Harry hissed his annoyance as he left bloody thumbprints on the slightly crumpled parchment. Dropping the paper back onto his desk, Harry wiped his hands clean on the torn, ruined trousers he wore. The teenaged Wizard then picked the letter addressed to himself, and began to read with calm eyes. The script was very neat. Flowing.
I am sorry that I haven't sent this letter before now… We received the news of what happened only days after, but the notion of trying to express my sympathy, as well as that of my family, was not a task that I was willing to take lightly. Finally, I have realised that it is silly to try to express such a thing in written form; just know that I cried for them, and that I hope you are unhurt.
Please do not do anything reckless. While I cannot say that I understand what you are going through, they would not want you to put yourself in danger out of a need for revenge; even a Triwizard champion would not make it out of a confrontation with such Dark Wizards uninjured.
And I Please take care of yourself, and tell the others that I wish them a speedy, full recovery.
See you soon,
Below, there was another note written in an attempted imitation of Fleur's script, though Gabrielle had a ways to go before it was quite so... fancy. And Harry got the feeling that hers had been written using some method of translation spell, likely either in the ink or the quill Gabrielle had written the lengthy paragraph with. The length suggested she didn't quite understand the concept at her tender age.
Hello Harry! I hope you are well, I miss you very much and hope you are having a good summer! We've been travelling to celebrate Fleur's being one of the selected champions, and have had a lot of fun! We went to Canada to see some of our cousins, and then went down into America to visit some of the sights of the Magical dispute. Did you know that they still use rituals instead of wand-magic? It's very long, but they put on a display for Papa that included fireworks! It was very pretty! They gave me a talisman too that wards off evil intentions but I don't think it works very well except to scare our cat, Monsieur Pipsqueak! You have to come and meet him soon, I think that he will really like you! One of his eyes is green, too! Will you come and visit us at Christmas? I hope you will! I can show you around our estate, and we can go for a picnic, and I can show you the drawings I've done of you, and you can see Fleur's room too if there's time! Mama says I have to go to bed now! I hope to see you soon!
It took Harry a few attempts to absorb all of the words on the page, and that was what warned him of his tiredness. Smiling softly at the little girl's enthusiasm, he began to clean the blood and grime from his skin. After, he would try to get some sleep. It had been elusive recently, but the magical world had not given him much in the way of a solution to his exhaustion. The only thing that worked so far was the adrenaline that coursed through his veins in the process of a hunt.
"Thomas!" Hermione Granger exclaimed, slamming open the door of their shared compartment in her haste. "Come quick!"
"Wuzza?" The-boy-who-lived asked, blearily, as his eyes opened and he fell off his seat. Ron, shockingly, continued to snore undisturbed by the commotion
"Your brother! Your brother! You have to- to help!" She summarised.
Thomas stayed on the floor, blinking, as he processed the information he'd been given. Then, he hurriedly rose to his feet and followed the stressed girl away from their claimed seats and towards the commotion occurring in the halls.
As Harry sat opposite her, Tracy gained a look of concern. The young man could guess why; the dark bags under his bloodshot eyes presented an unhealthy image and had gained him a handful of curious looks as he walked through the station to platform 9¾ both in the mundane area and that of the wizarding population.
Fortunately, none of them had been willing to risk the wrath of the limping, muscular teenager with sharp teeth and ragged clothes.
Sharp teeth. Harry was curious about that slight change, but it was far from the most concerning aspect of him at the moment; insomnia took precedence over elongated cuspids. Especially when it was leading to something… else.
His reassuring smile must have come out as a pained grimace, based on the fact that Tracy's worry only seemed to grow. So did Daphne's, though hers was only a morbid look in the eye. Even if it had been the expression he had intended, it would have fallen away as Tracy tried to hide a flash of pain. She stiffened, and Harry's hand twitched before his friend succeeded in dismissing her own problem in favour of his.
Warm brown eyes bored into cold green, as the train chug-chugged to life. Harry leant back against the headrest, as he battled weariness. He would have to start making some Dreamless-sleep potion when he got to Hogwarts; stunning himself was a poor substitute to slumber, and the risk of addiction and through it withdrawal was overshadowed by the notion of dreaming again.
Harry fingered the shrunken-trunk in his pocket, but it was a bad idea. Even a Pepper Up Potion would be greeted with disapproval; if they found out what he was injecting himself with… well, there was a reason Harry couldn't use it as a long-term solution.
In another section of the trunk, there was a collection of belongings that were not Harry's. He only had a vague idea of what he would do with them, but the space wasn't needed for anything else. And the now-deceased Death Eaters certainly did not have any use for them.
Of course, their families might appreciate the nic-naks, but why would Harry care about that? He would not go out of his way to kill them, but stealing insignificant items from the families of people he hated certainly wasn't the cause of his losing sleep.
How many of them had he killed now? Harry had lost count; some of the gatherings were large and the effort of sorting the body parts to check which arm belonged with which head and whether those three bloody pieces slotted together to form a single leg just seemed… bothersome. Tedious.
As Harry was thinking of the elder, and the charred remains he had left in the ruins of his manor, the younger Malfoy's muffled voice reached his ears from outside the compartment.
"Put your fucking wand away, Greengrass." Harry's eyes snapped open; when had they closed? And they found Daphne. She was sat there, staring at the doorway with a frown with her hand going to draw her wand. It definitely wasn't her that Draco was talking to. Andrew and Adelaide weren't on the train, either. Their could be one amongst the First Years with that name, but what chance was there of one being fool enough to draw a wand on a Fifth year?
Astoria probably didn't put her wand away, but it wasn't important whether or not she did as the door burst open and revealed the surprised face of the platinum blonde boy. Harry's wand was pointed at said face, with red sparks spitting into the air between them, as the older boy sat at attention.
"POTTER!" Malfoy screamed. Harry's eyebrow raised in response to the furious pitch; Draco had sounded rather calm from the sentence Harry had heard. It was almost impressive that he had gained such control in the months since term ended. Less so that it had failed him upon seeing Harry face to face, but that mistake was understandable.
Next to Draco, his henchmen fumed. Both Crabbe and Goyle were baring their teeth with furious growls and hate in their eyes, and Harry's mind went back to the events of his summer as he identified whose death had angered them so.
He had long suspected that the two were the product of some rather serious inbreeding between magical families. Likely they were second cousins at least, if Harry was correct in that the two were descended from the same mountainous tribe. Maybe one of the women had rutted with a troll, whether intentionally or through force, and the genes were dominant in the two. But maybe the two couples with unnaturally strong resemblances had been the reason; if there was a history of inbreeding in the family, relations between a brother and sister would result in… well, in something very similar to Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.
The four troll-like adults hadn't been skilled. Not in any way, shape or form; Harry, in his wolven form, had not been slowed for a second by their bulk as he barrelled through and his claws lashed out. They had fallen to the floor with heavy, wet thuds as their insides dropped first. Then, Harry had carried on through to the bigger game he was hunting; those who Riddle may actually miss.
Harry hadn't been sure before now that Crabbe and Goyle were intelligent enough to feel anything for a significant period of time. He had assumed that their attention spans were lower than he could comprehend, but maybe they could focus on things that made them angry as well as the eternal hunger they seemed to be cursed with.
"Yes?" Harry asked, in response to Draco's infuriated scream. Malfoy's weight twitched from one leg to the other, and his hand plunged into the pocket of his robes as Crabbe and Goyle's self-control snapped. The two charged forwards, shouldering past their leader, and slammed their bulk into the taller teen. Harry's wand did not move to the two as they approached.
Harry fell backwards, and stumbled too quickly into the opposite wall of the cabin. His head connected with the glass, and punched a hole with the sound of shattering. Harry ignored the feeling of a gash opening in the back of his scalp, and the subsequent blood dripping down his neck, as he pushed himself forwards again and twirled the wand that was in his grip and that had been moved from his curser.
"CRUCIO!" Draco shrieked in a voice full of fury, with the tip of his wand trained on Harry's chest.
Harry fell to a knee at the sensation. Fueled by hate, as it was, Draco's spell… stung. And Harry's balance was hindered by a head wound.
Stupidly, the blonde and his henchmen had stepped into the compartment to assault their target. Daphne already had her wand in hand, and Tracy was quick on the draw. That was why the spell's effects lasted but a second before Crabbe, the closest to Daphne, fell to the floor shrieking and clawing at his gums as his teeth stabbed upwards.
Draco was hit with a disarming curse as Goyle fell to the ground unconscious. Harry guessed Tracy had been the perpetrator of both these spells, as she did not have a stomach for violence but that made little difference to the remaining Malfoy male, as Harry's wand flicked upwards and Draco was flung into the corridor. Someone made a noise of pain as the blonde hit them and carried on, but the sound was overshadowed by the crash of his body slamming into the opposite carriage's door and passing through.
Before the gathered crowd could react, Harry was through the open door and passing through their midsts. He shouldered one boy out of the way; later, Harry would be unable to say even which house the younger male had been in, but the boy was sent sprawling to the floor with the wind knocked out of him.
Draco was coughing blood as Harry entered the compartment, and an angry gasp was all that the blond got out before Harry had him by the professionally-maintained hair, and responded with a growl of his own. The emerald-eyed teenager lifted the boy without ceremony and Draco gave a noise of panic as he watched the wall rapidly near his gaze.
With a crunch, Harry broke Malfoy's nose and released the now-messy hair. The boy crumpled and fell to the floor as blood poured down his chin; Harry assumed that there had been a moment of unconsciousness, as Draco's hands snapped up to his face only after lying, immobile, on the carpet for several heartbeats.
Harry watched the postured boy's hands shake as they came back bloody, and Draco paled at the image; most wizards rarely saw blood.
"Accio Draco Malfoy's wand." Harry said, waving his own in the upper half of a circle. He caught the stick easily in his left hand, and held it in a tight grip as he raised it to show Draco.
"See this?" The Peverell-Potter asked. Draco's eyes moved to the item in question. Harry pressed his thumb against the top, and pushed. The wand broke.
"No!" The owner of the two halves yelled, with shock in his eyes at losing his prized possession. Idly, the breaker wondered how he would acquire a new one; Lucius being a governor would have gotten him out of school to visit Ollivanders, but now that influence was gone.
Harry tossed it at the defeated teen. "You're just a kid, Draco. Make better choices than your father did, or you'll end up going to your grave in the same way." He turned and walked out of the compartment, as Draco stared at the broken wood in his hands.
As he stepped out into the hallway again, Harry noted that there were more people in attendance; some in the corridor staring at him, others sticking their heads out of the relative safety of their compartments to see what the commotion was about. He ignored them and their shocked expressions, though, as Draco let out a wordless yell.
Harry turned on the spot, and extended his hand in the shape of a claw. A claw that Malfoy's throat collided with, as the teen leapt at him with the intention to attack from behind. The hanging blonde choked and gasped as Harry held him aloft. Cold green eyes bored, unblinkingly, into fearful grey as Malfoy's pale face reddened. Blood dripped onto Harry's hand from the broken nose of Draco.
Draco slapped at Harry's wrist as the grip tightened. And nobody did anything to help as his face turned purple. Nor as the slapping stopped, and Draco went limp. Harry felt his pulse weaken, and then had his attention pulled away.
"HARRY!" A familiar, and unwelcome, voice yelled. Thomas Potter's breathing was heavy, though not so much as the bushy-haired girl next to him, and the younger boy had a look of worry in his mouth as he looked at his limp nemesis. "Harry, let him go!"
It was tempting to hold Draco by the throat for a while longer. It would save him a job later, when the Daddy's-boy followed Lucius' path. That, and Harry felt the urge to kill the little bastard; Draco was already on the path towards hurting the people he cared about. Why not kill him here, today?
Because there were dozens of people watching him.
With a grunt, Harry let the boy fall to the floor, and walked away from the unconscious boy. As he stepped over the prone figure, Harry noticed that Hermione Granger was hurrying through the crowd, no doubt to heal Draco as best as she could. Slipping back into his own compartment where he retook his seat across from Tracy and Daphne, with Astoria seated next to him. They were staring at him; they must have realised what had been going through his head.
Hopefully, the other students had not.
"HARRY POTTER!" A voice, grating at this pitch, screamed through the door as the bushy haired girl pounded on the door. "OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW!" She ordered.
Harry ignored her.
"I AM A PREFECT! I DEMAND THAT YOU OPEN THIS DOOR IMMEDIATELY!" She continued, yelling furiously.
Daphne began to rise, with a scowl marring her beautiful face and her wand in hand.
"Don't." Harry asked of her, standing himself, instead. "No need for you to get a telling off, too."
"A telling off? You were acting in self defense. He used an unforgivable on you…" Daphne said, with no small amount of confusion in her tone.
"OPEN THIS DOOR!" The occupants of the cabin ignored the girl's fury.
"But Ms Granger doesn't know that. Malfoy's smart enough to know that if he goes to a teacher it'll end up with him expelled, and most likely in Azkaban, and so will give some half-baked lie when Snape asks him what happened. She, though," He nodded at the angry face of the Gryffindor Fifth Year Prefect. "Will go straight to Mcgonagall. She'll try to assign me detentions. I'll ignore them. She'll take points off me, and I won't care. So, she'll go see the Headmaster and Dumbledore will have a meeting with me."
"I DEMAND THAT YOU OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT NOW!"
"Where he'll also try to understand what's going on with you? And see if you can still be saved and turned to his way of thinking?" Daphne added.
"YOU'RE ONLY MAKING THINGS WORSE FOR YOURSELF!"
Harry blinked. "Yeah… I guess he will." That should have been something he thought of himself, but his mind was slow at the moment. With a shrug of his shoulders, Harry moved over to the door, and slid it open. He easily pasted a snarl on his face, and leant forwards to bring himself level with the girl. His green eyes shone the colour of the Killing Curse, and Harry spoke in a low tone, full of hate.
She did. Quickly.
Harry stepped off the train dressed and ready for the feast and school year, having dressed in the latter half of the trip along with most of the other students. The air was crisp and he took a lungful in, ignoring the babble of children about him as his sharp eyes roamed the crowd. The crowd was the same size as always; the Beauxbaton students would be joining them after the sorting was finished, since their journey was longer.
His hand trembled, as Harry raised it to move the shaggy hair out of his eyes. He glared at the offending limb, and pushed the strands away before looking towards the carriages. He found Tracy waving at him from one, calling him over, and cracked his neck while moving through the crowd towards her.
The thestrals looked skinnier than Harry remembered, as he observed the still equestrians waiting to be told to move. How strange that Hagrid would let them go without sufficient nourishment.
Come to think of it, the Half Giant was missing. It was a female voice calling the first years. Had he eloped with Madame Maxime? Because there was very little chance of Dumbledore dismissing the Gamekeeper, and Hagrid himself seemed to enjoy the job he was in charge of. Curious.
Harry entered the carriage behind Tracy, and took a seat between Astoria and the wall of the carriage against which he leant. He had failed to get any sleep on the journey; expected, but far from welcome. And it was not helped by the fact that he was only comfortable looking so weak in front of a very select group of people; at least, when he was this weak. If he was strong, appearing weak would only lead to idiots attacking him without the necessary strength, but in this state fighting school children would be a very bad idea; the only way he would win would to take the fight seriously. And that would cost his opponent their life.
The carriage began to move with a jolt, and Harry sighed as his head fell back at the movement. His gaze fell onto the ceiling, and he found it was charmed to be see through. Strange, that wasn't normally one of the spells cast on the carriages. Why would they-
Ah. Overhead, Harry watched the Beauxbatons massive blue carriage, pulled by the Abraxi-Pegasi, fly around the castle. The black haired teen was mildly confused; how early had they left, to arrive at the same time as the Hogwarts express? Unless the carriage was faster than he thought? But surely the horses could not maintain such high speeds for any serious distance… or maybe he was wrong. It was a magical means of transportation, after all, and they rarely obeyed logic.
This display was probably a good way to remind the students that the other school's castle would not be repaired until the next year at least, and that their population would be as large as last year. Their should not be much ill will demonstrated, though. Anyone xenophobic would have grown used to the presence of foreigners during the tournament.
Unless there was a spectacularly hateful new addition to the school, that was. But who ever heard of an eleven year old with such feelings? Children learned such behaviour, but at that age they only emulated their parents. And, as far as Harry knew, Professor Grubby-Plank was not a racist.
Harry frowned. It felt like he was missing something. Something he would have caught, had his mind not been so sluggish.