batsutousai: (HP-motherseyes-Harry)
[personal profile] batsutousai
Title: Déguiser
Author: Batsutousai
Beta: 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 and some definite Dumbles-hate going on
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: I knew almost from the start of this fic what I wanted to happen during Harry's fourth year. The problem, of course, is getting there. *grumbles* I spent a lot of time tripping over how to start this chapter – and arguing with Word 2007. Sorry about that.
Alternately, once I got going, I had a hard time stopping. So this is a bit of a monster chapter. Consider it an apology for the wait.

Well, I'm going by the Lexicon's calendar for GoF, rather than the actual 94-95 calendar, like I usually do. (At least, I THINK I went by the real calendar for Harry's first year. Dunno.)

I realized I never told people what electives the kids were going to be taking this year. They are as follows: Harry - Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Muggle Studies; Hermione - Arithmancy, Ancient Ruins, CoMC; Nev - CoMC, Muggle Studies; Draco - CoMC, Ancient Runes.
Harry decided to keep all his classes because he liked them, and still wanted the fall-back of Muggle Studies in case one of his others became too hard, plus, Neville was in the class with him, even though Hermione dropped it. Hermione dropped Divination – she never did grow to like it – and Muggle Studies, since she couldn't get past all the things that were wrong. Neville only ever had CoMC and Muggle Studies. Draco had originally also had Arithmancy, but he'd hated the class and dropped it at the end of the year after Lucius okayed the action.
Ron, for those who care, is taking Divination and CoMC, just as he did in the books.


-~/\~-
Chapter Ten - Fight For What You Believe In
-~\/~-


'Uncle Thomas,
'Did you know that they're holding the TriWizard Tournament here at Hogwarts this year?! It's going to be so much fun seeing people compete! Under-age students can't compete, which is fine with me, but Fred and George are harping on about how they'll find a way in anyhow. It's really very funny to listen to.
'I'm sure you've heard already, from Lucius, that our newest Defence professor is Mad-Eye Moody. Sirius sent me a letter yesterday gushing about him. After our first class with him, I can honestly say he's pretty awesome. Even though I miss having Sirius and Remus here, Moody makes a pretty good replacement, but don't tell them I said that!
'Nothing else really to say. My Arithmancy workload this year promises to kill me, but I'm sure you'll only find humour in that. Prat.
'Harry'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas!
'I spent all day yesterday looking up things about the TriWizard Tournament. It sounds really dangerous. I'm glad there's an age-limit. The Weasley twins are just stupid. I tried telling them about all the people who've died during it, but they wouldn't listen! Boys.
'Since I know you always seem to find the best books, could you get me some more about the Tournament? A lot of the one's here are in the Restricted Section. I mean, I found some pretty good information on it – Hogwarts: A History has an entire chapter devoted to past Tournaments that the school's participated in – but I'd love to know what they're not telling us. Maybe I can talk Fred and George out of trying to enter? I'm worried they'll actually manage it!
'Professor Moody's cool enough, but I'm afraid he doesn't think about what he's teaching us and how it'll effect us. Neville was really shaken up after the class yesterday and Harry was pretty pale too, but he mostly shrugged it off. The professor pulled Neville aside for a while after class and when he got back he looked much better, but I heard Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnigan talking about how he was tossing and turning in his sleep all last night. When I asked him if he was okay, he smiled and said he was, but I'm still worried about him.
'Hope Sirius isn't driving you too mad,
'Hermione'


-~/^\~-


'Harry,
Lucius had mentioned something about that, yes. I've heard some interesting things about the Tournament from acquaintances, and few of them are good. I'm sending Hermione a book I found on the Tournament – she asked me to find her one that went more in-depth than the non-Restricted books at Hogwarts – and you might want to read it. Also, for my piece of mind, stay with one of your friends at all times when the other schools arrive? The Headmaster of Durmstrang is a Death Eater and after the attack at the World Cup I want you to be doubly cautious. Yes, even around Professor Snape and Lucius.
'Neither you nor Hermione have told me what happened in your class with Mad-Eye. I have my guesses – Lucius was rather vocal about his displeasure – but I'd love to hear it from you. Also, keep in mind that if something he teaches bothers you, you have ever right to walk out. Not even Dumbledore can deny you that. Let your friends know as well, if they don't already.
'You're right. I laughed.
'Love,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Hermione,
'Attached is the book you requested. Do me a favour and don't take the cover I put on it off? It's not a particularly legal book. With any luck, not even Mad-Eye will be able to see through the cover. (Also, if Lucius owls you asking about it, you didn't get it from me. Right?) Good luck with the twins.
'I told Harry, and I'm telling you. If Mad-Eye teaches something that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to stand up and leave. He doesn't always think about what he's teaching until it upsets someone.
'As for Neville, I'm sending him an owl, but there's not much else I can do from here. If he's still looking a bit peaked or having trouble sleeping when your first Hogsmeade weekend comes around, let me know and I'll visit.
'Sirius is surprisingly well-behaved. Remus is good for him.
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Neville,
'I heard about your class with Mad-Eye from Hermione, who's rather worried about you. I'm not exactly sure what Mad-Eye taught you, but I have a pretty good idea.
'Your parents were good people, Neville, and they didn't deserve what happened to them. That doesn't mean that you cannot miss them or wish they were well. If they could, I'm certain they would tell you that they're proud of you, but they also wouldn't want you to hide your pain. You have three very good friends with you who love you and will listen if you need them. Also, you can always write me, and I'm sure Augusta is worried as well.
'Now, as I told Harry and Hermione, if Mad-Eye teaches anything that upsets you, leave. No one will think any less of you. And if someone does, send them to me and I'll happily set them straight.
'Take care,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Merlin, Thomas! That book was nasty. No wonder it's so restricted. Ew.
'Alternately, I read a couple of the passages out loud to Fred and George and they left looking a little green. They've stopped plotting ways to get past the age-limit, at least.
'Neville told us about his parents Sunday night. If I ever get my hands on the Death Eaters that did that, I'll be hard-pressed to not kill them, I think. How could someone DO that?! Poor Neville.
'Harry's got the book now, by the way. Draco saw inside the front cover yesterday in the library and started laughing. Apparently, Lucius has been pestering him about it. Draco's not going to tell Lucius, though, since he wants to see what happens when you sneak it back.
'Hermione'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas,
'Thanks. I really needed that letter, I guess. I told Harry and Hermione and Draco about Mum and Dad. Draco started listing curses he knew that we could use on the Lestranges. Then Hermione joined him. It was really quite strange to watch.
'The book you sent Hermione is absolutely terrifying. She summarized it for me so I wouldn't have to read it. Watching Harry read it is really quite entertaining, since he's always making faces. I asked him if it gives him nightmares – he likes to read it right before bed – and he said no. I actually stayed up last night to see, and he slept just fine. He's so weird.
'I wrote to Gran to tell her what happened in our first class – Moody showed us the Unforgivables, by the way – and I think she might have written Moody an angry letter. He was much more subdued yesterday in class.
'Thanks again,
'Neville'


-~/^\~-


Thomas spent the entire day on Hallowe'en being jumpy. Sirius managed to prank him six times before Thomas lost his temper and informed Sirius that if he didn't start acting his age, he could go live in his mother's house. After that, Sirius left him alone, though both he and Remus spent the rest of the day watching Thomas closely.

Thomas managed a smile for the kids that came to the door as he handed out the sweets. By ten o'clock, he'd almost calmed down. Just as he was waving off the last of the trick-or-treaters, though, Rowan came swooping out of the sky with a letter attached to his leg and Thomas felt his heart jump up into his throat. He let Rowan in and took the owl's letter, then settled into his favourite chair in the sitting room to read Harry's rushed writing:

'Uncle Thomas,
'I don't know how, but someone entered me into the Tournament. I did like you said and stayed with Neville and Hermione all day yesterday and today, but the only thing it did was prove that I didn't put my name in the Goblet.
'They say it's a magically binding contract and I can't get out of it. I don't want to be in this Tournament! I'm scared, Uncle Thomas! I'm really, really scared.
'Harry'


Thomas rubbed at his face, then glanced over at where Remus and Sirius were watching him curiously. The three stared at each other for a long moment before Thomas sighed and shook his head. "I'm going to Hogwarts," he said, then stood and walked from the room to get his cloak.

The two men ran after him. "What's going on?" Sirius demanded.

Thomas handed Sirius the letter from Harry, then apparated with a crack.

Remus and Sirius crowded around the letter and read it quickly, then traded horrified looks. "He knew, didn't he?" Sirius whispered. "He bloody-well knew this would happen!"

Remus shook his head and grabbed his mate's shoulders. "Sirius, I think he suspected. He's been jumpy and worried all day. He knows things sometimes, you know that. The Sight isn't always reliable," Remus finished, referring to a section in a book he'd borrowed from Lucius last year about real people with the Sight.

Sirius shuddered and looked back down at the letter. "Oh, Harry..."

"We can follow him," Remus said quietly.

"Thomas is best at comforting Harry. And if anyone knows a way out this, it's Thomas." Sirius shrugged. "Let's write Harry a really long letter instead and go get them a really big bag of sweets."

"Lots of chocolate," Remus agreed, grabbing his coat.

"And maybe a crate of butterbeers?" Sirius suggested, doing the same. "Or some of those fizzy drinks Harry really likes?"

"Coke?" Remus snorted. "No, Harry doesn't need any caffeine. A crate of butterbeer, though..."

"Great. So, Diagon first?"

"Yes. But let me leave Thomas a note before we go."

"Oh, all right..."

-~/^\~-


Dumbledore must have been watching the wards, for he met Thomas at the doors of the school with a sad smile. "Thomas. I assume Mr Potter let you know what happened?"

Thomas' expression tightened. "He did. I'm sure you looked at every possible way to get him out of this Tournament?"

Dumbledore nodded. "There is nothing."

"He didn't enter himself. His name wasn't written by his hand–" Thomas said, but Dumbledore was already shaking his head.

"Whoever entered him thought of that. It looks like it was either spelled from one of his papers or is a part of one of his papers."

Thomas let out a long string of curses in French, which had Dumbledore giving him a disapproving look. After a return sneer, Thomas sighed. "May I visit with my nephew?"

Dumbledore shifted, still looking a little disapproving. "It's late..."

Thomas mentally ran through a list of reasons why he shouldn't just kill Dumbledore now and took a deep breath. "Headmaster, if you think Harry is actually asleep, you are sorely mistaken. More so if you think he won't find out that you denied me entrance on account of the time and turn on you for it."

Dumbledore clasped his hands together behind his back. "I believe he has sufficient dislike for me as it is," he commented neutrally.

"He may have to compete in this Tournament this year, Headmaster, but he is by no means required to return next year," Thomas replied.

The two men engaged in a stare-off. Dumbledore pushed mercilessly on Thomas' Occlumency shields while Thomas mentally taunted him from behind them. He'd had one of the best Occlumens in the world teach him to shield his mind.

The staring contest came to an end when something ran into Thomas' midsection with no small amount of force. Thomas immediately wrapped his arms around a shaking Harry. "Oh, child..." he murmured.

Dumbledore turned and smiled at a frowning Hermione and Neville, who were watching him from just inside the cracked doors. "You children should be in bed," the Headmaster commented mildly.

Hermione huffed. "We saw Thomas enter the grounds, Headmaster. We had wondered what was keeping him."

"Of course, Miss Granger."

Thomas picked Harry up gently and smiled when the boy wrapped his arms around Thomas' neck and buried his face in his shoulder. "Let's head upstairs," he suggested to the other two teens. "It's a bit cold out here and I don't want you in trouble for breaking curfew."

"Again," Harry added into his uncle's shoulder.

Thomas kissed the side of Harry's head, then herded the children back inside and up to Gryffindor Tower. When they got to the painting, Hermione said, "Balderdash," and the painting swung open to admit them all to a mostly darkened common room.

As the painting swung closed behind Thomas, Fred and George came down from the stairs and offered the group grim smiles. "Any luck getting Harry out?" one of them asked.

Thomas shook his head. "No. Whoever entered Harry was irritatingly smart about it." The four teens looking at him hopefully looked like they'd been punched in the stomach while Harry seemed to be trying to bury his face even father into Thomas' shoulder. "I fully intend to tear Lucius' library apart looking for something, but I, honestly, don't have much hope at this point. I researched magically binding contracts when I was nineteen and the few ways I know out of them were either planned for or won't help in this."

"Damnit!" Hermione hissed, stamping her foot. "This isn't fair!"

"No one ever said life was," one of the twins said glumly as they both sat.

Hermione, Neville and Thomas all migrated over to the last few seats in front of the dying fire, which Hermione waved back to life.

Neville shook his head. "If we can't get Harry out of this, we'll just have to help him through it. Right?" He looked at Hermione and the twins, smiling when he received three firm nods in reply.

Thomas sighed and settled back into his chair. "Harry?"

Harry pulled away enough to meet his uncle's eyes sadly. "You'll help too, right?"

"I will never leave you to fend for yourself in something like this," Thomas replied, eyes dark with memories.

"Thank you," Harry whispered, turning his head to include his four friends in his thanks as well.

"Draco will help, too," Hermione said with certainty. "I have no doubt he's already owled Lucius for help."

"I have no doubt either," Thomas agreed. "And I know Sirius and Remus will do what they can to help you too. If nothing else, at least you can say that you won't have to do this alone."

Harry shrugged, looking uncomfortable. "I know. I just... I dunno. It doesn't seem fair that I've got all this help and the other three don't."

"Mate," one of the twins offered dryly, "the other three have three years on you."

"And their friends and parents will be helping them, too," the other twin agreed.

"Really, Harry," Hermione interrupted. "You read that book too – the TriWizard Tournament is about who's school is better. No one's going to leave their Champion hanging when they could be helping them."

"But, the book also said that teachers couldn't help!" Harry replied, turning in Thomas' lap so he could face Hermione.

"Yeah, but people always cheat," Hermione shot back with a huff.

"That doesn't mean I should," Harry snapped back.

Thomas hummed, smiling when five sets of eyes looked at him. "What if someone could tell you what the first task was, even though them telling you would be breaking the rules?"

Harry sort of gaped at him while Hermione crossed her arms smugly. Seeing her, the twins snickered quietly while Neville shook his head at her.

Sylvin poked his head out of Harry's robe. :Alright, Thomas. What do you know?:

Harry shook his head. :You can't know what the first task is.:

:Mmm... Maybe I do, maybe I don't.:

Kaz poked his head out and commented, :Hey, is it only professors who can't help the Champions?:

Harry blinked in surprise. :Oh. Yeah. I think?: Harry turned to glance at where Hermione, Neville and the twins were watching the two Potters with helpless smiles. "Sorry. Hermione, what do the rules say about who can and can't help the Champions?"

"School staff," Hermione replied promptly, then paused, blinked at Thomas and started laughing. Next to her, Neville snorted in amusement while the twins mimed falling off the other couch and laughing helplessly.

Harry shook his head and turned back to his uncle. "Spill," he ordered with a faint smile.

Thomas didn't return the smile. "Dragons," he said seriously.

The common room fell silent while everyone stared at him, their humour gone completely.

After a long moment, one of the twins offered a weak chuckle. "Well, mate. It can't be that hard to take on a dragon, right?"

"Uncle Thomas?" Harry whispered, looking terrified.

Thomas shook his head. "You have to take an egg from it," he offered. "Not quite on the same level as fighting one, but no less dangerous."

Harry leaned forward and rested his forehead against his uncle's shoulder. "I can't do this," he whispered.

Thomas closed his eyes and wrapped Harry in a hug. "Have faith in yourself, child."

"You're not doing this alone," Hermione hissed, eyes bright. "You have all of us to help you. You may have to face the dragon alone, but you won't have to prepare for it without help. We're going to bloody-well scour the library for a way to get past that dragon, even if it means we don't get our homework in on time."

"Who are you and what have you done with Hermione?" Neville asked.

Everyone laughed and Harry turned his head to smile at his two friends. "Thanks, guys."

Thomas nodded. "Why don't you four head up to bed? If you're going to tackle the library tomorrow, you'll need your energy."

The four teens took the hint and all stood. "Good night," they all offered, then wandered up to their rooms. Hermione stopped on her way to give Harry a hug, which he returned, and Thomas a watery smile before disappearing up the steps to the girls' dorms.

One they were all gone, Harry bit his lip and met his uncle's worried gaze. "I'm still scared."

Thomas nodded his understanding. "I won't stop trying to find a way out of this."

Harry leaned forward again and gave his uncle a tight hug, sniffling. :I don't think I can do this,: he whispered.

Thomas closed his eyes and tightened his arms around Harry. :Harry, I will be honest with you, I'm scared near to death for you, but I honestly believe you can do this. You have dragon blood – I told you about that – and, with any luck, the favour dragons tend to show me will have rubbed off on you. The last thing I want is for you to face off against a dragon, but if it had to be any one of your friends, I believe you would manage the best.:

Harry let out a half-laugh, half-sob. :I have this vision of Draco trying to talk the dragon into letting him have the egg because he's a pureblood and a Malfoy.:

Thomas chuckled. :That does sound like Draco,: he agreed wryly.

Harry pulled back with a sad smile and let Thomas wipe away his tears. :I don't know what I'd do without you, Uncle Thomas.:

:And I haven't the faintest what I'd do without you, child,: Thomas replied honestly.

Harry nodded. :I should head for bed.:

:You probably should. Owl me if you need me, right?:

:Right.: Harry got in one last hug and suffered through a kiss on his forehead with a smile, then got up. :Night, Uncle Thomas.:

:Good night, Harry,: Thomas replied, standing.

Once Harry had disappeared up the stairs to the boy's dorm, Thomas turned and left the common room. He didn't meet anyone on his way out of the castle or on the grounds.

When he got home, Sirius and Remus were still out. He snorted at the note Remus had left about getting the kids the biggest sugar rush Hogwarts had ever seen in one package, then settled himself at his desk, pulled out a quill and wrote two quick notes, which he sent two of his owls out with before retiring to bed.

-~/^\~-


'Lucius,
'I'm certain Draco has probably sent you an owl already letting you know what has happened, but I wish to add my two knuts.
'Whoever entered Harry was careful and used his name from one of his papers to put in the Goblet. I have damn-well exhausted my knowledge of getting out of magical contracts, but perhaps you will know of something I have missed. At any rate, I wish to borrow your library tomorrow if at all possible?
'Also, I fully intend to help Harry through this Tournament. I doubt my nephew's true enemy wants him dead in this Tournament, but there's no such thing as too much preparation. (And, yes, He is behind this.)
'The first task is dragons.
'I need to know how much I can trust you. How far you will help me protect my nephew. We share many views, Lucius, but my nephew is first.
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Bartemius Crouch Jr.
'Play your Lord's games as you will, but if you or He harm my nephew, there will be hell to pay.
'Thomas Leland-Potter
'Head of Leland Estates
'Guardian of House Potter'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas,
'My library is, as always, at your disposal. I don't know of any other ways out of the contract, but I will certainly join you in looking.
'You are my close friend and Harry like family. I will help as I can, but if faced with His wrath, I will bow to Him. If He is truly returning, I will do what I can, but not even a Malfoy can do everything.
'We will discuss the dragons when you get here. And, please, leave the mutt at home unless he promises to behave?
'Lucius'


-~/^\~-


After three consecutive weekends holed up in Lucius' library with Remus, Sirius, Lucius, Narcissa, Elizabeth and John, Thomas called an end to the search for a way out of the magical contract. Augusta had also forced her brother and sister-in-law to help her search the Longbottom library for any help. Between the two family libraries and Thomas' own research on magical contracts years ago, they should have found something, were it there to find. If, as Lucius had pointed out, the Tournament rules had said that a Champion was only valid if the Champion put their name in themselves, then Harry would have had an immediate out. But the rules only said that their name had to come out of the Goblet for the contract to be created. That point had Sirius in a rather raging fury against the Ministry and their loop-holes that the rest of the party heartily agreed with.

After their traded owls, Lucius and Thomas did not again speak of Voldemort and what would happen should he rise again, though both men thought about it constantly. Despite the looming choices, both men worked easily together on trying to find an out for Harry and then on ways to face down a dragon.

One evening, over dinner, Sirius reminded everyone at the table about how much the dragons liked Thomas. When everyone turned to him, Thomas admitted that he had also pointed that out to Harry and hoped that his nephew's relation to him would make the dragons less likely to murder the child. He also added the knowledge of the dragon heritage in the Potter line and that got everyone's hopes up a little bit more.

No matter how hopeful things were with the adults, Harry and his friends' reports of the happenings at the castle were rarely so good. While Hermione and Harry had gotten permission from McGonagall to search the Restricted Section for anything that would help Harry in a Tournament he was three years behind in, they found almost nothing to help with the dragon, though, Harry had commented, they certainly found a lot of good curses that Harry could use if he ever met a Death Eater who actually meant him harm at that moment.

One thing that came about to distress the six students was a pile of badges that promoted Cedric Diggory – the other Hogwarts Champion – and put Harry down. They only lasted two days, however, because Draco found out who'd been making them and put a stop to it. The fact that Lucius was still a governor and had a fair bit of sway in the Ministry had probably helped Draco a fair bit.

The second rather large thing that came about to throw the children off was an article from Rita Skeeter that did not portray Harry kindly at all. A sharp-tongued letter from Lucius – with a few comments on how much the Ministry would enjoy learning about Rita's Animagus form, courtesy of Thomas – had an apology in the next morning's paper from the reporter and an oath on paper that Skeeter would not approach Harry or his friends again unless given express permission by the guardians of the student in question.

The twenty-first found Thomas, Sirius, Remus, Elizabeth and John in Hogsmeade to spend the day with their two children and their two best friends. Harry fairly clung to either his uncle or godfather, since their presence made his fellow students think twice about speaking rudely about the boy. After a trip to Honeydukes resulting in pockets lined with sweets for all four children – as well as a fair number for Sirius – the group retired to The Three Broomsticks for a round of butterbeers and a place to rest their feet. When Fred and George joined them after getting rid of their scowling younger brother and a cheerful Lee Jordan, Thomas cast a discreet charm to protect their table from eavesdroppers and the group turned to the upcoming first task.

Their discussion was interrupted by the arrival of a cheerful Hagrid and a frowning Mad-Eye. While Hagrid whispered a suggestion that Harry come visit him that night and offered Thomas a fond smile, Mad-Eye watched Thomas like he wasn't quite sure what to do with the man. Thomas felt much the same – he knew 'Mad-Eye' was, in fact, Barty Crouch Jr, but he wasn't quite sure how difficult it would prove to be later if he just attacked the man now. Uncertain, Thomas simply ignored the ex-Auror.

Once the two members of the staff had left, Harry muttered, "Wonder what that was all about."

"Are you going?" Draco asked. "I know you like the oaf, but I'm not sure what he's up to. It makes me nervous."

"I have to agree with Draco on this one," Hermione offered, then shot the blond a scowl. "And stop calling him names." Draco just rolled his eyes.

Harry glanced over at Thomas, who looked pensive. "Uncle Thomas?"

Thomas shrugged. "I doubt Hagrid would purposely get you into any trouble, and I'm sure he'd work to protect you if he could. It's your choice."

Harry glanced down at the table thoughtfully. "I dunno. I'll think on it. I'd feel bad if I stood him up, though."

"It's your choice," Remus offered with a smile. "I don't think Hagrid would hold it against you if you don't go, though."

Draco scowled and looked like he might say something, but Hermione elbowed him in the ribs, so he turned to glare at her instead.

-~/^\~-


After a surprise hint from Mad-Eye, Harry had a plan. He still had a number of back-ups, including the Conjunctivitus Curse, and his hope that with both his dragon heritage and the way dragons acted towards Thomas, the female dragon he would be facing wouldn't harm him.

Harry felt even better about the whole thing when Thomas showed up at lunch with Lucius. The Hogwarts governor had pulled a couple of strings and got both Thomas and himself in to watch the task, though he hadn't managed – more like didn't try very hard – to get Sirius or Remus in as well. When they got out to the stands, both men went to sit with the professors, where Lucius settled in with Snape and Thomas started up an easy conversation with a worried McGonagall.

While they were waiting for Fleur's score, McGonagall turned to Thomas and commented, "You're not worried about Harry?"

Thomas smiled. "I'm a nervous wreck," he said honestly. "If I could, I would go down there and take him as far away from all this as possible. But I don't have that option, and looking nervous only makes it worse for him. If I appear confident, he feels more confident."

"Oh," McGonagall murmured, then nodded with a faint smile. "I never thought of it that way."

"Muggle psychology," Thomas offered. "One of my best friends got really into it the year before she died."

"I'm sorry," McGonagall offered sincerely.

Thomas smiled again. "Thank you."

McGonagall nodded and they fell silent as Krum came out to take on his dragon.

When Harry was called out, Thomas forced himself to stay calm and offered his sharp-eyed nephew a reassuring smile when he spotted him in the stands. Harry grinned back, then looked over to the dragon with determination.

Then, suddenly, time seemed to freeze, and a sharp, female voice echoed in both Thomas and Harry's minds; I have been taken from my home for some human sport. You are my kind and you, Traveller, are known to me. Tell me why I'm here and I should not kill the hatchling.

Thomas shuddered and shared a wide-eyed look with Harry, then looked back at the large Horntail, who was watching him with her tail thrashing. "This is a competition between Harry and the children who have come before him," Thomas said carefully. "They are to take the gold egg from your nest, but they aren't to harm any of the others."

The dragon glanced down at her nest and poked the gold egg with a large claw, then turned to Harry; You will leave my other eggs alone?

Harry nodded. "I won't even touch them, if I can help it. I don't want to be here anymore than you do."

The dragon settled back next to her nest; You may take the fake egg. I will not harm you, hatchling of the Traveller.

Then, time restarted.

Harry glanced up to Thomas again, who was just as bewildered as his nephew. Taking a deep breath, Harry turned back to the dragon and simply walked up to it.

The stands froze as Harry walked up to the watching dragon carefully. When he got to her nest, he took care to only touch the golden egg, then turned and walked away. Once he was almost back to where he'd started, the dragon huffed and laid down around her nest to, for all anyone could tell, go to sleep.

Almost as soon as Harry got back to his starting position, the crowds went absolutely mad. Thomas was already running down to meet his nephew, grinning for all he was worth. McGonagall and Lucius were following him at a much more sedate pace, but both looked just as happy as Thomas despite the restraint they had.

Thomas picked Harry up as soon as he got to him and hugged the boy tightly, mindless of the golden egg that was digging into his chest. "I'm so proud of you, Harry," Thomas whispered when Harry hugged him back just as tightly.

"I was scared," Harry admitted as Lucius and McGonagall stopped next to the two Potters and offered them smiles.

"You were scared?" McGonagall said. "Goodness, Mr Potter! What were you thinking, just walking up to that dragon?!"

Harry blushed and shrugged. "She said she wouldn't hurt me if I left her real eggs alone."

"Well that answers any questions about dragons liking Harry like they like you," Lucius muttered, looking amused. "Good show, Harry."

Hermione, Neville, Draco and the Weasley twins took that moment to run over to the group with Hagrid in tow, all grinning like a bunch of loons. Thomas let Harry down, but kept the egg, so his nephew could talk to his friends.

Just as it looked like the judges were about to announce Harry's score, the dragon let out an angry roar and lashed her tail out at the group of dragon trainers heading towards her. Her angry words, which it seemed only Thomas could hear, were so loud that Thomas found himself clutching his head painfully; DON'T YOU COME ANY CLOSER! LEAVE MY EGGS ALONE! DON'T YOU TOUCH THEM AGAIN! I'LL KILL YOU!

Harry took one look at his uncle, then ran out towards the dragon and trainers. "NO! Leave her alone! Stop!"

The trainers ducked the dragon's tail as she lashed at them and pulled out their wands. The dragon's response brought Thomas to his knees and those around him weren't sure whether to worry about Harry or Thomas; I'LL KILL YOU! DON'T YOU USE MAGIC NEAR MY EGGS! I'LL KILL YOU ALL!

Harry grabbed the nearest trainer's arm as soon as he got to him. "Please, please don't attack her! She's just defending her eggs! If you attack her she might hurt the students!"

That got the trainer's attention. "Fall back!" he shouted to the others, then pulled Harry out of the way as the dragon lashed out at the group again.

Once they were far enough away, the dragon stopped screaming and settled back on her haunches, watching the group of trainers with her tail lashing.

Harry turned to the trainers. "She was only calm because I promised I'd only take the golden egg; the fake one," he explained. "She's scared and angry, and I don't think it's a good idea to go near her again. Especially with wands drawn."

One of the trainers gave Harry a dry look. "Yeah, because you can talk to her," she spat.

"Don't tell us how to do our job," another trainer snapped.

Harry glared at them all. "You're trained to handle angry dragons when the only people around are those who can take care of themselves," he snapped back. "Not in a school. If you try and stop her here, she'll kill the students. More-so, my uncle can hear dragons, and she was hurting him. If you go near her again, I'll stop you again. Your stupidly is endangering the lives of hundreds of children, never mind some of the most highly respected people in our world. Leave the dragon alone."

Charlie Weasley cleared his throat and everyone turned to glare at him. He rose his hands peacefully. "Look, I want to get her out of here as much as the rest of you, but Harry's got a point. There are too many people around here right now. And I'm inclined to believe that she and Harry had an understanding; when was the last time you watched a nesting mother let anyone near her eggs like that?"

The other trainers seemed to allow that reasoning and agreed to leave the Horntail alone until after the students had cleared out.

That left Harry with trying to find a way back to the other side of the field, past the angry dragon.

Taking a deep breath, Harry put his wand into his back pocket and made sure his robes covered it, then held his hands up and stepped forward. The dragon narrowed her eyes and huffed a warning cloud of steam. Harry nodded in understanding of the warning, then pointed behind her. "I just want to go over there. They promise not to attack you again." Yet.

The dragon's tail lashed a few times, then she nodded and curled around her nest a bit tighter.

Harry hurried around the field – taking care to keep as far away from the watching dragon as possible. Once he was safely back on the side where his friends and uncle were, he bowed to the watching dragon, then turned and hurried over to where Madam Pomfrey was fussing over a grimacing Thomas. "Uncle Thomas!" Harry whispered and knelt next to his uncle to give him a quick hug.

Thomas offer his nephew a pained smile. "Thank you."

Harry bit his lip. "None of the others bothered you, did they?"

Thomas shook his head, then winced. "Ah, no. The best explanation I've got for that was that the others didn't actually try and talk to me. She did. I'm glad you're okay, though."

Harry scowled. "Yeah, about that. I thought I was the Champion here."

Thomas grinned. "But I'm cooler," he teased.

Madam Pomfrey came back from the medical tent with a potion in one hand, which she gave to Thomas. "Headache Potion. Drink it!"

"Bless you," Thomas murmured in appreciation, then downed the thing quickly, barely noticing the taste. "Oh, thank Merlin. I can think again."

"Next time they hold an event with screaming dragons involved, I'm leaving you home," Lucius offered dryly, then helped Thomas to his feet. Thomas grinned at him with a faint blush.

Bagman's voice boomed out over the stadium before anyone could speak again: "And now for Mr Potter's marks!"

The entire group turned to watch as four tens hit the air followed by a nine. Harry simply stared at the judges in shock while all his friends around him broke out into loud squeals and shouts of joy and the stands exploded with cheers. Thomas shifted over and drew his nephew into a hug. "So very proud of you," he whispered, making Harry blush. Then Thomas moved out of the way so Harry's friends could crowd him with their congratulations.

As Thomas leaned down to pick the golden egg back up, the dragon's voice echoed in his mind; I did not mean to hurt you, Traveller. You have raised your hatchling well.

Thomas glanced over the students' heads at where the dragon was watching him and nodded. Then, he closed his eyes and tried to mentally send a message to the dragon; I know you did not intend me harm and I cannot fault you. Thank you for not hurting Harry, even after they upset you so.

The dragon huffed; I don't want them near my eggs with their sticks.

Thomas bit his lip and glanced over at the arguing dragon trainers; They will try again, once all the children are gone. They want to take you back to the reservation.

The dragon reared her head and turned to glare warningly at the trainers; NO! I will stay HERE!

Thomas winced; They're afraid you'll hurt the children. And it gets cold here.

The dragon huffed; No. Tell them I will stay here. I will not hurt the hatchlings, but I will STAY HERE.

"Uncle Thomas?" Harry said, tugging on Thomas' sleeve. "What's wrong?"

Thomas shook his head. "She doesn't want them near her again. She'd rather stay here."

"This is a school," McGonagall replied, looking horrified.

Thomas shrugged. "She said she'd leave the children alone."

"A real dragon," Hagrid whispered, looking like Christmas had come early.

"No, Hagrid," the six teens said at the same time as McGonagall.

Lucius snorted. "I doubt the dragon will be giving you a choice, Professor. Anyway, no one would try anything against the school if you had a dragon on the grounds."

McGonagall pursed her lips angrily. "I leave this for the Headmaster," she declared, then turned to Harry while Thomas groaned and Lucius sneered. "My Potter, I believe you are to report to the Champions tent."

"Right. Going," Harry said, then jogged away.

Thomas frowned when McGonagall turned back to him. "What– Oh, blast it all. Let's go argue with the Headmaster, then. Lucius?"

Lucius scowled. "Very well. I shall come as a member of the Board of Governors."

"And what am I?" Thomas shot back as they fell into step behind McGonagall and waved to the leaving children.

"Our interpreter," Lucius replied blandly.

Thomas just rolled his eyes.

-~/^\~-


After a lot of hemming and hawing, it was decided that the dragon would be allowed to stay. Of course, the dragon putting half the trainers in St Mungo's for a week when they tried to capture her again seemed like a good enough reason to let her stay. As long as she didn't hurt the children.

A fence around where the dragon had settled insured that the students would stay out and Hagrid made fast friends with the mother – with Thomas' help – by finding out what she liked to eat and then bringing her meals every day.

-~/^\~-


'Uncle Thomas,
'So, I HAVE to go to the Yule Ball. Which means I can't come home for Christmas. It's NOT FAIR.
'Ugh. Also, I have to have a date. Which means asking a girl. But the only girl I really know is Hermione. And, I mean, Hermione's a great friend and all, but I just can't see taking her to the Ball. And, yeah, I told her all that. She said she would have probably been uncomfortable too.
'Sirius, of course, just suggested I make a scene and invite a GUY to the dance. I don't think McGonagall would like that much. Hell, I'm not even sure I COULD. (And then there's the problem of asking a guy to the dance. About a million times worse than asking a girl.
'On other news, I'm going to throw this egg against a wall.
'ARGH!
'Harry'


-~/^\~-


'Harry,
'Don't throw the egg against the wall, it'll probably crack the stone. Tell you what. Take the egg into the bath with you one evening – and throw a silencing charm on the door – and listen to it there. You'll get it eventually.
'Oooh, dating. Sorry, kid. You're on your own, here. I highly doubt homosexual couples are banned from the dance, though. I mean, the wizarding world has it's moments, but I don't think this is one of them. (Think about it. You won't have to dance if you come with a guy. As long as he can dance, that is.)
'It's your choice. Remus, Sirius and I won't fault you no matter what you choose.
'I know you can't come here for Christmas, but I think you should try a Christmas at Hogwarts. Your friends will still be there, too. And Christmas in the magical world is a little different than how we usually celebrate it. (You'll probably like it better, anyway. Sirius certainly does.)
'Love,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas,
'I need your help. Viktor Krum asked me to the Yule Ball, but I almost feel like I'd be betraying Harry if I went with him. And, well, I know I told Harry that going to the Ball with him would be weird, but I think going to Ball with Krum would be even weirder. Ooooh....
'Hermione'


-~/^\~-


'Hermione,
'That's rather a difficulty, isn't it? Well, I'm inclined to tell you to talk to Harry about it, especially since you feel like it would be a betrayal if you went with Krum.
'Sorry I can't be of more help,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Uncle Thomas,
'So, Hermione and I talked it out. I said I didn't mind if she went with Krum, but she still wasn't comfortable with it. So, anyway, we've just decided to go together. It'll be uncomfortable, I guess, and a little weird, but at least we both have a date and Hermione doesn't have to stress over going with Krum. It'll work out.
'Damn you and your Sight. Hermione and I started pouring over the stupid rhyme after we agreed to go together and, well, so... We have to retrieve something underwater from... Well, I said the squid. Hermione thinks it'll be merpeople. She MIGHT be right, I suppose. I mean, the squid can't talk. (Or CAN it?) I wish I knew what they were going to take, though. So I can hide it now.
'Harry'


-~/^\~-


'Harry,
'I'm glad you two worked that out and I hope you have a great time. Who are Draco and Neville going with?
'If you're just now damning my Sight, wait until you've lived with it.
'Mmmm. I don't think you can hide what they're going to take, but good-luck with that.
'Love,
'Thomas'


-~/^\~-


'Uncle Thomas,
'You're a right prat. Tell me what they're going to take!
'Draco's going with one of the girls in his house, Pansy Parkinson. Neville's going with Ginny Weasley. Bit of a shock to all of us. Also, Draco and Neville agreed to teach me to dance, so at least I won't look like a TOTAL moron. I hope.
'Harry'


-~/^\~-


'Thomas Leland-Potter,
'An interesting thing happened when we drew for what our Champions will most miss – I'm sure Harry is keeping you up to date – and that interesting thing was that you were the thing he'd most miss. Since I know you intend to come to the Second Task with Mr Malfoy anyway, I ask if you could come the night before, instead. You have my oath that nothing will hurt you during this Task.
'Albus Dumbledore'


-~/^\~-


Thomas did, in fact, go in to Hogwarts the night before, but not without forewarning Lucius about where he'd be and making sure his friend would bring Sirius in Thomas' stead. Once he'd gotten there, he was led up to Dumbledore's office by a frowning McGonagall. In the office were the three headmasters, Ludo Bagman, Percy Weasley, a young girl Thomas knew to be Gabrielle Delacour, Cho Chang and a pretty young woman Thomas didn't know from Ravenclaw. The children seemed quite surprised to see another adult in the room and a few shot him curious looks as he joined their line.

Bagman cleared his throat. "Well, now that we're all here..." He paused and glanced at Percy, who frowned at him. "Ah, yes. Well. So! All four of you will be put under until you're out of the water at the end of the Task. The creatures of the lake know not to touch you, though they may attack the Champions. Any questions?"

Gabrielle nodded. "We will be underwater?" she asked in French, looking at Madam Maxime.

The headmistress looked torn – she probably wasn't allowed to say anything beyond what Bagman had said – so Thomas said, "Yes, but we won't be awake to know we are," in French.

Both the girl and the headmistress looked surprised. "Merci," Gabrielle said after a moment with a shy smile.

Thomas winked back at her, then glanced up at their audience. "Some things got lost in the translation," he explained.

"Ah, of course." Bagman smiled winningly. "Now, then. If you'll each allow the Heads to spell you?"

Thomas glanced over at Gabrielle and saw her twisting her robe in her hands nervously. He settled a hand on her shoulder and smiled. "You'll be fine," he offered gently, and got a grateful look in return.

Then a spell was washing over him and all went black.

-~/^\~-


Thomas came to as his head crested the water. Next to him, Harry was gasping at the air and Gabrielle seemed to be trying very hard to stay above the water. "Well done, Harry," he murmured to his nephew, who grinned at him. "Gabrielle," he said to the girl in French, "climb onto my back and we'll get you to shore."

"Merci," the girl said, then got onto Thomas' back when he moved over to her.

Harry and Thomas made their way slowly to the edge of the lake, where the other Champions and their hostages were curled up in blankets. Except for Fleur, who looked like she was having a minor meltdown. When they got close enough that he felt he wouldn't be yelling, Thomas called, "She is fine, Miss Delacour. Calm down before you hurt yourself."

When they got to the shore, Harry got dragged off by a scowling Madam Pomfrey while Thomas carried a smiling Gabrielle over to her sister, who looked a little calmer. As soon as Gabrielle was deposited in front of her sister, Fleur started checking her over while speaking in rapid French about why she hadn't been able to get Gabrielle herself and was her sister certain she was okay?

Thomas left the two girls to it and wandered over to where Harry was cocooned in blankets and Madam Pomfrey was standing with her hands on her hips and a glare in the Delacours' direction. Since Thomas was closer, she forced a blanket on him and made him drink a potion to warm him up while he smiled. "Couldn't you have brought them with you?" she demanded.

"I don't quite believe I'm strong enough to drag a worried part-Veela over to you when she feels she must check on her sister," Thomas commented cheerfully.

Madam Pomfrey huffed. "You could have brought the child to me, then Miss Delacour would have followed," she snapped, then stormed over to where the two girls were still chattering away in French.

Harry snickered. "She told you, Uncle."

"Hm. It seems she has," Thomas agreed, then motioned for Harry to sit with him. "Are you okay?"

Harry rolled his eyes. "Yeah. It was kinda scary while I was down there, but I'm okay now. And you? Be honest!"

Thomas chuckled and ruffled Harry's wet hair. "Just fine, child. And very proud."

Harry's cheeks turned a little red. "Why are you the only adult, anyway? I mean, the others are students. Except maybe Fleur's little sister."

"Well, for one, the other Champions are all a bit older, so they've largely outgrown their parents. They're also to the age where they're developing crushes. If you'd been a few years older, I'm sure the spell would have picked your significant other of the moment," Thomas explained with a smile.

Harry crossed his arms over his chest. "I'll never outgrow you, Uncle Thomas."

Thomas was saved responding to that by Fleur running over from where Madam Pomfrey had been treating the two Delacours with a scowl. "You got 'er too," she said to Harry in English. "She was not yours to get, but you got 'er too. Merci." Then she kissed the boy on the cheek.

Harry's blush returned. "Er, yeah. I couldn't just leave her down there."

Fleur smiled brightly at Harry, kissed his other cheek, then turned to Thomas. "Gabrielle says you comforted her in the Headmaster's office," she said in French. "And you helped her out of the water."

Thomas smiled easily. "It would be cruel to do otherwise," he replied.

"Merci, monsieur," Fleur said, then kissed Thomas' cheeks like she had Harry's.

"Je vous en prie," Thomas said. "You might want to return to Madam Pomfrey before she hunts you down again."

Fleur made a slightly disgusted look. "Oui," she muttered, then went back to where Madam Pomfrey stood with a disapproving look on her face.

Once they'd announced the scores and Madam Pomfrey had forced the group into dry clothing, Harry and Thomas hunted down the Malfoys, Hermione, Neville, Sirius and the two Weasley twins. Once they'd all congratulated him, Hermione put her hands on her hips and said, "Really, Harry. Did you have to get Fleur's sister too?"

Harry, who already felt a bit embarrassed about getting Gabrielle when he hadn't had to, scowled and snapped back," Why? Jealous?"

Hermione blinked in surprise. "What–? No!"

Thomas cleared his throat. "Hermione, you must understand that things are different when you're mostly alone in an environment that you've never faced before. What might seem like common sense on land, isn't underwater."

Hermione looked like she might say more, but Harry, boosted by Thomas' words, said, "Uncle Thomas is right. I was terrified. How was I to know that the merpeople were going to bring Gabrielle back up? Or that the spell only wore off once they'd returned to the surface? It's not like anyone told me that Uncle Thomas and Gabrielle were in a magical stasis down there or how long it would last."

Hermione bit her lip and looked away.

"Well, it doesn't matter," Neville broke in, eyes going back and forth between his two friends worriedly. "It turned out well in the end."

"Yeah," one of the twins agreed. "Let's just head up to the Tower–"

"–and celebrate Harry's 'moral fibre'," the other finished.

"Oh, alright," Hermione agreed.

The group made their way up to the party that Gryffindor Tower was throwing – Draco and Lucius had been invited despite being Slytherins. On their way, Hermione fell back with Harry and Thomas and said, "I'm sorry, Harry. You're right, I wasn't there. But I was worried about you."

Harry smiled. "Thanks, Hermione."

Thomas smiled over his nephew's head at the girl. "Harry doesn't care about winning, anyway."

"Nope," Harry agreed with a grin. "Money and fame can't buy great friends or an awesome uncle, so why would I care about it?"

Thomas ruffled Harry's hair while Hermione laughed and hugged Harry.

-~/^\~-


A/N: Monster chapter is too big. Part Two.

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: 31/3/08 22:38 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hpstrangelove.livejournal.com
I'm glad to see this update; I actually was thinking about this fic today. I read so many wips that I sometimes lose track, and I was wondering if it had been updated and I hadn't seen it! So cool when I signed into LJ and saw this!

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