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Two Shall Be As One

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An Unexpected Branch On The Family Tree

 

As he stared up at the enchanted ceiling of the Great Hall from the pillow of his very comfortable sleeping bag, Harry wondered, /What do you suppose Black was after in Gryffindor Tower?/

/I doubt he was after you, even though that is what they will probably claim./ Daniel responded after a few moments. Whatever else he intended to say was suddenly lost as a hissing, gurgling sound began to come from Harry’s left where Ron was sleeping. It sounded like one of those old steam radiators Daniel had seen used in the older hotels.

Harry’s hand automatically went to his wand. A few moments later after making several gestures in Ron’s direction, silence was restored to the Great Hall. /Sorry about that,/ Harry apologized, putting his wand back under his pillow. /I forgot to put up a silencing ward. Ron snores, and no matter what we say, we can’t convince him that he does./

/And I thought Sam was bad./ Daniel commented with a snort. /She talks in her sleep. And on more than one occasion she’s had arguments with herself. Some of them were quite colourful if you catch my meaning. I was always amazed that she never managed to wake herself up with them./

After listening to the rustling sounds of students turn over in their sleeping bags as well as the sound of footsteps from the prefects patrolling the Great Hall for a few minutes, Harry returned to their original conversation./What makes you think Black wasn’t after me?/

/Because whatever else he may be, I don’t think Black is an idiot./ Daniel told him. /He managed to survive a number of years with the Sai’ki’eth or Dementors. Knowing what they were designed to do from my time with the Ancients, they should have drained him of every emotion and thought after a few years, and that means he was able to find a way to protect himself. Furthermore he found a weakness in supposedly impregnable defences around Azkaban that allowed him to escape. Given the fact that he managed to get past those same Dementors and into this castle, if he were after you, he would have waited until everyone was supposed to be asleep to make a try for you, not attempted to do it during a time when everyone was awake and active./

/So what do you think he was after?/ Harry asked again.

Daniel was silent for several moments before saying, /If I were to make a guess, I would say he was after Scabbers. We do know that Scabbers is an animagus hiding out in his animal form. What we don’t know is why. I think Black does and I think that whoever Scabbers really is and whatever he is hiding, is the reason Black broke out of prison. Remember Ron said Scabbers started looking poorly shortly before or after their return from Egypt. I’m willing to bet Scabbers health problems started when he learned Black was out./

Harry mulled over what Daniel had suggested and found nothing wrong with his reasoning. /I wonder if that’s why Crookshanks is so interested in him too. Crookshanks didn’t bother any of the other rats in the Magical Menagerie but the moment Ron put Scabbers on the counter and Crookshanks saw him, he did pounce. And here at Hogwarts, Crookshanks is still trying to get Scabbers, even though there are other mice in the castle. Do you think Crookshanks somehow knows what he is?/

/It’s possible, though he may not know exactly what Scabbers is. I think Crookshanks senses something odd about Scabbers. By their nature cats are very curious creatures. I think he wants to play with Scabbers until he figures it out why this rat is stranger than the ones he was used to in the Magical Menagerie./ Daniel sounded thoughtful. /I wonder if he detected me too?/

/I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had, every other magical creature we have run into seems to know you’re in there./ Harry responded jokingly. /At least Crookshanks isn’t stalking me. I don’t think I could handle a stalking cat. I have enough trouble dealing with Colin and trying to get him to leave me alone./

Daniel laughed at the notion of a cat stalking Harry with a camera ready to record his every move. However before Daniel could make a comment, they both heard a couple of people come to a halt a short distance away. They immediately turned their attention to the pair while pretending to be asleep.

“Everyone’s asleep, Headmaster,” they heard Percy tell Dumbledore. “Have they found him yet?”

“No, not yet. The teachers are now searching the lesser used sections of the castle, while the portraits and the ghosts monitor the areas that have already been searched just in case.” Harry saw Dumbledore glance around the Great Hall and noted that the Headmaster sounded calm and unconcerned as if he knew that they were in no danger. “Since they all appear to be asleep there is little point in waking them now to move them back to their dormitories. Sir Nicholas will be on call if there are any problems.”

“Yes sir,” Percy nodded. “Has the Fat Lady been found yet?”

“Yes, Professor Flitwick found her on the second floor, hiding in a map of Argyllshire. I’ve spoken with Mr. Filch and he has told me he will be able to restore her painting. Until then I’ve found a temporary guardian for the Gryffindor portrait hole, so the Gryffindor’s will be able to return to their tower.” Dumbledore told him.

“Did she tell you what happened?” Percy asked curious.

“According to what she told Professor Flitwick, Black got angry and attacked her when she refused to let him in.” Dumbledore related what had been told to him.

“Headmaster, I have completed my sweep of the dungeon areas and there is no trace of Black.” Snape joined the pair. “I also heard from several of the ghosts on my way here and the Owlery, Astronomy Tower and Professor Trelawney’s tower have also been searched.”

“Thank you, Severus,” Dumbledore acknowledged the report. “I really did not expect Black to linger once he was denied entrance…”

“Do you have any ideas about how he got in, Headmaster?” Snape inquired

“I have a number of them, each more improbable than the last.” Dumbledore countered calmly.

“I would remind you Headmaster of that matter we spoke of before the beginning of the term…” Snape spoke in a low hissing tone that Daniel and Harry could barely hear. “Black had to have help getting in here and there is one within these walls who….”

“I am certain that no one in this school would have aided Black in any way.” The Headmaster interrupted him.

“Then I would remind you of one other thing, Headmaster. There remains one place within Hogwarts that is unchecked, … the Chamber.” Snape countered. “If he had help… it is not the first time that he has used another to gain access to the school.”

“I took steps to insure that something like what happened to Quirrell would never happen within the walls of this school again and I redid the wards a second time after the events in the Chamber.” Dumbledore disagreed. “I doubt Black could be hiding there since it requires a parselmouth to open it and I am certain that the only one we know about wouldn’t co-operate with him. Now I must go inform the Dementors of the results of our search.”

“I’m surprised they didn’t offer to help sir.” Percy put in and then took a step back at the expression of loathing on Dumbledore’s face.

“Oh they did,” Dumbledore turned away. “But they will never set foot in Hogwarts while I am Headmaster here.”

/Finally something that meddler and I agree on!/ Daniel exclaimed. /Those things are worse than the Goa’uld./

Harry kept silent agreeing with the sentiment. If he never met another Dementor in his life he would be happy.

Eventually Daniel’s curiosity got the better of him. /Do you know what this Chamber is they were talking about?/

/Yea, Snape was talking about the Chamber of Secrets, built by Salazar Slytherin./ Harry told him. /Remember that battle with the giant snake you saw in my memories that took place in the Chamber. Right now I’m the only one that can open it. I’m currently the only living parselmouth. It means I can talk to snakes and make them obey me./

/I forgot about that cool ability you have to talk to snakes. I wonder if it can be learned and why do they call you a parselmouth?/ Daniel sounded pleased at the thought of being able to learn a new language. /I wonder if that ability of yours would work on Goa’uld or Tok’ra?/

Harry mentally shrugged.

Curious, Daniel asked. /Do you know if there is a written form of the language?/

/I’m beginning to wonder if you and Hermione might not be related, cause that sounds like a question she would ask./ Harry couldn’t resist commenting.

Understanding the reason behind the remark, Daniel laughed. /Jack says the same thing about Sam and I./

#####

When the morning mail arrived, most of Gryffindor House was surprised to see a barn owl land beside Harry Potter and stick out its leg. They couldn’t help wondering who would be sending Potter, a letter? He never got post from home and if his relatives had written to him then his own owl would’ve delivered it. Harry pretended to be surprised be the appearance of the post owl Daniel had hired the previous day, before untying the roll of parchment from its leg. He gave it a piece of bacon from his plate before it took off.

“Who’s it from, Harry?” Hermione asked before he even finished untying the parchment roll.

/A sucker bet if ever there was one on which of your friend’s is the nosiest. I wonder when her gloom and doom prediction’s will start./ Daniel couldn’t help saying.

/Not long,/ Harry countered as he told her. “I don’t know Hermione, I haven’t even finished opening it yet.”

“Well, maybe you shouldn’t.” Hermione cautioned in a low voice. “Black could’ve sent it.”

/Heavens, she’s almost as bad as Trelawney on that one topic./ Daniel was amazed.

“How? There’s no way he could’ve gotten his hands on an owl to send a letter today, when he was being hunted last night?” Ron blurted out after swallowing a large mouthful of food. “Not to mention parchment and quill?”

“I’m just saying it’s possible.” Hermione huffed.

“Hermione, I’m not going to live my life being afraid to open my own mail.” Harry told her as a couple of smaller pieces of paper dropped out of the larger one.

Harry looked at the smaller piece of paper, even though he already knew what it said then smiled before folding it and putting it in his pocket. Then he turned his attention to the second piece that had fallen out.

“Who’s it from?” Ron finally asked when Harry seemed to give the two larger pieces of paper a puzzled look.

“My cousin.” Harry told him curious to see his reaction as he pretended to read the letter.

Dudley?” Ron sputtered in disbelief. He knew how much those muggles hated anything to do with magic, so why would one of them send Harry a letter by owl post, not to mention how did he know where find the Owl Post Office. “Your cousin Dudley sent you something by owl post?”

“No,” Harry was quick to correct him. “Apparently I have an American cousin I didn’t know about. His name is Dr. Daniel Jackson and he just sent me a letter along with a magical family tree showing our relationship as proof of his claim. If I’m reading this family tree correctly, he’s a rather distant cousin and my mum wasn’t a muggle-born like everyone thought, but was the first magical child from a long line of Squibs.”

"Really?" Ron said as he swallowed another big mouthful. "What magical family is she descended from?"

Harry started to look at the name that was at the top of the family tree and then he remembered they hadn’t done a complete family tree, only thirty generations worth. They hadn’t thought it worth doing the whole family tree since he and Daniel were only concerned with where they could insert him safely. They might have to rethink that though and create a proper family tree in case there were questions later. “It doesn’t say. Looks like what he sent me only goes back to about the 1400’s. The oldest person mentioned though is someone named Celyddon Brevan.”

“That name sounds familiar,” Ron muttered as he grabbed hold of Harry’s wrist to pull the tree over a little so he could get a look at it. “I don’t know why but it does.”

“What is he a doctor of?” Hermione asked surprised at the muggle title the man was giving for himself. She’d never heard of a wizard doing that before. Her curiosity about why overwhelmed at least for the moment her suspicions about the person who sent this letter. The timing seemed a little too co-incidental for her liking, given how much she knew Harry wanted a real family.

Harry gave the letter a quick scan. “His letter says he is a doctor of Linguistics, Archaeology and Anthropology.”

“But those are muggle degrees.” Hermione pointed out. “What magical masteries does he have?”

“He has a mastery in interspecies co-operation.” Harry answered after a few moments. “Which would make sense I guess since it says one of his jobs for both the magical and muggle government is as a negotiator in lots of different places and with lots of different races.”

“What is that?” Ron had never heard of such a branch of magic. “And how or why would anyone want such a mastery?”

Harry shrugged. Daniel had made the suggestion a few seconds ago and then commented they would have to make alterations to the letter to get that put in. “He doesn’t say.”

“If this Dr. Jackson usually acts as a negotiator then it is probably a mastery that enables him to deal well with all sorts of magical creatures and get them to trust him in complicated situations.” Hermione sounded thoughtful and felt more than a little worried. Such a man might be able to quickly figure out how to get Harry to believe almost anything about him.

Deciding to voice her concerns Hermione commented. "It’s strange that a previously unknown cousin suddenly decides to contact you just a few months after Black's escape. Don’t either of you find the timing the least bit suspicious?”

“Not really,” Harry looked at the letter again. “It says here that a friend of his had it done as a birthday present for him back in July, since with the work he does for both the magical and muggle braches of the American government and he never had the time to get one done. It also says that this is the first chance he’s had to come over here for any length of time and he would like to meet with me on the next Hogsmeade weekend.”

“You’re not going to meet with him, are you? For all you know it could be a trap.” Hermione looked shocked. “You know it’s too dangerous for you to go outside the castle except for classes right now.”

“Of course I am,” Harry countered. “Since we just had one, it will probably be a while before the next one. That will give us time to become acquainted by owl post before we actually meet in Hogsmeade. It will nice to meet a relative who actually wants to get to know me and who doesn’t think I’m a freak because I’m a wizard.”

Hermione knew how much having a family that wanted him meant to Harry but she was worried that this man was working with Black or had his own agenda with regard to the Boy-Who-Lived and so she suggested, “Well maybe you ought to ask him to meet you at Hogwarts instead? That way you can meet him sooner and Professor McGonagall or the Headmaster can be there with you, just in case.”

“And why would I want to do that?” Though Daniel could appear as a separate entity, for their plan to work, none of the staff at Hogwarts, could meet Daniel until after the change of custody was completed, especially the Headmaster. They couldn’t afford for that man to even begin to guess what they were doing until it was too late or he would take steps to stop it. “They have no say in my personal life since they aren’t my guardians. The only ones who do are Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon and they are probably hoping that he will offer to take me off their hands.”

“Hey mate, if this Jackson does take you off the Dursley’s hands, do think he will make you leave Britain and go to school elsewhere?” Ron wanted to know.

“Dr. Jackson can’t do that!” Hermione was aghast at the thought of Harry being taken away from Hogwarts into an unknown and possibly dangerous place. “The Headmaster won’t let him.”

“If Daniel does take custody of me and decided to have me transfer to an American magical school, the Headmaster won’t be able to stop him since Daniel will be my guardian.” Harry pointed out.

"But you don't know if Jackson is really your cousin!" She squealed. “That family tree could be a fake for all you know.”

“Hermione, it is impossible to fake a magical family tree, given it involves blood magic.” Ron put in, though his friends had a hard time understanding him since he was again talking with his mouth full of food.

“Well maybe it wasn’t done by magic.” Hermione countered. “It could have been forged using muggle means. If this Dr. Jackson is an archaeologist he may know muggles who specialise in that kind of forgery.”

“Hermione, please, I’m not an idiot.” Harry told her dryly. “If the Dursleys were good for nothing else they’ve taught me not to take anything at face value. I intend to have the family tree tested.”

“Well he might treat you worse than the Dursleys.” Hermione hissed.

“And he might treat me better.” Harry countered.

With a frustrated huff, Hermione gave up for now since it was clear that Harry wasn’t going to listen to reason, but not before she reminded Harry of one very important thing. “Well we won’t have to worry about you being set up by this Dr. Jackson now will we, since you don’t have a permission slip you can’t go. So you won’t be able to meet him unless he comes up to school.”

“Actually, I do have permission to go.” Harry pulled the small piece paper from his pocket. “Aunt Petunia sent a note giving me permission to go to Hogsmeade. Dr. Jackson sent it along with his letter. I’m going to write him back and let him know that I would love to meet with him, but that it will have to wait until the next Hogsmeade weekend.”

“Harry, if he travels as much as his letter seems to indicate, how is your letter going to get to him?” Ron put in. “I mean I know Hedwig is good, but she’s not good enough to follow someone all over the world. It might kill her.”

Harry quickly studied the letter. “It says here that he has set up a secure post box with Gringotts for a small fee and all I need to do is send any letters there and they will make sure they get forwarded to him.”

“You can’t actually be thinking of meeting someone claiming to be a relative, with Black out there on the loose.” Hermione couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Surely Harry couldn’t be that fixated on going to Hogsmeade that he was willing to risk his life just to go. “For all you know he could be lying about the relationship, just so he can get you in a position where he can kidnap you and take you to Black.”

“Hermione, use your head. If Black had anyone to help him, would he have needed to break into Hogwarts last night?” Harry pointed out.

"How do you know he doesn't?" She snapped back at him after a moment’s thought. "After all how else could he have gotten past the Dementors and the protections surrounding Hogwarts? The wards and protections surrounding Hogwarts are some of the best in the country if not the world.”

“Oh really,” Harry drawled. “If that’s so, then how is it that Voldemort went undetected on the back of Quirrell’s head? And how did that enchanted diary that Riddle used to take over Ginny, even make it past the front door? I don’t think the protections surrounding this castle are as strong as they once were. Maybe they need maintenance, only one who is supposed to be doing that is too busy with something else.”

The Gryffindor’s who were closest to the trio were listening intently to the discussion between Potter and Granger and passing what they heard on to their waiting housemates. It was clear that Granger believed as they did that Hogwarts was the safest place in Britain, while Potter claimed otherwise, even going so far as to claim that he-Who-Must-Not-be-Named had gotten into the school in his first year. It would no doubt be all over the school by the end of the day that The Boy-Who-Lived doubted the safety of Hogwarts.

"I... I..." Hermione stammered as she tried to come up with a logical reason. Suddenly she narrowed her eyes, "I'm sure it was something overlooked by the previous Headmasters; something completely unexpected therefore the wards was never created it. I'm sure that the Headmaster has the matter at hand."

“Oh yes, just like the protections on the Stone were the best.” Harry pointed out as he put the letter and other things he had gotten from this Daniel Jackson in his book bag. “First years shouldn’t have been able to get past them, but we did, remember Hermione.”

"I seem to remember you be accompanied by a chess genius.” Ron preened a bit at that comment as Hermione went on. “And you were also accompanied by someone people are saying is the smartest witch of her generation, Harry."

"True, you are one of the smartest witches of our generation, Hermione," Harry agreed and Hermione got a smug look on her face certain that he was going to finally give in and admit that she was right. "And Ron is one of the best chess players in the Wizarding world, but I seem to remember the Headmaster appearing as soon as the danger was over and not a minute sooner. Either his timing is impeccable or he was waiting in the wings to see what happened in my confrontation. You tell me, which was it, Hermione?"

Hermione held her head just a little higher as she defended the Headmaster. "And perhaps he Headmaster’s timing only seems impeccable because he had just returned to Hogwarts from the Ministry?"

“And just how long should it have taken for him to return to school after he’d found he’d been sent on a fool’s errand? He left in the late afternoon and we didn’t go to protect the stone until well after curfew.” Harry wondered. “Given we didn’t see him leave, I’m willing to bet he has a Floo connection in his office to the Ministry. And I also remember reading about something over the summer called a portkey that will instantly transport you to another location. Given he was at the Ministry, I’m certain someone there could’ve made him one if he were incapable of doing so for himself. He should’ve been back a lot sooner than that.”

"Unless he was delayed at the Ministry? He had no reason not to return to Hogwarts after he found out there was no call from the Minister unless he got held up by someone. Perhaps the Minister held him up." Hermione knew she had to make Harry see reason. This relative appearing out of nowhere was way too convenient, especially coming on the heels of Black’s break-in. And if Harry would stop being so stubborn about it, she was certain he would see that she was right and it was Black setting a trap for him. “The Headmaster wouldn’t intentionally place one of his students in danger. And he isn’t omniscient.”

“Well I don’t happen to share your blind faith in the Headmaster right now, Hermione.” Harry got to his feet and got ready to head for class. “And maybe you need to open your eyes with regards to him before something happens that you might regret.”

#######

Black’s attempted break-in to Gryffindor tower had all the gossips in school going, and each of their guesses were wilder than the last. So far the rumours had run from one gambit to another. One person suggested that Black had gotten in as a flowering shrub. Another suggested that he could turn himself invisible while some of the more twisted thought that he’d snuck in polyjuiced to look like Filch, though why anyone would want to was beyond most student’s comprehension. One of the more rational ideas was that he had apparated in, which Hermione had loudly shot down, pointing out that in Hogwarts a History it was written that you couldn’t apparate or disapparate from the school. Harry knew differently, and suspected that if anyone other than he and Daniel tried it, they would indeed fail, given how violently Hogwarts reacted the day they did it. Hogwarts took its duty to protect its charges very seriously, when Dumbledore wasn’t interfering. Harry couldn’t help wondering what it had found out about Dumbledore’s activities.

Daniel sighed as Percy joined them on their way to Transfiguration. He was only one of the many watchdogs that Harry seemed to have acquired since Black’s break-in and he was the least subtle about it. He and Harry both knew for a fact that Percy’s next class was three floors down and in the opposite direction. Harry thought he was doing this on his mother’s orders. Daniel wasn’t so sure, but since he didn’t have another reason to attach to the young man’s actions at the moment he went along with it. /Percy needs to learn something about delegating and subtlety. Kinsey wouldn’t have been nearly so obvious as he’s being and Kinsey is an idiot./

/I have a feeling he is obeying his mother’s orders to keep me safe./ Harry guessed. /Mrs. Weasley can be pretty scary when she is crossed. It would be interesting to see her go up against Apophis cause I think she would come out the winner./

/Maybe we should let Mrs. Weasley face off against Kinsey./ Daniel suggested.

Harry contemplated that for a moment, /nah it wouldn’t be a contest. Kinsey is a lot like Fudge. He’d cave in a heartbeat, assuming that he accepted there were people who could work real magic and that she wasn’t one of Satan’s spawn./

Daniel had to agree with that assessment. /Then how about making it a fair contest, a tag team cage match. Jack and Mrs. Weasley vs Fudge and Kinsey. Think people would pay to see that?/

Harry almost burst out laughing at the image Daniel sent him of Fudge wearing lime green trunks standing next to the pompous at least from Daniel’s memories Senator Kinsey trying to look dignified in his own dark blue trunks in one corner, while Molly and Jack were warming up in their corner. /I think it would be standing room only with the scalpers having a field day with the tickets./

/I wonder if we could sell it on pay per view?/ Daniel mused as transfiguration class started.

Harry just managed to contain his laughter at the thought of seeing Fudge and Kinsey fight Jack and Molly on pay per view. Only a small snort got out, but McGonagall heard it.

Staring at him she asked, “Something you would like to share with the class Mr. Potter?”

“No ma’am.” Harry quickly turned his thoughts toward class.

“You will see me after classes today, Mr. Potter.” McGonagall ordered.

“Yes ma’am,” Harry responded as Hermione and Ron gave him a worried look. Harry wasn’t too worried though, given what he knew now of the universe at large thanks to Daniel. He knew there were a lot more things to worry about than the loss of house points or detention and he also knew that he would play a part in trying to fix it because even at thirteen years old he, like Daniel, couldn’t stand by while people were being hurt if he could do something about it.

########

After Ancient Runes, his last class of the day, Harry went to Professor McGonagall’s office and knocked on the closed door.

“Come in.” Professor McGonagall’s voice ordered through the door.

“You wanted to see me, Professor McGonagall?” Harry stood in the open doorway, sounding uncertain as to why he was there.

“Yes, Mr. Potter, come in and close the door behind you.” McGonagall waved him toward a chair in front of her desk. “I have several matters I need to discuss with you.”

While there was nothing ominous in her tone or manner, both Harry and Daniel were instantly alert in case this was a trick of Dumbledore’s.

“Mr. Potter, I understand you got a letter a few days ago from someone claiming to be a relative.” McGonagall began.

/Looks like Hermione went to McGonagall./ Daniel sounded pleased. /I wonder if she told Dumbledore yet?/

“He is a relative, Professor.” Harry countered. “Professor Flitwick confirmed the family tree that was sent with the letter was genuine.”

“While I have no doubt of the accuracy of Professor Flitwick’s claim, I would like to see the family tree and the letter myself.” McGonagall requested. “I want to test them myself to make sure there were no spells missed that could indicate it was a fake.”

“While I doubt Professor Flitwick missed anything given he spent at least an hour testing the family tree, I have no problem with you testing it if you want to waste your time. The letter though is personal and you do not have a right to see that, since you are not my legal guardian.” Harry told her simply. “That responsibility unfortunately for me falls on my Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon.”

"While that may be true, I am the Deputy Headmistress as well as your Head of House and as such I am responsible for your safety within the walls of this school.” She reminded him. “If I believe that letter might endanger you or one of your fellow students I have the right to read it.”

“I don’t think you want to bring the subject of keeping me safe up, Professor, because even you would have to admit you and the rest of the teachers have failed miserably in that area over the last two years.” Harry pointed out.
McGonagall’s lips thinned and she glared at Harry for a moment before saying, "I can assure you Mr Potter that all the teachers at Hogwarts have done their best to protect you and your fellow students. The events of the past two years were completely unexpected and we handled them the best we could. And I would like to remind you Mr Potter it was you who put yourself in those dangerous situations, not the teachers.”

“Actually ma’am, during our first year you created the situation where Ron Hermione and I were forced to defend the Stone because you refused to believe us when we told you someone was after it. Our second year, you and the headmaster merely hired an inexperienced fop for Defence teacher and somehow a Dark object managed to make it past the wards of this supposed safest place in the wizarding world, just like Voldemort managed to get in on the back of Quirrell’s head during my first year.” Harry countered. “I will say it again Professor, there is nothing even remotely threatening in that letter. I’m sure Hermione will be more than happy to confirm that for you if she hasn’t already, given she tried to read it, without my permission I might add. It is merely a letter of greeting from a relative who is actually glad to be kin to me instead of loathing the very ground I stand on.”

"Never the less, I will be the one to determine that," McGonagall persisted, “and I must insist on seeing that letter.”

“Why? There is nothing in the letter that concerns you or this school nor do I see you invading the privacy of everyone else in Gryffindor House by insisting on reading his or her private mail. Furthermore I refuse to allow you to invade what little privacy I do have in the wizarding world.” Harry stated with a fierceness that surprised both he and Daniel, but he wasn’t going to give in. Daniel mentally applauded Harry’s taking a stand for himself without any help from him. The wizarding world was always poking its nose into Harry’s life thinking they had the right to well they didn’t. “Why are you so insistent on reading my mail? What makes me suddenly so special?" Harry knew why but wanted to see what she would say.

McGonagall stared at Potter surprised by how resistant he was being. It wasn’t normal behaviour for him. He normally just went along with what was requested. She raised her wand as and cast a quick revealing charm. Nothing showed up. The boy was under no compulsion charms. He was freely choosing to disobey her and she had no right to force him to give up his private mail even though they were trying to protect him.

“Mr Potter, you are aware that Black got into this school a few days ago,” McGonagall began. “We believe that…”

“He’s after me.” Harry completed tiredly. He’d heard variations on this theme from Hermione over the last three days as she tried to convince him to take Daniel’s letter to McGonagall.

McGonagall stared at him stunned at how calm he sounded about the most dangerous man since He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named being after him. “How did you find out?”

“I overheard Mr. and Mrs. Weasley discussing it the night before we caught the Hogwarts Express.” Harry lied. “He was certain that Black escaped to come after me.”

“Yes, and that’s why we have restricted you to the castle.” McGonagall told him. “He could take you quite easily from Hogsmeade. Several of the teachers are even wondering if being out on the grounds without a teacher is safe.”

“So you are thinking of removing me from the Quidditch team?” Harry asked. “Snape and Malfoy will be happy to hear that.”

“It has been discussed,” McGonagall admitted, “but it was decided that as long as Madame Hooch oversaw your practise sessions you should be safe enough.”

“It’s a pity you don’t extend the same concern to the other students of this school.” Harry commented. “If you were really worried about Black, then you would have banned all students from going to Hogsmeade not just me.”

"I can assure you Mr Potter the other students are completely safe. Unlike you they do not have an insane Death Eater after them." McGonagall told him through clenched teeth.

Daniel sighed, /Witches and wizards don’t think outside the box at all./

/I don’t think they even know there is a box to think outside of./ Harry told him. /They have blinders on and won’t conceive of anything beyond what they see and believe to be true. If it wouldn’t mess up our plans so much I would’ve loved to see Dumbledore’s reaction to the fact that you and I are sharing my body./

/He would probably call me some kind of evil being given that I am encouraging you to think for yourself and not follow the wisdom of the Great, All Powerful, All Knowing Dumbledore. Just as well he’s not going to get a chance to look behind the curtain./ Daniel chuckled.

“They might,” Harry pointed out. “Black could easily decide that the easiest way to get his hands on me is to kidnap one of the pure blood children since the muggle-born and half bloods would be beneath his notice and hold them hostage until you turn me over. Some of them might even co-operate with him in getting me.”

“Black would never take one of the other children.” McGonagall seemed so certain. “The Ministry, Headmaster and all the teachers agree, you are the one he wants and he won’t be thinking of getting his hands on anyone else but you, so no one else is in danger. That is why you are being protected everywhere you go.”

“And the others are left to fend for themselves. Black got into Hogwarts when he shouldn’t have been able to, given the wards and the Dementors guarding it. What’s to stop him from kidnapping some pure blood child and demanding me in exchange? And if you didn’t turn me over to him, how would you explain to that child’s parents that you didn’t feel their child was worth swapping me for? And how would you explain your unwillingness to believe that Black might go after them and didn’t stop the Hogsmeade weekend visits until Black was captured, to protect all the children?” Harry finished. “Putting that aside for the moment Professor, I think you’re wrong about what Black is after. I don’t think Black is after me. I also don’t think Black lost track of either the date or time when he tried to break into Gryffindor tower. He was intelligent enough to get out of Azkaban when no one else has done it before.”

“And what do you think he was after?” McGonagall demanded stiffly.

“I think Black was after the animagus who is hiding in the boy's dorm.” Harry dropped his bombshell.