Author: John Sexton

Genre: Harry Potter Slash
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Chapter Thirteen -- New Alliances

Hermione Granger was still shell-shocked, when Sals gave one last wave, as Draco followed his mother out of Edburg's.

Sals, his father and Hermione were still standing around the table. The stunning young wizard turned to face them both; but all any of them could do was sigh.

Hermione was trying desperately to assimilate the last hour, but it was all still a buzz. After a few embarrassing moments of silence, she finally made up her mind.

"I really have to go too," she declared; her tone was tinged with regret.

"Thanks for inviting me to join you, Sals," she added with a genuine smile. "I'm really pleased we met when we did."

When Hermione held out her hand, the powerful young warlock took it, and his gentle touch felt sooo... sexy!

"An iron fist in a velvet glove," was an appropriate epithet, she thought.

Hermione gave his fit, young body one last appraisal. She was suddenly reluctant to withdraw her emissary.

"Yeah," Sals beamed at her, "me too, Hermione. I'm glad you met Draco here, as well, even if it ended like that."

"Yes," she nodded; then she scowled and added, "but I wouldn't get too hopeful, Sals. Things will be quite different when we get to Hogwarts."

"Well," Sals chirped positively, "it's up to us, then, isn't it?" he quipped.

Sals gave her fingers a gentle squeeze before releasing her hand.

Hermione returned his smile, even as she blushed.

"Yes... I guess it is," she answered cheerfully, "I'll do my best to help, Sals."

"I look forward to it, Hermione. I can't wait to get to Hogwarts," Sals smiled again; "I'll see you on the train."

"Oh," Hermione was disappointed, "I'll actually be in the prefects' carriage for the first half of the trip, but I'll see you on the platform, at least," she said before turning to Sals's father.

That was moving from the sublime to the truly ridiculous; who would have ever... like EVER thought!

"Goodbye, Professor Snape," the bewildered young witch nodded, and the former bane of her existence reciprocated, albeit a little stiffly.

"Goodbye, Sals," she said finally, then walked out of her surreal dream, and left quietly by the door.


"Thank Merlin that's over," Sals sighed in a whisper, as he and his father flopped onto their chairs in exhaustion.

"Yes," replied Severus dryly, "Narcissa Malfoy has always been a rather quarrelsome woman, Sals, but she doesn't seem to be coping with her change in social status at all well."

Sals laughed with restraint at his dad's subtle wit, before he responded.

"Actually," he said, "I was talking about everyone else, including you, Dad!"

"Ah, yes, well," his father responded with a wry grin, "that was an eclectic group of sorts, even if it was heavily weighted to the Slytherin side of the ledger."

Sals flicked his wrist ever so slightly, and then continued, still in hushed tones, despite his subtle spell.

"It went better than I could ever have anticipated," Sals smiled again; he really was on a high. "Even with the invasion of the harpy," he added with a scowl, but quickly perked up.

"An incredible coincidence... meeting both Draco and Hermione," he winked at his father and grinned wickedly, "on the same day, don't you think?" he concluded brightly.

"Nothing surprises me when it comes to you, Sals," Severus beamed proudly, "except that you didn't have that annoying brat, Weasley, here as well. I thought he and Hermione," Severus mirrored his son's grin, as he imitated Sals's emphasis on her given name, "were joined at the hip."

"He did turn up, actually."

"Ah," Severus gave a sage nod, then he eyed Sals intently, "and that did not go so well?" his brow arched cynically.

"No, Dad," Sals sighed dejectedly and a rueful grimace distorted his handsome face, "it didn't. In fact, any day now, you'll probably receive a bill... from the Weasleys... for a new wand... a replacement."

"Oh, really?" Severus intoned. He quirked his eyebrow at Sals, in mock scepticism. "You wouldn't care to elaborate?"

"Well, Dad," Sals shifted uneasily in his seat, "things got a little out of hand. He more or less forced me to destroy his wand."

"Oh, well done, Sals," Severus replied dryly, "you certainly know how to charm the natives."

"Dad!" Sals cried aloud, "I'm trying to be serious here. You know how much I'd hoped to be able to hit it off with them all. Ron Weasley was always going to be the most difficult," he growled, before he added, with a cheeky grin, "given that you're my father."

"This is your little scheme, Sals," Severus eyed his son smugly, "and I'll thank you to leave me out of it," he added playfully. "Although, I have to say: I'm more than impressed with your efforts to date."

"Yeah, well," Sals went on, "I shouldn't be too depressed, I suppose... the day could have gone worse... a lot worse," he sighed.

"Indeed... and I am merely thankful that I did not have to endure most of it," Severus sighed with relief. "If I have to abide that insufferable know-it-all again, before the first of September, it will be one time too many."

"Oh, Malfoy's not that bad, Dad," retorted Sals with a laugh.

"Oh, very droll, Sals, most amusing... but, since we're now talking about Draco..." Severus smiled mischievously, "well, you are, at least! ... I must say that you both seem to have hit it off brilliantly. Though Miss Granger did appear to dampen his spirits, somewhat... until your little assignation..." Severus quirked his brow at Sals, then at the wizards' loo... "and he returned a new man!"

"Yeah," Sals flushed, then smiled dopily at his father, "you were spot on there, Dad." Sals raised his eyebrows enthusiastically. "We hit it off really well," then he grinned devilishly.

"I'm not sure I am at all comfortable with that look, Sals," was his father's circumspect reply.

"He knew that we put on that little act just for him, Dad," Sals said quietly, in an attempt to segue from the topic at hand.

Severus merely smirked, and Sals reacted immediately.

"You knew that he'd know, didn't you?" the young wizard groused. "Why didn't you stop me?" Then he flared indignantly, as he recalled... "you told me it was a good idea!"

"My exact words, if you recall correctly, were: `suck it and see!' A rather plebeian turn of phrase, but an appropriate one, given the circumstances," Severus opined drolly.


"Are you going to tell me that you never kissed him in there, during your little interlude?"

Sals was stung by his father's barb.

"Dad!" he whined again, "do you have to be so?..." he stalled, lost for a suitable epithet.

Severus stared at his son impassively.

"Okay, okay, we kissed," Sals conceded testily, "if you must have the salacious details." However, there was no genuine bitterness in his tone. "I needed to gain his trust, and quickly," he glared at his father, "I'm a Slytherin," he grinned wickedly, "I use whatever works most effectively."

"You and Draco Malfoy!" Severus teased Salazar, "who would have thought?" he taunted his son mercilessly; Sals merely scowled.

Severus was grinning devilishly, enjoying every minute.

"If I recall," Severus continued his little game, "when I suggested that this liaison would be of great benefit to your cause--"

"Our cause!" Sals sniped indignantly.

"Don't quibble!" his father retorted flippantly, "your reply..." he paused over-dramatically... "was something about nogtails flying... if I recall."

Sals's piqued silence only encouraged his father.

"That would have been four months ago," Severus continued with relish, "or near enough, last April, when we made it into print, thanks to that delightful Skeeter creature."

"Yeah," Sals laughed, "that little article of hers certainly set the kneazle among the pigeons--"

Severus ignored Sals's attempt at another segue.

"How did you describe him? A spoilt, self--"

"Yeah, yeah," was the handsome youth's petulant response, "and little has changed in that department," he snorted. "But I've watched more of your Pensieve memories since then, Dad, and there's more to him than meets the eye..." he paused and grinned salaciously, "besides being fit and hot!"

Severus rolled his eyes.

"So what's your point!" Sals asked rhetorically, "besides being right!" to which his father merely raised his eyebrows.

"Funny," Sals adopted a cheeky expression, as he decided to score some points of his own, "how it was Harry Potter who teased you about that gossip column, first day back in class."

"Nice segue, Sals," his father conceded. "Speaking of Harry Potter..."

Severus took up his own thread, as he leaned forward, with his elbows on the table, his steepled fingers propping up his chin...

"Now that it is official, that he is dead, at least according to The Dark Lord, you don't need to worry about him turning up at Hogwarts and stealing your thunder, so to speak!"

"Very funny, Dad!" Sals quipped dryly.

"I'm serious!" Severus averred, "it certainly would not hurt to ensure that Voldemort's convictions are made known, at least in Slytherin. They will ensure that the word is spread," he concluded with a smile.

"In fact," he took up anew, "that was the perfect segue to my own bit of genuine news regarding Potter," he grinned mischievously. "While you were cavorting around Diagon Alley and its environs, exchanging pleasantries with your new little friends, I was ensuring your future."

Severus reached into his robes, retrieved a parchment, then handed it to Sals.

The boy rolled it out on the table. His head shot up, his eyes were glaring with incredulity.

"How? I don't understand," Sals muttered.

"I did not want to get your hopes up, so I said nothing," Sals's father explained, "but, when news of Voldemort's return reached Gringotts, I suddenly found myself with greater influence over the goblins than ever before. They are a pragmatic lot," Severus grinned wickedly, "which is what encouraged me to lodge a claim with them, once news of The Dark Lord's certitude, regarding Potter's fate, became known."

Sals looked down at the parchment again, then back up at his father, no wiser for the effort, and waited for an explanation.

"They accepted the arguments that I put forward; it was fairly simple really. Even if The Dark Lord was wrong, and Potter was not dead, he was on the run for murder in the Muggle world, and he faced a fate worse than death, literally, as a Wizard.

"So the goblins saw fit to award the entire contents of the Potter and Black estates to me. For damages sustained at the hands of Potter senior and Black, over a number of my most sensitive, formative years. You've seen the Pensieve memories," Severus added with vindication, "they were enough to convince the goblins."

Sals scowled momentarily; the recollections certainly made a compelling case. Then he turned his attention back to the parchment; his face lit up and his look of incredulity became one of utter delight.

"Dad, you're a genius!" The youth scanned the document again. "So you had the goblins transfer the lot to my own personal vault?"

"Every last Knut," Severus declared proudly, "you will want for nothing, my boy."

"Thanks, Dad," Sals leaned across the table, and hugged the potions master.

"Yes, well..." the normally stoic wizard, flushed slightly, then shrugged his shoulders... "it seemed only right, no one else could lay claim to all that beautiful money, so..." he nodded towards the parchment... "there you are... it's no less than you deserve."

Sals could only sigh with satisfaction, and a shared sense of vindication.

"I'm impressed, by the way," Severus smiled broadly, as he took up a new thread of conversation. "If you had told me, when we left home this morning, that you would have Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy both talking amicably... well civilly, at least," Severus clearly could not resist the urge to grin, "I would have checked you into Saint Mungo's, post-haste."

"Do you know," Sals snorted indignantly, "that you're the second person, this afternoon, who has suggested that I should be sent there!"

"And that is supposed to come as a surprise to whom?" drawled his father with another grin.

"Har, har," Sals replied peevishly, "don't you want to know who?"

"Draco!" quipped his father, in a flash.

"What made you say that!" Sals cried more indignantly than before, but just as playfully.

Severus drilled the boy with his dark orbs, before he smirked, "he's the intelligent one."

"What did Ingmar slip into your sundae?" asked Sals snidely, "Sinbad's talons?"

Severus merely gave Sals a wicked grin, and the boy replied with a smile.

"Intelligent he may well be, Dad," Sals became suddenly grim, "but he is far too easily manipulated, and he was naive and arrogant enough to have believed that he had occluded his lord and master at their first meeting, last June," Sals twisted his mouth into a dour smirk.

"And I gather you disavowed the Prince of Slytherin of his false pride?" Severus asked his son slyly.

"It didn't require much effort, Dad," was Sals rueful reply, "sadly he is a far greater liability than I had anticipated."

"Well then," pronounced Severus, "you obviously have both Hermione and Draco eating out of your hand. What of Weasley?"

Sals was surprised that his father seemed to ignore his assessment of Draco Malfoy, but he went with the flow; Severus Snape was no fool.

"I'm afraid he must be considered a lost cause," Sals replied without any attempt to mask his disgust with the redhead.


Severus Snape made no attempt to curb his acerbic wit; this was one thing that had to sting, if Sals was to learn from it.

"So..." Severus teased Sals with just a touch of sarcasm, "Weasley is a lost cause, is he? Giving up so easily?... on one of the major players?"

"You were right there as well, Dad," Sals replied philosophically, then he conceded the fact with a disconsolate nod. "I knew you were right... I just thought that she would bring him into line. But he really is beyond the pale, I'm beginning to see why he clashed with Slytherin so often in the past."

Severus looked at Sals with a superior air, a subtle reminder that, bright as the lad was, there were skills that he had yet to acquire. It was not quite I told you so, but it was enough to ruffle Sals's feathers.

"Don't go there, Dad," Sals begged his father; then he quickly focused on the core of their dilemma, and swung his face up to meet the Slytherin master's.

"Thanks to that irascible redhead's very public performance," Sals wailed, "it will be all over the Prophet by morning."

The sudden anguish, brought on by this epiphany, was writ large in the beautiful youth's expression.

"Then I think we should move swiftly, while things are still fluid," was his father's resolute advice. "If the new lord of the Malfoy estate is indeed the liability you claim, we need to lock things into place, now."

Sals looked suddenly grim.

"You think we should act tonight?"

"Yes... if your assessment of the situation is accurate... we have to make our move before our own position is compromised."

The handsome young wizard's only comment was an acerbic observation...

"He cannot be trusted, Father, any delay could weaken our advantage... of that I am certain. The longer we delay, the greater the risk of exposure!" Sals concluded, then he was suddenly rather withdrawn.

"You are ready for this, Sals?" Severus asked cautiously, "aren't you?"

"Ah," Sals came out of his trance, "yes... YES... of course!" he clipped his tone irritably. "Sorry, Dad," he added sincerely.

No explanation was required, nor any further apology; they both knew how important and dangerous tonight would be. Severus was aware of his son's needs before the lad even knew for himself.

There are some things that only experience can instil into one's persona. Severus had no doubt in his son's ability or his resolve; if the lad had not been anxious and testy, Severus would have been worried.


Draco and Narcissa Malfoy had not spoken since they had left Edburg's Emporium. He sat back in the plush, dragon-hide seat of the family Rolls, as it slipped through the Muggle traffic. He was still fuming over his mother's deplorable behaviour.

The fifteen minute drive from London to the Malfoys' Wiltshire estate felt like hours. Draco reflected on that, then a snigger warped his grimace into something Harry Potter would recognise.

"It would be over an hour, in a Muggle contraption," he rasped sotto voce.

"If you have something to say, Draco," Narcissa declared solemnly," do have the courtesy to say it with some decorum."

Draco's anger flared, but it merely exacerbated his sullen brooding. This was neither the time nor the place for what he had to say.

It was not until they were in the privacy of the East Wing of the manor, that Draco vented his wrath.

"Mother," he glared at her, "if you want the names of Malfoy or Black to survive, let alone amount to anything, then don't ever stand in my way again, like you did today."

"How dare you speak to me like that, you wilful, insolent boy. Go to your room!"

"GO TO YOUR ROOM!" Draco exploded, in a near-manic laugh, which he thought must have been how his cousin, Sirius, second cousin, actually, must have sounded, after twelve years in Azkaban.

"Go to your room?" he cried again, "can you hear yourself, Mother. You are becoming irrational; that's what comes from living with that lunatic sister of yours."

Narcissa stormed across the room and slapped Draco's face hard.

Then, to Draco's utter shock, he felt the sudden jolt of his own hand, as it hit the side of his mother's face; it was a reaction that he hadn't even stopped to consider.

"Don't ever hit me again, Mother!" Draco screamed. "You are to blame for my life being in danger... you dragged me before..." ... ... ... "that madman," he had thought; but he said... "The Dark Lord... and had me bound to do his foul deeds.

"But your influence over my life ends here... don't get in my way again, Mother... or, so help me, I'll not be answerable for my actions!"

Narcissa Malfoy did not move, nor did she attempt to speak; she simply squinted at her son, in pathetic confusion and disbelief, all the while absent-mindedly rubbing her already-bruising cheek.

Draco glared at her, then shook his head in dismay. He strode the few steps to where she was lying on the floor, cowering beneath him. He could not allow himself to feel pity for her: from today she was the enemy. But he did not want her to know that.

Narcissa was still utterly true to Voldemort, Draco realised. He paused briefly...

"Voldemort!" he repeated the name in his head.

He felt liberated, referring to that hideous monster by name. But Draco also knew that his clash with his mother had to be kept on a personal level, or he'd be dead before he made it back to Hogwarts.

"Your stupidity has put my life on the line, Mother!" Draco roared above her. "Today, I met the one ally who can save my skin, and you nearly destroyed that alliance, with your manic performance. If you embarrass me in public like that... ever again..." he left the threat hanging.

"You are not going to defy the Dark Lord, are you, Draco?" his mother cried in despair, terror in her eyes.

"No, you foolish woman," Draco screamed; he was fast losing his patience with her. "Sals is going to help me complete the Dark Lord's work. But without him and his father, and that Granger girl, I will fail, and then I'll be dead, and it will be all your fault! So this is your first and final warning, Mother: Do NOT cross me again!"


Hermione Granger had barely taken two steps into the Leaky Cauldron, when her name rang out loudly through the front bar. She ignored it and kept walking towards the stairs to her room.

"Hermione!" yelled a furious Ron Weasley, angrier and louder, "I'm talking to you!"

"Well I'm not talking to you, Ronald Weasley," she said coolly, "after that disgraceful performance."

"What's got in to you, Hermione," he whined, as he grabbed her arm.

"Don't you dare!" cried Hermione. She glared at him; then she jerked her arm free. "Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to my room," she declared vehemently.

But, as she turned towards the stairs, he gripped her arm even harder.

"Hermione!" he cried.

The young witch was at the end of her patience. She drew her wand, as she whirled around on him, and pointed it directly between his eyes.

"LEAVE! ME! ALONE!" she seethed, and the pub went deathly quiet.

Ron backed away, too stunned to make any reply. Hermione stormed up the stairs to her room, slammed the door shut, twice, then collapsed onto the bed, amidst a torrent of tears.


Hermione had only just regained control of her emotions, when there was a light tap on the door.

"If that is Ronald Weasley," she grumbled to herself... "Who is it?" she called.

"It's me, Ginny," came the muffled reply.

Hermione smiled with relief, "come in, Gin," she invited her warmly.

"So, tell me, Herm," asked Ginny, as she closed the door and crossed the room, "what did that thick-headed brother of mine do this time?"

"Oh, Ronald can be so infuriating, at the best of times, Ginny," Hermione wailed in despair, "but today he went too far, even for him."

Ginny almost leapt onto the bed, facing Hermione; she was obviously quite anxious to talk.

"He was whingeing to Mum about his wand, when he got back here," Ginny started. "He was furious and ranting about Professor Snape's son," she laughed as she said that, "if you can believe it... called Sals, of all things.

"Ron reckoned it was short for Salazar. Mum thinks he must have been hit with a Confundus Charm. She suspects the twins, and reckons all this rubbish was Ron's imagination running amok with that gossip in the Prophet last Easter."

Hermione went to speak, but Ginny was too wound up to notice; so she simply wiped her eyes, and let the excited redhead plough on...

"Then he started raving about this Salazar guy and Draco Malfoy, and how they had you under a Dark spell or something; he wasn't making too much sense though, Herm; so what actually happened?"

Ginny finally caught her breath, then bounced impatiently on the bed.

"Well," sighed Hermione, "he wasn't under Confundus, or any other spell, Gin, he was just being Ronald."

She shook her head angrily, as she went back over everything in her mind.

"But he was right about me being under a spell, Gin," Hermione grinned at Ron's sister, who had shot up with a start, "but it wasn't Dark Magic, it wasn't even Magic."

"What are you talking about, Herm?" cried Ginny, incredulously.

"I was under the spell of the hottest boy you've ever laid eyes on, Ginevra Weasley," Hermione giggled, then fanned herself theatrically. "I'm talking top-of-the-line, drop-dead-gorgeous wizard," she squealed excitedly.

"Who?" squealed Ginny, in reply.

"Salazar Snape!" whispered Hermione, with an even brighter glint in her eye.

"So Ron wasn't talking nonsense?"

"No, he's real enough, Gin," Hermione grinned, then scowled, "looks like that bitch, Skeeter, got it right for once!"

Ginny didn't seem interested in that, she was preoccupied with Ron's tale.

"So, why did he destroy Ron's wand, Herm?" she asked impatiently.

"Well, it started with Malfoy, actually."

"That figures," said Ginny, as she rolled her eyes, "he's always starting fights."

"Well, he didn't start this one, Gin," declared Hermione. "We were just talking, over an ice-cream, at Edburg's--"

"Ron took you to Edburg's!" Ginny screeched in disbelief.

"No, Sals invited me!" cried Hermione, still in shock and disbelief at the afternoon's events, "and Malfoy shouted!" she screamed and laughed.

"Whoa, Sals!... Sals?" squealed Ginny, in near hysterics, "I think you'd better start again, Herm. And, this time, start at the beginning."


Draco lay back on his bed and stared at the dark-green canopy, which had long ago become indistinguishable from the darkness of the rest of the room. It was almost nine o'clock and he'd been there, deep in thought, an hour or so, since sunset.

The Malfoy heir sighed and tried to put the pieces of the jigsaw into their proper place. But there was so much information, from so many confusing and varied sources.

Draco's world had, finally, been turned up-side-down... he was the little boy lost!

"NO!" he cried out defiantly, "that's how my parents treat me, but I am beyond that!" he declared to himself. "I AM BEYOND THAT!" he repeated aloud, with grim determination.

Draco had finally arrived at his fork in the road, and Salazar Snape was standing at the intersection, holding out his hand, and offering to lead him down one of those paths.

It was all too surreal, more like a dream than reality. And Granger! What the fuck had happened there?

If the truth be told, Draco had decided his course of action some weeks earlier. His encounter with Sals, today, had merely been the sign that he needed, to confirm that he'd already made the right decision.

A smirk creased Draco's face, and he conceded that today's encounter with Granger had helped, oddly enough... as ambiguous and chequered as the experience had been. But they had, at least, ended on a positive note: he had apologised to...

Draco stopped in mid-thought, then he suddenly rolled over onto his side, and screamed.

"Aaaggghhh! What the fuck am I doing?" he cried to himself. "I must be losing my mind. Whatever possessed me? Apologising to a Muggle-born?"

He yelled into the pillow, then punched it furiously.

"And not just any Mudblood... oh, nooo! Of course, it had to be Granger!"

But Draco's thoughts soon turned to Sals, and his anger abated; he grew confident and excited... and aroused! He thought of that kiss, that briefest of touches, and he closed his eyes.

Draco's hands slid down his stomach, and he glided them over his pants. But they were not his hands, they were Sals's hands...

They were sleeping in the same bed, for some reason... who cares what the reason was!... and Draco was pretending to be asleep... and Sals was pretending to be asleep... and then Sals accidentally rolled over... and his hand just happened to fall...

Sometime later, not surprisingly only a short time later, Draco's breathing and heartbeat had returned to normal.

He cleaned up, with a quick swish and flick of his wand. Then he rolled over onto his side and started to feel guilty over what he'd just done.

If anyone ever found out how he felt about Sals... that he... that they preferred boys!...

Draco took a deep breath... ... ... he was being stupid: here he was, deciding to abandon everything he'd been raised to believe... betray his parents and defy The Dark Lord, himself... and he was worrying about what people would think if they found out that he, Draco Malfoy, was a poof.

He really did need to put things into perspective!

"But!" Draco cried anxiously, as the obvious flaw in his plan crystallised: the other side -- the Muggle-loving, goodie-two-shoes, Bumblebore side of the Wizarding World -- was hardly going to condone his sexuality. So they were hardly likely to provide him with any real protection, let alone acceptance.

"BUT!" ... Draco conceded, "Sals is not going to stay quiet about his sexuality!"

So, the equation suddenly became simple: if Draco was going to pursue a relationship with Severus Snape's gorgeous son, then he'd better accept his own sexuality, quick-smart.

"Screw what anyone else thinks: In for a Knut, in for a Galleon!"

It was pretty clear, from everything that Sals had said and done earlier that day, he planned to defy Voldemort... and Sals had made it pretty clear that he wanted Draco to be part of that. Sals had also been adamant that there should be school unity... "and he supports Potter!" Draco wailed in disbelief.

Draco thought about that.... He had once tried to make friends with Potter. But the thought of... NO!... he didn't even want to think about Potter: that was in the too hard box.

The most important issue was that Sals had a plan... Draco didn't know what it was, but he was sure that he was right.

Under Professor Snape's guidance and support Sals would pull it off.

Draco felt sure that he could combine his tasks for Voldemort with Sals's plan, and use them to bring about Voldemort's defeat. He wasn't sure of the details, just the principle.

Draco decided that he would have to give this a great deal of thought over the coming weeks. He needed to talk to Sals, soon... or, at least, before they met again at Hogwarts, on September first.

If you are enjoying this, you might like my other two Nifty stories...
This is a two-chapter Potterverse short story [complete].
This is on-going and I'm updating it as I write each new chapter.

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