You are viewing a story from

Up the River by The Ghost

Format: Novel
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 138,550
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Romance, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, Shacklebolt, Lucius, Draco, Ginny, Scorpius, OC
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 09/13/2007
Last Chapter: 06/26/2010
Last Updated: 06/28/2010

The Second Great War against Voldemort is over and Harry Potter must move on with his life. Things couldn't be better. Ron and Hermione are in love and Ginny is back with Harry yet a lingering feeling of unease is still in his mind. Can the happiness last forever? That question is soon to be answered with the arrival of two travelers who each have their own agenda concerning Harry. School is over so I'll try and get more chapters out. Sorry for the wait again!

Chapter 1: The Two Travelers
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

It was finally over. The Second War against the Dark Lord Voldemort had ended after his death to the young wizard Harry Potter. In the three months since the war had ended, his life could not have been more full of love and happiness. 

Aside from the numerous funerals and memorial services held over the summer, things had gone pretty well. Ginny and Harry were back together and Ron and Hermione had finally admitted their feelings for one another. No longer would there be a tension among the sexes in this group of youthful wizards. 

As quick as the summer came it went out and the group had found themselves on a familiar carriage ride to the castle of Hogwarts. Ginny would be starting her seventh and final year while Harry, Ron and Hermione were invited back to finish as a make up for their absence in the previous year along with any other student that had not attended. Harry and Hermione were made Head Boy and Girl and Ron Prefect of Gryffindor House. Even though being a Head had its privileges like private dorms, Harry and Hermione both declined these luxuries due to the fact that they did not want to be far from their friends. 

As the carriage made its way over the hill, the majestic school had come into view. Each of them wondered how the castle would look because the last time they were there, it had been a war zone. It had looked better than before. From the exterior it looked as if the school had never seen battle. There were no longer any crushed walls or bodies strewn across the grounds. Things looked like they were definitely shaping up, yet still in the back of his mind, Harry Potter believed something was still wrong.

“Harry? Harry?” yelled Ginny in an attempt to knock him out of the daydream he was in.

“Oh sorry, Ginny. What were you saying?” replied Harry for he knew he had been caught.

“I was asking you what’s wrong. You had that nervous look on your face again. You’ve had that a lot lately.”

“Yeah, I’ve noticed it too.” said Ron leaning up from his seated position with his arm around Hermione.

“Harry something’s bothering you. All of us have noticed it. You need to tell us what’s bothering you.” chimed in Hermione.

“I don’t know. It’s been like a dream this past summer. Everything has bee going so right for me. All of us for that matter. I’m with the girl I love.” said Harry as he looked into Ginny’s eyes and gave her a peck on the cheek. “My two best friends have stopped acting dancing around their feelings and confronted each other.” After hearing this, Ron and Hermione had engaged in a full on open mouth kiss. “Come on, I’m serious.” Harry laughed. “Things have been great. The ministry is stable once again with Kinsley as Minister and Professor McGonagall was officially made Headmistress. I just get the feelings that this can’t last forever. The dream can’t go on. I’m just worried that something really bad is going to happen and ruin all of this.”

“I think I know what the problem is Harry.” Hermione added. “You’ve never known this much happiness before. You have been fighting one battle after another with no time in between to fully enjoy life. This feeling of bliss is alien to you. That’s what I think the problem is.”

Harry let the words sink in. Hermione had a good point. There were no more battles to fight or enemies to vanquish. It was the first time in weeks that Harry had stopped analyzing his good fortune and realized that maybe life can be this good.

“Harry, the only thing you need to worry about this year is passing your N.E.W.T. s and Head Boy duties.” added Ron.

“I guess you guys are right. Let’s just enjoy all of this while we can.”

“Smart move mate. Let’s put all of this talk about sadness behind us, besides we’re just about here.”

All of the students could not help but feel a sense of comfort as the came up to the school that had changed their lives. No longer would they walk through its doors with worry or suspicion. They no longer had anything to fear from the outside world or to seek shelter inside its grounds. It was the one thing they had all come to treat it as. Home.

From close up the school had not changed much. There was the occasional spot on the wall that was a little off color, mostly from the cleanup proceding the Battle, but other than that it was still the same school. But one major change had occurred. On the way to the feast in the Great Hall, all of the passing students gathered around a large white obelisk jutting out of the center of main courtyard. It was cast out of marble bearing the crest of Hogwarts on the front side, and on the tip stood a mighty bronze Phoenix. The side everyone had gathered around bore an inscription that read:

“This Memorial is dedicated to all those who gave their lives in the Two Great Wars against the Dark Wizard Voldemort. They gave their lives so we could keep ours. May their spirit live on and let their sacrifices never be forgotten.”

Below the inscription was a list of the people who had died in both wars. Each side of the memorial had thousands of names with dates the people had died on. Those that died who were not human were also listed, which included creatures ranged from werewolves to house-elves.

Harry and the others looked to read the list and find people that they recognized. Harry could not help but feel a sense of sadness, because it seemed that every few or so lines were someone he knew.

“There’s Fred!” Ron pointed out toward the bottom of the statue.

“I see Mad Eye and Sirius on this side.” called out Hermione.

“Lupin and Tonks are over here.” said Ginny pointing to a place near the bottom.

“I found my-” Harry stopped and turned away.

Ginny turned toward Harry and saw a tear roll down his cheek. “What is it Harry? Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. It’s just that I found my parents names. This year is going to be eighteen years since they died.”

“I know. It’ll be okay. We don’t have to stay here. Let’s get to the Great Hall.” Ginny motioned toward Ron and Hermione. “Besides, I’m sure you must be hungry from the train ride.”

“I know I am.” chimed in Ron.

“You’re always hungry Ron.” retorted Hermione.

“Well I do have to keep up my strength if you’re going to be my girlfriend.”

“Hello, sister present, I don’t need to hear that.” said Ginny in a mock disgusted manner.

The four of them started off toward the Great Hall laughing as they went. As they entered past the thick wooden doors, each of them reflected on the first time they had entered it. The night sky on the ceiling could not have been more beautiful. The moon was full, the stars were shining bright and there was not one cloud.

One by one, all of the students made their way in and sat at their respected house tables. A group of young students had gathered up toward the staff table for the sorting ceremony. It seemed that all of the students had made it back this year because there was nothing to keep them back. Even Draco Malfoy had returned. Harry’s group noticed him by his blonde hair the minute they walked in.

“How the hell was he allowed to come back?” asked Ron in a rather angry manner.

“His father gave up all of the information he knew on the whereabouts of escaped Death Eaters. As part of a deal they cut him, he was allowed to keep his assets, his job at the ministry and the privilege for Draco to attend school here.” replied Hermione. “Bullshit if you ask me.”

Ron was taken back. Never before had he heard Hermione curse like this. He made mention of the fact by giving her a wide-eyed expression.

“What did you expect from all the time I spend with you?” laughed Hermione. “Let’s just enjoy the feast, shall we?”

Once all of the houses were seated Professor McGonagall made her way to the podium to make her welcoming speech. The usual teachers adorned the staff table. Professor Flitwick, Madam Pomfrey, Hagrid, and the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher Bill Weasley, were all at the table.

Bill had been offered the position during the summer and gladly accepted. His position would likely cease in the middle of the year because Fleur had announced in June that she was two months pregnant with her first child.

Kingsley Shacklebolt was seated next to McGonagall at the head table and waved to Harry as McGonagall started to make her speech.

“As your new Headmistress this year, I would like to welcome all of you back. It is such a pleasure to see such wonderful faces again. I would also like to welcome the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, who has decided to oversee the new class entering Hogwarts this year. As you all have noticed, the school has been completely repaired and will function in its usual manner as in previous years. I’m sure that most of you have noticed the memorial erected in the courtyard and so I am asking for a moment of silence for those who lost their lives fighting in the war this past year.” It seemed like this moment lasted forever to Harry, for he knew just how many people had died. “Thank you all. Now, let the sorting begin!”

Just as the Headmistress was about to unfurl her list of first years a long crack of thunder broke out in the sky above the Great Hall. Soon the crack was joined by more in rapid succession and lightning and wind were added to the mix. All of the students looked up in fear as the night sky seemed to turn into hell. None of the teachers had ever seen the ceiling do this and were frightened just as well. Harry looked on knowing that he had been right before. Something was definitely wrong.

The storm in the sky seemed to get more violent by the minute. Out of the turmoil in the air appeared a wind-like vortex among the angry grey clouds. Pretty soon it was as big as the Great Hall itself. The next part of the storm no one was prepared for.

All of a sudden the storm went quiet and out of the vortex erupted a column of blue smoke, which proceeded to fall and for some reason completely surround just the four long tables seating the students. The teachers started to draw their wands in fear as to what kind of dark magic could do this when the vortex spewed out eight black columns of smoke. Each one of these dark columns quickly fell into a circular pattern surrounding the Hogwarts staff.

Slowly, one by one, each of the dark clouds took the shape of a person. All of them were clad in black and by the looks of them were not much older than 17. Each one of them had their wands drawn and was ready to strike at any moment. The trapped students could only look on in fear as they soon discovered that no spell broke the barrier. Harry, Ron and Hermione along with most of the other students tried at least a dozen times. All they could do was watch and listen.

“What is going on? What is the meaning of this intrusion?” asked McGonagall in a desperate attempt to make some sense out of the situation.

“In good time Madam.” spoke a cold shrill voice from a tall blonde wizard among the intruders. “All of your worries will soon be over. For now, you can call us Redeemers.”

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” said McGonagall as she raised her wand angrily at the leader.

“Drop the wand Madam. You are completely surrounded. Besides, the barrier currently surrounding your precious students is a Deprimo charm, which means at any time I could squash the entire student body into a human jelly by shrinking the barrier, and I’m sure you don’t want that. So please, all of you, drop the wands.” commanded the leader.

Two sounds only filled the room after that. One was the sounds of panic coming from inside the barrier and the sound of wands hitting the stone floor on the teacher’s stage.

“Now that we see eye-to-eye, maybe you can meet our demands.” spoke the leader.

“And those would be?” quipped McGonagall.

“We have come for three of your students. Our reasons are none of your concern. We only want Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, and of course the great Harry Potter.”

“Out of the question! We will not allow you to take them or any student from this school.”

“I’m afraid that’s not your decision. Its theirs.” replied the leader as he turned toward the enclosed students. “HARRY POTTER, RONALD WEASLEY, AND HERMIONE GRANGER! We have only come for the three of you. If you show yourselves at the front of the barrier immediately, no one will be hurt. If you don’t, then everyone’s life in this room will be forfeit. The choice is yours.”

“What are we gonna do?” Ron said to Harry in a nervous tone.

“We have to go up there or he’ll kill everyone. I’m not losing anyone else. We have to go.”

“Harry’s right Ron. It’s either we do what they want or we all die.” said Hermione.

As if it was the last thing he was to do alive, Harry pulled Ginny close to him and said “I’ll always love you.” and gave her a deep kiss. After about 10 seconds he pulled away and starting walking toward the front. Ron and Hermione, hand in hand, followed behind.

As the trio made their way forward, the blonde Redeemer looked on with a twisted grin. He himself walked down to meet them at the barrier. As they came closer to one another the barrier opened a door-sized hole to allow the trio to come out. As soon as all three of them were out, they were hit by an Incarcerous Charm and were instantly bound together in tight rope. Soon after their wands were taken and placed in the Second in Command’s side bag.

The leader turned toward the stage and said, “We have the prize, now seal the deal.” As soon as this was said, another barrier was cast around the teachers by the other Redeemers.

“Job well done Scorpius.” cheered a pale lanky looking intruder.

“We’re not done just yet, Reul. There is still one problem.”

“And that is?”

“They're still alive.” said Scorpius as he pointed toward his bound captives. “Bring me the sword. I want everyone here to remember this day, the day we killed the Golden Trio.”

From among the 7 Redeemers behind him, one emerged carrying an English longsword. There was nothing to fancy about this weapon, except for the fact that it was going to be the weapon that triumphed where even the Dark Lord had failed. The Redeemer handed it over to Scorpius who accepted it with a devilish smile on his face.

Then he turned to the three bound students and said, “Any last words Mr. Potter?”

“Yeah, I have some.” said Harry as he looked at his friends and thought for a moment. “No matter how this ends, you and your friends are all going to burn in hell.”

“Thank you for that Mr. Potter, but I think you’ll find that it’ll be you in hell before me.” said Scorpius as head place the blade on the back of Harry’s neck and then raised it with two hands behind his head. The next thing everyone anticipated was the sound of the sword cutting through the air before Harry’s neck and screams afterwards.

Scorpious was about to make the final blow when came a sudden roaring rumble from behind the doors of the Great Hall. As Scorpious turned his head toward the large wooden doors, there was another, even greater, rumble that seemed to shake the walls of the school.

“Smythe, Avery, Kurtz, check the door.” commanded Scorpious as three of the Redeemers motioned toward the door.

The three henchmen crept slowly to the door, expecting something to jump out at any minute. As they moved closer to the door, they could see through the small cracks that there was an immense light source on the other side. As they got closer, one of the Redeemers turned back toward Scorpious and said, “Sir, there seems to be some sort of bright light on the other side.”

Scorpious in a sudden realization yelled, “IT’S A TRAP! GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR!”

Before the men could follow the order, the doors to the Great Hall flew open to reveal an intense white light, which instantly pulled in the three scout Redeemers.

“They know we’re here!” said Scorpious in a nervous tone. “You three, cover the door. Cut off the first wave when it’s sent through.”

The three bound hostages could only look on in and watch their captor’s plan’s fall to pieces. “Plans not working out Scorpious?” said Harry in a mocking tone. Ron and Hermione could only laugh at their sudden change of fortune.

“Reul, gag them. I don’t want to hear another peep out of any of them.” said Scorpious to his second in command.

As all this was happening, the three other Redeemers were moving closer to the door when suddenly a tiny black ball was thrown through the light from the other side. As the henchmen looked on in curiosity the ball exploded producing pitch black darkness in the room.

When this happened an ungagged Ron turned toward Harry and said, “It’s Peruvian Blackness Powder. I’d know that sulfur smell anywhere.” There conversation was cut short when through the darkness a loud deafening scream was heard. By the sound of things, the Redeemers were losing numbers fast and a loud crack of lightning was heard ever few seconds followed by another scream. When things could not get any stranger, a low pitched growl was heard followed by a bark. For some odd reason it sounded like a dog was in the room.

Whatever was happening in the darkness, someone knew what they were doing because pretty soon the only sounds being heard were of people breathing and a dog growling. There were no spells being cast or panic stricken Redeemers running from the unknown terror. Harry, Ron and Hermione could only help but think they were next. Their fears were disproved when a calm voice whispered to them, “When you have the opportunity to run, take it. Otherwise pretend you are still bound, you’re no good to me dead.” said the Stranger as they felt their ropes being cut. Just then the darkness started to settle.

As the darkness started to fade, a figure emerged from near the white light. Scorpious and Reul, the only two Redeemers left standing, tried to find their bearings and make sure there catch was still with them. A quick glance revealed that they were in the same place, but did not reveal to him that they were less restrained. The quick glance was all the reassurance he needed to advance forward and confront the stranger. “Reul, make sure they don’t go anywhere.”

“Reveal yourself! Or else!” shouted Scorpious pointing his wand toward the figure standing in the light.

“Or else what? You’ll kill me?” said the Stranger in a full voice much more confident and heartier than the whisper he gave Harry. “No, I don’t think I’ll let you do that again,” replied the Stranger as he moved out of the light revealing his true form. Following behind him was a large black burly dog. As the stranger came closer, a look of extreme fear appeared on Scorpious’ face.

“What’s the matter Scorpious? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” continued the stranger as he moved forward showing more and more to all those looking on. He was clad in black and had fair skin with a head of thick shaggy black hair. By the looks of him he was 6’3” at about 180 pounds and no older than 17. The most interesting thing about him was his piercing green eyes.

“How did you-?”

“How did I survive? Let’s just say that I now know I have friends on the other side.” replied the Stranger.

“Even if that were true, there is nothing you can do to stop me. That’s what you were sent back for, right?”

“Yes, and to reclaim my wand.”

“I almost forgot I still had that.” said Scorpious as he pulled a white wand out of his jacket pocket, which he then tossed on the ground.

By this time the two young men were about twenty feet apart staring each other down like two gunfighters ready to duel.

“That reminds me of something you gave me once too.” said the Stranger as a he slowly pulled a mid-sized silver dagger out of his pocket. “Do you remember this? It’s the same dagger you used to stab me in the back.”

“Drop it.” replied Scorpious as he slowly shook his head trying to trick himself into thinking he did not do those things. “Drop it or I swear I’ll finish the job this time.”

“If you’re gonna finish me, use this” said the Stranger holding up the dagger. “Except this time don’t come from behind like a snake in the night. You look me in the eye when you do it! You see the soul leave my body and know that you, and nobody else, killed one of the few friends you had.” said the Stranger as a tear slowly rolled down his cheek. “Here, catch.” And in an instant the dagger was sailing upward in an arc toward Scorpious.

Scorpious took his eyes off the Stranger for a split second to see the dagger fly upward and when he looked toward the place where he was standing, the Stranger and the black dog were gone. The silence of their sudden disappearance was over when the dagger finally landed blade down, causing it to stick out of the stone floor.

“He’s gone! Where did he go?” shouted Reul, still perched on the spot with his wand drawn on his three bound hostages.

“He’s still here. He and the dog just apparated out.” replied Scorpious looking in every direction in hopes of spotting the mysterious Stranger.

“Are you sure? He could be anywhere!” replied Reul as he felt a hand tap him on the back of his shoulder.

“He always thinks he’s sure.” replied the familiar voice of the Stranger who suddenly apparated behind Reul.

Before Reul could turn and draw his wand, the Stranger, with lightning quickness, knocked him across the room with an upper cut to the jaw leaving him passed out on the floor. And before Scorpious knew what was happening behind him, he was tackled by the black dog who appeared as quick as the Stranger. He would have cursed the dog off of him but the tackle had dislodged his wand from his hand and landed several feet away. The only thing he could see other than the dog on top of him was the Stranger walking toward him. He only stopped for second to pick up the white wand Scorpious had dropped earlier and the dagger that was still embedded in the stone floor, which was quickly put into his pocket.

“White oak and angel feather, 13 inches long. Nothing like the feeling of your own wand in your hand.” Said the man clad in black as he stood over the bloody blonde rag doll under the dog’s fierce grip. “Down Padfoot! Let him breathe.”

At the mention of the dog’s name, Harry felt a connection to this person. Did he know Sirius? Had they meet before and someone mentioned the name? The rush of questions in his mind was interrupted by the grunts Scorpious was making as the Stranger held him off the ground by his neck. He must have been immensely strong because he was only using one hand.

“Harry? Harry?” yelled the Stranger without taking his eyes off Scorpious.

“Yeah,” replied Harry as he knew this was the moment that the Stranger had told him about when it was safe to leave the bonds.

“Take your friends and stay back. I don’t know what he’s capable of, but I can’t let anything happen to you.”

“But, we can help.” yelled Ron who was now just as free as Harry and Hermione.

“You can only help me by staying back. Just trust me.” said the Stranger looking back toward the shaken trio giving them a look of concern. Then he turned his gaze back onto the squirming Scorpious. “Before I send you and Reul back like the rest of your boys, I need to know who cast the spell.”

“If I tell you he’ll kill me.” replied Scorpious as he tried shaking loose.

“If you don’t tell me, then I’ll kill you.” said the Stranger with an anger serious voice. He waited a few seconds to see if he would finally crack. “No answers, then I guess you don’t need the ability to talk.” As he said this, his grip on the blonde boy grew tighter until finally he provided the answer.

“IT WAS GREYBACK!!” shouted a choking Scorpious. As he finished the Stranger loosened his grip.

“Now that we have that settled, where is the item you stole from the Ministry?”

In fear of being tortured further he simply replied, “Around my neck.” Once this was said the Stranger felt inside of the boy’s shirt and pulled out a silver object on a chain. Even from across the room, Harry and Hermione recognized it instantly as a Time-Turner.

“The only thing left to do is send you back.” said the Stranger with a look of satisfaction on his face.

“If you do that, then I’m dead either way. The Ministry will give me the Kiss or Greyback will find me first.”

‘Then I guess, the next time we meet will be in Hell.” replied the Stranger. And as he said this he tossed the blonde boy by the throat across the Great Hall and into the light. As he hit the light he instantly disappeared. The Stranger was in a daze of euphoria and victory when a shout brought him back to reality.

“BEHIND YOU!” exclaimed a terrified Harry.

As the stranger turned around, he could see the bruised and bloody-mouthed Reul Stromberg pointing his wand at him. “Give me the Time-Turner, or I’ll kill them” said Reul as he pointed his wand toward the trio near the back of the Great Hall.

The Stranger reached his arms toward the sky in fear of what Reul would do to them if he didn’t comply. His right hand tightly dangled the silver Time-Turner in the air. He was quickly joined by a growling Padfoot, which placed himself right at the Stranger’s side. “Come on, Reul. This isn’t you. You’re no killer.”

“Just shut up and give the Time-Turner. I’ll just take it and go” said the half frightened half desperate wizard.

“You know I can’t let you do that. You had a major hand in this. I simply can’t let you go” replied the Stranger with a calm complexion. “The only way out for you is through me. You’re just gonna have to kill me.”

“Are you willing to die just for them? Or anyone here for that matter?” said Reul as he pointed toward Harry, Ron, and Hermione with his free hand.

And without a moment’s hesitation he replied, “Yes, if it comes to that.” It seemed that after hearing this everyone in the room, with the exception of Reul, was moved by the Stranger’s display of selflessness. “If you want this thing so bad,” exclaimed the Stranger as he lowered the Time-Turner, “you’ll have to take it from me.”

“You’re not gonna do a thing as a long as I have my wand dead on Potter and his friends” replied Reul in a voice of pure anger and malice. At this statement, Padfoot bellowed a loud angry bark. “So just call off the dog and shut up!” After this, the Stranger motioned toward his dog, which then silenced itself, but still kept an uneasy growl.

Reul slowly moved closer and closer to the Stranger, his wand never leaving his three targets across the room. “Drop it in my hand and you friends will live” said Reul as he extended his arm outward taking the wand out of the Stranger’s hand and casting it aside.

“The only thing you’re accomplishing with this is further pissing me off.” said the Stranger as he slowly lowered the arm holding the Time-Turner. And with a final turn of his hand the small silver object fell into his enemy’s grasp.

“Don’t you have any famous last words before I kill you?” said Reul as he slowly backed up.

“Yeah, I have a few. Sick’em Padfoot!” and with lightning speed, the black burly dog was off and running. Just as the Expulso Charm was cast, the dog sank his teeth into the leg of the pale young wizard, diverting it to a nearby table in front of Harry, Ron, and Hermione, causing it to explode violently. They appeared to be unharmed, but knocked unconscious.

The dog was cast into a wall moments later after Reul turned his wand on it using the Killing Curse.

“NOOOO!!!” exclaimed the angry Stranger as he witnessed his companion’s death. With this bellow of anger and sadness, Reul turned his head towards the enemy and realized this was his moment to strike. His enemy was defenseless and in open range.

The Stranger, having realized this too, started a series of back flips moving him further and further away from his enemy. As he did this, spells were whizzing by missing him by only a few inches. The last back flip put on the spot where his wand was cast aside. As his hands hit the ground, the familiar feeling of his wand was in his grasp and he gripped it tightly. When the flip was complete the Stranger ducked and shot his wand forward producing a jet of green from its tip, which hit Reul squarely in the chest. The boy lowered to his knees and knew that he was done. The life in his body was quickly extinguished as he fell back onto the cold stone floor.

The Stranger having realized his task was only half over walked toward the young wizard’s body. When he was beside it he pulled the silver Time-Turner from his cold lifeless hands. In a quick motion the Stranger threw it into the air and muttered a charm as it sailed downward. When the bright hex hit it, it produced thousands of white sparks that flew into the air like fireworks. After combing the body, the Stranger found the bag containing Harry, Hermione, and Ron's wand and removed it . The next part of his job was to get rid of the last piece of evidence, the lifeless body of Reul Stromberg.

With almost the same ease as he threw Scorpious, the body was cast forcefully into the white light beyond the doors of the Great Hall. As it disappeared in to the light, the Stranger produced a golden object from around his own neck.

McGonagall, having never taken her eyes off the epic duel for a second, recognized the object as another Time-Turner much like her own. She had little time to observe it because it was cast almost as quickly as Reul into the light. Unlike the first things to enter the light, the second Time-Turner caused the it to shrink and enclose when it went through. Within two seconds the light was gone and the Great Hall returned to its normal brightness and the skies above the Great Hall returned to the tranquil night. The barriers surrounding the students and teacher disappeared as the light went out and all were caught up in cries of mixed joy that the battle was over and terror from what they had gone through.

The teachers rushed toward the students to check if they were okay and were relieved when no one answered, until a shout came from the back of the Great Hall.

“SOMEBODY, PLEASE HELP! SHE’S HURT!” yelled Ron and Harry as they slowly awoke from their unconsciousness. The teachers and the Stranger started to make their way toward the panic in a sprinting fashion each regardless of their differences. Both groups came upon the sight together.

From the looks of things, the table that had exploded from Reul’s Expulso charm caused a blast of wood fragments onto the trio. Ron and Harry had only minor cuts and bruises while the same could not be said for Hermione. Her chest was covered in blood due a large wooden shank lodged in her stomach. The teachers moved and pulled away the boys from the girl’s dying body. When the Stranger moved closer several members of the staff pushed him back in fear and misunderstanding of what he was and what they had seen him do.

“YOU stay back!!” shouted Kingsley, pointing his wand at the Stranger in an attempt to maintain order.

Hermione finally spoke as Madam Pomfrey knelt by her side, trying all of the medical spells and charms she knew. “Please don’t let me go!” cried Hermione as blood gurgled from her mouth and tears rolled down her cheeks. “I don’t want to die!”

“Somebody please do something!” shouted a crying Ron as Harry tried holding him back.

“I can’t do anything more. She has lost too much blood” said Madam Pomfrey trying one last time to stop the bleeding and heal the girl, yet with no progress.

“I CAN HELP HER!!” shouted the Stranger attempting to talk some order into the staff. “If you don’t let me help, she's going to die” exclaimed the Stranger in a calmer voice now that the Professors were looking at him.

“Let him through!” called Professor McGonagall kneeling beside the dying girl. The staff looked on in disbelief.

“You don’t know what he’ll do. He could kill the girl for all we know. We can’t trust him.” retorted Kingsley.

“He risked his life to save us all. That’s more than enough reason for me to trust him.” replied McGonagall in an effort to speed up the process of saving Hermione.

“I hope you know what you’re doing. Let the boy through” motioned Kingsley towards the rest of the staff. The students by now had gathered around with the teachers and parted to make an opening for the Stranger. He walked down the path with everyone’s eyes on him. Their eyes held the feelings of fear and curiosity as to what he would do next. When he made it to the inner circle, Ron stood in his way and said, “I just want you to know, if she dies then so do you.”

“Don’t worry, she won’t” replied the Stranger motioning Ron to step aside. “Alright, I need everyone to move back.” saying this loud enough for all to here as he kneeled next to Hermione. “I need space to do this.” Following his orders, the entire crowd moved back ten feet.

“Hermione, I need you to stay with me. This won’t work if you give up. I need you to fight.” said the Stranger in a soft voice to calm the girl down.

“Please help. Make the pain stop.” cried Hermione struggling to stay conscious.

The Stranger put his hands on the spike jutting out of her chest, causing her to wince in pain. “This may hurt at first.” Without a moment’s notice he quickly pulled the bloody steak out of her chest and tossed it aside. The sound of wood hitting the ground was blocked out due to Hermione’s screech of pain. “Stay with me!” he shouted as Hermione closed her eyes.

The Stranger then put his hands together, which looked to everyone else like a praying position. When his hands met, he started to quickly mutter a charm that no one recognized, not even McGonagall. The other thing the crowd noticed was that his hands started to glow red as he continued his charm. He started to speak faster and louder, which caused his hands to glow even brighter up until a point that no one could look at him due to the extreme light. Then in one motion he separated his hands and thrust them onto the bloody wound. When his hands met her flesh, the room was flooded by an intense scream, but it was not from Hermione. It was coming from the Stranger.

After about fifteen seconds of touching the girl, he fell backward onto the floor. No one could believe what they had seen. There was no longer a bloody pool in the middle of Hermione’s chest, but instead a clean patch of flesh. As soon as the crowd noticed, the once dying girl sat up in a dazed motion. Ron and Harry were on their knees next to her in seconds. “What happened?” she asked as the two boys hugged her for all she was worth.

“He saved you!” exclaimed Ron as he kissed her lovingly on the lips.


“Him” said Ron as he pointed toward the man lying on the ground. “Something’s wrong!” All three of the students and several staff members crowded around the boy on the floor.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Harry asked in an attempt to see what was wrong.

“Is she okay?” spoke the Stranger in a weak voice.

“She’s right here.” Harry motioned for Hermione to come forward. “You saved her.”

“Good. Keep her safe.” said the Stranger pointing toward Ron and Harry. “I need to rest now.” With those final words the Stranger passed into a deep sleep right in the middle of the Great Hall.

The only thing the staff could think to do was put him in the hospital wing and wait for him to wake up. They could only hope and pray for him to wake up so he could answer the question of the hour; what the hell were the caught in the middle of?

Chapter 2: Awakenings and Introductions
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

3 days later…..

“We’ve been over this before Minerva. We can’t let him leave here until we find some answers” said Kingsley tried to persuade the Headmistress.

Kingsley Shacklebolt and Minerva McGonagall had been arguing for days, with each other and the people they answered to. Kingsley had been in and out of the Wizengamot at least 12 times in the past 3 days trying to dissuade the high court not to make any rash decisions concerning the Stranger and what had transpired on the first day at Hogwarts. Spin control in the Daily Prophet was in full swing in order to stomp out any rumors and to prevent mass panic. Professor McGonagall had spent most of her time answering and sending owls telling concerned parents that the situation was completely safe now. Both dilemmas were solved when everyone found that the body of the Stranger was under full security by an entire garrison of aurors in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts. When they were not busy, they were in the Hospital Wing waiting for the Stranger to show some sign of waking up. This was exactly what they were doing this Thursday morning.

“Who knows if he’s ever going to wake up.” replied McGonagall in an attempt to divert Kingsley from the matter at hand. “Besides, you saw the magic he performed. The girl was dead before he brought her back.” exclaimed McGonagall. “No human by any magical standard could have performed that kind of spell.”

“Does it help to know that I’m not completely human.” replied the familiar deep voice of the Stranger as he stirred from his deep slumber, flinching at the light entering the window of the school’s hospital wing, the first light he had seen in days.

“You woke up!” exclaimed McGonagall implying that it was possible that he might never have woken up.

“How are you feeling?” asked Kingsley in disbelief that the boy dressed clad in black was finally awake.

“I’ve got a headache that could stop a freight train, but other than that I’m fine.” replied the Stranger as he rubbed his forehead. “How are the girl and the others? Are they in good health?”

“They are fine. Potter and Weasley, the two boys you saved, were treated for minor cuts and bruises and Miss Granger, the girl you healed, was kept for observation and was released the next day. She’s perfectly healthy.” McGonagall was very sincere in her response because she was grateful that this stranger before her saved three of her favorite students, not to mention the rest of the school.

“I know who they are, but I’m glad to hear that. By the way, how long was I out?”

“Three days. We thought you might never wake up.” replied Kingsley trying to display his concern as well.

“Well now you have fewer things to worry about.” replied the Stranger as he rubbed his bare arms. As he scratched lower, he finally noticed the shackles around both of his wrists. “What are these for?” asked the Stranger as he felt the cold metal on his skin.

“Those are just a safety precaution. We can’t exactly have a wizard of your caliber just waltzing around the castle. Not at least until we get some answers from you.” said Kingsley as he moved toward the hospital bed. “You stirred up quite a raucous in the wizarding world with what you did!”

“Well don’t all of you thank me at once.” replied the Stranger sarcastically. “Oh, and by the way, he would have killed all of you if I hadn’t showed up. Once he had what he needed, all of you would’ve been dead weight to him. That would have stirred up an even bigger raucous.” said the Stranger looking Kingsley dead in the eyes. “Putting all of that aside, I’m just glad to not have woken up in Azkaban.”

“Why would you think that?” asked Minerva.

“Well, I did kill a person in plain view of about six hundred people.”

“The Wizengamot has ruled that you had just cause for doing what you did. You won’t receive any punishment or retribution from us.” chimed in Kingsley.

“Thank you very much! I appreciate that.” said the Stranger knowing that he himself had one less thing to worry about. “You said before that you wanted answers, right? Well I’m here to offer some.”

‘The first thing you can tell us is your name. We can’t very well keep calling you boy or Stranger.” asked McGonagall trying to find the answer to one of the questions that had been plaguing her for days.

“Yes, that would be a start.” added Kingsley wanting just as desperately to know the answer just as much as McGonagall.

“My name is William, William Black.” said the Stranger revealing one of the many answers he had to offer.

“It’s nice to meet you William. My name is Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of this school, and this is Kingsley Shacklebolt, Minister of Magic.” said McGonagall as she pointed to Kingsley.

“Yes, I know the two of you. No need for introductions on my end.” said William, still feeling the metal around his wrists.

“I don’t know you.” said Kingsley in surprise to the answer. “I would certainly have remembered meeting you.”

“I haven’t met you either.” added McGonagall.

“If you pass me my coat, then I can further explain.” said William pointing to the chair next to his bed that had his black dragon skin coat draped across its back. Kingsley, being nearest grabbed the jacket and passed it to the young man sitting before him in the bed.

Kingsley did not suspect anything of the boy’s coat. It had been searched just like the rest of his possessions to make sure any dangerous materials were not present. The search turned up nothing but a pair of silver rimmed glasses, a small beaded bag, and the dagger William had pried from the stone floor of the Great Hall. The glasses and dagger were scanned by numerous spells but revealed no hidden features. The bag however would not open for any of them. Not one spell worked on it. These items were kept securely close by should anything happen.

The boy took the coat from Kingsley and felt around the inside left chest until a pocket slowly appeared in full view of the three people in the room.

“How can that be? We searched the entire coat!” asked Kingsley nervously.

“Relax. It’s nothing dangerous. Just a letter.” said William as he pulled an envelope out of the dark pocket. “This jacket was tailored specifically for me. It only responds to my hands and my spells, not anyone else’s.” William said this as he looked over his coat, knowing just how much it had seen on his shoulders. “I mean it when I say that it’s one a kind. Here, this is for the two of you.” said William as he handed the envelope to McGonagall.

Looking back on the coat, his eyes stared dead on a small hole that was in the middle of the back. Something was not right with why it was there.

McGonagall took the envelope into her hands and gazed at the address on the front of it. Kingsley at this point was looking over her shoulder not wanting to miss anything it contained. The address on the envelope simple said, “To Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt,” in two distinct signatures. After reading this, both of them knew each signature as their own. They were both a spot on match.

“How can this be?” asked Kingsley and Minerva simultaneously.

“Just open it and read.” commanded William in an attempt to calm their demeanors.

With quickness not common to a woman of Minerva’s age, the envelope was ripped into pieces on the floor, while the letter held in one piece in her hand. It read the following:

Dear Minerva and Kingsley,

At this time, both of you have many questions. Most of which will be answered by the young man sitting before you. According to your watches, it has been 3 days since the confrontation in the Great Hall. The boy in front of you was the one who ended it and saved Miss Granger’s life. We both know that these were very frightening events, ones that we hoped would never happen. It is in our previous knowledge of this event that we send him to you. The men who held you captive would have succeeded if it were not for his interference. To stop this terrible crime, he was sent to protect you.

When the men who seized control of your school entered through the portal in the ceiling of the Great Hall, the Balance was broken. The boy sitting in the hospital bed before you was sent to  restore that Balance. It is this reason he is there now, that and to protect the school and its precious inhabitants. The knowledge he holds, both physical and historical, will help you in the time he must stay in your company. He is no threat to the both of you or anyone in your time. We can both say, having spent time with the boy that he is one of the best kinds of people that you will ever meet. There is much you can learn from him and much he can learn from you. For this reason above all, his capacity for good, we send him to you. There are still many questions to answer. Hopefully, there in the time you spend with him, you can answers those questions together. Believe him in all that he says, it is not in him to hide the truth. It is natural that you still do not understand, but trust yourselves in the decision of his fate. We know you will make the right choice.


Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt
September 2, 2022

P.S. A test of merit will truly reveal his purpose.

“What does this mean?” asked Minerva trying to decipher the puzzle lying before her.

“Who wrote this letter?” chimed in Kingsley, equally confused.

“If I recall correctly, you did before you gave it to me and sent me back here.” replied William.

Kingsley looked over the letter again and recognized the first paragraph as his own. Minerva read it too and recognized the first paragraph as her own cursive style. Her ‘O’ was just as crooked as she usually wrote it. At like the envelope, both signatures were a perfect match.

“What do you mean ‘sent back’?” asked McGonagall.

“Look at the date and you’ll see what I mean.”

Both of their eyes were instantly below their signatures and on the date. September 2, 2022. That just couldn’t be. It is 1998. That is 24 years into the future. Kingsley and Minerva knew what this meant. The boy sitting in front of them traveled back through time 24 years. As the two of them looked up from the parchment, their eyes met his and saw only a look of truth.

“Now do you see why I know you and the children of this school? I have been here before. I am in fact a student of this school in the future. I was going to start my seventh year before I was sent back.” said William with a tone of complete honesty.

“I’m starting to believe what he is saying is true.” said Kingsley as he considered the idea of this boy being sent from the future to protect them to be very plausible. The portals that both he and Scorpious entered through closely resembled temporal passages. McGonagall could account for this having been the keeper of a Time Turner for many years.

“I believe him too.” answered McGonagall. “By the valor and selflessness you displayed in the Great Hall, I would say that this entire portion of the letter describing you is true. Please, you have to tell us the full story of why you were sent. What happens in the future that is so terrible?” asked McGonagall, her curiosity even greater than before.

“Yes, please. We need to know more if I am to present this in front of the Wizengamot. I need a good reason to let you free.” said Kingsley hoping that William would agree.

‘That’s no problem, but please take these shackles off first. I never liked the feeling of cold metal on my skin.” replied William.

In an instant, one of the aurors standing guard outside of the medical wing was called in with the key to the shackles. He was immediately sent back out as soon as they were off.

With a free hand, William offered McGonagall and Kingsley his hand to shake. They both accepted it peacefully.

“It’s nice to make your acquaintance William Black.” said Kingsley with a tone of genuine sincerity and gratefulness.

‘The pleasure is all mine Minister.”

“Before I tell you what you need to know I have some questions of my own. For starters, am I going to stay here as a prisoner like before or as a student?” asked William with a concerned demeanor.

“The Wizengamot decided, before you woke up that in the event you did awaken a court appointed official would monitor your presence here. The person they chose is not my first choice, but he was the one picked so it is his duty.” said Kingsley with a look of disappointment.

“Who is it?” asked William, now also curious.

“Guard, send in Lucius!” commanded Kingsley motioning to the auror near the door to the medical wing.

As the door opened, a man with long blonde hair and a serpent headed cane stepped into the room, his face holding an icy scowl. He exuded an air of superiority and evil in his movements. From the minute he entered the room he never took his glare off of William. It was as if he was waiting for the boy to do some great feat of magic in front of him.

“You requested me sir?” said Lucius with a tone of aggravation.

“Yes, Lucius. This is the boy you are assigned to watch.” said Kingsley motioning toward William who was starting to get out of bed.

“So this is the one who saved the day.” said Lucius with a strong tone of sarcasm. “I must say I’m a little disappointed. From the stories I have heard, you seemed to be a little more grandiose.”

“You’re no great shakes yourself Malfoy.” said William in an equally disappointed tone.

“How did you know my name?” asked Lucius, curious to know how this boy knew him.

“Let’s see. The blonde hair, sense of entitlement, equally annoying sense of superiority over anyone less than pure blood… you reek of the Malfoy name.” said William knowing he had struck a nerve in this particular person.

“HOW DARE YOU!” yelled Lucius defending the delusional sense of pride he had for his family.

“No, how dare you? Fucking sell-out.” yelled back William. “Pardon my language Professor McGonagall, Minister.”

“Gentlemen, control yourselves!” said Kingsley trying to keep the situation contained.

“I can handle this Minister.” said William as he redirected his focus toward Malfoy. “I say ‘how dare you’ because of who you are and what you do.”

“What exactly would that be you disrespectful piece of trash?”

“You stood by the Dark Lord’s side in battle, correct? And what happened there? I’ll tell you. When things got too real you panicked. Instead of living with the decision you made for not only yourself, but for your wife and son, sit back and let the shit storm you helped create end the lives of many people far better than you will ever be.”

“I will not stand for this, I--” Lucius could not finish for William cut him off.

“Shut your mouth! I’m not done yet.” yelled William, now having Lucius’ full attention. “Then what happened when the war was over? You gave up the side you had chosen. Not only did you give up your comrades but also the little credit you had with anyone else in the world. You are a traitor to both sides and everyone knows it.” William knew he had Lucius at sensitive place. “It’s a terrible thing to live life knowing that everyone around you knows just how cruel and inhuman you are, but its not my place to pass judgment. All I know is that I cannot trust a man who became the two lowest things in life: a traitor and a rat. Therefore, I will not accept you as the person fit to watch over me.” And with that statement William turned his back on the speechless man before him and walked toward the window looking out onto the school grounds.

Kingsley having realized the magnitude of what William had just said rushed over to him and tried to reason with him.

“William, please! You have to accept him.” said Kingsley trying to talk some sense into the boy. “If I don’t agree to the concession, then the Wizengamot will take further action as to how you will be monitored. I’m talking about Azkaban!”

“You have to listen to him William. He knows what will happen to you if you don’t cooperate. There is no other choice.” chimed in McGonagall, equally concerned.

“There is always a choice!” said William now looking at the worried pair before him. “I have an idea that will work if you do this right. I’m going to need your full cooperation on this.”

“We’ll see what we can do.” said Kingsley waiting to hear the boy’s idea.

“The first thing you need to do is inform the Wizengamot that I’m awake. They need to feel as if they are constantly in the loop. Next, present them the letter that I gave you. Have them test it for forgeries and enchantments. Don’t worry; they won’t come up with anything. That letter is 100% authentic.” William said this without a moment’s hesitation “The next part of this plan is crucial. When they know my reasons for being here are true, tell them I’ll give full cooperation as long as I am allowed to stay in the school and have a different monitor. Lastly, tell them that you personally will pick a new watcher for me and make frequent updates to the Wizengamot on my stay here. If all goes accordingly, then you should have no problems with me being here.”

Kingsley and Professor McGonagall thought the plan over in their heads and found that it was a very smart and well layed out plan. The only thing left to do was find a new monitor for this young mastermind.

“I think this’ll work.” said Kingsley knowing it very well would. “The Wizengamot may have been a force to be reckoned with, but now in the post-war reform they are not so much anymore. All of the, so called, negative entities have been removed.”

“May I make only one suggestion though?” asked McGonagall.

“What would that be?” replied William.

“If Kingsley makes the decision that the staff of this school be monitors, then that will keep the Wizengamot out of play so to speak. They won’t have the control they had years ago under Umbridge. You would be under our supervision.” said the wise old woman while pointing to herself and Kingsley.

Professor McGonagall remembered just how bad it had been under that toad of a woman’s rule all those years ago. She would not have martial law in her school again.

“I would prefer that better than some Ministry appointed stooge.”

“I think I can swing that at the Ministry. If all goes well, then by nightfall you’ll be in our care.” The thought of this made William much more comfortable than having to be under the hateful glare of the man in the back of the room.

“Malfoy!” yelled Kingsley.

“Yes, sir.”

“Your services are no longer needed here. Please vacate the school as soon as possible.”

“But sir-”

“But nothing Malfoy. You are no longer needed. Pack up your things and go.” said Kingsley with not an ounce of remorse in his voice. He to knew of the atrocities he had committed during the war and showed no sense of respect toward the man whatsoever.

With these final words from his superior, Lucius Malfoy collected himself and left the Medical Wing in a heat of anger knowing he could do nothing to change this decision.

“Now that we have that settled, you need to hear the full story.” said William feeling a little more comfortable now that Malfoy was out of the room.

“Before you tell us, would you like anything to eat? You must be hungry after sleeping for three days. We could have something brought over from the Great Hall. Breakfast is being served now if you’d like?” asked McGonagall realizing the young man must have been starving having not moved for three days.

“Yes, I’m very hungry but that can wait till later. This is more important.” said William knowing they had to hear the whole story. “I do have one request though. If breakfast is being served, then the students must be awake. Correct?” said William as McGonagall and Kingsley nodded in agreement. “Potter, Granger, and Weasley need to hear it too. Would you mind sending for them?”

“That shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll send Madam Pomfrey to fetch them right away.” replied the Headmistress seeing no problem in having these students in the same room with him.

Before long, Madam Pomfrey was on her way to the Great Hall to bring the students back with her.

“Please, continue. Start from the beginning.” exclaimed Kingsley with the eagerness of a school boy.

“Yes please.” added McGonagall.

“Alright, where should I start? Well, in the wake of the Second War against the Dark Lord….”

Meanwhile in the Great Hall...

The student body of Hogwarts was having their breakfast, trying to shake the feeling of sleep from their bodies. Except for the talk of the Stranger and the events they witnessed just three days before, the school was almost back to normal. The threat of being taken out of school because of frightened parents was extinguished due to the assurance Professor McGonagall made that everything was under control. The only thing that remained on their minds was who was the boy that saved all of them and how did he save that girl? That girl was sitting with her friends having breakfast as if nothing had happened.

“Hermione, you have to talk about it. It’s not healthy to keep all of your emotions bottled up like that. You nearly died for Merlin’s sake!” exclaimed a concerned Ron as he put his hand on her shoulder while she sat and ate her breakfast.

The last few days she had tried to brush off the frequent questions and confrontations about what had happened. As usual, she buried herself in schoolwork to occupy her mind.

“Please Hermione; you have to let us in. We can’t help you like this.” added an equally worried Harry.

“You can trust us Hermione.” chimed in Ginny who was sitting next to Harry across from Ron and Hermione.

After this display of concern by her friends, Hermione Granger broke down into tears.

“I can’t keep living like this.” said Hermione trying to hold back her tears.

“Like what?” asked Ron.

“Not knowing the answers. Ever since you have known me, I have always had the answer to the problem. This feeling of not knowing is eating away at me.” sobbed Hermione. “I don’t know what’s worse, knowing that I almost died” she said while looking at her close friends “or not knowing how I came back to you? I need to know the truth!”

“As soon as he wakes up, we’ll all know the truth. We just have to wait until that happens.” exclaimed Harry.

“What if that never happens? For all we know he could be dying as we speak.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” added Madam Pomfrey who had entered the Great Hall undetected. The four Gryffindor students simply didn’t notice her due to Hermione’s breakdown.

“What are you doing here Madam Pomfrey?” asked Hermione as she wiped away the tears in her eyes.

“The Headmistress and Minister Shacklebolt require your presence in the Medical Wing.”

“Why? Is something wrong?” asked Harry who was just as intrigued as the rest of his friends.

“Everything is fine. It’s just that…”

“Just what?” asked Ron frantically wanting to know why she was here.

“He woke up and he asked to see all of you.”

The students could not believe what the head nurse was saying. It seemed like the question that started all of their troubles was finally answered.

“Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley and Mr. Potter, you are all to come with me immediately.”

“I’m coming too.” chimed in Ginny. Having nearly lost Harry again, Ginny was not about to let him go anywhere that seemed remotely dangerous unless she was with him. After seeing the glare of unshakable decisiveness, Madam Pomfrey was not about to argue with the fiery young woman before her.

“Very well, we must be off.”

As the four of them followed the nurse out of the Great Hall and into the maze that was Hogwarts, they could not help but wonder what was in store for them by meeting this person whom they owed so much to.

Along the way they couldn’t help but notice a particularly angry Lucius Malfoy talking to his son.

“Why do I have to do this father?” asked the thin blonde haired boy to his father.

“Because he insulted the honor of our family! Do your duty as a Malfoy!” yelled Lucius angrily. “Grow a spine and do something right for once in your life!”

The scared boy could only help but nod in agreement with his father, but deep down he knew that he shouldn’t.

The argument they had witnessed was finally out of their heads when they finally reached the doors of the Medical Wing. When the auror guarding the door saw who it was he immediately opened it and let them in. When all of them entered they were greeted by Kingsley and McGonagall. Madam Pomfrey took her leave once she saw that everything was in order.

Most of the greetings were in concern of how they were all feeling, particularly Hermione. She gave her usual answer that she had been giving for the past three days. “I’m feeling fine, just glad to be alive.”

“So where is he?” asked Harry, wanting desperately to have his questions answered.

“He is taking a shower.” said Kingsley as he pointed to the bathroom door behind them. “He said that after spending three days in bed he needed to clean up.”

“Has he told you anything yet?” asked Hermione.

“He told us everything. Why he’s here? How he was able to help us? He even told us his name.” said Professor McGonagall in a cheerful tone having recently learned the answers to all of her questions.

“What’s his name?” asked Ron.

“I think you’d better ask him yourself” said Kingsley, again pointing his finger toward the bathroom door.

The boy before them, clad in black pants and a sleeveless shirt, had his face covered with a towel while he dried his hair. The only part of him they could see was his body. Up close he was much more muscular and toned. Through the black sleeveless shirt he was wearing it was easy to tell he was solid muscle. His upper arms each revealed a whip-like tattoo coiled around the muscle. Just above the tattoo on his left arm was another one which showed a phoenix rising from the ashes with an unreadable logo under it. 

As he walked closer to the four students, on bare and slightly still wet feet, he finally dropped the towel revealing his face to them. 

The one thing all of them were intrigued by was his piercing green eyes, the right of which had a fading vertical scar going straight down the skin on its top and bottom. It was hard to stop looking at them. The two boys could feel a sense of might coming from him, while the girls felt feelings of slight arousal. Something about him exuded a sense of lust and strength. Although the girls would never leave their better halves, they still felt these urges. These feelings were cut short when he finally decided to speak.

“It’s nice to see all of you again, especially under better circumstances.” said William in his strong deep voice. “Where are my manners? Allow me to introduce myself. My name is William, William Black.” As he said this, he extended his hand fourth hoping one of them would shake it. These expectations were a little too high seeing as how none of them took his hand. William was not fazed by this knowing that they were partially scared of him, but took his hand back with a disappointed look.

Harry having realized the familiarity this name held in his mind was immediately prompted to speak. “Black?! Are you related to Sirius in any way?”

“No, but I’ve heard of him though.”

“Did you ever meet him?” asked Harry curiously.

“That would be quite impossible.” replied William.

“Why’s that?” asked Harry being somewhat confused.

“It’s because I won’t be born for another 7 years.” replied William with a slight chuckle.

Harry and the others were still at a loss for words. The only remotely possible explanation for this was that he was from the future.

“Then that would have to mean-” said Hermione having said what was on everyone’s mind.

“That’s right, I’m from the future. Twenty four years to be precise.”

Some how it was all starting to make sense. Everything. The portals. The Time Turners. It all fit the pieces of the puzzle.

“If you take a seat, then I can explain further.” said William knowing they all wanted to hear the story.

“In the wake of the Second Great War against the Dark Lord Voldemort, many secrets and items were uncovered. Because of the fall of several prominent pure blood families, many magical artifacts that had been presumed lost were recovered. In one specific instance, a tomb in Glastonbury revealed to have housed many ancient and valuable items. Among these items was an early version of the Time Turner. Ministry historians dated it back to the Age of Merlin and the Knights of the Round Table.”

“The Merlin?!” exclaimed Hermione.

“Yes, I know it’s hard to believe. There are not many things of his in current possession.” added William. “Well anyway, ministry scientists had worked for years studying it trying to learn more about time travel itself. This particular model revealed, after extensive research, that it not only had the power to go back in time like your ordinary Time Turner, but also forward.” The eyes of his audience seemed to widen after saying this. 

“Instead of going back in time and being stuck, a person could come and go as they pleased. Also, because it was an older and more powerful model, it could breach magical defenses, like the ones at Hogwarts, especially anit-apparition jinxes. They soon realized, after discovering this, that they could not let such a powerful object fall into the wrong hands.”

“The wrong hands?” asked Harry. “The Death Eaters are gone. How could there be anyone who poses a threat?”

“I’m glad you asked that Harry.” added William giving Harry a look of admiration. “In my time there is a small contingent of so called rebels, mostly sons and daughters of disgraced pure bloods who were tried after the Second War. Their reasons for fighting back were to try and redeem themselves in the eyes of their elders, hence the name Redeemers.” Another piece of the puzzle had just been added. “Rumors had started to float around that they were planning something big, something that would change the future.” As William finished this part of the story there was a knock at the door and Kingsley got up and walked over and answered it. Within a minute he was back and before William.

“I’m sorry I cannot stay for the rest of the story. My assistant has just informed me about your request earlier.” Everyone besides him and McGonagall had any idea about this request. “It should be taken care of within the hour. I’ll be back shortly.”

“Thank you.” replied William. “Where was I? Oh yes, right. The ministry had their suspicions about who was the mastermind heading up this group and their ideas were confirmed after interrogations of several suspected members of the group. It was revealed that Fenrir Greyback, the notorious werewolf, was behind the group and its activities.”

“That can’t be right!” chimed in Ron. “He was caught after the Battle of Hogwarts. There’s now way he could have gotten out of Azkaban!”

“Well apparently there was inside help.” replied William as he continued the story.

“How do you know all of this?” asked Hermione trying to fill in the blanks in his story.

“That’s a fair question. In the summer, this past summer in my time, I was offered an internship with the Ministry of Magic before I would start my final year at Hogwarts, along with two other students. Our grades and awards in school had attracted some notoriety in at the Ministry. The internship involved tracking owners and possessors of known Time Turners in the Department of Chronological Interference. Some of the time we were even allowed to observe and examine the Merlin Time Turner. One of the other intern’s was there for his own reasons.” said William with an angry look on his face. “The boy I killed, Reul, do you remember him?”

“How could we forget?” said Ginny in a sarcastic tone.

“Well he was that intern and it was revealed in time that he was the insider, not the reason for my being here.”

“What is your reason for being here?” asked Harry.

“I’ll get to that in a moment. Anyway, one night we were working late and I was told that a friend of mine was there to see me. Not knowing who it was, I said to let them in just so I could see who it was. When they did finally enter, I was shocked to see that it was my once close friend Scorpious.”

“Are you meaning to tell me that you let in the very person who came back to kill us? That son a bitch was your friend?” asked Ron now red with anger realizing who William was talking about.

“HEY! You don’t know the whole story!” exclaimed William now just as angry. “You forget that I said ‘once close friend’.” said William now calming down. “We had not seen each other in months. We sort of had a falling out. But I don’t want to talk about that. It’s a story for another time. Anyway, I asked him what he was doing there and all he said was that he was sorry for doing this. When I asked him sorry for doing what, the alarm started to sound throughout the Department of Mysteries. I only took my eyes off him for a second to look at the alarm and before I could turn around that bastard stabbed me in the back with one of the daggers from the Antiquities Table.” William stopped for a second to wipe the tears forming around his eyes. “The next thing I remember was waking up to the room being filled with Aurors, my wand was missing and the dagger that Scorpious used was on the ground next to me. The sudden attack of Redeemers left five dead and one person in a coma under some bizarre spell. The two prototype Time Turners were gone as well.”

“Two more? You said there was only one Time Turner being studied?” asked Hermione trying to figure out his story.

“Yes, there were three. There was the original found in Glastonbury and two newer models reverse engineered from it. Apparently the Ministry decided to see if they could duplicate its power. They succeeded. The original, the one I used to come back, was kept in another wing with the head of the Department. I threw it back into the portal so when my task was complete they could come back and get me.”

“But still, how did you know this was the right time to come back to? Even more, why did you come back?” asked Hermione.

“To answer the first question, captured Redeemers revealed that they wanted to go back and change the past but leave out the Dark Lord. This meant coming back to a time after his death and a place where the three of you would be together. What better time would there be than your first day back to Hogwarts? All of you would definitely be here. Their goal was to take you out in one fell swoop.”

“But why?” asked Harry.

“It’s because of the parts you play in the future.” replied William.

“What parts do we play in the future?” asked Ron now just as curious.

“There is only so much I can reveal without changing the future and that is not one of those things.” William said this with a look on his face as if implying that this answer was final answer, case closed. “To answer your second question Miss Granger, I was sent here because I fit the profile of your time and surroundings. I’m young. I’m a student of this school, which means I know the area. I know about combat and defending myself from my career goal of being an Auror. I knew all about the four of you because I did several papers on you for the History of Hogwarts in my fifth year. Plus I knew what kind of people you were dealing with when I arrived, which made me the best person available to diffuse the situation. In short, I was sent to protect you.”

The four Gryffindors sitting before him knew that he was more than qualified to protect them.

“Okay, but that doesn’t explain why you are still here.” said Harry.

“During my assault on the Redeemers no other Time Turner, beside the one I destroyed, was found. The other prototype is still missing.” said William with a concerned look. “Luckily the Ministry decided to put a linking charm on them before completion.”

“A linking charm?” asked Hermione having never heard of this before.

“Yes, it means that when one of the two Time Turners was used the other could only come back within a year after the original’s selected date.” The four students sat with confused faces. “It means that the person with the other Turner could come back at any time within a year from 3 days ago. I have to stay until that other Time Turner shows up.” William said this with a slight smile. “Think of me as your guardian angel.”

All of the students could not believe him. Why had fate just dropped this trouble into their lives again? They were grateful for his help but did not fully understand him. Before they could ask more questions, Kingsley returned to the Medical Wing.

“William, everything is ready for you. My assistant and I will accompany you to Hagrid’s and no further as per your request. Are you ready to go?” asked Kingsley.

William looked up at Kingsley as he finished tying his shoes and putting his jacket back on. “I’m ready to go, but first could I have my wand and my other things back?”
Kingsley looked at Minerva in a concerned way to this question. After hearing his story, she could only give Kingsley a wise nod implying that it should be all right. As for the students, they could not believe Kingsley and McGonagall were so trusting toward him.

After Kingsley searched his pockets the wand, glasses, the beaded bag, and the silver dagger were all back in William’s possession. “Okay, lets go.” said William now walking to the door.

“But we have more questions.” said Hermione in a desperate tone.

“Later. As for right now, I have something to take care of.” As soon as this was said, he and Kingsley were out the door of the Medical Wing.

“I’m not coming with you.” said Kingsley. “I have to stay and help them figure out this situation, more importantly to think about a way to prove to the parents that you’re not a threat. My assistant will take you to Hagrid’s.”

“Thank you Kingsley. I appreciate your help with this.” replied William in a sincere tone. With these final words, he and Kingsley’s assistant were off toward the outer grounds of the school.

Meanwhile, back in the Medical Wing…

“Professor you don’t have any proof of this.” exclaimed Harry. “For all we know he could be one of them! How can you trust him?”

“For your information Potter” said McGonagall defending her morals to the student before her as Kingsley stepped back into the room, “We have all the proof we need right here.” With this statement, she produced the letter William had given to her and Kingsley before. The four of them had gathered around it and read it carefully looking for flaws to its authenticity.

“Look at the date!” said Kingsley knowing it would sway their opinion. It did indeed change his.

“But this can’t be real.” exclaimed Ron. “What are you going to tell the parents? They won’t believe this story.”

“The parents will believe what they want to believe when we tell them. As for the general public, this incident is being labeled in the papers as a failed Death Eater attack that was foiled by our new, quote unquote, transfer student William Black.” replied Kingsley. “All of the Death Eaters were executed, which explains whey there are no bodies, get it?” This cover up would work just fine if everyone cooperated.

The students could only hope to understand just what the two elders had planned.
“What about the letter Professor? How do you know it’s real?” asked Hermione “How do you know it’s not a forgery?”

“The signatures are a spot on match.” said McGonagall pointing to the last lines. “Besides, Kingsley is sending the letter to the Ministry today for verification and to see if any spells or enchantments were put on it. We should have the results back by dinner.”

“Even still, you’re just going to let him walk around unmonitored until then?” asked Harry.

“That was not our original plan.” replied Kingsley. After this statement he replayed for them the Malfoy fight earlier before. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny could not help but like William a little more after learning he too disliked the Malfoy family. “Upon the verification that the letter is authentic, the school staff will serve as monitors. WE were hoping that the three of you would also keep an eye on him. He is obviously going to keep an eye on you.”

“Besides, there aren’t any students I trust more than the three of you.” said McGonagall affectionately. “Also, we need to put him in a place that you can watch him closely. We were thinking of housing him in Gryffindor Tower.”

All four of the students were taken back. They had just met this person and now they had to think about the prospect of living with him. “We need more time with him before we can answer that Professor.” exclaimed Harry expressing the group’s general feelings.

“That is fair. You can skip classes today with my permission and spend time with him, but we need an answer when the results come back tonight.” replied McGonagall.

“All right.” said Harry and Hermione as Head Boy and Girl. “Don’t mind me asking Professor, but how is he going to prove himself to the parents? He can convince all the students by being with us, but the parents are a different story. He needs to prove himself to them”

With these words, Kingsley’s and McGonagall’s mind went back to the last lines of the letter; “A test of merit will truly reveal his purpose.” Kingsley suddenly had an epiphany.

“We’ll test him! Two days from now on Saturday.” said Kingsley with a smile knowing he had found the solution.

“What do you mean sir?” asked Harry.

“We’ll invite all of the parents to the school saying that we can prove William can stay with us.” chimed in McGonagall. “We can send the owls out tonight and have it set up for Saturday. The only thing we need now is something to test him with.”

“Tell me Mr. Weasley,” said Kingsley having an idea he knew Ron could help with, “is your brother Charlie available in the next few days?”

“He should be. You can send for him today if you like and he should get here from Romania by early Saturday.” replied Ron. “Why do you ask? Do you need a dragon or something?”

“Something like that.” replied Kingsley with a devilish smile. “You four should go find William if you want your answers. We’ll stay here and sort out the arrangements.”

The four Gryffindors were off in a flash toward the only place they knew he would be, Hagrid’s Hut.

Meanwhile at Hagrid’s…

Hagrid had been preparing his lesson on Grindylows and other aquatic creatures when he was interrupted by a knock at the door. His dog Fang was at the door before he could answer it. Hagrid received the biggest surprise of his life when he found William standing on his doorstep. “YOU’RE AWAKE!” said Hagrid.

“Yeah, sorry to bother you, but I was told that you had something of mine.” said William trying to avoid another barrage of questions.

Hagrid, having realized what William was talking about, snapped back to reality. “Oh yeah that. I didn’t know what to do with it after the battle. I figured I’d hold onto it until you woke up. I made all of the preparations just in case. Do you want it right now?” asked the burly half-giant.

“That would be great. I also need a shovel too, if you have one.”

“Sure thing.” replied Hagrid. In a flash he was off into the back of his hut and then came back carrying a shovel in one hand a large wooden box in the other. William took the shovel in one hand while levitating the box with his wand in the other hand. “There are a few nice spots I know where you can put it.”

“Thank you Hagrid, but I’ve been here before. There’s a clearing near the lake under an old oak tree. That was always a favorite spot of mine.” said William as he started to walk away.

“I didn’t catch your name Stranger.” yelled Hagrid toward the increasingly distant William.

“William. My name’s William.” said he yelling back just as loud. With this answer, Hagrid returned to his hut to continue his plans. Not 5 minutes had gone by until he was greeted by another knock at his door. This time it was by four of his most favorite students.

“Well it’s nice to see you lot again.” answered Hagrid giving each of them a big hug. “How are you feeling?”

“We’re fine Hagrid.” replied Harry cheerfully yet quickly so he could get his questions in. “Did the boy who saved us stop by?”

“William? Oh yeah! He was here five minutes ago, came by for his dog’s body.” replied Hagrid. Harry and the others had forgotten about the dog after the battle. They were consumed by questions and medical testing. “Nice guy. He was very courteous with me. I hope he makes out all right. I would have offered to help him bury the dog, but it’s something the owner should do themselves. It’s nothing a stranger should do.” Hagrid would have gladly helped William bury Padfoot. After the Battle of Hogwarts, he had helped dighalf of the fresh plots in Hogsmeade.

“Did he say where he was going?” asked Ron.

“Yeah, he said he was going to a clearing near the lake under an oak tree.” replied Hagrid.

Ginny knew just the spot when Hagrid mentioned it. It was one of her favorite spots she and Harry visited when they were dating during his sixth year. As soon as she made mention of this fact, they were off.

“What’s goin’ on? Is somethin’ wrong?” asked Hagrid.

“We’ll explain later Hagrid, but right now we need to find him!” yelled Harry as they went off toward the lake.

“Harry are you sure this is a good idea?” asked Ron in a worried tone. “Can’t we just go up to him and ask him the questions? Why do we need to use the Invisibility Cloak?”

“We need to see if he is doing anything unordinary first.” said Harry shifting around the tight space the four of them occupied under the cloak. “We can’t just go up to him and say ‘Tell us what we want to know.’”

“But Harry-”

“Shut up Ron!” yelled Ginny. “We’re getting close. Keep your voice down.”

As they neared the clearing they could see William starting to dip a hole near a large oak tree that was growing around a boulder. At his feet was the box, which by their best guess contained the body of his dog. For some reason as they came closer to the clearing, William stopped digging and simply looked in their direction as if knowing they were there.

“You know you should be a little quieter when you sneak up on someone.” said William plainly without any anger or negative feelings in his voice. “Just come on out and get yourselves a better view.”

The four students, knowing they were caught, took off the cloak and emerged from the tree line in front of William. “How did you know we were coming?” asked Ginny.

“Well your thirst for knowledge proved to be insatiable in the Medical Wing and his whining,” said William pointing toward Ron, “you could hear a mile away. It was only natural for you to come out here and find Me.” replied William as he started to dig again. “Don’t worry; I’ll answer your questions. Just let me finish this first.”

“That’s more than fair.” said Hermione knowing they had interrupted something sacred. “Sorry to interrupt you. May I ask why you are digging by hand instead of wand?”

“He gave his life for me.” said William looking up from the hole then continuing to dig. “I found him in this very spot in my second year. I had broken my leg playing Quidditch, took a Bludger to the knee.” said William pointing to his left knee cap. “The medicine the nurse gave me took a few days to take effect. Needless to say several other students, mostly Slytherins, made fun of me for my limp. To get away from that I would come out here to be by myself. One day I heard a whimper come from the bushes and out came this little ragged black puppy. He had blood on his paw and it looked like he had been attacked. I tried to help him but he kept backing away, so I decided to just let him be. Everyday I came back and he would be waiting. Wasn’t a week that went by until I got him to eat out of my hand. Each time I saw him I made a little more progress until finally he wouldn’t leave my side. I asked the Headmaster if I could keep him and they said because he was hurt that I could look after him. My parents wrote me and said they would gladly keep him at home when I returned for the holidays. From that day forward we were inseparable.” William was now looking at the four of them when a tear rolled his cheek. “He was my only friend when I had none. I’m digging this hole by hand because I owe him so much. He gave his sweat and blood for me. I can at least do the same for him.”

This speech touched all four of them especially Harry. He had experienced the exact same thing months before when he buried his friend Dobby the House-Elf. They no longer thought of William as a plotter with secretive reasons for being there. He was just like them. He had as much to lose by being there as they did.

When the hole was finished, William levitated the box down and pushed the dirt back covering up the body of his friend. After covering it he took out the silver dagger and carved an inscription on the boulder above the grave.

“Here lies Padfoot. Family. Companion. Friend.”

When William was finished he pulled a bottle out of his beaded bag. Once he opened it, its pungent smell invaded the nostrils of all five people standing in the clearing. Harry and the others could tell by the smell that it was Fire Whiskey. After unscrewing the cap he poured a little over the grave and then took a sip.

“Now you are free.” said William softly as he kneeled over the grave he had just dug.

“Sorry about your dog.” said Ginny looking at the crying boy before her.

“So what else did you want to know?” asked William as he wiped the tears from his eyes. He didn't want to talk about Padfoot any more. Not today at least.

None of them could think of anything to say. It had all been erased from their minds, the feelings of suspicion and contempt they had for him.

“We got off on the wrong foot this morning.” said Harry breaking the awkward silence they had created. “Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Harry Potter. This is Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley and my girlfriend Ginny Weasley.” said Harry pointing to each one as their name was mentioned.

“Nice to meet you Harry Potter.” replied William extending his hand forward. “I’m William Black.” This time Harry gladly accepted this boy’s hand with a hearty shake. He continued down of the four students, each gladly accepting his hand until he came to Hermione. Instead she wrapped her arms around him and gave him a tight warm hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“I never thanked you for saving my life.” said Hermione pulling herself off of William in fear that she would never be able to let him go.

“Don’t mention it. I’d like to think you’d do the same for me if you had the chance.” exclaimed William trying to be modest.

“I could never have done what you did. For the life of me, I still can’t figure out how you did it!”

“How did you do that William?” asked Ron who was now just as curious as Hermione. “I know I don’t deserve it after my outbreak in the Medical Wing, but I need to know how you saved her.” Ron knew he truly did not deserve an answer after the way he treated William, but something told him that he was a forgiving person.

“You had every right to be mad. I would if the positions were changed.” William knew this would be true if that were the case, but it was not. But by just seeing how Ron looked at Hermione he knew they were in love and could sense that by giving them this little bit of knowledge that they would both feel more at ease. “There’s something you all have to understand.” William was now looking at all of them with a face of complete seriousness. “Most people have a full measure of spirit in them. Usually they slowly let it slip away as they get older, but if you summon it up at one time in one place you can accomplish something beautiful. That was my gift to you.” said William pointing at Hermione.

“You gave me some of your life force so I could live, but how?” asked Hermione.

“I can’t tell you how I did it because if I did then you would probably blow yourself up trying to do the same.”

“She’s not as stupid as you think. She’s actually the smartest witch around.” said Ron defending the girl he loved. Hermione could only look back with a look of complete love and thankfulness for having such a wonderful boyfriend. “She can do any kind of magic.”

“Not this kind. You saw what happened to me when I brought her back. After it healed you the life force I gave took three days to find its way back to me. If a novice tried, then they would probably never wake up.”

“Who taught you how to do it?” quipped Ron.

“Trade secret.” said William deciding it was better they didn’t know. William was now looking at Hermione’s stomach. “Do you mind if I see how good of a job I did?”

In response to this question, Hermione slowly lifted her dress robes up to her belly button allowing William full access to her stomach. His touch was like electric on her skin as his soft warm hands slowly traced the outline of where the wooden spike was just three days before. “I guess I did do a good job.” said William pulling back down her robes to the appropriate height. “You’re fully healed. Any other questions?” asked William looking at Harry, Ginny and Ron.

“I have just one.” answered Harry. “McGonagall showed us the letter you gave her and Kingsley. It mentioned something called the Balance. What exactly is that?”

“Some people believe that there are two forces working against each other in the world.” said William making hand gestures that showing two entities colliding. “Naturally these forces would be good and evil. When Voldemort was in power that Balance was thrown off in favor of evil. Certain things in the world can represent the forces that restore it to its natural order. They can be either objects, events or even people. The prophecy made when you were born made you and the rest of you all” said William pointing to all four of them, “the restoring power. This period that the force of good was supposed to rule was prophesized to last a long time before the Redeemers came back. When Scorpious came back to kill you he again threw off the Balance. I was the equalizing force in the grand scheme of things. That is what the Balance is Harry.” William turned and looked at the grave of his friend, he knew that he could not stay in the clearing any longer. “Do you mind if we go somewhere else to talk? I think I’ve spent enough time in the company of death.”

“Sure. Let’s go.” said Harry knowing just what William meant. He too had known the overbearing feeling of sadness and grief that preceded death. They all did after attending countless funerals and memorials over the summer. “If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get the name Padfoot?” asked Harry trying to find out a little more about William’s future life.

“My friend’s and I used to look at this map of the school when we were kids. Helped us cause enough trouble for ten lifetimes.” said William with a slight chuckle. Each of the four Gryffindors knew exactly what map he was talking about. “One of its creators had that name and I liked it so much; I decided to give it to my dog.”

“I’m glad to know the Marauder’s Map is in good use in your future.” said Harry with a smile. William remembered the name the instant Harry said it. “I must know what house you’re in just so I know if the map is in good hands.” He was hoping it would be Gryffindor.

“I’m a Gryffindor.” A weight was lifted off of Harry’s shoulders. The four of them and William had more in common than they thought. “I was going to start my seventh year in my time, but it looks as if I’m going to have to start it here.” The four students had just realized that William would actually be staying with them, providing he could pass the test he knew nothing about.

“We’ll be happy to have you!” exclaimed Ginny who knew it should be an interesting experience to share a dorm with William. William having realized he was missing something turned around toward the grave and saw his coat.

“Hey Red, would you mind grabbing my coat. I left it on the boulder.” William said this to Ron seeing as how he was the closest one near it, to which he picked it up with compliance, noticing the nickname William had just given him.

“Nice coat!” exclaimed Ron examining its beauty. “Is this Dragon Leather?”

“Yeah, Hebridean Black to be precise but I’m not so sure anymore.” replied William as he put a finger through the hole where he had been previously stabbed. “Dragon leather is supposed to be impenetrable.”

“My brother Charlie studies dragons in Romania you know? He’s coming this Saturday if you want him to take a look.” said Ron knowing he had just made a mistake. Hermione, Harry, and Ginny could only give him a stare that any person would read as ‘Are you stupid?’

“That would be great.” said William not catching the glare. “Do any of you have anything to eat? I haven’t eaten in days.” William was not lying for his stomach gave a loud grumble as he said this.

“Lunch is being served in the Great Hall right now if you’d like to join us?” invited Hermione.

“That would be nice.” replied William with a sincere smile.

As they started walking toward the castle each person had the same question on their mind; did William know any of them in the future? Ginny was the first one to act on this impulse.

“Do you know any of us in the future William?”

William stopped dead in his tracks but then started to walk again thinking about how to answer without giving anything away. “Sure I know you all! Your exploits are legendary in my time. Hell, you have your own chapter in Hogwarts a History.” Hermione personally wanted to hear more about that when that time came. 

“That’s not what I meant. Do you know any of us personally?” asked Ginny being more specific.

“You have to understand that I can only tell you so much without ruining the surprises you’re bound to encounter in life. I do know you all. All of you spoke at the first day of school in my first year. More specifically, Harry and Ron I see in the Auror office most of the time working on some assignment.” Harry and Ron were just happy in knowing they would pass their Auror exams. “Hermione, I see you every day. You’re the head of Research and Development at the Ministry.” She could only smile at having such an important job. “You Ginny,” said William pointing at her, “I see you working with your brother George in his shop whenever I go in for the newest product. You make the best jokes and charms. That Peruvian Blackness Powder he and his brother Fred invented helped me save your lives.” Ron knew he had been right about the darkness and the smell that day of the battle. Ginny was just happy that she was doing something she loved. “That’s about all I can tell you for now.” By the time William was done explaining this they had reached the strong thick wooden doors of the Great Hall.

The group was more than satisfied with what he had told them. They made a silent agreement that this was more than enough to know about their own futures. The only thing left to do was hope they could get something to eat. All of the students had been in the Great Hall long before they arrived. They could hear the talking as soon as they got to the doors. This was soon silenced when the four of them stepped in with William following behind.

It seemed that all eyes were on the five of them, more specifically William, as they moved down the rows toward the front of the Gryffindor table. When they sat down, all of the students at the front moved away at least ten feet. William just ignored this and sat down without a care in the world. All that was on his mind was what he should eat first.

There were more than enough choices. Roast beef with mashed potatoes, chicken dumplings with rice, or good old fashioned assorted sandwiches for those less adventurous. William decided he should try all of them just to be sure. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny followed behind and started to put food on their plates. All of the other students just kept watching, occasionally eating in fear of missing something. 

The only thing the four Gryffindors and the other students observed was that he had an appetite that would put Ron’s to shame. By his fourth helping of roast beef and potatoes, Hermione decided to speak up.

“Doesn’t it bother you?”

“Hey, I haven’t eaten in three days. I’m just a little hungry.” said William defensively. “Besides, I forgot just how good the food here is.”

“Not that!” retorted Hermione. “Doesn’t it bother you that their all staring at you like some bug under a microscope?”

“What that?” replied William as if he had no cares in the world. “That’s just human nature. They don’t know me yet. It’s only natural for them to fear me.”

“Who says they fear you?” chimed in Ron.

“I’m different. People are always afraid of what’s different. That’ll change when they get to know me.”

“Yeah right!” exclaimed Ron.

“Think about it Red. Just this morning all of you were afraid to shake my hand. Now you’re having lunch with me and having a civilized conversation. A lot can change when you get to know a person.” Ron knew he had been beaten. William was absolutely right in his choice of words. It seemed that he had a profound understanding of human nature.

“I guess you’re right.” admitted Ron in an apologetic tone.

William knew he just how people responded to difference. He decided along time before he came to their age that it was better to let people decide on their own what they thought about others. 

Just as he was about to take another bite of his roast beef, a hand from across the table pushed his plate away in a quick swipe. When he looked up to see who had interrupted his meal, he was greeted by the sneering face of Draco Malfoy.

“Can I help you with something?” asked William as he reached for his plate.

“Yeah, you can explain what gives you the right to insult my father?” said Malfoy with an angry grin.

“Leave him alone Malfoy. Just let him eat in peace.” said Ron trying to defend his new acquaintance.

“Stay out of it Weasley.” yelled Malfoy. By now all eyes in the cafeteria were on this new outburst. “Figures he’d associate with a bunch of freaks and mudbloods like you.” said Malfoy pointing his finger at all of them.

“There’s only one freak here Malfoy” said William looking up from his plate, “And I’m looking right at him.”

With this statement, Draco quickly drew his wand and had it pointed at William. He did not move an inch but instead picked up his fork and kept eating. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny could only look on at the display of carelessness William exuded.

“I didn’t cheat death twice to fight some angry wizard with a grudge against half bloods.” replied the calm young man while taking another fork full of food. “So do the smart thing and walk away. I don’t want to duel you.”

“Why?” asked Malfoy, still keeping has wand on William. “Afraid I’ll hurt you? Or are you afraid I’m too fast for you?”

“No, I’m just too tired and hungry. Besides I don’t want to give your mother, Narcissa,” Draco’s eyes widened at hearing this stranger use his mother’s name, “another body to cry over. Then again, they never did find all of your aunt Bellatrix, did they?” said William looking into Malfoy’s eyes. With this display of disrespect for his family, Draco started to mutter a curse, but before he could finish it William was up and standing and with lightning quickness he had his wand on Draco’s throat. “And by the way, I’m faster than you’ll ever live to be.”

Everyone in the Great Hall observed as Draco slowly backed away from the table in a mix of anger and fear of what William might do to him. The teachers would have intervened had not McGonagall and Kingsley stopped them. They wanted to see just how far William would go. As for Harry, Ron Hermione and Ginny, they could not believe the speed at which William moved. It seemed when his life and the lives of the people he cared about were in danger, that he moved like a bolt of lightning. They knew he would not harm another human being unless he had just cause. Draco had given him that but he knew that he was acting under the anger of his father and not his own. 

His display of honor and loyalty toward the four Gryffindors prompted their next decision as they convened away from William. As soon as they had decided what to do they went up to the teacher’s table.

“Professor McGonagall, we have reached a decision.” said Hermione pointing to the group standing before her. They all had the same smile of content. “We have decided that until William passes the test, he can stay with us in Gryffindor Tower.”

Professor McGonagall accepted their decision with a huge smile. “Very well, if that is what you have decided.” said the Headmistress dismissing them.

As they walked back to the table a blonde haired girl was walking up to William. Everyone recognized her as Luna Lovegood. She walked with her usual pace of glee that she usually exuded and tapped William on the shoulder. He turned around and was glad to see it was a friendly face.

“Nice to meet you stranger, my name is Luna Lovegood.” said the girl smiling as she extended her hand.

“Nice to meet you Luna, my name is William.” as he gladly took the girl's hand.

It seemed that this whole arrangement might just work out. The only thing on their minds was the hope that William was prepared for whatever test they threw his way.

Chapter 3: Getting Settled
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Later that day…..

It had been a long day for everyone, especially William Black. From the moment he woke up he was bombarded with questions and could only help but answer them. It was in the four students taking him to Gryffindor Tower that he found solace from all this. Their proposal of him staying in their dorm came as a shock, but he knew their was some underlying reason for them to do this.

“They still don’t trust me, do they?” asked William as the group entered the Gryffindor common room. The few students who were there quickly vacated after seeing William.

“Come again?” asked Hermione trying to play to dumb his question.

“It’s all right. I wouldn’t trust me either.” replied William now sitting in one of the easy chairs near the fireplace. “So tell me, what made you decide to take McGonagall’s offer?”

The students standing before him could only look on in wonder as to how he knew what the Headmistress had told them. Their expression was more than enough to tell the story.

“Don’t worry about it?” said William trying to reassure the group. “It wasn’t that hard to figure out. The staff is going to watch me while I’m out in the open and all of you,” said William now pointing to them, “are here to watch me in private. I don’t mind. Might as well get used to it after that lunch. What were the words you used?” asked William gesturing toward Hermione. “Bug under a microscope?”

“Well,” Hermione was trying to choose her words carefully now, knowing William’s attention for detail, “we decided to accept McGonagall’s offer for other reasons too. After spending to time with you today, all of us have realized what we can learn a lot from you and each other. Plus it was pretty cool when you told Malfoy off in the Great Hall.” said Hermione with a slight chuckle, trying to lighten the mood. William could only laugh at remembering this. Pretty soon everyone else in the room was laughing too.

“I’ve never seen him that scared!” laughed Ron, knowing this was true.

“He got out of their so fast you’d think his tracks would catch fire.” added Ginny, now laughing just as much as Ron.

William was now wiping tears out of his eyes from all of the laughter. At the mention of Malfoy being scared, his face gradually got more serious. “Hopefully I won’t have to scare anyone else. That’s not why I’m here.” said William, now adorning an expression of sorrow. “No one should be scared of me.”

“All of us had an idea,” chimed in Harry, “as to how others can get more comfortable around you so that doesn’t have to happen.” The three other students nodded in agreement as they suddenly remembered their plan of action. Hermione, who was first to completely remember, spoke instantly.

“We were thinking that maybe we could hold a forum of some sorts tonight for anyone with questions about you.” said Hermione hoping that William would accept this proposal. “You know, sort of an open discussion to help clear up any misconceptions about you. Think of it as a way for everyone else to get comfortable around you like we have.”

“It is true.” added Harry. “We’ll admit that this morning, all of us were terrified of you out of shear lack of knowledge.” The rest of the group felt the same way. “It was after talking to you that we have gotten more used to your presence. Maybe this could work for others?”

William thought this plan over in his head and decided on a course of action. “Okay, I’ll do it.” A weight was lifted off of the group’s shoulders. “But I have a few conditions.”

“And those would be?” asked Hermione, hoping they would not be too extreme.

“One: there is only so much I can say about the future without giving anything away that might influence everyone. So if I feel that a question might do this, I’ll choose not to answer it. And two: discussion should be open to all of the Houses, not just Gryffindor. Knowledge is something everyone should be entitled to.” The four Gryffindors thought this over and decided the conditions were more than fair.

“Okay, you have a deal.” exclaimed Harry. “I think we can do this before dinner tonight if we make the arrangements as soon as possible.” Ginny, Hermione and Ron nodded in agreement, knowing that it was best that they do this as soon as possible.

“In the mean, do you want a tour of the Tower?” asked Hermione trying to make William more comfortable. His only response to this question was to raise his eyebrows. Hermione, having realized her mistake, laughed at her sudden attack of stupidity. “Oh, sorry, I forgot you’ve already been here.”

“Don’t worry about it.” said William now standing. “While you’re making the preparations would you mind if I stayed here and got a little sleep? I’m kind of tired.” The group before him looked completely and utterly perplexed.

“Let me get this straight!” exclaimed Ron, “You’ve been sleeping for three days and you’re still tired?”

“Yeah, I have been sleeping for three days!” said William in a defensive tone. “But I had an equally long nightmare about a young woman dying right in front of me.” The group knew what William was talking about because it was the last thing he witnessed before falling into that deep sleep. “Let’s just say that wasn’t the most invigorating rest I’ve ever had.”

“Sorry mate.” said Ron as he was reminded of what William had done for Hermione. “You can one of our rooms if you’d like. We’d be glad to show you.”

“That’s all right. I’ll just take the couch out here.” said William pointing to the old couch sitting across the room. After stating this he walked over to it and plopped himself right down on the soft worn fabric that had been used over the years by countless students. As he made himself more comfortable he took off his coat and tossed it to Harry who was standing several feet away. “Could you hang it on that chair for me?” asked William as he motioned toward a nearby armchair.

“Sure, no problem.” said Harry. As he moved toward the chair with coat in hand he could feel a weight in one of the outer pockets. These thoughts were quickly dismissed after once again noticing the tattoos on William’s arms. Harry quickly realized he was not the only one staring, because when he looked over toward his friends, they too had the same look.

“If you don’t mind me asking, what are those tattoos on your arms?”

Harry was just asking what was on everyone’s minds. These tattoos were very strange to all of them for several reasons. The first of which was that they were very detailed as if they were real and had been put into his skin. The second reason was that not many wizards of their age had tattoos. It was customary to get them when they were older.

“I’ll tell you later.” William simply stated as he looked toward the sun high in the sky outside of the window in Gryffindor Tower.

The group knew not to press the issue any further. They knew he would eventually tell them, just like everything else he had shared with them.

“Wake me when you need me.” said William as he closed his eyes hoping for a peaceful slumber this time. The group looked on and decided they had better get a move on if they were to have this forum before dinner.

Several hours later…

“Time to wake up William!” whispered the soft voice of Ginny Weasley as she nudged the sleeping boy before her.

William unwillingly stirred from his sleep, the best rest he had had in days. He knew it was much later in the day because the once high sun was now gradually setting over the mountains and welcoming the starry night sky.

“What time is it?” groggily asked William as he sat up from the soft couch.

“Around 5:30. You’ve been asleep for four hours.” said Ginny as she sat down on the couch beside William. “We finished making the arrangements, so all we need is you and things will be all set.”

“Where are the others? I thought they would be here.” asked William in a concerned tone.

“They’re outside waiting. They just sent me in to get you so we could get a move on.”

“Well let’s go!” exclaimed William as he walked over to the chair and picked up his coat. The instant he picked it up, he knew it felt lighter than before he took it off. Instead of confronting Ginny about this, he chose to wait until all of the Gryffindors were near him.

Ginny watched as William walked through the room with his usual pace of balance and strength. She could only wonder how a person could be this perfect. How could someone be so selfless and strong in the world they lived in? It was common for people to have flaws and weaknesses. It may not have showed on his outside, but on the inside she he must have them. These thoughts were quickly dismissed as William motioned to her to go.

As soon as they were outside of the portrait hole, William and Ginny were greeted by the smiling faces of Harry, Hermione and Ron.

“So, are we ready to go?” asked Hermione motioned down the stairs.

“I’m ready, but first I’ll take my book back.” exclaimed William holding out his hand waiting for someone to put it in his palm.

“What book?” asked Ron having no idea as to what he was talking about. William quickly dismissed Ron as the culprit seeing as how his timing to answer the question was perfect. By the little time he had spent with Ron, William had quickly gathered that Ron would make an obvious mistake about a secret. This was not one of those times.

“Okay, here’s the deal: if you give me the book back right now I won’t get mad and pretend nothing happened because I know you couldn’t open it.” William now had on a look of complete seriousness. “And two: if you don’t give me the book I won’t answer any of the questions and we’ll see just how chaotic this school gets.”

Having no need for more chaos in his life, Harry reached into his pocket and pulled out a worn, brown leather-bound book and put it in William’s hand.

“Your reputation for curiosity precedes you Harry.” said William as he looked over the book’s exterior hoping not to find any damages. “Just a tip for the future: put the book back before I put my coat back on. You could have just asked me. I would have gladly showed you.” Deep down in their hearts they all knew he was telling the truth.

“How did you know we wouldn’t be able to open it?” asked Hermione. Although William didn’t know previously, she had helped Harry in trying to open it after she had made the forum preparations. No matter what spell or charm they tried it wouldn’t open for either of them.

“There’s a trick to it if you must know. It’ll only open at the beginning of the end.” William knew this answer was very cryptic, but he knew that riddles were something that each of them had encountered in the past. “Think of it as opening at the close.” said the boy clad in black now putting the book back in his pocket.

“How did you-” Harry was cut off as William answered the question he knew was coming.

“Trade secret. Besides, I’ll give you something Dumbledore never gave you, a hint.” Harry and the other could not believe how much he knew about their past and were shocked to see how well he could recall such private events.

“This book is actually my journal.” The group could only feel more stupid seeing now that any answers about his past were in that book. “And when do you usually write in a journal? That is my hint for you. Let’s get a move on shall we? Where are we doing this, this Room of Requirement?” asked William trying to make a joke as the group started to make their descent down the stairs.

“Yes actually.” answered Hermione, astounded yet again by how much he knew. “You see the Tower isn’t big enough and other houses can’t come in so we thought of a place where everyone would be comfortable. That was the first room that came to mind.”

“Good choice!” exclaimed William as he adorned a big smile. “I like that room. My friends threw me a birthday party there in my sixth year. Talk about a wild time!” William could only laugh at the goods times he remembered having.

“Since you mentioned birthdays, all of us have been wondering how old you are.” exclaimed Ginny. “You seem so…so”

“So what? Wise beyond my years? Devilishly handsome?” joked William.

“Yes, I mean no.” Ginny decided it was best if she just stopped and took a deep breath so she could get her words in order. “You seem so mature. There’s something somewhat special about you.”

All of them knew this to be true. William was different, no matter how you looked at him. He had a confident way about him, a walk and a talk that wasn’t normal to people of their age. It was if there was some spell on him that would shield him from life’s pains. It would be fair to say that they noticed this from the start.

“I’m just here to do my job and live my life. It’s nothing that special.” Everyone knew he was trying to downplay his character.

“Don’t be modest.” chimed in Ron. “All of us can tell.” The group was nodding in agreement as Ron made this statement.

“By the way, the answer to your question is that I’ll be 18 on October 2.” The group was surprised by this answer.

“We would’ve taken you for an older man.” exclaimed Harry.

“Well I used to be… much older!” joked William.

“How can you be 18 and a seventh year? What happened, did you miss a year?” asked Harry.

“I kinda got sidetracked.” said William hoping they would not press the issue any further. He did not want to ruin the mood with that particular story.

It started to get quieter as they got closer to the Room of Requirement until Ron asked another question. “Do you think people will believe you’re from the future?”

William looked at Ron and tried to give him the simplest answer with going into the intricacies of human nature. “People will believe what they want to be believe. That’s a constant no matter what time your from, especially mine.”

“What is the future like William?” asked Harry. He wanted desperately to know if the future he lived in would be better than his past. Everyone else seemed to be showing the same demeanor of curiosity.

“It’s nice, peaceful.” said William as he closed his eyes and imagined home. “People who fought in the war talk about it all of the time. My parents talked about it only when they saw old friends. It’s hard to believe that this past was really that chaotic compared to my future.”

“Would we know your family?” asked Ron, hoping that William would give something away.

“Maybe. They came over from America near the end of the war to help some of their friends on the outskirts of England. When my mother found out that she was pregnant with me, she and my father decided to stay here. That’s how I came to grow up in Europe.” The four Gryffindors now had a better understanding of William’s past.

“My parents talked about the war very seldom. If I asked they would tell me, but other than that it was usual conversation at the dinner table. The said it was a part of their lives that changed them forever and that they’d rather focus on the future than dwell in the past.” Harry and the others could not agree more. The war had changed all of them in the greatest ways.

“Cherish your parents.” said Harry who was very emotional on that topic.

“I do. I can’t imagine what it would be like if they had died in the war. When I do, I always think of my friend Teddy and how he deals with it.”

Harry instantly thought of his godson Teddy as soon as the name was mentioned. “What’s Teddy’s last name William?” asked Harry with an expression of complete seriousness and need.

William knew instantly that he had given too much away. If he was now going to tell him about a person in his future he would have to make it very short. “Lupin. His name’s Teddy Lupin.” William could only prepare himself for the many questions about to be asked.

“You know Teddy Lupin, my godson?” asked Harry.

“Yeah, he’s a good guy.”

“Tell us about him. What’s he like?” interjected Hermione expressing the curiosity of everyone else.

“Well from what I hear from his older friends, he’s got his mother’s metamorphagus powers and his father’s keen intellect. He was in Gryffindor like me. When I was a first year he was a seventh year, prefect to be exact.” Harry could only smile knowing that Teddy would be successful. “I’ll tell you, he got me out of more trouble than I’d like to remember.” William was also smiling now.

“He recommended me for my internship at the Ministry and he said that when it came time for my Auror training that he would pull some strings so I could learn from him. He’s quite a gifted Auror himself.” Harry’s smile seemed to increase knowing that Teddy was happy in what he did. This smile was soon joined by tears of joy.

“How does he grow up? Does he have good childhood?” asked Harry hoping that it would be better than his own.

“His grandmother, Andromeda, takes good care of him. From what he told me, it sounds like he grows up in a house of love.” Harry couldn’t help but get teary-eyed. “He never stopped talking about you.” William was now pointing to Harry. “I hope you know that he always thought of you as a father." Harry only hoped he could do this much when he first sasw Teddy. 

"I guess you can say that he had a great childhood; most of it was thanks to you. He has a magnificent beginning and what looks like a bright future.” Harry was now trying to wipe the tears out of his eyes, yet to no avail they wouldn’t stop.

“Thank you for that.” said Harry who now had control over his tears. Ginny was also by his side trying to comfort him. “I’m sorry about taking the book before.” Here now realized how wrong he was before by stealing.

“Your welcome, happy to oblige. Don’t worry about the book. I understand why you took it.” said William. “Shall we enter?” At first they did not know what he had meant until they realized that they were standing in front of the entrance to the Room of Requirement.

As the doors appeared and then gradually parted, William and the four Gryffindors were greeted by at least three hundred people sitting on couches and chairs that had appeared in the room to accommodate the number of people. Judging by the different robes, it looked as if all four houses had a decent amount of people there.

The only thing they could do was make their way to the stage that had been set up so they could get the forum started.

Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were greeted with the usual friendly hellos that they normally received, but William was of course given a silent stare. It was when Hermione started to make the introductions that William was finally allowed to speak.

“I would like to welcome everyone to this forum.” started Hermione trying to begin the process. “As you all know, we have had a visitor these past few days. It is our idea that he explains some things about who he is and why he is here. In order for this to go as smoothly as possible and to maximize the questions before dinner starts, we are asking everyone to please hold all comments and ask one question at a time. We also ask that you form a single file line down the center aisle.” Hermione was now turning toward William hoping he would save her from this daunting task of introducing him. “William would you like to introduce yourself?”

As William took to the center of the stage, a long line started to form. The task of explaining a phenomenon that happens maybe once in a millennia would have seemed daunting to any normal wizard, but as they knew William was anything but a normal wizard.

“I know you all have many questions. I hope that in the time we have here in this Room of Requirement we can answer those questions together. I would first like to say that my name is William Black and I’m pleased to meet all of you. Let’s begin, shall we?” William said this as he pointed to the young girl at the front of the line. Ginny had a Herbology class with this girl and knew her as Charlotte Brunewald, a third year Ravenclaw. By the uneasy way she was standing, it was clear to everyone that she was nervous in his presence.

“My name is Charlotte and my question to you is why you are here?” This began a long barrage of questions that William had previously answered earlier that day in the Hospital Wing. Excpet this time, certain facts were ommitted as to not influence the future. 

As more of those same questions had had answered were asked, more people dropped out of the line clearly wanting to know the same things as everyone else.

After what seemed like hours, the serious questions were finally answered. After learning more about William it looked as if the students were more comfortable around him. He knew this as they started asking less serious questions.

“Do you play Quidditch? If so, what position. ” asked the boy all of the Gryffindors knew as Dean Thomas.

“Yes, I do play. My favorite position is Seeker, but I’d play anything as long as I was in the game.” The Quidditch players in the room could all sympathize with William. To be allowed to play the game is an honor no matter what position you play. “Who’s next?”

A young girl who everyone knew as Susan Bones was next. “How did you get that scar on your eye?” At first William did not know how to respond to this question. He searched his mind as he rubbed the fading scar going down the skin around his right eye.

“I was scratched by a wolf when I went hunting the summer after my second year.” Susan, having been more than satisfied by this answer took her seat as the next person came up.

“What do those tattoos on your arms mean?” asked Lee Jordan.

“These bands around my arms are whips. They remind me of the task at hand and what I must do so that no gets hurt while I’m here.” The students couldn’t help but feel more gratitude by his show of selflessness. “Plus they make my muscles look bigger.” The students laughed at this remark. “This other one on my left arm is the symbol of Dumbledore’s Army.” As he said this he pointed his wand toward the phoenix on his left arm and the logo rearranged itself to form the words 'Dumbledore’s Army.'

“They still have that in the future?” asked Jordan knowing he had broken the rules by asking a second question. William knew that he made this mistake but chose to answer it anyway.

“Yes, we do still have it. In fact we have over two thousand members worldwide. In the highly unlikely event that another attack on the castle should take place, the DA could mount a full defensive of the school grounds." Everyone knew a full army would gladly reduce casualties in another attack. 

"It’s also a feeder program to the Order of the Phoenix. They take the best and brightest of seventh year DA members after they graduate.” It was a comforting thought, for all students that were part of this organization that something they created was enduring strongly in the future.

Hermione having looked at her watch decided they had better wrap up because dinner would be served shortly and made her way up to the center of the stage. “Ok, I think we have time for one more question. Who’s next?” Hermione regretted saying this after seeing that the next person was none other than Draco Malfoy.

“I have a question for William.” said Malfoy with an icy smile. “Are you glad you killed that boy Reul that day in the Great Hall?” In the time it took for Malfoy to ask this question, it took that long for the contentious atmosphere in the room to disappear. The students realized they had forgotten this and were just as intrigued as Malfoy to have an answer.

“You don’t have to answer that William!” exclaimed Hermione trying to avoid a fiasco.

“It’s okay Hermione. I’ll answer Blondie’s question.” said William redirecting his voice toward Malfoy. “What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?”

“Well are you?” quipped Malfoy.

William had to carefully choose his words, but knew no matter what answer he gave the credibility he had established was gone. “I came back here to protect all of you, which includes you too Malfoy. When I saw that Reul was willing to kill without hesitation I knew that I couldn’t talk sense into him." Everyone was waiting for the answer that would make or break his credibility. 

"Yes, I’m sorry that I had to kill him, but for the act itself, no I’m not sorry. I wasn’t going to let harm come to another person if I had the ability to stop them.”

The damage was done. Draco’s question had caused uproar in the emotions of the students at the meeting. Instead of staying to see if he had anything else to say, they quickly poured out of the room and made their way to the great hall. William and the others stayed behind to build some space between themselves and then discontent of the students.

“That’s just great! All the credibility I established was thrown out the goddamn window with one fucking question.” It was clear to the others that he was mad.

“He’s an asshole William. I wouldn’t worry about it.” said Ron trying to reassure him.

“He really doesn’t like you for some reason.” added Ginny.

“Maybe it’s because you insulted his family?” exclaimed Harry, knowing that was largely part of the reason.

“Or maybe it’s because you threatened him and insulted his dead aunt?” said Hermione recalling the day’s previous events at lunch.

“He had that coming.” said William trying to defend his actions. “I don’t know, maybe it’s because I beat his son up in front of everybody.” He was now walking out of the room deciding there was enough distance between him and the students. Harry and the others couldn’t understand just what William was talking about. When he realized they were not following him, he simply turned and around and said, “Oh come on! What family did you think Scorpius is part of?”

It all suddenly made sense to them. The blonde hair, the icy glare, and that haunting voice were all tell-tale signs of the Malfoy Family. Harry was the first to put it all together.

“What made you decide to be friends with a Malfoy?” asked Harry.

“Well contrary to what you might think, the Malfoys are a half-way decent family in my time.”

“A decent Malfoy, that’s a hard pill to swallow.” said Ginny.

“Well I don’t expect you to understand right away or at all really.” William was now speaking with complete honesty. “I met Scorpius on the train to Hogwarts in my second year. We shared a compartment and after a while we got around to talking. He was kind of nice. By days end I’d say that we were friends.”

None of them could believe what William was saying. “How could they be so different from how they are now?” asked Harry.

“My parents told me that they were really different before Draco nearly died. How he nearly died is a mystery to me. They said he turned over a new leaf.” said William.

“That still doesn’t explain how Scorpius went bad!” interjected Ron following behind Harry and William.

“Well me personally, I think his father married the kind of woman he was trying to stop being. Always filling his head with the notion of how his family served the Dark Lord and how pure bloods were superior.” William was now thinking about his long time friend and how radically it had changed in the past few months before the attack on the Ministry. “I thought he was on my side. I don't know anymore, maybe it was my fault?”

“What do you mean?” asked Hermione who was thoroughly engrossed in the conversation.

“Nothing, let’s just get something to eat.” Hermione tried to finish her question but decided not to, seeing as how they were at the Great Hall.

As they entered the Great Hall, they received the same cold silence they had encountered earlier. Before taking their seats at the head of the Gryffindor table, Kingsley and McGonagall called the five of them up to the teacher’s table. William stayed behind a few feet so they could speak to Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny privately.

“We have received confirmation from our top charm specialists at the Ministry.” said McGonagall with a slight smile.

“The letter came back as authentic, didn’t it?” asked Harry already knowing the answer to the question.

“Yes, it did. He is telling the truth after all.” exclaimed Kingsley as he looked toward the back at William.

“What? You thought I was lying?” asked William with a hearty laugh. By this time, all of their doubts as to William’s reason for being with them were gone. They could only smile at him and know that they just might make it with him by their side.

“Before we make an announcement to the students, we’d like to speak with William privately.” said McGonagall implying that they take their seats. As they made their way back to the table, Ron was pulled off to the side by his brother Bill.

“Good news little brother, Charlie will be here by Saturday. He told me that he’s bringing his worst dragon. You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?” asked Bill whose demeanor went from friendly brother to concerned Professor.

Ron, knowing Bill wouldn’t drop it, decided to tell him. “Okay, their going to test William on Saturday. Charlie’s bringing the dragon to do it.”

“They need a dragon to test him!” exclaimed Bill. “No wonder. That must be why all of the teacher’s have to prepare the Quidditch pitch tomorrow. Thanks anyway Ron. I’ll see you and the rest of the family on Saturday.” After hearing this, Ron made his way to his seat at the table. Bill once again took his place among the teachers.

Once all of the teachers were at the table, Professor McGonagall introduced them one by one to William. Each accepted his hand without any hesitance. William was surprised by this at first but understood once Kingsley had revealed that all of them had been given the full story. The very same one William had given them earlier that day.

When William was introduced to Bill Weasley he got the heartiest handshake of all. “Thank you for saving my brother.” This was all Bill could say. What else was there to say? He barely knew William and the only thing he did know was that he was a decent wizard that going to be put against a dragon and have to fight for his life.

“Don’t mention it.” said William trying to play the situation aloofly. “I look forward to attending your class.” Something in Bill’s face told him that that might not happen and this worried him. He did not have time to think about this as Kingsley quickly directed him to the center of the stage.

“Attention students!” exclaimed Professor McGonagall as she amplified her voice across the Great Hall through her wand. The students quickly took their seats and finished whatever conversations they were in the middle of. “I’m sure all of you have met or seen the young man standing before you. I would like to introduce all of you to William Black.” The students did not but stare in mixed feelings of awe and fear. “In recognition of his actions previously seen, it is the decision of Minister Shacklebolt and myself to award him the honor of attending Hogwarts as a seventh year student,” William smiled at the thought of attending this legendary school again, “upon completion of a test this Saturday.” finished McGonagall. After hearing this, William turned around and gave Kingsley and the Headmistress a look of complete confusion.
The students were shocked, now knowing that they would possibly have to spend more time in William's presence.

McGonagall then continued her speech. “All of your parents and the entire student body will attend this test at noon on Saturday. Owls have been sent out and parents will arrive Saturday morning. On a lighter note, classes will be canceled tomorrow.” This seemed to be the only thing that made the students smile. “Teachers will report to the Quidditch pitch tomorrow to make the necessary preparations. Students who are third years and above may go into Hogsmeade, as for you William it is our recommendation that you prepare yourself.”

And just like that, dinner continued as usual. No cheers or applause. The only thing William could think to do was try and not think about what task he was to complete. He sat and ate his dinner that night in total confusion and perplexity. When the meal ended he stayed behind to talk to McGonagall. He told Harry and the others that he would catch up to them later.

“Is this really necessary?” asked William trying to figure out the situation he was in. “I thought I proved myself to you when I saved your lives.”

“Precisely, you proved yourself to us. If you want to stay here then you need to prove to everyone that you can be trusted.” exclaimed Kingsley. William knew exactly what he meant. Everyone needed to see him and what he could do.

“Well, if that’s what you feel I have to do, then I guess I’d better get ready.” said William as he headed toward Gryffindor Tower. Although he did not want to, William was starting to accept the fact that this was something he simply had to do.

The walk to the Tower seemed to be the longest walk of his life. If there was one thing that scared William it was not knowing what he was up against. As he made his way to the portrait hole he noticed that Harry was waiting outside for him.

“You don’t know the password, so I thought I’d let you in.” said Harry trying to show him that not everyone forgot about him. "Alabaster!" said Harry as the portrait swung open.

“Thanks I appreciate it.” exclaimed William. As they entered the common room, students were sitting around talking and laughing until they saw Harry enter with William. “So, where am I sleeping?” asked the boy clad in black trying to make light of the situation.

“You can stay with me and the seventh years if you’d like? We have a few extra bunks.”
“That should be all right.”

Harry and William made their way to the stairs when they were confronted by a few of the students Harry knew as fellow seventh years, the most notable of which was Seamus Finnegan.

“What’s going on Seamus?” asked Harry trying to understand his friends’ blocking of the doorway.

“We thought it over and we decided that we don’t feel comfortable if he slept near us.” said Seamus while motioning to the students near him. Harry by this time was clearly offended by Seamus’ remarks. As he was about to speak, William stepped in.

“It’s okay Harry. I could just crash here in the common room.” said William hoping this would be all right.

“That won’t work either.” added Seamus. “All of us took a vote and none of us feel safe around you.”

At this point William looked around the room and with the exception of Harry, Ron, and Hermione and Ginny, no one was looking at him. They were all trying to avoid his gaze knowing that what they were doing was wrong.

“I get it. I’ll find somewhere else to sleep.” And with those words, William left the common room in a manner of mixed anger and sadness. Harry quickly followed behind.

“William wait!” yelled Harry trying to stop his friend. “Wait a second! Give me a minute. Let me see if I can change their minds.”

“You can’t talk it out of them Harry. It’s just like I said; they always fear what’s different.” William was clearly angry at this point. “And do you know what the worst part is? I have to start all over. I used to think that I would only have to prove myself to the parents. Now I have to prove myself to EVERYONE!” yelled William. He decided to stop right there and try to move on. “I’ll see you tomorrow Harry.” After that he walked down the stairs and didn’t turn back.

“Wait!” yelled Harry yet to no avail as he just kept walking away. After William was out of eyesight, Harry stormed back into the common room and confronted Seamus’ who was now laughing with several other students. “When did you decide all of this Seamus?” asking him right to his face.

“You’ve seen what he can do!” exclaimed Seamus defensively. “What makes him so safe to be around, because you said so?”

“HE SAVED OUR LIVES GODDAMNNIT!” yelled Harry now speaking to the entire room. “Doesn’t that account for something?” By this point everyone in the room knew that they had been wrong but just stayed silent. Harry turned back toward William and said, “Before all of this is over, he’ll prove himself to all of you.” Harry simply went to his room after that. No one dared get in his way. The only one to follow was Ron.

“What are you doing mate?” asked Ron in a concerned voice. Harry simply kept rummaging through his trunk.

“I’m going to find William. I need the Map if I have any hope of doing that.” After reaching the bottom of his trunk he pulled out the old worn piece of parchment and said the words he had used for years. “I solemnly swear that I’m up to no good.” And suddenly the map appeared. “You search the left, I search the right.”

Harry and Ron searched for at least ten minutes but found no little dot labeled ‘William Black.’ It wasn’t until another five minutes of searching that Harry found a question mark moving in the direction of the Room of Requirement. This would be their best bet as to where William was. As he and Ron made their way out of the portrait hole, Hermione and Ginny joined them. After Harry gave them the rundown, they made their way to the room.

At the entrance to the room, Harry instructed all of them to think of a room where they could get some sleep. In an instant a pair of large oak door appeared. As they turned the lock they were greeted by a room with a large four post bed and a nightstand next to it. In the corner of the room was a roaring fireplace with several chairs near it. It was nothing too fancy, just the way they knew he would want it. And of course there was William sitting in front of the fire. When he realized he was not alone he got up and walked over to his bed.

“What are you guys doing here? I thought you’d all be in bed right now.” exclaimed William who pulled a small beaded bag from his coat.

“We wanted to apologize for our friends' behavior.” said Hermione hoping that William would take their apology.

“It’s not your fault.” said William who was now taking several matchbox sized objects out of the small beaded bag from his coat. “You can’t make everyone understand, especially when it comes people.” 

Although he hid it very well, the others could tell he was very sad. “Engorgio.” said William as he pointed toward the objects he took from the beaded bag and had placed on the floor. In an instant they grew to a larger size and revealed themselves to be trunks much like Harry and the others brought with them to school. “I can’t stay here for a year with the same set of clothes now can I?” asked William with a slight chuckle.

“We’re sorry that you have to be alone like this!” said Ginny who was now very concerned about William.

“It’s all right. I’ve been by myself before and I guess I can do it again.” said William as he opened one of the trunks. Much to their surprise, the trunk revealed to have many different colored clothes, not just the black ones they had seen William wear.

“Do you want some company?” asked Hermione who hated to see others alone. 

“Thank you, but no. I’ll be fine.” said William in appreciation. What he said next took them by complete surprise. “I need my rest because tomorrow I have to train and if I’m going to fight a dragon on Saturday then that means a lot of training.”

All of them were taken by complete surprise. How could he possibly know about the dragon? “How did you know about the dragon?” asked Harry wanting just as desperately as Ron, Ginny and Hermione to know the answer.

“Well it wasn’t that hard. You mentioned” William was now motioning toward Ron, “that your brother Charlie, who studies dragons, is coming Saturday. Now all of sudden I have a test Saturday. What are the odds of that?” Ron cringed knowing he was partially responsible for this. “All I did was put two and two together.”

“Out of all the creatures on God’s green earth, why would they put me against a dragon?” asked William in a tone of wonder. Harry thought back to when he fought the Horntail and knew just how daunting this task would be. “First I take down an invincible enemy and now a dragon. I feel like some sort freakin' of Beowulf.” exclaimed William talking to himself. "Pardon my language."

“Who?” asked Ginny. Neither she nor anyone of them had ever heard of Beowulf.

“You guys never heard of Beowulf and Grendel? The Ripper? The Teeth in the Darkness, Talons in the Night?”  said William, hoping that one of the names would ring a bell in their minds. He was absolutely astonished as to how none of them had ever heard that epic story. He motioned toward Hermione and asked her the same question. She too had never read it. “I have a copy in my trunk if you want to read it.”

By now William was in another trunk filled with books, but could not find this particular one. He pulled out the silver-rimmed glasses hoping they would help. “I hate getting old.” whispered William as he adorned the glasses. Still, he could not find the book. “It seems I have misplaced it. If you come back tomorrow I should have it out for you.” As much as it pained him to be alone, he knew he needed to get some rest. “I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

The group took the hint and made their way out of the room each saying their goodbyes as they left him. Harry in particular hated to see someone he cared about to be alone. But when all was said and done, he knew that William would be okay. He was stronger than most of the people had ever met of his age. The only thing left to do was get some sleep and wait for a new day. Hopefully that day would shed some comfort on William and a little understanding on everyone else.

Chapter 4: The Acrimanicus
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Early the next morning…

Harry had woken up unusually early that particular Friday morning. To his reasoning it was for one of two reasons. It was either the fact that classes had been canceled or it was because William was still with them in the castle. Whatever reason it was did not help Harry get back to sleep.

At around 9 am Harry decided, after failing to fall back to sleep for nearly two hours, that he should get out of bed and start his day. He was half tempted to wake Ron up also but decided to let him sleep in on their day off. After putting on his regular clothes and shoes, Harry made his way down to the common room to wait for his friends to get up. To occupy some time he pulled out the Marauder’s Map and started to see who was out and about in the castle.

Harry’s scanning of the map revealed numerous people already up and starting their day. The dot labeled Argus Filch was making his usually rounds through the hallways and was followed another dot labeled Mrs. Norris. The labels that caught his attention the most was a large contingent of teachers surrounding the Quidditch pitch. Most of the staff he knew was out there and to Harry’s best guess were making preparations for William’s test.

Lastly he checked the Room of Requirement hoping that William was still there. As his eyes shifted toward the opposite edge of the paper he caught the still slightly asleep form of Ginny coming down the stairs. Upon seeing Harry, she sat down on the couch beside him and looked on the map with him.

“What are you looking at?” asked Ginny as she rubbed her eyes trying to adjust to the light.

“Not much. Just checking to see what William is doing.” replied Harry pointing to the spot on the map.

“He really is something isn’t he?” exclaimed Ginny almost too excitedly to Harry’s opinion.

“Yeah he is. There’s something familiar about him. Something I can’t put my finger on.”

“Whatever it is I’m sure we’ll find out tomorrow.” Ginny to was thinking about the task at hand and the challenge William was up against.

As she was thinking this over, Ron and Hermione walked down the stairs holding hands each adorning a big smile. They were both unusually awake for this hour and made Harry and Ginny instantly wonder what exactly they were doing up so early. Although they would never admit it, both of them were instantly awake after a passionate snogging session on the steps before they had entered the common room.

“So what’s the plan then?” asked Ron as he sat down alongside Hermione on a love seat across from Harry and Ginny.

“Well I was just thinking that over myself.” replied Harry. “I thought maybe we could have some breakfast and then head into Hogsmeade for the day. Whatever sounds good to you guys, I’m open to anything.”

“What about William?” asked Hermione. “Shouldn’t we see what he’s doing today? After all it would be polite.” Hermione had thought about William a lot in the past few days. Just like Ginny and the others, she knew there was something about him that was simply captivating.

“I guess that would be okay.” answered Harry. “We can go now seeing as how all of us are awake. William is still in the Room of Requirement, so we should be able to find him pretty easily.” said Harry showing his dot on the map. After seeing it they headed out to start their day.

The hallways were eerily quiet for that hour. Normally students would be going back and forth to classes or just talking amongst friends. To the group’s best guess they figured everyone was still in bed enjoying their day off.

Upon coming to the wall of the room, the door slowly appeared before them once again. The room remained the same as it had been the night before with a few exceptions. The once roaring fire in under the fireplace was now reduced to dying embers and the trunks he had brought with him were now opened and revealed their numerous contents, most of which included clothes and books. One particular trunk was still closed. William however was still in his bed sound asleep.

As they group moved closer to the bed they noticed the strewn sheets that had accumulated on the floor beside. It looked as if William had been tossing and turning all night and the sheets were caught in the cross fire.

“Should we wake him?” asked Ron. If there was one thing that Ron was sure of it was that if someone’s enjoying their sleep let them have it.

“I don’t see how it can hurt.” exclaimed Ginny as she slowly sat on the bed. “Time to wake up William.” whispered Ginny as she lightly nudged him on the shoulder.

William, having slightly woken from the whisper, rolled over onto his back and groggily answered, “Five more minutes Mum.”

“I guess he’s still dreaming!” laughed Ron as he saw the humor in this situation. He too had a similar incident over the summer after Hermione had tried to wake him up. They had been up most of the night making love and Ron, who was still in a euphoric dream-like state, said the same thing. Hermione had explained the story to Harry and Ginny leaving out the illicit details and they too saw the humor and quickly guessed William was still dreaming.

As William continued to stir in his bed, he scratched his stomach pulling the shirt he had worn up several inches. The group’s laughter was soon cut short upon seeing several scars on his stomach. By the looks of it, they seemed guess something had clawed at his stomach resulting in the terrible scars.

After the laughter was cut short William instantly woke realizing he had company. When he noticed their eyes were on his stomach he pulled his shirt down quickly. “Good morning to you all.” said William trying to divert away from the marks on his torso.

The quickness of his greeting told all of them that he knew what they had seen and what to change the topic. “Good morning William!” greeted Harry being the first one to realize they might have intruded. “We’re sorry to wake you but we wanted to know what you had planned for the day. We thought maybe you wanted to come with us to Hogsmeade.”

William was very happy that someone had cared to ask him but declined having considered what was to transpire very soon. “No I can’t. I’m sorry but I have to train and work out today. You know prepare for the test?” said William hoping they would realize what McGonagall had said the night before.

“Oh right!” Harry exclaimed remembering the situation. “Then would you like us to bring you back anything?” Harry knew that Hogsmeade had something that everyone liked; he himself loved the candy from Honeydukes. If William couldn’t go to Hogsmeade then they could at least bring something back for him.

William too loved Hogsmeade. In his time spent in the village he had tried almost every piece of candy in Honeydukes. His most favorites were Chocolate Frogs and Licorice Wands. The jokes from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes were alone worth the trip. After realizing the fact that the shop would not open in Hogsmeade for another year or so prompted William to just ask for candy.

William walked over to the closed trunk and opened in very quickly after saying “Alohomora” while pointing his wand at the lock. After rummaging through it for a few seconds he stood up holding a small coin purse. The group thought that he must want something very cheap if the money is coming from a purse that size. They again stood in awe as he inserted his whole arm up to his elbow into the bag. When he pulled it out his fist was clutched around many galleons.

“Some butterbeers would be great if you could get some. I also would love some candy from Honeydukes. Anything chocolate will do but could you also get a liquorice wand. Those are my favorite.” said William holding out the galleons for Harry.

“Mine too, but I think this is too much for some candy William.” exclaimed Harry as he looked over the money.

“Keep the rest then, I don’t care. Have a good time on me.” replied William not caring about the money.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come with us?” asked Harry. The generosity William showed toward them should be acknowledged in some way he thought.

“Yeah really!” chimed in Ron. “You should come with us. We’ll have a great time.”

“Come on it’ll be fun.” added Ginny.

“Yeah, you can train later.” Hermione exclaimed. She also wanted William to come. Not because they owed it to him but because she didn’t want him to be alone all day.

“I can’t.” replied William trying to not think about their pleas. “I need to train for most of the day. As fun as I know it will be I don’t think a visit to Hogsmeade will help much in defeating a dragon. Just please go and have a good time.”

After hearing the reason in William’s thinking they realized what he was saying was true. He had to prepare himself for a great challenge. Harry most especially knew what kind of fear William must have. He was the same way when he had to face the Horntail and the thoughts of that battle still frightened him.

“Are you sure? It makes us sad to see you alone like this.” said Harry in a most sincere tone. He knew he was speaking for the whole group because they were wearing the same gloomy expression he had.

“I’ll be fine, besides I’m getting a little tired of all the stares and side conversations. And I don’t think it would liven up the mood for everyone else in town if I showed up. Trust me, its better this way.” Harry and the others had noticed this to. Anyone could go mad with the constant thought of others talking about them. Harry could only wonder how he was still sane after living most of his life like that. “Don’t worry about me. Just promise me you’ll try and have fun today.”

“What are you going to do all day?” asked Ginny.

“Well I was thinking about getting another hour of sleep then I thought I’d go work out in the forest. I have to get sharp for tomorrow.”

“I guess we should leave you then. See you later William.” said Harry as he and the others excused themselves from the room. Breakfast was looking better by the minute when Harry tried not to think about William being alone.

When they arrived in the Great Hall the usual amount of students was at about half of its usual capacity. Deciding they had better get a move on before Hogsmeade became overrun by students; the group chose to eat rather quickly. Halfway through breakfast Kingsley came over from the teacher’s table and bid them a good morning.

“Where is Professor McGonagall, Kingsley? You two are usually joined at the hip!” exclaimed Hermione.

“Oh, she’s off with the other teachers at the Quidditch pitch putting up spells and protective barriers for William’s test tomorrow. Speaking of which, how is William making out in Gryffindor Tower?”

“He’s not.” said Ron in a rather annoyed voice.

“What do you mean?” asked Kingsley having no idea what they were talking about.

“Some of the other Gryffindors, I’m not going to say who, decided William was unsafe to be around.” answered Ron making the air quotes when the word ‘unsafe’ was mentioned. “They kicked him out and now he’s staying in the Room of Requirement.”

“We saw him this morning and he’s fine. If you want to see him he should be up in another hour.” reassured Ginny. She mentally beat herself up after realizing the duel meaning of what ‘fine’ could mean.

“I think I’ll do that then. You had better get a move on before the village gets crowded.” warned Kingsley who knew full well just how crazy Hogsmeade could get.

After hearing this, the group promptly left their seats and made their way to the doors of the Great Hall. “See you later Kingsley.” waved Harry as he left the Great Hall.

An hour later…

Kingsley Shacklebolt had been waiting outside the Room of Requirement for nearly twenty minutes. There was one particular question that had been eating away at his mind for nearly a day and he needed William to answer it. As if his wish was granted, the doors started to appear.

William walked out of the room in regular clothes for the first time during his stay. His outfit consisted of a scarlet and gold Gryffindor hooded sweatshirt and black workout pants. He was also carrying a duffel bag to which Kingsley had no clue what the contents were.

“Kingsley!” said William upon seeing a friendly face, “Nice to see you this morning how are you?” William continued walking down the hall as he greeted him.

“I’m fine, but the real matter at hand is how you are? I heard about what happened last night.” said Kingsley in a genuinely caring tone. “I’m truly sorry about that. I didn’t expect the students to react like that.” Kingsley was now walking alongside William not knowing where he was taking him.

“Well I’d be afraid of me too. They don’t know me all that well.” William was now thinking about how he was going to win their favor again. “It’s like what you and McGonagall said; I have to prove myself to them.”

“I believe you will.” said Kingsley in a very father-like tone.

As Kingsley said this, he and William were exiting the school and were heading to what he could only guess was the forest. Kingsley knew William would be training so he took this opportunity, while he still had it to ask William the question he had on his mind.

“William I need to ask you something and I need you to answer me honestly.” Kingsley stopped William as he put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.

“What would that be Kingsley?” asked William detecting the seriousness in his voice.

“When you woke up yesterday you said that you weren’t completely human.” William’s eyes went wide at the mention of these words. “What did you mean by that?”

“You don’t miss a trick do you?” asked William in a mixed tone of anxiety and humor. “You probably wouldn’t believe me if I told you anyway.”

“Try me.” replied Kingsley. Nothing at this point was going to stop him from getting an answer.

“It’s a long story Kingsley.” pleaded William hoping that he would drop the subject.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

“Okay fine, but what I tell you stays between the two of us. Do you understand?”

“Yes, just you and I will know.”

“Okay, here goes…”

Back in Hogsmeade…

The group of four Gryffindors had been wandering around the village aimlessly. Kids were everywhere laughing and running with each other to check out the newest items in the shops. The sun was shining and the sky was clear. All of it was perfect for everyone except for them.

Instead of thinking about what store to visit first or what new joke to try they were only thinking about what William could be doing.
“All right that’s enough! This has to stop!” yelled Harry bursting from his previous sad demeanor.

“What do you mean Harry?” asked Ginny in a concerned tone.

“We’re doing exactly what he told us not to do. We can’t worry about him. He told us to enjoy ourselves.”

“How can we?” bursted in Hermione. “After all of the answers he has given us and all of the kindness he has shown, nothing has been given in return. No gratitude has been shown”

“She’s right mate.” added Ron who was now holding the upset Hermione in his arms. “I’m starting to believe all that human nature stuff he told us. It’s too bad that whoever sent him back didn’t consider the social restraints they be putting him in.”

“Maybe they did?” said Harry having a sudden realization.

“What do you mean?” asked Ron.

“Think about it. The test itself is more than just a way to show that William can take down a formidable opponent.” The group still looked at him with expressions of confusion. “The ones who sent him back knew that he would face great diversity. Maybe the test is a way to overcome it. Maybe he has to prove his humanity instead of his abilities.”

Harry’s epiphany hit all of them hard. The ones who sent William back knew what he would face and carefully accounted for it in the letter. After realizing this they knew that worrying would not help them. The only thing they could do was hope William would live up to the expectations in the letter. They could only live up to his by trying to have some fun while they could.

At this point Ginny was looking up at Harry with a look a loving desperation. Having noticed this, he leaned down and kissed her passionately. “What do you say we give this visit another try?”

The rest of their visit could not have gone any better. After a romantic lunch at Madam Puddifoot’s, the group decided to get some candy for themselves at Honeydukes and also get the items William wanted as well.

Madam Rosmerta hugged all of them warmly as they left The Three Broomsticks toward the end of the afternoon. The visit lasted longer than expected as Rosmerta kept asking about what was going on at the castle and who the Stranger was. They could only give her certain answers without leaking vital information, but all in all she was very satisfied with what they told her. When it was mentioned that the butterbeers they were buying were for William, Rosmerta let them have it on the house.

“Anyone who saves friends of mine is welcome to anything they like in my shop.” said Rosmerta in a very maternal voice. “Bring him buy some time. I should like to meet him.”

The students didn’t know what to do with themselves for the rest of the afternoon. By not having to pay for the butterbeers, Harry had an extra 30 galleons of William’s money.

“What are we going to do with all of this money?” asked Harry as the group passed Dervish and Banges.

Ginny having caught something in the shop window stayed behind to get a closer look. “Hey look at this!” yelled Ginny while motioning her friends to come to the store window. “I think I have an idea what we could spend the money on.”

The four Gryffindors carefully read the advertisement in the window and when they were done knew it was perfect for William.

“Its perfect.” said Harry. “Let’s see if they have any left.”

Meanwhile in the forest…

William had been by himself for nearly two hours after Kingsley left. Telling him the story that he dreaded before seemed to take up a decent chunk of time. Having less time to train meant that William would have to step up the workout. Fighting a dragon after all was no business to be taken lightly.

Thoughts of the impending battle kept racing through his head. Most of them were concerns as to which type of dragon he would have to fight. Each breed seemed to pose a different challenge for him.

“The Hungarian Horntail eats humans and would gladly eat me.” thought William as he pictured what each dragon could do to him. His mind was filled with these thoughts as he ran on the woodland path. “Vipertooths also have a taste for humans and have venomous fangs. Ironbellies are the largest breed and would not be easy to ground. Hebridean Blacks have spiked tails and…”

These thoughts were cut short as William’s concentration was interrupted by a sudden thumping of the ground. The thumping was in beats of two and seemed to be getting closer. By the sound of it, William guessed that the noise was being generated from something in the forest.

As he looked into the woods, he could swear he saw something pushing the trees aside. By the size of the creature he could infer that it was at least 20 feet tall and every bit of three tons. As the creature neared the path William was relieved when its face became visible.

Standing simply on the edge of the forest was the mountainous form of Grawp. He slowly walked forward and looked at William with the same child-like smile he gaze the other children. After smiling back, William noticed that on each shoulder Grawp was carrying a large boulder about the size of a car. Following closely behind him was his burly half-brother Hagrid and his dog Fang. Hagrid was only carrying one boulder seeing as how he did not have Grawp’s level of strength.

“William!” exclaimed Hagrid very happily, “It’s nice to see you again. How are you making out at the castle?”

“I can’t complain.” lied William. He thought it was better to humor Hagrid than to burden him with his own problems.

By now Fang was curiously sniffing at William’s feet hoping to make and acquaintance with this person he had never seen. William was only too happy to lovingly pet the dog he had heard so much about remembering in his time that Hagrid no longer had this dog.

“Say hello to William, Grawp.” motioned Hagrid as he tried to get his brother to use his manners.

“Hullo Wilyum.” bellowed the kindly giant.

“Hagrid, where are you two going with all of those boulders?” asked William who was now more curious as to what they were doing.

“Oh we’re taking them to the pitch for your challenge tomorrow. I’m afraid I can’t say much else seeing as how it is sort of a mystery.” Hagrid did in fact know what his challenge was. It was his and Grawp’s idea to get the boulders in an attempt to give their new friend a fighting chance. “We gotta get these boulders moved by nightfall so we’ll be on way. See you tomorrow William.” waved the half-giant as he and his brother disappeared out of the forest.

William decided he had better do some other exercises seeing as how another element would now be added to the mix. The thoughts of dragons were replaced with the possibilities of what boulders would be used for. As William thought over this more, he started to do pull ups from a tree branch. Maybe some upper body work would help with the boulders if he needed to move one.

Pull-ups seemed like the best course of action. After failing to find a tree with a low enough branch, William took matters into his own hands and climbed one himself. The climb proved beneficial after finding an outstretched limb twenty feet off of the ground. Heights and the possibility of falling only intensified the work out which was exactly what he needed.

On the edge of the forest…

Harry and the others had just arrived back from Hogsmeade and were anxious to see how William’s day went. After looking at the Marauder’s Map they had instantly found him in the forest right where he’d said he’d be. In an attempt to see how well William was training Harry convinced the group to sneak up on him under cover of the Invisibility Cloak.

“Why do we have to go in under the cloak gain Harry?” asked Ron in the same annoying tone from the day before. “He already caught us yesterday!”

“I just want to see ‘sharp’ he’s gotten from the training.” Harry used William’s words from earlier in a vain attempt to remind Ron of what they were doing. “Besides, Hermione cast the Muffliato this time so we should be safe from your whining.” Harry joked knowing that they were acting smarter this time around.

As they neared the spot on the map the group could hear a steady numeric counting which they could only guess was coming from William. “58, 59, 60…” As they moved closer it was clear what William was doing.

After finding no one on the ground the group looked up and saw William pull himself up and down off of a tree branch. This exercise looked as if it was getting more rigorous by the second seeing as how William’s repetitions were getting further apart. Suddenly without warning, the boy hanging off of the branch pulled himself up and onto the limb and stood up with steady balance.

“So how was Hogsmeade?” asked William without looking toward.

They group was astonished. He did it again! It was the second time in two days and he caught them red-handed.

“How did you do that?” asked Hermione desperately as she threw off the cloak revealing themselves to William. “We used the Muffliato this time!”

William could not help but slightly chuckle. “That’s funny because you should have realized that the Muffliato charm only conceals sound, not smell.”

“What smell?” asked Harry who was just as curious as the rest of the group.

“Hold on.” said William as he jumped down onto the ground landing with a loud thud on his heals. William walked closer to them as he stood up from the shock of the ground hitting his knees. The group looked on at how gracefully his descent played out.

“Well, as I was saying, the Muffliato charm doesn’t conceal smell. A few minutes ago I detected a very unfamiliar scent that shouldn’t be in this forest.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Ron who was completely confused at this point.

“I thought I smelled something like Lilacs.” said William as he moved closer. As he came nearer to Hermione he sniffed in her general presence and said, “Definitely Lilacs.”

Hermione now realized her mistake. The new perfume she had been applying was a strong lilac scent and loved how it made Ron quiver in her presence. “That’s my perfume.” admitted Hermione offering some answers to the group.

“Lilacs don’t grow in this forest Hermione. I just made a guess, that’s all.” William was trying not to frighten them away by saying this. He didn’t need them to think he had eyes and ears everywhere, or at least in this case, eyes and nostrils.

“You forgot to answer my question. How was Hogsmeade?” asked William trying to find a better topic to focus on.

“It was fun. You would have liked it.” exclaimed Harry. He didn’t want to say too much as to make William feel sad about what he had missed out on. Ginny saw where he was getting at and interjected immediately.

“We got what you asked for and a few other things as well.” said Ginny holding up the bag of treats they had purchased. “Oh by the way here’s your change, ten galleons.”

“Keep it I don’t need it or even better place a bet with Seamus.” exclaimed William as he remembered what he had seen that morning.

“Why, what is Seamus taking bets on?” asked Ron who was now curious about the topic. In all the years Harry and Hermione knew Ron they knew instantly he would want in on any potential bet.

“I was going to get a little snack for lunch today and I saw your boy Seamus in the Great Hall taking bets on whether I’d survive the test tomorrow. That little prick has got 20 to 1 odds against me.”

William was now seeing the humor in the situation. Although the group didn’t know it, he had paid a first year to make a bet anonymously for him. The end result would be well worth the 5 Sickles he had given the boy to place the bet, a bet of 30 galleons.

“What a little shit!” exclaimed Hermione in an annoyed tone. The time she had spent with Ron was clearly showing itself again. The group again looked at her in complete astonishment.

“I hope the asshole goes bankrupt after you beat the dragon tomorrow William.” added Ginny as she joined in on the swearing. Harry and the others only laughed as Ginny had never cussed like this before.

“Well I still have some more work to do before I can rest. I’m not out of the woods just yet.” Everyone started to give a hearty laugh realizing the pun he had just made.

“Dinner is going to be served soon, do you want to join us?” asked Ron whose stomach was again growling for another meal.

The words seemed to have no effect on him. His eyes and what appeared to be his entire spirit were locked on the setting sun. “It really is beautiful isn’t it?” asked William as he continued to gaze into the horizon.

Harry and the others noticed what William was talking about as the looked on too. In all the chaos that was their lives, they stilled enjoyed the simple but beautiful things. It was in this that Harry felt truly at peace. He wouldn’t think about dead friends or all the damage caused during the war. He only thought about the time that was now and what endless possibilities lay before him. The future was something he now looked forward to instead of dreading it.

The only thing Ron Hermione thought of were the many nights in the summer they had spent under the setting sun and how perfect each moment seemed that they were together.

Ginny was reminded of the previous year where Harry was gone and wondered what he was doing or how he was. She always looked into the sunset and thought “Maybe Harry is watching the same sunset? Maybe he’ll come back safely to me?”

As for William, he was reminded of something much deeper. Something he had taken for granted. He was quickly pulled out of these thoughts when Harry snapped him back to reality.

“So do you want to come to dinner?” inquired Harry hoping that he would spend some time with them. There were still so many questions to be asked. Questions that he hoped William could answer.

“Sorry Harry, but I can’t. I still have some more work to do.” Harry was clearly disappointed but William decided to make a concession. “I’ll be in later so come and find me.” Harry’s demeanor was still sad but his face relented and gave a slight smile.

Dinner went unbearably slow for Harry that night. When he wasn’t talking to his friends he was looking toward the doors of the Great Hall hoping that William might walk through, but he never did. When the meal was over all of the students returned to their respected dormitories. Harry took his time heading back and expected to see William at some point coming by to say hello. Yet again he was disappointed when he did not show up.

Waiting for William was beginning to grow tiresome and so he pulled out the Marauder’s Map and found the question mark. To his surprise the little dot was in the castle and was headed toward the kitchens. It seemed as William waited until dinner to get out to come back inside. Harry then realized this was exactly what he did after playing over the fight with his friends from the previous night.

When the dot stopped in the kitchens, Harry decided this was his time to go and see William. Ron, Hermione and Ginny who had also been watching the map decided to tag along. Ginny simply had to go after remembering she forgot to give him the bag of treats.

The kitchens of Hogwarts were a hectic place to be after meals. Dozens of house elves were bustling back and forth between stoves and sinks cleaning dishes and scrubbing pots. When that task was done they had some free time to themselves. Being the nature of a house elf to serve others, they spent that time getting a head start on tomorrow’s meals.

The one particular thing that seemed to be out of place in the kitchen was the human sized stool at one of the counters. From the doors it looked like a human was sitting beside an elf talking with him. When the group moved closer they realized it was William talking to none other then Sirius Black’s old servant Kreacher.

After fighting in the Battle of Hogwarts, he decided to stay with his kind where he could find some company. It was also nice to be close to Harry who was the closest thing he had to a master at this point.

Each step closer revealed more to their eyes, especially William’s back. He had taken off the sweat soaked hoodie and was only wearing a white wife beater. The strange this was not his change of dress but the markings underneath the shirt. The undershirt did not cover the area below his shoulders and the group could make out what looked like wing tattoos. This observation was quickly dismissed as William turned around to see them.

“What a nice surprise!” said William who was genuinely glad to see them. “Me and Kreacher here were just talking about you and swapping recipes.” William then picked up a pad he had beside his plate and began scribbling notes and turned back to Kreacher. “So its 25 minutes a pound on 400 degrees?”

“Correct Master Black.” The ancient elf had a sudden sensation mixed between sorrow and happiness, sorrow for his lost family whom he served and happiness that he could use that title once again. “Master must excuse Kreacher. He has other duties to attend to.”

“Sure thing Kreacher. Thanks for your help.” replied William who understood why the elf chose to leave.

“Good night to you too, Master Potter”

“Likewise Kreacher.” said Harry waving goodbye to the elf.

“So what’s up, are you guys hungry? Kreacher made me a kick-ass steak if you want some.” William now remembered the delicious meal before him and started to eat again.

“No thanks we just- Wait a second, you cook?” asked Ron who was now flabbergasted after suddenly remembering the talk he had shared with Kreacher about recipes and oven settings. It seemed unthinkable for a tough guy like William to be the cooking type. The very thought of him in a chef’s hat and apron made Ron chuckle.

“Sure.” replied William who saw this as nothing to be ashamed of. “My grandmother taught me. I find it very relaxing, especially when it’s for others.” William again returned to his steak.

The girls thought to themselves that any girl who married William would be lucky to have him seeing how rare it was to have a man that could cook and still retain a masculine side.

“What’s with those tattoos?” asked Harry who was dying from curiosity.

William again put down his fork getting somewhat annoyed at the constant interruptions. “I already told you, their whips and the other is the DA symbol.”

“Not those tattoos.” replied Harry.

William stopped in mid chew as Harry said this. “You mean those tattoos don’t you?” said William as he pointed toward his back.

“Yeah those.” interjected Hermione who was just as curious.

“I’ll show you when we go back to my room. Just please let me have my dinner first. I’m very hungry.”

After finishing the steak the five of them walked back to the Room of Requirement. Everyone except William had only the tattoos on their minds. As they entered, a new fire was assembled in the fireplace and William was moving over to his bed. “Would you mind turning around?” asked William. “I have to take off my shirt.”

The four students granted his wish and turned around. No more than a minute later, William was lying on his stomach on the four post bed. When they were called forward, they were amazed at what they saw.

From the edge of his shoulders to the small of his back, a full set of wings was tattooed on. Judging from the feather detailing, it was inferred that these wings were made to look like an angel’s. The wings themselves were amazing. Such detail and attention to little characteristics was considered by whoever the artist was.

“These are incredible!” gasped Ron. He had been thinking of getting a tattoo when he got older and wanted to know if he could get work done like William’s wings. “I only have two questions for you William. Who did these wings and how long did it take?”

“You wouldn’t know that artist. She’s like me, she doesn’t exist yet. And I don’t know how long they took because I was unconscious when they were put on.” Ron was slightly upset at this point seeing that he might not get a tattoo as good as William’s.

“Can we touch them? The wings I mean.” asked Hermione very meekly.

William thought this over and saw no harm in it. He simply nodded to their question. In an instant four sets of fingers were tracing the outlines of the wings, more specifically on the feathers.

“Oh my god!” gasped Ginny. “They feel like real feathers.”

William laughed after she said this. “Yeah they were charmed to feel that way. It makes it more comfortable to have on your skin.” The others did not know what having a tattoo was like but assumed that other ways could be uncomfortable.

“May I ask, why angel wings?” inquired Harry.

“Well it seemed appropriate if you think about it. If you think of me as a guardian angel, then it’s only necessary to have wings.” laughed William. 

When he felt the girls’ hands started to feel other parts of his back, besides the tattoos, he became anxious for they were feeling the still tender scar of where he had literally been stabbed in the back. For such a lethal blow, it was healing at a fast rate. He did not have to see to realize they were all staring at that spot. 

“That’s enough for one night I think.” said William as he sat up and put his shirt back on.

Ginny and Hermione knew they had both crossed a line and tried to change the subject. “Oh I almost forgot we have your candy.” said Ginny as she passed William the bag.

After taking the bag, William took out a butterbeer and chugged it down very quickly. It was the first butterbeer he had had in a long time and enjoyed every mouthful. He then opened a Chocolate Frog and wolfed it down in one bite. “Thanks. I needed that.” exclaimed William as he tried to regain his breath.

“We also bought this for you.” said Ginny who handed William a small rectangular box.

Upon opening the box, William found a roll of quarter sized golden cylinder. On its sides flowing all around were musical notes. As soon as his skin touched the cylinder it felt instantly warm. “What is it?”

“It’s called an Acrimanicus. It’s supposed to play clips from songs that match what mood you are in. The lady in Dervish and Banges says it’s the new rage and will play any song you have ever heard that matches your feelings. Plus it has flesh memories so it accumulates more songs whenever someone else touches it. We were lucky in getting the last one!” Ginny remembered just how lucky they were after fighting through a crowd to get it.

“Here you try first.” said William handing it out to Ginny.

She took it back and put a firm grip around the cylinder. Within moments it started playing a song.

And if you can't be with the one
You love honey 
Love the one you're with 

Ginny was touched by these words after hearing them. It seemed to match the unending love she felt for Harry. She had heard this song on a Muggle radio after walking with through the towns near the Burrow but never knew who it was by. "Who was that?"

“That was Love the one You're With by Will Young." said William. Ginny just nodded her head and leaned into Harry.

Ron took the Acrimanicus next. When he had a firm grip another tune played.

And as she carries on without a doubt
I wonder if she's figured out
I'm crazy for this girl 

Evan and Jaron's Crazy for This Girl seem to describe your love perfectly.” said William making a keen observation. Ron and Hermione were sharing a deep kiss at this point and after it was over Hermione gave Ron a loving smile that would melt an iceberg. They had never heard the song but guessed William did because he touched the Acrimanicus first.

Hermione took the Acrimanicus next and her song played shortly after she touched it.

Let your warm hands break right through me
Somebody save me
I've been waiting for you

Everyone knew exactly what this song was about for Hermione. It was about her ordeal with nearly dying. Everyone gave her a big hug after hearing the song trying to comfort her and assure her that everything was okay. “Who was that?” asked Hermione.

“That was Save Me by Remy Zero. They’re all right. That song seemed perfect for you though.” observed William in a solemn manner.

Harry was the last to take the Acrimanicus and his song revealed exactly how he was feeling at that moment. 

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Getting so much resistance from behind

Harry didn’t know what to make of the situation but was trying to understand. After hearing the song he knew that he would have to take each coming day in stride and trust in William’s judgment. The fight in his life was over for now and he wanted to enjoy it as much as possible. The only thing he wanted to know now was what William was thinking. "I love that song! Wasn't that For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield?" asked Harry as he handed the Acrimanicus to William.

"Yeah, it was. There one of my favorites."

After accepting the cylinder the warm feeling returned to William. Then the song he had heard many times began to play. William knew it as Like a Rolling Stone by Bob Dylon. 

How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown

“I gotta say, Bob Dylan sure can write some good stuff.” Harry and the others knew William was just trying to cover up what he was really feeling with his ‘subtle’ humor.

He must be feeling so sad they wondered. The song was sung like it was written about him. He was alone without a friend in the world. Harry knew exactly what this was like having lived the same way for the first eleven years of his life and could easlily say that is was life's worst feeling. It pained him to see anyone else have to live like that. He only hoped things would be different after the test. That was to say if he passed the test.

William was whipping tears away from his eyes at this point. It was clear that the song matched exactly how he felt. “I must say that that thing is very accurate. Thanks for getting it I never had one as a kid.” William never saw the need since they had become unpopular in his time. “Oh that reminds me, I have some things for you all as well.”

The group was curious as to what William was going to give them. If it was from the future then they would be very privileged to have it. As he moved over to the trunks by his bed he pulled out several books from the one he had rummaged through the previous night. From the looks of it he had one book for each of them.

“I told you I’d find Beowulf for you Ron.” said William as he handed him a hard covered book that looked like it had been read and reread dozens of times.

“Thanks William!” exclaimed Ron who was looking forward to hearing the story the boy had raved about.

“For you Miss Granger I have one that I think you might enjoy.” William now handed Hermione a rather thick book bound in smooth brown leather.

She gazed over the cover and read the title aloud hoping it would tell her if she had ever read it. “Rare Magical Objects of the Wizarding and Muggle World by Peter McElroy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this one William.” said Hermione realizing what a treasure the book was.

“Well I wouldn’t think so Hermione. Like me, it doesn’t exist yet. I think you’ll like it, but please take care of that book, it was given to me by a good friend and I know you’ll show it the utmost respect.” It was easy to tell that he cherished the book judging by the flawless condition it was in.

Hermione took care of books like they were children and knew that she would not let William down. “I’ll take good care of it William.” replied Hermione reassuringly.

“What do I get?” asked Ginny who was feeling like a kid at Christmas. The anticipation was killing her.

“Ah yes, Ginny. I have what I like to think is the only good Muggle book about a Wizard. I think you might enjoy it as much as I have.” He handed the waiting girl a thick book that he had had in his possession for years.

“The Tempest by William Shakespeare. Thank you William, I can’t wait to start reading it.” said Ginny who was flipping through the many pages.

“And lastly Harry, I have for you another one of my favorites. My dad gave it to me when I was a boy and I think he’d want me to share it with others.”

William handed Harry a medium sized hard covered book entitled “Merlin, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.”

“I love it! Thanks a lot William!” exclaimed Harry in a very cheerful tone.

“Yeah I thought you might. There’s some truth and some fantasy to the story but all in all you should find it quite interesting.” Harry had never read Arthurian Legend but was happy that he had the chance to now.

The group looked over there books and thought about how nice a gesture William had made. After chatting idly for another few minutes the group suddenly realized what time it was and said they had to go back to their dormitories for lights out. Although it pained them to leave him alone again they did not want to risk missing his test tomorrow after getting detention for being out past curfew.

Later that night…

It was about two in the morning and Harry was still up. He had been skimming through the book William had given him and was reading by wand light. As he passed over pages Harry could not help but admire the occasional engraved pictures that displayed Merlin and King Arthur’s conquests. The particular picture he had been looking over, depicting Arthur and Merlin fighting two dragons, was interrupted when he heard an ear piercing screech from beyond his window.

Everyone else had heard it too and was now looking out there windows hoping to see what was making the noise. As Ron shuffled out of bed to join them he was pulled back by Harry who was now looking at the Marauder’s Map. He pointed to three dots labeled Grawp, Rubeus Hagrid, and Charlie Weasley.

“I guess your brother’s here with his dragon!” said Harry looking at Ron wondering what kind exactly Charlie had brought with him. 

The next morning…

Harry and the rest of the students slept on and off the night before. Every so often in the distance, they would hear a loud screech. The darkness had prevented any recognition as to what kind of dragon was making the noise.

By breakfast time, dragons were the last thing they had on their minds. They had bigger fish to fry and that specific catch was parents. Students of all four houses were greeted by hundreds of parents as they came down to breakfast that morning. The biggest group in the Great Hall was definitely the Weasleys and the Grangers.

After the tables had been lengthened there was plenty of room for everyone. Molly, Arthur, George, Charlie, Bill and Fleur, who was beginning to get larger from pregnancy, were all waiting for the group to come down. Hermione’s parents could not wait to see their daughter after hearing of her near fatal accident. They would have arrived sooner if they had more availability to Wizarding transportation. The only correspondence they had with their daughter had been the letters she had sent explaining her good health thanks to William. When she and her friends arrived they threw their arms around her instantly.

Many tears and loving remarks had been exchanged as if they had not seen their children in years. Molly was the first one to truly address her children.

“You must tell us everything that has happened!” inquired Mrs. Weasley. Her attention was now turning toward Harry. “So what is this all about?”

Over the course of breakfast Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione each told their parents about what had transpired just days before and how they were saved by someone they had never met. The mention of this mysterious boy prompted the Grangers’ attention.

“Speaking of which, where is this boy who saved our daughter’s life?” asked Mr. Granger after Harry described William. Bill was the first to answer his question.

“Kingsley had him moved to the Quidditch pitch about an hour ago. He felt that he should have no distractions before the test. As a matter of fact I have to go soon to explain the rules to him.” Bill then stood up after being reminded of his duties. After kissing Fleur goodbye he told his family that he’d see them in about a half hour when the test started. Charlie then stood and said he had to leave also because there were rules he also had to explain to William, mostly about the dragon.

Before they could leave the Great Hall Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione asked if they could come as well seeing as how this might be one of the last times they would see him. Bill agreed to this concession believing that no harm would come from it.

As the group arrived at the pitch they were taken into one of the preparation rooms in the bowls of the pitch that had been used many times by Ron and Harry when changing for a match. When they got inside they were greeted by William who was pacing. Their best guess was that he was nervous, which frightened them because it seemed he was not the type of person to get nervous. “Nice to see you guys again!” said William. “I thought I wouldn’t see you before the test. What a nice surprise!”

“It’s good to see you too William.” greeted Hermione.

Bill and Charlie were now preparing something on the other side of the room when they walked over to William. Upon seeing Charlie, William put out his hand and said, “You must be Charlie. Ron mentioned you before, nice to meet you.”

Being impressed with his manners, Charlie extended his hand and gave him a hearty handshake. “Nice to meet you too William.” This moment was soon interrupted as a growing sound was heard coming from above. The group dismissed the noise as they figured it was just the footsteps of students and parents who were starting to pour into the stadium.

“So how is all of this going to work?” asked William who wanted to get back to the matter at hand.

Bill decided he should explain and said, “Okay, here’s what’s going to happen. First McGonagall and Kingsley are going to introduce you to the parents, which is your cue to step out onto the pitch. Then they are going to lay the ground rules and explain your task. Then you’ll begin. Any questions?”

“Yeah, is there any protection for the crowd?” The last thing he wanted was for some innocent crowd member to get crushed by a dragon.

“The teachers spent most of yesterday putting up protective spells and barriers so there is more than enough safety for them.” reassured Bill. “I also need to collect your wand.”

“What?!” asked William who was flabbergasted. “That’s my only protection. I need it!”

“We understand that. It’s just part of the challenge and don’t worry you’ll get in back during the test.” chimed in Charlie.

William did not understand and handed over his wand very uneasily. “There is just one more thing.” said Bill. “We need you to change your clothes.”

“What the hell for?” questioned William angrily. ‘What else do they need to take from me?’ he thought to himself.

“The ministry is concerned that some of your clothes may have enchantments and they feel that would make an unfair advantage.” Bill now produced a cloak, pants, shirt and boots for William to put on. Each item of clothing was black seeing as how it was the only thing he had ever seen him wear.

“I guess you got a point.” said William in an annoyed guff. He then took off his jacket and tossed it to Charlie. “Ron tells me you could examine that jacket. He also said you studied dragons in Romania so tell me what you think.”

Charlie slowly flipped the jacket back and forth trying to find flaws in it but found none. “This is genuine dragon skin, Hebridean Black if you want to get technical. Where did you get it?” inquired Charlie.

“Nowhere special, besides I think there is something wrong with it.” replied William as he put his finger through the dagger whole from days before. “I thought dragon skin was supposed to be impenetrable.”

“I don’t know how that could happen, but what I do know is that the jacket is 100% dragon skin.” said Charlie wondering what could break the skin. William only wondered what was so special about the dagger that it could do something like that. It was very strange.

Getting back to changing, William began to unbutton his shirt. Hermione was the first to confront this. “Would you rather us leave so you can do that in private?” A small part of her wanted him to say no so she could see his true form. Little did she know that Ginny was having the exact same thought.

“You might as well stay if you want. You were bound to see sooner or later.” said William as he slipped off the shirt. The group was in a mix of horror and awe as William revealed his chest.

Sure he was built very well with toned muscles going up and down his chest, but he was also scarred to a great extent. From the center of his nipples to his belly button were at least eight patterns of claw marks going down his body. The girls turned away after seeing the image.

“What kind of monster did that to you?” asked Bill desperately wanting to know what would do such a thing to a boy so young.

“The same kind of monster that gave you those.” replied William pointing to Bill’s scars on his face.

“A werewolf did that to you? Does that mean you are one of them now?” asked Harry who decided to express his concern as well.

“No, lucky for me the bastard was in human form when he took a shot at me.” said William as he started to put on the shirt Bill had given him.

“Why did it attack you?” asked Hermione who was now turned around but trying to divert her eyes from his chest.

“Can we focus on the matter at hand?!” replied William in a rather frustrated tone. “I really don’t feel like telling that particular story!” The group knew not to press this matter any further seeing as how William was in an angry state.

William was now putting on the pants and boots given to him and they surprisingly fit. At least one thing went right for him that morning. As he stood up he tore both sleeves off the shirt and simply replied, “Makes it easier to move and fight.” After evening out the shirt he promptly picked up the jacket that was supplied for him. After turning it over he noticed the name and number embroidered on the back. Harry thought it looked like the jacket he had worn in his task against the Horntail just 4 years before.

This time the name and numbers were white and stood out in the black material as opposed to the red Harry had worn. The title ‘Black’ stood out proudly on the top of the jacket but the number made William laugh. “That’s pretty funny, Lucky 13. I guess they aren’t trying to jinx me.” said William in a sarcastic tone.

Just then the laughing was cut short when an ear piercing screech shot out through the stadium. It was the same screech form the night before. Charlie noticed this as the feisty dragon he had brought with him. William noticed this as the danger that awaited him in the very near future.

“Please tell me you didn’t?” asked William trying to find some hope in the situation.

Charlie made no attempt to deny what William had been asking and just made a pleading face that any person would recognize as when someone was saying sorry.

“You did, didn’t you?” asked William again, who’s hope was now gone.

“Did what? I don’t understand? chimed in Ginny.

“Well you genius brother here decided to bring a Hebridean Black Dragon with him. Isn’t that right?” William was now looking toward Charlie.

“Yes, thats right. Kingsley said you needed a challenge and so I brought her with me.”

“Look on the bright side William. At least they don’t eat humans only deer, right Charlie?” asked Hermione trying to shed a little comfort on his situation.

“That’s not entirely true.” Everyone was now looking at him with an expression of complete dumbstruck. “She’s gotten increasingly aggressive in the past month. I lost six of my best assistants just trying to tame her.”

“Well that’s just fucking great. I thought I was going to have to fight something difficult today.” said William in a mixed tone of laughter and sarcasm.

“I’m sorry William.” said Charlie in an attempt to explain himself. “I just needed to do something about her. She’s too much for the preserve in Romania. I figured this would be a good way to either knock some tameness into her or get rid the trouble. I had no idea until this morning what exactly they were going to use her for. I’m sorry William.”

“It’s not your fault, you didn’t know.” replied William. Charlie could only smile at the unnecessary concession the boy made.

William did not say anything, he instead went back to pacing back and forth until he stopped and sat down on one of the benches in the room. From his pocket he took out the golden object all of them knew as the Acrimanicus. When the warm feeling returned to his hand it let out a steady tone. The song was ironically cheerful considering the situation, yet it still put a smile on William's face. Spirit in the Sky was Norman Greenbaum's best song as far as he was concerned.

That's where I'm gonna go when I die - when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm gonna go to the place that's the best

The song was interrupted when William simply dropped it on the floor. Harry promptly bent down and picked it up. When he tried to hand it back to William, he simply declined and told Harry to keep it for now. William simply couldn’t listen to his emotions anymore. Instead of sitting he simply went to stand near the exit to wait for his cue.

“Are you scared?” asked Ginny who now, after hearing the song, understood just how he felt.

“Of course I’m scared, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do this.”

“I know I’d be scared.” added Ron was trying to reassure William he was not the only one who got scared.

After he said this, William walked over to him and looked him in the eyes and asked, “Are you afraid of dying Ron?” Ron could only look at him in an uncertain way, now asking himself the same question.

Hermione stepped in to try and comfort her boyfriend. She was now hugging the boy who now seemed to be shaken by the question and reminded of the all the times he had nearly died. “Wouldn’t you be? It could very well be the end of your life.”

“Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean. I’m sure Harry could tell you that.” replied the boy clad in black.

Harry suddenly realized exactly what William was talking about. ‘I only told a handful of people! How could he know? No one else knows what happened on the other side.’ Harry asked himself. Before he could ask William, Bill reminded him that it was just about time to go.

“Well, goodbye!” simply said Harry seeing how this might be the last time he saw him. The stadium above was brought to life as McGonagall made her opening speech.

“I don’t say goodbye anymore.” said William looking back at his friends with a mixed expression of duty and pride.

“What do you say?” asked Hermione,

“See you later.”

McGonagall then finished her speech and then introduced William. He promptly walked out of the tunnel and into the bright light coming from the pitch. He was walking toward his unknown future and with a smile on his face. If he was going to die, then he was going to go down fighting. The only thing he knew was that this was going to be a hell of a match, one of the most dangerous dragons against a simple boy. Except right at that moment he didn’t feel like a simple boy. William Black felt like the most dangerous man on Earth.

Chapter 5: Fire and Lightning
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The crowd that had gathered at the Quidditch pitch that particular Saturday afternoon had grown at an exponential rate after the announcement had been made that William’s test would be starting shortly. The stadium itself looked as if it would burst at the seams judging by the amount of seats that were occupied. Instead of the customary attendance of students and staff, the majority of the crowd was comprised of parents. They were the most eager after having only heard whispers and rumors as to who exactly this mysterious boy was and what he was capable of. Either way, it looked as if they were in for one hell of a show.

The Weasley Family had been fortunate enough to arrive early and had a comfortable front row seat right near the edge of the railing in the Gryffindor box. The Grangers were also lucky to have been with them or they would have never been able to find a seat in the chaos that was the Hogwarts Quidditch pitch. As more and more families started to pile in, the prospect of saving seats was looking more and more grim. All of her fears were relieved when Charlie, Bill, Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione appeared through the crowd and made their way up to the front.

“How did everything go?” asked Mrs. Weasley. “Is the test going to start soon?”

“It should start any minute Mrs. Weasley.” answered Harry as he took his seat. As he sat down, she noticed that he had a worried look on his face and instantly questioned him.

“What’s wrong? Did something happen?” in a very maternal tone.

“Nothing’s wrong, but nothing’s right either.” said Harry as he looked over the pitch with an ominous look in his eyes.

“What do you mean son?” chimed in Arthur Weasley as he picked up on this boy’s worried look.

“I don’t know how he’s going to do all of this. This is a daunting task even for the best Wizard.” answered Harry as he kept his gaze on the stadium. The Weasleys knew that something must be wrong because it was very uncommon for Harry to not look someone in the eyes when he was talking.

“What’s going to happen Harry?” asked Arthur as he was now very concerned as to what Harry was saying. Before he could give a straight answer a loud gong sound had rang out through the entire pitch.

From the sound of things, the gong was coming from the Teacher’s box in the tallest tower of the pitch. Before long the once noisy crowd had silenced itself in an attempt to find out what exactly what was to transpire shortly. As if he had been reading their minds, the Minister of Magic Kingsley Shackelbolt and Headmistress Minerva McGonagall were at the front of the tower. As they pointed their wands to their throats, the dual voices flowed throughout the pitch.

“WELCOME PARENTS! We are pleased to see so many faces once again with us on this glorious day. In a few moments we will begin this challenge that will decide the fate of our guest.” exclaimed McGonagall as her voice echoed across the field. “I would also like to assure everyone here that precautions for everyone’s safety have been taken. Our best witches and wizards have applied various charms and spells for your benefit. Without further ado I would like to introduce to you the person you have all been waiting to see, Mr. William Black!”

William had no idea what to expect as he stepped out into the daylight of the pitch. He had been expecting the massive crowd, there was no way the parents were going to turn down a chance to see the boy who had done so many dangerous and extraordinary things yet no one had ever heard of him. They were still under the impression that he was a transfer student. They did not believe what their children had told them because it just seemed too unreal even for wizard standards.

The one thing that he did not expect was the amount of boulders scattered across the field. It suddenly started to make sense. Hagrid and Grawp hauled all the stones onto the field to give William cover. This was a very kind gesture but did not help his situation seeing as how the dragon had an upper hand in her ability to fly. William could only hope that he would get his wand back very soon so he could figure out just exactly how to ground the dragon and somehow beat it.

The parents in the stadium were very surprised at this boy’s appearance. He wasn’t half of what they expected to see. The common idea that everyone had in their minds was that he would be some sort of greater wizard who’s very walk inspired awe, but in reality he looked nothing more than some young wizard who had a taste for black clothing. The students however knew by now not to judge him by the outside because under the surface he was anything but ordinary.

As he stepped further out onto the pitch, the voice of Kingsley once again began to sound. William promptly stopped, knowing that this was the explanation that Bill had talked to him about.

“William, the test you are about to take is our final determining factor in deciding your fate at this school.” said Kingsley who was trying to emphasize the importance of the challenge. “Your challenge, as it has been chosen by me and the rest of the Wizengamot,” the crowd of politicians behind him promptly stood up as they were mentioned, “has one simple goal. That goal is to defeat your opponent, a dragon of very real size and strength which will be released shortly.” The crowd gasped at the mention of such a dangerous creature. The Weasleys now knew just what Harry was talking about when he mentioned ‘a daunting task.’

“As you have noticed your wand has been removed. This is but only half of your test. You must make it to the other end of the pitch to retrieve it.” At the opposite end of the pitch a pedestal suddenly appeared carrying two items. “On this pedestal lays your wand and also a sword. You may use your wand for any spell to evade and subdue the dragon but you must kill the dragon with the sword.”

William’s eyes went wide at hearing the word ‘kill.’ This was the one thing that he was not prepared for. After having disposed of Reul several days before, this was not an act he would soon want to repeat. ‘Why would they ask me to kill a dragon? Why can’t I just subdue it or tame it?’ Questions like these were rushing through William’s mind at about a mile a minute.

“The only way this challenge ends is when one of you is dead. Do you understand the rules of this challenge as they have been presented?” asked Kingsley. Thoughts of uncertainty raced through his head as he reconsidered just what he putting this boy up against and what he was asking him to do.

Seeing no other way to avoid what lay before him, William simply nodded his head.

“Very well, let the challenge begin.” As soon as these words echoed across the stadium, cheers broke out from the stands as parents and students knew they were in for something of tremendous magnitude.

The cheers were cut short as the gates at the opposite end of the stadium began to open. The only thing that he could William could see in the darkness was a pair of glowing deep crimson red eyes. The creature that he had heard horrible stories about dashed out of its cage in an instant and into the light.

The Hebridean Black was no push over by any standard. Its razor sharp black scales and ridges made for an impenetrable coating. It’s spiked and arrow shape tail made for a formidable weapon. The bat-like wings mounted to its body looked like something that the only great evil and malice would have. Gasps of horror and panic ran throughout the stadium as the dragon roared in an attempt to shake her new opponent.

Upon seeing William, she started to flap her hellish wings creating gusts of wind on the field. Once the dragon was in mid-air, she began her approach of the boy whom she was commissioned to destroy.

Seeing that his chances of survival were decreasing by the second, William made a head on sprint for the dragon. The crowd was wondering just what he was thinking as the two opponents moved closer and closer.

Around fifty feet away the dragon opened her mouth to spit its fiery breath. Just as the flames came out of her mouth, William quickly dove out of the way avoiding the inferno. He immediately took shelter in the boulders hoping they would at least provide some cover.

The crowd made a sigh of relief as William made a narrow escape. The relief was then over for the crowd and William as the dragon came around for another pass. Having missed her prey the first time did not lessen the anger but only fueled it. Now she was flying even faster and harder to catch up to this evasive opponent.

William was somewhat blindsided by the second pass and had to move very quickly as the dragon seemed to be getting closer. The only hope of getting out of this alive was to get closer to the pedestal and retrieve his wand. Taking his time was not an option after seeing the dragon increase its pace. The only course of action was to make a run for the pedestal and time was now or never.

The stadium was in shock as William made another sprint straight up the field. To them it seemed as though this boy making every desperate attempt he could. They could only sympathize after remembering that he was without a wand.

The dragon picked up on him instantly and swooped in at the worst moment. William was about a hundred feet from the pedestal when the massive creature landed in front of him with a great thud. He instantly hit the brakes and ran back as the dragon began to breathe another fiery burst in his direction. The running he had done to get up the field had cost him dearly as he began to run out of breath and speed. Avoiding the flames was not going to be as easy as he had done previously.

The burning sensation crawled up William’s spine as he soon realized that his coat had caught fire. He quickly discarded it much to the crowd’s relief and to the benefit of his back. The heap of cloth that once held the number thirteen and his name was now in a pile of glowing embers and ashes. All William knew was that he had to figure out how to get past the dragon. The only thing he could do at the moment that would afford any remote chance of survival was to once again hide among the boulders.

The dragon, having lost her prey twice was now fiery with anger, both literally and metaphorically. The crowd could see this very easily as the dragon began to move again. Instead of taking flight to get a better view of her opponent, the dragon started crawling through the field spitting fire down every path not covered by boulders. To the crowd it seemed that the dragon was toying with William, almost as if it was trying to scare him into the open.

After peeking around the boulder he was behind, William found that the dragon was getting closer by the second. The bursts a flame were almost on his boulder when he suddenly had an idea. After looking at two fist sized stones on the ground at his feet, he had a rough idea as to how to stop the fires.

Everyone in the stadium was yelling at this point. “RUN! SHE’S ALMOST ON YOU!” Things of that nature were mostly spoken. A large portion of the yelling came from the Gryffindor box seeing as how they had spent more time with him. Harry and everyone else in his row nearly went hoarse as they continued yelling. Still, he did not move from behind the boulder. If his plan was going to work, then he had better do it soon.

“This is gonna be one hell of a shot!” William said to himself as he stepped out from behind the boulder. With a quick motion of the arm, he threw the first stone at the dragon drawing its attention on his very spot. He then quickly jumped back behind the large chunk of rock as powerful burst of flames hit the stone.

Even though the flames were deflected by the boulder, William could still feel the heat creeping around the sides. Very soon he could feel that the heat was going down, which meant the dragon was running out of breath.

As the flames slowed and then finally stopped, William again jumped out from behind the boulder. The dragon quickly took in a deep breath getting ready to blast another heated burst in his direction. As it took in the massive amount of air William pulled his arm back and launched the second and final stone.

All eyes in the stadium were on the small rock as it flew threw the air on a direct course for the dragon’s head. As if luck had its wings on the fateful stone, it flew right into the dragon’s mouth. With the stone lodged in its throat, the dragon could not breathe fire. It could only take in air threw its nose. The crowd and William let out a cheer after this one in a million shot had paid off. Harry and his friends were the happiest out of everyone after seeing that William might just make it out of this alive.

Seeing this as the opportune moment to make his move, William ran off in the direction of the pedestal. He was quickly cut off as the dragon began swinging its sharp tail in front of him. After several near misses and minor cuts to his side, William avoided the tail. The dragon was now furious at this evasive pest who had temporarily weakened her.

Rather than making another random sweep of the tail, it decided to spike the sharp end of the tail right down onto him. William having anticipated this narrowly dodged the tail causing it to sink into the ground and get stuck. With her fiery breath and sharp tail out of commission, William tried a third time to run toward the pedestal.

“Come on William! Get the wand! Finish this!” cheered Ron as his the boy moved closer and closer.

“Come on! You can do it!” added Harry who was now standing in his seat failing to contain his excitement.

Just as he was ten feet from the pedestal, the dragon dislodged the stone and spit it furiously into the ground before it took in a mighty gulp of air. Everyone could tell that this next burst of fire was going to be monstrous.

“HURRY UP! HE’S GOING TO FIRE!” yelled Hermione as William advanced closer. Somehow through the yells and cheers of the crowd, he could make out that they were getting worried and decided to push ahead even faster.

After quickly glancing behind, William realized the dragon was about to fire. As the heat and flames left her mouth, William dove for the pedestal reaching for the only thing in the world that would save him now. His hand hit the table the every same instant the flames hit the bottoms of his shoes. In the blink of an eye the entire pedestal was covered in flames. Whether or not William survived was a total mystery at this point.

Harry and the rest of the Weasleys and Grangers could only pray that he was safe. It was not very common for someone to survive a blast of that magnitude; then again William was anything but common. The only thoughts in their hearts and minds were ones of hope that he would be okay.

The dragon stopped her fiery tirade of the pedestal after losing breath from the powerful burst of heat. As for William, it could not be said whether he was alive or dead for the dust and smoke had not yet settled. The crowd had gone silent in wonder as they tried to find what was left of him in the burning patch of earth.

As the last ember died and the flames had fallen on the grass, a shadowy figure stood up in the burnt remains of the pedestal. His body was surrounded by a blue shield-like barrier, which everyone recognized as the Protego charm. William had reached his wand in time and was now proudly using it. The playing field had now been somewhat evened and now the real battle could begin.

With a renewed vigor and sense of strength, William Black began his battle with the fiery demon before him. This time the odds were even and both sides had a fighting chance. The only question was who was going to make it out alive.

All eyes in the stadium were on William and wondering what his next move might be. Harry thought this situation over and over again in his head trying to think of what he would do if he ever had to fight another dragon. His first thought was to use the Conjunctivitis Charm that Sirius had recommended to him in his fourth year. If anything, he would use more spells and prove his knowledge and ability to take on any opponent. The Firebolt had proven very useful in that test but only displayed his talent for flying.

As if William had somehow heard Harry’s thoughts, a stream of white light hit the dragon in the middle of its head. By the way the dragon started to moan and flail its tail around, he had guessed that William had used to Conjunctivitis charm. It was clear that the dragon was furious as it started to rain its fire breathe all over the stadium. Dozens of families decided to move back as the flames hit the shield charms on sides of the pitch. Even though it was not likely, the prospect of getting burned alive was a powerful motivator.

Although the dragon was temporarily blind, it could still hear where exactly William was. To his surprise, he started to shuffle as the dragon directed its tail at him, smashing the ground before him. Left and then right, both sides were narrowly missed by the lethal spiked weapon. Because no one was hit, then next sweep that was expected was a head on smash from the top. William quickly dove out of the way after a near hit from the tail. The pedestal however was smashed to bits and the sword was cast aside into one of the heaps of ruble.

As he put more distance between himself and the monster before him, William noticed that the dragon could still tell where he was as it yet again swept its tail and then added a fiery blast. For a creature of brute force, she seemed to be inexplicably intelligent. If William had any chance of beating her, then he would have to take the offensive.

‘Damn this thing is smart! How the hell am I going to kill such a formidable opponent?’ These thoughts clouded William’s mind as the dragon advanced closer and closer. ‘Okay, lets just chill out. Remember what dad said. Keep it simple and don’t try anything fancy.’

William looked over the terrain trying to find an inspiration as to how to beat this creature. After climbing on top of a rock, he had a better view of the field. As he stared at the stones that had been hauled onto the pitch, William asked himself a question; “Why do the stones have to be for protection?”

The Weasley contingent of the stadium was dumbfounded by this boy’s actions. Why would he just stand on top of a rock in the middle of the pitch when there was a dragon coming straight for him?

“What’s he doing? Why is he just standing there?” asked Charlie as he frantically tried to reason out the situation. “That dragon is nothing to take lightly! Believe me; I’ve seen what she can do.” This was not a comforting thought to anyone in his section.

“I don’t know what the hell he’s doing Charlie!” answered Harry who was just as confused. “If he’s thinking of something to do, then he’d better do it fast!”

‘Keeping it simple’ was William’s one comfort at the time. Rather than a fancy spell, he would go back to first year Charms Lessons. With a wish and flick of the Wingardium Leviosa, a massive boulder was sent flying into the dragon’s side just in front of its wings. The screech it gave out after being hit resonated throughout the castle grounds causing most of the attendees to cover their ears.

Instead of having another outburst of rage, the dragon simply looked in William’s direction and roared a steady growl as it took flight yet again. For just a moment, its crimson eyes met the deep green of William’s. It was in that moment that he knew the Conjunctivitis had worn off and that the dragon had her vision back.

In a desperate attempt to finish the challenge quickly, William again levitated another boulder in the creature’s direction. With a clear line of sight, the dragon swung its tail around and sent the crumbled fragments into the shield barrier yet again. As it came closer yet again, William sent another boulder its way.

The dragon, having anticipated another boulder, swung its tail in a more surgical movement sending the rock flying back in the boy’s very direction. Seeing the plan quickly fall to pieces, William used the Protego charm and instantly put up another blue shield like barrier.

In the hurried manner that he used this spell, William forgot that it was not created to stand up to the force of something like a five ton boulder. As it hit the shield, the force of the impact sent William flying fifty feet back and off of the rock he was standing on. The crowds watched in suspense as the boy looked completely finished after the hit. Some thought it would just be better if he saved himself the trouble and just lay down and died. The same could not be said for the section Harry was sitting in.

“Please get up. Please get up.” Harry repeated to himself like a mantra. Losing another friend was not something he was simply going to accept. He simply couldn’t do it. He was not disappointed as William slowly stood up and dusted himself off.

“Fuck, that one hurt!” William yelled as he stood up and cracked his back and neck after taking the hit. To his surprise the dragon was not on top of him just yet. Instead, it was hovering in the same spot as before almost in a taunting manner. It was clear that the dragon wanted to enjoy killing William. If it didn’t, then he would have never gotten up. She would have just simply swooped in and scooped him up like some vulture.

It was in realizing this that the prospect of killing the dragon became unavoidable. William knew what he had to do but was hesitant as to what the implications could mean when everyone saw this. This decision had to be made quickly as he saw the dragon hover closer and closer. Rather than playing it safe and taking his chances, William made a quick decision on the matter. “You leave me no choice.” said the boy clad in black as the dragon came closer.

The wand in his hand started to glow white as William brought it up to eye level and said the spell that had been taught to him years before. “Panosolvo!” and with a twirl of the wand glowed even brighter with white light. The students recognized this from days before when he saved Hermione’s life, but the parents looked on in awe as they had never seen this kind of magic before.

“What’s he doing Harry?” asked Mrs. Weasley without taking her eyes off of this amazing spectacle.

“Just wait and watch!” were Harry’s only words as also could not remove his eyes from William.

The next events would change the outcome of the match all together. Deciding to proceed with his plan, William touched his wand’s tip on both of his whip tattoos. In turn both of them started to glow white as the wand became duller with brightness. It looked as if the wand had given its power to both tattoos. It was then quickly put into his pocket, before William took both of his hands and touched each one to the opposite arm’s tattoo. With a quick tug, the tattoos appeared in physical form and uncoiled themselves from his upper arms. Each one unfurled to about ten twenty feet and glowed with the heavenly brightness that he had bestowed upon them.

The crowd watched in utter astonishment after witnessing something they had never seen the likes of. The only thing they could wonder was how the hell this could be possible. The dragon however did not see this as something amazing but as a threat. In a defensive manner it began to fly straight for William.

Fear was the last thing on his mind as the beast came closer. “Come and get it you bitch! Come on, fresh meat! Fresh meat!"

He was only hoping that this would work and raised the whip in his right hand. With a quick flick of the wrist he cracked it toward the dragon in a graceful motion. Like William, there was nothing normal about these whips. Normally a whip would make a slight noise when it cracked. This whip however made a blast as loud as lightning. In fact, the noise it produced sounded exactly like lightning. What was even more strange was the fact that the dragon immediately grounded it self and let out another screeching roar.

The crowd covered their ears at the magnitude of the noise. If the sound was anything it was definitely lightning.

“Ah, so you aren’t a demon.” said William with a slight smile. “You’re just another angry dragon.” He now knew that there was hope in winning the challenge. All he had to do was keep the dragon grounded and wear it down.

At the time as the whip cracked, Hermione instantly recognized the sound. “Harry, Ron do you remember in the Great Hall when William came through the darkness? Do you remember the sound?”

Harry and Ron only looked at each other trying to remember just what they had heard. “The only thing I can remember were the screams, the dog barking, and-” Ron stopped in a sudden realization.

“The loud sound before every scream!” Harry finished. “That’s how he got rid of the Redeemers!” Harry then continued to keep his eyes on the challenge waiting to see what William would do next.

By this time, the dragon had stopped its assault on the boy in its crosshairs. It now seemed that she was in his crosshairs and he was making the assault. With each fluid movement of the whips, another loud bang was produced followed then by the dragon’s screech.

To the crowd, the flowing movement was like an art form, almost like watching a phoenix fly with the same grace and elegance. This however was no eagle. It was just one boy determined to stay alive. If anything, that was a very real possibility at this point, because the dragon was backing up with every crack of the whip.

“My God, how is he doing that?” Charlie asked to himself as he watched this spectacle. “I couldn’t even get close enough to administer the proper medical spells. Until now this was the second month she hasn’t seen a wand.” It was truly remarkable that a common wizard like William could face a dragon when Charlie, who was the expert, couldn’t even get close to her.

William had to be at his peak performance in this stage of the battle. The dragon had run out of room to back up and now had its back on the wall. William was now the one who was getting dangerously closer to her as she looked back at him with a mixed sense of fear and anger. The next part would be the most difficult. In order to subdue her, William would have to put one of the whips down and reach for his wand. This would mean temporarily letting his guard down. To make matters worse, the dragon was now only ten feet away.

“Easy now, easy now!” William tried to trick himself into believing that she would actually listen. As he lowered his left hand to reach for the wand inside his pocket, the dragon found its opening and began to take in air getting ready for another fiery breath. William, who was quick to notice this, swung the whip in his right hand around its neck, successfully cutting off the fire. Holding the whip around the dragon’s neck was more trouble then he bargained for.

Besides the unbelievable amount of strength needed to keep it tight, the dragon began to swing its neck which in turn took William off of the ground. After momentarily regaining his footing, the dragon made a sudden upward swing of her neck, thereby swinging him onto her back. Hitting the hard scales felt like being hit with a bat, but after narrowly missing the razor sharp ridges on her back William felt slightly relieved.

Seeing this as its moment of opportunity, the dragon started to flap its bat-like wings and took off promptly. William, who was now anchored to the beast by the whip was taken with it. If he could not find a way to get off or ground the dragon again, then he would surely be killed from the fall alone. His only hope was to hold onto the whip.

In the crowd’s eyes, the challenge had taken a complete reversal of fortune. First it was the dragon and then it was William, back and forth the odds kept shifting. How much further could they go before one of them ended up dead? The best guess at this point was that William would be first to go seeing as how he was being tossed around like a rag doll as the dragon flew high above the pitch. To make matters worse, it would frequently do dives and barrel rolls to try and shake off the pest on her back.

“Come William, hold on!” yelled Ginny as the dragon flew past the Gryffindor section of the pitch. Harry and the others quickly gave their support as it made another pass.

“Come on William! Take down the bloody beast!” chimed in Ron who decided to join his sister.

The constant swooping and wind gusts were quickly wearing down William’s endurance. The most he could hold on was about another minute. If he could just get the other whip around the dragon’s neck then he might have a fighting chance of taking it down. His next move would have to be it because William’s grip was slowly loosening. As the dragon leveled off in preparation for another sharp turn, William quickly and accurately shook the whip around the dragon’s neck. Cheers from down below near the pitch rang out. The dragon however covered their cheers with another screeching roar.

As his grip returned, William slowly stood up on the dragon’s back with one hand on each whip. To the crowd below, he looked like a jockey with his hands on the reins of a running horse. Much like a jockey, William then shook the whips around the dragon’s neck. This caused her to suddenly lower her altitude. The only course of action was to then shake the whips even further.

As William did this the dragon lowered its height at an even faster pace until it started to flow drastically close to the ground. It was suddenly clear that she wanted to land, but instead it would crash taking William with her. This suddenly became a reality as one of her claws hit a boulder on the field.

To William the crash was instantaneous as the monstrous beast flipped on to the ground with a mighty thud that shook the very stadium. The impact sent rock and dust all over the pitch making it unclear as to who had survived the fall. A major contingent of the crowd was hoping that it would be William.

“Oh Merlin!” exclaimed Harry as he tried to look through the dust to find some clue that William had survived. So far nothing had given any sign of life. He could only hope at this point that his friend was okay. After another minute the dust finally settled revealing just what had happened.

The dragon had made quite a crash into the pitch, uprooting much of the grass and boulders in the process. The glowing whips were still around its neck as the beast lay unconscious on its side and there was no traces of William anywhere near its body. To the now silent crowd, it looked as if he had either disappeared or was under the dragon. Both theories were disproved when someone in the Ravenclaw section yelled “LOOK!” pointing to the other end of the pitch.

As everyone moved their eyes to the other end, they had finally found the body of William Black laying face up on his back. Whether he was alive or dead was a mystery at this point. All hope for the boy clad in black seemed lost for a moment until his body suddenly shook. A great relief was felt in the pitch.

As William slowly opened his eyes realizing he was not dead, an enormous pain surged through his body. As he sat up and looked over his bruised and cut body, the source of the pain was then visible. His right leg had been badly broken as it was twisted slightly to the left. With as much courage as he could muster, William put both hands on each side of his leg.

“AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” cried William as he cracked his leg back into place. The sudden shock of pain nearly knocked him out yet again as tears rolled down his cheeks. The sound of the placement sent shivers down the crowd’s spine as the boy slowly stood up. The pressure that was put on the broken leg could knock out a centaur, but William had to be strong as his test was not yet over.

Upon standing, William realized that his troubles were not over as the dragon was starting to wake up and. After drawing his wand he knew it was time to end this.

Incarcerous!” cried William as he shot a containment charm at the beast resulting in a tight rope being quickly coiled around its midsection.

The dragon realizing that it was losing stood up to only be hit with another charm, this time a rope wrapped itself around the dragon’s mouth preventing any more fire breaths. Her tail was then plunged deep into the ground as William levitated its last weapon out of working order. The beaten boy staggered closer and closer as the dragon became more and more defenseless until it could only lie on the ground subdued in tight ropes.

William was about ten feet away from the dragon when he suddenly remembered the sword and its purpose in this test. “Accio sword” said William with a flick of his wand. The sword having been disregarded pulled itself out from under a pile of rocks and flew into the hands of the boy. ‘Now is the moment of truth’ William thought as he moved in on the dragon’s midsection. His goal would be to finish the dragon quick with a blow to the heart.

As he raised the sword above his head, he suddenly noticed the bulge on the dragon’s underbelly. After lowering the sword William lightly poked the bulge with the sword’s tip. Even though this could never hurt a creature of this magnitude, it let out a deep roaring almost like a pleading cry. The dragon slowly turned her head to William meeting much resistance against the tight ropes. As its eyes met William’s a tears slowly rolled down its face.

It was in that moment that William had a sudden realization. Everything about the dragon began to make sense; the dangerous demeanor, the human appetite and the bulge on its belly. It was all starting to become clear what he had to do. The only question was what would the ramifications be for his actions? None of this seemed to matter as he moved closer to the dragon.

The subdued creature did not act very aggressive as William advanced on her. For a dragon, a creature that was used to torment, she was very surprised when William gently removed the tight whips from around her neck. The crowd was also very surprised at his actions. What could this boy be thinking getting so close to such a dangerous creature? Doesn’t he know that he know that the whips are the only thing keeping it captive?

William was not thinking this as he held the whips in his hands. With another flick of his wand and the word ‘Panosisto'  they started to lose their shine and began to dull as the brightness returned then to his wand. As quickly as he had pulled off the whips, when held to up to his arms, they instantly recoiled themselves back on. As far as the people in the stands were concerned they were just tattoos again. When all of this was done the crowd could only look on in wonder and awe as to what this boy had just done. Most wizards, with the exception of a select few, couldn’t possibly do what he had just done.

For William Black, his plan had come to an end. What would happen next was completely up to fate and the decision of a countless few. When William thought over what he had to do he decided it was the best course of action. As he staggered away from the captive dragon he simply held up the sword and tossed it aside. No one would die by his hand on this day.

Murmurs and commotion had erupted all over the stadium after William had cast aside the blade. What was he possibly gaining by letting the dragon live? Did he not know the rules that one had to die in the end? Harry and the other members of the Weasley and Granger families were particularly confused. They parents asked the children why William would do this in hopes of understanding just what angle he was playing.

The crowd was then silenced itself as the Headmistress’ voice echoed from the teacher’s box and throughout the stadium. “Mr. Black, do you not understand the rules of this test?” asked the elderly woman as the injured boy limped forward.

William simply stopped and looked up in her direction and answered, “Yes, I understand the rules but I’m not going to kill this creature.” said William as he pointed at the bound dragon.

“Do you realize what you are saying?” interjected Kingsley who was now searching for the same reasons as McGonagall. “If you do not do this then your life will pay the forfeit.”

William then limped forward with more conviction and heart than he had before. “I realize my life holds in the balance with my next actions, but I made a promise that I plan to keep.” William stopped for a moment trying to search for the right words to make them understand.

“Five days ago, I killed someone. Yes, I admit this freely.” The crowd then started commotion again after hearing this. “This was something I swore to never do again unless I had to. From what you all have seen here today,” said William as he pointed around to the crowds, “This dragon has given me more than enough of a reason.” William was now pointing to his bruised and battered exterior. “Taking a life is not a matter to be taken lightly, especially if it’s for the entertainment of others!” He made the word ‘entertainment’ clearly audible to emphasize the spectacle the crowds had made out of this.

“I do not feel that my requirements for staying at this school should be based on how well I can kill, but instead on how well I can protect.” The crowd finally understood why William would not willingly kill the dragon. They now knew that life was something very sacred to him and that it was more important to preserve than to end. “That was once my job and I’d like it to be again, but if one of us has to die then you’re just going to have to kill me. I won’t take another life if I don’t have to.”

The power of his words had touched everyone at their core and was suddenly clear what he was asking. If anything, they admired the fact that he went out of his way to preserve life, a quality that was sometimes lacking in their world. The general consensus was that William would make a fine addition to the school if his fate was to change. The decision was now up to Kingsley, McGonagall and the present members of the Wizengamot.

After convening in the teacher’s box, the gong that was used to start the test rang again. This could only mean one thing; the test was over and William had passed. As the gong had finished echoing a slow clap began to break out in the Gryffindor section. Harry along with the rest of his friends had started it in hopes that it would catch on. Very soon the entire Gryffindor box was clapping, then Hufflepuff, then Ravenclaw, and then even parts of the Slytherin box added to the cheers. After all the stands had clapped they began to rise up giving William a standing ovation.

The beaten and tattered boy could only look on in wonder as to what he had just accomplished. The day had been won and it was all because of his convictions and morals. A slight smile broke out on his face as the boy looked around the pitch. It was truly a wondrous sight to see all of the smiling and happy faces cheering for him. William proudly put his hands on his hips and stood proudly before the crowd.

It was in feeling his sides that disturbed him. After he had touched his rib cage, William felt a small object jutting out of his side. When he painfully removed it he found that it was a dragon’s tooth.

Just moments after removing the tooth a sudden pain ran through his body. A loss of breath quickly invaded his throat as he gasped for air. The sudden lack of air and the broken leg had finally caught up to him when he collapsed onto the ground.

Before the light went dark, all William could remember was the sudden mood change in the crowd. The smiles and cheers had quickly faded and were replaced with cries of help and panic. ‘How could this happen? What did I do wrong?’ were the only questions in William Black’s mind as his world went blank.

In an instant the light returned to his world and brought with it a sweet melody being sung in a foreign language. Even though William could not understand the words, the tone and flow seemed almost heavenly. In fact when he looked to see who it was that was singing, William was sure that he was in Heaven.

Upon looking at the silvery-blond haired woman at his side, he was sure that she was an angel. Her pale captivating eyes and flowing white and blue robes made her look as if peace and beauty had taken human form. After noticing that William was looking at her she just looked at him and smiled never stopping the sweet melody she had been singing. Her hands continued to rub her stomach as she then looked down at the small bulge growing on it.

Falling out of his temporary daze William then felt as if should say something, “Excuse me Miss, but is this Heaven?”

The woman simply smiled with a slight chuckle that could warm any man’s heart. “No my dear boy, this isn’t heaven. It’s Hogwarts!”

William then realized he was not dead after all; he had survived his test and was back in the school. “Damn, could’ve sworn it was Heaven.” After opening his eyes even further William could realize that he was right back where he had started this little quest, right back in the Medical Wing of Hogwarts. The relief of being alive had finally started to settle in but was then interrupted as two familiar faces came into the room.

“Welcome back William!” cheered Charlie Weasley as he rushed over to see the recovering boy. His older and more mild mannered brother Bill was following shortly behind with a plate of food.

“Glad to see you’re feeling better.” said Bill as he handed the plate of food to the woman sitting beside him. As he took another seat beside the girl he realized that William had not been properly introduced. “Oh William, allow me to introduce my wife Fleur!”

“Ugh, I gotta stop meeting people this way!” replied William as he feigned frustration but then let out a hearty laugh. “Nice to meet you Fleur.” said the boy in bed as he extended his hand to which she immediately took. Although he did not instantly recognize her, William did in fact know her in the future but chose not to tell her that story just yet.

As William took back his hand he suddenly winced in pain remembering the injury to his side. Looking on the wound revealed a bandage wrap with a minor red spot that was quickly fading. “What happened? How long was I out?”

Bill who was now coming closer to the bed was the first to answer. “Well from what Madam Pomfrey says, it looks as if you broke your leg and took a dragon tooth to you side, which punctured a lung.” The seriousness of the injury suddenly hit William. This wasn’t another cut or bruise that he was normally accustomed to.

“The blood entered your lungs which caused you to pass out. That was about five hours ago.” added Charlie. The look on William’s face showed just how much the loss of time and potentially mortal injuries had affected him. “All of the best spells and potions were used to help you heal better. Madam Pomfrey said you should be right as rain in a day or so just as long as you take it easy. The tooth mark may leave a scar though.”

William could only laugh after Charlie had said this. “C’est la vie (that's life), one more to add to the collection!” said William as he pointed to the claw marks on his chest and suddenly realized he had no shirt on.

Hoping to find a shirt near the bed, William slowly sat up and put his feet over the side. He promptly sat back down after finding that he had no pants on either. “Do you think that I could my clothes back?” asked William bashfully.

“We had to get rid of your clothes seeing as how they were covered in blood and dirt.” replied Bill who pulled from under the bed a white shirt, a pair of jeans and William’s pair of black boots. William put these items on quickly as he did not like be so uncovered in front others.

Charlie then handed him the black dragon leather coat he had given to him earlier. William took it back with great joy knowing that he would be able to wear it again. Before he could put it on he had to put on his boots. This was easier said than done as William bent down on one knee to which he suddenly faltered.

“Are you alright?” asked Fleur who rushed to his side.

“Yeah I’m fine. It’s just my right knee sometimes bothers me. It’s from an old Quidditch injury.” replied William as he regained his balance and then rubbed his knee cap. “I guess fighting the dragon caused it to act up again.”

“Well fighting dragons can do that!” replied Fleur who then remembered her own experience in the Triwizard Tournament.

“That’s right you fought one in the Triwizard some years ago, right?” asked William who already knew the answer to the question.

“Yes, actually!” replied Fleur somewhat surprised. “But I was fighting for a golden egg, not my life.” she reminded the boy. “Nevertheless, what you did was amazing!”

“You liked that?” asked William with a slight chuckle. Fleur, Bill, and Charlie nodded in agreement. “It was just a matter of knowing your dragon breeds and what spells work best on them.”

Charlie who was one of the chief experts on the subject was prompted to ask questions at the mention of this topic. “I was curious about that myself. How did you get the dragon to land? That is not an easy task by any means!”

“That’s easy to explain.” began William as if giving a dissertation. “Well of course you know that dragons fly whenever they feel they need or have to.” Charlie nodded as he said this. “But they’ll never fly when there is-”

“Lightning!” finished Charlie. “Of course, dragons don’t fly when there is lightning in fear of getting struck.” The answer was so simple when he thought about it. Why hadn’t he realized it sooner?

“I think we understand all of that.” added Bill. “But how did you create the lightning sound and even more so how did you do the trick with those whips?” This was the one question everyone in the room wanted to know.

William rubbed his arms as this question was asked. He had been anticipating it ever since he pulled them off. “Well a friend of mine used to do a lot of tattoo art. She was really quite gifted.” said William as he remembered one of his closest friends. “In fact she was so gifted she decided to incorporate movement spells and materialization enchantments into the special ink she used to make. All you have to do is say the right spells and they can come off or reattach themselves.” The trio before him looked at William with a blank stare obviously not understanding what he was saying.

“Okay, let me show you. Can I have my wand?” Bill then quickly passed him the wand that had been sitting on his bedside counter. “Panosolvo!” chanted William while he moved his wand. Within seconds the brightness had returned and was quickly transferred to the tattoo. William then pulled it off with the same ease as he had done before, except this time pulling one off instead of both. He then promptly curled it up and handed it to Charlie.

The whip gave off a tingly feeling of power as Charlie held it in his hand. It was truly remarkable that something as elegant as this could do so much damage if held in the wrong hands. “It’s truly amazing William!” exclaimed Charlie as he handed the whip back to him.

“You take it for now.” said William as he handed the whip back to Charlie.

“I can’t keep this William. It’s yours. It’s a part of you.” This was not just an expression Charlie was using.

“I didn’t say you could keep it. All I’m saying is that you can use it until after you tame that beast. By the way how is she doing?”

“The teachers and Hagrid have secured her in the Forbidden Forest. She’s been heavily sedated as to not stir up any trouble in the woods.” chimed in Bill who had helped Charlie with this matter shortly after the test was over.

“And how is the egg?” asked William. In that moment Charlie’s eyes went wide in disbelief at what William was implying.

“What egg?” feebly replied Charlie.

“You didn’t know?” asked William. “There’s a bulge on her underbelly.”

“That could mean a number of things. It doesn’t necessarily mean she’s pregnant.”

“Sure it does. It explains everything that has been wrong with her. How long has she been this aggressive?”

“About two months now, why?” asked Charlie who desperately needed an explanation.

“I remember reading in ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ that it takes a female dragon two months to properly develop an egg. Other signs include variations of the normal diet, acute aggression, and also the change of eye color.”

Each point had hit Charlie dead on. The dragon in question normally ate deer, but in the past months she had developed a taste for humans. Sadly he had lost a few assistants in the process. The aggression factor was obviously there based on the challenge and the trouble of transporting her. The one thing that did not make sense though was the change in eye color, which made Charlie instantly ask about this.

“Her eyes are red. Hebrideans normally have a deep purple eye color.” William looked back at Charlie in disbelief. “In all this time you didn’t notice anything?”

“No one has been able to get within ten feet of her in the past two months. Between trying to keep her calm and away from the other dragons, we barely had time to tend to our own health.” The news was beginning to seep in and Charlie knew deep down that William was right about the dragon. Upon realizing what he must do Charlie promptly stood up and made his plan.

“Well I had better get down to the forest and help Hagrid. This new information changes everything. We can’t move her anymore if the egg is to survive so she is going to have to stay out there for the time being. We also need to get her healthy for the passing of the egg. I’m not going to lose a baby dragon because of my negligence.” Charlie then extended his hand toward William to whom he was most grateful. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I can’t thank you enough for saving what looks like two dragons now.”

William could only give Charlie his most hearty handshake after thinking about just what he had done and the lives he had saved. Charlie then left as he realized the amount he had to do to properly take care of the dragon. When he left he was sure to take the whip with him knowing that it would prove useful for however long it was in his possession.

William who was sitting on the bed now began to wonder why it was so quiet and why there were no others in the Hospital Wing. He thought that after such a battle everyone would want to seem him and ask questions. “Where is everybody?” asked William who was now growing uncomfortable with the lack of noise.

“They’re in the Great Hall waiting for you.” replied Fleur as she finished her plate of food. The pregnancy was starting to show greatly as her cravings became more frequent and varied.

“Waiting for me? What for?” asked William. This did not make any sense. For all reasons he should’ve been dead after taking such a beating. “I didn’t kill the dragon remember? I still can’t figure out why I’m still alive at this point.”

Bill and Fleur laughed in response to what William was saying after having been given all of the details while William had been stilled passed out. “Don’t worry about that now.” said Bill reassuringly. “Kingsley and McGonagall will explain once we get to the feast.”

Meanwhile in the Great Hall…

As the parents and students sat at their respective tables, there seemed to be a common pattern as to what the conversations were about. Each table was asking the same questions about William and how he did all of those amazing things. But because of the lack of information, no straight answers could be given. When the subject of his origins came up, the parents laughed at their children’s reply of time travel and future events. Nothing like this seemed possible for them, even by magical standards. Harry, Ron, and Hermione knew better of course.

“Who knows if he’s ever going to wake up?” said George Weasley skeptically as the subject of William’s health came into question. “He took on a dragon and barely survived that!”

“He also saved everyone’s life in this room after beating nine Redeemers! And after that he brought me back from the dead!” said Hermione defensively. “He’ll be just fine.”

“Sorry ‘Mione. I didn’t mean it like that.” replied George realizing he had crossed a line. “He’ll probably be fine. I mean he did take slay that dragon with some style though!” laughed the red haired boy as he imitated the whips and lightning.

Harry sat at the table silently drifting in and out of the conversation. William’s fate brought many questions to his mind. For starters he needed answers as to how he knew so much about him and how he defeated the dragon. If William did not survive then those questions would eat away at him for the rest of his life.

“Harry, are you okay?” asked Ginny as she noticed that he was staring off toward the doors.

“Yeah, I’m fine love.” said Harry before kissing the girl he loved. Because she was the woman he loved he did not want to burden her with his worry and doubt. Lying to her was not something he liked doing.

“Okay. You were starting to worry me. You had that look in your eyes again.” Harry knew just what look he was talking about. Apparently his feelings were right about the present state of things.

“I was just wondering when William might get here. I feel like every other curious person in this room. I need some answers.”

When Harry said this Madam Pomfrey had walked into the Great Hall. All eyes were on her as she walked up to the Headmistress’ chair. Upon reaching the teacher’s table, she leaned in closer to whisper something in her ear. Although no one knew what she said they could all guess as Professor McGonagall cracked a smile. Harry’s heart skipped a beat as he realized what Madam Pomfrey had said. He knew that William had woken up and would shortly arrive. It was obvious that others had seen the smile too because conversation broke out all over of William’s return.

The timing could not have been better because no sooner than the smiles had broken out, the doors of the Great Hall opened. Entering first were Bill and Fleur who had anxiously waited for William to follow behind. The boy however did not know how to face the crowd after failing the test. How could he show his face when he had not gone through on his promise to protect them?

Knowing he had to face his fear, William Black shortly followed behind. Every eye in the room was on him as he meekly walked up the center aisle. As he walked farther, the children and parents stood up in show of respect to what he had accomplished. Harry and the rest of the Gryffindors were the first among the students to stand having known William the best. As he progressed even further a slow clap started. By the time he had reached the teacher’s table every person was standing for him and the clap had turned into a thunderous applause. William could not see why they were doing this.

The cheer then slowly ended and Kingsley and McGonagall came forward to speak with William, both adorned with a friendly smile. “I don’t understand. I failed the test.”

“No, William you did not fail.” answered Kingsley being loud enough for everyone in the Great Hall to hear him. “By not killing the dragon today you have passed the true test. After overcoming many hardships and difficulty, you found a way to preserve the creature’s life instead of taking it. It was in these actions that showed this school and its inhabitants what you value for; it is not our actions that define us but the choices we make.”

“You chose to take the difficult path and willingly put your life on the line to save another.” added McGonagall. “The selflessness, skill, and courage you showed are some of the most important qualities we hold dear at this school. It is my honor to admit you as a student to Hogwarts!” as soon a McGonagall said this, a mighty cheers and applause shocked the Great Hall.

William finally understood just why it had to be so difficult. The reward and happiness in the end would be well worth it. This was nothing short of how he felt at the moment. For the first time in a long time, he felt like he truly belonged.

As the cheers and clapping subsided, a stool was brought out and placed in front of the teacher’s table. Sitting on top of it was none other than the Sorting Hat. Everyone including William knew what this meant. It was time for him to be placed in one of the Houses. Each house in the Great Hall desperately wanted William as a member. To whatever house he was placed would surely win the House or Quidditch Cup. The Sorting Hat’s next words would likely be the most important words of the year and all eyes were on William and the hat in anticipation.

William sat down uneasily on the stool. Sure he had been a Gryffindor in the past, but things had changed greatly since then. William had seen and done things over the years that could change anyone’s qualities that were the basis for the Sorting Hat’s decisions. It was a likely possibility that he could be in any one of the houses.

The very instant the hat was placed on William’s head it awoke from its dormant state. “Difficult, difficult. What have we hear? I have not seen a wizard like this in quite some time. There is much talent in you.” spoke the ancient hat. “The heart of a lion, just like your mother. There is much love and hope in you. You have courage, no doubt about that, just like your father. There is also a great conflict in you. There is a choice you have yet to make.” said the hat as if reading his mind.

“Where should you go? Who will help you make the choice? Better be….” The crowd hung on these words like their lives depended on it.

“GRYFFINDOR!” said the hat. Cheers and applause swept through the Gryffindor table like a swarm of bees, not believing their incredible fortune to have William in their company. The other tables however only sat back down to their food with disappointment.

“Welcome to Hogwarts William!” said Kingsley as he extended his hand. William proudly shook his hand with great relief knowing that he was back where he belonged.

As he walked back to the table that he had eaten ate for six of the best years of his life, William was bombarded by numerous handshakes and cheers of hospitality. The strongest reactions he received were when he got to Harry’s section of the table. Harry and Ron each gave him a handshake and welcomed him back to Gryffindor. Hermione and Ginny gave him a mighty hug and sat him down near their seats.

As he was about to take his seat, Mr. and Mrs. Granger stood next to him and hugged him for all he was worth. Mrs. Granger stayed on the longest but then let go after giving him a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you for my daughter William!” said the Muggle woman as tears began to flow from her eyes. William could only say your welcome. No more and no less needed to be said.

Mr. and Mrs. Weasley then took their turns and each gave him a rib crushing hug before letting him sit down. Each of them made the introductions as to who they and their children were as the meal went on. Between eating and talking William had to shake a hand or talk to another student or parent that had come to meet him. It seemed that he was getting more and more popular every day.

After that had happened William was bombarded by questions about how he had won the challenge. Luckily, the barrage of questions was not as bad as it could have been because Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione had each explained to the Weasleys and Grangers about William’s origin and what time he was from. At first they did not believe it but after witnessing the challenge and seeing what he did, it was certainly a possibility.

Between bites he tried to answer all of their questions as best as he could, sharing the information he had given Charlie, Bill and Fleur earlier. Everyone was surprised when they had heard the news about the dragon. Charlie who had just reentered the Great Hall, added his professional opinion when this topic came around and reassured everyone that the egg would be okay.

Through the rest of dinner William kept talking while everyone else listened aptly. He even showed them the spells for his tattoos but did not remove them as to cause a scene.

“I would love to have tattoos like those!” exclaimed Ron as he admired the glowing band around William’s arm.

“You will not have any tattoos anytime soon Ronald Weasley!” interjected Mrs. Weasley. Much to his disappointment Ron went back to eating his supper.

At the other side of the table another family debacle had started. Harry and Ron recognized the boy arguing with his parents as Simon Templeton a second year. He had tracked them down the first week of school asking when Quidditch tryouts were. They both thought he seemed like a nice boy. But from what they had gathered, his family was not wealthy and did not have a lot of extra money.

The argument taking place was involving something about the parents not being able to afford a broom, much to Simon’s dismay. The argument had gotten loud enough at one point where everyone could hear it. When they realized this they promptly stopped.

When the awkward silence had passed Harry decided he should liven up the mood. “So did anyone win anything from Seamus?”

Harry himself had not won anything. Although he bet on William, Seamus did not give winnings to anyone. The bet was clear that for a person to make money, their choice would have to survive while the other was killed. Because both opponents had lived, Seamus declared it a draw and kept all of the winnings.

“No, Seamus said something about a draw and how I didn’t place money on a draw.” Ron was clearly angered by the technicality Seamus had prospered upon. Ginny and Hermione had also placed small bets but did not win either due to the same circumstances.

“Thanks for bringing that up, I almost forgot.” exclaimed William who got up from the table and promptly walked to where Seamus was counting his money. “So how much did we make today Seamus?”

The boy sitting at the table had a large leather pouch filled with what William could only guess were galleons. He also had a small ledger beside him crossing off names of people he had collected from. Apparently he had done very well in his collection because almost every name was crossed off. “Well, I made 605 galleons today. You got a few bruises and another trip to the infirmary.” said Seamus with a great laugh.

William feigned laughter and then quickly resumed his serious composure. “Check your book again, smartass!” Seamus, seeing no harm in looking at what he already knew, quickly flipped through the ledger.

“I have no bet for William Black in my book. Sorry for your loss.” said Seamus finding no line with his name.

“Check it again. You’ll find my bet under the initials ‘WB.’ It’s a 30 galleon bet.”

Seamus then looked through the book again and quickly found the initials and the 30 galleon mark down. The information in the third column tore his ego in half. The bet was placed on a draw. The shocked boy then looked up at William who now had a big smile when he saw the look on his face.

“You had me going off at 20 to 1 odds with a bet of 30 galleons. If my math is right then I’m entitled to 600 galleons.” William then took the large pouch from the boy’s grasp. Seamus, who knew he had been beaten, did not fight it. As if nailing the coffin shut, William then took out the other five galleons and put them on Seamus’ book. “At least you won something.” He then strolled back to his seat feeling very giddy.

“You won!” exclaimed Ron as William sat down with the pouch. “How did you win or even better how much did you win?!”

“Well like I said yesterday, I made an anonymous bet. Instead of picking a side I chose a draw.” explained William as held opened up the bag to show everyone his winnings. “I won 600 galleons.” Everyone at the table gasped realizing just how much money he was carrying around.

“How did you know it was going to be a draw?” asked Hermione who did not understand how William could know.

“Well, as you know in my time I know Kingsley and McGonagall. I also know that they would never have a student willingly kill a living creature. The only logical outcome was that the dragon and I would both survive.” The Weasleys and Grangers remembered that their children had said he was from the future and his previous knowledge of these people and how they acted certainly confirmed that.

“What are you going to do with the money?” asked Ginny who had caught a large glance at the hoard in the pouch.

“I don’t really know. I don’t need it. I mean I already have money.” exclaimed William as he looked over his winnings. Money never appealed to William. Sure it was nice to have, but his view was that too much of it could prevent you from seeing the truth.

These thoughts were interrupted as another argument had broken out at the other end of the table. Again it was Simon Templeton and his family. “Come on, please buy me the broom. I need it for Quidditch tryouts. I’ll pay you back, I swear!” said the boy desperately trying to convince his parents. Much to his persistence they still denied by saying they were not able to afford it.

Harry and the rest of the Gryffindor table had seen this as the argument finally calmed down. A plan suddenly hit him and Harry looked at his friend’s and William with a smile. “I think I have an idea what we could do with the money!” The others knew exactly what he had in mind and immediately smiled.

“Take it!” exclaimed William as he happily handed Harry the pouch. “He needs it more than I do.”

A/N: So what does everyone think of William Black? What is the choice he has yet to make? More information will come in future chapters, but as for now i have to leave you wondering. Please feel free to leave a review. i work best on feedback and suggestions. Trust me, there is more to William than what everyone thinks.

Chapter 6: The Dragon Tamer
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Sunday at Hogwarts had come and gone in the blink of an eye for Harry Potter. Most of the day was spent with Ginny, Ron and Hermione in Hogsmeade. After all of the parents had left they had taken another day to enjoy themselves with a lunch at Madam Puddifoot’s and then another fun filled afternoon passing the quaffle back and forth on the quidditch pitch, except for Hermione who watched aptly from the sidelines.

The pitch itself had been charmed to repair itself once the match was over. The boulders and smashes to the ground had all but vanished. To the passerby it wouldn’t even look like a ferocious dragon had burned and scorched half of the pitch.

William spent most of his Sunday in the hospital wing undergoing more medical charms and spells to ensure that his wounds had not come back or worsened. When all of that was finished he made the long walk up to Gryffindor Tower. Now that he was an official member and student, there were no objections to him being there.

As the sun had begin to set on Hogwarts, Harry and the others decided it was time to go in and get ready for dinner. As they came into the castle, a great commotion had swept over the other students. The general conversation was about William and what he had done and most of the students were holding a copy of the Daily Prophet that had a bold headline entitled; ‘BLACK GIVES DRAGON A MAGICAL WHIPPING

Harry had gotten somewhat used to this in the past 24 hours seeing as how it was all everyone was talking about. The one thing that disturbed him was how much Ginny had talked about him and how extraordinary she thought he was. Ron had made similar mention of this and how much Hermione had talked about him.

They of course did not speak of this in front of their girlfriends knowing that it had not gone any further than casual conversation. Harry and Ron agreed that action should only be taken if and only if William made a move on either Hermione or Ginny. William had done nothing of the sort so far so they quickly dismissed this notion.

By the time they made it to the Gryffindor common room most of the commotion had settled down. When they entered through the portrait hole, the students who were already in there, mostly girls, were crowded around a figure that neither Harry nor his friends could see. As they advanced closer they realized it was William who had been bombarded with questions and hands when he had entered just ten minutes before.

Ginny and Hermione each had a similar idea and acted as if on cue. The two girls immediately rushed through the crowd and pulled William out with them. The crowd of girls did not just back off but just kept rushing toward him regardless of Ginny and Hermione’s intervention. Harry and Ron, who noticed this as well, then pulled and ran the three of them up into the boy’s dormitory locking the door behind them.

“Thanks guys. You saved my hide.” said William as he sat down on one of the beds. Harry and the others each took a seat to catch their breath after coming to William’s rescue. “They just rushed me once I came into the common room. I thought those girls were going to tear me apart. Must be my animal magnetism!” said William as he laughed. Ginny and Hermione also laughed with him. This further disturbed Harry and Ron.

Once the laughing had subsided, William noticed that all of his trunks had been brought up to the dormitory. At the end of the bed on top of one of them was an envelope addressed to him. He then smiled after tearing it open. “I got my class schedule. These courses should be fun. I wonder if any of you are in my classes.” exclaimed William as he handed the letter to Harry.

Ginny, Hermione and Ron looked over Harry’s shoulder as they were just as curious to see what classes they shared with William.

“I guess I’ll see you in History of Magic.” said Ron as he found the same class listing on the letter.

“You’re with me in Muggle Studies!” cheered Hermione, all too much in Ron’s opinion.

“You’ll be with me and Harry in Potions too!” chimed in Ginny. Harry was glad he would be with her at least once during the day. In previous years, he had not seen her much of the time due to the difference in grade years and level classes.

“You’ll be with all of us in Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid tomorrow and then Transfiguration on Tuesday.” Harry added as he had not found any other classes he had shared with William.

William knew that it was no coincidence that each one of them shared a class with him. He silently figured that it was McGonagall’s way of keeping other sets of eyes on him. Harry and the rest were each thinking the same thing but decided against addressing it.

“So what do we do now?” asked Ron as the room grew awkwardly quiet.

“Well we can’t go back out there now with all of those harpies crowding the common room.” chimed in Hermione surveying the situation.

“Why don’t we wait until everyone goes to dinner and the just sneak William out under the cloak?” suggested Ginny.

“That might work.” added Harry who knew exactly that it would work. “Are you up for it William?”

“Sounds like a plan. In the meantime I have some unpacking to do. Does anyone want to help me?”

Over the next twenty minutes the four Gryffindors helped William get situated into the dorm. The clothes were easy to put away but other trunks had to be taken with delicate care as William indicated.

The books he had taken with him were left in the trunk and put under his bed. Hermione had done so after looking inside and saw many books she had not even heard of, most of which were either Muggle books or ones that had not been written yet. The imagination could only tell her what could be done with such untapped knowledge. There was even a Muggle Bible.

Ron had the job of putting away a trunk with William’s quidditch supplies. Most of the items were either professional team t-shirts or playing robes. To his surprise he found no brooms in the trunk. He did however find a box with four gold balls inside which he immediately recognized as snitches.

“You played Seeker?” asked Ron holding up the box.

William looked up from putting away his clothes and smiled at the fond memories in the box. “Yeah, I did." He then took the box from Ron's hand and traced his fingers over the tiny golden spheres. "I kept each snitch I caught as a souvenir. I was pretty good.”

“How come there are only four here?” asked Ron quizzically. “I figured you’d be one to have a lot more.”

“After my brother joined the team, I let him take over Seeker position and I moved onto Chaser.” William now took the box and put it back in the trunk. “He deserved a shot at Seeker too.”

This was the first time they had ever heard William talk about having siblings. They were eager to know more, but he quickly changed the subject. After dealing with William on personal issues before they thought it better to let him tell them when he was ready as opposed to prying.

“Harry would you mind passing me the blue glass bottle in that trunk?” asked William as he pointed to a grey trunk at his feet. Harry opened the trunk and quickly found the bottle after sifting through some pajamas and toiletries. William then took the bottle and placed it inside the nightstand beside his bed.

“What’s in this trunk?” asked Harry as he looked down on its black exterior. On its top was an emblem of a crossed wand and sword inside of a white circle. Below it were the initials ‘FMP.’

William, who looked over to what Harry was talking about, immediately ran over and placed the trunk under his bed. “Don’t worry about what’s in there! It’s nothing you need to see.” snapped William in a rather defensive tone.

Harry and the others were slightly taken back by William’s sudden burst at them. William knew he had been too harsh as the room went silent.

“Sorry. I just don’t like others going in that trunk. It has some of my more personal effects.” said William trying to apologize.

Harry and the others could understand wanting privacy. Living with the Dursleys for ten years could make anyone want privacy. Ron and Ginny had learned to be secretive too after growing up with Fred and George for brothers.

“Don’t worry about it William. I think we understand.” said Hermione who was now at William’s side.

Ron, deciding that he wanted to have Hermione back at his side, interjected his thoughts. “Why don’t we head down to dinner?”

“Sounds good Red!” exclaimed William who was now starting to grow an appetite.

The invisibility cloak was a great idea but only got them so far. After they pulled the cloak off and entered the Great Hall, a similar group of girls bombarded William. After saying that he needed to eat, they gradually left him.

Throughout the meal, Harry and the others could still see and hear girls giggling and talking about him. The boys in the Great Hall with girlfriends started to get antsy after making a similar observation. Anyone else was only talking about the challenge or what it would be like with William in one of their classes. It was as if a wave had swept over the school and everyone was caught in the craze.

The following morning after a large breakfast Harry, Ron, Ginny, Hermione and William were making their usual trip down to Hagrid’s hut for Care of Magical Creatures.

“I tell you what, that was one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time!” exclaimed Ron who was feeling thoroughly awake.

“That makes one of us.” Harry retorted as he did not get much sleep. “I barely feel asleep with the way you snore!” laughed Harry. “How about you William? Did Ron keep you up last night?”

“Not in the least. I snore as well so I figured it put up a silencing ward to keep noise from going in or out.” replied William. Harry questioned himself after thinking why he hadn’t done something similar. “I could teach you the spell if you want?”

“That would be terrific!” said Harry who appreciated the help.

“Hey I don’t snore that bad!”

“You could wake the dead with your snoring Ronald.” added Hermione with a great laugh. Her laughing was then cut short as someone had bumped into her.

“Watch where you’re going Granger!” said Malfoy as he passed by with a group of Slytherins.

Ron who was about to say something in defense of his girlfriend was cut off as William began to speak.

“Malfoy, do the smart thing for once in your life and just keep walking.” said William with a great deal of anger in his voice.

Malfoy could only keep walking seeing as how William had his wand drawn. To be on the receiving end of one of his spells was not something he wanted at the moment.

“What was that about?” exclaimed Ron.

“What?” replied William who was confused at having his actions questioned.

“She’s my girlfriend and I can defend her!” said Ron defensively.

“Sorry, I don’t like the way he talks to any of you.”

Harry and Ginny could each see what Ron was talking about. It wasn’t William’s place to intervene.

William decided against speaking as the group progressed further toward Hagrid’s hut. When they came to the outside, about thirty students were there waiting.

At about half past nine, the burly half-giant made his way out of the hut to address his students. “It’s nice to see everyone on this fine morning. I have a special treat for all of you today!” exclaimed Hagrid.

In the past, Hagrid was not one to disappoint when it came to surprises. Everyone could tell this right away after he introduced them to a Hippogriff on the first day some four years ago. Whatever he had in mind would surely be something to see.

“Right this way!” yelled Hagrid as he led his class into the forest. The crowd of students quickly shuffled behind him into the trees as he went deeper and deeper into the thicket.

“What kind of treat are we going to see today Hagrid?” asked Harry who had joined him at the front of the line. Most of the Gryffindors had followed him as well and were very anxious to find out what they were going to see.

“Good question Harry!” said Hagrid as he turned and addressed the class. “Now as you all remember, this week is our study of Magical Aquatic Creatures. But due to a recent acquisition of another magnificent creature, we are going to take a little detour from the main curriculum.”

As they kept walking, the trees from the east quickly parted and out stepped Grawp. The students who had been with Hagrid longest knew of Grawp’s child like innocence and quickly rushed over to give his massive legs a hug and to greet him. The simple giant’s face lit up at the affection given to him.

For some odd reason, Grawp had two of his fingers in his mouth and had tears welling up in his eyes.

“What happened Grawp?” asked Hagrid who could tell that something was wrong.

And as if the dam had burst, Grawp’s tears began to flow. “It burned me!” sobbed the giant as he took his fingers out of his mouth and presented them to his brother.

“Let me take care of those!” added Hermione who was standing at Hagrid’s side. Ron and Harry knew she had a soft spot for him after he picked her up by her waist in their fifth year. The young witch then conjured bandages and gauss around the giant’s red swollen fingers. “Better Grawp?”

The giant then picked her up and gave her a warm embrace. “I’d take that as a ‘yes.’” laughed Ron who was watching from the ground. Hermione was then placed back on the ground next to Ron after Grawp had given her a proper thank you.

“This is just how dangerous our lesson is today.” announced Hagrid to his students as he pointed to Grawp’s hands. “If this creature can hurt a giant, then just imagine what it can do to you.”

Just what exactly were they going to see today wondered the students. Never in all of the crazy lessons Hagrid had given did he present them with such a potentially lethal creature. What exactly could it be?

Hagrid would not answer that particular question just yet. Instead he just kept walking with the students deeper into the forest. As they went farther in, a steady rumbling could be heard. The strange thing that everyone seemed to think was that something was snoring.

When the group came to a clearing, it was fairly obvious that something was snoring because in the middle of it was the sleeping form of the Hebridean dragon William had faced just two days before.

The expected ‘ohhs’ and ‘ahhs’ made there way through the crowd as they observed the sleeping beast. By the looks of it, the dragon had made itself quite comfortable as most of the debris from the forest bed had been cleared and was piled into a nest of twigs and sticks.

“Now as you can see we have a female Hebridean dragon with us today.” whispered Hagrid as to not wake her up. “Most of you would recognize her as the dragon William beat this Saturday.”

More giggles and side conversations scurried through the crowd at the mention of this. Ginny and Hermione whispered in each others ears much to Ron and Harry’s dismay and anger. William just stayed up toward the front hoping to see more of the dragon.

“Isn’t she magnificent?” said Hagrid talking to himself.

“Wretched is more of the word I would use.” yelled Malfoy from the back of the crowd.

The crowd immediately looked back toward the dragon after Malfoy had made his outburst. Each person had the same fear in their mind that the dragon would wake up. The appearance of the dragon’s deep red pupils confirmed those fears.

At the sudden noise, the dragon woke from its slumber and eyed the intruding group. She then took in a deep breath and shot a burst a flames at them

The crowd then ran back at least fifty feet after the dragon let out its deadly breath. All ran except William and Hagrid. After turning back to see what happened to them, they realized that the flames had not even reached remotely close to them.

Hagrid then tapped his fingers on a blue barrier that appeared with the contact from his skin. He had clearly placed a shield charm and had forgotten to mention it.

Hagrid, who let out a mighty laugh turned back to his students and said, “I made sure to take the proper precautions this time in case someone decided to interject their own feelings!”

Everyone could tell that he was talking about Malfoy and made it known by giving him the evil eye as they walked back to where Hagrid was standing.

“Now as I was saying, this dragon we have before us has been left in my care after discovering that she is pregnant.” continued the half-giant. “Who here can tell me what the signs are of pregnancy in most dragon breeds?”

“The most notable change is a lump growing on the underbelly, which indicates the forming of an egg.” answered Hermione.

“Correct Miss Granger! Anyone else?”

“Their eyes change colors?” said Zacharias Smith who was not sure of his answer.

“Correct Mr. Smith.” answered Hagrid. “Now as you can see, her eyes have gone from a deep purple to a nice crimson red.”

All of the students looked on and noticed this as soon as the beast turned its head toward them. From the way she looked at them, it seemed like she was picking some of them out to eat.

“Does anyone else have an answer?”

“This particular breed starts to develop a taste for human flesh as opposed to the usual deer meat.” added William. “I can personally attest to that.” laughed the boy. Most of the students joined the laughter after remembering the beating he took from her.

“That reminds William,” began Hagrid, “would you like to go in and see her?”

“Excuse me?” asked William. Walking back into the circle with her was one of the last things he wanted to do.

“You beat her once before and I thought you might like a closer look at her. Besides, if you have any trouble just use those whips of yours.”

“Those aren’t toys!” replied William. “I only use those when I have to.”

“Sounds more like you’re a chicken.” said Malfoy from the back of the crowd.

“Come up here and say that asshole!” yelled Ginny who was standing at William’s side.

Harry could only look at her in wonder as she said this. What was she doing defending William?

“Settle down!” said Hagrid taking back control of his students. “You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to William.”

Seeing no way in avoiding the challenge William began to take off his cloak and then unbuttoned his shirt. “It’s okay. Blondie wants a show so I’ll give him a show.”

After discarding his shirt he was down to his sleeveless undershirt which proudly displayed his tattoos except this time he had only one whip. The girls in the group, including Hermione and Ginny, began to whisper amongst themselves regarding his physique.

“You might want to back up.” said William to the crowd as he pointed his wand toward the tattoo on his right arm. “Panosolvo!

Just like the day before, the tattoo came right off and uncoiled to its bright glowing long length. William then slowly entered the nest area letting the dragon remember just who he was.

For some reason the dragon was not doing anything. It simply stayed in its nest and watched as the boy moved closer and closer.

William could not believe what was happening as he was now five feet from the dragon. He hadn’t even cracked the whip and she was still calm. Deciding to push the envelope, he extended his hand toward the mighty creature.

The dragon then moved it head closer to the boy’s hand. She then sniffed at it like a dog would a stranger’s. The next motion surprised everyone. William put his hand directly on the dragon’s face.

He then moved in closer and began to pet her snout. She then closed her eyes at that warm embrace William gave her. To anyone who did not know of the dragon, they would simply think that she was his pet by the way she let him touch her.

“We I’ll be!” exclaimed Hagrid as he looked on in awe. Harry and his friends could say the same but were too speechless to produce any words.

Malfoy just stood in the back lost in his own self loathing after being publicly proven wrong again.

Some would guess that because William had beaten her in combat, that she found him to be a worthy adversary. Others would guess that it was out of respect from one animal to another. And then others would say that maybe the dragon just liked him.

Harry on the other hand, thought maybe the dragon just needed a friend.

“She’s a good dragon isn’t she William?” asked Harry who was watching aptly from beyond the barrier.

“Ruby!” yelled back William.

“What?” asked Ron.

“Her name is Ruby.” replied William. The common guess that where he got this name was from the deep crimson color of the dragon’s eyes. Either way, it was a perfect fit.

“Okay students, time to get back to the heart of the lesson.” announced Hagrid pulling everyone out of their daze. “Now because Ruby is expecting an egg, she needs the proper nutrients and foods to ensure its health. The most nutritious food available for her at Hogwarts is Grindylow meat.”

All of the students now understood how the dragon tied into his lesson on Aquatic Creatures.

“This Friday all of us will be going into the Great Lake to gather fresh food for her. I advise everyone to bring a bathing suit and your wands. Gathering Grindylows is easier said than done. That’s all for today.”

After William put his shirt back on and reattached the whip, the class made its way back to the castle. The general conversation was about the whip trick and how he handled the dragon. Others talked about going into the lake and rounding up food for Ruby.

Ginny and Hermione walked ahead of the three boys and talked amongst themselves. Harry, anxious to hear what they were talking about, moved in closer for a better chance to hear.

“If he can tame a dragon, I wonder what else he can do!” exclaimed Hermione.

“He really is something isn’t he?” replied Ginny.

Harry could not believe his ears after hearing this. Once William was out of ear shot, he pulled Ron aside and gave him the news about what they were talking about. He couldn’t believe it either.

“Over the next few days let’s keep an eye on him. I’m not gonna lose Ginny to some dragon tamer! I don’t want him taming anything else if you know what I mean.” exclaimed Harry.

He did not like the way Ginny looked at William, nor how she came to his rescue at the nest. It also bothered him how he interjected into fights that were not his own.

Ron couldn’t agree more. The way Hermione looked at him did not put his feeling at ease. He had spent 6 years battling with himself to tell her how he felt and he would not lose her now to someone she barely knew.

Sooner or later they were going to have to confront William about this. They couldn’t allow it to pass any longer even if he didn’t know it was happening.

Chapter 7: Snatch and Run
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The rest of the week dragged on unbearably slow for Harry. The school had gotten quieter about William and the test, but the change he saw in Ginny was even more obvious. Ron had told him that he noticed a similar change with Hermione as well. They both had the feeling that the girls were slowing drifting away from them with each passing day. And they had a good idea in which direction they were headed.

The crowd of girls that pursued William had subsided somewhat, but still lingered in his presence. As usual he did make every effort to stay away from them. Harry and Ron could only think of two reasons for his actions. Either he did not like girls, which was not likely for a boy like William, or his heart belonged to another. They were banking on the latter but worried just who had his heart.

William Black had made even more mention of himself as the time went by. Not only did his talents reside in the physical but also in the intellectual.

Ron had told Harry that History of Magic appeared to be a breeze for William. From what was said, there seemed to be almost no date or event that he couldn’t recall or give in depth detail about. Ron, who always struggled through History of Magic, began to start having an even bigger problem with William who it came so easy to.

Hermione also began to grow even fonder of him in Muggle Studies. For the first time it appeared as though she had a challenge in one of her classes. Then again, Hermione always liked a challenge. From the cheery smiles and late study sessions, Ron believed that it might just be more than friendly competition.

Ginny and Harry of course became partners in Potions class, which became the highlight of his day. Nothing seemed to shake his mood when he was next to her. Even if the class was making a potion that would confuse Merlin himself, nothing mattered to him except that he was with the girl he loved. After nearly dying, Harry was going to enjoy as many moments with her as he could.

Then there were the other times. Over the past week, Harry noticed that Ginny would drift off and look in William’s direction. As time went by he noticed that she had a certain look in her eye whenever she looked at him, a look he couldn’t quite place. Not knowing how she felt was slowly starting to eat away at him.

Once or twice he even thought she stopped loving him. Those foolish thoughts were quickly dismissed when she turned her head back and gave him that smile that captured his heart in the first place. Still, there was always that feeling William had her heart as well.

By Friday morning, Harry and Ron knew that they would have to confront their girlfriends about these feelings and know where they stood. It was either that or confront William about what he was doing and how he felt about them. Action had to be taken, and the sooner the better.

The first class of the day would be Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid. Today was the day that the class would be diving into the Great Lake to harvest Grindylows for Ruby. The majority of the students had already arrived at the dock on the edge of the Great Lake where Hagrid instructed everyone to meet him.

Of course everyone remembered to bring their bathing suits because it was a rare opportunity to venture into a world so different from the one on the surface. Harry and a chosen few had been the only ones to see just exactly what it was like down there. The one thing that everyone knew was that this was bound to be one hell of an interesting class.

“Anyone want a piece of gum?” asked William cheerfully as he walked with Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny down to the dock.

“What kind of gum?” asked Ginny who turned around from Harry’s side to see. Harry of course, was already on edge about anything William did in front her.

“It’s a very special kind of gum.” said William as he raised his eyebrows suggesting just how special it was. He then produced a green piece from the pack he had in his hand. The label was blocked by the way it sat in his hand.

Ginny then reached out and took the piece and began to chew it very slowly as if waiting for it to perform some sort of great trick.

“It’s just a piece of winter green.” replied Ginny as she continued walking closer to the docks. “I don’t see what’s so special about it!”

“Give it a second, it takes a moment to work!” said William as he tried to suppress a laugh. The reason that he was laughing was that the gum was starting to take affect.

Suddenly as Ginny took her next step, the instant her right foot touched the ground she started to jump ten feet into the air. The second her feet came back down, she jumped another ten feet.

Harry, Ron and Hermione watched in awe as Ginny continued to jump up and down. She was obviously enjoying the sensation as her contagious laugh began to break out. William then started to laugh as he was glad someone had broken the tension in the group.

Over the past few days he began to notice that things were starting to quieter around the castle. For some reason, Harry and Ron had started talking less and less to him. Ginny and Hermione remained their usual friendly selves. If he was going to be at their side for a year then he would have to find out just what exactly their problem was

“This is incredible! You guys should definitely try a piece!” cheered Ginny.

“Now would anyone else like a piece?” asked William producing four more pieces of the green sweet.

“What is that stuff?” asked Hermione not taking the piece he presented.

“Bullfrog Bouncers, one of the finer joke shop items of my time.” laughed William as he watched Ginny continue to bounce.

“How does she get down?” asked Ron stopped and watched his sister jump higher and higher with great concern.

“Do you want a piece and try?” asked William simply.

“No, I don’t want a piece. Just tell me how she gets down!”

“I’ll take one!” exclaimed Hermione who wanted to know just how much fun Ginny was having.

“Here try one!” said William as he handed Hermione the green stick. “You want one Harry?” asked the boy gesturing toward Harry.

“Just tell us how the fuck she gets down!” snapped Harry. He was looking at William with pure anger in his eyes.

William who was taken back by his outburst and simply replied with slight anger, “All she has to do is spit it out.” Nothing more needed to be said. It was quite obvious that Harry had a bone to pick with him and William decided against getting into it here and now with him.

Ginny who had heard the commotion on the ground spit out the gum and walked over to where the group had suddenly stopped. “Is everything alright?”

Harry looked over at Ron and Hermione and knew this was not the time to start a fight. William looked as if he might kill Harry with his stare. He would settle the matter later. “Everything’s fine Ginny.” lied Harry.

The remainder of the walk to the dock was spent in silence. No one dared speak in fear of a fight breaking out. The best course of action was to stay quiet and just get to the dock.

When the last five students arrived at the dock they began to disrobe. Most of the boys there were dressed primarily in board shorts and water shoes. The girls wore mostly one-piece suits that showed their house colors. Some of the more adventurous girls wore two piece swim suits that left little to the imagination, hoping to entice some of the boys; William was the main target in most cases.

Ginny and Hermione had each bought respectable one piece scarlet and gold bathing suits to show their loyalty to Gryffindor House. Harry and Ron’s eyes were glued to this beautiful site as they disrobed as well.

“Breathe Harry!” laughed Ginny as she noticed the look on his face. Harry then turned his smile toward her face.

“Sorry Gin. You know you look stunning, right?” Ginny then blushed the color of her hair.

“Blink Ronald!” snapped Hermione taking Ron out of his daze.

“Sorry love.” said Ronald innocently knowing he had been caught.

Harry and Ron then disrobed to reveal matching scarlet and gold board shorts. They then looked at each other in confusion, neither knowing that they had chosen the same outfit to wear.

“Looks like we had the same idea ladies!” added Harry laughing as he spoke. Ron, Hermione and Ginny saw the humor in the situation and began laughing as well.

William who had not said a word changed into his swim suit. It was a simple body suit that went from his knees to his neck. It did not have sleeves, which emphasized his muscles and tattoos then had now acquired a deadly reputation.

The group that had seen his scars knew that he only wore this particular suit because it covered them. William could have easily worn something like Harry or Ron but decided against it seeing as not to frighten the others.

Although they did not know, William had grown quite used to hiding his body after it was scarred. Still the feeling of the free air on his chest was something that he often missed. Any opportunity to do so was cherished time for him, if only for a short while.

When everyone was dressed and ready to dive in, Hagrid made his way down to the dock path. Over his shoulder rested thirty mesh bags. As he walked passed the group, each person received a bag. When Hagrid got to the end of the dock, he then conjured four large barrels, each baring one of the four house crests. With another flick of the wand, a double zero appeared floating over each barrel.

“Alright students, as you already know, today you are going into the lake to harvest Grindylows for our dragon friend in the forest.” said Hagrid as he began to address the class. “I will not be joining you as I cannot swim and the fact that no one wants to see this in a bathing suit." laughed Hagrid as he patted his stomach. The students saw the humor in this and laughed as well. 

"I trust you will all be on your best behavior.” Some new this might be a challenge for others, particularly for Malfoy who had regrettably made it.

“From the end of the dock is a rope you will all follow that will lead you to the algae beds. This is where you will find a majority of the creatures. In order to catch them you will use a simply stunning spell and then place them in the bags that have been provided. Take careful aim and don’t get to close to them, for they will tear you apart if given the opportunity. When your time is up I will send down a red light.”

The girls in the group shrieked at this prospect. The boys however tried to act like it did not faze them, but on the inside they were just as terrified. Harry could personally attest to it after nearly suffering the same fate during the Second Task of the Triwizard Tournament.

The half-giant then turned to them with a look of complete seriousness in his voice. “Now if anything happens down there that any of you can’t handle, I want all of you to get your catch and make for the surface.”

Ron turned to Harry and said, “So basically, it’s snatch and run?”

“Looks like it!” laughed Harry.

“When you make it back to the surface, you will empty your bags into your house’s barrel. As a special bonus, the house with the most Grindylows will receive twenty points toward the House Cup. You each have a thirty minutes starting now!” yelled the half-giant as the students rushed to the end of the dock.

As each person put on the Bubble Head charm, they then jumped into the water and made their way to the bottom. It was clear that each house wanted an early lead in the point standings.

Harry, Ron, Ginny and Hermione were among the first in and started to make an immediate descent. All they knew was that those twenty points would be for Gryffindor.

William stayed behind and was the last one to enter the water. He did not know what was wrong with Harry or Ron, but decided to give them some space. William did however suspect just what they were mad about. He too had noticed the attention Ginny and Hermione were giving him and on some level it made him feel uncomfortable.

The descent to the lake bed was longer than Harry remembered from his fourth year. After following the rope Hagrid had left for nearly ten minutes, he and the others reached the end of the line.

The rope had been secured to a large stone on the floor but that was all that was near. There were no algae beds or any other underwater plant life that could suggest a presence of Grindylows. The spot was completely barren. None of the students could understand why the rope ended in this spot. Nothing was visible through the murky except the soft muddy floor of the lake.

Harry began to question whether Hagrid had made a mistake about where the Grindylows were nested. Ron and the girls had just landed beside him and looked around with the same notion.

The group then began to scatter as more students arrived. They each decided to look and see if the nesting grounds were somewhere near. Harry then started walking around the bed, trying to find some sign of life when suddenly the ground gave out beside him.

He then started to fall when suddenly Ron, who was walking behind him, had caught his arm. When realizing he was safe, Harry looked to see what he had fallen off of and in an instant all of his doubts about Hagrid’s spot where gone.

After Ron pulled Harry to his feet, they looked over the place he had fallen and saw the algae beds that Hagrid had described. It seemed that the rope was on top of a ridge that led into a deep valley of algae. The expanse of vegetation from the top of the cliff extended for what seemed like miles. Every few seconds, a green mass would pop up in and out of spots of the leafy lake bed. Surely they would have no problem finding their prey.

Ginny and Hermione came over to see what all the fuss was about and stared wide eyed at what they had discovered. Pretty soon more and more students came over until everyone including William was there on the edge of the ridge. The secret was out.

The gathered crowd then looked over itself, wondering who was going to make the first move toward the bottom. Deciding now was the right time, Harry jumped off the ridge and sank gracefully to the bottom and then made a dash for the algae beds. He was then joined by everyone else who wanted to take an early lead in gathering the Grindylows.

At the sudden disturbance, a whole cluster of the viscous water demons swam out and away from their cover. Harry was the first to cast a stunning spell and successfully hit one of the fleeting creatures. Soon, more and more flashes of stunning spells joined him and gave light and clarity to the once dense and murky water.

After collecting the stunned Grindylow, Harry looked off and saw numerous others doing the same. Hermione had already caught two and was moving on to catch a third. Ron was struggling to put the slightly wriggling one in his bag and Ginny had just hit her fourth. Everyone seemed to be hitting there targets and there were definitely more Grindylows to stun.

William had landed shortly after Harry and quickly joined the party as he looked over the ridge and saw numerous flashes appear in the algae fields. Deciding to get in on the action, he leapt over the ledge and began firing his stunning spells, and each one seemed to hit with deadly accuracy. From what he could observe, all of the other kids were hitting them and then putting it in their bag. William decided against doing so, but instead hit three of four at a time and then put them into his bag.

When Harry noticed that William had joined the hunt, he was slightly impressed by his ability to hit the scurrying creatures. Although they were accurate, some of them narrowly missed other classmates who were distracted by their own targets. At the risk of someone getting hit, Harry swam over to William to discourage him from doing so.

Harry tapped him on the shoulder as he put his seventh Grindylow in his mesh bag and did his best to signal that he should slow down and pace himself. William seemed reluctant to agree but did so after seeing Harry’s point.

Then hunt seemed to go on and on for what seemed like hours. It did not continue to be just as easy though. The Grindylows, who had become aware that their numbers were superior to the humans, began to fight back. Several students decided against staying after receiving numerous slashes or bites. One thing was certain; this would not be a winning fight if they stayed any longer on the lake floor.

Luck seemed to be on the students’ side as a sudden burst of red light erupted underwater and signaled them to come back to the surface. Knowing relief was there; the crowd then took their final catch and began the gradual, yet speedy return to the surface. It took all of five minutes for them to reach the water’s edge as it was easier to float than sink.

After taking in the fresh air, the class climbed up onto the deck with their bags. Hagrid, who had been waiting aptly, helped a decent majority of them up, most of which had scratches and bites all over. When they were all standing on the wet wood of the dock, Hagrid made his announcement.

“I see you all have done well in the hunt. Those of you with bites or cuts can go see Madam Pomfrey if you like or you can stay if you want to see which house gets the twenty points.” said Hagrid motioning toward the barrels.

The prospect of medical attention seemed like a good idea as ten students left the bags with fellow members of their houses. Once the bags were situated they promptly left the dock and headed toward the Medical Wing of the school.

Malfoy was among them but only had a minor cut on his arm. As usual a standard injury was turned into a life or death dilemma. It seemed he couldn’t get away from the water any quicker. Harry, Ron, and Hermione guessed the Grindylows had really gotten to him.

“Everyone, empty your bags into your corresponding house barrel and wait for the final tally.” As the students emptied their bags into the barrels, the floating numbers above them quickly changed like points on a scoreboard when more Grindylows were dumped in. The current standing were; Ravenclaw 39, Hufflepuff 34, Slytherin 48, and Gryffindor 47. The buckets at this point were not completely full.

“How many did you have Hermione?” asked Harry after he had emptied his bag.

“I had about 12. You?” replied Hermione.

“15 I think. I lost count after ten. What about you Ron?”

“I think I had something like 9 or 10.” added Ron who was slightly disappointed at coming in behind them.

“What about you Ginny?”

Harry waited for an answer but looked around after receiving none. He then looked all over the dock, but with no luck, couldn’t he find her. He hadn’t been with her on the way up and was getting very worried.

“Hermione did you see Ginny come up?” Hermione shook her head and looked around after realizing she had not seen her either.

Ron looked all over the dock as well and was starting to get the same feeling as Harry and Hermione.

“The last time I saw her was in the algae beds before Hagrid sent down the signal to come up.” interjected William who had been listening to the conversation. “That was the last time I saw her.”

Harry knew Ginny still had to be down there. The only thing he could do was get there as soon as possible and find her before something terrible had happened. He then rushed over Hagrid to tell him the news.

“Hagrid, Ginny’s still down there! I can’t find her anywhere on the dock!” exclaimed Harry urging him to do something. The sound of concern flooded his voice upon saying this.

Ginny was one of his favorite students and friends and immediately made an announcement. “Everyone be quiet!” yelled Hagrid. The students promptly shut up. “It seems that someone was left down there, Ginny Weasley. I need all of you who are able to swim, to go back down and find her as soon as possible. As soon as you do, use your wands and cast a blue spark to alert everyone that the search is over. This is very important that you find her.”

The worry was evident in his voice and all of the students could see this. Knowing his conviction, they all jumped into the water, (Harry, Ron, Hermione and William were first) and made their second descent of the day, this time their task was to find Ginny Weasley.

Chapter 8: Surface Tension
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Harry, Ron and Hermione swam with a speed the likes of which they had never gone before. Each one of them had their own reasons for doing so. To Hermione, Ginny was her best friend and a sister to her. Ginny was Ron’s sister and he was not going to let anything happen to her.

Harry perhaps had the most convicting reason of all. Ginny was the woman he loved and the one he would not let anything happen to. He would gladly die if it meant saving her life. Harry had come to love many people over the years, but none like Ginny. She was the one person who truly mattered the most in his life.

For five minutes, the three of them swam with all of their might against the depths of the lake. Their strength was diminishing quickly as they could not maintain their pace. William who had been swimming closely behind had finally caught up to them in their sprint which was rapidly being depleted.

Harry, Ron and Hermione could not maintain their pace any longer. Their arms and legs were burning with fatigue, but knew they had to keep going if they were going to rescue what mattered the most. Each stroke and kick began to hurt like a burning rod being thrust into their sides. If they were going to have enough strength to find Ginny, they would need to slow their pace for a short time.

Ron and Hermione, who had been shortly behind Harry, saw that he needed rest and slowed their pace alongside him. Harry, who noticed this, smiled at his friends realizing that they were in this together.

If they had any hope of getting to Ginny in time, the group knew they would have to find a way to get to the bottom of the lake faster. Hermione had searched her mind for any type of spell to make this possible but could not think of anything under the pressure. Harry and Ron then tried to summon their strength but could not muster any more.

When all hope was lost, a sudden flash rang out through the water. The group, who could not see where it came from, began to look around but saw nothing. Upon looking up, they realized the surface was moving farther and farther away from them. Upon looking down, they could see that the lake bed was getting closer and closer. It was as if some invisible anchor was weighing them down. Whatever it was, they were certainly not going to question it.

After just two minutes, the trio was on the top of the ridge that they had landed on at the beginning of the lesson. The instant they touched the ground, the weighing charm had been lifted off of them. They then looked up and saw the rest of their classmates, William heading up the lead, sinking as well.

Harry and his friends immediately made a brake for the algae beds and jumped off of the ridge. After making another landing in the beds, they surveyed the landscape to try and find some sign of Ginny. The rest of the class soon joined their side and tried to find signs of life as well. There was nothing except the flowing green plant life.

For a place that recently a battlefield of humans and Grindylows, it was eerily quiet. There were no scavengers or stray creatures. All Harry knew was that it was too quiet. There was nothing more they could do but search the beds and try to find Ginny.

As Harry turned back to suggest the idea to his friends, the classmates behind them had expressions of terror and fear. Their eyes seemed to be glued onto the field ahead of them as if they were in shock. Harry turned to see what it was all about and saw just exactly what they were scared of.

A massive wave of Grindylows, at least several dozen, began to surface out of the vegetation and made a head on dash for the students. Harry, being the only one who had his wits about himself, fired a stunning spell toward the advancing group. Ron and Hermione, who had just come out of their daze, joined Harry in the onslaught and each fired different spells. The rest of the class joined in and began firing more spells and charms as well. The algae bed turned instantly to a battle ground.

When the two masses of students and Grindylows met, chaos ensued in the form of ravenous creatures and flashes from spells. Harry himself was fighting off at least six Grindylows, while Ron and Hermione were busy dealing with several of their own.

The only chance now that Harry found Ginny was to get through the maelstrom of Grindylows and to make his way past the crowd. Several other students had the same idea and began to push through the lines and ranks of charging Grindylows. Only a handful of them made it through while the rest, were pushed back.

Harry was almost home free to the other side, when all of a sudden another group of Grindylows blocked his path. The one chance he had of finding Ginny and was gone in an instant.

Overcome with rage, Harry began wildly firing spells, taking out numerous creatures at once. Each one after that that tried to subdue him met the same fate. If they were smart, they would leave him alone and retreat back into the algae beds. The only thing that mattered to Harry at the moment was to take out as many of the wriggling bastards as possible. If they were going to take Ginny from him, they would pay the ultimate price.

He then turned back to his friends to help them get rid of the rabid water demons. He searched for Hermione and Ron but could only find Ron firing his wand into a group of Grindylows. He had the same look in his eyes that Harry had moments before. It was then that he saw Hermione caught up in the group of Grindylows.

Harry swam with all of his remaining strength to where Ron was and joined him. With the combined power of their wands, the group of water demons was defeated in no time at all.

When Harry and Ron pulled her out of their dead clutches, they saw how she had been attacked. Her legs and arms had several cuts on them while the rest of her body seemed to be okay with the exception of a few bruises. Her bathing suit suffered a worse fate and was almost non-existent. All Ron could do was holding her in his arms and try to shield her from the cruelty of the lake.

He then looked toward Harry, with a pleading look in his eyes. He needed to get her out of there quickly if he wanted to protect her. Harry knew that it was the right thing to do but could not abandon Ginny to suffering and torment. He looked over the lake bed trying to find the answer but could find none. It seemed that all hope of finding Ginny was lost.

As if luck was with him, a blue flash echoed under the water and through the algae beds. Harry looked to see who had found her but could only see a figure rising at lightning speed from the field beyond with someone in his arms. Someone had found her and was bringing her up. Harry could only thank Merlin for his good fortune upon witnessing this. He was then pulled back to reality as another wave of Grindylows began to charge from the field. The only thing to do now was retreat back to the surface. This would not be easy with the almost non existent amount of strength he had left. Another flash then went out through the lake bed.

Harry and his friends again had that funny tingling feeling from the anchor charm. This time they were not sinking but rising with amazing speed. The rest of the class was rising with them and dodged the last charge of Grindylows just in the nick of time. Harry didn’t care what kind of divine intervention had saved them, but cared only about seeing Ginny when he got to the surface.

The last of the class made it to the surface in under a minute after being propelled by a miraculous speed. After Harry, Ron, and Hermione took in the much needed oxygen they made their way to the dock along with the rest of the class.

Hagrid took each one of them into a hug after seeing that they safely made it back. Hermione, who was still barely clothed, was covered by a blanket that Hagrid had just conjured for her after seeing her current state.

“Hagrid, where’s Ginny?” asked Harry frantically as he searched the docks hoping to see her. He could not see anything through the throngs of other students nursing there injuries.

“This way Harry!” motioned Hagrid who cleared a path through the other classmates. “I saw William come out of the water with her.”

Although Harry was enormously relieved to hear that Ginny was safe, the idea that William was the one to save her still made him angry and slightly jealous.

“Over here Harry!” added Hermione who pointed over toward the edge of the dock.

The tall clad in black figure of William instantly registered in the group’s eyes. In his arms was the girl they had just risked life and limb for. Like Hermione, her bathing suit was almost non-existent and there were numerous cuts and bruises all over her body. She had her head buried in his chest and from the sound of things everyone could tell that she was crying.

“What happened to her?!” asked Harry as he came up to William’s chest to see his girlfriend. He could not keep back the tears as he saw what the ravenous Grindylows had done to her.

Upon seeing Harry, Ginny leapt from William’s arms and jumped into his. They then kissed each other like it had been months since their last warm embrace. Neither wanted the moment to end or separate from each other’s arms.

“I think she got hit by a stray Stunning spell.” interjected William as he interrupted the kiss. “I found her in the algae field being picked at by a stray group of Grindylow.”

“Yeah, that sounds about right!” exclaimed Ginny looking up from Harry’s face. “The last thing I can remember before coming back up to the dock was trying to put a Grindylow into the bag and then a bright flash.” As she finished, Ron and Hermione rushed over and hugged her for all she was worth. They simply could not contain their emotions after nearly losing her.

“All we care about now is that you are safe.” reassured Hagrid, who was now holding out a blanket for her, seeing as how she was stark naked, covered in freezing cold water and in the middle of a crowded dock. “The wise thing to do now would be to go to the Hospital Wing.” Ginny then took the blanket.

“Good idea.” exclaimed Hermione and Ginny at the same time. “I think I definitely need a few things healed as well.” concluded Hermione who was being hugged lovingly by Ron.

“I think I’ll join you then.” added Hagrid. “I think Madam Pomfrey needs to know why most of my students have more bruises and scrapes than a case of crushed apples!” laughed Hagrid uneasily as he escorted Ginny and Hermione up the dock.

“I almost forgot!” exclaimed Ginny as she ran back to where Harry, Ron and William were standing. She then planted a wet kiss on William’s cheek and then gave him a tight hug. “Thank you for saving my life. Are you coming with us Harry?” asked Ginny as she turned toward her boyfriend and left William’s arms.

“Are you coming too Ron?” yelled Hermione from the other end of the dock.

Harry was now even more infuriated from this display. The same thoughts that had plagued his mind all week were resurfacing. ‘I don’t like the way he looks at her. What is so much better about him? This can’t stand any longer!’ He then looked toward William and knew that now was the time to act.

“I’ll be there soon. I need to speak to William.” answered Harry as he looked back toward Ginny.

Ron knew the look in Harry’s eyes and decided to join him should anything happen. “I’ll be in later with Harry. You two go rest for now.”

The girls nodded and continued along the path with Hagrid. As they went out of eyesight, Ron and Harry directed their own vision toward William. They were now the only three on the dock.

“What can I do for you guys?” asked William as he inspected his own body. His body suit had numerous holes and slash marks and were slightly bleeding. You would not even think William felt any pain except from a wince every so often.

“Stay away from Ginny.” said Harry simply.

“The same goes for Hermione.” added Ron.

“What the hell are you two talking about?” asked William in disbelief as he looked back at them in shock. He did not at all like just what they were implying. “Why do I have to do that?”

“Because I don’t like the way they act around you!” replied Harry. “Or the way you look at them!”

“The way I look at them? Oh please, give me a break! I just saved their lives along with yours.” retorted William with anger in his voice.

“For all we know you could have been the one who hit her with the spell in the first place!” quipped Ron. “I saw how wildly you were throwing spells around down there! You could have killed somebody!”

“Wouldn’t be the first time.” added Harry under his breath.

After hearing this, William’s eyes went wide in astonishment. “Excuse me. What the hell did you just say?!”

“I think you heard me.” said Harry who looked right back at William without any hesitation. He had been ready for a confrontation for the past three days and was sure that William would try to hit him after he made the remark. Much to his surprise William just stayed where he was.

“What is this really about Harry?” asked William as he advanced closer to the two boys.

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Cut the bullshit,” yelled William. “You’ve had a chip on your shoulder long before I got here.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. You have no idea what’s been on my mind.” snapped Harry.

“Let me guess,” said William as he moved closer, just inches from Harry. “The past few months have been great for you, except that you’re afraid it won’t last and you’ll lose the only people you have left.”

Harry was wide-eyed at what William had known about him. He was starting to think that he was a Legilimens. “They’re all I have left. I worry about what I would do if something happened to them.”

He was now speaking with complete honesty, divulging the contents of his conscience. “I get up every morning and a million thoughts go through my head about what could happen to any one of the people I love. I can’t lose them like I’ve lost everyone else. I won’t let that happen! You wouldn’t know what that’s like!”

“You think you’re the only one who knows what its like to lose someone? To see the ones you love taken from you and to think that you might never feel happiness ever again?” William then grabbed Harry by the collar and looked directly into his eyes as if he was looking into his soul. “I know exactly what that’s like!”

William then released Harry and took a step back to the edge of the dock. “Part of the reason of being here to protect you is so you don’t have to know that feeling again.”

“We don’t need to be protected!” added Ron who had watched the scuffle, ready to step in at a moment’s notice. “We can protect each other.”

“If you could do that, then I wouldn’t be here.” said William simply looking back at the two boys.

Without even thinking, Harry swung his arm and landed a right hook onto the left side of William’s face knocking him back into the water. He and Ron then looked over the edge of the dock only to find bubbles welling up from the depths of the lake.

Harry and Ron both thought he deserved the punch. No one could ever doubt their ability to look out for one another and to think or speak so much was an insult.

After another fifteen seconds had gone by, there was still no sign of William returning to the surface. If he was down there, then he had better come up soon or they would have to go in and get him. Before having to take that course of action, the two boys heard a loud crack behind them followed by a great thud.

Upon turning around, they saw a soaked William lying on the dock face up. It looked as if he had disapparated under the water. After sitting up and spitting out the water from his lungs, he unsteadily stood up. The boys knew better than to try and help him and decided to stay where they were.

“I’m done with this shit.” exclaimed William as he cleared his throat. “You do whatever the hell you want. I’m sick of playing body guard to a bunch of ingrates.” He then walked toward the castle away from the dock.

“Did it ever occur to you that I might already have someone who I care about in my own time?” asked William stopping halfway down the dock. Harry and Ron just looked at him with blank expression knowing they had not considered that possibility. “I didn’t think so.” And with those final words he was gone. He did not even look back as he solemnly walked toward the forest.

Harry and Ron just stood there, not knowing whether they had made a horrible mistake or if they had lost a valuable friend. The one thing they would dread the most is telling the better halves what they had done.

“You did what?!” exclaimed Ginny sitting up from her bed in the hospital wing.

Ginny and Hermione were both resting quite comfortably in the Hospital Wing before the boys entered. Hermione had changed after coming in and had brought Ginny a new set of clothes as well. The other students who had participated in the raid to get Ginny had all been healed and sent to their houses for some rest. Ginny and Hermione needed to stay a little longer because of the length of time and damage they had received under the water. All of their maladies were healed but were kept for observation. All was well until Harry and Ron had come in with the story about the fight between them and William.

“What were you fighting over?” chimed in Hermione after being told about the altercation. She could not understand what would drive them apart so drastically.

“We were fighting over the both of you.” said Harry quietly. He knew just what kind of trouble he had started.

“Why were you fighting over us?” asked Ginny curiously. She could think of no reason for the boys to fight over them. They had been faithful to them and there was no question in their mind’s about being their girlfriend’s. What had William done to deserve a punch to the face?

Neither of the boys knew how to answer that without calling their relationships into question. Harry and Ron had first hand experience in the area of their girlfriends’ tempers. How could either of them say anything to doubt their fidelity? The two boys looked at each other and knew that someone would have to say something. Harry would have gone first but was cut off when Ron opened his mouth.

“It bothers us that the two of you look at him so fondly.” stated Ron who honestly plead his case.

Both Ginny and Ron were flabbergasted at what he had just revealed. After all they had been through and all they had done together, how could it have come to this?

“That’s what’s been bothering the two of you lately? You don’t like the way we look at William.” Hermione had daggers for Ron at this point after realizing what he was implying. “How exactly do we look at him Ronald?”

Ron was taken back by her anger, but knew it was better to face her now. “I don’t know. It’s like whenever I see you glancing his way, it makes me think that you’ve found something better.”

Ron was trying desperately but could not hold back the tears in his eyes. “I hated myself for six years after not telling you how I felt. And when I did I felt so relieved that I hadn’t lost you. I don’t want to lose you now or ever, especially to another man.”

Hermione had rarely seen Ron reveal his emotional side, but knew he spoke the truth whenever he did. She too had regretted not telling Ron her feelings and loved him with all of her heart. She thought she had made that clear, but that was obviously not the case.

Hermione sat up from her bed and walked over to where Ron was standing. He thought that she was going to hit him and stood his ground knowing he deserved it if she did. Instead she wrapped both arms around his neck and kissed him with more fire and passion than that of Cupid himself. After a good minute, she finally took her lips off of his and looked him in the eyes.

“I could never leave the man I love.” exclaimed Hermione. “After all we’ve been through; I thought you would realize that. No one person could ever come between the two of us. Sure there is something about William that is captivating, but it goes no further than that. I don’t need anyone else because I already have the one I love the most.”

Ron looked back into Hermione’s eyes and knew that what she had said was true. He felt the same way and realized that he was stupid for even thinking that their love was in question. “I really don’t deserve a girl like you.” said Ron with smile.

“No you don’t, but I still love you nevertheless.” laughed Hermione, who then embraced Ron in another passionate kiss.

Harry and Ginny had looked on at the display of love and affection and thought that that should be them. They both wanted desperately to feel that.

“Do you feel the same way?” asked Ginny hoping that he did.

Harry searched his mind for the right answer but decided to say what he really thought. “I feel that way now more than ever Gin. It’s just that sometimes I see you look over at William and think that maybe you’ve found someone else.” A single tear slowly ran down his cheek as he said this. “I thought you stopped loving me!”

Ginny got out of her bed and rushed over to his side. Instead of embracing him like Hermione did, she slapped him across the right side of his face leaving a red hand print. Harry looked back and realized that she had something to say. The fire in her eyes was burning at full steam.

“I sat in front of my window everyday for nine months waiting for you while you were off fighting Voldemort. I didn’t know whether you were hurt or if you had died in some god forsaken wilderness. I just clung to the hope that one day you would show up and everything would be right again. And when Hagrid carried you out of the dark forest that night I thought I would die as well because I had nothing else to live for. But you didn’t. You came back to me.”

Tears began to flow from her eyes as well. “Don’t you dare tell me that I don’t love you!”

Harry knew that he was wrong about doubting her love for him. It would be a miracle if she took him back after telling her that. The only way he could convince her that she was right was to prove his love.

Not knowing any other way to show his love, Harry wrapped his arms around her and kissed her with the same passion she had given him on his seventeenth birthday. Much to his surprise, Ginny kissed him back with as much passion. In that moment he knew that everything would be okay.

“I’m sorry for ever doubting you, Love.” whispered Harry as he hugged Ginny. It was a miracle that she stayed but miracles were a common thing for him.

“Don’t ever doubt us again. You’re the only man I love and nothing else can change that.” said Ginny looking up from his embrace. “I feel the same way about William as Hermione does. He is fascinating and a good friend, but it’s nothing other than that. I love you and only you Harry Potter. Don’t make me remind you with my Bat-Bogey Hex.” laughed Ginny trying to lighten the mood pointing her wand at him.

“And I love you Ginny Weasley.” He gave a hearty laugh and then kissed her again before being interrupted by Ron and Hermione who were busy kissing as well.

“Oi! Why don’t the two of you get a room!” laughed Ron stopping his assault on Hermione’s neck.

“Shut up Ron! Take your own advice.” yelled Ginny as she and Harry continued to kiss.
Harry and Ron decided to stay the night with Ginny and Hermione. There was no way that they would leave either of them after the ordeal they had just shared. They sat around until well after midnight talking about the day’s events. The girls had said that because William was the one who found Ginny, the points plus an extra ten, from the hunting task, would go to Gryffindor House.

The mention of William made Harry and Ron feel uneasy. Now that they knew how their girlfriends felt, the two boys felt terrible about what they did to him.

“Why do I feel we made a horrible mistake?” asked Ron after voicing his feelings to the girls and Harry who knew just how he felt.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he never talks to either of us again.” said Harry solemnly. He knew that this was a very real possibility.

“I don’t think you deserve to talk to him after what you told us you said and did.” said Ginny. Harry and Ron knew she was absolutely right.

Feeling that way and having that much on their conscience did not make for any easy sleeping that night.

The full moon stood out proudly in the clear night sky over the dense thicket of the forest. The forest itself was dead silent with the exception of a few troubling noises. There was the rustling of leaves on the ground, the panting of people, the howling shriek of the wolf and the steady beat of running feet.

There were eight people to be exact; they were more teenagers than people. From the looks of things it was six boys and two girls. Based on the troubled way they were breathing, it could be inferred that they had been running for some time. It was when one of the boys fell that they decided to stop. The group looked like it had just escaped a war based on their tattered clothes and dirt covered bodies. All of them had some kind of injury, the most common of which was slash marks to their exteriors.

The boy who fell, the one with shaggy black hair, propped himself up against a tree while the others took a breather. The eldest boy, who was no older than 15 was carrying a girl with vibrant red hair in his arms. She had been knocked unconscious by the looks of things. Two other boys, one black and one white with dirty blond hair, were holding up another girl whose leg looked like it had been broken. The two other boys, one Spanish and the other white with blond hair, were barely standing as they had numerous marks over their bodies as well.

“Doc, we gotta go!” urged the eldest boy, leaning down to the boy propped against the tree. “They’ll be here soon. We have to get to the camp!”

“You’re gonna have to leave me Pete.” said the boy against the tree. He could no longer hold himself up and fell to the ground. From the way his leg was bleeding and the way it was bent, it was easy to tell that it had been broken.

“We’re not leaving you!” yelled the eldest trying to talk some sense into the boy. “We’ve lost too many others to leave you here!” As he finished his sentence, a foreboding howl echoed throughout the forest followed by another and then another. Pretty soon there were at least twelve howls being heard in the night.

“That’s why you have to leave me!” pleaded the injured boy as he listened to the howling. “I’m slowing you guys down. You and I both know that if you try and carry me, they’ll catch us quicker. The only way this is going to end well is if you leave me. I hold them off you guys for as long as possible. It’s me they want anyway.” The boy then produced a wand from his pocket.

“Doc, we can’t just-” The elder boy stopped before he could finish, tears coming from his eyes. The look on his face said exactly what he thought. Doc was absolutely right. The only way they would get away is if they left him.

The boy then motioned for the one called Pete to come to his side. When he was mere inches from the injured boy’s ear, the boy whispered, “When you see my family, tell them that I love them. And when Ally wakes up,” the boy motioned toward the red haired girl in Pete’s arms, “Tell her that I love her more than anything and my biggest regret was not telling her sooner.”

The group around him bid a tearful farewell as they left him. Each one giving him a hug before they made off into the thicket toward the rising sun as it started to come over the mountains in the distance. Pete was the last one to leave.

“You’re a much better man than I’ll ever be.” said the brown haired boy giving his friend a hug. “I would’ve stayed with you to the end, no matter what the consequence.” He then took hold of the girl in his arms and started running until he turned back and said, “No matter what happens, no matter if we never see each other again, you will always be my friend.”

Much to his dismay the boy headed off into the forest catching up to the others. It was by far the hardest he would ever have to do. For the boy sitting under the tree, the hardest thing to do was watch them leave knowing what horrible fate awaited him. Until then he would just watch the sun rise.

That only lasted so long. After about ten minutes, the rustling of leaves in the distance began to get closer and closer with each second. When it finally stopped, the sound growling replaced it except this time the sound was coming from all around him.

It was clear what was making the noise as at least a dozen wolves emerged from the forest surrounding the tree the boy was sitting against. One wolf in particular, with glowing red eyes, started to walk toward the injured boy.

The boy could barely stay awake, let alone hold a wand. He lost his grip after trying to hold it up, letting it fall to the ground. Realizing he was done for, the boy simply looked at the wolf advancing toward him. “You have me now you bastard. Take you best shot!”

Without hesitation the wolf lunged at his prey and swept his claw over his chest, producing an ear piercing scream.

Harry leapt from his bed in the hospital wing after being awoken by the horrible nightmare. He struggled around the room, trying to decide if it was all real or not. It was when he heard Ginny’s voice that he knew he was really awake.

“Harry, are you alright?” asked Ginny who looked at Harry nervously. Ron and Hermione were up as well and had the same look.

“I just had the most horrifying nightmare!” exclaimed Harry as he took a seat on the side of his bed. “It was seemed so real. For a second I thought I was actually there.”

“I just had a crazy dream myself mate!” added Ron who was awake as well. “I was being chased by a wolf in a forest somewhere. It finally pinned me and slashed my chest.”

Harry looked at Ron, realizing he had a similar dream. “That’s funny because I had the same dream. There was some boy in the dream named-’”

“DOC!” yelled Hermione. Ron and Harry looked on in disbelief. She could hardly believe it herself. “I think I had the same nightmare as well.”

“Me too.” added Ginny. “I was talking to some guy named Pete, telling him to leave me behind.” The others could only look at her in complete awe, knowing now that they had all shared a dream.

Harry had to make sure this was true. He had to prove that it wasn’t just some freaky coincidence. “Did he claw you before the dream ended?”

“Yeah, he clawed me right here.” said Ginny as she pulled her shirt up above her belly button. It was when she pulled it up that she was truly shocked. Right along the place where the wolf clawed her in the dream, was a set of four matching slanted cuts.

Harry and the other were shocked at finding this. Ron and Hermione checked under their shirts as well and found the exact same cuts. Harry was adamant to look under his own shirt, but had to find out if he had suffered the same misfortune. Now he was really concerned.

He then looked over to his friends who were just as scared as he was and said, “Guys, what the hell just happened to us?”

A/N: So how am i doing so far? Please leave a review or comment, they are greatly appreciated.

Chapter 9: Sleepless Nights
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“I don’t know what to tell you children. There seems to be no medical diagnosis or remedy for this problem.” said Madam Pomfrey expressing her concerns for the four teenagers standing before her. “These ‘dream scars’ seem to be invulnerable to any healing potion or spell that I cast upon them. I’ve never seen anything like it before!” added the elderly woman in a tone of half amazement and worry.

The school nurse of Hogwarts had been puzzled for the last three weeks after Harry and his friends had come forward with the cuts on their stomachs. When they told her that it happened in a dream she was truly and utterly floored by such a notion. No spell book or healing guide she possessed had any answer to the problem. This was something very rare even by magical standards. The wounds themselves were quite remarkable.

The blood flow would eventually subside like most cuts, but the scars remained. No healing charm or fading spell could remove them, which should have been the easy part. As for the dreams, they too would not go away. Sleepless Dream draughts were no help at all considering every few days Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny would again have the same dream of running through the forest and being hunted down by the wolves. Each time the pain seemed more real and powerful than the last, until at one point it got to be excruciating. To Harry it almost felt like the pain he got from his scar, which had not bothered him since Voldemort fell.

“Isn’t there another Healer or expert you can contact on this sort of thing?” asked Harry as the nurse finished wrapping the cuts from another fresh set of claw marks on his chest. Ron, Hermione and Ginny had also been wrapped after they too had the same dream. Whatever was happening, it was happening to all four of them.

“I’m sorry Mr. Potter, I’ve contacted everyone I can think of and they all tell me that there is nothing even remotely close to this in the Healer community. No one has ever seen this before.”

“I sent word to a friend of mine in America to see if he has any ideas about this type of thing.” added Professor McGonagall who had stayed to observe the problem Harry and the others had informed her of just weeks before.

“Who would that be Professor?” asked Hermione as she traced her fingers on the gauze wrapped on her stomach. She had researched just about everyone she could think of in the Wizarding world who might have some clue as to rid them of these dreams. This other source was totally foreign and unknown to her.

“He’s a professor of potions at a wizarding school over in America and a very good friend of mine. He’s also been one of the school most generous benefactor’s for the past eight years. If anyone has a clue to solve this problem, its him.” exclaimed McGonagall in a very trusting manner. “I’ve sent a letter to New York that should reach him some time soon. You should have an answer back by next week.”

The demeanor of Harry and the others had been relieved somewhat after the little comfort McGonagall had given them. At least one person might have a clue as to how to get rid of their nightmares. Still, for the time being, they had to take the chance of reliving the same horrible moment each time they went to sleep. There was no telling what would happen when they closed their eyes. Some nights they slept like babies, but other nights they awoke to the same scream and searing pain in their chests.

“In the meantime I would advise all of you to try and relax. It is a Friday afternoon after all. Why don’t you all go into Hogsmeade and find some peace and quiet?” suggested McGonagall in the most comforting and maternal voice she could muster.

Although they did not quite feel in the mood, an afternoon relaxing seemed like just the cure for the worry and questions that clouded their minds.

The Three Broomsticks was just exactly the type of place they needed to be at this point. Nothing felt more comforting than a nice drink and a cozy booth away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of Hogsmeade. Things had got rather busy around town since the beginning of construction to add on several more shops. It became quite hectic with all the coming and going of builders and supplies through town. What was to be built was still a mystery.

“I don’t think I can take much more of this!” said Ron hastily as he put down his butterbeer.

“What are you talking about Ron?” asked Harry who knew where this was going because he had gone there many times in the past three weeks.

“I can’t even put my head on the pillow anymore without thinking I’m gonna wake up with another slash across the chest. All I want is to go to sleep and have nice peaceful dreams like I used to.” exclaimed Ron as he rolled the bottle in his hands.

“We all want that Ron.” added Hermione. “We just have to wait for McGonagall’s friend to write her back. Then we might have a chance to figure just exactly what is happening to us.”

“Maybe William might have an answer to what is going on?” suggested Ginny who knew just what to expect.

“No.” said Harry simply. “There is no way in hell he’s going to do anything to help us after what Ron and I did.” exclaimed Harry after remembering the day on the dock when he had saved Ginny.

For the past three weeks, neither one of them had spoken to William. The only time they had seen him was during class and in the hallways. Even then he spoke very little, only answering when he was called. Meals were the same. He made it a point to sit as far away as possible. It seemed that he was listening to Harry and Ron’s request for him to stay away, however misguided it was. His nights and most mornings were spent in the forest with Ruby. To others, it seemed a bit odd that he spent so much more time with a dragon than with other people.

“But he has 25 years of knowledge on us! Don’t you think there is at least some hope that he might be able to help us?” pleaded Ginny. Like her older brother, the pain and the dreams were getting to her more with each time she experienced them.

“For all we know he could be the one who gave us these dreams!” yelled Harry bringing the entire bar’s attention to his table. After several moments the bar went back to its business and Harry’s table went back to talking amongst themselves.

“What do you mean Harry?” asked Hermione. “Why would someone who was sent to protect us give us such a dangerous nightmare? Even more so, how could he do it?”

“I don’t know but like Ginny said, he does have 25 years of knowledge on us. Who knows what he could do. He was pretty angry after Ron and I told him off.” As wrong and unlike William as it seemed, Harry’s statement made sense to them. Angering a person like William could have provoked this terrible dream they were having.

Harry and Ron felt somewhat guilty upon contemplating this. Could all of this be their fault for hitting William and accusing him of stealing Ginny and Hermione? The only thing they were certain of was that they had to get rid of the dream or else they would go mad.

Harry lazily stared out the window of the bar trying to search his mind for some solution to handle the situation. He was deep in thought when across the street a strange red bird sitting on a lamppost caught his eye.

He knew it was the very same bird that he had seen numerous times in the last few weeks. The others had noticed it too and had begun to suspect that it was following them. On previous occasions if they acknowledged it then it would promptly fly away as if it knew it was caught.

“Don’t look now but that damn bird is back.” whispered Harry as he turned back toward the table hoping that it had not noticed him looking. They of course knew exactly what he was talking about.

“Where?” asked Ron as he turned his head out toward the street in a sudden jerking motion. Upon catching it on the lamppost, the bird quickly flew away. “Sorry.” said Ron knowing he had made a mistake to go look for it. “That’s not the only thing I saw out of the window.” added Ron hoping to redeem himself.

“What did you see Ron?” asked Hermione wondering what had provoked him to speak up. After finishing her query, she looked toward the door and knew just what he was talking about.

Harry and Ginny knew as well after seeing the newcomer enter the bar. Apparently they were not the only Gryffindors in town for the afternoon.

William Black stepped into the Three Broomsticks for a much needed drink after nearly getting pummeled in the candy rush at Honeydukes. The bag full of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans was nearly crushed from the crowd of students piling into the store to stock up on a weekend supply of sweets. The increased amount of tourism since Voldemort fell didn’t quite make it easier either.

Much to his dismay, the group of people he had steered clear of for the past few weeks was occupying a booth. It was pretty clear that they had seen him enter because he had the feeling of all eyes on him. William had grown used to this in the time he had spent in the past so far, but still, like a faded scar he could always tell it was there.

He would have to make this a quick drink.

“Just get in and get out,” William said to himself, “they don’t want to see you.” He repeated this to himself several times hoping to fool himself into believing it. It was in fact that he did want to see them, but now knowing how they felt he was sure the feeling was not mutual. “Rather than completely ignoring them, I should at least acknowledge their existence.” William thought to himself. With the best nonchalant face he could muster, he gave the group sitting in the booth a casual nod of his head.

“Well I wasn’t expecting that.” Ron added after coming out of a moment of disbelief. “I thought for sure he’d act like there was a Concealment Charm on us.”

None of the others could believe it either. Ginny and Hermione knew what Harry and Ron had said to him. Most people would completely cut a person out of their life after that. Harry was more shocked than of them. He knew for sure that he didn’t even deserve to be acknowledged, being the only one to take a swing at William.

'Ok, they know you’re here and you know they’re here. Now just sit down at the bar and get a drink.’ William thought to himself. He promptly took a seat on one of the stools and ordered his favorite, an ice cold butter beer.

Madam Rosmerta quickly made her way to the bar to serve William after seeing him come in. Whenever he was in town, William always made a point to stop in and see her.

Now not many people know this, but a bartender and business owner like Rosmerta is an unofficial center of a town like Hogsmeade. They always know what is going on and who’s new to town.

Aside from that, he enjoyed the company and having a person to talk to. That was something he was lacking in the past few weeks. “Any idea what they're putting in those new shops?” asked William after taking a sip from his bottle. He did know what those shops were in his time, but before that they had changed ownership several times before and this mystery had always intrigued him.

“I keep hearing different things, but the general consensus is that one of the shops is probably going to be a blacksmith of magical metals. As for the other shops, I have no idea. There’s a rumor that George Weasley might put in another joke shop.” replied the kindly women as she leaned over the counter. “By the way how’s Ruby been doing?”

“She’s good, almost ready to pass the egg. It should be a few more days, maybe sooner. That’s why I stopped in today. I had to get her some more treats. Apparently she likes candy. Who would’ve thought, a dragon that prefers sweets?” laughed the boy as he took another sip of the butter beer.

Just then, another group of students entered the bar. The couple at the bar and the group sitting at the booth in the back knew that something would be said or done that would break the stability of the moment. It was a well known fact that this was exactly what would happen when either Harry or William were in the same room as Draco Malfoy.

By the looks of it he and the two other Slytherins he was with, had also stopped in for a drink before returning to the castle. When his eyes caught sight of William he couldn’t resist a chance to chide the new thorn in his side.

William could tell that much by the way Malfoy strolled up next to his place at the bar. “Ugh! All I wanted was a nice quiet drink.” he thought to himself as Malfoy took the stool on his left side.

“Well if it isn’t the great Dragon Tamer?” said Malfoy with a snicker. The two other flunkies with him laughed slightly as well. Their laughs were not as hearty considering they were fully aware that William was no joke.

“Hello Malfoy.” replied William with no enthusiasm in his voice. It could not be spared for his mind was filled with inventive ideas of what he’d like to do to this arrogant wizard.

Harry and his group in the booth could only watch as a confrontation was almost surely about to ensue. The only question was; who would take the first shot?

“I didn’t expect to see you in town today. Isn’t that beast in the forest getting lonely? What happened, did she send you here to get her another meal for that thing growing in her stomach?” He and his friends could not help but laugh after striking a key aspect in William’s life.

“Why? Do you not have any plans for later?” said William with a slight smile as he took another drink.

Harry’s booth was just in earshot and tried to hold back a laugh after catching the witty remark. Needless to say it was not very successful as the boys at the bar heard them as well.

“Figures that Scar-Head and his friends like you.” quipped Malfoy as he redirected his attention back to William. “Then again, you haven’t exactly been friends with him for some time.”

This was no secret in the castle. It had been a well known fact that something had happened between the Harry and William and that they had not talked or even recognized the other’s existence for the past few weeks. The other students could tell that the two of them were going out of their way to avoid one another.

Malfoy then turned toward his cronies, “I wonder what can be said about a man who prefers the company of dragons than that people?”

William had had just about enough at that point. He slowly put down his bottle and looked at Malfoy with complete seriousness. “Do you think a quality like that makes a person less dangerous or more dangerous?”

That idea had not occurred to Draco. It was a very good question, one that he was not prepared to learn the answer to.

“All I know is that Mudbloods, freaks, and dragons make an interesting circle of friends.”

That was it. William could take no more of the insults. Because he was currently on the outs with his friends and his only company was a pregnant dragon, insults were easily the best way to rile his temper. That meant wands would be drawn.

Only two people in the room knew what could happen next and they were Harry and William. He had heard what transpired at the bar and knew that William did not respond well to insults to his friends, even though he was not currently one of them. Other than that, Harry was the only person to see the wand slowly slide down and out of William’s right sleeve and into his hand.

“Were you born an asshole or did you have to work at it?” replied William as Draco finished laughing. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny were now the only ones laughing. Even Rosmerta had to suppress a chuckle after hearing this. Malfoy was less than pleased upon having nearly the entire tavern laugh at him.

Finally after several long moments of laughter, Malfoy leapt from his tool with his wand drawn. William, having had his secretly drawn already, was just a quick to strike. The bar then fell silent as the two angry young men stared daggers at each other.

“Gentlemen!” yelled Madam Rosmerta trying to restore order to her shop. “I will not have open duels in my bar! Take this fight outside!”

“Don’t worry about it Rosmerta, I was leaving anyway.” replied William as he lowered his wand. He had neither the desire to fight or cause unrest in one of the few peaceful places at his disposal. “Sorry for the trouble.” He then placed two galleons on the counter and quickly finished the rest of his butter beer.

Malfoy and the rest of his friends resumed their seats. The look on his face carried a slight smile. It was as if he thought he had won where William decided not to fight. Unfortunately for him, William caught the look.

“Screw it!” William thought to himself. Before placing his wand back into his sleeve, he quickly made a silent movement with it. Then after collecting his bag he turned toward Harry’s booth and gave them a knowing wink. He then left the bar in his solitude and entered the falling daylight of the afternoon.

Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny had each seen the movement he had made with his wand and the wink and wondered just what he had done to Malfoy. The only way to find out was to wait and see.

Madam Rosmerta hated the fact that the Malfoys were still intact in the wizard community. She knew how Draco and his father were among the higher ranks of the Death Eaters at the time of the Second War. Some of her most loved friends were among the dead at the Battle of Hogwarts. The one thing she hated even more than Death Eaters was to see her friends insulted. William Black was no exception.

“Drink quickly and get out!” said Rosmerta as she slammed the butter beer on the counter. Every notion of anger and vengeance was running through her mind as she turned back toward the bar. The only thing that stopped her was the spell she saw William silently cast on Malfoy. Because William was a wizard of such honor, it was bound to be a good spell.

Malfoy decided to ignore the angry barmaid and just enjoy his drink. As his hand went in to grab the bottle, he pulled it back after receiving a minor shock. It was nothing terribly painful, but it still took him by surprise nevertheless. He simply disregarded it as static. After trying for a second time his hand received another shock.

It was until three more tries that he decided to give up and just leave the bar, but not before receiving another shock from the handle as he went to open the door.

The tavern burst into laughter yet again after Malfoy’s departure.

Hermione then veered her eyes from the door and back to the group in the booth. “Okay. Why would someone give us a self-damaging nightmare and then publicly defend us? Something doesn’t add up.”

Ginny couldn’t agree with her anymore. Harry and Ron couldn’t think of any logical reason either and conceded that Hermione was right.

“Alright, I guess William might not be the source of the nightmare. But it still doesn’t explain where it came from.” replied Harry. He had given William good reason to want payback or vengeance, but after seeing him defend them it didn’t seem like he wanted any.

“Maybe he can help us then!” added Ron with a sudden shock, which was quickly dismissed. “But you’re right Harry he’d never talk to me or you.”

“But he would talk to me or Hermione.” chimed in Ginny with a knowing smile that she had found a solution. Her resolve and determination was evident by the way she looked at Harry and Ron.

Harry knew better to argue with her when she set her mind to something. It would only lead to a fight or a long silent treatment. “You two should go now to see him. Just be careful.”

Ginny and Hermione were relieved knowing now that the boys felt it might prove useful. William might not talk to either of them but he would talk to the girls. They were the only ones he had no gripe with.

“Thank you both.” said Ginny as she leaned in and gave Harry a sultry kiss. “We’ll go see him right now. All we need is the Marauder’s Map.”

“And the Invisibility Cloak.” added Hermione with a knowing glance.

“Why would you need those?” asked Harry feigning curiosity.

“We don’t need the two of you following us under cover or watching our every move on the map.” Harry and Ron each relented being that that was just what they were planning to do.

“Just be careful!” exclaimed Ron as he leaned in and gave Hermione a kiss.

“We’ll be fine, we promise.” said Ginny as she and Hermione collected their belongings and left the bar. Harry and Ron decided to stay and have a few more drinks.

The best guess that the two girls could make was that William was going to see Ruby. That and the fact that they had the guidance of the map made it easier to find him since the sun was starting to set. They would have never found him in the darkness of the forest without it.

After about ten minutes of walking through the forest, the two girls finally came to the clearing in which Ruby had made her nest. From the edge of the trees they could tell that she was not alone and spied the solitary figure of William.

He was standing face to face with the massive creature. By the looks of it he was feeding her bits of something that they could not make out. After stepping out of the tree line, the dragon caught sight of them and raised its head in their direction. William knew by the way she moved that they had visitors.

“Easy girl, easy!” said William trying to calm down the dragon before him. Several long strokes on her snout settled her with little ease. When she was relaxed William turned and welcomed the girls. “Ginny, Hermione, it’s nice to see you both. Come and say hi to Ruby!”

The girls looked at one another and wondered if he was serious or joking. It was as if he was treating the dragon as a harmless pet to show off. Such notions could be given to a kitten or puppy, but never to a dragon.

“Are you so sure that’s a good idea?” asked Hermione as she and Ginny inched closer and closer.

“It’s perfectly fine.” reassured William as he continued to rub Ruby’s snout. “Just walk nice and easy. If she thinks you’re nice then she’ll let you come forward.”

“And if she doesn’t?” asked Ginny with a concerned look.

“Well then she’ll – just try not to think about that.” said William catching himself before he said something to make them panic.

Ginny and Hermione could only listen to him and slowly and carefully walked forward. Ruby looked at the both of them waiting to find make a mistake to give her reason eat them. It was until they were standing right beside William that she realized they were friendly. She then extended her neck between the two girls as if waiting for them to do something.

“You can pet her if you like?” said William as he took a step back.

The two girls looked at each other nervously but decided against running and possibly angering the dragon. They unsteadily put their hands on her snout thinking she would bite them off. Instead she welcomed their embrace and let out a content sigh.

Hermione and Ginny smiled at William knowing that he had made further progress with the dragon. In the time he had spent with Ruby, he had taught her to behave and control herself.

“You tamed her didn’t you?” asked Hermione in utter disbelief.

William had a modest look on his face and simply said, “All I did was give her a little love. That and a hell of a lot of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans!” laughed the boy as he produced a candy box that was half opened. “I think it has something to do with taste buds.” said William as he stepped back and admired his work. “The average human has about 10,000 taste buds on their tongue whereas dragons have over 100,000. I think she likes the taste of so many flavors at once. I guess its soothing for her.”

He then took a handful of the candy out and held them in front of Ruby. She darted her forked tongue out and gobbled them up with much fervor. “Here, you try!” said William handing Ginny the box.

Ginny then took a handful as did Hermione. Upon holding them up to Ruby, she took each one serving and swallowed them up in an instant. The feeling of her tongue on their tickled greatly. Ruby then gave each girl a quick lick on their neck. 

The girls laughed after each enthusiastic thank you they received from the dragon. The content dragon then lied down in her nest and rested after feeling very full from the food and the warm company.

“We wanted to say that it was pretty cool what you did to Malfoy in the Three Broomsticks!” exclaimed Ginny who was not yet ready to reveal their true purpose for being there.

“That was some trick you did to him. What was that by the way?” asked Hermione.

“That would be a Static spell. Another fine spell to use if someone gets on your nerves.” laughed William as he imagined just how annoyed Malfoy would be at this point.

“Does it hurt that much?” asked Ginny hoping that Malfoy would get what he deserved.
“No, but it’s really annoying. He won’t be able to touch any inanimate object without getting shocked for at least a few days!” said William trying to hold back laughs with little success.

Ginny and Hermione were slightly disappointed after learning Malfoy would feel little pain. They could only be so forgiving to the enemy after the war and to them he was no different than anyone else.

“Why didn’t you use anything stronger?” asked Hermione. “He certainly deserved it.”

William had seen this coming. This was not the first time that he realized that his methods would be questioned from time to time. “You mean like an eye for an eye?” asked the boy as Ginny and Hermione both nodded. “A wise muggle once said that if you take an eye for an eye, then eventually the world goes blind.”

“You know all about the things he did in the war don’t you?” said Ginny with a touch of anger in her voice.

“Yes, I do, but he’ll receive his just punishment in time I’m sure. Then who knows what kind of person he'll become.”

“What are you talking about?” exclaimed Ginny who was now clearly frustrated.

“All I’m going to say is that people change. Some can start over and right the wrongs they made in life. I know what he did but I also know what he will become.” William now had their full attention. “Believe me when I say this; anything can happen between now and my time. Not everything turns out the way you expected.”

Ginny and Hermione thought this over in their minds. William had a point. Who knows what would happen in the next 25 years. For all they knew, Malfoy could be a friend, as hard as that was to believe. Still, there were doubts about what might happen now that William had come back to help them. Things could change completely.

“I guess I didn’t think of it like that.” said Ginny as she went over his words in her mind trying to absorb their wisdom.

“Just mull it over. I’m not asking you to be Malfoy’s best friend, but don’t discredit the possibility that people can change after doing things they regret.” said William as he took a seat under one of the trees.

“Is that how you feel about Harry and Ron?” asked Hermione knowing she had cut him to his core.

William was not prepared for that and searched his mind for the right words. “They wanted to protect the ones they loved. I can’t blame them for that. All they had to do was told me how they felt. He didn’t need to hit Me.” said the boy as he rubbed his face where Harry had landed a hard right hook.

“I just don’t like being called a murderer or a careless wizard because I’m neither. I’ve done nothing but help all of you. It would be nice to see some gratitude from time to time. I’m alone in this and all I have are the people who know my reason for being here!” William calmed himself down after realizing he was getting ahead of himself. “I mean, can you understand how I feel?”

“I think we can.” said Ginny trying to imagine just how isolated and alone he must have felt.

“Ah well, forget it. Enough of my problems. What brings you to out here at this time of day? You could get lost out here you know?”

“Lucky for us we have the Marauder’s Map to help us find our way.” said Hermione pulling it out of her pocket for a glance and then quickly putting it back.

“That would help you out very well.” said William as he wondered just how long they and Harry had been watching him in the past few weeks.

“We came out here to ask for your help with something. Because you’re from the future we thought you might have a better insight.” said Ginny trying to get back to the main reason they had gone looking for him.

“Before you say anything else, let me get myself better equipped. Accio Phantom trunk!” said William as he waved his wand into the air. “I’d be of much greater help if I had my bag of tricks with me!” said William putting on a childlike smile.

About fifteen seconds later, the same black trunk from under his bed came soaring through the woods as if it was on some magic set of rails. It then gracefully set itself down by his feet. It was the same trunk bearing the sword and wand symbol no one could place.

William then kneeled beside it and placed both of his hands on each strap to the left and right. Without warning he tapped the left strap four times and then the right one five times. Finally he tapped the center lock with both hands two times and with a sudden click the trunk lid unlatched itself, but William didn’t lift it.

“The two of you have to understand that the things in this trunk are some of my most valued possessions. I’ll see what I can do with them to help, so tell what it is that you need help with.” said William as he rested his hands on the lid waiting to see just how and if he could help them.

“We need your help in removing a dream. A nightmare actually.” said Hermione hoping that William had an answer to their troubles.

William looked up from his trunk with a concerned expression. “What do you mean ‘we’? Are you saying that you and Ginny are having the same nightmare?”

“Actually it’s me, Hermione, Ron and Harry who are having the same dream.” exclaimed Ginny who cringed at the absurdity to the situation. What on Earth could have done something like this to a person, never mind four people?

“Four people with the same nightmare?” exclaimed William, who even with a generation of unknown knowledge, had never heard of such a thing. “Let me check it out.”

He then reached into the trunk and produced a large eight by eleven inch book with a blank cover. From the outward appearance it looked like nothing special, but like William Black that was not the case.

He then held it up to his mouth and said, “What’s new in the world?” The book then opened itself and letters began to appear on the page giving the current date, September 30, 1998. After they held settled into place he turned the pages to a random spot and said, “Dream Sharing.” Nothing happened as the page continued to read as blank. He tried several more times with different ways of phrasing it but turned up with nothing. “No news is good news.” said William, which then made the letters disappear and the book close itself.

From Hermione and Ginny’s point of view they gathered that the book was some sort of dictionary version of the Marauder’s Map. Instead of blueprints to a castle, you received information about what the reader wanted to know. Hermione would have to ask to borrow this later.

“I can’t seem to find anything right now. Maybe if you tell me the nature of this dream or anything that makes it so bad then I could find something useful.” said William as he placed the book back in the trunk.

“I don’t know how to say this but every time we get the dream it feels so real as if we are actually there.” Hermione was trying to choose her words carefully as to not come off as crazy. “I speak for Harry, Ginny, Ron, and myself when I say that we feel pain before waking up. And then we end up with these.”

Hermione then pulled up her shirt to reveal the wrapped wounds on her stomach. Ginny did the same but then unwrapped one of the bandages to show William the set of claw marks. His eyes went wide after seeing this. It was a strange look of horror and wonder.

“I need to know just what exactly happens to you in this nightmare.” exclaimed William as his expression went from horror to worry. “Just tell me what you see.”

The girls then covered up their chests knowing that William knew just how serious the situation was. Ginny opted to tell the story first.

“It always starts the same. We are running through a forest in the middle of the night and there is always a full moon in the sky. There is a group of kids, maybe a little younger than us, who look like they’ve been badly hurt. One of them can’t walk and tells the others to leave him behind. The oldest one, a boy name Pete, tries to make him leave but ends up going with the rest of the group. The before the dream ends as a pack of wolves trap the boy slash his chest.” Ginny produced several tears from recalling the dream that had plagued her and her friends.

William instead pounded his two fists on the trunk. His look was now one of complete fury.

“Do you know what it is?” asked Hermione who was shaken from her recollection of the dream by his anger.

“Yeah, I know exactly what it is. There was only ever one reported case.” exclaimed William whose voice still had a minor trace of anger but was now mostly frustration and sadness. “It’s a nightmare that follows the lunar cycle. Whenever the moon makes a significant movement it activates, if you will, the nightmare in the person’s subconscious. How long have all of you had the nightmare?”

“About three weeks now? Why?” asked Ginny who was slightly relieved now that William had answers.

“The pain from the nightmare gets more severe after each time, but it is the most excruciating under the full moon.” Hermione and Ginny could not imagine anything more excruciating than what they had already experienced. “Tomorrow night is the full moon.”

The girls had to find a way to beat this thing before it was too late. They could not go the rest of their lives being tormented by something that wasn’t even tangible.

“Is there anywhere to get rid of the nightmare or heal our wounds?” asked Hermione who desperately hoped William had an answer.

“I’ll check my books for a spell to remove it, but I think its best that I do that tomorrow night when the dream shows itself again.” said William debating with himself to decide if this was the best course of action.

“Is there anything else?” asked Ginny praying that William had more information to sort of the mess the nightmare had created.

“There is a potion that can heal your wounds. I have a sample now if you want it, but I’m afraid it won’t do much because I have so little. If I get started right now I can have more ready by tomorrow afternoon.” William words were a godsend to the girls’ ears. There was finally some hope on the horizon.

“Please let us have it!” said the Hermione and Ginny simultaneously. The desperation was thick in their voices.

Accio Dreamscape!” said William with a light flick of his wand. The sample would arrive shortly.

“How do you know all about this anyway?” asked Ginny whose mind was filled with questions.

“The Ministry did a case study at Hogwarts in my third year. They were trying to understand the origin of the nightmare and if there were signs of it in children in an attempt to prevent it at a young age.” said William trying to decide if he had said too much. “They formulated a potion that would heal the cursed scars. Some of my friends and I helped create the potion.”

“Did they find any signs of it in other people?” inquired Hermione. Thoughts had already crossed her mind of how she could help people afflicted by the same condition if she had a twenty year heads up on its outbreak.

“No, there was only one subject who had the dream. There was no one else.” exclaimed William with a touch of sadness in his voice.

Just then a blue glass bottle flowed steadily through the trees until it placed itself in William’s hands. The bottle itself was much larger than needed for a sample but the girls did not care for they finally found some light at the end of the tunnel.

William then picked up four stones from the ground and laid them on the lid of the trunk. With another sweep of his wand, they quickly transfigured into small jars with compressed lids.

The cerulean viscous fluid in the bottle was just enough for four doses. William slowly and delicately poured an equal amount into each transfigured jar. Ginny and Hermione took each one and gently placed them into Ginny’s satchel.

“Is there anything we have to do? You know, say a spell or put a charm on the jars?” asked Hermione having never dealt with anything like this substance.

“No, you just take it before you go to bed and sweet dreams.” said William trying to keep their worries to a minimum. “You shouldn’t have any dreams because the Dreamscape, that’s its name, hasn’t been charged yet. I help you with that tomorrow. In the mean time I need to go see Professor Slughorn about using a potions lab overnight.”

As if on cue, Ginny and Hermione each grabbed William and pulled him into a crushing hug. After several moments he hugged them back in a comforting manner. “Everything’s going to okay. You won’t have to have that nightmare anymore.”

When they finally released each other, both groups knew they each had a job to do. The girls had to get the potion to Harry and Ron. William’s job was the most important; he had to make more of it and figure out a way to remove it. That would truly be a test of strength.

“He has a way to help us!” cheered Ginny as she embraced Harry in a tight hug. After letting him go she planted another sultry kiss on his lips; the same kind of kiss that they always shared when they were most happy.

The girls had found Harry and Ron waiting for them in the Gryffindor Common Room as soon as they had entered. Each one had the same inquiring look on their face as to whether William had given them any answers. Their smiles and kisses were all the answer they would ever need.

“So what did Wonderboy say he could do for us?” chimed in Ronald. His snide remark quickly received scowls from both Ginny and Hermione.

Wonderboy has an intimate knowledge of the nightmare from a study conducted during his time!” quipped Ginny in a sarcastic manner. “He took part in a similar case study in his time and was able to cultivate a healing potion, which he is working on as we speak.”

Harry and Ron were most impressed by this statement for it seemed that their troubles were over. Still it seemed a rather odd coincidence that he would have the antidote for such a rare affliction.

“Can he get rid of the dream?” asked Harry hoping that the answer would be yes.

The years he had spent with a connection to Voldemort’s mind had been a weight lifted off of his shoulders when he had died. No longer would he have to suffer from the sleepless nights of the past. The resurgence of nightmares made it seem as if that he would never be happy. Everything in his life was great now, but he did not deserve the images that had plagued his mind for the past few weeks.

“He’s working on that as well. He says that the spell and the potion should be ready by tomorrow afternoon. In the mean time he gave us a sample to help us sleep tonight.” said Hermione providing the much needed answers.

Ginny then produced the four jars containing the Dreamscape. Each person took one of the jars and looked over the blue fluid which would be their salvation. One could quite literally dream of what it could do.

Harry, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione decided to skip dinner as the night moved on. Instead they spent the time listening to Hermione and Ginny’s account of what he had told them. They covered every detail from the lunar cycle, the Dreamscape, and also the hope that William would find a way to help them.

When the group was done talking and discussing William’s solution, they realized how much time had gone by as the clock on the mantel above the fireplace read eleven thirty. Ron then let out a long yawn signifying just how tired everyone else must be. The softness and warmth of a bed was very tempting at that time of night. The one thing they had to do before sleep was to take the potion William had provided.

The four Gryffindors each uncorked their jars and inhaled the oddly sweet aroma of the Dreamscape. The hope of a well rested night was just a sip away, yet no one was willing to be the first one to drink.

Harry decided that he had better break the ice and said, “Cheers!” He then swallowed the thick potion in one gulp. The others looked on trying to see if looked different in any way.

“How does it taste mate?” asked Ron who was still looking at the questionable substance.

“It’s hard to describe, but for some reason it tastes like happiness. Try it!” commanded Harry as he tried to hold on to the feeling.

First Ginny, then Hermione, and lastly Ron took the potion. Each of them instantly recognized what Harry was feeling as they swallowed it. It was as if nothing could shake their peace and happiness. It was like the day after Voldemort fell all over again.

After saying goodnight, the girls and boys each returned to their respected dormitories. Neither couple wanted to separate, but they both decided it would be best to see if the potion worked. They wanted to sleep because they could and not because they were up doing other tiring activities.

Harry awoke several hours later. This was not because of a nightmare but because of the door squeaking as William entered. The clock next to his bed read 1 a.m.

William slowly walked to his bed as to not cause any squeaks in the floor. After starting the process for the Dreamscape potion, he was very tired. A warm bed was just what the doctor ordered at this point. The night air felt good as he took his boots and heavy clothes off, as he slipped into his night shirt and sweatpants.

Harry watched from his bed as William put up the Silencing Charm around his bed. The glowing line it left slowly faded out of sight but could still be made out.

William slowly slipped under the covers a yet another long night lay before him. This time he would have to make it without the thing that had kept him going for all those years. These thoughts were interrupted as he heard stirring from Harry’s bunk.

“William, are you awake?” whispered Harry hoping he would not ignore him.

“Yeah, I’m awake.” answered William as he closed his eyes trying desperately to fall asleep.

Harry searched his mind for something to say. ‘An apology, a sorry, anything!’ Harry yelled in his mind. Instead he simply said, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it.” whispered William as he turned on his side away from Harry. All he wanted now was sleep.

A few hours later, Harry woke again to a sound coming from the common room. Deciding he should go see what it was, he hopped out of bed and went down to investigate. Upon entering he found Hagrid jammed halfway in the portrait hole trying to get in.

“Hagrid what are you doing here?” asked Harry groggily as his eyes adjusted to the light from the fireplace.

“Well I was on my way in to get William when I got stuck as you can see!” exclaimed the half-giant as he finally loosened his way and fell back out into the corridor. “Sorry to wake you Harry, but would you mind getting William for me?”

“Sure, but what do you need him for at this hour?”

“Well Ruby’s ready to pass the egg and I thought he should be there!” exclaimed Hagrid. 

Upon hearing this, Harry went back up to his room to get William.

He looked over and saw William in his bed tossing and turning. Upon moving closer he could see a fine sheen of sweat covering his body. As he moved in further passing the barrier of the Silencing charm, Harry expected to hear a steady snoring but instead heard troubled breathing.

He then stood over William’s bed as he continued to toss and turn. Finally, as if he was done, William laid down flat on his back and his breathing returned to normal.

Harry decided now was the time to wake him. He reached for ward to nudge him went sudden the white bed shirt he was wearing was instantly cut across the chest. It was then followed by a second and then a third. Each tear made a cut on the skin below the shirt until the once white material was now red from the blood stains.

Harry jumped back in horror at witnessing this sight. Suddenly after the sixth slice, William suddenly woke with a frightened gasp. His eyes met Harry’s after he found his bearings and realizing the nightmare was over. He knew in that instant that his secret was out. He too suffered from the same dream.

“Are you alright?” asked Harry not knowing what else to say. He had experienced these nightmares personally but had never witnessed them affect another person.

“I need a wet towel and some bandages.” replied William who then started to cry after realizing just how bad the nightmare had been this time. Even after all of this time, it still hurt worse than before.

Harry rushed over to his bed to get what William had asked for. He only had it by chance after using it to clean himself up during the night. Ron then joined him after being awoken by William’s gasp. Upon looking at him, Ron knew just as much as Harry did.

The two boys took over the material to very quickly as to take care of him as soon as possible. When they reached his bed, he took the towel and began to run the wet cloth over his wounds take the blood with it. He winced in pain as the porous material rubbed over his raw wounds. Once they were done bleeding and after wrapping the wounds, he discarded the shirt and put on another from his dresser.

Harry and Ron could not help but feel remorse for him. They now knew just why he knew so much about the nightmare. Before they could confront him he spoke and said, “Why did you wake me up?” in a very curt manner.

Harry did not want any conflict after witnessing the nightmare take full affect and simply said, “Hagrid wanted me to get you because ruby’s ready to pass the egg.”

At the mention of this William grabbed his coat and boots and ran out into the common room were he quickly exited with Hagrid. When Harry and Ron followed, they found Hermione and Ginny waiting.

“We have news! You might not like it.” exclaimed Ginny who had a very worried look.

“William’s having the same nightmare as us!” replied Ron. “I just saw his chest get torn up!” 

"We figured as much." replied Hermione unsurprised.

“What do you mean and besides, what are you two doing up anyway?” asked Harry as his mind briefly centered on the two girls.

“We heard Hagrid try to come in and then we heard the commotion from your room.” said Ginny. “We figured he was having the dream too after what Hermione told me.”

“What are you talking about?” asked Harry trying desperately trying to get a handle on the situation.

“Show him!” Ginny nudged Hermione on the shoulder.

Hermione then handed Harry the book she was carrying, the same book William had given to her just weeks before, Magical Objects of the Wizarding and Muggle World.

“Turn to page 452.” said Hermione as she reminisced about what she had found earlier. “I was up reading when I found something very peculiar.”

Harry turned to page 452 and read the title, “The Legendary Sword Excalibur.”

“Hermione what does this have to with anything? I’m telling you he is having the same nightmare about Doc that we are having!” exclaimed Harry trying to knock some sense into them.

“William said his friend gave him this book when it was brand new. Read the note at the bottom of the page and you’ll see what I’m talking about!” replied Hermione.

His eyes diverted to the bottom of the page and found the handwritten note:

Sorry Doc, I saw it first! –Pete

“You can’t mean- It can’t be possible!” stammered Harry who could not believe what she was telling him.

“It is.” said Hermione in all seriousness. “Harry, William is Doc!”

A/N: The quote about an eye for an eye is by Mahatma Ghandi in case anyone was wondering. The line about being more dangerous or less dangerous was an adaptation of a similar line used in the movie Shaft. I thought it was a nice compliment to William's personality. By the way Dreamscape is a name i thought of. If there is a company who has it then it is just a coincidence. Please leave a review. i need feedback for my next chapter.

Chapter 10: Lost and Found
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

“What do we do now?” asked Harry trying to find a handle on the situation. The one he had just hours before fell to pieces after William woke up… covered in his own blood.

The four Gryffindors had been asking themselves the same question for the past five hours. Sleep was out of the question now. The good night’s rest they had received from William’s potion had worked somewhat up until they discovered he too suffered from the same mysterious ailment.

“I don’t know what to think anymore!” interjected Ron. “This changes everything now. It completely rules out the possibility that he gave it to us as payback for what happened on the dock.” Ron could see that Harry needed a solid foothold as to where the dream came from and he had just kicked it out from under him. “I’m sorry mate.”

The fear and disappointment was clear in Harry’s demeanor. “So what do we have now? All we know is that William is having the same dream that we’ve been having. What else do we have besides that?”

“We know that he has a way to get rid of it Harry!” chimed in Ginny. She could tell where Harry was going with this. “Just because he has it too doesn’t mean that we still can’t get rid of it.”

“Ginny’s right Harry.” added Hermione. “The only thing we can do now is wait till William comes back so he can give us the cure. He said it would be ready by noon.”

Hermione knew this wouldn’t be enough for Harry. His need for answers was almost as great as hers. The feeling of the unknown ate away at him too of them like some parasite. The cure for the dream was a great prospect to hold onto, but now it was not enough for either of them.

“He hasn’t come back yet Hermione.” exclaimed Harry with anger evident in his voice. “I’m not waiting anymore. He kept it from us for some reason and I don’t like it. It's time he told us what we want to know! He has the answers and I want them!”

The entire group was taken back by his outburst. Never before had he demanded something of someone like he had just done. Like a wild fire, his anger needed to be extinguished.

“Why don’t the two of us just go and see him then?” suggested Hermione. It was the most logical solution seeing as how both of them needed the answers. “He went to see Ruby last night so he is probably still there.”

“You two don’t mind if Harry and I just go do you?” asked Hermione to the two Weasleys sitting on the common room couch.

Ron and Ginny could see the desperation in their eyes as they stood to leave. Neither could deny their partner the chance to find some salvation, even if it meant letting them go alone.

“You should go but be careful.” said Ron. This was more of an order than a request. He could not let anything happen to his girlfriend and his best mate.

“Alright but hurry back soon. I want to know everything that you know as soon as possible.” Ginny was just as scared for them as her brother.

Harry and Hermione gave both of their mates a warm embrace before departing through the portrait hole. “We’ll be back later.” assured Harry as he closed the portrait. 

The walk through the forest was too quiet for Harry’s taste as he and Hermione trudged along the trail that Saturday morning. The sun was barely over the mountains leaving an eerie half night half day lighting to the woods. Instead of walking in silence like a pair of ghosts, Harry decided to make the first move.

“So what happened in the dream really happened to William?” asked Harry. Hermione stopped dead in her tracks at hearing this. She had not even considered the possibility.

“He said awhile ago that he was attacked by a wolf in the summer of his second year. He said that’s how he got the scar near his eye.” said Hermione in a realization. “I guess that’s how it all started but it doesn’t explain how we got it. Why do you think he lied to us?”

“I don’t know Hermione. The one thing I am certain of is that he can’t lie to us now that we know his secret.” Harry was right to a certain extent. The mystery of William Black was getting clearer but it was still very foggy.

Harry and Hermione continued to walk until they had reached the clearing that encompassed Ruby’s nest. The great creature lay majestic in the center under a heavy sleep. Her breathing filled the forest with a steady gusted rhythm.

In the clutches of her tail sat a beautiful ebony colored egg that was easily the size of a beach ball. No creature by any standard would pass such an egg with comfort or ease. Hagrid was right to have gotten William in the middle of the night.

And there, leaning against her side fast asleep, rested the form of William Black. His chest lay bare as his shirt had been discarded next to him. The blood stained gauze and bandages still covered most of his torso.

Harry and Hermione very slowly crept forward as to not disturb the sleeping dragon. This method seemed to work when suddenly a steady beat of running feet came from around the clearing. When the pair turned to see what was making the noise they caught a faint glimpse of what appeared to be a horses.

“What was that?” asked Harry as he remembered just exactly where he was. The Forbidden Forest had been home to numerous creatures over the years. Some were friendly and others were ones that you prayed you would never see. 

“That was a group of centaurs.”

“Are you sure Hermione?” asked Harry as he turned to his companion.

She shot him a mixed look of confusion and sudden realization as she said, “I didn’t say anything Harry!” Both of them knew just who had spoken as Hermione finished her sentence. When they turned back toward Ruby, they were greeted by the newly woken William.

“They’ve been coming by every hour or so to see what the egg’s been doing.” said William as he rubbed his eyes as they adjusted to the morning light. “I guess they’ve been worried about their food supply now that there’s another dragon in the forest.” explained William gesturing towards the egg.

Harry was taken back by his openness as William stood up. He had not talked to him directly in weeks. He should have been mad at him but his feelings were suddenly displaced.

“Why did you lie to us?” asked Hermione deciding it would be best to get right to the point.

“I didn’t lie to you. I only omitted certain truths.” replied William who knew just exactly why they had come. “You never asked if I had the dream too.” As they took in his response, William quickly discarded the itchy gauze revealing an almost healed chest. Before Harry and Hermione could question him as to how the wounds healed so fast, William quickly put on a shirt.

“Stop dancing around the issue and give us a straight answer! Tell us the truth damnit!” yelled Harry who had begun to grow tired of his riddled remarks.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?!” yelled William in a voice loud enough to wake the dead. Oddly enough it didn’t wake Ruby. Little did Harry and Hermione know was that she had been given a sleeping draught in the night to help her sleep after passing the egg.

Harry and Hermione suddenly became afraid after his burst of anger.

“Do you wanna know that I have to relive my worst memory on a weekly basis? Did you wanna know that every time I go to sleep I think about what might happen when I dream? Did you wanna know that the pain never gets any less?” William’s demeanor was no longer one of anger but one of sadness and exhaustion.

The two people standing before were stunned at hearing this. This outburst changed all that they assumed was true.

“So it really is a memory?” asked Hermione trying to confirm her newfound suspicions.

“Yes, a very powerful memory that I have tried for a long time to forget.” said William as he rubbed the tears out of his eyes.

“What happened to you?” asked Harry. He was now cutting to the center of his argument. Whatever had happened in his past was the key to what was happening now.

“I don’t want to talk about that!” exclaimed William as he went to leave the clearing. “I don’t even know what could happen if I told you. It’s better that you don’t know!”

“William! William!” yelled Harry trying to make him come back and answer his questions. He would not let him leave that easily. “DOC!”

William stopped and slowly turned answering to the nickname he had not been called in some time. “Only my friends and people I trust call me Doc. Lately, you’ve been neither.”

“Just please talk to us!” pleaded Hermione hoping that her kindness would work rather than Harry’s anger.

“Okay, what do you want to know? I’ll tell you if it’s the only way I can end this.” said William as crossed his arms and stood akimbo. The anger was still very clear in his voice.

Having seen this, Hermione knew that she would just have to ask the important questions in order for this to go smoothly. Harry simply stood off to the side never taking his eyes off William.

“Do you think you can still help us?” This was the most important question on Hermione’s mind at the moment.

“I should be able to in a few hours!” replied William looking down at his gold pocket watch. “That’s if you still want it.”

“We do.” said Hermione very quickly showing just how desperate she was. “Don’t we Harry?”

He wasn’t so sure at the moment. “If this medicine you gave us a sample of yesterday is so great, then why didn’t you take any last night to help yourself?” Hermione had wondered the same thing and was just as curious as Harry.

“Because I gave the last I had to you and your friends so you wouldn’t get the nightmare. I had enough for another three or tfour days before I had to make more. Then she told me about your problem yesterday.” exclaimed the tired boy as he gestured toward Hermione. “I only had enough for the four of you so I let you have the rest. I guess I was wrong when thinking it wouldn’t flare up.” The defeat was evident in William’s eyes.

The exact timing of the dream was always tricky. It seemed to never take a direct pattern or schedule. It was only certain that it would show up when the moon went through a primary phase. “Now you obviously know that you’re not the only ones who need it.”

William had decided in that moment the day before that it would be best if they took the potion. He had felt the pain before and could brave it again. Because they were new to the experience he felt they should be spared.

“Okay, I can believe that.” Harry was not lying when he said this. Having spent time with William he knew just how selfless and generous he could be, even if it meant that he would take the backlash.

“Next question; how did we get the nightmare?” asked Hermione. Any clue or sign would’ve have greatly been appreciated at this point.

William’s demeanor instantly changed from frustration uncertainty. Hermione knew that he had just as much information as her. “That’s the strange thing. I have no idea. I’ve been racking my brain for the past few hours hoping to find something. I’ve got nothing yet.”

The three of them knew that even if William could some how get rid of their nightmares, it still didn’t explain how they got it.

“I have just one more question for you. How long have you had this nightmare or memory or whatever you call it?” This question had only recently entered her mind after William mentioned how the pain never got any less.

William knew that it would be hard for them to here how long he had endured the pain but they had a right to know. “6 years.” replied William.

This was like an anvil crushing all the reasons they had to not like William at the moment. They had nearly gone crazy from a month of this. By what divine miracle was William able to have lasted six years?

All of the anger that Harry had towards William was gone after what he had said. “I’m so sorry William.”

“You didn’t know.” said William as he turned to leave. He had had enough of the questions for the time being. He still had more work to do if he was to help his friends. It was not their curse to bear.

“Come and find me later and I’ll see what I can do about the nightmare.” He then walked off toward the castle. Toward the only salvation he could think of. He could only pray that it would work.

“Six years!” exclaimed Ron alerting everyone having breakfast in the Great Hall to his table.

“Keep it down Ronald!” whispered Hermione trying to divert the unneeded attention away from their table. When all eyes seemed to go back to breakfast plates and goblets she continued, “Yes, that’s what he told us.”

From the time Harry and Hermione had come back into the castle Ginny and Ron were insatiable when it came to telling them just exactly what they had gathered from their meeting with William. They had gathered the same feelings as well.

“He knows everything about the dream because he’s the original person who it started with.” added Harry who was trying to eat but found he did not have the hunger he would have liked. His mind became filled with questions from the recent discoveries about William and the nightmare. “The only thing he doesn’t know is how it spread to us.”

“So now all we can do is wait for him to have that potion ready for us again? What if it comes back?” asked Ginny who was beginning to doubt the faith she had placed in William.

“It’s certainly a possibility.” replied Ron who was beginning to lose his appetite as well. That as when he knew things were really bad.

“Maybe not!” exclaimed Harry having a sudden realization. The group sitting around him was deep in curiosity as to what Harry had figured out. “Hermione, you checked all the books in the library about nightmares and dreams right?”

“Yes, but it was a dead end Harry. None of the books said anything about dreams that leave scars or anything of that nature.” replied Hermione not knowing where Harry was going with this.

“Wait a second!” exclaimed Ginny who knew just what Harry was thinking. “You just said that William told you it wasn’t a dream. He said it was a memory.”

“Exactly!” smiled Harry. “We were looking in the wrong section this whole time. What we need to do is look up all of the books that have to do with memories.”

Ron began laughing to himself after hearing this. The group turned toward him in confusion as to what was so funny. “Sorry mate, but I thought Hermione here was the only one with enough brains to put that together. Good job!”

“Thanks Ron.” replied Harry. It was always nice to have a friend like Ron seeing the humor in even the worst situations.

Harry’s thoughts of not finding any books on memories were severely mistaken when he and his friends asked Ms. Pince the librarian if she had books on memories. ‘No entry no matter how small could be spared’ was the way Hermione put it.

Maybe it was the way she said it or the way she expressed how the desperately needed information about memories, but Ms. Pince took the words to heart and returned with every book she knew that had some mention of memories. Three full tables covered with books was certainly enough to find some information.

3 hours later….

“Anybody find anything yet?” inquired Hermione as she cleared another pile off of her table. Each book came back with the same result, no conclusive information.

“Nothing over here!” yelled Harry as he and Ginny scanned several more books. Their search had been just as fruitless as Hermione’s. The only good aspect Harry found in the situation was that at least he was spending time with Ginny.

“How about you Ron?” asked Ginny as she started into another pile of books.

“This is pointless!” exclaimed Ron as he threw down the book he was reading in frustration. The library went dead silent from the sudden noise. Ms. Pince was quick to shush them again for about the tenth time.

“We have every book but the one we need! We have Memory Charms, Memory Alteration, Memorizing Magical Maladies! There is nothing on memory scars.” The combined frustration of not finding anything and Ron’s way with books was beginning to manifest itself verbally.

“He’s right Hermione.” admitted Harry as he put down his book and rubbed his eyes. “We’ve been at this for hours. We’re not gonna find anything here.”

Although Hermione didn’t want to admit it, she knew he was right. The information they had didn’t fit the problem. How could they solve it? It would be impossible to diagnose a future condition like this with information from the past. It was in that moment that Hermione realized where some reliable sources might be.

“You’re absolutely right Harry. We’re looking in the wrong place again!” exclaimed Hermione as a smile cut across her face. “William has books that might help us!”

“She’s right!” chimed in Ginny as she remembered the trunks filled with books that he had brought with them; books that were filled with information that had not been recorded or discovered yet. “Let’s go see what we can find!”

“We need to ask William first if we can look through his trunks.” added Harry. “Pull out the Marauder’s Map Hermione and then we can find him.” He had given her the map last night and forgot to collect it from her later. He was just so excited after hearing about William’s cure.

Hermione searched her robes as fast as possible trying to find the seasoned piece of parchment. It was after searching the last pocket that she realized it was not with her. “I don’t have it Harry!” replied Hermione who was growing very nervous.

“What do you mean? You lost it?” asked Harry who was wearing an expression of mixed worry and sadness. The very thought of losing the map was a blow to his heart. It was one of the last pieces that he had of three people that were very special to him. He couldn’t lose that part of his dad, Sirius, and Lupin; the last of the true Marauders.

“I didn’t lose it Harry! I had it in my cloak yesterday when Ginny and I went to see William in the forest. After that I didn’t even look at it. You don’t think-”

“He must have taken it. It’s the only explanation!” growled Harry. William’s furtive ways were beginning to get on his nerves. “We need to find him fast.”

The four Gryffindors left the library in the fastest way possible. After thanking Ms. Pince for her help they immediately rushed out into the hallway not looking to see if anyone was coming.

This was very unfortunate for Neville Longbottom as he made his way down the hall. One minute his head was in a book about rare magical plants and then suddenly it was in the middle of a swinging door.

“Sorry Neville!” apologized Harry as he reached down to help Neville up. “We didn’t see you coming.”

“Its all right Harry.” exclaimed Neville as he rubbed his forehead. “You may just have given me the jolt I needed for a potion I’m going to start on.” The project in question was one that he had been contemplating for several months. It was only after talking with William that morning in the greenhouses that he decided to get started.

“Have you by any chance seen William?” asked Hermione as she reached down and picked up Neville’s books. All of them were about very advanced potions and herbology.

“Yeah, I saw him about an hour ago in the greenhouses. He asked me if I had any spare Wolfsbane. I gave him what I had and then he left. He said he had things to take care of in Gryffindor Tower. He kept calling me Professor for some reason. Anyway that’s all I know.”

“Thanks Neville!” cheered the group made their way back to the dormitories.

The Gryffindor common room was surprisingly empty for a Saturday afternoon. To the group’s best guess everyone else must have been at lunch or out in Hogsmeade. The only difference was that they weren’t concerned with other students, just William Black.

As Harry led the way up to the boys’ dormitory, he took every step with extreme care. If he wanted to confront William then he wanted to do it by catching him off guard. They would have used the cloak but it was still in Harry’s trunk.

The group only encountered disappointment as they slowly opened the door to Harry, Ron and William’s room. The only thing that occupied the room was a number of beds, some trunks and an open window.

“Before we do anything, let’s agree that we put it all back when we’re done.” said Hermione as she made her way over to William’s bed.

“Alright.” agreed Harry following Hermione to the bed. “We have to look for the map before anything else though.”

“Sounds like a plan mate!” replied Ron as he joined the group. “Why don’t we start with that trunk at the foot of his bed?”

The search through the trunk led to another fruitless search. The only items in it were several quidditch jerseys and the rest of William’s quidditch supplies. After searching more thoroughly this time around Ginny came upon a small box the size of a pencil case. Inside were strange looking items that looked like paint brushes, or something of that nature Ginny thought.

After closing it, Ginny stepped back and sat on Harry’s bed as the other three stuck with the search. As they dug through the next trunk, its contents mostly books, Ginny felt something about all of this to be wrong. It seemed like a violation of William’s personal space to go through his things like this. As she pondered this Ginny put her hands on the bed and felt several pieces of paper, one was very familiar. Upon looking at them, Ginny knew she had to stop them.

“Harry I don’t think the map is in that case!” laughed Ginny as she held the pieces of paper.

“How would you know that Ginny?” asked Harry in confusion as he glanced at the handful of books he was holding.

“Because I’m holding it!”

Harry, Ron and Hermione looked up in disbelief but were stunned as they found Ginny was not lying. By what miracle did she possess it?

Harry promptly gave her a passionate kiss on the lips and took the map from her hands wanting to see for himself. “I knew I loved you!” exclaimed Harry in utter joy. He then tested it to see if it was the real thing. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” With those words the Marauder’s Map appeared as it had always done.

As Harry opened the map to scan the school for William, another piece of paper fell out of its folds. It caught his eye instantly as he found it to be a letter addressed to himself and the rest of the group.

Being one to hate tension, Harry quickly opened it and began to read aloud its message to the group.

Dear Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny,

By the time your read this it is obvious that it was I who took the map from you yesterday. I was sorry to do this but I knew that I needed to act quickly once became aware you shared my condition. It was not out of hate or spite that I did this but out of care and friendship. It was imperative that I pull mine and your resources in order to help cure you. I hope you don’t hold it against me for taking the map without permission.
Harry and Hermione, in regards to our conversation this morning, I’m sorry for yelling. You needed answers and I wasn’t the most responsive person I should have been. In my time since this morning I have solved the question that I couldn’t answer. It’s better that you hear it in person.

-William Black

P.S.: Come and find me when you are done looking for your answers.

“What do you make of that?” asked Hermione as she scanned the letter again looking for any other sign as to what he meant. “Do you think this is all one big trick?”

“I don’t think so.” replied Harry. “It isn’t like William to trick us. He usually tells us what we want to know.”

He was having a hard time hating William at this point after the apology he had just read. It was obvious William took good care of the map as he looked it over for tears or creases. Surprisingly he found none, it was in perfect condition.

“At least we have one problem solved!” cheered Ron as he patted Harry on the back. “All we need to do now is look through the rest of these books.”

Hermione, who was closest to the trunk filled with books, glanced over several more titles and could not find anything related to what they were looking for. “This trunk has nothing we can use unless you boys want a book on Quidditch Offensive and Legally Ambiguous Plays?” laughed Hermione knowing they had soft spots for quidditch.

“I might want to take a look at that later!” replied Ron laughing as well. “You never know what we might need to do this year when we play Slytherin.”

The group shared a laugh at that as well. Seeing as how the majority of the Slytherins had suffered a major blow from the war, it was obvious that they would want retribution in some way. What better way could there be for school children than quidditch?

“Well putting all jokes aside we still need an answer to how we got the memory from William.” said Ginny. She hated to burst their bubble but it had to be done.

“We haven’t looked in their yet.” pointed Harry to the black trunk under William’s bed. “You girls said he opened it in front of you yesterday. Can you remember what he did to open it?”

“Are you sure that’s such a good idea?” asked Ginny with a deep tone of concern. “He said that he put his most prized possessions in there. Do you think it would be okay to just go rooting around in his personal items?”

“If his most prized possessions are in here then maybe there is something important enough that can help us.” suggested Harry. Ginny had not thought of it this way and began to see his logic for thinking this, but she still had her doubts. Harry could see this assured her by saying, “I swear that whatever we find in the trunk we will take excellent care of and put it back when we’re done.”

Ginny was still not sure if it was right to do this but they were out of options and time was beginning to run out. “Okay but be careful with whatever you take out. We don’t want him to know we went through it.”

“Great then!” exclaimed Harry. After bringing his attention back to the trunk his cheery disposition was slowly fading as he realized he had no idea how to open the trunk. “Would one of you ladies mind opening that thing for us?”

“I think I remember how it goes!” cheered Hermione as she pulled out the trunk and kneeled before it. She then slowly put her hands on its top trying to recollect the right sequence to unlock it. “Left hand taps the left strap four times.” said Hermione thinking out loud. The action then preceded each command. “Right hand taps the right strap five times and both hands tap the center lock twice.”

All eyes stayed focused on the trunk as the group waited for it to unlock itself but only added more disappointment as it stayed shut. Something was clearly not right.

“What did I do wrong?” asked Hermione rhetorically. “Wasn’t that the right sequence from yesterday Ginny?”

“You were right Hermione. That was the correct sequence!” replied Ginny who then kneeled beside Hermione. She then laid her hands on the trunk in the same manner that Hermione had done. “Left hand taps the left strap four times!” Again each command was followed by the action. “Right strap five times and the center lock two times.”

As quickly as Ginny had performed each procedure, that was how quickly the trunk unlatched itself.

“That was strange.” admitted Ginny in wonder as to how she had done that. Why had the trunk opened for her and not for Hermione? None of it made sense.

The thoughts of confusion were pushed aside as Harry kissed her on the cheek. “Brilliant Ginny!” cheered Harry as he then refocused his attention back to the now opened trunk. “Let’s see what we can find!”

No one knew what to expect as Harry slowly lifted the lid. Mysteries seemed to follow William Black wherever he went. To finally solve one was a great prospect to hold onto, but still no one knew what they would find.

When the lid was finally lifted all of the way, the four Gryffindors held themselves back and looked into the trunk with completely open eyes for they did not want to miss anything. One thing was for sure, William certainly had many prized possessions. Numerous objects filled the container to almost full capacity. These ranged from things like books, clothes, and numerous other trinkets none of them had ever seen before.

Harry, deciding he should get things underway, stretched his arm into the trunk and pulled out a medium sized canvas covered book. It had no label or significant markings but it was intriguing nevertheless. The others then reached in and pulled out other objects as well.

Ginny pulled from the trunk’s contents a satin cloth rolled up and tied fastening whatever it held. When she unrolled it she found herself looking upon 5 very different looking wands. Each seemed to be made from a different wood or from a different maker. ‘They couldn’t be for William’ Ginny thought. ‘He already has a wand.’ As she kept digging through the contents she found another textbook sized stone tablet wrapped in a velvet cloth. When she took that off the tablet was covered in symbols that she had never seen before, yet something about them seemed oddly familiar. And in the center, bolder and larger than the other symbols, stood the same logo from the top of the trunk.

Hermione then pulled from the trunk a thick leather armband marked with numerous symbols. Although she could not place them, Hermione knew she had seen them before. In her other hand she was holding a golden necklace bearing the same sword and wand symbol that sat on the lid of the trunk. By the looks of it, the necklace was very old but was in magnificent shape except for a small nick on its top edge.

Ron, who followed suite shortly thereafter, removed a thin, dark polished oak case. On the lid sat on inscription that read, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” He understood just what the quote meant when he opened the lid to find a dozen glowing daggers. The blades were forged in pairs and matched in color, which varied from tantalizing rouge to a brilliant cerulean. All held a dazzling glow except for the dark ebony one lying in the center. Just what they were used for was a mystery.

Harry then opened the book he had been studying and found it to be a personal spell book. Each page was covered with William’s thoughts of various different charms and incantations. From what he could gather they were spells that a young wizard would concoct to win duels or pull pranks in class. Each seemed to hold a personal sense of accomplishment with each entry noting whether it was a success or failure. At one point halfway through the pages it seemed that the spells became more serious and applicable showing wand movements and proper spell pronunciation. These entries were now marked as ‘has potential’ or ‘possibly useful.’

When Harry finished the page he was on the next entry changed a great deal of what he thought about William. The two spells that filled the page were marked “Anchor Charm” and “Rising Buoy.”

The feelings of weight and lightness he and his friends had experienced that day on the docks were finally explained. William had charmed them in order to save Ginny. Coincidence had nothing to do with it.

These thoughts were confirmed when Harry read the label next to each one, “Application to mortal situation successful. One life saved!” Harry now knew even more just how wrong he had been that day.

As Harry contemplated this, Hermione pulled out a small statue of a red bird. It looked oddly similar to the bird that they had seen over the past few weeks. There was something very strange about the way it looked back at her. It was as if it was waiting for Hermione to do something.

Ron, Ginny and Harry each replaced the items they had removed and looked toward Hermione who was still holding the statue. “We should probably keep looking through the trunk Hermione.” suggested Harry. “There is still a lot more to cover.”

As he said this, Harry reached in and removed a leather bound book that revealed itself to be a photo album. Harry made a quick nonchalant flip through its contents which revealed numerous pictures and numerous blank spots on several pages. The only explanation was that pictures had been removed.

Seeing as how it did not contain any information Harry closed the cover and went to put it back into the trunk when suddenly the lid closed by itself. The group stood back in sudden surprise as it then reattached its lock and then promptly flew out of the room. It did not move along the floor but literally hovered and flew out of the very portrait hole it had knocked open. Where it was going nobody knew.

“Now this is strictly just a guess-” started Hermione removing the silence from the room. “But I’d say that William just summoned the trunk to himself.”

“I second that guess!” said Ron trying to find a handle on the moment.

“I’m with Hermione!” exclaimed Ginny.

“Now what do we do?” asked Harry who just witnessed his last option fly out the door. “The only thing left to do is to try and find William and see what he can tell us.”

Hermione had been having the same thoughts exactly. She kept thinking to herself ‘Where is William when you need him?’ As she finished this thought she found herself to still be clutching the bird statue except this time it was a real bird, bright red feathers and all.

“Where did that bird come from Hermione?” exclaimed Ron as he looked at the creature in wonder. Harry and Ginny turned to see and were just as shocked as he was.

“I don’t know!” replied Hermione. “I was just holding this statue from the trunk in my hand when I thought about where William was. When I looked down this bird was sitting in my hand.”

At mention of William’s name the bird began to flap its wings and hover in front of the stunned girl. The bird then made a move for the door and looked back toward her. “This might sound strange but I think it wants us to follow it.”

“Huh?” Ron asked in utter amazement.

“I was thinking about William when it flapped its wings and when I found it in my hand.” She knew the idea was crazy but it was all they had. “Just trust me please!”

“What have we got to lose?” asked Harry. He had the Marauder’s Map back but he was willing to follow the bird. What Hermione was saying seemed to make sense in an odd way. And with Harry’s words the group made off to follow the bird through the castle.

A/N: Sorry for the long wait and for the cliff hanger ending. I didn't want my first chapter back to a ten thousand word one. You'll just have to wait for the next one. The quote on top of the dagger case is by Edmund Burke in case you were wondering.

Chapter 11: Dreamscape
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

After descending several flights of stairs and walking down a few more hallways the bright red bird finally stopped in front of a door in the potions wing. As the group advanced the red bird flew to Hermione who accepted it immediately. As she held out her hand it landed on her palm and gave a soft chirp.

When Hermione went to stroke the bird’s head, she noticed the soft feathers had turned to smooth stone. Its job was done and it had no more use to stay in its living form. “Let’s see where it led us!” suggested Hermione as she put the small stone statue into her cloak pocket.

As the group neared the door a strange tune seemed to be coming from the other side. For some reason it sounded like muggle music, more specifically jazz. Harry, having been the one who spent the most time in seclusion with muggles, instantly recognized it.

“Somebody’s listening to music!” exclaimed Harry as he began to push the door open wanting to see who was inside.

Listening wasn’t quite exactly the way William was following the music. In order to levitate several beakers and a few pots with a wand he needed to be relaxed. Music was one of the best mediums for him to work through and this was no exception. The wandless magic, which he had learned to harness control over, only aided the task set out before him.

When Harry and his friends entered the room, the sight they took in was amazing. From a passing look it was as if William was conducting a symphony of magical tasks all through the use of both hands, one without a wand. It was when William realized that he wasn’t alone that he began to lose his concentration. Very quickly he levitated the objects back to their places on the tables.

“Well I was wondering when all of you would come by!” exclaimed William as he stirred a nearby pan. He then turned off the music that he no longer needed. “I see the Marauder’s Map took you right to me.”

“Actually we used this.” said Hermione as she pulled the stone bird from her pocket. William’s eyes went wide as he realized they had been in his trunk.

“Well I guess that means you got into my trunk!” said William, his widening at this intrusion. He then went over to the very same case that he had summoned minutes before. There were only two possible explanations as to how they opened it. “Would you mind giving it back to me?” replied the boy holding out his hand toward Hermione.

Harry instead took it from Hermione’s hand and gave it to William. As he bent down to put it back into its resting place Harry decided to try his luck on a theory that he had recently developed.

“I’ve seen that bird before William.” He did not meet eyes with Harry but could tell where he was going with this. “It’s been following us around for the past few weeks. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that would you?”

“Would you prefer a lie or the truth?” said William as he removed a square wooden box from the black trunk.

“You had it follow us didn’t you?” asked Harry already knowing the answer. The slight anger was evident in his tone.

“Yes, I did.” said William with no regret in his voice.


“Remember after you punched me on the dock?” Harry nodded. “Well I said that I was sick of playing body guard. That doesn’t necessarily mean that wouldn’t stop keeping an eye on you. My bird did that for me.”

“You didn’t have to do that.” exclaimed Ron who decided to join the conversation.

“Yes I did.” proclaimed William. “I gave my word that I would protect all of you and I’m a man of my word.”

No one said anything after that. Harry had tried to convince William that they did not need his protection. Obviously this was something that he needed to do and who was Harry to have him go back on his word.

“Do you need any help?” asked Ginny who decided it was best if they just got to the point.

“Actually yes!” answered William. “Would one of you mind stirring that pot over there? And would someone else mind turning off that flame under the cauldron?”

Ron decided to make himself useful and stir the pot while Hermione went to turn off the flame. Harry and Ginny just took a seat at the table where William was working. Right now he was removing several glass jars from the wooden box he had taken from the trunk.

As Ron stirred the pot, his nose picked up something very familiar. It smelled almost like chicken and potatoes. “What is that smell?”

William knew he could liven up the moment and instantly decided to go for it. “Taste this.” ordered William as he produced a spoon from the pot.

Ron uneasily but slowly drank the mixture. After it hit his taste buds he decided it was one of the best things he had ever tasted, aside from his mother’s food of course. “Wow! What in the world is that?”

“I don’t know. I found it in one of the cauldrons when I got here!” replied the boy as he made a fake look of curiosity over the pan.

Ron instantly spit out the remainder wondering just what he had swallowed.

“Relax it’s just a sauce for the chicken I’m making!” laughed William who was then joined by Hermione, Ginny and Harry. His attempt to lighten the mood had worked.

“You’re cooking in a potions lab?”

“Yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Besides you’ll need you strength after I remove the dream.” The moment was over when William suddenly pulled them back to reality.

“That reminds me.” interrupted Harry. “You said that you had answers for us in your letter.”

“Oh yeah that’s right!” exclaimed William remembering what he had discovered. “I found this about an hour ago when I was looking through one of my scrapbooks.” He then pulled what looked like a newspaper clipping from his jacket.

As Harry took the paper, Ginny, Ron and Hermione had gathered around to read. The title at the top read as “Search Continues for Missing Youths” but the article William wanted them to read was a little filler at the bottom of the page.

“Lost Box of Acrimanicus’ Found in Muggle Pawn Shop” When the group looked up to see just what William was implying he pointed back to the page. “Keep reading.”

“Late yesterday morning Ministry officials confiscated a box of several Acrimanicus’ from a muggle pawn shop in the London area of Great Britain. The box in question had been from a lost disposal order from the Ministry of Magic.

You would of course remember the craze these toys once had over the youth of the wizarding community. This craze was however prematurely ended after several reported cases of memory sharing phenomena. This was later found to be from a misused application of flesh memory charms from factory workers.”

William could tell that they had finished the article when all of their eyes widened in realization. “So much trouble from one little trinket like that.” He then produced the toy from his pocket and laid it on the table. “I think that my memory was transferred to all of you when you first gave me it. I touched it first and then handed it to all of you. I had no idea something like this would happen.”

Harry and his friends did truly believe William. For all of his loyalties and protective quirks they gathered it was not in his nature to do something like this intentionally.

As they thought this over Harry’s eyes wandered back to the headline of the article. As he read on he understood just what had happened to William.

“The search resumes today after yesterday’s unfortunate events in the Black Forest of Germany. The death toll has been raised to 6 after another body was discovered several miles into the forest. Among the dead are August and Aurora McElroy, the famed couple who made the discovery, Senior Auror Silas Tiberian, and Joseph Santoro a second year student of Hogwarts.

Ministry officials have given a brief statement saying these events were part of Werewolf retaliation efforts for last month’s discovery of a permanent cure to lycanthropy. A special trip for a collected group of gifted students of wizard schools from around the world were given a hike of the forest concluding with a tour of the site where the discovery was first made. This group was attacked on Friday evening and has been scattered throughout the area.

Thanks to international cooperation between the British and German Ministries of Magic most of the group has been recovered with an exception of eight students. The students in question are believed to be on the run in deep rooted werewolf territory. From recent reports, the students have been identified as Peter McElroy, Isabella Chase, Declan Fowler, Darius Kane-”

“Harry?” interrupted William.

“Yes.” replied the boy as he realized he had been torn away from the article.

“I was just saying that we should begin.” William knew exactly had caught Harry’s attention. He would have to make a point later to explain it to him and his friends. He was unsure if he should tell them because of the ripple it could have on the future. He could take the risk but there would be so much at stake. Changes, irreparable changes, which could alter the course of history.

“Okay sure.”

“First things first, I need a clear sight of the potion.” He then put his fingers to each of his eyes and to the group’s amazement pulled out two contact lenses. The sight of his eyes was even stranger.

“What were those and more so what happened to your eyes?” asked Ginny in utter confusion. The contacts were one thing but the brown color that his eye were now was another thing entirely. “Don’t you have green eyes?”

William had prepared for this and knew he would be stormed with questions. “My eyes are actually brown. I wear these special contacts to I can see magical spells that are invisible to the naked eye.” said the boy as he held them in his hand. “I wear them most of the time here because you never know when they may come in handy.”

The group could understand this seeing as how Mad Eye used to implore the same kind of device when he was still alive. At least now they knew how he kept spotting them under the invisibility cloak.

“So you don’t actually have green eyes?” asked Hermione.

“Sorry.” replied William as he put the contacts into a small case. “They’re just plain brown.”

“They’re still nice.” said Hermione as she slowly got used to the idea of seeing him with brown eyes. William’s were maybe just a shade lighter than a normal brown.

“Thanks. My mother gave them to me.” He then pulled from his inner pocket his silver rimmed pair of glasses and put them on. “Now, to the matter at hand.” said William as he pointed toward the cauldron. “Can any of you conjure blue fire? I’m not very good at that spell.”

Hermione, without having been asked, lit her wand a produced a blue flame under the cauldron. This spell had been very easy for her to perform since the youngest age. It was never really clear why. “So what’s that for?”

“Blue fire is the one of purest of all magical flames. This potion needs pure fire in order for it to work.” William then removed four identical blue glass bottles from the other table. Each bottled was individually labeled with their names except for the largest bottle which was left blank. It was most likely William’s because he needed more than they did.

“So how is this going to work?” asked Ron. With all of this new information hitting him at once he was beginning to grow nervous. “So we just take the potion and it’ll go away?”

“It’s not that simple.” said William as he uncorked one of the glass jars. “The potion only masks the memory. You won’t feel the pain or experience the memory but instead you should have some really good dreams.” A slight smile spread across William’s face. “The memory will still be inside of you but it won’t show up because I’m going to remove it after I finish this.”

“Will the scars go away?” asked Ginny.

“They should after a few days. The healing properties in the potion will take care of them in no time.”

“If you can remove the dream from us then why can’t you remove it from yourself?” asked Harry. If it was so simple to get it out of them then why was it so hard for him to get it out of himself?

William had often wondered this when he first contracted this condition. Many people had numerous theories but he liked his dad’s the best. “My dad told me once that memories are apart of each and every one of us, the good ones and the bad ones. He thought that the reason it couldn’t be removed is because it’s a part of who I am.” Tears began to well up in his eyes but he quickly brushed them away.

Harry most of all could understand just what William was talking about. For every bad memory he had he could not change them because that was who he is. His only hope was that they would make him a better person for having experienced them and making each moment after count. It was his life and he would live it to the fullest.

“I take this stuff a few times a week so I don’t have to feel the pain or the memory. Truth be told I haven’t had the nightmare that bad in a few years thanks to this potion.” A soft chuckle escaped his lips. “It comes back every so often, mostly during the full moon. I thought I’d chance it last night after I gave you the last of what I had. I guess I was wrong in thinking it wouldn’t come back.”

“Sorry for that.” said Ginny feeling somehow the one to blame for what had happened to him the night before.

“You didn’t know, besides the good thing about pain is that it lets you know you’re alive. And certainly don’t blame yourself for something you had no control over.” William had decided a long time ago that it was better to make light of the situation than be angry or find someone to blame. “Any other questions?”

“Yeah, what exactly are you putting in this potion?” asked Ron as he eyed the numerous jars near the cauldron, some of which had not been opened yet.

“I believe I have the original potion recipe somewhere.” said William as he searched the table. From one of the books he took out a loose handwritten page. “This is it!” He then handed it to Harry who then held it so everyone could read.

“Dreamscape?” said Harry as he read the bold word at the top of the page. “That’s what you call this stuff?”

“Actually my friend Pete came up with the name.” said William remembering the fond memory. “He said I could escape from the nightmares and have good dreams every night.”

Harry and the others continued reading down the page until they came to a handwritten note which read;

‘Doc, this should do the trick. Rose gave me some help with the last part. For a girl her age she’s very smart. See you on the pitch tomorrow and sweet dreams! -Pete’

“Is this the same Pete who wrote in that book you gave me?” asked Hermione.

“Yeah.” replied William. “He was one of the principal developers alongside myself and a few others who created Dreamscape. He wrote that book I gave you when he was just nineteen.”

“He must be really smart.” said Ron in amazement.

“You play chess right.” Ron nodded. “You know how the really good players will play 5 moves ahead of the other?” Again Ron nodded. “Well Pete plays about 30 moves ahead of others.” Clearly William had friends that were very gifted like him.

“Who’s Rose?” asked Hermione.

William was unsure how to answer. He couldn’t ruin the surprise. “She’s a friend of mine. Very smart just like her mother.” William said with a sly smile. If she only knew.

Hermione considered this. She would have to meet this girl someday. If she only knew.

“Now that that’s settled let’s get started.” exclaimed William. Time was of the essence and he needed to finish the potion. “First we must add just a bit of Powdered Chimera Fang.” He then poured a small dash into the heated cauldron.

“Wait isn’t that poisonous?!” asked Hermione. She would know best of all about potions ingredients. It was of course known to her how dangerous certain ingredients were.

“Highly.” said William who was unscathed by her concerns. He then opened another jar that looked like it contained water and poured several drops into the mixture. “That’s why we add a few drop of Naiad Water that I get from a spring in Greece. It’ll cancel out the poisonous elements of the Chimera Fang. Now we have a potion that’ll travel rapidly throughout the body.”

“Like a poison!” exclaimed Hermione realizing where he was going with this. “Except you don’t have any of the after affects like death.” The applications for this were infinite. “You really do have some smart friends.”

“You have no idea.” said William with a grin. His friends were more than just a group of familiar faces but his family. They had shared everything with each other; the good, the bad, and the worst. “Now we add another key ingredient.” He then removed another jar lid and picked out a jagged looking rock. It had once been part of a larger body but had been broken down over time.

“What’s that?” asked Ginny as William placed it gently on the table.

“This is a piece of an Erumpent Horn.”

“What?!” asked Harry as he and the others backed away from the table. “That’s explosive you know!”

William then picked up the piece without any hesitation. “Not unless you know a spell that renders it inert.”

Harry and his friends took to their chairs once again after William assured them it was safe. “I didn’t know there was a spell that could do that.” exclaimed Harry catching his breath from the panic.

“There are a few, but this one still leaves a small explosive property. It’s something of my own creation.” Harry guessed that this might have been another one of the spells in his book.

After saying this he refocused his attention back to the horn piece and broke off a fragment the size of a small pebble.

“What do you need it for in this potion?” asked Ron who was still somewhat nervous around the unstable material. “How do you expect us to take something that’s explosive?”

“Relax, besides the muggles take nitroglycerin for their ailments and all that was originally used for dynamite.”

“So what does it do for this potion?” asked Ginny. She too was just as nervous as Ron but did not show it as much as he did.

“Gives it a bit of a kick.” William then placed the tip of his wand to the side of his glasses, which instantly turned the lenses from clear to a heavy black. “You might want to close your eyes for this.”

Without a second’s hesitation the group covered their eyes tightly with both hands. All of them, except for Ginny, had seen first had the violent reaction it made. William then slowly but carefully dropped the fragment into the boiling mixture.

As if on cue, an immense burst of light erupted from the pot the instant the fragment touched the water. The four other students in front of William could tell it was great because even though they covered their eyes they could still feel an intense glow.

As quick as the flash of light had erupted from the pot it instantly recoiled back into the boiling potion. “You can open your eyes now.” said William as he turned his glasses back to the clear color.

“That must be some kick!” exclaimed Ginny as she looked into the pot. The water inside was now a glowing blue fluid.

“It does the trick.” replied William as he took the recipe and searched for the next ingredient. “Okay so I already added the leaves of Wolfsbane. Now we need some dragon’s blood.”

“You’re going to use dragon’s blood in the potion?” asked Hermione. “What in the world do you need that for?” An ingredient like that was very hard to come by and would only be used sparingly in most situations.

William then took another jar filled with a deep crimson, viscous fluid. “Well the blood acts as a pain killer in the potion adding its own healing and soothing properties.” He then took an eyedropper and added only a single drop to the large mixture. “They gave treatments with this stuff before the potion was developed.”

“How come you only added a drop to such a large potion?” asked Ron in confusion. It wouldn’t make sense for such a large batch.

“Well aside from being highly potent its very addictive.” said William who knew just how much. “After I started taking the Dreamscape, I was given treatment to remove all of its addictive elements from my system. It was through use of special memory alteration and sense tweaking. It was hard but I finally got over it and haven’t looked back since.”

“It’s really that strong?” asked Harry. He had heard of the muggles and their problems with drugs but he had never heard anything like this in the wizarding world.

“Well I don’t remember that much with the after treatment and all but I remember someone saying that it’s like all the blood in your body turns to liquid fire.” He could see the look of wonder in their eyes. “Crazy I know.”

After William stirred the pot a final time he pointed his wand to the base of the fire and extinguished it instantly. He then used a cooling charm in order to dispense the potion amongst the four bottles. When it was all emptied into the bottles there was only two more ingredients to collect.

“So that’s it?” asked Ron as he held his own marked bottle in his hands.

“No, there are still two more ingredients to add.” said William as he then produced the silver dagger that he carried around since he arrived.

“What do you need that for?” asked Harry referring to the blade. The nature in which it was previously used held a certain air of terror and fear.

“Blood.” said William as he pricked the tip of his thumb. He then held the bleeding cut over his bottle and let the few ample drops flow into the potion. After it was securely in place he closed and shook the bottle in order to mix it in.

Harry and the others looked in a mixed demeanor of confusion and disgust. Why exactly were they going to consume a potion that contained their own blood?

“Why do you need blood?” asked Hermione. In all of the textbooks on potions she had read there was never any instance where human blood was called for. Harry had been the only one to witness such a potion being made.

“It’s a little hard to explain.” said William who knew just what they were thinking. When Pete had asked him for blood after making the first successful batch he was awestruck. “The potion needs to familiarize itself with the person taking it.” started William hoping they would pick up on what he was saying. “By adding your own blood to the mixture it can work through your body faster and quicker. In a way the Dreamscape knows you and your body so it can work properly without problems.”

They slowly took in this information as William tried to explain. In some weird way it made sense. Nothing like this had ever been covered in potions class with Professors Slughorn or Snape. It was truly ahead of its time.

William then handed the dagger to Harry hoping he would add his own ingredient to the mix. The blade was very comfortable in his hand, almost like it had been made for him personally. For something he had never seen before it carried an odd sense of familiarity.

Harry then slowly took the dagger to his thumb and made a small prick which he then turned over into the bottle. As per William’s instructions he then corked the bottle and shook it very thoroughly. He then licked his wound as the blood started to subside. He then passed the dagger to Ginny who cautiously accepted it.

“Be very careful with it Ginny.” exclaimed William. “It’s very sharp for something 1500 years old.”

Ginny then applied William’s advice and slowly used the dagger with the same success as Harry. Shortly after Ron and Hermione followed as well. Each seemed somewhat relieved after they had conquered this small obstacle.

“Is that all that’s left William?” asked Harry placing his bottle on the table. Ron, Ginny, and Hermione each set theirs down as well.

After putting the dagger back in its sheath and into the black trunk he then pulled out his wand. “No, we need one more ingredient. This is definitely the most important one.”

“What do you need now a virgin sacrifice?” asked Ron laughing as he tried to think of what other obscure item he needed to add to the mix.

“Well there aren’t any virgins here so I don’t think that’s going to do us any good!” laughed William.

Harry and Ron each wore a smile from ear to ear knowing what William was saying were true. They had each lost that aspect of themselves to their significant others shortly after the war ended. There was nothing else to wait for after that.

The girls only blushed and smiled as they remembered the night of their first times. In both cases it was like a dream come true. They each shared the deepest love with the ones they cared for most in the world.

William could only smile as he remembered the girl he had been with. She was the very same girl he hoped to go back to once all of this was sorted out. He only hoped it wasn’t too late. “In all seriousness I need a Patronus from each of you except this time I need you to think of a very happy hope or dream that you have for the future.”

A Patronus was the last thing they expected they would need for a potion. What did a corporeal animal have anything to do with a healing potion? Rather than arguing with William they immediately decided to just see where this was going.

“If you say so.” said Harry as thought hard of what he wanted in the future. He then flicked his wand and said, “Expecto Patronum!” A majestic stag instantly burst from the tip of his wand and stood proudly by his side. No matter how many times he had used this spell it had always amazed him.

When Ron, Hermione and Ginny collected their hopes and dreams they each cast the spell with a proud manner. From Ron’s wand came a medium sized terrier that sat at his side. Ginny’s wand let loose a large proud looking mare and from Hermione’s wand shot out a playful looking otter that swam around her.

William then took his wand and echoed the spell that his father had taught him many years ago. “Expecto Patronum!” In an instant a large lion gracefully appeared in front of the boy. He was very proud looking with a large mane and to top it all off he bellowed a mighty roar after being finally released.

To make matters even stranger, the lion then walked slowly over to the four other animals in the room. Harry, thinking the lion might try to eat one of them, as if a Patronus could do such a thing, watched cautiously at the scene unfolding before his eyes. Instead the lion bowed before the other animals as if it was showing them its respect. It then walked back to its master as it prepared for what was coming.

“Do you mind telling us why we need a Patronus for a potion?” asked Ron as he took in the strange scene. “It’s not like we can bottle a Patronus.” He then laughed at such a notion.

“Oh really.” said William as he lowered his bottle to the lion’s head. He then passed it through its corporeal form and showed them what he had obtained. They could see that the bottle was no longer just plain glass but it was now glowing with a light aura. “You can’t bottle a Patronus, huh?” laughed William.

The group before him took in this sight with utter amazement. Just what he had done was something that had never been attempted before. They could understand that this was happening because since they had entered the potions lab they had spent nearly the entire time in uncharted territory. However they could not understand just why he was doing this.

“Why do you need a Patronus?” asked Harry eyeing the glowing mixture in William’s bottle. “What exactly does it do to the potion?”

William then gently placed the bottle back on the table and put the cork back in. He wouldn’t need it until he went to bed. “Well as you may know, the memory is something of an evil nature, a curse placed on myself years ago.”

As the four Gryffindors heard this they could not imagine what kind of witch or wizard would do such a thing to a child. Something as cruel as this was only thought to have been conjured by one wizard and he was dead. Harry made sure of that.

Remembering that night William continued his story. “Because it is something so evil, Rose had the idea to combat it with something that pure good. A Patronus is the only thing that I know is like that.” They all smiled as what they realized he said was so true. The Patronus was the embodiment of all of what was good and right in each person.

“When the Patronus is added to the mix I don’t get nightmares. Instead I have dreams about love, family, and all of the other things I hope for in the world.” William then again took out his wand as he had one more job to do.

“That’s all there is to it?” exclaimed Hermione as she recollected the procedure of the potion. “The only thing you have to do now is remove it, right?”

“Precisely!” exclaimed William. He then took from the other table a bottle of firewhiskey and five glasses. “I need to remove it from each of you while you are sleeping. It has to be done one at a time so I get it right.”

“Have you ever done this before?” asked Ron. From the way he stared at the bottle in his shaking hands it was obvious that he was very nervous. The same could be said for the rest of the group including William.

“Technically no, but it’s just like removing a memory and using Legilimency.” said William as he then poured the five glasses of firewhiskey.

Harry, having heard William speak of things that he himself and a few others knew, prompted his next question. “Are you a Legilimens? You certainly seem to have the ability.”

William knew what he meant by this and made a note to be more subtle in the future. “I learned Legilimency in my years at Hogwarts and mastered it to a certain degree but I’m much better at Occlumency.”

That settled a few of the questions Harry held in his mind. Resuming his training in Occlumency sounded like a good idea now that he knew William was accomplished at both arts of the mind.

William then gave each of them a glass of firewhiskey hoping to calm there nerves. “All of you look like you could use a drink. This should take the edge off.”

Each of them took the glasses and downed the strong liquid in one gulp. Much to the boys’ surprise the girls finished their drinks first. “So who wants to go first?” said William as he took a swig right from the bottle.

No one was eager to partake in such a highly risky experiment. Harry, looking toward his friends, could easily tell this and quickly made up his mind. “I’ll go first.” He then stepped forward and waited for William’s instructions. “Could I just have one more drink first?” asked Harry as he felt the butterflies in his stomach come back.

William having known what Harry was going through kindly obliged and gave him the bottle. The butterflies were instantly replaced with soothing warmth. William followed suite and took a gulp right from the bottle after Harry gave it back. 

William then opened the spellbook in front of him. "I'm just documenting my work to look back at it later." He then began to scribble notes. "What's today date?"

"October 1, 1998." replied Hermione.

William then chuckled to himself. "What?" asked Ron.

"No, it's nothing important." replied William.

“Are you ready to begin?” Harry nodded. “First I need you to lie down so I can put you under.” Harry did what he was told. “The next thing I’m going to do is put a spell on you to put you to sleep and then another one to provoke the nightmare.” This concept frightened Harry as he did not want to experience that again.

“At the first sign of its presence I’m going to use a charm in order to remove it like a memory. After that you should wake up and be alright.” William looked down at Harry with a mixed expression of fear and hope. He needed this to work as best as possible.

Harry shared the exact same sentiment. He couldn’t have this nightmare anymore. The deaths of his friends and family during the war already gave him enough nightmares. All he could do was pray that William could fix it. “I’m ready when you are.”
William’s smile and then a flash of light were all that he remembered after that. The next thing he knew he was running through a darkened forest. Regretfully things were going exactly to plan. The nightmare was in full swing.

It was all playing out like it had been before. The running through the forest, William’s collapse against the tree, confessing his love for the girl in Pete’s arms, and finally being left alone under the tree. The only difference this time was that Harry was more aware of the situation.

He knew that William was trying to remove it on the outside, but on the inside he was getting antsy. Thoughts of fear and dread began to overrun Harry’s mind. What would be the sign that William had succeeded? Whatever it was he needed to do it fast because the howls were getting louder and closer.

Just like they had done over the past several times he experienced the nightmare, the group of wolves came into the clearing just as the sun began to glow behind the mountain. ‘Where are you William?! Get me out of here?!’ screamed Harry as the red eyed wolf made its advance on the sitting boy. Harry tried to move but failed as he realized it was not his body to remove. This was going to happen and there was nothing he could do to stop it.

“You have me now you bastard. Take your best shot!”

And with those familiar words Harry closed his eyes expecting to be awoken by the piercing feeling in his chest. “Why didn’t you help me William?” Harry asked himself as he waited for the pain.

It was when he felt nothing that he opened his eyes. He was quickly taken back as the red-eyed wolf was still in front of him with an outstretched claw. This time instead of a ravenous animal, Harry was stunned to realize that the wolf was frozen in place. In fact nothing at all was moving. Was time standing still?

‘Had William succeeded?’ Harry thought to himself as he stared at the wolf. ‘Could all of this finally be over?’ As he continued to look around everything began to grow blurry. The entire area was beginning to somehow come out of focus. The only way Harry could describe it was as if everything was being erased.

And very suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, it was all gone. He then found himself awake and back on familiar ground.

He looked up from his body and saw William place a glowing strand into another jar filling it part way. It was just like memories being removed except this time they were glowing red instead of blue.

William then stumbled as his strength had been somewhat taken in his success of removing the memory. Harry looked on with concern but found his body to be in the same condition.

Ginny, Ron, and Hermione each rushed in to make sure he was okay. They each gave him a warm hug except for Ginny who planted a long wet kiss on his mouth. Harry thought it was all worth it just for that. He would do anything for them, especially Ginny; the girl he would spend the rest of his life with.

William just stood at the table smiling as he attempts were finally successful. “Sorry to keep you waiting Harry. I had to clear a few things out of my way to get to the memory.”

“You had me worried for a second there.” Harry then stood up as some of his strength had returned. “What do I need to do now?”

“Nothing, just take that potion and your body will be the same as it always was in a few days.” smiled William as he prepared to do the same procedure three more times.

Harry and the others smiled as well hearing this grand news. No more would there sleep be tormented by the nightmare. “How long was I out?” asked Harry.

“About a half hour.” answered Ron as he thought of how slow the time went by watching his sleeping friend. The fear of what might happen to his best friend nearly got the best of him. “We were really worried about you.”

“I’m fine now thanks to William.” assured Harry as he walked over and gave Ron a hug.

“I hate to break this up-” interrupted William, “but I need to do this three more times. Whose gonna go next?”

“I’ll do it William.” proclaimed Ginny stepping forward. She no longer had any more doubts in her mind after William had successfully cured Harry.

“Okay then. Let’s begin.”

2 hours later…

Hermione had just woken up from the dream and felt the same weakness the other had experienced over the past few hours. And again William was putting another red memory strand into the jar.

Again, like the others, she was swarmed by hugs and kisses as she recovered from the removal. As they all composed themselves and sat down at the table, William put the jar in the center with its near full contents. They all stared at it. The memory was no longer hiding in their minds but instead sitting right before them.

“And now for the final task.” said William pulling out his wand. That was then put into the jar. “Obliviate!”

The red strands disappeared in an instant as the spell took effect. They were finally gone, permanently erased. The weight of the world was finally off their shoulders.

“I don’t know about anyone else but I’m starving.” exclaimed Ron breaking the silence.
“Honestly Ronald.” jabbed Hermione nudging him in the shoulder.

“It’s okay Hermione.” said William as he uncovered the pots behind him. “Why do you think I cooked beforehand?” With a wave of his wand the food in the pots and pans assembled itself on the table before them.

William had spent a few hours beforehand getting the food ready and by this time it was done cooking. A simple meal of mashed potatoes, roasted barbecue chicken and stewed vegetables was exactly what the doctor ordered. In other words, it was absolutely delicious.

In no time at all the pots and pans were empty as they group of five each finished their third plates. William had outdone himself yet again.

“That was one of the best meals of my life.” said Ron as he finished his last forkful of vegetables.

“You have to give my mum the recipe for that chicken. She’d love it!” exclaimed Ginny who then curled up next to Harry.

“Yeah I know what you mean. There’s nothing like American barbecue.” William then flicked his wand and their dishes and placed them on one of the other tables.

“You like America?” asked Harry. The land across the sea had always held a certain curiosity in his mind. Then again so did ever other place he had yet to visit.

“It’s nice. I spent some time there with my buddy Pete after third year.” William smiled at this memory. “Still, right here is where I like the most.” All of them couldn’t agree more.

“That’s the same Peter from your memory right?” asked Ron. Hermione then nudged him in the ribs at bringing up the touchy subject.

“That’s right.” said William who knew very well where this was going.

Harry could see this in his eyes but was afraid to press the issue. “You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.” Although he would never admit it this was exactly the opposite of what he wanted him to do.

“The problem with all of this is that I don’t know if I should tell you.” sighed William. He knew that there was no avoiding this. It was bound to come out sooner or later and by this time he had chosen sooner.

“It’s okay William. Do what you think is right.” said Ginny looking up from her empty plate.

“I’m just going to have to hope I’m doing the right thing.” William exclaimed to himself. He was now sailing into uncharted water. “After my second year at Hogwarts, a group of students including myself were given a special tour of the Black Forest in Germany.”

“Are you sure about this?” asked Harry with much concern. He had his fair share of war stories and knew just how hard it was to recount them.

“Just shut up and listen because I’m only gonna tell this story once.” replied William.

The group sat back and prepared to take in all that he had to tell.

“About a month before the school term ended a discovery had been made that would change the wizarding world. Two American wizards that worked for the ministry had found a special, highly rare breed of Wolfsbane deep in the forest” said William as he held up the leftover plant from the potion, “that would permanently suppress the werewolf infection.”

“That’s impossible!” exclaimed Hermione. “Werewolf’s usually take a Wolfsbane potion that suppress’ attacks not the entire condition!”

“I said it would change the wizarding world.” replied William as he continued his story. “Anyway these two scientists, August and Aurora McElroy-”

“Pete’s parents.” said Harry having read the article.

“That’s right.” continued William. “Well they agreed with the ministry to share this news with other Magical Governments in order to decide what to do with such a rare plant. One of their first ideas was to grant a special hike to the best and brightest students gathered from wizarding schools all over the world. Pete, me and a few others from Hogwarts were on that hike.” His eyes went sad with this last sentence. “Do you want to see a picture of them?”

They all nodded as William went to the trunk nearby. He searched for a few minutes before Harry realized what he was looking for.

“I think this is what you need William.” said Harry as he held out the photo book.

“You always find the important stuff.” said William as he took the book back. “First my diary and now this.” He then searched the pages and pulled out one of the pictures.

Harry took it while Ron, Hermione and Ginny gathered around to see. There were eight students standing in front of a forest motioning to the taker that they were starting the hike. It was when they realized it was the same group from the memory that their eyes went wide.

“That’s me, Pete, Ally and Scorpios.” said William as he pointed to the first four in the photo. At hearing the last name their eyes went wider.

“He was their with you?” asked Harry. “You two were really friends then I guess.”

“Yeah, but not anymore. I just don’t know where he went wrong.” The defeat was evident in his eyes.

“I thought you said his mother poisoned his mind?” asked Ginny after recounting his answer to them that day when he gave the open forum.

“I said that to give you a quick answer.” admitted William. “Truth be told, his dad Draco married a fine woman nothing like his parents. I just thought I’d tell a little white lie to give you a satisfying answer. Why he went bad is beyond me.”

“I guess I can understand that.” said Harry who knew why William lied to them. It was better to have that than nothing.

“Who are these other kids?” asked Hermione trying to change the subject.

“Well those two boys,” he said pointing to the black boy and the white boy with dirty blond hair “are Darius and Declan two of my best friends. They were a year ahead of me in school.”

“How about these two?” asked Ron pointing to an olive-skinned girl and a Spanish looking boy.

“That would be Isabella and Paul.” smiled William. “Isabella was the one who created my tattoos.” Again their eyes went wide in wonder. “She was a really gifted artist. She was an even better friend. They all were.” He then slowly wiped away a tear after remembering what had happened to them not so long ago.

Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny each caught his use of past tense and wondered what else he wasn’t telling them.

“Enough of that! Let’s get back to the story. Where was I?” asked William.

“You had just started the hike.” replied Harry waiting to hear more.

“Well anyway we began the hike at midday and stopped for the night at sundown. The next morning we were going to arrive at the meadow where the plants were discovered. That was when we started hearing the howling.”

“Just why did werewolves attack your group?” asked Hermione.

William had many theories but only one stuck. “My best guess is that when the news got out of a cure they went mad with rage. They didn’t like the idea of being labeled as flawed. A select few were convinced that they were more evolved than us in nature and that we were the ones that needed to be cured.”

“They had followers didn’t they?” asked Harry knowing that a few werewolves were not likely the number for devastation of such magnitude.

“They had dozens in their attack groups. I swear blind loyalty like that is the worst thing in this world.” replied William with a hint of anger. “When the sun went down and the full moon came out was when we saw the first one by the edge of our camp clearing. A decision was made by the aurors on our trip that we should emergency portkey to the meadow where all of the ministry scientists were camped. After about six kids used the portkey to get out they attacked the camp and destroyed it. The rest of us scattered to the woods.”

“Did you find your friends right away?” asked Ginny in concern.

“After some running and hiding all of us found each other. A lot of us had cuts and scratches from the wolves but nothing serious enough to turn us into one of them. Once we all had our bearings together we decided that we had to try and find the ministry camp.”

“What happened to the other kids?” asked Ron.

“Well from what I had heard, the kids who first used the portkey told the ministry officials what was going on and deployed all of their aurors to the scene via emergency portkey. As soon as all of them used it their camp was attacked by another group of werewolves. From what my dad told me, there wasn’t nearly enough resistance to keep them back. The main concern at that point was evacuation. The families of the scientists, aurors, and officials were sent to a secret portkey located outside of the camp. In order to give them and us a fighting chance, Pete’s parents torched the meadow burning the entire supply of the Wolfsbane. The combination of the wind and burning plant kept them away for awhile but it wasn’t long enough to save their lives.” William broke down into tears remembering just what had been lost.

“They stayed behind so that everyone else could live. Pete’s little brother Virgil was among those people who made it out. This is him.” William then turned another photo showing him and Peter and another little boy no older than 4 on a small training broom. He looked just like Peter. The most important thing they noticed was that he was happy.

“Getting back to the story, we didn’t get away from the werewolves that easily.”

“You didn’t need to tell us that.” exclaimed Ron motioning to his scars. Hermione then gave him another forceful nudge.

“Ignore him William.” said Harry. “Please continue.”

“We were walking for hours in the dead of night trying to find our bearings through the forest. We thought we would be safe if we stopped and rested to tend to our wounds. That was when a raiding party came our way.” William said as he rubbed the scar near his eye. “We managed to fight them off but we were seriously injured. Isabella had a broken leg and most of us had bites that wouldn’t stop bleeding. There was no doubt that we would be werewolves if we made it out.”

“But you aren’t.” exclaimed Ginny correcting him.

“Yes, because the werewolves retreated when the Wolfsbane smoke blew our way. The ministry scientists said that because we inhaled the smoke most changes from the bites were permanently suppressed. That only kept us safe for so long.”

“What happened after that?” asked Harry as he knew William was having trouble going on.

“When the smoke cleared about an hour later we knew that we didn’t have much more time to get to the camp. These wolves were smarter than usual.”

“How smart?” asked Hermione.

“They weren’t controlled by their baser instincts like most werewolves. They were different; faster, stronger, and smarter. They were using guerilla tactics to take us out.” They did not know what he meant. “You know, picking us off one at a time in order to slow us down?”

“That’s very smart strategy.” replied Hermione analyzing what he was saying.

“I know because it worked.” William then motioned to his leg. “One finally snuck up on us and attacked quickly. Pete, Paul, Darius, Scorpios and Declan fought it off but I ended up with a broken leg and Ally was knocked out.” Tears filled his eyes yet again. “We knew we were running out of time at that point.”

Harry and the others knew the rest from this point on but wanted to hear William account of why it happened. For William, this was without a doubt the most difficult part.

“We tried running for awhile, but were getting nowhere with me and Isabella both injured. All of us knew that if we kept going like this that none of us would make it. One of us would have to stay behind if we had any chance of living through this.” The tears were flowing freely from his eyes now. “There was no way I was going to let Isabella stay. I volunteered before any us could decide. That was when your dream began I guess.”

“Did you know what was going to happen to you?” asked Harry whose eyes began to also get teary.

“I knew they would find me sooner or later. I didn’t care what they did to me as long as Ally and my friends got away. That was all I cared about at that point.” For William, that was when everything changed. “I think that was when I was most frightened… waiting for them to come and find me. Just sitting there in the forest waiting for my turn. You know the rest after that.”

“I’m so sorry William.” said Harry as he rubbed his tears away. In this moment he realized that the both of them had more in common than most people.

Ginny, Ron and Hermione each felt the same way. He was just like them in some odd way. He had seen the true face of evil and lived to tell the tale.

“What did they do to after? You must have escaped somehow.” asked Ron who was very puzzled. Everyone else was wondering the same thing.

“Where your dream ended is where it gets fuzzy for me.” This was indeed the truth being that he was half dead at that point. “For a while they just toyed with me. Each one took a swipe at my chest hoping to get some cry of pain out of me. When that didn’t happen they decided to make me a human punching bag. Again that got real old real fast. That was when they tried to decide what part of me they should eat first.”

The girls gasped at the horror of what he was describing. Even though Ron and Harry stayed silent they were just as shocked as Ginny and Hermione.

“By some odd twist of fate,” continued William with a sarcastic chuckle, “the sun came over the mountains turning them back into men and women. We had been running all night and the moon no longer held its grasp on them. “Their meal was no longer on the menu so to speak. Most of them were too weakened by the change to even stand. That was when he showed up.”

“Who William?” asked Harry. He had never mentioned one person so far.

“I don’t really remember that much but the strangest thing was that he carried a sword on his back and his eyes were red.” The image had stayed in his mind as clear as the day he first saw the man. “By the looks of it he was their leader. He was the one who chose to do this to me.”

“But why did he choose you?” asked Ginny hoping to know a little more about why this had happened.

This matter had to be taken lightly for William’s sake. “Let’s just say that my family was very influential in the wizarding world, both socially and politically, and that making an example out of me would get a lot of attention.” There was no doubt in William’s mind that this was the reason. “Using his words after he unsheathed his sword, ‘My death would remind the world why we once feared the werewolf.’”

“But you didn’t die!” exclaimed Harry. “You made it out somehow. Did he let you live?”

“No. He was interrupted before he could finish the job.” said William rubbing the scar on his eye.

“Who interrupted him?” asked Ron wanting to know how William escaped.

“Two senior aurors and a group of other hunters found the spot and closed in on the group. They all scattered but he stayed behind. When he knew killing me was no longer and option he put this curse on me so I wouldn’t forget what had happened. Then he took sword and gave me this.” said William pointing to the scar around his eye. “Something to remember him by.”

“Did they ever catch him?” asked Hermione. She knew all about werewolves and someone like this was nothing to leave in the wild.

“No, he got away.” William hated the thought that he was still out there. “They caught a few but he slipped by somehow.” It was finally over. The tale he had only told twice before was over. He should have felt relived but he wasn’t.

They took in William’s words with much regret, not just for him but for what they had done to him when they didn’t even know the facts.

“What happened to you after?” asked Ginny wanting to know the final ending. This couldn’t be all to his story.

William was slightly surprised. No one had ever asked what the aftermath was and he didn’t know quite what she meant. “I’m not sure how to answer. What exactly is it you want to know?”

“Well what happened to your friends? What happened to you? Did you ever tell that girl you loved her?” asked Ginny mockingly. She couldn’t believe that he didn’t think they would be curious to know what had happened to everybody else. The rest of the group was just as curious as her except she had only asked sooner.

“Oh okay.” exclaimed William with relief. “Well my friends did make it to the camp to find another group of aurors. Turns out that most of the other kids on the trip had been picked up by other ministry officials way before us. We were the last ones out.”

“How many had died?” asked Ron. Hermione had no more reasons to nudge Ron. She wanted to know just as badly as he did.

“The final count was six.” The sadness was evident in his eyes. “There was Pete’s parents, Paul’s brother Joseph and Ally’s dad Silas. He was part of an auror group that was attacked at the camp.” Although they didn’t know it, his death was a major blow for William’s future. “The other two were German aurors that were working alongside the British government.”

“And you?” asked Harry.

“Me? I woke up in St. Mungo’s two weeks later.” After all this time it was still fresh in his mind. “Most of my ribs were broken, a dislocated jaw, severe blood loss from the claw marks, and a shattered tibia. Most of my body was bruised. Wounds like that would kill a normal person.” He knew what would be asked next.

“Then why didn’t they?” asked Hermione. Even with magical healing William was absolutely right.

“All of the kids on the hike who were bitten and exposed to the Wolfsbane smoke, like me and my friends were changed.” They stared in wonder. “Because we were infected and cured almost immediately, we were left with physical changes to our bodies. Increased strength, senses, sexual allure,” William chuckled at this. “Increased magical abilities like wandless magic, and most importantly, rapid healing.”

Their jaws dropped at what they had just heard. “I walked out of the hospital a week later completely healed. ‘More than a werewolf and not completely human.’ That’s what some people called us.”

This in no way changed their outlook of William Black. He was slightly different than most people, but then again so were they. Though it did answer some questions they had regarding his abilities.

“What about your friends?” asked Ginny.

William was shocked a second time after seeing that none of them were frightened or fazed by this. “All of them had their own shit to deal with I guess. Peter and Virgil had to bury their parents and Paul had to bury his brother. Declan, Darius and Isabella all went home to their families but would come back and visit me in the hospital just about every day. They all did, my family included.” This thought made him smile. Harry and the others smiled as well.

“All of us joined the Order of the Phoenix in the following year.” explained William as he touched his wand to the tattoo which then moved triumphantly. "We were gonna prepare ourselves should anything like that happen again."

“Peter and Virgil had no other family to take care of them so my aunt and uncle adopted both of them.” Even though William was crying he still smiled remembering the day he found out about his newly adopted cousins.

“What about Ally? Did you tell her how you felt?” asked Ron. He knew just what kind of predicament William was in. “I know I regretted not telling Hermione how I felt sooner.” He then leaned over and kissed her softly.

William had many happy memories in the wake of this dark story but this was not one of them. “She was in the room next to mine when I was in the hospital. As soon as I was able to walk I went to her room to see her.” ‘Why did it have to happen that way?’ William asked himself. “She was wracked emotionally by what had happened to her dad. She said that now she had nobody left because her mother had died years before. It was then I told her that she wasn’t alone because I loved her and that I didn’t want to see her that way.”

“I would have definitely kissed you after hearing that!” joked Ginny as she hugged Harry who then gave her a kiss. Ron and Hermione saw the humor in this as well. Even Harry laughed because he knew that she was kidding and that William was no threat to the love they had.

When William didn’t laugh they knew this wasn’t going to end the way they expected it to. Then again, not everything ends the way you think it should.

“She didn’t feel the same way.” said William with a tone of mixed sadness and anger. “She said she hated me and that it was my fault for the deaths of everyone on that hike including her father’s. If I, the 'main target' she called me, wasn't there then no one would’ve had to die. She was glad that she didn’t have to see me anymore because she was going to live with her grandparents in America.” A single tear dropped from his eye when revealing this.

“You didn’t actually believe her did you?” exclaimed Harry taken back by what he had told them. They were all taken back.

“For a while I did and I was pretty mad about it.” answered William. “Then the curse started showing itself and I thought things could only get worse except they didn’t.” A smile replaced the frown on his face. “My friends and family helped find a cure and told me that I had done nothing wrong. What happened to us in the Black Forest wasn’t my fault. It was no one’s fault except the bastard who did this to me.”

“It’s such a shame what happened to you.” said Hermione. “Do you regret it?”

Without any hesitation he answered, “Not at all. If I could go back and do it again I would in heartbeat.” His selflessness was genuine. “Before that I was some cocky arrogant little punk riding on my parent’s fame. I can say that with complete honesty. It made me and my friends all better people after what we had witnessed and done to protect each other. After that I knew I had a purpose in this world. Life is too short to be mad at the world for something you have no control over.”

William was truly speaking from his heart. “I got over the Black Forest, I got over Ally and you know what I learned?”

They shook their heads having no idea. “Sometimes in life you get dealt a shitty hand but good things can still come your way even though you think they won’t.” This was exactly how they all felt when the war was over. “Life has been and is still very good to me.”

He then picked up the photo book and flipped to the very back and pulled out another picture. This time it was of himself and a very beautiful girl in dress robes. The girl in his arms was a brunette with red streaks in her hair. She had on a white dress that only accentuated her wild beauty. William did not look much younger and only made Harry and the others guess that the picture was taken recently.

Both of them were smiling and looking into each other’s eyes with the same love that Harry knew he looked at Ginny with. They were truly happy together.

“That’s the girl I’m going to spend the rest of my life with.” smiled William. “This is Elizabeth.”

Some time later…

The group soon realized after much discussion that William had told them just what they needed to know. He had shared his past and had given them a future. At this point it was enough for them.

When they realized that dinner had came and went it was decided that they should all head back to Gryffindor Tower for bed. William stayed behind to clean up the mess.

“Now remember to take a sip of the Dreamscape before you go to sleep.” reminded William. He received many funny looks as they laughed thinking how they could forget that. “Harry could I talk to you for a second?”

“Sure.” said Harry as he turned to his friends. “I’ll be up in a few minutes.” He then turned back to William. “What can I do for you?”

“It’s not about what you can do for me but what you can do for yourself.” Harry looked at him in a confused demeanor. “I saw your mind when I removed the memory.” That was when Harry knew what was coming. “You have a lot of worries.”

“I told you before. I’m afraid of what can happen to all of them.” replied Harry thinking about his friends and family.

William then put his hand on his shoulder seeing how this was a touchy subject for Harry. “Believe me when I say this that you won’t truly live if you keep worrying about the future.”

“I just get so worried some times.”

“Take it from a guy who is from the future.” exclaimed William looking Harry dead in the eyes. “There is a very bright future ahead of all of you.”

He then winked giving Harry indication that everything would be okay. Harry only gasped as his worst fears were proved wrong. “We’ll talk about this some more later.” laughed William as he knew he had just changed Harry’s mind.

Harry left with a renewed sense of confidence for the future. Maybe things wouldn’t be as bad as they were in the past. Only time would tell.

Some hours later in a city far away from Hogwarts…

“It’s good to see you all again!” exclaimed the brown haired man greeting his long time friends. All of them were in their mid to late twenties but they felt much older, more mature than that. Even though he was the eldest he never felt like their superior.

“And you too!” replied the olive-skinned girl in a slight Italian accent. She and her dirty blond haired husband sat at one of the bar tables. The pregnancy was beginning to show greatly in her figure.

“What’s this all about?” asked the blond man in a thick Irish brogue. Usually you don’t pull us out of bed for something like this. That’s why we get together every month.”

“This time it’s different.” replied the brown haired man.

“How different?” asked the Spanish man as he had just entered the bar. He was greeted by more hugs from his friends.

“Huge. It moved again today.” said the brown haired man revealing the tattoo on his arm. “I’m surprised none of you noticed it.” They all had the same tattoo but were too preoccupied with their adopted lives to notice.

“You said that a month ago and we didn’t believe you.” exclaimed the Spanish looking boy.

“This time I have proof.” He then pulled a newspaper from his jacket pocket. “I wish Ghost was here to see this. You couldn’t get a hold of him?” He directed this question toward the olive-skinned girl.

“No, he’s still in Nigeria but I sent a letter to his hotel.”

“Well anyway, a contact of mine in Hogsmeade delivered me a rare find when he sent along this paper.”

He then laid it flat on the table for all of them to see. The headline read, ‘Black Gives Dragon a Magical Whipping.’ All of their eyes went wide in disbelief as they saw the boy on the front cover of the Daily Profit.

“Everything Kingsley told us before we were sent back is coming to fruition.” exclaimed the eldest. “Doc is the warrior who he said would be sent back.”

“You can’t be serious.” exclaimed Paul.

“What do we do now?” asked Isabella holding her husband’s hand tightly.

“We can only do what Kingsley said and wait for him to find us, right?” asked Declan who gripped his wife’s hand just as hard.

“We can only let him know that we are here, no more, no less. As per Kingsley’s instructions.” said the eldest. They were still shocked at this monumental news. “Don’t worry. Virgil is delivering a sign of our presence even as we speak.”

“You always had it all figured it out, didn’t you Pete?” laughed Paul.

“Always ahead of the game.” laughed the eldest. 

A/N: I know its long but you need to know most of the details in order to get the next few chapters. What do you think of the ending? If you like this then you'll love the next few chapters.

Chapter 12: A Case Full of Broomsticks
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: For all my loyal fans, I’m truly sorry for the wait. It has been pretty hectic at college and I couldn’t find a free moment to write the next chapter. Without further delay here it is!

Harry slowly stumbled through the corridor trying to find his bearings. ‘Where exactly am I?’ he kept asking himself. But for a place he had never seen before, it somehow felt right. The pictures on the walls, the soft lighting, even the hardwood floor felt familiar. Normally he would have just stopped and tried to find some indication of where he was, but there was an irresistible pull toward the door in front of him. 

Maybe he would find someone on the other side who could tell him where he was. There was a good chance that somebody might be in the room considering the light creeping through the crack between the door and the frame. There was only one way to find out. 

Harry’s eyes slowly adjusted to warm light as he opened the door completely. The room itself was very inviting. The red and green earth tone paint of the walls was very soothing as was the peaceful music that filled the room. If there were any welcoming place this was it, but unfortunately for Harry’s sake there were no people in sight. The only things that occupied the room were a rocking chair, a pair of dressers, and an ornately colored cradle in the middle.
Harry could guess there would be a person here, but not a person who was old enough to speak to him. Having decided this was a dead end, he turned back toward the door to make his exit. Two steps more and he would have been out the door if not for the sudden sound of crying. 

His best guess was that whoever had occupied this room woke up when he made his entrance. It was then that Harry thought this did not have to be a bad thing. The child in the cradle’s parents would soon be there to see what was wrong and when they arrived Harry could ask them where he was. It was decided then and there that he would wait for that arrival. 

As each second passed the baby’s crying rose higher and higher. It wasn’t until another fifteen seconds later that Harry decided that was enough. He would have to see what was wrong with the child himself. 

Upon standing over the cradle, Harry’s eyes met another almost identical pair belonging to a small boy with a patch of black hair growing on top of his head. Based on the child’s size, he was no older than several weeks. 

When the baby’s eyes met his, Harry couldn’t help but feel some sense of familiarity. This was even more powerful than the feeling he got upon entering this place. The child cries lessened somewhat after Harry stood over the side of the cradle, but he was still crying none the less. 

“What's wrong little one?” asked Harry knowing the child could not understand a word he was saying. “I guess you need your mum or dad, but where are they.” He looked around the room and out the door but there was still no sign of anyone else coming. “Okay, let me see if I can make it better.” 

Harry then scooped the child up out of the cradle and into his arms. At first he bounced him up and down several times hoping that might calm him down. When that didn’t work he tried to think of what his mother did when he cried, if only he could remember. For a child he didn’t even know, that was one feeling that he did not want the baby to know. It was the type of sadness that makes a person feel like they have nobody else in the world, no one to hold them close to their heart. 

And for no particular reason at all, that was what Harry decided the child needed. He held the baby close to his chest hoping that his love might give him some comfort. It was clearly enough as the baby immediately stopped crying. 

As his eyes met the child’s, its tears began to subside. The once tearful eyes began to dry as the baby looked back at Harry in wonder. The wide smile and happy cooing made Harry laugh as he rocked the baby back and forth in his arms. In that moment, all of Harry’s worries and concerns of where he was and how he got there were all gone. All that mattered was that he made this child happy. 

His was instantly pulled back from this elated moment when suddenly a hand touched his shoulder. Although he jumped a short distance from the shock, Harry turned very carefully as to not drop the baby. Upon turning, he was greeted by a familiar face. 

“Ginny! What are you doing here?” 

“Well we live here love.” answered the girl with a touch of surprise in her voice. 

Harry then looked at her as if she were crazy. Nothing about her seemed crazy. She did however look older. It wasn’t the kind of old that entailed wrinkles and grey hair but the type that was defined by a more relevant sense of maturity. Harry could guess that maybe she was about five or six years older. If there was one noticeable thing it was that she looked even more gorgeous than the day he realized he loved her. Time had been very good to her. Harry could easily see himself spending the rest of his life with this woman. 

“What’s going on Ginny?” asked Harry with a slight tone of fear. “What are we doing here?” 

Ginny laughed at this as if he was joking with her. “Well the last I can recall is that I was fixing a bottle for the little one here,” she said motioning to the baby, “and you were going to see if you could get him to stop crying.” 

She then summoned a bottle with her wand, which she then traded Harry for the baby. “Come to mommy.” Harry almost wouldn’t give up the child if not for Ginny’s plea to hold him. It wasn’t until she took the bottle from his hands and sat in the rocking chair, that he fully absorbed the gravity of her words. 

“Whose child is that Ginny?” asked Harry knowing full well the answer she would give.
Ginny could only give him a slight look of confusion before turning to the baby and smiling. “I guess Daddy’s having a funny day!” The baby only laughed before he hungrily fed from the bottle. 

Harry Potter could’ve fallen over at the slightest breeze after hearing this. It’s not every day someone finds themselves to have a family and not know it. “He’s my child? I have a son?” Harry asked in a mix of surprise and joy. 

Ginny then stood up from the rocking chair and walked over to Harry still carrying the baby in her arms. “Are you alright love? You’re starting to worry your family.” she said in a concerned but pleasant tone. 

Harry could only take in the sight before him with utter joy and happiness. He then carefully took the baby from Ginny’s arms and again held him to his chest before looking down onto his smiling face. He motioned for Ginny to join them in their embrace, as if she needed to be asked. 

The level of love in Harry’s heart rose ten-fold in that one moment. “I have a family.” said Harry overcome by happiness. He could not help but cry as he thought this would be one of the best moments in his life. It was then that the morning sun shined through the nursery windows, temporarily blinding Harry from the sight before him. 

When his eyes regained focus, Harry discovered that he was no longer in the nursery but back in his own bed. Where was Ginny? Where was his son? Could it have all been a dream? Questions like these instantly swarmed his mind. It was only in hearing the movement in the next bed that cleared his mind. 

“Sorry Harry.” whispered William as he finished putting on his socks. “I didn’t mean to wake you.” 

“William! What’s going on?” asked Harry. His voice was thick with concern and worry. 

“First I was someplace I had never been and now I’m back here.” 

“I think it was the Dreamscape doing its job Harry.” 

“But I was there. It was so real.” 

“Those dreams often are.” replied William who knew just what Harry was talking about. It was like turning reality upside down and being thrown in the middle. “What was your dream about?” 

“I had a family.” replied Harry. Even though he knew they weren’t real, it still made him feel at peace. “Ginny was there and we had a baby.” 

William could only smile. It’s not every day that people you care about get what they want most in the world. “I’m happy for you Harry. I’m glad your nightmares are gone.”
Harry could only try to regain his place. “Why did I see what I did? Is it like that for 

“No, I think it might vary from person to person. You and your friends would be the first apart from myself.” answered William. “I think it has to do with your hopes and dreams. The potion gives you a glimpse of what you want most in the world.” 

Harry took this in very easily. William could not have been more correct. His own family was the one thing that he wanted most in the world and for a brief moment he had it. 

“Maybe you could ask Ron and the girls when they wake up and find out what they saw?” suggested William. 

It was then that Harry realized he and William were the only two people awake. Upon looking out of the window, he discovered that the sun had not risen yet. “Why are you up so early?” 

“Oh, it’s this little thing I do every year on my birthday.” said William as he started to put on his shoes. 

“Your birthday?” Harry asked in confusion. “How is it your birthday?” 

William tried to suppress a laugh or two, clearly amused by Harry’s confusion. “Well today is October 2nd right?” Harry nodded. “And I was sent back 24 years to the day.” Harry began to understand. “That means that because even though it’s a different 

year, today is still my birthday.” With his shoes on tight, William stood up to make his exit. 

“Do you want some company?” Harry offered as he shuffled out from underneath his covers and put on his glasses. Even though he didn’t know the timeline worked out exactly like this, he couldn’t help but feel saddened by the thought of William spending his birthday alone. 

“That would be nice.” Solitude was comfortable every once in a while, but not on birthdays. “We should go soon though.” William then opened the trunk of quidditch items from under his bed and removed the small rectangular box Ginny had been coming through the previous day. 

“Sure” replied Harry as he started to get his day clothes on. “I should probably leave a note so Ron doesn’t think we up and vanished.” 

“If he ever wakes up that is.” chuckled William pointing to the sleeping form of Ron who was spread out over his bed snoring very loudly. 

Harry then finished putting his clothes on and began working on the note. He then stopped half way through finding that he needed one crucial piece of information. “Where are we going exactly?” 

“Have you ever seen the sun rise on the Great Lake?” 

“Is this all you do?” asked Harry as he stood next to William on the edge of the lake wondering what exactly he was doing there. 

William could only laugh at Harry’s doubt. He most of all should have known not everything was what it appeared to be. He then pulled the rectangular box out of his pocket to prove that point. 

“You used to fly a Firebolt, right?” asked William as he placed the box on the ground. 

“Yeah, I used to but I haven’t since I lost it last year leaving the Dursley’s house?” answered Harry recalling those dangerous events. That narrow escape would never leave his mind no matter how long he lived. “Why?” 

With a wave of his wand, the box grew to the size of small coffin. He then removed the lid and removed two very real looking brooms. The rest of the box was filled with various other brooms Harry had never laid eyes on. He had a feeling that nobody had; at least they wouldn’t for so many years. One of the brooms was then tossed his way to which Harry quickly caught.
“That should do it then.” said William holding the other broom in his hand. 

Harry didn’t have to see the broom to know that he was indeed holding a Firebolt. The smooth finish and the warm feeling of the wood in his hands was like he used to remember back when he had his very own. “How did you know?” asked the boy, clearly awestruck. 

“I always carry a Firebolt among my other brooms.” said William motioning to the case. “Lucky for you that it’s one of my favorite models as well.” He then looked Harry up and down as if he was studying him. “It fits you nicely.” 

“Thanks.” replied Harry as he mounted his broom. William quickly joined suite. “What model are you riding by the way?” He asked pointing to the jet black and flame detailed broom underneath William. 

“Oh this!” smiled William. “Just a little something I got for Christmas. It’s called a Heat-Seeker.” 

“Wicked.” whispered Harry spying the smooth design and sleek finish. “So how fast does it go?” 

“Care to find out?” asked William, his face sporting a sly smile. He then kicked up and off the ground and made off with tremendous speed. Harry gave chase the minute he had left the ground. 

Together they both sailed above the lake, each trying to oust the other in speed and maneuver. When Harry found that he could not pass William it became obvious that he was a very good quidditch player. 

In one instant the odds seemed to change as Harry moved closer and closer to William’s broom. It wasn’t until William came to a full stop that he realized he had slowed down on purpose. They were over no place significant, which boggled Harry’s mind. In fact, they were hovering dead center above the Great Lake. To the passerby, it must have been an odd site, two young men on brooms floating over a black lake. 

Harry looked at William trying to just why he chose this place to stop. William on the other hand, was wearing an expression that looked as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He just kept looking at the edge of the horizon on the lake. 

“You know I was born around this time?” said William in more of a statement than a question. Harry could look on waiting to hear more about him. “People used to say that birthdays were like new beginnings. Things could change and all that had ever happened could begin fresh like the rising sun.” 

Harry had never thought about it this way. Birthdays in his past were just times where the abuse hurt even more. Since he had come to Hogwarts, his birthdays were nothing of the sort. They were moments where the love he felt was amplified. 

William then adorned his glasses and performed the same color changing spell he had used just hours before. He then did the same to Harry’s glasses. “Time for a fresh start” as he said this, his eyes never left the horizon. 

Harry looked off in the distance in wonder as to what William was looking at. When the orange glowing began to peer out from over the mountains was when Harry knew just how William wanted to see the sunrise. And in that instant, a blinding light reached over the mountains and ignited the once black lake into a shimmering diamond.
Indeed it was a new beginning for the day, for the world, and most importantly for William and Harry. 

“It’s beautiful William!” exclaimed Harry as he looked at his surroundings. The lake and the school looked even more majestic under the shining sun. William could only smile in agreement as he bathed in the warmth of the sun. “Happy Birthday” 

“Thanks Harry” replied William in a sincere tone. It was a moment when he was truly at peace. “This place is very special to me. My dad took me up here after I got out of the hospital.” 

“Was it to cheer you up?” asked Harry. 

“Kind of. I was really bitter when I got out, you know, after what Allie said to me.” The very second his heart broke was fresh in his mind. “He wanted to show me that life would still go on and that because of what happened to me I could make a fresh start. I didn’t have to be sad and angry for the rest of my life.” 

“Did it help?” asked Harry knowing the sort of sadness he was talking about. 

“Yeah, it did. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let what had happened dictate the rest of my life.” He then rubbed his chest sinking deeper in thought. “The scars carry pain but they also carry the promise I made to myself. I won’t let guilt and despair run my life anymore.” 

Harry contemplated this deeply. If William could do it after something so savage had happened to him, then why was Harry so different? He could just as easily start his new life. In fact, that was what coming back to this school was all about. Rather than avoiding the sight of tragedy from the battle, Harry remembered the castle for all of the happy memories and life changing experiences it had given him. He was determined to make his life the best it could be. 

William continued to rub his chest in slight irritation as Harry thought deeper. It wasn’t until the scratching lasted that he finally noticed. “Will they ever go away?” asked Harry. “I mean, will they ever heal and fade?” 

William had asked this question many times and received the same answer every time. “They say the curse will die when the wizard who gave them to me dies.” replied the boy in tone of slight sadness and hope. That was the result he was praying for after this quest was over. “Let’s not talk about that though. It’s my birthday!” 

“Okay then!” Harry replied cheerfully. He could see that William needed a good day. If that was going to happen, he would first need to make his peace with him. “By the way, I never apologized for hitting you that day on the dock.” 

“Don’t sweat it Harry. I could see why you were angry.” William wasn’t lying. He would have done the same thing in a similar situation. 

Harry was relieved almost instantly. He just couldn’t believe William would be so understanding. “But still, I really am sorry. Do you forgive me?” 

“Of course I do.” laughed William. “It’s alright. Beside I still get one payback shot.” His face sported a playful smile as he said this. “Do you want to get it out of the way now or should I surprise you?” 

Harry just stared at William wondering if he was joking. “Are you serious?” 

“Maybe.” answered William who was still smiling playfully. Deciding he had tortured Harry enough he changed the subject. “Let’s just ride over to the pitch and fly around. Sound good?” 

“Yeah.” replied Harry in a mix of relief and confusion. “Why don’t we do that!” 

Harry and William spent the next hour just having as much fun as possible on their respected brooms. The chase and exhilaration was definitely what the doctor ordered. Though it was by no surprise that William’s broom was much faster and more advanced than Harry’s. 

As the time passed, Ron, Hermione and Ginny entered the pitch and watched the two young men fly by. They appeared to be fully awake and ready to play. Harry and William noticed their presence almost right away and flew down to greet them. 

“Nice to see you all!” exclaimed Harry addressing his friends and giving a kiss to Ginny. 

“Good to see you too mate!” replied Ron. “I got your note this morning. What are you two doing out here?” 

“Well William was taking a flight around the lake at sunrise and I offered to join him.” 

“That sounds like fun!” added Hermione. “How are you today William? 

“I’m doing just fine.” answered William in complete elation. “Although I’m the one who should be asking you how you are. I trust the Dreamscape did its job.” 

“It was simply amazing!” exclaimed Ginny, cutting into the conversation. “My dream was so real though.” 

“So was mine.” added Hermione. “It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before.” 

“Me too! It was so wild!” exclaimed Ron, a bit more excited then he should have let on. 

Hermione gave him an incredulous stare. “Oh really?” she asked in a tone half wit and half feigning anger. “What was your dream about?” 

“I uh…it was… my dream was uh.” stumbled Ron, trying to dig himself out of this situation. 

“Don’t answer that, it’s a trap.” cut in William saving Ron from the embarrassment. He had an inkling as to what Ron’s dream was about and that was not a topic up for public discussion. He figured Ron would have fun telling her later. 

“Anyway, what made you decide to go on an early morning flight?” asked Ron changing the subject for his own comfort. 

“Just a little something I do every year on my birthday.” answered William who did not want to draw much attention to this. Unfortunately that was exactly what had happened. 

In an instant he was swarmed by a number of hugs and pats on the back. It felt good to have friends again, even if it would only be for so long. 

“If I’d have known, I would have gotten you a present!” exclaimed Ginny. 

“Yeah, we have to do something for you!” added Hermione. 

“That sounds like a good idea!” said Ron. After what William had done for them, it was only right that they return the favor. “What exactly do you want to do?” 

It only took William a second to decide what he wanted to do with all of them. When he looked toward Harry, he could see that he had the same idea. “Anyone up for a game of quidditch?” 

“That sounds great!” exclaimed Harry. “How about you guys?” he said motioning toward Ginny, Hermione, and Ron. 

“You know I’m always ready to play.” said Ginny who appeared to love this idea. 

“Sounds good!” added Ron. “The only problem is that I don’t have a broom to ride.” 

“Me neither.” said Ginny. Hermione had nothing to contribute since she was not particularly fond of flying. 

“I think I can take care of that.” said William with a smile. He then pulled out his wand and said, “Accio brooms!” Within ten seconds the case of brooms came flying over the stands of the pitch and landed at their feet. His next choice, after opening the case, was which broom they would ride. 

“Whoa!” exclaimed Ron after looking at the case’s contents. “Where did you get all of those?” 

William smiled at Ron’s excitement. “This is just one of the perks of having a part-time job.” He went through the brooms, shuffling new and old back and forth; trying to decide which ones would suit each of them. 

“What about that one?” asked Ginny as his hand swept over a cloth covered broom. 
“What kind of broom is that?” 

“That is an unfinished project that Pete and I were working on before he left.” replied William as he moved it back to its spot among the other brooms. Just where Pete had gone was a mystery to them. They were beginning to wonder just what had happened to his friends in his time. 

Rather than asking this question, Harry decided to keep the light-hearted mood and just relax. “The two of you were making a broom together? What kind of broom?” 

“There’s actually a pretty funny story behind that one!” laughed William as he recalled the start of this little endeavor. “The first thing you have to know is that Pete and me weren’t always friends, in fact we were casual adversaries for a while.” 

“How did that change?” asked Harry. From the way William told stories it wasn’t common for enemies to become friends. “Did you just kiss and make up one day or something?” laughed Harry. 

“No, actually it happened before a quidditch match.” explained William. “You see Pete and me were both seekers in my first year. He was a third year from Ravenclaw and apparently he didn’t like the prospect of losing to a newbie. I guess you could say he was worried because I had caught two straight snitches and this was the Quidditch Cup.” 

“So what happened?” asked Ginny. Now she was intrigued. 

“So get this, he comes up to me before the start of the match and tells me that I’m good, really good, but he’s not gonna let me beat him.” said William with a smile. 

“So what did you tell him?” inquired Hermione. This story was getting really good. 

“I told him the only way he was going to beat me was to make the fastest broom ever built because that’s the only way he’d catch me.” This was one of his best memories. “That’s why we were building this broom.” explained William motioning to the wrapped case. 

“Why would you build a broom that he could beat you with?” asked Harry clearly confused by the story. “I thought you were still enemies. And who won the match?” 

“Well I only played seeker for a year before moving to chaser.” said William as he mockingly recalled these events. “I won two snitches before that match and I had three in my trunk, so what do you think?” laughed William. 

That was evidence enough for them. William was just as good as he was letting on or not letting on. But it still left a few questions unanswered. 

“You still didn’t tell us how you became friends.” added Ron. 

“Well I did win the match but it wasn’t that easy.” said William motioning to his knee, the bad one. “Took a couple of hits from the bludgers while trying to find it. When I finally caught sight of the snitch so did Pete. We took off at full speed toward the stands around ground level. I beat him to it by maybe an inch. Too bad we didn’t pull back before we hit the ground.” William’s memory was slightly off after this point. “Last thing I remember was waking up in the hospital wing with a busted knee and a few broken ribs and don’t you know who was in the bed next to me.” 

“Peter.” said Harry already knowing the answer. 

“Yeah, he was. He was pretty banged up as well. It didn’t injure his smartass sense of humor though.” laughed William. “You see I played quidditch hard with all heart. That got me so many trips to the infirmary that the nurse said she have to name a bed after me!” laughed William. 

“Sounds like Harry!” added Ginny as she joined in the laughter with the rest of them.
“The first thing I wake up to is Pete telling me that I could become a muggle doctor with all the time I spend in the infirmary. That’s how I got the nickname Doc.” William smiled at this memory, the one that gave him one of his best friends. “We got to know each other a lot during the time we spent in the infirmary and by the end I’d say that we were friends. I tell you in all honesty that some of the best things in life happen by accident.” 

Harry could attest to that. He could’ve wound up with an entirely different crowd at Hogwarts had he not met Ron and Hermione on the train. Life without them didn’t make sense after mulling over this notion. They were his family. 

As Harry thought this over again and again, William went back to rummaging through his trunk. “Anybody have any ideas of what they wanna ride?” 

“Nothing for me” said Hermione. Flying was never one of her strong points, not like Harry, Ron or Ginny. There was always something about how they responded to her. 

“You don’t fly?” asked William in confusion. 

Hermione had always been slightly ashamed about this. She was a major part of their group in every way with the exception of being able to fly. “No, it’s something about the physical mechanics. I’m more of a mentally athletic person.” 

“There’s nothing wrong with that!” chimed in Ron as he hugged her lovingly. “The only way I get by on a broom is shear spirit and love of the game.” He was speaking in all honesty now. 

Rather than hitting a brick wall William had found an easy solution with these confessions. “I think I have just the brooms for the two of you.” With a little more rummaging, he found the two items that fit the bill. To Hermione he handed a cobalt blue broom and to Ron he handed an emerald green one. 

As Harry observed this exchange, he noticed he had never seen two brooms such as this. Each had a silver idol embedded under the top of the shaft almost like the maidenhead of a ship. As to what they were capable of was a total mystery. 

“What kind of broom is this?” asked Hermione as she observed the sleekness of the one in her hand. The idol on hers was an angel with outstretched wings. 

“Yeah, what kind are they?” added Ron as he ran his hand through the tail of his broom. As he finished his eyes caught the sight of the gleaming idol on his. A closer look revealed it to be a devil-like demon sporting sunglasses and wearing a wide smile. Something about it conveyed a wild power and spirit. 

“Those are Shooting Star Series 4 Smart Brooms.” said William as he tried to find a broom for Ginny. “Yours Ron is a Banshee and Hermione’s is a Valkyrie.” 

“What’s so smart about them?” asked Ron finding nothing special about them, aside from the gleaming polish and the silver devil. “They don’t seem so special.” 

“You’re nothing to shake a stick at either chief.” said a harsh voice. 

“Who said that?” asked Ron in a mix of fear and confusion. The others were slightly scared as well. William could only smile at the events to unfold. 

“Why don’t you ask the broom?” said William who couldn’t help but laugh. 

As Ron averted his eyes down to the object in question, the broom flew out of his hands and floated right in front of him. It was as if it had a mind of its own. It then tipped the head to eye level with Ron who found himself looking into the eyes of the demon idol. The group couldn’t believe what was happening. Could this be another nightmare of some kind or a side-effect from the Dreamscape? 

“I told you they were smart brooms!” laughed William. He then turned to Ron and said, “Ron I’d like you to meet Boomer, your ride for the day.” 

“Are you serious?” asked Ron incredulously. “You expect me to ride this?!” 

“Don’t think I like you either!” barked Boomer as impossible as this seemed to the group. 

“Go easy on him Boomer!” ordered William. “He’s never ridden a smart broom before.” 

“If you say so boss.” said the broom as it turned away from William and back to Ron. “Wanna go for a ride mate?” It then lowered itself to Ron’s waist level. “I’ll be nice.” 

From Harry’s view, Ron looked slightly scared by this idea. When he looked his way, Harry gave him an encouraging look hoping to sway his fears. “Give it a shot mate!” 

“Ok, I’ll try.” He then mounted the broom very slowly hoping not to provoke it any further. It came as a shock to him when nothing happened after that. “How do you make it go?” 

“GO!!” yelled the broom and instantly it took off over the pitch. Harry, William and the girls could only watch as Ron soared off on the Banshee. When it looked as if he wouldn’t come back all eyes diverted to William as to how to handle this situation. 

“Can you help him?!” asked Hermione in nervous confusion. 

“You have to go get him!” pleaded Ginny for her brother’s sake. 

William had to break his concentration on Ron’s performance to answer their questions and pleas. “Why? He seems to be doing just fine!” replied the boy pointing his finger to the sky. 

As their eyes met Ron and the broom, they realized everything was fine. In fact it was better than fine. Ron was riding better than ever before executing hard turns, aerial flips, and several well performed barrel rolls. 

He then swooped in to the group’s level and greeted them. He looked absolutely ecstatic. “This is great William! It’s like Boomer responds to my every move. It’s such a smooth ride! Come on Hermione you have to give it a try!” 

“I told you all it would be okay.” said William as he handed Hermione her broom. “It’s your choice Hermione.” 

Harry knew this was an area he was needed in. There were only a few instances when Hermione couldn’t do something Harry or Ron could. “Go for it Hermione. Ron, William, Ginny, and I will be up there to make sure nothing happens.” 

“Come on Hermione, it’ll be great!” added Ginny. 

Moments like these were when she thanked the stars that she had friends like these. Friends who gave her the confidence to do things she had never dreamed of doing. 

“Well I guess I could try” she relented. To this reply she received many cheers and pats on the back. 

She then flipped the broom in her hands over to meet face to face with the angel idol. “And what would your name be?” she asked the angel. 

“You may call me Freya, Miss Hermione” replied the angel in a sweet soft tone unlike
the harsh voice of Boomer. This made Hermione smile. 

“Just go slow please” plead Hermione as she mounted the broom. 

“As you wish milady.” And with those words she gently made off over the pitch to join Ron in his flight. As this happened, Hermione could not recall such an instance when she flew so gracefully. Her friends couldn’t either. 

“How do those things work?” asked Harry as he watched Hermione join Ron. “I’ve never seen Ron or Hermione respond so well to a broom or a broom so well to them.”
“I’m not too keen on the specifics, but from what I can recall they can somehow feel or interpret how the rider wants to move.” explained William as best he could. “In Hermione’s case, Freya responds to how Hermione thinks she wants to move. Boomer goes by physical touch.” 

“So it’s kind of like a wand. It acts as part of the person controlling it.” 

William was impressed. “Now that you mention it, yeah it is like a wand. I’ve never thought about it that way.” 

“Do you have any more of those brooms?” asked Ginny hoping for just as smooth a ride as Ron and Hermione. 

“For you Ginny, I have something even better.” After a little more searching, he found the broom that fit the bill. “I’ll let you ride one of best models of the Firebolt series, the Spitfire.” 

Ginny’s eyes lit up at the prospect of riding the faster broom made up to this point or at least William’s point in time. She willingly accepted the shining cherry wood broom he held out to her. “Thank you so much William!” 

Within five seconds of holding it she was off in a blur to where Ron and Hermione were flying. The sensation was like riding a speeding bullet. She could barely hang on tight enough to keep from falling off. Harry and William watched as they all began to circle and wait for the two of them. 

“Ready to fly?” Harry asked William as he mounted the Firebolt. 

“After you mate!” exclaimed William as he grabbed his Heat-Seeker. 

As they flew off to meet their friends, Harry couldn’t recall a time when he felt more happy. 

Right about the same time as all of this was going on, two young men no one had ever laid eyes on, not on this continent anyway, walked through the gates of Hogwarts. What exactly brought them there was known to only a select group of individuals. 

2 hours later… 

“That was so much fun!” exclaimed Ginny as she and the rest of the group walked off of the pitch. 

“Yeah it was!” added Hermione. “I’ve never had that much fun on a broom. Freya rode really well.” 

“Boomer was fun too!” said Ron. “You have to let us use those brooms again sometime.” 

“I’m sure that can be arranged.” said William as he shrunk down the broom trunk to its original size. “So what else do you guys wanna do?” 

“I think the question is; what do you wanna do?” interjected Harry. “It is after all your birthday.” 

“That’s true!” said William. “What do I want to do?” He truly had no idea. What could he do? He knew no one and no one knew him, except for Harry and the rest of his friends. “Well the only thing I want to do now is take a shower and get something to eat.” 

“I got an idea!” exclaimed Ron. “How about you go take a shower and we meet you at the Three Broomsticks for lunch?” This could take care of a number of thoughts he was having at the moment. 

“Sounds like an excellent idea!” replied William. He then packed broom trunk back into his pocket and made off for the castle. “I see you all for lunch.” It was a comforting thought to not have to spend a birthday alone. 

“That was a very kind gesture Ron!” said Hermione as she gave him a hug and a loving kiss. 

“When did you get so nice?” laughed Ginny as she followed the group toward Hogsmeade. It was true considering his past record with William. He wasn’t always the nicest person in his case. 

“I’m glad Ron made the suggestion.” interjected Harry. “It was the least all of us could do considering he cured us.” 

In this moment, a sudden wave of realization swept over the group. Now that they were cured they had no need for Professor McGonagall’s overseas connection. 

“That’s it!” exclaimed Hermione. “I’ll catch up to you all later. I have to go see Professor McGonagall and tell her about William’s cure and its effect on us.” This was understood without discussion seeing as how they all had the same notion. 

Hermione’s walk to the Headmistress’ office was taken at a very calm stroll. What made this walk different to the ones she had taken in the past was that they did not take place under times of such urgency. 

Instead of taking the direct entrance into the office via the hidden staircase, Hermione decided to take the customary entrance through the office’s outer room. Upon entering, she found herself not alone. Sitting on the bench, waiting for admittance, were two boys no older than her. 

They seemed normal by the looks of them. The more alert of the two, a fairly muscular black young man, was sitting with both hands on the satchel he was carrying. The other was a white young man who looked just as strong. He was definitely the least alert of the two. Apparently he was very tired by the way he sat leaning back with his hat over his face. Hermione wasn’t sure but she could almost hear light snoring coming from him. 

If Hermione could guess, she would say they were no older than 17. They looked like any other student at the school, except for the fact that they were both wearing Muggle clothing. 

Seeing this as nothing worthy of investigation, Hermione walked up to the door and made her way into the office. Normally she would have given the courtesy of knocking, but due to Minerva’s insistence that she or any of her friends come to her for anything any time she walked right in. 

“Hermione how nice to see you!” greeted McGonagall warmly. “How are you feeling today? Are your dreams still plaguing you?” 

“Actually that was what I came here to talk to you about Professor.” said Hermione. 

“Harry and the rest of us decided to go see William a couple of days ago to see if he had any remedies for the dream scars.” 

“Of course!” exclaimed McGonagall. “Why didn’t we think of it sooner?” It was after putting aside her lapse judgment that she decided to get back to the issue at hand. “Well how did it go?” 

“He cured us Professor! He knew about the condition from-” Because this was William’s story, Hermione decided against revealing that information. “He knew about it from a similar case in his time.” 

“Well that’s just splendid! I guess that means I’ll have to alert my American friend that we’ll no longer need his assistance.” 

“That was what I came to ask you Professor.” Hermione sighed gladly as her point for coming there was easy to see. 

“I’m so glad that you won’t have these terrible nightmares anymore,” sighed McGonagall. “Heaven knows you children went through enough already.” It was in moments like these that her compassion and love for these children was as if it were for her own flesh and blood. 

“Thank you Professor… For everything. I’m afraid that I must go now because I’m late for a birthday lunch.” Hermione then made her exit for the door as the Headmistress followed her. 

“You’re welcome anytime Miss Granger.” She then stepped into the outer room to see her other appointment. “Mr. Hardcastle I’ll see you now.” 

As she said this, the young black gentleman stood up and made his way to see the Professor. His companion only looked up for a second to reveal his face. Hermione could not see much from the shadow of his hat and the dark tint of his sunglasses, but something about him gave a familiar air. These thoughts were only reinforced after a gentle smile formed on his mouth. 

Some time later… 

When Hermione walked into the Three Broomsticks, she expected to find Harry, Ron and Ginny sitting at a table. What didn’t expect was to find them sitting at a table with a caged barn owl. 

“What is that?” asked Hermione in complete surprise. 

“William’s birthday gift!” exclaimed Ginny as she stroked the bird’s neck through the cage wires. “Harry thought it would be a nice way to say thank you.” Hermione then turned toward Harry. 

“I thought since he doesn’t have any pets anymore it would be a nice change.” replied Harry. He knew he should have taken his own advice since Hedwig had died, but he wasn’t ready for another pet just yet, not now anyway. “I saw him in the window of a shop down the street and he looked perfect.” 

“He’s perfect!” exclaimed Hermione. 

For a while the group just sat and talked about their day so far. The main consensus was that they would definitely have to convince William to let them ride the brooms again. Then after that conversation died down. The topic shifted to how Hermione’s task went. 

“It went fine. Professor McGonagall was glad to here we are healthy now.” This made them all smile. “She said she’d let her friend in America know we were cured. I didn’t stay long after that because it looked like she had a meeting.” 

“What makes you say that?” asked Ginny. 

“Well there were two other kids waiting outside of her office. They looked-” Hermione’s thoughts were interrupted as the two young men in question entered the bar. “Just like them” she said as she pointed toward the door. 

All of the eyes at the table shifted to the door as the two young men entered. At first glance they didn’t look like much. Both were dressed in Muggle street clothing and one of the two looked like he was hung over. The only thing that looked vaguely familiar was the black coat the white young man was wearing. It looked like William’s dragon hide coat. 

“What’ll it be boys?” asked Rosmerta to the two gentlemen in front of her. 

“Nothing for me thanks.” answered the black boy in his American accent. 

“Come on, lighten up Dante!” answered the other boy, also with an American accent. 
“We’ll each have a butter beer and I’ll have a Dancing Dragon with it.” 

Rosmerta had never served a drink such as this to a wizard so young. Normally they were reserved for people who needed a pick up after a hangover. “Late night I take it?” asked the barmaid as she uncorked two butter beers. 

“You have no idea!” answered the white boy. “Get this; my brother pulls me out of a quidditch victory party at two in the morning so I can deliver a message half way across the world.” He then took a sip of his drink, quenching his parched throat. “Nothing like English butter beer! Thanks love.” 

Rosmerta carefully mixed his drink as the two boys took a seat. It could only be done carefully because the slightest miscalculation could have disastrous consequences. When it was ready she placed the small glass on the table in front of him. “Just go easy this round, okay boys?” smiled Rosmerta. 

“You got it love!” He then held the drink in his hand and in an instant it turned to fire. Rosmerta and Harry’s table could not believe what they just saw. “Sorry, wandless magic.” He explained with a slight smile. He then swallowed the fiery concoction in one gulp. “I think I’ll use the bathroom and let this take effect.” Before leaving he said to Dante in a language none of them could place, “Sई इफ़् योउ cअन् गुएस्स् तिस् ओने?”
“Sanskrit, nice choice!” replied Dante. Although no one had any idea of what they were talking about this was a little game they played. “Aon smaoineamh?” 

“Gaelic!” replied the other boy as he left for the bathroom. 

As the boy left the bar, his friend remained behind. To Harry’s view, he pulled out a pulled out a piece of paper. He raised it t show it to Rosmerta, but she was suddenly called to the other end of the bar to serve a group of Slytherins, among them was Malfoy. 

“Excuse me Madam?” called out Dante as he walked through the crowd. “Do you know by any chance where I can find William Black?” He then pointed to his picture from the Daily Prophet. 

Before Rosmerta could answer, Draco answered instead. “What do you want with that piece of trash?” 

“I need to talk to him if you don’t mind!” replied Dante in a tone of slight anger. 

“Why do you need to talk to a freak like that?” 

Now Dante was starting to get angry. “That’s my business! Now if you would stop acting like an asshole, maybe you could help me out here!” 

This was not what Draco wanted to hear and apparently the other Slytherins agreed as they surrounded him at the bar. “You’re not from around here, are you?” said Draco as he shoved a finger into Dante’s chest. “Judging by the clothing I’d say you’re a Mudblood!” 

“Is there a problem here?” asked the other boy as he returned from the bathroom. 

This time he looked completely rejuvenated, and very sexy to most of the females in the bar. It was almost like the air William exuded when he walked into a room. To see one of his closest friends being pushed around was not a pleasant sight. 

“I was teaching your Mudblood friend here a lesson. What’s it to you?” 

This was a word he didn’t like either. “I’ll ask you nicely not to use that word.” 

As Draco advanced toward this boy, Dante slipped from the group’s grasp and joined his friend. “What’s the matter? Can’t take a joke…Mudblood?” 

The boy then turned to Dante and pulled out a small coin purse from jacket pocket. He then handed it to Dante. 

“What’s this?” asked Dante in confusion. 

“It’s the money I owe you from our bet,” he replied knowing he had just lost. This however was just the way he wanted to lose. 

“Just don’t kill him Virgil!” Dante said with a pleading look in his eyes. 

Harry and his friends had a sudden shock at hearing this name, but quickly disregarded it after considering how impossible it was for this to be the same Virgil. 

“I asked you nicely not to use that word, and now I’m going to have to teach you a lesson.” said Virgil as he advanced on Malfoy. 

“You don’t know who you’re talking to?” exclaimed Draco as he pulled up his sleeve to reveal the Dark Mark. 

“I have one of those too!” replied Virgil, who was not intimidated in the least by seeing this tattoo. He then pulled the sleeve up on his left arm to reveal a tattoo of a mighty bear with a monkey sitting on its back. Below that was a deep claw-like scar.
Harry and his friends all saw this and could only think of William and how it resembled his scars. 

“Oh yeah, now it’s coming back to me!” smiled Virgil having a sudden recollection. “It was in the Prophet a few months ago, right? It was something about a young Death Eater getting off because he claimed he was trying to save his family. Now that I think about it he kind of looked like-” 

“Like me, right?” said Draco who anger was beginning to build. 

“Actually I was going to say ‘like shit’ but yeah.” He was glad Draco was getting angry because it would put him in just the right position. 

“I’ll curse you good!” 

“I have just one more question for you; is this yours?” He then removed a wand from his pocket and held it before Draco’s eyes. 

After feeling around his pocket he realized that was his wand. Considering he was disarmed, he had to resort to his hands for defense. In an instant he threw a right hook Virgil’s way, but he quickly ducked and caught his hand holding it behind Draco’s back. He used this leverage to hold his head down onto the bar. 

“Now if wasn’t here to do a favor for my brother, I’d beat the shit out of you on general principle. Instead I’ll let you off with a warning; disrespect me or any of my friends again and I’ll make sure you go through the rest of your life with a limp.” He then stood Draco up on his feet and whispered in his ear, “You’re better than this.” 

Draco did not know what to make of this. Considering he had just been humiliated in front the whole bar, he was not angry, just sad. It was in that moment that he truly knew he was better than this. His mind then shifted to getting out quickly. He almost got halfway to the door when he realized he didn’t have his wand. He then feebly approached Virgil for it. 

Giving the wand back was no problem for Virgil. He had already made his point clear to Draco about what he would do if he tried anything. He quickly tossed it to him and watched in slight amusement as he hurried out of the door. 

“Excuse me love!” smiled Virgil to Madam Rosmerta. “Sorry about the trouble, but could you tell me where I can find a William Black?” 

Rosmerta could only smile back. ‘He’s a cheeky little bastard’ she thought. “I don’t know where he is, but I can point you in the way of some people who might.” 

Harry and the rest of his friends looked toward the bar in astonishment at the scene they had just witnessed. What made it even stranger was when Rosmerta pointed toward his table. The two boys then made eye contact with Harry to which he quickly averted. 

“I didn’t think I’d see them,” whispered Virgil to Dante. “Let’s go say hello!” 

“We don’t have time for this!” whispered Dante. “Let’s just get in and get out. Pete warned us not to interfere!” 

“Relax, I won’t say anything! What my brother doesn’t know won’t hurt him.” He then walked toward Harry’s table with many thoughts going through his mind. He had half a mind to act on them if not for his brother’s warning. "Trust your guide, okay?"

“Excuse me Mr. Potter?” asked Virgil as he stood in front of the table. “Can I talk to you for a second?” 

Harry looked toward Ron, Hermione, and Ginny for a hint of what to do but they all had the same awestruck expression as him. “Sure, what can I do for you Mr.?” 

“Virgil, call me Virgil. This is my friend Dante Hardcastle.” Dante just waved because he was unsure what to say in front of the people who had saved the Wizarding World. 

“In that case, call me Harry. These are my friends, Hermione Granger, and Ron and Ginny Weasley.” said Harry as he pointed to each of them. “Pull up a seat!” 

“I’m afraid I can’t stay very long.” replied Virgil as he removed his sunglasses to reveal two of the deepest blue eyes any of them had ever seen. He removed his hat which let his silky neck length hair flow. Hermione swore she knew him from somewhere. “I was just wondering if you knew William Black by any chance.” 

As Virgil put aside the coat to put his sunglasses away, Hermione noticed the silver necklace he was wearing. It bore the same sword and wand symbol from William’s trunk. Before she could ask about this, Ron interrupted with a question of his own. 

“What kind of jacket is that? It’s really nice!” 

“Oh you like this?” smiled Virgil. “It’s dragon hide, Hebridean if you want to get technical.” Everyone at the table caught mention of this, but decided not to address it.
“How do you do that little trick with the wand?” asked Ginny. 

This was largely in part of dual cooperation between Virgil and Dante. “Trade secret, but the truth is I picked Blondie’s pocket when he and his friends were looking at Virgil, then I slipped it to him when he gave me my winnings.” answered Dante. 

“Winnings?” asked Ron. 

“Yeah, Dante here bet me 50 bucks in gold coins that I couldn’t go a whole month without getting into a fight. I lost.” They must have been American by their accents and currency. 

“So anyway you wanted to know about William?” asked Harry getting back to the subject. “He should be coming by soon if you want to see him.” 

At mention of this, he decided it was best to get going ASAP. “No, that’s okay. Would you just mind giving this to him?” Dante then pulled out from his satchel a thin plain wrapped package. Harry accepted it but was of what to make of it. 

“It was nice meeting all of you!” said Virgil as he moved for the door followed by Dante.
“Wait!” exclaimed Harry. “Where are you going?” 

“We have a portkey to catch, but first we have a little errand to run at the London docks.” said Virgil as he put back on his sunglasses and his Sweetwater All-Stars hat. 

“But wait, who should I say the package is from?” asked Harry hoping for some clue to this stranger’s identity. 

Virgil had to think quickly, but decided something only Doc knew would suffice. “Tell him it’s from one Phantom to another.” And as quickly as he had entered their lives, he was gone. 

“Well what do you think that was?” asked Ron, bewildered by the whole situation. “What was his deal?” 

“Let’s ask William when he opens the package. That might give us some clue as to who that was.” explained Harry. “Speaking of which, why don’t we get ready for when he comes.” 

Rather than jump to absurd conclusions, they decided it was best to see where this situation was going once William took a look at the package. 

To prepare for William’s arrival, Hermione cast a concealment charm over the owl’s cage to make a surprise. Ron ordered another round of butter beers for when he came. Apparently they would not have to wait long as William suddenly came through the door, freshly dressed, showered, and shaved. 

“Happy Birthday!” greeted the table, instantly putting a smile on his face. Ron handed him a drink before he could sit down. 

“You guys didn’t have to do this!” exclaimed William in a gracious tone as he observed the lengths they had gone through to celebrate this day. 

“We wanted to William.” said Harry. “You saved our lives. This is the least we could do.” 

“Hungry?” asked Ginny. “We thought we’d wait for you to get lunch.” 

“Let’s eat, I know Ron must be chomping at the bit anyway!” laughed William.
After a satisfying lunch of hot Shepherd’s Pie and a filling dessert of cheesecake, the entire able of Gryffindors was absolutely stuffed. 

“Now that I think we’ve all had our fill, I think it’s time to give William his gift.” suggested Hermione. 

“What gift?” asked William. 

“This gift.” said Harry as he removed the concealment charm. Instantly the owl cage appeared with the quiet bird resting inside. 

William couldn’t believe they had done for him. This was the nicest gesture extended to him in a long time. He then opened the cage and motioned for the owl to come out. “Come on little guy.” The bird quickly jumped onto his arm and squawked happily. “What am I going to call you? Anyone have any ideas?” 

“How about Barney? You know; the barn owl?” Ron suggested to no avail. 

“How about Prospero?” suggested Ginny. 

“I guess you’ve been reading The Tempest.” said William as he considered the name. “It was the name of the wizard who helped his daughter fall in love. I like it! Your name is Prospero.” The bird turned his head at William, not knowing who this boy was. All he knew was that he liked him. 

“Thank you all very much!” exclaimed William as he stroked the bird’s feathers.
“You welcome!” They all said in unison which produced a great laughter. 

“There is one more gift.” said Harry as he handed William the wrapped package Virgil had given him earlier. 

“What’s this?” 

“We don’t know. Someone dropped it off for you.” answered Harry. 

“What?” asked William incredulously. “I don’t know anyone here! What did they say?”
“He said it the package was from one Phantom to another.” answered Harry. 

The look of shock on William’s face was clear from across the bar. It was as if he had just seen a ghost. He immediately tore the wrapping off the package and looked at its contents. As unbelievable as it was, the look of shock increased as William held his gaze on the picture before him. 

“Who was the person who told you to give this to me?” 

“He said his name was Virgil?” 

He then looked up from the picture in slight confusion. “Did he have blue eyes and brown hair by any chance?” 

“Yeah, why?” asked Ron.”How would you know?” 

“Because only someone I know could give me this!” He then turned over the gift in his hands for them to see. 

It was a portrait of 8 people standing together. All of them wore the same black dragon hide jacket that William had and each of them held a different sword. They were gathered before a great forest Harry recognized as the Black Forest from William’s photo album. In fact, even the people gathered with swords drawn were the same people, minus Allie. 

They were all there. William, Peter, Isabella, Declan, Darius, Scorpios, and Paul were all there smiling happily. Each of them looked slightly older from the last picture they had seen. Another older gentleman was there, who the group guessed was in his mid twenties. His hair color and other features changed at a regular rate. 

“What does this mean?” asked Harry who was almost frightened. 

William did not know how to answer without confusing them so he simply said, “It means I wasn’t the only one sent back.” His only thoughts at this point were, ‘Kingsley, why didn’t you tell me?’

Chapter 13: The Circle of Phantoms
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Sorry for such a long gap between chapters. College has been murder and I couldn’t get any time to write. I hope this isn’t a disappointment. For those who enjoyed the chapter Dreamscape, you will certainly enjoy this one. Now you will find out just what happened to William and his friends after the Black Forest incident. Please enjoy and leave some feedback. Thank you! 

It was nearing midday when Virgil and Dante made it back to the bar on Center Street. Lucky for them, the really big crowds of tourists and partygoers wouldn’t be out for another few hours, even on a Sunday night. Normally both of these boys would love to go out and see where the action was, but at this point the only thing they were thinking of was a warm bed and a hot meal. 

Rather than going straight in, Virgil decided to weigh his options before making any rash decisions. Looking through the side window of the bar seemed quite childish, but then again Virgil always thought of himself as a child at heart. 

“So what’s the situation Virg?” asked Dante leaning against the side of the building. Like Virgil, he could barely stand after this day’s events. 

“Well,” replied Virgil taking a quick glance, “Mike’s behind the counter cleaning glasses, Momma Pearl is sitting in her booth as usual, and it looks like my brother and his girlfriend are having it out again.” Deciding this was more trouble than he wanted to deal with, Virgil decided on a different way of entrance. “I guess we’d better go up the back steps.” 

Living in the apartments above the Raven’s Claw Bar had more benefits than most people would think. In the highly likely event there was a party, you’d be no more than twenty feet away and living above your place of business also lets a person keep an eye on their assets. The other benefit that most people other than Peter, Virgil, and the Hardcastles, the co-owners of the bar, didn’t know was that places like this were prime spots to get privileged information; both in the Ministry of Magic’s infrastructure as well as the criminal underworld. 

“They’ve been having it out a lot lately, huh?” asked Dante as he followed his friend through the back door and into the stairwell. 

“Yeah.” exhaled Virgil. The steps each seemed 10 feet high, which he chalked up to his pounding headache and lack of sleep. “Apparently Cassidy got a transfer overseas that’ll take effect at the New Year. Now it’s all fighting and screaming. Of course there were screams before, except they came from the bedroom.” 

“Come on man! I don’t need a visual!” exclaimed Dante. 

“I’m just messing with you D.” laughed Virgil. The climb up the stairs was quicker than he anticipated as he found himself standing in front of the door to the apartment he and his brother shared. It was also convenient for Dante as well, seeing as how he lived right across the hall. “So I guess I’ll see you later?” 

“Yeah, Sunday dinner at four, okay?” asked Dante as he unlocked his front door. “You’ve got four hours so get some sleep and a shower. You know how my grandma hates it when you come to dinner all disheveled.” 

“You got it!” said Virgil as he pulled Dante into a half hug half handshake maneuver. “I’ll see you at four.” 

The apartment the McElroy brothers shared was not the typical bachelor pad that most people would imagine. In fact, it was very clean and well furnished with a study, a living room, two bedrooms, a full kitchen and 2 walk in bathrooms. With the space they had, two families could live quite comfortably there. For two young men living on their own, they lived quite responsibly. 

Peter made sure that he and Virgil would be well taken care of since the day it became clear that they would be on their own. It was his responsibility that Virgil have a proper upbringing and as his sole guardian, he would not disappoint the memory of his parents as well as his adopted ones. 

The first thing Virgil decided to do was take a hot soothing shower. At this point, sleeping in the almost tangible layer of sweat and grime on his skin was not his prerogative. Twenty minutes later a good nap was exactly what the doctor ordered after the much needed shower and shave, but Virgil’s stomach had other plans. The only thing on his mind now was the leftover pizza sitting in the fridge. 

Halfway through his third slice of cold pizza, Virgil found that he was not alone in the apartment anymore. The whole floor must have known, especially when a door was slammed that loud. 

“What do you mean you can’t take all the secrets and lies? I never lied to you once!” yelled Pete as he made his way past the living room and into the kitchen. As far as Virgil was concerned, they did not even notice he was there. 

“How about when you said you and Virgil were from the future? Do you have any idea how crazy that sounds?” replied the buxom brunette in a tone just as loud. “Right Virgil?” 

“Don’t get me involved in this?” said Virgil almost laughing at how immature the two of them were being. It wasn’t until this moment that Peter realized his brother was in the room. 

“Good thinking Virgil!” He then did a double-take after finally noticing his brother’s presence. “How did things go?” asked Peter temporarily distracted from his current predicament. 

Being that Cassidy was in the room, Virgil could not give a very detailed answer. The other reason he could not open his mouth was because it was full of pizza. He instead opted to give his brother a thumbs-up. 

“Awesome!” was Peter’s only reply. “We’ll talk later.” 

“You see,” explained Cassidy pointing at the two of them, “This is exactly what I’m talking about; all of these inside discussions and plans. Why can’t you just open up to me?” 

Deciding two could play this game prompted Peter’s line of questioning. “What about you? You disappear all the time and I get no explanation.” 

“I’m an Auror in the Special Crimes Unit! You know I can’t discuss that! I shouldn’t have told you to begin with but I trusted you nonetheless.” 

“Does it help to know that I’m in a similar position?” He was close to the edge of revealing key pieces of information, but realized it soon enough. 

“If I can trust you with what I do, then why can’t you trust me with your past?” replied Cassidy. 

For the first time in a long time, Peter had finally found a girl he loved but he simply could not tell her about that other life. If protecting her meant lying to her, then that was what he had to do. “I can’t. It’s not that simple.”
“Yes, it is. You’re just making it hard.” Cassidy was at the end of her rope with this part of her life. This was the first person she truly loved, but if he wasn’t going to be honest then maybe it was time for her to move on. “I can’t do this anymore Pete.” She then moved toward the door, which her lover quickly followed. “Call me when you want to get serious about us.” 

“Cassidy wait!” exclaimed Peter as his girlfriend exited the apartment. He would have followed her, but he knew it was better for her to have a chance to cool off. At least, he hoped she would. It was not in either of them to give up on anything, especially each other. Right now he could only have a long talk with his brother. 

“Well, I’d ask you how your day went, but what would be the point?” said Virgil as his brother walked back into the kitchen. 

“Don’t start little brother.” replied Peter. Virgil knew not to push the issue any further seeing as how Peter was in no mood for games. “Just tell me how it went. Did you get the Dreamscape recipe to Hogwarts alright?” 

“That’s the kicker!” exclaimed Virgil as he finished another bite of pizza. “It turns out that Doc already gave it to them. He made them a whole batch.”
“Wow! He really made them the potion?” asked Peter rhetorically. “That means he must have told them the story. He hates to talk about the Black Forest; not to mention he’s taking a big risk by telling them.” 

“You could learn from that example.” suggested Virgil. 

“I’ll tell Cassidy when I’m ready, ok?” quipped Peter. Seeing that he knew his brother was serious Virgil let the subject go. “How did the school look? Did you leave the package for Doc to find?” 

“The school looked great for something that was formerly a battleground!” replied the younger McElroy as he finished his pizza. 

Peter would have loved to seen it, but the circumstances did not permit such a pleasure. “I can’t wait to see it again someday!” He rubbed the tattoos on his wrists anxiously at the prospect of these thoughts. “What about the package? Did you leave it with McGonagall so she could give it to Doc?” 

“I’m sure the package got to Doc, but I didn’t leave it with the Headmistress.” Virgil knew there was a barrage of questions about to come his way but he prepared for that the moment he left the Three Broomsticks. 

“Then who did you leave it with? That picture shouldn’t even see the light of day let alone be in the hands of someone from this time!” The urgency filled his voice to greatest extent. 

“Relax! I left it in the hands of some very trustworthy people.” 

“Who then!” 

“Harry and the Weasleys.” answered Virgil very sheepishly. 

“Oh, come on! The one thing I asked you to do was stay away for the time being and you couldn’t even do that?” 

“Will you give me a goddamn break?!” It was a statement more than a question. “I haven’t slept in 32 hours! I’ve apparated and portkeyed through God knows how many time zones! And to top it all off, I was within two seconds of seeing some of the people that I care about most in the world and I left because you told me to stay away. So excuse me for saying hi to people we haven’t seen in 8 years.” 

Pete had to admit to himself that if he were in Virgil’s position, then he would have probably done the same thing. He also knew that Virgil was a tough kid, but even he needed to see the ones he loved. 

“I’m sorry Virg. I’m just a little tense. You do realize this is the first time in years that all of us have a shot at getting our lives back, right?” He then started rubbing the tattoos on his wrists again. Rather than showing his nervousness by standing and pacing, he decided to sit down with his brother at the kitchen table. 

“You think I don’t how hard it’s been?” From the look in his eyes, Peter knew he was completely serious. “Do you think it was easy for me over the years as my magic got stronger while yours was gone? I want you and all the others to get your magic back more than anybody. I want you to get back that piece of yourself that you lost when we got here.” 

Peter knew Virgil better than anyone. He knew that on the outside he could be the toughest person the moment called for, but deep down he was a kind soul. With no warning, he came around the table and gave him a bone crushing hug, to which Virgil immediately reciprocated. “How’d you get so smart? 

“I had a good teacher.” 

After relinquishing his brother, Peter returned to his chair and finished the drink Virgil had poured for himself. “So how’d they look?” 

“They looked good.” replied Virgil instantly with a smile. This made Pete smile too. 

“How did things go at the docks?” asked the older brother getting back to business. 

“Dante and I took care of the crew like you asked. The barrels were there as well as two Death Eaters.” The look in Peter’s eyes went from calm to serious instantly. “Don’t worry! We knocked them out before they knew we were there.” 

“Is that it?” 

“No, we marked the barrels with the special cargo like you asked and called in the tip to the Ministry.” Virgil stopped for a moment to rub his eyes. The need to sleep was growing increasingly urgent. “You do know that because of this, they’re gonna shut down all magical transportation in and out of the national borders of Great Britain, right? Because that’s going to be a little hard for Doc to come and find us.” 

“Ye have little faith my brother.” smiled Peter. As always he had a plan all along. “I don’t anticipate for Doc to find us for at least a couple of months. I just want the Ministry to tie up all the loose ends with the remaining Death Eaters in Great Britain. We have to make things safe for Harry and everyone else before we can even think of going back.” 

“Well if you can wait then I guess I can wait.” answered Virgil who saw the logic in his brother’s plan. “Anything else you need to know about the trip?” 

“No. Why don’t you get some sleep? We’re having dinner with Dante’s family in a few hours. Momma Pearl’s making that Creole dish you like so much so I know you want to be awake for that.” 

“That’s true.” replied the tired teenager as he made his way down the hall to his bedroom. “Wake me when you need me!” 

“Will do Little Bear!” 

Two hours before… 

“How is it possible that you weren’t the only one person sent back?” exclaimed Harry trying to comprehend just what William was implying. “The only people who came through those portals were you, Padfoot and the Redeemers!” 

It didn’t seem like the message was getting through to William, the group observed as they quickly followed behind him as he maintained his elevated pace toward the castle. 

“I didn’t say they came through the same time as me!” replied William as he passed the gates, clutching the picture and his new caged owl in each hand. “I’m willing to bet anything that they were sent back to a time years before this one. How old did you say Virgil looked when you saw him?” 

“He looked about our age, why?” asked Ron trying to understand just what he was telling them. 

“He was nine when I last saw him that’s why.” said William as he entered the castle. 

“That means Pete and the rest of my friends must have been here for at least 8 years.”

“Hold on, hold on!” exclaimed Ginny as she cut around the group and stopped William in his tracks. “Are you saying that the boy we just met in the Three Broomsticks was Virgil and that he as well as the rest of your friends have been in our time for almost a decade?” 

“That’s what I said.” answered William almost not believing it himself. 

“I knew he looked familiar!” exclaimed Hermione to which the group shifted eyes to her position. “He reminded me of the little boy from the picture you showed us; the picture with you, Peter and Virgil flying around on the broom. I knew I had seen him somewhere!” 

“I understand now that who we saw was Virgil,” added Harry. “But why is he here?” This was the rest of the group’s sentiment exactly. 

“I don’t know, but that’s what I intend to find out.” answered William as he made his way for the Headmistress’s office. 

Rather than knocking to gain entrance, William quickly turned the knob and burst right in. To Harry’s point of view, as well as the rest of the group, it seemed that this was a matter of grave importance. 

Upon entering they discovered Professor McGonagall was just as alone as Hermione had left her a few hours before. Only this time she was sitting in her chair looking over a piece of parchment. 

“I’m sorry to barge in like this Professor, but I need to talk to you.” pled William bowing before the woman he respected so highly. 

“There’s no need to apologize William.” smiled McGonagall. She had come to respect him as well, more so after Hermione had told her about how he had helped them with the Dreamscape. “I was actually planning on coming to talk to you.” 

“Well I’m here now so what do you need to know?” asked William in the most patient tone he could muster. 

“Actually it’s about the potion you procured yesterday.” replied McGonagall holding up a piece of parchment for him to examine. 

“What about it?” asked William as he reached to examine the sheet of parchment. When his eyes read the first line, a million more questions had entered his mind. He then passed it to Harry to let him see what this was all about. 

Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny huddled around the piece of parchment and instantly knew this would be important. The title said it all; “Dreamscape: A Cure for the Prometheus Curse.” 

“How did you get this Professor?” asked William in complete confusion. “I don’t remember giving you a copy. In fact, I know I kept the original.” He then passed it to Harry for him to examine. 

“That’s the funny thing Mr. Black. It was delivered this morning by friends of one of my foreign contacts.” answered McGonagall. 

“Could you tell me who it was?” asked William, who had a sneaking suspicion that he already knew the answer. 

“There were two young men who made the delivery. The young African American gentleman said his name was Hardcastle. I believe Dante was his first name.” William had no idea who this was. “And the other boy stayed outside of the office.” 

“Was his name Virgil by any chance?” interjected Harry. At this point he was just as intrigued as William; as were Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. 

“Actually it was!” answered McGonagall, slightly surprised. “How did you know that?” 

“We had the pleasure of meeting him earlier.” answered Harry. 

Remembering why he was there, William brought himself to the Headmistress’s desk and asked her, “What was the name of your foreign friend who sent the potion recipe?” 

“McElroy, Peter McElroy.” 

It was in those three words that William’s suspicions were confirmed. Mentally, the million question in his head just decreased by one. Physically, he was shocked by this confession as were Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny. 

“He’s contributed donations to the school for the last eight years.” 

“Told you!” William exclaimed to Harry. “Didn’t I say 8 years?” 

“I met him once at a lecture on Transfiguration while vacationing in New York.” continued McGonagall. “Does this mean something to you Mr. Black?” 

Rather than explain himself, William thought the picture would speak the best. “You might as well show her!” said William motioning to Ron, who was currently holding it. 

After placing it on her desk, Harry asked, “Does anyone look familiar?” 

The Headmistress had to only scan the picture once to recognize the young man she had met those many years ago. The other person she recognized was standing in her presence. How exactly that was possible was beyond her. “Where did you get this?”
“Virgil, the young boy outside your office today delivered it to us to give to William.” explained Harry trying to calm down the obviously shaken professor. “He’s Peter’s younger brother.” 

“This can’t be real!” exclaimed Professor McGonagall who was beginning to get the picture. 

“Madam I can assure you its real.” replied William as he rubbed his temples. “I know because I was there when it was taken.” 

“What does that mean exactly?” Now she was really starting to worry. 

“It means that the Peter McElroy you know is the same man who has been my friend since I was eleven years old. He, as well as five of my other friends, has been in this time for at least eight years.” 

“But how is this possible?” 

“I need to tell you while Kingsley is here too!” exclaimed William. “I have a feeling that he needs to hear this as well. In the meantime I need to know exactly how you have been in contact with Peter. Do you know where he is?” 

McGonagall had to think for a second. This was all too much information to take in at once. “I only met him that once. But I did get letters with checks for donations to the school! The post marks were always blank. I do know that he does teach Muggle Studies and Potions at a public Wizarding school in Merlin’s Circle.” 

Now William was the one who had to think. “Did you say Merlin’s Circle?” 

“Yes, why?” 

“Ok now I really need to speak with Kingsley. Do you know where he is?” asked William who was beginning to grow desperate for answers. 

“He was called away on Auror business. It sounded very urgent.”
“Well if you can get him here as soon as possible, then that would be great. In the meantime I need to do a little research so you can find us in the Room of Requirement.” 

Just as the group was about to leave, there was a knock at the door to which Professor McGonagall quickly allowed in. It was none other than Bill Weasley. 

“Bill what are you doing here?” asked Ron as he shook his brother’s hand. He was then given a big hug by Ginny to which he immediately reciprocated. 

“Well I needed to talk to the Headmistress about getting a replacement for my position as Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. It’s good to see you all. You too William.” replied the elder Weasley as he then shook Harry’s hand and gave Hermione a hug. In Bill’s eyes they were family and they would be treated as such. To William he gave a casual nod. 

“Why Bill? We love you as the DADA professor.” plead Harry. 

“I appreciate the vote of confidence but I want to home with Fleur as much as possible when the baby arrives. I already talked to Griphook at Gringotts and he said he’d be happy to give me my old job back so much as I personally escort you to your vault next time.” laughed Bill who was then joined in by the whole group. 

“Well I guess you have to do what’s best for your family.” replied Harry. He only knew this because it was what he thought he would do when he started his own family. “I think we should get going though.” Harry said this more to the group than to Bill.
“I’ll see you later then.” replied Bill. 

The group was almost out the door when McGonagall caught their attention one last time. “Mr. Black, what should I tell Kingsley when he asks why you need to see him?” She had not the foggiest idea of how to tell him what had just happened. 

William thought for a second but then knew what would immediately pull Kingsley away from whatever he was working on. “Tell him there’s a full moon and a friend is at the gates. He’ll know what that means.” And with those words he was off to find his long lost friends. 

William had no idea how in the hell he was going to find his friends in the maelstrom that was the post-war wizarding world. He could only hope that the Room of Requirement would provide a solution to narrow down his search. When the door failed to appear, it was obvious that it would not be that simple. 

“What’s wrong? Why hasn’t the door appeared?” asked Harry as he walked past the wall three times as was the usual custom. “It should have been here by now. William?” 

William could only hold his chin and think deeply on how he could look for his friends. “I’m thinking. I need a way to narrow down the search area as well as show you. I need Kingsley for the other part.” 

“Why don’t we just use a map?” suggested Ron. It was not the best idea but at least he was contributing. “All we have to do is focus on the areas you know where your friends are.” 

“That could work. Don’t you think William?” added Harry. It was obvious that William approved as the door slowly but surely formed in the wall. 

As the door parted, the group was surprised to see Ron’s idea come to life, although it may not been as he would have pictured. In the center of the room stood a giant globe that floated and rotated very slowly in the air. 

“I never thought I’d say this, but good thinking Ron!” exclaimed Hermione as she hugged the amazed young man standing next to her. 

“Good job mate!” exclaimed Harry. “Now let’s see what we’re dealing with.”
“What do we do now?” asked Ginny as she stood next to William, looking on with him as he gazed into the globe. 

“I haven’t the faintest idea!” said William who received several incredulous looks.
“What? Just because I thought it was a good idea doesn’t mean I said I know how to use this.” 

“Why don’t we just see what happens?” added Harry as he stepped between the globe and William. “Will use the information we already have. The first thing we know is that McGonagall said she met Peter in New York.” 

Just then looks of amazement appeared on everyone’s face, but not because of Harry’s words. When he turned around he knew just exactly what they were staring at. The globe had transformed from a full view of the world to an equally large scale model of New York. 

Harry then proved his accidental discovery of how the globe worked by saying, “Hogwarts.” The map then morphed into another vividly detailed representation of the school. 

William then gave Harry a hard pat on the back. “Great job Harry! You solved the globe!” 

“Now we can begin!” added Hermione. “What else do we know?” 

“Well we only know where Peter and Virgil are so why don’t we stick to finding them first.” suggested Harry. 

“Sounds like a plan!” approved William. “The others would probably stick close by. If not, then that’s what I summoned Kingsley for.” 

“What do you mean?” asked Harry. “How would he know where to find them?” 

“You want to use the Registry don’t you?” added Hermione. She thought this was what William had in mind upon noticing his insistence that Kingsley be there. Up until that point it was only myth people told to evoke fear of the government. Of course, William had a knack for making myths come to life. “The Minister of Magic has the power to get you the information faster.” 

“What’s the Registry?” asked Ginny. 

“The Registry is a system that each country’s Ministry of Magic uses to keep track of what and how many wizards and witches are in the country at all times. It’s done through private records like bank transactions and travel logs from portkey hubs.” explained William. “Each name usually contains a last known address. I was hoping Kingsley could get in contact with the a few other foreign ministries to find those addresses.” 

“Does everybody know that the Ministry reads their mail and travel arrangements?” asked Harry as he contemplated the implications this system could have on the public. “Isn’t that unethical?” 

“Probably.” replied William realizing just how many applications the Registry could have. Rather than leave Harry and the others to worry, William cleared the air by saying, “All I know is that looking into the Registry can only be done by high-ranking Ministry officials during times of dyer need. Other than that it’s like an unread inventory sheet. It probably explains why Riddle was able to find the people he hunted down during the war.” 

Upon realizing his mistake and seeing the looks of doubt on Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s faces William said, “Except of course the three of you. It was pretty smart staying off the grid like that. Had it not been a time of war, it would be highly illegal to apparate across national borders.” Seeing that they were happy with his correction, the four Gryffindors turned their view back to the globe. 

The group was flattered by this, considering they never thought their evasion methods were anything special. Hermione however was not only thinking about William’s admiration. She was wondering just how he knew about the Registry’s existence.
Ron was the first to ask the question they were all thinking. “So where exactly is Merlin’s Circle?” The globe then slowly transformed the model of Hogwarts into a landscape littered with buildings of all shapes and sizes. It also looked like there were many roads and intersections traversing the span of the city before their eyes. The strangest thing about it was that there were large pillars scattered strategically around the city as well as in the center of it. 

“That’s amazing William!” exclaimed Harry as he looked on into the vast structure that was the city. “It’s like Diagon Alley on a grand scale!” 

“Have you ever been there?” asked Ginny as her eyes stalked over the intricate network of streets and avenues. “And what was it like?”
“Well the last time I was there was when I was 15.” replied William recalling the fond memories of that summer. “I remember that it was really big and anybody could find something they wanted to see or do.” 

“Why do they call it Merlin’s circle?” asked Ron as he continued to gaze over the vast span of the cityscape. 

William then thought to himself of how he could show them. “Let’s see if other commands work on the globe. Merlin’s Circle ceiling view!” 

The layout of the city then shifted itself to accommodate William’s command. They were no longer looking at the side of some buildings but now they were seeing the entire city as if they were looking down from the sky. The landscape of the city formed a perfect geometric circle. 

“That’s why they call it Merlin’s Circle!” laughed William upon looking at their stunned faces. 

“That’s amazing William!” exclaimed Harry. “That city must be massive.” 

“Just how big is it?” asked Hermione. “This globe isn’t exactly giving us too many details on demographics. I mean how many people would you say live there?” 

William had not even thought about that up until this point. For one, things were a lot different from now and his time. He knew the population would have changed in 25 years, but he simply thought that didn’t matter because Kingsley was going to help narrow down the search. 

“I have no idea honestly. I guess I’ll just have to get the number from another source.” He then pulled his wand out and with a flick of it said, “Accio Phantom trunk!” 

There was that word again; phantom. The group had heard it from Virgil earlier and was puzzled by its meaning. They make a point of asking him about it later. 

Less than a minute later, the black trunk burst open the doors or the Room of Requirement and settled before William’s feet. He then performed knocking unlock sequence and removed the book Hermione and Ginny had seen him consult just days before. 

“What’s that?” asked Harry as William opened the book to the first page. “Is that like some sort of book of wizard facts?” 

“Kind of.” replied William before saying, “What’s new in the world?” The words then magically appeared before his and the rest of the group’s eyes. Having used the Marauder’s Map countless times before, the sudden appearance of letters was nothing remarkable. The only thing remarkable about it was that they were on a different medium than the map. 

Harry looked over William’s shoulder and read the title for everyone to hear. “’The All-Knowing Almanac: A Compendium of Random Knowledge.’” Harry had to think for a moment after reading the title. There were so many possibilities for a book that held a vast quantity of knowledge, especially one that had information from 25 years into the future. 

“Does that book know everything?” asked Harry as he continued to look over William’s shoulder. “I mean, how much does it know?” 

“The book itself acts as a link to sources of information like libraries, papers, or museums. Although the information is limitless it has nowhere near all of the answers.” said William trying to think of the best way to explain it. 

“I think Pete wanted it that way when he created it. He used to say that you have to figure some things out for yourself. He said it was more exciting that way.” added William in a somber tone as he ran his fingers over the paper hoping to find his friend as soon as possible. “New York City 2000 Muggle Census.” 

The group was puzzled as to why William put in the command for another city. They needed Merlin’s Circle not some Muggle city. Still, they were amazed to watch the globe transform into another equally impressive landscape. 

“Excuse me William,” interrupted Harry as William continued to look on into the book.  
“That isn’t the right city.” 

“Really?” said William feigning confusion. “Why don’t we look at it from another view?” He then turned to the globe and said, “Manhattan Island.” The other four boroughs around the city dissolved until a larger version of the fifth remained. “Do you see it now?” 

“No, because it’s not the right city!” added Ron who could not figure out where exactly William was going with this. 

“Are you sure?” laughed William. “Let’s see if this view works better. Manhattan Island, top side and sublevel view.”
With those words it finally became clear as to what William was talking about. The globe had told no lies up until that point, so why would it lie now? The top side of the view was the same Manhattan they just saw, but the bottom was very familiar. 

“Is that what I think it is?” asked Harry who could not take his eyes off the globe.
“Yes, it is.” replied William. He too was amazed by this architectural feat. Not many people could build an entire city under another. 

“Are you saying they built Merlin’s Circle under New York City?” asked Ginny incredulously. The city lay perfectly beneath the civilization above. It was almost like a world underneath the world. 

“They sure did!” replied William. “That’s why there are so many pillars holding up the city above.” 

“This is amazing!” added Harry. “But why didn’t you tell us that from the start?” 

“I wanted you to know just how hard the search is going to be.” William then turned his eyes back to the book. “According to the 2000 Muggle census, there are a little over 8 million people living in New York City. According to the Wizard census, there are 9.5 million people living in the city when you add in the population of Merlin’s Circle. Now you can see what kind of numbers we’re dealing with.” He then put the book back in his pocket. 

Before thoughts of how vast this search would be could sink in, the group was shaken from their doubts by a loud echoing knock from the doorway. Seeing as how only two people knew they were in the Room of Requirement, the only logical explanation to who was at the door was pretty obvious. 

“That must be Kingsley and McGonagall!” exclaimed Ron as he went to open the door. Upon opening it he was surprised that three people had entered the room instead of the expected two. 

“Hello Kingsley, Professor McGonagall!” greeted Ron as he held the door open for their old friends. The entrance of the third person perplexed the entire group. 

“What’re you doing here Bill?” asked Ginny as she walked forward with Hermione, Harry, and William to greet their friends. 

Before Bill could speak, Kingsley decided to answer for him. He knew how delicately the following matters would have to be told. “I’ve asked Bill to join us in order to help sort out some of this mess. He has some information that might prove useful.” 

The five Gryffindors did not know what to make of Bill’s presence but were willing to trust Kingsley’s judgment if it could help them out. 

“Minerva brought me up to speed on the current situation.” continued Kingsley in an unusually serious tone. “But before I help you I need to know who these people are.” 

Before any decisions were made, Harry thought it was best that Kingsley had full knowledge of what this mess really entailed. “That seems fair, don’t you think?” asked Harry turning towards William. “He should know the full story, Professor McGonagall too.” 

“He already knows who they are.” said William in a simple tone. To quell the sudden confusion on the group’s face he faced Kingsley and asked, “Don’t you remember my friends from the Black Forest?” He then handed him the photograph that had started this whole mess. 

“How does he know?!” asked Harry as William turned over the photo. “The only way he could know that is if… you told him!” 

“How long have you known what?” exclaimed McGonagall. She had been left out of the loop from the beginning and had no idea what they were talking about. 

“It’s about my past!” explained William trying to end the confusion. “Kingsley asked me the day before I fought the dragon.” This answer received several incredulous looks. “I thought I would only be telling him.” 

“Well don’t you think we should tell Professor McGonagall now?” suggested Hermione seeking to include the Headmistress in this complex situation. 

William then turned to Kingsley and said, “Would you mind explaining in private later so she knows how this all fits together.” He then turned to Minerva and said, “I’m sorry for not telling you about this sooner. It was not my intention to leave you out, but I don’t like telling that story. When Kingsley tells you then you’ll understand why.” 

“It’s quite alright William.” said McGonagall reassuringly. “It is never easy to include others in matters that are personal.” Everyone could see it in her eyes that she took no offense to this. Not many people could because her words applied to all of them. “If it’s all the same to everyone, I would rather continue on with our current dilemma.”
It was Kingsley who decided to speak first. “If I’m going to help you then there are certain things that I’m going to need to know.” 

“Ok, like what?” replied William who was not sure where Kingsley was going with this.
“I need to know what kind of people your friend’s are.” explained Kingsley as he held up the picture. “A picture like this makes you and they look like you’re going into battle.” Harry and the rest of the Gryffindors had thought the same thing when they first saw the picture. It wasn’t customary for a group of teenagers to be toting around lethal weapons. “I need to know that I’m not just finding a group of criminals who could have been sent back in time as some sort of punishment.” 

That sounded more reasonable than anything they had heard all day. 

“I thought I made it clear what I am in the message I sent you.” replied William who did not like where this was going. “The same applies to them.” 

“And what exactly are you?” asked Harry who was beginning to grow impatient as to what William was keeping from them. 

“I’m something that nobody except for me and Kingsley knows about!” replied William.
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that!” interjected Bill. This took everyone by surprise as he had not spoken a word since he had entered the room. He then walked right up to William and said, “There’s a full moon tonight. I’ve heard werewolves come out in the full moon.” 

Everyone could tell that Bill knew something important seeing as how William’s eyes went wide as he finished his sentence. 

He then questionably replied, “So do Phantoms.” He then took Bill’s hand and shook it as his other hand went around his back to pull him in for a hug. Bill quickly reciprocated this gesture in the same manner. Needless to say, everyone except for Kingsley had no idea what was going on. 

“Excuse my language, but what the hell is going on?” interrupted Harry as William and Bill separated. “And what in the bloody hell is a Phantom?” 

“Yeah really!” added Ron. “I’ve been hearing that word all weekend.” 

Seeing as how he had the most power in the room, Kingsley opted to make the whole mess clear. “If you would all calm down I’ll gladly explain, but I need to know first that we are all in agreement that what is said in this room goes no farther.” He looked around the group and could see that they would have no problem with this as long as they received answers. “Agreed?” 

“Agreed.” They all replied in unison. 

“To answer your second question first Harry,” started Kingsley, “in each Ministry of Magic throughout the world there is a select group of unique individuals that answer only to themselves and their country’s minister. They run autonomously like the Order of the Phoenix. These individuals are part of an age old secret society whose sole purpose is to seek out and detain creatures that threaten our existence. These individuals are known as Phantoms. In short, they hunt werewolves.” He let his words sink in before he continued. 

“Why would you do something like this?” asked Harry who could not fathom why William would live a life like this; a life he said he cherished so much. “Why is it you instead of somebody else?” 

“You know the expression what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” asked William trying to explain himself. “In my case as well as my friends’ that’s not just and expression. The abilities we gained after the Black Forest were ideal for this sort of work. Nobody but us was capable of doing it.” 

“That’s not true.” added Ron. “The Ministry has a Werewolf Capture Unit which is trained to do that kind of job. Why would they need you and your friends?” 

“After the killings in the Black Forest there was a strong resurgence in werewolf activity.” explained William. “More and more of the smarter wolves we encountered started showing up in other countries. Apparently the threat of a cure made them want to increase their ranks. To help combat the threat we, as well as the other kids who gained our unique abilities, were recruited and trained. The Werewolf Capture Unit helped, but we were the main line of defense seeing as how we took on all of the dangerous cases.” 

“If you were so good, how did you stay so secret?” asked Ginny. Usually work like that attracted a lot of attention. 

Being that times were different, William had no idea how to answer this. “Kingsley how many Phantoms were there before this last war broke out?” 

“I was told by the last minister that there were over two thousand worldwide. All of them were recalled to active duty when Voldemort returned.” This widened everyone’s eyes. For a secret force that size to stay hidden was nothing short of a miracle. “Since the war ended the current estimate is 549. Most of them were either killed or disappeared completely.”
“How did you stay below the radar?” asked Harry. “How did you avoid extermination like the Phantoms before you?” 

“Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. About three days out of every month when the moon is full we track and capture werewolves. Any time other than those three days, we’re normal people just like you.” explained William. “Chances are you walk by us every day in the street and see nothing but another face in the crowd. Bill here is the perfect example.” 

It was then that all eyes shifted from William to Bill. He could do nothing but prepare himself for the questions soon to come. 

“So you’re a Phantom too?” asked Ron in a slightly annoyed and angry tone. 

Bill could only nod his head. He hated lying to his siblings but knew that one day he would have to fess up to them. 

“How long?” added Ginny who was just as stunned as everyone else. “I mean, do mum and dad know or Fleur for that matter?” 

“They’ve known since your sixth year Ron. The ministry recruited me after I was attacked by Greyback.” 

“So you’ve just been lying to the rest of us ever since?” asked Ron who was now clearly angry. 

“I didn’t say anything because you, Harry, and Hermione had your own shit to deal with!” Bill needed to show he was serious about this. “You didn’t need to worry about my problems on top of yours. We both had a job to do. All of us did what we thought would end the war. You went out with Harry and Hermione to destroy Horcruxes and I collected information on targets for the real hunters.” 

“You mean you never hunted with them?” asked Ron meekly. His anger gad subsided after what Bill had to say. 

“No, I didn’t. I’m what they call in my and William’s area of work a ‘shadow.’ We give intelligence like locations and names to the hunters.” explained Bill who was glad Ron and Ginny were not as mad as before. “If it helps, I retired the day the war ended.”
“Sorry I yelled.” said Ron as he realized his brother was only doing what he felt was right at the time. At least he got out when he had the opportunity. 

“Me too!” added Ginny who then hugged her brother. She could never stay mad at him.
“Now you see just how real the Circle of Phantoms is.” said William commenting on Bill’s confession. 

“So that’s what you call your organization’s called?” asked Hermione. “You really are stealth because I’ve never heard of it.”
“And that’s saying something!” added Harry. If there was one person who should have known it was Hermione. “So is that what that symbol means?” he asked pointing to the crossed sword and wand mark on top of William’s trunk. 

“No, that’s just an old pureblood crest Pete found when he was doing some research. He thought it would make a nice emblem for our hunting party. Apparently it was really important hundreds of years ago, but now it is all but extinct, kinda like people in my trade.” laughed William. “The only reason our society lasted so long is because we maintain anonymity by sticking to the shadows.” 

“Just how long have your people been around?” asked Ginny. 

“No one knows for sure. The oldest evidence dates back to the mid thirteenth century. Here let me show you.” He then pulled the All-Knowing Almanac back out from his pocket. As he lifted the book his pocket watch fell out from under it. 

Hermione, who was the closest, bent down to pick it up. Upon inspecting the outer frame she reluctantly handed it over to William. 

“Thanks Hermione.” He then opened the book and recited the words to examine the pages. “My buddy Pete had a theory about a former Phantom upon closer inspection of his work. Have any of you ever heard of Dante Alighieri?” 

“Sure.” replied McGonagall. One of her favorite hobbies happened to be medieval literature. “He wrote the Divine Comedy. You don’t think he was a Phantom do you?”
“And a wizard.” continued the young Phantom. “At the very least it explains why he such an understanding of dark creatures.” said William with a smile. “His work showed frequent metaphors and examples of things we encounter. Canto II is a prime example.” The pages then showed the correct chapter. “Here take a look.” He then handed Harry the Almanac. “Start at the middle of the page.”
He then skimmed the page and found the designated section William had marked. Harry then read aloud, “Your soul has been assailed by cowardice, which often weighs so heavily on a man- distracting him from honorable trials- as phantoms frighten beasts when shadows fall.” 

“You have to read the entire book to see just how much he knew about what we do.” explained William as the Harry passed the book on to the rest of the group. 

“I can’t see anything.” exclaimed Kingsley as he took the book from Ginny’s hands. All eyes turned to him in confusion. As each of them moved closer they could see that true to his word the pages were blank.
William then put his hand on the book to see what was going wrong. “This isn’t right. The writing should-” The sudden warmth coming from the pages stopped him in mid sentence. “Did you feel that?” asked William as he turned his gaze from the paper to Kingsley. 

“Yes, I did!” replied the the Minister. “Feel this Professor!”  

As soon as McGonagall's hand touched the paper the warming increased. She then asked for Harry to feel, which only caused the warm sensation to increase yet again. One by one they all put a hand to the paper until finally Bill was left. 

As soon as his hand touched the parchment, a bright light consumed the entire room. When it finally faded, the group found themselves in a different room altogether, far from their previous location.

A/N: So tell me what you think. I had a long time to consider just what to put in this chapter. By the way, that excerpt from Dante's Inferno is a direct quote from Canto II. This chapter was going to be alot longer so I decided to split it. The second part should be up as soon as this one is approved. Please tell me what you think so far!

Chapter 14: Set in Stone
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Sorry for the lateness in this chapter. I've had some family and academic things to deal with and it's been utter hell. I apologize again. On another note, I know some fans have been saying that these stories mostly focus on William and not Harry. Harry needed 7 books to explain his life. I can only explain William over the course of several chapters. The later chapters will defintely focus more on Harry. Thank you for your patience.

“What just happened?” asked Ginny expressing  the general confusion and anxiety that they all shared. “What in the name of Merlin was that bright flash?!” 

Harry was the first to question his surroundings upon taking a closer look. “You guys, where are we?” 

Considering the surroundings, they could have been in a number of different places. The stone of the walls was too common and the there were no windows to look out of and establish a location. The fact that there were no lights on didn’t help either. 

“If we had some light to see then maybe we could find out!” exhaled Ron as he fished his wand out of his robes. “Lumos!” The dark let up somewhat as Ron found himself standing next to a thick wooden table. 

The light from his wand was joined by the light from every other wands after seeing his logic. Now that things were reasonably lit they could see a general outline of the room. A large wooden door remained closed on the far side of the room. There was just one table at the center and each wall had a long bench leaning against it.

The aspect of the room that intrigued them the most was not the furniture, but the 6 people tied up next to each other on one of the benches. 

The girls let out a frightened squeal as they caught sight of the people bound with black bags over their heads. The boys however moved closer to the group of prisoners to see if maybe they could tell them where they were. 

“Excuse me!” said Harry almost in a frightened tone not expecting what to find as he moved closer to them. When they didn’t reply or respond physically, Harry reached out to get their attention by tapping one of them on the shoulder. When his hand passed through their shoulder, they all knew that this wasn’t really happening. 

“It’s a memory!” exclaimed Harry. It was the only possible explanantion.
“Excuse me Harry?” exclaimed Kingsley. “Did I hear you right?” 

“It’s a memory. Just like in Riddle’s diary in my second year.” Having experience with this before, Harry was sure this was what was happening. “This already happened in William’s future and the book had knowledge of it. For some reason, the book decided to show us something it thought we should see. William does any of this look familiar?” 

“No.” replied William as he took a look at his surroundings. “I’ve never been here before. This can’t be one of my memories.” 

“Then whose is it?” asked Harry. As if the universe was trying to answer him, the door across the room suddenly opened to reveal solitary figure. The figure then flicked its wand, which then lit up an unseen chandelier at the center of the ceiling. It was then made clear whose memory this was as the person stepped into the light. 

“It’s mine!” exclaimed Kingsley as he took a look at his older self. Twenty four years older to be precise. The only noticeable differences were the graying hair and a walking cane. If it weren’t for the shock of seeing another version of himself, Kingsley would’ve voiced his happiness that he was still alive and in good health. “This has to be my memory.” 

The older Kingsley then walked over to where the group was convened, except he passed right through them and stood before the six captives. He then promptly removed the bag from the captive on the far right. 

“Pete!” exclaimed William as he saw his friend’s face appear from under the black hood. The group shared the same shock as well. 

“What the hell’s going on Kingsley?” asked Pete in an angry tone. 

Instead of answering him, the older Kingsley took the other hoods off. One by one the all revealed someone William knew. First it was Pete, then Isabella, Declan, Darius, Paul, until there only one hooded figure left. 

As the older Kingsley removed the last hood, the group looked in shock toward William. He did not see them looking at him in wonder. The only thing he saw was a slightly younger version of himself sitting next to his friends. 

“I thought you said you’d never been here before?” said Harry as his eyes shifted between the two Williams. 

“I haven’t, I mean I thought I haven’t!” exclaimed William trying to figure out this whole mess. “Maybe I have, but I honestly don’t remember it! Does that make any sense?” 

Rather than answer his question, all of the eyes shifted back to the scene unraveling before them. 

“What’s going on Kingsley?” asked Peter yet again as he and the rest of his friends tore off the rest of their bonds and stood up. “We were set up weren’t we?” 

“There’s no time to explain!” answered older Kingsley as he removed several items from his pockets. From the looks of it, there were 5 shrunken chests much like William’s, a satin cloth, and a very old looking Time-Turner.
“Well make time to explain goddamnit!” exclaimed younger William as he fixed his clothes. “This whole assignment was a set up from the word go.” 

“Yeah,” added Declan who was helping Isabella out of her ankle bonds. “Our Shadow told us that a group of Redeemers were planning on stealing a shield from one of the medieval exhibits in the Museum of Magic. We were told that all we had to do was catch them in the act and leave them for the guards to find.”
“The only problem,” continued Isabella after finally being cut free, “was that the only thing we found was two dead Redeemers and a group of Aurors waiting for us. That sounds like a set up to me Kingsley.” 

“There were only two people who knew about our task besides us.” deduced Pete trying to find a grip on the moment. “There was our Shadow and you. You’re the only one who could arrange something like that.” 

The older Kingsley finally relented to their questions and accusations. “You’re right. I did set you up. But the threat of the shield’s theft was legitimate.” This was met by numerous obscenities and sighs, as the idea of preventing a robbery was little consolation for their current predicament. “You have to understand, I was doing this for your own good.” 

“How is this for our own good Kingsley?” shouted Paul. “They think we’re traitors and murderers now and correct me if I’m wrong but the penalty for those crimes is death or worse; life in Azkaban or Tartarus!” 

“That won’t happen because I’m sending you into hiding.” replied the older Kingsley as he then removed five sets of manacles from his bag. 

“Where exactly are you sending us to?” asked the younger William as he moved closer to look at the manacles. 

“I’m sorry my friend but you’re not going with them.” Before William could reply Kingsley hit him with a spell. “Obliviate!” He then performed another spell to keep him unconscious. 

“What have you done?” exclaimed Isabella as she kneeled down to check the younger William.
“This may not make any sense but I had previous knowledge of what transpired tonight and in the coming days.” said the older Kingsley who was not feeling to good about erasing his friends memories of that night. “What happens tonight was planned many years ago. You each have a part to play in your own futures and for the fate of the world this needs to happen.” 

“What, did you consult a seer or something?” quipped Peter thinking how ridiculous this was sounding. 

“Yes, I did.” replied the older Kingsley. If what was happening was true, then the younger Kingsley knew just what he was talking about. “What I am about to do, Darius foresaw a few days ago.” 

All of their eyes then turned toward the younger African gentleman. “Yes, it’s true. I saw what was about to happen and believe me it would only get worse if I had warned you. Believe me when I say that it is in our best interests to not be here when Tartarus falls.” 

This came as a shock to the group. It was as if all of their hard work had come back to bite them. Though, they could not argue that taking shelter from the coming storm was better than being in its path. That much was certain.
“Are you sure about that Ghost?” asked Declan rather angrily. “Is everything you see set in stone?” 

“You love Isabella don’t you?” asked Darius in an accent very similar to Kingsley’s. He did not need Declan’s reply to know the answer. “If I hadn’t done anything then all of us, including her, would be dead within the next few weeks. I’ve seen every possible ending and believe me, this is the only way we survive.”
“What exactly are we going to do?” asked Peter who was getting nervous about the familiar objects laid out on the table. “And what do those have to do with anything?” said the angry young man pointing to the manacles. 

“I’m sorry but I have to put these on you.” said older Kingsley as he handed each of them a set along with their personal shrunken trunk. “You do know what they’re for, right?” 

“We should.” said Isabella. “I know I do because I designed them.” The day she was commissioned to create a way of securing dangerous wizards was fresh in her mind as she held the metal cuffs. Now that she was putting them on herself, she wished to Merlin that she had never even dreamed them up. 

She then slowly put on the manacles considering what this would mean for the future. If Darius’ prophecy was right, which it always was, then this would have to be the right course of action. 

“Are you telling me that this is so serious that you need to strip us of our magic?” exclaimed Pete as he held the manacles. 

“You’ll still have magic but you won’t be able to use. The manacles render it inert until they are taken off with this key. You’ll be completely radar invisible to any magical detection.” said Kingsley holding up the small iron key. “To the rest of the world you’ll just be regular Muggles. This is the best way for you to blend in and stay safe.”
“When will they be removed?’ asked Paul as he reluctantly slid pair on. He had thought of what it would be like to not have magic many times throughout his life. Now that this fantasy was coming true, it didn’t seem so great.
“You will eventually get your magic back but it’s hard to say when considering where you’ll be sent. I mean, when you’ll be sent.” replied older Kingsley as he held up the Time-Turner. The collective sighs and curses could only say how they all felt. “I’ll need you wands as well.” 

One by one each of them came up and placed their wand on the satin cloth Kingsley had laid out and exchanged it for a set of manacles. This was no easy task as each of them had lived and died by the wand since that night nearly 5 years before. 

“How far back?” asked Declan as he slid on his manacles. He felt somewhat responsible for what was happening. Although the original idea wasn’t his, his skills as a magical blacksmith made it possible to produce these chains of torment. 

“32 years.” exhaled the older Kingsley. “When you go back all that I ask is you stay out of the way. You all should still have your Onyx keys so money and supplies should be no problem. The one thing that you need to promise me you’ll do is let the past play out the way it was meant to. When the time is right a warrior will be sent back to seek you out by his own free will. He will hold the keys to your magic and release it when the time comes. You must let him come to you, not vice versa. You can only reveal your presence.” This request was met with a nod from each of them although they had no idea how far away that would be. 

“What about our families?” asked Paul expressing the group’s concern. This question didn’t apply to him personally because his father could care less about what happened to him. Ever since he remarried, Paul seemed to be a shadow compared to his new wife and child. At least, that was the way his father saw it. “What will you tell them?” 

“They will know that you are innocent and will see them again one day, but as for the rest of the world they will think you’re dead.” It was a price to pay to be dead to the world, but in doing so they would be the only hope in saving it. 

“I’m not going anywhere without my brother!” exclaimed Peter in a sudden realization as he slid the cuffs on his wrists. Even if these manacles took away his magic, he was still the most qualified to care for the only family he had left. “If he’s gonna be safe then it’ll be with me!”
“I thought you might say that, so I took the liberty of bringing him here.” With a flick of the wand, the door opened and a young secretary of Kingsley’s brought in the young boy. To Harry’s group it looked as if he was taken right from his bed considering he was half asleep, still in his pajamas, and clutching a teddy bear. Peter then quickly scooped him up into his arms. 

“I need to activate the manacles now.” said the older Kingsley holding out his wand. 

Each of them put their hands before him thinking about what they future had in store without magic. “Panosisto!” The manacles then sunk into their skin like William’s tattoos. Although they each looked the same, they could not help but feel somewhat incomplete without their magic. 

“Why is he staying?” asked Isabella pointing to younger William’s body which was still unconscious.
“It was prophesized that he will play a major role in the coming days. As far as tonight is concerned he was never there, just like Scorpios and Ellie.” He could see the concern on their faces and said, “Trust me, he will be safe. You’ll see him again one day.” The older Kingsley then held up the ancient Time-Turner and spun the dial opening a temporary portal.

“Where will we go?” asked Declan. Even though he was glad he was alive he was terrified of the unknown days ahead.
“How about America?” suggested Isabella who held Declan close by. “I hear Merlin’s Circle is really nice. Who knows? The rest of the world is open to us.” 

With the small amount of hope they shared, each of them stepped through the portal until it was only Peter, Virgil, Darius and Kingsley left. 

Before stepping through, Kingsley gave Darius a tight hug. “You take care of yourself kid.” 

“You do the same old man.” laughed Darius. And just like his nick-namesake, he was gone. The two McElroys and Kingsley were the only ones left. 

“Would you mind giving this to Doc?” asked Peter holding out the Almanac to Kingsley. “I think he’ll need this.” 

“I’ll make sure that he gets it.” replied older Kingsley as he took the book. “Stay out of harm’s way Mac.” 

“I’ll try.” exclaimed Peter producing the only smile he could muster. 

As he stepped toward the portal, the young boy over his shoulder temporarily woke from his sleep and asked, “W-w-w-where are w-w-we going P-P-Pete?”
“We’re going on a trip Little Bear. A nice long trip.” And as soon as he crossed the threshold, he was gone. 

The older Kingsley then stood alone in the room standing before his fallen comrade. He then reached inside the boy’s coat and removed the black onyx key. Kingsley had no idea how he would explain all of this to his young friend, but as he gazed into the Almanac an idea suddenly occurred to him. 

He then placed the key to the manacles as well as William’s onyx key inside the book and muttered an incantation. The book then consumed the keys until they were gone. 

He then put his wand to his forehead and removed a silvery strand that the group could only assume was a memory. When the older Kingsley placed it into the book, they knew it was that memory they were seeing. 

Before they could harp on these thoughts another bright flash filled the room. Upon opening their eyes they could see that they were back in the Room of Requirement, back in their own time. 

After realizing this wasn’t just another phase of the memory, they all decided to consult the one source of information that could explain what they had just seen. Unfortunately, his mind was very preoccupied. 

While the others were standing on their own two feet and looking his way, William had to take a seat because his thoughts were going in all directions. The story he had been told and the assumptions he had made came crashing down in a matter of moments. Everything that he had believed regarding his friends since that fateful night was nothing more than an elaborate act. 

“William?” asked Harry as he kneeled beside his friend. “Are you ok?” He knew without asking that he wasn’t. Everything William had said on the docks weeks before about knowing what it was like to lose the ones he loved began to make sense to Harry. That feeling of loneliness was all too familiar to both of these young men. It was by fate however, that each of them was getting a second chance at being with the ones they loved. 

“I-I don’t know!” replied the shaken young man as he held his head in his hands. “Everything they told me was a lie. I don’t know what to make of it all.” 

Kingsley in part felt that he should feel guilty for what happened to William and his friends. Then again, if it hadn’t happened yet and he could make sure it wouldn’t. “I’m so sorry William” said Kingsley as he put down the Almanac on the trunk and moved to his side. 

“For what?” exclaimed William as he stood up defiantly. “For taking my friends away? For making me believe that they were dead? For leaving me alone when I needed them most?” Kingsley and the rest of the group were taken aback by William’s outburst. “I’m sorry Kingsley.” apologized William after realizing Kingsley had no idea what was done. “That was uncalled for. You didn’t know.” 

“If it makes any difference William, it doesn’t have to happen.” suggested Kingsley. It was true that it didn’t have to happen. From his point of view, the future wasn’t set in stone. 

“He’s right!” exclaimed Hermione. She too had caught onto Kingsley’s idea. “You could always make certain corrections.” 

“Isn’t that what got us into this whole situation?” suggested Ron. It seems he was the only one who had paid attention to the prophecy mentioned in the memory. “Kingsley, you said, well the older you said, that William’s friend made a prophecy. You followed that and changed their fate by saving their lives. If they had followed a different path, then they, including William, would be dead.” 

It had not occurred to any of them that maybe they were shown that memory for a purpose and that everything that had happened to William’s friends was meant to be. Even if they wanted to make what they assumed were corrections they could not argue that lives had been saved with this course of action. 

“He’s right!” said William solemnly. “What Kingsley did was for the best.” These words were not easy for him considering the days after his friends had been taken away, but the hope of seeing them again outweighed the sadness he felt. 

“How can you say that William?” exclaimed Harry who could not believe what his friend was saying. “No offense Kingsley, but their magic was taken away and they were sent back through time. How is that fair in any way?” 

“It’s fair because he saved them from a worse fate!” explained William. “He saved them from death after the fall of Tartarus.” It was all coming together now. He was finally seeing the logic in Kingsley’s future plan. 

“Just what is Tartarus William?” asked Ginny. This was a place that neither she nor anyone else in the room was familiar with. The memory made mention of it but nothing more. 

“It’s a very secure prison, that only a handful of people know about.” explained William. “I’m not too keen on the details, but it should be built sometime in the next few years. Care to explain further Kingsley?” 

All eyes were on the minister at this point. “Frankly I’m amazed you even know about this William. I was only presented the plans a week ago.” It was still just an idea, but now it would apparently be a reality sometime in the near future. 

“A multinational council of foreign ministers including myself decided to rethink security at the end of the war. Merlin knows we could have done without all of those prison breaks in the last few years. Anyway, we formulated an idea to create a prison in neutral territory so secure that not even Sirius Black could escape.” said Kingsley upon realizing that was a tender spot for him. “Sorry Harry.” 

“It’s alright Kingsley.” replied Harry. Instead of being sad he chose to reflect on the good times. “He always had a knack for getting out of tight spots.” 

“You can say that again!” exclaimed Kingsley. “The guards at Azkaban are still trying to figure out how he escaped.” This gave everybody a good laugh. “Well moving on, we decided that we needed a facility so secure and remote that escape would be a fruitless effort. We established several security measures like 23 hour lockdown, no visitors or mail, complete isolation from the outside world. The most important security measure is that it stays a secret kept by a select group of people.” They could all see what Kingsley was getting at. “I trust that none of you will say anything?” 

They all nodded their heads in agreement. Looking back on the day so far it seemed that they were just being handed government secrets. 

“Just how did you know about it?” Harry asked William but soon saw his error when considering William’s job. “Wait, let me guess. This is the place where they dump all the werewolves you don’t kill?” 

Rather than correct Harry, he simply decided to answer the question. “Only the ones that are really dangerous are sent there. We only knew they were sent to Tartarus, but they never told us where exactly it is. You have to tell me Kingsley! I’ve wondered for years.” 

Since the cat was already out of the bag, he had no problem answering. “We decided the most remote location is the Sahara Desert beneath the sands.” 

“I knew it had to be underground!” exclaimed William. “I knew you guys would spare no expense in hiding the prison. There’s no cities around for hundreds of miles; just an endless sea of dunes and poisonous animals. You picked a good name too. It’s only natural that the worst of the worst stay in prison deep within the belly of the earth. Just like how the gods of Greek myth imprisoned the Titans.” 

“Escape would also be futile.” added McGonagall commenting on the brilliance of the idea. “Even if a prisoner did make it to the surface they would still be stranded in the middle of nowhere, unless they apparated of course.” 

“We already thought of that!” exclaimed Kingsley. “We’re going to place anti-apparition jinxes five hundred miles in every direction. The fastest human would die under the sun before they even covered half the distance away from the prison.” 

The group was amazed at how secure this prison sounded. It seemed as if the planners and designers had covered every angle to ensure maximum security. 

Seeing that they were clearly amazed, Kingsley decided to consult William to see if his handiwork stood up to what he and his cohorts believed to be a golden idea. “So how did we do? I mean, does it stand up to its reputation in the future?” 

William wished he could tell Kingsley what he wanted to hear, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The prison itself was partly why he was sent back. “Well first I must say that it’s one of the Wizarding world’s best kept secrets.” 

“Why do I feel a ‘but’ coming on?” added Ron who could detect William was hiding something. 

“But,” continued William much to the chagrin of Kingsley and the rest of the group, “there is only going to be one breakout.” 

“When?” asked Kingsley hoping there was a chance he could prevent it. 

“Two weeks after the memory you just saw.” replied William recounting the events he knew so vividly. “It was about a month before I was sent back.” 

“How did it happen?” asked Harry trying to wrap his mind around how someone escapes from the most secure prison ever built. “I mean, was it an internal escape or did the prisoners have outside help?” Kingsley as well as the rest of the group was eager to know. 

“We know now that they had help from the outside.” replied William as he remembered the day he was recalled to active duty. 

“How’s that?” asked Ron. “What exactly makes you say it was outside help?” 

“Well first you need to know the events leading up to the escape.” This was not a particular line of events that William liked to explain, but for them to understand the story had to be told. “The day after we were set up I woke up in my bed here. Professor McGonagall told me that I had gotten sick the night before and was confined to the hospital wing of the school.” Minerva could not help but feel that she played a part in this whole scheme. 

“Of course I had remembered that I had an assignment the night before with my friends. After I contacted Kingsley he told me what had supposedly happened. I got the same story from my friends’ parents with the exception of Scorpios. He had stopped hunting the month before.” He could not help but give Kingsley an angry stare even though he knew the plan was for his own good. “So there I was, alone again.” He then wiped the tears from his eyes after the sad recollection. 

“The scene at the museum reeked of conspiracy and my friends were smarter than that. They’d just as soon kill two people and try to steal some shield as soon as Hermione would fail a test.” They all could not help but laugh at this example. 

“Anyway, I decided to get in touch with some of my Phantom brethren that I had worked with over the years. I told them to watch their backs because I felt like there was something in the works.” 

“Something happened, didn’t it?” asked Ginny. “Something that I’m guessing led to the breakout at Tartarus.” 

“Damn, that’s faster than anybody, including me, put it together.” said William who was clearly impressed. “Two weeks after my friends were sent back the Ministries, coincidentally” The group could gather that nothing about it was coincidental.”The same Ministries that built Tartarus were offered a truce by the ruling packs of the werewolf nation. They accepted it without hesitation.” William knew how crazy this sounded but it was God’s honest truth. 

“That doesn’t make any sense!” declared Harry. “Why would they accept a deal from the same people who killed your friends in the Black Forest? What could they possibly offer?” Everyone else was wondering the same thing. 

“They were offering peace under the full moon, provided we stop hunting them.” exhaled William. “Would you turn down a chance to have to never fight again?” None of them could honestly say no and William knew it by the expressions on their faces. “I didn’t think so.” 

After reflecting on the subject some more, Harry came to a conclusion William had yet to reveal. “I guess that you and your friends were obsolete after that? I mean there’s no fight if your enemy wants peace.” 

“Yes, of course.” exclaimed Ginny who was having the same thoughts. “What did you do after that? You couldn’t hunt if you had no prey so to speak.” 

“That’s how it pretty much occurred. One day we’re just doing our job and the next the Ministry tells us to piss off because the war’s over. Excuse my language.” 

“I can understand all of this!” added Hermione. “But what does that have to do with the break out?” 

“It turns out the truce was just a rouse to get our guard down. The Circle of Phantoms was no longer under the protection of the ministries and like so neither were the Phantoms each country employed. In the weeks between the truce and the breakout, somehow the werewolves got a copy of the Master Key.” 

“What’s the Master Key?” asked Ron. “I’m going to assume it doesn’t open the master lock.” His laughter was cut short when he found that neither Kingsley nor William was smiling. 

“The Master Key is a list of all known Phantoms currently employed by every Ministry of Magic.” said Kingsley saving William the trouble. “So that means the werewolves had the name of every recently active Phantom in the world at their disposal. How did they get the list?” asked the Minister realizing the implications this had. 

“At this point I still have no idea. I’m assuming it was most likely Scorpios because as a Phantom he had access to the list.” answered William remembering his once close friend. “We didn’t realize the list had gotten out until it was too late. Overnight they had attacked and killed nearly half of the Phantoms on it. The people I had warned were still alive as well as the people they had told. The last time I checked before I was sent back was that they were still in hiding.” 

Looking back, William was sure he had saved as many lives as he could. “Within the two weeks after that, nearly all of the other Phantoms had been either killed or gone missing.” 

“After recovering the bodies of several of my fallen comrades, the Ministry had found that a number of them were tortured before they were killed.” The thought of torture made each of them shudder in one way or another. It was most noticeable in Hermione’s case as she let out the loudest gasp. That night in Malfoy Manor was something she would never forget, but her friends would do their best to comfort her whenever she was shaken by that horrible memory. 

“It turns out that before they were killed an extensive amount of memories were removed from them. We could only assume at the time they were looking for information on other Phantoms, but after the breakout in Tartarus we knew what they were really hoping to find.” continued William. 

Like Kingsley’s plan, one had to step back in order to see the depth of its influence. “It turns out that a number of them had directly escorted captured werewolves to Tartarus before.” It finally made sense as to how they found the prison. “They had the prison’s exact address in their memories. The guards must have forgot to erase their memories once they left. We didn’t figure it out until more than half of the wolves we had captured, including Greyback, were freed to walk in the full moon again.” 

From the way William had told this story, it seemed that he and his friends had fought a very formidable adversary. The person or people who executed this plan had covered nearly every angle to a genius level. As to how William slipped by was nothing short of a miracle, or just dumb luck. 

“How come you were able to avoid being killed?” asked Harry who was curious as to how William had escaped the fate of his fellow Phantoms. “Why didn’t they find you?” 

“They didn’t find me because after the museum incident my friends and I were taken off of active duty. Technically, we were no longer Phantoms!” replied William who was beginning to see the logic in Kingsley’s plan. “That means we were no longer on the Master key!” 

In that moment it suddenly came to Harry as to why Kingsley had erased William’s memories and sent his friends back in time. The pieces finally fitted together. “Of course, that’s it! That’s why you sent them back Kingsley! That was the vision Darius told you about.” 

As soon as Harry spoke, it had all hit them like a ton of bricks. William’s survival and his friends’ journey to the past had nothing to do with miracles or dumb luck. Kingsley’s future knowledge of the events, the current conversation, was what kept all of them alive. By some odd twist of fate, the past, present, and future had all come together. 

“It all makes sense now!” continued Harry. “The memory, Virgil coming to see us, William explaining his past happened for a reason. All of this was planned so William and his friends could save us and prevent whatever the Redeemers started in his time.” 

Each of them, William included, was surely convinced now that what had happened to him and his friends was all for the best. The feelings of guilt that Kingsley had placed on his heart were now completely gone and instead replaced with feelings of victory over the lives he had saved. 

After a moment of considering the importance of what had been seen and shared, it was William who spoke first. “Just for your own clarification, it wasn’t the Redeemers who orchestrated the breakout or the deaths of the Phantoms. They were hired wands working for the man pulling all of the strings. They hoped to get in with the real mastermind by killing the three of you.” said William pointing to Harry, Ron, and Hermione. 

“So who is this mastermind anyway?” asked Ginny in confusion. “Who’s the one coming back that you’re supposed to protect us from?” 

“Yeah, what exactly are we dealing with?” added Harry. It was like putting another challenge in front of them. “I want to know exactly who’s coming to try and kill me!” 

“We don’t know.” replied William considering what they needed to know and what they needed to hear. “The only thing that we do know is that it’s someone unknown in the werewolf ranks, somebody no one’s ever seen before.” This had taken everyone by surprise. It seemed they were dealing with a more formidable adversary than William was letting on.
“I wouldn’t worry about it though,” continued William. “My friends and I have fought their kind before and we can do it again. I just need you to find them first.” He then pointed to Kingsley. 

“What do you need from me?” asked the Minister trying to figure out how he could help William. 

“I need your foreign connections and use of the Registry to find my friends.” 

“Of course!” exclaimed Kingsley. “That should be no problem at all. I know most of the foreign ministers through our meetings on the Tartarus project.” 

William was relieved that Kingsley had good enough connections to conduct a thorough search. With any luck they could be found as soon as possible. 
“What information do you have that I can work with? Do you know anything about where they might be?” 

“All I know is that Peter and Virgil are in Merlin’s Circle. The others would stick close by so the worst case scenario would be New York.” exclaimed William. He was finally getting his friends back. 

“New York as in the United States?” asked Kingsley with a look on his face that the rest of the group could interpret as a problem. 

“Yes, is there a problem?” 

“It seems that all of our foreign relations with the U.S. have been suspended for the time being. We need to figure out a few mishaps in our trading.” He could see the disappointment on William’s face but his hands were tied at the moment. 

“So I have to wait because somebody screwed up the books at the bank?” The anger was clearly evident in his voice, but all of them knew it was justified. 

“No!” replied Kingsley who wanted William to know just why relations had been put on hold. “It’s because we have to figure out how illegal substances are getting into the country.” 

“What are you talking about Kingsley?” asked Harry. “What does that have to do with finding William’s friends?” 

“Well,” began Kingsley. “We received an anonymous tip today that there had been a disturbance on a Muggle cargo ship at the London Docks. We quickly investigated and found two stunned Death Eaters on board in the ship’s hold.” 

“Death Eaters?” asked Harry who was stunned that they were still active. “What would they be doing on a Muggle ship?” 

“Some of my friends in the Auror Department think they were just making sure whatever they were bringing in was safe.” explained Kingsley. “They were low level enforcers working for the big fish. Hopefully when we get them to talk they’ll say who they’re working for. After that we’ll just find them and grab whoever we can.” 

This seemed like a pretty straight forward plan to all of them. They had to first catch the little fish before they could move onto the bigger ones. The sooner that happened the sooner all of them could sleep better knowing the threat had been contained. Still, there was one thing that didn’t make sense. 

“Now, you said ‘whatever they were bringing in.’ You don’t know what it is?” asked Hermione. “If you don’t know what it is then how do you know it’s illegal?”
“Hello!” exclaimed Ron. “These are Death Eaters we’re talking about. Their general existence is illegal!” With Ron putting it so bluntly, Hermione as well as the rest of them understood what he was saying. 

“True.” remarked Harry, “But you still don’t know what it is. Why don’t you just tear the ship apart and find whatever they were there for?” 

“We already found it or them as I should say.” replied Kingsley. “The person who called in the tip said to take a closer look at a container on the starboard side marked with a red x. They also said not to rush when looking at its contents.”
“And?” asked the group simultaneously. 

“And when we opened it up we found five unmarked oil drums. A revealing charm showed us that each of them is protected by at least a thirty curses that’ll take affect if anyone tries to open them. Aurors are working on removing them as we speak. They should be safe to open within the week. Whoever called us knew what they were doing.” 

They amazement was evident in his tone as well as everyone else’s stair. 

“Excuse me!” William interrupted. “I’m happy that you stopped this threat before it moved any further, but I don’t what this has to do with finding my friends.” 

“I’ve talked with the American Minister already today to try and assess how long this has been going on. We’ve already found from the ship’s records that its port of origin is New York City.” 

Suddenly it became clear as to why it would be so hard to find William’s friends. 

“The American Minister has diverted a good portion of her resources to find whoever is working with the Death Eaters. She’s using the Registry to narrow down the search and hopefully figure out who is the supplier. It’s going to take some time before the Registry is available again.” explained Kingsley. 

“How long before you can access the American Registry?” asked William. 

“The best estimate I can make is a three months but if I call in a few favors I can have their locations in two at the very least. Are you prepared to wait that long William?” 

“They waited 8 years for me. I think it’s the least I can do to wait 2 months for them.” 

“Very well then!” replied Kingsley who greatly admired William’s loyalty toward his friends. “I’ll get to work on this immediately. All I need now is their names.” 

“Peter and Virgil McElroy,” started William. “Isabella Chase, Declan Fowler, Darius Kane, and Paul Toro.” finished the young man who was now hopeful toward what tomorrow would bring. 

“May I ask what you plan on doing when we find them?” asked Kingsley.
William had not put much thought into this, but after looking down onto the Almanac sitting on his trunk he knew exactly what he would do. “I’m going to find them and give them their magic back.” He then showed the group the two keys resting on the opened pages of the Almanac. “And if all goes well we’re going to finish the task set before us and go home.” 

When William first told them all about the potential threat that awaited them at some point during the year they were at first very worried. As time went by, after seeing his abilities, that worry seemed to decrease. Now that he was telling them that there were 6 more people of his background, their fears were all but gone. 

William then placed the Almanac back into his trunk but not before removing something he had not worn for quite some time. As he stood up and faced the group they could all see the gold chained emblem he and his friends had adorned years before. “Is that all you need?” 

“That’s all for now.” replied Kingsley as he finished jotting down the names on his notepad. “I’ll have to report back to the Wizengamot with this news.” 

“Do you think we could just leave them out of this?” asked William who was hoping Kingsley knew what he was getting at. “It’s bad enough that they know I’m here.” 

“He’s right Kingsley!” added Harry. “They don’t have any business with his friends.” 

“Harry you don’t understand!” replied the minister. “I have a duty to report back to the Wizengamot with any new information regarding William.” 

“No, I don’t think you understand Kingsley. You said before that Phantoms only answer to their country’s minister.” Kingsley could now see just what Harry was getting at. “The Wizengamot literally has no business with William’s friends. Besides, I think you owe him one after telling him his friends were dead.” 

Considering what had been said this was the least he could do for William. “I’ll keep it quiet then. No one outside this room will know anything about the matter concerning your friends. I will keep you in the loop if we gain any more information from the American Registry.” 

“Thank you Kingsley!” replied William as he reached out and shook his hand. “Do you need anything else from me right now or can I go.” 

“Yes, William you can go.” added Professor McGonagall. She could not read minds but she knew this boy needed time alone to process everything he had just learned. “If you need anything please come by my office.” 

“I’ll be sure to do that.” He had planned on taking some time to be alone, but Harry first needed to know a few things. 

“I still have some questions about what you and the rest of your friends do.” stated Harry as William picked up his owl cage. “I think you owe us that much.” 

“Do you really want to have this conversation right now?” asked William who was clearly not in the mood to talk about his hunting trips. 

Seeing that Harry was not going to back down, William instead opted to give him an understanding of what he and his friends had accomplished. The only thing he needed now was to find the tool necessary to do that. 

“What are you doing?” asked Harry as William rummaged through his trunk. “What are you looking for in there?” 

“Something that’ll keep you from jumping to conclusions!” replied William as he found the book in question, which was then tossed to Harry. “Take a look through that and later let me know if you still feel the same way about what my friends and I do.” 

He then packed up the rest of his belongings and made for the door, but not before shaking Kingsley, McGonagall, and Bill’s hands for their help. 

“Are you still in contact with any of the surviving Phantoms?” asked William pulling Bill to the side. As a former Shadow it was possible that he still had some idea of who was left standing. 

“I only had contact with a few Phantoms for about a week after the Battle of Hogwarts. I don’t know how much good I could do you.” replied Bill. 

“I just needed to know if you had any idea where Feral might be.” 

Bill was amazed William knew that name because frankly he believed Feral would have kept his promise to stay gone after the war. He made that abundantly clear the last time he saw Bill. “To tell you the truth, you have a better chance of seeing Merlin before you see him anytime soon.” 

“Well you never know.” laughed William. In truth, he knew this was a distinct possibility. When Feral set his mind on doing something it was accomplished. He was a man of his word. “Just keep your eyes and ears open.” 

“I’ll see what I can do. Who knows, he might come out of hiding when he discovers he’s not the only Phantom left in the world.” Bill knew Feral quite well too. Though he could be stubborn he was notoriously curious. 

With those reassuring words, William took his leaves. Time in solitude would do him some good. There were many things he needed to consider; things that changed his entire plan concerning his time in the past as well as the future.

A/N: So what do you think? Let me know. The next chapter will deal more with the nature of William's job as a Phantom. It's nearly done so it should be out soon. Thank you again for reading and reviews are greatly appreciated!

Chapter 15: Why We Fight
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: Here is another installment for all my loyal fans! After this chapter the story will progress further and move on to other fun things like quidditch, dragon's blood, and long lost friends. I hope you enjoy it!

Even though most of his questions had been answered, Harry still had a few things he needed to know about William. He had to admit the thought of this young man hunting werewolves disturbed him to some degree. He could not help but think he received some amount of pleasure from taking revenge on the creatures that scarred him.

Before he could consider this notion any further, he returned his attention to the book in his hands. William seemed very confident in its ability to show him just what his job as a Phantom entailed. Rather than look at it now, he needed to take a break from the overload of information. All he needed now was time with his friends.

“So what happens now?” asked Harry as he returned to the conversation with Kingsley and McGonagall. “Where do we go from here?”

“Nearest I can tell,” began Kingsley. “I’ll head back to the Ministry and start the necessary steps with the American Registry. Then I’m going to see what progress the Auror Department has made with the cargo container.”

“Is there anything that we can do to help you?” asked Ron.

“Just keep an eye on William for me. He’s been through a lot for one day.” said Kingsley who was genuinely concerned about his young friend. Even though this was all part of some master plan 25 years in the making, he could not help but feel guilty for tricking him into thinking his friends were dead.

“We’ll make sure he’s fine.” added Hermione who was also worried about her friend.

“That’s good to know.” If there were people he could trust to get something done, it was them. “As for the other matter concerning the cargo ship I’ll keep you posted. Besides, I think there is someone in the castle who could enlighten us on Death Eater affairs.”

By the looks on their faces, Kingsley could see that they knew just who he was talking about. “I think I’ll take my leave now. I should see you all again sometime in the next week.”

“I’ll walk you out Kingsley.” replied McGonagall who then took her leave as well.

The only ones left in the room were Harry, Hermione, and the 3 Weasleys. After learning of Bill’s secret career, Harry thought that it was probably best to leave him alone with his siblings.

“We’ll just wait outside while the three of you talk, okay?” asked Harry as he and Hermione motioned toward the door.

“Sure Harry.” answered Ginny smiling that wonderful smile he loved so much. “We’ll be along shortly.”

Harry and Hermione had only been waiting two minutes before asking the question that had been on his mind for the past few hours. “So do you think he’s dangerous?”

“Anyone with a wand can be dangerous Harry!” replied Hermione knowing just who he was talking about.

“You know that’s not what I mean.”

Hermione had been having the same thoughts, but her conclusions were slightly more grounded than his. “I wouldn’t go as far as calling him dangerous but I would definitely say he could easily defend himself. I’m sure it takes a different kind of wizard to do what he does.”

“What do you mean?” asked Harry.

“Think about it Harry! Remember that night we saw Lupin transform for the first time?”Many aspects about that night had happened very fast but Harry would never forget seeing one of his favorite professors turn into a werewolf.

“All I remember was adrenaline flowing like a waterfall and running for my life. I’m sure you felt that same feeling; being hunted by something that could easily kill you.”

“Now imagine making a career out of that but instead you’re the hunter.”

“I’d be scared out of my mind if that was my job.” exclaimed Harry trying to imagine himself hunting werewolves. “Why does he do it?”
“Why don’t you open that book he gave you and find out?”

“That’s what I’m afraid of.” whispered Harry sinking down to sit next to Hermione. “I keep trying to figure out a reason and all I keep coming back to is revenge. You’ve come to think of William as a friend, right?”

“You know I have Harry.”

“Well so have I and it destroys me to think of someone like him as a killer.” exclaimed Harry. “He’s one of the few truly good people I’ve met in this world and I’m afraid this book is going to confirm the worst thoughts I have about him. I don’t know if I can face that by myself.”

“Then we’ll face it together!” exclaimed Ron proudly. He, Ginny and Bill had been out of the Room of Requirement long enough to hear Harry’s reasoning for not looking at the book.

“You’ve faced a lot on your own Harry.” added Ginny who knelt down next to him. “It’s time you let us help you.”

“I think you’re right!” exclaimed Harry proudly. If there one thing he was grateful for in life it had to be friends. “I don’t need to go it alone this time.”

“Do you think we could do this over dinner in the Great Hall?” asked Ron knowing full well Hermione would scold him for thinking with his stomach again.

Before she could Harry said, “That sounds good! I feel like I haven’t eaten all day.” They had been in the Room of Requirement longer than they thought and found dinner was being served as they spoke.

“Are you coming Bill?” Ron asked his older brother. Even though he had kept the secret of being a Shadow, it didn’t change the fact that he loved him. If anything, it made him proud to think of Bill fighting the war in his own way.

“Sorry little brother but I can’t. I promised Fleur we’d have dinner with mum and dad tonight.”

“Okay. Well send Fleur our love.” said Ron understanding his brother’s commitment to his wife.

“I’ll do just that. You two take care of yourselves.” Before he could, leave his wife’s request suddenly came to mind. “Oh right, before I forget. Fleur needs ideas for baby names. We have a few good ones but she needs some feedback before the baby comes in January.”

“We’ll give it some thought Bill.” exclaimed Ginny who could not wait to be an aunt. “Give mum and dad our love.”After saying goodbye to them he was off to catch his portkey to Shell Cottage.

Rather than diving right into William’s book, Harry decided to eat first and not rush into things. Throughout his first and second helpings he could not keep his eyes off of the book. Like pulling off a band aid, he decided to open it quickly rather than draw it out painfully.

The first idea Harry had of what was in the book was pictures of all William’s kills he made as a Phantom. After seeing the Daily Prophet clippings he realized how ridiculous this notion was.

Good Samaritans Save Hikers.” Ginny read over Harry’s shoulder.

Continuing on Harry read aloud, “In the morning hours of Saturday, Aurors investigating a series violent animal attacks in the English countryside made headway after finding a group of hikers that had been missing since Thursday night. The missing youths were believed to have been victims of the recent animal attacks and were feared dead after they failed to check in at their campground.”

Descriptions given by the eye witnesses have confirmed Auror’s suspicions of a wolf-like creature as the cause of these attacks. Unfortunately, the creature in question was nowhere to be found as reported by the hikers. They claim the wolf was dragged away by a group of people who appeared and subdued it. Due to the poor visibility of their surroundings, no clear image of these Good Samaritans could be attained. After investigating the supposed attack site, no trace of evidence has been found to identify these mysterious heroes.”

“Well what do you make of that?” asked Harry who was clearly bewildered by the article. “I think I have a good idea of what saved those hikers.”

“Look here!” exclaimed Hermione while pointing to the bottom of the page. “There’s more.”

Another article adorned the page with a title that read as, “Tourists Return to National Park after Animal Attacks Cease.” They did not bother reading the rest of the article as they already knew what had stopped the attacks.

“Look at all these!” exclaimed Harry flipping casually through the scrapbook. “There must be at least a hundred more clippings here!”

It was then that he stopped on a picture inserted about a quarter of the way through the book. It was the very same picture Virgil had handed to them that very same morning. Having heard William’s explanation of his job most of the picture made sense but the one aspect that still confused him was the man on the end with the multicolored hair. He could not help but feel some that he knew this man in some way. This was just another question to add to the mystery that was the Phantoms.

“Why don’t we go look at the rest of this book in a more private place?” suggested Harry. “I feel a little exposed looking at this in front of everyone.” Everyone else seemed to be feeling the same way and they quickly finished their meals and headed for the Gryffindor Common Room.

Upon entering the common room, the group found it to be deserted except for the commotion of several first year girls coming from the dormitories.

Taking a seat on the surprisingly warm couch, the group reopened the book and went back to where they had left off.

“So what do you make of all this Harry?” asked Ron after taking a sip from the butter beer bottle sitting on the table in front of the fireplace.

“Put that back Ronald!” exclaimed Hermione while looking at the bottle. “You don’t know whose that it.”

“True, but I do know that it’s cold and almost full. Whoever left it should’ve finished it.” said Ron taking another pull from the bottle.

Hermione, knowing it was a fruitless effort, relented and let him keep drinking. “So what do you think Harry?”

“I must admit I’m very impressed by how well they get around.” replied Harry while flipping through the pages. “There are articles from all over. There are places like France, China, Russia, Nigeria, Brazil; they’ve been everywhere it seems.”

Each article seemed to be accompanied by a photo of William and his friends. It seemed that everywhere they had hunted they had a convenient excuse for being there whether it was vacation, business, or to just plain travel. Harry showed them one article from a paper in Rio de Janeiro which was accompanied by a picture of William and his friends lounging on a white sandy beach.

“I guess you can have fun at work.” Ginny observed while looking at the picture. It was obvious as the people in the photo were smiling and waving to camera.

“I guess so!” added Hermione as she looked long with Ginny. “Have you found anything else Harry?”

He had in fact found something of interest after looking at the headlines. “The dates on these articles start a little less than a year after the Black Forest Incident. He was 12 when he and the rest of his friends were attacked.”

“That means he was only 13 when he started hunting!” exclaimed Ginny who knew just exactly what harry was getting at. “But he was so young!”

“This was war for them. Nobody’s young during a war.” If there was one person who could attest to that it was Harry. “Still, that is pretty early to start hunting werewolves.”

“You can say that again!” exclaimed Ron. “I mean, what would a bunch of kids know about hunting werewolves?”He then reached out to grab the bottle to take another drink. When it moved away from his hand he knew something was wrong.

The four Gryffindors were awestruck as the bottle slowly levitated into the air in front of them. At first they thought Peeves had slipped into the common room to play tricks on them, but when a hand began to materialize around the glass was when they were really worried. Their worry was short lived as the face and body of the hand appeared as well.

“More than you think.” William answered as he took a swig from the bottle he had opened before they came into the common room. “We ‘kids’ made quite a name for ourselves as you’ve read so far.”

“How long have you been here?” asked Harry who was astonished by William’s sudden appearance.

“I sat down on the table here as soon as Red starting drinking my butter beer. I went upstairs to find a place for Prospero’s cage and when I came back down I heard you all come in. I figured I’d show you just what kind of training I’ve had.” William could only laugh at how easily he had snuck into their conversation.

“How did you do that?” asked Ginny. “You’re not wearing an invisibility cloak or something, are you?”

“Yeah kind of.” replied William as he opened his coat to explain. “The inside of the coats we wear are made from Demiguise pelts; they’re pretty good for fashioning invisibility cloaks. They allow us to hide things in the lining as well as ourselves if we choose to. If you want to conceal yourself, all you have to do is button it up.” He then gave them another quick demonstration. “Any questions?”

“Yes, I have one.” answered Ron with a smug look. “Do you do magic without any sort of tools or do you have any real skill with a wand?”

“Ok, that’s a fair question?” replied William who could see where Ron was getting at. “Would you hold this for me?” He then handed Ron his wand. “Let me show you some skills.”

He then sat down on the coffee table and said, “Keep your eyes on the fire.” His right hand then extended out with an open palm. “Magic is easier to accomplish when you have your wand with you, but doing it without one requires a certain amount of skill.”

He then began to close his hand ever so slowly and as his fingers came closer to his palm the fire began to grow dimmer and dimmer.

“Like a great wizard once said ‘Now you see me,’” And as soon as his hand formed a clenched fist the fire blew out encasing the room in complete darkness. “And now you don’t!” laughed William from the darkness.

Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny began to reach for their surroundings as soon as the room went dark. They could make out the vague shape of each other, but William had disappeared altogether, or so they thought.

“Where did he go?” asked Harry trying to get a grip on his surroundings.

“Here!” The fired than roared back into existence with a great rush of heat. After a quick survey of the room they found William sitting on the bottom steps on the other side of the room sipping his butterbeer.

Walking back toward them with a confident smile he said, “Is that enough skill for you Ron?” The red haired young man could only nod his head in wonder.

“How did you do that?” asked Ginny from her seat next to Harry.

“Part of the job is to learn to work in concealment as well as evade the enemy!”

“And you did all of that without your wand?” asked Hermione in disbelief. She had thought of herself as an accomplished witch but even she could not do wandless magic.

“I blew out the fire without my wand but then I used it to reignite it.”

“But how, I’m still holding-” Ron stopped mid sentence after finding a crooked piece of dried kindling from the fire had replaced William’s wand. He then was completely taken back when he saw it resting in William’s hand.

“I’ll take you silence as an apology!” laughed William as he sat back down. “Any more questions class?”

"Why didn't you use your wandless magic when you fought Ruby. You didn't need a wand!" exclaimed Hermione.

"I'm not going to use all of my best plays in the same game!" laughed William. "Besides, I made out fine getting my wand and using the whips."

“I have another question!” said Harry while opening the scrapbook to the same picture Virgil had given him earlier. Pointing to the man in question he asked, “Who is this?”

William knew full well Harry would ask this question, but he had not anticipated how soon that would be. “I think you know who that is.”

He then looked down solemnly at the picture which confirmed his suspicions. Placing his hand on the picture he whispered, “Teddy.”

The others were taken aback by what he had just said. The idea of William as a Phantom was one thing, but to find out someone they knew, a toddler no less, would grow up to go into this line of work was just downright shocking.

“Teddy’s a Phantom?” Harry asked hoping that William could shed some light on this subject.

“Yes, he was.”

“Just how many people have you roped into this cause of yours?” asked Harry rising angrily from his seat.

“Sit down before I stand up,” was William’s only reply. He had no wish to get into an argument with him and he certainly had no desire to fight with anyone.

Seeing the seriousness in William’s eyes, Harry slowly sat back down.
“Just so we’re clear,” began William. “Teddy recruited me into the Phantoms; not the other way around.”

“But how-” began Harry who was immediately cut off by William.

“Well if you let me speak then I can explain.” The best place to start for them was the beginning. “About two months after the Black Forest, my friends and I started showing signs of a great increase in our physical strengths and magic abilities. Like I had said before, the werewolf bites and the Wolfsbane smoke had changed us.”

“Yes, I remember that part. What does that have to do with Teddy?” Harry said trying to speed things along.

William could understand Harry’s frustration but for his own good he needed to hear the entire story. “Teddy was working in the Auror Department at the time, right alongside you.” This made Harry smile to know that Teddy would still be close by when he was older. “He kept me and my friends posted on werewolf activity that he was investigating. Teddy was the first to notice the changes we started showing. He asked us if we had the choice would we fight to protect others from the very same creatures that had scarred us. None of us could say no. It was then that he brought us into the Circle.”

“I can understand that.” Hermione said while leaning forward giving her whole attention. “But what I don’t get is why Teddy was already in the Circle of Phantoms.”

“As a Dormant he was ideal for this sort of work. He joined the Circle when he was 15 so he wasn’t much older than us when he started hunting.”

“What’s a Dormant?” asked Harry.

“A Dormant,” interrupted Hermione. “Is a person who possesses werewolf-like traits and abilities, but shows none of the major symptoms like a transformation under the full moon. Dormants are usually the offspring of a human and a werewolf. In this case, Tonks and Lupin.”

“Teddy’s like me with the exception that he was born that way.” continued William.

“What? He has a talent for hunting and killing werewolves too?” replied Harry who could not see his godson doing either of these things.

Rather than get into a heated argument over being labeled as a killer, William simply asked, “Is that what you think we do? Did you even read the book?”

“Yes, and all it keeps track of is where you and the rest of the Phantoms hunted.”

“Well did you happen to notice that there is almost never an instance where a body is found or person turns up dead?” Seeing the looks on their faces he could tell they never considered this. “Wow, you didn’t get that far at all.”

“But you said you hunt and-”

“We hunt and capture, not kill.” exclaimed William. “We’re not a bunch of assassins as you’d like to believe.”

“Then what should we believe?” asked Ginny. “You’re not giving as much to go on.”

“Okay, for example say I show up in your hometown. Chances are something happened that brought me there. Anytime my friends and I hunted we did it for a reason. We didn’t just go out into the night trying to quench some bloodlust for werewolves.”

“Why not, you seem to have good reason.” replied Harry. Neither Ron nor the girls could believe Harry would just come out and say it like that, but they were just as curious.

“I’m not following you.” answered William who did not like where this was going.

“Ok, let me recap. They killed one of your friends, scarred the rest of them, Peter and Virgil lost their parents, and you can’t go to sleep without worrying if your chest will get torn up. Now you hunt them. That sounds like revenge to me.”

William had to consider this question carefully. Taking into account his occupation and the events of the Black Forest, he was used to the notion of people thinking he did it for revenge. “Just because werewolves did this to me doesn’t me I hate all of them.”

“Why do you say that?” asked Ginny.

“Because I work with them.” replied William to the shock of the others. “In fact the man who trained me was a werewolf. He trained Teddy too if I’m not mistaken. You’ll find that the entire Circle of Phantoms relies on cooperation with werewolf packs all over the world.”

“How so?” asked Harry. He was dying to know what William meant.

“When we do go out and hunt the usual case is some poor nobody had been bitten and didn’t know how to handle it. After we capture them the option to work for us is given provided they register with the Ministry and take doses of the Wolfsbane potion to control their transformation. Then there are the other times when we deal with rogues. We rely on information from pack leaders about who we’re dealing with.”

“What’s a rogue?” asked Ron.

“These are the ones who are really dangerous. They’re ones who get sent to Tartarus.” answered William. “Rogues are usually born werewolves, the ones who have full control over the beast within but choose to submit instead of bonding with it as most would do.”

William could tell he needed to be clearer in his explanation. “All wolves adhere to a strict moral code of conduct, Pack Law as it’s usually called. It stipulates that all wolves must submit to the Alpha and do what is best for the pack. Sometimes not all Betas are willing to follow another. These are the ones who have no moral code or conscience; all they know and care about is the thrill of the hunt.”

“So that’s where Phantoms come in I guess.” replied Harry.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned about born werewolves it’s that they maintain existence by keeping what they are in the shadows. Lupin was proof of that.” added William. “When their world spills over into the human world they are less than willing to give up their own safety in exchange for a wolf that was a threat in the first place. That’s when we are called in to take care of that threat.”

“But why would you help werewolves by doing their dirty work?”

“Imagine that Hogwarts is the world. Now imagine that each piece of furniture in this room is a werewolf pack and all of them are fighting against one another.” began William.

“So what piece of furniture are you William?” asked Ginny who enjoyed his use of metaphor. “Are you the table? Do you keep things balanced?”

“I'm the room.”

That metaphor was clear enough for all of them as they finally realized the extent of his job.

“The Circle of Phantoms keeps their world from coming into ours. My job isn’t about hurting werewolves. It’s about protecting people who are caught in the crossfire.”

“Like you?” asked Harry. He knew what it was like to be part of something against his will. He never asked to be the Chosen One.

“Yeah, like me.” whispered William.

“So is that why you joined the Phantoms?” asked Harry. His thoughts then shifted back to the Black Forest and William’s scars. “Or did you do it to find the one who scarred you?”

William could see what Harry was getting at, but he had made the choice to join the Circle all those years ago based on the former reason. “The wolves that did this to me and my friends were ruthless. They wanted to wage war on humanity and that’s exactly what they try to take from you; the part that counts for something anyway. I may not be completely human anymore but I’m not going to forgo the part that is because I’ve been scarred. People much better than me have done more and suffered worse.”

William had heard stories from his parents about heroes of the past and he knew he had it easy compared to some of them.

“I joined the Circle because I had the necessary skills to get the job done. Sure, I could’ve gone on with my life being a regular kid but I couldn’t sit by and do nothing while innocent people were dying. Does that answer your question Harry?”

“I think I do William.” Harry could believe that William was motivated by his love for others rather than a desire for revenge. “It might just be me, but I don’t think you have that kind of hate in you.”

“Hate’s like a drug. You give it power and pretty soon it will consume you.” began William. “Besides, Phantoms follow a Pack Law as well. Part of our code is that nothing must ever be done in hate. I took an oath to live by that code the day I picked up my sword. I know I won’t be a Phantom forever but I’ll life the rest of my life that way.”

“It’s a good law!” exclaimed Ginny. “Whoever taught you must have been a wise person.”

“Teddy taught me that. He said you taught him first.” William replied motioning to Harry.

The thought of Teddy being involved in this deadly trade was not exactly the future Harry had envisioned when he said he would help raise the boy. However, it was reassuring to hear that he had retained his humanity and lead an admirable life. “I’m glad to know that I helped make him such a good Phantom.”

“No, he was a good Phantom but you made him a great man.” replied William almost solemnly.

“Why do you keep saying ‘was’?” asked Harry fearing the worst for his godson. “He isn’t…”

“No, heavens no!” answered William immediately. “It would take more than a werewolf to kill Teddy, I can assure you.” His first response to Harry’s assumption was to laugh, but knowing his connection to the boy he decided against it. “He retired shortly after he and his wife were married.”

“Oh thank- wait did you say ‘marry’?” asked a very relieved Harry.

“Why don’t I show you?” exclaimed William before summoning his photo album from the Phantom trunk. Once it appeared in his hand he flipped it to the middle and showed all of them. “This is Teddy.” He pointed to the man in the tuxedo. “And this is his wife.” He then pointed to the strikingly beautiful woman beside him at the banquet table. The most important thing Harry observed from the photo was that they were both happy.

“Who is she?” asked Ginny. Something about this woman was very familiar but she could not put her finger on it.

“I’m not going to ruin the surprise. You’re just going to have to wait and see!” laughed William.

“Well whoever she is, Teddy looks like he is going to be a very lucky man.”

After turning the page, Harry discovered another wedding photo. It was a picture of three couples standing side by side outside of the church. Two older couples, one on both sides of the bride and groom, looked very familiar. “Who are they?” said Harry pointing to the older couples.

Upon seeing the photo William could only reply, “Look at the forehead on the older black-haired gentleman.” When their eyes caught sight of the lightning bolt scar he smiled. “Look familiar?”

“That’s us!” exclaimed Ron. “And might I see, we look very good in twenty years! Especially you Hermione!” said Ron as he eyed his stunning future wife.

While Ron and Hermione stared at their future selves, Harry could only gaze at the older Ginny and himself. “You’re just as beautiful as you were in my dream Gin!” In fact, she looked exactly like the woman from his dream.

“What dream?” asked Ginny.

“I’ll explain later, love.” winked Harry. Seeing as how they were all satisfied with their future well-beings, Ginny turned the page to find another familiar group of characters. “It seems you do have a personal life aside from being a Phantom!” laughed Ginny.

Seeing the photo of himself and his friends dancing at the wedding reception made William smile. This was the last time all of them had been together with their original pack leader. Still, no one could begrudge him for taking a wife and starting his own family.

“You learn to balance out both identities when you’ve done this as long as I have. That’s one of the tradeoffs in this job.” William had only been a Phantom for five years, but in that time his life had changed greatly.

“Was it worth it?” asked Harry. “Was it worth risking your life every time you went on a hunt?”

“Don’t think for one second that I made that decision without considering the consequences. Teddy made them abundantly clear the day he asked me to join up. It was one of the toughest choices I’ve ever had to make, but it was mine and I made it.”

“You still haven’t answered my other question.” continued Harry. “Was it worth it?”

William knew in every fiber of his being what the answer was. He just had to hope that Harry saw it the way he did. “I have been a Phantom for the past 6 years. In that time I’ve been to almost every continent in this world. I’ve seen creatures and wonders that most people only see in books. And in all that time I’ve been on over 100 hunts and saved well over 200 people which include werewolves.”

William could see that Harry and the rest of them already knew his answer. “So the answer to your question would have to be yes. It was totally worth it. I hope that’s enough to let you know why I chose this life.”

“It’s more than enough.” replied Harry. “I can see clearly now why you do this job.”

“What about your family, how did they do it?” asked Ron. It was clear why William took the job, but he could not understand why his family would let him.

“They weren’t happy when I chose to join the Circle, but after seeing the people who I worked with they were glad I was well protected. My friends and I treated each other like a second family. They knew we would watch out for each other. I think what helped them the most was that my job wasn’t a permanent one.”

“What do you mean?” asked Hermione.

“Well, I knew mum and dad were scared when I first joined up. Merlin knows I was too, so we kept it simple and made a deal. They gave me their blessing to join up and I promised them that I would retire once I found the one who gave me this.” He then pointed to the scar near his eye. “I could not in good conscience quit if he was still out there.”

“And what about Elizabeth?” asked Ginny. “What did she think about you being a Phantom?” Being Harry Potter’s girlfriend required a level of understanding that things were dangerous at times. With that said, she knew just how Elizabeth might feel about her boyfriend being a werewolf hunter.

“Actually she was very relieved when she found out we were in the same trade.” replied William as he picked up the scrap book and flipped past the picture of Teddy and his friends.

The picture he turned to was very similar to the previous but the only difference was the girl standing at William’s side. They all recognized her from picture William had shown them after he brewed the Dreamscape.

“But how?” asked Harry who was flabbergasted to say the least. “I thought she was just your girlfriend.”

“I knew Ellie for about a month before I met her on a hunt.” began William telling how they met as Phantoms. “She had transferred to Hogwarts from an American school at the beginning of my fourth year. We became good friends and then we became much more. With that being said I didn’t know how to tell her about my job. You can understand my relief when we saw each other at the usual meeting before a hunt.”

“So she was a Phantom as well? What made her so special?” asked Ron.

“She was part of the group of kids with my friends and me in the Black Forest.” answered William. “Her condition was the same as ours when we left. Like us, the Phantoms in her country recruited her for her newly acquired skills. When she transferred to Hogwarts, she assumed Teddy’s spot in our pack.”

It seemed that things had fallen into place for William and his girlfriend, but then a thought occurred to Harry. Something he had seen earlier made him question her well being. “If she was a Phantom, then why wasn’t she with you at the museum when your friends were sent back?”

“Visiting her grandparents in New York!” replied William with a sudden realization. “I never gave it much thought before, but now that you mention it I see it was more than just-”

“Luck! You are one lucky bastard. You must have Felix Felicis for blood!” exclaimed Ron who could only laugh at just how well things worked out for William and Elizabeth.

“Kingsley said in the memory that Scorpios and Ellie were never there.” said Harry replaying the scene in his head. “I guess Ellie is short for Elizabeth. Ron is right, you are one lucky bastard!” Pretty soon Harry as well as the girls joined in the laughter.

“Well I’d have to be lucky to live through all of that!” laughed William as he skimmed through the scrap book.

“Would you tell us about it?” asked Harry who was greatly enthralled by how well William had come out of it all.

Turning to a random page, he began to recall each hunt.

Two hours later…

“We chased him for about fifty miles across the Serengeti before we finally caught him. Turns out he was just following a game trail. He smelled the antelope.” finished William who began to grow tired.

“Did you save the people he attacked?” asked Harry.

“Yes, we did.”

“Then that’s a good story.”

“I think I’m going to call it a night!” said William as he gathered his scrap book and photo album. “Thanks for everything today, I really mean it. You gave me some great gifts.”

“It was just a new owl and lunch William.” replied Ron. His literal thinking did not help him see what William really meant.

“It wasn’t just an owl and lunch, although those were very thoughtful. You gave me much more than that. You gave me a game of Quidditch with 4 of the most famous wizards and witches of all time. How many people can say that they’ve done that?” They all knew just what William was getting at.

“But the most important thing you’ve given me is the hope that one day I’ll see my friends again. Without all of you I would have never seen the memory. I can’t thank you all enough.”

They didn’t need to say it because William already knew that he had given them hope as well. In that one picture they saw of their future selves, their fears and worries had all but vanished knowing they would be fine. And for that they couldn’t thank him enough.

“About your friends,” began Harry. “Is there anything we can do?” Even though Harry wanted to just live a peaceful life now, he could not help but feel he owed William. If helping him find his friends would accomplish that as well as save them when the time came, then Harry was all for it.

“I won’t ask you all to help me.” William addressed all of them, not just Harry. “Merlin knows you’ve spent enough of your lives fighting, but when the time comes I hope you do what you think is right.” And with those thoughts he left for his bed. “Goodnight everyone and don’t forget to take your Dreamscape!”

“Happy birthday William!” called all of them as he rounded the steps with a wide smile.

For the rest of the night, Gryffindors came and went from the common room. Hermione was the first one to leave after claiming she was very tired. Ron, catching the hint, made his way out minutes later.

Harry and Ginny both knew neither of them left to get sleep. Harry quickly forgot this notion as his attention was caught by the redhead sitting beside him.

Time seemed to flow stand still when they were in each other’s arms. It was as if everything disappeared and all that mattered was each other.

After catching her breath from a rather passionate snogging session, Ginny said, “So tell me about this dream you had.”

“It was amazing Gin!” began Harry recounting the vivid dream he had the night before. He left out no detail in describing the house, the baby, and even her. “You were just as, if not even more, beautiful as the day I met you.”

Harry could not help but kiss her after remembering how happy he was in his dream as well as William’s photo album. This was truly the woman he was going to spend the rest of his life with.

Later, after the fire died down, Harry and Ginny each retired to their separate rooms. Harry decided to read by wand light as he was not quite tired just yet. He saw no harm in it seeing as how everyone in the room was in a deep slumber. Picking up the copy of ‘Merlin, Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table’ he began to read the book he had not looked at since before his fight with William.

After taking his daily dose of Dreamscape, Harry drifted off to the most peaceful sleep in recent memory.

A/N: Thank you for reading once again! Please be sure to leave a review when you are done! Feedback helps the best!

Chapter 16: Birds of Prey
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

The chime of the brass alarm clock echoed off the stone walls of the boy’s dormitory with an unexpectedly thunderous authority. Those who were asleep would surely have been awakened if the alarm had not been bewitched to stir only Harry Potter. 

“That’s the last time I ask Hermione to enchant anything!” exclaimed the black haired boy after turning off the alarm clock with an annoyed force. He then slowly laid back down contemplating the dream he had just been pulled from. 

In the week following William’s birthday, Harry had more pleasant dreams than in his entire life time. Each of them was more real and exciting than the previous. Unlike most dreams, which were quickly forgotten, he knew these would stay with him forever. 

‘I was teaching my son how to fly.’ Harry kept mulling over the notion in his head and each time it made him that much happier. The word ‘flying’ suddenly became important to him as he realized that he and Ron had scheduled quidditch tryouts for that morning. 

After everything that had happened already this term with William and everything else, Harry and the rest of his friends decided they needed some sort of normalcy. Quidditch was the first idea that came to mind. 

Upon looking at the resting clock on his nightstand, Harry found that he had an ample amount of time before he had to be down to the pitch. As captain, it was important that he be there sooner than the rest of the team and hopefuls. 

After Harry got dressed and found his loaner broom he quietly walked over to Ron’s bed and gave him a quick nudge on the shoulder. 

“Yes, I’d like another helping.” spoke a still semi-asleep Ron. Harry could only laugh as his best friend rolled over in bed. ‘Even in his dreams he thinks about food.’ 

“Ron!” said Harry in a tone slightly above a whisper. Ron immediately knew he wasn’t dreaming as his eyes opened fully to the morning light. 

“Quidditch tryouts, I know.” answered the red haired boy as he buried his head back into the pillow. 

“You don’t have to be at the pitch for a while longer, but I thought you should start thinking about getting out of bed.” 

“Will do!” replied Ron as he adjusted his covers and closed his eyes.
‘I’d better tell Hermione to wake him later or he’ll never get up,’ Harry thought as he went down to the common room. 

William had been up for the better part of an hour that morning before Harry walked into the common room. There was far too much on his mind to sleep. “Good morning Harry!” 

“Good morning William!” he replied taking a seat on the sofa across from him. “You’re up awful early.” 

“I couldn’t sleep. I trust that’s not your reason.” he replied in concern. If he had built up a tolerance to the Dreamscape, then he wouldn’t know how to help him. 

“No, not at all.” replied Harry. “The Dreamscape is working quite well.” He then lifted up his shirt to show the fading scars along his abdomen. 

“That looks pretty good! You and the others will probably just need one more treatment for good measure.” For only a week’s worth of Dreamscape, they were taking to the potion quite well. “So how have your dreams been?” 

“Really great actually!” Harry smiled upon recollection. “This time I was teaching my son how to fly a broom.” 

“I’m happy for you!” exclaimed William as he turned back to the book he had been reading. 

“So why are you up? Couldn’t sleep either-” He trailed off after seeing the spread of other books and his Phantom’s trunk seated next to the couch. 

“Yes, but it wasn’t because of a nightmare. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with the egg problem in the forest.” Ruby had laid the egg over a week ago and it had yet to hatch which was very uncommon for her breed. Three days was considered late, but a week and a half was not a good sign. 

“It still hasn’t hatched?” asked Harry. William had kept him and his friends informed on the egg’s progress after each night he returned from the forest. They could see it kept his mind occupied while Kingsley searched for his friends. 

“Yes, and to make matters worse the centaurs are making advances on the nest each day. I have to figure out how to keep them back before they do anything rash.” In truth William had no idea how to defuse the situation. 

In his experience, centaurs and dragons were tricky creatures, especially in each other’s presence. The fact that this dragon was reproducing in their forest made them all the more aggressive in dealing with her. Food supply and territory were two things they wouldn’t yield to a human, let alone Ruby and her egg. 

“I’m sure you’ll find a way. You always do.” said Harry with the utmost confidence. 

“We’ll see!” replied William as he rubbed his eyes in exhaustion. 

Before they could discuss the matter any further Ginny and Hermione came down from the girl’s dormitory. 

“Good morning Harry, good morning William!” called out Ginny as she sat down next to Harry. 

“Good morning boys!” followed Hermione behind Ginny. She then took a seat next to William curious to see what he was reading. Most of his books hadn’t even been written yet and each work was like a new world to her. 

“Morning love!” replied Harry kissing his girlfriend. “Are you ready for tryouts today? The competition for chaser looks pretty stiff.” 

While Harry and Ginny were both gifted seekers, they had come to an agreement where he would take that position while she would take one of the three spots as chaser. 

“I think so.” smiled Ginny in the most playful way she could muster. “Maybe you could put in a good word with the captain for me.” 

“I’ll see what I can do.” replied Harry pulling Ginny closer to him. “So how are you Hermione?” he said turning his attention to the other woman in the room. 

“I’m fine,” she replied averting her eyes from the book. “I thought I would come to the tryouts and see what all the fuss is about.” She then looked around the room and said, “Speaking of which, where would Ron be?” 

Turning his eyes up to the boy’s dormitory he replied, “Still in bed, but don’t worry because I already gave him a shake. You’ll probably have to go up there soon and drag him down.” Harry laughed because he knew Hermione would do just that if the situation called for it. 

“It just may come to that!” said Hermione laughing as well. She then turned her gaze to the other man in the room. “So what are you up to William? Are you going to the tryouts too?” 

“No, not me!” replied the boy who started to pack up his books and supplies. “I’m going to check on Ruby and the egg. I’ll drop by later I think.” 

“My offer is still on the table if you change your mind.” interjected Harry. 

When he, Ron, and Ginny first put the idea together for tryouts they immediately thought William could be a shoe in for chaser. After watching his display of skill with a broom on his birthday, they could all see he had the natural talent and love for the game that few possessed. 

His reply was simply ‘No thank you.’ He had told them a few days earlier that he did not want to interfere by taking someone else’s spot. They respected his request but could not help but think what a value his abilities would be to the team. 

“I appreciate it Harry.” After putting the rest of his books away, he reached into the trunk and pulled out two miniaturized brooms. He also pulled out a familiar looking leather armband that Hermione had been examining a week prior. Knowing its connection to the conflict brewing in the forest, William saw no reason in letting it go unused. He had to explore every possible solution. 

After turning the brooms back to their original size, William promptly handed one of them to Harry. “I thought you’d like riding this better than some loaner broom.” 

“You can’t be serious!” said Harry as he held the broom admiring its beauty. Even though it was not his own, he was still very grateful to ride a Firebolt again. 

“Well I am, so have fun out there!” exclaimed William as he miniaturized the trunk and put it in his pocket. 

“Thanks William.” For someone who wasn’t going to tryouts, Harry was awful curious as to why William needed his own broom. “I should say have fun on your flight as well,” he said nodding toward the broom in his hands. 

“Oh this!” he exclaimed getting what Harry meant. “Thought I’d take a bird’s eye view and see how far the centaurs have come.” 

The girls knew enough about the dragon/centaur conflict to see what William was getting at. In the new world order that they helped create, the last thing they wanted was for two groups of majestic creatures to destroy one another. A place like Hogwarts had seen too much bloodshed in so little time. 

“I’ll go with you for a while if you’d like!” Hermione offered. Even for a wizard of his talent, it was still dangerous to be alone in the midst of the fray. “I don’t have to be at the tryout for a couple of hours.” 

“Don’t worry about me, Hermione” replied William. “I’ll be fine out there in the forest. I won’t be completely alone because Prospero probably needs some time out of his cage.” 

After making a quick wave with his wand, the barn owl’s cage floated down the stairs and onto the table before them. The second William popped the latch the flustered bird jumped out and began to peck him on the head. 

“Ow! I’m sorry!” yelped William as Prospero slowed his assault on the boy. “Sorry buddy. I won’t do that again. Next time I’ll just let you out myself.” This seemed to calm the bird down as he quietly chirped and rested himself on William’s shoulder.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay?” asked Harry as William motioned to the door. 

“I’ll be fine. Trust me, this isn’t the first time I’ve gone into a hot spot.” laughed William as he made his way out. “I’ll come by the tryout later and see how things are doing.” 

“See you later!” called out Ginny and Harry at once as he walked through the portrait hole. 

“Not if I see you first!” laughed William before the portrait closed. 

Having previous knowledge of William and his unspoken profession made it easier to not worry about him after he left the room. Rather than dwell on what could happen in the forest, they turned the attention back to what could happen on the quidditch pitch. 

“So what’s the plan for today?” asked Ginny curious to know what tryouts would bring. 

“Well for starters I was thinking that you and Seamus could oversee the potential chasers.” began Harry trying to imagine the simplest way to do things. “Both of you have the most experience, so I don’t think anyone will have a problem with that.” 

“What about seeker?” Ginny said playfully. “Who should we consider for that position?” 

“Gee, I wonder!” laughed Harry trying to imagine not playing seeker. “For beater, Dean said he wouldn’t mind trying another position. Now all we need to do is find him a partner.” 

“What about Simon? You know, that second year boy who William gave his winnings to after the sorting?” asked Hermione hoping they recalled the event. 

“Sure I remember him!” exclaimed Harry. “I guess he wants to put that broom he bought to good use. I’m sure we can fit him in.” 

“All that’s left is keeper. It shouldn’t be too hard for Ron to find a suitable backup. Speaking of which, shouldn’t we wake him up?” asked Ginny as she glanced at the mantel clock hanging over the fireplace. 

“I’ll go check on him.” said Hermione. As soon as the words left her mouth she, Ginny, and Harry began to laugh at the notion. Ron was never one to get up on his own. “I’ll be back in a minute!” smiled Hermione as she went up the stairs to his room. 

Knowing it would take longer than minute to coerce Ron out from under the sheets, Harry and Ginny decided wisely to use what little time they had alone before tryouts.
“I had a dream about us last night.” whispered Ginny as she leaned on Harry enjoying the warmth of his body. 

“What was it about?” asked Harry enjoying the closeness they shared in such things as dreams. 

“We were moving into our home,” spoke Ginny recalling the vivid memory. “We had just gotten back from our honeymoon and all of our friends and family were there to help us move into this beautiful cottage in the countryside.” 

Even though Harry was not looking directly at her, he could tell that she was smiling. There was nothing more he wanted than to marry this girl and spend this rest of his days with her. He knew she felt the same way. “That sounds like a wonderful place to start a life together.” 

“Those were my thoughts exactly.” 

Nothing more needed to be said. Each of them knew that the other loved them very much and it was only a matter of time before these dreams became a reality. But now was not that time because there was no need to rush things. Still, as the couple sat together quietly enjoying each other’s presence; they could not help but picture the life they would make together. 

The creaking of the stairs brought Harry and Ginny out of their quiet snuggle as Hermione and Ron entered the common room. Ron was in a surprisingly good mood for someone who hated to get up early. 

“What are you doing up before noon big brother?” laughed Ginny. 

“I thought we were going to have to pry you out of bed!” added Harry who was just as curious. 

“Well for one thing,” said Ron who was feeling very cheerful. “I’d much rather wake up to her face than yours!” He said pulling Hermione close to him and gave her a kiss. Once it was over he said, “Enough of this lovey-dovey stuff. Let’s play some quidditch!”
Harry was surprised as he walked out on the pitch. Rather than being the first one there, a small group of hopefuls had accumulated under the goal posts. By the looks of the crowd, he could tell most of them were first and second years; no doubt fans wanting to play with ‘The Great Harry Potter.’ Even people who didn’t usually play had gathered in the stands to watch. Among them, much to Harry and Ron’s chagrin, were Romilda Vane and Lavender Brown. 

“I wonder what they’re doing here!” spoke Ron as he caught the girls out of the corner of his eye. 

“Why don’t you forget about them and get your head in the game?” asked Hermione trying not to sound irritated by their appearance. 

“Yes, ma’am!” saluted Ron as he, Harry, and Ginny made their way toward the crowd. After giving him a kiss for good luck, she took a seat in the stands as far away from Romilda and Lavender as possible. 

“Good morning everyone!” began Harry addressing the potential players. “We’re going to start off today in groups to see what we have to work with this year. There are currently two spots open on the starting roster as a chaser and beater. For those who do not make either of these positions there is still an alternate spot open for each. Are there any questions?” 

Immediately, almost every hand in the group shot up into the air. 

Harry knew this would happen and asked, “Does anyone have a question pertaining to quidditch and not last year’s events?” The hands swiftly went back down. “Ok then, by position each of you will follow one of the seventh years. Chasers will see Ginny and Seamus down by the other goal posts. Keepers stay here with Ron and anyone going out for beater will go with Dean. Lastly, anyone who wishes to try out for seeker will come with me.” 

As the groups began to disperse, Harry found that only three young Gryffindors had stayed to try out for seeker. Normally he would have expected a much larger following like most other things he did. 

After introducing himself, Harry found himself pleased to meet these students. Before taking them up to fly he learned that Matthew and Andy were both second years and Amanda was a first year. Each of them was equally ecstatic to be flying with Harry Potter. 

The first thing Harry needed to see before seeing their skills as seeker was to observe how well they could fly. After having them fly several laps around the pitch, he gave them each minor tips on how to improve. When taking a break shortly after, Harry could only laugh at the fact that he was doing this just hours before; first it was his son in the dream and now it was these 3 kids looking to make the team. 

Meanwhile above the Forbidden Forest… 

William beheld the endless expanse that was the wilderness of Hogwarts. From atop his broom he could see the lush green expanse of trees that stood in the shadow of the mountains beyond. This view from above gave the forest a quite peaceful look, but down below it was quite dark and dangerous, as the school was led to believe. 

“Do you see anything unusual?” he asked the barn owl that stood on the shaft of his broomstick. Of course he knew the bird could not respond, but still he liked to have another animal’s opinion. Prospero simply turned his head and gazed out over the trees and immediately flew off. “I’ll take that as a yes.” 

After flying at a reasonable pace for the better part of ten minutes, William was beginning to question whether Prospero had actually found something or if he was just flying for the sake of stretching his wings. He was about to round up the bird and call it quits when suddenly he smelled the faint aroma of wood burning. It was then that William just barely saw the weak column of smoke rising up from under the canopy of the trees. 

Being so small, it was no one wonder Prospero had found it before he did. While his primal senses were better than most, his owl had the benefit of being born with them.
William had a good idea of what the smoke was coming from, no doubt a campfire from another scouting party like the ones that kept coming near Ruby’s nest. He had no desire to engage the centaurs at this time as they had done nothing to warrant an encounter. He instead stuck to the training his master had seared into his mind. 

“Gather intelligence before making your next move.” 

Although this section of the forest covered by dense layers of branches and leaves, William could try and learn as much about this party as possible. What he lacked in vision was made up in his sense of smell and hearing. 

Excluding the scent of the dying campfire, William was easily able to pick up on 8 separate bowls of morning porridge and one poorly concealed latrine. Deciding not to investigate smell any further in disgust of what he would find, he would have to rely on sound instead. 

After relaxing his body and clearing his mind, William found himself in a state of total peace where all that existed was him and the very sound of the world itself. In this meditative trance, no noise in a relatively large distance could escape him.
When his mind was focused on the source of the rising smoke William began to gather just what was down there. It came in strides of increasing magnitude beginning with the sound of hoof beats circling the campground. Next came the subtle rhythmic beating of hearts, twelve to be exact, spaced all around the dying fire. 

‘So now I know how many there are.’ William thought to himself as another sound caught his attention. At first he could not make it out, but then it came to him. The slow bending of wood and pull of tensile string should have registered instantly, but then again he had been out of practice for some time. 

Any archer in the world could recognize the faint draw of a bow and arrow. Knowing the archery skill that centaurs prided themselves on, William was unsure of what to do. All that was certain was the centaurs below held his life in their hands. 

Back on the quidditch pitch… 

Harry watched closely as the three potential seekers dashed through the air towards the practice snitch. While Matthew and Andy were quick on their brooms, Amanda was able to come from behind with great stealth and take the snitch from their wanting hands. 

As their task was completed, a smiling Amanda flew down to Harry followed by the sneering pair of boys. Her natural talent on the broom and something in her face made him think he had seen her somewhere before. Compared to these two boys, she had shown more than enough to gain a spot on the team. 

“That was a very good effort boys. Why don’t you take a water break?” suggested Harry as the two young men sat down on the bench. “Nice grab Amanda!” he said pulling her to the side. “Have you ever played this game before? If not then you have some natural talent.” 

Amanda knew this would come up and decided to play it cool. “Well my mother played before I was born. She taught me how to fly when I was little.” 

“Really?” Harry asked excitedly. “What’s her name? Maybe I’ve heard of her.” 

“Singleton, Ariel Singleton.” replied Amanda quietly. 

“Speedy! Your mum is Speedy Singleton?” said Harry exclaimed. 

“Yes, but could you keep it quiet?” asked Amanda. “I’d rather not let everyone know I have a pro quidditch player for a parent. I just want to be treated like the others.” 

Harry could easily understand where she was coming from. “You know Amanda; I think I know just what you mean.” This put a smile on the girl’s face. “I rather not let the others think I’m giving you the alternate seeker position because your mum played either.” 

This put an even bigger smile on the girl’s face. “You mean it Harry?” 

“Definitely,” replied the boy. “Just try and act surprised when I post the results tomorrow. Okay Amanda?” 

“Ok Harry.” said the girl ecstatically. “Just another thing, would you mind calling me Mandy? All my friends do.” 

“Sure thing Mandy!” exclaimed Harry, letting her join the two boys on the bench. 

Turning back to the pitch, he could not be happier with the way things were going. Ron was making great strides with the crowd gathered behind the goals, while Seamus and Ginny were practicing throws with their kids. Dean was also doing well with Simon as they beat the bludgers back and forth. Before he could ride up to check on their progress, Harry’s stomach gave a growl that could be heard up in the stands. A lunch break was definitely needed. 

“Kreacher?” called out Harry. 

Less than a second later the seasoned house-elf appeared before him with a crack. “Yes, Master Harry?” 

“Would you mind making a lunch spread for the tryouts?” He knew it was late notice but he also knew that Kreacher loved tasks like this. 

“Winky and I have already made the preparations Master Harry! We thought you all would like something to eat.” exclaimed the elf with a smile. 

“You’re the best Kreacher!” replied Harry gratefully. As the rest of the group came in for a break, Kreacher, Winky, and several other elves began to assemble a long table filled with food. 

Upon seeing the grow arrangement of refreshments, the rest of the team begin to come down and pile around the table. Once they had their food the respective groups of seniors and trainees scattered around the grounds. Harry was quickly joined by Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. 

“Good idea with the food Harry!” exclaimed Ron as he dug into the sandwiches on his plate. 

“I thought we could all use something to get our strength up for the remainder of tryouts!” He then turned his attention to Ginny. “So how is it going so far? Have you found any decent prospects?” 

“I’ve only seen a few so far. Maybe someone will surprise Seamus and me before day’s end.” This worried Ginny because if no one did indeed impress her then Gryffindor would not have the strong offense that they prided themselves on. “What about you? See anyone that might fill your shoes after this year?” 

He then proceeded to tell them all about Mandy and her prowess on the broom. As the conversation shifted back and forth amongst the four friends, Harry learned from Ron that he had found a protégé in a second year boy who had very good flexibility in defensive positions. From Hermione he learned that Romilda and Lavender weren’t constantly talking about him and Ron. She half lied because the only reason they stopped was after she threatened to curse them into oblivion. 

As they continued to consume the food on their plates, a large shadow covered the ground near him. Upon turning around to see what had blotted out the sun, he was greeted with a friendly sight. 

“Well I hope I didn’t miss tryouts!” bellowed Hagrid as he strolled onto the pitch. His giant half-brother followed closely behind him. 

“Not at all Hagrid!” said Harry as he shook the burly half-giant’s hand. “We were just getting ready to start the second half.” 

“That’s good to hear. I wanted to show Grawp how this game works.” The giant in question was looking out at the kids on broomsticks with a child like gaze. “If he’s going to stay with me here, then I’d best give him a proper education of the sport.” 

“I’ll help him learn.” said Hermione in a very kind manner. “He’ll be our biggest fan in no time!” Everyone laughed, not because he would literally be the biggest fan, but the simple image of this gargantuan individual in Gryffindor scarlet and gold cheering his heart out made each of them smile. 

Back in the Forbidden Forest… 

William didn’t know how long he had sat there on his broom. He had learned before that time tends to slow down and draw out like a knife under certain circumstances. This scenario was no exception. Instead of panicking, he decided to remain calm in anticipation that the centaurs would reconsider his status as a threat. He hoped that was what the faint chatter from below was all about. 

As slowly as the bow string was eased back into resting position was just how quickly William’s unease was put to rest. Rather than wonder why they had let him go, he decided to simply take it as luck and headed back to Ruby’s nest with Prospero in tow. 

The return flight back toward the school was much more relaxed as William knew that the worst was behind him. Still, he knew that conflict was eventual as this group of centaurs was indeed a hunting party; one large enough to bring down a dragon. 

Upon returning to the nest, William found Ruby to be just as restless as when he had left her earlier. Like any worried mother, her complete and utmost attention was on the egg sitting at her side. William and Prospero could have been six-headed griffins landing in her nest and she would have never acknowledged their existence. With that being said, she had no reason to recognize this young wizard and his owl. 

“Don’t worry girl. It’ll be okay!” said William trying to reassure her that the egg would hatch. Her persistent nudging didn’t help either. Like many other birds of prey, dragons need to enter the world with strength and resilience. The hatching would be their first test. The only thing that either of them could do now was to wait and see. 

Instead of waiting in silence, William sat on his Phantom’s trunk reading the All Knowing Almanac. Prospero sat idly by as his new master thumbed through its thick pages reading the coming weeks’ news. Having a book that contained the daily news for the next 25 years was very valuable to the passerby, but to William it was a way of expecting the unexpected. Since his arrival in the past William made a weekly sweep of the papers in hopes of catching events that could possibly affect the people he had sworn to protect. 

In the next few weeks, the Almanac pointed out that trials for reputed Death Eaters would soon begin. Before he could gain any greater details of these events, William’s attention shifted to the rustling of leaves. After putting down the book, he looked toward Ruby who was again nudging the egg in its leafy basket. 

“Please stop doing that!” said William as more of a request than a command. This boy was one of the few people that Ruby had any sense of respect for and immediately shifted her head back to resting on the ground. “Just give it time. It’ll hatch eventually.” She was somewhat relaxed by these words but her gaze never left the egg. 

Satisfied with her sudden calm demeanor, William returned his attention to the Almanac. Before he could find the spot he had left off at, the rustling of leaves interrupted him yet again. “What did I just say, Ruby?” asked William in a slightly frustrated tone. 

When he turned to look at her again, William noticed that her head was lying on the ground just as how he had left her. The only thing moving this time was the egg. 

Ever so gently, as if the slightest disturbance would upset the hatching, William and Ruby inched forward. The movement from inside the egg was just enough to disturb the ground on which it laid. As both man and dragon perched themselves around it, a faint crack began to descend on the egg’s increasingly brittle side. 

Like the slow but miraculous birth of a baby chicken, the hatching seemed to last forever but neither Ruby nor William could take their eyes off of this new life’s entry into the world. 

“Come on little one! Push!” said William with an air of calm excitement. It was then that a small piece of egg fell giving its tiny occupant a view of the outside. The boy could only see black scales at first, but suddenly a small flap opened revealing a small bright purple eye. 

As quickly as the eye appeared in the opening, it was replaced by a small snout that gasped for its first breath revealing a tiny set of sharp teeth. With a renewed sense of strength, the baby dragon began to push through the shell with greater force until its entire head was sticking out. 

Ruby immediately craned her head in and lovingly licked the pieces of shell off her newborn. As her tongue cleared the excess material, the baby slowly opened its eyes letting them adjust to the bright forest light. Upon seeing what was obviously its mother, it let out a tiny cry. 

“Happy birthday!” exclaimed William as he lovingly rubbed Ruby’s neck. “You’re a mum now so no more eating people!” he laughed while turning his attention back to the baby. 

The newborn continued to cry and shake in the remainder of its egg. These were not pleas for help, but rather shouts of joy as the surrounding shell began to slowly disappear. Little by little more of the baby started to appear. First, there was a head, which was quickly joined by a wing. Then another wing appeared, followed by a foot. After what seemed like hours, an entire baby dragon sat proudly in the remains of its ebony shell. 

After Ruby had properly cleaned it up, and with her permission, William slowly moved in to examine the creature. It looked surprisingly healthy for such a long stay in the egg, but he could guess that Ruby’s former diet had something to do with that. Upon closer inspection, William learned that the baby was a male and that he was purebred Hebridean like his mother. 

William slowly moved his hand in hoping to show the baby that he was no threat. Like a dog would react to a stranger, he cautiously sniffed his hand to learn the boy’s scent. When William felt the small tongue on his hand he knew that all was well. He then petted the giddy infant on his sides noticing the soft scales before they would harden permanently. The dragon seemed to like to be played with because his tail flew around wildly in excitement. 

That was precisely when William found the distinguishing characteristic that made him unique like Ruby and her crimson eyes. Unlike most Hebrideans that held an arrow shaped spike at the end of its tail, this baby possessed a tail with a sharp double headed axe shaped spike. He would hate to anger this dragon when it matured. 

“Good boy!” said William as he let the baby go back to its mother. As Ruby pulled the newborn under her wing he let out several playful yaps. It was fairly obvious to both William and her that he was hungry. “Let me see if I have any leftover treats in my trunk!” 

Unfortunately for the baby, Ruby had eaten the last of the Every Flavor Beans in her waiting for the egg to hatch. That was most likely for the best because this tiny dragon needed hearty foods like meat in its first few weeks of age. “I’ll have to go and find something for you both.” 

As William began to put on his coat and walk the wooded path back to the school he suddenly stopped to call Prospero. It would be nice to have company on the walk to and from the main grounds. The loyal owl quickly flew over and landed on the sleeve of his coat. Once the pair resumed their walk William heard a quick skittering sound across the leafy floor. When looking back he found the tiny dragon sitting before him. “No, you have to stay here with your mum little one.” 

The baby instead remained seated in hopes that it could go with William. Prospero, who was slightly afraid of this creature and its status among birds of prey, flapped his wings nervously as he inched closer. The baby then flapped his wings in a show of admiration to the abilities this bird possessed. 

William was relieved to find that the dragon stayed put when he continued down the path. He seemed so mesmerized by Prospero’s flapping that he kept testing the strength of his wings until he was eventually able to hover a few feet off of the ground.

When William saw this he promptly said in concern, “Don’t get too excited little one! Your mum will show you how to properly do that when you’re a tiny bit older!”The dragon disregarded his pleas until finally it reached a steady beat of flapping and took off into the air. 

William immediately took off after him as he raced out of the nest and into the forest. Ruby, in concern for her newborn, tried to go after him before the magical barrier William had put in place stopped her. The only reason the baby could exit, as William deduced while chasing it through the forest, was because the barrier was cast to contain Ruby and not a baby dragon. 

Before long the baby took off even faster into the trees until he finally broke through the canopy of the forest and into the sky. William knew that he could not catch him on foot so he raced back to the nest for his broom. 

Upon reaching the nest, he found Ruby fruitlessly trying to break the barrier to no avail. He then picked up his broom and called Ruby over to him. She hesitantly left the edge of the barrier and came over to him. “I know that I have no right to say this, but I need you to stay here!” Although this dragon did not understand human language, she knew he was asking the impossible. Her only reply was a mighty roar. “If you leave the nest, then I can’t promise you’ll be safe. I can get him back without endangering either of you, but you have to trust me!” 

The more time her baby spent by itself the chances of its survival went down exponentially and because of this she had no choice but to let him go. “Don’t worry girl! I’ll get him back safe!” William said as he affectionately rubbed her neck.
He then grabbed his broom and took off up and out of the forest. He then put another spell on the barrier just as a safety precaution. He needed no one else entering her nest, especially when she was angry and unpredictable. 

Instead of flying off in a random direction, William whistled for Prospero who promptly flew up and onto his broom. “I need you to help me look for the baby.” The bird recognized this query from earlier and turned its head to look out into the distance. In the same fashion as his earlier expedition, Prospero lead the way and William followed. 

The destination became all too clear as William began to see shapes at the edge of the forest. It was no hallucination, but the very distinct image of goal rings. The baby dragon was headed toward the quidditch pitch. “I hope they’re on the ground!” William exclaimed as he leaned in and took his broom to top speed. 


“So is everyone ready to get back in the air?” Harry asked as the empty plates began to pile up on the table Kreacher had set up. He took the enthusiastic rise of students from their seats as a yes. “Ok then, let’s get to it!” 

The elder students each took their groups and made off to different parts of the pitch. Harry at the moment was transfixed by a strange sight at the edge of the forest. At first glance it looked like some strangely large bat, but it was daytime at bats would be asleep. “Hey Ron, come here for a second!” said Harry motioning his friend over. 

When he was at his side he asked, “What does that look like to you?” 

He too was flabbergasted and could not for the life of him see what this thing getting closer was. He was about to call Ginny over to get a second opinion but she was too busy describing to her group how to grab a loose quaffle. “I don’t know Harry but it looks like it’s coming this way!” Ron said in concern. 

Harry was about to call in the practice teams just for safety when suddenly two more figures appear at in the air above the forest. This time he knew exactly what they were. “I think William has a loose dragon on his hands.” 

At that moment, William had just arrived at the pitch and was just mere feet away from grabbing the baby dragon. He nearly had it when a group of players appeared in the air causing both William and the dragon to divert their course. “Coming through!” he yelled as he bobbed and weaved his way past the crowds. 

As they safely passed through the now hovering mass of people, the dragon made a breakaway for something on the grounds near the bleachers. Even though William had the upper hand on a fast model broom, he could not help but admire the sheer grace and elegance of flight this dragon displayed. “You’re a speedy little devil, I’ll give you that!” He thought to himself as the baby dropped to just a feet off of the ground and the gap between them closed. 

If William was going to make a move, then he knew he had better do it quick because the bleachers were coming up very fast. The idea came to him just like they used to; at high speeds with the wind in his face. With his mind made up, William used the remaining speed he had a pulled alongside the dragon. He then swung his legs up onto the shaft of the broom and quickly jumped for the dragon. 

Seeing as how they were only a few feet off of the ground the initial force of the landing did not hurt William or the dragon shielded under his arms. The rolling and tumbling would only leave him with a few bruises at most. That turbulent feeling soon ended as William found himself face up on the ground with the dragon still in his arms. For a few seconds he just laid there with his eyes closed glad he and this creature were both alive. In fact, he was pretty sure he heard Ginny in the distance yelling, “Now that is how you’re supposed to go after a quaffle!” 

Before the sun could blind his eyes, two smiling faces greeted him. “Now I remember you saying that you would drop by later but I didn’t think you were being literal!” Harry laughed as he helped the boy off the ground. 

“Don’t I know it!” William replied as he stood up and dusted himself off. When Ron began to laugh hysterically he said, “Here hold this!” to which he then deposited the baby dragon in his arms. Now it was his turn to laugh as a squirming Ron held the newborn. 

“So I’m guessing that Ruby’s egg hatched this morning.” Harry said as William took the baby back knowing Ron had got the point. 

“You guessed correctly.” William replied as the dragon relaxed in his arms. He contributed this to animals being comfortable with the first creatures they see. “This little guy is barely an hour old and already he’s giving me trouble. You’re just like your mum!” he said in mock anger as he held the baby up near his face. 

“He learned to fly awful fast.” Harry observed. “I remember Ron’s older brother Charlie saying that it normally takes a few weeks for normal dragons to learn how to fly. I think it’s safe to say that, like his mother, this is no normal dragon.” 

“You can say that again!” he remarked holding up the double axe shaped tail spike as evidence. 

“I wonder why the bloody hell he flew over here!” Ron said taken out of his daze by the swinging tail. 

The very instant those words left his mouth, William finally found the reason. Having not eaten all morning, the smell of the remaining food being cleaned up by Kreacher and numerous other house elves was hard to resist. “Gee, I wonder” he said walking over to the table. 

“It’s good to see you again, Master Black!” spoke Kreacher as he stopped cleaning for a moment to greet the young man. “What brings you to the pitch this afternoon?” 

“It’s good to see you as well, Kreacher!” replied William in all sincerity. “Actual this little guy brings me to the pitch.” He then introduced the ancient elf to the rascally newborn. “Would you happen to have any spare pieces of rare meat? I think the two of us could use a good meal.” 

“I’m sure we have some leftovers, Master Black!” he then rummaged through the food finding two large rare pieces of beef. “These should do!” William quickly thanked the elf and returned to Harry and Ron. 

While William was getting the food, Harry managed to find William’s broom and bring it back from off of the pitch. “I think this belongs to you,” he said while turning it over to him. 

“Thanks Harry!” he replied almost forgetting that it was there. He suddenly remembered that he had intruded on their tryout. “I’m sorry to keep you guys from the tryouts! If you have to get back, then I’m sure me and the little one can manage.” 

“If that works for you!” replied Harry realizing that he did need to return to his young recruits. “Stick around and watch. I’m sure Hermione could use some company besides those two!” William knew exactly what he meant when seeing the brawny half-giant and his larger yet younger brother sitting near the bushy brown haired girl. 

“Yeah, I see what you mean!” he laughed. “Now get to it! I want to see some all-star quidditch this year.” 

Before going to see his recruits, Harry decided to go and see the group that William tore through on his way to the pitch. He flew alongside Ginny as Seamus took them to start throwing drills. 

“So is everyone ok?” he asked while pulling in for a quick kiss. 

“Everyone is fine so far!” she gasped in after considering William’s entry. “No one is hurt thank heavens! Lucky for us William is such a good flyer.”
Harry was thinking the exact same thing. There was no doubt in his mind William’s skills as a chaser helped him avoid the recruits and catch the dragon. It was then that an idea began to form in his mind. “Yes, thank heavens. By the way, have you found any potential chasers to fill the third spot?” 

Ginny was taken aback by this sudden change of topic, but when she saw the look in Harry’s eyes she knew what he was thinking. “Not yet. Do you have any ideas?” she asked playfully. 

“I think I might have a certain individual for your consideration!” he smiled back at her knowing the jig was up. “What do you think?” 

Ginny liked William as a person as well as a flyer, but her only worry was what the other senior chaser would think. “I think you’ll need to convince Seamus more than me. He and William haven’t exactly gotten along since he’s been here.” 

Harry knew that was true, but he also knew that Seamus showed was a sucker for talent on a broom. “If I know anything about those two then it’s they both love a challenge.” 

He laughed after imagining just how much these two could tear up the competition with their talent on a broom. “Don’t approach him right away, but before the end of practice make sure you get William in the air. If all goes well then you should have your last chaser.”

Chapter 17: Grace Under Pressure
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: To my loyal fans, I'm sorry for the gap between chapters. Life and school have been pretty crazy and I just haven't had a lot of time at my disposal. Now that summer is here, I hope to get out some more. Thanks and enjoy!

Grace under Pressure

Back on the ground…

“Do you have any room for two more?” asked William as he moved closer to where Hermione, Hagrid, and Grawp were sitting in the bleachers.

“William! How nice to see you!” Hermione exclaimed as he walked up the stands. “I hope you didn’t hurt yourself in that landing.”

“It’s nice to see you as well! As for the landing I should be fine.” He then turned his attention to her companions. “Hagrid, Grawp, it’s always a pleasure.”

“You too William!” replied Hagrid heartily. “So what brings you to the pitch today? I thought you were keeping Ruby company.”

He then presented the baby dragon in his arms and said, “Well I think she’ll have enough company from now on!”

One of the best qualities of Hagrid was that he appreciated all creatures for what they were; Dragons were no exception. “He’s a beauty just like his mum!” The half-giant said as he tickled the baby dragon’s chin. “What do you think Grawp?”

The giant sitting next to him looked at the baby dragon as a child would look at a passerby’s dog. He observed its beauty but was cautious to approach. The humble giant simply said, “Whoa.”

“That’s what I thought too!” said William as he began to feed it bits of the rare beef. He then held up its tail and remarked, “Not too many dragons in this breed have tails like this.”

Considering his past experiences with interesting creatures, hippogriffs, 3-headed dogs, and acromantulas, Hagrid’s attention was right on this little dragon. “That’s quite a distinctive feature. Most dragons like this one have an arrow shaped spike not an axe.”

“Axel?” Grawp asked not understanding what Hagrid meant. He had nowhere near as much knowledge of magical creatures but he was quite the eager student Hagrid began to notice.

“Not ‘axel’ Grawp. His tail is special because it’s shaped like an axe.” replied Hagrid hoping his brother could understand.

Grawp thought to himself for a few seconds before smiling and replying, “Axel!”

Before Hagrid could try and correct him, Hermione chimed in and said, “His tail is shaped like an axe Grawp, but he does need a name! Why don’t you name him Axel?”

“That’s a great idea!” William added. He thought everyone, including animals, needed a name that applied to their personality. “Because you named him Grawp, you get to feed him!” The giant pushed away the hands holding the dragon and food until William said, “He’ll like you if you feed him. I think you’ll like him too if you see that he’s a harmless baby.”

Just then, Axel decided to let out a screeching yelp that nearly had the potential to split eardrums. When William noticed Romilda Vane and Lavender Brown walking by he knew exactly what had made Axel so anxious. “So I guess it’s true. Animals can sense evil.”

William laughed and was then joined by the rest of his friends. The dragon in his arms went back to his calm self when they had taken their seats farther down the stands.

Grawp then cautiously reached out and gently scooped up Axel and the plate of beef. While holding him in the palm of one hand, he took the other and fed the hungry baby tiny pieces. A wide smile soon appeared on his face as he realized just how friendly it was. William and Hermione could only laugh at such a strange parallel; humans have dogs for pets and giants have dragons.

When Prospero saw that everything was okay, he flew down from above and landed on William’s shoulder.

And that’s how a remainder of the time in the bleachers went on. William told them all about his time with Ruby and how the centaurs were getting closer. Hermione and Hagrid shared with him how they were trying to teach Grawp quidditch so he could root for Gryffindor when the time came.

As for the gentle giant, he spent his time listening carefully all the while petting the now sleeping dragon in his hand. It was a strange site to passing students, but then again there was nothing wrong with being strange.

Harry watched from up on high as the various groups of players went about their practice routines. The sun had just reached the top of the sky as he began to put his plan into action. When Ginny caught sight of him he gave a casual nod and then she was off.

William had been watching the tryout with great attention. He knew several of these players in his time and the rare opportunity to see future pros play in school was too great to pass on. He did notice however that the chasers were looking weak this season. Why exactly Ginny was flying toward his section of the bleachers and not coaching her recruits was beyond him.

“Hello everyone!” called out Ginny as she hovered near Hermione’s section. Once they had all said hello, Ginny then addressed William. “I was wondering if you could show the recruits a few of those fancy chaser moves you used last week.”

While he was flattered that Ginny Weasley was coming to him for help with flight moves, William could not help but feel some sort of trepidation. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? Won’t Seamus have a problem with you asking an outsider?”

“From what I’ve seen so far today it looks like he could use some guidance as well!” laughed Ginny who was speaking the truth.

While Seamus was a walk on, he still did not have the greatest skills in quidditch. “Just stick by me and I’ll make sure no one gives you any trouble.”

“I guess I can help.” William relented as he then picked up his broom from off of the bench. He quickly followed behind Ginny as she made off into the air. By the time they had reached the chasers, Seamus was explaining where they needed to be proficient.

“Now the best kind of chaser will be able to steal, pass, dodge, and shoot with relative ease.” Before he could elaborate, his eyes diverted to Ginny’s return. “What’s this all about?” asked Seamus as Ginny flew back up followed by William. “What’s he doing here?”

Ginny knew this was coming as soon as Harry proposed the idea and had planned her response in advance. “I thought he could help us with some of the finer points of playing chaser. He has some very interesting practices that you might find helpful.” she quietly motioning toward the trainees.

“’Helpful?!’” Seamus exclaimed in a tone much higher than needed. “Are you saying I’m not good enough to teach them?”

Harry, who had seen the confrontation halfway across the pitch, told his recruits to take a break and quickly flew over. “What seems to be the problem here?” he asked in mock curiosity. He knew exactly why they were fighting but did not want to allude to his reasons for having William help them out.

“Your girlfriend seems to think I can’t handle these tryouts and decided to bring him up here!” he then motioned to William to make his point.

William did not want to cause any strife during something they all loved so much. “Hey, I didn’t come up here to upset the apple cart!” he said while looking at Seamus. “I’m doing a favor for Ginny. That’s all!”

“Relax Seamus!” said Harry as he gave his friend a pat on the back. “He just came up to help out with the recruits. It’s not like he’s challenging you personally.” He laughed knowing this was exactly what would spark Seamus’ competitive streak.

“Challenge?” He smirked at the notion. “He’s probably not even that good of a player!” Seamus laughed in reply knowing full well William could hear him.

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that!” yelled Ron as he flew down to their level of the pitch. He had been watching the events fold out from above but when Seamus spoke those words he knew he needed a closer look.

“So let me get this straight,” Harry began. “You’re saying that if William can pass your standards of chasing then he can stay?”

Seamus mustered the toughest look he could and then looked directly at William. “Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying.”

The group then turned their eyes to the boy in question. He then did something that took them all by surprise. He let out a huge laugh and replied, “Hell, I like a challenge. Let’s get to it!”

“Very well then!” Harry exclaimed as he hovered over to William. “Why don’t you go warm up while we work out the details.” The young man then promptly went to go stretch and get loose for whatever it was they would be throwing at him.

“What are you trying to prove Seamus?” asked Ginny as she watched him gloat for having baited William into this challenge.

He then replied in a very cocky manner, “I want to see how well he can use that broom. If he can’t, then we’ll know he can be beaten.”

“Beaten?” questioned Ron who was trying to suppress his own laughter. In the time he had been around William, he knew it was not in him to be beaten. “Hah, let me know when Merlin gets here!” He then burst out laughing in tears as he looked over at William as he warmed up.

Seamus, Ginny, and Harry could all see the humor in Ron’s statement as then turned to see the other Gryffindor. It was then that Seamus knew William wouldn’t be such an easy opponent to trounce. The back-flips, barrel rolls, and precision turns he performed were sign enough of a seasoned player.

“Oh shit!” was the only thing an awestruck Seamus could say.
William then finished his warm up and made his way over to the group.

“So what do you want to do first?”

“How about dodging drills?” proposed Ginny as she saw Dean out of the corner of her eye hitting bludgers back and forth with Simon.

“Sure,” added Seamus who was brought back to reality. “Let’s see how you can do against a few bludgers.”

William had performed this drill numerous times in his time as a chaser. Because none of them knew this, he decided to have a little fun.

Harry and Ron backed up to watch while Ginny and Seamus each began to conjure a bludger. When they had materialized, both of the angry spheres sped off toward William.

His first instinct proved precise as the first bludger went sailing past him. It was the second one that scathed his side and momentarily knocked him off the broom.

“He’s not so tough!” exclaimed Seamus as he watched the boy hang from the broom by his fingers.

“Neither are you.” Ginny said under her breath as she looked in on to watch William hang. “Get up! Get up!” she thought in desperation. As if he could hear her thoughts, the boy quickly pulled himself back up and onto the broom

When Seamus’ laughter was cut short, William decided against any further tricks. “Is that it?” he called out as he gracefully dodged the two bludgers as they swung around for another pass.

“Two more!” said Seamus as he angrily conjured another bludger. Ginny hesitantly followed suit as William was now facing four bludgers.

While it took more focus to keep track of four bludgers, William was still able to dodge all them even more easily than he did the first two. When this became evident, Seamus decided to yet again send out two more bludgers. The space he could work with began to enclose more and more as the number increased.

The rest of the exercise continued in the same manner until Harry decided that 12 bludgers was enough. He felt that William had proved he was an excellent dodger and chose to move onto the next exercise.

“Thanks Harry!” gasped William as he tried to catch his breath. Even though his condition allowed him to move for long periods of time dodging a dozen bludgers still took a great deal of speed and agility. After cleaning himself up he asked, “What’s next?”

“Next we’ll see how well you can throw a quaffle.” Harry replied as he flew next to William over to the scoring hoops. “I hope that last exercise didn’t wear you out.”

“I’m fine.” replied William as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Tell me something, Harry; has Seamus always been like this?”

“Let’s just say he doesn’t respond well to what’s different.” explained Harry who understood exactly where William was coming from. “A time traveler who just happens to be a natural at quidditch represents a pretty big difference I guess.”

“I see what you mean!” laughed William as he flew closer to the rings.

“Good luck with the next task!” yelled Harry as he flew off next to Ron above the pitch.

“So what do you think mate?” asked Ron as he watched Ginny and Seamus set up William near the rings.

“I’m thinking if all goes well today we might just have our last chaser.”

Based on what he had seen in the previous weeks when flying with William, Harry knew this to be a certainty. “I just hope William’s aim is better than Seamus’ judgment.” The two friends laughed in unison as they considered the events to unfold.

“Now William, we are going to see how well you can throw!” said Ginny as she hovered next to him with the bag of quaffles. She then promptly tossed him one for his first throw.

“Where do you want me to shoot from?”

Seamus looked at where he was hovering and replied, “Right there should be fine!”

“But we’re only 30 meters out!” exclaimed William. “I thought you were trying to challenge me.”

“That’s not a challenge?” Seamus asked in confusion. “Okay then, how about 60 meters out?”

“That’s more like it!” replied William as he happily moved further down the pitch.

When they caught up to him he then asked another question. “Which arm would you like me to throw with?”

“Your throwing arm of course!” Seamus said in frustration.

“Again, I ask which arm would you like me to throw with.”

Ginny then thought for a second and asked, “Are you saying that you can throw with both arms?”

“Sure.” He simply replied looking at the two of them. “Can’t you?”

“I know I can’t!” said Ginny as she thought over what he had just said. Not many chasers were ambidextrous, but such a skill could come in useful on the pitch.

Seamus instead chose not to answer and simply said, “Just pick one and let’s get on with it!”

“Whatever you say!” William happily answered as Ginny tossed him a quaffle.

It had been some time since he had held a quaffle, but as soon as his hand felt the hardened leather it had all come back to him. He could feel all of eyes around on him as he slowly pulled his arm back. They soon disappeared as he imagined this was just another day messing around on the pitch. And just like any other day on the pitch, the quick snap of his arm was straight and true.

Harry and the rest of his friends were clearly astonished as they blinked several times to see if what they had seen was real. “We could use that arm.” Harry said to Ron as they both looked on in amazement.

“Do that again.” Ginny said while tossing William another quaffle. She too could not believe his aim.

William began to extend his arm when Seamus said, “Let’s see you do that with your left arm this time.” He wanted to see just how true to his word William was.

Seeing where he was coming from, William smiled and then flipped the quaffle into his left hand. Once he had a good grip, he extended his arm back and threw yet another 60 meter goal.

“Make that ‘arms.’” Harry laughed after witnessing the second goal.
Ron laughed too and said, “I think Seamus has his work cut out for him.”

This went on for another 5 minutes before Seamus and Ginny both realized that he was not going to miss anytime soon. Ginny was the voice of reason and suggested that they call it quits.

“Don’t you ever miss a shot?” Seamus asked him in slight frustration.

“Sure, I miss shots…sometimes.” replied William with a smile. “Besides, this isn’t exactly a challenge. I’m used to three people chasing me and two bludgers whizzing by my skull.”

“Well then I guess we had better move on to the last challenge then!” suggested Ginny as she knew what was to come.

“And what would that be?” asked William as hovered over to her.
“On one on, best to 3 goals match.” said Seamus before Ginny could answer.

“Who’s going to face me? Will it be you Seamus or are you going to make Ginny carry this challenge out like the last two.” asked William.

Rather than let everyone else think he was a coward, Seamus conceded to this request. He had only seen William fly without opposition so there was still a chance he could best him; however small that chance was it was still there. “I’ll do it.”

“Let’s do this properly then.” Harry said as he and Ron flew out to clear the pitch of the other recruits and instructors. Soon enough a small perimeter of students had formed around to see this matchup. William and Seamus had flown down with Ginny for the jump ball. When the skies were clear Harry called down to her, “We’re ready when you are!”

Ginny then took her position on the ground with the quaffle, while William and Seamus hovered on their respected sides. The placement of players and the gathered crowd almost made it feel like a real game of quidditch with the exception of not having complete teams or a snitch and bludgers.

It would have been correct to assume that Seamus was nervous as he had not considered the embarrassment of losing to the one he had challenged. His eyes darted over the sky and the stands taking a mental count of onlookers. When his eyes shifted back to William he was almost frightened by his look of focus. Unlike Seamus, his eyes never left the face of his opponent.

William was not so much nervous as he was anxious to get this spectacle over with. There was no doubt in his mind that he could beat Seamus, but he did not want to embarrass him in front of his teammates. He would have to make this match a close one rather than a blowout. Still, he needed to get his game face on and play the game like he had been taught; with grace, control, and passion.

Upon seeing the two boys set and ready on their brooms, Ginny, in her best Madam Hooch impression, said; “Now I want a nice clean match.” When both of them nodded their heads she took the quaffle by both hands and tossed it up into the air.

Reacting strictly on instinct, both of the young men sped off with an outstretched arm. Seamus was more than shocked when he found the quaffle in his possession. He then darted off towards the rings as quickly as his broom would allow. A quick glance to the rear showed that William was almost at his heels.

Losing him was no easy task to say the least as he had to constantly bob and weave through the air. When there was sufficient room between the two of them Seamus took his first shot from ten meters out and narrowly made the first goal. With a smile of satisfaction he flew back to midfield for the next tossup.

After the second toss up, William took possession of the quaffle and soared off toward his rings. He did not bother to look back as Seamus closed the gap between them, his hand reaching out for the quaffle tucked on William’s arm.

After getting close enough, Seamus landed a blow to the quaffle knocking it out from under William’s grasp. He then made a quick swoop in to catch the falling ball and flew back toward his goal posts. Seamus thought it was simply surprise from the loss of the quaffle that explained why William could not catch up and block his second goal.

Needless to say, he wore a smug grin of satisfaction all the way back to midfield.

“What the bloody hell is going?” asked Ron still trying to process what had just happened.

“I have no idea.” Harry answered who was just as flabbergasted as Ron. “Maybe Seamus just got lucky.” He knew that statement was wrong the second it left his mouth. In his experience, William was much better than he let on and Seamus was vastly overconfident in his abilities. One on one, the win would definitely be in William’s favor. If Seamus was scoring, then it was only because he was allowing him to.

“Let’s just see what kind of game William is playing.”

William looked on as Seamus exchanged cheers with his fellow players circling the pitch. “That’s good,” William thought. “He needs all the encouragement he can get right now because the next tossup means we play real quidditch.”

Playing the role to the best of his abilities, William slowly flew back to midfield with a solemn expression of loss on his face.

Seamus thought the win was a dead lock as he watched William sadly fly back. Before getting ready for the last tossup, he took one more look at his adoring fans in the sky. When he turned his gaze back to William he found the boy wearing his glasses, which he then turned with his wand a light shade of black like that of sunglasses. While the glasses were a bit odd to Seamus, the strangest part of William’s appearance was the wide open smile on his face.

“Here comes the fun part!” He whispered to himself as Ginny went to toss up the quaffle.

For Harry, time seemed to slow down as the quaffle flew up into the air. He could see everything in that one instant like Seamus tightening the grip on his broom or the wind’s subtle influence on the floating quaffle. In the midst of all this, Harry could not help but notice how confident and ready William looked on his broomstick. When time sped back up and William had possession of the quaffle, he knew that this was a different game altogether.

“I think we’re in for a few surprises, Ron.” Harry said but never took his eyes of the pair flying frantically below.

William took off with astonishing speed down the pitch with Seamus hot on his trail. He wasn’t going at top speed as that would have been too easy on his more advanced broom, but rather a speed that his opponent could catch up to. Still, he wanted to see just how badly Seamus wanted the quaffle and needed to make him work for it. William started simple with quick banks left and right, but then got more complex with barrel rolls and loops.

When he looked back to see Seamus gaining on him, William decided to not pull out all the stops. “Ok, let’s see what he can really do.” He thought to himself and then immediately took off straight up into the sky with Seamus in tow.

It wasn’t long before every eye on the ground was trained on the sky, having lost the pair in the clouds. They knew that eventually Seamus and William would come down, either on their brooms or in a freefall.

“Can either of you find them?” asked Harry as he stared into the clouds hoping to catch sight of a tail or body, anything for that matter.

“I can’t see anything.” Ginny said as she turned to Harry. She had never seen this kind flying tactic before and could not understand the concept. When the pair first made the ascent she flew up to consult Harry and Ron to see if they had any idea. Needless to say, they knew as much as she did.

“There they are!” Ron pointed upward as he found William speeding straight down and out of the clouds followed by Seamus. By the looks of things, William was heading in a direct nosedive whereas Seamus was using a safer approach. “I don’t know what you two are thinking, but William needs to level out or he’s going to plant that broom in the ground.”

While Harry thought this was a valid point, he could not help but think this was all part of William’s plan. “Wait just a minute. I think we’ll all be in for a surprise.” He hoped so because his broom was getting dangerously close to the ground.

At that very same moment, William was having the very same thought. He knew Seamus would not pursue at such a risky speed and would be forced to come down from an angled direction. With sufficient speed and distance between them, William began to strenuously pull back on his broom and leveled out just a few meters from the ground. Harry, Ginny, Ron, as well as the rest of the crowd sighed in relief.

Seeing as how Seamus was still coming down, William easily flew toward the rings and made his first goal of the match.

As he made his way back for the next tossup, Harry flew down beside him to ask the question on everyone’s minds. “Nice moves! Just what kind of flying was that, William?”

“That’s what we call a ‘Dead Fall Drop.’ Not for the faint of heart!” He laughed.

“What are you going to do next?” He asked hoping to avoid at least some worry in watching him fly.

“I don’t know yet. Let’s find out!” He smiled as he took his side again. He could not help but notice the scowl on Seamus’ face.

The possession of the quaffle went to Seamus in the tossup. With the quaffle under his arm, he then frantically flew off toward the rings in a mad dash to end this game before another goal from William. At that moment, the young man on his mind flew right by him.

As he observed the boy fly ahead, Seamus could only think, “Why is he going toward my goal?” Just then, William made a quick midair flip-turn and flew right back at Seamus. Before he could change course his opponent flew right next him and knocked the quaffle out from under his arm. The swiftness and grace at which William accomplished this amazed Seamus long enough for him to recover the quaffle and score his second goal, thus tying the game.

Ginny waited as the two young men came back for the final tossup. The crowds were neither cheering nor booing them but rather chatting amongst themselves as to who the victor would be. This time Seamus had no look of anger or frustration but rather surprise and awe.

When they were set and ready she turned and said, “William, Seamus, this is game point. The next person to score wins. Good luck!”

The pitch fell deathly silent waiting for Ginny to send up the quaffle. This silence was cut off the very second the ball left her hands and was replaced by gasps of suspense as to who would come away with it.

From the earliest age, William had been told to play quidditch with the purpose of having fun. As he got older and the game became more competitive he always remembered this notion. Listening to it thus far had not steered him wrong and his hand firmly gripped on the quaffle was proof enough for him.

He soon found that Seamus was right behind him and decided to immediately drop the hammer and make for the final goal. The gap widely opened as William sped forward leaving Seamus trailing behind even more.

The mischievous side William knew and occasionally loved came forward in his mind saying, “Now let’s really give them something to talk about!” The trick came to his mind instantly and he quickly pulled his arm back to throw the quaffle. At 80 meters out he abruptly stopped dead in his tracks and sent the quaffle sailing toward the rings.

“GO! GO! GO!” He yelled out as every eye in the air and in the stands watched the ball soar toward the center goal post. When it flew through with more than enough clearance a stream of cheers broke out across the pitch, namely from a select few Gryffindors, giants, and half-giants.

When the cheering had settled down Harry, Ron, and Ginny all flew over to congratulate William. He was very humbled by their enthusiasm and simply thanked them all for their support. Before they could ask any questions as to what that move was or how he performed it, William decided there was one person who he needed to see more.

Seamus hovered slowly back to the center of the pitch where the rest of the team was situated. He did not sulk or hang his head in despair but instead tried to be as calm and collected as possible. This was even more of a challenge when he saw William flying over toward him. “What, has he come to gloat?” Seamus thought. He would have done that very thing if he had won.

When William came right alongside Seamus, he gave the boy a slight smile and then extended his hand. “Good match,” was all he said.

“Good match, William.” Seamus took his hand uneasily at first but then firmly shook it as William did the same.

With the matter firmly cleared up, Ginny and Harry flew over to get the tryout started once again.

“Now that we’ve established that William can play, I think its best that you resume the tryout.” Harry said as Ginny brought her recruits back to their spot on the pitch. He then turned to William and said, “They’re all yours!” He then turned to go back and take care of his recruits and maintain the charade that he didn’t know which of them would be his backup and eventual replacement.

Once William and Ginny were left to help the recruits, they were immediately pulled in closer for some basic instructions and tips.

“Is it ok if I start?” He asked respectfully knowing that Ginny had seniority in this instance. When she nodded he turned to the group and began. “Well, the first thing that I’ve noticed about you all is that some of you are lacking in your fundamentals, which in most cases has to do with quaffle handling. For example, Seamus,” his eyes went wide after being referred to as flawed. “When you were flying from me you had the ball tucked under your arm from the side.”

“But-” He began before William cut him off.

“Just shut up for two minutes and try not to live up to all of my expectations.” William said in defense. “I know exactly what you’re going to say; I did the same thing in our match. Yes, you’re right I did but it was only to show you how easy it is to steal the quaffle from that position. Would you like to see a better way?”

When all the heads in the group nodded in unison, William showed Ginny how to model this position on her broom as a demonstration. “As you can see, Ginny here has a quaffle fully guarded by her body. Her stomach and chest keep it close to the broom, her knees keep it in place, and her arms block attackers from the sides. Every surface of the quaffle is protected whilst allowing the rider full maneuverability. In my time, we call this the ‘Tortoise Shell.’”

From the look in their eyes, he could tell that they were getting the information. Even Seamus managed to look stunned by the simplicity and efficiency of this defense. William was even more amazed when he raised his hand to ask a question. “How do you throw in that position?”

William was happy to answer knowing that Seamus was willing to change some things about the way he played quidditch. The other students asked questions as well, but they were about advanced flying rather than fundamentals, which they clearly lacked. Seamus however put careful thought and consideration into his. He wanted to know about how to fly with grace and style, not with the intent to impress.

One question seemed to spark an entire discussion between the two of them. Ginny saw this as her exit and resolved to work out what William had taught with the rest of them. All the while, William helped Seamus with his technique in hopes of making him enjoy quidditch that much more. As their conversation began to wind down so did the rest of the tryout.

They quickly made their way to the ground with the rest of the students after Ginny had told them. When they reached the ground, Harry and Ron quickly joined the three of them to discuss the day’s events. Harry, Ron, and Ginny all talked about their potential prospects and for the most part each of them seemed pleased by how things were shaping up. The general consensus was that if everything went well then their quidditch season would be very successful.

The group was then joined by Hermione who had come down from the stands and Dean Thomas who had come down from flying. He then tossed down the beater’s club and sighed in frustration.

“Is there something wrong, Dean?” Hermione asked after giving Ron a quick kiss on the cheek. She then bent down and picked up the club.

“It’s probably not as bad as I’m thinking, but this new kid Simon needs a lot of work! If he expects to be in top form before the season starts then we’re going to need some serious practice time.” They knew this to be true from what all of them had seen from Simon earlier. Dean then began, “And another thing-”

He was immediately cut off as a cracked young voice shouted out from the air, “Hit the deck!”

The warning gave them enough time to see the bludger hurling toward their spot on the ground, but not enough to move out of the way.

Before they tried to make a futile dodge, a distinct sound of wood on stone broke through their cries of panic.

Upon looking toward the source of the noise, the only thing the group could see was Hermione breathing heavy with a raised hand still clutching the beater’s club. They then looked in unison to the sky and saw the bludger sail through the sky. The onlooker would have laughed after seeing each of them do a double take as to what they had just witnessed.

“Is everyone okay?” Hermione asked as she lowered her swinging arm and slowed her breathing.

“Do you think you can do that again, Hermione?” Harry ignored her question to ask the one on his as well as the rest of their minds.

“I don’t know.” She meekly replied.

“Let’s find out!” Dean exclaimed as he conjured another bludger for her to hit.

As if on instinct, Hermione gave a forceful backhanded swing that sent the angry orb flying even farther than the last. Satisfied with her ability, Dean conjured another and again Hermione knocked it almost out of the park.

Harry could only stand back and watch one of his closest friends discover a new skill. He never thought a person like Hermione, someone who never played quidditch before, would possess such a talent. He could only smile after seeing the irony. Ron however had a mystified stare plastered to his face. “What do you think, Ron?”

Without even taking his eyes off of Hermione, he replied, “That is the sexiest thing that I have ever seen!”

“Well Dean,” Harry began after containing the giggles Ron had influenced. “After you go help Simon with his beating, I think you know who to turn to for help.”

“I think you’re right, Harry!” Dean happily replied as he mounted his broom to go reprimand Simon.

The commotion Hermione had stirred brought on quite a crowd as Hagrid, Grawp, and several students had come down from the stands. The half-giant and his brother immediately went to see his 4 favorite students whereas Seamus and William hung back with the other students.

William could not help but notice the looks Seamus kept giving Parvati Patil, yet received none in return from her. When he went to talk to her she quickly dismissed him having prior knowledge of his selfish attitude in the sky and on the ground. Considering what he had gone through during the match and swallowing his pride after, William decided that Seamus needed a victory today.

Before Seamus left Parvati’s presence, William swept in and said, “You should keep this gentleman close by Parvati. You won’t find many people like him.”

“Oh and why is that?” She replied hardly believing what he said.

“Did you know he gave the profits from the betting pool on my match against Ruby so that Simon up there could have a broom to tryout on?” He said with his best poker face.

“Really? I didn’t know that!” She happily replied sporting a smile for Seamus.

The boy in question began, “But I-”

“Stop trying to be so humble, Seamus. That was a nice thing you did!” He smiled back at him and gave a subtle wink.

He knew exactly what William was getting at and continued, “I thought it was the right thing to do.”

“It was very sweet!” Parvati exclaimed as she pulled Seamus in closer to talk.

William nodded to the smiling boy as he looked back to thank him. It was then that he knew things would be ok between them from then on.

It was during a conversation about Axel that William walked back toward Harry and his friends. He did not follow it for very long as his ears began to pick up a very low but distinct echo. For those who could not differentiate, it would sound like a wild stampede of horses. “Centaurs!” He thought imagining the raiding party heading toward Ruby’s nest. The time to act would be soon at hand. His mind was quickly brought back to reality after finding Hagrid addressing him.

“Do you think you should bring Axel back to the nest, William?” He asked while cradling the tired baby dragon in his arms.

“Not quite yet!” He answered more enthusiastically then necessary. Right now, Axel needed to be as far away from the nest as possible. “Will you mind watching him while I go check on Ruby?”

“Sure thing!” He answered knowing Grawp would like more time with his new friend.

“Would you mind if I tag along?” Ginny asked as she had no knowledge of the tiny baby as well.

“I’ll come too!” Hermione added. “You’ll be surprised to know he’s very calm. He’s still very boisterous like his mum, but awfully cute as well.”

As the two girls left with Hagrid and Grawp, Harry and Ron turned to William. “Do you mind if we walk with you?” Harry asked having nothing better to do. After the excitement on the pitch, he thought a quite walk would do him justice.

William had to think quickly about this. Sure they would potentially be put in harm’s way, but considering what they had done in the past year he was willing to take the chance of their safe passage. “I could use the company!” he happily replied.

As they started to walk toward the Forbidden Forest, Romilda Vane and Lavender Brown strolled by.

“Nice flying, Harry!” Romilda stated, her voice dripping with lust. “If you ever want a better ride, then you know where to find me.”

Harry tried to brush this off without making a scene. “Don’t hold your breath, Romilda.” He replied and followed William down the trail.

“The same offer goes for you Won-Won!” Lavender added as she followed Romilda back to the school.

Ron immediately blushed after hearing her old pet name for him.

Needless to say, when he caught up to Harry and William they were both unsuccessfully trying to suppress their laughter.

“’Won-Won’?” William asked with a smirk.

“Just drop it!” Ron replied in frustration.

“Now if I was a wise man, and I am not, I would say that the two of you met ‘socially.’” William said with a smile stuck on his face.

“Socially is putting it lightly!” Harry added, amused by William’s antics. “More like, locked at the lips each night of the week!”

Seeing as how Ron was really getting tired of the jokes, Harry opted to change the subject to something they could all enjoy. “So that was some pretty impressive flying today, William.”

“Yeah, I did okay.” He humbly replied.

“That was more than okay! I’ve never seen professionals do any of your moves.” Ron added.

“What was that last move you used?” Harry asked. “I think if you teach that to us then we might have a good chance of scoring some serious points this season!”

“Well it’s not anything fancy.” William put it modestly. “I call it a ‘Javelin.’ You use your own weight and momentum to give the quaffle accuracy and speed.”

William continued to explain the rest of his moves as they walked through the forest. He would have gone on longer if it was not for the strange feeling he was getting.

At that same moment, Harry felt an odd sensation. It was almost like the feeling he used to get when Snape used to practice Leglimency on him. He could not see them, but he knew someone else was close by
William noticed this and asked him, “You feel it too, don’t you?”

“Feel what?” Ron asked being the only outsider.

“We’re being watched!” He said to no one in particular.

“Tracked is more like it.” William corrected him.

“The centaurs?” Harry correctly guessed as William nodded in response.
“Are they going to hurt us?” Ron asked as he was now clearly frightened by the prospect of being hunted in the forest by a group of centaurs.

“Me probably.” William replied in all honesty. “The two of you should be fine. You both had a part in defeating Riddle so I’m sure that’ll warrant some kind of leeway with them.”

“What if you’re wrong?” Harry asked knowing this was a possibility. He did not know much about centaurs but he did know that they were not particularly fond of humans.

“If I’m wrong then this will all be over soon.”

It was then that his ears caught another familiar sound. For the second time that day, the faint draw of a bowstring echoed in his mind, only this time it snapped forward sending the arrow straight toward them.

A/N: Sorry for the cliffhanger lol! The next chapter is already complete in my mind. I should have it written up within the next month. Thanks for your patience! PLEASE REVIEW :) BTW I just gained trusted author status so my updates will be coming a lot sooner lol