July 19, 1992, 8:00 AM, Harry’s Bedroom, Grimmauld Place, London
Harry loudly yawned as he stretched in bed without a single care in the world.
This is the life. He thought to himself as he scratched the back of his head with exaggerated indulgence.
And it was true. This really was the best summer he’d ever had.
No cupboard, no broken toys everywhere I step. Harry thought, grimacing at the old memories. No Dudley to shove me around. No unfair, unnecessarily extensive list of chores.
Harry scoffed as annoyance rose within him, banishing his calm and drowsiness far away.
Even after he was rid of them, the Dursleys hung over him like shadows threatening to consume him whole every time he let down his guard.
Harry got up from bed, stepping barefoot on the smooth, wooden floor. The more he thought about it, the more his frown deepened.
Inevitably, his mind drifted to a more recent memory: the Boggart incident, as he’d begun to refer to it.
His cheeks flushed with shame at the thought. Harry hadn’t wanted anyone to see that.
He had foolishly thought that he would see a Dragon or a large beast of some sort— creatures he was indeed afraid of facing in open combat.
Instead, the Boggart just had to go and turn into them. Harry still remembered the worried looks Sirius and Remus were giving him in the days after the incident.
He was just glad that they hadn’t tried to… talk to him about it.
Harry grimaced at that. Sirius and Remus were good people, and he would forever be grateful for Sirius giving him a life away from the Dursleys, but Harry still didn’t think he would be up to sharing secrets which ran so deep.
The very thought of it made him anxious, to say nothing of the shame.
What would Adam do? Harry thought and immediately shook his head. He was fearless when staring down his Boggart. Unlike me.
His mind blanked for a few moments as he tried to answer his own question, but there was absolutely no luck there.
Maybe I should ask him. He thought and then shook his head. No. No. I shouldn’t bother him.
Harry nodded to himself. He would figure this out all by himself, just as he always had.
He adjusted his clothes, put on the dark red and gold slippers Sirius had gotten him, and left his room, aiming to go downstairs for some breakfast. Some food to start the day, and maybe practice my spellwork.
That was the plan.
So why was it, then, that his feet took him to Adam’s door?
What in Merlin’s name am I doing? Harry thought as he stared at the still-closed door. He reached forward to knock before stopping himself.
Harry bit his lip. No. It’s not something that—
He shook his head and schooled his conflicted expression into one of calm as he attempted to calm the raging emotions inside of him.
“—You going to stand outside all day, Harry?” Harry heard Adam’s muffled voice from the other side of the door. “Come in.”
Harry opened his mouth to speak, to tell Adam that he was just going to get breakfast, but closed it after a moment. Instead, he opened the door and entered the room. He was about to greet the boy when he hesitated at the sight before him. “…What are you doing, Adam?”
Adam was sitting down with a rolled up, dusty old rug on his lap. In his right hand was a small set of notes that he was absorbed by. He gave Harry a wave, though his eyes stayed on his notes.
“I’m…” He said, shaking his head in an attempt to focus. “I’m looking up what spells I need to learn to uh…”
“Yes?” Harry prompted, his previous unease washed away by the sudden wave of curiosity in him.
“A treadmill.” Adam said, and it was so abrupt that Harry had to tilt his head.
“What? A treadmill?” Harry asked, not sure where he was going with this. “You mean the exercise machines?”
Harry grimaced; he remembered when Vernon had purchased one of those, claiming that it would make him fit and strong like he used to be when he was much younger.
He hadn’t lasted a week before the machine was packed up and shoved into the deepest corners of their garage, never to be seen or heard from again.
What a waste…
“Yes.” Adam said, finally looking away from his notes and giving Harry a nod. “I mean the exercise machines.”
“I don’t understand.” Harry said, feeling more than a little confused. “What do spells have to do with a treadmill?”
Adam blinked and shook his head quickly. “No, no. Sorry, my brain just made ten leaps there. I’m trying to build a treadmill. With magic.”
“Oh.” Harry said; now that sounded like a far more reasonable explanation.
“What for, though?” Harry asked.
“I want to exercise.” Was Adam’s response.
Harry opened and closed his mouth several times before he found the words he wanted to say. “But you can just run laps in the training area, or run outside! I don’t understand.”
Here, it was Adam’s turn to grimace. “I hate running in circles, Harry. It makes me a little dizzy and annoys the crap out of me.”
“Oh.” Harry said. “Then…”
“And I don’t want to run outside either— don’t want people looking at me. They just stare, you know?” Adam finished. “So I’m going to make a treadmill. That way I can run in place here at the house and not have to deal with anything, or anyone. Got it?”
That did indeed sound like something Adam would say: making things far more difficult than they had any right to be was a very quintessential Adam thing to do.
“I see…” Harry said, though he really didn’t. “I don’t know; seems like a waste of time to me, Adam.”
“Ah, but…” Adam raised a finger in response as he gestured at his notes. “It also helps me practice my spellwork, Harry.”
“Yeah, true.” Harry said, though he still didn’t sound convinced by it. “I mean I still don’t really get it, though…”
Adam stared at Harry for a moment before setting his notes down and getting to his feet, placing the rolled up rug on the floor and dusting himself off slightly. Green eyes met white and black. “It’s a hobby, Harry. For fun.”
“Yeah. Can’t just work, work, work, all the time, now can I?” Adam said, shrugging. “I like creating things. Ever since school started, I’ve been so busy learning every bit of magic I can get my hands on. I made those chains, I learned how to turn invisible, how to fight— all sorts of things.”
Harry sensed a ‘but’ incoming.
“But…” Adam said, nodding towards the rug and notes. “I lost sight of what I like to do, what brings me happiness. And this… Well.”
That seemed to strike a chord within Harry. He swallowed and began to speak. “No, no, Adam. I understand.”
“It’s just nice to create something, you know?” Adam said and looked away, muttering to himself. “Instead of… instead of killing.”
Killing. The word bounced around Harry’s head for a moment before he was seized with the need to say something. “Adam.”
He grasped the boy by the shoulder.
“Wha—?” Adam said, surprised. He opened his mouth to say something further when their eyes met again. He stopped.
“You aren’t a killer, Adam.”
Black and white eyes widened at Harry’s statement, before narrowing with obvious doubt. “Liar. I killed Quirrell.”
Harry couldn’t stop the shiver that raced down his spine at the almost casual way with which the boy had referred to what was one of the most traumatic events of his life.
“No, he was already dead.” Harry said and then quickly added before Adam could argue. “As good as! Professor Dumbledore explained it to me a little. He said… He said that Professor Quirrell would have died either way. Voldemort’s hold on him was absolute.”
Adam turned away, staring at the wall for a few moments before speaking again. “I wonder if he told you that to ease your conscience, or if that’s really the case.”
Harry shook his head. “Professor Dumbledore wouldn’t do that.”
Adam turned to Harry with disbelieving eyes, but he shook his head. “I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
Harry, however, was having none of it. “Even if Dumbledore was lying, you didn’t have a choice, Adam! He was trying to kill us! He cast the Imperius on all those students and forced them to try and kill us, too! Did I mention he tried to kill us?”
Adam stared at him for a moment before nodding and letting a long exhale out. “…Yeah. Yeah. You’re right. Maybe I’m just overthinking things…”
“Yeah, you tend to do that.” Harry said, snorting as he pushed and pulled his friend’s shoulder in an attempt to get him to relax. Adam ended up getting a small smile in response. “Ironic, since you keep saying ‘keep it simple, stupid’.”
“I— Yeah, you got me there.”
The two boys shared a laugh before Harry got serious again. “Don’t listen to that stupid Boggart, all right? It can’t tell the future.”
Adam nodded, swallowing as he took Harry’s hand in his own, gripping it tightly. “I won’t. You’re right.”
“Heh.” Harry smirked as he let go. “I could get used to hearing that from you, Clarke.”
“It’s Black now. Adam Black, thank you very much.” Adam said in response, making Harry laugh for a few moments.
“You shouldn’t listen to what that thing told you either.” Adam said afterwards. “You’ll never go back to those people. You’re stuck with me forever.”
Harry nodded, happy. “Yes. Stuck with you and your silly— Riddikulus— ideas.”
“Oh, come on.” Adam huffed and gestured at his notes. “It’s not silly. It can work!”
“Adam… you’re using a rug.” Harry said. “You need something more solid than that. You’re going to be running on a treadmill, you know!”
“That’s— It’s just for the prototype, okay!?” Adam argued. “The real one will be made with the right materials.”
“You also know we’re leaving for France tomorrow, right?”
“So… Nevermind, Adam.” Harry said as he headed towards the door. “I’m going to go have some breakfast.”
“Not so fast.” Adam followed him out and down the stairs. “You’re not getting away that easily, Potter!”
Harry only smiled. Yes. There really was nothing to worry about.
Around The Same Time, Near Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Newt and Tina Scamander
“You don’t have to do this, you know…” He heard his wife say from beside him as they walked the long road leading up to the large castle in the distance.
A small smile came over Newt’s aged face. He stopped and turned to stare at Porpentina.
“…What?” She demanded after a few moments. “What are you looking at?”
“I’m looking at you.” His words were, as always, soft spoken. “I haven’t seen you this nervous about something for a long time, Tina.”
“I— Well…” Tina said, looking annoyed at the man. “Don’t change the subject, Newton.”
Newt winced; decades later, and he still didn’t like it when she called him that— or when anyone did for that matter.
“We can turn around and pretend like none of this ever happened.” Tina insisted. “It’s not like Dumbledore is summoning us to him, or anything. This is only an invitation— we owe him nothing.”
Newt opened his mouth to answer before hesitating and really considering what she’d told him. “You’re right, Tina. We do not owe the man a thing. We’ve done our bit for the Wizarding World.”
And that was putting it lightly. All of the death, the suffering…!
He still remembered his brother’s pained face as the curse he was struck with slowly leached away what little life he had left. All of his old friends endured great pain and agony during that war.
So many names etched into stone. Yusuf. Bunty. Theseus. Leta… He thought, his heart clenching with great sadness. We can’t turn around from this— or it will all have been for naught.
“It is true that we’ve sacrificed much in the war.” Newt said as he cast his gaze towards Hogwarts Castle. “Much.”
“Then why?” Tina said, unwilling to let the matter drop. “Why not continue with our lives like we had decided earlier?”
“Anthony.” Was the only answer he gave her.
Tina only smiled, understanding in an instant. “He was adorable, wasn’t he…”
Newt smiled in return and their walk resumed. “Reminded me of myself, in a way.”
“Yes.” Newt nodded. “A very precocious boy, with a diverse set of interests.”
“His collection of coins, you mean?”
“It was quite extensive.” Newt’s eyes glittered with mirth. “He knew the history and life of every coin he owned. Who he got it from, where it has been for the past hundred years at least.”
Tina nodded. “We’ll have to pay them a proper visit, next time.”
“Yes. Under better circumstances.” Newt said, and that was the end of that conversation. The remainder of the walk to the castle was spent in companionable silence, with the old couple simply enjoying the beauty of the nature around them.
Soon enough, however, they were standing before the large, sturdy iron gates blocking the remainder of the path to the Castle. A rather large man was waiting at the other side, far taller than anyone the two had ever seen. He had long, scraggly hair, a great big bushy beard, and kind eyes.
“Perfessor Dumbledore said that he’d be receiving visitors today.” The man said loudly, looking far too excited. “Didn’ think it’d be the legendary Newt Scamand’r, in the flesh. Blimey.”
Ah. Newton thought, giving the man an awkward smile. “Yes. Would you be so kind as to open the door for us, Mister… Hagrid, I presume?”
The man’s eyes widened and he flushed in embarrassment as he fished into his large coat and ruffled through the pockets. “Oh. Of course. And yes, that’s me; Rubeus Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts. You can call me Hagrid.”
“Nice to meet you, Hagrid.” Tina said from beside Newt. A light sound of creaking filled the air as the gate swung open, giving the two access. “My name’s Porpentina, and as you were able to guess, this is my husband, Newt Scamander.”
Hagrid nodded and approached the two with a welcoming smile. “A pleasure ter meet both of yeh. Perfessor Dumbledore has been expecting yeh fer some time.”
“Yes.” Hagrid said with a nod. “I’ll be taking yeh to his office.”
“D’you mind if we have some breakfast beforehand, Mr. Hagrid?” Tina said. and Newt had to stifle the urge to roll his eyes. Ever since she’d visited the school the first time, Tina had been obsessed with the food from here.
She’s not wrong to be obsessed, though. Newt thought, remember the exquisite meals the elves so meticulously prepared for him. The elves truly know their craft.
“Oh, ‘course!” Hagrid said, nodding as he led the way, making sure to keep the pace slow. “I’m sure Perfessor Dumbledore wouldn’t mind at all. And it’s just Hagrid, mind.”
“Hagrid, then.” Tina said, and the man gave her a grateful nod.
“So, Hagrid…” Tina asked. “How is it that you know my husband?”
That was all the prompting the man needed to tell them all about his love for creatures. “I’ve read loads of Mr. Scamand’r books, see. They’ve helped me more times than I can count!”
“Indeed?” Newt asked, intrigued as he moved a little faster to walk by the man’s side.
“Aye…” Hagrid confirmed, gaining a smile. “Your books were a great help fer me, especially when I was startin’ out after my predecessor passed.”
“Old Ogg.” Newt breathed, eyes widening with remembrance.
“Yes.” Hagrid said, looking pleasantly surprised. “Yeh knew him?”
“Yes.” Newt gave the man a nod and a smile. “Though it’s someone I haven’t thought of in a long time; a very long time. I remember he had a great love for magical creatures, and he could make a fine stew.”
“Yes.” Hagrid chuckled, slowly relaxing in Newt’s presence, much to the man’s delight. “He taught me alot— everythin’ he knew.”
Tina smiled and followed the two as their discussions grew more animated and excited. Newt always loved it when he met a person who was as interested in Creatures as he was. It never ceased to warm her heart every time it happened.
In no time at all, they found themselves before the doors of the Great Hall.
Hagrid opened it for them before following them inside. Newt smiled; the large chamber looked just as it always had. Just as it always will.
Candles floated above their heads as far as they could see, and Newt knew that it would be impossible to count them all, as the candles swayed and moved under the illusion of the sky above.
He brought his eyes down and started in surprise, for Professor Dumbledore was already here, sitting at the Head table and chatting with a few of his colleagues.
It seems the conversation may happen earlier than anticipated… He thought, feeling a small hint of unease and banishing it away before taking his first few steps forward.
The occupants of the Head table noticed them long before they got there, but were polite enough to wait until they got close before standing.
“Perfessor.” Hagrid said, giving the much older man a nod. “Your guests, Newt and Porpentina Scamander.”
“Thank you, Hagrid.” He said before turning to the two and giving them a nod of greeting. “Welcome back to Hogwarts, Mr. and Mrs. Scamander.”
“Headmaster.” Both he and Tina said at the same time. “Thank you for the invitation.”
“Come.” He said, gesturing at a few open seats at the table. “Please, sit. You must be hungry. We can save the meeting until we are all fed and watered.”
The two gave him gracious nods before taking their place at the table. Newt had to stop himself from laughing, as Tina looked like she was doing her best not to dive into all the food that appeared just as she sat down.
The next few dozen minutes passed quickly enough, with both Hagrid and Newt exchanging information on the various animals they’d met or raised. Before too long, the two were well and sated— more importantly, they were ready for the meeting.
“Now that we’ve all been sated.” Dumbledore said after wiping his mouth with a napkin and standing up. “If you would follow me?”
“Of course, Albus.” Newt said and got up as well before turning towards Hagrid. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Hagrid.”
“Pleasure’s all mine, Mr. Scamand’r.”
“Just Newt will be fine.” Newt gave him a nod and a small smile before wiping it from his face and following the Headmaster out of the Great Hall, with Tina by his side.
The air around the small group of three began to fill with a sense of anticipation and mild tension as they made their way to the second floor. Soon enough, they were standing before the statue of a gargoyle, which leapt to the side with a single look from the Headmaster, revealing the entrance behind it.
The old couple shared a look and a nod before following the Headmaster up the spiral staircase.
Once inside the office, Newt’s eyes immediately zeroed in on the bright red avian staring at them from his perch next to the window.
“Fawkes.” Newt greeted the ancient phoenix as the Headmaster moved to sit at his table. “It has been a long time.”
Fawkes warbled and gave the man a nod towards the chairs before looking toward Dumbledore.
“Please, have a seat.” Albus said, and the two did so. “Once again, thank you for accepting my invitation.”
“Let’s get right to the point, Dumbledore.” Tina said before Newt could give the man an answer. She leaned forward in her chair. “This is about Grindelwald, isn’t it?”
Albus stared at her for a moment before giving her a grave nod; his previously jovial mood had taken a massive dip. “Yes. Yes it is.”
He steepled his fingers together, considering his words carefully. “I thought it prudent, and only fitting to speak to you about the things that have been going on, considering our history with the man.”
“Yes.” Tina said in a very dry tone, but didn’t add anything further. “And yet, this could have been said over a letter. What do you want?”
“Tina…” Newt said, feeling a little awkward and exasperated at his wife’s confrontational attitude. “Let’s hear Albus out first, at least.”
Tina sent her husband a sharp look before nodding and leaning back in her chair. “Fine.”
“Thank you, Newt.” Dumbledore gave the man a nod. “In the wake of Grindelwald’s escape from Nurmengard, as well as his success at Remords De L’Âme, many wizards and witches have begun to flock to his side.”
“And?” Tina said, tilting her head slightly. “Criminals and Dark Wizards, are they not? Every would-be ruler has had the same thing in the past. Most recently was your Dark Lord.”
“You do know you live here now, Tina.” Newt said to his wife. “You have for at least forty years.”
Tina smiled in amusement for a moment before turning a disapproving glare onto Dumbledore once again. “Besides, there can’t be many who have joined his cause. Many families— both here, the European mainland, and the Americas— have felt the sting of Grindelwald’s rise before. None would trust him so easily.”
But Dumbledore only shook his head.
“Too much time has passed, I fear. Many people don’t remember what he was. And, more than that; Gellert has changed.” Albus said, and it was the first time Newt had seen the man so perturbed. “Drastically so. His behavior is completely different from how it was before.”
“In what way?” Newt said, leaning forward in curiosity.
“It is difficult to explain in words.” Albus said as he gestured towards a cabinet to his left. The two turned to see its doors swing open, revealing a Pensieve. “Since you two have dealt with him as I have, you will understand once you see.”
The couple shared a look before nodding to each other and getting up.
Tina spoke first as she headed towards the large basin with her husband. “Very well, Headmaster.”
A few minutes later, the two emerged from the Pensieve, their faces painted with shock, surprise, and no small amount of apprehension. They slowly went back to their seats, not saying a single word.
Dumbledore frowned, unsure of what to say. The silence lasted for a few seconds longer before Newt finally spoke.
“He is different.” Newt said with a serious look in his eyes. “You are right. The way he spoke, and the way he moved…”
“He beat you.” Tina said, pinning the old man with her gaze. “You.”
“…Yes.” Dumbledore said, nodding. “He has defeated me—”
“—but as far as the newspapers have reported.” Tina cut him off. “You drove him off.”
“That is what they have written, in order to avoid provoking mass hysteria.” Dumbledore said, looking displeased but also resigned. “A sad and dishonest move, but one I cannot help but agree with, considering the ramifications. Strangely enough, Grindelwald seems content in keeping my defeat a secret— I don’t know why.”
“This is bad.” Tina said. “Much worse than I thought. If he’s already defeated you… and that explosion— whatever that was!”
“It’s even worse than that.” Newt added in before making eye contact with Albus. “Grindelwald— he looked young.”
Albus nodded gravely. “Yes. I’m sure you understand what that signifies.”
“He has access to Flamel’s Elixir of Life?” Newt said before shaking his head. “Impossible. Nicolas would never.”
“He would not.” Albus agreed. “And yet, Gellert has always been a very resourceful wizard.”
“You think he figured out the secret to creating a Philosopher’s Stone?” Tina said. That wasn’t a good thought.
“Or acquired some Elixir during… I believe the events in ‘Forty One?” Newt said, frowning as he tried to recall anything specific during that hellish year in his life.
“It is possible.” Albus said and shook his head. “What truly happened during some particular events that year may remain a mystery for many years to come. All we do know is that we are now dealing with a powerful, Dark wizard who’s regained his youth while retaining every sliver of power, skill and experience of a man as old as I.”
Silence blanketed the air for a single moment before Dumbledore ripped it away again.
“There is more.” He said.
How much worse could this get? Newt thought and began to speak. “You speak of the events at the school here?”
Dumbledore blinked. “You know of them?”
A moment later, he nodded and continued before Newt could speak. “Of course. Young Anthony Goldstein.”
“Anthony— He spoke of a boy.” Tina said. “With eyes of white and black.”
“Adam Clarke.” Newt added.
At that, the Headmaster’s posture shifted somewhat, figuring out what they were getting at. “You believe the boy to be similar to Grindelwald.”
“It’s a wild theory based on a hunch.” Tina said. “From what young Tony’s told us, he seems to be the model student, and a great friend besides.”
“That is indeed the case.” Dumbledore said. “Young Adam is a very curious, very gifted child. But despite his hard life, he has shown the true qualities, the selflessness and good of a great wizard. You need not worry about what he might become, no.”
Newt and Tina stared at him for a moment before nodding.
“Then, if not him, what is it you wished to speak to us about?”
Albus nodded at the question and began to answer it. “My colleagues at the MACUSA have shared some worrying concerns with me.”
Tina sat up straighter in her chair, eyes narrowed. “Concerns? Such as?”
Newt stopped himself from smiling. Even after all these years, Tina still sometimes acted like she was the head of the Auror office of the MACUSA. It was amusing, in a way.
“There have been a series of skirmishes between the Aurors and various independent groups encroaching on the borders of the country— and operating in a few of the territories.”
“That doesn’t really sound like anything new, Albus.” Tina said, tilting her head slightly. “Incursions and subterfuge have been the norm since the old days of the establishment of the MACUSA. Redbrands, Greenbloods, Blackjays… We’ve always dealt with them accordingly.”
“Of course.” Dumbledore nodded in agreement. “And yet the reports my colleagues have been receiving… a single, united faction with members wearing all colors.”
Tina’s eyes widened as she leaned back in her seat. “Impossible. They’ve been feuding among each other ever since…”
“Yes, ever since their Great Rift in… 1813, I believe?”
“That’d be right.” Tina said, looking far more tense than was healthy. “A reunited tribe of Outsiders, all operating under one banner. That… What could have possibly— Grindelwald?”
“…It is possible that the man has directly interfered in their dynamics.” Dumbledore said, nodding. “It could also be a simple response to the cry of revolution sent out by Grindelwald in Europe. I do not know. But I do know that similar events are beginning to take place all over the world. I’ve been swamped with letters from the ICW about problems arising in Spain, France, Portugal, and even in Japan. Now, the States…”
There was a long silence before Tina spoke again. “And you want me to go home and try and get a handle on the situation.”
Dumbledore nodded in response. “It would not be an exaggeration to say that you would be a great help.”
“…Fine.” Tina said after a few moments of thought. “I’ll do it.”
She then glared at the man. “But don’t think you can order any of us around like you used to.”
“Perish the thought.” Albus said, smiling to defuse the woman. “Though, there is one thing I do need your immediate help with. Newt’s help, actually.”
“And that is?” Tina said, still looking cross with the man.
At that, Dumbledore only shook his head. “Hagrid may have acquired a peculiar animal, and wishes to raise it himself…”
Newt’s eyes shone with interest as he leaned forward. “Indeed? What is it?”
“A Norwegian Ridgeback.” Albus said, the twinkle coming back to his eyes. “Will it be too much trouble?”
“Of course not.” Newt said, now excited. “Your man, Hagrid… He is quite the interesting fellow, indeed. How old is it? What has Hagrid been feeding it? What about—”
Yes. Tina thought as Dumbledore did his best to answer her husband’s increasingly specific questions. The next few years shall prove to be interesting, to say the least.
She just hoped that they could stop it before it was too late, this time. For Anthony.