That night, the four siblings were in the library hidden in the back among the dusty and worn tomes. The twins and Hala had just finished recruiting their first day when Shyamal told them about his run in with Umbridge.
"You said what?" Yelled Cosmas, making Shyamal glad that he had cast a Muffliato spell around them so others wouldn't be able to listen on to their conversation or get kicked out by Madam Pince. "Why would you spy for that hag?"
Shyamal just looked at his youngest brother. "Being close to her allows us to see who she really is. I know it's dangerously reckless to be willing to enter her lair but I cannot afford to lose the opportunity to watch her. Out of all the people here, she's a dangerous piece; the Ministry's Queen."
"But she'll be expecting updates on Edward regularly and good ones at that. Not to mention you have to remotely do things that look bad enough to land you in detention." Damian pointed out. "It looks like she has it out for him and people are going to start wondering why you are picking on Edward but still landing detentions with her. Black will start to get suspicious."
"He's lucky Dumbledore was able to appoint Sirius Black as the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. I think the only reason Black accepted teaching here was because of the Ministry so Umbitch wouldn't take the position." Hala flipped a page in her Charms book. She blushed at the glare Shyamal sent her, finally noticing a curse had slipped into her talk while her brothers laughed. "Can you really believe he would become a professor besides the fact of protecting Edward?" Her brothers agreed with her.
"Do you really think Umbridge is a threat to Edward and Dumbledore?"
"Any person with enough clout and reputation is dangerous. It doesn't help that Dumbledore has been tarnished by the Daily Prophet and lost his standings among the International Confederation of Wizards and the Wizenmagot, either." Shyamal glanced at his Transfiguration book. "The Minister will do everything he can to take away power from Dumbledore. Umbridge has already hinted that something will be happening soon, saying that she'll be elected High Inquisitor, whatever the hell that means."
"I have a feeling that this year is going to be chaotic." Cosmas mock-whispered mysteriously. "Anyway, did you hear, Shyamal? Angelina Johnson heard that you were willing to try-out for Seeker so she received permission from McGonagall to hold the Quidditch a week earlier."
"No, I didn't. Will you three be trying out as well?" Shyamal's eyes narrowed slightly. That would be next week then.
"Cosmas and I will try-out for Beaters but from what we heard, the Weasley twins are good, very good. It would be hard to win against them with their experience."
"I was thinking at trying for Chaser." Hala admitted. "But I'm still getting used to the coursework here so I might have to skip playing."
Shyamal nodded, turning back to his studying. The words on the page blurred as his mind started to wander off. Was it really worth coming back? He did have this need to see his old family but it looked like it hadn't changed a bit. Edward was still the insufferable spoiled brat he had always been, just now with muscle on his sturdy frame to back it up. Dumbledore was still the assured man he always was, watching over the wards in Hogwarts. Umbridge, now there was the dark queen of the Ministry. Shyamal wondered if she was like the other dark queen, Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort's second in command.
It was turning out to be a chess game with four groups instead of two.
Cosmas was right, it was sure going to be interesting.
Meanwhile in a different part of the castle, Lily Potter was staring at her oldest child, listening as he recounted his first day at Hogwarts this year. During dinner, she had learned from Sirius that Umbridge had it out for Edward now that she knew he was going to rise to her baiting. The only reason he hadn't gotten a detention was the fact that the new student Shyamal had told Edward to quiet down.
"Edward, you have to understand that Umbridge will be looking for any reason to discredit you. You have to learn how to control your emotions."
"But she's trying to prove that I'm a small boy who doesn't know anything." Edward replied.
"If you try to engage her, she'll paint you as an obnoxious brat who is trying to gain more fame. The Ministry already has the Daily Prophet under his thumb. We don't want Hogwarts to start believing him even more than they already do. Just try to focus on your studies or hang out with your friends."
Edward's head hung in embarrassment. "They won't talk to me along with the other boys in my dorm. Seamus' mom believes that I'm a nut case." A scowl appeared on her son's face. "And that new kid embarrassed me in front of them."
Lily had heard of the rumor that the eldest Suha had touched her son but after what Dumbledore had told them, she had brushed it off, thinking it was just a rumor. Why would Shyamal threaten the safety of his siblings for one single confrontation? "Was there a reason why, Edward?" A blush appeared. Lily sighed. There were times when Edward had indeed let his fame get the better of him. Perhaps she and James hadn't been right in not correcting his behavior when he was younger. "What did you say?"
"I-I might have, um, accidentally said something about his younger sister."
"Edward, let me be clear with you. I have heard from Dumbledore that Shyamal Suha is really protective of his siblings after the loss of their parents. You know they are from Durmstrang and with such a reputation about that school, they can't have rumors floating around them. Just be careful around them and don't act brashly."
Edward's eyes widened in shock. "They lost their parents?"
"Yes, Shyamal is their guardian under both Ministries as he has proven he can take care of his siblings. I for one don't want to know how far he will go to take care of them and neither do you." The warning in her voice was clear.
Her son looked at the ground. "Okay, I'll be more careful."
"Good. Now, it's getting late and you have to be up for your classes tomorrow." Lily gave her son a small smile. "I'm sure you don't want to be late for Minerva's class again."
"Good night, mum."
"Good night, Edward." The sound of the portrait door locking broke Lily's mask. Burying her face into her hands, she let her tears fall that had been threatening since that morning. Coming back here to Hogwarts had reminded so much of what she had lost. Standing up shakily, she went to the bedroom Dumbledore had set up for her.
On the bedside table, stood a small portrait that she had hid from James after that night five years ago and had kept close to her. Sitting down, she picked it up, gazing longingly at the frame.
It was the only portrait of all of them together.
They were sitting on the steps of their home in Godric's Hollow, smiling at something. James and Lily were on the higher steps, the one-year old Evangeline in James' arms, gurgling happily. Three year old Daniel was next to her, leaning against James' leg while his younger twin Jonathon was in Lily's lap. Edward and Harry were on the step below them, an open book in Harry's lap while Edward was playing with a latest model of a Chinese Fireball dragon.
If everything had turned out alright, Edward and Harry would have been in fifth year, Daniel and Jonathon in fourth, and Evangeline in second year. Their family would have been complete.
But fate hadn't granted them that. Now, out of the five children she had seen into the world, only two were alive and one of them was a Death Eater.
Lily clutched the photograph to her chest, wishing everything had turned out different, where her children were alive and with her and James, without the stupid threat of the prophecy hanging over their heads. Her finger traced the edges of the four small faces, wishing to had seen them grow up.
Sighing, she placed the photo back into her bedside table. Turning the covers back, she changed into her night gown and slipped in.
Edward entered the Gryffindor Common room, seeing the four Suha siblings in a corner next to the fireplace, talking and laughing. Painfully, he tore his gaze away from them, choosing instead to march up to the dormitory to his bed. Every step of the way, shadowy ghosts taunting him, the soft whispery sounds of laughter and giggling following him.
How much he loved his fame.
And how much he loathed it.
Throwing himself on the soft bed, he turned over to face the wall. At first, he had loved being in the spotlight, receiving fabulous gifts from unknown strangers. Dozens of the brooms were mounted in his toy room, the newest stocks at the time they had been released, top of the line toys thrown haphazardly in his walk-in closet, posters of famous Quidditch players lining his spacious walls.
And yet for the all the toys he had, the Potter Manor remained silent. No giggle drifting from behind closed doors, no laughter rolling down the quiet staircases, no one-second glimpses of black, brown, and red hair out on the grounds. Three of the four once used rooms remained as they were; silent sentinels to the children that had once lived in them. The other had been gutted out, an attempt to remove any traced of the betrayal.
How much Edward had wanted to tell the truth was too fearful of the punishments then and now.
He reached inside his chest, silent casting a Finite Incantatem spell. The glamour around his chest disappeared, a simple pendant appearing, the phoenix carved in black obsidian with platinum accents glinting in the gloom of his bed.
It once had been Harry's, left on his bedside table when he had last woken up in Potter Manor. During the search, Edward had sneaked in, knowing it would be the last time he would ever see anything belonging to his brother. In his quick trip, he had taken the pendant, the photo album Harry had collected, his small deer teddy, and the first book he had ever received. Edward had barely hidden the items under a loose floorboard when he had heard his father scream in hatred.
The next day, Harry's room had been cleaned, everything taken out and replaced.
Edward recasted the glamour charm, hiding the pendant from view.
What was done was done. The only things he had were his remaining family and his fame. Edward's face darkened, he wasn't going to let the older Suha boy get away with the embarrassing remarks. He didn't know. Closing the curtains, he swore he was going to get back at him.
Tuesday morning Shyamal's breakfast was interrupted by the rather violent landing of a scruffy looking owl that righted itself, feet stepping into Shyamal's pancakes.
Ron sighed, reaching over as he muttered "Bird's a bloody menace."
Shyamal just grinned, waving off Ron's apologies. He cleaned his plate, piling it with more pancakes.
"Isn't that your brother's handwriting?" Hermione asked, looking over Ron's shoulder.
"That's Percy alright." Ron muttered darkly as he opened the letter. As his eyes travelled over it, his face reddened, his scowl deepening. At the end, he handed the letter to Hermione. "That bloody prat. I can't believe he goes criticizing our parents and he expects me to 'follow his path'."
Hermione quickly read over the long letter. "Well, at least we know Umbridge is here for a reason as we thought." She tapped her chin. "We saw how much she wanted to give Potter a detention. I'm sure that's one way she'll gain power."
"I thought only Hogwarts staff can do that?" Cosmas munched, swallowing his food at Shyamal's glare.
"It's astonishing how your brother can remember his manner at a glare from you but Ron over here still forgets his almost daily." Hermione looked at her friend as he stuffed a huge spoonful of eggs into his mouth as if making a point. "Too bad you can't teach him some manners."
Shyamal gave them a small smile, trying not to remember how they learned their manners. "So what are you going to do about your brother?"
"Nothing. He's an arrogant prat just like Potter but just about something else." Ron said, shoving the letter into his pocket, making a mental note to throw it into the Gryffindor fireplace. "After he left our family to saddle up with Ministry, I don't want anything to do with him." Ron stabbed at his sausages, thinking. "I can't imagine abandoning my family right now."
"Family is an important thing but sometimes, there are things where you have to break from them." Shyamal saw the glance from Ron. "But now is not one of the times. Fudge is trying to save his position in the Ministry. He's not the one who can handle the demands of a war with Voldemort."
"I wonder what else he's going to bundle up." Damian remarked, handing Hermione her paper back after checking the Quidditch standings. What he had glanced in the rest of the paper had disgusted him. "He's alienating all of the so called dark creatures that could side with us."
Hermione nodded. "He thinks just like the rest of the wizarding community. If it's not a wizard or witch, it's not human or an equal. It reminds me of how they treated Professor Lupin here one time."
Shyamal's ears perked up though he quickly hid it. "What do you mean?"
"Professor Lupin was our third year professor and one of the best ones we had. He is another friend of the Potter family but he's alright, more down to Earth. His teaching is similar to Black though I have an inkling he made up Black's schedule but that is another topic. But during the last weeks of school, someone had blabbed that Lupin was a werewolf and soon after, Dumbledore started getting mails from concerned parents. Lupin decided to leave the school to save Dumbledore the hassle."
"The man was great." Ron added.
"Where is he now?" Hala asked, eyes turned to Hermione.
"The last time we heard anything about him was that he was living with the Potters in their mansion, since no one in the wizarding community would be willing to hire a known werewolf."
"Ouch, imagine not being able to provide for yourself." Cosmas shivered.
Ron nodded in agreement. "The first time we saw him, he looked kind of shabby looking, robes worn, baggage battered. I feel for the bloke." Seeing the looks at his description, he continued on. "He has this thing about charity, doesn't like to accept things from others but I think Mr. Potter talked to him after the year. He looked a lot better last year with newer robes and such."
"Well, we need to get a move on. Transfiguration is about to start soon. You know how McGonagall is like." Hermione took one last sip of pumpkin juice before getting her book bag. Shyamal grabbed his, watching his siblings go off to their classes.
The whole day, Shyamal could feel Edward's eyes on him and knew instantly the boy was planning to do something. He was going to have to keep a close eye on him. It was just a question if the boy was just a pawn or something more.
Wednesday morning, the attitude in the students changed drastically with the arrival of the Daily Prophet. Umbridge was sitting up at the Head table with a smug grin on her lips as she ate. Hermione gave a gasp of surprise as she read the lines out loud.
"Ministry Seeks Educational Reform: Delores Umbridge Appointed First-ever 'High Inquisitor'." She read aloud. "'In a surprise move last night the Ministry of Magic passed new legislation giving itself an unprecedented level of control at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.' Your brother says the activity at Hogwarts is a prime concern for them." Her eyes roamed down. "Educational Decree Twenty-Three which creates the new position of 'Hogwarts High Inquisitor'. There you go, that's how Umbridge gains more control here at the school." Hermione tapped the paper in disgust.
Silently, Shyamal took the paper from her, reading over the article himself. Not even a week into the school year and they've already given her more power. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her nod at the Slytherin table where a few of the students grinned back. So they're on the boat with her. What to do?
Any further thinking on the matter was interrupted as Dumbledore got to his feet, all attention going immediately to him. "This morning, we have news to rely concerning the education here at Hogwarts. As all of you know, these past few years, we have seen many professors come and go as the years went on, quite a few of them not being to complete the entire year. Our DADA professor this year has came to me with these concerns and has asked that the Dueling Club be reinstated-" Wild cheers from the students started, chatter starting up again. Dumbledore cleared his throat, the whispers going silent but the tension still boiling underneath. "Be reinstated this year with the goal of bringing you up to speed on certain DADA subjects that have been glossed over. Right now, the Dueling Club will be overseen by Professor Black with help from the staff here at Hogwarts. The first meeting shall be held one week from this Friday here in the Great Hall. Lists of membership shall be posted tonight in the Common Rooms to see who will be willing to attend. Thank you."
The students got up from their chairs as they all left to head to their first classes. Shyamal moved to Ron and Hermione, chatting about the last Dueling Club at Hogwarts and the Dueling Club at Durmstrang. Behind the interested mask, Shyamal thought if they only knew the Dueling Club he was referring to were the lessons taught by the Blood Elves. Maybe he would a couple of skills he had learned but he would have to sit back and watch.
Red eyes gleamed in the darkness, watching in disgust as the tattered servant threw himself on the floor, begging forgiveness.
"I thought he was the one, Master. He was the Boy Who Lived!" Peter Pettigrew squealed in pain as the Cruciatus Curse came on him again, holding him in its painful clutches. Spit and blood flew from his mouth as he writhed in pain, his lips bleeding where he had bitten into it.
"Fool!" The dark figure hissed. "He was not the one! Edward Potter was not the one I attacked that night when I lost my body and my power. He is nothing but an illusion. The one I'm seeking has the green eyes of the Killing curse, the other twin!" Peter screamed again, body continuing to convulse. "WHERE IS HE?"
"I do not know, Master. Your servants decided to raid the brats' party on the night of the full moon five years ago. The Potters believe their second eldest is a Death Eater and other others are dead. No one has seen him since then." Peter gasped out.
Voldemort leaned back on his throne, spidery fingers tapping on the armrest. "Perhaps that will work in our favor." His eyes flicked to Peter again. "Give me your arm." Grabbing the offered limb, he drew a single white finger against the black tattoo, hissing in pleasure at the glowing Mark. "This will assuredly work in my favor. I must find that Potter brat if I am to return to full power." He laughed cruelly as his servants appeared before him.