Pre Edit Count – 2,688 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Stateless by Lovelife
Watching his aunt, Harry asks, “Is there something wrong?”
Bella glances at him and she answers, “Nope. Just a mystery to lighten the time. Come on, Harry. Let’s find your godfather and see who will meet you.”
With that, she leads her godson into the crowd, her mind whirling.
Later Bella is sitting down in a chair and watching everyone. She has been pleased with many showing their faces to Harry and her, only a rare few not doing so but she can accept that. It is why they came up with the spell; to protect the ones willing to be with them in their endeavors.
As she sits there, a stranger walks up and with a wordless gesture, they ask to sit.
Bella smiles. “Sure.”
The being sits in the seat and watching her a moment, nods and the face dissolves from the non-entity and reveals… Lucius Malfoy.
He smirks at his old friend. “Shocked?”
She laughs in delight and jumps into his arms. “Lucius!!!” She hugs one of her dear friends from the brief time she was at Hogwarts. One that she had not been aware had always kept as close to her as he could. But he had sent her owls quite often and they had talked many a time.
He has a rare smile on his face as he holds his friend to him. He closes his eyes, wishing for what could have been but his father had been adamant about his wedding.
Bella relaxes into him, asking, “So I know you were unhappy about the marriage ultimatum but who did you end up with?”
He sighs. “Narcissa Black and yes, it is a very loveless marriage. I am tired of this, Bella. When can we end all these ideas floating around?”
She lays her head on his shoulder. “I am hoping soon but think of it this way… What would your father think now if he had known what you are doing?”
He laughs. “He would be dead of a heart attack!”
Then he sobers. “You know I am going to have to fight the new house, right?”
She laughs. “It won’t matter, Lucius. Hogwarts has made it official and it is time that everyone learns what happens when you practice that much magic in one area. It may make the magical world understand better the damage they leave on battlefields.”
Lucius studies the woman before him and he asks seriously, “You are not in pain, are you? I never knew about the curse; it had been in another area and one of the reasons I worked harder to get in the inner circles. I would have warned you.”
She smiles and lays her hand on his cheek affectionately. “I know. No, I am not in pain. Not physically. But emotionally… It is not good to be alive forever, Lucius. There is no way to break the curse. I had the entire authority of the Vampire Kings working to find a way. They themselves were shocked that such a curse would be out there. Voldy lost support from them for that one. Those are beings who are immortal and can understand wanting to end it.”
He shakes his head. “I almost made it possible for you to be a choice; my father had been intrigued by the idea. Then that happened and you disappeared. I honestly gave up at that point.”
She hugs him. “I am sorry. I would have done it to save you from her.” She pulls back, asking, “What are you going to do now?”
He sighs as he leans his white blonde head back. “Do what I am doing. But I am going to ask that Draco goes under your house. I will tell him some crap of being a spy in it but he deserves so much better than what he has. I will play my part but I want him to be protected. He is not making it easy, not with his mother, but he has the heart needed to be in your group.”
She cups his face affectionately once more. “I will keep him and all my students safe but you know we will likely be in the front line if fighting happens?”
He smiles and taps her nose with his finger. “And under your tutelage they will be more prepared than most wizards and witches. I trust you, my dear. More importantly, I trust you with my son. I love him and hate to see the parts of him that are his mother within him.”
Sighing, Bella rest her forehead. “My friend, you will need to be very careful.” She closes her eyes and he feels a warmth all over him.
He smiles in recognition. “Protection Swan?”
She opens her eyes. “For my friends, nothing is too much. I learned a lot more about my magic, Lucius. I am the High Priestess of the House of Avalon. They may think it is like the Order of Merlin, just a title, but you and I know it is so much more.”
Lucius smiles. Then kisses her forehead. “I need to go but be safe, my Swan. I wanted to let you know what is going on. The Potter boy has a rough time of it and I can’t be nicer to him; he has no idea he holds my allegiance.”
She grins down at him, saying, “Go, my Lord. It will be nice to acknowledge you as a loyal one, instead of fighting with you when you come. Be safe.”
He nods and rises, the spell covering him. He was one of the few who knew how to cast the spell over and over again. Bella watches him with fond eyes and sighs.
The rest of the night ended with that. The ones left showing who they are and she is surprised by a lot of them. Sirius reappeared and stayed by her side, giving glares when she was approached to have another show her their identity.
Severus was another surprise and a welcome one, at that. She had hugged him and she can feel him awkwardly return the embrace. He was one of the few from her childhood and she was glad to still have him there.
He told her that he also will be contesting the new house, but once he is able, he may switch over when it is all over.
Bella had looked at him, and asked, “Why?” bluntly.
His lips twitched. “If you do not think I have the heart, then I will leave, Isa.” It has been his nickname for her since they were little.
She laughs. “You would have been the prefect fit of the house. You embody everything that it is. But why do you want to switch? You’ve always enjoyed Slytherin.”
He looks down at her face, and tells her, “Because I want to make you and Lily proud. For some reason I thought that would do it. Childhoods are full of mistakes.” His voice is wistful.
Smiling at him, she tells him, “Sorry about Lilly. I know you loved her and I cannot imagine the pain you felt when she died.”
He nods at her, his eyes searching her face. “And I am sorry for not protecting you better from the curse. I left as soon as I could after learning of it and it did no good.”
She hugs him and tells him in his robes, “I am happy you came to rescue me like normal. Thanks for keeping the secret, though I have no idea who ordered it.”
His face hardens. “I have some ideas and I have been working to find out. Smart of you to use the vampires to communicate with me. It did help my role.”
She looks up and grins. “All houses, remember?”
He nods. He can’t believe how tiny she is. “I expect we will be seeing each other often. I need to leave before Potter figures out something. He is a brilliant student and one I watch over carefully.”
She nods, sad again, knowing why he does it. But he is in love with her dead sister and once his love is given, the man never betrays them. She is his sister to him and she has learned to live with it.
She watches him leave and when Sirius is by her side, she turns to him with a frown as he growls.
He looks down at her and shaking his head, “Is that all of them?”
Bella looks up at him. “I think so, why?”
He shakes his head, “I don’t like it. I may have spent too long in Azkaban, but I know Harry was attacked last year. By Voldemort. I am not going to let anything happen to him or you. Both of you are important to me. Can we call the others in?”
She sighs and looks out on the dwindling crowd. “No. I will not risk more of us. Too many shared their identities with me and I am more concerned than before. This is not going to go away, the players are too entrenched and think they are right. They are, but for the wrong reasons. They are going about this in an effort that will get people killed and I am not liking who I am seeing on the front lines. This needs to end.”
Sighing, he nods. But he watches her, as he has all night. He has tried everything to stay where he can watch her, but she had defied his spell-casting. Not shocking, she was not called Adept for no reason and he can sense she is more powerful than many know.
Before he can think of that evening in more detail, everyone leaves. He turns but Bella is standing there with Harry before her, her arm around his shoulders while smiling.
He goes over and asks, “Ready?”
She nods and looking at Harry, “You are going to be tall like your dad. You are already almost as tall as me.”
Harry looks up with the same adoration Sirius has known for the petite adept. “You are really short.”
She laughs and they make their way out of the door with it closing behind them.
The week following was an odd one. There were arguments over the new house, but Bella’s words to Lucius were prophetic. Hogwarts has decided and that was that.
The sorting hat showed it’s abilities as well, appearing in odd places and moving students to the new house.
The Weasleys were one of the shocking moves to Bella. Nevertheless, they are all almost there and happy to be with Harry. She suspects it is where their allegiance really lies. The only one not there is Ron. But watching him, she understands why… He is lacking in some of the needed qualities.
Hermione is another allowed into the house and is flustered. She never thought of herself having parts of all the houses and she is often with Bella talking about the House.
Draco is also admitted, along with Diggory, Finnigan and Longbottom. They all found the hat and putting it on, they were resorted into the new house. The sorting is still going on, though not all that put on the hat are sorted into another house.
However, those that are, quickly find their new house to be quite different. There are no notions of the other houses being evil or rivalry being a huge part of the house. Instead they are encouraged to keep up friendships in their old houses. Bella has sat down with each and talked to them about the house and how it is the embodiment of all houses.
They can enter any house, but no one could enter theirs. If they have malicious intent, they will be tossed out of the houses and sent to wherever Bella is or held in the walls themselves until she is available.
Soon, the house members discover a secret keeper the likes of none within Bella. Slowly, her house opens up to her.
She may not have as many years or students in her house, but she knows them all. She is proud of them all and is often in the common room talking with them and volunteering to help any who need it.
Harry received no attention that none of the rest of them did which had made some of the relationships settle. However, Malfoy and Harry are still at odds. Draco having no idea what to do with the Boy Who Lived whom his mother had encouraged his hatred of.
Watching him, Bella is sad as she is gifted with a view of Lucius’s life now. Narcissa had come to protest the removal of her son from Slytherin and moved to Swan and had been particularly spiteful to Bella. But then, she had chased after Lucius for a long time and probably had an idea that she was the other woman.
The confrontation had been funny and Draco had changed after it. He is now watching her more with this perplexed look on his face.
Then, there are her classes. The sooner she could get rid of Lockhart the better. She is trying to be nice but after the third time he messed up her class, she grew frustrated and shouted, “Stop!”
Lockhart is shocked when all the sprites stop in the air. “That was not a spell! Nor did you use your wand!”
She gave him a disgusted look. “Adept.”
When he stands there with a fish mouth, she turns to her students. “Tomorrow you will be starting under my tutelage. I will be teaching defensive skills and then from there we will learn about a creature a week. I expect you will become experts at it from your books. We can ask Mr. Lockhart his experiences and see if you agree. Next week for those of you who like to be ahead,” and a look is given to Hermione and the other Ravenclaws, “We will start on a basic one. I believe you will enjoy learning about Hippogriffs.”
Draco’s hand goes immediately up, saying, “I thought Kettleburn was teaching us about magical animals.”
Bella smiles at him. “Good job remembering your syllabus! Yes. I will be talking with Kettleburn and we will make sure our classes will merge in this quite well. He will be teaching you about the animals in person and I will teach you about how these creatures interact in the world and how they are used in spells and such. You need to know it to be able to defend against one who was sent against you!”
The class titters but silences when she speaks again. “I also want to have you guys learn from the ground up. A good basic understanding of lessons allows you to be able to use your magic more wisely when you understand where it comes from and how it reacts. You all have had your magic do things for you when you are younger that you have no idea how to repeat anymore, right?”
When the class nods, she continues, “And this is something that if you are ever wanting to be great wizards or witches that you need to learn. It is the basis of me being able to perform spells without using the normal words or wands. I will see you all Monday; you are dismissed.”
With that, she turns around to face Lockhart and tells him bluntly, “If you don’t stop being so stupid, I will expose you. I know what you have done. It didn’t take much to have people talking to me and for certain spells to be lifted. You may be here for the rest of the year due to your contract, but you will not interfere with me teaching my students as they should be taught. You understand?”
Her eyes are aglow and a glow is around her body. Lockhart can’t help but think of how magnificent she is.
A throat clearing from the doorway has Bella’s eyes going there. She hides her enjoyment at seeing Severus but she is fine when he watches the two of them.
“Dumbledore has requested our presence in his office, Lady Swan,” he says.
She nods, then turns to Lockhart. “Don’t think this is over.” With that, she leaves the room while Severus stares down the Lockhart a moment before leaving with his robes flowing behind him.
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