Down an extraordinarily ordinary street, wrapped in an equally plain house, a room of hidden things was tucked under the stairs. However, this room wasn't piled with teetering mountains of lost items, in fact, it held quite little. A ratted mat emitting the faint stench of scorching summer nights without breeze, a few mangled toys that had barely survived the abuse of their previous careless owner, a scribbled drawing or two, and a forsaken nephew who wanted nothing more than to disappear among the many hidden things stacked to the brink of tipping in his mind's' eye.
Harry Potter lay curled up on his side atop the bare use-flattened mat, his back to the locked door that separated him from the rueful glares. His body sung with pain, part from being curled in the same position for hours, but mostly from the deceptively hard fist that had battered his body hours previous.
Harry almost laughed when the picture of Uncle Vernon's pudgy dough-like fist raised in into the air popped into his head. He found it morbidly ironic that such a cushioned-looking hand had felt like steel as it hammered against his ribs, face, and abdomen. But authentic humor had dried up and withered in this cursed house.
Harry's agonized breathing prompted him to slip a tentative hand under his T-shirt and gently prod his ribs, wincing at the white hot flashes of pain that bloomed everywhere he touched. Bruised and fractured, but not broken, Harry though in relief, now that he knew he was in no danger of puncturing a lung.
Despite the night's bloody turn of events, Harry wasn't surprised in the slightest by its happenings. Although physical beatings weren't a common occurrence in the Dursley home, when Harry's birthday came around, they were almost a certainty. Vernon had said something about the day Harry had been born being a 'cursed and evil day' a year or two before Hogwarts. Every year that Harry had left to go to the magical boarding school, his uncle's hate had festered and grown insidiously, making the summer after Harry's sixth year the worst yet.
Harry made frequent trips into the cupboard over that summer, feeling the fatigue and weariness grow each morning that he awoke in that cramped, dusty place with its single bare bulb blinding him when he turned it on. He had thought about sending Ron an owl, begging him to take him in for the remainder of the summer. He figured, at least until Harry turned seventeen and would be a legal adult in the eyes of the wizarding world he could inconvenience his best mate for maybe a month or two. But every time he pressed his quill to parchment, he remembered the warning Dumbledore had given him at the end of sixth year.
Harry had gone to Albus and requested to be put in a different home for the summer, to be anywhere else than at the Dursleys', but Dumbledore had swiftly reminded Harry that he was protected behind those blood wards, put there by his mother's sacrifice on the day of her death, that was then passed on to his only remaining blood relatives. He said, to stay anywhere else would be a burden and a danger to whomever took him in. Harry had felt physically ill at the thought of endangering any of his friends because he refused to put up with a few missed meals and an annual bashing that he always bounced back from before summer was through.
Harry thought about what Albus had said that day, and many times before that, about Harry enduring the Dursley's hostility so that Voldemort could not find or reach him. The mental play through of these conversations were the only things that distracted Harry as one day . . . two days passed without ever hearing the soft scraped of the metal door lock being pushed back on the other side of the wood.
Harry was lying on the hardwood floors with his ear close to the cool surface as he attempted to stave off the assaulting heat that seemed to consume the entire house, and cook the cupboard at an uncomfortable temperature. It was then that he overheard Vernon and Petunia talking in the kitchen. With nothing else but the looming thoughts in his head, Harry opted to focus on what they were saying instead.
"Vernon, darling, do you intend to let the little mongrel out anytime soon? My hands will become dry and cracked if I have to wash anymore of these blasted dishes on my own!" It was rare for Aunt Petunia to speak so loudly and passionately, but Harry had seen how she obsessively rubbed her hands with different lotions daily to make them 'soft' and 'perfect'. The thought of leaving the room soon had his stomach cramping painfully. The lining of dust in his airways expelling the last bit of moisture he might have held phantoms of when he convinced himself he wasn't thirsty.
"Absolutely not!" Vernon's rumbling voice vibrated the wood against Harry's cheek and he heard him huff out a heavy breath. "That bastard has snuck out every year to go to that blasted school of lunatics and caused more trouble for us each and every time! I will not stand for any more insolence and disgrace to fall on this family because of that . . . freak!" Vernon spat out the last word and Harry flinched at the disgusted face he could picture Vernon making as he said the word, he'd seen it too many times before to ever forget it.
"What do you have in mind, then?" Petunia's curiosity when unbidden as they both waited to hear Harry's fate from his uncle.
"It is quite simple, dear, I will wait for the little vermin to die and tell his crackpot 'professor' that he stole all of our money and ran with it. That brat should have never come into this world! If we had just left him outside on the night he was dropped here, he would have frozen and we could have just told people we had no idea he was there, then we would never have suffered so much." Vernon's tone was full of regret at the missed opportunity.
Harry's head clouded with panic at his uncle's words and he shot up from the floor and began pounding on the door whilst on his knees since the cupboard was far too small to stand in. The sides of his fists rained down against the surprisingly thick door and he pleaded with his relatives on the other side to let him out, to spare him if he promised to never return to Hogwarts again.
After an hour of no response to his pleas, Harry slumped back onto the ground in resignation. He didn't want to die, but without his wand and with his body so weak from lack of food, water and sleep, he had no way of escaping. No one knew of his situation, save for Dumbledore, perhaps. No one would think to look for him or check on him until the school year began. This feeling . . . this feeling of utter helplessness and loneliness made Harry feel as though he were suspended over a bottomless abyss with nothing keeping him from falling at any moment.
Harry wasn't sure how much time he spent sitting there, staring blankly at the door as he came to grips with his own death and its absolute inevitability. At some point, Harry's stomach had begun to ache and cramp again. At first he ignored it, but as the pain grew and blossomed in his abdomen, spreading to the rest of his body at an aching pace, he allowed himself to focus on it as it was obviously not hunger pains any longer. Harry groaned as he pressed his hands to his middle and curled in on himself.
A wreaking ball of pain and magic slammed into Harry and he was knocked back onto his bed, the crushing weight of some unfamiliar magic held him completely still as it felt like his insides were being blended inside of his body. Harry could barely breath under the weight of the magic, and he felt a strange movement from side of him, he swore someone was reaching an invisible hand into his body and rearranging all of his organs, being none too gentle with them either.
It was after ten minutes of restrained agony that the first deafening crunch of bones filled the room and Harry screamed against closed lips, accidentally biting his tongue in the process and nearly choking on the blood that filled his mouth. A series of bone crushing noises filled the air in a gruesome crescendo to Harry's pain along with his muffled screams. The bare bulb above his head flickered after a particularly painful snapping of both femurs and the floor beneath him trembled slightly.
Just as the pain seemed to become absolutely unbearable and Harry felt like he couldn't possibly feel any more pain and he'd faint, his threshold would stretch and he remained conscious still. Harry wondered if he'd somehow been hit with some awful variant of crucio, or if this was simply just him dying. Perhaps his end was Voldemort's doing and he didn't even know. Or perhaps he will meet a gruesomely ironic end that has nothing to do with Voldemort.
After what felt like hours of torture, it felt like his entire being was stretched out like a rubber band, and snapped back into place. When it snapped back, the pain faded into something Harry could tolerate without crying out-but still had his skin trembling and nails digging into the hard wood floors until they either bent or broke. The ill lit room around Harry suddenly became very out of focus and foggy, Harry felt disconnected from his body and the world around him.
"Ah, I see you actually survived, how very lucky of you." A male voice said inside my head, sounding very pleased and amused at the same time. "I do not have much time to spare, so I will be blunt and straight to the point, if you don't believe anything I say, that's your problem!
"What you've just experienced is a magical inheritance, a creature inheritance in fact. Though, I doubt you will have any knowledge about what exactly you've turned into, that's why I'm here! The creature you've become is commonly called Infernuko Izaki, which in Basque loosely translates to Hell Creature. We've been given this name by humans long ago who thought we were demons based on a few of our characteristics. I suppose that is the closest comparison one can make to the Izaki, but we are not demons in the biblical sense." The voice prattled on in Harry's head, muddling his train of thought and flood of questions.
"Wait, first, who are you?" Harry asked inside of his head, not sure if this strange legilimency was a one way thing, or if he could understand Harry as well.
"My name is Gale, I am also an Izaki, and I'm here to give you a briefing on what you are since you haven't had anyone to prepare you. So . . . ask away!" Gale prompted enthusiastically.
"How can I be an Izaki? Were my parents also Izaki?" Harry asked, confused and disoriented from the pain still pulsing through his body and not quite sure if he believed Gale or not.
"Fortunately, both of your parents held the recessive Izaki gene needed to produce an Izaki offspring, but no, they were completely human. Throughout the years, more and more Izaki's have lain with humans, producing only human children until someone else with the recessive gene comes along. Which is why new Izaki's are rarer nowadays." Gale explained evenly.
"Where are the others? I've never even heard of Izakis before this, surely there are more somewhere." Harry tried to recall all of the strange creatures he'd heard about from both Hermione and Luna, but nothing on Izakis have ever come up.
"Because of our immense power, the Ministry and other governments have feared us for a very long time, so we've been classified as dark creatures, simply because they can't control us as they'd like to. The Ministry moved all Izaki into Ministry-issued habitats and forced everyone to be registered officially through the Ministry. The restrictions and sanctions on Izakis are brutal, stripping away basic rights to try to control the Izaki for their own interests. Since the relocation, our numbers have dwindled and our more animalistic side has deemed the habitations to be unsafe for children and no one has fallen pregnant among the Izaki communities in many decades. The exception being those few human couples that produce Izaki children outside of the habitats, there have been several over the years, but they are hard to find and even harder to keep track of from inside these borders.
"Also, you don't know about the Izaki because the Ministry refuses to allow such things to be taught in schools. God forbid anyone find out that the Ministry is doing such inhumane things to magical creatures just because they're 'dark'. Though, a few of the older pure blood families would still teach about such things since Izakis have been quite common among pure blood lines for centuries." Gail huffed indignantly inside Harry's head.
Harry could feel a wave of unconsciousness about to hit him and he suddenly felt impatient, wanting to get as much information out of Gale as possible before he was completely gone.
"Habitats? Register? Do I have to live in these habitats and register with the Ministry?" Harry asked sluggishly as his mind clouded.
"No, that's why I'm talking to you like this, the Ministry has no way of tracking down new Izaki, as long as you don't reveal yourself, you can be free. Who knows, one day you may find a way to free the rest of us, but we're not all that optimistic. I will leave a book with you that gives a bit more of an explanation and information on the Izaki. From here on out, what you do with your life is your decision, bowing to the will of pathetic humans will only cause you more suffering. . . Good luck, Harry." Towards the end, Gale's tone became weary and sympathetic, Harry briefly wondered if Gale somehow knew Harry's situation with the Dursley's.
Before Harry could say anything in response, the world cleared around him and his pain increased tenfold what it had been before. It only took moments for the agony to eat up the last of his energy reserves and for his world to plunge into darkness.
Harry was wakened by the thunder of heavy footfalls over his head, echoing in his brain like someone had placed amplifiers right next to his head. His body felt rigid and sore from his inheritance and it took a few moments for him to sit up because his head was pounding like a swollen heart inside of his skull.
The moment Harry was upright, though, there was an enormous pressure against his spine. He suddenly felt a hard tug on his shirt and heard fabric ripping along with the relief in his back as the pressure disappeared.
Harry slowly turned his head and looked over his shoulder, nearly jumping out of his skin when he saw something huge and black looming right over his shoulder. But when said thing shuddered and caught the light, he saw that it wasn't a person or creature, it was a wing! Harry, with no small amount of effort and concentration, commanded the wing forward so he could see it better. The huge wing was as inky black as Harry's hair and it resembled a bat's wing, but instead of stretched leathery skin, the wing had a very short and compact layer of fur that reminded Harry of velvet when he touched it. Both wings were folded in the cramped space, so he wasn't sure exactly how big they were, but they seemed huge.
Harry was still in shock at the new found physical evidence of his inheritance. When the idea of more possible physical Izaki traits popped into his head, he had the dreadful and overwhelming urge to look in a mirror and see if anything else had changed. The moment this appeared in his mind, one of the walls in the cupboard changed with a soft pop from a grimy white wall to a crystalline mirror opposite him. Startled by the sudden wandless magic, Harry jolted, then shot forward to look at himself in the mirror.
At first he thought perhaps nothing had changed except for his wings, but when he actually focused on his face, he couldn't believe it was himself he was staring at. His skin looked slightly more fair and less sickly, his lips were fuller and a bit more pouty, his cheekbones were raised and more pronounced, and his eyes were a little wider, more wondering, and a startlingly vibrant green that glittered and haunted him at the same time. Even his hair looked different, no longer a tangled nest of coarse tufts and knots, it had silky black curls loose enough to look intentional and soft to the touch.
It was still Harry's face, but slightly more evolved and otherworldly. He wasn't sure if it was just a characteristic of Izaki, but he looked less macho-manly as he'd expected, in fact, he looked more . . . pretty, and modelesque. Harry huffed out in indignation and something white caught his eye in the mirror when he did so. Harry leaned in close and bared his teeth at his reflection and saw four long and lethally pointed fangs, two on top and two on bottom.
These weren't the small, heart-throb angsty vampire fangs from movies for adolescent girls, no, they were long snake-like fangs that looked too hazardous to even be in Harry's mouth! When Harry ran his tongue over them, they were sharp and strong, but didn't cut his tongue, thankfully. Harry lifted a hand to poke at the teeth with his fingers to test their sharpness, but stopped halfway to his mouth. His nails had transformed into claws built for slicing and tearing. He found the same dangerous claws on his toes, only, slightly shorter.
Harry tried to make the attributes disappear at will, but only managed to waste even more of his time when absolutely nothing happened and he began to panic. What if he couldn't hide them? Gale said that he was free to live his life outside of the habitats and no one would know, so there must be a way to hide them.
Another thought popped into Harry's head and he whipped around, looking for the book Gale had intoned about. Sure enough, next to his mat lay an antique-looking brown leather book with thick yellow parchment papers sewn into its spine. The cover read, in looping cursive letters, Magus Creaturae: A Collection of Dark Creatures. The title made Harry pause, he'd heard Gale mention that Izaki were dark, and before this summer, the thought of turning into a dark anything would have filled Harry with dread, but now . . . he couldn't find the will to hate himself. It's funny how almost dying in such a meaningless way can change your standards.
If good and evil were truly divided by light and dark, then how could so many who are 'light' ignore Harry's suffering? It's not like he really hid what the Dursley's did to him, he knows Ron and the other boys in their shared dorm room have seen the scars on his back and a few on his abdomen from Vernon's ring and boots, they've seen the healing bruises his first week back. They must have, right? And Dumbledore, Harry had begged him to let him stay anywhere besides the Dursley's, but he just brushed off Harry's pleas as teenage dramatics and exaggeration. Dumbledore wanted Harry to stay humble, but there's a difference between humble and broken.
Why would those who are 'good' rely on a child to face an evil and sadistic genocidal maniac? Why is the fate of the wizarding world placed on his shoulders alone? Could Dumbledore truly not defeat Voldemort with the joint effort of many other skilled and adult wizards and witches?
Harry's anger boiled inside of him and a deep growling noise reverberated around the room, startling Harry out of his rage-filled thoughts long enough to realize he had made that noise! Pushing aside his angering realizations, Harry cracked open the antique tome and began searching for anything on Izakis.
Towards the end of the book, Harry finally came across a chapter on Izaki. He read about the physical attributes of an Izaki, much of which he'd already discovered himself; velvety wings used for both flying and protection, fangs for tearing into prey (and in extreme situations, for injecting their victim with venom sure to cause a quick and excruciating death), claws that could cut through armor, and . . . wait, what? Harry read the passage again to see if what he was reading was right.
"The final physical change is perhaps one of the most important directly after an inheritance. For, it determines whether the Izaki are a Submissive or a Dominant. Izaki are separated into Submissive and Dominant and mate accordingly. Despite how this may sound, Submissive Izakis are in no way less dangerous than Dominant Izakis, especially around their offspring. Dominants protect their Submissives, but they can be just as ferocious as their Dominants, perhaps even more so in certain situations.
Though Dominants can distinguish Submissives based only on smell, you can also determine whether an Izaki is Submissive by whether or not they have a tail. If they have a tail, they are Submissive, though they can hide them if they so choose. . .
Harry set the book down on the floor and quickly got up onto his knees. With his head looking over his shoulder into the mirror, showing his back, Harry lifted the hem of his shirt and froze when a long black tail coated in short black fur slipped out from under his shirt and lazily whipped around like a cat tail, curling and uncurling, brushing the floor and the backs of his legs as it moved. Harry's wings fluttered slightly as he left out a heavy breath. The knowledge that he was a Submissive Izaki was overwhelming. . . Well, for a moment or two at least.
Harry snorted and sat back on his feet, feeling his tail curl up and brush the back of his shirt before wrapping gently around his leg. Of course he's a bloody submissive! He's Harry Potter, how could anything freaky happen without it becoming even freakier?!
Reading more of the book, he got quite a bit of information that filled in some of the gaps. It turns out that Izaki's don't used wands, they don't need a conduit for their magic, hence the wandless magic. Harry couldn't help the primal, grim satisfaction that came over him when he used a bit a wandless magic and realized that not only could he go wandless, but his amount of power had also grown immensely.
He read through the rest of the chapter, absorbing all of the information he could about his animalistic instincts, powers, and even more about bonding, mating, and familial dynamics. From what he'd read, Izaki were in fact dangerous, but unlike what the Ministry thought about them, they weren't inherently evil—we weren't inherently evil.
Having read his fill, Harry tried the technique he'd read about in the book to pull in his Izaki traits to appear human. It took a couple of tries, but eventually Harry got the hang of it. Though, his appearance didn't really change, his non-human identifiers were gone. Once he was normal-ish looking, Harry did a bit of wandless magic and unlocked the cupboard door.
Stepping out, Harry stretched his body fully and heard a few pops from his joints and a satisfied purr-like noise vibrated from his chest, up through his throat and tickled his closed lips. Harry looked down that the jeans that had been too long for him a few nights ago, but were now a few inches too short. So he had grown in height, but when he looked down at the rest of his body, he wasn't exactly bigger. He had enough muscle now to make him no longer look malnourished and gawky, but his body was still slim and lithe. Perhaps it came with being submissive.
Thundering steps on squeaking floor boards brought Harry's attention back to his surroundings and he waited in the hallway for the corpulent man to round the corner. Fear didn't immediately seize Harry as it always had before, it was now more of a residual fear, conditioned into him over the many years he'd spent here and would take quite some time to unlearn such reactions.
"Petunia. I told you to leave that monstrosity in the—" Vernon stopped mid-sentence when he rounded the corner and saw Harry. Harry said nothing as he walked past a stunned and furious Vernon Dursley and up the stairs to where his bedroom was.
He could hear Vernon's enraged curses and insults as he stomped up the stairs after Harry, but when he reach Harry's room, Harry smirked as he used wandless magic to slam the door in his face. He calmly packed his things as Vernon's fat fists pounded on his door and he screamed promises of death into the unyielding wood.
Once everything was packed, he shrunk it down and shoved it into the pocket of his sweatshirt that he'd thrown on moments before. Grabbing the handle of Hedwig's cage, Harry apparated into the night and made a promise to himself that he would return one day and kill Vernon and Petunia and perhaps crucio Dudley until he was satisfied that the bastard had paid his dues. If he suffered from any permanent damage in the process, it was of no concern to Harry.
For the remainder of the summer, Harry had withdrawn money from his vaults to get all new clothes and robes because of his sudden 'growth spurt', he had them all tailored and fitted at Madam Malkin's. Though the large withdrawals hadn't even dented his accounts. After officially claiming his inheritance at Gringotts, Harry moved into the Potter estate, bringing any sort of creature books out of his vaults to study later in case any of them held any more information.
He spent the half of august collecting any books he could find with even the slightest mention of Izaki in them. They were very hard to track down, considering the Ministry wanted to deny the very existence of Izaki, so Harry only found a few at first and they were all from countries that were a bit more lax about dark creatures, or their governments just didn't know of their existence.
Harry didn't hear from Gale again after the night of his inheritance, but that didn't bother him, he could figure things out on his own. With Harry's inheritance had also come the realization that the people he'd trusted and befriended were not as saintly as he'd thought. Thinking back on all the times that Ron and Hermione had clamped up and gone silent when faced with obvious evidence of Harry's abuse or distress, he had become bitter towards the couple over the summer. It was easier and more convenient for them to pretend that it wasn't happening, rather than face it and try to help Harry.
He knew it would be difficult facing the pair when he showed up at King's Cross on the first, since they were unawares to his revelations, but he couldn't bring himself to care anymore. They deserved to feel uncomfortable at the very least. He'd trusted and believed them when they told him they cared, but their lack of merit behind their claims had almost killed him this summer.
The summer ended without any sort of finesse. He packed his trunk for Hogwarts, put on his, as of late, usual garb of tailored black trousers, glistening black oxfords, a dark navy blue band collar dress shirt, and a fitted black coat that stopped just above the knee with silk covered black buttons down the front. Harry had forgone his identifying ill fitted jeans and a T-shirt after accepting his lordship of the Potter line.
Ever since his inheritance, Harry has decided that he would find a way to free the other Izaki from the Ministry's 'protection'. To do this, he needed to actually have influence in the Ministry. So, from the start of August Harry has been organizing meetings with Ministry members, politicians, and others on the Wizengamot to begin the process of networking. Harry was sought after not only because of his fame for defeating Voldemort as an infant, but also for his inherited political influence now that he holds a seat in the Wizengamot and is an officiated Lord. The Potter line was once an enormous pillar in wizarding society and politics.
He figures that he should build his political power now, and then once he has graduated from Hogwarts and can take his seat on the Wizengamot, he can begin presenting and voting on legislation that will provide more substantial right for dark creatures, for all magical creatures.
Harry scoffed at how very righteously-Hermione that sounded. If she were to hear of his ambitions, no doubt she would try to get even closer to Harry to try to further her own crusade. Better known as, S.P.E.W., Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, in which she fights for the rights of house elves who absolutely despise the movement.
Harry took one last look at the entrance hall to the Potter estate around him before he apparated to the receiving room tucked away in King's Cross. He quickly spelled and protected himself from muggles curiosity before stepping out. Harry found that platform 9 ¾ didn't hold the same charm that it had in previous years, probably due to his sudden epiphany.
"Harry!" Harry turned slowly when he heard a familiar crackling raspy voice of his ex-mate call out to him, mentally groaning at being caught by them before he'd even stepped on the train.
"Hello Ron, Hermione." Harry said politely when he faced the pair, but his voice held nothing more than polite courtesy, there was no warmth in his voice or face. Ron and Hermione exchanged a confused and put off look, but a moment later, they persisted.
"Good to see you mate. Looks like you've grown! What, was Dudley gone for the summer? Not able to inhale all the food for once!" Ron snorted at his own joke and Hermione jabbed an elbow into his ribs, watching Harry carefully, as if waiting to see if Harry broke down right there in the middle of the platform. But Harry didn't so much as blink an eye at Ron's lack of tact or sensitivity to Harry's situation. Ah, so she does see it! She just can't be bothered.
"If you don't mind, I would like the board the train, please." Harry said in monotone. When he turned towards the train and Ron moved to follow him, he added, "Alone, thank you."
He left Ron and Hermione still gaping at him on the platform and entered the Hogwarts Express. Harry moved all the way to the back of the train, ignoring every giggle, every glare, every rumor, and every less than appropriate look sliding up and down his person. In the last car of the train was an open seating area with shelves above the booths where people could place their carry-on luggage and animal cages. Harry would have preferred an empty area for himself, but the personal seating areas wouldn't guarantee that Ron and Hermione wouldn't track him down and have a long and unnecessary conversation about his behavior. At least here people only looked and whispered to their friends, they didn't approach him or try to talk.
Once Harry's owl, Hedwig, was secured on the shelf above an empty booth, he sat down and gazed out the window, beginning to think through meetings and conversations he needed to have still with certain people of power. Hogwarts would be a pain, but he needed to graduate to be able to sit the Wizengamot and he could use this to his advantage, a few of the people he was aiming at getting under his thumb had children who attended Hogwarts.
The door to the cabin opened and four figures stepped in. Conversation seemed to cease around the cabin. Harry, curious from the sudden silence, looked away from the window and saw the group of slytherins walking over to sit down two booths away. Pansy Parkinson and Blaise Zabini sat with their backs to Harry, and Draco Malfoy and Theodore Nott sat opposite them, facing Harry. When Harry glanced around the car, he noticed that most of the students were glaring at the group, having heard rumors of their and their parents' affiliation with the Dark Lord.
Harry felt a twinge of sympathy for the group. Hostile as they may have been to Harry in the past, he'd come to understand that things weren't a clear cut as black and white, good and evil. Everyone had their own motivations, many of the political figures he'd met with had some sort of ties or relations to Deatheaters or Voldemort. Harry knew that most didn't agree with his crazed views and were only trying to protect what is precious to them. Harry had even considered trying to set up a meeting with Lucius Malfoy to discuss a handful of things.
When Harry looked back at the booth of snakes, he was caught in the silver gaze of Draco Malfoy. He seemed bigger than Harry remembered him being, his shoulders were broad and his arms filled his tailored clothes solidly. His face was no longer pointy and child-like, he had a hard jawline, sharp cheekbones, a straight aristocratic nose, and mercury almond shaped eyes that looked dangerous and challenging to Harry.
After a moment of holding his gaze, Harry inclined his head once in a slow, polite nod and turned back towards the window. He could still feel Malfoy's eyes on him as the piercing screech of the Hogwarts Express announced its departure.
Most of the nine hour long train ride Harry spent either reading, staring at the window, or politely dismissing the Gryffindor advocates Hermione sent his way to try to talk to him about why he was acting the way he was. Eventually she even sent Ron.
"What is up with you lately? You give Hermione and me the cold shoulder the moment you see us. You stopped writing to us over the summer, I hear you're messing around with Deatheaters, and now you're dressing like some pompous Slytherin!" By the end Ron's voice had risen above a conversational level, drawing in the attention of everyone in the cabin.
Harry once again felt the gazes of snakes, but he didn't take his eyes off of a furious red faced Ronald Weasley. Harry quirked a brow at Ron, but his face was otherwise neutral. Harry watched Ron squirm under his gaze for a few long moments, unable to look Harry in the eye for long. Harry slowly leaned forward and Ron suddenly looked very nervous.
"What can I say," Harry finally spoke in a bored tone and Ron tried to hide a slight flinch at the sudden noise in the silent car, "They have good taste." Harry said in a low, deadly tone, like he was speaking of something dark and delightfully twisted. Harry heard Parkinson snort with a little 'damn right we do' under her breath and once Ron was gone, storming out of the car, Harry looked over at the Slytherins and he didn't miss the slight amused curl at the corner of Malfoy's mouth.
Letting go of an annoyed sigh, Harry returned to his book and was pleased when the door to the car stayed closed.
The welcoming ceremony went on without a hitch and Harry sat at the back end of the Gryffindor table in his new Gryffindor robes, getting stares and subtle glances from the entire dining hall, which he ignored and ate his food silently. When he was done, he promptly stood up and left. He was followed by the eyes and whispers of the student body out of the hall.
Instead of going up to his dorms after dinner, Harry waited outside of McGonagall's office, knowing she would soon be there to go over a bit of beginning of the year paperwork or to go over the new first years of her house. Twenty minutes later, she rounded the corner and jumped slightly when she saw Harry standing outside her door, waiting.
"Oh my! Mr. Potter, what are you doing here? You should be back at the dorms getting yourself settled in." McGonagall scolded lightly even as she unlocked the door and invited Harry in. Harry took a seat in front of her desk and passed on the tea that she offered. "Now, tell me Mr. Potter, what is so important that it couldn't have waited until morning?" Minerva's clipped Scottish trill was as imposing as ever.
"I want to switch houses." Harry wasted no time getting to the point, he didn't believe in dawdling. McGonagall looked taken aback and was shocked into silence.
"Is there a problem with your current house, Harry?" McGonagall leaned forward, looking concerned, as if Harry was about to tell her that someone was bullying him or Voldemort had somehow infiltrated the Gryffindor students.
"Not at all. It has been quite good actually, but I do not belong there. During my first year, before the sorting, I had been told that only dark witches and wizards came out of the Slytherin house, made to believe that Slytherins were evil and corrupt, but in my older years, I've seen that this is not true in the slightest. Originally, the sorting hat had tried to place me in Slytherin, but because of what I'd heard, I begged the hat to put me anywhere but." Harry explained calmly, knowing that Minerva couldn't outright refuse his request to switch if he was supposed to be sorted into Slytherin to begin with.
"But . . . your friends—" She looked lost in how to approach this.
"If they are truly my friends, my chosen house shouldn't matter. It is not as if interhouse communication and friendships are forbidden or even looked down upon. This is my last year at Hogwarts, and though it is a little late, I want to spend what time I have left in the house that actually suits me." Harry folded his hands in his lap, chin held high, and holding McGonagall's uncertain gaze.
"Well—I—I suppose I can talk to the Headmaster and see what I can do about moving you. For now, you should go back to your dorms and get some rest, it must have been a long train ride." Minerva lifted a hand toward the door, motioning for Harry to leave, but he stayed seated. Harry saw right through her antics and smirked at her attempts.
"There's no need to wait. As my head of house, now that I have officially requested a transfer, you alone can approve it. There is no need to bring the Headmaster into such trivial matters." Harry pulled a folded piece of parchment out of the inner pocket of his robes and handed it over to McGonagall, who took it hesitantly.
"These are the transfer papers, I know I am supposed to get it from the Headmaster and you probably want to know how I've gotten them so quickly. I've actually been holding on to these for a very long time, in case I ever decided to transfer. All you have to do is sign the last line here, and my things will be automatically transferred into the Slytherin dormitory. I would rather not spend the night in the Gryffindor dormitory in case it gets out that I am transferring, my former housemates are not as . . . lenient towards Slytherins as I am. I'm sure you can understand my meaning behind those words." Harry finished, sitting back in the chair and watching with a pleasant expression as McGonagall reads through the forms slowly, as if stalling for more time for Harry to change his mind.
After it was clear that McGonagall had read the forms twice, she sighed deeply and signed her name in neat, perfect loops. With a pop, the forms disappeared, already filed in Hogwarts archive, not requiring the Headmaster's review or approval. Once there, no matter how many time someone tries to take them out or destroy them, a copy will replace them a moment later.
Harry stood with a pleased smile on his face, politely nodded at Minerva, and bid her good night before leaving her office and making his way towards the dungeons, feeling perfectly pleased with the day's end.
Down in the Slytherin dungeons Harry approached the stone wall that house the entrance to the Slytherin common room. Harry walked right up to the wall, spoke the password that was whispered into his ear by a phantom voice the moment the proper paperwork had been filed, and waited as the passageway was revealed.
Harry strode into the common room and didn't even blink at the gaping Slytherins who had come in early from dinner. A flash of white caught Harry's eye, he turned his head and his eyes locked with Draco's. A single brow rose up on Draco's forehead as his eyes followed Harry across the room and Harry flashed a brief smirk, snapping his fingers and turning his red and gold tie to a Slytherin green and silver.
Harry had already disappeared deeper into the dorm before the common room erupted into chaos and Draco was left staring after the former Gryffindor.
Because Harry was a late transfer, the seventh year dorm rooms were presumably evenly filled, which meant that he got a room to himself. It was much smaller than a typical dorm room, considering it housed only one bed instead of the typical five. If another Slytherin transferred, Harry suspected that the room would expand to comfortably fit two beds and so on.
Harry settled into his new room of cold damp stone and Slytherin green furnishings. Once he was settled, he began writing out a couple of letters he had wanted to write on the train, but was continuously interrupted by Gryffindor mediators.
Harry was in the process of wrapping up his third letter when there came a knock on his door. Harry cast a quick blurring charm on his letter to protect from any wandering eyes and stood to open the door. To Harry's mild shock, Severus Snape stood outside of his door look thoroughly perplexed. Harry stepped back and invited his new head of house into his dorm room, closing the door with a quiet click behind him.
"What can I help you with Professor Snape?" Harry asked neutrally, nearly everything he did around others was neutral. Strong reactions brought questions and slip ups, Harry wouldn't—couldn't—take that risk when discovery meant imprisonment without any way of helping his fellow Izaki.
Over the summer, while digging through the Potter vaults and reading every encyclopedia, novel, and journal he could get his hands on, Harry had discovered some very interesting things whilst reading his late mother's journals depicting her time at Hogwarts and even mentioning times before that. Even if Lily Evans had never fully grasped it at the time, Harry saw very plainly that Snape's interest in his mother had been more than friendly. Also, reading about several events involving Severus and Harry's father helped Harry to fully understand Severus's hostility towards Harry in his previous years here. Harry hoped that perhaps being in his house and proving Snape wrong in his assumptions about Harry might ease the man's disdain towards Harry.
"I didn't believe Minerva when she informed me of your requested transfer, I thought perhaps you had been polyjuiced." Severus didn't look very convinced that that wasn't the case, so Harry gestured for him to check, an amused smile pulling at the corners of his mouth. After a brief, painless spell, Snape looked no more at ease, in fact, it might even be worse.
"Now you probably want to know why I transferred. Why did I trade out my red and gold for green and silver? Let's just say, I had quite the revelation over the summer." Harry said evenly, even as his hand unconsciously touched the area next to his eye on its way into his hair, as if checking for tenderness and telling signs that any bruise was still there.
When Harry had first gone to Gringotts, he wasn't completely used to his wandless magic yet, and was unable to produce any sort of heavy glamour, though he managed some strong enough to fool normal witches and wizards, the goblins of Gringotts looked straight at his black eye, busted lip, and bruised jaw and gave him a lingering look without saying anything. Apparently an inheritance didn't heal wounds and scars of the past, though the scars faded a good couple of years-worth and the bruises healed faster.
"You are now officially in my care, Potter, you carry the Slytherin name on your back, do not cause trouble within my house. This is the only warning I will give you, if you are here to make trouble or spy on any of the other Slytherins, I will make your life unimaginably harder. Am I clear?" Severus dictated with the air of an unyielding and terrifying force, which in all sincerity, made Harry feel the urge to giggle. It was like watching a corn snake hiss at a python, cute, but dangerous. So Harry just smirked instead.
"No harm will ever come to your den of snakes. You have my word, Severus." Harry pledged, far too amused by the disconcerted look on Snape's face at Harry using his first name so casually. With that, Harry opened the door for Severus and politely nodded at him once as he passed.
Once his door was closed, locked, and the room had been swept for any surveillance spells, Harry shed all of his clothes, save his pants, and released his Izaki traits, finally feeling like he could relax. Harry stretched his wings to their full width for the first time since this morning and keened in at the glorious feeling of finally doing such. His wings were stretched diagonally across the room so that they'd fit, being that they were 16 feet in length. His soft, velvety black tail brushed the floor and licked the back of his bare calves as it swayed lazily.
Being an Izaki, Harry naturally ran a bit warm, even more so when in full Izaki display, so the chilled dungeons felt like heaven to Harry. He plopped onto his new bed and began rolling around on its silky surface, nuzzling into it until he was satisfied that his scent signature was strong enough to claim this as his. It felt completely ridiculous and embarrassing the first time Harry had done it in at the Potter estate, but as he discovered more about Izakis, he learned that they were very territorial, and to satisfy a person's Izaki side, it was best to give in to the little things such as this, so that when Izaki instincts on much larger things needed to be ignored, their Izaki side didn't lash out.
Harry didn't bother slipping under the covers, not while it was still so close to summer, so instead he spelled the curtains closed, nuzzled his face into his down feather pillow, and dropped off quickly into sleep.