Pseudonymous Entity : Rise!
*"Truth is harder than a lie, The dark seems safer than the light
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through..."*
Summary: A basilisk wasn't the only thing Hogwarts kept locked away for centuries. Revolution. Anarchist!Harry. Morally Ambiguous.
Characters: Harry Potter, and Salazar Slytherin-ish
Warnings: Morally Ambiguous. I can provide further warnings if necessary, feel free to suggest them and I shall take them into consideration.
Contains: Questionable Alliances, Magical Theory, Tested Loyalties, Tough Moral Choices, Deception as an Art, Political Maneuvering, Conspiracy, Plotting, Blatant Manipulation, Unexpected Backstabbing, Emotional Warfare, Flaws and Vices, Temptation, Mistakes, Inconvenient Truths, Blackmail, Bribery, Mental and Emotional Torture, Lying by Omission, Revolution, Rebellion, Wizarding Laws, Magical Creatures, Propaganda, Historical Fact Checking, Poison, Split Personalities, Attempted Exorcism, Anarchy
AN: Originally this was a one shot written for a contest.
ANx2: The last chapter was edited, with an expansion on some information and some scenes added or cut. You may recognize some of the material that once belonged to the previous chapter within this one, as it was moved to this one to help with flow, and redone to better suit what comes later.
ANx3: Thoughts, Comments, Questions, Theories, Guesses and Limericks always appreciated.
Ever Yours, PSEU
"'Cause I need an interventionist to intervene between me and this monster
And save me from myself and all this conflict
'Cause the very thing that I love is killing me and I can't conquer it
Keep knocking, nobody is home, I'm sleepwalking
I'm just relaying what the voice in my head is saying, don't shoot the messenger
I'm just friends with the...
I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed, Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me? Stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy, yeah you think I'm crazy, I'm
I'm friends with the monster."
Chapter Five: The Observation
Classbegan as most do.
Professor Flitwick gave them an idea of what they'd be working on for the next few weeks as well as the topics they'd be covering until the end of turn. Their opposite would, of course, be covered in the following term. For instance, in first year they'd learned to make a feather levitate, moved into further physical manipulations of its movements and then spent the last half of the year before test review learning immobilizing charms. How to keep something right where you wanted it. This announcement would be followed by a demonstration of what they would learn, some class discussion and an assigned essay or reading. The following week they would have practicals and attempt to perform what they had learned. It was a similar formula in all of their classes.
Today it went a little differently.
In Harry's defense, he was completely distracted by an infuriating ink drawing taunting him within his own textbook. It was an odd feeling to be betrayed by one's school supplies. Betrayed he was none the less as his distraction did not continue unnoticed.
"Mister Potter, thank you for volunteering." Came a cheerful voice.
Harry snapped up quick enough he felt it in his neck. "Sir?"
The diminutive professor motioned him to stand with a small smile on his face. It was a very good thing he hadn't been caught out in Snape's class, Harry shuddered. With resignation -he didn't have a damn clue what their topic was as he had not been listening- Harry slid out from the bench and stood on the stair in the middle isle. Charms class was always arranged as if they were in a university auditorium with seating raised up a bit in levels from the main floor to the ending branches about ten feet higher. Harry supposed it was to enable to the professor to see all of his students without having to resort to something unprofessional in regard to his height.
Flitwick clapped his hands together in excitement. It didn't make him tense in suspicion the way he often did whenever Salazar performed exactly the same action.
"I am going to perform a series of actions Potter, and I would like you to pay very close attention. Can you do that for me?"
Harry nodded. That didn't sound too hard.
First Flitwick put a hand into one of his robe pockets, pulling out an orb which he placed on the long table before him on the main floor. The professor stood and appeared to study the orb for a minute,t hen he picked it up once more and held it out over the floor to his right. He released it. The orb fell to the floor and shattered. The moment it broke a ringing, metallic sound clanged out. Several people winced or covered their ears. It was an awful sound no doubt, however, having heard the sound of an ancient staircase crumbling fifty feet or so onto a hard stone floor int he middle of highly acoustic cavern...to say the least harry was somewhat immune to loud noises at this point. Flitwick waved his wand and the noise cut off as the many pieces of the orb disappeared. The small professor cocked his head as if thinking. His hand whipped out toward a high shelf on the left-hand side of the room just be the door.
"Accio!" Flitwick shouted.
An orb similar in appearance to the previous lifted from the shelf and came flying to the professor. Flitwick held out a hand, snatching it from the air as Harry might a snitch. He set it on the table and left it there. Apparently, this orb would not meet the fate of its predecessor. Flitwick looked about the classroom. He focused on a student in the front. A witch Harry didn't know the name of.
"Can you place something on your table I won't have come into contact with before?" Flitwick inquired politely. "Preferably something similar in some fashion to elements I have already used this lesson."
Harry could not see her expression from here but she seemed game enough. The witch bent over after a moment of thought and pulled something out of her book bag. When she placed it on the table before her Harry recognized it. He had never had one himself but Dudley received one once for his birthday. An eight ball. Or a magic eight ball as the muggles called it. Aunt Petunia was most upset when Dudley unwrapped it and made him get rid of it. Dudley -being the spoilt child he was- simply hid it away in his room of broken things. It was there Harry played with it occasionally when he dared.
He wondered whatever became of it. It certainly wasn't still there when he was moved from his cupboard into that very room after he turned eleven.
"Very good, thank you." Harry blinked and focused back on his teacher. He was meant to be watching after all.
Professor Flitwick whipped his wand out once more. "Accio!"
It was said with a more forceful nature than the last time he'd performed the spell, Harry noted. The eight ball moved toward him at a rather lazy pace in Harry's opinion. He flew to the professor quick enough but it just didn't seem as if it much wanted to. How silly was that, though? An inanimate object didn't have desires. So, if it wasn't the eight ball which didn't want to go to the professor...maybe it was the witch? Harry frowned. She'd seemed fine with participating so that couldn't be it either.
"Can anyone describe the demonstration?" Flitwick asked, rocking on his heels a bit as he was one to do when excited.
It surprised no one when an arm shot into the air before the professor finished his sentence. A head of unruly hair in a colour somewhere between red and brown shook with mingled interest and impatience. No one else bothered to raise their hand. Everyone knew Hermione -bless her- wasn't one for leaving off information for rest of them to use. "Please sir, you performed two summoning spells and I believe vanished the remains of the orb you shattered. One object from ten feet away at the wall and another foreign object twenty feet away. The incantation is accio, and it is used to bring to the caster an object already in existence rather than conjure it as with the water charm. It will bring to you nearly any object within a reasonable distance that you can visualize and whose location you are aware. It does not have to be precise to be effective though it helps, your will for it to come when you call should help any hindrance received from a lack of complete information."
She finished with a slight gasp at the end. Harry would be impressed she managed to go that long without breathing if he wasn't already used to it. She could have been an Olympic swimmer in another life.
"Yes, well done Miss Granger." Flitwick praised. "A good overview of what happened. Did anyone see anything else?"
Several students glanced at one another in surprise. It wasn't often Hermione's answer wasn't good enough. To Harry's horror, Flitwick chose this moment to remember Harry and the assignment he'd given him. "Mister Potter?"
Harry inclined his head, clearing his mind and adopting a neutral expression as he did. "Sir?"
"At the beginning of my demonstration, I requested for you to observe. Did you?" There was something off to his tone of voice. But what was it?
"I did sir," Harry responded, careful to keep his voice steady and polite.
Flitwick's eyes were shining too much not to be suspicious. "And would you share with the class what you have observed?"
Why was he inflecting so much on the word observe? oh. Harry blinked. Perhaps his earlier observations in the Grat Hall had not gone unnoticed. It would appear his charms professor had taken note of them and sought to use his skill for the purposes of his class. What did he want him to see? Hermione had stated the obvious and normally that was all the professors -well meaning as most of them may be- every bothered to require of them outside of essays and tests where more detailed explanations were warranted. What did the professor hope to gain from this?
Green eyes flickered down to his text to see if Salazar had anything helpful to share. There in the bubble above his little drawing of himself The Keeper had the words familiarity and ownership. Well, what did that even...oh he saw it now. Harry already knew how to summon of course. Salazar taught it to him. Quickly Harry visualized first his lessons with Salazar on this very subject and ones relating to it, and then he replayed the demonstration in his head as slowly as he dared. Finally Harry lifted his eyes to his professor and gave a nod. The rest of the class had turned at some point to stare at him.
"You placed a recording on your desk." Said Harry. "Quartz orbs are useful because they can be used to store delayed effect magics. Or a specific temporary, situation based spell activated within certain parameters. Like a door that only opens if you're wearing red or say a certain phrase." Harry thought of the chamber he spent the weekend in. "It isn't that it is locked really, or anything, its effect is in a sort of stasis without the proper activation protocol." He stumbled a bit over the terminology, doing his best to remember how Salazar phrased it and then summarize it in his own words.
"You used this one to contain a recording. After you studied it you broke it. Then you summoned another one identical in appearance, if not in recording or use, from the shelf over there." Harry pointed. "It came to you quickly. It is my observation that you studied the orb before you broke it because you placed both of them in their places before class began. It has been nearly an hour since then so it's been a while since you were in any actual contact with them. Once you had a visualization of the orb you summoned its twin to you." Harry took a breath. "Then you summoned an object you were even less familiar with. Because of this, that object did not come as quickly as the other, though not in any really noticeable sort of way if you weren't looking for it. I think..."
He paused. Flitwick gave him a wide smile and a nod to continue. "I think this is a result of both your not knowing the object on your own -like you would if you had at least held it before or if it belonged to you or you had one of your own- as well as the residual magic of the object's owner being unwilling to let the object come in to you possession. Nothing personal, her magic just knew you were not its proper owner even if you had its owners permission to have it. I think she may also have worried you would break her eight ball Professor."
Some of the students laughed. The witch in question flushed and mumbled a sorry to Flitwick who didn't seem bothered in the least by his students worry for her possessions. "And what do you conclude Mister Potter?"
He thought for a moment before answering. He knew the answer. The Keeper had gone over it with him after all. He felt a bit guilty. He was sort of cheating, wasn't he? After all, they didn't know he already knew the information. To them he was coming up with this stuff at the top off his head. In reality, he'd barely survived a crash course in magical theory via one of the founders themselves. Not exactly fair. Still.
It might be fun to show off. Just once.
Enthusiastic. Wit. Think like your audience.
"Your familiarity," Harry began, "with the object or objects in question directly affect your ability to perform the spell to satisfaction, in correlation with the ownership of said objects. If I was holding something and you attempted to summon it from me without knowing what it was -and without my permission as well- it would be...difficult. Your unfamiliarity with what you were trying to summon along with my magic's refusal could result in the spell's connection being weak enough I would have time to raise a shield to interrupt it, and the spell would then fail." Dueling sessions with Salazar flashed through his mind.
"The strength of your core and your desire to have the item in your possession have an effect as well, as does your knowledge of the objects' location. Similarly, more advanced transfigurations -yeah that is another class but I think this is still relevant to my reasoning- lean heavily on your intimate knowledge of both the object you want to change and the object you want to change it into. Like turning a matchstick into a needle in first year. This is why the animagus transformation is restricted to those who are of age. It requires an extreme focus and dedication that is hard to cultivate in younger witches and wizards, especially with things like tests and teenage angst as distractions in the background." Some people snickered.
"It is also easier to restore...complications...that may arise with stronger, settled cores than in those whose cores have yet to fully develop or are still in process of settling. Familiarity and ownership are very important elements to the use of magic and you demonstrated both. Oh and you banished the orbs pieces. It is not the same as vanishing." He flicked his eyes to Hermione in apology. "A banished item can always be unbanished. When you've vanished something it's gone." Harry stopped there, feeling as if he had spoken far too much. He did not think he had ever spoken so much in class in all the years he was at school. Magical or nonmagical.
Flitwick gave a delighted squeal. "Well done Mister Potter. I knew I was right to choose you for an assistant. Ten points to Gryffindor. Well reasoned indeed."
Ten Points? Really?
A smile pulled at his lips.
"...want all of you to think very hard about what we've learned today. Fifteen inches on the theory and its implications, as well as the incantations and movements for summoning and banishing by next Monday if you please. We will pick up again on Thursday. Dismissed."
Harry packed his things as fast as he could without looking as though he were fleeing and darted toward the door. There were too many stares for him to feel comfortable. As he left the class he found himself between two unlikely people. Zabini, a tall boy with dark olive skin and honey coloured eyes, stood at Harry's left with a grip on his elbow. He glanced sideways at Harry, angling Him toward the other side of the hallway. Ominously, opposite the way the other Gryffindors were going. Alarmed -what Gryffindor wouldn't be?- Harry allowed himself to be towed along, mind racing to figure out what he may have done to cause such an action from a school mate Harry could honestly say he had not spoken to once. In front of them leading the way was a girl with collar length brown hair. Parkinson, Harry's mind supplied. And there was Malfoy waiting.
When he was deposited in front of him Harry raised a brow.
Malfoy lifted and dropped one shoulder. "I apologize. My friends are heathens."
Parkinson took offense to this with an indignant huff. Zabini, however, was entirely unaffected. Perhaps he was used to Malfoy at this point, or maybe he just didn't care what anyone thought of him. "I only re-accounted our earlier interaction, at their insistence as they saw us together when they were approaching, and they decided you would welcome advances from them. Your little show in class only strengthened their curiosity I am afraid." He gave a 'what can you do' facial expression.
Harry didn't buy it for once moment. If Malfoy had an issue with anything his friends did he would only need to say so. If they got away with dragging him over it was either because Malfoy wanted them to or Malfoy was curious what they would do. Harry couldn't call him out on it, though. He was playing now. He had to think his actions through more carefully.
Parkinson took that moment to twirl around. When Salazar did it, it was a little impressive, with all of his swirling silks. When Parkinson did it, it was abrupt and demanding. "And do you?" She crossed her arms.
Wasn't she just the impatient one? Harry was inclined to walk away. He didn't have to answer their questions. The only one he insinuated he was interested in playing with was Malfoy. If his little minions wanted to play they'd have to play for themselves. They weren't important. Playing with them was pointless unless he got something out of it. He supposed he could always use them for practice. Harry didn't know enough about either of them to decide if it would be wise to do so. They were of course in The Game already but he had started a game with Malfoy. A specific one. Maybe this was part of Malfoy's game?
Warmth ran down his arms. Harry stiffened. He could him, The Keeper, right behind him. Where had he gone anyway?
"Ask. You know how."
He asked lightly, "Do I what? Welcome your advances?"
The Slytherin girl flushed. "I mean to say, are you adverse to communication with Slytherins? Because up until now you didn't seem all interested in playing with us."
Salazar whispered low in his ear. "As if we want to play with her. Are you going to allow her to speak to you this way little snake? I think not. She seems to believe she is above us in the food chain. Alleviate her of this notion."
Harry gave a slow nod, keeping his face blank. "Oh. Yes, that would make more sense. I welcome communication with most people if it isn't obvious I'd rather be alone at the time and that communication is of the positive or neutral topics within social or academic realms. Of course there are always some people I'd rather didn't both attempting to communicate with me. We can't all of us enjoy the company of everyone we meet you know. I do at times wish certain individuals would take a hint and leave me. All together -however- I can say with the utmost sincerity that I am not disinclined to aqueous attempts to converse." Laying it on a bit thick but hey, the bint had asked for it.
He could feel Salazar laughing quietly. Long fingers ran through Harry's hair. Harry couldn't see it but he knew The Keeper was smiling.
It had been a perfectly polite response from the outside looking in. Harry's tone nearly empty of inflection. He could have been reciting potions ingredients for all the lack of care he seemed to have. Most importantly it showed he thought very little of her in her entirety. It implied he couldn't fathom why she was even speaking to him. Not in a way to say he didn't think she would want to, but in a way to say she didn't have much of a claim to demand his attention. That he found her unimportant, not worth his time and was in fact at this very moment wasting it. He implied this politely though.
Parkinson blinked. Her face blanked, her posture stiffened. Finally. Her mask would be tiresome if he had to spend much time around her. He knew -in the back of his mind- that all masks presented by anyone playing The Game had to be considered carefully with the knowledge that they were nearly in their entirety false. They could have elements of truth in them, yet the purpose of them was a way to interact with the world in a manner which suited your desire without having to give the world the truth of yourself. Doing so while playing The Game would end in losing. Losing the game was worse than simply not playing at all. Everyone was playing, though. It didn't matter if they knew there was a game in play or the rules or anything else. Everyone was playing. That's how The Game worked.
Actively playing? That was entirely different. Now that Harry had shown -to Malfoy anyway- that he was, in fact, an active player he realized he might have to deal with equally annoying masks of a similar caliber in the future. How tiresome. And damn when did his inner dialogue start sounding so much like Salazar?
"That means yes." Harry supplied when it appeared she was at a loss for how to respond.
Her mouth fell open in shock.
Then Malfoy grinned. An actual, honest-to-goodness wide smile showing all of his too-white teeth, eyes crinkling around the edges and he laughed. Harry kept his face neutral. On the inside, he was gaping. Who the hell knew Malfoys even knew how to do that? Clear-blue eyes, shining and warm, locked on Harry. The blonde strode forward, slipped his arm around Harry's and started down the hall. Still laughing. Perplexed, and entirely out of his depth, Harry allowed Malfoy to lead him toward their next class. Salazar skipped along beside him, amused to no end of this development. When the blonde turned to him now and then, inquiring something inane about classes or his schedule, Harry nodded and gave an answer as required. He appeared to have passed some sort of test.
He winced. When did he start collecting Slytherins?
As if he needed any more!
Malfoy steered him through the door of the classroom like he strolled the halls with Harry every day. He sat beside him in the last two spot available. Parkinson and Zabini were already inside Harry noted. How they got there before he and Malfoy Harry didn't know. He could feel Hermione and Ron, along with the rest of class, staring at him. Malfoy lifted his book bag and took out his text. Mechanically Harry copied him. What use was it to make sense of anything when you were in wonderland, anyway?
"You used me to get rid of her."
Malfoy didn't seem at all repentant. "And you did so wonderfully. She saw us talking and would not leave me alone about it. I nearly hexed her in class. How can I hear anything if she keeps prattling my ear? It was beautiful Harry." The blonde kept a pleasant expression on his face. His shoulders were stiff Harry noted. A slight crease between his fair brows. Oh. He used Harry's given name and was waiting to see if such an attempt at familiarity would be reciprocated or rejected. Harry mused the ramifications of all of his possible responses. For whatever reason, Malfoy had decided he'd found a kindred spirit in Harry. God knows how he came to that conclusion. The thing with Parkinson and Zabini had been a test. As Parkinson was the victim he could only assume Zabini was in on it.
On one hand, Harry didn't care to be that familiar with Malfoy. One Slytherin was already proving to be more than he could handle. On the other hand, it was Malfoy. The thought of having someone he could play with in an amiable sort of way sounded great. It wasn't Salazar and it wasn't someone he cared for either. So if he messed up who cared? He could use him to perfect his game. Malfoy was taught this sort of thing from birth and he would have access to information about other players that Harry would not. He couldn't allow the boy to become any sort of actual friend or companion. He simply couldn't afford anyone finding out about The Keeper. An ally of a sort, though. That could be useful. Because Salazar was right. Harry desired his freedom more than anything and in order to get it, he needed control over his life. Someone like Malfoy could help to provide those connections. It would be a tentative alliance. A temporary one more than likely. But beneficial. If was going to be collecting strays he may as well make use of them. Build himself some support.
He fancied he could feel his inner Gryffindor trying to strangle its self to get away from all the Slytherin oozing out of him.
"I shall keep that in mind the next time you need to be entertained Draco."
Harry spent the rest of the class steadily ignoring the looks of his classmates. He took notes, hissed to Salazar when The Keeper required a response and tried his best to act as if every thing was as it should be.
Too pale blue eyes flickered over to the dark haired Gryffindor without his notice.
Notes: Salazar is a guilty pleasure to write.
AN: Thoughts, Questions, Guesses, Comments, Theories and Limericks always welcome.
ANx2: Two important things happened in this chapter, did you notice them?
ANx3: The response to this story is both surprising and pleasing. Thank you for reading this far, and if you would like to see where this goes don't forget to let me know.
*"But I'm not the villain, despite what you're always preaching - Call me a traitor, I'm just collecting your victims..."*