The Day The Dursleys Came To Hogwarts
-I thought I'd try my hand at a Harry Potter story. I'd been thinking how every plot idea had been used up to make fanfiction, so I thought I'd see if I could uncover some and make it interesting enough for people to read. Hopefully you will like it enough to send a review. And even if you don't send a review, I hope you liked it. Maybe even a few writers will like some of my new plot ideas and choose to use them.
Harry followed behind his Head of House who was escorting him. As an explanation for this, she said that all of the Champions were allowed to see their families before the First Task. Though it puzzled Harry as to who she could be referring to as 'family' for him, he decided to not ask as she had just a bit of a smile as if she were about to give him a pleasant surprise.
But in the back of his head, he couldn't help thinking that this 'meeting with family' thing was a Tri-Wizard tradition for in case the worst happens. Therefore, those in charge will have had at least given the fallen Champions a chance to see their family again before tragically dying in front of everyone. He gave a shake of his head as he tried to dispel his fatalistic thoughts. He was still having a hard time believing that he was being forced to compete like this. Not that disbelieving would change his forced competition.
At the thought of dying, as well as the terrible means by which his death would conclude, a terrible shiver went down his back, making him fall a further step behind Professor McGonagall. How could anyone put teenagers against monsters such as dragons even if they had been selected as Champions? They were students, and he was younger than the rest of the contestants by three years. Were the committee members trying to get them all killed? Was there betting on how many of them would die or be horribly maimed? He wouldn't put it past Draco to have started a betting pool on something like that. At least the Weasley twins didn't include dying as one of the choices in their betting pool.
He was so deep into thoughts of his very possible upcoming demise that he almost crashed into his Head of House when she came to an abrupt stop. To keep from an awkward collision, Harry used some of his momentum towards twisting to the side to keep from brushing against her backside. That would have not gone over well.
"Severus! What is the meaning of this?"
The sound of extreme outrage was the first thing to clue Harry in that something was very wrong. It didn't even take Harry a second as to know just how wrong things truly were.
The rotund frame of his uncle, Vernon Dursley, was extremely evident just behind the tall, thin frame of his Potions professor, Severus Snape, even with his billowing robes. Also in evidence was Harry's cousin, Dudley, who was poking at a moving painting of a group of knights with his Smelting stick a bit further down the hall. His aunt Petunia was also there and had her nose pointed up as if to show she was above this 'freaky' place, while her eyes betrayed her as they darted all over, drinking in every magical wonder that she could see even as she picked at her scalp with one hand.
It was Snape's sneer turning into more of a smirk that drew Harry's attention back to him. "You yourself mentioned that each 'champion' were to have a brief visit with their family before the First Task. I thought Potter should have the same opportunity." He paused dramatically. "In case he were to not survive..."
"Severus!" If she was angry before, now she was ready to spit nails. One of her cubs was going to be forcibly put in front of a dragon –a nesting dragon at that– for a contest in which he shouldn't even be competing according to the regulations. A contest that had been banned due to the high death rate of its competitors as well as spectators. And in her opinion, anyone with half a brain had to know that Harry wouldn't have entered himself in the first place, but unfortunately, the vast majority of the wizarding population were proving that they had less than half a brain.
Not that Severus ever seemed to need a reason to be cruel to Harry. No, the sneering, contemptuous man was always besmirching the last of the Potters, even bullying him in and out of class according to the reports she had received. Albus refused to reign in the tormentor despite her many complaints about the man. She could already tell that young Harry was emotionally overwhelmed with having been forced to participate in this fowl contest, plus having most of the school ridiculing him and falsely accusing him of cheating his way into the competition, he surely didn't need any contact with his horrid relatives.
Squaring her shoulders, she was determined to stand up for her young lion cub, and let Severus have an earful of what she truly thought of him. And Albus Dumbledore can just be damned for the consequences.
"You know that is not what I meant, you-you-you fowl, self-serving, arrogant, petulant, greasy-haired git!"
Minerva McGonagall's bombshell outburst caught everyone off-guard, leaving Snape, the Dursleys, one Third Year Ravenclaw, a couple First Year Hufflepuffs, as well as two of Harry year, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, who were just passing by with their mouths gapping.
"It's bad enough with the abuse you heap on him every year, in and out of class, constantly sniveling about how much he is like his father, when anyone with a mote of intelligence can see that he is actually more like his mother than he is father!" she continued her rant, letting all her bottled-up frustrations over the years pour out against this unbelievable, bitter, antagonistic man. "And maybe that is why you dislike him so! Because of Lily! And all because she became Lily Potter instead of Lily Snape! Well it's over and done with so get over it already! Because from now on I will be making sure that you treat him like a proper student! In fact, from now on I will be making sure that you are treating all the students with the proper respect they deserve! I don't care what Albus says about it anymore! You will be answering to me from now on! So, by tomorrow you had better have changed your teaching style to be more like Slughorn's, or you are out of here! And trust me, I will be checking on you! And if Albus interferes with my judgment again, I'll take my many findings to the Daily Prophet! Then all the parents of all the children you have bullied and hindered can join forces to take you away from here! Perhaps in chains!"
Snape was starting to shake as his face began to purple. The magical buildup around him was starting to just become visible when a quick spell from behind abruptly knocked him out.
The small frame of Professor Flitwick stood with a toothy grin behind Snape's crumpled form, twirling his wand with a surprising amount of speed that would have left a baton twirler envious. "I thought I'd stun him before he burst a blood vessel. That's how Milton the Obnoxious died, you know." Looking down on his fellow teacher, he began to tsk. "I think I shall bring him to the hospital wing so that Madame Pomfrey can examine him. Can't be too careful now, can we?"
McGonagall eyed the half-Goblin teacher as she tried to determine his reasoning. After all, Flitwick always had a reason for the things that he did. It was usually just a matter of determining the method to his erratic behavior. At times, he could be as bad as Dumbledore, but his methods and results were much more to her approval. "I agree, but Poppy is stationed in the medical tent for the duration of the First Task."
Flitwick looked up at her, and shared a gin. "Then Severus will get some well-needed rest until she returns to the hospital wing, won't he?" He chuckled at his little bit of deviousness and shot her a wink. "Shame that he'll be missing the First Task." He managed a forlorn look as he gave a shake of his head.
Minerva brought her hand up to her face just in time to hide her smile, but quickly had herself under control again. "Very well, please do so then. It's unbecoming for a teacher to be sprawled out on the hall floor after all."
"I quite agree," Flitwick said with a slight chortle. "It's too bad we don't take House points from teachers. Though I shudder to think how far into the red the Slytherins would fall." Then with a quick levitation spell, he took the air bound Snape away amid a round of clapping from the wide-eyed students who had seen the soon to be legendary event.
"That's enough, students," McGonagall stated, blush beginning to color her cheeks as she thought about her impulsive actions in front of the students.
"I can't believe Lily was ever friends with that odious man," said an unexpected voice.
Gaping at his aunt Petunia, Harry managed to say in a strangled voice, "Snape was friends with my mother? How is that even possible?" Despite hearing that his potions professor had wanted to marry his mother, Harry couldn't believe the odious man was ever a friend of his mother.
Petunia froze for a moment as she realized the information she had revealed to her nephew. She shuffled uneasily on her feet as she twisted a strand of her hair with her fingers. Finally, she shrugged, as if to convey that she thought that the information wasn't that important. "He introduced her to the Wizarding world as you call it." She then studied her fingers for a moment before flicking whatever was on them away. "He lived near us at our childhood home in Spinner's End. His father was a brute of a man and often drunk. His mother was skinny like him and had the same haughty, hook-like nose held high despite the evident bruising that was frequently seen on her." She frowned as she gave her hair an extra tug. "That surprised me since Snape had told us that it was his mother that was the fr-, er, magical in the family."
Harry managed to nod as his aunt continued in her role as a natural gossip.
"He and Lily were about eight when they met. She was trying to figure out her abilities out in a nearby glen when that Snape," she said, stressing the name with extra venom, "began spying on her, then finally offering to teach her some of his fr-, er, magical tricks."
While this was all news to Harry, Vernon could not have cared less now that he had his freak of a nephew in front of him again. He wanted to smack him across the face for being the reason he had been brought here, but he didn't want to be on the business end of one of the many wands that were about. Even so, Vernon did know that words could inflict damage in place of a strike to the face or a stomp beneath his foot. "Boy, this professor of yours tells us that you've gotten yourself into quite a predicament; that you've signed yourself up for a dangerous contest that you were not even eligible for."
"I. Did. Not! Enter. Myself." Harry stood firm and refused to tremble in front of his uncle. Not here at Hogwarts.
"Then you probably got one of your older freaky friends to do it for you," he said casually with a dismissive wave of his hand.
Harry had flinched when Vernon had moved his hand, then felt embarrassed that he had reacted when clearly his uncle wasn't even about to hit him with so many witnesses around. The remark about his friends had scored a hit though. Most of his friends had abandoned him as soon as Harry's name had come out of the Goblet of Fire. Ron had been a total prat; often bad-mouthing Harry within hearing range. Once the ginger turncoat could be heard bragging to have actually done many of the feats that were accredited to Harry over their first three years at Hogwarts.
Even the Weasley twins and the other members of the Gryffindor quidditch were giving him a wider berth now that he was persona non-grata in the castle. His dorm mates had shut him out, too. All except for Neville. Neville ignored the grumblings of his housemates as he continued to talk and sit with the one that the rest had ostracized in their fickleness.
And then there was Hermione. She had planted herself at his side as soon as she knew that he was in trouble. With her at his side, he couldn't care less about the rest. Though he was glad for Neville's company.
Straightening himself, the teen took a deep breath before taking a determined stand against his uncle. "Once again, uncle, you show just how ignorant you are to what the facts really are." He glanced out at the students still milling around. "Not that you are alone in that category."
Vernon fumed at the brat's impudence in daring to speak back to him. "Don't be giving me any of your lip, boy!"
"I wasn't," the teen said through clenched teeth. "This year was supposed to be my chance to enjoy a nice, quiet year at school. A chance to sit back, relax and do my studies. Maybe even get my courage up to ask out one of the girls I'm interested in. Instead, I'm stuck in some deadly medieval tournament against my will."
He could feel the magic starting to build up around him. Harry worked quickly on slamming down on his emotions as he refused to break down here in an open hallway in front of all those present. Silently, he damned Vernon and Snape together. Taking another breath in, he idly wondered if he had somehow wandered into the presence of a boggart, but quickly dismissed it when he realized that Malfoy, Snape and Voldemort would have been present too for that to have qualified.
"So, was that Snap fellow telling that truth that you have to face some huge monster all alone? Because that is the only reason that I agreed to come to this freaky place."
"Stop it, Vernon! Harry has more than enough things on his plate today. He doesn't need you coming down on him, too."
Both Vernon and his nephew looked back at Petunia with not a little bit of surprise. She gave her husband a reprehending eye that stood out despite her growing disarray of hair caused by her scratching vigorously at the back of her head.
"Professor McGonagall?" spoke a blond Ravenclaw student. "Perhaps it might be more prudent to use one of Hogwart's conference rooms instead of the hall for a family meeting?" She tapped on the door to the room right behind her.
"A good suggestion, Miss Lovegood. Five points to Ravenclaw for a thoughtful solution to a… distasteful situation."
Casting a simple spell, the conference room door opened up for Minerva. Petunia eyed the doorway for a moment, then marched right through. "Come along, Vernon, Dudley." After a pause she added, "Harry."
Minerva McGonagall paused in the doorway.
"Actually, Mr. Dursley, why don't I send you and your son to partake of some refreshments while Petunia and Harry talk?"
"You mean 'food'?" called out Dudley who had lost complete interest in the moving paintings for now as the inhabitants of the portraits had all vacated them so they wouldn't be prodded by the large boy's Smelting stick.
McGonagall was a bit surprised at just how dim Dudley seemed, and she has had to work with the likes of Ron Weasley, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle on a regular basis. It made her want to weep for the future. "Yes, food, Mr. Dursley." Turning to the hall, she hailed one of her Gryffindor students. "Miss Brown, I would like you to do something for me."
Lavender Brown quickly came forward, hoping to overhear anything to add to the gossip mill that was her life blood. A chance to obtain raw data from a muggle source about the early history of the secretive Harry Potter drove her to the front despite the disgusting stare she was receiving from the older male Dursley. "Yes, Professor McGonagall?"
"I would like you to take Mr. Dursley and his son to the kitchen for a bite to eat. I'm sure the house-elves will be very accommodating, as you are well aware."
Lavender blushed lightly, having been caught by her Head of House having a late-night snack in the kitchen with an older Hufflepuff student she had been dating less than a fortnight ago. "Sure thing, professor."
Dudley was quick to follow after Lavender who had been joined by her friend Parvati. Vernon hesitated only until he noted the glowing wand that Harry held clenched tightly in his hand. When Petunia waved for him to go, he decided to relent. After delivering a final glare back at his nephew, he went after his son and the two attractive, young witches.
With some hesitancy of his own, Harry followed his aunt inside. Stopping just inside the door, he watched as she walked over to the table and braced herself against it with both hands just before her body seemed to shudder for a moment.
Harry glanced over at McGonagall, but the only answer she gave him was to motion with her head to go over to his aunt, then followed that action by putting up some privacy wards to the room. With reservations, he slowly closed the distance between them. Finally, standing right next to her, he put a hand onto her shoulder. "Aunt Petunia?"
He had not expected her to whirl toward him and envelope him in a hug that was almost akin to that of those given by Hermione. It was only as his shoulder seemed to become damp that he realized that his aunt was crying on his shoulder. This type of unusual situation had never happened to him before. Glancing back at his professor, she motioned that he should reach around his aunt and pat her gently on the back. He raised his eyebrows in alarm as if to indicate to her 'Are you serious!' to which McGonagall made a more determined motion for him to do as she had suggested. Letting out a somewhat frustrated sigh, the teen wizard embraced his aunt and patted her on the back to which her response was to sob even more. And louder, too, to Harry's growing consternation.
Harry was trying to decide if the dragon was preferable to this situation, when his aunt started to separate from him. Professor McGonagall finally came forward after transfiguring a migrating dust bunny into a handkerchief with which to provide her.
Having wiped away the tears and the minor amount of makeup that she wore, Harry's aunt blew her nose three times before taking a deep breath. "Oh, Harry, I've done so much wrong by you," she managed to say through her sniffles, all while still holding on to him.
Harry tried to think of something to say, but couldn't for the life of him think what it should be. She had done wrong by him. He'd been forced to sleep in the cupboard under the stairs, often locked inside for long periods of time. He was starved and given tasks around the house that no one his age should be doing. He'd been beaten by Vernon and Dudley, and she had done nothing to stop it. She'd even punished Harry when he had done better than her Duddy-kins at school. Then there was the verbal abuse and the lies about his parents. The neglect. Nothing of his own; just worn-out hand-me-downs from his over-large cousin.
"I had wanted to come here so badly as a child. I even wrote to that headmaster of yours, to beg to let me come."
Harry blinked in surprise. His aunt had wanted to come to Hogwarts when she was a kid? She had wanted to be one of the 'freaks'?
"It seems so unfair that your mother, Lily, got to go and I didn't. Even though I never displayed any signs of magic, in my heart I wanted to go to Hogwarts. Oh, how I wish I could explain it better than that. Just blaming it all on jealousy doesn't seem right."
She was holding him tightly against her chest again, much to his dismay, while running her fingers through his hair in what he could only assume was meant to be a mothering manner.
"Um, Aunt Petunia, what are you doing to my hair?"
"Hmm?" She glanced down at her hand with a bit of surprise. "Oh, sorry, Harry. It's just all those tiny creatures fluttering around your head and getting into your hair. I don't see how you can stand them."
"Ah, yeah, uh, don't take this the wrong way, but… to what creatures are you referring?" Despite not being able to do much with his hair, he was good at grooming himself and knew he didn't have lice.
She leaned back as she pulled at something in his hair. "These things, whatever they are," she said, putting her hand near his face, with her fingers pinched together. "They are practically swarming your head."
Harry stared at her fingers for a moment, but before he could tell his aunt that there was nothing between her fingers, someone else spoke up.
"You can see them, too? Merlin's beard! You can even touch them?! I've only heard legends of people capable of doing that!"
Three sets of eyes turned to someone that they hadn't realized was in the room with them.
"Miss Lovegood! What do you think you are doing there? This is meant to be a private time so that-"
"Please, professor," the blonde Ravenclaw spoke, hold her hand up for silence. "This is extremely more important." She then turned to the only other woman in the room. "Now, Mrs. Harry Potter's aunt, how long have you been able to see Wrackspurts?"
Harry snapped out of his bewilderment at this strange Ravenclaw who he thought was a year below him. Ron had mentioned her once when their paths crossed and said her name was Looney. It had stuck in Harry's head as he reflected on the unusual names that magical parents gave their children – Draco, Pansy, Millicent and Blaise, to name a few. But he hadn't dwelt on it long once he remembered that one of his closest friends was named Hermione, a rather obscure name taken from a Shakespearian play. "Wait, are you saying that my aunt is really holding onto something?"
Now it was Petunia's turn to be alarmed as she held her hand farther out in front of her. "You mean you can't see these-these-what did you call them?"
"Wrackspurts!" Luna exclaimed excitedly.
"Whatever they are!" Petunia exclaimed with growing alarm. "What are they?"
"Oh, they aren't very dangerous," the Ravenclaw stated as a means to calm the woman down. "They are… well, they are believed to be the cause of general confusion in whose ever head they are infesting, as well as carrying off random thoughts and whispers of those thoughts to each other and anyone else who happens to hear them." She then leaned in closer to examine Petunia's captive. "Hmm, as far as I can tell it's a-typical for a Wrackspurt in this region, but my Sight isn't the sharpest, leaving it rather blurry."
"It's not blurry at all to me," Petunia spoke with wonder at this revelation.
"Really?" the Ravenclaw asked with growing excitement. "Could I get you to draw a picture of it for me? Daddy would love the opportunity to print a clearly defined picture of a Wrackspurt in the next edition of The Quibbler. It's sure to replace the current front headline of the rising tension between redcaps and vampires."
Feeling more and more overwhelmed, Petunia decided she needed a new starting point, so she could collect some of herself. "Let's back up a moment, please. Now I'm Harry's aunt – Petunia Dursley. And your name is…?"
"Luna Lovegood, of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Lovegood," Luna stated matter-of-factly. "Daughter of Master Spell Crafter Selene Lovegood nee Fraser, my mother, and editor of The Quibbler, Xenophilus Lovegood, my father. Now back to my original question: 'how long have you been able to see Wrackspurts?' And how are you able to touch them like that? Wrackspurts are metaphysical creatures by nature and are not really connected to the physical world. It shouldn't be possible to do what you are doing."
"But… I am touching it," the older woman spoke quietly, as she began to consider releasing the tiny struggling thing caught between her fingers. "They are slightly tingly to my fingertips and feel something like butterfly wings. At least I think that is what it feels like."
"It's okay to let it go. It won't go far."
It was with some relief that Petunia did just that, freeing whatever had been trapped between her fingertips, then began wiping her fingers against the side of her light dress to clean them. Her eyes kept track of the so-called 'Wrackspurt' following it as it headed back towards her nephew.
"Harry, it's coming back towards you."
Harry's eyes widened in alarm but couldn't see whatever it was. He began to edge backwards and bumped into a chair.
"Don't worry about it," Luna responded. "I think Harry might have been spelled to attract them. I use radishes for earrings to keep the regular ones away, but I don't think that will work for Harry. Harry has one of the largest Wrackspurt infestations I've ever seen, and they haven't seemed to have harmed him much besides confounding him a bit." She paused, and tilted her head. "I think they may be using him as a breeding ground."
"What?!" While he was relieved to hear that these things were most likely benign, except for the confounding part, but he really didn't like the thought of being some creatures' breeding ground. "How do I get rid of them?" The sound of desperation in his voice was very painfully obvious.
Luna seemed to be slipping back into her more dazed expression, making Harry feel a bit more anxious. "Your aunt seems to be doing a good job of clearing them away. But that evidently won't keep them from coming back. Perhaps if she were to see if there was something attracting them to you? Maybe an invisible birthmark that only you can see?"
"An excellent idea, Miss Lovegood," McGonagall proclaimed, as she stepped forward to reassert her role in the group. "Mrs. Dursley, if you would perhaps comb through Harry's hair, you know, as if inspecting for lice. You do have lice in the Muggle world, yes? Ah, I thought so. So, if you would examine Harry's head, maybe you would see something that would give us a clue as to what was going on." The Transfiguration professor then turned the used handkerchief into a low stool for Harry to sit on. Harry reluctantly acquiesced with a heavy, embarrassed sigh and sat on it.
Petunia stepped behind him, and, with a tad of reluctance, began the hair searching protocol, swatting aside obstinate Wrackspurts as she went.
She let out a whimper as she flicked the invisible critters away. "I don't know why, but they seem even more revolting now that I know that all of you can't see them."
"Don't forget that most wizards and witches can't even touch or feel them either," Luna added, helpfully.
"Yeah, what's up with that?" Harry asked, trying to distract himself from what was going on. Wasn't he supposed to face off against a dragon?
"That is something that I plan to look into personally." Professor McGonagall was slowly circling Harry and Petunia while casting a fleeting look over to Luna from time to time as if trying to solve a bothersome puzzle. "With abilities like this, I don't know why you weren't accepted into Hogwarts as a child."
At hearing this proclamation, Petunia froze. "You mean to say that I really should have attended here after all?" A myriad of feelings tried to express themselves on her face as she took this in. Joy. Anger. Disappointment. And shame.
"Most likely," admitted the Deputy Headmistress. "But I will have to look around to find an answer, maybe even examine your magical core, if you have one."
Petunia gave a reluctant nod before resuming her inspection of Harry's head. "Oh, this is odd."
"Did you find something?" inquired McGonagall, as she peered over Harry's aunt's shoulder.
"There's a… a metal rod embedded in the side of his head."
"What?" Harry's hands flew up to his scalp, his fingers running through his hair.
"Oh my!" Petunia jumped back. "His fingers went right through those Wrack-thingees!"
"What part of metaphysical did you not understand?" Luna asked politely. "And they are called Wrackspurts."
"Was he able to touch the rods?" McGonagall asked, steering them back to the subject at hand.
"I… I'm not sure. Those Wrackspurt things passing through his fingers distracted me. Harry, give me your hand so that I run it over this rod that I found, please."
He relented, and just went with the weirdness of the moment.
She moved two of his fingertips over an area two inches above his ear and just an inch forward. "Do you feel that?"
"I don't think so."
"I'm not surprised. Your fingers went right through it." She then placed her fingers on the rod; flinching when she actually made contact. "Can you feel me touching that?" she managed to say, barely able to control the surprise and shock in her own voice.
"No. What does that mean?"
Professor McGonagall moved right in front of Harry. "It means someone may have compromised your ability to compete in the tournament."
"So, then I won't have to compete?" he said, hope plain in his voice.
His Head of House bit her lip for a moment. "I'm afraid you still will, for to not compete may result in the Goblet of Fire deciding that you forfeit, meaning you would lose you magic and possibly your life."
The teen groaned as he shook his head. "Damned if I do; damned if I don't. Just great."
"Could we extract the rods?" Luna queried.
McGonagall nodded, "I was thinking along those lines myself." She redirected her next statement to Petunia. "Can you describe what you can see of the rod?"
Moving some of his unruly hair out of the way, Petunia tapped an area around his head. "It's as thick as a pencil, red, and sticking about five centimeters out of the skull." She squinted as she leaned in closer. "There seems to a capital A on the tip of it."
"Oh dear," was what everyone in the room could hear Professor McGonagall say.
"You know what it is then?" Luna asked politely.
The Hogwart's teacher looked as if she had been bludgeoned. "Y-yes. My-my husband had been researching on these before he had been killed. They're called repressing rods. It was one of the more despicable things that Grindelwald had been using while experimenting on people."
"Experimenting?" He really didn't like the sound of that.
"Yes, my husband, Jonas, he'd been working on undoing the damage to Grindelwald's victims. Just before he'd been killed, Jonas had stumbled onto the rods, which most witches and wizards couldn't even see to know were even there."
"Ok," Harry said with a wavering voice. "Two questions, what is it doing to me, and can they be removed?"
Taking a moment to dab at her eyes, she cleared her throat. "The one that your aunt describes interferes with memory and focus."
He didn't like that. "And to get it out?"
"That was the most frustrating part for Jonas, finding something that could pull it out, as most things pass right through it."
"So if we can get it extracted, he'll be fine?" Luna asked to clarify.
"As I understood his notes, then yes, it's just the matter of getting it out of him. It's phased so it won't leave a hole in him."
"Then Mrs. Dursley should be able to extract it," Luna stated matter-of-factly.
"Me!?" his aunt looked aghast at the very idea.
Harry nodded. "It's got to be you." He took her hand before she could bolt. "As a child, you dreamed of using magic; now you have the opportunity to do something magical most wizards and witches could never hope to."
"But what if this hurts you?"
He closed his eyes and let out a heavy sigh. "I'm about to be forced to fight against a dr- vicious, magical beast." He tried not to, but he glanced to his Head of House who had caught his slip of tongue about his knowing about the dragon. "I have a very good chance of being killed or maimed for life in the next hour; you pulling this dampening rod out of my head would very likely give me a much better chance to live."
She wiped away a tear before agreeing. "Just please, tell me if it hurts at all so I can stop."
He took just a moment to reflect on how unusually nice his aunt was behaving, but knew it was not something he could dwell on right now. "Alright, but we have to hurry. I don't know how much time we have until I have to be in the Champions' Tent."
Taking a deep breath, Petunia grasped the end of the rod and pulled. Gasped at the relative ease in which it slid out, then was even more surprised when it turned out to be over thirty centimeters long.
"D-did that hurt?"
"It's out? I didn't feel it at all!"
"Oh, thank goodness!" she said with relief.
Meanwhile, McGonagall had transfigured some old pamphlets into a deep tray, and began sending several spells on it. "This should hold the rod for a few hours. I will like to have one of my friends in the Department of Mysteries examine it."
Carefully, Petunia set the rod onto the tray. "Oh, it didn't pass through it. I thought it would. And those Wrackspurt things are fluttering around it."
"Containing them is easy once you know the right spells," said McGonagall. "Being able to remove the rods from a subject, that is not so easy."
"So, Harry's all right then?" his aunt asked, fear evident in her voice.
"To be sure," the professor began, "I would like you to do a complete examination of Harry to see if there are any more rods on his body.
As the search continued, Petunia had discovered another red rod on the other side of his head and quickly removed it. On a further examination, she found seven black rods sticking out of his spine. These, McGonagall informed, dampened a person magical core. As each black rod were removed, a sudden influx of magical energy would flood back into Harry to fill the void that had been there, making him jump slightly in his seat. There were also seven blue rods that surrounded his heart that McGonagall said diminished his ability to recognize love.
"That's everything then."
"Very good then," McGonagall acknowledged even as she took the collecting tray from Luna who had been rolling the pins back and forth even though she couldn't see them. "I'm still concerned with the way that you described his scar. You say it's like looking at something evil."
Petunia shivered. "It's more like something evil was looking out from it at me." She paused and gave him a look of guilt. "Not that I am suggesting that you are evil, Harry."
Harry was quiet, making everyone look at him.
"It's not a rod? You're sure?"
"I… it doesn't look like the others. In fact, all this is so new to me that I have no idea what it could be," she went on to explain while raising her arms in a gesture of helplessness.
"Can you… can you try to remove it? Pull it out like you did with the rods?"
McGonagall raised her hand to stop them. "Harry, this may be too dangerous. We've already done a number of things to you that we can't determine how it has affected you. The thing in your scar we can have looked at after the First Task."
Harry shook his head. His thoughts were moving a lot clearer after the first two rods had been removed. "Professor, I got this scar when Voldemort tried to kill me only to have the killing curse return and kill him instead. Whenever I was near Quirrell in my First Year, it would hurt. And then there are the dreams… So, if there is any part of Voldemort in my scar, then I want him evicted. Immediately."
Both women paled at the very idea that there could anything connected to Voldemort inside the young boy's scar.
"I'll do it, Harry," his aunt said in a quiet voice. Then engulfed him in a hug. "But, please, don't let this be the thing that kills you. I have so much to make up to you."
"What has happened to you?" he asked, as he stepped back to look at her. "I've never seen you like this before."
"You never said," came Luna's voice.
"What was that?" Harry spoke, taking a second to study the blonde Ravenclaw. A majority of the time she seemed to have a dazed or daydreaming expression on her face. Now he had to wonder if that had something to do with her claim of having the Sight. But then there was the fact that she carried her wand tucked behind her ear like someone in the Muggle world would a pencil. She also had a habit of wearing radishes for earrings. Her clothes showed some odd wear and tear that made him think of Dudley's old clothes that he had to use. And then there was the fact that she wasn't wearing any shoes.
"It's my guess that whatever change happened to her that is allowing her to see and touch things that she couldn't before, did so just before she started noticing the Wrackspurts. And you never said when or what that was," she said quietly as if she were explaining it to sweet little children.
"Oh!" Petunia put her hand to her mouth. "I think I might know."
"And what is that, Mrs. Dursley?" the deputy headmistress asked calmly.
"It was right after we'd walked through the Hogwarts gates. I had stumbled over something, but when I looked I couldn't see anything. But I could see the magical barrier at that point. I just figured that you had to be on this side of the barrier to see it. But that awful, crude, giant of a man-"
"His name is Hagrid, and he's actually quite nice," Harry stated stiffly.
"… yes, him. He had quite a few of the Wrackspurts fluttering all over him. I just assumed it was considered a normal thing. Like the wizarding equivalent of an infestation of fleas or something. I mean, really, how was I to know?"
"Yes," nodded McGonagall with a growing frown. "I suppose I can see your point, Mrs. Dursley. And that just raises more questions for me. But they are questions that will have to be addressed later. And we are running out of time. That being said, I would like the three of you to promise me you will not tell anyone what went on in here until I've had a chance to investigate further. And that includes not telling the Headmaster."
Harry's brows furrowed. "But-"
"If you are going to have anything done with your scar, it had best be soon. I have to get you to the First Task shortly."
His face turned to one of resolve. "Yeah. Let's do this."
It had turned out to be a good thing that McGonagall had placed the privacy wards. The screams that had come when Petunia began removing the entity from Harry would have sent everyone in the castle running either towards them or far, far away.