Episode 4: "Hogwarts Keeper of the Keys"
Friday Afternoon, September Sixth
Immediately after Potions class ended, Harry sought out the Headmaster.
Overall, it was an interesting and valuable lesson. From reading the book assigned for the class, Harry knew that there were five fundamental aspect used in the creation of any potion; the ingredients, the base (usually water or some other infusion), the temperature, the actual mixing process, and (not as much with most common potions but vital in the more complex ones) stellar cycles, be it positioning of the moon, the sun or even certain stars in the heavens. Fortunately for the First Year class's first potion, stellar cycles had nothing to do with it and all they had to do was put the proper ingredients in the boiling water at the right times while maintaining a constant clockwise stirring. Unfortunately, if one were to put the ingredients in at the wrong times... things got... explosive.
Having completed his potion in a matter of minutes as he could control the temperature of his cauldron quite easily with his ki, not to mention the speed of his stirring allowed the ingredients to mix that much faster, Harry was done before anyone else and was just letting his potion cool for the latter half of class. While he was waiting, he looked around at everyone's progress.
Neville, he noticed, was about to dump in the correct number of porcupine quills to the potion... while it was still on the fire!
There was a blur of motion and a stiff breeze swept through the enclosed dungeon, making a few people sneeze from the smells it picked up. Harry had raced across the room as fast as he could move and grabbed Neville's wrist to keep him from adding the ingredient. He then, as Seamus and Neville stared wide-eyed at him, picked the boiling potion up and took it off the fire. To their looks he said, "Porcupine quills enable the potion to penetrate the skin in order to fully remove the boils. But if it is still boiling, the quills will activate the potion too early and it will 'penetrate' everything it touches like acid. Wait until it stops boiling before adding these." Only then did he let go of Neville's wrist.
Of course he got in trouble with Snape for that, and his detention was doubled, seeing as he couldn't have points taken away. At the time, Harry just shrugged and walked normally back over to his own potion, casually catching the extra quills thrown at him that would have landed in his assignment, ruining it. He then tossed them back from where they came, probably putting a bit too much energy behind the action as each of the quills wound up embedded in the stone wall and ceiling.
Out of the dungeons of Hogwarts now, Harry sought out the first portrait that he came across and asked for directions to wherever the Headmaster was at that moment. The portrait's occupant, a Sir Cadogan, immediately agreed and began to lead him on a merry chase through all the other portraits in the castle until they did finally reach the one across from a stone gargoyle. Just behind it, and up about five flights of stairs, Harry could sense the Headmaster.
"Thanks Sir Cadogan, I've got it from here," he waved off the odd character. Turning to the gargoyle, he tried to figure out a way to get past it. Then he focused his magical senses a bit and realized that the gargoyle was more than just a statue. It had magic as part of it. Shrugging, and seeing no harm in asking, he said to it, "My name is Harry Son, I am a student of Hogwarts and I would like to speak to the Headmaster if you please."
The gargoyle remained as motionless as a statue, for all of ten seconds, before it jumped to the side and a rotating staircase was revealed. "Thank you," he said as he passed the gargoyle and ignored the stairs, flying up in a tight spiral until he reached the door to the Headmaster's office.
Once there, he gently set down and politely knocked on the door.
"Come in, Harry," Professor Dumbledore's voice came from the other side.
"Thank you, Professor," he returned as he walked into the Headmaster's office.
"What may I do for you, Harry?" the Professor asked.
Harry stepped forward and took a seat before the ornate desk, only casting a passing eye on all the glittering devices scattered throughout the room. Shrugging, he replied, "I came to inform you, as the closest thing I have to a 'Head of House', that Professor Snape has assigned me detention."
"Oh, I see," Dumbledore nodded, part disappointed, part acknowledging. "Well, not to worry my boy, not to worry. I'll have a talk with Professor Snape. You won't have to attend the detention."
Harry's head came up, the surprise evident on his face. "I don't?"
Curious, Dumbledore thought to himself, while aloud asking, "Is that not why you came to me?"
Harry shrugged, and then shook his head. "Well, no Professor. The student handbook stated that we are to inform our Head of House of all detentions and punishments. I, well I don't really have a Head of House. I'm a student of Hogwarts. You're the closest thing to a Head of House that I have. I'm merely informing you. I'm more than willing to serve the detention, although I do fail to see how my answering questions warranted a detention in the first place..."
The disappointment had vanished, to be replaced by satisfied understanding. "Ah, I understand the confusion that might elicit," he said, eyes twinkling, grandfather-smile in place. "Still, I shall talk with Professor Snape about this, and until I approve it, one way or the other, you do not need to attend the detention, Mister Son. Now, go on and enjoy the rest of your afternoon. Not to worry, I shall take care of everything," Dumbledore added when he saw Harry hesitating.
"Thank you sir," Harry nodded. "I think I'll go and visit Cousin Hagrid then. Thank you for your time."
Five minutes later, he was downstairs and outside on the Hogwarts grounds. He knocked on the door to the thatched hut. Immediately the sound of barking echoed from within, as well as cries of "Back Fang! Back!"
The door opened and a giant of a man stood there. His face was almost completely hidden by a long, shaggy mane of hair and a wild, tangled beard, but you could make out his eyes, glinting like black beetles under all the hair. He was holding the large boarhound back, barely, by the thin leather strip collar around it's neck.
"Harry! Glad to see ya!" he exclaimed.
"Hello Cousin Hagrid," Harry greeted in return. "Mum and Grandad send their best wishes."
"Oh that's nice, that's nice indeed," Hagrid replied, openly smiling at the sentiments. "Tell me, how are the folks on Fire Mountain? Haven't seen'em for few years now."
"Everyone's great, you should come visit more often. At the least you should be able to make it during the summer months when school is out. And I'm sure the Headmaster would give you time off if you asked him for it. He's a nice man."
"Aye, great man Dumbledore is, great man," Hagrid nodded his agreement as he pulled out some... er, 'refreshments' for the two of them. "But I can't too rightly see myself leaving Hogwarts any time soon. It's my home."
Shrugging, Harry leaned forward and grabbed one of Hagrid's infamous rock cakes. "Well of course it is, but so is your villa on Fire Mountain. It's where your dad is buried, and while your mum is a bit of a, how did Granddad call it? Oh yeah, a wandering spirit, she still visits with your brothers from time to time. Mmm! Wow, these are just like Granddad makes! How'd you get the recipe from him? Mom says he won't even tell her, and when she makes them they're never quite the same."
Blushing, Hagrid shrugged and picked some crumbs out of his beard. "So, uh, how're things with you, Harry? How are your classes?"
"Not bad," he admitted with another shrug. "Actually pretty cool. History is interesting, I like the Professor, he's neat. But Astronomy... I don't think the Professor likes me. Not to mention the Potions Professor gave me a detention for correctly answering the questions to his pop quiz, but the Headmaster said I didn't have to go. This place is pretty different from home, that's for sure!"
"Aye," Hagrid nodded his shaggy head. "Wait a tic, you think History is cool?!"
Harry enthusiastically nodded his head, munching away on the rock cakes.
"Blimey, things sure have changed since I went here," Hagrid sat back in his sunken chair, stunned.
"Well it's mostly because I ask questions," said Harry. "In fact, from what the other kids say, all he does is read out of the books. When I'm in class, well, I'm asking so many questions from the start that we never even open our books up most of the time."
"Heh, aye, that would do it," Hagrid nodded. "Most folks never even bother with the questions, they just focus on catching up on sleep. Er, so I hear anyway."
Hagrid smiled, leaning back, a soft twinkle in his eye. "Tis good to hear ye laughing again, Harry. I still remember when you were a wee little tyke. Always laughing at the silliest of things. Or just laughing because you could, I suppose."
"Wish I could say that I remember, Cousin Hagrid, but I was just a baby at the time. Of course," Harry laughed again. "Of course, according to some, Gohan was off saving the planet from being pulled into a black hole at the same age. Growing up hearing some of that, always made me wonder about how I could be part of a family of heroes."
"Now see here, Harry!" Hagrid sat up. "Just cause yer not blood-relations with yer mother's... er, yer aunt's husband, don't mean yer not part of a family of heroes!"
"I know Hagird, I know," the boy nodded his head sadly.
"Yer Mum and Dad..." Hagrid began.
"I know the stories, Hagrid," he interrupted the friendly giant. "They were my bedtime stories up until Piccolo-sensei took me and Gohan for training. And then before I left for Namek with Dad—Goku, Mom sat me down and told me everything."
"Er... uh, ev-everything?" he stammered, suddenly nervous.
"Mom and... OK, let me start over," Harry paused to swallow the last of his rock cake and follow it down with some of Hagrid's version of tea. "Li-li and Chi-chi were twin sisters born to the Ox King and his wife. About the time that Chichi met her future husband and helped him in saving the Ox Kingdom from a raging fire, Lily, using her middle name 'Evans' to hide her true identity, had already left for Hogwarts. At Hogwarts, here, Lily met a boy named James Potter, who according to Chichi, was a right bully and show-off. At least according to Lily's letters he was."
Harry took another sip of tea, gathering his thoughts before continuing his bedtime story for Hagrid.
"Seven years of schooling later, Lily and James were dating and both were Head Girl and Head Boy respectively. Chichi was... er, 'courting' Goku at the same time that he was dealing with Demon King Piccolo and the World Martial Arts Tournament. I'm told that Goku and James actually met a couple times, but always on Fire Mountain under the purview of the Ox Kingdom, behind closed doors. Apparently James liked to make flashy entrances and he was a notorious prankster. Goku, being Goku, laughed at every one of his jokes and pranks, even the ones played on him. Then everybody got married. Apparently Gohan and I were born mere months apart. One year later, on Halloween night..."
"Aye, I remember," the half-giant grumbled, pulling out a very different bottle than where his tea came from. "You-Know-Who attacked them. The house was a mess, half the wall blown off. James was... and Lily, *sniff*, she was-was in front of yer crib!"
Harry nodded. Not remembering the events, not precisely, but knowing the story so well that he could picture it very clearly nevertheless.
"D-Dumbledore told me to keep you safe, that he was gonna set up some protections with yer mum's, er... Lily's blood kin. Cept, I remembered, or I knew that Lily t'weren't related to no... oh, what was there name again?"
Harry smiled and nodded. "Yeah, I remember Mom always got really, really mad every time those people got mentioned. Apparently the fake background Li-li got was so good that the official records had her related to some other woman whose maiden name was 'Evans'. Can't remember what her name was changed to, but it's a good thing that you did know that we're cousins, otherwise I can't imagine what my life might have been like."
"Dumbledore sure was mad with me though," Hagrid rubbed the back of his neck, blushing. "Great man, Dumbledore is. Still, don't ever want him mad at me again. I owe a lot to yer Mum, er, Chichi."
"Yeah, she is quite... uh, a handful," Harry agreed, albeit diplomatically.
"Only reason Dumbledore let you stay is cause of something yer... er, Goku either said or did. All I remember is that they walked outside for a bit, then when they came back in, they were both smiling and laughing and then Dumbledore took Goku off with him to one of the parties that were still going on all across the country."
"So that's why Mom is always so nervous whenever Dumbledore and Dad get together!"
"Aye. Still some rumors floating about here and there about that night. And not for the reason you're famous for, Harry. Can never tell what's the truth and what might be exaggerating. Example; there's this one rumor about Dumbledore, yer Dad, and a goat wearing a suit and sunglasses..."
"Whoa, too much information there, Hagrid!" Harry immediately back-pedaled. "As far as I'm concerned, my Dad loves to eat, train, and hang out with his friends, and that is all! Anything he does with old wizards, or stuff he does with my Mom, I don't want to know about. Ever!"
Hagrid chuckled. "Aye, understand that. Well, look at the time. You best be getting back up to the castle, Harry. Best wishes to yer Mum. Oh, and to the King as well."
"He's your cousin too, Hagrid, I think you're allowed to call him by his name," said Harry as he got up.
"Aye, but he's still the king," the half-giant calmly disagreed.
Harry just rolled his eyes. "All right then, Cousin Hagrid. I'll be going now!"
"See ya round, Harry!" Hagrid called as the boy wizard walked out his front door.
Outside Hagrid's hut, Harry was surprised to be greeted by four very familiar faces.
"Hermione! Justin! Neville! Ron! What are you guys doing out here?" he asked, a smile on his face.
"Well, I can't speak for the boys, but it is the end of the first week of school, Harry, and I believe you have a promise to keep," Hermione answered, arms crossed.
"Wait, how do you know the Hufflepuff?" Ron interrupted before he could answer.
"Nice," Justin Finch-Fletchley remarked. "Maybe I should ask how he met two brutish Gryffindors?"
Harry shrugged and replied, "I met these three on the train in. Helped Neville out a bit. Answered Hermione's questions. Oh, and made Ron drool a bit."
"What?! I did not!" Ron exclaimed, face as red as his hair.
"As for Justin, well, first night here, I sat at the table of loyal badgers, and Justin was sat right across from me. We got to talking, and I told him some things about myself while he told me other things about himself. Such as the fact that his family is in charge of a Sporting Goods chain. I advised he might want to suggest to them that they invest in martial arts equipment if they hadn't already."
Now it was Justin's turn to blush. "Yeah, well, my Dad isn't really one to take business advice from his eleven-year-old son. I was originally planning to go to Eton, when my Hogwarts letter arrived. Gotta say, if the rest of the year is anything like this first week, I'm glad of my choice!"
"Harry! Your promise!" Hermione insisted, actually stamping her foot.
"Yeesh, are all Ravenclaws as pushy as you?" said Ron.
Narrowing her eyes in anger, she responded in kind, "Are all Gryffindors as thuggish as you?"
"Ah... I would have to... uh, say no?" Neville actually raised his hand as he spoke quietly.
"All right, all right, enough of that," Harry laughed, leading the way up to the castle. "I still haven't found a good enough place to train, but I suppose there isn't really any ideal location."
"Why not just an empty classroom?" Hermione suggested.
Harry laughed. Loud and hard, like she had surprised him with the funniest thing he'd ever heard out of the blue. Which, in a way, she kind of had. Seeing that none of them were laughing with him, he quickly stopped.
"Uh, right, well, once we get started, you'll see why that was so funny," he lamely told them.
"Couldn't you start us out with some basic theory? Like they are with magic classes?" she said.
Shrugging, Harry opened his mouth to speak, and then shut it as he came around the bend, slowing to a stop shortly after. Hermione, Justin, Neville and Ron also all halted beside him.
Standing right in the middle of the path, just outside of view from the castle, and likewise from Hagrid's hut, was Draco Malfoy. He wasn't alone.
"Malfoy," Harry said as greeting, his friends behind him.
"Son," Draco returned the greeting, the entire First Year Slytherin class behind him.
"Two to one odds, or close enough," commented Harry as he stepped forward. "Are they here for support, or to help?"
Draco smirked. "Against you? Oh, they are absolutely here to help. You tipped your hand Son. You're more powerful than even the rumors could concoct. And now I know it. I'm not about to face you without adequate planning ahead of time. But you've been causing quite the stir this past week, and you need to be shown your place. And I'm here to show it to you."
"Harry!" Hermione called out.
He instantly held up his hand, but towards her, not the antagonists as they might have expected. "Stay back, all of you! I got this covered. Let them go, Malfoy. You don't want to make this bigger than me. I defend my friends a lot harder than I defend myself."
At the simple and straight-forward statement, Draco found himself frowning a bit. And not in the two-year-old-about-to-have-a-tantrum frowning, but the I-think-I-just-bit-off-more-than-I-can-chew kind of frown. Harry Son was more powerful than anything he'd ever heard of, and he grew up hearing about how the Dark Lord was the most powerful wizard since Grindelwald, who he was also more powerful than. But the Dark Lord didn't shoot energy blasts with his hands, fly faster than the Hogwarts Express, or bend steel with his bare hands. Son did. And so far, the Boy Who Lived had treated all of Draco's attacks on him like they were playing a game. Draco, as confident as he was in all that he'd been taught and raised to believe, was not so stupid as to believe that he would stand a chance against his rival if said rival actually got serious. He couldn't afford to take the chance that he would start. Not before Draco was better prepared for it at any rate.
"Nobody target the losers," Draco ordered. "Surround him. And Son, I'm not responsible if they do something stupid like getting between us and you!"
"Agreed," Harry shrugged and turned to his friends, even as all the Slytherin First Years surrounded him in a loose circle, careful to make sure they wouldn't be shooting at each other over his head. "Guys! Stay back! I've got this covered. Nothing to worry about."
"Now that is where you're wrong," Draco snarled, brandishing his wand. "You've got plenty to worry about, outsider! Don't think you can come here and change centuries of tradition just because you're a bit more powerful than one or two of us. Against all of us, you're no different than the rest of the sheep in this school."
Harry smirked and asked him, "You did at least train up a little since last time, didn't you Malfoy?"
"FIRE!" Draco ordered and then moved his wand in a straight jab motion, and pronounced, "Stupefy!"
At the exact same moment, every other Slytherin made the same motion with their wand and pronounced the same spell. A lengthy heartbeat after that, red bolts of magic energy flew out of the tips of all their wands and flew straight and true... at Harry's chest.
Glancing all around and behind him, Harry actually sighed, his shoulders drooping a bit as he said, disappointed, "Apparently not." He then powered up and charged his energy with magic that was the exact and total opposite of the type he felt in the bolts that were only halfway to him by the point he was done. When they struck, they all dissipated against the flowing energy coming from his body, exploding in little red streamers like paint from a paintball gun. Only one that doesn't leave a stain after it explodes.
In the aftermath, there was a stillness that spread all around. Nobody could believe what they'd just seen with their own eyes, but they had indeed seen it, and it had really happened.
Harry, however, just continued standing there, fists at his side as though nothing had happened at all. After a few moments time, Draco lost patience and screamed, "FIRE! Get him! Teach him that he's nothing against all of us together! Sectumsempra!"
After that, each Slytherin started casting different spells, some as harmless as what they'd learned in class already, others not so much. Harry remembered the day he and his dad arrived on Namek. How much faster his dad was when not held back by 100 Gs. He also remembered that trick that he pulled on those two from the Ginyu Force. Given the circumstances, Harry really couldn't help himself. After all, he too had been on the ship under 100 times normal gravity, he was pretty fast himself.
So, when the spell bolt from Draco's curse was about to hit, Harry leaned out of the way as fast as he could at the last possible moment and after it had fully passed, he resumed standing in the exact position he'd began in. To those observing at 'normal speed', the curse had gone right through him and out the other side without affecting him in the slightest. Others had cast spells and curses of their own. The ones that would do little to no harm, Harry dodged as easily as he had Draco's curse. Three in particular, cast from Theodore Nott, Blaise Zabini, and Pansy Parkinson were as dangerous as the curse Draco had used, though he didn't yet know enough to identify them, he could feel the malevolence and dark magic needed to cast them in the first place. Furthermore, those particular spells, he could tell, would create a 'splash effect' that would hit or affect the people around him if he merely dodged. So those he deflected up, putting an extra layer of magical protection around his hands even as he did so at super speed, always returning to the same position after moving.
Growling, Draco cried, "Sectumsempra! Sectumsempra! Sectumsempra!"
Theodore Nott, behind and on Harry's left, was similarly frustrated and tried his hand at something he wasn't even supposed to know, let alone be able to cast at 11 years old. "Crucio!" he whispered under his breath.
Opposite Nott, Blaise Zabini turned his nose up and then took a deep breath loudly exclaimed, "DEPULSO!" Now that, Harry couldn't ignore. He wasn't entirely sure what the spell was for, not really, but he could feel the force being generated and while it wasn't anything that would bruise, let alone kill him, it could be enough to knock him over.
He felt a soft ache coming from Nott's direction, but considering he felt more pain from his daily workout burn, he casually ignored it, instead focusing on dodging the last of Draco's curses. The moment he'd passed the last one, he had almost no time to do anything about the wave of force coming from Zabini. Almost was plenty.
From everyone else's perspective, Harry had just stood there, still as a statue and somehow become intangible! Except for three curses, which were somehow instead deflected upwards where they exploded harmlessly, the rest all went right through him and dissipated against the trees and rocks all around them. Then Zabini cast something that only Hermione knew anything about (at the moment) and when it struck Harry... he disappeared!
And not the typical magical way of disappearing, it was like he'd vanished entirely and without a sound, one second there, the next gone!
That is, until he landed on his feet, apparently having just fallen from a great height. It took a moment, but finally everybody understood that somehow Harry had jumped over the spell Zabini had shot at him, causing more than a few of those gathered to start looking up and then back at Harry and then up again.
"What are you?" Draco demanded, sweating more than a little by now.
Harry grinned at him, the first real move that anybody had seen him make in the confrontation thus far. He then vanished, only not really. Some of them might have thought he was Apparating, save for two facts. Numero Uno; you cannot Apparate or Disapparate on Hogwarts grounds, the wards are ancient and have never been bested by anyone or anything known to Wizarding kind. Secondly, there was no 'crack' or 'pop' sounds that usually accompanied a wizard Apparating. And last but certainly not least, Harry hadn't disappeared because he was standing right in front of Draco Malfoy, less than an inch from touching noses.
The young Malfoy heir screamed and backpedaled, jumping away from the other boy that was suddenly way too close. Tripping over his own feet, he fell down, forcing him to look up at the adopted child of the Son family. It was pure coincidence that put the sun directly behind his head, forcing Draco to squint as he looked up at the shining shadowy figure.
"I'm a fighter Draco. Have been for a long time now, most of my life in fact," Harry 'happily' answered Draco's question. "And much as I love my father, and what he teaches, I was trained by a real sadistic bastard to be the fighter that I am today. So I've got one rule when it comes to starting fights. I don't start them, and I give people one chance. Only one chance, to stop the fight before I finish it. Malfoy? That one chance ended after your first salvo."
Draco gulped and tried to scramble away, but Harry just bent down and picked him up by the neck, making sure not to choke him too bad. There was a hysteric scream coming from behind him.
"Let go of him, you freak!" Pansy screamed and cast the stunning spell again. It dissipated harmlessly against his back.
Harry glanced over his shoulder. Pansy gasped, or more like choked on her gasp of terror, falling back in obvious fear. To her, it was like Death Itself had taken one look at her, weighed, measured, and judged her and found her wanting. Those green eyes, cold, hard, like living embodiments of the Unforgivable Killing Curse, just staring at her, seeing right through her. It terrified her and traumatized her like nothing in her brief life ever had before. She would have screamed, but she wound up choking on it, just the strangled gasp leaving her throat. He, on the other hand, just shrugged, let go of Malfoy, and then punched him in the gut before he'd even fallen an inch. The blonde boy went flying fifty yards further up the path to the castle. Everyone present gasped at the sheer violence of the simple and straight-forward act.
Crabbe and Goyle both roared and charged Harry from behind. He waited until they were almost upon him before getting behind them in a flash of movement. He lashed out in two quick strikes, kicking each in the ribs, sending them flying off in opposite directions. The remaining Slytherins, seeing this, started casting spells and curses at him at random. One of those curses rebounded and nearly hit Hermione in the face, if she hadn't ducked out of the way that is.
After that, the expression on Harry's face changed, from casual and a bit of happy-go-lucky, to somewhat angry. The witches were targeted first, and rather than punch or hit them in the torso, Harry just dislocated their arms and broke their legs, their femur bones to be specific. In each case, he made very sure they were clean breaks. Nott and Zabini, the only boys left, well Nott was struck in the face and then kicked in the chest, sending him flying like all the others, but Zabini took one punch and was out like a light.
Pansy, on the other hand, was still standing where she had been from the start, tears running down her face, soft hiccup sobs coming from her throat. Harry walked right up to her, took a hard look at her, then grimaced and let go of his anger. He patted her on the head and she crumpled to the ground, crying out loud, almost wailing really.
"Uh, come on guys, we'd better get a teacher down here," he said, starting the trek back up to the school.
"Is... is... are they going to be all right?" Hermione asked as they passed Draco, laying unconscious on the ground.
"Just some broken bones and bruises, nothing permanent," he shrugged. "I think I kind of scared Pansy though. All I did was look at her though!"
"Yeah, but it was the way you looked at her, mate," Justin said.
"Yeah, I about wet myself and you weren't even looking at me!" Ron added.
"Who do we, uh who do we tell about this?" Neville asked.
Rather than answer, or perhaps as an answer, Harry walked up to the gargoyle right above the entrance to the school grounds. "We need the Headmaster and the Heads of Slytherin," he paused and looked back at his friends, "Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw Houses here. As soon as possible if you please."
"Harry, why are you talking to a statue?" Hermione asked him.
Before he could answer, the gargoyle opened its eyes and replied in a surprising smooth baritone voice, "They are on their way. Stay where you are."
Seeing the look on her face, he smiled and shrugged again. "I could sense that it's a magical construct, same as the one in front of the Headmaster's office, and since it didn't need to leave and go ask face to face to get permission to open the door, I figured that this gargoyle could also communicate silently with the Professors. Professor Dumbledore certainly. And I was hoping all your Heads of House as well."
"But why...?" Ron started to say, but Hermione shushed him.
"You can sense magical constructs?" she asked.
Harry just smiled and nodded.
Before they could get much more into idle chitchat, the Professors arrived at the gate to the school grounds. They all rallied behind the Headmaster, mostly because they all had received strange summons from the gargoyle statues placed intermittently around the school and thus were somewhat confused. One of their number was the exact opposite of confused.
"What have you done now, Potter? Something so bad the school itself won't let you back in until you are properly punished?" Professor Snape said the moment he spotted Harry there waiting for them.
Harry coolly ignored Snape and turned to Dumbledore. "Good afternoon, sir. I apologize for taking up your time like this, especially seeing as we concluded out earlier meeting not too long ago, but... well, you see there's been an altercation, and it involves students from all four houses, as well as myself. So I thought I'd err on the side of caution and get all four House Heads together to make sure there's no... mismanagement of blame."
Dumbledore felt the stirrings of a headache, but nevertheless he maintained his posture and smiled understandingly at the Hogwarts Student, his eyes twinkling brightly as he endeavored to understand the boy. "That is perfectly understandable, Mister Son. And I appreciate your concern. Perhaps if you were to explain what precisely this altercation involved?"
"This way sir," Harry turned and began walking down the path to Hagrid's hut. It didn't take them long to get to the site of the incident in question, the Slytherins were still where they'd left them and nobody else had come along.
Seeing his godson and all the other First Years of his House laid out on the ground, either moaning in pain or blissfully unconscious, Snape lost the last vestiges of control that were keeping his temper from erupting. "YOU LITTLE...! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY STUDENTS YOU BASTARD SON OF A BASTARD WANKER?!" He then launched himself at the younger and smaller wizard, his intentions unknown, but the way he held his hand indicated he wanted to throttle the boy.
Harry almost casually ducked out of the way and backed up, angling away from the rest of the group, and unfortunately towards some of the still conscious Slytherin First Years. Snape dove for him again, but this time when the boy dodged, he tripped the older wizard, sending him on top of the girls, eliciting cries of pain and fear from them. The next time, he just stepped aside so that Snape wound up kicking Malfoy in his bruised ribs, followed by stepping on the unconscious boys gonads. That seemed to be enough to finally wake the blonde heir up, albeit in a most painful fashion.
"Enough Severus!" Dumbledore shouted.
"Headmaster, he—!" Snape protested.
"I can see perfectly well what Mister Son has done," Dumbledore said, his voice uncharacteristically grim. "Perhaps if you would stop chasing him for a moment, inflicting even more pain on your students, then he might be allowed to explain himself."
"Explain himself?!" Snape cried, exasperated.
Ignoring his irate Potions Professor, Dumbledore turned to the five students present and asked them point blank, "Please, tell us what happened." He raised his hand, halting them from speaking all at once. "Let's begin with Mister Son's version of events, shall we?" They all ignored the strangled cry coming from Snape's general direction.
"Thank you Professor," Harry began. "After the conclusion of our meeting, I took your advice and came down here, alone, to visit with Cousin Hagrid. We're related on my Mom's... er, I suppose technically she's my aunt, well, on Son Chichi's side of the family. Hagrid's mother is the second cousin of the Ox King's biological mother. I'm really not sure how distantly related that makes us, but I've always known him as Cousin Hagrid. Anyway, after an hour or so, we finished catching up, so I started to make my way back up to the castle when I ran into my friends here. Hermione was curious about my promise to her, and the others came to see me although they never gave specific reasons."
"Miss Granger?" Professor Flitwick gave a surprised look to one of his most promising students.
"It... er, uh, it has to do with what was discussed that first day in class, Professor," Hermione mumbled, her bushy hair covering her blushing face.
"Ah, carry on then, Mister Son," the Charms teacher acknowledged.
"Well, just as we got to this point in the path from Hagrid's home, Draco Malfoy and all those you see around you revealed themselves. They were, quite literally, standing between us and the castle, our ultimate destination. Mister Malfoy and I exchanged words, he then ordered the others to surround me, I allowed them to, and then they attacked me simultaneously with the same spell that that Seventh Year student, the Head Boy fired at me on the train. They must have practiced quite a lot to get so well in sync the way they did. After that, Mister Malfoy shouted, and I quote, 'Get him. Teach him that he's nothing against all of us together.' And then they all started shooting a wide variety of spells and curses at me that I could not easily recognize. Finally one of them shot the Banishing charm at me..."
"Oh, which one?" Professor Flitwick interrupted again, looking excitedly at the prone bodies all around.
"Filius!" Professor McGonagall snapped. "Not now!"
"The one called Blaise Zabini, I believe sir," Harry answered. "Anyway, I jumped out of the way of that and then when something that I believe could have been the cutting curse, at least from the descriptions I've read, came very close to hitting Hermione. After that, I... retaliated."
"You retaliated?!" Snape screamed. "You nearly killed them! Headmaster, I want him expelled!"
"Severus," Dumbledore warned him with a sharp glare. "Please continue, Mister Son."
Shrugging, he said, "Well, I'm afraid that's it, Professor. I disabled all those firing spells at me, and uh... I'm afraid I scared Miss Parkinson rather badly, and then I went straight to the gargoyle construct over there and asked that you all come here straight away."
"Enough lying Potter! What spells did you use? Where is your wand? I'll get the truth from it at the least!" Snape moved forward, intent on finding and tearing the wand from his target's body one way or another.
Seeing this, Harry reacted on instinct, despite knowing better. Hindsight and all that.
The moment Snape's hands were in range, Harry's own shot out in reflex, grabbing the older man's wrists and twisting, leaving his defenses wide open. He then punched the man on the inside of the elbow with sufficient force that he instantly dislocated his arm from its shoulder socket. Moving with the motions this caused in his attacker, he jumped up and did a rapid spin-kick to the sternum, sending him flying back over ten feet.
"MISTER SON!" Dumbledore yelled, but of course it was already over.
"Sorry, but he was grabbing for me. I don't like being grabbed," he said defensively.
"Nevertheless, I would greatly appreciate it... no, in fact I must insist that you never again attack any of your teachers, no matter the reason!" Dumbledore ordered.
Frowning, he looked up at the Headmaster, an expression of confusion on his face.
By this point Snape, being much older and having experienced Voldemort's own Cruciatus Curse once or twice, had recovered and was limping back to the group, his arm hanging loosely from his side. "He attacked me! You all saw it! I want him expelled!"
"From what I saw, it looked like self-defense!" Hermione exclaimed, and then immediately turned as red as Ron's hair and covered her mouth with both hands.
"Hm, I would agree," Professor McGonagall said.
"As would I," Professor Sprout said, speaking for the first time.
"Enough, you can visit Madam Pomphrey after we're done here, Severus," Professor Flitwick waved off the Potion Master's injuries. "So what you're saying here, Harry, is that Mister Zabini cast a Fourth Year spell, well enough that you actually had to dodge it rather than counter it as you do everything else?"
"Well Professor, it was the first time that I'd seen the Banishing spell, and I don't know for a fact that is what it was. It could have been anything. The word he used though was 'Depulso' and it created a wave of enough force sufficient to knock me back some three to five feet if I had allowed it to. In the amount of time I had, I couldn't brace myself well enough to avoid being knocked down, so I dodged it instead. Now that I've seen it, I would like to say I'm more prepared for it."
"Filius, we're getting off track," Dumbledore admonished the Charms teacher. "Mister Son, how did you cause all these injuries to so many at once?"
"Oh it was incredible, Professor!" Ron exclaimed, so excited that he couldn't contain himself any longer. "Harry was all whoosh and then wham bam kick! Then whoosh again and he...!"
"Mister Weasley!" Professor McGonagall snapped, shutting the young boy up quite nicely.
"Yes, I suppose it is time to get another's perspective," Dumbledore said. "Miss Granger, perhaps you might elucidate upon Mister Weasley's... rather colorful commentary?"
"Um, yes sir," she squeaked, eyes wide and her face going pale. "Malfoy cast the spell Sectumsempra at Harry and somehow, I do not understand precisely how at this time, he dodged so quickly that the spell bolts seemed to go through him some how. The others all cast their spells, I recall that some of them were Diffindo, Conjunctivitis, Relashio, and Reducto. I also noticed something like the Stinging jinx being used, but I did not hear the precise wording or saw who used it. When Zabini used Depulso, Harry disappeared, although I quickly determined that he had merely jumped very high faster than we could track. He landed and then disappeared again, appearing in front of Malfoy. He picked Malfoy up by the throat and then punched him in the chest. From there. Malfoy landed where he is now." She pointed to where Harry had been standing.
"Crabbe and Goyle charged him from behind, and then he was suddenly behind them and he kicked each of them once and they're still where they landed. The others started firing randomly, and Zabini almost hit me with a rebounded curse, and after that, Harry broke all the girls bones, which I could tell from the noises made as he hit them, and punched and kicked the others until they stopped attacking. He only hit them once each."
"Well, except for Nott," Harry admitted. "Had to hit him twice before he'd stay down. He's tougher than he looks." The way he said it, everyone honestly believed that the fighter was giving the other young wizard an actual compliment.
"Parkinson was crying, he hadn't touched her, except to pat her on the head," Hermione finished. "And then we all went to the statue and waited for you to get here, like Harry said."
"Mister Finch-Fletchley?" Professor Sprout called on her student.
"It's exactly like she said, Professor," he said, "Exactly like she said. I swear."
"Hmph!" Snape scoffed.
"And you two?" Professor McGonagall questioned her own pair involved. They silently nodded.
"Well clearly a case of self-defense," Professor Dumbledore stated after some silent deliberation. "Although I am very disappointed at the level of escalation used here."
Harry shrugged and remarked, "Just be glad it was me and not my sensei. Or Vegeta."
"Still, Mister Son, violence is never the answer," Dumbledore admonished the student. "No matter what the reason, you should never attack those weaker than yourself."
Harry shot Dumbledore another confused look.
"I don't believe this!" Snape screamed, wincing in pain with every word. "Potter not only gets away with disrespecting me in my own classroom, he attacks my First Year students, and then he goes and attacks me, and convinces others to lie for him, and HE'S GETTING AWAY WITH IT!"
"Now Severus, I acknowledge that Mister Son was defending himself, but in light of this... incident, I cannot overlook this. I understand that you were defending yourself, Mister Son, Harry—" the boy's confusion shifted to a glare and a soft cough from McGonagall had him correcting himself immediately, "—Mister Son. But you should have ended the confrontation before anyone got hurt and gotten one of us here much sooner. Therefore I believe you will carry out the original punishment from earlier. Detention with Professor Snape this coming Saturday evening."
"DETENTION?!" Snape roared, wincing and cradling his arm at the pain. Speaking softer, "I want him expelled for attacking me and my students, Professor!"
"Why do you keep saying that I attacked you?" Harry interrupted.
"Because you ATTACKED ME!" Snape screamed in the boy's face.
Harry blinked, wiping away some spittle, and then blinked some more, trying to clarify his confusion. Suddenly his face lit up in understanding. Smirking, he turned away from the group, towards the forest not too far from where they stood. Just visible through the trees was a large rock outcropping, the tail edge of the surrounding mountain range. Calmly, smoothly, he held out his right hand, palm open, toward that rock. Before anybody could ask or say anything about his actions, a shining golden glow appeared in the palm of his hand and faster than a spell from the tip of a wand, there was a controlled explosion in the form of a beam of light blasting out from his hand and impacting with the rock outcropping.
Instinctively, everyone cowered and covered their eyes and ears as the flash of the explosion blinded them. Moments later, once the noise had settled, they saw smoke and dust still flying out from where the rocks had been. Emphasis on *had* been!
"I think there's been some confusion, Professors," Harry said, smirking still. "I admit that I may be a little more violent and physical than what you might be used to. So I am sorry for that, but in my defense, I did spend no less than three years of my life growing up in the wilderness with a real sadist as my only teacher. Albeit not consecutively."
He turned to the Potions teacher. "Professor Snape, I apologize for injuring you, but I would like to avoid any future confusion at all costs. I did not attack you. I did not attack your students. They may have attacked me, but I did not treat it as such. They were just saying... 'Hello'. I merely... replied with the same. If I were to attack you, Professor, please know and be very certain of what that might entail. When I attack someone, anyone, I do not hold back. At all."
Turning back to Dumbledore, he said, "I promise not to attack any of the teachers here while they are my teachers, Professor. But I give no such promise to... my replies. I shall attend the detention, Professor. Would you like help getting everyone here up to the Hospital Wing?"
"Uh, yes, Mister Son, that would be—uh—most appreciated," Dumbledore said.
Harry went and got Crabbe and then Goyle, flying them up to the Hospital Wing's outside windows and putting them on the beds there. By the time he got back for the others, only Pansy and Draco were left, the others having been levitated along by the Professors, with the obvious exception of Professor Snape.
Speaking of whom, he was still staring at the open display of destruction caused by an eleven year old boy. It would have taken the Dark Lord twice as much effort as that boy used to cause the same devastation, and a good three seconds longer to pronounce the spell, which had to be spoken to get the maximum effects out of it. It was the first clue that had actually penetrated Snape's blinding hate of James Potter that the offspring of said man may actually be very different from that which spawned it. Sadly, for Severus Snape's sake, one clue, no matter how earth-shattering, was not quite enough to free him from his long entrenched hatred.
For Draco Malfoy, the smoldering crater in the woods was just further evidence that Harry Son was more powerful than anything he'd ever heard of. Somehow, this boy, once the Boy Who Lived, had attained a power greater than anything his father had claimed the Dark Lord had ever known.
Draco wanted that power. He wanted it for himself and he silently vowed as he stared at the smoking crater, that he would do whatever it took to get that power. And he would use it to make himself more powerful than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Grindelwald and all those that came before!
Pansy, trapped in the terror of her own fear, sat there on the ground, still crying. While Draco was basking in his avarice and making vows of grandeur, she was making one of her own. She'd seen, seen in those terrible eyes, she'd seen just how weak and pathetic she truly was. She vowed to never again be that weak, to never again be seen as pathetic. She swore it on her magic and everything that she had and was and ever would be.
END "Episode 4: Hogwarts Keeper of the Keys"