"Beyond all Sciences, Philosophies, Theologies and Histories – a child's relentless inquiry is truly all it takes to remind us that we don't know as much as we think we know."
Adventures in Magick byPseudonymous Entity
Summary: What if the first friend Harry made in the magical world was a goblin? What if Harry really liked fantasy books and games? What if he never stopped asking questions? What if things went a little differently…
Warnings: Harry's curiosity, and luck, is somewhat awe inspiring.
AN:. How long have we been at this? Strange to think our little Harry's first year is half over. There is still, of course, much left for him to discover. Questions to ask. Mysteries to pursue. The perpetrator of Draco's illness to find. And some mischief to enjoy along the way.
ANX2: Thank you to those of you still with me after all this time. Let's finish the ride together.
Ever Yours, Pseu [The clever, magnificent and ridiculously good looking]
Pseu is also penniless and lacks consistent access to the interwebs.
"Lay down a list of what is wrong, the things you've told him all along
And pray to God he hears you - I pray to God he hears you
Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend somewhere alone in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night had I known - How to save a life."
In an unnamed room guarded by spellwork (and blackmailed Hufflepuff prefects), Draco Malfoy stood to one side wrapped in a warm towel while his mother fussed over him. Assistant defence instructor Tonks dutifully scanned him to check his health and confirm his recovery from the mysterious illness infecting the children of Hogwarts. She was the fourth to do so, at Mrs Malfoy's insistence.
Apart from them stood Blaise Zabini and Neville Longbottom who worked with two scholars to confine all of Hadrian Black's illicit research and ritual artefacts. No one outside this room would ever know for sure what happened this day. The secrecy statements provided by the Malfoys would see to this.
On the other side of the room, separated in their own bubble of silence, stood one small Slytherin facing a much older and taller Slytherin.
Harry Potter, also known as Hadrian Black, kept his large green eyes on the shiny boots of the wizard standing before him. The immediate area around him and Professor Snape emitted a low buzzing auditory block within five feet, ensuring those outside of it could not hear anything they said to one another. It seemed somewhat superfluous since neither one of them was speaking. Harry knew he needed to say something. That Snape would expect it. Demand it.
Harry had no regrets for his actions. A fact he was certain was clear without his spoken confirmation. Snape wasn't waiting for an apology or an affection of contriteness. After all, it was Snape who knew of Harry's special device. It was with Snape Harry contemplated just such a scenario. The wizard knew what had happened, for the most part. What Snape desired, was the truth.
It was here that Harry was having a problem.
Staring into the shine of those black boots, Harry's fingers twisted in his sleeves, his teeth kneaded his bottom lip. His eyes burned with uncried stress tears. It was one thing to do what you thought was necessary to save those you cared for. It was quite another to own the fact that those you save mightn't appreciate the saving. That they might be angry or disappointed.
More than that? Harry knew that even in this world of magic. Of Dark Lords and dragons, pixies and centaur. Even here there was something off about him. Even here he was something of a...freak.
That if he looked up and Snape's eyes reflected this opinion? What if he looked up and Draco watched him across the way in disgust? What if they all realized how different he was?
Harry was not brave enough to find out.
So he stood there and the minutes trailed on in silence. Tiny fingers curled into tiny fists, nails pushing into soft flesh. He just needed this moment to last a little longer. This moment between the past and the future where he was both wanted and not wanted, and also neither. Where he could feel that he belonged for just a bit longer before he gave the world a chance to change its mind.
Harry breathed in and squeezed his eyes shut, gathering his resolve. If Frodo could complete his journey to destroy the ring with no guarantee he'd ever return to the Shire, so too could Harry own the mission he set upon himself and pay whatever price Fate demanded.
Harry's eyes snapped open. He looked up. "Sir?"
In front of him, Severus Snape stood, still as stone. Wide-set eyes, black as coal, analyzed him underneath thin black brows which creased slightly in the middle. The only outward sign of anything at all other than cold stillness beneath his mask.
"Remember and obey the three-fold law you should, three times bad and three times good." Professor Snape quoted. "This is one of the essential rules, one of the essential threads of the universe. The very fabric of which life is made comes together woven in a picture from this thread. Connected. Life, and everything that comes with it. No matter where we are in the tapestry, however big or small our part, no matter where we move within the picture, there is no escaping the threads. Without them the tapestry unravels, and the universe along with it."
Harry swallowed. "Yes, sir."
"Yes, sir?" Professor Snape echoed. His eyes narrowed. "I will not bother with a proper lecture Mr Black, but I will impress upon you the seriousness of your actions. That is not to say that I doubt your intelligence or your ability to understand the direct consequence of the events of the day. I know you do. I do however wonder if the consequences and effects of your choices outside of the direct cause and effect action and consequence equation are something to which you give thought. Our choices, Mr Black, have a special unique magic within them. Energy. A power."
Harry could feel himself frowning. He knew in a vague way what Professor Snape meant. But then, he'd said he wasn't speaking of direct cause and effect. So...what did he mean? What was Harry missing?
"As an example. If you would set out to hurt someone in anger, even a wave of righteous anger, you must first generate sufficient anger within to drive yourself to action. You then transfer that energy, that anger or hurt, to someone else through your words...or your actions. The ripples of this event vibrate throughout the threads of the entire tapestry. The world. The universe."
The older wizard waves a hand in a circular motion, symbolizing everything.
"Destruction, done even with the best of intentions, creates unmendable separation. Whenever your divorce yourself from the divine presence of magick you pay a price. You feel a pain in the farthest depths of your living soul. You may not recognize this feedback for what it is, but you will feel its symptoms. Freefalling loneliness. A disconnection. Unfillable emptiness. And this is true no matter the initial motivation or intention of our destructive action."
His heart thumped against his chest in hard slow hits. Was this what he had done? In seeking to keep hold of the things connecting him to this world, had he only succeeded in moving the world and himself apart in a distance that could not be regained? And if the ripples thing was true...was he forcing other people further away too? Was creating distance, cracks in the universe?
Harry had thought himself more than willing to pay any price required of him in order to keep Draco safe. He thought that may perhaps still hold true even with the terror-inducing threat of separation. Harry could not justify others paying the price for his actions. Not in this unfixable way.
He sucked in a deep breath and held it a moment. Harry would not regret his choice, he decided. He could not bring himself to do so. In his mind, it would always be worth it, and it was a choice he made with the information he had in the moment. Now that he knew better? He would do better. Harry reached into his robes and pulled out his SIDRAT. Squeezing it for a moment, Harry held it out to Snape.
"I think..." Harry began. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I think I need to do a little more research before I continue to use this sir. If you are agreeable, I would very much like to learn more about magic from you." Harry looked up as cool fingers removed the device from his palms. ark considering eyes were watching him. "I won't apologize."
"No," said Snape. "Nor would I."
He turned, cloak whirling out like a sail behind him, and began to cross the room. Cancelling the silencing charm behind him. Harry stared after him blinking. A slow smile bloomed across his face. Snape understood. Somehow, some way. He understood Harry's choice. Harry turned on his heel and flared his robes behind him following quickly after Snape.
He paused halfway when he saw a familiar face to the side. A thin wizard draped all in shining acromantula silks. "Professor Quirrell!" Harry darted over and bowed. "Thank you, sir. For not turning me in...or anything. And for helping me. I just...thank you." Harry bowed again, then skipped back to follow after Snape. After all, he had some learning to do.
Behind him, Quirrell watched his progress across the room. The smallest of upturns pulling the corners of his mouth, eyes glinting.
"Of course. Anytime..."
"Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely."
-R. T. Bennett
Notes: Thoughts, Comments, Theories, Guesses and Limericks always welcomed.
AN: We're getting there.
Any thoughts on Snape or Quirrell from this chapter?
What about the 'sickness'?
To those of you who remain, I appreciate you and value you.
Ever Yours, Pseu