Over the next few weeks leading up to September 1st Harry and Blaise took every opportunity they could to slip away from Trevor and his fanatical teaching lessons on magic. It was plain to them that he had spent way too long a time away from a world he obviously loved even for the bad memories it brought him. They hid everywhere they could think of, even the laundry shoot, but with a wave of his wand and a well said spell Trevor always found them. Harry tried to manipulate his wandless magic to hide them from Trevor's tracking spells but didn't know how to bend his will for such a desire and failed. Whenever Harry used his wandless magic he only needed to visualize what he wanted to happen and it would, he didn't know what he could possibly visualize to keep a spell from finding him. Harry had found a spell in one of his books though that he could use to thwart Trevor but didn't know how to combine spells and his wandless magic together, in truth he knew next to nothing about wandless magic and how to use it beyond picturing things happening. Their wands weren't an available option to use to cast the spell as according to Trevor any use of wand magic by an underage witch or wizard outside of school was tracked and penalized.
In the end and after a stern lecture from Manuel, Harry and Blaise buckled down to their studies and began to absorb magical theory and history. The only class they could do practical work in was potions leading for Harry and Blaise to spend a lot of their summer standing over gently simmering cauldrons that threw off a lot of heat in the basement room they were using for their magic-related lessons. As they brewed Trevor would pound into their heads the different combinations of ingredients and their reactions as well as how to correct various mistakes that could happen during the brewing of various potions. In Trevor's eyes neither Harry nor Blaise were bad at Potions even if they weren't naturals, he had finally stopped them from blowing cauldrons up on purpose, and both turned in properly made concoctions nine out of ten times though on occasion the color was just a tiny shade off or the liquid a hair too thin. Trevor only hoped that these lessons would be enough to help them survive under Severus' prejudice and perfectionist nature.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Harry was bored; he had just finished an intense session with Sensei in which his arse had gotten royally kicked. Blaise and Trevor were having a quality father-daughter day and Manuel had gotten called in to the office of his legitimate electronics business to deal with some problems that had arose. Harry knew he could go find some of the guards for further training or companionship but he was too sore to move from his bed. Besides, he would be seeing them all later that night for an early farewell party. In about a week he and Blaise would be heading for Hogwarts but the guards had been told that they were both going to a private boarding school in France so that they could continue their educations with other children their age without having to worry about attacks and assassination attempts. Harry sighed, so many secrets even within their tightly knit household but then secrets were the life-blood of the Mafia. He turned his attention to the stack of magical textbooks beside his bed. His eyes flicked over the books and he commented on each one:
"Transfiguration, read them. Charms, read them too. Defense books, devoured them. Potions, had them pounded into my head. History books, don't feel like sleeping. Herbology, glanced through. Astronomy, stars recognized. Hogwarts A History, can't wait to see the ceiling. Arithmancy, read but not needed till third year. Ancient Runes, as if I don't know enough languages and codes. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, wonder where to find a doxy to stick in Trevor's bed. Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts, now know more about myself than even I wanted to and wonder where I can learn some of those awesome curses. Quidditch, too bad first years can't have brooms. Book on Jinxes and Pranks, memorized. The book on wizarding laws and cultures it is then."
A few hours later Harry snorted as he finished reading the section on the basics of wizarding culture. The purebloods and their ideals wouldn't continue to last for long if they didn't change to keep up with times. Not that they would last much longer if the book was right about all the close inter-family inbreeding. He could understand their ideas of keeping their blood pure and untainted by the non-magical even if he thought it foolish and didn't quite agree, he wouldn't want to marry his cousin after all. Harry briefly wondered what they would do when they were all so closely interrelated that there were no respectable matches left and their children were born mutated. Harry shivered at the thought, when he and Blaise had been younger one of the guards who had spent some time in the States had delighted in telling them stories of the horrors of inbreeding that took place in some less populated areas in America. Personally Harry hoped the man had been watching too many movies on the box.
Standing Harry felt his muscles strain and cursed himself for lying around so long after his training with Sensei without properly stretching. Wincing Harry began to slowly stretch each individual muscle set at a time in hopes of limbering up a bit to do a fuller stretch so he wouldn't be sore all night. It took nearly half an hour before Harry had all the kinks worked out, he had even considered going to Sensei for some help and perhaps a massage but decided that working through the pain was much more preferable than the lecture and exercises he would have gotten. Still moving a little less freely than he would have liked Harry left his room in search of his father only to discover that he wasn't home yet and neither were Trevor and Blaise. Feeling a bit alone even though there were many others in the house Harry briefly went out the to stable to visit Azrael, he hadn't had much time for the stallion lately and promised his four legged friend a ride the next day when there was more light. His dad would kill him if he went out for a night time ride.
With nothing else to do, Harry still didn't feel like hanging with the guards, he went back to his room and skimmed through the book he had been reading for any laws that could allow him to use his wand without attracting the Ministry's attention. He got through one page before quitting. How in the hell could Trevor expect them to read this book. The laws were so riddle with twists and loops that it would take decades to unravel them and they were incredibly dry on top of that. He hadn't minded the part about wizarding culture; it had been pretty interesting until the author had turned fanatical about pureblood statuses and wealth. Harry threw the book aside and lay on his back across his large bed, one arm artfully thrown over his eyes as if to block out the world. His mind kept flashing over the laws Trevor had mentioned on the use of underage magic. Why was it that if he used his wand they would detect his magic but if he used his magic without his wand it didn't seem to get picked up on? Could there be some sort of detection spells on the wands that alert the authorities? If so there must be some way around it.
He would have to get Trevor to pick up some books on wandless magic and ask him about it, but come to think of it Trevor never did any magic without his wand. The other day when Trevor was working on a potion he hadn't dared leave he didn't just reach out his hand to summon the ingredient he wanted but had picked up his wand and used and incantation to bring it to him, why do that when it was simply easier to just will it over? Unless Trevor couldn't do wandless magic. Harry was beginning to wonder about wandless magic, what was the point of having wands when they weren't really needed for magic to work. He had been experimenting with using his hand as one would a wand and was coming very close to being able to cast real spells, because after all wasn't the wand merely and extension of the hand, a focus tool for the magic already inside a witch or wizard. Before he knew it Harry had drifted off to sleep, thoughts still plaguing his mind as he tossed restlessly around. Elsewhere in the world a pair of red eyes shone briefly from the eyes of a freshly acquired human host.
~~ ~~ ~*~
Manuel arrived home in time for dinner around the same time that Trevor and Blaise did. Not finding Harry already at the table when he entered the dining room Manuel went upstairs to his son's room where the guards said he had been most of the day. Not receiving any answer to his knock Manuel silently and cautiously entered the room. There on the bed lay Harry, the soft glow of a reading lamp illuminating the boy as he tossed restlessly upon the already tangled and sweat soaked covers.
Carefully Manuel reached out a calming hand to his son's shoulder and called "Harry, wake up, it's only a dream."
The resulting reaction was totally expected by Manuel who had woken Harry from nightmares before, though none had been recently, and he raised a hand protectively as Harry came jolting back to reality.
Trapped in the world of nightmares that engulfed him Harry felt a hand upon his shoulder and bolted upright, the knife that seemed to be an extension of his arm whipping about towards where he had last felt the hand. Even during his restless sleep Harry's subconscious had not allowed him to forget years of conditioning and the knife had not dropped from his hand as he roiled within the horrors his mind conjured as he slept. Smoothly Harry's hand was intercepted in a firm yet gentle grasp, Manuel speaking softly to him even as he took the knife and laid it on the bedside table. It took Harry's pounding heart a few moments to quiet itself enough that the blood didn't rush into Harry's ears and drown out his fathers words.
"Nothings here to hurt you my son" Manuel soothed "but what plagues your dreams so."
Slowly Harry recounted the dream that had used to haunt him as a toddler, but this time told mention of a pair of red eyes blazing in triumph. It had been years since he had sat in his fathers arms, held closely in the warmth and security as he recalled the screams of a mother's desperation, a high pitched cackle of menace, and the flashes of sickly green light. Manuel too remembered the dream that had once haunted his son almost nightly and knew the significance behind it well, it had all been explained in that fated letter a man named Dumbledore had left with the newly orphaned infant all those years ago. Manuel also knew that at this time there were no words that could be said and silently led his son to the dining room, Harry did not need to be alone and did not need to dwell on the dream anymore. Strange though that the dream should start to bother Harry again now after he had come to terms with it years ago.
That night as Harry prepared to go sleep after his father had tucked him in and been reassured that he would be fine alone the young boy reached into his nightstand drawer and pulled out a small object. It was a dream catcher given to Harry years ago by a Native American Indian who had dedicated himself as a guard and secretly helped Harry to chase away the nightmares. Cheveyo had been his personal guard when he was little and had guided Harry, teaching him the ways of the Ancestors. Not long before Harry's seventh birthday Cheveyo had been called home to his people but had reassured Harry that all he would have to do would be to call out to him in times of need and he would come. So far Harry had never called out, but he remembered Cheveyo's teachings and missed his mentor fiercely. Harry hadn't needed the talisman for many years, but the dream earlier hadn't felt right and it had set his scar to aching though he hadn't told his father that. For a moment Harry studied the charm woven of sacred wood and sinew that was decorated with beads and feathers before he rose from the bed to kneel by the window.
Reverently Harry stared up at the full moon hanging majestically in the deep night sky and held out the dream catcher so that a shaft of moonlight fell directly onto it. Softly he began to chant, a personal plea Cheveyo had helped him create. The chant came from the depths of Harry's soul, a mantra that was uniquely his.
"The earth, the air, the fire, the water.
Into the silence of the night,
Into the silence of the moon,
I am making my dreams come true.
I call the Fire.
Burn fire, burn bright
Pure vision come to me
and guide my Path tonight
with your strength and light.
Soaring eagle; mighty lion;
Ancient serpent; dark bull;
Spirit guides of warriors
Protect me in my life's flight.
The earth; the air; the fire; the water.
Into the silence of the night,
Into the silence of the moon,
Guard and keep pure my dreams tonight."
As Harry finished the chant the dream catcher seemed to glow with an inner light and a sense of peace flowed through Harry and filled him, his eyes seeming to flicker a different color for a brief instant though he didn't know it. Carefully Harry moved the dream catcher to his neck and tied the attached twine securely around his throat, allowing the talisman to rest with comforting warmth against his chest next to the dragon pendant he had taken to wearing. When Cheveyo had left Harry had felt betrayed as any child would and had stopped wearing the talisman out of petty spite, he hadn't realized how bare he had felt without the familiar presence until now. Climbing into bed Harry lay down to let peaceful sleep claim him and vowed he wouldn't take the dream catcher off again. He didn't realize that the dragon pendant briefly pulsed with a soft glow before once again falling dormant.
Harry woke the next morning to the feeling of eyes watching him. It was Manuel.
"Dad" Harry groaned "do you know how creepy it is to wake up and find you just sitting there staring like that?"
Manuel grinned "unless I get cloned or have an out-of-body experience I doubt I ever will. Did you sleep okay?"
Harry nodded; he had slept perfectly through the night after having calmed his mind with the still familiar ritual. Harry wasn't going to tell Manuel about the dream catcher though as he didn't want his father to think he was being weak by believing in the talisman's power and while Manuel was okay with 'conventional' magic Harry didn't know his stand on Native American rituals and the invocation of spirits. Besides all that Manuel hadn't known that Cheveyo was teaching the way of the Ancestors to him and it was something Harry wanted to keep to himself.
"Shower and get dressed" Manuel said as he stood "its not too much longer before you have to leave for Hogwarts and we're not going to waste any of the time we have."
Twenty minutes later Harry was walking into the breakfast room where his father, Trevor, and Blaise had just started to eat. Today Harry wore a soft pair of black pants that allowed for easy movement and a dark green tee-shirt that set off his eyes, his hair which was still damp from the shower was secured back with a leather thong. Hidden away under his shirt was the dream catcher and dragon pendant. That there were weapons also concealed on his person was also a given.
Plopping down in the empty chair next to his father Harry began spooning food onto his plate while asking "so what are we doing today?"
Two hours later found the group at the amusement park and climbing out of the car after the guards had given the all clear signal. Trevor had driven them this time, had actually driven them every year since Harry's seventh birthday, and so by the end of the ride they actually still had their entourage of guards. Needless to say Manuel was missing the speed of his SRT-10 Viper keenly; Trevor just didn't have the same need for speed. Once inside the security center of the park Trevor turned command over to another of the senior guards under his command so that he could be a father instead of a guard that day. The usual security checks given at the main gates were performed, only in the case of the quartet it was to make sure that they were well armed instead of unarmed and they were being debriefed on security measures all the while.
As it turned out that in an attempt to keep an attack from happening like the one four years ago the park was closed to the general public that day though a special pass had been issued to the local area orphanages allowing them admission with only one adult for every five kids. This allowed the guards to keep easier tabs on possible assassins as the park was nearly empty. It wasn't like they would have to worry about the kids pulling guns, except for Harry and Blaise of course, and only a set number of adults would be roaming around in the park. There was also the added benefit of short lines for the rides and giving the orphans free admission and food passes would have a positive effect on Manuel's public standing. Finally the quartet was turned free with a discreet following of guards to enjoy a carefree day devoid of any attacks or assassination attempts. It was the perfect father-child outing to Harry, especially when some of the guards following them learned why you never ate before getting on the Sickened Skull rollercoaster ride five times in a row.
Harry didn't think that anything could have made his day better than to see the hardened guards puking into trash cans but surprisingly it was the awe on many of the orphans faces as they ran amok through the amusement park that intrigued him the most. He hadn't often thought about the fact that kids growing up in orphanages never got to do things like go to amusement parks and ride the rides. It wasn't till later though that Harry and Manuel ran across one boy they hadn't expected to see. They had just joined a small line in front of one of the food stands when from the front they heard an overweight child hollering for expensive sweets, all the while stamping his foot in an imperious sort of tantrum.
"I want an Atomic Blizzard Boat with chocolate, and sprinkles, and nuts, and candy" the eleven year old heifer was shouting at the poor concession stand employee "and I want pizza and corn dogs. Now!"
Rolling his eyes Manuel led Harry away from the line and up to the front where the boy was still loudly demanding his sweets.
"Is there a problem here" Manuel's voice was soft and commanding.
Foolishly the boy did not heed the warning and began to whine "this man won't give me my order, he says my ticket won't cover the order and I'm being greedy. My parents would have gotten me what I wanted and right away too."
Turning to the hapless park employee who had been at a loss on what to do and a bit flustered to be confronted by his boss' presence Manuel instructed "give him what his ticket will cover, if he gives you any more problems ring security to escort him back to the head of the establishment he is with."
Turning to the boy Manuel's countenance turned stern and frightening to the boy "you would do well to learn not to overindulge and act so spoiled when you have no way of backing your actions."
With that Manuel and Harry walked away knowing that things would be handled accordingly without their continued presence and left the others who were present to deal with the boy that was now screaming about his Aunt Marge and custody.
"Now we know what happened to my cousin" Harry commented offhandedly a few minutes later "glad I wasn't raised like that, that boy has no pride or dignity to look and act in such a manner. I'm surprised that he can even walk with such a gut blocking the view of his feet."
The week flew by after that with Manuel, Trevor, Harry, and Blaise spending as much time together as they could. But their increased public appearances together also made them greater targets and the occasional attack or assassination attempt often put a damper on the family quality time. But today all that came to an end; tomorrow was September 1st and today they had to pack.
"Harry" Blaise yelled as she marched down the hall from her room to his "you have my copy of Hogwarts: A History."
Harry rolled his eyes "and you have my copy of The Rise and Fall of the Dark Arts so we're even."
Blaise chucked a heavy tome in the general direction of Harry's head and the raven haired boy ducked just in time, the book falling into the magical trunk sitting open on his bed.
"Thanks" he grinned and without thinking magically sent Blaise's copy of Hogwarts: A History levitating through the air and into the dumbstruck girls waiting hands.
"Harry" Blaise's voice was hesitant as she stared at the book that had just floated to her "what did you just do Harry?"
Harry jerked his head up and realization flashed across his face and for a moment he looked panicked, the proverbial cat was out of the bag now.
"Ummm" Harry tried to think how he could explain away the fact that he could do what some of their text books declared impossible, he knew she wouldn't buy the explanation of accidental magic, what he had just done was too controlled for that.
"Harry James Potter-Darkov" Blaise's voice was filled with menacing warning.
Harry settled for the truth as he knew it "I don't know how I did it, I just unconsciously willed the book to you. I've been able to do stuff like that as long as I can remember."
Blaise looked like she was ready to say something but voices drifting towards them from down the hall stopped her.
"Do they know" she asked instead, referring to their fathers.
"Dad knows but Trevor doesn't" Harry said, hurriedly adding "but dad doesn't know much about the wizarding world and thinks it's normal. I don't want Trevor to know yet; I don't understand it and don't want the attention that I would get if people knew I could control wandless magic. Swear you won't say anything Blaise, swear it."
For a moment Blaise looked torn, she didn't like keeping secrets from her dad but Harry was her best friend.
"I swear it" she whispered harshly before slipping out the door and to her own room to finish packing, her father would be joining her in a few minutes to make sure she was packing everything she needed.
"Almost finished packing?" Manuel asked as he walked into Harry's room.
Harry rolled his eyes "I'm still trying to get all these books into the trunk. I haven't even started on clothes or anything else yet. It's a good thing Trevor got us these magically enhanced trunks with different compartments, otherwise there is no way we'd be able to fit all these books he's making us take along to study from."
Manuel chuckled; Trevor had been a bit fanatical when it came to the books he had gotten the children and had made sure they each had a copy of every book he had picked out. But then knowledge is power and Harry and Blaise would need the power of knowledge and would have to use their quick brains to manipulate that knowledge to help them in whatever situations they found themselves in. Harry was a praised hero in the wizarding world and Manuel knew how easily public adoration could turn against a person, Harry and Blaise would have to watch their backs in both worlds now. Manuel sighed and left Harry to finish his packing, in this world he could protect his son but in the wizarding world he would only be able to helplessly watch as his son faced down whatever troubles came his way.
By the time dinner rolled around Harry and Blaise were finished packing and futilely arguing with Trevor and Manuel that they should be allowed to take their swords with them to Hogwarts.
"How are we going to keep practicing if we don't have our swords" Harry grumbled "and since you're letting us take our guns and knives what difference would a sword make?"
Manuel sighed, they had been over this many times already and still Harry argued. Blaise had given up arguing with her father after Trevor had yelled that his decision was final, but Manuel didn't want to act that way with Harry. He would rather give Harry a chance to argue his position and give in to superior experience than pull one of those 'because I am you father and I say so' routines.
"There is no reason to practice with your swords at Hogwarts if you do not have a trainer. You will not be able to advance your studies any without proper tutelage and could injure yourselves; the moves you already know can be practiced and refined without a sword in your hands. I do not want to hear any more on this" Manuel finally ended the debate "perhaps next year I will reconsider depending on your progress here at home with Sensei."
Harry nodded, accepting his father's decision. He had run the argument for as long as he could without seeming as if he was whining and had still been able to make valid points. Harry had known he would not be allowed to take his sword to Hogwarts and had also known that it would be a pointless addition to his trunk without someone to continue to aide in his training with the deadly katana. The argument had been more for funs sake than actually getting permission to take his sword to Hogwarts; Harry would miss the similar debates he often had with his father.
It wasn't until Harry was heading to bed that night that it truly hit him that in the morning he would be heading for a place where his father could not follow no matter what power he wielded in the muggle world. For the next few months Harry would not be able to see his father at meal times or fend off the occasional mock attacks Manuel liked to spring on him. Harry stiffened his shoulders, he would miss his father but this was something he had to do and Harry knew he would be able to come home on the holidays. He was a Darkov, he was strong and he wouldn't show weakness by being homesick even before he left. Harry fell asleep with firm resolve filling him that night, one hand under his pillow and grasping his dagger while the other twined lightly with the chain and twine fastening the two pendants around his neck.
~~ ~~ ~*~
The next morning a gentle shake and calling of his name had Harry up and alert, knife at the ready even though he knew it was his father who was in the room with him. Only his father, Trevor, and Blaise could get so close to him while he slept without him knowing it or causing him to react defensively. Harry wondered if this extra sense he seemed to have had anything to do with him being a wizard but didn't know of a way to ask Trevor without revealing his other abilities.
Looking towards the window Harry gave a small half-smile even though the sun hadn't risen yet and his dad was waking him up, he knew the reason behind the early rising. Silently Harry took the black Japanese Gi Manuel handed him and slipped into it before quietly following his father down the back steps and out the door. On a relatively flat patch of ground in the back yard Sensei stood waiting. Together father and son joined their teacher, ignoring the slight chill in the morning air as they silently awaited the arrival of the missing two members of their tight knit group. It was true that all the guards were family and they were all close but the five of them made up a core group in the hierarchy of their mafia family. When Trevor and Blaise arrived moments later a faint tinge of light was trying to make its presence known upon the far horizon. As one the group bowed in the direction of the sun and assumed a general fighting stance before they began to weave their way through the graceful motions of The Path, an exercise Sensei had cultivated by combining many forms of the martial arts and summarily taught to them.
The sun had risen by the time the group of five once again came to rest, their limbs flowing smoothly into stillness as if they had not been active mere moments before. In sync they bowed again in the direction of the sun and Sensei finally broke the silence that they held sacred on the rare occasion they performed The Path together out in the open where watching eyes could see.
"Good morning" Sensei said with a slight inclining of his head before turning solely to face Harry and Blaise "do well while you are at this boarding school and do not forget to practice your martial arts skills. Every morning as the sun rises I faithfully follow The Path; I hope you shall face the same sun as I do."
Sensei walked off and disappeared back into the house, leaving the others to follow as they headed for breakfast. Though Sensei had been slightly cryptic in the way he relayed his message Harry and Blaise had understood what their trainer and mentor had been saying. Even though they would be away at school they could still take comfort in performing The Path knowing that Sensei and their fathers would be doing the exact same thing at the exact same time even if it was only in the privacy of their rooms. It would be a link for them, holding them together even though distance would separate them.
Breakfast passed in a leisurely manner since they were all up early and Harry and Blaise had packed for Hogwarts the night before. Yet soon enough Trevor and Manuel were ushering their now excited and slightly tense children to the car and loading up their trunks into the boot of the car. For Harry and Blaise, both whom had only the night before been a bit saddened to have to leave their fathers to go off to school, it was an abrupt turn around for them to be showing the level of excitement they currently were. Not that you could tell they were excited just by looking at them, they had more restraint than that and to know what they were feeling you had to know them and be able to read the emotions hidden in their eyes. You had to be their fathers. Manuel smiled at Trevor, he had basically come to terms with the fact that his friend had kept such a secret from him and was now glad that Harry would have Blaise with him at Hogwarts. Trevor smiled back, their children would be fine and his friendship with Manuel was still going to be as strong as ever.
"I'm driving" Manuel declared suddenly and grabbed the keys from Trevor who was forced to climb quickly into the front passenger seat or risk being left behind.
Harry couldn't help but grin when he noticed the white knuckles of Trevor's hands as 'Uncle Trevor' gripped the 'oh shit handle' of the car tightly.
By quarter after ten they had arrived in London at Kings Cross Station thanks to some reckless driving on Manuel's part, only managing to get pulled over once. Needless to say the pale and shaking officer would check twice before pulling over any more pricey looking cars that day. You would think that a mafia king would find another way to get his kicks in than breaking every single traffic law in England that he could, especially when he already knew he could get away with it.
With minimal fuss Manuel and Trevor loaded their children's trunks and animal carriers on trolleys even though any guard or porter at the station would have dropped everything they were doing to cater to the commands of Manuel Darkov or his second, Trevor Zabini. This accomplished the group walked purposefully towards platform nine and almost all the way to platform ten. They arrived in time to see a large redheaded family seemingly disappear into thin air, two boys that were obviously twins glancing around in an overtly furtive manner.
"Harry, Manuel" Trevor spoke up "you two first. Walk straight through; there is nothing there to stop you. Blaise and I will follow."
Together Manuel and Harry took control of the trolley with Harry's belongings on it and made their way towards the barrier. As Trevor had told them to they walked straight through what appeared to be a solid wall and came out on the other side to see throngs of robed people milling about as well as others wearing what they considered to be ordinary, muggle, clothing. A huge scarlet steam engine sat idling on the tracks, blowing off white clouds of steam laced with golden sparks. Trevor and Blaise appeared behind them and Harry turned to share a grin with his friend.
"Let's get you two a compartment" Manuel said as Trevor scanned the premises with hawk-like eyes, watching for something.
Nodding to show that he couldn't sense anything wrong Trevor and Manuel took flanking positions at their children's sides and made their way to the rearmost compartment of the train where they found an empty cabin. After stowing their trunks Harry and Blaise followed their father's to a deserted corner of Platform 9 Â¾ where they prepared to say goodbye.
"Are you armed" Manuel asked Harry quietly as Trevor turned to gave Blaise the same routine.
Harry nodded and surreptitiously motioned to where his weapons were and whispered about which ones he had on him. He was outfitted to the full as usual with a knife in his left boot and a gun strapped to his right leg at the boot, an arm dagger graced his left arm, another gun rested in the small of his back in a slightly uncomfortable harness, and his wand was in his pocket. He also carried a tiny knife strapped to his right thigh, but it was more there just to have it in case the need arose and wasn't meant for fighting. Blaise was similarly armed except she preferred to only carry one gun at the small of her back; a gun at her ankle bothered her for some reason. Trevor and Manuel were pretty much satisfied but Trevor had one last thing to give the children before they left for Hogwarts.
"Wand holsters" he said as he handed one to each Harry and Blaise "much safer than keeping your wand in your pocket. They go on your right forearm and will magically size to fit both your arm and wand. They also prevent your wands from being stolen or summoned from you. I want you two to practice drawing you wands later until you can pull them as fast as you can your daggers."
Then it was time for Harry and Blaise to get on the train and time to finish the farewells.
"Love you dad" Harry said and hugged his father "I'm going to miss you and while I don't promise to behave I know the parental drill and will at least try and stay safe."
Manuel couldn't help but chuckle and ruffle Harry's hair "I wouldn't dream of telling you to stay out of trouble, what sort of father would I be if I did that? Just don't go picking fights. I love you too kid, have fun and watch out for Blaise."
Harry and Manuel pulled out of the hug so Blaise could tell Manuel goodbye and Harry walked over to Trevor to give him a hug as well saying "bye Uncle Trevor."
Trevor was a bit shocked at the hug but returned it replying gruffly "Watch each others backs at Hogwarts and write to tell us what house you are in."
Harry and Blaise made their way together to the train after that, passing the family of redheads again and hearing the twins say something about never blowing up a toilet seat but that it was a good idea. Harry and Blaise smirked at each other remembering past pranks and turned long enough to wave one final time to their fathers before disappearing inside the scarlet steam engine to get settled in their compartment. Moments later the final flood of students were climbing onto the train and the door to the compartment they were in slid open suddenly causing both Harry and Blaise to reach for their daggers though they did not unsheathe them quite yet knowing that it was most likely other students.
It was the twins and the other redheaded boy that they had glimpsed at the station. The twins leaned out the window they had thrown open and the third boy stood around uncomfortably while their younger sister stood out on the platform crying.
"Don't, Ginny, we'll send you loads of owls. We'll send you a Hogwarts toilet seat" the twins yelled out the window.
Harry smiled slightly, he liked these twins already "you could always fill the headmasters office with toilet seats."
The twins whirled from the window as the train began to move and faced Harry and Blaise.
"Please excuse us" one of them said. "I'm Gred and this is Forge Weasley" the other took up.
"Pranksters extraordinaire!" they finished together with a bow.
Gred, or Fred as Harry strongly suspected was his real name motioned to their younger brother who was by now scowling "and our ickle brother little ronniekins."
"Do you mind if he sits here, we have to find Lee Jordan."
"He has a tarantula you know!"
The twins stopped talking after having alternated speaking their sentences and were waiting for introductions.
"This is Blaise Zabini" Harry introduced Blaise before himself "my name is Harry Potter-Darkov. Come back later and we'll talk pranks."
The twins grinned as they glanced at the exposed scar and shook Harry and Blaise's hands fervently, teased their brother one last time, and then left to find Lee Jordan.
The scowling Ron plopped down in his seat while holding a squirming rat rather tightly in his hands and gawked at the scar on Harry's head. Harry rolled his eyes at Blaise and the two turned patented, mafia-style glares at the hapless redhead.
Either the boy was stupid enough to ignore the glares or didn't see them and blurted out "are you really the Harry Potter?"
Blaise snorted "can't you see the scar? Didn't you hear him introduce himself?"
Ron flushed and sat back against his seat, mumbling to himself as the door slid open again.
"Anything off the cart dearies" a plump, kindly witch asked them and Harry once again moved his hand away from his dagger as he and Blaise stood up and eagerly moved to the cart.
Trevor had told them all about wizarding candy and they were eager to try it all. For the next few moments Harry and Blaise picked over the candy before selecting a bunch of everything. Blaise loaded the candy into one of the compartments in Harry's trunk while he pulled his money bag from his pocket to pay the trolley lady, receiving a sickle and a few knuts back in change. Ron mumbled something unintelligible about not wanting anything off the cart and the trolley lady left as Harry and Blaise looked over their selection of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, Drooble's Best Blowing Gum, Chocolate Frogs, Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Licorice Wands, Sugar Quills, Cockroach Clusters, and a few other varieties of candy.
Harry and Blaise spent the next hour or so swapping different candies back and forth while looking over their chocolate frog cards and adding them to the collection Trevor had given them when they were interrupted once again by a bushy haired girl barging in with a timid looking boy in tow behind her, asking if they had seen a toad anywhere. Introductions again went around and Hermione Granger starting spouting off all the books she had read Harry's name in. Sighing Harry tuned her out and turned to Neville Longbottom. He was tempted to tell the poor boy in jest that he had overheard someone say that further up in the train they were trying to feed a toad to a tarantula but realized it would scare the boy even more than he already was. Pulling out his wand Harry didn't note that the Granger girl had fallen silent and asked Neville what the toads name was.
Concentrating Harry remembered the passage Trevor had made him and Blaise read on summoning charms and cried out "Accio Trevor the toad" while moving his wand through the correct motions, augmenting the spell by visualizing it happening as he would with his wandless magic.
Moments later a fattish toad came zooming down the train corridor to plop into Neville's outstretched hands. Tucking his wand away Harry was glad when Hermione and Neville left, the girl still going on about all the spells she had done right. Harry wondered if she would notice anytime soon that no one was listening to her.
Harry, Blaise, and Ron who was still gracing the two friends with his presence had just finished changing into their school robes when the compartment door slid open yet again. Harry managed to resist the urge to reach for his dagger and this time only stood to face the newcomer. It was an aristocratic looking blonde haired boy that Harry vaguely remembered from the robe shop in Diagon Alley.
"I've heard that Harry Potter is sitting in this compartment" the boy began his eyes flicking over and dismissing Ron out of hand from his looks and settling on Harry as he held out a hand "my name is Draco Malfoy."
Ron snorted in a sound somewhat reminiscent of a pig and Draco whirled, retracting his hand and reaching for his wand.
"Think my name is funny Weasel" he sneered "I know who you are; just looking at you says it all."
Ron jumped to his feet, face burning red at the insults that laced Malfoy's voice when the train came to a stop at Hogsmead Station. Ron fell to the floor while Draco fell into Harry and Blaise who managed to stead the aristocratic boy before they all went down. A magically amplified voice filled the train and instructed the students to leave their luggage on the train and that it would be taken to the castle separately. Holding out his hand Harry shook Draco Malfoy's hand in greeting before moving so that Blaise could do the same.
"I'm Harry Potter-Darkov and this is Blaise Zabini" he introduced them as was only polite before turning away with Blaise and heading outside the train.
They left Draco standing there feeling as if his gesture of good will towards the boy-who-lived had just been turned on him as if Draco Malfoy was the one who needed a hand extended to him. It was a feeling Draco wasn't used to experiencing and he wasn't quite sure how he should react about the situation. With a superior tilt of his head Draco left Ron to straighten himself out and followed the other students off the train.