Chapter 13 : Chapter 12: Everything Old is New Again
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Everything Old Is New Again
I had apparated us to the edge of the grounds, where the town met the school property. We could have flooed right into the school, as Remus, Lily, Ginny and Hermione would be doing with the children in a little while, but Anwen wanted to come this way, and there was no way that I would deny her this. We stopped at the heavy wrought iron gates and stared at the building in the distance.
“You okay there, love?” I asked her, unsure of what her reaction would be.
“We nearly died in there,” she said quietly, clearly looking at the rebuilt owlery tower on the west side of the building. I stood behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist, resting my chin on her shoulder.
“Yes, that’s true. But we didn’t; we are very much alive,” I reminded her and she turned her head back to look at me, and she smiled warmly as she leaned back against me.
“I love you,” she murmured. Anwen took a deep breath and then pulled herself from me after a moment, and took my hand and we began our ascent to the castle. She was wearing a crude non-magical prosthetic, but she was thrilled that she could move on her own again. About two-thirds of the way up to the castle, she just couldn’t go any farther, so I knelt down and she climbed on my back, much like when we were students here.
“Everything old is new again,” she muttered as we made our way into the castle, anxious to see our living quarters. Minerva was just inside the front doors, smiling brightly as we entered. She let us know that everything was in order, and that the house elves had been working to get the quarters ready, since they hadn’t been used in a century. When she released the ward on the door, Anwen and I stepped into the rooms and we were both in shock.
“Welcome to what used to be the Headmaster’s home,” Minerva said. “It was created when your great-great grandfather was Headmaster here, since he had children. We haven’t had a Head that brought their family with them since, so the quarters have remained empty. When you both agreed to help me this year, I knew that this is where you should live.”
There was an expansive sitting room, complete with an upright piano on the far wall and two fireplaces, one with a map of commonly used floo locations above it, which led me to believe that it was the floo one. The room had comfortable furniture, and a large plush throw rug next to what looked like a toy box. Next to it there was a large dining room with a giant table in it, clearly large enough for our family to eat together when we weren’t taking meals in the great hall. I could see two high chairs against the wall, and it let me know that Kreacher had already moved our things here. A small kitchen was through a door on the far side of the dining room.
“There are two loos on this floor, one for general use and one off the bedroom on this floor. You can choose to either let Patty stay here with you, and use that as her space, or we can assign her other living quarters. I will leave that choice to you,” she told us and I could see Anwen nodding. “It would make a nice office for the two of you to deal with Ministry things in, also.”
A spiral wrought iron staircase was off to the side of the room, between the sitting room and the dining room, and we walked toward the steps up to the second floor. I don’t understand it, but these rooms cover two floors. Anwen looked at the stairs skeptically, but as soon as she stepped onto them, they began to rise on their own, spinning like a corkscrew up to the second floor.
“The stairs will only allow someone who has done magical training to operate them, and they’re warded so that the babies cannot get up and down on their own. You can thank James and Bill for that little bit of spell casting,” the Headmistress told us as we rode our way to the top floor. Anwen smiled at that.
There were five bedrooms and three loos upstairs. The first bedroom was clearly meant for Lilyan and Jamie as it was all in pink and purple. Over the beds hung enchanted canopies of flowers with butterflies and ladybugs zooming in and out of the flower heads. The next one was meant for the boys, and it looked like a train station, with their beds built into flat cars and a replica of the Hogwarts Express painted onto the wall.
The next room was smaller, and was painted as if it was a Quidditch pitch. There was one single bed in the room and a small desk in the corner. “I thought that since Ethan would be starting Muggle school in the fall, he could use his own room,” Minerva told us, and she once again proved that she earned the moniker, Grandma Mimi.
The next room was also small, and in it were a changing table, Anwen’s rocker, which had survived because it was at Grimmauld at the time of the fire and a crib. I was shocked when I looked at it, for it was an exact replica of the one that James and Remus had made us for Ethan. Anwen walked over to it and ran her fingers over the engraving, and put her hand over her mouth.
“We have to thank them later,” she said quietly and I nodded at her. The rest of the room was done in a soft golden yellow, with a clouded sky for the ceiling. Off the little room, clearly meant for Stella, we could see the Master bedroom. In the center of it was a massive canopied bed, the bed linens in a rich, dark gold. We walked in and were awe struck at the beauty and elegance of the room.
“This is...” I didn’t have words for it.
“...amazing,” Anwen finished the sentence. We thanked Minerva for her attention to details in making sure that this was the perfect home for our family.
The children arrived a short time later, and within an hour, the place looked like six small children lived there. We had dinner for the last time at the Manor that night, with our whole Marauding family, Anwen choked on her words, trying to thank them all, but her emotions were obviously overtaking her. That night we lay in bed, reveling in how quiet it was when we weren’t surrounded by other families. It was nice to make love to my wife and know that there was no chance of anyone walking in, except our own children.
We lived in the castle with the rest of the teaching staff for six days before the students were to arrive. Anwen had seen her healer and doctor again, and while he was pleased with the progress that she was making, it was decided that she needed another two weeks before they would let her do any magic. At least she was allowed to engage in “limited physical activity.” I wasn’t going to tell them that she already had been for about a week, at least this way, she wouldn’t be going against doctor’s orders.
When the students arrived, we were seated at the head table, as staff were required to do. Because there was so much that needed to happen before we would partake in the meal, the children remained behind in our quarters with Patty. Anwen commented upon seeing the disappointed looks on Ginny and Hermione’s faces.
Tonks had sent me a patronus, letting me know that Bastien had indeed made the train, and that Harry and Ron were insistent that he sit with them. I was thankful for their attempting to make friends with my son, even if he wasn’t reciprocating the gesture. We made eye contact as he filed in with the first years, looming over them and clearly feeling awkward at standing with all of the young students. I reached over and took Anwen’s hand, remembering how taken I was with her when it was she that was such a tiny first year.
We watched as the students were sorted. Whispers echoed through the hall when my sons name was read, and Anwen squeezed my hand while still smiling warmly at the boy. I had silently hoped that he would be sorted into Gryffindor; and prayed that he would not be put in Slytherin. Neither came to pass, he was sorted into Ravenclaw. I think that might be a first in the family. I tried not to let my disappointment show, but it must have for my wife leaned over and whispered in my ear: “It just goes to show how smart he is, love. Please be proud of that for him.” I nodded at her, and smiled at my son.
Minerva spoke to the students, explaining that they would not be starting classes until next week, but that there would be time for them to meet in the Great Hall if any of them needed to discuss the events of last spring.
The last thing that would happen before we were to tuck in for dinner, was the announcement of the staff. When Anwen and I were introduced as the new Defense professors, the room erupted in cheering, and many of the students were on their feet. I watched as the blush spread across my wife’s face and I put a protective hand on her back, feeling just how overwhelmed she was at the response.
After the meal, I retired to our quarters to check on the children and relieve Patty of her duties, while Anwen went to the Gryffindor common room to introduce herself, welcome the new students and generally let them know where to find us. She came back and announced that Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione would be by in the morning, claiming that they’d missed us. So much for our privacy.
“Well, love, I’m off, well, I’m down the hall,” I told Sirius, who was preparing for his first class, third years, who were starting off with Grindylows. I had gone to the Lake and asked one of the merpeople to fetch one for me, which they did happily. He stopped the notes that he was scribing to the board with his wand, and turned and wrapped his arms around me.
“Good luck today, although you won’t need it. You’re an amazing teacher and your OWL and NEWT students will pass with flying colors,” he said, gently kissing both of my cheeks and lips.
“Good luck to you as well,” I told him. Today was the official start to the Hogwarts school year, even though the students had been back for the better part of a week. We’d been in the castle for almost two weeks, and our family had not only settled into our quarters here well, but we’d also found that Patty was a wonderful help and addition to our lives. “You’re going to be done in time to go and get Ethan, correct?” I asked him. We were alternating days that we would drop off and pick up our young son from his Primary School in Portree, the same one that Evan Potter attended. Sirius went alone, I had to take Patty with me.
“I’ve only got one period of third years today, so I will be at the gate of his school to meet our son on time, maybe even early,” he said to me and I shook my head at him.
“Sirius, if I get on time from you, I’m excited. All right, here goes,” I said, my feet still not moving. “Please explain to me how I was never afraid of the Death Eaters or Voldemort, but a room full of teenagers has me paralyzed with fear?”
“Because, my love, several of those teens you've been training for years, and you want to do the best job that you can,” he reminded me and I nodded my head at him. “I’ll keep myself completely open to you, and if you need me, please just let me know,” he promised and I nodded again. I pulled his lips to mine and kissed him deeply.
“Have I told you today that I love you?” I asked him in a slightly dreamy voice, our foreheads touching.
“You have,” he responded the way that I always did, “but I never tire of hearing it.”
“I’ll see you at dinner,” I told him and I hobbled on the crutches and walked slowly on my completely non-magical prosthetic down the hall. Two more weeks, just two more weeks repeated over and over in my head as I tottered along. Our classrooms were only two rooms apart, but you would have thought that they were in different castles. Sirius was in what was considered the Defense classroom and offices, the same one that Remus had used five years ago. It doesn’t seem that long ago. I was in an unused classroom, a bit of irony in that it was the first empty classroom that Sirius and I had broken into on our night wanderings in the castle all those years ago. I had completely restructured the space, with the help of Sirius and Minerva. There was an area that was covered in mats and pillows for dueling and another area that contained books for research; many of them from my personal library. I had the room repainted in a cheery yellow with high, bright windows that were enchanted so that it always looked sunny. Normally, the owlery would be visible from this side of the castle, I had made sure that it wasn’t. Finally, the room had stairs that led to the loft area of the room. Not visible when you were below, the loft could be changed to fit different real life terrains where one might need to defend oneself. Right now, the space looked like the first floor of a small house. When it was in use, what was going on in the loft area would be projected down onto three large screens, so that the students could see what was happening. The desks and chairs were in the middle of the lower level. I had a large table in one corner that would suffice as a desk and work space.
I was greeted at the door by four smiling faces, all of whom were in my class, at least for the time being. I couldn’t help but smile back at them.
“Are you trying to get on your professors good side?” I asked them. “Flattery will get you nowhere.”
“No, we know you too well, but these will,” Harry said, and they each whipped a present out from behind their backs. Harry held an ever–blooming daffodil, Ginny had a large box from Honeydukes, Ron held a large glass of iced tea and Hermione held a defense book that appeared to be written in Latin. I can’t wait to find out where she got that.
“How well the four of you know me,” I said, indicating that they should put the things over on my table. “So, how were your morning classes?”
“We all had double Potions, it was pretty good. Professor Slughorn was teaching about the Wolfsbane Potion, we kind of zoned out,” Ginny said.
“Yes, well, most people have never seen a werewolf, let alone seen the potion brewed. The four of you are at quite an advantage there. I assume that you all brewed it correctly?” I asked them and Ron and Harry started to snicker.
“Well, we were doing fine, until Hermione decided that she needed to point out that Professor Slughorn was using the old version of it, not the one that Mrs. Potter and Professor Lupin had developed with Mr. duChamp. Things were great until she had to open her mouth, now we have an essay about the differences in the two versions and why the second one is preferred,” Ron said with a grumble. I had to stifle a chuckle at them.
“You’d better do well at that one, or your mother will have your hide,” I told Harry, and Ron began to laugh at him. “Don’t think that Lily won’t be upset at you if you botch the essay as well there Ron,” I reminded him and he looked at Harry in a rather put out way.
“I don’t know that I’m going to be happy having your family here in the castle, Harry.”
“Well, I’m glad that they’re here,” Harry said smiling at me. “Can I come over tonight and see the boys? I promised them that I would take them out for a fly.”
“Of course, why don’t you come right after dinner,” I suggested. I could see Ginny opening her mouth to say something and looked at her and nodded my head, “you can come too. Our door is always open, to all of you, you know that,” I confirmed and the girls seemed genuinely happy about it. “Have you seen much of Bastien?”
“He was in Potions with us this morning, he didn’t understand why we knew so much about werewolves, but I didn’t think it was my place to explain about Remus and Stella,” Hermione explained. “With him being in Ravenclaw we haven’t really had much opportunity to see him, other than mealtimes and such,” she continued and they all nodded.
“For me, if you run into him socially, be kind to him, he’s having a hard time adjusting,” I asked, and they consented to do so. “I can’t imagine starting a new school, just to do your seventh year.”
“We’ll be nice Aunt Winnie, except on the Quidditch Pitch, there, well, we’ve gotta win,” Ginny said brightly and I smiled at her.
“Spoken like a true captain. How did our team look?”
“They’re good, except the Seeker, don’t know what I’m going to do with him,” she said as she reached over and ruffled Harry’s hair.
“You’re going to snog me until you can’t breathe,” he replied, picking her up and kissing her deeply.
“Okay you two, none of that in my classroom,” I reminded them, and Harry put Ginny down. “Is Bastien playing for his house team?”
“He is, and Luna says that everyone was talking about how good a Beater he was in their common room. Still won’t be able to throw anything at me,” she said confidently.
“That would be his father in him,” I sighed quietly, hoping that Sirius would still be excited if our children got his flying prowess. I shook myself free of the melancholy that often floated over me when I thought of Sirius’ son and looked at Harry.
“Are you ready to help me today, teacher’s assistant?”
“I am, just let me know when,” he replied, and then he pulled his Invisibility Cloak out and handed it to me.
“Just follow the lesson plan, this should be fun. All right you four, go stand by the door and turn your backs to the classroom, I don’t want you knowing what comes next,” I said and they did as they were told. I shuttered the windows, so that the room was much darker, and made sure that the candles were all lit. When I was sure that they couldn’t see me, I covered myself in James’ cloak and went and sat on the stairs that led to the loft.
After about a minute, Harry turned around and couldn’t find me, and he suggested that they find seats. I watched as the students filed in and was happy to see Bastien walk in with two other Ravenclaws, Luna Lovegood and Michael Corner; of course, given the history between Michael, Harry and Ginny, the boys sat on the opposite side of the room, Luna went and sat next to Ginny. There were to be twenty three students in all in my class, larger than most NEWT level classes, but since we really had two years taking the class at once, I knew that it would be expected. I was pleased to see the number of Gryffindor students who had progressed to NEWT level, and knew that I had a very smart house to help nurture. When they were all in and seated, I sat patiently, letting them start chatting and getting comfortable. When it appeared that they had forgotten where they were and why they were there, I reached my hand into my pocket and threw the Brazilian Cloud Dust into the air and watched as the room was instantly taken over by a thick mist. This stuff is so much better than the Peruvian Darkness stuff, doesn’t leave that thick, chalky residue. I need to thank my Brazilian Auror friend Gabriel for this. The students began panicking, and talking loudly, so I whipped off the invisibility cloak and reached over and opened the shutters. The sunlight streamed into the room, immediately dissipating the artificial cloud, and the rest of the class was treated to Harry and me, standing at the front of the room, him holding many of their wands.
“All right, who still has their wand?” I asked, and of course, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione raised their hands; as did Luna, Susan Bones and Bastien, which pleased me to no end. “Ten points for each of you. How exactly did you keep hold of your wands?” I asked and Hermione raised her hand.
“Yes, Miss Granger.”
“It was holstered, Professor Hodgson-Black,” she said, proud that she’d remembered not to call me Aunt Winnie or simply Anwen.
“Were you all holstered?” I asked and the rest of the students nodded. “Very good. Lesson number one, you cannot defend yourself if you don’t have your wand to do defensive spells. The wand holster is a standard part of the Auror uniform, as well as anyone who works outside of the offices in the Magical Law Enforcement Department. They’re inexpensive, and can be picked up either through owl order or when you’re in Hogsmeade. If you have questions, please feel free to speak with either Professor Black or myself, and we can help you get one. I expect all of you to have one by the middle of October. Mr. Potter, would you please return their wands?” I asked, and I watched as he floated them in midair, and sent them back to their respective owners. “Show off,” I muttered under my breath.
“Thank you, Mr. Potter,” I said and Harry gave me a smirk that reminded me of his godfather’s and went back to his seat. “I am Anwen Hodgson-Black, and I’ll be your professor for this year. Let me tell you a little about myself. I graduated from Hogwarts too many years ago to mention. I was Muggle–born, and didn’t know about the Magical world until Professor Dumbledore came to see me on my eleventh birthday. I was an Auror, then a Senior Auror, then a Department Head in the Auror Department, in charge of the Financial Crimes Division with the man who is now the Minister of Magic. I have taught at the Auror school, and then went into a career in the law, being the Legal Advisor to the Chief of the Wizengamot and the Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Department. I am currently the Senior Undersecretary for Legal Affairs, which is why my husband and I are splitting the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teaching position, and all of your classes are in the afternoon.
“In addition to your usual defense class,” I continued, “you will each be taking a single lesson in dueling with Professor Black and me, weekly. We’ll be teaching you real life dueling skills, as well as ways to better defend yourself creatively. Finally, all students are going to be required to study Elemental magic,” I told them, and I heard several students groan. “Someone want to tell me what the problem is?” I looked around for a hand that went up. I wasn’t surprised that it was Michael Corner. “Mr. Corner?”
“Why do we have to learn magic that they teach to little kids?” he sort of whined and I wondered in my head what Ginny ever saw in him.
“How many of you have mastery in at least one elemental?” I asked, and the only students who raised their hands were Luna and Bastien. “Miss Lovegood, what are you Mastered in?”
“Air. My mother insisted on teaching me when I was little. I can also manipulate the other three, but I haven’t mastered yet.”
“Very good. Five points to Ravenclaw. Mr. Black, how about you?”
“Fire. My mother was a Fire Master, as was my aunt,” he said, getting quiet as the sentence went on. I figured that he was talking about Bella, and remembering the night at Fair Garden.
“Thank you Mr. Black, another five points to Ravenclaw. Now, our two Masters can choose to test out of the class, or they can choose to work on another Mastery; but for the rest of you, the class will be mandatory.” There were more groans. “Let me explain why I want you all to learn this. If you are ever in a situation in which you have lost your wand, your ability to manipulate an element may mean the difference between your being killed and your getting yourself out of a situation. Summon up a fog, bring a sudden dust storm to be, throw a large rock or make a fire line between you and the person trying to curse you. It could be enough to apparate away safely. We won’t be starting for a few more weeks, but I think that you understand the idea now.”
The room quieted down, and I nodded to Harry that I was going to start the next part of the lesson. I had already talked with him and Ron about it, so they were prepared. “One final area of study that we will be working on this year is something I affectionately call ‘creative spell casting’. It basically means that we’ll be using spells that you already know and are comfortable with in a way that you might not have thought to use them before. Someone give me a spell that you don’t think can be used as a common defensive spell?” I asked, and I saw Meghan Jones raise her hand for the first time. I was happy to see it.
“Could you use a Cushioning spell defensively?” she asked timidly, and I smiled at her.
“You can, ten points to Hufflepuff. You would usually choose a Cushioning spell to make a surface more comfortable to sit on, or to break someone’s fall from a great height; but it can be used defensively. Mr. Potter, Mr. Weasley, could you please come up and demonstrate?” I asked and the two rose. Harry and I had worked on this for years, so I knew that he’d do fine having to defend himself against his friend.
“Mr. Weasley is going to attack Mr. Potter, and Mr. Potter can only use a Cushioning Charm to defend himself. You may not use full strength curses or hexes, half strength only and nothing that is banned by the new Ministry edicts.” I reminded the boys, and they both nodded.
The class watched as Ron and Harry began dueling, and they laughed as Harry would place the specified charm up in front of him, and cause Ron’s hexes to bounce back toward him. He was having to jump to miss the rebounds and subsequently forgot to fire at Harry. Harry remained calm and confident as he began to manipulate his own charm. I could see that Harry was making the charm larger, and eventually he pushed Ron down to the floor, and laid the charm on top of him. Ron was flailing around, unable to really move his body, just his arms and legs, as if something heavy was squashing him. I was quite proud of Harry, he'd seen me do the same thing the summer after his first year.
“Thank you Mr. Potter, you may release Mr. Weasley,” I said, starting to clap for them. “Now, this was prearranged, as Mr. Potter has been tutored by Professor Black and me in defense for years, and I knew that he could handle himself, but as you can see, if you are willing to think creatively, you have another tool at your disposal to get yourself out of a tight spot. For your next class I’d like 12 inches of parchment on any other Charm that you think you could use creatively, and how it would be beneficial. Be creative, just make sure you can explain how you would do it. There aren't any wrong answers and if you have any questions, please feel free to come and see me. Okay, let’s get down to some practical work. I want each of you to pair up and work on disarming each other, just to see where you all are. Then we’ll move on to some other defensive spells. My goal here is to see where everyone is, you’re not being graded on your abilities.”
I watched as the students paired off, and was both pleased and surprised when Harry went over and asked to partner with Bastien, leaving Ginny with Luna and Ron and Hermione together. We went through disarming, personal shield charms as well as shielding another person, and Patronus Charms. I was pleased that most of the class could produce a mist; and I had several students that could make corporeal forms. When we had only a few minutes left to class, I had everyone take their seats again.
“That was excellent work, and I must thank the person that taught all of you so well,” I said with a wink to my honorary godson, for I knew that it was his work with the DA that had made them so proficient, not really any of their teachers. “I know that some of you have questions for me, if you’d like to ask me anything, now would be the time.”
I fielded questions about my specific magical skills, and the fact that I was a projecting visualist. I told them a little about what had happened and what I had done on the night of the battle here at Hogwarts. I explained that I had indeed lost my leg, and that for the time being, we were using Muggle medicine to treat me, as my magic was still unstable. I can’t help but think that I might not actually ever be magical again. The only way I can keep from exploding magic is to not use any at all.
“Professor Hodgson-Black, I saw your family in the Great Hall,” Hannah Abbott said. “That little table they sit at is so cute. How many children do you have?”
“My husband and I have seven, starting with the youngest, we have Stella, who we’re in the process of adopting, she is seven months old. The next oldest is Edmund, who had his first birthday in July. The twins, John and Jamie were three in June. Lilyan turned four in February and Ethan is five and is in his Reception class in the Muggle Primary School in Portree, we take him and bring him home each day. And lastly, there is Bastien,” I said, indicating the young man sitting in the room with us. “We have no intentions to have any more children, but, who knows with the two of us, children keep finding their way into our family.”
There were a few more questions, but soon the period was over. As I dismissed the students, I noticed that I had five remain in my classroom. The only one that surprised me was Bastien. I made eye contact with Harry, and he seemed to understand and whispered to his friends that they should be going.
“We’ll see you after dinner, Aunt Winnie,” Harry yelled, cringing at his slip. “Sorry, Professor Hodgson-Black.” With that the four youngsters left the room, leaving me alone with Sirius’ son.
“I really should put out a jar and make them give me a sickle every time one of them forgets that they have to call me Professor,” I mused and then looked at Bastien. “What can I do for you?”
“I...I...” he started and then looked at the floor. “I wanted to thank you. You didn’t have to include me in your family.”
I put my hand on the young man’s shoulder, “You are a part of our family. Your father is the love of my life, and he is a part of who you are. You are always welcome with us, please know that.”
“Thank you,” he said quietly. “I also wanted to talk with you. I did very well in Defense at Beauxbatons, but, today, they were doing things that I haven’t ever done,” his tone still hushed. I had noticed that he couldn’t produce a Patronus shield, never mind a full form. Harry had taken it upon himself to help tutor Bastien. “I’m concerned that I’ll be behind.”
“I appreciate your concern, but you have to understand; these students know how to do those charms, not because of anything that was part of their curriculum, or even because of a Professor. They were all taught by Harry, as part of a secret club. He was worried that they’d need to defend themselves during the war. The most that anyone would ever expect of you for the NEWT is to do a shield. If it would make you feel better, we can sit down and go over what might be covered on the test.”
Bastien smiled at me, and I immediately recognized it as my husband’s cockeyed smile. “That would be great. Thank you, Professor.”
“Please, when we’re alone, call me Anwen,” I told him, putting a hand on his shoulder. “I know you had Potions this morning, how did it go?” Bastien sighed again.
“It was alright, but Harry and his friends knew how to do that Potion, and I've never even seen it done it before,” he told me and I smiled at him
“They know how to do it, because they've seen it brewed for most of their lives. Harry's mother and his Uncle Remus work with children who were infected with the werewolf illness. Believe me, if they didn't know how to brew it, there would be problems,” I explained and then I took a moment to think about what else I should say here. “Bastien, there’s something else you should know, little Stella is a werewolf as well. She was bit when she was about three months old and then left at hospital after her first change. Sirius and I are adopting her because no one else would have known how to take care of her.”
“Really?” he asked and I nodded. “That's...” he stopped and sighed. “You're not what I was told, at all.”
“I don't doubt that. Would you like to come and see the children? John is quite taken with you, and we could go over what will be on the exam, to see where you might need further tutoring. I know that Harry would be more than willing to help,” I explained and he nodded yes. We walked to the family quarters and Bastien was kind enough to offer me his arm as we climbed the few stairs to get to the door. We were greeted by a cacophony of welcomes and hugs as we entered. Sirius had already returned with Ethan from school, and he was proud to show me his paper where he had written his name, all by himself.
“Ethan, that is wonderful. You are a very smart little boy. Five points to the boys house for your excellent penmanship,” I told him and my oldest son burst with pride, running to hang his work on the board that we kept in the sitting room to hold the children's pictures and Ethan's school work.
“The boys house?” Bastien asked me as we sat down on the overstuffed sofa by the fireplace and Sirius brought my footstool up for me to rest my leg upon, then leaned down to kiss me. He put his hand on his sons shoulder and gave it a squeeze.
“They were so taken with the idea of house points and getting them, that we made a girls house and a boys house, and they earn points from their Mummy and me, Patty and even Grandma Mimi,” Sirius explained.
“Grandma Mimi?” Bastien asked.
“The Headmistress, the children get to call her Grandma Mimi when we're alone with her,” I explained and Bastien nodded, but still looked perplexed.
I went over the usual areas of the exam with him, and there were only a few things that he didn't know, so I told him that we could arrange an extra lesson with his father, or I could talk with Harry about it. He seemed to like the idea of working with Sirius, and I was happy that they'd have some alone time with each other. Stella awoke from her afternoon nap and Sirius brought me her and her afternoon bottle and I sat her on my lap as she drank it down. Bastien seemed a little wary of her.
“You can't be infected by her when she isn't changed, it's only her blood and saliva, and only when she's in her wolf form. Even then, she really isn't harmful, a little playful, but not dangerous,” I told him and the boy just looked confused.
“When she's changed, I'm with her.” Sirius explained.
“How? Aren't you afraid of her?” he asked
“Nope, Bastien, I'm an Animagus, I become a big black dog and I'm completely safe around her,” Sirius explained, and then turned into his dog form and then back quickly. “She's just tiring when she's changed over; very rambunctious.”
“Wow. Mama didn't know that about you, she always said you weren't very good in school,” Bastien explained and Sirius just nodded his head.
“I didn't really apply myself to my studies,” he told the boy, sounding rather embarrassed. “So tell me, how did class go?”
“Potions was good, Professor Slughorn was...informative, but strange. Invited me to a dinner party on Saturday with Harry and his girlfriend and their other friends, but, no one seemed excited to go. Defense was great, Professor Hodgson-Black is awesome. The things she told us and had us doing spell work already. She's better than my professors at Beauxbatons.”
“I've always thought that about her,” Sirius gushed, gently rubbing my leg and I knew I was blushing.
“Please, call me Anwen when we're here. How was your day?” I asked Sirius, hoping to change the subject.
“Pretty good, clearly these kids didn't learn much last year, but I should be able to get them caught up. Had a problem with three of my Slytherin girls, ” he told me and I looked at him wanting more information.
“Were the thirteen year olds making eyes at you again?” I asked, knowing that several girls from all the houses got dreamy looks on their faces when my husband walked by.
“Nope,” he told me, shaking his head, “they told me that I wasn't as cute as Snape,” he murmured, and I couldn't help but laugh at him.
“Which ones?” I asked through my giggles.
“Sophie, Christina and Brittany, I don't remember their last names. I'll point them out at dinner,” he told me, and I was still laughing. Of all of the people to be told he wasn't as good looking as, that will cut the deepest with my dear husband. I would need to make it up to him later; but after I told Harry and Ginny. Let them take the mickey out of him a little.
“Speaking of dinner, we should be heading over. Would you go and get the children, love?”
“Hey kids,” Sirius yelled, “supper.”
“I could have bellowed dear,” I told him, shaking my head at him. Sirius just grinned and me, and Bastien laughed at him. He felt like he belonged here, which made me so very happy.
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