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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.

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