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Lament And Party

August 18, 1992, 11:15 PM, Hogwarts Castle

Helena Ravenclaw

Helena Ravenclaw glided through the halls of Hogwarts, her translucent figure floating silently along the corridors. The moonlight streamed through the windows, casting a pale glow over the castle walls.

She moved with an otherworldly grace, her long brown hair flowing behind her as she made her way towards Ravenclaw Tower.

As she passed by the portraits on the walls, she could hear their light snores and mumbles as they slept in peace. A few who were still awake recognized her as she floated by, watching her with curious expressions.

She flew through a few walls until she found herself in the Common Room.

If this were the school year, the fireplace would be roaring, and a few of the students would be still milling about at this hour.

As it were, this place was as silent as the grave. Helena did not like it at all— Hogwarts should be writhing with energy and life at all times, not just during the school year.

Still, it wasn’t like she could convince the teachers to open the school at this time, and she understood that the professors required time off, as well.

One of the few negatives of being alive was the need to sleep, to rest, she believed; less time to enjoy the life they were all given.

And so, Helena stared at the empty seats for a few moments before she sought out the portrait of her mother, Rowena Ravenclaw.

The painting’s colors were muted by the lack of light, the brushstrokes lacking the warmth and depth of a living person. But for Helena, the ghostly daughter of the great Hogwarts Founder, it was one of the only remaining connections she had to her mother.

Another was a peculiar looking diadem sitting in the Room of Hidden Things— the object she’d been so obsessed with that it had led to betraying her mother and, eventually, to her gory death in a forest by a man whose love she did not return.

She shook her head. Now was not the time to think of such corrupted things. She was already miserable enough.

As Helena glided towards the portrait, she could hear the faint rustling of fabric as the painting’s only occupant shifted in her seat. Rowena Ravenclaw’s eyes opened slightly, staring at her daughter for all of a second before shaking her head and going back to sleep.

Helena paused for a moment, gazing up at the portrait. She could almost imagine her mother’s voice, the way she would smile and offer words of encouragement in the past.

But those days are long gone. Part of her soul whispered, and Helena had to suppress the urge to sob.

With a sigh, she continued on her way, her translucent figure gliding away from her mother, away from Ravenclaw Tower.

Soon enough, she was back in the halls of Hogwarts, drifting along the corridors with no aim or purpose. The castle was full of memories for her, both good and bad, and she had spent centuries wandering these halls, searching for something she could never find.

She didn’t know why she bothered, sometimes. Rowena’s portrait was a poor substitute for the real thing, but sometimes it brought her some measure of comfort to see her mother’s face, even if Rowena wouldn’t give her the time of day. The painting had been cross with her ever since it had been made, and it didn’t seem like it would give her a chance any time soon.

Helena couldn’t blame the portrait; she supposed she deserved the hate and vitriol, traitor that she was.

Helena turned a corner and descended a flight of stairs, her grey dress billowing with an ethereal wind. She knew these halls like the back of her hand, especially after all these years as a ghost. She had spent so much of her life here, studying and learning and trying to live up to her mother’s legacy, even if she sometimes felt it was completely and utterly pointless to do so.

Before she even realized it, Helena had floated her way up to the Astronomy Tower.

She drifted past a few telescopes, moving over to the edge so she could look out at the night sky. She could see the stars twinkling above the castle, and for the shortest of instants, Helena felt a sense of peace. But it quickly faded away, and soon she was once again filled with a deep longing for the life she had lost.

“Adam…” She said, her voice turning pained as she said the boy’s name. “How long until you’re back?”

Intellectually, she knew that she would see him again in a few weeks’ time. However, whatever remained of her soul screamed at her that he wouldn’t return, that she’d never get to be around him again.

Helena shook her head; that was just the addiction speaking, as well as her acquired obsessive, almost deranged, ghostly nature.

The sad part was that she hadn’t always been this way.

Once upon a time, when she’d still been alive, Helena had been a much different person. She was cold and cynical, to be sure, but never so obsessed with her traumas that she couldn’t even be communicated with.

It had taken her the better part of the past year to admit that she had a problem to herself, and even then she was still wracked with intense bouts of mental anguish and general melancholy.

Around Adam, however, her ghostly body regained a measure of warmth, of life. She could feel the gentle caress of the cool breeze, the warmth of the Sun— sensations which she had long since forgotten.

It didn’t end at sensing heat, of course. Sounds were no longer muted things, reaching her ghostly ears with an energizing sharpness. Her sight grew more focused and vibrant as she perceived shades of colors she had completely forgotten.

More than that, her mind felt whole again. Though her pain and anguish was still there, she could now ignore it and focus on the positives— a skill that she’d managed to hide from the other ghosts so far.

Eventually, they would find out, of course. Nothing in Hogwarts stayed secret for very long, after all.

Of course, Helena knew that she couldn’t explain any of it to the others.

She didn’t know how he had done it, but Adam had somehow brought her closer to the border between life and death.

She had her suspicions, of course. Her developing link with Alef Ard was not something she could dismiss so easily, after all, but it was when Adam was nearby that the sensations of life returned to her.

Helena both loved and hated the reincarnated man for it.

Loved him, because this was what she’d been searching for ever since she’d died nearly a millennium ago. Hated him, because his absence took it all away, leaving her reduced to… this.

Pitiful, really.

Her gaze went to the Moon, her eyes widening as she spotted a familiar figure flying through the sky.

It was Absol, the Thestral.

Her wings, like sheets of glowing, gray silk, beat against the cool night air, propelling her higher and higher. The stars above shone like diamonds peppering the dark sky, and the world below seemed like it was cast in shadows that danced in the silver moonlight.

Absol flew alone, graceful and effortless despite the sadness her movements seemed to exude.

The moonlight seemed to envelop her, casting a soft, silvery glow upon her skeletal form.

As she flew, Absol let out a soft, mournful cry. Helena didn’t need to be an expert to realize that it was a cry of loneliness.

She misses him too.

But even as she flew alone, Absol seemed to find some measure of solace in her activity. The night sky, after all, was a world of its own, a place where Absol could be free and wild, soaring through the darkness with the grace and beauty of a creature of the night.

Then, with a final burst of speed, Absol dove towards Helena, her wings tucking in close to her body for a few moments before opening wide, casting an impressive figure with the Moon shining bright behind her.

Absol landed softly, her hooves clacking against the cold, stone floor of the Astronomy Tower. Absol stood there for a few seconds, breathing heavily as she rested, her eyes bright with a fierce, wild energy. And then, with a flick of her tail, she turned her milky white eyes at Helena.

“Absol.” Helena murmured before raising her voice. “It is good to see you.”

Absol folded her wings and gave Helena a warm chirp of greeting.

“Did you miss me?” Helena said, disappointed but not surprised by the Thestral’s nonverbal response.

It seems that our communication is limited, unlike the time we shared in the Abyss. Helena thought. The Veiled Lands, as Absol seemed to refer to them.

Both were ominous names depicting a realm that seemed both familiar and foreign to her.

Helena supposed that she had gone through that place when she’d died. She must have; that was where all souls eventually passed through on their way to the Great Beyond. What she must have experienced there, however, she couldn’t remember— not even an iota.

Perhaps one needed to cross over completely, much as Adam did, to be able to remember. And I didn’t.

Shaking such morbid, depressing thoughts away, Helena turned her attention towards Absol, smiling when the Thestral nodded.

“I missed you, too.” Helena said.

Helena’s hand reached forward, but she hesitated. She wanted to pet Absol, but was afraid that, without Adam’s presence, that she’d bother Absol by giving her a cold jolt.

She knew that the living were always uncomfortable touching ghosts.

Absol, uncaring of such nonsense, approached and bopped her head against Helena’s, pushing the floating woman back slightly.

Helena’s mouth opened in shock at the unexpected touch.

“W—What?” She said in disbelief. 

She gathered herself quickly and approached again, hesitantly placing a trembling hand against Absol’s long neck.

Her palm pressed against solid, warm skin. It did not go through.

“How?” Helena asked, dumbfounded. “Could it be… Your connection to Adam as his familiar?”

Absol only chirped in response, leaning into the ghost’s touch for a few moments before trotting around her happily and settling down on the stone floor, unbothered by the cold.

“You…” Helena said, though she shook her head and gave the beast a watery smile. “Thank you, Absol.”

Joining Absol’s side, Helena felt the Thestral’s sheer heat being exuded from her body. She leaned against the Thestral, closing her eyes for a few moments.

Unbidden, Helena began to sing to them both.

Oh, how I long to feel alive again,
To breathe the air and feel the rain,
To dance beneath the moonlit sky,
And sing until the morning light. 

But I’m stuck here in this lonely place,
A fading memory with no face,
A forlorn soul that can’t move on,
A lost ghost without a song…

The Moon continued to shine on them both as Helena continued to sing, filling the Astronomy Tower with her wonderful voice.

And yet, in her storm of pain and anguish, Helena Ravenclaw found peace.

If only for a moment.


August 19, 1992, 1:30 PM, Adam’s Room, Twelve Grimmauld Place, London

Adam Clarke

I stared at myself in the mirror for a few seconds before sighing. I look ridiculous. Maybe I shouldn’t have humored Madam Malkin so much when we went to get fitted. Oh, who am I kidding? That woman has a silver tongue— she can convince you to do anything when it concerns her precious clothes.

I continued to adjust my robes, fiddling with the fabric around my shoulders until it felt just right. I huffed and nodded. “Better.”

The rest of the ensemble took similar levels of adjustments, but a few minutes later, I was confident that everything was where it was supposed to be.

“Adam?” Harry’s voice came from his own room.

I paused for a moment, looking away from the mirror. “Yeah?”

“Could you come here for a second?”

I nodded before realizing he couldn’t see it. Feeling like an idiot, I answered him. “All right.”

Checking myself over one last time, I moved out of my room, crossing the distance to reach Harry’s. “What’s up?”

I knew the issue before Harry even opened his mouth.

“The vest, right?” I said, cutting him off. Harry only nodded, looking sheepish.

“I figured.” I said, moving away. “Let me get my wand, it’ll make things easier.”

A few seconds later, I returned with my ebony wand, holding it at the ready.

“Don’t cut it or anything.” Harry said, looking incredibly nervous.

“No, no.” I said with a laugh. “This will just give me better control. No cuts, I promise.”

“If you say so…” Harry said but still sounded unsure.

I went to work, silently using a series of Charms I’d learned by watching Madam Malkin at work; well, I actually already knew the Charms in question— the Levitation Charm, as well as the Summoning and Banishing Charms.

It was akin to the impromptu test that Dumbledore and Flitwick had given me, so long ago: using existing spells but in different ways. A localized Summoning Charm could pull a bit of fabric in one direction, thus pulling the entire cloth item with it. The same, of course, applied to the Levitation and Banishing Charms.

I spent the next ten minutes making such minute adjustments to Harry’s wardrobe, listening to his input as I worked.

It was then that Sirius popped his head into the doorway. “Well, are you two ready?”

“Just about.” I said, looking up at Harry. “Well?”

Harry raised his arms up and down before doing the same with his legs, testing his range of motion. After a few more seconds of this, he nodded in satisfaction. “Seems that way. Thanks Adam.”


“Great.” Sirius said, stepping into the room.

The man was clad in well tailored formal robes that accentuated his broad shoulders and lean frame. The deep black fabric cascaded gracefully down to a set of polished leather shoes.

Along the edges, there was some fairly intricate embroidery, displaying delicate patterns of stars and moons, a nod to Sirius’ namesake and his connection to the night sky.

His jet-black hair, rebelliously tousled and falling to his shoulders, framed a face marked by intense gray eyes that sparkled with mischief.

“Well, you certainly look…” I said, trailing off for a moment. “Dapper.”

“I do clean up pretty nicely, don’t I?”

I looked up at the ceiling, rolling my eyes in the most over the top way possible. Sirius only laughed in reply.

“Madam Malkin knows her craft well, more like.”

“All too true. Well, we still have a bit of time before we’re going to be late.” Sirius said. “Any of you need to go to the bathroom or grab a quick bite to eat?”

“Already took a huge dump, thanks.” I said, drawing a sharp look from Harry. “What?”

“You didn’t have to say it out loud…”

“I’m going to have to go ahead and sort of… disagree with you there.” I said in my most obnoxious workplace boss voice. Bill Lumbergh would be proud.

Harry rolled his eyes at that before turning to Sirius. “Won’t there be cake?”

“Oh, I’m sure there will.” Sirius confirmed, waving it off. “But that won’t be for a few hours still. If this party is anything like what I’m expecting it to be, then we’ll be expected to mingle for quite some time before the food comes in.”

“Oh.” Harry said, swallowing. “Then maybe a quick sandwich?”

“Kreacher?” Sirius called, but it was unnecessary, because Kreacher was already in front of Harry, a sandwich already offered up halfway through Sirius’ summoning. “Get Harry a— oh; yes, good job. Thank you.”

Kreacher stiffened at the praise, looking at Sirius a little strangely before nodding and popping away. Sirius stared thoughtfully at the elf’s last position before shaking his head.

“Well, that settles that.” Sirius said and backed out of the room. “I’ll be waiting at the Drawing Room.”

I resisted the urge to groan. “Apparition again?”

“No.” Sirius smiled as he left. “We’ll be using the Floo!”

“Joy.” I said in his wake.

“Adam, you don’t like any Wizarding methods of transportation.”

“You’re one to talk. I don’t know. Call me crazy…” I said. “But I like—”

“You’re crazy.” Harry cut me off, a grin firmly plastered on his face between sandwich bites.

I barked out a laugh, not having expected that. “Oh, looks like I’m rubbing off on you, Harry. Soon you’ll start making awkward, cringe inducing jokes, just like me!”

Harry shook his head, a look of false mortification on his face. “Definitely not.”

“Don’t bother denying it.” I said, patting him on the shoulder as I turned to leave. “It’s only a matter of time, my young apprentice.”

“You’re only a month older than me!” Harry’s voice followed me out of the room.

“My terribly young apprentice!” I yelled back and laughed again as I went down the stairs, moving to stand alongside an amused Sirius.

“Remus won’t be joining us?” I said to pass the time, knowing what Sirius’ answer would be.

“Well, he would have been if he were invited.” Sirius said. “But the letter only mentioned the House of Black, and Remus isn’t technically part of it. I thought about asking him to go, regardless— it would certainly mess with the other families’ sense of propriety and Pureblood decorum, but Remus isn’t feeling too well, either. So it’s a moot point.”

“Oh, yes, that time of the month for him. Right.” I said, nodding twice.

Sirius gave me a mildly alarmed look. “The way you said that… Do you already know?”

“Know what?” I said, keeping an innocent look.

“Don’t play around, Adam.” Sirius said, his somber tone contrasting with his usual carefree air. “You know he—”

“Yes, I know.” I said, nodding. “Remus is both a man and woman. Right?”

“He— What?” Sirius’ eyes went wide at this.

“Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it?” I said, scratching my chin. “Once a month, he starts getting really irritable and feels a lot of pain— that’s just how women—”

“What— No!” Sirius said quickly, shaking his head as he seemed to have some kind of inner conflict between his sense of comedy and propriety. “Remus isn’t— hah… He’s not a… He just has a disease—”

“Yes, I suppose it could be called a ‘disease’, if you look at it from a certain angle.” I cut him off again. “Though why call it that is beyond me; it’s a known condition, you know. Doesn’t seem very nice of you, Sirius. Such cruelty.”

“You…” Sirius closed his eyes and took a breath. “You’re pulling my leg.”

“Yes. Finally caught on, huh?” I confirmed with no shame before looking up to make sure Harry wasn’t listening in. “But, yeah, I know he’s a werewolf.”

Sirius opened his mouth before closing it, not having expected me to say that. “Since when?”

“Oh, it’s been a minute. I’ve had suspicions for a while.” I said with a shrug. “He gets mysteriously sick before and sometime after the Full Moon? His acute senses? There are a few more clues. Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.”

“Kept the secret for most of his life.” Sirius said, shaking his head in disagreement. “So… Might really take a genius to figure it out, kid.”

I wanted to disagree with him— I really did— but I couldn’t do so.

Actually. I thought. Now that I think about it, the only reason I knew to look for signs was because I already knew he was a werewolf beforehand. His name, notwithstanding, no one would ever think he was one, considering his friendly demeanor.

“Maybe you’re right.” I shrugged. “I guess I tend to give other people too much credit. You’re really telling me absolutely no one figured it out?”

“No; they must be dumb as Cornish Pixies.” Sirius said, shrugging before a smile came over his face. “But, oh you’ve done it now, Adam. Remus as part woman…”

“I… You’re going to mess with him, aren’t you?” I said, eyes wide as I saw the evil look on the man’s face. “I’ve created a monster.”

“Too right you are, Mr. Black.” Sirius gave an ominous chuckle. “I’ll wait a few days for the old girl to get back in good health, and then… Well.”

“I’m ready!” Harry’s voice came from the top of the stairs as the sound of footsteps began to reach our ears.

Sirius lost his jovial demeanor for a few moments as he affixed me with a look. “Don’t tell Harry yet, okay?”

“Sure.” I said back, keeping my voice. “Remus should tell him though. And soon.”

“…I’ll make sure to relay that to him.” Sirius said as Harry finally came to view. He turned to the boy and nodded with a smile. “All set?”

“Yeah.” Harry said as he reached us, completely unaware of the discussion Sirius and I just had. “You two?”

“Waiting on you.” I said before gesturing at the empty fireplace. “So, where exactly are we headed?”

“I’ll be getting to that before too long.” Sirius said as he checked over us both. “Okay; we’re ready.”

I rolled my eyes; Sirius could be such a mother hen at times. Fatherhood really did change people, it seemed.

I’d expected him to behave like the loose cannon he was in the fifth book, but the man had thoroughly surprised me with how well he took to the responsibility he accepted, and how thoughtful and thorough he could be when he put his mind to it.

It just went to show that I couldn’t judge people by whatever standards were presented to me in the original story, as they never revealed the whole background behind each character’s personality, and couldn’t account for how they’d react to unforeseen situations.

“So!” Sirius clapped his hands together, getting our attention. “As I said, we’ll be using the Floo to get to where we need to be. Harry will go first.”

“Why me?” Harry said, frowning. “Shouldn’t you be the one to go ahead?”

“No.” Sirius shook his head. “This is to make sure I can find you if things go wrong.”

“What do you mean?” Harry said, now looking a little alarmed. “‘If things go wrong’? Like what?”

“Oh, um… If you mispronounce the name of your destination, or something, it might send you to the wrong Floo Address— but don’t worry, the name is fairly simple.” Sirius said. “Think of it like practicing a spell; you don’t want to say it wrong, do you?”

“Right.” Harry said, though he didn’t sound too sure.

“The place we’re going to is called ‘Dragon’s Gate’.” Sirius said, saying the words slowly and clearly. “Say it with me now.”

“Dragon’s Gate.” All three of us said.

“Make sure to say it nice and slow.” Sirius said. “Again.”

“Dragon’s Gate.” Harry and I said. Sirius made us repeat it twice more before he nodded in satisfaction.

“All right.” He said, moving towards the fireplace and gesturing for Harry to go first. “Ready, Harry?”

“No.” Harry said, though he shook his head and stoned up. “But let’s do this anyway.”

The boy grabbed a handful of Floo powder and stood in the fireplace. He closed his eyes for a few seconds before throwing it down, announcing his destination. “Dragon’s Gate!”

Green fire roared to life, consuming the boy in an instant, leaving nothing but ashes behind.

“Good.” Sirius said. “He said it right, I’m fairly sure. Adam?”

“Yeah.” I nodded in agreement. “He didn’t mispronounce it.”

“I meant it’s your turn.”

“Oh.” I said and walked forward quickly. “Right.”

“But thanks for the confirmation, kid.”

Grabbing a handful of Floo Powder with a short hum of acknowledgment, I moved into the fireplace as well, mirroring Harry’s previous moves.

“Dragon’s Gate!” I announced, the green flames roaring around me.

Everything blurred, a maelstrom of green shapes whizzing past like streaks of light. A rush of warm air enveloped me, tugging at my clothes and tousling my hair as I hurtled through the network until I finally reached my destination.

I stepped out of the fireplace, feeling only mildly disoriented as I dusted the soot off of my clothes.

I looked around, keeping myself cool and collected as I took everything in.

We seemed to be in the entrance or reception hall of a large manor, with strange ornamentation displaying both the English and Chinese heritage of the family— tapestries covered both in Chinese symbols and English floral patterns which were seamlessly intertwined, creating a tableau that reached the sides of the room and continued its way up to the walls.

If I had to use one word to describe this place, I’d use extravagant. I thought. It’s something I’d expect the Malfoys to show off, not Su’s family. Then again, all these rich families are the same, huh.

“Adam!” Harry’s relieved voice came from my right, and I turned to see him standing there, looking nervous.

“Hey.” I said, keeping it cool as I approached him. “Trip go all right?”

“I almost fell on my face.” Harry said, shaking his head. “So, no.”

“Damn.” I said, patting his shoulder. “I’m sorry.”

It was then that the fireplace we came through roared a bright green, revealing Sirius.

He dusted himself off, not looking even remotely bothered by the trip. He stared at his surroundings for a moment before noticing us and heading our way.

“Looks like everyone made it all right.” Sirius said, before gesturing at the three members of staff who’d been politely waiting for quite some time to receive us.

“Welcome to Dragon’s Gate.” One of them stepped forward, a young woman who looked to be in her twenties. She was holding a clipboard. “Your names, please?”

Sirius seemed to gather his will together before he spoke. “Sirius Black. Adam Black. Harry Potter.”

The worker’s eyes went wide at the names before she quickly flipped to the correct page, checking the names. “Very good, we’ve been expecting you! Please, follow me.”

“What’s your name?” Sirius asked, interrupting her before she could lead the way.

She stopped and stared at him for a moment, as if weighing his very soul, before nodding. “You may call this one Tang. Now, if you would…”

And so we followed her.

Tang took us out of the receiving area, through a few long halls lined with various portraits of distinguished looking people.

“This place is pretty big.” Harry said.

“Yeah. I didn’t know Su was from such a renowned family.” I said, nodding as I tried to hide just how unnerved I was at not knowing something so important. “Honestly, it never even came up.”

“Yes.” Tang said, gesturing towards a few of the portraits. “The Li family is one of great ancestry, going as far back as the Song Dynasty.”

The three of us shared looks, having no idea how old that was, but judging from the lined portraits, I imagined that it was at least half a millennium old. “That’s quite the pedigree.”

“Indeed.” Tang said and led us through the door at the end. We entered a large ballroom, where quite a few people were gathered. “Here is the main hall, where the main festivities will take place. I will direct you to your table.”

“Is Su here yet, Miss Tang?” Harry asked before she could.

“Lady Su will arrive in a few minutes.” Tang said, nodding at the boy. “Come, let me show you to your table.”

Lady Su? I thought, saying nothing as we were taken to one of the four long tables in the room, right around the center, where I saw a familiar set of faces.

“The Malfoys?” I said, and the three of us stopped. This prompted Tang to turn to us with a mildly concerned look. I supposed she picked up on the way I’d said the name.

What’re they doing here? I thought, eyes narrowing at the group of three slightly. They hadn’t yet seen us, so busy they were with speaking to another family on their other side. First I see them at Grindelwald’s place, now here.

Just how many sides was Lucius Malfoy playing? 

“Yes.” Tang said, bringing me back to reality. “Your families are related, are they not? I imagine you would feel more comfortable around them.”

“That would have been true.” Sirius said. “But we are not quite… on good terms, if you catch my meaning.”

“Is that so…” Tang said, sounding both mildly displeased and curious. “Would you prefer a different seating arrangement, then? Since you are still early, we could possibly switch some of the seating around”

Sirius considered her offer before looking at me and Harry. “It’s up to you kids. Do you want to stay, or move to another spot?”

I shrugged. “Draco and I are acquainted, so it’s not a problem. I’m sure his parents will play nice, too. Wouldn’t be proper to do otherwise.”

“I don’t mind, either.” Harry added in.

Sirius looked at us for another moment to make sure we weren’t just saying it to avoid conflict before nodding and turning to Tang. “Well, there you have it. Lead the way, Miss Tang.”

“Very good.” Tang said and resumed her walk.

We followed. This would certainly be an interesting party.

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