Title: Son Undercover
Author: Saydria Wolfe
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre: Fix-it, Time-travel
Author’s Notes: Sequel to Duke of Hogwarts. I fancast Lily Evans as Sophie Turner.
Challenge: Just Write Trope Bingo, Square: Undercover
Beta: PN Ztivokreb
Word Count: 3,251
Summary: When Lily Evans met Duke Potter she was charmed…but she was also suspicious. Very, very suspicious.
“Sev!” Lily greeted her very best friend with a hug as he came onto Platform 9¾ alone. Always alone.
“Lily,” he greeted her gravely.
She looked down at the basket in his hands. “Is that a snake?”
“Yes, I need him for a potions project—the skin he sheds is a very valuable ingredient that I need as fresh as I can get for success. Professor Slughorn already signed off on me keeping him as a pet.”
Lily hummed her agreement. A potions project, of course.
Keeping a live snake as a pet at school had absolutely nothing to do with Sev’s wonder about and obsession with parselmouths. It was entirely for academic purposes. She totally believed that.
Sev rolled his eyes at her and she grinned.
“Will you still have time for your side projects with all of the new classes that have been added?”
She had been excited to receive the many letters from the Hogwarts Board of Governors over the summer detailing the changes the school had gone through while the students weren’t there to get in the way. Expanded staff with more training, core school subjects like math and English—even Magical Theory—for the first five years. All of the arts and Latin added to the course catalog wholesale.
Lily was able to take her violin to school with her this year for private magical music lessons and she was going to sign up for harp lessons as soon as the lists were made available.
She was thrilled.
“Have you seen the Duke?” Sev asked softly.
Lily wasn’t surprised. Sev had a total snake-speaker boner. “Over there,” she tipped her head to one side.
They turned together to watch him hold the shining golden cage housing a lovely Snowy Owl up, so they were eye to eye. The Duke sighed as they watched. “Okay,” he said and pulled the owl from her cage.
The owl rubbed her beak against his nose and took off.
The cage the Duke was holding disappeared entirely and Lily gasped. That wasn’t de-conjuration or banishment. She had no idea what that had been.
The Duke looked up to see them watching and blushed.
Lily took Sev by the sleeve and dragged him over to the boy. “What was that? Where did it go? How did you do that?”
“Oh, um,” the Duke tugged down his left sleeve and flipped his arm over to show her what she could only call a micro runic array inked on the inside of his wrist. She had never even heard of such a thing before. “I have a storage rune.”
“On your skin?” Sev asked, looking intrigued. “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“I invented it,” the Duke admitted a little sheepishly. “My sister—brilliant as she is—has a tendency to set things down and forget they exist until she needs them again—and of course she suddenly has no idea where on Earth whatever it was could possibly be. Hers is set so if she sets down something she has stored in her array before, it automatically goes into her rune until she reaches for it again.”
“Those aren’t any of the standard runes,” Lily offered.
“They’re parsel runes,” his Grace admitted. “It makes the array more secure if only one percent of the magical world can even tell what they say.”
“Approximately five percent of magical persons are Parselmouths,” Sev said with a frown.
“Right. But most of them know nothing about parsel runes. Most of us have giant gaps in our knowledge about parsel magic. It’s not like there is any sort of standardized training in the talent.”
“That’s something you’re going to fix?” Lily guessed.
“Yes and no,” his Grace shrugged. “I’m going to make the offer. If people don’t take them, that’s their choice.”
Sev made a rude noise and Lily rolled her eyes. “Ignore him, he’s bitter because he doesn’t have parsel abilities.”
“That could change.” His Grace offered Lily his arm. She took it and he started walking them toward the train. “We’re going to be doing testing to make sure everyone’s talents are known to them so they can seek proper training. A fascination with snakes is a sign of possible latency.”
Lily peeked over her shoulder to see Sev looking flummoxed but hopeful and she hummed. “Tell me about this runic array. You invented it for your sister?”
“Yes. Tested it myself, of course. It’s good for about five hundred pounds, though I wouldn’t store anything living in it…or food. I’ve rebuilt it in the standard Elder Futhark and it is being reviewed by the head of the Runic Masters Guild in Rome.
“It won’t completely replace bags as we know them, but I hope that…”
The Duke got excited when he spoke about the future of a tool he made specifically for his sister. It was charming and familiar. She wasn’t sure…his name was Potter and he did remind her of James, but he had her eyes. Her exact eyes. Two shades of green with an outer black ring—eyes, it had been said, she inherited from a sidhe ancestor.
She knew the sidhe ancestor was true. Professor Slughorn had offered to research her bloodline because he had been curious—and because he wanted some fantastical heritage for her that he could brag about discovering—but she had gone to the bank to learn the truth. Gringotts had confirmed that her grandmother had been sidhe and was actually still alive even if they couldn’t place which member of which royal court she was.
Still, her eyes were unique and somehow this boy had them.
But he looked like James.
“Are you related to James Potter?” she asked suddenly.
Lily thought she saw panic in the boy’s eyes for half a heartbeat before he asked, “Are all the Smiths you know related? Or the Evans?”
That wasn’t a no, she noted. With how many people could detect lies with magic, that had to mean something.
“All the Snapes I know are,” Sev said bitterly and the boy laughed. Sev blushed but laughed with the boy, staring at him like he was a wonder.
Iiiiiiiiiiiiinteresting. Lily grinned at her best friend as he glared at her.
“I heard you were blunt and demanding,” Sev said as they all took seats in a single compartment.
Smooth move, Sev. Lily winced to herself.
His Grace smiled like he was charmed. “I think you mean forthright and refreshing. No one would dare call a man of my rank such negative terms.”
“Not if they want to live to tell the tale,” Sev muttered and the Duke grinned.
She spent the next several hours watching Sev fail at flirting and his Grace enjoy it anyway.
Several people stopped by their compartment. Including James Potter and Sirius Black—Sev was so focused on Duke Potter that he didn’t even notice when Lily slipped out of the compartment to talk with them.
“Well, that was disturbing,” James said wryly. “I didn’t know Snape knew how to flirt?”
“Clearly, he doesn’t.” Lily suppressed a giggle as James and Sirius snickered. Neither of them had called him the hated Snivellus. She didn’t know if that was because the Duke seemed to be favoring him or if they were finally growing up. “It’s charming.”
“It’s something,” Sirius agreed.
“The Duke doesn’t seem nearly as unreasonable as the paper had tried to imply,” she offered.
“Oh, he’s not,” James assured her. “We met him not long after he claimed his title. He had his press release shaped specifically so he would seem unreasonable.”
“To keep people from trying to complain after he fired Dumbledore,” Sirius offered.
“Why did he fire Dumbledore?” Lily asked. “I thought he was a great wizard.”
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Mutt exchanged a long look.
“It’s kind of confidential,” James offered. “We only know because the Lords of our Houses are on his Council and we were with them as their heirs.”
“Let’s just say all the re-Sortings are happening for a reason,” Sirius offered.
So, at the very least, Dumbledore corrupted the Sorting Hat. Lily couldn’t see how that could be a problem to concern an actual Duke but…he was the Duke of Hogwarts which she didn’t understand the point of either. There had to be more to it than she understood.
“Did you two get re-Sorted?”
They both nodded.
“Still Gryffindor,” James confirmed.
“Ravenclaw,” Sirius announced and—to her surprise—he seemed pleased by it.
“Sev got re-Sorted to Ravenclaw, too,” she warned Sirius and he didn’t even make a face over it. “I’m still Gryffindor.”
James beamed at her, entirely pleased. The look was not that different from the ones the Duke was giving Sev.
“Remus got Ravenclaw too,” Sirius offered with a grimace.
She tipped her head to one side, confused by his reaction. She knew Sirius wasn’t a bigot so Remus’s crush on him wasn’t the problem. Unless he was put off by Remus following him from the house of lions to the house of birds?
“I’m not surprised,” she admitted.
“Peter went into Slytherin,” James added with a frown.
“That…is a surprise.”
“But not as big a surprise as him being a Gryffindor in the first place.”
“Upon reflection…” Lily drawled.
“He’s never been the most bold,” James finished.
“Does the Duke seem…strange to you?” she asked them cautiously.
The Wonder Twins frowned at her.
“Well, I would hope he would be somewhat strange. He is different from anyone else we’ve ever met,” James offered.
Sirius snorted. “He has to be. He’s the first person to successfully claim the Hogwarts Seat in hundreds of years. And he’s never even gone.”
“Huh,” Lily considered that. “I wonder where he will Sort.”
“Nowhere,” James told her. “As the Duke, neither he nor his heir can show preference to a single School House. They’ll take classes with all of the Houses evenly.”
That made…sense. Which really didn’t make sense because the magical world was rarely reasonable. Lily would have to keep an eye on the lad herself. “I better get back before they come looking for me. I imagine it would be beneath the Duke’s station to hold Sev’s hand as they walked and that would make him terribly sad.”
James snorted a laugh and Sirius rolled his eyes. “Enjoy…I guess.”
Lily laughed at them under her breath and left. She swore to herself that she would keep an eye on this Duke herself. If there was something wrong with him, someone needed to warn Sev before he got too invested.
When she got back to their compartment, Sev had the snake basket in his lap with the snake half out of it, resting in the Duke’s hands as his Grace hissed at it.
Sev’s eyes were shining like it was some sort of sexual experience.
“Oh, the jokes I could make.” Lily laughed as Sev flushed horribly but didn’t move.
The Duke ignored her completely, apparently deep in conversation with Sev’s…serpent.
Lily dropped onto the bench and bumped Sev’s shoulder with hers. This was going to be an interesting school year.
It was so weird to see Sev and Sirius on the other side of the Great Hall, exchanging notes—class notes, not personal ones—during study hall.
So many things had changed in ways she hadn’t expected when she’d first heard about them. The re-Sortings had calmed a great deal of the chaos that had plagued the school as long as she had gone there. So had the separation of titles that came with a bigger staff.
No longer was Minerva McGonagall the only Transfigurations Professor and the Deputy Headmistress and the Head of Gryffindor House. Now she was just the Head of Gryffindor and her other titles had been given to people that could dedicate their time to them. It was an unexpectedly profound change.
Lily watched Duke Potter approach Professor McGonagall where she was seated at the high table proctoring study hall. They spoke for several moments before she nodded, signed the paper he handed her and left with his sister and heir in tow.
They discussed what they were after in the library as they passed, so she didn’t even have to guess what they were up to.
Lily caught Professor McGonagall’s eye and tipped her head after them to say she wanted to go too. Professor McGonagall gave her a somewhat impatient look but nodded her permission to go as well.
“Lily, what—” She ignored her roommate, Alice, as she got up and followed the two most dynamic additions to the student body from the hall.
She disillusioned herself before she followed them around the first corner. Maybe if they thought they had privacy they would say something that would either prove her protective streak right or lay it to rest. For Sev’s sake, she hoped they put it to rest, but she just needed to know.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Lady Hermione whispered harshly to his Grace.
“You’re going to have to be more specific. I do multiple things at one time every day, Hermione—”
“Don’t get evasive with me,” she cut him off. “I taught you conversational evasion. Snape. What do you think you’re doing with Snape?”
“Being his friend? I don’t really see a problem with that.”
“Harry, you’re flirting with him. Better than you ever flirted with Cho.”
Huh. Lily pondered that. She never would have imagined that they had gone to one of the Asian magical schools before coming to Hogwarts. Maybe that was why they were so different? Both in manner and their approach to magic.
His Grace groaned. “You can’t hold Cho against me, Herms. That was before I accepted that I was gay.”
“Then explain this to me. That arsehole grew up to torture you, Harry. He hated you, bullied you, made everything worse than they ever had to be for you. How many bad things that happened in your life could be laid at his feet?
“He’s the reason Voldemort killed your parents, Harry.”
“I know!” His Grace shouted. He glanced around to see if anyone had turned their attention towards him and when he found there was no one in the hall with them, he stopped walking and moved closer to his sister. “He’s not that man. Not yet and he never will be because Voldemort is dead. The Snape we knew…there was something broken in him, did you notice?”
“Yeah,” Hermione agreed reluctantly.
“But the boy he is now, he’s whole. He—Whatever happened that ruined him, hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully, it won’t ever happen. Voldemort is dead. Completely dead. The Goblins took the horcrux he had hidden in the school and hunted down all the others so he can’t come back to ruin any more lives. The world won’t get back on that path. No one we knew on that path will ever be the people we knew them to be.”
“Dumbledore is still out there,” Hermione argued. “What’s to stop him from manufacturing a new Dark Lord like he did the last two?”
“He doesn’t have the Elder Wand anymore,” his Grace said simply. “It came to me as soon as we came to this time, just like the other two Hallows. He never got the Cloak in this lifetime. He’s never seen the Stone.”
“He’s just a normal wizard, then,” Hermione relaxed. “Okay. Fine.”
“I’m still keeping an eye on him,” his Grace assured his sister. “He’s powerful but he can’t get up to the same tricks without the wand.”
“Gathering blackmail material?”
“That and I’ve told the Ministry and the ICW I don’t want him as my representative—he couldn’t be Chief Warlock and the ICW Representative. He’s lost his position with the ICW and is completely out of the running for Supreme Mugwump when the next one is selected.”
“Who did you send in his place?” Hermione asked as they started to move away.
“Lady Regina. Britain has never had a female representative on the international stage. I figured it was time.”
Lily had to lean against a pillar. They were her age, but they knew Sev as a man even though he was hardy more than a boy now. They talked casually—if privately—about lifetimes and alternate paths.
Time travel, she realized. He didn’t just look like James with her eyes, he was James with her eyes.
…Lily had always planned to name her first son Harry for her mother’s father that she had always adored.
What could make her son do something insane like time travel? She had to know. Lily dropped her disillusionment charm and headed for the Library. She didn’t run, no matter how much she wanted to, but she did move with purpose.
Lily found him alone in the stacks, flipping through a book, stopping on random pages to read. It was what she did before she committed to reading a book, to test and be sure it had what she was looking for.
He looked up at her and drew a little circle in the air with his finger. She could feel the privacy charm settle around them.
“Did you hear what you needed?” his Grace asked.
“You knew I was there,” she realized. “And you still…?”
“I figured you would probably be like me, needed information to help your magical instincts calm down.”
Her heart broke a little. “You never knew me?”
“You and…dad, died when I was fifteen months old.”
“Because of Severus.”
“Because of a lot of people. Snape, Dumbledore, Voldemort. Sirius, Pettigrew. They had a hand in it. Even you and dad did.”
“Why would you…do what you’ve done?” She didn’t want to say time travel. Even for the Duke of Hogwarts that had to be illegal on an international level.
“What did I have to stay for? The man I loved—my soulmate—died because of a foolish Tournament that should have never been revived. My godfather had been left to rot in Azkaban for a crime he didn’t commit. My godmother had been tortured into permanent insanity by Death Eaters. The government was doing everything they could to destroy me—they even sent a dementor to kiss me!
“No one would defend me. Only Hermione even tried to help. We did what we had to do.”
“Viktor and Fleur?” she asked about the older two that seemed to bodyguard Harry and Hermione the vast majority of the time.
“They were in the Tournament with me and…Cedric.” He swallowed and looked away from her. “Viktor is Hermione’s soulmate. I would never ask her to leave him behind and the Monarch of the Veela Nation is beyond pleased that one of her own was trusted with save-the-world type business.
“Are you going to…tattle?” He shot her a—very brief—vulnerable look.
“No,” she decided instantly. “But you need to increase your operational security and I can help you with that. You are effectively undercover in a time that is not your own. No one in this school does better security charms than I do, and you would be amazed what you can manage with a well-worded magical contract.”
“Okay…I mean, my magic says I can trust you.”
“You can,” Lily promised. “…It sounds like you put yourself between a lot of people and some fairly terrible fates.”
“That was the plan,” his Grace nodded.
Lily stepped forward and cupped his cheek. “I am so proud of you, baby. You saved my life. Now let me keep you safe, here and now.”
Harry closed his eyes and a single tear ran down his cheek. “Thanks, mum.”
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