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I don’t own Harry Potter. I do however own Carla Dursley and the plot. That’s it.

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Chapter 5 – School Time Blues

In Harry’s eyes, the next month went by quickly. Hermione came by almost every day to help out around the house, much to Ted’s delight. Carla was quickly learning the ins and outs of living in the magical world, and seemed much happier than when he had first taken her in. However, Harry had noticed that while Carla never brought up the issue about what to call him again, she did not address him by any title, instead waiting patiently at his side until he noticed her. Before he knew it, it was time for both Carla and him to return to their respective schools.

“Okay, Carla, have fun in class today,” Harry said as he and Carla stepped off a Muggle bus.

“Don’t get into trouble, and don’t talk about magic to your classmates, okay?” he asked, and Carla nodded obediently. “Okay, I’ll pick you up tonight, have fun, kiddo,” he said, turning her around and nudging the girl towards the school, and she ran off to join the other children. Chuckling, Harry walked into an abandoned alleyway and Apparated back to 12 Grimmauld Place and Flooed to his office at Hogwarts. After he dusted the soot off of his clothes, he saw Ted scribbling at something, his brow furrowed in concentration. “You working hard there, Teddy?” Harry asked.

“Yup,” Ted said as he erased an answer and added the correct one.

“Good man, Ted, I’ll be outside if you need me,” Harry said, walking into his classroom just as his students milled in. “Fifth year Ravenclaws and Gryffindors, welcome to O.W.L. level Defense Against the Dark Arts. I trust that you remember my name; after all, you’ve only had to see my ugly face every day for the past four years,” Harry said cheekily, the students’ laughter echoing throughout the room. “Okay, for the next month or so, we will be covering the Unforgivables,” Harry said, scribbling the word “Unforgivables” onto his chalkboard. “Can anyone tell me what they are?” he asked, turning to face his students. Immediately, all the hands in the room shot up. “Mister Slater,” he said, pointing to a blonde Gryffindor.

“The Cruciatus curse, the Imperius curse and the killing curse, sir,” he said proudly.

“Correct, five points to Gryffindor,” Harry said as he scribbled the names of the curses onto the chalkboard. “Can anyone tell me why these curses are considered unforgivable?” He looked around, and only a few hands were up. “Miss Barrows?”

“They are considered unforgivable because the intent required to cast these curses is so heinous that you cannot forgive their use on a human being,” the Ravenclaw girl said.

“Correct, five points to Ravenclaw,” Harry said, clapping. Harry drew out a wand and waved it, and the curse names rearranged themselves so that it read Imperius first, Killing second and Cruciatus last. “Tell me, class, what is the significance of this arrangement?” Harry asked. The students looked at the chalkboard in confusion until Barrows shot her hand up again.

“The list shows the curses in their order of creation,” she said.

“Correct, another five points to Ravenclaw,” Harry said. “The Imperius curse was invented first. It was first used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to control particularly defiant slaves. It was banned in 1772 when an assassin cast it on a politician and ordered him to slit his own throat in public.” The class blanched at that little tidbit of information. “The killing curse was invented around the time of the Founders as a way to humanely kill livestock before slaughter. It was banned in 1835 when a serial killer murdered almost a hundred witches and wizards exclusively with this curse. Finally, the Cruciatus curse was invented in 1942 as an interrogation tactic during World War II.” Harry paused when he saw some of the students had a confused look on their faces. “The war against Grindewald,” Harry clarified for those that weren’t versed in Muggle history. “It was such an effective curse that it was banned six months later, and began the process to invent veritaserum.” Harry waited quietly as the students copied this information down onto their parchment. “Okay, for homework—” half the students groaned as the Gryffindors heard the word “homework”, while the Ravenclaws straightened up, “...you’re going to have to read the first three chapters of your assigned reading. I’m not so mean as to assign you an essay on your first day,” he said, chuckling. “You’re dismissed.” Chairs scraped against the stone floor as the students gathered their supplies and left the classroom. Harry stole a glance at his watch. “Ten minutes till the next class. Might as well check on Ted while I’m waiting,” he said to himself as he walked back into his office.

At 4:30 that afternoon, Harry and Ted took the Knight Bus to East Surrey Primary School to pick Carla up from school.

“So, did you have fun?” Harry asked as they climbed back onto the giant purple vehicle.

“Yup,” Carla said chipperly. “We learned about fractions today!” Whatever else Carla would have said was forgotten as the Knight Bus lurched forward with a bang, the little girl squealing in delight. They stumbled out of the bus, still affected by the intense intertia. Harry saw Hermione’s car parked in the driveway, and he frowned in confusion as he unlocked the door and walked in. They walked into the dining room saw Hermione sitting at the table with a newspaper, a red pen in her hand.

“Hermione, what are you doing here?” Harry asked. Hermione looked down at her paper.

“I...needed to do something, I hope you don’t mind,” she said, not quite looking him.

“No, I gave you a key for a reason, but why are you here? Why couldn’t you do it at your flat?” Instead of answering, Hermione’s eyes flickered at Carla and Ted momentarily, and Harry began to understand.

“Kids, why don’t you go upstairs and do your homework while I talk to Hermione?” he asked as he gently nudged the children out of the room. Carla grabbed her pack and ran up the stairs, Ted behind her. After they left, Harry pulled up a chair and sat down next to Hermione.

“Okay, Hermione, talk, what’s this about?” he asked. He looked down at the newspaper and saw that it was advertising flats for rent, with several addresses circled. “Were you kicked out of your flat?” he asked incredulously. Hermione snorted and shook her head.

“My dear landlord threatened to double my rent, unless I did him a ‘special favor,’” she said darkly, quoting the words “special favor” with her fingers. “In return, I gave him a swift kick in the pants and began packing up. I got here a couple of hours ago.” Harry sighed, suppressing his anger at Hermione’s former landlord for even thinking about propositioning her that way.

“You know, you could always move in here,” he offered. Hermione chuckled and shook her head.

“That’s sweet of you, Harry, but I can take care of myself,” she said, turning back to her newspaper. “Besides, I don’t want to be an imposition.”

“You wouldn’t be imposing on me,” Harry insisted. “This place is huge, so space isn’t an issue; you Apparate to work, so location is no problem; the kids love you, and I certainly wouldn’t mind your company.” Hermione didn’t answer, but bit her lip as she considered it. “I’ll charge you rent if it makes you feel better,” Harry added. After almost a minute of consideration, Hermione nodded her agreement.

“Thanks, Harry, but you really didn’t have to do this,” Hermione said stubbornly. Harry stood up, shrugging as he did so.

“Blame my ‘saving people thing,’” he said as he placed the chair that he was sitting on back in its proper place. “I’m thirsty, want something?” he asked as he walked into the kitchen.

“I’ll take a butterbeer,” Hermione said as she crumpled up the newspaper and tossed it into a dustbin like a basketball, pumping her fist in the air victoriously when it fell in.

Over the next couple of weeks, they had settled into a routine. Harry would wake up and prepare breakfast. The other three residents of 12 Grimmauld Place would come down and eat before preparing for the day. Hermione would take a quick shower, get dressed and say goodbye before Apparating to the Ministry of Magic. Harry would then take both the Knight or Muggle bus to take Carla to school before Apparating back home and Flooing himself and Ted to Hogwarts. After day’s end, Harry would pick up Carla and they would do occupy themselves until Hermione returned that night, at which time Harry would prepare dinner. This was a well-oiled routine, until one day, about three weeks after the fall term had started.

“Okay, class, today we’re going to be covering the Cruciatus curse in more detail,” Harry said to his class of fifth-year Slytherins and Hufflepuffs. “Firstly, what makes this particular curse special?” As he expected, no one knew what he was talking about. “Okay, let me explain. The Cruciatus is a very efficient spell, but there are other torture spells invented both before and after it: the fire whip spell in pre-Renaissance France, the blood boiling curse in World War I or even the bone extracting hex from Vietnam. All of these are very effective at causing physical pain, so tell me, what makes the Cruciatus special?” The students looked at each other in confusion. “Anyone? It’s not that hard.” Hesitantly, one of the Slytherin students raised his hand. “Mister Lecross?”

“The Cruciatus doesn’t leave a mark?” the boy said, more as a question than a statement.

“Correct, five points to Slytherin,” Harry said. “That was an easy question. Now here’s a tricky one: why? Why does the Cruciatus inflict physical pain, yet leave no mark?” Lecross lowered his hand, and the students resumed looking at each other in confusion. “I’ll give you a hint: it doesn’t.” Harry smiled to himself at the completely clueless looks on his students’ faces. “Let me explain. Who here can tell me why we feel pain to begin with?” A few Hufflepuff students raised their hands. “Miss Green?”

“We feel pain because our bodies are covered with nerves that, when stimulated, send an electrical signal to the brain, where it is analyzed and interpreted as a painful sensation,” the Hufflepuff girl said proudly.

“Correct, five points to Hufflepuff,” Harry said. “Now basically, what the Cruciatus curse does is increase the sensitivity of these pain receptors to such extreme levels that everything, from the wind blowing on your face to your clothes rubbing against your skin to the pressure applied to your lungs as you breathe activates them and your brain interprets the signals that they send out as extreme pain.” The students paled considerably when they realized that the Cruciatus turned your very body against you. “And the thing is, the only escape from the pain is death,” Harry continued. “Even if you’re levitating stock-still in the middle of a pitch-black, sealed room stark naked, your muscles will still twitch instinctively; your heart will still beat; you will still breathe. As long as this curse is cast upon you, all that will be felt as unimaginable pain. Think about that...class dismissed.” The students shot up and practically ran out of the room to escape the images that Harry had conjured in their minds.

That afternoon, when he and Ted had Flooed home, Harry was surprised to find a message on his answering machine. While Ted went to the bathroom, Harry hit the play button and listened to the message.

Mister Potter, this is Headmistress Jules, calling about an incident that Carla Dursley got into today. If you would please meet me in my office today when you pick Miss Dursley up, that would be appreciated. Thank you.” Harry frowned and called for Winky.

“What can Winky be doing for Master Potter?” the small house elf squeaked. Harry rolled his eyes exasperatedly at his title of “master,” but all attempts at getting Winky to stop ended in failure.

“I need to go on an errand, so could you keep an eye on Ted for an hour or so?” Harry asked.

“Winky will guard Master Teddy with her life,” Winky said, bowing low before popping out of site. Shaking his head, Harry Apparated to his usual alleyway and walked into the East Surrey Primary School Headmistress’s office, where Carla was sitting in a corner, clutching her bag and looking ashamed.

“What seems to be the problem?” Harry asked as he sat down, his face unreadable.

“This afternoon, Miss Dursley got into a fight with another one of our students. As you may know, we here at East Surrey Primary do not permit fighting on the grounds,” Headmistress Jules said in a professional tone.

Yeah, I know; doesn’t mean that you enforce it, Harry thought bitterly. “So what are you going to do about it?” he asked aloud.

“We have spoken to the student that was injured, and we have decided to give Miss Dursley a month detention for accosting a fellow student,” Headmistress Jules said. Harry suppressed a growl as he clenched his fist tightly.

“And how did you come to the conclusion that Carla deserved such a punishment?” Harry asked, forcing himself to remain calm.

“We spoke to the student that was accosted, and she said that she was helping a younger student when Miss Dursley began hitting her. When we interviewed the younger student, he simply shrugged his shoulders when questioned,” Headmistress Jules explained. Harry turned his head to look at Carla, who was looking down at the floor sadly. Harry did a quick sweep of her memories with Legilimency, and found out the truth before turning back to the Headmistress.

“Well, rest assured that this will never happen again,” Harry said, his voice level.

“Thank you for that—” Headmistress Jules began, but was cut off by Harry interrupting.

“...Because Carla will no longer be attending,” he continued, both Carla and the Headmistress looking at him in surprise. “Apparently, things around here run the same way that they did fifteen years ago: the bullies with money can shift the blame to someone else. Well, not this time; I’m pulling Carla out.” Harry stood up and walked out, Carla running to catch up, leaving a dumbstruck Headmistress in their wake. Outside, Harry angrily waved his right hand, summoning the Knight Bus, and they rode back home. “I’m not going to be able to protect you forever, Carla, and you’re going to have to face the consequences of your actions someday, but I know that you were in the right today, and I’m proud of you,” Harry said as the bus rumbled on its brief journey.

“Where am I going to go to school now?” Carla asked as they walked off the bus.

“I was thinking about homeschooling you, that way Ted can help you when you’re stuck. Does that sound like fun?” Harry asked as he unlocked the door to 12 Grimmauld Place. Carla nodded silently as they walked into the house. “Okay, Winky, you can leave now!” Harry said, only receiving a faint pop in response. “Go play with Ted while I prepare dinner,” Harry said, and Carla ran up the stairs to Ted’s room.

That night, the four residents of 12 Grimmauld Place talked over baked fish, although no one brought up Harry pulling Carla out of school. That night, Harry tucked Carla into bed and kissed her hair.

“Goodnight,” Harry said as Carla curled up under her covers. As he stood up and walked out, he heard something that caused him to go to bed with a smile on his face.

“Night-night, Daddy.”

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Okay, everybody’s one step closer to being a big, happy family. Hermione’s moved in, Carla’s calling Harry “Daddy” now; all that’s left is for Harry and Hermione to admit their love for each other and get married.

My decision to make Ted and ultimately Carla homeschooled is because I myself have been homeschooled my whole life, and really don’t know anything else, so it makes things easier for me.

Don’t forget to read and review!

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