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Where Our Choices Lead
Ginny W. & Harry P. - Words: 22,345 - Rated: M - English - None - Chapters: 5 - Reviews: 14 - Updated: 11-01-2017 - Published: 07-09-2016 - by Deadman19 (FFN)

So here we are, chapter 2. I didn't really get a lot of responses on the last chapter but it is what it is. I hope you all enjoy and please drop a review!

Monday morning, thirty minutes before breakfast was to start, the newest Slytherin class was gathered in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom waiting for their head of house to arrive. Harry and Cassie sat bleary eyed and barely awake while Draco sat attentive and alert. "I don't know why you two are so tired, we got plenty of sleep." Cassie's glare made him gulp and say no more.

The door opened suddenly and in strolled Edward Riddle, DADA professor and Slytherin Head of House. "Good morning all, thank you for joining me this fine morning. I realize that it is rather early but I figured I'd let you get to sleep last night and do this in the morning so you'll have time to get properly woken up before your classes start. First, I'd like to say welcome to Hogwarts, and welcome to Slytherin House. I realize that some of you come from families that are less than exemplary. Of course I'm talking about Malfoy, Goyle, Crabbe, Parkinson, and so forth. I understand the teachings of your families, and that you're expected to act in a certain manner. However, while you are here, a part of the House of my ancestor, you will show respect to your fellow student no matter what house they're in. Of course if you are heckled by another house, I expect you all to stand together and I will deal with them most harshly. But let me say this, if I hear that any from my house acted in a manner not befitting the name Slytherin, I will deal with that student harshly and in front of the entire Great Hall if need be. You will not pick fights, you will not antagonize your fellow students, and most of all, you will show respect to all who address you. Because no matter what political drivel your families have shoved down your throats and pounded into your brains, they are still human, just like you. Their blood flows red, just like yours. Treat them as such. Here at Hogwarts, your blood status means nothing. Your family name means nothing. You are all equal here. Now remember, if you are attacked unfairly I will protect you but, if you are unfair to others, you will know my wrath. Now, off to breakfast you go. I'll be seeing you all shortly with your class schedules."

It was a pale group of students that entered the Great Hall a few minutes later. They walked past the older Slytherins who all had knowing smirks on their faces. The prefect from the night previous, Jake Flinton spoke up. "Don't worry, he's always like that in the beginning. But as long as you keep your noses clean, you'll get to really like him. He knows his stuff and as I said last night, his door is always open." The first years, a little more heartened than before, all nodded as said professor entered the Great Hall and handed them their class schedules.

Class Number One, Potions…..

Harry made his way to his seat beside Cassie for their first class; Potions. Harry was looking forward to it, even if Cassie wasn't. "Don't worry Cassie we'll be fine."

She scowled at him. "Professor Snape hates my dad, more than he hates yours and he's bound to take it out on me!" Harry couldn't refute that. His father had warned him that Snape would be harder on them than anyone else simply because of who their parents were. His mum had been adamant, however, that Snape had grown up and wouldn't hold a school boy grudge against the children. Harry had his reservations on that though. The noise in the room ceased immediately as Severus Snape stormed into the room, scowl ever present on his face. As he turned and looked at them all, he settled a piercing glare on Harry and Cassie before quickly moving on. In that moment, Harry and Cassie knew that they were marked for the slaughter.

Later…

Edward looked at Snape, irritation clear on his face. "You're telling me, that on their very first day of class, you ask them questions more fit for fifth years? How childish of you."

Severus scowled. "You weren't bullied by their fathers. Potter looks just like his idiot father. Black has her father's eyes. They even act like them."

With a snort, Edward took a drink of tea. "Of course Harry looks like his father, James is his bloody father. But if you'd take the time, you'd find that he's more like his mother. And Cassie is a lot like Sirius, but she's no bully. Besides that, you're in your bloody thirties, it's time to let it go mate."

Severus glared for a moment before relenting. "I wasn't picking on them, I expected them to be able to answer my questions."

Edward's brow arched. "Oh?"

"They were taught by Lily before they came here were they not?"

"Yes but she never let them brew anything big by themselves. They do help her with the Wolfsbane potion though, which I understand is a very difficult potion to brew."

Snape nodded. "It is. So I was right then, they know the subject."

Edward waved his had in dismissal. "They aren't masters on it like you. It isn't their favorite thing to do but they are capable and I have no doubt they'll be able to outdo anyone in their year in the final exams."

Snape nodded. "It is as I suspected then. They are very good. They brewed this morning's potion to perfection, much better than anyone else in their class. Of course I didn't tell them that but I gave them perfect marks. But I believe that Longbottom may destroy my classroom before it's all over, he's absolutely useless in the class."

"His parents weren't great at it either. In fact, the only reason they got as good a grade on it as they did is because Slughorn knew they wanted to be aurors and didn't want to hinder them. He tutored them quite often. And Lily used to tutor Alice in their spare time. In the end, they did well enough to get in to the auror program."

Snape snorted. "And we see where that got them."

Edward glared at Snape. "That was bloody uncalled for. Them being aurors didn't cause their deaths, your former master being an evil bastard caused it." He got a shrug in reply. "Anyway, Augusta is rather good at potions. Her son and grandson obviously didn't inherit that talent."

"That's an understatement." Edward just rolled his eyes and sipped his tea.

Harry sat up in the common room late that night staring into the fire. What do you want out of life? It was a question his uncle Eddie had asked him before leaving for Hogwarts. "What do I want out of life?" He wanted to be great. He wanted the world to be in awe of him. He didn't want their fear, or their worship, as Voldemort had. He just wanted their respect. He looked down at his wand, yew wood with the hair of a thestral dipped in basilisk venom. Ollivander said that it was rare and a dangerous combination to work with, and that he'd do great things with it. Harry knew that he needed to excel in everything he set his mind to in order to live up to his own expectations of himself. But there was an underlying cause. He wanted to make his sister proud of him. She had looked up to him ever since they were little and he wanted to be deserving of it. He smiled to himself. He'd make them all proud. He got up and made his way to his dorm. It wouldn't do to not get enough sleep lest he fall asleep in History of Magic.

By the end on first period on their second day, Harry had come to form the opinion that Professor Binns was very boring. "All he does is drone on about the Goblin Wars! There was no introduction or anything! He just came in and launched into the most boring lecture I've ever heard. I ended up reading my bloody text book instead of listening to that hack!" Cassie snickered behind him while Hermione Granger just look scandalized as they walked into Transfiguration, where a cat was perched on the desk. Harry and Cassie, knowing who it was, just smiled and took their seats while the rest of the class cooed at the cat who turned into Professor McGonagall after the last student had entered. Now the day before, she had just introduced them to the subject and told them what they would be studying so no one had any idea, save for two Slytherins, that the Professor could do that. Of course the students who, just a moment before had spent five minutes going on about how cute the cat was, were suitably horrified.

The stern woman gazed at them all. "Five points to each of you for being kind." There was a twitch on her face that almost looked like a smile but it disappeared within half a second of appearing. She went on to explain the theory behind turning a match into a needle. Of them all, Harry was the only one to transfigure his perfectly even though it had taken him several tries to do so. Cassie was frustrated as she had only managed to turn her match into a wooden needle. "Very good Mr. Potter, 10 points. And Mrs. Black, take 5 points." The two friends beamed at one another as Harry went to work transfiguring his needle back into a match whilst Cassie took time trying to complete the full transformation.

By the time they got to their first DADA class, they were in fairly good moods, having earned Slytherin quite a few points throughout the day. But as they walked in and took their seats, they were in a more anxious mood. They knew to take this class with the utmost seriousness after all, uncle Eddie would take no less. After the last student had sat down, a door towards the front of the class opened and in walked Professor Riddle. Like Professor Snape, he was taller than others, about 6 foot 1. He also fancied black robes that billowed. He had black hair and piercing blue eyes that could look into your soul. He had a beard that was neatly trimmed and groomed meticulously and he exhumed power and dominance, almost daring students to speak out or to do anything out of turn. But then, he smiled at them and the tension was broken. "Hello all and welcome to your very first Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Here, you will learn all there is for me to teach you about the dark arts and how to combat them. I'll teach you how to deter a dementor, stop a vampire, and take down a dark wizard. Or dark witch for you feminists." There were a few chuckles and he had a smirk on his face as he observed his captivated audience. "I have much to teach you over the next seven years, so you'll need to listen very carefully, and follow my instruction. So now, here we go."

By week's end, the children were all tired and ready for the arrival of the weekend. They went to bed Friday night dreaming of peace and relaxation. However, while the children were sleeping, the professors were all in Dumbledore's office to discuss the progress of the returning, and the new, students. Albus Dumbledore sat behind his desk with, his fingers steepled, listening to the reports from each teacher. At the moment Flitwick was speaking. "They all seem to be adjusted quite well. However there are indeed standouts. At the moment, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger are doing the best in my class, mastering charms almost as fast as I can teach it." That seemed to be the common theme with each report. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were at the top with Cassiopeia Black and Draco Malfoy in close seconds and Neville Longbottom in third. He had yet to hear from Severus, Edward, or Minerva. Of course flying lessons wouldn't start until the next week. There he expected Potter to surpass everyone.

Once the other teachers had departed except for the three he had been waiting to hear from the most, he got started. "Well now that that's out of the way, we can get into the meat of things. How are your classes going?"

Minerva, as he expected, gave glowing praise to Potter and Black, with Potter being just a hair better. It didn't surprise Albus considering their fathers. "They are very respectable in class and they excelled in the match to needle transfiguration. Draco Malfoy came the closest to them in Slytherin, although Miss Granger got hers in record time as well, almost as quickly as Mr. Potter."

Severus was less enthused. "They are competent and answer every question I throw at them. I wouldn't say that they are the best of the student body, but they are the best in their year. Longbottom is quite useless and I expect that my nerves will be quite frayed by the end of the year." Albus thought he caught Minerva rolling her eyes and Edward shaking his head in exasperation and quite agreed with their sentiments.

Edward was much the same as Minerva. "Harry and Cassie are both quite intelligent and obviously know quite a lot for their year and it makes sense considering their fathers are aurors. I'd put them on level with the best of my third years. As for Neville…" He shrugged. "He can answer questions but I think him using his father's wand has been a detriment. He's very determined but you can see the self-doubt." Much the same as Minerva's opinion on the boy. "But Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger are doing very well. Miss Granger answers just about every question I have asked and she's very respectful in doing so."

"I do tend to agree that Miss Granger is going to be one to look out for. But on the subject of Longbottom, if he had his own wand, I'm sure he'd be better at it. His mother was very good in transfiguration and his father was a star in defense." Minerva inserted.

This did cause Edward some irritation. "I wish we'd stop comparing the boy to Alice and Frank. He's not them. He has his own strengths and weaknesses. Professor Sprout said that she hardly has to give him any instruction in Herbology because he's taken such a shine to it. Transfiguration may not be where his talent lies, new wand or not. The same with potions and defense. Let the boy be his own person!"

Minerva huffed in indignation. "I'm merely stating the facts, and I'm well aware that he is his own person. But really Edward, you can't tell me you don't do the same thing with Potter and Black."

"I do, to an extent. But I don't ever think that they should be a certain way just because their parents are or were. Neville has a lot of self-doubt and I think that if he gets a new wand that works better for him, it'll boost his confidence up. But I in no way will push him to be exactly like his parents. He's already got that ridiculous boy-who-lived moniker to live up to, we don't need to heap more onto his shoulders than he's able to take."

Albus nodded. "Indeed. I shall contact Augusta as soon as possible about a new wand. But I tend to agree with Edward. Let's step back and let him grow into his own person."

Minerva rolled her eyes. "Good luck getting that stubborn woman to agree. She's set in her ways. And I never said not to let him be his own person."

"Frank and Alice's deaths hit her hard." Edward agreed. "She probably wants Neville to be just like them."

Severus sighed irritably. "That is beside the point. The point is, that as of now, Longbottom has much room to grow." Edward and Minerva nodded at the truth behind the words.

"Very well then, I do believe that you three have better things to do than banter with an old man, you may go." As they left, Albus sighed to himself and looked at Fawkes, his phoenix familiar. "Ahh my old friend, he has plenty of time to grow and we must be there to aid him." Fawkes trilled in agreement. "He has a great task ahead of him."

Edward and Severus sat in Edward's office, two glasses of firewhiskey in their hands. "To the end of week one!" They clinked their glasses together and downed them in one go. Severus grimaced as the liquid went down his throat and the smoke shot out of his ears. He placed his glass down and looked Edward dead in the eyes.

"So, I take it Albus has decided not to hide the stone here?"

"Blimey, going for the hard topics already I see. Well, to answer your question, no the stone isn't here. Flamel decided that it'd be far safer on his island where Voldemort will not be able to touch it with his wards defending it."

Severus nodded. "I agree with that. It's far safer away from the children."

"As if you care for the children." Edward snorted.

"Not really no, but it's common sense. I don't care for children, but I wouldn't ever put them in danger on purpose."

"No, you wouldn't. Neither would Albus, not purposefully anyway. It did take quite a bit of convincing but in the end, he saw things my way."

Snape nodded. "He usually listens to you."

"Not always. But most of the time." Edward filled his glass again and took a drink. "You know, it'd be so much easier on us if we went to these muggleborns earlier, teach them about our world. That way we don't have to start from the bottom. I mean, we know about each magical child that's born. Why not take advantage of that?"

Severus shrugged. "Our world is backwards."

"Indeed, ass backwards." Severus smirked as he took another drink. This time, it didn't burn so much going down.

Monday morning, as they were leaving Potions, Hermione Granger was in her element. She was explaining to Ron, or at least attempting to explain, how she had achieved the results she had. Ron seemed to be listening but she wasn't sure. Suddenly, someone bumped into her rather harshly and as she turned to confront that person, she was met with a glare from Pansy Parkinson. "Would you just shut up, you know-it-all mudblood!" Then she turned and stormed off.

Hermione was in shock, not even noticing Ron shouting at Pansy. Ron had said his piece, earning a glare from a passing prefect, but he ignored it and turned to Hermione. "Don't listen to her Hermione, I think you're bloody brilliant." Beside him, Neville was nodding his head frantically. "I wouldn't have done as well as I did today without your help and neither would Neville!" Again, Neville was nodding, a smile on his face.

Then, she felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Harry Potter looking at her. "Are you alright?" When she just nodded, he continued. "Look, don't listen to her, she's just jealous because she's as dim as a mountain troll. But look, go to Professor Riddle and tell him what that pug faced troll said."

But Hermione was shaking her head. "I don't want to bother him with something so simple."

Harry wasn't having that. "No, it's not that simple. Look, promise me you'll go to him tonight after supper and talk to him. She shouldn't go unpunished for what she said. You're really smart and you didn't deserve that."

She was so touched by his kindness that she just nodded. "Alright, I'll go to him tonight, for whatever good it'll do." Harry just smiled, nodded at Neville and Ron, and left with Cassie, who just smiled and waved at her.

She was broken out of her reverie by Neville. "Don't worry Hermione, Harry wouldn't lead you wrong."

She frowned. "How would you know?"

"Because I grew up with those two." He had a smile on his face as she processed that.

At the end of classes Monday evening, Edward was writing logs beside the names of each student so that he could keep up with their performance. It was a way to make sure that he kept them from stagnating and stalling. He was currently updating the log of Percy Weasley when he heard a tentative knock on his door causing his head to shoot up. "Come in." To his surprise, a very nervous Hermione Granger walked into his office. He blinked several times before speaking. "Miss Granger, aren't you a little lost?"

She bites her lip before replying. "No, Professor, I-I came to see you."

Edward raised a brow in surprise. "Really? Well then have a seat. What can I help you with?"

"W-well, I wasn't going to waste your time with this, but Harry insisted that I go to you."

This caught his attention. He hadn't been aware that Harry and Granger were even friends. "Well, you'd better tell me what's on your mind." He gestured for her to speak.

"W-we were had just left Potions, and I was talking to Ron Weasley and telling him how I got my potion right. He wasn't really listening, but he pretended to, I guess to make me feel better." Edward doubted that. He knew the boy and figured that Ron really had been listening. "Anyway, I was talking to him and Pansy Parkinson came up from behind me and called me a know-it-all mudblood." Edward felt his blood begin to boil as he clenched his fists. "I didn't think this was worth your time to bring to your attention, I don't even know what that word means, but Harry insisted."

Edward let out a breath. "You were correct in bringing this to my attention Miss Granger. The word is used by blood purists to describe muggleborns. It means 'dirty blood' and is one of the worst insults you could throw at someone of muggle descent." Hermione's eyes got wide in shock. "Let me take a guess, you got better marks on your potion than she did?" The girl nodded. "A lot of purebloods get flustered and upset when muggleborns do better than they do so they resort to insults like the children they are. It doesn't excuse it though. Don't worry Miss Granger, I'll take care of the problem."

She nodded gratefully, glancing at him as he took up his quill to make a note on Parkinson. "Sir, why doesn't the wizarding world use pens?"

The professor chuckled. "It's another one of those wizarding things. They're too proud to allow the use of them. I personally prefer the pen. It's much easier to write with and I don't have to keep dipping it in ink. Unfortunately, our world is still several centuries behind the muggle world." He grimaced. "If it ever came to war, we'd lose simply because of their advanced weaponry. We don't stand a chance against nuclear weapons. And they advance more and more every year, we'd be fools to pick a fight with them." Hermione nodded. "But we'd also be fools to reveal ourselves. There are too many muggles that would want us dead simply for religious reasons. No, we need to remain separate for now, but that doesn't mean we need to pick a fight with them, and it certainly doesn't mean that we shouldn't learn from them."

"Do you think that there will be a time when the magical world can reveal itself?"

"Maybe, but it won't be in my lifetime or yours. Now then, I think it's time for you to be off to bed Miss Granger." He smiled. "But if you ever want to talk, my door is open although Professor McGonagall is an apt listener as well should you ever need to talk about girl things."

"Thank you, professor." Hermione said with a small smile.

Edward sighed as she left and the door shut. "Inquisitive girl that one." With a chuckle, he went back to working on his reports, writing a note to McGonagall as he went.

The next night, a scowling Pansy Parkinson sat in Professor McGonagall's classroom writing lines. As she finished her fourth page, she set it aside and looked at the Professor expectantly. "Grab another piece of parchment Miss Parkinson, I'll let you know when you're done." The disappointment was heavy in the air around her. "Perhaps this will teach you not to resort to vulgar and offensive terms when someone does better than you, but to accept it with grace."

The girl scowled even further but kept writing, mumbling to herself. "What was that Miss Parkinson?"

"Nothing Professor."

"That's what I thought. Now keep writing, you still have a couple of hours to curfew." Pansy whimpered but continued to write, "I will not insult like a spoiled child when someone does better than me, but take it with grace and acceptance." on the parchment, adding to the pile that she had been making. She still had three nights of this to go.

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