Previously on Ragnarok…

The Zabini's do not have a seat in the British Wizengamot." Harry refuted.

"I know," Blaise replied, still smiling. "This is a parlay between the House of Zabini and the House of Black."

"I… see."

"You know, Potter, the magical world could do with someone of your power and your… mentality. It would be a pity if someone like you would become a part of the existing system. See you soon, Potter. Good night." He smiled for the last time as he turned around, walking away. Harry never saw the shine of the poison-lined knives inside the boy's trench-coat as he walked away.


For the remainder of the week, Harry Potter was remarkably absent. He would miraculously appear for his classes, and then vanish away immediately afterwards. Daphne had even spotted him a couple of times, but he had just smiled back (with a little hesitation), and vanished afterwards, only to reappear for the next class. He kept his performance in class at a proper standard, and not even Snape had been able to comment on his performance. The Gryffindors did not meet him at during meal times, and from what it seemed, Harry was eating out from the Hogwarts kitchen itself, which he was, thanks to the help by a very excitable and hyperactive elf, who was incredibly happy to be in service to the 'great and kind' Harry Potter.

Finally, after a week of his evasive behaviour, Daphne Greengrass had enough. Just as Harry Potter appeared on his seat during the Transfiguration class, Daphne stood up, completely ignoring the fact that Mcgonagall was about to begin teaching, and walked up to him.

"Push over, I need to sit here."

The entire class, including the Transfiguration Professor watched in silence at the single act of defiance from the Slytherin girl. Harry's eyes remained transfixed at her for a moment, before he slowly moved aside, allowing her to sit beside him. Daphne turned towards the Professor and replied. "I am sorry for interrupting, professor. Please continue."

It was a testament to how much Harry's sudden disappearances had been noticed that Mcgonagall didn't even remark anything back, only returned a head nod before beginning the lesson. The rest of the class turned back towards the Professor as the class began.

"Today we are going to start a new lesson in regards to trans-species transfiguration." She paused, making sure she had the complete attention of the class. "Animagus."

Each and every student had their eyes turned towards the Transfiguration professor. The spectacular show that Mcgonagall had given everyone on their very first class during their first year had been stuck in their minds- the pinnacle of cross-species Transfiguration, the Animagus.

"As you might know, there have only been seven registered Animagi in recent history." Mcgonagall lectured, not noticing the shadow of a smirk on Harry Potter's face when she mentioned that comment- "and is obvious, it is incredibly difficult for a person to achieve his or her animagus form, and no matter your magical power, some people aren't just capable of becoming an animagus."

The last statement was met with general sullenness amongst the students. Considering how Mcgonagall had mentioned that there had been only three registered Animagi in history, they could see their chances move from positive to a shady slim region.

"Before the discovery of the animagus potion, the process of finding your animagus form had been incredibly difficult, and had to be achieved through mastering meditative practices. The recent developments in the Animagus potion has made it comparatively easier to find your inner animal."

Mcgonagall gave the class a stern glare.

"Today I will be administering everyone the Ministry provided sample of the Animagus potion. Drinking it will send you into a trance, and you will be able to figure out your form, if you have one. I must impress upon everyone that if you do decide to work on your animagus form, you will do it under my supervision, unless of course you want to attend lessons with a tail hanging out of your back."

The class sniggered at the mental idea.

"I also need to mention that if you become an Animagus, you will need to register yourself to the Conscription list of the Ministry, or else suffer a six-month imprisonment in Azkaban along with a monetary fine."

The class looked horrified at the prospect.

"Now," She waved her wand as an entire box of potion vials materialised on the table next to her, "I have here with me, an entire assortment of the Ministry-specified potion vials. You will be drinking the potion right where you are sitting. I don't want you to fall on the floor while in your trance."

A couple of sniggers were heard. The Professor waved her wand as the potion vials were levitated up, and floated towards the table, as every student caught one by hand.

"Sit comfortably, and relax your mind. Free yourself from any possible disturbing thoughts that you might have," - Harry wondered if it was possible- "and now, drink the potion."

Harry had been looking forward to the Animagus potion ever since he had met Sirius for the first time. The older man had even intimated to help him with the process (secretly) but the Triwizard had spoiled all of their plans. After that, the summer brought in an entire workload of training and the Animagus part had taken up the backseat. Besides, Sirius had informed him that fifth-years were usually given a chance to try the potion. If they did not wish to continue, the choice was given to them once again during their NEWTS, since being an Animagus (or at least having a significant improvement in the process of being one) gave extra credits in the Transfiguration NEWT exam. It was a testament to the amount of hard work required for it, that there were only seven, albeit registered Animagi in Wizarding history, though Harry had no doubt that the actual count was much, much more.

As with all other potions, it smelt like grime. Harry wondered if potioneers intentionally made potions smelling and tasting like crap. In all possibility, Snape probably did so. Scrunching his face, he gulped the entire potion in one go, and pinched his nose. A sudden blurring of his senses showed that the potion was perhaps taking effect.

"Enter the trance, and you will soon find your anima-" The rest of the sentences went unheard as Harry's senses dulled over completely, as his shoulders slumped, sending him into pseudo-unconsciousness.


Fire!

The entire place seemed to be down in flames. In fact, it seemed like fire was raining down from the sky, as Harry looked around. A large, flaming boulder launched off from the tip of- is that a Volcano? - and was plummeting down towards him. Harry stumbled for his wand, but finding none, jumped out of the way, though the shockwaves from the impact were enough to fling him away by five feet.

What is this place? Did Sirius and Dad have to fight off for their lives too?

Barely had the thought flitted through his mind, that an overwhelming force slammed against him from behind, throwing him forward by another ten feet. He groaned, pulling himself up from the ground, as he rubbed off the sulphur-heavy dust from his face. How on earth did this feel so… real when it was all a trance? He wasn't supposed to be hurt by all of this… right?

A huge roaring noise grabbed his attention, as he fearfully looked behind him. A ginormous tornado was taking form behind him, the winds of gale picking up the boulders on the ground, as the monster lashed on the surface of the volcanic plain. Not having his wand, Harry did the only thing he could do.

He apparated.

He appeared around a hundred feet away from the original spot, and found to his misfortune, the monster of the wind was racing towards him, and not for the first time, Harry wondered if something had gone wrong with the potion. Staring at the volcano bursting out hot magma into the atmosphere, he found a rather large cavern around roughly, what seemed almost a mile away. He apparated.

He reappeared again in front of the cavern, thanking mentally the fact that apparation was wandless and did not really require a wand. Wondering what might have happened to his wand, he treaded towards the cave.

The moment he put a step forward into the confines, an eerily familiar and yet repelling wave of magic washed against him, almost throwing him off. Harry held strong against the lash, and took another step forward.

Why are you here?

The voice sounded eerily similar to the wise voice he had heard in his head at times, although it had been rare enough for him to even discount it as his own mind playing games with him. Considering how his magic was in the verge of instability, he had figured it could be a minor side-effect.

Now though…

Why are you here?

The voice roared through his mind, almost making him fall down on the floor, as the voice boomed against him.

"I am here looking for my Animagus form." Harry answered, pulling up whatever courage he could muster.

The entity hidden inside the cavern laughed.

Go back, boy. It is a futile exercise, which will end in disaster. You are not worthy to wield what you desire…

Harry frowned. What was it with people calling him unworthy? Dumbledore said he wasn't good enough, Snape's always ranting over his unworthiness, and now it seemed his own animagus form-

"I am here to meet my form, and I am not going here until I have succeeded."

Your petulance renders you unworthy, boy. Go away, before you are in no position to get back alive.

Harry grit his teeth as he ignored the warning, and took another step further. His aura rose brightly, caressing his body like a flame as he walked into the cave, fighting against the gale of energy flowing outwards, pushing him back as he struggled to walk against the torrent.

"I am not… going back unless I am successful…" he gnashed his teeth as he took another step forward, as a huge wave of energy lashed against him. It was only for his aura protecting him like a shield that prevented him from getting burned- a ginormous beast leapt out of the cavern, as Harry fell down on his back, as the mighty beast leapt across over him, leaping out into the wild. The only thing he could see was the shiny grey eyes pulsing with uncontrolled power as it exchanged glances at him while leaping outside. The large, four-legged behemoth was coated with thick jet, black fur, and from the single flash of what Harry could see, it was ostensibly similar to some kind of huge black dog, except that it was probably three times larger than Sirius's animagus form.

How am I supposed to change into that?

The great beast gave an almighty roar, disintegrating his consciousness completely.


Darkness.

Light.

Darkness.

Shit.

Darkness.

"Harry?"

"Harry?"

He slowly opened his eyelids, shutting them instantly as the bright light overwhelmed his senses. He opened them slowly once again, as the misty image of Daphne's face registered in his mind.

"Daphne?"

"You all right?"

"what- what happened?" He slowly pulled himself up from the desk, feeling his muscles sore and aching.

"You took the potion, and dropped down over the desk." Daphne returned, "well, I didn't see it since I was in a trance myself, but when I woke up, you were drop dead unconscious and unmoving. We waited for some time before Professor Mcgonagall asked me to wake you up."

He looked around. Ron and Hermione were standing right behind Daphne, Hermione looking a little tensed, and Ron- just the usual confused look. His glance shifted to the blue-eyed beauty beside him.

"How long was I out?"

"Thirty minutes." Hermione answered before Daphne could.

"did—did you get into the trance?"

Hermione nodded. So did Daphne.

"And?"

Both of the girls looked confused.

"I found my form, if that's what you are asking."

"Did either of you-you know," Harry hesitated, "get attacked by your form?"

Daphne looked almost amused. Hermione looked rather puzzled.

"Harry, we were supposed to meet our form, not engage in a fight. As it is, my form was very cooperative." Hermione refuted back.

Daphne rolled her eyes.

"What is your form?" Harry questioned.

"Ahem!"

The sudden distraction from Mcgonagall let him know that he was effectively interrupting an ongoing session. He looked at the old professor sheepishly before sitting up straight.

"Mister Potter, I will assume you did not, for Merlin's sake, fall asleep after taking the potion?" The professor asked sternly.

Some of the students chortled at that.

"No, Professor. I was-" Harry tried to get a proper word to describe what he was feeling, but his mind was too disoriented from the course of the events.

"Did you enter into a trance, Potter?" Mcgonagall questioned, interrupting his answer.

Harry opened his mouth, then closed it. Then, he opened it again. "Yes, Professor."

"Well," the professor returned impatiently. "What is it?"

"I- It seemed like some dog, Professor. Some giant, black dog."

"Like the Grimm?" Parvati Patil asked nonchalantly, from the other bench.

Harry quickly remembered the large, shaggy form Sirius often turned into while at Black manor. "Much larger."

"How do you know? You haven't seen a Grimm. Nobody has seen a Grimm in the last eight centuries." Theodore Nott questioned swiftly.

Harry considered it. Considering the fact that his own godfather was a Grimm animagus himself, the idea was laughable.

"I have seen a Grimm." Harry returned, "in my third year." He ignored the miniature squeaking sound of acknowledgement between lavender and Parvati in the front bench.

"How large was it?" Nott continued, his eyes narrowed.

"Around three or four feet in height." Harry refuted back.

Nott laughed at that. "That was no Grimm, Potter. Maybe some black dog with some similarity to one- A Grimm is a mythological creature, with a XXXXX classification. It is only rumoured to be seen. No one has ever documented seeing a Grimm."

Harry scrunched his face. Sirius's form was certainly a dangerous opponent to face for the average witch or wizard, and could certainly face off a werewolf in a fair fight; but certainly not at par with a basilisk or a dragon, to be given a XXXXX classification.

"How large is a Grimm rumoured to be?"

Nott smirked. "At least nine feet in height, with around twice of that in length. They are supposed to be vested with all kinds of psychic powers, enough to put any illusionist to shame. A Grimm could supposedly beat a dragon to death, though it is only a rumour."

Harry's eyebrows shot up. If he remembered correctly, The House of Black was the sole descendant of the ruling House of Grimm. Was there any possible connection there?

"Was your animal form… this Grimm, Potter?"

Harry flinched. "No, I think it was something else. I was-I was disoriented, Professor."

"Must be. There are no records of a magical animagus, and it is considered impossible for Magical Animagi to exist."

"Why so, Professor?" Hermione asked.

"Because magical creatures have a much more complicated body and mind than us. It is impossible for us to match the spectrum of their thoughts and their own brand of magics."

"Ten points to Slytherin, Mister Nott." Mcgonagall rewarded. Said boy smiled back and sat down on his seat. There was a reason after all, why Minerva Mcgonagall was given a different brand of respect by all the fur Houses- she was fair and unbiased- well, almost, except when it came to Quidditch that is.

"I hope everyone here has been able to enter the trance and found their animal. Let me repeat once more, the process of Animagus transformation is time-taking and very, very taxing. It is impossible for anyone to complete the process by your OWLS, so consider it a long-term enrichment project if you will. For those who are interested, I am partial to granting an internship if the applicant is at least working towards achieving his form after your NEWTS."

Some of the students, especially Hermione, cheered at the news. Harry glanced at Daphne who had a poker face on her countenance. There was something the girl knew but was not akin to share out in public.


After another half an hour, the class dispersed as the students walked out of the classroom. Harry did his best to get out quickly but Daphne sat at the bench, with a stubborn expression on her face.

"Don't you want to go for the next class, Daphne?" Harry tried, hoping the girl would listen. The room was already cleared, and Hermione had walked away, forcing Ron to walk with her, despite his claims.

"I do, Potter, but I am not moving until you tell me what's wrong."

Harry raised his eyebrows. "Nothing's wrong."

"Of course." The girl drawled. "Why are you being so evasive ever since that event? It's like you are avoiding me."

"I am not avoiding you." Harry returned, if a bit lamely, "I was just engrossed in… stuff."

Daphne folded her arms across her chest. "What stuff, Potter?"

"Back to Potter are we?" Harry countered.

"Only if you behave this petulantly. Honestly Potter, what is your problem? I thought we were good."

"We are," Harry confessed, "I'm just- trying to figure out some things by my own."

"And 'figuring things'," - Daphne indicated using air-quotes, "—involves evading your girlfriend and everyone else for a week?"

Harry did not answer.

"What's wrong? Maybe I can help." Daphne answered finally, with a smile.

"Is this also a part of your whole Slytherin plan of 'sticking to the Leader of the Dark Alliance'?" Harry countered.

"No. This is the 'being a proper girlfriend' part, Potter. In case it wasn't clear," she drew close and kissed him fully onto the lips. Harry's eyes became as large as saucers when the reality of the situation registered in his mind, before the feel of her soft lips engulfed his mind completely. His arms snaked around her as he kissed her back.

"That felt nice," Daphne replied finally, stepping back from him, "now I understand why Tracy would go on and on about it." She stared at her boyfriend who had a goofy grin on his face.

"Look sharp, Potter." She commanded, before smirking and kissing him again. The two exchanged a quick kiss before they separated. "We might have come together because of political interests, Potter, but that doesn't mean I am going to miss out all the romance. Especially considering how much my best friend spends time boasting about it."

Harry did not know what to say.

"I don't know what's troubling you, and it's obvious that you don't trust me enough to share your problems with me. Would it help if I took an Unbreakable Vow?" She offered.

A part of him totally supported her decision. Another part of him wanted to believe her words. The conflict in him was distinct. Daphne however, wasn't one for waiting.

"I, Daphne Victoria Greengrass, swear on my life that I will never betray Harry Potter or his secrets. As I have sworn, so mote it be."

A bluish sheen radiated out of her body.

"That wasn't necessary." Harry argued.

"It seemed… neater." That was all Daphne had to say. "Understand this, Harry James Potter, while I might have entered into this amorous relationship with you because of our mutual political interests, I am not… averse to having a happy future with you, should we suit each other for the long term." She tried her best to control the slight shade of pink in her cheeks as she stated it proudly.

"Uh-huh, sure." That was all that Harry had to say.

"Now, for the last time, will you tell me what's troubling you? Because I swear I will feed you with Veritaserum if I need to."

Harry chortled.

"Do I look like I am in a mood to joke?" Daphne threatened, her hands back at her hips in an interrogative fashion.

That shut him up. His hands went up to her arms, and held them firmly. "It's just that my magic has been behaving strangely. That day, I almost killed Malfoy, and-" His eyes widened, "-did Malfoy return?"

Daphne almost snorted at his reaction. "No, it seems you got everyone rid of the ponce for good. I heard he is going to Durmstrang though it's only a rumour. I could send a letter to him if you are missing him that much."

Harry groaned. Who knew Daphne Greengrass had a fun side to her too?


"So let me get this straight. Your magic is acting… frenzy, and hence you are staying away from everyone because you consider yourself a tickling magical bomb?"

Harry was sure that the reaction was just as sarcastic as he had imagined it to be.

"In a way, yes."

"Right," Daphne drawled, "and has your… week-long reclusion granted you an answer to this… calamity?"

"No." Harry answered, "though I am trying to get my magic under control, but it isn't working out that well."

"Does the fact that you seem to have a magical animagus form have anything to do with it?"

Harry's eyes widened, as he cursed himself. The reaction was more than enough for a blatant giveaway.

"I think so. My animagus form attacked me in the trance."

Daphne snorted. "You aren't even going to deny it?"

"Would it help?"

"No. But I could pretend that it was a big revelation if that makes you feel good." Daphne countered back mockingly.

"No thanks." Harry returned, briefly enjoying the quick banter.

"So, a Grimm. Interesting."

"I'm not yet sure if it's a Grim. It could just be a big, black dog, and it could be my mind playing tricks with me." Harry defended.

"Has anyone told you that you are a bad liar, Harry?"

"Uh, no."

"Well, you are a bad liar." Daphne pronounced condescendingly. "Though it's a good thing."

Harry raised his eyebrows defiantly.

"I suppose you want to keep it secret for everyone?"

Harry's shoulders slumped. "My form doesn't seem to like me enough, as it is. It considers me unworthy."

"Well," Daphne drawled, "I suppose you need to man up and use that Gryffindor courage you have." She snorted at that.

Harry sighed. "I suppose." Suddenly, he looked at her sharply and asked, "So, since when, have you been an animagus?"

That caught her off-guard. "What? What makes you think I even have one?" She challenged.

Harry had to admit it. She was good. Very good. If not for the fact that he had cheated using a little passive Legilimency, he wouldn't even have had guessed it. His skill wasn't enough to graze through thoughts yet, but a quick raising of her mental alarms gave away his answer.

Harry shrugged. "You just confirmed it."

Daphne scowled. "Since last year."

"And what is it?"

"A fox." She grunted out, scowling at the imminent giveaway of a potential secret.

"That's- that's amazing. Who trained you?"

"My uncle. He is a professor at a magical school in Uganda that emphasizes in Animagus training. He taught me how to master my form during my third year. I spent the last year trying to perfect my shifting."

"Can I see it?"

Daphne frowned. "Not here, obviously. Somewhere private. Now come on, we are getting late for class."

Harry grinned.


Ron and Hermione walked together for their Care of Magical Creatures class. Ever since the previous week, the golden trio had reduced to the two of them, since Harry was hardly to be seen anywhere. The boy would appear for classes and then vanish for reasons-not that he was exactly forthcoming with answers when they questioned him. It was either training, or any similar evasive answer, not to mention his recent- Hermione thought with slight bitterness- girlfriend. While she knew that Daphne was a good person, for a Slytherin at least, it did make her feel slightly vulnerable. Previously, Harry would have come to her for all his problems, and she did feel better helping him get his way out of situations, but now… It felt that she was slowly losing her friend, something that made her feel vulnerable.

"What are you thinking, Hermione?" Ron asked slowly.

"Nothing. Harry didn't come with us. I suppose he will appear in the Creatures classroom like always."

"Reminds me of third year, when you appeared out of nowhere," Ron joked, though his laughter felt bittersweet to her.

Hermione considered her friend. Ron always had very few priorities and a rather simplistic view of the world, unfazed by the problems faced by muggleborns. Besides, he had five elder brothers to look up to, and had grown up in the magical world as a pureblood. Ron's world moved at a strange default- he was incredibly possessive of things he believed he had the right to. Hermione would be an idiot if she would disagree with the fact that Ron prized his friendship with Harry as the most important thing in his universe. It was almost surprising that Ron had created a big mess when Harry had announced that he was interested in Greengrass and that she had become his girlfriend.

"Yes, I suppose Harry is busy…" She answered lamely.

"With Training, yes." Ron answered bitterly. "Of course, training excludes the time he can spend with his girlfriend. It is only us he doesn't-I mean, cannot afford to make time for."

Hermione did not answer.

"And how come Greengrass became his girlfriend? The most beautiful witch of the year, untouchable, Slytherin, dangerous—and yet she just snaked her way into his arms, just like that."

Hermione glanced at her friend.

"I suppose it takes Harry Potter to be able to snag the prettiest girl of the class."

Hermione bit her lip. She knew that she wasn't one of the most beautiful girl in class- Hell, even Parvati looked prettier. The only reason she had looked the way she did at the Yule Ball was because she had tamed her bushy hair using the magical shampoo-

Perhaps I should actually look into that. Ordinary ones just don't work. Maybe then Harry would-

The sudden thought brought a tiny blush on her cheeks. She had known her best friend from first year, and yet, there were moments when the thought of being more than friends had appealed to her. Saving her from the troll had just been the beginning- while Ron had indeed helped, it was Ron himself that had made her go to the bathroom crying in the first case, while on the other hand, it had been Harry who had jumped onto the troll in a bizarre attempt to protect her. A simple childhood crush, that had almost developed into something more when she had travelled back with him in time. She had been stuck in the middle during the fight between her best friends the previous year, a fact that had haunted her for many nights, knowing that she had joined Ron and left Harry alone for a month, not believing his story, despite knowing very well that he wasn't one to wish for fame. Had she sided with Harry, maybe things would have been different. While Victor was a decent friend and a comfortable partner at the Yule Ball, a part of her had wanted Harry to approach her for the date. It was only when she got tired of waiting too long, that she had said yes to Victor. Besides, Harry had been pining for Cho Chang, and then, Cho appeared with Diggory and Harry showed up with Parvati Patil. Hermione had suspicions that the other girl was saving herself for being a prospective date for him at the Ball, after all- he was Harry Potter, the Boy-who-lived and Triwizard Champion. And now this year, she had lost her chance again as Harry began showing interest in Greengrass. She had thought it to be a small fling, with her friendship dominating over his personal relationship- however, it seemed that things were different. As a friend, she wanted him to be happy, and if he wanted Greengrass as a girl-friend, she wouldn't oppose him, but it did leave her with the feeling that she had just missed on something big.

"You know Harry doesn't want his fame." Hermione refuted slowly.

"Well, he can complain as long as he likes. Doesn't make it false that he is famous, and gets the whole spotlight, while I don't get even a little."

"Ron," Hermione warned, "you are returning to what started the fight last year."

Ron's ears reddened. "Well, it doesn't make a difference, does it? He isn't being friends anyway."

"You don't know that for-" Hermione's words stopped midway as she saw Theodore Nott standing not far from them. "Just a second." She strode up to the unassuming Slytherin boy who was talking to another Slytherin student whom she didn't recognize.

"Excuse me, Mister Nott," Hermione tried a little formally, not knowing how to approach the boy. Nott was one of the more reclusive students in the school, however, that didn't hide the raw intelligence the boy displayed in his classes. The raven-haired grey-eyed boy glanced at her in surprise, and returned, "Yes…. Miss Granger?"

"Hermione please," Hermione replied with slight hesitation, "I was wondering if I could talk to you about something."

Nott narrowed his eyes curiously. While he didn't really want to have anything to do with Granger, the recent developments had placed Granger higher on the hierarchy, especially since she was Potter's best friend. He turned towards the other boy, who seemed to understand and walked away, before Nott turned towards her. "Yes?"

"I was wanting to know about the Grimm. You seemed to know an awful lot about the creature."

Nott raised his eyebrows. Trust Granger of all people to initiate contact with Slytherins openly for the sake of gaining knowledge. It was a pity that her ambition was to gain knowledge instead of gaining knowledge to pursue her ambition.

"My family has had collectors in our ancestry. The Nott family has made it a hobby to explore myths, legends, and treasure hunts for centuries. The first Nundu to be killed was done during a Nott expedition in the 1300's."

"Oh."

"What do you want to know?" Nott questioned, cutting directly to the point.

"The Grimm. You seem to know an awful lot about it considering how you proclaimed it as a mythological creature."

Nott chortled. "All rumours have a shred of truth in them, Granger. You should ask your friend about it. His family are said to be the descendants of the Grimm themselves."

"What do you mean?" Hermione asked, her eyes narrowed at the suggestion.

Nott chortled. "Surely he has mentioned it? The Black Family is a descendant of the Ruling House of Grimm, who were said to be Master Illusionists, not unlike the Grimm itself. Even the totem of the Black family is a Grimm." He observed the surprised look on her face, "Good day, Miss Granger."

The boy walked off, leaving Hermione deep in thought.

"What were you talking about, Hermione?" Ron asked, after the other boy had departed.

"Just asking some questions about the Grimm."

Ron guffawed. "You could ask Sirius himself, his form is-"

"Shhh!" Hermione warned.

Ron took the clue and stopped midway.

"Besides, if what Nott said in class is correct, then it's not a Grimm, since the dog is pretty small compared to the actual size."

Ron sneered. "What does he know? Trelawney said that Harry would see the Grimm, and we all saw it."

"We thought we saw it; we didn't know better."

"But-"

"Come on, Ron. We are getting late for class."

Ron didn't argue any further and followed her to the COMC class, not wanting to face her ire. Creatures class had been rather boring of late. Hagrid brought more interesting creatures than Grubbly-Plank, he silently mused.


Later in the evening…

"That's the Forbidden forest, Harry Potter, and there is no way I'm going in there." Daphne pronounced snappishly, as Harry tried to convince her to go into it with him.

"Come on, it's perfectly safe," He tried, ignoring the tiny memories of a wraith, an acromantula colony and a horde of dementors coming after his life.

"No way," Daphne snatched her hand back, "you are the Gryffindor. You go in. I am perfectly content to stay by the Lake."

"But I want to see your form." Harry tried, putting up an act.

"Not good enough, Potter. I am not going there. There are Thestrals in there."

"And?"

Daphne flushed. "And nothing. I don't like Thestrals, okay?" She tried unconvincingly.

Harry remembered the beginning of the session, when he had first seen the Thestrals. It was rather… surprising, but as Luna Lovegood had said, they were rather peaceful creatures.

"You can see Thestrals?"

"No," Daphne returned, "and that makes them all the more dangerous. They are fucking invisible to me, and can, well, I just don't like them."

Harry chuckled. "How do you know that?"

"You are not going to let this go, are you?" Daphne challenged.

"You wish."

Daphne groaned. "Fine!" She hissed. "Nott told me about Thestrals being present at Hogwarts, and I went to see one while in my first year." She paused for a moment and then frowned. "Obviously, I couldn't see them but something was eating away the loaf of meat in my hand." Her face flushed, "—and then something came and bit me on my butt from behind. I was so scared that I went off running like a banshee to the Dungeons. And you can stop LAUGHING now!"

Harry was too occupied to listen. He was already on the grass, laughing his arse off.

"Stop laughing or I will hex you to next week!" Daphne warned.

"Okay, okay!" Harry raised his hands, trying hard to keep himself from chortling.

"Well if it helps, I can see Thestrals. So I can alert you if any of them tries to bite your butt-"

Snikt!

"Hey!" Harry dodged it the hex at the last moment.

"Next time I won't miss!" Daphne smirked, as she pulled Harry up from the ground.

"Nott seems very knowledgeable in creatures." Harry observed.

"He is. He scores the highest in the subject. His elder cousin is in Romania, at the Dragon Reserve. Nott was so jealous when we all came to know about how you were a Parselmouth."

"Huh, why so?"

Daphne narrowed his eyes. "You seriously need to study, Potter. Parselmouths are able to communicate with dragons, most of the time anyway."

"They are?"

"Obviously. Dragons are reptilian, after all. The ability grants you a direct job in Dragon Reserves, no matter your NEWTS. Nott is very good with creatures, but cannot communicate with them, unlike some."

"Oh." Perhaps he should look about his ability.

"The Black family has had Parselmouths in the past, you know? Maybe you could check up on it."

Harry frowned. It seemed that others knew more about his family than he himself did. It was very… humbling and disappointing at the same time.

"I suppose." He glanced at her, "So, are you coming into the forest? It's getting late."

"Why? Are you afraid of being alone with the big bad Slytherin girl?" Daphne teased.

Harry rolled his eyes.