WHAT? WHAT? WHAT? Did Orion Spellsword finally post chapter 11 of Origin War? Yes? How can it be? Only Six and a half months late?! Ok in all seriousness, I'm sorry for the wait. I'll tell you a bit about what has happened over the past half year. As I said I was going halfway across the states to go to a cousin's wedding. That happened. Then I started working on studying for my S.A.T. That went well. Then all of a sudden I realized a had a month left of school, and another month after that until my brother got married. He asked me to be best man. It was cool. The next day I left for a week long trip to visit Oxford, London, Paris, and Normandy. No, not a week each, all of them in about six days. I was tired and jetlagged for three weeks. Then I got a job, and a month later, it was time for College. That was ten weeks ago. Since then I've been a Freshie in a very difficult University here in the south.
I am not lying when I say that this has been the hardest chapter to write. I came to a scene and all of the sudden, I realized this single scene could change the entire dynamic of half of Harry's relationships. That turned that scene into a brick wall. I will not lie now when I say that as I type this A/N at 1:28 AM November First, I've been working on this chapter for eight hours (almost) straight. (I ate dinner and handed some candy to some trick-or-treaters.) So, anyway, that's enough jabbering from this Author.
As I said in Chapter One, I make no money from this, and am not affiliated with or own anything to do with Harry Potter. Any infringement of copyrighted materials is completely unintentional and will not in any way produce monetary reward for myself. This chapter has nearly seven hundred words taken straight from Professor Moody's lecture about the Unforgivables. Obviously that belongs to J. K. Rowling.
The shadows of time cast doubts on the firmest of minds, time itself is the greatest destroyer, it rips and tears, pillages and plunders. It has no mentality, it has no morals, time proceeds ever onward, to the end. Some say there was a time before time itself. Was that a place of 'immortality'? Could there be 'immortality' without a measure of time? Those who say there was a 'time' before time itself, can often be found saying that the Twilight Athenaeum existed in this 'time'.
Sirius thought that was a load of bull. Time was a constant, question time, and you quite literally question the fabric of reality. Still, in times of crisis, or when he simply had nothing to work with than his hands, and no riddle to puzzle over in his mind, he would find himself questioning time. Was it a wheel? Would each spoke come around again? Was it linear? Did it start, or has it always existed?
The English language lacked the words to puzzle over time. It defined reality, so why should words exist to question it? This, possibly, was the greatest reason Sirius would puzzle over it. If he didn't, who would? In his early years of Hogwarts, he and James would work together to explain how a taste could correlate to colours. They would explain that things that couldn't exist simply had to.
As they progressed in their education, their quandaries became more complex. They questioned the 'laws' of magic. They saw through the impossibilities and possibilities, and shaped their universes to their own means. This allowed James to skip entire arrays in complex transmutation, simply because he was always questioning why they existed. A mental challenge would only stump him for a couple of days, then he would find another.
Perhaps it was the subject, but neither Sirius nor James could ever trump the paradox that was time. 'Always' and 'never' were such impossibilities to them that they couldn't understand. Sometimes they wished they wouldn't try, but they had to. Time was the key, to what, they didn't know, but it was key. Sirius figured that many of his quandaries had been solved while he thought of time, so perhaps it was his subconscious way of working through things.
It was also a way to stave off boredom.
The wards around the Twilight Arcanaeum were nearly depleted, but they were operational and recharging them was a simple matter now. All Sirius had to do was pour magic into them, then Remus would pour magic into Sirius, who would then do it again. With the two of them, they figured the wards would be at full power in a month, sooner if they could find the blood pool. Some of the very oldest structures had chambers in the very bottom of the dungeons, often riddled with traps, that would have a shallow pool of running blood. This blood would circle like a maelstrom and power the wards beyond the simple magical force if its inhabitants. It would also be surrounded by the 'ward pillars' of the citadel, and seeing those pillars was a childhood dream of Sirius's.
Still, the work was boring. Sirius would wake up, pour as much magic as he could into the ward scheme, then he would take a run. He would then research magical runic languages, and further his progress on Harry's wellspring. After about eight hours, his magic would be strong enough to pour back into the wards, then he would sleep. This process repeated every day, with mind numbing sameness.
The only light in the darkness was the letters he would receive from Isabella once or twice a week. She would always send them with her large barn owl, his strong talons often gripping gifts like tea or even once a full roasted turkey. With each gift she gave, he would be reminded of how much he cared for her. Each scrap of parchment she sent with words of encouragement or love found its way into a box by his bedside, each would be read a dozen times.
He couldn't see it, but she would also keep his letters, and trace her fingers over the delicate script he wrote in. She would read his letters when she awoke and when she got ready to sleep, and with each word, her longing grew fonder.
They both knew they couldn't see each other, not with the way she was watched and he was hunted, but they still desired it. It had been fourteen years since they last saw each other's faces, and they wished they could see each other once again.
The first Saturday and Sunday at Hogwarts passed in simplicity. The first years spent the days exploring the castle and mapping out routes to their classes. Many of the other years spent their time in the library, finishing their work on their summer assignments. Perhaps the only thing he had done of note at the Dursley's this summer was having finished his homework; the only thing of note that is, besides leaving.
Monday came as it always did, Ron's snoring shook his curtains, literally. Harry watched as the red fabric quivered under the oppression of the currents of sound.
Neville was up early, clipping his plant and checking on his magelight. He would poke it with his wand, and streams of blue-white light would fly out from random points. He would shake his head and mutter whenever that would happen.
Seamus stepped from the shower, his towel hanging from his waist, and using another drying his hair. Dean entered the shower groggily, his entire body protesting the fact that he was awake. The sound of running water was quick in coming from the bathroom, heated by the inner workings of the Hogwarts plumbing.
Harry pulled his Arithmancy text from the bookshelf near the head of his bedframe, the 'official' colour of Arithmancy was purple. Whoever decided that remained a mystery to Sirius and Remus, and the two often discussed why mathematical magic required an official colour. Whatever the reason, the idea had stuck, and all Arithmancy texts had purple on their spines to identify them.
Herbology was more random, having any variety of colours associated with the books, for fourth year, it was yellow. The 'Puffs must love that… Harry chuckled to himself. The two books were all that were needed for the day.
Herbology was done in greenhouse six in fourth year, which meant that there were far more dangerous plants around the students, and Professor Sprout didn't mind if the students cursed loudly when grabbed by the Venomous Tentacula. Day one was boring almost beyond belief, Harry stayed away from any plant he didn't recognize, which were most of them, and listened to Professor Sprout's attempt at a stern lecture to maintain the utmost attentiveness and display skill for the other schools.
The only thing to do for actual Herbology was to trim a 'relatively' harmless fern. Its sap was a deadly toxin, but the season for the fern's sap to be running was only the last two weeks of June and first two of July.
However, those were under normal circumstances, and not in captivity. The entire class knew the risks of over-pruning, and none were willing to risk the consequences. It helped that there were no Slytherins in this class.
In a way, Harry couldn't wait for the sixth year, it offered a chance to see Slytherins working at what they truly enjoy. They were placed in the house they were, due to their ambition, and their innate ability to excel.
What ambition do Crabbe and Goyle have then? To have more than three functioning brain cells?
Harry finished with his fern quickly, and was allowed to leave. He had done everything as he watched Neville, so he was certain that he would receive high marks on the assignment. Herbology was one of the things that wasn't covered on the Island, it was apparently James's and Peter's forte, and not Remus or Sirius's.
Lunch was simple. Harry ate some sandwiches, chatted a bit with some of the lower years, and then left.
Walking aimlessly for a while, Harry was lost in thought. Having promised to teach Daphne, Tracey and Blaise how to become shapeshifters, Harry wanted to at least make some progress in the next month or so, before the Triwizard Tournament started. He would need a few textbooks about the Egyptian runes, and some sort of inscriber for them to practice with. They probably have their own in their vaults, but who knows if they're even able to retrieve them. Harry would also need to find a place for everyone to practice, his instincts told him that all three of the Slytherins should practice someplace different.
The Forbidden Forest? It might work, but I would need to find neutral ground to not anger the Centaurs, or Aragog's family. Hagrid might show me as I learn from him, but that seems like something that would be quite a ways off.
"Harry, do you have a minute?"
Harry was forcibly pulled from his musings by Neville. The boy looked completely fine, it was impossible to know just by looking at him that he had been so badly burned just a few days prior.
"Yeah, Neville, what's up?"
"I wanted to ask you not to do anything to Nott."
What? Not what I was expecting… "Ok, why? He burned you Neville, badly. I won't let someone do that to one of my friends."
Neville wrung his hands together and shifted his stance between his feet. He seemed to notice what he was doing and stopped moving entirely, when he looked at Harry again his eyes were set with determination. "This is my fight, and I know that you're probably planning on retaliating, but that's my responsibility. I will make Nott pay, because he sabotaged me, he burned me. It was intentional, and I will show him and all of the Slytherins that doing what he did is unacceptable. They may not like me, but I'll make them at least respect me."
Suddenly, Harry was concerned about Neville for an entirely different reason. "Neville, just make sure not to go too far. Many terrible, terrible things have been done in the name of getting respect."
Neville nodded. "I know, and I won't be like those people, but I also won't be someone who will cower in front of a wand. I'll stand defiant, like my dad."
Harry understood, he understood better than most would. He could tell, he could see it in Neville's eyes, when Dementors were around, Neville heard his parents getting tortured. Neville could probably hear the screams, and the cackling of a madwoman. At some point last year he must have been in the presence of one of those demons. It changed him. "Alright Neville. I won't do anything to Nott, but if you need anything, just ask."
Neville smiled, it was still the smile of a shy boy, but no longer of a frightened, meek boy. "Thanks Harry, this will work. You'll see."
For your sake, I hope you are right. "Good luck!"
Arithmacy was Harry's first class after lunch, and Harry arrived about five minutes early. He wasn't the first one in the class, Hermione was there too, she was talking to Fay.
About a minute after Harry sat down, Daphne sat next to him. She didn't say anything, only looked him in the eye briefly. She got out a couple pieces of parchment, a quill, and an inkwell. She dipped her quill in the ink and wrote on the corner of a piece of parchment.
You're not getting these notes Potter, so you'd better take your own.
It sounded like a challenge to Harry, and he only smiled in response. Daphne's expression didn't change, but she saw him out of the corner of her eye, and raised an eyebrow ever so slightly. She didn't have time to respond before Professor Vector came in from her office at the back of the room.
"Good afternoon everyone. I hope that you have all had a wonderful summer, and that you have reviewed last year's notes. We will not spend time recapping, so I hope that you all remember quite well." A couple of the students in the Arithmacy class groaned softly, and had he actually been in the class the previous year, Harry probably would have been one of them.
"Now as I'm sure most of you have noticed, Mr. Potter will be joining us this year. Headmaster Dumbledore has assured me that his exam, which was the same as the one you all took at the end of last year, received very high marks. So, don't worry, we will not slow down on his account." Again, a couple of students groaned, Fay was probably hoping for a slower first couple of weeks.
Harry's thoughts were confirmed as she turned to glare at him. He stuck his tongue out at her.
Professor Vector continued after revealing a Cartesian plane on the blackboard. "This year we will discuss circuits. You muggleborns can forget about the circuits used in your electricity, because those circuits are based off of these. In essence we will discuss the true nature of the circle, spiral, and the lemniscate."
Hermione raised her hand, and Professor Vector acknowledged her briefly but didn't allow her to actually ask her question. "I'm sure what Ms. Granger is about to ask is; what is a lemniscate? To the other muggleborns in the class, it's the symbol for infinity, also called a lazy eight. Did I guess your question correctly Ms. Granger?"
"Good. This year we will cover Circles until Winter Break, and spirals after that. We will briefly touch on lemniscates, but they are a much more advanced topic that will be discussed in depth only in NEWT level classes."
No wonder Remus didn't say anything about the pattern of the ritual, I probably wouldn't understand without making his explanations too lengthy. Even then, It would have taken too long to finish in a summer. If they used that in their ritual though, then the marauders had to understand Lemniscates by their fifth year. Wow…
"Now, I want you all to pull out your textbook and open to chapter nineteen, page three hundred fourteen." Err, ok… Chapter nineteen on day one… Why not?
The rest of the period was spent with the professor explaining one formula to assist in the directionality of a circle. One formula, millions of permutations, and, at the student's low level, three hundred and sixty possible answers, someone sighed. A single flaw in the comparatively short equation and you could end up anywhere from one to one hundred degrees from true. It wasn't easy, but it was actually somewhat enjoyable.
When the bell rang for the class to end, Professor Vector assigned a three foot paper on the principles discussed in the class. It was an open ended question, with a multitude of ways to answer it so it wouldn't be hard to do, just time consuming.
Harry walked out of the classroom, apparently Blaise had come in later than Harry and sat in the back.
"See what I mean about the homework? Getting the resources to do this and doing it will take hours."
Harry nodded, a glint in his eye. "Not if we give examples. If we actually draw a plane or two it could take half the assignment."
Blaise chuckled. "I was thinking the same thing. How are your notes?"
Harry looked at his foot and a half of note covered parchment, half of the words were illegible, and the other half would take a professional cryptologist. He showed them to Blaise.
Blaise looked at the notes and blinked. Twice. "Yeah, we need Daphne." He looked at Harry's notes again. "You more than me."
Before dinner, Harry went to his dorm and pulled out a piece of parchment, he needed to get a letter to Sirius.
I offered Daphne and Tracey the chance to become Shapeshifters. I need you to write up a binding contract for them to sign so that they can't tell anyone about it. I also need some help on a rather political issue. On Friday, (I'm writing this Monday evening.) Neville was in potions class with Theodore Nott as his partner. We were working with Hellspores, and when Blaise and I had left, a couple of minutes later a cauldron exploded. Nott walked out of the room without a scratch or singe, while Neville spent two days in the infirmary for third degree burns. Normally I would help Neville without a second thought, but he asked me not to. I want to be prepared in case he does ask for my help. Do you have any ideas of what to do? This seems a bit beyond a simple prank for retaliation, and I know nothing about the politics behind this.
Ok, with the business out of the way, how are you doing with the wards? I hope you are doing something to keep yourself occupied while you pump magic into them. How is Remus? Tell him I said Hi.
P.S. Have you ever heard of a small creature, only visible to some, that is humanoid in appearance and lives near or in people's noses? It may or may not cause people to fall ill or become cold.
Satisfied with his letter, Harry made the trek to the Owlery. The Owlery resided atop the West tower, which as its name implied, resided in the westernmost portion of the castle. It had a small courtyard and a covered walkway heading out from the castle proper. The steps to the top were steep, and there were a lot of them. Near the top there was a good chance of ice in the winter months, but in September there was just a slight draft. As he entered the Owlery, Harry had to be wary of the multitude of owls and their droppings, whether it was the carcasses of their prey, or what comes later.
Hedwig quickly flew down and perched on Harry's shoulder, giving him an affectionate nip on his ear.
"Hey girl. I need you to take this to Sirius." Harry held out the letter, and Hedwig clutched it with her beak. She squeezed his shoulder and flew out of the giant window, which was more accurately just a place where there would normally be a wall and ceiling, but wasn't here.
Harry was about to leave when he felt a distinctly oppressive magic. He slowed his stride and bent down, seemingly inspecting a piece of bone. He called his Sensor, and turned around quickly, but he wasn't quite fast enough. Near the ceiling of the Owlery there were the remnants of magic, as if someone or something had just resided there but no longer was. Harry stood still for a moment, and quickly left the tall tower. He slowed down from his speedy walk only when he got to the main body of the castle, and saw some students.
Tuesday was a lot like Friday. In the morning there was the thrilling history of the seventeenth goblin rebellion and the lieutenants that were crucial in the conflict. Following History lay Potions, a single period of brewing and being sneered at.
Harry's walk to the dungeons was slow. He was in no great rush to get even closer to Snape, or to Malfoy. Considering the difficulty of the first potion this class couldn't be easy. Harry arrived at the door to the classroom just as Snape opened it, allowing the students to enter. Everyone took a seat with their partners, Ron with Malfoy, and Hermione with Parkinson.
The first thing that Snape did after everyone sat was to take attendance; again he looked everyone in the eye, everyone except for Harry. He looked in Harry's direction, so that no one would notice the deviation, but their eyes didn't lock.
"Your potions last Friday were almost universally dismal. It's most likely the cause of the Gryffindors being incapable of following simple instructions. How hard is it to keep a temperature steady Mr. Longbottom? It is something I expect a first year to be able to do."
For once he's right. A first year learns how to keep a steady heat quickly. I wonder what Neville's issue with heat and fire comes from. Harry looked to Neville, the boy's greatest fear last year was the man currently berating him. From his posture, that hadn't changed.
"Today," Snape continued his lecture while revealing the instructions for the day's brewing. "You will brew a potion to combat motion sickness. The instructions are on the board, begin."
The instructions called for a few typical plants and herbs, with the powdered wings of a dragonfly for the primary reagent. There was nothing too complex about the potion.
"Seems simple, I suppose this isn't a double period so he can't assign something that will take too long."
Harry looked at the directions carefully, heat, mix, insert ingredient, cool, mix, insert... It was a very simple potion. "I don't know. It seems too easy."
Blaise smiled suddenly. "Snape is afraid of Pomphrey. She probably is making sure that nothing too dangerous will happen today; not after Friday."
Blaise and Harry got started on the prep for the potions. Harry used a silver scalpel to carefully cut off the wings of a dragonfly, then he used the pestle and mortar at their station to grind the wings into a thin powder. He suddenly realized the difficulty of the potion. "Blaise, you need to help me get the wings. We need a teaspoon of this, and it will take hundreds of the bloody bugs."
Blaise sighed, while it looked like an easy class period the two would be working on the wings for almost the whole time. "There isn't enough time. I'll do most of the brewing, and between the sets I'll help with the wings. You just keep them coming, we don't need them until the end."
Faint arguing could be heard from somewhere up ahead, it seemed someone else had figured it out, but couldn't work together with their partner.
For the next forty minutes, Harry did nothing but cut and grind, hoping to get the needed amount of wing powder before the potion was to be completed. Blaise helped occasionally but was busy working with the other ingredients and stirring. The small, transparent wings were so thin that the hundreds mark seemed like it would be closer to thousands of wings. Harry quickly developed a routine, but wasn't sure if he would be fast enough.
Finally, the time came for the teaspoon of powdered wings. Harry and Blaise had just enough, and were able to turn in their potion seconds before the bell rung. Snape scowled at the perfect potion before handing the two a piece of paper with their grades from the previous class. Harry saw a large 'A' on his with a faint scrawl of "Asked for help" as the reason for the demarcation.
Harry sighed as he saw the large 'O' on Blaise's paper, and the two headed for the library.
The rest of the day was spent in the library finishing the three foot assignment from Professor Vector. As they discussed, Harry and Blaise took up half of the parchment simply displaying their understanding of the concepts in action. They took the hardest equation that they could find and explained it's priciples as they performed the equation on the plane. The assignment took them a solid two hours, as opposed to the four or five hours spent by most of the other students.
Wednesday was a good day. In the morning Harry went to Charms, where Professor Flitwick seemed to have been disappointed with the class's lack of skill with the Seize and Pull charm from the previous year. He spent several minutes reviewing the incantation and wand motion before giving every student a pillow to 'Seize and Pull'. Apparently they would be attempting the summoning charm soon, and everyone needed to master the precursor spell.
The wand motion was a simple flick. First, Harry would point his wand at the pillow, then he would make a flick upwards. The pillow would fly to him in a vertical arc, and the speed of the flight depended on the flicking motion, as well as the incantation Carpe Retractum. When Neville yelled the incantation loudly, the pillow burst into flames. Honestly a lot of things burst into flames when Neville attempted to use magic on them.
That might be his problem in Potions…
Halfway through the class, Harry had yet to unsuccessfully cast the spell, and Professor Flitwick dismissed him and most of the rest of the class. Harry knew from experience that the diminutive man would stay behind and offer one on one help with those who were struggling.
Lunch on Wednesday was followed by Ancient Runes a class that Harry had been looking forward to. He had arrived early and even had his parchment out for taking notes. This time he would try to write legibly.
This time, Blaise sat to his left. "You won't need your parchment. The next few weeks will be probably be review, unlike Arithmacy. Then we'll finish Norse and Celtic by the Winter Hols at the latest."
Harry was disappointed.
Professor Babbling entered the class from the back shortly before the class bell rang. She spent a few minutes chatting with Sally Smith, who had elected to sit up front. At the bell's ring, Professor Babbling tapped the attendance sheet with her wand, and noticing that there was a missing student simply decided to resume her conversation with Sally. A few minutes later, after everyone had arrived, Professor Babbling finished her conversation with Sally.
"Welcome to your second, or first, year of Ancient Runes. Now, I'm sure that some of you have seen Mr. Potter in your Arithmacy class, well he's here too." Professor Babbling smiled warmly at Harry, and he was struck by how young she was. She couldn't have been thirty yet, and she had the figure of a model. "For the next two weeks we will discuss the Celtic and Nordic runic languages. If you have any problems or questions please come see me in my office after class at some point. We need to finish these two languages and their vocabulary before we can move on to the practical applications."
The hour and a half that followed was nothing but review, and many of the students obviously needed it. Harry quizzed Blaise for most of the time, and doodled on his parchment for the rest.
When the class bell rang, Professor Babbling dismissed the class, while asking Harry to stay.
"Mr. Potter, I just wanted to ask you where you learned everything you did." Professor Babbling was sitting on her desk, her legs dangling and crossed at the ankles. She had tanned skin and pretty dark eyes. She was beautiful.
"Did the Headmaster tell you what happened at the end of last year?"
"Basically. Sirius Black was innocent, Peter Pettigrew was alive and guilty, both escaped."
"Well, over the summer I've been living with Sirius. He's my Godfather, and very good at runes. He and Remus, Professor Lupin from last year, both taught me all summer."
The Professor laughed, it was light and airy. "You don't have to explain who Sirius and Remus are. I was in my first year when they were in their sixth. I remember them quite well, and I remember my crush on Sirius." She looked Harry in the eye and added a bit more. "And my crush on James Potter."
Harry smiled. "Yeah, they were supposedly quite desirable. Is there anything else you needed?"
The professor shook her head and dismissed him. Harry knew he would like his Runes class.
As Harry left runes he ran into Daphne, almost literally.
The girl shook her head a bit to get her blonde bangs out of her face. "So, what did she want Potter?"
Harry started walking, and Daphne followed. "She just asked me where I learned all I did about runes."
Daphne nodded. "So when will you teach me?"
Harry chuckled for a second. "I figured that's what you wanted. I sent Sirius a letter asking for him to write up contracts for you, Tracey, and Blaise. You'll just need to sign them, in blood obviously, and I can begin."
"When do you think that will be?"
Harry thought for a moment, he didn't want to give her a time and then be wrong later. She had a reputation for a reason. "I don't know honestly. I would imagine sometime next week."
For only the second time, Harry saw her smile. Just like before, it was stunning. "Thank you. I'm willing to sign almost anything. I want that power."
Harry shook his head. "I can't belive how much power you're giving me by just saying that."
She chuckled. "You can't do anything with the power though, not with who we are."
Why is she always right?
Midnight Astronomy was just as easy as the past three years, look at stars, name stars, and done. Harry couldn't see a reason why there was a core class dedicated to it. It could be a good elective for things like navigation, rituals based on cosmic bodies (Don't tell the ministry of course.) and other random things. But there was no good reason Harry could see for it to be a core class.
Transfiguration first thing after breakfast was hard; it was even harder if there is Astronomy the night before. This was the case for Harry's Thursday. For the whole class, the students were working on switching spells, and Professor McGonagall was even more strict than usual. She was obviously very nervous for the other school's delegations to be coming, and kept snapping at Lavender or Neville.
When that class was over, everyone was grateful to be out of the Mother Lioness's den.
Lunch was quick for Harry, a couple of sandwiches and he went off to Defense, he had been waiting for it all week. Harry wasn't the first one at the door either. Ron and Hermione were standing together; talking softly and all the rest of the Gryffindors in their year were waiting as well. When the bell rang the door opened and everyone filed in. Ron and Hermione both bolted to the front of the room, with Dean and Seamus not far behind them. Harry took his seat behind Seamus on the second row, with a good view of the desk. Everyone got out their textbooks and sat eerily quietly waiting for the aged auror.
They heard him before they saw him. Moody's rolling gait made a 'thunk' sound every time he stepped on his wooden leg. He walked into the room with his mad eye spinning wildly. "You can put your books away. You won't be needing them." It's as if he didn't speak, he simply growled. He sat behind his desk, and pulled a piece of paper from a pocket inside his brown robes. Quickly, he began to call for attendance. He would say the student's name and look at them with his magical eye when they answered. He never lifted his normal eye from the paper.
"Right then," he said, when the last person had declared themselves present. "I've had a letter from Professor Lupin about this class. Seems you've had a thorough grounding in tackling Dark creatures – you've covered boggarts, Red Caps, hinkypunks, grindylows, Kappas, and werewolves, is that right?"
Everyone said yes in some fashion.
"But you're behind – very behind – on dealing with curses, so I'm here to bring you up to scratch on what wizards can do to each other. I've got one year to teach you how to deal with Dark –"
"What, aren't you staying?" Ron blurted out.
Moody's magical eye spun around to stare at Ron. Ron looked extremely apprensive, but after a moment Moody smiled, the first time Harry had seen him do so. The effect was to make his heavily scarred face look more twisted and contorted than ever, but it was good to know that he did do something as friendly as smile. Ron looked deeply relieved.
"You'll be one of Arthur Weasley's sons, eh? Your father got me out of a tight corner a few days ago… Yeah I'm staying for just the one year. Special favor to Dumbledore… One year and then back to my quiet retirement."
He gave a harsh laugh, and then clapped his gnarled hands together.
"So – straight to it. Curses. They come in many strengths and forms. Now according to the Ministry of Magic, I'm supposed to teach you countercurses and leave it at that. I'm not supposed to show you what illegal Dark curses look like until you're in your sixth year. You're not supposed to be old enough to deal with it until then. But Professor Dumbledore's got a higher opinion of your nerves, he reckons you can cope, and I say, the sooner you know what you're up against, the better. How are you supposed to defend yourself against something you've never seen? A wizard who's about to put an illegal curse on you isn't going to tell you what he's about to do. He's not going to do it nice and polite to your face. You need to be prepared. You need to be alert and watchful. You need to put that away, Miss Brown, when I'm talking."
Lavender jumped and blushed. She had been showing Parvati something under their desk. Apparently Moody's magical eye could see through solid wood, as well as out of the back of his head.
"So… Do any of you know which curses are most heavily punished by wizarding law?"
Several hands rose tentatively into the air, including Ron's and Hermione's. Moody pointed at Ron, though his magical eye was still fixed on Lavender.
"Er," said Ron tentatively, "my dad told me about one… Is it called the Imperius Curse or something?"
"Ah, yes," said Moody appreciatively. "Your father would know about that one. Gave the Ministry a lot of trouble at one time, the Imperius Curse"
Moody got heavily to his mismatched feet, opened his desk drawer, and took out a glass jar. Three large black spiders were scuttling around inside it. Moody caught one and placed it in the palm of his hand. He raised it for everyone to see, before pointing his wand at it and yelling "Imperio!"
The spider leapt from Moody's hand and started to swing back and forth as if on a trapeze. Suddenly, its legs went rigid, and it performed a perfect backflip. It landed and immiediatly went up and started doing a tap dance.
The class started laughing.
"Think it's funny do you?" Growled Moody. "You'd like it, would you, if I did it to you?"
The laughter died almost instantly.
"Total control." Said Moody quietly as the spider balled itself up and began to roll over and over. "I could make it jump out of the window, drown itself, throw itself down one of your throats… Years back, there were a lot of witches and wizards being controlled by the Imperius Curse. Some job for the Ministry, trying to sort out who was being forced to act, and who was acting of their own free will."
"The Imperius Curse can be fought, and I'll be teaching you how, but it takes real strength of character, and not everyone's got it. Better avoid being hit with it if you can. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" He barked, and everyone jumped. Moody directed the spider back into the jar.
"Anyone else know one?"
This time only Hermione and Neville raised their hands. Moody's eyes both rested on Neville, there was some sort of glint to them. Was it sorrow? Pride? "Longbottom."
"There's one, the Cruciatus Curse."
Moody didn't say anything, he just reached into the jar and pulled out another spider. "It'll need to be bigger for you to get the full idea."
"Engorgio." The spider grew to the size of a melon, and Ron groaned. He really hated spiders.
Mad-Eye once again pointed his wand at the spider. "Crucio."
Suddenly the spider was writhing. All eight of its legs were flailing uncontrollably, and its black eyes were darting to and fro. Its horrible looking mouth was open in a soundless scream. It was obviously in unimaginable pain.
"Stop it!" Hermione screamed. Harry followed her gaze, oddly not to the spider but to Neville. His hands were clenched and white. Moody lifted his wand and the spider stilled.
"Reducio." The spider went back to its normal size, and Harry noticed Ron relax a bit.
"Pain. You don't need knives or whips to torture someone, not if you know the Cruciatus." Moody scooped the spider back into the jar. "Right then, does anyone know the last one?"
Only Hermione raised her hand this time, and only after no one else did. Moody nodded for her to answer.
"Avada Kedavra." Her voice was barely a whisper.
The Killing Curse a jet of green light, screaming at high speeds. It sounds like a tempest wherever it's cast. Harry was forcibly dragged back into his mind, to watching the green light envelope his mother.
"Yes, The Killing Curse."
Again, Moody said nothing but reached into the jar and pulled out the only spider he had worked on yet. It was the only one that didn't flee from his hand. He pulled it out of the jar and set it on the table. The spider began to run, only for Moody to calmly point his wand at it. His words probably wouldn't even count as a whisper, "Avada Kedavra."
The green light erupted from Moody's wand. Suddenly it seemed as if the only light in the world came from the spell. The widows were black, and the hallway seemed deserted. Harry's memory only portrayed a portion of the spell. It didn't scream because it was so fast, the spell simply screamed because that's what it was. The Killing Curse.
The green light was only in existence for an instant before it impacted the spider. The small arachnid simply curled up and rolled over. It wasn't a conscious idea of the spider, it is just what they do when they die; instantly and painlessly.
"There is no shield to block it. There is no countercurse to stop it. The only thing you can do is not get hit."
Moody paused for effect. He let that sink in, if the spell was coming too fast for you to avoid, you were dead.
"Why do I tell you this? Because you need to know. These are real spells, they're real things people can do to you. Now that last one was an impressive piece of magic, and you need to pay a hefty price to use it. If you all pulled out your wands and cast it at me at the same time, I doubt I would get so much as a nosebleed."
"There's only one person to have ever survived it, and he's sitting right in front of me." Both of Moody's eyes were locked on to Harry's.
"Now these three curses, Imperio, Crucio, and Avada Kedavra, they're known as the Unforgivable Curses. The use of any of them on another human being is subject to a life sentence in Azkaban. No questions, no chance for an appeal. Now get your quills out and copy this down."
For the rest of the class period the only sounds were of Moody's rough growling voice, and of quills marking parchment. When the bell rang however, a torrent of noise broke forth as if it had been dammed up.
Harry was left alone to his thoughts, and it wasn't necessarily positive. He walked past Neville, who didn't look much better off than he. The two made eye contact and nodded to each other, before Harry walked to the dormitories. He didn't feel like eating.
As soon as Harry walked into the dorm, a black streak burst from his bed. Harry nearly blasted the thing out of the air before he realized it was Noctem. The bird seemed to sense Harry's distress, and nearly stopped midair. The black and silver bird landed on Harry's shoulder, and gave him a letter before flying out of the open window. Somehow the window closed after Noctem left.
The letter was thick, and seemed to be stuffed with parchment. Harry went to sit on his bed with the curtains of his bed closed. He created a light up near the top of the canopy, and started to read.
First things first pup, you need to work on small talk in your letters. Your girlfriends will be furious with you over the summers if you don't. Secondly, don't worry about me, I've got Remus and my letters from Isa to keep me company.
Remus says hi, and to give everyone his best. His exact words, honestly he sounds like such a prat half the time.
Third, I've never actually heard of a creature like the one you described, but it sounds like it might be some sort of Fae. It also sounds like something a Lovegood would talk about, and no one is quite sure if they're insane or seers. Either way, your Fabric Iron gram should help, either to ward of the things or to tell Lovegood you are.
Finally, I have the contracts for you, I'm sure you've noticed them in the envelope. They're the reason I sent it all back with Noctem instead of Hedwig. All you need to do is have the girls and Blaise fill an inkpot with blood, and sign the contracts with any quill. It's simple.
Now, about Neville. I don't know what to tell you. I would probably prank Nott good and hard, but like you said he's progressed beyond that. I would say to watch him, and plot. Use your Slytherin side, take in everything he says and does. If Neville asks you for your help, he'll probably have his own ideas. Just add your information to those ideas.
Sirius Most Ancient and Noble Lorde of Pranking
Order of Mercury First Class
Supreme Ladykiller of Hogwarts
Harry couldn't help but laugh at all the titles Sirius had given himself.
Thanks to Sirius's letter, Harry was able to sleep without seeing that brilliant green light, or hearing the disembodied scream of the Killing Curse. He slept soundly through the night.
You thought that first A/N was it? Nope. I'm disappointed in you all. Half a year, I've been not writing for over half a year and I got one. Count one finger on your hand, yeah that one. One single suggestion from a reader about the Ingenuity Challenge. Come on guys, I'd even like to hear your stupid ideas. They might make me laugh, and they may well end up in the story. Also, sorry about any mistakes in the chapter, like I said, eight hours straight.