept him.' And I wonder, sometimes, if Sirius doesn't already know that you're mates, but is also afraid of the response." Thomas paused to let Remus say something if he wished, but the other man had a thoughtful look on his face, so Thomas added, "You'll never know until you try. Good night."

A distracted, "Good night," followed Thomas into his room.

-~/^\~-


That weekend, Remus left to visit Sirius at the school. His return was much sooner than Thomas had expected – a mere half-hour after he'd left – but the following hurried comment of, "Get your cloak, they caught Peter at the school," had Thomas on his feet and following Remus through the Floo to Hogsmeade in moments.

News apparently hadn't travelled beyond the school's gates yet, since people in Hogsmeade were going about their everyday activities calmly. Thomas and Remus dashed through the town, across the school's lawn and up to the Headmaster's office, both managing to keep up with the other easily with Remus' enhanced abilities and Thomas' years of physical training and a few too many potions.

Six Aurors were already at the scene – the Auror office had permission to Floo through the Headmaster's office in a time of need – and had a shivering Peter Pettigrew in a pair of magical manacles that would keep him from changing into his Animagus form as well as a tightly wound purple rope that looked like Sirius' handiwork. Present in addition to the Aurors were Sirius, Harry, Neville, Hermione, Ron, McGonagall, Dumbledore, Fred and George.

As soon as Thomas and Remus entered the room, the shouting that had been occurring before was silenced. In that silence, Harry slipped past the Auror that was between him and the door and hurried over to hug his uncle. Thomas blinked. "Dare I ask?" he inquired of the room.

After a long moment of silence, McGonagall shot the silent Dumbledore a disapproving look, then said, "The children are demanding to have their parents here before the Aurors question them on events – Miss Granger's idea, I believe – but the Aurors won't allow them to leave the office without giving any statements."

Thomas blinked a couple of times, then nodded decisively. "Right. According to the Laws on Underage Witches and Wizards, no one, not even the Ministry, can question underage witches and wizards without guardian consent." A few of the Aurors winced – they should have remembered that. "I understand not wanting to let the students leave the office, but there are other ways of getting their parents. Headmaster," Thomas turned to Dumbledore, "might we have permission to put a Floo call through to the Weasleys and Madam Longbottom?"

Dumbledore nodded with a frown. "Minerva, if you would make the calls?"

McGonagall glanced at the four children in question and they all nodded, so she walked over to the Floo and started with the Weasley house.

Thomas turned to the Aurors. "In light of the current circumstances, will you grant the Headmaster the allowance to create a port-key for me so I can collect the Grangers?"

A man of medium height, likely the Auror in charge of the group, turned to Dumbledore. "Permission for a two-way port-key granted, Headmaster."

"Of course," Dumbledore agreed, picking up a paperweight. Thomas walked over and touched it and Dumbledore said, "Portus."

A disorienting tug at his navel later found Thomas in the side alley next to Elizabeth and John's shared office. He slipped the paperweight in his pocket and hurried around into the building and up to the second floor, where the office was. The receptionist glanced up at him with a faint frown and said, "Do you have an appointment?"

Thomas rolled his eyes. "No. I'm here to see Dr and Dr Granger. It's about their daughter."

The woman stared at him blankly for a long moment, then pushed her chair out and hurried through to the back. A few moments later, John and Elizabeth flooded out, looking worried. "Thomas!" Elizabeth said upon seeing him. "God, don't scare me like that!"

Thomas shrugged. "The police caught a murder at the school, so I came to grab you two so you could allow Hermione to make a statement," he said, being careful to use a Muggle-safe explanation. "We should hurry."

John and Elizabeth traded looked, then both nodded and Elizabeth pulled her white coat off. "We can't both leave," she explained to the floored receptionist and Thomas, "so I'll come with you while John stays here. Will that work?"

"Only one of you has to come," Thomas agreed with a faint smile.

"Good." Elizabeth handed her coat to her husband and tugged her gloves off, then threw them in the trash. "Should I get my purse?"

Thomas' smile widened. "Only if you want to carry it around with you at the school."

Elizabeth smiled back. "Good point. Let's head out then. Good-bye, John!"

"Bye, Elizabeth. Thomas," John replied.

Thomas nodded to his other friend, then hurried Elizabeth out of the waiting room and down the stairs. "We're taking a port-key to the school."

Elizabeth nodded her understanding. "So, tell me what's going on."

"You remember what I told you about Peter Pettigrew framing Sirius?" Thomas asked, coming to a stop in the alley he'd arrived in. Elizabeth nodded. "He was at Hogwarts for some reason, and the kids caught him. The Aurors came to take him in and asked for statements from the kids, but I assume Hermione remembered the part in that book she borrowed from me last summer about questioning underage witches and wizards. So I came to get you. That's all I really know."

"Okay." Elizabeth nodded. "Let's go, then. Best to not keep the Aurors waiting, right?"

Thomas grimaced and pulled out the port-key. "If you say so," he offered with the port-key and, smiling, Elizabeth took hold. "Portus," Thomas intoned, touching his wand to the paperweight.

A tug at their bellies later found the two adults back in Dumbledore's office, where Augusta, Arthur and Molly Weasley had joined the crowd. Molly was worrying over her three boys while Arthur stood nearby, looking slightly confused and talking to one of the Aurors. Augusta was standing tall next to Neville and glaring at a cringing Auror who was a head taller than her. Sirius and Remus stood just out of the way with an exasperated Hermione and a smiling Harry. McGonagall stood next to Dumbledore's desk with Dumbledore and two of the Aurors. The last two Aurors had disappeared with Peter, probably to put him in a Ministry holding cell.

Thomas and Elizabeth slipped through the crowded room to their children. Elizabeth took Hermione aside and the two started whispering. Thomas smiled wryly at Harry, Sirius and Remus and received three answering smiles. "What'd I miss?"

"Mrs Weasley coming out of the Floo in a panic and them taking Wormtail away," Harry reported cheerfully. "Oh, and Madam Longbottom threatening the Aurors."

Thomas chuckled. "How eventful."

Dumbledore shot red sparks from his wand and the room turned their suddenly silent attention to him and the Aurors, one of which had a Diction Quill posed to copy their every word. Dumbledore smiled, then said, "Molly, Arthur, do you agree to let your children give statements?"

"Yes," Arthur said after Molly nodded her agreement.

"Augusta, do you agree to let Neville give his statement?"

Augusta glanced down at Neville's half-hopeful look and pursed her lips. "Yes, very well."

"Mrs–"

"Doctor," Hermione interrupted, then blushed.

Dumbledore's smile brightened. "Dr Granger, do you agree to let Hermione give her statement?"

Elizabeth gave Hermione a fond smile. "Of course she may."

"Thomas, do you agree to let Harry give his statement?" Dumbledore asked, turning to where Thomas stood with Harry, Sirius and Remus.

Thomas glanced at Sirius and Remus questioningly and the two nodded, though Sirius was frowning at the headmaster. "We agree," Thomas replied firmly. Dumbledore blinked at the plural, but didn't say anything as the quill scribbled the reply down.

The children were asked, in the order of age, to each give their statements about the event. While each of them had slight discrepancies in the order of who said what when, all of them agreed that the whole mess had started when Ron had been cornered by Hermione, Neville and Harry after saying something rude about Remus leaving the school as they were entering McGonagall's class earlier that day. The twins had been walking nearby with Sirius, discussing the joys of pranking, when they'd heard the argument and the twins had followed Sirius when he went to break it up. Sirius had seen Ron's rat, which the boy had been chasing after when Harry, Hermione and Neville found him, and immediately paralyzed him, then cast and Animagus revealing spell. From there, the group had gone straight to Dumbledore's office with Peter in tow. Remus had showed up while they were on their way to the Headmaster's office and Sirius had sent him to get Thomas.

Thomas had quietly commented that Sirius had acted surprisingly adult-like during the entire thing and been promptly punched.

The Aurors let after receiving the children's statements and attention turned to the fight which had started the whole thing. Once Molly found out what Ron found so wrong with Remus, she started chewing her youngest son out while Arthur apologised to Remus. Remus had blushed and waved the whole thing off, but Thomas had stepped in and graciously accepted Arthur's apology while Sirius scowled at Remus.

Once Molly had calmed down, Sirius seemed to remember that Remus didn't work at Hogwarts anymore and asked why he was there. Remus blushed and started stuttering, so Thomas stepped in with a smirk. "Sirius, why don't you and Remus take tea in your office?" He turned to the children and said, "Homework?"

Harry groaned. "Right. Library. We're going. Come on, Hermione, Nev."

The three friends left with Fred and George, who were dragging Ron out with them. Sirius half dragged Remus to his office, while Molly and Arthur went back through the Floo after offering their farewells. Augusta offered to accompany Thomas and Elizabeth to the edge of the Hogwarts wards and apparate from there, so the three friends left McGonagall and Dumbledore to discuss the mess alone.

After they'd left the castle, but before they got to the gates, Augusta turned to Thomas and said, "What do you know?"

Thomas shrugged. "Nothing that I'll say until after Sirius and Remus work it out."

"Is it love?" Elizabeth inquired with a fake dreamy smile and a bat of her eyelashes.

Thomas shrugged again, fighting not to laugh. "Don't know. Ask them."

"You're not very good at keeping secrets, you know," Elizabeth informed him with a triumphant smirk.

Thomas smirked right back. "It's not my fault they're so open about it."

Augusta snorted in amusement. "Thomas has a point, Elizabeth. Remus and Sirius don't hide their affection for each other very well."

Elizabeth shrugged. "What brought on the change? Those two have been dancing around each other since the moment I met them."

"I cornered Remus," Thomas offered with another shrug. "Asked him why they weren't together yet. Told him to come talk to Sirius about it when he told me he was scared of Sirius' reaction."

"Sure," Elizabeth replied dryly. "And what had you inquiring after Remus' love life."

"Or lack thereof," Augusta threw in.

Thomas grinned. "I realised that, if Remus moved in, there would be someone around to temper Sirius."

The three friends shared a laugh, then went their separate ways as they reached the end of the wards outside the gates.

-~/^\~-


"So?" Thomas said from behind his newspaper when Remus tumbled out of the Floo at about nine that night.

Remus turned bright red. "You were right. He was scared too."

Thomas nodded and returned to the Prophet.

Remus continued watching him for a long moment. When Thomas turned the page, he added, "That's all?"

Thomas sighed and set his paper down. "Do you want me to pry?"

"....not really..."

Thomas rubbed at his nose. "What do you want me to say, Remus? 'Good job'?"

Remus fidgeted uncomfortably. "I don't know."

Thomas let out another sigh and glanced down at his paper. "Will you move in?"

Remus shrugged. "I don't know. Sirius thinks it's a fine idea, and I know you'd like it, but I'm not sure how Harry would feel..."

"Ask him."

"Oh. I guess I could."

Thomas nodded and opened his newspaper again.

Remus shuffled towards the doorway of the room and stopped just shy of exiting. "What about your mate, Thomas?"

Thomas tensed. "I don't know who it is."

Remus stared at Thomas' stiff back for a long moment, then nodded. "You know the dangers," he said, then left.

Thomas sat in the silent sitting room for another hour after that, staring past the open paper in front of him and thinking about what he'd do about his unknown mate.

When Thomas went to bed, he still didn't know what to do.

-~/^\~-


The end of term flew by and before anyone knew it, the Hogwarts Express was chugging its way back to London and the adults that Thomas called friends were gathered together at the station to await its arrival. Two days before, the papers had released the real story behind the night Voldemort fell and Peter's part in the whole mess. Peter's trial had been a short, quiet one, which neither Thomas nor Remus had cared to attend. Lucius had gone and returned from it with the new that Peter had received the Dementor's Kiss. When the Prophet came out with the story, it had agreed with Lucius' declaration of Peter's fate – not that Thomas or Remus had doubted Lucius' words – and the group had put the whole thing behind them.

Vacation plans for the summer involved Rome – Remus' suggestion – so two weeks after the children's return found the Grangers, the Potters, Sirius and Remus in Rome. They spent three weeks seeing the sights and spending too much money in and around the ancient capital, then returned home to celebrate two birthdays and get excited about the Quidditch World Cup. Lucius had talked his way into seats for all that wanted to go – Thomas, Harry, Draco, Hermione, Neville, Sirius, Remus, John and Lucius, himself – in the Ministers' box. Thomas spent more time watching the empty chair behind Neville than he did watching the game, but since he won the bet with Sirius about who would win and how, no one seemed to care that he hadn't paid much attention.

When the joyful celebrations at the camp ground turned into screams, Thomas ordered Sirius and Remus to start evacuating the children while he went looking for Lucius, who had left to speak to someone he knew ten minutes before. Before anyone could comment, Thomas was gone into the crush of people outside their tent.

When Thomas and Lucius rejoined their friends and children at Malfoy Manor, both looked a little worse for wear and Lucius looked like he'd seen a ghost. When asked, neither would say what happened. Over a brandy in Lucius' study after everyone else had retired to bed, Lucius said, "Do you think that was a sign that the Dark Lord is returning?"

Thomas leaned back in his chair and sighed. "Yes."

Lucius allowed a triumphant smile. "At last."

Thomas took a sip of his brandy, eyes focused on the flickering flames in the study's fireplace. "All hell's about to break loose."

Lucius gave him an odd look. "Is that a prophecy?"

Thomas smiled grimly. "You could call it that."

Lucius frowned. "What do you know about this, Thomas?"

Thomas finished his drink and stood. "A lot of things. Good night, Lucius."

"Good night," Lucius intoned, then watched his friend walk from the room, looking like the weight of the world rested on his shoulders.

It was only after Thomas had left that Lucius remember that Thomas would have to choose between his nephew and the Dark Lord. He winced and sent up a silent prayer for his friend, then followed his lead and went to bed. Really, Lucius considered as he climbed into bed with his wife, I'm glad I'm not in his shoes.

-

-


A/N: Don't really like the ending – feels too rushed and un-polished – but I figure you lot have been waiting long enough for this, and you probably won't care. At least, not too much.

I hope to have another chapter finished by the end of October, but I can't promise anything. We're getting ready for Nekocon on my hall – pretty much everyone that's going is going to dress up as a Harry Potter character, and I'm Lord Voldemort – so I'll be trying to juggle that with my normal class-load and work schedule. We'll see. I hope I've got another chapter for you all by Samhain, but don't get your hopes up.

Ah, someone had a question about what Narcissa and Elizabeth talk about when they run off to do 'girl stuff', or whatever it is I call it. Well, the answer is, I haven't decided and don't really care. Neither does Thomas, and since he's the main focus of this story, I'm not going to bother to write about it. Make something up, if you want. I don't care.

Toodles,
~Bats

Chapters:
Pro - To Face the Unknown / 1 - Two Potters
2 - Diagon Alley ||| 3 - Summer's End and Letters ||| 4 - The Trial
5 - Letters and Christmas ||| 6 - Dragons and Stones ||| 7 - The First Summer
8 - The Second Year ||| 9 - The Third Year ||| 10 - Fight For What You Believe In
11 - Thomas Potter ||| 12 - Plots and Plans ||| 13 - The Children's Hand
14 - ???
Incomplete

.

Date: 28/9/07 20:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daylemclaren.livejournal.com
Loved this chapter

Date: 28/9/07 23:07 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tsuki-no-suzu.livejournal.com
Hooray for knowing what the hell is going on!!!

I'm going to go ape-shit next month. I can tell. DED.

Very excited

Date: 29/9/07 03:38 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
all I can say is WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! the ending seemed just fine to me and now I really can't wait till the next installment. With DH over and done with I'm so glad fanfiction is still going strong. Have fun as LV during Nekocon.

Date: 29/9/07 03:48 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mystical-maiden.livejournal.com
*sighs* Brilliant.

I don't know how you do it but it doesn't matter what mood i'm in when i begin reading some work of yours but it always ends up drawing me in and spitting me out in a stunned one.

Loved it, just loved it.

~Myst.

Date: 29/9/07 11:33 (UTC)
order_of_chaos: Eridan Ampora from Homestuck as a dreamsheep dreaming of dreamwidth.  Blue stripy body, purple head, yellow horns. (Default)
From: [personal profile] order_of_chaos
Squeeeee!!!!

Date: 3/10/07 01:46 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] inoru-no-hoshi.livejournal.com
Firstly: Yay, update.

Secondly: Awesome. I've probably told you that I like to stalk your work (and if I haven't, I should've. :P), because you're awesome. I never notice too many discrepancies with them, and the ones I do see I can read past pretty easily. Unlike SOME authors... (which is just a general accusation to those purveyors of badfic. xD)

Thirdly: To get back on topic, I loved this. As always. It's really interesting watching this unfold - there's a growing sense of curiousity as to Thomas' real background, and also a feeling that more and more of it is going to start being revealed. *shrug* But I try not to attempt to analyze fic too much, because then I start thinking that I know the author's intents...and I hate being proved wrong! Lol.

Anyway, I hope you have fun at Nekocon (Voldie? Awesome! >.> *ponders pictures of Voldie and Harry cosplayers* Hm. Anyway), and don't let college wear you out too much. :) Am looking forward to the next update! :D

~Mara~

Date: 2/11/07 23:55 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akuma-river.livejournal.com
Hmm...

I'm still wondering who is Thomas' mate since Harry belongs to Voldie.

Love it.

Date: 19/11/07 04:18 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] amourdevin.livejournal.com
I am sure that I must have read this latest chapter already, as your fantastically shaven head wasn't news......but, I don't remember doing so.

Which is actually fantastic! It is always lots of fun to read something new of yours.

*little happy dance*

Date: 4/1/08 03:20 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nathalique.livejournal.com
Great chapter. I can't wait to see what Thomas will do.
Please update soon

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