Cocoon (A Poem)

The little green caterpillar munches on a leaf, looking around with big brown eyes as the world spins around and around. She keeps trying to catch up but her short legs can’t keep up. She keeps falling and falling, further behind, scrapping up her knees and hands, blood staining her clothes.

She tries to keep her head down, be like all the other girls.

Keep smiling. Be sweet. Shut your mouth.

Don’t say a word even as the greedy grasshopper grabs her ass.

Don’t raise your fists as the angry ants swarm her, her supposed friends, calling her names and acting like she’s all to blame, Crawling inside her and devouring her up until there’s nothing left but green goop.

Don’t try to be unique. Get in line.

Neat little green caterpillars all in a row with their perfect white teeth, every hair in place, letting greedy grasshoppers move their limbs wherever they want them to go, bending and twisting, putting on a show for the whole world to see.

You’re too thin whispers the others. But don’t they know that it’s because she has hungry larvae to feed? So she hides behind baggy clothes and shrinks into herself like she can just disappear into nothing, fading away into the mist.

The whispers get louder and louder, crueler and crueler.

She’ll spread her legs for any grasshopper, they say. Let them stick their greasy claws in and tear out her insides until she’s just a Hollow husk of flesh with empty dead eyes and a broken heart.

The green caterpillar hides away, until she’s finally free of angry ants and greedy grasshoppers.

She builds up her shell, making thick outer layers to protect herself but doesn’t harden her heart. Instead she creates solid bones, a spine to hold up her head and a sharp tongue to defend herself.

Slowly the caterpillar starts to strengthen with the care and nourishment she never had as a child, flourishing and flourishing.

She becomes strong, finding her voice and speaking her truth with no fear of the repercussions, knowing that she’s not the victim. She is the heroine in her story as long as she believes. She builds herself a suit of armor, made of the encouragement of the others before her, telling her. You can do it. You can do it.

Just keep trying.

Keep your head held up high.

She wraps herself in her own strength that she never knew she had, forming a cocoon.

She used to be so afraid but now she’s not, even as she dissolves into green sticky liquid in her cocoon, shaping into something new. Change can be scary but she’s somehow she’s not afraid even as she breaks down until she’s nothing.

But then, then ugly brown shell cracks and the caterpillar slowly breaks out, shaking the wet off her face, more pieces crumble and as she dries, she spreads out beautiful wings of multitude colors. Vibrant blues, reds, yellows, oranges, greens. All in varying shades. Some pieces darker than others, others darker, some have no color at all, instead black as the night or as white as snow.

In some places, the wings have holes, letting the light through, a little scarred, torn in places but they will still get her where she goes.

She takes a slow hesitant step, still afraid. What if they get more torn? she wonders.


She will simply add more colors, more scars and more tears that tell the story of her life.

So she spreads her wings, the kaleidoscope of colors shimmering in the sun and then she takes off to the sky, feeling the wind in her air and the sun on her face, as she finally tastes true freedom at last.


The Snow Family (A Poem)

The house looks so picturesque, like something you’d see in a magazine for Home Garden, the Christmas edition.

The front yard blanketed with a fresh layer of snow, icicles forming on the gutters, so artfully dripping as if it was planned.

A neat snowman with a black top hat, a checkered blue and white scarf around his frozen neck, little black buttons to make him a sharp jacket, a carrot for his nose and blue buttons for his eyes, a smile on his face. He carries a briefcase in his hand.

Next to the snowman is his snow wife, a pink scarf around her frozen neck and a cream-colored faux fur hat, a wide smile plastered onto her face. She holds the hand of the snow girl, a mini copy of her with the same pink scarf and faux fur hat. The snow boy stands next to his snow father, a baseball cap on his head and a mischievous smile on his face.

The house is strung up with lights that start white then flash to green, red, blue, yellow, and every color in between. A Christmas tree behind the little snow family, the decorations perfectly in place. Not a pine needle out of order.

No, no, that must never happen. Everything must be perfect.

Emerald green, shimmering silver, gleaming gold, and radiant red delicate glass ornaments so carefully set in the tree. A string of white lights and a wide velvet ribbon wrap around the tree like a noose. Glittery white snowflakes and shimmering clear glass icicles. Cranberries and popcorn on a thread in between the ornaments, snowflakes, and icicles. The snow father placed an angel on top of the tree, her beautiful face filled with reverence, gold wings stretched out behind her, and a glowing halo above her head.

Everything is perfect. They seem like the ideal snow family. Their house is seen in one of those magazines that talks about how the family, a mom, and a dad, two kids, one boy, and one girl, have lived in this house since before there were children. When it was just snowman and his little snow wife.

It seems like nothing is wrong until it slowly starts to melt, revealing what they don’t want you to see.

Snowman yells at his snow wife and broke her carrot nose, blue buttons flashing with anger. “I am the man in this house!”

Snow wife threw a plate at his head even as she clutched her bleeding nose. “It’s Christmas!” she yelled. “How could you?”

Snow boy hid with his little snow sister in their closet, covering her ears instead of her own. “Everything will be okay,” he whispers even as the shouting gets louder, flinching at the sound of glass shattering and their mothers cries. The front door slams.

The icicles dripped onto the polished wood floor.

The angel turned up her nose as her wings turned black and charred, a broken halo on her head.

Snowman knocked the tree over, scattering pine needles and glass for his snow wife to cut her feet on as he fled. “Don’t come back!” screams the snow wife.

Crows eat the cranberries and the popcorn while the snow wife cried, her tears freezing on her face.

Snowman grabbed his car keys and screeched out of the driveway, running over the snow boy and snowgirl in the yard, leaving a track of mud.

Snow wife pours herself more mulled wine, telling her best friend over the phone, “I can’t do this anymore.” Her face in her hands, the tree still laying on its side, needles bent and broken. The first ornamanet they ever bought, a simple blue ball with a pretty white Christmas tree painted on it, laid in pieces on the floor.

Snow boy creeps out of his room, sneaking a candy cane to give to his sister. He carefully picked up the pieces of the ornament and took it to his room, spending all night trying to glue it back together, cutting his little fingers, his tongue sticking out of his mouth in determination.

Snow girl hides under the covers, crying but not understanding why, sucking on the sweet candy cane but not tasting it, clutching her stuffed bear tight, a red bow on his neck.

Snow man drives to the bar, picking up a blonde with too much red lipstick smeared on her face. “Make me feel something,” He tells her. But as she leaves red stains on his tie, the one his snow wife bought him as a gag gift, the one with little briefcases on it, he feels nothing. He shoves her face further down, closes his eyes, and finishes the bottle of whiskey, melting into the bed that smells like piss.

Later snow man will come home. He will kiss his snow wife’s cheek. “I’m sorry, baby,” he’ll say. She’ll smile and forgive him, like she always does. “It’ll get better,” says the snow man as he kisses her frozen lips.

And maybe it does. For a while. The snow boy proudly shows his parents the blue ornament he spent all night fixing, lines of silver glitter hiding the Elmer’s glue. The snow wife will say, “It looks even prettier now.” Presents will be given, red and green wrapping paper on the flooring.

The snow man gives his snow wife a heart shaped dimond to hand around her neck. It will get heavier and heavier as the years go by as her smile gets wider and wider. Back to crisp suits and steak and potatoes on the table. Back to screaming and crying, slamming of doors and broken bottles.

The snow man will continue to see random, nameless woman with lipstick smeared on their faces and cheap perfume. He’ll end up dying of a heartattack, sitting in his own filth in front of the television and leaving his wife all his gambling debts.

The snow wife will drink, throwing herself into PTA meetings, soccer games and ballet recitals, and trying to make everything perfect, putting so much Botox in her face, it’s like she’s permanently smiling. She’ll have to get a job after her husband dies, then another until she’s working three jobs.

The snow boy will drown his pain in pills and whatever else he can shove down his throat to forget the yelling that happens. He’ll turn to a life of petty crime, begging for someone to see him, to save him, until at 17 he ends up on a slab with a bullet in his head. His own hand pulled the trigger.

The snow girl grows up with earbuds in her ears, locked inside her own mind as she makes red lines on her arms and writes into a batter composition note book, hiding from the world. She won’t even mourn her father. She barely knew him.

She’ll try to help her brother but it’s too late, and she’ll always remember the blood on their family portrait and he said, “I can’t do this anymore.” She’ll remember her mother screaming and hitting the ground, clutching her brother’s body.

She’ll end up going to the school counselor and pouring her heart out. Her father’s drinking. The fights between him and her mother. Her brother’s crime record and suicide. She’ll slowly heal, telling her story to group therapy sessions and then eventually to a crowd of teenagers at her old high school, with her wife by her side and her children in the crowd.

She’ll visit her mother every weekend, take care of her and talk about the good days. Only the good days though.

She’ll place flowers and baseball cards on the grave and tell her brother that she’s okay, that she still loves candy canes and making snow angels with her children. She’ll tell him that it wasn’t perfect but at least they had each other. She’ll tell him that now she counsels children who came from homes like theirs so maybe there won’t be another him. Maybe she can save another snow boy when she couldn’t save him. She’ll tell him she loves him and that he was right. It will get better. Maybe not at first but it will.

Then she’ll set a blue ornament on the grave that their mother kept all these years, little lines of white glue visible where the silver and gold glitter had flaked off. She’ll remember how she took a glitter pen to hide the glue and how her brother said “That’s a great idea!

Then she’ll walk away, taking the hand of her snow wife, their daughter in her arms as they walk away. Money is tight. Stress is high. Their daughter is sick. Her snow wife lost her job. But the snow girl will remember.

It will get better.


Bottles in the Closet (A Poem)

You only call me when you’re drunk.

I can hear the slur in your words even as you say, “I haven’t had a drink all day.” We both know it’s a lie. I can almost smell the alcohol on your breath over the phone.

You poured another glass of red wine, instead of putting the cork in the bottle and just walking away. Drink some water and start up again the very next day. As if drinking red wine will numb the pain and erase all the memories you swear you don’t remember.

Or maybe it was a shot of vodka to chase all the bad thoughts away. When you wonder why it is that none of your children want to stay. Throwback the shot glass, the alcohol burning your throat. I bet you don’t need a chaser. You simply grab another.

You keep pouring

and pouring

and pouring,

until everything goes fuzzy. You almost feel like you’re invincible. Like you aren’t risking your life and everyone else’s when you get behind that steering wheel.

You only call me when you’re drunk.

You tell me you don’t want to be here anymore. It’s something I’ve heard before, ever since I was 13 years old. What a thing that a teenager hears from her mother. Can you imagine how that makes me feel?

That time you took a steak knife in the kitchen and cut your wrist in front of me, slurring your words as you screamed and cried. Always playing the victim and making it about you when it should’ve been about us. Your children.

But no.

I had to be the mother. Coax you to hand me the knife even as the smell of vomit on your breath and leftover wine made me gag. I had to lie and tell you that it would be alright. I had to tell you that you were a good mother and that we loved you. That we didn’t blame you for all the hard times.

And when I finally got the knife away, you wouldn’t let me call the police even as the blood dripped on the floor that I’d clean later that night.

You left to go have some fun with drinks. Drank more. It was as if it never happened. As if I was the one who was crazy instead of you. As I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the red off the floor and trying my best to erase the memory of you dragging the knife across your wrist oh so slowly, like you had to make sure I was watching.

You tell me that you’re a good mother, and that you tried your best. Yet you do the same thing over

and over

and over again. You hit repeat. You never learn. You never listen.

You are not a good mother. You never were a mother.

You didn’t do your best. You don’t even know what that means.

Your best is not staying out late partying while your oldest daughter takes care of your children.

Your best is not the water or the electricity being turned off because you got more clothes rather than pay the bills.

Your best is not the pantry and fridge being empty and children going hungry because your happiness is more important than your children’s.

But go ahead, pour yourself another glass of wine. Fill up the cup if that makes you feel better. Makes you feel like you’re not a failure of a mother. Like you’ve done nothing wrong. Like you’re the saint that you think you are.

I remember once I opened your closet door and on top of all the shoes were empty alcohol bottles. Dozens of them, sparkling in pretty colors in the yellow light. Like it was some dirty little secret that you failed at hiding.

How many times did I help you out of your shoes and into bed, making sure you were on your side so you didn’t choke on your own vomit? I couldn’t tell you, I lost track. I know it was too many for a teenage girl to have to deal with.

You always said you weren’t an alcoholic but you’ve got bottles in the closet and wine on your breath that tells another story.

You always say that you’re a good mother and that you love your children. I don’t doubt that you love us. But I don’t think you loved us enough. I think you love yourself and the bottle more. You love partying with friends and trying to capture your youth while your children are left behind. Then we are the bad guys when we want to leave. When we want out of that toxic environment and to do better for ourselves. Suddenly we are abandoning you and turning on you.

You only call me when you’re drunk.

You tell me you love me, that you are so proud of me. As if that matters to me. You had nothing to do with the woman I am. There is not a single part of you in me, and for that I am glad. I don’t see you anywhere, and if I did, I’d be terrified.

I don’t want to be like you. A woman who drowns her self-loathing and insecurities in booze. A woman is so blinded by her own perceived greatness of motherhood that she can’t see the mental scars she’s left on her children. That she still leaves on them. A woman who puts the blame on everyone else instead of looking in the damn mirror and realizing that it’s been her all along. That she is the problem. Not us.

Go ahead. Pour yourself another drink, all the up to the brim until it pours over the edges and drips like the blood did on the linoleum all those years ago. I bet you’ll lick that wine up too. Make sure you don’t waste a single drop to numb the pain and ease the guilt.

Go ahead and call me, tell me you’re a good mother and that you did your best.

I know the truth.

The truth is in the bottles in the closet.

You only call me when you’re drunk.


I Don’t Think About You (A Poem)

I thought I would miss you.

Instead, I don’t. And I think that’s what hurts the most. The fact that I don’t miss you. The fact that our friendship is over and it doesn’t hurt like it should.

Shouldn’t it hurt more? Shouldn’t I feel your loss like a phantom limb? But I don’t. I barely feel it at all.

Maybe the reason it doesn’t hurt, why I barely feel your absence, is because you weren’t there. You stopped being present a long time ago. It’s like you were there when you wanted to be. When it was convenient to you. You were like a ghost, fading in and out and only showing up when you wanted to haunt me.

I don’t know when we grew apart. Could it be when I moved here? No. I’ve had friends who kept in touch more than you did.

It can’t be that.

Maybe it began before that. Before we graduated high school. When I needed you in tenth grade, when there were rumors running around about me and I was alone with no one on my side. With no one to turn to. No friendly ear to listen to me.

You would pass by and let me suffer alone, when what I needed back then was a friend. Someone to have my back. Like I had always had yours no matter what.

You would call me and I answered like a best friend does. Immediately. I dropped everything. And it wasn’t until you had cut me off. Told me that I was selfish that I realized. . .

It wasn’t me.

It was you.

I thought it would hurt more. But I don’t feel a thing. Maybe that makes me cold. I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t think about you. Not really. Maybe for a fleeting moment but then that’s it.

After all, you can’t really miss someone who wasn’t there in the first place.

I don’t wish you any ill will. I hope that you are happy and safe. I hope you find everything that you are looking for and even more.

I don’t regret our good times.

Going to the park and spending hours swinging and enjoying the sun.

Late-night talks as we discussed the stories in our heads.

Your passion equaled mine and a part of me, might miss having that. But I don’t need you to have that passion. I don’t need you to be who I am. To be a writer. To be an artist.

I don’t think about you. Maybe I should. Maybe it’s cruel. Or maybe it’s the cold stone truth. That I don’t miss you.

You are not a thought. You are barely a memory. You are nothing to me.

You were long gone before we ever said goodbye.


Fear or Persuasion: An In-Depth Look at Voldemort and Grindelwald

What is a more successful strategy in gaining followers? Fear or persuasion? That is what I asked myself as I watched Crimes of Grindelwald.

As a lover of Harry Potter, I often wondered how successful a villain Voldemort really was. Don’t get me wrong, he’s done a lot of villainous acts. Such as:

Killing Harry’s parents.

Killing Moaning Mrytle.

Killing his father.

Killing Frank Bryce.

…Okay, basically, Voldemort has killed a lot of people. But what were his true motivations? Did he kill all those people to show that purebloods were ideal? That Muggles were nothing but filth that needed to be slaughtered like pigs?

I mean, but also no. He may have started out like that but then the prophecy happened and heaven forbid the great and terrible Voldemort would be defeated by a mere half-blood. (Spoilers: He is defeated. More spoilers: He’s half-blood himself. So pot meet kettle.)

Voldemort’s motivation behind most, if not all his actions, were to prevent his death. Voldemort’s greatest fear was death, and in the end that was his undoing.

He doesn’t care about his followers. He preaches on and on about ‘pureblood ways’ but really, he manipulated all of those purebloods so he can have people to do his biding. He didn’t care about their ideals. He was afraid of death and wanted to avoid it by any means necessary. He wanted to achieve immortality. Or at least, his twisted form of it.

At first yes, he appealed to purebloods like Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. He appealed to Barty Crouch Jr. and Severus Snape who were lonely outcasts. But how did Voldemort control his followers?


That is how Voldemort controlled them. But that only worked for so long. He was betrayed several times.

Regulus Black.

Severus Snape.

Peter Pettigrew.

Lucius Malfoy.

Voldemort lost his followers because they were no longer afraid of him. Or rather, his broken promises overrode any fear they had of him. He could not deliver so they left him. Their fear did not win. But Voldemort’s fear of dying did.

So while yes, Voldemort is a terrifying villain who did some truly horrific things, fear was not a good strategy. Combine that with his empty promises, and it was no wonder Voldemort fell.

And as I rewatched Crimes of Grindelwald for the 4th time, I came to this conclusion: Gellert Grindelwald terrifies me far more than Voldemort. Don’t get me wrong. Voldemort is terrifying. But there is something even more sinister about Grindelwald. Perhaps it’s because we have seen people like Grindelwald in real life. He is a real tangible human who has goals. We have heard his rhetoric before many, many times. We know of people in history who had ideals like he did. After all, doesn’t Grindelwald remind you of someone very similar in our history?

Voldemort is a villain that can be defeated. We know that the hero always wins against the very clear villain. But with Grindelwald, it’s different. With him, you wonder how the hero can defeat a villain like that. A villain that is so real. Almost too real that it makes you uncomfortable.

Grindelwald looks at someone, and he breaks them down to their baser selves. He asks himself:

How can I get them on my side?

He manipulates them with his voice. After all, the Americans in Crimes of Grindelwald had his tongue removed because he is that persuasive.

Grindelwald as Percival Graves in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, uses Credence in order to figure out who the Obscurial is.

Credence is a lonely, abused boy who has never known affection. Grindelwald gives that to him. He heals his hand after Mary-Lou Barebones once again beats Credence. Grindelwald sweet-talks Credence and gives the poor, downtrodden boy what he wants.



But the second Credence is of no more use to Grindelwald, he (Grindelwald) drops him like a bad penny. But then once Grindelwald realizes his mistake, that Credence is the Obscurial he’s been looking for, Grindelwald back tracks. He has to reassess. Grindelwald appeals to the fact that Credence wants to know who he is. Credence is desperate to find out who he is, where he comes from. Where does his magic come from? Credence is desperate for family. Family that will understand him.

Grindelwald uses this.

Is Credence really Aurelius Dumbledore, younger brother of Albus Dumbledore? Honestly, I doubt that. Grindelwald is a master manipulator. Or I could be wrong and he really is Albus’ younger brother. That’d certainly be a twist. We won’t know until the next movie comes out.

Grindelwald can’t act against Dumbledore because of the blood pact, and Credence is the only one powerful enough to take on Albus Dumbledore.

Grindelwald sees that Queenie is vulnerable without her sister. Sees how Queenie only wants to be with the man she loves. He appeals to that. We all know how he feels about No-Majs. He mentioned earlier that they weren’t going to eliminate all of them. That some would be needed for hard labor.

He is called ‘Silvertongue’ for a reason.

He manipulates his followers to think that the Aurors attacked first and killed a young girl. When really, he ordered a follower to kill the young girl disguised as an Auror. Grindelwald is a master manipulator. He shows visions of World War I and uses that to instill fear into witches and wizards. Is he still using fear like Voldemort? Yes. But rather than threaten his followers, he made the Muggles or No-Majs in American terms, the enemy. The one to be afraid of. He uses this fear in order to persuade wizards and witches to join him. He promises that he will keep them safe from the arrogant No-Majs.

Grindelwald is a villain that (as I stated before) we have seen before. We have heard his sort of rhetoric. And what’s even more terrifying is that people follow him because they either believe in his message or because he’s manipulated the news into thinking. I mean, look at what happened in the 2016 election. Look at all the anti-groups around us. With villains like Voldemort, there’s always a clear winner. Good triumphs over evil. But when it comes to villains like Grindelwald, there is no Chosen One. In the end, we have to be the Chosen Ones. We have to stand up and fight. And keep fighting, otherwise, they win.


Prompt 2: Down the Rabbit Hole

“If you fell down a rabbit hole, what do you think you’d find?”

Falling down was something I did. A lot. it was apart of my basic make up really. My friends and family made fun of my clumsiness – not in a mean way but in an adoring, loving way. But this right here? It definitely topped the cake. Falling down a literal rabbit hole that is. At first I thought I was dreaming. It wouldn’t be the first weird dream I’ve had. But then again, I didn’t remember falling asleep. I looked around, feeling anxious and peaceful all at once as I took in my surroundings. Anxious because i was seemingly standing on nothing but a black sky dotted with bright stars as rough rocky asteroids floated past me. So close I could touch them. The stars so close that I could feel the heat coming off them. Peaceful as I gazed upon her. The Earth. She really was the green planet, with the blue wiggling it’s way through as fluffy white clouds made their way slowly across what I believed was the Atlantic Ocean. A storm rolling in. Looking at the Earth, I felt insignificant. Tiny. I was in awe of this giant rock floating in space where thousands of billions of living creatures lived and died. I felt humbled. And honored to bear witness to what not a lot of people got to see. I sat down on the black sky, pushing a small golf-ball sized asteroid out of my way, and watched as the clouds overcame the green.

400 Writing Prompts

Yesterday Paige and I went to this amazing store called Five Below. There I found this wonderful book.

As Paige said: “It is so you.”

Nonetheless, I got the book. And for the next 400 days, I am going to do a prompt every single day. I’m going to set an alarm on my phone so I’ll remember. I plan on sharing it on Instagram if other writers or even those who aren’t writers but wanna have some fun with these prompts, want to join in. I’ll also be posting the prompts on here everyday.

This blog is really called “The Inner Workings.” And I really want to figure out what that means. Is it my “inner workings?” I don’t know. But either way, I want it to be all about writing on this blog.

Stay tuned for my next blog post today for prompt one!


Excerpt From a Fanfiction

I wanted to do something a bit different today. For the past 2 years I have been working on this Harry Potter fanfiction. I am proud to say that I have 2 chapters completed, which is 50 pages all together. I am incredibly proud of this fanfiction. It’s been a long ways coming – and trust me I’ve wanted to give up. But as you know, or at least, most of you know, Harry Potter is very dear to my heart. I wanted to share an excerpt from it, and get some feedback! I don’t plan on posting it on or Archive of Our Own until I have more than 2 chapters written.

Here is a summary of the story:

Meanwhile, Harry Potter, still reeling from dying in the Forbidden Forest, becomes friends with Thea. Harry, seeing the good in everyone, senses a kindred spirit behind the strange emotionless amber eyes. Harry and Thea from a bond unlike any that the wizarding world has ever seen. But as Harry unravels the mystery behind Thea Sain, he finds that she has more than one secret. And one of those secrets could mean the beginning of another Wizarding War. 

In the aftermath of the Second Wizarding War, a new student comes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Thea Sain, a new transfer student from Ireland who has many secrets. Deemed as odd and insane by the rest of the school, and even by her own House, Thea keeps to herself. She struggling to keep her dark past hidden while she unlocks why her magic is fractured. At times her magic works normally but then at other times, her magic fizzles and dies, or it festers and explodes.

Keep in mind that this is very AU. Meaning that the characters I love are still alive, like Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Barring that, I do try and stick to canon as much as possible. I just. . . . bend it a little is all. The story will alternate between Harry and Thea’s perspective. So, without further ado, I present to you. . . . .Harry Potter and the Last Heir! [Note: The title will probably be changed at some point.]

Harry Potter and the Last Heir [Thea Sain and the Fractured Magic]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. The following characters are not my own, other than Thea Sain and other OCs. They all belong to the wonderful J. K. Rowling. I’m simply having fun with them.

Chapter One: The Train Ride

“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.” ― Herbert Hoover

A scarlet steam engine waited next to a platform crowded with people dressed in colorful cloaks and robes who eyed each other warily as they held their loved ones close. The September weather was crisp and cold, the last remnants of summer fading, students wore warm jumpers and scarves as they boarded the Hogwarts Express. That back-to-school feeling hung in the air though slightly tainted by the death and paranoia that clung like a cobweb to everyone’s hearts.

Four months ago, the Second Wizarding War ended. The tyrant Voldemort was dead. His faithful servants either followed him in death or followed the Malfoys in incarceration. Other Death Eaters such as Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange, Walden MacNair, and Fenrir Greyback were still active. The Ministry assured the public that the Aurors were well on their way to apprehending those Death Eaters who ran—not that that lessened the fierce paranoia. War was a bloody thing, but the aftermath was just as sticky.

It didn’t help that Rita Skeeter, from The Daily Prophet, and Bernard Glider from The Morrow Post, wrote articles that blatantly criticized the efforts of the Ministry of Magic.

Rita Skeeter was a woman with a clear distaste for the Ministry. She regularly blamed the War on not only the Ministry (which, honestly, was not entirely untrue) but also, continually denounced the heroes of the War such as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Ronald Weasley, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and countless others.

Since the Ministry was in shambles, they didn’t care about a few unhappy reporters. Kingsley Shacklebolt was the temporary Minister, and he was swimming in paperwork and inquiries because of how many Death Eaters were Ministry employees. When it came to reporters like Rita Skeeter and Bernard Glider, all the Ministry could do was ignore them. Or try to at least. But ignoring headlines like this were difficult:


This headline made people wonder what the Ministry was doing to keep the peace. The Death Eaters were in hiding—mostly—once again. Sirius Black, infamous ex-convict, and one of the best Hit Wizards headed the task force dedicated to apprehending the loose Death Eaters. That is probably while most hid, fearing the wrath of Sirius Black. If there’s one thing the wizarding world had figured out these past few years was that he’d do anything to protect his godson.

But Fenrir Greyback had no fear.

Bernard Glider, editor and writer for The Morrow Post, was a man with a clear vendetta against werewolves. (Skeeter wrote a piece about the Glider family years ago. Apparently, Bernard’s younger sister, a Squib, was viciously attacked by a feral werewolf and did not survive. Rumors were the werewolf that attacked was none other than Greyback himself.) Three days after the latest werewolf attack, Glider printed a story with the accompanying headline:


This headline made parents with young werewolves cower in fear. Many left for Italy who was more lenient towards werewolves. The founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus were rumoured to be werewolves. Everyone remembered when the Werewolf Registration Act was passed in the First Wizarding War. The act made getting jobs incredibly difficult. Werewolves were hunted even if they hadn’t committed a crime. Glider’s hatred was so profound that he was even trying to prevent apothecaries from providing,werewolves with the Wolfsbane Potion. Thus far his efforts have been blocked. After all, it was a known fact that Harry Potter’s favorite professor and guardian, Remus Lupin, was a werewolf. Harry Potter wasn’t going to allow laws to be passed that would make a man he cared for like a father’s life more difficult.

Though the War was over, that didn’t lessen the pain or paranoia. Many people lost their lives during the War, and that loss was keen. The wizarding world was still recovering, and the re-opening of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would aid in that recovery. It would give what the wizarding world greatly needed in the aftermath was a bloody and terrible war: hope.


A group of four stood conversing on the platform while parents and students hustled and bustled around them. One of these four was a tall, gangly ginger-headed, freckle-faced boy. He argued with the oldest of the group, a plump, matronly woman with hair as red as his, while a bushy-haired girl looked on with annoyance. Every once in a while, she’d roll her chocolate brown eyes and sigh. The redhead glanced at her, blue eyes full of mischief. He leaned over, his face momentarily obscured by her abundance of curls, and slyly kissed her cheek. The girl flushed and swatted the redhead away with an annoyed: “Ronald!”

The redheaded woman rolled her eyes while the fourth member of the group, a boy with messy ink-black hair and round wire glasses, laughed. His brilliant emerald eyes sparkled with mirth as he watched his friends. It was slight—barely noticeable—but the redheaded boy and the bushy-haired girl both exchanged a look of triumph. The matronly woman gave the freckled boy a nod of approval. It had been months since they’ve seen the black-haired, green-eyed boy show even a sliver of emotions. After four months of hits and misses, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley finally saw a tiny part of their friend returning. Sure, his smile and laughter may have been at their own expense, but it was a start.

Their friend was none other than the famous Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived—Twice as the tabloids called him.

Harry wasn’t the same boy who came to Platform 9 ¾ seven years ago today. Seven years ago he met and befriended Ron Weasley. He also met Hermione Granger, though that friendship happened much, much later. Harry would always be grateful for that troll. Hermione completed the Golden Trio, and they’ve been best friends ever since. Harry didn’t know what he’d do without Hermione and Ron. They’d been his rocks for years, and he knew that if it weren’t for their help, the Horcruxes wouldn’t be destroyed. Hermione and Ron had always been there for him but there was still a part of him that felt alone. They couldn’t understand what it was like walking into the Forbidden Forest to die. Even now, the idea of going back into the Forbidden Forest made Harry feel ill.

Harry was no longer the gangly, knobby-kneed boy who longed for a home. He was older and maybe, just a little wiser. The past few months he had time to think about his actions over the years. There were things that he had to own up to, things that he could’ve changed if only he had been braver and smarter.

In his third year, on that fateful night when he had Peter Pettigrew, he could’ve had his guardians kill Pettigrew instead of sparing his life, thus making the rise of the Dark Lord Voldemort—though not impossible—but stalled. It would’ve given them more time to prepare. In his fifth year he could’ve opened Sirius’ present, saw the match to the linked mirror Sirius had, and then the catastrophe at the Department of Mysteries would’ve never happened. Sirius never would have ‘died.’ If only Harry had thought rather than jumped in like a brash Gryffindor, things would be so much different. But as his favorite Defense teacher was fond of saying, “You can not change what was Harry, you can only learn from it.” And learn from it he had.

The past four months were hectic for Harry. Between running interference between the Ministry and McGonagall, and reconciling with his godfather, Harry was very busy. Though Harry knew Sirius was alive not long after the Headmaster’s death 6th year, this summer he had time to tell Sirius all the things he left unsaid. Harry and Sirius finally talked about all those months that the latter allowed Harry to believe he was dead. They finally discussed how Harry ran off with his friends, not even letting his godfather know he was safe. The metaphorical elephant—or rather elephants—in the room that had been ignored after Dumbledore’s death since there was a war going on, were finally discussed.

With that conversation came a new start. Sirius and Harry were on their way to mending their relationship and building a family with Remus Lupin and his son, Teddy. Though things were still tense between Sirius and Remus, as well as Remus and Andromeda Tonks, Teddy’s grandmother, it was a start.

Far less important than the rebuilding trust, Harry was surprised when he finally had a growth spurt. Sirius and Remus both laughed when Harry did a happy little jig at this fact. Though Harry knew that he would never be as tall as Ron, who had yet another growth spurt, at least he was taller than Hermione and Ginny Weasley, his girlfriend.

The smile slid off his face as Harry remembered that he and Ginny weren’t on the best terms. She was still cross about Harry representing Narcissa and Draco Malfoy at the Wizengamot a few weeks ago.

The mirth was gone as if it hadn’t been there as he remembered their last argument.

How could you defend them?” Ginny cried, red hair like flames around her head, brown eyes sharp and filled with fury. Harry usually found her beautiful in these moments, like an avenging angel, but not now when her fury was aimed at him.

“Mrs. Malfoy saved my life. She lied to Voldemort. And Draco is the only reason why we managed to get out of Malfoy Manor,” Harry said. He truly believed that. Malfoy, as much of a ferret as he was, hesitated when dear Auntie Bellatrix asked if he (Harry) was Harry Potter. That allowed planning. And though Hermione was harmed, it could’ve been so much worse. Narcissa Malfoy and her son did do some horrible things, but they didn’t deserve the same fate as Lucius Malfoy. Mrs. Malfoy would be on probation, Draco would serve the summer in Azkaban. Mr. Malfoy would serve 5 years in Azkaban. Harry felt it was fair but no one else agreed.

“Oh, so it’s Draco now is it,” sneered Ginny.

Harry gave a long-suffering sigh. “Ginny, he didn’t have a choice. He didn’t have anyone to turn to,”

“There is always a choice!” she yelled. “Always. You taught me that, remember?” Her eyes were watery now instead of furious. “You let them get away with everything they did in the war, everyone they hurt. What about Dumbledore? What about Tonks? What about Hermione? What about Fred?” Her voice cracked at her brother’s name. Though Fred was alive, he was still in a coma after the spell that Pius Thicknesse hit him with. St. Mungo’s had yet to determine what exactly was wrong with him. The Healers said that he might never wake up.  “Don’t you care?”

“Don’t you dare say I don’t care!” Harry snapped.

Ginny shook her head, crossing her arms. “From where I stand, it seems like you don’t, Harry.”

That was a week ago. It was their worst fight yet. Harry hadn’t talked to her since then. Not that he hadn’t tried too. He hoped to see her on the train and make amends. Hopefully. Things were so weird these days. He almost missed the war. At least then Harry knew what to do.

But that moment when Hermione and Ron were up to their usual antics, everything that happened was gone. For one split-second he felt happy. For one second everything felt normal. Then as quickly as it was there, it was gone.

Hermione and Ron exchanged another of those looks. The silent exchange of What’s wrong with Harry? And the answering I don’t know.

Harry hadn’t been the same since he defeated Voldemort at the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry hadn’t been the same since fourth year. It took, strangely enough, Neville Longbottom to point that out. And now, after a year on the run, doing things he never imagined he would do, Harry was not the same. He was haunted. He was changed. Harry was no longer a boy, but he wasn’t quite a man either.

Of course, no one was the same after the past two and a half years. Hermione and Ron were different as well. The former because of her torture at the hand of Bellatrix Lestrange, the latter because of him abandoning his friends when things got tough.

The matronly woman broke what was bound to be another awkward silence. There had been too many of those this summer. The sudden silences and lost looks and the wishful words that no one was willing to say. Molly Weasley wasn’t having it. She turned to face the trio, smiling a rather strained smile with one hand on her hip. Behind her, a girl in a brilliant blue cloak struggled with a trolley and then boarded the train. It rang loudly, giving the usual 5 minutes until 11 warning.

She wagged her finger at Ron. “Be good! Be safe. And don’t forget to—”

“Write,” finished Ron. “Mum, I know. You told me. Three times now in fact. I’ll write. I promise.” He rolled his eyes in exasperation. The train whistled again. “We need to go, Mum!” He grumbled as his mother hugged him tight—a little too tight.

“Take care of Ginny, and yourself, Ronnikins.” Normally Ron would’ve said something about that horrible nickname, but he let it slide. (Hermione and Harry both exchanged tight-lipped smiles from trying to not laugh at the almost constipated look Ron got whenever his mother called him ‘Ronnikins.’) His mum was having a hard time. Especially since Fred. . .  

Ron hugged his mother tight. “I will. I promise.”

Mrs. Weasley sniffled, pulling away. She hugged Hermione next, the second daughter she always wanted. “Feel free to write, dear. Arthur said he’d let you know if we find anything about your parents.”

Hermione smiled tightly. “Thank you, Mrs. Weasley.”

Next was Harry. Mrs. Weasley clutched him just as desperately as Ron and Hermione. “That goes to you as well, Harry. Feel free to write.” She pulled away, eyes watery. “Be safe, all of you!”

“We will,” Hermione promised.

“Or rather, we’ll try,” said Ron. “You know us and trouble.” He nudged Harry teasingly. “Isn’t that right, Harry?”

Harry rolled his eyes. Mrs. Weasley shook her head fondly. The train gave another whistle. One minute. She waved her hands. “Hurry!

The trio laughed good-naturedly, hurrying onto the train. They waved out the window at Mrs. Weasley until they couldn’t see her anymore. Then they made their way down the aisle. Before the War, they had to struggle down the aisle. Firsties would scramble to find a compartment and shyly made friends while the older years had their clique of friends. This year was different. At least half of the students from last year hadn’t returned. Admissions appeared to be at an all-time low. The student population hadn’t been this small since the First Wizarding War.

Most parents had refused to allow their children to attend Hogwarts after the spectacle with the Carrows. The new Headmistress assured the parents that the curriculum was not the same as it was when the Carrows ran rampant, but that did not soothe the parents. They blamed the other professors for failing to protect their children. The common questions were: How could you stand by and allow our  children to be tortured?

Headmistress Minerva McGonagall had to fight tooth and nail with the Wizengamot to even re-open Hogwarts. Their stipulation was that Hogwarts could reopen if Harry Potter attended. When McGonagall asked Harry if he planned on returning to Hogwarts, he was going to say no. He and Ron weren’t going to return. They were going straight into Auror training (much to Mrs. Weasley’s and Remus’ discontent). However, after Harry heard the Wizengamot’s stipulation, he had to say yes.

Students needed Hogwarts. It was one of the rare times Harry used his fame to get something done. Hogwarts was still his home, and while it certainly wasn’t the same, he knew it needed to be opened. At least he being there allowed some peace of mind to the students. It helped that Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, his guardians, would be there as well. The former was very pleased that Harry was going to continue his education, while the latter was slightly disappointed Harry wasn’t going to be an Auror like his father. (Though Sirius did his best to hide it. Harry felt the pressure of being an Auror from Ron and from Sirius but truthfully, he was tired of fighting. He didn’t know what he wanted to do.)

Harry knew that there would be some students who blamed the War solely on him. Thankfully those were far between. The student-Death Eaters were gone as well, either dead or imprisoned. Those students whose parents refused to allow them to return to Hogwarts would go to Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, Ilvermorny or even one of the smaller schools such as Ceridwen or Salem.

It was going to be an empty and quiet year, yet Harry wasn’t upset. A bit of quiet and normalcy was just what they needed, he felt. Of course with the Golden Trio—as the school had fondly (or unfondly in the late Severus Snape’s perspective) dubbed Harry and his friends—a bit of quiet and normalcy was hard to come by. They had never had a quiet school year so the likelihood of this being a quiet one was about as likely as Hagrid suddenly deciding he liked non-dangerous creatures.

Harry followed Hermione and Ron down the aisle. Ginny was probably in a compartment with Luna and Neville. She boarded the train early since she was now, surprisingly, a Gryffindor Prefect with Neville Longbottom. Hermione was Head Girl (she had spent an hour talking Harry and Ron’s ear off when she found out) while Ernie Macmillan was Head Boy.

“It’s scary how. . . .quiet it is. Not even the firsties are up to no good,” said Ron. A tiny blonde girl with a Ravenclaw scarf saw Harry and squeaked, her watery blue eyes wide in hero worship. She tripped over her feet when Harry smiled at her. Once back on her feet, she ran away.

Ron shook his head. “I swear they get tinier and tinier.”

Harry chuckled dryly. “No, Ron, you just get taller is all.” He looked around curiously. “It is rather empty, isn’t it? I mean McGonagall warned me it might be like this but this is still shocking. There’s hardly anyone here.” It was like the train was haunted and so no one wanted to be on it.

“A lot of students aren’t coming back,” said Hermione. “McGonagall’s tried but a lot of people are unhappy with her, and well, people are still grieving.”

“Anyone we know not coming back?” asked Ron.

Hermione smiled sadly. “Dennis Creevey, Parvati Patil, Fay Dunbar, Stephen Cornfoot, Kevin Entwhistle, and a few others.”

“Really? Parvati?” asked Ron. “What about Padma?”

“Parvati is. . . struggling after Lavender,” said Hermione carefully. Ron flinched.

Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil were best friends. They were the gossip queens of Hogwarts, but also two of the kindest girls. Lavender, unfortunately, met her death at the claws of Fenrir Greyback. Since then, Harry knew that Parvati had been very withdrawn. He didn’t know that she wasn’t coming back though. He couldn’t blame her however. He also knew that Hermione blamed herself for Lavender’s death.

Ron took Hermione’s hand, squeezing gently, as she continued speaking. “Padma is here. The last I spoke to her, she said Parvati might be here later in the term.”

Ron nodded. “It’s the same for Dean. Seamus talked him into coming back.”

Hermione sighed. “McGonagall said that the first year will be rather larger. She’s combining this year’s first years with last years. The older years, especially the 6th and 7th will be smaller. I think she plans on grouping this years 7th years—so Ginny’s year—with ours, the ‘8th years.’ She and the other Heads are still working out the details.”

Ron whistled. “Wow.” He shook his head. “It’s going to be very different, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” said Harry. “It is.” He searched for a certain redhead girl but didn’t see her. He was anxious to talk to her, to sort all this out, so they could get back on track. He missed Ginny and the easy relationship they had. She had always been safe. After not finding her, he gave up. She’s probably doing her Prefect duties, he thought. Or she’s avoiding him like she had been for the past week at the Burrow. Harry sighed.

Hermione and Ron exchanged looks. “Um, Harry?” said Hermione tentatively.

Harry looked at her. “Yeah?”

“Ginny said she’d join us later. . .” she trailed off. “Ginny said that she. . .She said that she. . . .um, well. . .” Hermione looked at Ron for help. He shrugged in response. Hermione shot him a dirty look for the lack of support. “Ginny said she needed some space,” she said in a rush.

“Oh,” was the flat response.

Ron quickly changed the subject. “I wonder how McGonagall is going to juggle being Headmistress, Transfiguration professor and Head of Gryffindor? I mean she’s a tough old cat but still, that’s a lot of work.” He glanced in a compartment to find it full of Slytherins. He wrinkled his nose in distaste. “None of them should’ve come back,” he muttered darkly.

Harry bit his tongue to hold back his response at his best friend’s blatant discrimination. It was a lost cause. Instead, he said, “I’m sure McGonagall will manage. Somehow.”

“The Headmistress said she was hiring someone, hopefully for the Head of Gryffindor position as well as Transfiguration,” said Hermione. She could sense the tension in the air. She herded Ron past the compartment of Slytherins. “Nothing has been confirmed yet.”

Harry couldn’t quite hide a smirk. Ron narrowed his eyes at the familiar expression. “Oi! What do you know?” demanded Ron.

Harry gave his signature half-shrug, wearing an expression of feigned ignorance and innocence.  Being raised by two Marauders, he had that expression down to pat. “Nothing, Ron. You’ll just have to see.” Of course, it didn’t work with his two best friends.

Ron nudged him in the arm. “Come on! Tell us.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “It’s supposed to be a surprise.”

Before Ron or Hermione could pester him more, they stopped at a compartment in the very back of the train. Harry peeked through the window to see a girl curled up next to the window. She was slight from what he could tell with a bright blue cloak wrapped around her like a blanket.mHer hair was black, falling to her shoulders in neat waves. She had a fair face covered in freckles with a faded scar above her right eyebrow; she was sleeping, quiet and still except for her breathing. There was an old worn messenger bag next to her with the initials RJL. Or it could be HIL. Harry couldn’t tell since the letters were peeling. She huffed slightly, curling more into a ball but remained asleep. It reminded him of how he met Remus. The first time they met in Harry’s third year, Remus was sleeping on the train. That day changed Harry’s life.

Harry smiled a bit, looking over his shoulder. “This’ll do. Just don’t speak too loudly. She’s sleeping.” Harry opened the door, and walked in, taking a seat across from the girl. Hermione and Ron sat across from him, careful to not disturb the girl.

Hermione looked at the girl curiously. “I’ve never seen her before,” said Hermione. “Who do you think she is?”

Ron shrugged. “Who knows? Maybe a teacher?”

“She looks a little young to be a teacher,” said Hermione.

“An apprentice? Maybe a transfer student?” said Harry.

Hermione shook her head, curls flying everywhere. She brushed them away impatiently. “We don’t get transfers, Harry.”

“Perhaps,” said Harry, shrugging “but as you said, the attendance is low. McGonagall might be desperate.”

“Who knows?” said Ron. He leaned back, stretching out his long legs. “I can’t believe we’re going back to Hogwarts. It seems crazy.” He gave his girlfriend a mock glare. “I can’t believe you talked me into returning. I was perfectly content helping Kingsley capture Death Eaters.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “I know you were, Ron. You both were.” She glanced at Harry. “I want peace. I thought we could use a quiet year.” She unconsciously touched her left arm where the word Mudblood was carved.

Ron reached over, took her hand and squeezed gently. “We could.” He turned to Harry. “So, Harry. . . .Spill. Who is the new Transfiguration?”

“It’s a surprise,” responded Harry.

Hermione looked at him with large brown eyes, while Ron also begged with his blue ones.

Harry groaned, rolling his eyes. “Fine. It’s Sirius. He’s the new Head too.”

Ron’s jaw dropped in shock. “You’re not serious—oh shut up, Harry, it wasn’t intentional!” Harry chortled. Hermione’s lips twitched as if she was trying hard not to smile. Ron gathered his wits. “Sirius. Sirius is going to a professor and our Head of House? I can’t see it. This is the same man who had a prank war with the tw-twins.” Ron’s voice was slightly hoarse at the last word.

“I can,” said Hermione quickly. The boys gave identical looks of surprise. It was no secret that she wasn’t Sirius’ biggest fan. “What?” she said. “He has grown. I don’t know what he did to get back from the Veil, but he has matured. I did some digging about the Veil. Only an extremely powerful wizard could come back. Someone who had the determination and strength to fight the Veil. Whatever happened, it changed him.”

Ron shook his head. “Barking. You’re barking mad, ‘Mione.” Ron flushed at the glare she gave him. “What? I can’t see Sirius being a professor. And what about his Auror duties? I mean for a while there he was sort of Head Auror.”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t know. I asked him about it, but he wouldn’t say. I think he’s still on duty, but he’s only taking the high-risk cases—such as the Lestrange brothers and Fenrir Greyback. If he gets any leads on those, McGonagall will probably take over.”

Ron nodded. “Well, at least Remus won’t be alone. I’m so glad he’s coming back. I’m surprised McGonagall didn’t make him Head of Gryffindor.”

“She wanted to but the Board of Governors weren’t having it,” said Harry bitterly. Remus would’ve been the perfect Head of House. The right amount of compassion and sternness. But the Board wasn’t having a werewolf as Head of House. They barely let Remus be a professor. “Sirius will be fine, though I wouldn’t be shocked if Remus gives him some tips.”

Hermione smiled. “And they have each other. Remus will have help with Teddy, besides Andromeda.”

Harry snorted. “Sirius and Remus aren’t on the best terms right now. Andromeda and I had to Body-Bind them both the other day. . .” He trailed off.

The fight two weeks was one of the worst ones since the end of the war. Remus and Sirius had always fought but it normally was fine. They got over it. Apparently not anymore. Remus was angry Sirius lied for almost a year about being alive. Sirius was. . .  .Well, Harry didn’t know what Sirius was angry about. Meanwhile, Harry was trying to keep the new and dysfunctional family together. Not to mention dealing with the fact Remus and Sirius apparently had a daughter! Harry knew they were together and were working things out before Sirius ‘died.’ It was so obvious. (He ignored the fact that Hermione pointed it out to him. He could be observant too.) But a daughter? That was new. Harry was a bit put out they hadn’t told him sooner. Remus and Sirius were still looking for her. But why? What happened? Harry couldn’t get a straight answer from either of them. Thus fighting. . . .and more fighting.

It seemed that between Harry and Ginny, and Remus and Sirius, fighting was all that went on.

The fight did shed some light on things though.

“Don’t you dare tell me how to raise my son!” yelled Sirius, grey eyes flashing dangerously.b“You think running away is going to help Harry? It’s not. He wants to stay here.”

“Your son?” Remus laughed harshly. His eyes glowing like the last embers of a fire. “Where were you when your son slit his wrists because of your death? Hmm? Where were you?”

Sirius flinched. His tortured eyes looked at Harry, pleading. Harry turned away, one hand gripping his wrist tight.  “How dare you,” he said, his voice shaking. “You know I had a mission for Dumbledore. I could’ve been there for Harry, I would have.”

“You could’ve sent a letter! Anything to let him know you were alive, Sirius! You did the same thing you always do! You never think!” Remus shook his head. “As for ‘running away,’ did you ask what Harry wanted? He suggested we move and start over. Not me.”

“I was thinking! I was thinking about keeping Harry and you safe while I was off-”

“Gallivanting on some grand old adventure, no doubt. Reliving your golden years?” Remus was trembling in rage. His normally hazel eyes glowing amber. “Harry is every bit my son as he is yours.”

“I’m not saying he’s not, Remus,” said Sirius.

“Then what are you saying?”

“Running is not the answer!” Sirius snapped. “But that’s what you do, isn’t it? You ran away from us, from Tonks, from the war. From Harry after Lily and James died.” He shook his head. “I never thought you’d be a coward.”

“Do not call me a coward!” Remus growled, his wand raised, his hand shaking. Sirius raised his, grey eyes dark and stormy, smirking. “Go on, Moony. You’ve never been able to hex me before.”

With a quick flick of their wands, Harry and Andromeda disarmed the two men and then Body-Binded them both. Harry and Andromeda exchanged frustrated looks. After the men were out of the Body-Bind, they both stormed off.

Harry went to comfort Remus after that horrible fight. He found Remus crying and it tore at his  heart. Harry loved Remus. He had always been there for Harry, ever since 3rd year. Remus clutched a worn stuffed wolf in his hand when Harry found, and after some prodding, Harry found out about Remus and Sirius’ daughter. She was a year younger than him. And she did live with Remus for a few years until something happened. Harry’s plan was to enlist Hermione and Ron’s help in finding her. He knew her age (either 16-17 depending on her birth), that she had black hair (taken from a picture he found in Remus’ study) and that she went missing when she was around 5. Between the three of them, perhaps they could find something. How hard could finding one girl be? After all, he and his friends had passed through Devil’s Snare, defeated giant chess boards, killed a Basilisk, faced hundreds of Dementors, stolen a dragon from Gringotts and won against Death Eaters.

Since that day, Sirius and Remus were barely on speaking terms. The only reason why they even spoke to each other was because of Harry and Teddy. And when they spoke it was curt and cold. Harry didn’t know ‘Can you pass the salt?’ could sound so angry. It didn’t help that Andromeda was causing problems. She felt that Remus wasn’t a fit guardian. “A single man can not raise a son. Especially one with your. . . .condition,” she said, in one conversation Harry may or may have eavesdropped on.

Harry liked Andromeda—he did—but he felt that her trying to take Teddy away from Remus was low. Teddy adored his father, and after losing his mother, he needed Remus more than anything. Harry watched Teddy during the full moons while Sirius kept Remus company. They had a working system but Andromeda didn’t see that. Harry knew that if Andromeda decided to take full custody of Teddy, Remus would be devastated. He already lost one child, he couldn’t lose another. It would break him.

Harry jumped slightly when Hermione touched his hand. He looked at her. She gave a small smile. “I’m sorry, Harry. We didn’t realize it was that bad.”

“When is it not for me?” Harry muttered. He pulled away from Hermione’s touch.

“Harry,” pressed Hermione.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” Harry said shortly. He crossed his arms, jaw clenched tight. His eyes wandered over to the girl sleeping on the bench. She turned a bit, face pressed against the window. She made a soft noise, almost like a whimper, murmuring something too soft for him to hear. Harry frowned at her, waiting to see if she would wake but she didn’t.

“It might help,” said Hermione. She also looked at the girl then away. She touched Harry’s hand again. He quickly jerked away. Again. She sighed. “If not to us, then to Siri—”

Sirius. Hermione wanted him to talk to Sirius. The man who lied for months. The man who let Harry believe he was dead. The man who wouldn’t even tell Harry what happened. “I am not talking to Sirius,” he snapped at her.

Hermione flinched, her brown eyes were suspiciously watery.

“Oi, don’t bite her head off, mate,” said Ron, quickly coming to Hermione’s defense. Ron wrapped an arm around Hermione who buried her face into his shoulder. Ron pulled her closer and looked at Harry with blue eyes. “We’re worried, Harry. That’s all. Don’t talk to Sirius then. Talk to Remus. To us. Talk to someone. Hell, talk to her if you must.” He gestured to the girl curled up on the seat. “But talk to someone. Alright?”

“Fine,” was the curt response.

The silence was awkward. It seemed that lately between the Golden Trio there was only silence. Harry was still struggling with Sirius being alive, trying to keep the peace between him and Remus, and coming to terms with being a murderer—yet hailed as a hero. Hermione was scarred both physically and mentally by the War, from Bellatrix Lestrange and the fact her parents weren’t here to comfort her. She had apparently done too good of a job hiding them and now, she had no idea where they were. Ron was trying to keep his family together. George hadn’t left Fred’s side since he was admitted to St. Mungo’s and so far, the Healers believed Fred would never wake.

Hermione sighed, pulling out a familiar beaded bag. It was a bit worn out, a few pale pink glass beads missing and it looked slightly singed, but the same as always. That bag had saved their lives more than once the past year. Hermione opened it and with a flick of her wand, a book flew out, the new book for Defense Against the Dark Arts. The book was called Dark and Light Magic: The Origins. She flicked to the first chapter: “The History of Dark Magic and How It Has Changed Over the Centuries.” She began to read.

Ron looked at Hermione, appalled. “Really? Reading already?” He glanced at Harry. “Do you see this?”

Harry didn’t look away from the window. “Don’t sound so surprised. You’ve only known her for seven years. Her reading on the train shouldn’t be a surprise.”

Ron snorted. “True.” He grinned at Harry. “How about a game of chess? I’d suggest Exploding Snap but we wouldn’t want to wake her.” He jerked a finger to the girl still sound asleep.

“Sure. Do you have your set?” asked Harry.

“Of course!” Ron held out a hand and the beaded bag was in it. He flicked his wand. “Accio chess set!” His old chess set—once Percy’s—came flying out, nearly hitting him in the head.

Harry flicked his wand and a floating table was between him and Harry as they faced each other. He set the chess board on the table. “White moves first.”

Harry moved a pawn, leaning back against the seat and stretching his legs. Ron relaxed on the bench, his left hand loosely linked with Hermione’s. She looked at the boys with a soft expressive then returned to her book. It was a comfortable silence. That cloud that had hung over them all summer, seemed to at last dissipate. They weren’t war heroes with scarred bodies and scarred minds. They were simply three best friends on their way to school.

So. . . .What did you think? Good, bad? Horrible? I should stop while I can? Let me know what you think in the comments! And who knows, if people like it, I’ll post another excerpt.