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“We have a suspect.” Officer Whatever said right as Harry swung open the door, not even bothering to say hello.

 

    “Oh really?” He mumbled, rubbing his eyes and glowing red with embarrassment. Not only was he on a hangover, he also hadn’t bothered to get up, and when Officer Whatever made a surprise visit to the Potter residence, Harry was in his pajamas and bunny slippers, and had quickly had to hide his firewhiskey bottles in the trash can.

 

    “May I come in?”

 

    No, you may not, thank you very much. “Of course.”

 

    Officer Whatever smiled at Harry, and stepped into his house, walking into the kitchen and sitting down at the table. “You got any tea?”

 

    “Erm...yeah. I think so.” He frowned, as he placed a kettle on the stove. “So, tell me about the suspect.”

 

    “His name is Theodore Nott. You may know of him - he attended Hogwarts around the same time as you. Nott was spotted by three known eyewitnesses near Ollivanders the day of the attack, and had a motive.”

 

    “Which is…?”

 

    “He wanted the position as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement but Parvati got it. They have totally different political stances, and once he said in a Daily Prophet that if he had the chance, he would kill her. Plus, his alibi was that he was at the pub with some friends, but that turned out to be false.”

 

    Harry frowned. “Where is he right now?”

 

    “Being held for questioning, though we can only keep him for so long, so we must act immediately.”

 

    “We?”

 

    “Well, me, of course. Not you, you get the week off to spend time with your new children.” He looked around. “Where are they, by the way?”

 

    “Asleep, I’d assume.” Harry shrugged.

 

    “How have they been doing?”

 

He paused. “As well as they can be, I suppose.”

 

“Good.” Officer Whatever stood up. “Well, I suppose that’s all.”

 

“But your tea-”

 

            “Give it to the kids. I’m more into coffee these days anyways.” And with that, he left the Potter’s house, leaving Harry both annoyed and relieved that he was gone. Finally. Peace.

 

            He reached into the trash and pulled out his concealed bottles, and sat down at the table.

 

            It’s early. His brain told him. No one will be up to see. One glass won't hurt anyone. No one has to know.

 

           He bit his lip in frustration, his knuckles going white as he dug his fingernails into the palms of his hand. A drop of sweat dripped down the side of his face, and dropped onto the marble table, creating a tiny bulb. Harry turned away from the bottle and focused on the drop of sweat - how it seemed to magnify the part of the table it had landed on. That was some type of science, wasn’t it?

 

           “Mr, Potter, is everything alright?”

 

           Harry practically flew out of his seat, jumping onto his feet and whipping around to the hallway - where the voice had came from. He sighed in relief when he realized it wasn’t someone trying to kill him (or call him out for almost drinking) but just Arlison.

 

          “Yeah, yeah, sorry. You just startled me is all.”

 

          Arlison gave him a sideways smile. “Yeah, you seem pretty alarmed...sorry.”

 

          “No no no, it’s alright. Don’t worry about it.”

 

         There was an awkward silence, where neither of them said anything.

 

         “Um...you want a cup of tea?” Harry asked finally, nudging towards the kettle that he just remembered was there, as it started to squeal.

 

         “Sure.” He said, and sat down across from Harry, frowning and looking at the bottle of alcohol, but apparently chose to say nothing on the subject.

 

          Harry poured two cups of tea, and handed one to the boy in front of him, sitting down himself and taking a sip. It was burning hot and stronger than any tea should be, but that’s how he liked it. Suddenly, he felt bad for giving Arlison such a strong brew - it was practically coffee.

 

         Arlison took a sip and made a face, clearly trying not to spit it out, but managed to choke it down and force a smile. “It’s lovely, thank you.” He said, setting his glass down.

 

         “Erm...how are the others?” Harry said after a few moments of silence. Others. He smiled at his own genius - he had forgotten their names. Smooth.

 

        He shrugged. “Well, I suppose. They’re both asleep still - it took a while though. Benthiem wouldn’t stop crying, Ser almost slapped him, she was so frustrated. I don’t blame her though. Or Benthiem, now that I think about it.”

 

        “It’s going to be Benthiem’s first year at Hogwarts in a few days, correct?”

 

        He nodded. “Yeah, his first, my last. Serenity’s 5th.”

 

        “My son Al is going into his 5th year as well. Perhaps they know each other.”

 

        “Probably. What house is he in?”

 

        “Slytherin.”

 

        “Same as her. Chances are they’ve met. I’ll ask her when she wakes up!” Arlison smiled brightly.

 

        Harry laughed. “Alright. You do that, kid.”

 

        Speaking of the devil, Serenity Nias’ voice suddenly echoed from the hallway in a whisper shout. “Would you guys shut up? You’re gonna wake up Benthiem.”

 

        Arlison stood up, as she walked into the kitchen. “Why are you up? It’s like...7.”

 

        “I could ask you the same question.”

 

        He shrugged. “Early bird gets the worm.”

 

        “Wise.” She grabbed an apple off of a counter, one that Harry had intentions of eating, and took a bite. “I like it.”

 

         “How’s Bentheim?” Harry asked, watching her.

 

         “Asleep.” She shrugged. “But otherwise as good as he can be, given everything.”

 

         Harry looked at his lap, unsure of what to say.

 

         “We doing anything today?” Arlison said, giving his sister a funny look for no apparent reason.

         Harry paused for a second to think about that question. Were they? No, he didn’t think so, but before he could answer, there was a loud crack, followed by a rasp on the door.

 

         “I got it.” Serenity said as she took another bite of the apple and walked over to the door.

 

         God, why is everyone coming over so early today? What could they all possibly want?

 

         “Hel-who the fuck are you?” An all too familiar voice said from the other side of the door. Harry couldn’t see past Serenity’s tall frame, but he knew exactly who it was, as a pit formed in his stomach.

         “I should ask you the same question!” Serenity practically shouted back.

 

         “God Potter, your hookup looks like a teen prostitute, could you sink any lower?” Ginny Weasley said, as Arlison jumped out of his seat and grabbed his sisters arms as if to prevent her from slapping Harry’s ex wife.

 

         Everyone turned their heads to him.

 

          “Um…” Harry scratched the back of his neck. “What are you doing here?” He finally was able to say. Genius.

 

          “Dad!” A tiny voice yelled from behind Ginny. “It’s your weekend with us!”

 

           Bloody hell.

 

           “Oh. Yeah, I knew that!” He sputtered out unconvincingly, standing up and running over to where his three children stood slightly behind Ginny, all crossing their arms. He looked up and glared at his ex wife. “Well, if that’s it, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

           “Bye kids!” Ginny said, ignoring Harry entirely. She wrapped her arms around Lily, the only one now willing to hug their mother in front of other people, and disapperated.

 

          Harry smiled, and the three kids reluctantly walked into his house. James, the oldest, was the tallest of everyone, at a strapping 6”4, and wore a mischievous smirk that reminded Harry so much of the Weasley twins. Of course, only one of them was still alive now.

 

          Shortly behind him was Al, who appeared the most like Harry, with jet black hair that seemed to have not been brushed in days, and dazzling green eyes. He stared at the floor, avoiding eye contact with anyone.

 

          Then his youngest, Lily, who looked the most like her mother. Her red hair was tied up into a loose braid, and she was glaring at everything her eyes seemed to run into.

 

          Serenity coughed loudly, and everyone looked over at her. “So, there’s six of us now?”

 

    “Evidently.” Arlison folded his arms across his chest in a sign of protest, scrunching his nose at Harry’s three children - his real children, not the ones he had temporarily adopted.

 

    “Who are you, anyways?” James asked with a tone of displeasure. “Dad, did you have more kids?! Is there something we don’t know about?”

 

    “James!” Lily elbowed him sharly, and James bent over in pain.

 

    “Oi, Lils! That hurt!”

 

    “Good!”

 

    “Would you two shut up!” Serenity shouted, and everyone in the room jumped up in alarm from the power in her voice.

 

    Who knew a fifteen year old could be so intimidating? Harry thought as he tried to recollect himself. She was just a child, yet somehow, he scared her more than anything as of recent ever did.

    “Merlin’s beard! Who are you?!” James demanded this time, sharing the same tone as Serenity as he shot her a piercing glare, which she mirrored almost identically.

 

“Your new siblings, apparently.” She practically growled, and Arlison leaned over to place a dark hand on her shoulder.

 

All three of the Potter children turned towards Harry with all different expressions. Al’s face was scrunched up into a confused look, James had pursed his lips to hold back laughter, apparently thinking this was a joke, and Lily’s face had gone bright red and her eyebrows were twisted into a look of pure anger.

 

“They’re staying with us for a while.” Harry cut in before anyone could question Serenity, who now wore a blank expression. Arlison’s hand was still on her shoulder in a comforting manor, and she twirled her apple around in her hand methodically.

 

“May I ask why?” Lily folded her arms across her chest, eyeing the two Nias children up and down.

 

“Our parents were murdered. Your father offered us a home while it’s being investigated, so we’re safe.” Arlison quickly explained before anyone got even more riled up. “We have another brother as well, Bentheim, but he’s asleep.”

 

All three of the children stared at them blankly.

 

“Oh.” Al said finally, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

 

“I would say it’s okay, but it really isn’t, so you probably shouldn’t have tried at all. You’re attempt to make us feel better was pathetic” Serenity tossed her black hair to the side and stretched out her long neck. “Albert, isn’t it?”

 

“Albus.”

 

Her nose scrunched up with displeasure. “I’m going to stick with Albert.”

 

“But it’s not-”

 

“You’re a bitch.” James cut Al off out of nowhere, and all heads whipped towards him.

 

“James!” Harry scolded him. “Stop-”

 

“You’re really gonna let her talk to us like this, dad?! You’re taking her in and all she’s doing is being a whiny bitch to us. I’ve known her for like, a minute, and she’s already been such an ungrateful snob. You’re our dad, not theirs!”

 

Serenity, for once, was silent.

 

Harry bit his lip, as an urge to drop everything, grab a bottle of firewhiskey and chug the entire thing in a singular gulp hit him at full speed. James had a point, Serenity was practically unbearable. It had only been twelve hours of having them, but he was already losing his mind.

 

They’ll be at Hogwarts in a few days. He tried to reassure himself, the thoughts of a drink still spinning through his mind. Then you can drink as much as you want. No annoying, bratty children holding you back.

 

Then, without warning, Serenity whipped around and walked back into the hallway and threw both of her arms in the air, flashing her middle fingers behind her. Every step of hers grew more and more intense until she turned the corner, opened the door to the room she was staying in, and slammed it behind her with a ear-slipping crack.

 

“I-I am so sorry, Mr. Potter.” Arlison sputtered out, his face turning a deep shade of scarlet and he avoided the intense glances of everyone around him and stared at where his sister had stormed off to. “She’s just...sensitive, right now. She’s normally not like this.”

 

Harry nodded softly, feeling sympathy for the boy, and his kids seemed to lighten up. Unlike his sister, it was hard not to like Arlison. “It’s okay. Don’t worry about it.”

 

“She’ll come around eventually.” Arlison attempted to reassure them, though he seemed to doubt himself.

 

Lily scoffed. “Sureee she will. And Voldemort will rise from the grave.”

 

James mimicked his sister’s laugh. “Are you sure she isn’t Voldemort reincarnated?”

 

“She isn’t that bad…” Al added softly, but no one paid any attention to him.

 

Arlison pursed his lips as they continued to talk about his sister as if he wasn’t there, but apparently chose not to defend her - what was there to defend?

 

“Should I go check on her?” Harry asked Arlison after a few minutes.

 

He shook his head. “No...it’s best she’s left alone for a while, or she might freak out again.”

 

They all sat down around the wooden table, all trying to ignore the half empty wine bottle that was still laid out at the edge, that Harry couldn’t take his eyes off as they spoke.

 

“What houses are you guys in?” Arlison asked, trying to break the tension.

 

“James and I are in Gryffindor.” Lily said stiffly. “And Al is a Slytherin. You?”

 

“Gryffindor. I’m a seventh year. It will be Bentheim’s first year.”

 

“It’s my niece Lucy’s first year as well. Maybe they’ll become friends.” Harry said with a smile, trying to ignore the temptation laying only inches in front of him.

 

You don’t need it. You don’t need it. You don’t need it.

 

But no matter how much he lied to himself, he knew the truth. It was his only escape, only way out of the hell that was his mind, and the memories of the Dark Lord that consumed every thought of his.

 

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