The end of the year exams was as busy as always. Students were trying to cram as much information into their heads as possible and teachers were keeping an ever-watchful eye out for cheats, particularly cheats produced by the Weasley twins. Most people wrote the twins off as simple trouble makers, but teachers like Riddle and McGonagall always kept their eyes open. "I've been telling Filius for years that the twins are far more devious than they seem. They always lurk in the background academically but they are extremely intelligent when the situation suits them to show it."
"It's a tactic that keeps teachers from giving them a second glance. But don't be surprised when they do well on their exams."
"Indeed, though I doubt they'd care as much if you didn't insist on pushing them."
"You and I both know they can do much better than they do. They have potential to be great in whatever they choose to do and I refuse to let them squander it."
Minerva let out a small smile. "You've been very good for them. Molly should be grateful."
"She is, she sends me treacle tart at the end of every school year. It's usually after the exam results come in."
"How convenient of her."
"My thoughts exactly. I won't complain though; her cooking is amazing. Lily is the only one that rivals her but Molly has an edge I just can't put my finger on."
"Well, Lily is a busy person. Isn't she always working on spells she's trying to create or potions she's trying to brew?"
"That's true, she's always working on something. I suppose she has less time to devote to it than Molly does. She's a very attentive mother though."
"Oh, yes that's most certainly the case. It's why Harry and Emma have grown up as well as they have. I shudder to think what would have happened to them if James and Lily had ever died."
"Sirius or I would have taken them in."
"Not necessarily. Lily's horrid sister and her equally horrid husband might have gotten them."
"Petunia isn't as bad as she used to be. She's still horrid mind you, but she's more amiable than she was years ago. Sometimes she even replies to Lily's letters every so often."
Minerva shook her head. "I'm not sure why she even tries."
"Because they're sisters Minerva. And Lily has a huge heart that she wants to share with the people she cares about and somehow, Petunia falls under that category."
Minerva simply nodded her head at that, in deep thought for a moment. "So, have you heard that Filius is retiring after next year?"
"Yes, Albus told me and I've spoken with Filius about it. He's getting to hand pick his successor."
"Oh? Now that is interesting."
"Indeed. Guess who's number one on his list?"
"I'd hazard a guess but I might be wrong."
"Doubtful there. It's Lily herself."
Minerva's brows went up at that. "Exactly how does he plan on convincing her to do that?"
"Oh, it won't be too hard. She'll be closer to her babies, that'll be motivation enough."
"What about James?"
"Oh, Albus has already made arrangements for James to be able to get here at night."
"Won't people think that she'll play favorites?"
"Not once she starts teaching. The two years before Harry started Hogwarts, she started teaching him the basics of it. She's a very strict tutor but Harry learned quickly. Emma learned just as fast when she started learning it."
"That explains why he had little trouble this year with his lessons."
"Well, that and he reads ahead and practices in the common room."
"How do you know that?"
"The Bloody Baron tells me about it. Apparently, the Baron likes to watch Harry, Cassie, and Draco work. He's grown rather fond of them."
"Like he did with you."
Edward smiled. "He says that it's good we're bringing honor back to Slytherin."
Minerva snorted. "You've certainly been trying long enough."
"Be nice now."
"I'm too old for that nonsense." Edward just rolled his eyes and smiled as they continued their trek down the hallway. Some things never change.
The end of the year feast was a huge event. For some, it marked the end of their seven-year journey. For some, it was just getting started. Harry was stuffing his face, albeit not as rudely as Ron constantly did. Every now and then, Harry would scowl as he felt an elbow dig into his ribs. Cassie was determined to remain dignified and she was going to do her best to make sure Harry di the same.
Draco on the other hand, was barely eating at all. He was pushing his food around on his plate despondently. "What's wrong Draco?"
Draco shook himself out of his despair and looked at his friends, who were looking at him with concern evident on their faces. "I'm fine guys, really I am. I'm just going to miss you two is all."
Harry nodded while Cassie just narrowed her eyes at the blond boy. "Are you sure that's all?" Draco nodded. "It can't be because you just don't want to go home for the summer, is it?"
Draco opened his mouth to speak, before shutting it and looking at his food. Finally, he spoke. "I'm good guys, ok. I promise I'm fine." Reluctantly, Cassie nodded and let it go, realizing she wasn't getting anywhere that night.
Later, after everyone else had gone off to bed, Draco got up snatching Harry's cloak and wandering out of the dormitories. He was so deep in thought, that he didn't notice Riddle looking in his direction down the hall. So, when Edward called his name, he was more than a little surprised. "May I ask what you're doing out of bed Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco jumped so high, the cloak slid off of him. "I'm going to have to remind Mr. Potter to hide that thing in a more secure location. Come with me Draco." As Edward led the boy to his office, Draco shivered. Though it was partly from being cold, it was also from fear. It was the fear of what his punishment would be and it was the fear of what his father would do to him when he found out about it.
Moments later, the professor came to his office door, opened it, then gestured for the frightened boy to enter. "It's not much." Edward started as he closed the door and made his way to his desk. "But it's good enough for our little discussion I suppose." With a wave of his hand, Edward summoned two butterbeers and tossed one to Draco. "I say we drink to another year. Well, another year for me, first year for you Mr. Malfoy. The first of seven to be exact."
Draco gulped. "So, your…not going to expel me?"
Edward blinked in surprise before he burst out laughing. He laughed for several long moments before he regained his control. "E-expel you? Why on earth would I do such a preposterous thing? I've certainly done far worse than that in my day when I was your age! No, Mr. Malfoy, I figured we could just act like I was giving you a stern talking to and then I'll walk you back to the dormitories. Besides that, it's only the first offense. Well, the first that I've seen in person anyway." There was a smirk on his face that told Draco that the professor knew far more than he was letting on. "But we'll not talk about that. What I want to talk about, is why you've been so despondent these last few days."
Draco suddenly found the floor to be very interesting. His name brought him back to the real world where Riddle had a kind smile on his face. "I won't force you to talk if you don't want to. Sirius was always like that. If he didn't want to talk then he wouldn't."
Draco blinked. "H-how…"
"How can I tell? Your cousin, my best friend, Sirius was raised in a home much like your own. A wealthy, pureblood heir, he was expected to be someone he wasn't, and when he didn't meet those expectations, he was punished harshly. Severus Snape was in a similar situation, although his father was muggle, he was punished for being a wizard. His pureblood mother standing idly by while her son was beaten every night." A pained look crossed Edward's features. "Please don't tell anyone of what I'm telling you. Neither of them want it talked about."
"I won't tell a soul Professor."
Edward looked relieved to hear that. "Good. Thank you." He took a drink of his butterbeer. "I don't drink these very often any more so I kind of forget how good they are." He set his drink down and eyed Draco for a moment. "You know aside from the hair, you look more like your mother. You have her facial structure, even her eyes."
Draco looked up from his drink in surprise. No one had ever made that connection before. Then his face contorted into anger. "Fat load of good it does me! I still get treated like I'm going to be a deatheater or something. Father acts like I'm supposed to carry his crappy pureblood legacy while mother stands in the back nodding along with it! It's a load of rubbish!" His voice had risen to a shout so Edward discreetly waved his wand underneath the table, keeping the sound in the room. "I hate it! I hate all of it!" He was breathing heavily as the anger on his face became misery. "And now I have to go back and endure more of his lectures, when he decides it's convenient to be around." Edward just nodded, letting the boy unleash his pent-up frustrations. "A lot of the time he acts like I'm not even there. Mother is alright most of the time until he comes around. Then it's like she becomes someone else entirely!" Finally, Draco's shoulders hunched as the last of the steam left him. "I just wish I was loved, for who I am not for who I'm expected to be."
Edward's heart broke for the boy in that moment. "I can't pretend to relate to you I'm afraid. After my mother was killed, I was raised by the Potters. They were very good to me, loving even. But I see a lot of myself in you. The need to prove that you are better than your parentage. I know that feeling on an extreme level."
Draco looked confused. "What do you mean?"
Edward smiled sadly. "That is a story for another day my young friend. But keep this in mind, no matter what they throw at you, just remember that you have friends who care about you. And if you need to, you can always talk to me. If you send an owl, it'll find me. And throughout the year if you want to talk about anything, I'm here. I care about all of my students but Slytherins especially."
"Because most of the purebloods in Slytherin go through exactly the same thing as you. Some not as bad, and some much worse. Harry and Cassie are the exceptions I'm afraid, not the rule. But it all tends to be the same. The high expectations from parents, the cruel letters from home when those expectations are not met, I've seen it all before. Now then, I think it's time I escorted you back." Draco nodded and off they went.
After Edward had seen Draco back into the dorm, telling the prefect not to worry about any punishments, he made his way back to his rooms. The prefect had known what was going on. Most of the older students knew the signs of an abused child, mostly because they themselves had been abused and Edward had always made it a point to encourage them to talk to him if they needed to. Most of the time, they declined any offer of help. Not that help was really possible, not in the society they lived in where a lot of the reason anyone got anywhere in life was their family name and the connections that came with it. Any accusations could be swept under the rug with the drop of a few coins into the hands of the right politician.
It was a society that made him seethe with anger at the injustice of it all. The fact that Remus' condition had nearly kept him out the auror corps but the fact that James and Sirius had famous names kept him in, though he faced heavy prejudice from all sides in the ministry. The aurors themselves had grown to respect him and many who were animagi even offered to stay with him on the full moon. Remus would politely decline, not wanting to inconvenience anyone. But the auror force treated him like family. It was outside of that he was bashed for what he was.
Edward thought to Hermione Granger, a bright girl with a brilliant mind that would probably be relegated to desk work, her great mind being wasted because she was muggleborn. The only way a muggleborn woman could get anywhere was to allow herself to be used by the perverted old pureblood men that would leer at them, telling them that if they do this one thing, then all they ever wanted would be in their grasp. It was a lie of course. Most of the time, they'd get one promotion, and if they complained then they'd get sneered at and told that they weren't good enough for any better. And if they kept complaining they were promptly fired. Some had made a stink of it, going to the Prophet. But that always ended the same way. The Prophet would steer them away before informing their boss who would inform the politician that was paying him. The politician would then hire a group of thugs to have their way with her and then kill her, leaving her broken body in a cold, dark alley somewhere.
Lily was a rare case, but only because of who she had married. They still turned their noses up at her. But because of James' last name, she had been able to make a way for herself. Except she shouldn't have to use his name. James hated how they looked at her, as if the only thing she was good for was for serving them their every need. One had even had the balls to make such a comment to her. He had gotten away with a bat bogey hex from Lily before James petrified him, forcing him to lie still as the bogeys assaulted his face. No one had been stupid enough to try that again.
Edward made a resolve. He would institute some sort of change. He wasn't sure how, but he knew that he couldn't let his goddaughter grow up in the world they lived in and leave it as it was. They all deserved so much better than that. He sighed to himself. He'd talk to Albus in the morning and see what they could come up with. For the moment, he went back to patrolling the halls.
The next morning, Edward made his way to the Headmaster's office. "Lemon Drop." The gargoyle leapt aside and Edward made his way up the stairs and into the office, where Albus sat gazing over reports. He looking up at Edward's entry.
"Ah, Edward, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
Edward took the offered seat, sighing heavily. "I found Draco Malfoy in the hallways last night."
Albus raised his brow. "So, you finally got him to speak." Edward nodded. "I told you my friend, he only needed someone who would listen."
"I know, but it got me thinking. We live in a world full of corrupt politicians who have slowly been trying to enforce upon us the pureblood doctrine. Muggleborns rarely get anywhere unless they're lucky enough to marry into the right family or have those friends. Most of them fall by the wayside. Mrs. Granger for instance, is one the brightest students in this school right now, but it won't get her anywhere when she leaves here."
Albus nodded. "You want to work on fixing that I suppose?"
"Yes. I could reveal my true lineage, take up my wizengamot chair, and work on real change."
"And how, pray tell, would you accomplish this? When the name Slytherin is mud with the rest of the world thanks to Tom?"
Edward paused with a frown. "I hadn't thought of that."
Albus smiled. "I thought not. However, there is an alternate route you can take."
Edward blinked a few times before I smile made its way onto his face. "I do happen to know two Lords who would be willing to help me."
"Indeed. And I'm almost certain that Madam Bones would be more than willing to help you in this endeavor." Edward nodded again, building his list of names.
"Yes, I'll get into contact with them and see what we can get done." Albus smiled and nodded, with the ever-present twinkle in his eye.
A couple of hours later, the Hogwarts Express was pulling out of the Hogsmeade station and making its way back to London. Draco, Harry and Cassie were sitting in their cabin, talking about the year. "The year sure flew by though didn't it?" Harry asked. "At this rate, we'll be graduating before you know it!"
Cassie snorted and rolled her eyes. "Idiot."
Harry scowled while Draco just laughed. Harry narrowed his eyes at Draco but otherwise, said nothing.
A few hours later, the train rolled into King's Cross, and the students all grabbed their things and flocked to their parents and families, relieved at having made it through their year. Harry and Cassie said a sad goodbye to Draco as he was led away by his scowling mother. Sirius scowled at Narcissa before grinning and engulfing his daughter in a hug before yanking Harry into one as well. "You made it through your first year! How was it overall? How did you do in class? Snivellus didn't give you any trouble, did he?"
"Sirius Black! Give them room to breathe! And no name calling!" Lily narrowed her eyes at Sirius, who backed away slowly, hands raised, and with his trademark grin. Lily rolled her eyes before she hugged Harry tightly. "I'm glad you both had a good year."
"What about their space Lils?"
"Shut it Sirius."
They made their way to Grimmauld Place where Walburga Black, Sirius' mother, waited to greet them with Kreacher the house elf. "Well it's about time you all made it! Kreacher and I have been waiting for hours haven't we Kreacher?"
"Yes, we have mistress, a very long time indeed."
Sirius just rolled his eyes while Cassie smiled. "Aww Kreacher, did you miss me?" She gave Kreacher a small hug while the elf sputtered in response.
"Y-yes m-mistress! Kreacher has missed you!" Sirius made a gagging motion but was silenced by a glare from Lily. James wisely stayed out of the whole thing entirely and Harry smartly followed his father's example.
That night, the adults all sat in the sitting room talking when the fireplace lit up and an ashy Edward Riddle stepped out. Scowling at the ashes, he cleared them away with a wave of his hand. James got up and greeted his brother. "Nightfur."
"Prongs." They embraced before they separated and Edward greeted the rest of the Marauders. "Padfoot." "Mooney." "Lily." Lily had never officially joined the Marauders. Mostly because of the Marauders 3rd law, that women could never officially join and the four friends had never gotten around to getting rid of it.
Edward then greeted Lady Black with a kiss on each cheek as was customary, before taking his seat on James' left in the last remaining arm chair. Once he was seated, James sat up in his chair, straightening his back, and taking on an official sort of tone. "I hereby call to order Marauder meeting number 678." The number was a made-up number. They never kept count of the meetings and it was always to funny coming up with crazy numbers. "Is there a second?" as customary, Padfoot spoke up. "Seconded." Prongs nodded in his direction before continuing. "Lady Walburga Black, do you agree to act as witness to these events? He continued at her amused nod. "Very well then. First order of business, revoking the Marauders 3rd Law."
"With respect Prongs, we've been talking about doing this for some time, why now?" Mooney inquired.
"Because Lily will eventually strangle me if we don't."
"That's not true at all dear, I just think it's childish to keep it around." Lily stated, fighting to keep the laughter out of her voice.
"Well in any case, now is as good a time as any. All in favor of revoking the 3rd law?" All four members spoke up in agreement. "Then it is passed. All in favor of the new law that states that wives can be added?" Again, all four agreed. "Then it's done. Lily dear, step forward." With a roll of her eyes, Lily stood up and stood in the center before them. "As the elected leader of this ragtag group of misfits, I ask do you solemnly swear that you will always be up to no good as in accordance with Marauder law and to never defect to the side of the snake face loving miscreants?"
"I solemnly swear."
Prongs grinned. "Then I gladly welcome you to our ranks and give you leave to come up with your official Marauder name." Lily mock curtseyed before taking her seat. "Now then, to other business. Nightfur, if you will."
With a nod, Nightfur took center stage to present his idea. "I propose we take a more active role in the Wizarding role. And by that, I mean going for real change." He mapped out his idea for uprooting the corruption in the Ministry. By the end of it, the other members of the group were looking thoughtful.
Prongs decided to take the lead. "As wonderful as that sounds, who are we going to pick to help us in this? We can't just go up to some random Wizengamot member and ask him to support us."
"Not him Prongs, her. More specifically, Madam Amelia Bones."
At this, Prongs' eyes widened before a grin overtook his face. "Nightfur you are a genious!"
"You're just now realizing that?"
"Hush I'm thinking."
"It really is brilliant mate. She's about as straight forward as you can get. No one will dare try to challenge her." Padfoot said thoughtfully.
"My thoughts exactly."
Prongs looked up. "A motion is on the floor for ratification. Lily, as a new member, you may vote as well. No second is needed. All in favor?" Ayes echoed across the room. "All opposed?" It was rhetorical since no one was there to say nay, but it was a part of the act. "The motion has passed. We'll meet next week to discuss the finer details."
"Ah I'm afraid I won't be here Prongs, I have a trip to Africa. A chief has sent word asking for my help." Nightfur stated.
Prongs waved it off, we'll communicate by mirror if possible, if not then we'll let you know what we decide when you get back."
Nightfur nodded. "That sounds like a good plan to me Prongs."
Prongs nodded. "Very well, Operation Subvert has been initiated. Any more business? No? Good then, all in favor of closing the meeting?" Again, ayes were heard all over. "Opposed?" No sound was made. "Very good, I now call this business meeting closed and officially in the books."
At that point, Kreacher came in with a tray of glasses and firewhiskey. "Ah Kreacher, just in time!' Padfoot exclaimed. "Pour us a round." Once everyone had a glass, they stood up. "A drink to another meeting done." They clanked glasses before downing the liquid, smoke coming out of their ears. Even Lily giggled at the sensation.
"Now that the meetings end has been signified with a shot of fire whiskey, it really is official!"
"James dear, how exactly did you officialize these meetings while we were in school with no fire whiskey on hand?"
"That's easy Lily love, I always smuggled a bottle of my dad's Ogden's Firewhiskey at the bottom of my trunk wrapped in my cloak. Of course, we didn't start that tradition until fifth year. Before that, it was pumpkin juice from the kitchens." Lily just rolled her eyes at the antics of her husband. "I should have known."
The next morning, the Potters departed for Potter Manor, Emma and Harry waving goodbye to Cassie before James and Lily apparated them away.
Edward was at his home, finishing his packing for the trip when an owl came. Frowning, Edward unrolled the parchment and read the letter. Rolling his eyes, Edward tossed the parchment onto his desk. "Yes Albus, I'll be back in time to show the new professor around. I just won't be able to take my time in Africa like I'd normally do." Edward sighed. "Unfortunately, the hunt is the fun part of these trips but, I made a commitment to Albus so I'll be there." With a shake of his head, Edward shrunk his belongings and put them in his pocket before collecting his familiar and taking the International portkey to the Ministry in Nigeria, where he'd then make his way to the magical village hidden 20 miles south of Abuja. Edward met with the chief, shaking hands before he was guided into a small, clay, hut to talk about what was going on.
"Of course, Chief Kyuka, I'll be happy to help."
Whew! That took a little longer than I wanted it to! But when your washer and dryer tears up, you have to get that fixed/replaced and that was not fun. Anyway, I probably would've had this up yesterday had I not spent most of the time pondering a good Marauder name for Edward without giving too much away of what his animagus form is. All Nightfur tells you is that he has fur that is black which makes sense because his hair is black in color. And no, I'm not planning on elaborating on the adventure in Africa because that whole scene was last minute. I just hope I did ok with it. Nigeria just kind of popped into my head so I just went with it. Maybe I'll do a separate oneshot if enough people ask for it but I'm not planning on it. Anyway,The whole Marauder meeting was also kind of a last minute thing that mostly wrote itself and I hope you all enjoy it. Also, NOBODY has voted on the poll I put up in my profile about what house Emma should go to. So please do that. I'm sure you may notice that I changed the summary for the story, let me know if you like it! That's all for now, please read and review and feel free to pm with any questions or just leave them in a review. Have a great rest of the week!