Okay, the first I'd like to do is apologize to everyone who was waiting for me to update... and I never did. My reason is because I went on vacation where there was no internet connection, so even though I had this chapter all written out I couldn't post it. Sorry! So, as an apology, here's the longest chapter so far of the story. And a short omake at the bottom. Enjoy!
HUGE THANKS to Krazyfanfiction1, secret-sorrow, Seas and Shadows, Nightwing 509, AnnElfwind, Wishfull-star, ultima-owner, DragonClaw827, Taranodongirl1, Orangefur, theaweasomeyvetel, Guest, codybob, and Guest for reviewing!
O_O 14 REVIEWS! I am overwhelmed with happiness. :D
To Seas and Shadows: Congratulations! Happy late birthday!
To Guest (the first one): A Harry torture scene? I don't know, I can't honestly see him getting captured by anybody. Especially since I not only overpowered him with wandless magic, ninja skills, and three animagus forms (one of which can fire-warp). Also, the Pride wouldn't let anybody touch him. Besides, I've never written a torture scene before, so it may not be very good. Sorry!
Disclaimer: The only thing I own is the Pride. And the plot.
It was now Halloween. Cub had made friends with a rather… unique Ravenclaw first year named Luna Lovegood. Unfortunately, due to her somewhat eccentric qualities, she'd been given the nickname "Loony Lovegood" by a few other girls. Cub had first met her as she was searching the library for her quills, which had apparently been hidden atop one of the shelves. I liked her. She was smarter than a lot of people gave her credit for, and much more perceptive, too.
After Cub befriended her, the girls bullying her appeared in the Great Hall the next morning wearing clown costumes. Which came complete with rainbow afro wigs, big red noses, and oversized shoes. A bit of spellwork worked into the outfits ensured that the costumes would be visible to everyone except the wearers. So the moment they walked in, everyone burst into laughter as the girls looked around in confusion. Cub was openly snickering, while Luna hid a small smile behind her hand.
Hermione and Neville later asked Cub if he had been the one responsible. He just smirked secretively, which was all the answer they needed.
I snapped back to the present as Luna poked Cub in the shoulder. He'd been zoning out all day, and now it looked almost as if he was about to fall asleep in his pudding. I blamed the all-nighter we'd pulled narrowing down the locations of Voldysnort's horcruxes. But on the plus side, we were now fairly sure that we knew where most of them were.
Cub yawned widely. "Mm, yeah?"
Luna eyed him with concern. "Are you okay? Perhaps it's the blibbering humdingers. They are known for causing unexplained drowsiness in their victims."
Cub laughed a bit and shook his head. "Relax, I'm fine." He yawned widely. "Sorry. Stayed up too late last night. Don't worry about-"
He paused suddenly, brow furrowed. Flare hissed and looked up at the ceiling. I felt a chill run down my spine, and my fur bristled. The rest of us pokémon were similarly agitated, drawing the attention of the people around us.
Cub straightened up, dinner forgotten. He tilted his head slowly from one side to the other, like an owl triangulating a sound. My ears twitched, and my paws tingled as I looked around. I could feel that something was off, but I didn't know what or why. Flare in particular seemed especially affected, tongue flickering in and out as he opened his hood wide.
"Flare, what's going on?" Devil asked. "You seem really… jittery."
"It's a snake," he replied. "A big snake. Bigger than me, bigger than Draca." He rose up and swayed slightly, like a cobra preparing to strike, and lifted his head to the ceiling. "I can sense it. Up there. Over a hundred feet long, and old. Very old. Feels almost like a seviper, but… not."
Spike narrowed his eyes. "Seviper?" he repeated. "Are you sure?"
"As sure as I can get without seeing it," Flare replied.
Cub glanced down at us. "Flare. How do you know? Is it your heat sense?"
The arbok nodded. "Yes. And- it's moving! It's saying something, but I can't tell what…"
Cub frowned, then stood. He looked up again, then stepped away from the bench. "I'm going to go check it out. You guys coming?"
I looked from my food, to Cub, to my food, and to Cub. With a sigh, I turned away and trotted over. "Oh, fine."
He took our pokeballs and recalled us, so my perspective changed from that of normal sight to a view from inside the pokeball. The young ninja-in-training quietly eased into the shadows, and then cast a wandless Notice-Me-Not charm. From there it was easy to sneak out, and once we were in the entrance hall we could all hear a strange hissing sound. For Cub and Flare, though, those hisses translated into words.
"Cub. What's it saying?" I asked him.
His face paled. "I smell blood," he repeated in a hushed whisper. Then his eyes widened, and without warning he suddenly turned to sprint up the marble staircase. He passed the first floor and continued up to the second, taking the stairs three at a time. Then he dashed through the entirety of that floor, presumably following the hissing sound until we came to one last, long deserted passage.
I blinked in confusion. "What was that-"
Two sentences, written in a glistening red liquid that looked like blood but thankfully smelled like paint and magic. A large puddle of water covered the stone floor, reflecting crimson words in the torchlight.
THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.
"Ooh, that can't be good," Glider muttered. Cub walked over. As he drew nearer, a shape became visible under the ominous message. Once I realized what it was, I hissed, and the fur along my spine spiked up.
Mrs. Norris, Filch's cat, was hanging by her tail from the torch bracket. She was stiff as a board, eyes wide and unseeing as she stared into nothing. But she wasn't dead. Somehow, I knew she wasn't dead.
"Oh, d***," Cub said "D***. We gotta get out of here."
He turned to leave, and I understood his logic. Any minute now the students would be coming back from the feast, which had just ended, and every single one of them would come through this passage. If we were seen here, along, suspicion would instantly fall on Cub. And Dumblesnore didn't need another excuse to go after him. The Potters, too, would pounce on the opportunity.
However, before we could leave, clattering footsteps approached the corridor and loud chatter could be heard. The next moment students were pouring in, and Cub was perched high in the rafters. He'd teleported using the same methods as an abra, so it was undetectable and not blocked by the wards. So all seven of us stood, hidden, and watched as the cat was discovered.
The crowd of students had stopped dead by now. Draco Malfoy pushed to the front, face flushed and grinning. Chris, followed by Ron, were at the front as well.
"Enemies of the Heir, beware! You'll be next, Mudbloods!" Malfoy cried with far too much glee than was appropriate.
Chris and Ron turned to glare at him.
"Hey! What makes you think this 'Heir' is targeting muggleborns, eh?" Chris demanded. "How do you know they're not-"
But before they could launch into an argument, Potter and Malfoy were both cut off by Filch's shout. He'd no doubt been attracted by all the yelling, and came shouldering his way through the crowd.
"What's going on here? What's going on?" he shouted. Then he saw Mrs. Norris and fell back, clutching his face in horror. "My cat! My cat! What's happened to Mrs. Norris?" he shrieked. I almost felt sorry for him. Poor man. Mrs. Norris was his constant companion, and if he had been a full wizard she'd be his familiar. To lose her would be a heavy blow.
Filch's popping eyes then fell on Cub's former brother and Draco.
"You!" he screeched. "You! You've murdered my cat! You've killed her! I'll kill you! I'll-"
Dumbles was just now arriving on the scene, followed by the rest of the teachers. In seconds he'd swept past the students and detached Mrs. Norris from the torch bracket. Then he looked up, staring straight at where we were crouched.
"Mr. Potter!" he called. "If you would be so kind as to come down?"
Every eye turned to Cub, who frowned. Caught. But instead of panicking, he simply sat down and swung his legs back and forth childishly. He also tilted his head to the side, blinking innocently. Many of the students gasped in shock and worry. Hermione and Neville looked surprised, but not particularly concerned. They'd seen him perched in plenty of high places over the summer. It was a habit that came with being trained by ninjas.
"Headmaster? Who are you talking to?" he asked. "There's no Mr. Potter here. Professor Potter's down there." He pointed to James, who looked angry. "And the Boy Who Lived is over there." He pointed to Chris, whose hands were balled into fists. "I don't know who you're talking to. Are you sure you're not going senile, old man?"
Luna, standing beside Hermione and Neville, hid a smirk behind her hand.
Dumples smiled his grandfatherly smiled and chuckled slightly. "I assure you, Mr. Potter, that while I may be old, I haven't quite gone senile yet. I know exactly who I'm talking to."
Cub made a show of looking around before turning his face back down. "I still don't see him," he said in mock confusion. "Just me and the spiders up here. Although," he added as he peered into a dark corner, "I think that might be some snake skin. Long gone, though. And boy was that a big one, judging by the width and size of the scales."
The old coot's eyes twinkled annoyingly. "Well, if you are the only person up there, then I must be talking to you, eh my boy?"
Cub's eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly. "Oh, really?" he asked. "Sorry, I didn't realize. You kept saying Potter, so I thought you were talking to someone else."
By now everyone was watching the play between Cub and Dumblebore like a tennis match. I could see both curiosity on the first years, who hadn't been present to experience Cub's authority problems before, and a slight eagerness on the older years as they waited to see how this would turn out. I think a few of them were hoping for another duel.
"Ah, but aren't you a Potter, Harry?" Dumbles asked in a fake-kindly voice. "You are young Chris's twin brother."
Cub snorted. "Sheesh, do we really look that much alike?" he complained. "Maybe I should just dye my hair or something. Besides, my name is Pride. Get it right."
The twinkle behind Dododore's glasses dimmed slightly. "So, you still insist on rejecting your true heritage?" he said faux-sadly. "That's a shame."
"Ha!" Cub let out a guffaw of laughter and rocked back, coming dangerously close to falling off backwards. "Riiight, a real shame. They never cared about me, so why should I care about them? It's only now that I'm back and better than their precious Boy-Who-Lived that they notice me." A trace of resentment and bitterness crept into his tone, but he quickly masked it with a fake smile. "Anyway, since there's nobody calling for a Mr. Pride, I'm comfortable staying right here. Quite a view, actually."
He bent his head and looked across the students. "Like, I can see that guy taking pictures of me. Hi!" Cub waved and grinned. "You got my good side, right?"
The photographer looked up from his camera and gave the young wizard a thumbs-up.
Before he could continue, though, Filch pointed a finger and bellowed up at him, "You! You're the one who killed Mrs. Norris, aren't you?"
The emerald-eyed boy stilled, and his expression turned serious. "I didn't, Mr. Filch. I just walked up here and found her like that."
The caretaker's face twisted into one of ugly rage. He needed an outlet for his grief, and Cub was his new target. "I don't believe it," he snarled. "Why else would you be hiding up there, if not so you wouldn't get caught red-handed?"
Cub sighed. "Look, I swear I didn't do a thing to your cat. Here, I'll prove it." He held up his wand and intoned, "I solemnly swear upon my magic that I am not responsible, whether directly or indirectly, for what happened to Mrs. Norris." Sparks flew, and Cub proceeded to cast a simple Wingardium Leviosa on a scrap of parchment to prove he still had his magic. "There. See?"
Filch growled, but spun around and glared at the assembled students. "Then which one of you did it?" he roared. Spittle flew in a wide spray. "Which one?!"
The Headmaster placed a hand on his shoulder. "Now now, Argus," he said comfortingly. "I'm sure we can get to the bottom of this. Come with me. You too, Mr… Pride. Since you were the first one on the scene, I need to know if you saw anything."
I could see Cub thinking for a moment, before shrugging carelessly. "Sure. Can't find a fault with that logic," he replied before sliding off the rafter. Several students shrieked as he fell at least twenty feet before landing soundlessly in a crouch. His black robes billowed out dramatically before settling, and he brushed some of the dust off of his legs after standing straight.
When he looked up at the teachers, I could see Professors McGonagall and Snape hiding what looked suspiciously like smiles.
"Alright, let's go," Cub said.
"It was definitely a curse that killed her- probably the Transmogrifian Torture- I've seen it used many times, so unlucky I wasn't there, I know the very countercurse that would have saved her..."
"Ahem." Cub cleared his throat, and all eyes turned towards him. "Yeah, it'd be so unlucky, if she was actually dead."
Filch perked up from here he was slumped in a chair, sobbing dryly. "Not dead?" he choked out. "But why's she all- all stiff and frozen?"
Cub walked over and put a hand on Mrs. Norris's flank. "Not completely sure, actually. I do know that since she's still generating body heat she is still alive. But her eyes are open, so it's not some strange inexplicable coma. Um… Petrification, maybe?" he hedged. Then his eyes lit up. "Wait a minute. Can I- can I try something?" he asked Filch. "I promise it won't hurt her. Or, well, it shouldn't, anyway."
The man hesitated for a moment before nodding stiffly. Cub turned back to the cat. The adults backed away slightly, though Dumblesnore looked interested. Cub then took out Flare's pokeball and released him, the arbok coming out in a flash of red light.
"There. This look familiar to you?" he whispered. Flare slithered around to Mrs. Norris, tongue flickering in and out. He peered at the cat's glassy eyes, frozen posture, unsheathed claws, and seemed to come to a conclusion.
"Yes," he hissed after a minute. "It- she looks similar to my opponents when I use the Glare attack on them. But much, much more powerful. Try using a Full Restore or three. Or maybe a few pints of concentrated cheri berry juice."
"Not a Paralyze Heal?" Cub asked softly.
Flare shook his head. "No, it wouldn't be strong enough. You have some Full Restores in your trunk, right?"
Cub nodded, then straightened up. He turned and addressed Filch. "I might have something that'll help, but it's in my trunk. Can I got get it?"
Dumble's eye narrowed, but Professor McGonagall nodded.
"Quickly," she said. Cub dipped his head in acknowledgement, then spun around and left the room. Flare was recalled, vanishing again as the red and white capsule then shrunk back down to carrying size. He fast-walked down the now-empty corridor, towards the Ravenclaw Tower.
Once there, he answered the riddle, went up, and grabbed a few of the pokemon medicines while ignoring everyone who tried to ask him questions. He all but ran back down, and trotted quickly back to Lockhart's office with the bottles in his pocket. Full Restores were extremely potent, and if it didn't work they'd have to use magical means.
"Eh? What's that?" Filch asked when Cub pulled out one of the green and white spray bottles.
"It's medicine from my homeland. It's called a Full Restore. Very potent stuff, so if this doesn't work we'll have to use magic," he replied as he sprayed it all over the feline's stiff body. Once he was at a half bottle left she began to twitch, and her eyes moved. Ears swiveled slightly, and her tail uncurled.
By the time it was all gone she could move her front paws, tail, and ears. The use of a second bottle restored all muscle response, and she purred happily as she stood, stretched, and jumped into Filch's lap. He laughed and hugged her, while Cub looked on with a satisfied smile. Lockhart and Dumbesore had twin expressions of shock, while McGonagall and Snape seemed surprised but pleased.
"Pride, what was in that… potion?" Snape asked curiously as he picked up one of the empty bottles and scrutinized it carefully. The Potions Master pried off the top and sniffed the inside. "Interesting…"
Cub squinted and scratched his cheek, brow furrowed. "Um, I don't know…" he said slowly. "Distilled and concentrated berry juice, maybe?"
Snape nodded absentmindedly as he waved his wand over it. "Yes, but I don't recognize any of them, much less the other components," he muttered under his breath.
"Whatever it is, it worked!" Filch cried gleefully. He looked over at Cub and said sincerely, "Thank you."
Over the next few days, Filch could be seen prowling the halls as usual, with Mrs. Norris close behind. However, he was a bit kinder than before, and never let his cat out of his sight. She seemed content enough to stick by him, and the school was buzzing with rumors of how Cub had managed to cure her. But every time someone asked, he would only smile secretively and say, "That's personal."
The old janitor had also tried scrubbing off the ominous message, too, but to no avail. It seemed that no matter what he tried the words refused to leave the wall. Everyone just kind of avoided that corridor now, while Lockhart strutted around proclaiming how he would valiantly save the next victim if there was another attack. Nobody was particularly reassured, though, since they didn't really believe him anymore. Not after the pixies. And according to Draca, Good riddance.
OMAKE: Devil's Delight
"Now, let's see, I need an assistant… ah! Harry!"
Cub bit back a groan, and I snickered at his misfortune. Lockhart was getting students to help him act out parts from his books, and it was torture. Now he wanted Cub to play a werewolf, which I found hilarious. Werepanther, more like.
Then, I felt a sudden chill as the young male got a strange gleam in his eye. I shivered slightly. The last time I'd seen that… well, let's just say that it had preceded every prank that Cub had ever done, and there had been a lot of them. For a moment, I almost felt sorry for Lockhart. Almost.
"Excuse me, Professor, but do you mind if I have my friend do it for me? His name is Devil, and he is from a species of animals that come from my homeland. Very smart, just as much as a human. He understands our language, too, so don't worry about giving him commands." He took out the houndoom's pokeball and released him, smirking slightly as the canine pokémon bared his fangs. Lockhart flinched back, and Cub pretended not to notice.
"W-well, I s-suppose that's f-fine," the man stuttered. Devil padded up to the front, tail swinging as his mouth opened slightly in anticipation. I could tell that my friend was enjoying this.
"Good. Devil needed a chance to stretch his legs, and since he's playing a werewolf it'll be perfect. Did you know that his species' howl was once considered the call of the Grim Reaper?" Cub mentioned, smiling innocently. "Of course, it's all superstition, but his name is Devil for a reason. But, since you're such a great wizard, I'm sure you can handle it."
The blond idiot now looked even more nervous, but there was no backing out without hurting his image. So he turned his attention to the large black and orange pokémon in front of him.
"Er… so, you're going to howl, like a werewolf," he said uncertainly. Devil grinned, took a step back, raised his head to the ceiling-
And unleashed a Howl attack that made my blood run cold and my heart almost stop.
D***. Forgot how good he was at those.
Some of the students actually fainted, while Lockhart let out a girly shriek and then collapsed, limp, on the floor. Devil lowered his head and let out a huff of laughter, sitting back on his haunches. "Oops," he barked, completely unapologetically.