A/N: Hello, people!

I don't own Harry Potter.

I have no beta.



-I started writing this on December 13th 2019. I finished writing it December 19th 2019.
That is 6 days of writing. Why any of you expect super profound work out of something I
thought of while watching malicious compliance videos, I'll never know.

-I decided this is just going to be one long fic instead of breaking up the chapters by year.
I then worked really hard to Edit this multiple times so that it would be ready to Post now!

-This is formatted like if you were on AO3 and clicked the [Entire Work] button instead of
reading [Chapter by Chapter].

-I use 'Wix' and 'Magical' instead of saying Wizarding World because using Wizarding sounds
exclusionary and I'm too lazy to write out 'Wizarding World' all the time.




Harry Potter, an orphan who had never known his parents, had always been caught between sass and logic. When reacting to a situation, his mind would pull up a sassy response and a logical response. And depending on who was involved, he'd either act upon the sass or go for the logic.

One time, while he'd been in the middle of unclogging the toilet drain, his Aunt Petunia demanded he come down and start cooking dinner. Harry had been very quick to tell her he was fixing the toilet like she had demanded of him not ten minutes prior, and needed to finish and then wash up to his arms in the sink as she didn't give him anything but an old plunger to use and that old plunger didn't do very well in getting his cousin Dudley's toy duck out of the drain.

The woman screamed herself hoarse and told him to get downstairs immediately if he didn't want to be forbidden from eating dinner. Though he didn't care that much, he still didn't want to get a sound throttling from his Uncle Vernon if she told him Harry was being uncooperative. His throat tended to hurt afterward and he hated having to hear about how 'generous' his aunt and uncle were for taking him in, since he disagreed.

Petunia had given him a very dumb order, and that was when Harry decided, well, if she says so then I have to obey.

So he'd gone down, hands still wet with toilet water and other things that had clogged the toilet up. When he went to wash his hands in the kitchen sink in hopes of minimising the germs that would spread, Petunia smacked him in the head with one of her lighter frying pans and told him, 'just get cooking already, boy!'.

And so Harry did as ordered.

For once he'd been perfectly okay with being forbidden dinner as he would never eat something made by the hands of someone who didn't wash their hands after touching toilet water that hadn't been so clean. Why Petunia didn't realise this, he'd never know. They were told in primary to always wash their hands after being in a bathroom!

Lo and behold, his aunt, uncle, and cousin all got severely ill after dinner had finished and the first person to use the loo in response, caused a back-up in the still clogged toilet he hadn't been allowed to finish and liquid shite ended up all over the bathroom as a result.

That was the day Harry learned about the beauty of Malicious Compliance.

Of course, as he grew older, his ability to make decisions improved. He was able to take in information much more quickly and decide how to react to various situations for the benefit of himself first and foremost.

One day when he was nine, a teacher accused him of cheating on his homework assignments. As this person had believed every terrible thing Harry's aunt and uncle told her, he knew he'd have no chance in convincing her that he wasn't a lout or some such nonsense. Even when Dudley's homework continued being terrible, she thought Harry was the problem.

Ms. Kringle ordered him to start doing his homework during his lunch periods as detention and said that he wasn't allowed to go outside for any reason and if he did, he'd be suspended and his permanent record would have a black mark on it. He was then locked in the classroom every day to make certain he wasn't skiving while everyone else was outside playing and having fun. His homework remained perfect while Dudley's stayed terrible.

It just so happened that Harry found himself alone more often than not, doing his work while the teachers supervised the rest of his classmates. He'd been made aware of the punishments in store if he dared to move after all.

One day, the fire alarm of the school tripped during lunch, where most of the students were already at play. Harry was still inside though and the classroom door was locked. There was no way out except through the windows and he had considered climbing out as his classroom was ground level, but then he had a thought… A truly wonderful thought. A terribly wonderful thought.

Ms. Kringle did say he'd be suspended if he left the room for any reason during his detentions. At the least, if he played his cards right and tailored his reactions appropriately, she'd get yelled at by the headmaster. At most she'd be fired. He liked either option very much and was certain he wouldn't die so he wasn't that worried.

A few minutes in, it was revealed to not be a drill. There was a fire somewhere and there was smoke. Even with the door to the room closed, smoke got inside somehow. He didn't know how that worked but it was a bit scary to be honest.

It felt like forever until the firemen came. They had to ax the door to the room down because it was locked from the outside, and they found Harry crouching on the floor beneath a desk on the farthest side of the room, the windows all wide open.

He was carried from the building while the man holding him asked why he didn't climb out the window. At least he was nice about it though and didn't treat Harry like an idiot.

Harry sniffled convincingly and made certain to let his eyes tear up. "Ms. Kringle doesn't like me and locks me in detention every day. She said if I tried to leave for any reason she'd see me expelled and my permanent record tarnished enough to make sure no university would want me and I'd end up as a beggar on London's streets. I don't wanna be a beggar, mister!" He threw in some hyperventilating for good measure.

Obviously he lied in certain places and embellished others, but as a child his age shouldn't know about these things or those kind of words in general, of course this man who had never met him before, would take his word for it as it sounded like him spouting off something an adult told him enough times for him to remember out of sheer fear.

The fireman patted his head consolingly and set him on a gurney where a bunch of people in special suits started to poke and prod him and place a weird mask on his face. Harry watched as the fireman moved to speak with the headmaster, whose face became more and more thunderous as the moments passed. He'd never met the woman personally but got threatened with visits to her office a lot.

Headmaster Pike thanked the fireman and then went and spoke to Ms. Kringle, who paled whiter than even paper could be, and looked toward Harry in obvious fear.

Petunia and Vernon tried to spin it as Harry causing trouble but the neighborhood was for once, not against him. News of a grown woman bullying a child so badly that he was more scared of being homeless than dying in a fire she helped trap him in, spread far and wide. Could she even be trusted with children if she was doing such things to them? Some people suggested that she started the fire to personally off him because she hated him so much and the other kids confirmed that she was always mean to him in class.

Ms. Kringle's reputation soon took a dive after that accusation gained traction and she was suddenly under investigation. Nothing could be proved, but she ended up moving away completely and the next teacher Harry had wasn't quite as nasty.

The wonders of Malicious Compliance still helped him out. And that situation only helped further prove that it was a nice way to mess with people and also get what he wanted out of them at the expense of their own embarrassment.

His amount of smoke inhalation landed him in the hospital where it was revealed that Petunia and Vernon didn't keep him up to date with everything he should see a doctor for.

Guess who finally got glasses that worked and weren't ugly?!

Finding out he was a wizard had seen a logical reaction. He talked to snakes(learned such by going to the zoo on his cousin's 11th birthday), made his own hair grow back overnight after a long panic attack(his aunt had shaved it off save for a strip to cover the lightning bolt scar on his brow), and shrank ugly jumpers he didn't want to wear so they'd be too small to fit into even for his slight frame(his aunt was making him wear Dudley's cast-offs). Frankly, something had been going on and magic was a great reason that explained so much! Especially if his relatives were so insistent that magic wasn't real.

Learning that he got to go to a magical school was awesome! Finding out he had to go back to the Dursley household for ten weeks every summer was not awesome.

Being able to go to a magical school was awesome! Finding out magical people were kind of daft, wasn't so awesome. They apparently knew nothing of the modern world and were stuck in the Victorian Era or earlier. It meant quills, inkwells, and parchment. No pencils or fountain pens were allowed at Hogwarts.

Having a seemingly never-ending amount of money at his disposal was awesome! Finding out he couldn't access most of it until he was seventeen or emancipated, wasn't so awesome.

Still, he'd managed to get all the information he needed for the time being, and had prepared himself adequately with some of Hagrid's help(he'd come to tell Harry about Hogwarts after Vernon and Petunia kept stealing the school's letters). Harry now knew all the loopholes around the school rules and felt like he would be capable of handling them with sufficiency if he had to.

He'd never been on a train before! He couldn't believe they had to take a train to reach a magic school!

The Hogwarts Express could only be reached by running through the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross station in London. Platform 9 3⁄4 was the way to Hogwarts. It was the magical platform.

Harry found a compartment all to himself and spent the ride in companionable silence with a girl named Hermione who had bushy hair and teeth a little too big for her face at present time. Her nose was buried in Hogwarts: A History the whole ride and Harry stared out the window, feeling anticipation but also very calm at the same time.

Harry hoped the Sorting went well. He wanted somewhere useful to him. Somewhere that wouldn't get him stalked by people who wanted his fame or wanted to benefit from his fame.

The reaction of the wix he'd met when Hagrid took him to The Leaky Cauldron had been unbearable and he didn't want to be surrounded by people like that every day. One woman wouldn't stop shaking his hand! It was just all so awkward.

And no one thought it weird that they were glorifying the murder of two people whose son managed to not be murdered?

Oh yeah, his parents were decent people who got murdered, not irresponsible drunks who died in a car crash like Petunia told him when he was little. She was so jealous over her sister being magical that she told her own nephew lies about his dead parents.

How pathetic.

Anyway, Harry wanted a calm House. If he had to be there for seven years, he better not get the loud and rambunctious House or he'd let his displeasure be known far and wide.

Slytherin or Ravenclaw made the most sense. The smart or the cunning. It had to be one of those. Though one just had a bad reputation all around and the other was filled with people too excited over learning for his tastes. Like, yes, learning new things was cool, but not that much. And if he ended up being forced to do extra work when it wasn't necessary, he'd end up killing his Housemates. Or bothering them with petty revenge until they stopped bothering him.

[YEAR 1]

Getting Sorted into Slytherin explained so much if truth be told. From what knew about the Houses - Gryffindor for the Brave and True, Hufflepuff for the Loyal and Hard-Working, Ravenclaw for the Intelligent and Witty, and Slytherin for the Cunning and Ambitious - it fit him exactly.

Despite all the nasty things people had to say about the House of Serpents(because the man who killed Harry's parents had been in that House and did some bad things), the Sorting just made sense to him. Even if the Head of House was a right git.

Harry was decently ambitious and had a tried and true method to getting what he wanted without ever looking like the bad guy in the scenario. He'd used the same tactic so many times in primary that he'd become known for it. If a substitute teacher got too mouthy with him, Harry made certain to take their words very literally and ruin their reputation.

If he was told he couldn't get up to sharpen his pencil and to stop bothering the sub with the request, then he stopped and didn't finish his work. When the sub demanded to know why he didn't turn in his worksheets at the end of the class period, he'd explain how they said he wasn't allowed to sharpen his pencil or continue asking to do it so he wasn't able to finish any of his work. That had gotten him sent to the headmaster and when Harry explained what happened, the substitute never worked in their school ever again.

When a normal teacher decided to tell him once that, 'unless you pee your pants, I don't believe you really need to go. You just want to get out of class for a mo! You're nothing but a little, lying delinquent!' of course Harry decided that embarrassing them was more worth it than the humiliation he might suffer.

But of course he asked to go a few more times, getting progressively more teary-eyed as time went on, just to save himself from getting into trouble if they tried to pin it on him entirely.

Eventually he got a raised voice and a rude 'NO! GO IN YOUR PANTS FOR ALL I CARE!'.

And so Harry stood up immediately and warned his fellow students, "I have to wee, get some distance!"

All at once, desks and chairs had been pushed out of the way as space was cleared. He then pulled off his trousers to at least save them from the incoming damage and relieved himself in his hand-me-down pants that used to be his cousin Dudley's.

It all happened within the space of a few seconds so when the teacher in question was finally able to gather herself, the deed had been done.

"WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!" she had demanded in a shrill tone.

He had shrugged at her. "I asked four times to go to the loo and you said that you didn't believe I had to go unless I went in my pants. You called me a 'lying delinquent',"he'd reminded her very sweetly. "And then told me to literally 'go in my pants', so I did!"

Of course he ended up sent to the bathroom to clean off and then to the headmaster's office where the situation was explained in full detail, and while Harry got a stern look, it was the teacher who ended up in trouble. They weren't allowed to withhold the bathroom visits apparently because bowel movements were natural, and going to take care of them appropriately was not a privilege, it was a necessity of human existence.

It had been beautiful. One would think they'd learn to stop trying to go toe to toe with him or something.

So anyway, he was very cunning and ambitious and felt that these traits of his made him perfect for Slytherin regardless of their less than stellar history, especially in modern times.

If Harry James Potter was perfectly willing to soil himself in public to get what he wanted, then nothing on Earth could stop him. He had no shame and he was ruthless!

Harry would always get what he wanted no matter the lengths he had to suffer and the hoops he made others jump through.

The first bit of Malicious Compliance at Hogwarts came in the form of his own Head of House being a spiteful dick for reasons unknown.

With his new friend Hermione Granger, who was as equally friendless but a Gryffindor, they'd been working on their homework when Snape descended upon them like a bat out of hell and took away Harry's book on Transfiguration. Something about 'not being allowed to bring library books outside', which was complete rubbish and not in the handbook or Hogwarts: A History at all.

Hermione had offered to let him just look over her own homework, which she had already finished, and form his own conclusions on the work in question, but he'd declined her generous offer.

"Don't worry," he told her confidently. "I'm going to throw him under the bus and we might get a little stand-off between him and Mickey G. if we're lucky."

"Professor McGonagall," Hermione corrected half-heartedly since he'd proven to not really care all that much. "And you could just check the book out again from the library. The report isn't due for another two days."

"We can check, but I can tell that book won't be back in the logs any time soon since it was the last one when I got to it." Snape had it in for him something fierce and had been rude every time he and Harry were in the same room. Maybe some public embarrassment would help him pull his head from his arse.

They did check for the book though, just to say they did and have Madam Pince as a witness that they came in twice just to be sure. None of the books had been returned yet. Though keeping them until the last minute was smart as anything could happen.

So two days passed and they were in Transfiguration. The Slytherins and Gryffindors had a mixed class as usual and when it came time to hand in their work, Harry was the only one without something.

"Mr. Potter, can you explain why you've chosen not to do your assignment?" McGonagall asked, though he could tell she didn't really plan to believe him. She didn't like Slytherins according to talk in the Common Room.

"Hermione and I were working outside in the sun and Professor Snape came out of nowhere and confiscated the book I was using to do my assignment. He cited the rule about not being allowed to bring library books outside the castle walls. But he didn't take the book Hermione was using to do her Potions Essay, strangely enough, and it too was from the library. He didn't return the book to the library either since we went back twice to try and get another copy and none were available yet."

There. He'd effectively thrown Snape under the bus and made him look childish in the process. It wasn't difficult to do.

"And none of your Housemates had a copy of the book to lend you?"

"No, professor. I did get half of the assignment done though if you want it still."

She eventually decided to accept it and promised she'd, 'take care of the problem'.

And she did so that afternoon at lunch where she very loudly asked Snape if he wanted his House to lose points because his snakes were coming in unprepared for class. And when the man frowned in confusion and was only capable of a mildly snide remark, she further asked if sabotaging students in his own House was truly a smart idea and it was only by luck that, 'the Potter boy was so eloquent and level-headed in explaining how you were acting over his homework assignment, Severus. Such childish spite is unnecessary,'.

Snape's eyes snapped over to Harry, who watched with as much innocence as he could muster in a split second.

"Making up rules just to assert your dominance, shame on you, Severus. You could have lost Slytherin ten points today. I should hope there will be no more random, unsanctioned additions to the rule-book in the future?"

With gritted, nasty teeth, the man agreed as pleasantly as he could manage.

That evening, Harry was called to Snape's office.

"Sit," the man ordered.

Harry, being the smart arse he was, sat on the floor.

"On a chair, you dunderhead!"

"I'm sorry, sir, but you didn't specify where to sit. When I don't like the way people treat me, I make sure to follow their suggestions and orders perfectly, until they realise they're being childish and grow up."

Dark eyes glinted dangerously. "Oh really?"

He nodded. "It's called Malicious Compliance and I am the master of it. If I'm willing to compromise my own health and well-being just to destroy a terrible teacher's life out of revenge for her terrible treatment of me, I will literally do anything to get back at people being unfair to me. Remember this, sir. We can have a nice seven years between us or it can get so much more embarrassing for you. I have exactly no shame or the ability to feel it apparently."

They stared one another down for several moments of silence, before Snape murmured a quiet, "Get out."

Harry took it as a victory and sauntered away. He could have gone further by taking it too literally and going outside and remaining in the freezing cold all night, but he wanted to test the waters first. If Snape laid off, then he'd get no more shite on his end. Everyone else was free game if they annoyed Harry however.

After several days of Snape being no meaner than he was to anyone else, Harry decided that they'd come to an agreement and was fine with that.

Out of everything he'd been newly exposed to, Flying Class was the coolest. Magical people could fly!

Wix actually used brooms and they didn't look gross either. Not like just random twigs that had been tied together. No, there were actual racing broom brands that made brooms with fancy branches or bristles!

Madam Hooch taught them how to mount and dismount, how to make their brooms go faster or slower. Leaning forward would help them descend and pulling the handle up would make them ascend.

It was the best rush he'd ever felt!

If only Draco Malfoy could stop being an annoying twat. Harry didn't like him from the moment he met the boy in Diagon Alley and didn't like him any better now. He was the only downside to being in Slytherin.

Harry couldn't wait until his Second Year where he'd be allowed to try out for Slytherin's Quidditch Team!

At the Hallowe'en feast on the anniversary of his parents' murder, Harry had cracked open his specially purchased bag that had an Undetectable Extension Charm on it, and stealthily stuffed sweets of all kinds inside. Since they wouldn't be getting them often, he'd wanted to make his portion last for as long as possible.

The shoddiest teacher interrupting the feast to scream about trolls in the dungeons gave him enough time to shovel more into the bag when everyone started panicking. He cleared four different bowls of treacle tart before Headmaster Dumbledore called for silence.

And then did the dumbest thing imaginable which was order half the school to go toward the creature capable of crushing them with a single swing of its club.

If they went and someone died by troll clubbing it would be the ultimate Malicious Compliance since they were told to go down to where the troll was last spotted even though they could die. Harry almost hoped they'd encounter the troll just so he'd end up in a dangerous situation he could use to his benefit.

If it wasn't already obvious, Harry's sense of self-preservation was a bit skewed because his desire to make other people suffer for their stupid actions, in a spectacularly grand fashion no less, nearly eclipsed his desire to stay healthy and whole. Nearly.

Tragically, there were no troll encounters for him.

The next morning he did learn that Professor Quirrell ended up being hurt saving Hermione who had been in the loo at the time of the commotion. The girl insisted that she was fine and confided that Quirrell was pretty useless in the long run. He was basically a distraction that Hermione needed to run out the door. And instead of pounding the man to a pulp, the troll had left him unconscious on the bathroom floor and gave chase after the fleeing girl.

Eventually, she'd managed to run into the teachers who had to incapacitate the creature themselves.

"I almost lost points, but since I'd been crying in the bathroom all afternoon and never heard about the troll, I couldn't be blamed."

At least there was that too.

"Too bad Quirrell made it out though."


"What? He's useless as a teacher."

Rules in Slytherin were different than the other Houses. It was more of a, 'don't get caught breaking the rules' versus the, 'don't break the rules' of the other Houses.

Slytherin got into less trouble because they did less rule-breaking in front of other students. It was more dark alcoves, empty corridors, and abandoned classrooms with a group to back them up if they were doing something against the rules. Snape hated having to punish his House in public and if he had to, he made the lives of the offenders hell behind closed doors.

Draco Malfoy was Snape's favourite for whatever reason Harry didn't care enough to look into. The blond could get away with almost anything.

And the twat knew it too and lorded it over everyone else.

So one day in the late Autumn, as the students were on their way to lunch after Charms, Harry found himself behind the main group to avoid crowds, and found himself quickly cornered in a sense, by Malfoy and his bookend goons, Crabbe and Goyle, whose given names he didn't care to know.

Malfoy's wand stopped Harry on the first floor staircase, preventing him from continuing on with everyone else. The bookends each blocked the way up and the way down to prevent him from going anywhere until the Malfoy twit got what he wanted.

What followed was some kind of attempt at a threat which involved calling him a 'Mudblood' and telling him he 'didn't belong in Slytherin'.

Any further attempts at being threatening were ruined when the staircase they were on gave a great shudder and a large, stone banister rose between Crabbe and the middle landing, blocking him off entirely from a way down. The stairs began to move, as Hogwarts stairs were wont to do, causing Goyle to fall down and roll all the way to the ground floor.

The moment the stairs moved however, Malfoy lost his footing and went to catch himself, but with the whole staircase moving in one direction and him already falling in that direction, he tipped over the still opened top of the landing and only managed to not fall because Harry caught the back of his robes in time.

And instead of being grateful that Harry saved him from face-planting to the ground level a couple meters below them, he yelled, "Let go of me, you filthy Mudblood!"

Harry blinked in shock and then smiled sweetly. "Poor choice of words, but okay." He let go and because the staircase hadn't connected to the other side yet, Malfoy went over the edge of the landing, down about 2 ½ meters or more, landing on his feet and then collapsing on his front because something most definitely broke.

"Malfoy!" the bookends screamed in horror, staring down at his stationary form.

Harry looked down at Goyle, who'd finally gotten up after his tumble down the stairs. "You going to go and get Snape or not?"

The boy ran off and Harry had to wait three minutes before Snape appeared on the landing below them. "What happened?" the greasy man demanded, looking to Harry.

"Well Malfoy decided to have words with me in the middle of the staircase, to let me know that I'm a Mudblood, or whatever that is. And then the stairs started moving and he almost fell, but I caught his robes in time, but he didn't like that and called me a 'filthy Mudblood' and told me to let go. And as I don't want to force myself on anyone and I respect people and their personal space, I let go," Harry explained with a charming smile.

"It's just as he said, professor!" one of the portraits of a woman in Victorian garb on the nearby wall stated. "Those ruffians tried to bully the boy and yet he managed to remain the only one standing in the end, having not even moved from his place or used his wand. He still hasn't moved in fact. In my day, Slytherins were a more sneaky lot. That was most a pitiful attempt at posturing."

Snape sneered and summoned a stretcher for Malfoy that he levitated alongside them. "You three, come with me!" he ordered.

Crabbe whimpered, "How, sir?" He was still blocked off by the banister to prevent him from also falling to his doom.

A wave of the wand had the stairs moving back into place so he could come back down with the rest of them. And then they all ended up in the headmaster's office after visiting Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing.

"Ah! Professor Snape! What brings you here?" the headmaster asked, eyes doing a weird little twinkle thing that made Harry uncomfortable.

"Mr. Malfoy is in the hospital wing with broken ankles and shattered kneecaps. He also may have broken his nose. What I'm told is that these four boys got into some kind of tiff on the staircase of the First Floor landing and that Mr. Potter saved Mr. Malfoy from falling when the stairs started moving and he almost pitched over the landing. But Mr. Malfoy did not like Mr. Potter touching him and demanded to be let go, so Mr. Potter let go and he fell three meters down."

It was a very edited version of events, trying to place blame on all four of them instead of the group of actual bullies. And Harry noticed he left out mention of the slur word. Not on Harry's watch he wouldn't!

"Harry, why did you let go of Mr. Malfoy despite knowing he would be hurt?" asked Dumbledore, sounding disappointed as if that was supposed to make Harry feel guilty or something.

He shrugged. "I figured he was like me, sir. Willing to suffer anything to get what we want. He didn't want a Mudblood like me touching him so I stopped. Touching people without consent is creepy."

"Where did you hear the word 'Mudblood', Harry?" the headmaster asked, turning serious.

"Malfoy. He says it to Hermione a lot and just called me it twice. I don't know what it is but I reckon it's something one shouldn't want to be."

He knew what it was in truth. Hermione had done a quick search and informed him through tears and hiccoughs. In return, Harry spelled Malfoy's trousers invisible when he sat. Everyone but him could tell though. It had been a wonderful day and the Weasley twins got blamed in the end, which made it even better.

"I think a night of detention for all four of them will do, Professor Snape," suggested the headmaster. "That seems to be the best course of action if we don't want this to get out."

Hmm… now why would that be a concern?

Snape sneered for what seemed like the millionth time and nodded. "Fine. Detention with me, this Saturday evening at seven, up until curfew. I'll have them scrubbing cauldrons and then I'll escort them back to their dorm."

And that was how Harry got away with the bare minimum on his record for being involved in Malfoy's fall.

Malicious Compliance for the win! Let no tongue that rose against him, escape suffering!

Getting an Invisibility Cloak for Christmas, which used to be his father's apparently, was nice though a bit useless. Presently, Harry wasn't much for sneaking around and doubted he would have need of it, but it was nice to have as a link of a sort to a man he never got to know. Gold only went so far but this was something tangible that he could keep forever.

Hermione got a kick out of it when she came back after the New Year. It sent her on a whole binge read about magical artifacts that defied the laws of physics and such. He got a bit confused and just left her to her own devices once she started talking about quills that wrote in the user's blood that were forbidden.

The months passed pretty quickly, with Harry being a snarky twat to certain people who deserved it. The Slytherins learned very quickly that he had no problem screwing any of them over and that he took things too literally on purpose to put them in their places.

No one ever told Harry to 'bite me' ever again.

At the end of the year, he found himself hogtied by none other than Professor Quirrell, and dragged down a bunch of chambers and stairs until they were somewhere in the depths of the school, in front of this super old, ornate mirror that had seen better days and looked like unpolished brass that was left in the rain for too long.

"What do you see, Potter?" the man demanded, lacking his usual stutter that made him an annoying teacher that they couldn't take seriously.

"My reflection. See that's what mirrors are for, sir." The sass would be the death of him but he couldn't help it! If people asked stupid questions they got answers tailored to them! "It has to do with the type of metal and the amount of it being used behind the glass, and how the light reflects off of it, if you didn't already know that."

Harry had always been a curious child after all. He had questions and he wanted answers, so he did what he could to get them. Some answers made sense and others did not.

Quirrell's grip on his shoulder became painful. "Look. Again. Boy," he ordered, voice tight.

He still saw nothing but himself and Quirrell. And then, the image of the two of them shifted around a bit, until it displayed Harry and Malfoy. The brunet had a tight grip on Malfoy's robes and Malfoy was dangling over a drop far higher than what he'd fallen from months prior. This vision got a grin from Harry. "I see one of my best uses of Malicious Compliance to get what I want without getting in trouble for it. Malfoy's pain was quite amusing."

Maybe that made him a little sadistic, but since he didn't like the blond, why should he care about Malfoy's well-being? Especially if he was the wizard-equivalent of a racist to Harry's only friend?

Anyway, what a weird mirror. However, if it was magical, then the laws of physics didn't really apply, did they? Did magic have its own laws of physics?

"You see nothing else?" Quirrell asked, sounding desperate now.

"Nope. What did you want me to see?" The man had kidnapped him in the night so he'd been after something of importance.

"Let me speak with him," a chilling voice called out in a tone barely above a whisper. It made Harry shiver caused and the hairs on his arms to rise.

"But Master, you are not yet strong enough," countered Quirrell. His hand, still on Harry's shoulder, began to shake.

"I have strength enough for this."

And that was when the garlic-smelling turban that Quirrell was known for, was unwrapped and Quirrell turned to show Harry the back of his bald head. Which wasn't really a back since there was a face coming out of it. A really ugly, lined face with slits for nostrils and red eyes that had cat-like slits for pupils.

"Talk about being two-faced," he murmured to himself.

"Harry Potter," the face whispered. "See what I have become?"

"...Who are you?" Talking like they knew each other! Bah!

The face stared him down for a minute of dead silence before saying, "How did you manage to get Sorted into Slytherin if you're this thick? The context clues are all there, Potter!"

"Hey! I'll have you know that have astronomical amounts of ambition and just enough cunning, wit, loyalty, and bravery see my desires realised! It's just that my cunning and sass levels are too high and overpower all my other traits by a wide margin. And you didn't answer my question, Noseless."

Quirrell whirled around then and smacked him hard across the face, yelling, "Insolence!" at the top of his lungs. The sting was sharp and long-lasting.

But then Quirrell was yelling still at the top of his lungs when his hand began to smoke after touching Harry's face, and disintegrated into nothing.

"What? What is happening, you fool?" the noseless face demanded.

"My hand is gone, Master!" wailed Quirrell. "What sort of magic is this?!"

And it happened after touching Harry, huh? Interesting.

"Get the Stone! Make the boy get it!"

"But he doesn't know about it, Master! He knows nothing about what's been happening!"

"You fool!"

While the two argued, Harry turned right around and began making his way out of the chamber. If they wanted to waste time fighting with themselves, then he could go and get a teacher to catch them for whatever weird stuff they were trying to get up to.

"Get back here, Potter!"

His feet slipped out from under him and he was suddenly airborne, sailing across the room and straight into Quirrell's arms. Without hesitation, he reached out to catch himself and found his hands placed directly on Quirrell's face in order to stabilise himself.

The man screamed in obvious agony as his face began falling apart, like some kind of video game boss that was in the middle of being defeated.

The face was screaming also and Harry dropped to the ground as a dark cloud rose from the destroyed body and slammed into his chest.

All he remembered before passing out, was seeing the ugly mirror shattering in the process.

Finding out that the murderer of his parents had been alive the entire time he'd been presumed dead, was a downer. Finding out the headmaster had known to some extent and knew he was in the school all year long, was an even bigger one.

Hermione had been livid. When she came to see him in the Hospital Wing and spilled the beans on what had been going on. The school had been notified that Professor Quirrell had taken Harry somewhere and tried to kill him in the name of his Master. The Master had been Voldemort.

The fact that he actually hadn't put that together was a bit concerning, but he had more things on his mind.

Like why the hell wasn't he allowed to stay at the school over the summer? He doubted anyone would mind being paid some gold to make sure he still existed every day.

But no, Dumbledore wouldn't let him go anywhere but back to the Dursley household!

Hermione was, as expected, annoyed. She even offered to ask her parents if Harry could stay with them all summer.

It was a nice offer, but he wasn't so sure. Harry's track record with adults wasn't the best as they often proved to be pretty useless when they were needed to do their jobs unbiased.

Still… that didn't mean he couldn't bring in some trouble of his own to get what he wanted.

If the Okay was given, he could set things up to force Petunia and Vernon into a corner to let him go where he wanted. Lest they suffer more of his Malicious Compliance.

Slytherin ended up winning the House Cup a day later. Harry, who had contributed no points whatsoever, didn't really care. There was nothing prestigious about a cup made of iron pyrite that would sit in their Common Room for a few months and then pass hands months later.

Dumbledore said something about magic and growth and whatever. Harry hadn't cared enough to listen in full, and then they were on their way back to London the next morning.

And so ended his first year at Hogwarts. Before leaving the train, he gave Hermione his aunt's phone number and told her to call at least twice a day and ask to speak with him, and he'd take care of the rest.

[YEAR 2]

It was day five back at Durzkaban and Hermione had thus far placed ten calls. Petunia, who had been absolutely annoyed by her constant presence even if it was only vocally, grounded Harry to his room in response and wouldn't let Hermione speak to him.

By day ten, the punishment extended to only two meals a day and one bathroom break. He sent a letter to Hermione via his pet owl Hedwig, and in her next call, she asked why they weren't feeding him.

They then blocked Hermione's home phone so she could no longer call them, but it didn't stop her as she just used a phone booth nearby to make the calls and continue asking about how he was. In return, Petunia had gotten on Vernon's case and made him put bars on Harry's window to make it so Hedwig couldn't deliver messages from then on.

Twenty days after school ended, Hermione got her father to make the call this time, from he and his wife's practice. They were dentists.

Petunia ended up having to release Harry from his room so he could take the call this time. She gave him the stink eye, her super long neck bunching up like an accordion with how low her head was bent so she could lean over him threateningly.

"Now you tell this man exactly how nicely we've been treating you or you won't have dinner for three days," she threatened through thinned lips.

If she thought it would get him to lie because he was so worried about his own well-being… she was wrong. And she did in fact order him to tell the man 'exactly how nicely they'd been treating him' so how was he supposed to lie when given such straightforward orders?

He accepted the phone and said, "Hello, Mr. Granger, I'm doing well I suppose. Uncle Vernon put bars on my window and will only feed me twice a day through a cat flap on my padlocked door. If you send the police by they'll get here in time to see it all before they can be remove-"

The phone was ripped out of his grip by Petunia who tried to simper her way through several unconvincing lies.

Basically, Mr. Granger said if she didn't let Harry stay at his family's home for the rest of the summer, he'd ring the police and CPS and ruin her reputation. The destroyed reputation scared her more than a police call.

Hours later, Hermione was outside with her parents. Both were muggles and dressed as decently wealthy people would be, looking professional. Mr. Granger came upstairs - much to Petunia's dismay - to help Harry with his things and pulled a disposable camera from his pocket to take photos of his door and room, including locks, bars, and cat flap.

He waved the camera at Petunia while leaving and said, "In case you try to cause more problems, remember what we have."

The fact that Petunia was no doubt seething while they left, made the day even better!

"Are you sure you want us to do nothing else?" the man asked while they were on their way.

"They might still have use in my future so I'd like to have access to them still. Thanks for helping though!"

The rest of his summer was pretty great! He got to hang out with his best friend, got to try foods he'd never been allowed to before, got to go to the cinema for the first time and it was for the Disney re-release of Pinocchio, and Hedwig got to fly whenever she wanted.

"Um… can I help you?"

The guest room Harry was allowed to stay in at the Granger household was already occupied when he got back that afternoon. After a really event-filled day in Diagon Alley shopping for school supplies, where Harry used Hermione's list since his did not come in the mail, they'd finally gotten back. And there was a… thing on his bed.

It had big buggy eyes like tennis balls, and wore a really filthy pillowcase-like thing on its bony but small body. It wouldn't even reach his hips and Harry was a short, little bugger.

"Harry Potter! Such an honour to meet you!" the creature said with a low bow, its long nose brushing the hardwood floor of the Granger's household.

"And who are you?"

What followed was a very hasty explanation from "Dobby the House Elf" about terrible things that were going to happen at Hogwarts and that Harry couldn't go back for his own safety. And then he found out Dobby was stealing his mail, though it was literally just his school supplies list in the long run.

It ended up with Harry agreeing to take Dobby's words into consideration, but that was it. He didn't say he agreed to not go back, which was what Dobby didn't realise.

So on 1 September, Harry and Hermione were sat on the Hogwarts Express, talking about what they were looking forward to in the upcoming school year. Harry munched on sweets while Hermione sighed and blushed over Gilderoy Lockhart who was some famous guy with ugly hair that would be teaching them. He was also the only person they had to purchase new books for and they were all his books. Harry decided not to buy any at all after a cursory glance in two different books that happened in two different countries, somehow showed the same dates but where Lockhart was terribly mangled in one place, and in the other at the same exact time, he was apparently perfectly healthy.

Hermione told him she wouldn't help him with his DADA work if he refused to get his own books and he told her not to worry about it. He doubted Lockhart would be capable of teaching anything anyway.

Of course they couldn't get through a normal ride without Malfoy having to come in and be an absolute toerag.

"You humiliated me last year, Potter!" the boy spat, his face scrunching up unattractively.

Harry blinked and put on an expression of false confusion. "But I was just doing as you told me, Draco. You said to let go because you didn't want my filthy self touching you. It isn't my fault you didn't account for just what I was holding you up for."

"You better watch yourself, Potter! Once I get on the Slytherin Quidditch Team, I'll have more sway than you do and you won't be going anywhere anymore! I dare you to try and go against me!"

He then left with his bookends lumbering not too far behind.

And that was when Harry pulled out the owl order form for Quality Quidditch Supplies from his trunk and proceeded to place his wand on the little mark beside the Nimbus 2001. Immediately, the fancy G for Gringotts appeared to confirm his purchase was accepted.

"What are you doing?" Hermione asked, looking up from Voyages With Vampires.

"I'm going to need a broom of my own with the best of the best add-ons if I plan to get on the Slytherin Team! And then I'll be allowed to rub it in Malfoy's face. He did say he dared me to go against him after all and I would hate to make it easy for him. I am the better flyer according to Madam Hooch." And Malfoy supposedly had been flying since he was a bairn in wee ol' nappies.

The girl rolled her eyes and returned to fawning over Lockhart's bad story-telling. "I hope you won't let this get in the way of your studies."

He waved off her concern. "Don't worry, Mione. If I was one to put in more effort on the regular than maybe you'd have reason to worry but it's easy to maintain my level."

"But can you keep it up next year when we have elective courses added on to our usual load?"

Harry shrugged. "Not really sure but as the word elective is used, I'm pretty sure I can just opt out of them. Elective means optional basically and if they mean something else they should probably be more specific."

A heavy exhale out the nose told him exactly what Hermione thought about his plan. Maybe she'd manage to convince him otherwise by the following year.

"So do you still want to jump his bones?"

"Oh shut it, Harry. Anyone can have a bad day."

"I've never seen a grown man get so terrified over something so small. Shouldn't he be capable of wrangling Cornish Pixies in seconds? He bragged about it in his book. He's supposedly a master of it and these aren't venomous so there's no real threat they pose."

"As I said, people can have off days. He's never taught a class before. He is actually a very talented man."

"Uh-huh. You're telling me a guy who doesn't even have Os in any of his N.E.W.T.s is more knowledgeable than the Masters on staff already? That he knows better than Sprout, Mickey G., or Wickey who received their Masteries ages ago and have been teaching here for at least three decades each?"

"Well… no, bu-"

"'Cause he was literally telling Sprout the wrong way to fix the Whomping Willow after Weasley crashed that flying car into it. She told him to his face that he was wrong and he wouldn't shut up or stop talking over her, which was rude as hell."

"...oh sod it, Harry. Can't you just treat him the way I do? Give him a chance."

Well… she asked for it.

It was a good thing he had no shame.

It started simple. Whenever he saw Hermione making moon eyes at the man, Harry would join in. No one really noticed as he didn't have any other friends, but it made him chuckle to himself.

After that it progressed to giggling. Harry was much better at noticing changes in the atmosphere than Hermione was. It came from having to watching his back for his cousin's gang so he didn't get surprised with the daily attempts at Harry Hunting. His situational awareness was next level and his speed was enviable.

He spotted Lockhart because of the golden glint of his ugly hair. Harry chose to use Lockhart Spotting as practice for his upcoming Quidditch Trials for Seeker position.

Anyway, Hermione started noticing how giggly Harry had become after a few days, and subconsciously stopped doing it whenever she noticed Lockhart coming around.

The boy felt like he was on the right track.

Harry spent his second Saturday of the term at Quidditch Trials. When Malfoy saw him standing among the new hopefuls, the boy's face went beet red with anger. Still, when Marcus Flint, Captain of the Slytherin Team, thanked the Malfoy family for the 'generous donation of a set of 7 Nimbus 2001's for the Slytherin Team's use', Malfoy obvious thought it was get him on the team automatically.

But the thing was… Harry had come with a Nimbus 2001 in hand. It was his alone. And, when the manufacturer learned that it was Harry Potter who had placed the purchase, they'd added some special details to his before QQS could send it to him. There was a silver lightning bolt at the tip of his handle, just like the scar on his brow, and some of the black bristles in the tail had been turned silver to make another lightning bolt shape. Finally, his name was engraved on either side of the shaft of black wood, in silver as well. It was all very Slytherin.

It was a very attention-getting broom, and Harry played as equally dirty as Malfoy. Malfoy used his money and name to try and get a spot on the team, so Harry used his money as well. His name just came tacked on with it all because he didn't die as a kid. That bit wasn't really his fault but if it was useful then who was he to complain?

Flint looked between them and instead of just giving Malfoy the position he wanted, he told them to mount their brooms and try to catch as many fake Snitches as they could in ten minutes. He then kicked a nearby bucket and a hoard of golden balls flew out and up into the air, whizzing off in different directions.

Malfoy was decent. He obviously trained over the summer because his flying had improved since the former year, but he was nowhere near Harry's level. Harry could see the flicker of gold better and had an easier time manoeuvring. He was thinner and smaller than Malfoy, which played to his advantage to get in and out of tight spots.

The Nimbus 2001 was the best broom on the market and required the lightest touch to go in any direction. Harry was quick to adapt despite being new to using it. He caught nineteen balls in ten minutes, while Malfoy caught nine.

Flint nodded and released the balls again. This time, he charmed half green and the other half silver. "Potter gets silver, Malfoy gets green. You have five minutes to catch as many as possible."

Harry caught eleven, and Malfoy caught seven.

"Now I want you both to do some tryouts for the Beater position. I need to know how well your aim extends and if you can be a Reserve."

Malfoy ended up being a better Beater. Harry was fairly skilled at it, but his arm wasn't as strong. Instead, he ended up dodging Malfoy's hits a lot more than sending them back, but he was skilled enough for those hits to miss entirely.

"Potter's better on his broom," Flint noticed. "Better at manoeuvring himself and catching the Snitch. Malfoy is stronger however, and more solid for any other position. Potter gets Seeker, Malfoy gets Beater."

"But I wanted to be Seeker!" the blond whinged.

"You're better at being a Beater. If I switched positions with you both it would only make us vulnerable. The Weasley twins would overrun Potter in an instant. You have to defend Potter regardless of your little feud with him if we want to win. Get over it, you're still on the team. Nothing in the agreement said you get Seeker, just that you get on the team."

Malfoy's pinched face glared in Harry'y direction, and Harry waved genially, a sweet smile on his face. "Let's work hard, Malfoy."

"Kiss my arse!" the drama queen declared hotly.

Smile still in place, Harry took a threatening step forward and asked, "Do you really want me to take that as literally as I think you do? Remember the last time I took your words literally and what happened as a result."

Hands flew to his rear end and he backed away, giving Harry a look of horror. "Stay away from me, you filthy Mudblood!"

"Then stop telling me to do things to your body if you don't actually want them done, Malfoy."

When he returned to the castle, Hermione was found in the library. "I'm on the team," he announced.

"I knew you'd get it. How angry was Malfoy?"

"I thought he'd perform human-to-fruit transfiguration and become a tomato at some point."

She smiled, pleased by whatever mental image came to mind. Harry could just imagine it himself. Malfoy's face did get remarkably red whenever he didn't get his way.

His fourth week in and the sighing and giggling at Lockhart hadn't eased up. In fact, Harry had gotten worse and Hermione had stopped altogether, though he had a feeling she didn't realise exactly what was happening. Maybe he had Pavlov'd it out of her?

Either way, finally she decided that they had to have an intervention. "Harry, do you want to tell me something?" she asked while they were in the library, commandeering a nice spot in the back that had some good chairs with comfortable, royal blue cushions.

"Um… no?"

"You know you're my best friend and I've never be ashamed of you, you know?"

He had no idea where she was going with this.

"If you like boys, there's nothing wrong with that. I won't judge you or let others judge you for it." She sounded so sincere too.

Harry burst out into loud snickers, unable to help himself. "You think I fancy blokes, Mione?"

The girl huffed. "Well you're always getting so flustered around Professor Lockhart and I just wanted you to know that I'll break the nose of anyone who has something bad to say about it."

He placed a hand on her arm and said, "I appreciate that loyalty, I really do, but I haven't considered that kind of stuff yet. The thought of touching people in all the ways a boyfriend would have to, grosses me out. No matter who I exchange as a partner in my head. I don't like Lockhart, I was simply treating him how you did, because you asked me to."

There was still silence between them for the better part of a minute, before Hermione buried her head in the upholstery of the chair she was sitting on and screamed. "I ACT LIKE THAT?!"

"Yeah, but once I started to do it too, you slowly stopped over time so you don't so it anymore," he told her, patting her back.

"It's just- I really like smart people and his books as so sensational and make him sound so smart!"

"And that's fine. Having a crush isn't bad or anything. I'd just advise you to pay attention more toward his actions and how they contradict his words, both written and spoken because there are inconsistencies in his books which is why I didn't purchase them. Go through them again and make notes. Try to be unbiased and you'll see what I mean."

Hallowe'en was the next time the shite hit the proverbial fan.

Someone murdered a cat and covered the wall of the First Floor Corridor outside the girl's bathroom, in its blood. Or at least that's what he heard. The cat was the Caretaker's cat and he lost his mind over it. Lockhart was a twit like always, who pretended to know what he was talking about only for Dumbledore to contradict him afterward.

The 'Heir of Slytherin' had apparently returned and those they considered to be enemies were in danger supposedly. It reminded Harry of the House Elf Dobby from in the summer. Was this what he'd been talking about?

This prompted Harry to look up the Slytherin family tree in the library and do a thorough search on who could possibly be a descendant of Slytherin. The only family with at least one member still living, that had any connection to the Slytherin name… were the Potters. And it was incredibly distant to the point of not counting in present days.

A Slytherin daughter married the brother of the main Potter ancestor. And they renamed themselves Gaunt and the Gaunt line supposedly died out already because they took the whole keeping their pure blood in the family thing, more literally than Harry would ever take something literally.

Back in the line a few Gaunts married into the Potter family but that was it. His claim to the Slytherin name was small and he surely hadn't killed a cat or wrote a bloody message on the wall.

Still, as wix lacked any logic, he kept his findings to himself. Besides, he had none of the Slytherin family traits.

Well… there was the whole talking to snakes thing but that was it. There were no snakes at Hogwarts so he was fine.

The first Quidditch match ended up being over pretty quickly. When it became obvious that a Bludger had been tampered with to track Harry down the whole match and Malfoy apparently didn't care enough to try and stop it as well as he could have, Harry decided to get the Snitch as quickly as possible.

And Flint, in a sour mood already because he hated Gryffindor and their players, told him that he 'better catch that blasted Snitch in the next two minutes, no matter the cost' and added a comment about how Harry's 'inferior blood better not ruin their chances'. Lo and behold, the Snitch lead him on a merry chase around the pitch and right back to Marcus' side, in what had to be a beautiful turn of events.

The Bludger, still in pursuit, was close behind him. At the very last second, right before Harry would have collided with his Team Captain, the Snitch dove and he along with it, barely brushing Flint in the process.

The Bludger however, wasn't fast enough to make the sudden dive that a Nimbus 2001 could, and it smashed right into Flint's chest right as Harry's hand closed around the Snitch and he pulled up quick enough to avoid a rough impact with the ground.

He knew Flint got hit because the sound was terrible and he landed in an unconscious heap beside Harry on the grass. The chances of his ribs being broken were high if Harry considered how fast that Bludger was going and how hard the impact had to have been.

Whelp! He had said 'no matter the cost'. He didn't specify who was to be paying that cost so it wasn't Harry's problem. Slytherin won so Flint couldn't complain about it.

And just as he raised his arm in victory, a shower of sparks exploded over his head and he looked around, finding Hermione on the pitch not too far away with her wand raised.


And that was when Lockhart appeared in all his bumbling foolishness, and turned Flint over, talking about how he could take care of the problem. And while Harry had no positive feelings for the older student, he did say, "I think you should let the registered Medi-Witch on site handle the medical issues." No one deserved Lockhart to point his wand at them.

He was ignored of course. And then Lockhart did some weird wand movement over Flint's chest and said some Latin words very poorly, and all the people who had managed to gather around to get a good view, got to witness as Flint's entire chest caved in as if it was a deflating balloon. It was a revolting sight.

"Ah- well yeah, that can sometimes happen!" the fool blustered. "But clearly the bones are no longer broken and he won't feel any pain!"

And Harry, angry on behalf of Flint because of how fucking stupid this man who was supposedly an expert was, said, "You just vanished the very thing protecting his organs. The reason his heart wasn't crushed by the Bludger was because his rib cage was protecting his organs like it is supposed to. You have rendered him incredibly vulnerable and the wrong movement could kill him now because his spine has no support. I won't be surprised if his father sues you."

Madam Pomfrey appeared then, swearing at Lockhart and petrifying Flint immediately to prevent his body from moving unnaturally while in transport. He was then levitated off the field and Harry was left to handle the celebration of Slytherin winning their first match of the season.

One good thing was that Hermione's crush died out like a pitiful flame.

Hours later it was revealed that First Year Colin Creevey of Gryffindor was found petrified in the First Floor Corridor.

"Lockhart, the guy who vanished someone's rib cage with a spell that doesn't exist in the capacity he claimed it did, is leading a Dueling Club? And people are actually going?"

"Professor Snape is going to help him so we'll most likely learn something useful."


"Fine, I'll go."

The girl threw her arms around him in excitement. "Let's go!"

And so they went.

And after Snape put Lockhart on his arse in spectacular fashion, the students were paired up and told to disarm each other using the spell Snape had used on the idiot.


Was he the only person to think that the spell sounded ridiculous? Because it totally did.

And who should Harry end up paired with in the end? Malfoy. The brat who had a thousand problems with Harry no matter what Harry did or said. He also didn't like the way the blond and Snape talked before the pair-up was decided.

They copied what Snape and Lockhart did. Something about respectable dueling practices as this wasn't a death match. Certain niceties had to be observed or else basically. They bowed to each other and raised their wands.

Lockhart counted down from three, but before he could get the one out, Malfoy was already moving. "Serpensortia!"

The snake that appeared was a cobra. Harry wasn't exactly knowledgeable on snakes but he was confident in his split-second assessment because the hood flared out and they only did that when threatened. The surrounding students all backed away as the snake turned in a circle, fangs bared in a threatening manner.

Malfoy, despite looking smug at the predicament he put everyone in, also backed away from the snake, leaving Harry to be the only one brave enough to remain in place.

§Why are there so many two-leggers here?! Where am I?!§ the snake demanded, looking irate.

It turned again, flaring its hood even more and frightening more children away. Harry stood his ground and bent down a bit to say, §A wizard summoned you.§

The snake whirled on him immediately, its eyes wide. §Speaker! A Speaker! Why was I summoned, Speaker?§

Harry pointed to Malfoy, who had gone alarmingly pale in the past few seconds. §He summoned you as a prank, thinking you'd hurt me for him.§

An irritated hiss was its response. §To attack a Speaker is wrong. Tell the white two-legger that he is a fool and that I want to go back to my nest! I have hatchlings to care for!§

"Hey, Malfoy! She says you're a fool and she wants to go back to her hatchlings. Send her back."

The snake coiled in on itself and waited patiently, the hood finally smoothing out and the near frantic bobbing of the head stilling in the process. Every few seconds the tongue would peek out to scent the air around them.

When it became obvious that Malfoy was useless, Snape stepped forward, said some Latin words, and the snake vanished. Harry liked to think it was sent back home. That was a much nicer ending in his opinion, than the alternative.

There was dead silence in the room and Harry looked around at a bunch of wide-eyed face, all showing him terror. It was a single snake. It wouldn't have been able to hurt all of them. Seriously, people tended to overreact to the smallest of troubles sometimes.

And then he remembered that he'd wanted to keep the whole Parseltongue thing a secret because it connected him, however slightly, to the Slytherin name because Salazar Slytherin was a Parselmouth and so were all of his descendants.

Their reaction was less about the snake and more about the fact that Harry had just spoken to it somehow.

It didn't take long for the Gryffindors to gather themselves and begin accusing him of being Slytherin's Heir. The Hufflepuffs immediately got as far away from him as they could manage, and the Ravenclaws were watching him shrewdly.

As for his own House, they merely stood wide-eyed. The Slytherin family was revered among them and their 'pure blood' and Harry had a feeling he knew what was going to happen as a result of that.

Yet all he could think of was how this was going to give him so many problems and less free time to be himself.

"So… Mr. Heir of Slytherin," Hermione began with a sharp smirk, "Care to share your devious deeds with the class?"

"I dropped Malfoy from the First Floor landing in our First Year because he told me to let go of him while the staircase was in the middle of changing courses."

The teen blinked twice at his revelation and nodded slowly. "Not what I was going for but that's interesting to know."

"Yeah. it was a good laugh. For me," he clarified.

"You heard about Finch-Fletchley?" she asked as she began setting up her own books for study time in their little section of the library. Harry's side of the table was covered in sweets while he read his potions book, and she had already given him the stink eye over it.


"He's a Hufflepuff in our year."

Didn't ring a bell. "Do I have a class with him?"

"Um… I think you have Potions with him. I have Herbology with him. He's tall? Like really tall."

Still nothing came to mind. "What about him?" Harry knew next to no students beyond those who were memorable. Malfoy & his bookends by default, Flint, the Weasley twins, the Patil twins, the Carrow twins, and that Lovegood girl who wandered around barefoot all the time. Harry wasn't much the person who would go around interacting with people he didn't know.

"He was found petrified like Mrs. Norris and Creevey were, and Nearly Headless Nick was beside him, also petrified."

That gave Harry pause and he frowned. "Nick's dead. How is he petrified? And how could they administer the cure to him since he's a ghost?"

Hermione shrugged her shoulders in defeat. "No idea. Also, all the fowl in the stables were found slaughtered apparently. Too cleanly to have been a wild animal looking for a quick meal or some good fun."

Well shite. That was a problem now, wasn't it?

"You're being blamed for Finch-Fletchley," Hermione added.

"But I don't even know him! I've never spoken to him. Or Creevey. Or Mrs. Norris for that matter. I've never even been around either of them since I'm always with you."

"Well you weren't just with me and they just found him a few minutes ago."

"Yeah, but the Gryffindors and Ravenclaws passed the First Floor corridor on the way down to the feast. They are the only Houses who would have seen it and no one saw a flooded corridor, a petrified cat, or blood on the wall before the feast. And I was at the feast for the whole hour it was on. And people only saw the message when coming back from the feast. A person not at the feast was behind it obviously. I'm not quite so talented to pull all of that off."

"You do have a point, but these are wix. They don't have an ounce of logic, Harry."

Also very true and it killed him slowly from the inside, every damn day.

"Mione, I don't like people."

"I know, Harry. I know."

Christmas came and went without much fanfare. Hermione got him Chocolate Frogs, he got her a book on Gamp's Laws. He was like the Sir Issac Newton of wix. She'd loved it.

As there were few students left in the school, Harry roamed about a bit more freely, but he didn't go outside. Snow wasn't within his area of interest. It was cold and annoying and he didn't have all the clothes necessary to brave it on a regular basis. That wasn't required until Third Year and he would damn well wait to spend money on such things.

No petrifications happened over break despite the number of muggleborns who had stayed behind. That was a curious fact, but not helpful. It could have meant that the culprit had gone home, in which case there were almost one thousand students to choose from, or it could have meant they had remained at school but their next target hadn't.

Still, Harry wrote down a list of the students who stayed behind and proceeded to watch all of them, crossing off those who could in no way be behind this.

Petrifying didn't really mean they were related to Slytherin. Someone of decent training could do that with no issue. It wasn't something taught to the younger years so students like the Weasleys were left out. Though the sister Weasley was looking a bit sick.

He made certain to tell Hermione about that so she'd check on the girl.

Overall, his observations got him nowhere. Despite Malfoy staying behind over the break, he couldn't possibly be the culprit. He wasn't slick. Also, he went around bragging about how his father told him this exact thing had happened fifty years ago and a 'Mudblood died then as well'.

If Malfoy found himself stuck to the sofa cushions because he dared to say - when Harry was in the room - that he hoped Hermione was the muggleborn that died this time, then it was no one's business. His bookends couldn't get him off and Harry certainly wasn't going to be helping him.

"Potter! Get me off this thing!" the blond demanded as his bodyguards pulled on each of his arms and merely ended up dragging the entire sofa across the floor.

"Are you even sure I can?"

"I don't care how, just get me off!"

Wrong choice of words to say to someone who took everything as literally as he possibly could.

First he drenched the boy with a simple Water Summoning Charm. Then he cancelled the Sticking Charm on his arse, and recast it on his arms so they stayed connected to his bookends and they couldn't part from each other.


"What? I did as you said, Malfoy. You are no longer stuck to the sofa. Have fun!"

And then he went upstairs to get some good sleep. They'd sort themselves out somehow. Eventually.

Or somehow manage to get Snape to help them. That could happen too.

When Valentine's Day rolled around, things started picking up again. Lockhart made a big deal of the 'Day of Love' and had Dwarves walking around dressed as Cupids and delivering love letters in musical format, to unsuspecting victims.

Luckily, Harry got none! And he got to watch as Malfoy was showered in multiple limericks from Pansy Parkinson!

And it was obviously Parkinson because she was the only girl who had it bad enough for him. Mostly for his money and the fact that his family was of a higher status than hers so she'd be marrying into prestige or some tripe like that.

Everyone knew Malfoy would be marrying one of the Greengrass daughters though, so Parkinson's hopes were pointless unless she wanted a teen fling with him.

Sex and romance were gross. Harry was twelve and thought both were a waste of time to think about at his age. There were more important things to focus on.

Like how the First Floor Corridor was once again flooded. What the hell kept happening in the loo for that to become a regular thing?

Curious, he went to investigate. He found a melancholy ghost named Myrtle. He didn't know her personally and hadn't met her before, but he'd heard of her. This was the bathroom she haunted and no one wanted to use because they were scared or something? In a school filled with ghosts around every corner and a poltergeist that played pranks on people?

No, it made no sense to him either.

"This is the girls' lavatory!" Myrtle hissed when she noticed him come in.

"That no one uses because you're here," he pointed out frankly, which sent her back into her depressed slump and left him to look around.

All the faucets had been turned on. Well… almost all of them. One remained unused and when he tried the tap, nothing came out oddly. Other than the engraving of a snake on the faucet, he didn't see anything else special about it. No special buttons or anything.

Off to the side, in a dark corner, he spotted a black book. When he retrieved it, he found it to be totally dry despite having just been laying in the puddle of water.

Curious still, he took it with him, wondering who T. M. Riddle was.

The book talked!

It introduced itself as Tom Riddle and asked how he came across it! His ink had disappeared and everything!

And yet Harry… was still a kid. And sometimes he had urges to be a little prick to people without being offended first.

So instead of introducing himself, he just started doodling cartoon dicks all over the page.

What are you doing?


Stop this at once!

This is childish!


Harry broke down cackling at his desk. This was the greatest thing ever! Whatever the book was, it couldn't escape. He could keep this going for as long as he wanted.

Whoever Tom Riddle was, he had no patience.

To mess with Tom, Harry drew an ink penis on the meat of his palm first and then waited a bit, allowing him to think it was over.


And then Harry brought the imitation stamp down in rapid succession, covering the page quickly in poorly drawn penises!

After that, the responses stopped, but it was fun while it lasted.

He tossed the book in the rubbish a few days later and promptly forgot about it.

Penelope Clearwater, a muggleborn Ravenclaw, was discovered petrified coming back from the library days later. There was a book on XXXXX magical creatures under her arm and a small hand mirror in her right hand that gave the impression that she was looking at her own reflection while walking around?

Did vain people really do that?

Some Ravenclaw that Harry didn't know(he didn't really know any to be perfectly honest) came at him at lunch the following day, demanding he 'set Penelope to rights'.

"As I'm not a Potioneer, I can't. But I'm certain Professors Sprout and Snape are eager to get the Mandrake cures made." Why they didn't just buy properly aged mandrakes, he'd never know. They weren't that much money. He considered buying them himself, but decided it wasn't his job to fix the school's problems. Dumbledore wouldn't let him stay at Hogwarts over the summer? Then kids got to stay petrified all year. Not his problem.

This had happened fifty years ago, under Dumbledore's nose even, and he still didn't know who was behind it or where the fabled Chamber of Secrets was? That seemed like a load of tosh to him.

The unknown Ravenclaw's lip wobbled in affront, but he wisely chose to back down. Especially as several older Slytherins got closer. While they might not like him, he was their star Seeker and a Parselmouth which afforded him more respect that anyone would expect. If someone tried messing with him and ended up costing Slytherin the Cup, they'd probably lose a toe for their troubles.

Anything else was immediately cut off by a Gryffindor he didn't know but knew was in his year, rushing into the Hall to scream, "Hagrid's been taken to Azkaban!"

Everyone immediately broke out into confused muttering. Harry wondered if the Ministry found out about his illegal dragon that he hatched a year ago but managed to somehow hide in time and then get rid of. Hermione had told him all about it and the points Gryffindor lost because of Ron Weasley getting involved with his brothers. And Malfoy, the idiot that he was, snitched but in doing so, proved he too was out after curfew and lost Slytherin points too.

"Hagrid was apparently blamed the last time this happened and was expelled and his wand was snapped!" the Gryffindor said. "We heard the Minister himself say that 'the Ministry had to be seen doing something about what's going on'!"

So he was thrown in without a trial? Was that even allowed? No formal investigation? Just throwing a man into prison without proof beyond him being around the last time it happened? He'd have to look into it.

If that was the case, then Dumbledore was as equally guilty since he was the only other member of the staff who was around at the time!

People were stupid. Magical people even more so.

And the thing was, everyone was whispering about how it apparently made sense!

Hagrid? The Heir of Slytherin? Really?

The attacks stopped though after Hagrid was sent to prison. It was mighty suspicious and unfortunately fueled the fire more. People started apologising for doubting Harry and he stared them down and told them they should be ashamed for doubting Hagrid who'd been nothing but nice the whole time they'd all known him.

The guy might not be the kind of person Harry wanted to surround himself with but he was still very nice and gifted Hedwig to Harry. He even gave Harry a photo album filled with photos of his parents! No one else had offered anything like that! Hagrid had literally hunted down Lily and James' school friends for photos.

It wasn't until June where the attacks started up again, proving that Hagrid was in fact, not behind what was happening. And there was an attack a day! Why? Because the Board of Governors had removed Dumbledore as headmaster(because of Malfoy's dad threatening them, no surprise there) and now the wizard who supposedly terrified even Voldemort, was gone. What was stopping the attacker now? The one guy that might know something was literally gone!

And Hagrid was not returned to the school either, which Harry found to be complete shite. He was blamed. He got carted off without proof or trial. The attacks still continued and even worse than before. He should have been released immediately!

Anyway, with an attack a day leading up to the end of school, there was talk of closing the building down early and students being transferred to other magical schools on the mainland of Europe.

Three muggleborn Gryffindors, four muggleborn Ravenclaws, and two muggleborn Hufflepuffs had been petrified a day starting from 1 June. Hermione had become even more frantic as she tried with all her might to find some kind of thing linking all of these attacks together.

Then one afternoon, where classes had been cancelled and early curfew had been instated, they'd sneaked out to the library using his Invisibility Cloak(which came in handy for once). Madam Pince was patrolling the school with the teachers at the time. Hermione paused as she leaned over her list of notes and said, "A lot of these people were holding something."

The list of items was: Camera, Mirror, a shiny spoon, a book, and a water goblet. Only three victims didn't have items and they were the cat, Finch-Fletchley, and the ghost.

"What do these all have in common?"

He shrugged. "Being able to cast reflections to an extent except the book? I don't know what to tell you."

Her eyes went wide and she leaned over her notes again. "There was water on the First Floor Corridor around Ms. Norris. Colin looked at whoever it was through his camera. Justin saw them through Nick and Nick is already dead. Penelope had a mirror where she could see behind her at any time, plus that book on dangerous creatures. Mary had a mirror too. There was water on the First Floor Corridor when Jim was found face down. Septimus had a big spoon in hand which he's been noted to use to stim, and he was petrified with it held up at an angle behind him. Aries was found on the landing outside the First Floor Corridor and the water had overflowed then too. The others were all in similar situations, basically."

Something stuck out to Harry in all of this. "A lot of them happened in the First Floor Corridor and only happened when the corridor was flooded. Odd."

She nodded. "If it is indeed a monster and not a person, or at least a monster controlled by a person, what could petrify people? What would be Slytherin's Monster? Did your Housemates have any guesses? Did Malfoy run his mouth at all?"

He shrugged. "Nope. Perhaps a giant snake? The man was obsessed with them. They're everywhere in the Common Room. Though I don't know of any snakes that can petrify people. That'd have to be dangerous as hell."

And that was when Hermione's head snapped up and she rushed away among the shelves, coming back with a massive book. "Harry, I think you solved it!" she breathed in wonder. "Right here. This is the book Penelope was holding when she was petrified. The one on XXXXX creatures!" She held it out to him so he could see what she'd opened it up to.

Basilisk, the page read, a giant drawing of a snake with yellow eyes resting under it.

"I can't believe I didn't realise it before! Of course his choice of creature was a snake! 'Instant death awaits anyone who meets this giant serpent's eyes' but as no one looked it directly in the eyes, seeing it through glass objects or just reflections in general, they turned to living stone instead of dying.

"And furthermore, it has to be enormous if it was Salazar's own pet. A one thousand year old Basilisk would be at least twenty meters long and who knows how high. And as a Parselmouth, the Heir could control it."

Dear Merlin, they'd solved it.

"But who is controlling it? If it's a big snake surely I would have heard it around. Something that big has to make noise and be getting around somehow."

Hermione looked at her notes again, eyes flicking back and forth rapidly as she took in information faster than he could keep up with.

"All of these attacks happened near a bathroom," she murmured. "Right outside a girls' bathroom no matter the floor, but most attacks happened on the First Floor and you stay in the dungeons most of the time. What's special about the First Floor bathroom?"

"Other than Myrtle haunting it all the time and turning on the taps every other day?" he asked rhetorically, earning himself a quelling look.

Once again she disappeared and came back with a new book. "It says here that Myrtle Warren was a muggleborn fourth year. She has been haunting that bathroom since 1943. She was found dead in the last cubicle, staring at the sinks in horror. Ever since, she's refused to leave and mourns her own death constantly, shouting at anyone who dares to interrupt her solitude. She is considered to be one of the least liked ghosts here."

"Myrtle died in '43?" he repeated. "Fifty years ago exactly? The same time the Chamber was opened last?"

Hermione's eyes widened. "She was the muggleborn that died! Maybe she remembers something!"

And they were off, too eager to get everything sorted to put the books away. They skirted around Snape as he patrolled and avoided Filch pretty easily under the Cloak.

Myrtle was there when they arrived and looked annoyed to see Harry again. "What do you want?" she demanded.

"To ask how you died," said Harry.

It was as if the sun had broken through the clouds in Myrtle's mind. She beamed and said, "Oh! It was most dreadful! Happened right here. Olive Hornby was teasing me again and I came in to cry like usual. Then I heard a strange voice. A boy speaking some funny language that sounded made up for a lark. I went to tell him to bugger off when suddenly I was floating out of my body and found myself stuck in the clouds for quite some time before I gained control again and could come back down."

The weird language had to be Parseltongue. He had no idea how it sounded to outside ears since it was like English to him, but Hermione said it sounded creepy and made no sense with any phonetic language she knew of.

"You just floated out?"

The ghost nodded. "I remember a great pair of yellow eyes over by the sinks."

The sinks. She'd been found dead, staring at the sinks. There was nothing interesting about them save for the one that didn't work because… it had the snake carved on it.

How big were the pipes in Hogwarts exactly?

"Mione, I think it's the sinks. There's a faucet with a snake on it that doesn't work at all."

"We should go and tell Professor McGonagall!"

And so they rushed off. Halfway toward her office, an announcement filled the halls. "All staff to the First Floor Corridor immediately!" McGonagall said in an obvious panic.

They continued on toward the end of the corridor. The bathroom was near the staircases which was how everyone going upstairs had seen the results of the first attack. As nothing had been there, then whatever it was that had McGonagall spooked was at the other end.

And sure enough he was right! The teachers came from different directions but all eventually made it and the sight they were greeted with was haunting.

On the wall in blood, were the words, "You'll never find Ginny's body."

Ginny Weasley. The one who'd been sick all year. The one who'd stayed behind at Christmas. The one who wasn't at the Hallowe'en feast or any Quidditch matches. Who was quiet and easy to forget.

Pomfrey was understandably heartbroken. "The poor dear."

Oddly enough, Snape was the one to comfort her, putting a single hand on her shoulder and allowing her to reach up and clutch it with her own without a hassle.

Mickey G. sighed. "The students must be sent home on the morrow. Though I'm sad this is happening, maybe this will finally get Cornelius off his arse and he'll send some blasted Aurors out here to find this monster and slay it already!"

They'd never heard the woman swear before. It was kind of awesome.

"So sorry! I dozed off for a mo! What have I missed?" came the voice of Lockhart from behind them. He looked ridiculously fresh and annoying like usual. And apparently couldn't pick up the somber mood either.

"Your time has come, Gilderoy," said Snape with a cruel grin. "Ginny Weasley has been taken into the Chamber by the monster."


"Yeeees," agreed McGonagall with a sly grin. "You were saying yesterday that you found the entrance to the Chamber all by yourself. You can go down and take care of the beast and bring back Ms. Weasley. Your skills are legend after all."

The rest of the professors added their agreement with various smiles and nods.

It was a tragic situation, true, but the teachers all ganging up on Lockhart was the greatest thing to happen in months! They knew he was shite at his job and were probably sending him to his death! AND THEY JUST DIDN'T GIVE A DAMN!

It was wonderful!

"Then I'll just be in my office… getting ready."

And then he was gone! A little too quickly for Harry's liking.

Afterward, the teachers dispersed with expedience to tell the students what was going on, leaving Harry and Hermione to stare at the blood on the wall.

"Should we try to help Lockhart?"

She sighed. "I suppose. We're both talented enough. He can be a distraction and we can get Ginny. If he gets left behind it's his problem."

Damn. Hermione must really hate him now. Good.

They found Lockhart in the middle of packing. He was spelling items into his luggage at an alarming rate when they burst in, and he froze in obvious fear when Harry disarmed him instantly.

"You're doing a runner?!" Harry demanded. He knew the man was pathetic but really? Not even an attempt was made? Not even to save his own arse and his reputation?

"Well you see, I've been called away on urgent business and I can't possibly delay, so if I could have my wand back, that'd be smashing of you."

"What a load of rubbish!" Hermione said. "You were just told to go and save Ginny! Get down there and save her! You had no problem bragging about your supposed skills in your books, so get out there and start actually proving them, you coward!"

They raised their wands in sync and Lockhart went cross-eyed for a second. He then looked between them as Harry shook his stolen wand tauntingly and then tossed it out the nearby window. "I don't even know where the Chamber is!"

"But luckily, we do," Hermione grinned. "You're coming with us to save Ginny whether you like it or not."

And so they forced him along, and when Harry told the sinks to open in Parseltongue, they pushed him down the long chute first. Better him get eaten than them after all.

The tunnel beneath the school was gross and filled with skeletons of dead animals. The walls were damp, meaning they were under the lake somewhat. He had to wonder just how many secret chambers there were in the school that no one knew about because this was getting ridiculous.

Eventually they came upon a massive snake skin, proving Hermione's theory about the Basilisk's size true.

When Lockhart fake fainted, Hermione hit him in the arse with a Stinging Hex and forced him to get back up. When they reached a door that required a Parseltongue password, they pushed him through first where he fell a couple feet onto the grimy floor of what was apparently the Chamber of Secrets. Complete with snake statues and an ugly statue of a man at the far end. And laying at the statue's feet was none other than a familiar redhead.

Lockhart still had to go first, the fool quivering as he looked around in terror. "What even is the monster we're looking for?" he asked, voice shaking.

"A twenty meter long Basilisk," said Harry with faux cheer. "For someone of your mental capacity, think of a big, fuck off snake that can kill you with its eyes."

A whinge came from the man and Harry struggled to believe that this was an adult. Children were taking the situation far better and they had less schooling under their belts!

When they finally reached Ginny, the details became quite clear.

Her skin was so pale her veins were visible. There was a light sweat on her brow and her hair was matted from however long she'd been laying on the wet floor. And while she wasn't dead according to Hermione, she was right on the edge, her body going stiff already.

But what alarmed Harry the most was the familiar book resting on her stomach. The book from Tom Riddle that could talk back to those who wrote in it. The book that he had thrown into the rubbish bin in his dorm room. So how had it been found by Ginny Weasley of all people? And why was it here?

"She won't wake."

Lockhart squeaked and moved behind the children, revealing a very handsome young man standing in the shadows. He wore a Slytherin House robe with a Prefect's Badge on his chest, but Harry didn't recognise him at all. He might not know names but he knew faces simply for the sake of knowing who to avoid. And this man was so handsome that Harry would have remembered him for his cheekbones alone.

"Who are you?" Hermione demanded, raising her wand in preparation.

"A memory preserved in a diary for fifty years," the young man said smoothly, looking back and forth between the three awake people. His dark blue eyes landed on Harry and became almost manic in a sense. "Harry Potter, I presume?"

"Yeah. And you are?"

"Tom Riddle."

The Diary of Tom Riddle that spoke back and was now in the hands of Ginny Weasley. And Tom Riddle was here in the flesh while Ginny was unconscious and losing her luster by the minute. "What did you do to Ginny?"

He smiled. It was too beautiful for someone who was no doubt a very nasty person with a very pretty exterior. "Ginny was given my diary as a gift and when she found out I could write back, she coveted me above all else, telling me all of her deepest secrets. 'No one understands me like you do, Tom. You're like a friend I can carry around in my pocket and talk to whenever I want'," Tom said, mimicking Ginny mockingly. "And as she poured out her soul to me, I poured out mine into her."

Possession. It was a tricky and powerful piece of magic and took effort. The reason Ginny had looked so ill was because she had been getting possessed over the course of the school year.

"And the more time I had in her body, the more work I got done. Under my direction, Ginny set the Basilisk on the students and wrote the messages on the walls. She grew scared, realising her memory gaps aligned with the incidents, and threw my book away. And who should come upon it but a foolish little boy who was too busy being childish to understand the true worth he had in his hands. But my hold on Ginny was strong and eventually she came looking out of fear that I'd spill her dark secrets to the next person who found my diary. And when she got me back, the attacks went on."

While Harry liked having answers, the whole monologue thing was annoying as hell. Though it wasn't as if they could just start a Q&A with the bad guy.

"Why do you call yourself the Heir of Slytherin though?"

"Because I am, you daft boy!"

No need to be snippy over a simple question.

"And I am so much more as well."


Without a wand, Tom raised a hand and began to write fiery letters in the air with just his index finger. Wandless and non-verbal magic was difficult and suddenly he was much more dangerous than a moment ago.

Tom Marvolo Riddle.

Then the letters rearranged themselves.

I Am Lord Voldemort.

Voldemort was once a hot guy. What happened to him to make him so… not hot these days?

Also, he literally spent the time necessary to find that anagram? Harry's mind supplied two alternate versions already and wondered if Tom also found those before choosing the cool one.

"No offense but that was a bit anticlimactic," Harry told the teen. "You're older self is just as boring and powerless."

"I am not powerless!"

"It took you a year to possess an eleven year old girl and you had to rely on a snake to do the dirty work for you. And it managed to fail the same objective over twenty times! You are most certainly powerless."

Any further taunting was halted when Lockhart tackled Hermione from behind and ripped her wand out of her hands, leveling it at Harry now. The pre-teen stepped away so his back faced neither Tom nor Lockhart and Hermione mirrored him exactly.

"Now," said Lockhart, "If any of you move from where you are standing, I will simply have to act."

Harry scoffed. "What are you going to do? Vanish our bones? Every spell you cast either doesn't work or goes wrong. You're absolute shite at magic, why would we be scared of you?"

"Actually," the prat said importantly, "I'm rather talented at memory charms. Was an Unspeakable for a time, just wiping memories and gaining experience. It was a useful skill when I traveled the world gathering interesting tales and then wiping the truth from the minds of the witnesses. This will be no different. I'll be given an Order of Merlin First Class for arresting the Dark Lord who revived himself by using Ms. Weasley's tragic death. And you kids will be left in the Janus Thickey Ward at St. Mungo's because you lost your minds from the trauma of seeing poor Ginny's mutilated corpse."

That was actually kind of messed up. Harry was almost proud at how Slytherin is all was. Almost.

"If any of you dare move from your positions, I will not hesitate to kill you. But if you remain still, I can make this as painless as possible for all of us."

And Tom, without any hesitation, began to hiss, §Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four!§

And the mouth of the statue above them creaked open slowly.

"What are you doing?!" demanded Lockhart. "Potter, what did he say?!"

§Eat the blond one, my love.§

Harry grinned. "He summoned the Basilisk. I guess you're fighting the great snake since it's been set upon you. Use that wand wisely. Oh, and remember not to look it in the eye if you don't want to die." Harry proceeded to stare at the ground, trying to ignore his own raging heartbeat when a loud thwack sounded on the wet floor as the snake landed.

Lockhart whimpered. "Potter, do something!"

"I'm sorry, professor, but if I move, you'll kill me." And he did say he'd kill whoever moved, so Harry was just following orders. Malicious Compliance for the win!

Frankly, Harry liked Voldemort(teen or the old bag of bones version) more than Lockhart.

"You're taking your enemy's side!"

"It's either him or you, sir, and I prefer him. He doesn't have a wand and hasn't threatened to kill me either." It was sure as hell implied of course but the threat had not actually been made so they were at a standstill.

Lockhart was running for his life from the sounds of it. The sounds of breaking rock reached their ears and a high-pitched squeal of fear followed soon after.

"Damn it, Potter, help me!"

"I don't feel like it!"

"You're supposed to be a hero!"

"I never signed up for that job so I don't know where you got that idea from!"

Moments later there was the sick squelch that he would assume can from a man being bitten in half by a big arse snake. He hoped Hermione's wand wasn't swallowed in the process.

Snapping into action, Harry aimed a Stunner at Tom who was alive enough to actually take the hit, and he went down fast. "Remove the diary from Ginny, quick! The snake's coming back!"

With the severing charm they learned in class in their First Year on his lips, Harry hissed as loudly as he could, §If you try and kill us, I'll kill your Master first!§ He'd remove Tom's head from his shoulders if the charm was powered well enough.

The approaching snake came to a stop and while Harry couldn't look up, he stared at the floor and the shadow loomed over them, proving just how close the Basilisk was.

§If you try to kill us, then we cut his head off, and you'll die all alone down here as the line of Speakers dies with him and me.§ Harry didn't actually know if that was true but he didn't care. He just wanted to get out alive with Hermione and Ginny. And how was an old snake that hadn't left the castle in a thousand years going to know?

There was a considering hiss. §You will not cut his head off if I let you leave this place unharmed?§

§Yes.§ Harry was about to use manipulation on a snake. He was a king!

§Then get out! Take your own two-legger and leave my Master with me.§

§And you won't try to look at us with your eyes?§

§No! Now out!§

"Let's go, Mione. You take my wand and I'll grab Ginny."

They hurried back down the long chamber, relieved that the sound of slithering didn't follow. They came upon Lockhart's body near the entrance and Hermione found her own wand beside what was left of his legs. There was too much blood.

"What do we do?" she asked as they ran. "How do we get back up the pipe?"

"You know the Summoning Charm?"

"No, but I know the incantation. I can practice with the diary."

After several minutes, where Hermione worked out the kinks in her summoning, she managed to summon Harry's broom from the broom shed by the pitch, which was then able to handle all three of them up the chute and out into Myrtle's bathroom.

Without stopping, they flew out the door and up toward the Hospital Wing. While flying wasn't allowed in the corridors, he had a feeling this would be excused.

When Madam Pomfrey saw them after they made such a commotion, she screamed bloody murder and began firing off orders.

Harry was just glad that they were all safe.

"So to recap, teen Voldy is down in the Chamber, unconscious for who knows how long. I don't know if his hold on Ginny will break with distance, but we got his diary so if you destroy it he should go away. The Basilisk is still alive unfortunately but it let us go so long as I didn't cut off Voldy's head like I threatened. I never said we wouldn't kill him though, so burn the diary or something and then we can let the Aurors into the Chamber and they can fight the snake and everything will be okay again."

Snape looked absolutely done with life. The bags under his eyes had bags of their own and his sallow skin seemed even paler than usual.

"How did you even find out about Ms. Weasley's predicament?" he asked, looking to be obviously restraining himself. Harry mentally applauded his self-control.

"We sneaked out to the library to try and piece together the info we had," he said with a shrug. "I don't regret it, take points if you want. There's more important things going on. We compiled our knowledge and started going through books. Realised that Myrtle was the one murdered last time and ran to ask her about it. Confirmed where the entrance was in the process. We were going to tell McGonagall but then she called all the teachers to the corridor to tell you Ginny was taken and you sent Lockhart to be the hero so we decided to use him as bait and possibly a human meat-shield. There wasn't time for anything else."

McGonagall, who wasn't far away, pursed her lips in annoyance. Madam Pomfrey was stood beside her, shaking her head. Ginny remained pale and still on a bed nearby. Snape looked tired.

"There will be no punishment given," said Mickey G., a sour look on her face. "You saved a fellow student's life and exposed a very old plot to shut the school down. But I do hope you take into account that you could have died! This is serious and I don't want to reward you for putting yourselves in danger."

"Eh," he shrugged. "We didn't do it for a reward anyway."

"An excellent way of thinking, Harry!"

Everyone turned to the doorway to see Dumbledore of all people standing there in his usual, ugly robes. "When the Board of Governors heard a student had been taken, they saw fit to summon me back in hopes of something being done. It seems Mr. Potter and Ms. Granger have been very instrumental in this situation. You might not need rewards but you still deserve them, worry not!"

And so they didn't.

The diary was destroyed, confirmed by Dumbledore. The Aurors went into the Chamber to take care of the snake after Harry opened the entrance for them. Two died in the process. They did not find the rest of Lockhart and his involvement was kept hidden.

Apparently, Dumbledore was aware that he was a fraud the whole time and explained how he'd been searching for proof to give and finally found it. And when Lockhart found out, he fled to save his own arse. That was the story anyway.

Two of Dumbledore's friends were behind the stories in Wandering With Werewolves and Voyages With Vampires, so he knew Lockhart was a liar from the jump. Why he hired him anyway, Harry would never know.

Still, the petrified students were all revived, the school was not closed after all, and Hagrid was released from Azkaban. And Harry sent in an anonymous tip to The Daily Prophet about how Minister Fudge arrested someone without even giving them a fair trial as Magical Britain's laws demanded. And he also left in a suggestion about how maybe Fudge had done it to others, encouraging people to check on their convicted family members to see if they were actually convicts. Technically, a person isn't a convicted felon if they haven't received a verdict from a jury or judge. No conviction? Not a felon. Not legally in prison then. And the people behind that action could get sued because of it. Simple.

Even if the time in prison was deserved for the crime committed, not following proper procedures could get the criminal off totally because they weren't given their right to a fair trial. Say someone was in jail for 10 years for something they did, but were just thrown in and not convicted for. If they were to escape, the government couldn't do anything as they weren't a convicted felon and didn't have papers proving their incarceration was legal and binding.

The influx of people at the Ministry over the last week of school was hilarious! And Fudge was thrown under the bus as it was proven he sent many people to jail without trial because he was taking bribes from Lucius Malfoy. He'd almost been sacked from his job. As for Malfoy, he was kicked off the Board of Governors which was good news to Harry.

Draco Malfoy's embarrassment was a beautiful sight to behold.

And the Ministry getting sued for misconduct was nice too. Harry would have kept his mouth shut if they'd left Hagrid alone or just took him to trial like they should have.

Too bad for them.

"How do you think this summer is going to be?" Hermione asked in worry as the Hogwarts Express moved closer and closer toward London.

"Probably not the best, but I don't want to bother your parents this year so I'll stay with Petunia. I think we spooked them good last year. Your father still has those photos I'm certain, and can pull them out at any time if I need him to?"

"Yes. Just send a letter and I can have him call to check on you."

"Thanks, Mione."

[YEAR 3]

Vernon and Petunia were not happy to see him again, but they remained decent at the very least. Mr. Granger's threat was still fresh in mind and they didn't step a toe out of line as a result.

The bars were gone from his window, but the cat flap remained on the door. The locks had also been removed but the spaces where they'd been were still visible to the naked eye.

Harry was not forced to do chores or cook the moment he got in the door, and his stuff was allowed to come up to his room with him. It was dusty like usual and smelled pretty stale, but it was okay for his needs. Just two months and then he'd be going back home to Hogwarts.

Immediately he wrote his first letter to let Hermione know he'd gotten in safely and things seemed okay for now.

He just hoped the summer passed by quickly.

On his birthday, Hermione's gift came with Hedwig, and another owl was with her. It was the Weasley owl. He knew that because it tended to crash into things and looked half mad all the time.

It carried a massive, white box in its talons and deposited it on his bed. It left just as quickly as it came. When he lifted the box, he realised it had to be charmed to weigh nothing so the poor owl wouldn't be inconvenienced.

Inside the box was another, smaller box, and other things. A big, green jumper with a silver H on the front, several tins of fresh biscuits and mince pies, and the small box inside had a small green cake with his name on it in silver icing. There was a letter taped to the inside of the big box

To Mr. Harry Potter,

Professor Dumbledore informed us of your part in rescuing our daughter.
We wanted to extend a thank you your way. Our family is not capable of
much, but we wanted to pay you back in any way we can. We will do our
best to help you if you have need of us.

Arthur and Molly of House Weasley.

Ginny's parents sent him birthday presents to thank him for helping to save their kid. Well, who was he to turn down free stuff? There was food! And sweets. And a birthday cake! Hagrid had been the only person to ever make him a cake before!

The jumper fit really well too, and was warm and cozy. He couldn't wait to wear it during the winter months. All the parts of Hogwarts with massive windows leading into courtyards, could get very cold. Scotland wasn't a warm place in the winter.

A few days later he found out Vernon's sister was supposed to visit but had been told not to because the whole abuse accusation that was still hanging over the Dursley household, and they knew she was not a good person and that one letter from Harry to Hermione would have them all in some deep shite.

This meant he also got Petunia(who was his actual relative) to sign the permission slip for him to go to Hogsmeade with the other students come the new term! That was the best part about going up a year. He now got to peruse the shops and buy all the sweets he wanted! And Hermione would have a heart attack at how unhealthy he'd be.

As for classes and the changes that came with being a Third Year, he apparently had to choose an elective. Even though the term was 'elective' he actually couldn't elect to do nothing. Which was stupid. So he chose what Hermione had suggested. Care of Magical Creatures and Ancient Runes. He was going to hate both equally.

Harry convinced Vernon to drop him off at The Leaky Cauldron two weeks before term began because Harry was going to rent a room and stay there instead. The Dursleys were glad to be rid of him. He got to shop around, spoil Hedwig some, and try out every flavour of ice cream Florean Fortescue sold.

Hermione joined him on the second to last day of break, and that was when the Weasley family appeared. They'd apparently gone to Egypt to visit their eldest son so Harry got to thank Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in person for his birthday gifts.

Molly Weasley, a red-haired woman of small stature, pulled him into a tight hug and told him he was a 'good boy' as she patted his cheek. Harry had never been hugged by anyone other than Hermione before. It was nice.

With school shopping taken care of, Hermione went and purchased a Kneazle for herself. It was already called Crookshanks and while it was the ugliest cat(magical or otherwise) that he'd even seen, he was happy for her.

Ronald Weasley wasn't quite so happy as he had a pet rat and said the cat was going to kill it.

"If you're a responsible pet owner, I don't see how your pet will be in any danger," Hermione said, tone frosty and unforgiving. "I'm not even the only Gryffindor with a cat by a long margin, so leave me alone and I'll leave you alone."

And that was that, because the Weasley twins decided it was time to mess with their little brother a bit, leaving Harry and Hermione to their own devices.

Mr. Weasley came upon them an hour later and asked to speak with Harry for a moment.

"Technically you aren't supposed to be told, but I figured you had a right to know what is going on and how you're involved," the man told him in hushed tones as they moved off toward an empty corner of the bar. "And I'm going to tell you more than what would be considered necessary because we owe you that much."

And that was enough to get his attention.

Mr. Weasley gestured to one of the wanted posters on the wall and asked, "What do you know about Sirius Black?"

"Just that he broke out of Azkaban and no one else had done it before, sir."

"Yes, but there's more. Black was a follower of… You-Know-Who. He's from one of the Darkest families in service to… him. We all thought that because he was Sorted into Gryffindor, he was different. He befriended your father easily and was his Best Man at your parents' wedding. When they were targeted by You-Know-Who, they went into hiding and made Black the Secret Keeper of their Fidelius Charm. It's powerful magic that hides all knowledge of a location from the mind of all but the one who holds the secret and can only be willingly told to others. No magic can force the information from someone, they have to willingly want to give it up in order to part with it.

"And Black did. To You-Know-Who."

Harry's blood ran cold as he realised the situation at hand. This man was one of the reasons Harry was an orphan and grew up with the Dursleys? He betrayed his own friends? To Voldemort of all people? And now he was free?

"Peter Pettigrew, another friend of your father's, went to check on your family that night and found the house destroyed. Black had the same idea though and when they saw each other, they knew what had happened, Black gave chase and as Pettigrew was never very talented, he was caught in the middle of a muggle street, and blown up along with several muggles. All they could find of him was a finger. Black lost his mind in the wake of his actions and the Aurors caught up to him and took him to Azkaban immediately."

Okay, he was angry but the blatant breaking of the law right there bothered him. If Black was sent to prison without a trial, then he'd been illegally imprisoned for twelve or so years. Meaning all these wanted posters were pointless because he wasn't a convict! And that meant he could potentially get out of a legal sentence because the Ministry couldn't follow their own laws!

Who knew this very situation would actually affect his personal life in any way?

"As Black has broken out now, the Minister and DMLE are reasonably certain you are his target in a bid for revenge. The Ministry is placing Dementors of Azkaban around Hogwarts this year, to better protect you, or so Fudge says. The problem is that Dementors cannot see. They have no eyes. They make their way by touch and empathy and cannot truly differentiate between friend and foe. Dumbledore has refused to allow them inside the school, but they will be lingering around and will be drawn to happiness that builds too quickly. They feast on pleasant emotions more than anything, so I ask that you be careful this year."

Mr. Weasley was the first adult in Harry's whole life, to talk to him like a person of intelligence and give it to him straight. Harry's opinion of the man was through the roof now.

"Thank you for telling me, sir."

He got a pat on the shoulder. "Good lad."

Now what to do about Sirius Black?

Hearing that Dementors hijacked the Hogwarts Expresses in search of Sirius Black left Harry concerned. If they could do this now, what else would they be allowed to do?

Those who had been in one of the compartments that got searched, Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood, described it as 'being cold and losing the ability to be cheerful'.

According to Hermione, who heard from Ginny, all three had terrible reactions and were saved by a professor who was on the train.

Harry did not like the idea of Dementors being allowed to just go wherever they wanted. Especially after what he'd read about them.

The year started about as normally as one would expect if they didn't count the Grim Reapers floating ominously a few inches off the ground outside. Dumbledore had extended their limits and they couldn't come into the grounds, but Harry doubted that would stop them. not after nearly stealing the souls of Ginny, Neville, and Luna.

In other news, they had a new DADA professor, who looked like shite every day. Harry wondered if it was right for a man obviously terminally ill, to be teaching when he should just be resting and recuperating. No one else seemed to have any thoughts on the matter though.

Malfoy was as obnoxious as always. He swaggered around, his pointy face unpleasant as usual and his bookends even bigger and more hulking than former years. They stayed away from Harry though, which was nice. The less he had to deal with them, the better off all of them would be.

His situation in Slytherin had greatly improved. There was an entirely new year of students and added with the wonder and awe of eleven year olds, thought him being a Parselmouth was the coolest thing and asked to hear him speak it the serpent's tongue now and then. It was also useful in keeping the older Slytherins in line because Harry now knew how to summon snakes and very well could and would set them on people if they annoyed him.

It was all very nice in his opinion.

"Mione, your schedule doesn't make any sense. You can't be taking all of these classes at once," he noted one afternoon. She was scheduled to take every elective course despite how they could only pick two!

She took the parchment from him and sniffed. "I've got it all worked out with McGonagall, don't worry."

"But three of these classes are at 9 AM. You physically can't make them all."

"As I said, I've got it worked out. Just trust me."

"Hey, Potter! Are you going to write out your Will before you croak!"

Okay, so Malfoy decided bothering him was a smart idea after all. Harry would just have to make it up to him on the Quidditch Pitch. After all, it wasn't his fault if Malfoy ended up getting hit by something. He was pretty certain he could pay the Weasley twins a good amount in their future match, to solely knock Bludgers toward Harry while Harry was sticking very close to Malfoy.

The twins wouldn't deny money when they were saving up for their business after all.

"Malfoy, you need to start using words in an order that makes sense to the rest of us."

Whatever reaction the blond had expected, he didn't get.

Blaise Zabini sighed and looked over to Harry to say, "Despite the fact that you're not in Divination, Professor Trelawney has predicted that one of our number will leave us forever and you have an omen of death after you. Malfoy just lacks tact or imagination."

As the blond sputtered over the insult, Harry considered the other boy's words. "Isn't she like always pissed on sherry?"


"Well then I have nothing to worry about. I fail to see how the words of a drunkard are going to affect me at all."

As a collective force, they all continued to ignore Malfoy for the rest of the lunch period. Harry loved annoying people.

After lunch they had their first CoMC class which was now taught by Hagrid. Apparently, the Ministry was trying to appease him after he was unjustly imprisoned and this was how they sought his forgiveness.

Still, Hagrid knew about about magical creatures so it made sense. And the former teacher had to retire as they didn't have many limbs left.

Dealing with Hippogriffs wasn't something he thought thirteen year olds should be doing, but if Hagrid had faith in them he'd go along with it. In fact, the book assigned for the course was more dangerous in Harry's opinion. The blasted thing nearly bit his hand off when he got it in the summer!

Neville Longbottom spent a portion of the class running from his own book as it snapped at his heels.

Hagrid very clearly and intently, told them about how Hippogriffs moved and the way they thought. How they acted in groups and when alone, with intelligence that was considered abnormal from "Beasts". It was actually pretty fascinating.

The best part was Harry, being the generally easy-going person he was, didn't notice when everyone had backed away from the paddock Dumbledore had charmed on Hagrid's request for extra protection. When Hagrid asked if anyone wanted to pet a Hippogriff, it looked like Harry had volunteered. He learned how to greet one, pet one, and then ride one. Plus what not to do around one.

Hagrid then handed out pieces of meat for those brave enough to get close to the paddock and toss some meat to the Hippogriffs. Some of the students were won over when the baby of the group squeaked and pranced around when it caught a piece of meat.

After this, Malfoy had to get too big for his britches and go against all of the clear warnings Hagrid gave them, and anger one of the Hippogriffs. He literally climbed the fence without permission, entering the personal space of creatures capable of kicking his rib cage in, and being a nuisance to them all. He also said some very nasty things to Hagrid in the process.

Hagrid even told him to get back over the fence for his own safety since it had been spelled to keep the creatures from getting out!

But nooooo!

Well, he got a broken arm for his trouble as Buckbeak, Hagrid's favourite Hippogriff, took offense to his presence.

Harry hated idiots.

Malfoy's arm was put in a cast and he acted like a child any time someone looked his way.

In order to mess with him, as his father was wealthy and had connections to the Board of Governors still, and no doubt would retaliate to something happening under Hagrid's attention, Harry wrote a letter. A simple letter signed with his own name.

To whom it may concern,

I felt the need to speak up on behalf of one Rubeus Hagrid in relation to what occurred
during his first class with the Third Year Gryffindors and Slytherins.

To start the class off, Professor Hagrid lead us all to a secluded paddock on the outskirts
of the grounds, filled with eleven Hippogriffs of varying ages and sizes. He told us which
page in our books talked about the creatures, and proceeded to enumerate the various
things that can irritate them. Two were invading personal space without permission, and
insults. Hippogriff intelligence is much talked about among Magizoologists and is so high
they are a step below the Ministry's "Being" Classification because their level of sentience
is abnormal among "Beasts".

A Hippogriff has the strength of ten regular men. We were warned to never stand behind
one, like you typically are warned when handling horses.

Professor Hagrid warned all the students to keep a clear distance of the paddock and to
only come near when he was with them. At his size, he is fully capable of holding almost
any magical creature down if it is necessary. We followed his orders.

I personally volunteered to greet a Hippogriff and Professor Hagrid coached me through
the process of bowing low and waiting for a returned bow. He pointed out how to tell if
a Hippogriff is feeling threatened by how they stomp their hooves, and taught us how to
predict their thinking by their micro-movements. Eventually I was able to pet one named
Buckbeak, and got a lesson on how to fly on his back.

No problems arose for a time. We got to toss food to the Hippogriffs and watch how they
oriented themselves around each another. We even got to observe their herd dynamics.
And then Slytherin's own troublemaker, who has managed to lose our House hundreds of
points since he started at Hogwarts, decided that he knew better than the professor, and
climbed into the paddock without permission.

Draco Malfoy looked Professor Hagrid in the eye, when he was told to rejoin the class for
his own safety, and said that he was an 'incompetent buffoon who didn't deserve to teach
here'. He then approached the nearest Hippogriff, Buckbeak, without bowing, and told it
that it 'wasn't dangerous at all and pathetic'.

Buckbeak the Hippogriff did not take this well, as anyone would when a stranger invades
their personal space. The creature backed away first, seven steps, and when Malfoy was
rude enough to persist, it reared up on its hind legs and kicked out with its front legs. For
some reason, Malfoy continued getting closer when any sane person would take this as a
warning to clear out quickly. Once he was within striking distance, Buckbeak kicked him
once in the arm, and cantered to the other side of the paddock.

It was nine seconds of Malfoy holding his arm before he threw himself on the grounds and
began faking tears over how 'the great bloody bird was killing him'. I don't know if drama
is in his blood or if it's just him, but it makes me concerned that he lacks any perception
of the passage of time. I would advise a full check-up with a Mind Healer.

From my perspective, a teen who has often been found wandering the school after hours,
vandalising the school's property, vandalising the property of other students, calling some
students 'Mudbloods', terrorising the pets of other students, and stealing the possessions of
other students, thinks himself to be far too important for rules. We were instructed on how
to act and we where to stand. Malfoy decided those rules did not apply to him. We were also
instructed on what not to do in that situation or those like it. Malfoy decided those rules did
not apply to him. He has made a habit of this attitude throughout our years at school.

I implore the Board of Governors to do some critical thinking. Professor Hagrid did his very
best to ensure our safety. He even had Headmaster Dumbledore charm the paddock so the
Hippogriffs could not jump over the fences or fly over them. They had to be led out on the
opposite side of the paddock, away from the students, before they could be released into
the air. When a student chooses to put themselves in danger by ignoring every warning he
was given, it is not the teacher's fault.

Rubeus Hagrid and the Hippogriff Buckbeak, should not be punished for the actions of one
delinquent with a bad record against him already.

Wishing you all well,
Harry Potter, Heir to the Ancient House of Potter.

He had really layered it on thick in the letter too, but Harry wasn't above kissing arse just right to get what he wanted. And he wasn't lying in any way either. Malfoy lost Slytherin so many points because he kept getting caught and it was ridiculous. He had a bad reputation for not following the rules and being untrustworthy. He'd lost a lot of Snape's favour for getting caught by McGonagall so much.

Also, as Harry was currently hailed as the hero who saved Ginny Weasley and all the muggleborns from Slytherin's Monster, the board of Governors had a more favourable opinion of him than Malfoy regardless of his Slytherin status.

When nothing happened to Hagrid or Buckbeak, Malfoy threw a fit. And, because Harry was the reason his whole plot to ruin Hagrid failed, he aimed all of his animosity in Harry's direction.

In Potions, he set up next to Harry's cauldron for the first time since ever, and proceeded to whinge and moan about how his arm hurt too much to do the necessary cutting. And what happened? Snape made Harry handle all of Malfoy's ingredients. "Potter, you will help Mr. Malfoy until I tell you to stop."

Okay then. Snape's favouritism of the prat would end up being unpleasant for all involved. Apparently Snape forgot how literally Harry could take orders.

So while he was cutting and slicing and mincing, Malfoy made dumb comments here and there, with Harry absent-mindedly nodding along.

After class, instead of following Hermione, he followed Malfoy. He took up Malfoy's bag, making the blond sputter in confusion. "What the hell, Potter?"

Harry sent him a sweet smile and said in a kind voice that certainly carried quite a ways down the corridor, "Since you have been invalided so unfortunately, you can't possibly carry your own bag any longer, Malfoy. And Professor Snape did say I'd have to help you until he told me to stop. Do you need to use the loo before we go to your next class? As your dominant arm is so terribly injured, I'll do my best to wipe you properly."

Every student within hearing distance - who were all listening in even if they tried to pretend they weren't - turned away to laugh among themselves. Some even pointed at Malfoy while they and the bookends passed.

The blond's face became even more pinched than usual and turned an ugly shade of red. He did not have the skin tone for such a colour. Something he shared with Ronald Weasley, sadly.

Harry proceeded to follow Malfoy around all morning and as he couldn't use his wand, as that would prove that he was a liar and a fake, he had to endure Harry's attentions. And Harry went everywhere he went. So close in fact that the other teen refused to go to the bathroom for fear of what Harry was willing to do.

At lunch, he patted the boy's head condescendingly and plated his food for him. And instead of letting Malfoy feed himself, Harry did that too, holding the fork and the spoon and cooing every time he ate another bite.

"Potter, what are you doing?" Snape demanded, finally coming over to the table to see what was going on.

Harry beamed at the man. "I'm doing exactly as you told me, sir!"

"Speak sense, boy!"

"But sir," said Harry with a look of total confusion that made him appear perfectly innocent, "you said in Potions class, that I had to help Malfoy until you said to stop. I took this as an order to follow him around and be his replacement arm since he can't write his assignments, cut his ingredients, use his own utensils, wipe himself, or wash himself without assistance. He's practically been rendered powerless in this place, sir! We can't just leave the disabled to suffer without aid, and I thought it was very nice of you to suggest such a thing as helping him out! I hope we can make things more accessible for all disabled people from now on."

And Harry's embarrassing explanation seemed to be enough as Malfoy rushed to his feet and threw the sling down on the table to yell, "I AM NOT POWERLESS! I AM NOT DISABLED! MY ARM HASN'T BEEN BROKEN IN THREE DAYS! LEAVE ME ALONE!" He waved his arms around for good measure just to prove himself.

Dead silence met his yelling. He'd just admitted to lying for three days about being unable to do his homework and classwork. Snape looked thunderous and Malfoy's face went red again as his mind finally caught up to everything.

Mickey G. stood from her seat at the Head Table and said, "Ten points from Slytherin and detention, Mr. Malfoy. Three days for the days of classwork you skipped out on. Mr. Potter, you can leave him to his own devices."

"But Professor Snape hasn't yet told me to sto-"

"You can stop!" Snape hissed, his glare practically telling Harry to challenge him.

Now, Harry had very little self-preservation, but even he knew when to pick and choose his battles.

"Of course, sir."

And that was how, for the second time in a single week, Harry managed to ruin Malfoy's day.

He wondered if there was a way to do it a third time before the week was up.

After lunch they had their first DADA class with Professor Remus Lupin. The man looked haggard and not like someone who should be teaching children. Teaching was stressful and he looked like he needed a holiday on a beach somewhere. For the rest of his life, preferably.

Lupin arrived after they did and gestured to the large wardrobe on the other side of the room. It jostled suddenly, and the students all flinched back in shock. "Our first lesson is what is inside that wardrobe," the man said calmly. "Can anyone venture a guess as to what it might be?"

"A Boggart," one of the Gryffindors that Harry wasn't familiar with, said. All he knew was that was the one who was dating the one that exploded everything and liked Rum too much.

"Exactly, Dean! Today I am going to teach you how to counter Boggarts."

Harry raised his hand.

"Yes, Harry?"

"Sir, aren't they considered Beasts? I know they aren't Beings, so shouldn't they be taught in Care of Magical Creatures?" he asked, curious and a bit confused.

Lupin looked thrilled at the question and his scarred face settled into a smile. "A good question, Harry! You see, as Boggarts are not born, they are much like Dementors and Poltergeists. All three feed on emotions, though different kinds, and none are born, they are made when the certain emotion that powers them, appears somewhere in mass quantities. As they cannot be killed and haven't been born, they are amortal and have been given the Non-Being status. So technically you would not learn about them in your Care of Magical Creatures class."


"Five points to Slytherin for intelligent observation as well."

Nice. His first awarded points outside of Quidditch victories.

"Now, who can explain what a Boggart looks like?"

"No one knows, sir," answered Hermione, making Harry jump a bit as she had not been beside him a moment ago. "They take on the form of whatever a particular person fears the most. That's what makes them so dangerous."

"Exactly! Five points to Gryffindor, Hermione."

Lupin instructed them on the spell to handle a Boggart. As they could not be killed or destroyed, they had to be beaten by laughter. And then they would either flee, or they could be distracted long enough to be locked inside something and left there until they dissipated on their own.

Riddikulus was the spell. Envisioning turning something you fear into something you found funny and then performing a Transfiguration spell on the Boggart, would see what you imagined, come to fruition. The problem was that Harry didn't know what he feared. Not Sirius Black. Not Voldemort, especially after the Chamber Incident. Not even the Basilisk.

There hadn't been anything remotely traumatising in his life in his opinion. He'd learned to handle his problems himself after all.

Lupin encouraged them to line up and go one by one and Harry realised, he didn't need to have some deep fear because half of his fellows were scared of things like clowns and spiders. It actually made him feel better to be honest.

When it was Harry's turn, the Boggart spun in place as it shifted between colours, trying to find something to use against him. The shifting continued for a minute and Harry looked toward the professor, who seemed as equally confused.

"Perhaps, Harry, you have no fears at all?" Lupin asked.

He shrugged. "I'm not sure. I lack the ability to feel shame but I don't think that means I'll lack the ability to feel fear as well." He'd been afraid before, he was certain. The fire in primary school. The pain he felt when Voldy attacked him in First Year, though those were situational.

Eventually, the blob of the Boggart shrieked and dashed back into the wardrobe, closing the door behind itself.

"I have never seen that happen before," admitted Lupin in wonder.

So Harry was weird. Great.

Hallowe'en rolled around pretty quickly and it was actually good this year because they got to go to Hogsmeade! Harry had taken out money and divided it up evenly when he'd stayed in Diagon Alley in the summer, so he'd have a set amount to spend at each Hogsmeade trip.

As Harry never got to splurge on anything in his life and didn't really start having normal childhood experiences until he was eleven, he liked to think he deserved to spoil himself a little. So long as he wasn't obvious with his spending habits, then it wouldn't look like he was bragging about being wealthy.

There was a big difference between how he managed his wealth and how Malfoy managed his wealth. Harry liked to keep that distance obvious.

Hermione was gushing about the bookshop before they'd even made it there. "They even have an owl-order business! So as long as I get a subscription to their magazine, I can order from school whenever I want!"

"I'm happy that you're happy, Mione."

Honeyduke's was the place to be in Harry's opinion. It had everything one could possibly want.

And it was there that he ran into none other than Luna Lovegood. While he knew next to nothing about her personally, he knew people's opinions of her, and they weren't very positive save for Ginny Weasley.

While they'd never met before or anything, Harry still didn't think bullying her was okay. So when he heard some teen boys joking about 'Looney Lovegood' being 'a poor lay probably', he might have lightly hexed them to have pink hair for days. It was a simple spell, really, but it was one only Slytherins knew because a Slytherin developed it and it was not to leave their House in any way. The one who told would be found and punished.

Hearing their screams of horror had been wonderful. For one thing, Luna was a year below Harry, meaning she was twelve. Seventeen year old boys thinking about sexual anything with a twelve year old was a problem and a half. Literal adults joking about having sex with a child. Gross. Stay away from her.

Furthermore, the nickname ticked him off as well. So she was secure in her own skin? Enough to be comfortable being herself? Why was this an issue for some people?

Anyway, he finally got to meet her in person as he found her perusing a wall of sweets that looked like candied ears.

"Hello, Harry Potter," the blonde said before he'd even gotten a word out. She hadn't been looking at him either and nothing around her was reflective, but somehow she knew it was him.


"Hi, Luna."

"The bars of Honeyduke's Chocolate are on the other side of the shop, you know."

He looked over and indeed, they were. How she knew those were his favourite, he had no idea. The Diagon Alley branch had seen a decent amount of sales from him in the summer. "Thanks. I'm just looking to try some new stuff to try out."

"Oh, that's nice."

She sounded like air, and swayed a bit like an invisible wind had her blowing to and fro.

"I hope you have fun, Harry."

And then she was gone.

She wasn't the usual sort of person, but Harry didn't think that meant she deserved to be picked on by her peers. Shame on all of them.

Being woken up in the middle of the night because Sirius Black apparently tried to break into Gryffindor Tower, was annoying. Having to sleep in the Great Hall with a bunch of people he did not trust was even more annoying.

And if he was supposedly after Harry, wouldn't he know that Harry was not Sorted into Gryffindor? And if he wasn't after Harry, for whatever reason he wouldn't be, what exactly was he after in Gryffindor Tower? Harry couldn't think of anything they had up there that would be interesting. It was a bloody school full of children!

Hermione was so surly the next morning that her frizzy hair defied gravity all day long, and he understood perfectly.

Time passed pretty quickly in the castle. Quidditch training had begun and Slytherin had a match against Hufflepuff coming up soon, right before the hols began. Malfoy was as unbearable as usual and the new Captain, Jugson, was equally annoying, but knew not to mess with the resident ParselSeeker.

In his spare time, Harry had mastered the Wronski Feint and couldn't wait to use it in an official match! He wanted to drive someone into the ground so bad!

The day of the match saw some pretty shite weather awaiting them. Hermione had cast an Impervious Charm on his robes and glasses so the snow and freezing rain would just slide right off of him. It was nice when he added a Warming Charm to the mix. None of his teammates thought of doing the same and as he wasn't their parent, it wasn't his job to save them from their own stupidity.

The Hufflepuff Seeker was Cedric Diggory. He was unfairly handsome, much like Tom Riddle was, but a lot nicer. Sometimes it was hard not to look at him because just had these cheekbones that shouldn't be possible. He was also great at Quidditch because he'd creamed the Gryffindor Seeker whose name Harry did not remember.

Diggory gave him a kind smile across the way as they waited for Madam Hooch to begin the game. While the other members of the Slytherin Quidditch Team cheated on the regular, Harry never did. He was actually good at Quidditch so he didn't have to cheat, and everyone else knew that. At the very least, Harry was an honest player and that was that.

Also, Diggory was good at Quidditch. It wasn't that Gryffindor's Seeker was terrible. The girl was rather decent, she just got duped really hard because Diggory was older than her by several years and knew more manoeuvres.

Hooch did her usual speech about having a 'clean game' and then she released the Quaffle and the game commenced!

Harry ascended well over the match so he could have a clear view of the pitch. Though by clear, he meant more in being able to see the whole ring and less about seeing clearly. The storm they were playing in was raging hard around them and the snow flew this way and that, seemingly with no purpose other than to make his life hell.

Unlike Cho Chang, the Ravenclaw Seeker, Diggory did not hang on Harry's arse the whole match. He was flying around, dodging Bludgers from Malfoy and actually looking for the Snitch himself. It was refreshing to have an opponent like that. It also meant that Harry most likely wouldn't be getting to use the Wronski Feint on Diggory because he wasn't the type of player who would fall for it.

Bit of a bummer but it was okay.

In all the white and grey, and bit of gold suddenly flickered in the corner of his vision and he shot off in the direction he'd seen it, spotting the Snitch just barely among the clouds.

He could hear Lee Jordan of Gryffindor announcing over the speaker that Harry had finally seen the Snitch and was in a chase. The gold ball lead him down around the stands, weaving around them to avoid crashing as it moved up and down, seemingly riding the air like a wave.

A Bludger would have taken his head off if he hadn't rolled under it in time. Bludgers made sounds like they were little gremlin things that were trying hard not to swear. In the storm it was harder than normal to hear them coming.

Still, he'd escaped a dent in his skull and that was what mattered.

In the commotion, he'd lost momentary sight of the Snitch, only to spot it again, but this time it was Diggory in pursuit.

The Slytherin joined the Hufflepuff and the two dipped and swerved appropriately to keep up with the charmed ball. Diggory never taunted Harry or tried to elbow him out of the way. He remained focused on the prize and nothing more.

That creepy gremlin voice entered Harry's range of hearing again, coming from his right this time, and he ducked down to avoid the hit, flattening himself against his broom. Diggory was unfortunate enough to take the hit he hadn't heard coming, to the head, and was sent toppling off his broom.

Abandoning the chase, Harry dove for the falling teen, his superior broom catching up to him easy enough for Harry to use the shaft of his Nimbus 2001 to catch Diggory's midsection. There was the blowing of a whistle and the stands went quiet as the game came to a halt. Harry didn't even hesitate to fly Diggory over to where Madam Pomfrey was known to sit when games were on.

The adults in that section of the stands cleared the way so Diggory could be placed on a bench and given emergency attention. His head was bleeding and not looking very good.

"Hufflepuff doesn't have a reserve," Harry said to McGonagall who had come closer. "Does the match really have to continue?"

She nodded. "Not even a death can stop a match, unfortunately. Catching the Snitch is the only way to end it. The longest ever game was days long."


In the end, Harry caught the Snitch and managed to earn a pretty decent reputation for himself. Other players, not just Slytherins, would have let Diggory fall, preferring to catch the Snitch instead. Harry wanted to win, but he didn't want anyone to die. Death wasn't a price worth the victory of a simple game.

Christmas came and with it, a fancy new broom! That didn't have the name of the sender on it. Harry hadn't ordered a broom either and Hermione was not capable of buying him a Firebolt because those things were priced upon request. Like lobster at a restaurant but worse.

He slipped on his Weasley jumper, smiling at how warm it was, and opened his other gifts.

From Hermione he got some Sugar Quills. He appreciated her support of his addiction to sweets. They had double the use too! In return, he'd gotten her a voucher worth 25 Galleons at the bookshop in Hogsmeade. He wasn't sure what to get her so he supplied her with the money so she could choose herself.

Luna Lovegood sent Harry what looked to be a necklace of bottle caps from Butterbeer. Her note said it was charmed to keep evil intentions away. He'd have to pay her back somehow.

Finally, Mrs. Weasley sent him another gift, which he didn't expect. It was a box full of homemade food, similar to what he got for his birthday, but more holiday oriented. He loved all of it.

It was a good day.

"I'm hosting a raffle!" Harry announced on the morning after everyone returned to school. In his hand he had his Nimbus 2001 and in his other was a hat with an Undetectable Extension Charm on it that he got Flitwick to cast.

The students automatically paid attention, eyeing the broom with interest.

"I got a new broom for Christmas and don't need this anymore. Keeping it seems greedy and I don't need any money, so I'm giving it away to one lucky student. The base worth is 500 Galleons. As Nimbus themselves added special details once they learned that I was buying it, it is a one-of-a-kind broom. There is a lightning bolt in the bristles, my name on the shaft, and a small lightning bolt at the tip. I then signed it for good measure, should the winner decide to sell it. All you have to do is write your name on a piece of parchment and put it in this hat. One name per person and no sticking charms or I'll burn the pieces that have them and you'll lose your only chance."

Four seconds passed before the Hall exploded into activity, students rummaging through their bags to get out their writing utensils. Harry set the hat down on the floor in the process and turned the broom over so it could hover in the air for all to see. Its unique design stood out even more that way.

It was probably worth the same amount as the Firebolt was now after he added his personal signature. The obsession over things owned by famous people never made sense to him.

Eventually, the Hall waited with baited breath as Harry shook the hat around and them dumped everything onto the floor. The pile sat there waiting, and he took his glasses off so he couldn't see any names as he bent down to shift through the hundreds of entries. He went all the way to the bottom and even spread the pieces out to give everyone a fair chance.

Finally, he stopped on one and picked it up. The words were blurry.

He'd forgotten that he needed his glasses to see.

There was some laughter as he struggled to get them on again. "And the winner is… George Weasley!"

The whole Hall surprisingly exploded into applause, even the Slytherins. Apparently, winning such an award was a cause for celebration, even if you didn't like the person who won it.

The ginger stumbled on up to accept the broom and Harry smiled at him. "Congrats, George."

"This will really help us open our shop the moment we graduate," the older teen told him quietly. "You won't be angry if we sell it?"

He patted the redhead on the back. "I signed it so it'd be worth more if the winner did sell it. Might as well get the most you can out of it. It's in perfect condition so sell as high as you can manage and get to inventing."

"Thanks, Harry," the teen said softly.

Time passed on. DADA was still easy. Potions was still boring. History of Magic was still annoying. Nothing much happened.

Until the Slytherin/Gryffindor match, that is.

The day before, Harry had pulled the Weasley twins aside and handed over a small bag of Galleons. "I need you to aim for me only tomorrow. Malfoy's been a right twat all year long and I vowed to make him regret being up my arse so much once we had a match against Gryffindor. I will remain by him for the majority of the match. I want you to send every Bludger my way. I will dodge them and hopefully get Malfoy hit instead. If you get called out for focusing too much on me, say Malfoy was mocking your family's financial status again. No one will question it since he runs his mouth a lot."

And the twins had shared a look and shrugged. "Sure." They accepted the money easily.

And so they had the funniest game ever in Harry's opinion. It was just a lot of him hovering around Draco and letting him get hit by Bludgers he didn't see coming.

"What the hell, Potter?!" the blond demanded several minutes and four hits in.

"Let this be a lesson in getting out of my arse, Malfoy!"

He then caught the Snitch, but Slytherin only won by ten points in the end because Gryffindor had better Chasers.

Harry sent a wink in the twins' direction and followed his team to the showers. It had been a pretty short match but it was nice to see Malfoy get his arse handed to him multiple times.

The entire castle was put on high alert and everyone had to have a sleepover in the Great Hall again.

Why? Because Sirius Black broke in again except this time he managed to get inside Gryffindor Tower!

That was the weird bit. Ronald Weasley awoke to find a scraggly man looming over him with a knife. And the portrait guarding the tower admitted to letting him in! 'Cause Neville Longbottom had to write the passwords down because the substitute guardian of the entrance kept changing it multiples times a day.

Neville was disgraced, though it didn't seem fair to Harry. They should have chosen a better guardian to replace the former one that was all slashed up. Simple.

Why Weasley though? He and Harry were not friends. They never spoke to each other. Hermione was quite obviously the one Harry would be hurt or blackmailed over. And Black wouldn't have gotten the wrong dorm because he'd been a Gryffindor once upon a time and knew which dorm was which.

It was all very confusing to consider. So while everyone was looking at Harry in concern, Harry was just laying on the floor, wondering what was going on.

His contemplating was halted by Fred and George Weasley, who laid their bedding beside his and squished him between them.

"We have something to show you," the one on his left whispered. "Wait 'til everyone's sleeping."

And so he did. Half an hour later, one of the twins cast a small Lumos and the other pulled out a piece of folded parchment while casting a Silencing Charm around them.

Placing their wands on the parchment, they whispered, "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." At once, ink seemed to bleed across the parchment revealing words and pictures.

Messrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs are proud to present the Marauder's Map.

There were little footsteps with names all over the opening page. Most were all congregated in what was the Great Hall on the map, just like the school was for safety reasons.

"We owe them a lot," said the twin on his left. "This map is never wrong. Everyone on the grounds is immediately noted by the map, even if they're under Polyjuice or an Invisibility Cloak like yours."

That was some impressive bit of magic! It must have taken forever to make.

"We nicked it from Filch's office in our first year. Listen, we saw something concerning tonight. When ickle Ronniekins says a murderer tried to kill him, we take him seriously. So we checked the map for Black and found him seconds before his feet disappeared near this passage by the Whomping Willow. He had to be moving fast because Ron woke everyone up quickly and you can't Apparate inside the grounds."

"Shouldn't you show the teachers this?" Harry asked as it seemed the smart thing to do.

"And lose our greatest aid in not getting caught pranking? Never. But that actually isn't the most important thing. Since most of us are in the Great Hall, there are few names elsewhere. So check out this name by the Kitchens in the Hufflepuff Basement," the twin on his right said, gesturing toward the bottom of the parchment.

Peter Pettigrew. Walking around. Little feet of Peter Pettigrew were walking around very quickly.

"How? He's dead." Mr. Weasley said Black blew him up!

The twins nodded. "That's what we thought. But up in the tower, when Black had gone, we checked the map quick and found Pettigrew's name in Ron's dorm. In Ron's bed. And it fled just as quickly as Black's, but in the opposite direction."

"Can the map make a mistake?"

"Not as far as we've seen," they answered together grimly.

If Pettigrew was alive and Black knew about it, then Black was trying to kill him. Why else would he be in Gryffindor Tower if Harry wasn't there? But maybe, if his supposed victim had lived on, maybe he wanted revenge on Pettigrew first?

Why would a grown man be hiding in a child's bedroom though? That was a concern. That sounded so many shades of wrong.

"Perhaps tomorrow we can try and find him," Harry suggested. "Maybe that will make this make sense."

The twins agreed and the map was stowed away for the rest of the night, but Harry's mind remained fully alert.

Pettigrew had received a posthumous Order of Merlin Third Class for his 'heroic efforts' in facing down a mad killer. If he truly wasn't dead, then why didn't he come forward already? He'd be welcomed with open arms and no questions. How did Black find out he was still alive even?

Nothing made sense.

Finding Pettigrew ended up being easier than Harry thought it would be.

After being accosted by Professor Trelawney and getting a hammy prophecy out of her about servants rejoining masters, he met up with the twins and together, the trio looked over the map closely.

With three pairs of eyes looking in different places, they found him once again near the Kitchens.

"Wands out, wits sharp, men," Harry ordered.

They scoured the halls carefully, the torches providing them decent lighting as they followed the feet of Pettigrew down the corridors.

Eventually, they were supposedly right behind the man, but couldn't see any people around. An Invisibility Cloak perhaps? A ghost with no form? Was that even possible?

And just then, motion out of the corner of his eye caught Harry's attention, his Quidditch training coming through. He spotted a rat bursting into a run and in that moment, one of the twins said, "He's on the move!"

A man-rat? Well… McGonagall could turn into a cat because she was an Animagus.

His eyes went wide and he sent a Stunner toward the rat, watching fall over.

"He stopped," a twin noted while the other looked to where Harry had just cast his spell.

"It's Scabbers! Ron's pet rat!" On the map, George's named was practically on top of Pettigrew now. "He keeps going missing a lot and Ron's been attacking everyone over how their pets must have killed him."

"George, I think that's Pettigrew. He must be an Animagus. Can you see McGonagall's name on the map even in cat form?"

Both twins nodded."It's how we avoid her when she patrols at night," said Fred.

"If that's really Pettigrew, then he's been sleeping in the same beds as our brothers for years," George noted with a frown.

Ew! Paedophilia was not okay!

What to do with him though?

"We could use him as bait," Harry suggested. "If Black is really after him, then we could leave him out somewhere and then capture him and Black at once. I don't care if Pettigrew is considered a hero for facing down Black, the fact that he slept with children bothers me and he deserves prison too."

The twins nodded. "We'll go with whatever you suggest."

In the end, it went a bit differently than expected.

Mostly because Hermione ended up involved when she found them skulking about and demanded answers, and then she suggested they visit Lupin.

"He was friends with Black, Pettigrew, and your father. He would know if this is really him and could probably reverse the transfiguration too."

And so they brought the unconscious rat to their DADA professor and got to see him go white with horror upon seeing the creature. "Where did you find that?"

"It's Ron Weasley's pet rat," said Harry.

"Used to belong to Percy," Fred said. "He found him in our garden twelve years ago. Felt bad about the missing toe so he took him in."

"Professor," Hermione said, "you know who it is, don't you?"

Lupin nodded very slowly, looking confused. "But he's supposed to be dead."

"Yeah, but they only found a finger. Did the Ministry know Pettigrew's an Animagus?" asked Harry.

A negative ended up being the answer.

"We thought you'd know what to do, sir," explained Hermione as the rat was placed on Lupin's desk. "You see, we don't understand why he's been hiding in a child's bedroom this whole time if Black was behind bars and couldn't get to him. If he was in Gryffindor Tower all year, then Black must have been after him and not Harry. We thought he just got the House wrong but it makes more sense as Scabbers has been sleeping beside Ron for years, and Ron and Harry aren't friends so there's no reason for Black to attack him."

Pettigrew was reverted back to his true self, which was far more rat-like that Harry had expected. Or maybe twelve years as a rat just did that to a person.

He was still unconscious thankfully and was indeed missing a finger like the reports would confirm. But what really stood out was the weird mark on his left forearm that looked like a faded tattoo of a snake being eaten by a skull.

The look of horror on Lupin's face made Harry curious. "I… think we need to get Professor Snape in here. He has Truth Serum aplenty and experience with these things." Lupin then waved his wand in a complicated pattern and a silvery light came out. It was in the shape of a dog, and felt warm and inviting. "Severus, please come to my classroom and bring a Truth Serum. Mr. Potter and his friends are also here and we need your help."

And then the dog vanished into the wall.

"What was that?" Harry asked, wanting to see more of it.

"A Patronus. Probably one of the best charms to exist. They are the best way to fight off a Dementor because they're built on happy memories and Dementors love feeding on such things."

He wanted to learn it!

Snape appeared moments later to find Peter Pettigrew hogtied in the middle of the floor of Lupin's classroom. His face turned even more sour than usual whenever in Lupin's presence.

"What the hell?" the man demanded, gesturing to the unconscious rat man.

"Peter is a rat Animagus. He's been hiding with the Weasleys and sleeping with their children for twelve years. Is the mark on his arm real?" Lupin asked, looking deadly pale.

And that's when Snape too noticed the mark and hissed like an angered cat. "The Dark Mark. You don't get the mark by accident. The Dark Lord marked his followers personally."

So it was a mark of Voldy then? How dramatic. The obsession with snakes was so weird.

Snape approached Pettigrew and used a spell to force the entire Truth Serum down his throat. He then revived the man who fell into a stiff trance.

"Are you Peter Pettigrew?" Snape asked.


"Did you attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?"


"Were you in the same year as James Potter, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, Lily Evans, and Severus Snape?"

They'd all gone to school together? The fact that Harry never even assumed it was disappointing judging by the man's age.


"Did you willingly become a Death Eater?"


Lupin's next inhale caused him to choke and he had to turn away to handle it.

Snape looked ready to commit murder.

"Did the Dark Lord mark you before graduation?"


"What was your duty?"

"To spy on Dumbledore's Order."

While interested in knowing what Dumbledore's Order was, Harry was caught between watching Snape's look of devastation and Lupin's anguish.

"Was Sirius Black a Death Eater?"

"As far as I know, no."


"Do you know who the Potters' Secret Keeper was?"


Both Snape and Lupin had similar reactions, but both said different names at the same time.

Lupin said 'James' and Snape said 'Lily'. There was something extra there and Harry was curious to know more. Like how closely did Lily Evans get to Snape for him to be so hung up over the circumstances of her death?

"We need the Headmaster. There's enough evidence for this louse to be found guilty in a trial," Snape said tightly. Harry knew his eyes weren't deceiving him when he saw a small shine covering the man's dark eyes.

And the situation only escalated from there.

When the Minister appeared with some Aurors and a reporter from The Daily Prophet, and saw Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew sitting in Dumbledore's office, he honestly tried to order a Dementor to be brought in immediately to give Sirius the Kiss.

"Are you not going to question how a dead man is supposedly alive?" Harry asked before Dumbledore could scold the Minister like he was a child. "Or how he was found sleeping with little boys?"

Fudge sputtered, "Black is a criminal, my boy. A dangerous convict that must be dealt with!"

"Really? Because in order to be a convict one has to be given a trial where a judge or jury declares them guilty, thereby convicting them. But as no such trial occurred, he is technically not a convict and therefore broke no laws by leaving Azkaban because he was being held there illegally in the first place. I doubt there are papers about his sentencing because he received no official sentence. And isn't he the Heir to the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black? So you illegally imprisoned a very wealthy man without due process and he could probably sue you."

The Aurors and Minister all looked like they'd been slapped with a dead fish. And Harry loved it!

Sirius looked to be astonished at his reasoning.

Harry plowed onward, uncaring for others and their feelings, "And Minister, you already have a problem on your hands from dozens of people being in prison without proper conviction, whether they were guilty or not, and then failing to actually convict them during their trials because they did time illegally and were able to get out of it. This isn't a good look for you."

The woman from The Daily Prophet, dressed in her acid green robes, was writing furiously on a notepad. He didn't care much. Maybe she'd at least drag Fudge to hell and back.

Dumbledore took over then, gesturing to Pettigrew. "It seems Peter was the Potters' Secret Keeper. He even has the Dark Mark. Sirius does not."

And it only got better/worse from there.

So Sirius being declared a free man was awesome, but the man had to get some serious help in St. Mungo's before he was allowed to be around people. Harry, Hermione, and the twins got points for uncovering a 'grave mistake' and saving a man's life.

The End of the Year Exams were easy. The Quidditch Final was also an easy win for Slytherin.

Things were looking very good. Until a reporter exposed Lupin as a werewolf. And honestly, while him missing classes every month made sense now, Harry didn't see what the big deal was. Still, Lupin resigned quickly afterward to avoid being fired by the Board of Governors, and had to leave Hogwarts on his own.

Then to make it even worse, Pettigrew escaped custody somehow by turning into a rat and slipping down the sewers. Exactly what he'd done when he'd framed Sirius all those years ago.

Harry wanted to stab someone terribly. Malfoy ended up being his pincushion.

He also learned about Hermione being allowed to time-travel all year long to make all of her classes. So she was even older than before and would get to use magic outside of school even earlier than before!

Thankfully she was dropping half of her electives and would no longer get to use the Time-Turner. Meaning she had more time to fuck around now.

If everything panned out as it should, Harry would be formally adopted by Sirius when he was allowed to leave St. Mungo's with a clean bill of health. The man was his godfather and by rights, should have been the one to raise him.

Never having to go back to Durzkaban again was such an appealing thought.

Hermione was happy for him, which was appreciated.

The Weasley twins ended up becoming his friends through all the drama. He regretted not befriending them sooner as they were awesome. Also, it was really easy to tell them apart now. Different freckle patterns, different eye shades, different moles, etc… Admittedly, he'd swapped between staring at them and then at the map to memorise their individual differences. The map never lied.

News about the Quidditch World Cup Final came in the post that Hermione sent him. Vernon didn't want Harry accepting any freakish mail just in case one of the neighbors saw the moving photographs. So Hermione sent him clippings from her own paper when she thought the news was important.

The temptation to purchase tickets to the event was overpowering.

Thankfully, he didn't have to when he got a letter from the twins on his birthday, explaining that Mr. Weasley had helped an important official involved in the planning of the QWCF and got an offer for free seats in the top box for his family and chosen friends.

Mr. Weasley invited Harry and Hermione along. Harry because he was probably still hung up on the Ginny thing, and Hermione for helping expose Pettigrew as well.

Hermione thought Quidditch was uninteresting unless Harry was playing, but she said she wouldn't refuse the offer. It was a chance to learn something new about the magical world and how they handled such big sporting events. She had thoughts and opinions.

Harry just wanted to see the difference between school and professional Quidditch. Professionals had the best brooms of course, but what was the skill gap like?

Mr. Weasley was awesome for thinking to invite kids that weren't even his own. Maybe he should get the man some muggle things for his collection.

[YEAR 4]

When Mr. Weasley came to pick him up with the twins, destroying the fake fireplace that Petunia had loved so much, Harry presented him with a gift basket just full of random non-magical nonsense. Some toys, others were books and tools of all sorts.

The man had been over the moon about it.

Mrs. Weasley was happy to see him and asked if he was hungry when he fell into her kitchen through the Floo which he found out he really sucked at using.

"I'm fine for now," he reassured her.

And then he met Bill Weasley and Charlie Weasley. Bill was hot. Like a muggle rock star in all leather with his super cool, dragon fang earring and a swagger Harry wasn't used to seeing.

That made it Tom Riddle, Cedric Diggory, Cho Chang, and now Bill Weasley. Harry's interests knew no divide.

"It's a pleasure to meet you both," he told the older Weasleys, smiling and shaking their hands. Charlie's grip could probably crush a glass bottle without any trouble, holy hell. He wasn't tall, but he was certainly stocky.

Fred and George looped their arms through his and began towing him away. "You're staying in our room. We've got so much to show you."

And show him they did.

The twins had a bunk bed that had obviously been reworked to have three beds instead of two. The topmost bed had metal bars of a different colour and the sheets were of the same set.

"Usually whenever Lee Jordan stays over, he takes that one," said George. "Dad found the frame and did a little fiddling around with it so it's safe to use. Mum was going to put you in Ron's room but we managed to save you from his snoring."

Also the fact that they barely knew each other so that would have been weird.

"Hermione's staying with Ginny and Ginny is a right mess over it. We think she's developed a crush on you both since you saved her. Like, she was obsessed with the Boy-Who-Lived hero thing already, but being saved by you and your best friend was like heaven or something."

Now if she fancied Hermione, it made sense. Hermione was awesome and interesting. Harry was pretty boring and only had a famous name. Mione had talent and determination and patience out the arse.

"Now let's show you our stash!" the twins said, devilish grins on their faces.

And that was when Harry was introduced to Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes and the miniature workshop the twins had in their bedroom.

Death Eaters attacking the World Cup sucked.

It had all been going so well!

They'd left early in the morning. Something about getting the whole experience or whatever. Met up with Cedric Diggory and his dad. Harry hadn't personally seen the other teen since the Quidditch match of doom, but Madam Pomfrey had set him to rights and he looked no less handsome than before and was still just as hard not to look at as before.

He even beamed when he saw Harry and pulled him into a tight hug. Diggory was one of those touchy-feely people. Then again, he was a Hufflepuff so it made sense. Harry expected that kind of fluffy attitude from the Puffs. You know, peace and love and kum ba yah.

And while the wix involved in the planning of the major event while keeping the muggles unaware, proved to be absolute dunderheads, it was still pretty cool to see all the people and tents and the big stadium erected for this purpose alone.

The match had been even better, with Ireland winning but Bulgaria's Seeker Viktor Krum catching the Snitch. Professional games were intense. They were longer and the plays were dangerous as hell.

There was far less scoring involved because the Chasers ended up going back and forth so much. The Beaters wasted no time in knocking the other team's player out as much as possible. Reserves were used to fill positions while main players received medical attention. And the minimal amount of cheating made Harry wonder why his House felt the need to cheat all the time when they could obviously win without it if they tried harder.

Everything was great, save for that momentary meeting with the Malfoy family, in which Lucius Malfoy was a big jerk to everyone around him, but in that subtle...ish Slytherin way, and Draco's arrogance seemed to grow three sizes when in his father's presence. The mom said nothing so Harry didn't know about her, but she looked like a snob and he wanted to shove her face in a pile of mud just to see how she'd react.

After the match, things went to shite.

Suddenly there was fire and screaming and people in weird robes with masks that looked like the American KKK in reverse. It didn't take much thought to realise that those were Death Eaters. How unoriginal.

Just when it all had been going so well!

And to make it even worse, Harry got separated from the Weasleys somehow and ended up on his own in a crowd of people. He'd been unsure of what to do until he spotted a familiar head of pale, greasy hair. Malfoy really needed to get his hands on some new product because his head should not look like that. How much gel was he using?

Draco was crouched between a barrel of rainwater and a tent that was most certainly not one he'd own. It was too drab for such a rich arsehole to be near willingly. He had his hands over his head to protect his skull in case he got hit with something, and looked panicked and afraid.

While Harry didn't like the blond, it was obvious that he was not a part of the proceedings or even knew they'd be happening. He wasn't brave enough for this kind of thing.

Harry rushed to his side and began yanking him up. "Come on, we need to get out of public sight before we're the only people left that they can see."

"Potter?! Let go of me! Go away!"

"Do you want to get found, Malfoy?" Harry demanded, thinking that he'd at least be reasonable when their lives were in danger. "They're attacking everyone here, not just a specific few."

Malfoy tried to pull himself free of Harry's grip and hissed again, "Let go of me! Leave me alone!"

And all at once they were very much aware of the silence around them, and found themselves among a smattering of slowly burning tents and cinders. There was smoke rising all around them, partially blocking out the dark sky.

In the distance, both immediately noted the lone figure of a man in a long coat, raising a wand to the sky and shouting, "Morsmordre!" At once, the Dark Mark appeared in the sky in bright green and yellow colours.

Then the man turned and saw them, and Harry let go of Malfoy's arm just as he'd ordered. "Well, have fun, Draco. Don't die."

Harry had always been a fast runner and he made it several meters away before Malfoy even realised what had happened.

"Get back here!" the blond demanded.

"You told me to go away and leave you alone, Malfoy! That means you don't get the benefit of my superior dueling to keep you safe!"

Still, Harry didn't stop his Housemate from following him. He might be a bit of a twat most of the time but Harry didn't want him dead or anything. And if the Death Eater did in fact pursue, then he'd do his best to fight the man off.

Eventually they made it to the other side of the grounds with no one in sight and the fires had begun to down.

"You're mad," Malfoy breathed, collapsing to the ground to better catch his breath.

"No, I'm smart. I'm good at DADA, best in our year in fact, but that doesn't mean I can go against an adult easily. The best bet was to flee and as I'm fast out of necessity, I knew I'd make it."

Live to fight another day and all that rot.

"Besides, we're alive! Those twats weren't differentiating between targets, you realise. They were hitting everyone. You being a Pureblood wouldn't have mattered. Besides, you're so filthy they wouldn't have known it was you anyway. I can't even tell who you are by your face as there's so much dirt and soot on you."

That revelation made the blond look ready to pass out. Maybe this was the beginning of him finally realising that everyone looked the same on the inside and that blood meant nothing in the end?

"How long are we going to be stuck here?" Malfoy demanded with a pout.

Harry shrugged. "No idea. I'd send up red sparks to get attention, but the problem is that those Death Eaters could still be out there and the sparks could draw them in, just as much as they could a team of Aurors, so are we really willing to make that choice just to break the statute about underage sorcery?"

Malfoy whimpered at the thought. He really did not have a strong constitution. Harry hoped he wasn't planning on being an Auror in the future.

It was after an hour of waiting and watching their surroundings, when Malfoy finally asked, "Do you have any food?"

And that was when Harry was reminded that he had his overnight bag still! It was a simple duffel bag and he'd only brought it along because they were supposed to be camping so why would he need a lot of things? Still, he did in fact, have a few snacks from Mrs. Weasley left as he'd wanted to make them last as long as possible.

He tossed a wrapped, minced pie at Malfoy and opened the other. It was discovered that Harry had a weakness for them, almost as strong as his weakness for treacle tart, so Mrs. Weasley made a bunch before they left and then stuffed them in his bag. She was an angel.

"What is this?" Malfoy asked after a bite. He looked shocked.

"A minced pie. Mrs. Weasley made a whole bunch of them because I like them so much."

No matter how snooty Malfoy was, he was apparently too hungry to stop eating free food. And it was good food anyway, whether he liked the person who created it, or he didn't.

Another hour of waiting seemed to finally see them rescued. And Mr. Weasley was among the group of people who were searching for survivors!

"Harry! Harry, are you alright?!" the man asked, looking him over in concern.

"I'm fine, sir. Draco and I managed to outrun a Death Eater and everything!"

The look of horror on the faces of the adults almost made him smile, but then he remembered the situation and decided that maybe his shite social skills should be contained.

"What do you remember, Harry?"

"You told everyone to get back to the Portkey, told the twins that Ginny was their responsibility, and we all began running. I got separated from Hermione and there were too many people in the way to tell which was her. Then I spotted Draco hiding and decided to drag him along so he didn't get hurt. But then we saw a Death Eater appear and cast a spell to put the Dark Mark in the sky and then he started coming toward us, so we ran. After a while, things began looking too similar and it's too dark for me to tell just where we came from when we got here so I figured we should just stay here and wait for Aurors to come."

"You did the right thing, Harry."

That was nice.

Neither Voldy(of any age) or any of his followers, could manage to kill Harry. What major failures they were.

"Why do we need dress robes?" Harry asked as he stared at his supply list for the upcoming term. "Is this something that all Fourth Years have to do? I don't remember there being an occasion where Fourth Years required them last year or the year before that."

Hermione shrugged. "Just get some basic black robes and you'll look fine."

"Why do they have to be robes? What if I wanted a muggle suit instead? Maybe I don't like the imitation capes wizards like on their clothes."

"Then have Madam Malkin make you a bespoke suit."

That could work, he supposed. With a nice, green waistcoat too, and silver buttons. While he wasn't big on the snake imagery, Harry really didn't like the colour scheme of Slytherin House. Green, Silver and Black was a great combination.

"I think I too want a suit."

Harry blinked in shock. "Are… you allowed to wear a suit?" he asked.

"It's clothing," she said with a firm nod. "I'm thinking of a sharp, double-breasted pantsuit with big shoulder pads."

The image that came to mind did seem pretty cool. "What if Mickey G. doesn't like you wearing boy clothes?"

"Pantsuits are for women, Harry. And for the record, it's fabric that is used to make us not naked. That's it. Men's dress robes look like dresses. Various cultures all over the world have men wearing things that look like dresses. She'll deal with it whether she likes it or not."

Wow. Never get in the way of Hermione and her ideas.

The TriWizard Tournament sounded troublesome and was of no importance to Harry. Unfortunately, nearly everyone else had gotten a boner over it and now he couldn't escape from it anywhere!

Hogwarts was really such a boring place that a pissing contest between schools was being treated like the best thing to ever happen in history. From the history of the tourney, it wasn't all that great. People died at least once a tourney, meaning it wasn't worth it. No school's reputation was worth the life of a child. They had discontinued it for a reason!

Especially the life of a child who was unprepared. Accepting eleven year olds, what the hell were people thinking in the past? It literally made no sense when Hogwarts taught nothing useful to their First Year students!

Thankfully, Hermione was of the same opinion as him, and she had done even more research on the tournament than he did. She had statistics, habits, and trends all written down, and had predicted what the three Tasks would be.

The First Task, she said, would be to retrieve something from a dangerous Beast. That something would aid in finding something in the Second Task. The Third Task was a race to see who got the TriWizard Cup first. With those basics out of the way, she then said, "The only place around here big enough to host a massive crowd of people and dangerous creatures, is the Quidditch pitch. So that's the First Task. Just pick your XXXXX creature of choice. Then will be the scavenger hunt of the Second Task, so either it'll be around the school close by or down in the Chamber of Secrets, the Third Task will bring them back to the Quidditch pitch through some kind of gauntlet to reach the cup."

"Wow." He hated everything about it. Especially the suggestion that the Quidditch pitch was going to be ruined!

Though that would explain why they weren't having Quidditch this year! He'd struggled to understand why they couldn't hold a few games here and there when they took next to no preparation because it was the same schedule every year unless something last minute had to be changed. But if they were making use of the pitch and had to apply changes and shite, then of course they couldn't have Quidditch.

"I'm so annoyed by all of this. It should have stayed cancelled."

"True," agreed Hermione.

The running gag over having a new DADA professor every year was getting really old. Just when they'd finally got one who wasn't evil or a git, he had to leave because people were prejudiced against him. Thereby compromising the education of one thousand students… again.

Dumbledore had a bad track record for this. Re-hired Quirrell knowing he was possessed by Voldy. Hired Lockhart despite knowing he was a fraud. Didn't protect Lupin's secrets. And now there was this old guy with a foul attitude who limped around and had a creepy eye that saw through everything, who was supposedly Dumbledore's friend.

Getting to see the very curse that rendered him an orphan, hadn't been on his to-do list for the day. Or any day really.

And Neville Longbottom was practically rendered catatonic after seeing the Cruciatus Curse used on a spider.

Hermione pulled Harry aside later to tell him Neville's parents were tortured into insanity with that curse after Voldemort's defeat. Some Death Eaters went to the Longbottom home because they were also a family Voldemort had considered targeting that night, for some reason, and tortured Frank and Alice Longbottom. The two were in the Janus Thickey Ward at St. Mungo's with no hope of ever leaving.

A former Auror of decent renown who was in the field for several decades should have known about that, so why would he do it in front of Neville? That was just cruel and unnecessary. And he had to have gotten Dumbledore's permission to show the students those curses.

And furthermore, if they're so illegal, why would Aurors know how to cast them at all? They were Dark Magic and according to the laws in place, nothing excused the use of Dark Magic in Magical Britain. Not even in defence of yourself.

That was very fishy.

Learning how to fight off the Imperius Curse was pretty good though. For Harry at least, since he learned he was almost immune to it from the jump.

When the other schools arrived, the tournament was finally started. Everyone of age had a night to enter their names in the Goblet of Fire. Technically, the cup still accepted people of all ages because the Ministry was the one to impose the age ban so no one under seventeen could compete and possibly die. Seventeen year olds were recognised as adults in Magical Britain.

Dumbledore even put up an Age Line that Harry could see not working if someone was dedicated enough. It all felt very poorly planned out.

As for their visitors… the only interesting person of note was Viktor Krum, who was Bulgaria's star Seeker and who caught the Snitch at the QWCF. And because Igor Karkaroff was a former Death Eater like Snape, the Durmstrang students joined the magically elongated Slytherin table and Harry ended up seated right beside Krum as a result.

He was awkward, was Harry's first opinion. Unlike some of his classmates who were obviously a bit prejudiced in various ways and proud of it, he was quiet and respectful and his English was good. He also didn't try to gather attention to himself despite the fact that he had it anyway. Already, Harry decided that he liked the teen and could understand why Ronald Weasley had such a big crush on him. It made sense.

Feeling like being kind, Harry elbowed the Durmstrang boy and smiled. "Your catch at the Quidditch World Cup Final was great. I've never seen someone catch the Snitch with their feet before."

Krum seemed to come alive, at least a little bit and he smiled. "You watch Quidditch?"

"Yeah. I'm Seeker for Slytherin House."

Krum extended a hand. "Viktor Krum."

Harry took it with a smile. "Harry Potter."

The look of recognition on Viktor's face wasn't missed, but thankfully he didn't seem like he'd make a big deal about it. As someone with his own fame, he probably understood how annoying being hounded for photos was. He probably had his own version of Colin Creevey following him around too.

"Nice to meet you."

"Malfoy, if you even try to bully me in any fashion over this shite, remember that I saved you from being killed by a Death Eater at the QWCF," Harry announced three days after his name came out of the Goblet of Fire under the name of a school he'd never heard of. He found the blond sitting at a desk in the Common Room, surrounded by buttons with Harry's face on them, covered by derogatory words.

Said blond immediately froze in fear and the entire Common Room went dead quiet as they all watched.

"Furthermore, of course Diggory is the true Hogwarts Champion, you daft twat. My name came out under a different school so I'm apparently representing Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, not Hogwarts."

After a few moments, Malfoy seemed to regain his composure and his arrogance because he tilted his chin up and sneered, "You can't do anything to me because you'll have to speak up to do so! And if you even so much as verbalise anything that sounds like a spell, in my general direction, we'll tell Professor Snape!"

"So… what you're saying is if I say a spell, you're going to be a nark and make yourself look bad in the process because you can't handle the shite you start?"

He looked proud of himself too.

Okay then. And to think, Hermione had been helping him with his non-verbal and wandless casting during breaks. And for certain spells, he was doing very well! It was almost as if it had been planned.

With a minute twitch of his head, as it was the best he could manage without a wand, and an intense amount of mental visualisation, Harry vanished Malfoy's clothes, sans his pants, leaving him almost completely naked in front of everyone in the House!

There was a moment of silence before the House broke into a chorus of muffled snickers and the blond prat screamed in horror, threatening a bunch of things at once as he tried to cover himself. "I'll get Snape after your head!"

"But Malfoy," said Harry with a sweet smile, "You said only if I said a spell. My wand is still away and no spells came out of my mouth so I couldn't have done anything. You'll just end up looking like a fool as there is no proof that I was involved. And can you imagine what else could happen to you that will leave no proof of my involvement?"

All levity in the situation vanished as everyone took in what he meant by those words. Harry didn't know anything dangerous yet, but since he'd obviously done something non-verbally and wandlessly, they knew he had something up his sleeve and didn't just didn't what it was. So it was best to be cautious.

"I see you all catch my meaning. That's very good. Remembering not to underestimate me just because I'm nice and generally prefer to keep to myself, is the smart thing to do."

And as he turned to leave, he twitched his hand a bit and the pile of derogatory buttons on the table, caught fire. "Someone should take care of that mess."

On his way out the door, he added something in Parseltongue just to freak them all out since they didn't know what he said but it apparently sounded scary enough to the older students.

§I would hate to have to come back and do worse to you, Malfoy. Watch yourself.§

So Harry got dragged into something he didn't care about. He had no intention of trying at all. Just because he was entered without his consent didn't mean he had anything to prove to anyone.

Diggory could have all the glory he wanted.

And Slytherin House had been tamed out of their desire to pick on Harry, which was a good thing. While not into violence, Harry had no problem putting people in their places. Bullying annoyed him a lot and Malfoy's face annoyed him as well. Putting both together was asking for trouble.

In recent days, he'd found himself somewhat flanked by Blaise Zabini, Daphne Greengrass, and Theodore Nott when he wasn't up Hermione's arse in the library. When he asked why they'd become his official stalkers, Nott said something along the lines of a divide in Slytherin and them preferring him over Malfoy.

So now he had groupies or something. Harry didn't pay attention to the power plays in Slytherin and for the most part they excluded him. Only because he was a Parselmouth really. He'd probably get more shite from them if that wasn't the case. Still, having a connection to their Founder was enough to make them hesitant around him. As he felt no need to lord over anything, they left him to his business for the most part.

Malfoy was the opposite. He wanted to control everything and everyone. Among the Slytherins in Fourth Year, Malfoy thought of himself as the leader. The spokesman for the group. Now that this divide had caused a rift in the House, a good portion decided they'd prefer taking orders from Harry than Malfoy.

Weird but okay.

In the meantime, Harry got another chance to be compliant with the rules… maliciously. This time to McGonagall.

She'd been a bit snippy over him being in the tourney despite showing no interest in it. She'd become rather short with him several times for no reason, which all culminated in a stern word in class a couple of weeks later.

"Mr. Potter, why do you always turn in such poor writing?" she asked in front of the whole classroom, which got a few snorts of amusement.


"Your writing is abysmal," she said, gesturing to the parchment he'd handed in.

"Of course it is, professor, I grew up using pencils and suddenly had to start using quills with inkwells with no one teaching me how to. My hand cramps very quickly because I haven't gotten used to it, and the school won't let us use pencils or fountain pens."

"That's no excuse, you've had three school years to get used to it and have made no effort to. I'm marking this assignment as a failure until you can learn to write your assignments in proper, legible English."

And she really put some hard emphasis on the words 'proper' and 'legible'.

Well… if she wanted everything in Proper English, then he'd give it to her as such.

To spite him, she assigned four rolls of parchment on the difference between human-to-animal transfiguration and the Animagus transformation. She gave him the stink eye the entire time too.

In the week it took to complete the work, which he found unfair to everyone else because in order to get back at him she was fucking over the whole class, Harry spent every free hour he had in the library. He took Pepper Up potions nonstop to stay awake so he could sneak in at night and study up on knowledge he certainly hadn't ever thought he'd need, and on the night before the assignment was due, he spent seven hours painstakingly writing the main draft, referencing all of his notes so that it came out as neat as possible.

When he looked down at the words on the parchment, he smiled, pleased with himself. Perfect, Middle English stared back at him. She'd said she wanted the assignment written in proper, legible English? Then she was going to have to parse through a version of English not often used anymore. She didn't specify which kind after all. Just that it had to be in English.

On the day the assignment was due, the woman stared down at what he'd handed her and demanded, "What the bloody hell is this, Potter?!" She'd even lost her cool for a moment.

"You said you wanted 'proper, legible English', professor," he explained innocently. "You didn't say it couldn't be in Middle English."

He deviousness earned him a loud laugh from Hermione, who usually wouldn't dare to do such a thing to the face of her own Head of House, but of course Harry's plan was brilliant and deserved praise.

Seeing the wind leave McGonagall's sails was priceless. "You will report to your Head of House and explain to him exactly what you've done, Mr. Potter. Then he'll understand why you have detention with me tonight at eight."

As Harry had effectively made Mickey G. look like an idiot in front of an audience that would surely spread it far and wide, he doubted Snape would allow the detention. Especially since Harry had been following her very strict instructions.

When he stepped foot in the man's office, Snape looked like he was going to have a stroke. He got that same look every time Harry was involved in something. It was kind of funny how quickly Harry could evoke such emotion. "What do you want?"

"Professor McGonagall just wanted me to inform you that she is unjustly giving me detention for following her orders to perfection, but because she doesn't like the results, she wants the last word in an argument that shouldn't have even happened."

"Another one of your Malicious Compliance tactics?"

He knew Harry so well! It only took three years of schooling for him to get it!

"All I did was do as she told me, sir. She said my writing was terrible with a quill and then assigned a super long piece of work and told me directly that it was to be in Proper, Legible English. And that's all I did. It isn't my fault that she apparently can't read Middle English. She should have specified which form of English she wanted."

It was obvious that Snape wanted to laugh but also didn't want to sacrifice his reputation as a hard arse.

"You will be serving no detentions. I'll handle the situation. Ten points to Slytherin for ingenuity."

The first time Snape awarded him points even!

And in the end, the case was taken to Dumbledore who thought it was amusing and made McGonagall grade it as it was, fairly. And he got an O+. Furthermore, Dumbledore decided to change the rule about no pens and now Harry could hand in homework that didn't look like rubbish!

He won!

Harry did not like Rita Skeeter. Her weird pushiness was very annoying and her voice aggravated him to no end, but it was actually her hand in getting Lupin sacked last term that made her Harry's public enemy. He was nothing but genial to her of course, but he put in no effort beyond that.

When she asked questions, he would either nod, shake his head, or shrug, giving her nothing verbal to use against him. Also, because he was underage unlike everyone else, he requested his Head of House be there for the interview so she couldn't pull anything on him. Snape glared at the both of them while Harry had to suffer through stupid questions that no one would care about the answers to.

"You realise that she is going to spin this as unpleasantly as she can manage even with what little you've given her," Snape stated when they made it back to the dungeons.

"I know. But she'll have to be careful as you were with me and everyone knows you were in there with me, so she couldn't ask certain questions of a minor that she would an adult."

If she wrote anything that didn't happen in the interview, she'd earn his ire. Reporters in Magical Britain might have The Golden Rule on their side, but that didn't mean Harry couldn't get revenge on his own. Besides, he still wanted to get back at her for fucking over Lupin.

All he had to do was dream up some suitable revenge and then wait.

The day of the First Task rolled around finally. As Harry hadn't planned to give any actual fucks, he did no training of any sort and remained quite level-headed even when he found out dragons would be involved.

The men in charge, Ludo Bagman(who cheated the Weasley twins out of a bet they had at the QWCF) and Barty Crouch gathered the Champions and their Headmasters in a tent outside the Quidditch pitch. Unfortunately this meant Skeeter and her cameraman were there as well to photograph the proceedings for the paper.

They each had to reach into a bag to select the pygmy version of the dragon they'd be facing. Harry got the Hungarian Horntail. Now, the name pretty much gave away its distinguishing characteristic, so he took that as a 'don't get hit by the pointy tail'.

"You must collect the Golden Egg, for if you don't, you cannot hope to succeed in the next Task," said Crouch. Not that Harry cared about succeeding in any tasks.

He was then forced to sit and listen as the older Champions faced their dragons, each suffering some form of injury in the process. In the meantime, he dreamed up an idea that was last minute but should work. The dragon would be chained down so if he summoned his broom, he could fly around it at ridiculous speeds to confuse it. The closer he got, the less chance he'd have to get hit by the flames. The less ease it had to bend its neck to find him, the better off he was.

Eventually, Dumbldore's voice filtered through the fabric walls of the tent and Harry slumped outside to face his fate. It was a big, fuck off dragon, but honestly, the Basilisk had been far longer if he recalled the size of the skin it shed correctly, though the wings did add an intimidation factor. Also, the arrangement of its horns and barbs made it look perpetually angry.

In general though, it was kind of terrifying and he wasn't looking forward to stealing the egg without getting the other eggs destroyed in the process. He wished he could just snap his gingers and make the egg come to him.

This would be the ideal time to summon his Firebolt… but he had an idea.

Raising both hand, Harry focused his magic into the Summoning Charm.

Wonder of wonders and miracle of miracles! It worked! The egg actually lifted up and soared right into his arms.

Okay, more like rammed into his rib cage, but he got it without having to do any actual work! That was a very stupid loophole as well. The planning that went into the tourney was terrible.

In the end, everyone was just sat in quiet bafflement while Harry received only 34 points for practically doing nothing and showing off minor talent in non-verbal, wandless magic. As he wasn't in this willingly and Dumbledore could apparently do nothing about it, he didn't care. It wasn't even a minute of time.

He was a genius.

Being informed of the upcoming Yule Ball so late in the term, was annoying. Harry could have taken the spare time to learn how to waltz! Or scheduled a date. But nooooo. Mickey G. had to spring it on them at the last moment!

So now Harry had limited time left to acquire a partner to the Ball that he apparently had to go to as it was mandatory for the Champions of the tourney since this was a tournament event.

He didn't really know many students. George and Fred had dates already. Hermione was going with Viktor Krum, whom she'd bonded with oddly. His awkward demeanour and her take-charge attitude meshed well somehow. The Bulgarian also didn't care about her being a muggleborn and was drawn to her studious nature.

This left Harry in a pickle. He didn't want to take anyone in Slytherin or Gryffindor because it would just be a mess overall. Hufflepuffs were scared of him even when he'd been nothing but genial to them the entire time he'd been at Hogwarts. Which left Ravenclaws to choose from.

And the only ones he knew were Cho Chang who was dating Diggory and would most likely be his date, and Luna Lovegood.

Wait! Luna! She was a Third Year and McGonagall had said that Third Years could be invited so long as they consented to being watched more closely by chaperones.

Harry went off in search of the doe-eyed Ravenclaw, borrowing the Marauder's Map from the twins in the process. He found her name on the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest. And just before he handed George the map back, he spotted Rita Skeeter's name as well. In the Slytherin Common Room? With Malfoy.

"Am I seeing this right?" he asked the redhead.

"Yes. She's with Malfoy? Why?"

Harry could think of why. Malfoy never learned his lesson. She was banned from the school grounds, outside of the Tasks, by Dumbledore after saying some unpleasant things and invading personal space to get photographs. She shouldn't even be anywhere near the school until the Ball.

He could ask Luna to the Ball later. "Thanks, George!"

His Invisibility Cloak was pulled out of his extended bag and slipped on. Harry then went back to the Common Room and slipped in behind some chatty First Years. Malfoy was in the far corner at a table, with several pieces of parchment around him. As Harry neared, he could see a small beetle scurrying back and forth between pages.

Malfoy was speaking in a low tone too, seemingly to himself.

"Potter often walks around like he owns the school," he told the beetle. "He's an absolute nightmare to deal with."

What a lying little twat.

The beetle's antenna wiggled in response, and Harry was amazed by how a bug could remind him of Skeeter, all because of those ugly glasses matching the bug's markings.

And that was when it all connected. Animagi had something of their human form, come across in their animal form. Sirius had storm grey eyes for example. McGonagall's glasses showed up in her feline form. The details had to be registered at the Ministry.

If Rita was in Hogwarts and she was hiding as an Animagus to get around and get info on people, then she was most likely not a legal Animagus.

Which could make things very fun.

Decision made, Harry tiptoed behind Malfoy and kicked at one of the many decorative suits of armor so hard that it fell apart. The noise made everyone in the Common Room jump and look over in confusion while Malfoy sputtered about how he hadn't done it despite being the only one obviously there.

"Fix it," one of the Slytherin Prefects ordered before turning back to her book on Herbology.

The blond pulled out his wand and turned to reverse the damage. In that second, Harry's arm slipped out of it the safety of the Cloak and snatched up the beetle. With his back to the room, no one was able to see it either, as Malfoy had picked a very cramped corner to hide in.

Harry sneaked away then, feeling devious and proud of himself.

Skeeter was placed in a jar with a leaf as food. He left her in his trunk so he could go and talk with Luna quickly. She'd already expected him and promised to wear a silver dress to the Ball so they'd match.

Sometimes Harry wondered if Luna was clairvoyant.

Though with his biggest concern out of the way, Harry was able to spend more time on other things. Like plotting on what to do with Rita. She was the most popular reporter in Magical Britain and had a lot of loyal readers which gave her sway. That could be useful at some point in the future.

If she was exposed as an unregistered Animagus, she'd have to do five years in Azkaban. She wouldn't like being there.

"Riiiiiitaaaaaaa!" he sing-songed. "When I have enough free time, we're going to have a taaaaaalk! And you're gonna do what I waaaaaant!"

He was pleased to note that the beetle quivered in the jar.

The Ball went about as expected.

Hermione and Krum were all cutesy with each other. Ron Weasley was an arse in response out of jealousy. Though if he was jealous over Hermione or Krum, Harry did know.

Luna was a fine dancer when it came time to waltz, but once the mandatory dance was over, she preferred to stay out on the floor, twirling in circles and fluttering her hands around oddly, like she was batting away at something. She smiled the entire time though.

Moody was in a corner, watching everyone with his creepy eye and drinking from a flask every now and then.

Malfoy had taken Parkinson since Daphne wouldn't go with him, and he looked like he was suffering, which Harry felt to be great payback for the fact that the twat was going to give Skeeter a fabricated interview just to drag Harry's name down. But now he couldn't do that and wasn't it wonderful? Parkinson was a bit too touchy and Draco had to deal with it all night.

Diggory and Chang close-danced for quite some time and Harry had a moment where he envisioned himself replacing Diggory in the pair, and then envisioned the same scene but with him replacing Chang. He liked both thoughts quite a bit actually.

Snape wasn't in the Great Hall, he was out on the grounds and patrolling the corridors. Ruining all the happy fun times people thought they'd get to have on the sly. Did teenagers really think that these teachers had never encountered a teen before? And Snape especially lived for ruining someone's evening so of course he would be doing what he could to fulfill his life's mission!

As for other teachers, McGonagall stayed near the food tables all night, watching the food like a hawk eyeing a mouse. Fred's attempt to slip one of his experimental potions into the goblets was thwarted, but only to disguise George slipping behind their Head of House to place Canary Cremes to the tables while McGonagall railed into his twin for his foolishness. It was hilarious!

Several people had already turned into colourful birds and molted their feathers.

As for Harry, he ate, danced with Luna, ate, danced with Hermione, ate, took a break back at the table, and then escorted Luna back to Ravenclaw Tower. On the way out, they passed by Hermione screaming at Ron Weasley, telling him that the next time something was on, he should pluck up the courage to ask her before someone else did, but never as a last resort.

He made Mione cry. He was going to die. If he awoke to find spiders on his fourposter, he'd never know Harry was behind it. And then he'd shape up or die.

Or at least see so much embarrassment that he'd wish he was dead.

"Thanks for taking me to the Ball, Harry!" Luna said once they reached the Ravenclaw Common Room and she answered the riddle posed. "It was like being with a friend all night."

"I am your friend, Luna."

She beamed. "That's nice! Goodnight, Harry." She gave him a peck on the cheek and then disappeared through the door.

Luna was pretty cool in her own way.

"So, Rita, here's where we have a lovely little talk. I'm sure you don't want the news of your unregistered Animagus form to get out, so I'm going to need you to do me a favour. As you don't have the benefit of being in prison illegally and therefore already serving your sentence like Sirius did, you might want to consider my words carefully."

The beetle in the jaw scuttled around and he took it as an agreement to listen. Not that she had a choice or anything.

"In the future, I think it would be very useful for me to have an in with the press. Someone of your talents could be quite the asset for someone like me. I have a feeling I'm going to need your expertise some time in the near future and am willing to compensate you. You keep your quill out of my business unless I explicitly tell you to write about it, and I don't tell anyone about your illegal activities."

He waited for the beetle to do something. Rita's antenna wiggled a bit.

"Also, I might need you to write a few articles for me at some point, and am willing to pay you in Galleons in exchange for your service and silence. Mind you, working for me is the best deal you can get right now. I could just lord over you entirely, but I do feel you should be paid for work you will inevitably put in, so I'm being very fair to you in light of your attempts to smear my name using Draco Malfoy of all people."

Rita flew around the jar like mad, and Harry quickly unscrewed the lid and dumped her out. The windows to the dorm were shut and the door was currently locked. She wouldn't get out without him being able to stun her.

The woman appeared in a heap on the floor, looking like a mess with her hair everywhere and glasses askew. But she righted herself as soon as she could, and faced him as primly as she could manage in her situation.

"Your terms?" was her only question.

The following contract they set up was very beneficial to the both of them in his opinion. Magical Promises were so useful.

Blackmail could be such a wondrous thing.

On the morning of the Second Task, Harry found Hermione to be missing. She said she'd come in support of him and he was worried over her getting caught up in the library again.

He hadn't really done anything to prepare for the task because he hadn't bothered deciphering the egg in the least. Once again, he was not a willing participant in any of this. So he didn't have to try at all.

Mione had been right though. The Second Task took place near the school. Specifically at the Black Lake. On the lake to be precise. Apparently something precious from each of the Champions had been taken and hidden at the bottom among the merfolk, and they had to go and retrieve whatever it was.

Diggory, who was right beside him, leaned in to ask, "You feeling confident?"


A look of confusion flitted across the older teen's face.

"I have no idea what the task is and did not prepare at all because I'm not doing it."

"B-but they took one of your friends!" Diggory blustered. "Either Granger or Lovegood are currently at the bottom of the lake!"

While that did make him panic just a bit, he calmed once he thought things over. "But would Dumbledore really let his own students die? If their Champions failed I doubt Albus Dumbledore, the man who couldn't even kill Grindelwald because he thought killing was just that bad, would leave them down there regardless of our potential failure."

That seemed to calm Diggory down, who nodded slowly and went, "You've got a point."

Of course he did.

"So you really want nothing to do with this, huh?"

"Nope. I could be sleeping right now. Or anything else that would help me avoid my Potions Essay."

That got a laugh. "Good luck, I suppose."

"You too!"

There was the blowing of the cannon and everyone but Harry dived straight into the water, while he just took a seat on the dock that had been set up for the viewers to stare at a still lake for an hour as if that was entertaining. The sky was grey and dull. Everything was boring. He should have brought a book along.

"Mr. Potter, aren't you going to try at all?" asked Ludo Bagman, seemingly defeated by Harry's lack of interest in the tourney.

"Nope. I failed to learn anything about the Task and therefore couldn't prepare myself. I get 0 points. Besides, I can't swim."

"Y-you don't know how to swim?"

"Where would I even learn how to swim? My cousin can't even swim." Seriously, even if the Dursleys ever took Dudley swimming or bought him a pool, Harry wouldn't have ever been allowed to go along with them. Sometimes he had to remind himself that everyone seemed to think he lived in the lap of luxury just because he was famous for not dying.

Time dragged on with Harry laying on the deck now, a Warming Charm cast on his clothes to combat the chilly, February weather.

Diggory appeared some time later with Cho Chang in his arms. Honestly, they made a ridiculously good couple, and he looked like Prince Charming, but a little more wet, as he lifted her onto the deck and then swung himself up as well. All long lines and golden hair. Cho blushed prettily at his chivalry. Could've been a traditional Gryffindor in that moment.

Not too soon after, Krum appeared holding Hermione in his arms, two minutes after the time limit. He had only known her for a few months and was already so serious about her. It was kind of sweet in Harry's opinion. When Mione plopped down beside him, with Krum on her other side, Harry took off his coat and wrapped it around her, the charmed warmth seeping in quickly.

"Y-you d-didn't par-participate?" she asked through chattering teeth.

"Nope. And I hope Luna doesn't mind when she's finally hauled out."

After enough time elapsed, Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons was retrieved from the lake where she'd been held captive by a pod of Grindylow. Then the remaining two hostages were brought up and returned to consciousness. Luna and Fleur's little sister.

Fleur and Harry both received 0 points for failing to do anything. Krum got 35 points and Diggory got 42 points.

It had been, as Harry had expected, a complete waste of his time and energy in everything. He could have been doing anything else!


Remus suggested that I finally start writing you. As of now I can hold a quill And
my hand won't be shaking like mad. I figured you would like a progress report on
how I'm doing lately.

I've returned to a proper weight. I look less like a ghost now and none of my ribs
are visible. I am not so pale anymore, looking less and less like my deranged and
messy cousin, Bellatrix, every day. I can even think clearly for hours at a time and
have less depressive episodes. I have even been cleared for some retraining of my
magic and have started with the basics again, plus I got a new wand! The Ministry
had to pay for it since they illegally snapped my first wand.

It's a pretty slow-going process, but I should be well by this coming August to get
out of here. Enough even, if you were amenable, to petition for your guardianship
since I'm still your godfather. But only if you want me to that is.

Remus made me think things through before writing this letter. As I've had a lot of
time to think, I've learned new information and come to understand old problems
of mine.

You are a Slytherin. My whole life, Slytherins have been the bad guys. They would
typically spit out people like my blood family and Death Eaters. And all the people
I don't like were in Slytherin when I was in school, or were Slytherin Alumnus. But
you're a Slytherin and aren't like those people. In fact, on Remus' word, a lot of the
Slytherins aren't. He did teach a couple hundred for a year so he would know better
than me.

It got me thinking. In my effort to be different from my family, and to be the very
opposite of what they stood for, I formed a lot of prejudices about people I did not
know. I have come to realise that the world is NOT split apart into good people and
Death Eaters and that we all have Good and Bad inside us, and it's the side that we
choose to act on that determines who we are as people.

I don't want to be filled with anger all the time and I don't want to constantly doubt
every person I meet. I've learned that other communities do not put so much stock
into the groups formed in school. That Magical Britain has been brainwashed into a
Slytherin, Hufflepuff, Gryffindor and Ravenclaw mindset. Our opinions of a stranger
is based solely on the House they're sorted into alone and then we refuse to change
out minds.

In the real world, where you were sorted at school won't have any bearing on a real
job, nine times out of ten. Especially if you move to a different country and in a new
community altogether. They will not care what colour trimming your robes had been
for seven years, because it will have no bearing on your life or work at that point. It
has been a real eye-opener for me. We obsess over unimportant things.

I suppose I wanted to say that I do not care that you're a Slytherin. That I'm not a
twat who is just quietly tolerating the fact that you can talk to serpents either. I've
come to understand the more important things in life. Having almost thirteen years
to really think it all through does that for you. I am going to do my best to right my
wrongs and be more mature from now on and devote my time to projects that are
worth it.

I hope I can earn your trust in the future and we can have the familial relationship
we should have always had. With Remus too.

With love,

P.S. Did we tell you that I'm Padfoot and Remus is Moony and that you're the son
of Prongs?

Harry blinked in shock. It had been quiet on Sirius' side for a while as the man had to practically be kept on watch all the time for everything. Manic episodes and the like. He wasn't as bad as other inmates who'd been exposed to Dementors for so long, because he'd spent most of his time as a dog. Dementors couldn't see, only feel emotions, and animals emitted next to none so they passed him by as he kept his mind on his depressing thoughts.

Sirius, as far as Harry was aware, hadn't shared that bit of trivia, wanting it to remain a secret so others didn't try doing the same thing.

It was nice to know that things were going well and that there were no problems. Honestly, Harry hadn't even considered that Sirius might have a problem with him not being a Gryffindor. It just never crossed his mind, but maybe it was because Harry didn't put as much stock into bloody purity and House relations as everyone else at Hogwarts did. He didn't care about the Founders either.

Harry smiled to himself. He could be out of Durzkaban before his Fifth Year even began! It was a nice thought.

"Barty Crouch was found dead at the edge of the Forbidden Forest."

The news was everywhere. He'd been found not too far from the dock leading out to the Black Lake, just after the Second Task.

Now it might seem incredibly rude, but Harry didn't care. This was the man who in hand with the former and current Ministers, imprisoned people without fair trial because they were all assumed to be criminals. Several were revealed to be innocent from the start. He was the reason Sirius wasn't given a trial in the first place and one of the reasons why Harry had to grow up with Vernon and Petunia.

Frankly, Harry didn't see anything sad in the Noble House of Crouch dying out.

However, the situation did bring to light, something concerning.

"Hogwarts is not safe," he noted that afternoon. Hermione, who had her nose buried in a book, and Viktor, who had joined them to avoid his stalkers, looked up in interest.

"Something incredibly dangerous has happened every year since we started. A troll was let into the school by Quirrell and then Quirrell tried to murder me for his 'dark purposes' in our First Year. The Basilisk petrified like twenty students and one person did technically die in our Second Year. There were Dementors on the grounds all throughout Third Year and I think one kid nearly got Kissed, plus a Death Eater was discovered to be sleeping in the beds of children. Now in Fourth Year we got a murder right here and the year isn't even over yet.

"Hogwarts was said to be the safest place in the world but I'm honestly not seeing it."

Eventually Hermione nodded along with what he was saying. "You have a point. Professor McGonagall told me I'd never have to worry for my safety here and yet I remember the anxiety I lived with during our Second Year. Thinking some man I don't know was taking issue with my existence just because my parents don't have magic, and that he was preparing to send a one thousand year old monster after me, made me quite irritable."

He remembered that, though if how mild-mannered she was, was her definition of irritable, what was she like when apoplectic with rage?

"You haff a very strange school," said Viktor. "Durmstrang hasn't had any danger on the grounds since Grindelwald's time."

"What did Grindels do?" Harry asked.

Viktor's jaw shifted a bit as he clenched it together. "Experimented with magic so evil even Durmstrang expelled him. And a symbol of his obsession was forever burned onto the building as a result."

Wow. If a school that actually taught the Dark Arts to its students because other magical government had different opinions on magic, then Grindelwald had to have been a nasty little blighter in his school years. Even Voldemort managed to hide his evilness well enough and long enough to graduate.

One good thing about being a Champion was not having to take part in the end-of-term exams which all sucked so much. So while everyone else was losing their minds with studying, Harry was flipping through a book of interesting spells that he wanted to learn.

Spells With Multiple Uses & Why They're Important To Know was the title of the book. A mouthful, but totally worth it.

It was in alphabetical order and one of the first spells that really caught his attention, as well as confused him, was the Bubble Head Charm. But then he read the passage that came with it.

Bubble Head Charm: As the name implies, the charm forms a perfect bubble of air around the head of the one being cast on. The bubble provides a continuous supply of oxygen for thirty minutes, which is why the spell is often preferred when swimming. However, a second, lesser thought of use, is providing oxygen during a dangerous situation. The bubble mutes sound coming from inside it, allowing you to breathe as loudly or heavily as you please, without risk of being discovered. A third use is for escaping a burning building. Smoke inhalation is dangerous to the lungs no matter the amount breathed in. This charm would block out everything harmful in the air and provide you with fresh oxygen as you hide or escape.

It hadn't occurred to him how useful the spell could actually be, but it fascinated him at the same time!

As he flicked through more and more spells, checking the other side of the book, his eyes landed on the Severing Charm and he felt vindicated over his threat to Tom Riddle being proven possible!

Severing Charm: Taught in your First Year of education where you are expected to practice cutting lace and fabric as part of a set of household spells that can make your life easier upon graduating and living on your own. What many don't realise is that this spell's second use is far more sinister and depending on the situation, more deadly than many curses are. The Severing Charm, if powered well enough and aimed properly, has the potential to completely sever an adult's head from their shoulders. And as the spell is Light and considered one of the most basic ones in existence, the chances of getting in trouble for using it defensively, are slim to none.

It was morbid as hell but he really liked how straight-forward the book was being over the many uses for basic spells and such. Having the same potential as a high-powered curse but needing less practice to master, was awesome!

Harry decided that he would do his best to learn the spells in the book. All of them were Light Magic and therefore legal in Magical Britain. No one would be able to punish him even if he used them for not so pleasant purposes in the future.

Magical Britain's biggest issue was the fact that even if someone was defending themselves, if they used a Dark or borderline Dark spell, the entire case would be blamed on them for resorting to Dark Magic. The prejudice was really fucking stupid as it would see an innocent in jail because they didn't defend themselves with the kind of magic British Aurors respected.

And the attacker would get off with no punishment. Focusing on such unimportant details was a problem that needed to be fixed.

The Third Task came upon him unfortunately. While the other Champions spent their day with their families who came to support them, Harry was wandering around with Luna, feeding creatures he couldn't fully see.

Like when he looked away from where they were, he could see them out of the corner of his eye. Luna said something about how Thestrals could only be seen by those who have seen death and comprehended it. Which was weird since he'd apparently seen his mother murdered as a child and understand what it meant, and then he somewhat burned Quirrell alive in his First Year.

Still, he knew they were there since the raw meat they kept throwing to the creatures kept getting eaten in mid-air.

"Harry, you know how sometimes I tend to know things I probably shouldn't?"

"Um… yeah?" He didn't know what that had to do with the situation though.

"I made an Unbreakable Vow to my mum while she was dying, to never tell anyone the full details of things I know. That I can give them hints but if people caught on to my talent they might try to abuse me."

Okay, the conversation was getting weird as Unbreakable Vows usually meant death if broken. What parent requested one of their child, no matter the situation?

"When you find the cauldron tonight, remember that portkeys can only go two ways. Where they come from and where they are going, and can work in both directions."

"Um… thanks?"

"Remember it, Harry. Repeat it for me."

"When I find the cauldron tonight, I'll remember that portkeys can only go two ways. Where they come from and where they are going and can work in both directions."

The blonde nodded, appeased by his action, and they returned to feeding Thestrals.

Harry wondered just what it was all about though.

They turned the Quidditch pitch into a massive maze! They ruined the pitch all for a really big shrub!

And in this one, Harry actually had to try because being stationary would let the creatures within find him more easily! Also, somehow he was in third place despite putting in no effort at all in his former Tasks. As such, he had to enter the maze third, and ended up locked inside until he found the TriWizard Cup or someone else did.

He'd already hacked all eight legs off an Acromantula with the use of the Severing Charm. Harry didn't even know where Dumbledore had found such a creature!

He answered a riddle from a snooty Sphinx that was coincidentally also about spiders.

Harry came upon Krum and Diggory in a standoff several minutes in. Except Krum was acting strangely and Diggory looked panicked.

"Don't come any closer, Harry!" warned Diggory. "He's gone mad! Used the Cruciatus on Fleur! Showed no reaction when I hit him with a Stinging Hex!"

What? Viktor was too nice of a guy to be using Curses like that on anyone.

When Victor shifted so Harry could see his face, he realised the teen was cursed himself. His eyes were vacant. "He's under the Imperius Curse! Professor Moody showed us just what it does in class and for some, it's very easy to control them and it does this to them." He proceeded to Stun the boy before he could shift his wand from Cedric to Harry.

Harry sent up red sparks to alert the officials of Krum's body and then took off into the mist of hedges. He wanted out. He wanted to get the stupid cup and get out! He wanted to go back to his dorm!

"Wait, Potter!" Diggory yelled, following closely behind. Well… as closely as he could get since Harry was a pro at running and had the stamina for it as well.

And then, glinting in the distance, Harry saw the blue glow of the cup of doom and put more effort into his gait, putting more distance between he and Diggory easily.

His hand touched the one handle and he was gone in the familiar feeling of portkeying.

Instead of finding himself at the maze entrance and faced with an enormous crowd, he was thrown onto the ground harshly, losing grip of the cup and rolling several times until he slammed into something that ended up being a tombstone?

Harry found himself in a graveyard instead of Hogwarts' Quidditch pitch.

And then he noticed the massive cauldron a few meters away, and felt his stomach sink as Luna's words from earlier came to mind.

'When you find the cauldron tonight, remember that portkeys can only go two ways. Where they come from and where they are going, and can work in both directions.'

Where was the cup?! He looked around frantically while leaning on the tombstone to get to his feet. He had a feeling this wasn't part of the Task.

Then his eyes spotted the name on the tombstone and he could practically feel himself blanching.

Tom Riddle.

Not him. Not Voldy. Not now.

Movement out of the corner of his eye made him dodge back fast enough to avoid a red spell that he recognised as an Expelliarmus. It was performed silently though, from a figure standing in a dark doorway. Short and holding something in its other arm.

A fire sprang up under the cauldron then, illuminating the figure and revealing Pettigrew. Harry's desire to leave ended right there. Instead, he was going to turn Pettigrew into a rat and then seal him inside a box where he'd never escape, and force him to live through the most terrible thing imaginable. Being Dudley's pet. Dudley broke the shell of a tortoise once, Pettigrew would suffer under his dubious care.

"Get the boy!" a whispery and familiar voice called out, making the hairs on the back of his neck raise in realisation.


"Imperio!" Pettigrew said, aiming his wand at Harry and finding that Harry had no reaction. The one good thing about being exposed to the curse by Moody, was knowing that he could overcome it very easily.

Harry sent the Severing Charm toward Pettigrew, who batted it away with some sort of barrier charm he didn't recognise. They traded curses back and forth until something behind Harry jumped him, wrapping firmly around him and trapping him in place. He lost grip of his wand in the process.

The stone statue of the Angel of Death that had been atop Tom Riddle's grave, was holding him prisoner. This day just kept getting weirder and weirder.

"Start the ritual!" Voldemort ordered!

The baby thing Pettigrew was holding was placed carefully inside the cauldron as Pettigrew began to chant something about bone, flesh, and blood. The femur - which was the biggest bone in the body - was removed from Tom Riddle's grave, while Pettigrew sliced open Harry's arm to collect his blood, and then hacked off his own hand to place it in the cauldron.

Harry had no idea what kind of potion would require these ingredients, but using his blood made him worried. Voldy would have his DNA now. Harry would be inside Voldemort and it sounded too weird to even consider!

The brew in the cauldron bubbled and turned black, swirling around ominously until a pale, bald head proceeded to rise out of it, revealing equally pale shoulders, arms, a long back and… Voldemort was naked. In front of a minor.

Could that be considered sexual harassment, even if his intention wasn't to be a sexual harasser? As a result, Harry found himself shaking his head in pity. All the good looks that Tom had had were not present on this face. It was a bit of a disappointment since Tom was nice to look at at the very least.

Voldy was covered in purple veins that were perfectly visible through his near translucent skin. There were tiny, silvery scales all over his head, face, and neck. His eyes were red and slitted like the last time Harry had seen him, and he looked like a snake that had been rolled out until it was more humanoid in shape. The lack of nose but the presence of nostrils in slitted form, made it even more odd of an image.

"Robe me," the whispery voice ordered, ignoring Pettigrew's sniveling over his missing hand.

A bone white wand was held out to the now resurrected Dark Lord, who took it. A single flourish seemed to see the very shadows around them, being sucked in and then draping over Voldy's body until it looked like he was clothed even though no lines showed a design.

"Harry Potter," the snake man breathed, slitted eyes doing that thing cat eyes did when they saw something of interest. It kind of ruined the effect of terror the murderer was going for, as the expansion of his pupils was kind of adorable.

Never before today, did Harry think his sass would get him well and truly killed, but hey, anything could happen. "Who's a pretty kitty?! You! Yes, you are! Yes, you are!" he taunted before he could even control himself.

The dilation ceased and the slits returned. "Still as mouthy as ever, I see."

"Still as noseless as ever, I see," Harry countered.

In a blink, Voldy was up in his face, bony hands bracketing his skull without hesitation. There was no burning of any kind. His skin remained perfectly intact. However, there was a small stinging in Harry's famous scar, which had never happened before, he was certain.

"Amazing what a few drops of your blood will do, eh?" the man asked rhetorically.

So that was why he needed it.

Still… "I'm not going to kiss you, Tom. You aren't pretty like you used to be. Please maintain a distance of one meter if you don't intend to kill me and dance upon the ashes of my corpse." Honestly, he probably wouldn't have minded kissing the pretty Tom, because despite all his bragging and bluster, he was a sixteen year old who did nothing amazing yet. Meaning he also wasn't the one to kill Harry's parents.

Voldemort sighed in that way Snape often did, which let Harry know that he was getting to the man! Having a Harry Potter on hand meant you automatically agreed to the sass and snarky attitude that he came with. Sorry, but he didn't make the rules, he just enforced them.

"You won't be so brave in a few moments, boy. Not when you get to witness me greet my followers after so many years."

Oh God, it was basically a family reunion. Everyone forced to get on even though none of them really liked each other. And Voldemort was like the old granny in charge of setting it up who was just hell to deal with because she had a nasty attitude all the time and threatened everyone for everything because she was just so stuck in her ways.

The telly gave him a very cozy idea of what families were like, as one may notice.

In the next few minutes, Harry had to listen as Voldemort monologued about his loneliness and suffering as a formless spirit for years. How Harry himself had done nothing in the long run and it had all been Lily Potter's work. And though it was Voldy saying it, Harry felt vindicated because he too believed she was behind it all!

"It was Olde Magick. Something I never would have expected from the likes of her, but impress me she did, I will admit. It takes incredible power to manage such a feat."

If even Voldemort, muggleborn hater extraordinaire, could manage to give the people he hated their due praise for the things they accomplished, and acknowledge their talents, then no one had an excuse to not do the same to their friends and family.

He kept on talking. Harry wondered if this was the time for revealing their traumatic life stories or something because hearing about his poor witch mum was abandoned by his aristocratic muggle father who married her and then took her to London to leave her on the streets, wasn't something Harry cared to know. Abandoning the Heir of Slytherin his arse! There was no way Voldy was the Heir! Tom Riddle wasn't connected to the Gaunts or Potters as he'd given no proof of it! He just claimed he was the Heir!

"How are you even the Heir of Slytherin?" Harry demanded, unable to curb his curiosity.

"My mother was a Gaunt, you fool!"

Harry's mind flashed back to his Second Year where he looked up the Slytherin heritage to see if he was related and found out that distantly he was, to the Gaunts. The last three had been Marvolo and his children Morfin and Merope. And Merope… "You mean the Squib Merope Gaunt was your mother?" Squibs could have magical children? There had to be a scientific reason for that. Hermione would know what to say about it when he asked later.

Voldemort glared. "She was not a Squib!"

"She never received a Hogwarts letter. Her brother Morfin received one and only stayed until his Fifth Year so he could keep his wand. It's literally in the records in the school library and the family tree that died out is available too. She's listed as a Dead Squib."

Voldemort did not appreciate being told the truth about his relation to Slytherin. Harry thought his prejudice was stupid.

"Hey! Don't get angry at me just because you didn't research your ancestry as well as you thought you did. And frankly, she was an inbred mess so I don't see how an aristocratic arsehole would marry her in the first place." People like that thought they were better than everyone else and a young man in such a position wouldn't marry a poor woman with obvious birth defects. Especially in the 20s.

So something was wrong with this tale in general.

Voldemort placed a Silencing Charm on him to stop him from speaking any further. Good thing Harry didn't need to speak to cast magic. Not that Voldy knew that.

The Death Eaters were summoned, and then the family reunion began in earnest.

He talked a lot, bringing up the sins of each member and shaming the individually in front of their peers. All stood in their copies of the KKK uniform, awaiting their turn to be embarrassed. And they had willingly chosen to follow him? For this? Was this what it was like to be a Death Eater? 'Cause if so, he could understand why Snape turned over a new leaf.

And then Lucius Malfoy was revealed and was the only one to try and defend himself. "I have done nothing but try to serve you, my Lord. I've done my best for this cause and our people," he swore.

Harry scoffed and twitched his hand to remove the Silencing Charm. "You mean the cause that nearly had you lot murdering your Heir at the Quidditch World Cup Final? 'Cause you couldn't tell who was who in all the mania? That's the cause you're talking about?"

Voldemort reapplied the Silencing Charm while Malfoy sputtered indignantly in an attempt to defend his stupidity.

Harry removed the charm again to further add, "I rescued your spawn from being found and killed, and then we were pursued by a Death Eater for quite some distance. You lot are a bunch of fools."

The charm was applied again, and this time Harry left it because he had said his piece, and needed to look for an opening to escape in the middle of all the drama. While Malfoy tried to placate his master, Harry's eyes scanned the darkness for the blue glow of the TriWizard Cup. He spotted it several meters off, lying forgotten on the ground.

Portkeys worked two ways, as Luna said. He just had to get it in his hand and he'd be back at Hogwarts.

His arm was throbbing. Why couldn't Pettigrew have been more gentle about it? There had been no need for the rough treatment.

Speaking of the rat, Harry had to make certain he got that idiot before leaving. At the very least he'd be returned to the Ministry's custody and this time they wouldn't neglect to put Anti-Animagus wards around him.

"Come, Potter! It's time we get on with what this entire night was for!"

The statue released him and he collapsed, his legs feeling like jello. His wand rolled into his open palm and he stood on shaky legs, watching as Voldemort paced back and forth like an agitated feline.

"You've been taught how to duel, I presume? First we bow to each other."

He then gave this dramatic movement that was far too graceful for someone so energetic.

Harry gave a half-arsed bow in response.

"Good boy, Harry."

"Can we just get on with it please?"


Harry instinctively cast a Protego and felt relieved when nothing painful happened. His reaction time was getting better and Hermione would be so proud.

They circled one another while the Death Eaters remained in a sort of circle around them, keeping Harry trapped on all sides. He wasn't blind to their intention even if they wouldn't interfere with their master's own duel for fear of retribution.


The barrier held up still and Voldemort tsked. "Come now, Harry. Can't you make things a little more interesting? You are Dumbledore's little hero, aren't you? He'd be disappointed at your showing this night."

"Why does everyone keep expecting to be some heroic individual?" he demanded as he continued moving, getting closer and closer to Pettigrew as he did so. Voldemort didn't even seem to know just what he was planning and that was good. "My goals in life involve never being poor again, never going hungry again, and aggravating all the people who annoy me in the most legal way I can so they can't do anything about it." He thought it was a very admirable ambition in life. He was already succeeding creatively. "I enjoy making idiots suffer and making them have to live with the results they get for annoying me."

He was right in front of Pettigrew now and cast a quick Bombarda at Voldemort's feet, bending down to avoid the spell when it was parried back at him. It struck Pettigrew instead, knocking him off his feet and making him an easier target.

Three consecutive curses all involving different types of explosions were sent Voldy's way as Harry backed up until his foot touched Pettigrew's stump of a leg. He tried to ignore the gore and focus on living.

While the Death Eaters placed their hands over their heads to avoid the flying debris, there seemed to be an invisible dome around Voldemort that prevented him from getting hit with anything. And just behind his left shoulder, Harry could see the blue glow of the TriWizard Cup.

With a subtle twitch of the hand, he summoned the cup while verbalising several more curses in Voldy's direction to keep him distracted.

And when the cup hit him in the chest, it whisked he and Pettigrew away together, and all he could hear as the world began to spin, was Voldemort's enraged screaming.

Then he was back in the Quidditch pitch, in front of a screaming crowd. However, none of the other Champions or the officials looked happy to see him.

"Harry!" Dumbledore said, reaching him first.

Ignoring him, Harry looked back to see that Pettigrew had been brought back with him. His one leg was missing from the knee down and all that was left was a bleeding stump. He felt no pity for the traitor.

"Professor, this arsehole made me participate in a ritual to resurrect Voldemort. I think he did something to the portkey and I ended up in a graveyard instead of here."

And that was when everything went dead silent as they all processed his words.

Fudge, who was there for some reason, sputtered, "Preposterous!"

Harry's sass came out stronger than ever. "Oh yes, Minister. I just happened to disappear for like half an hour after grabbing the cup and ended up coming back with a Death Eater who is now missing one of his limbs. The very Death Eater that you apparently couldn't keep a hold of last year and who got away from your Aurors. I'm obviously imagining everything that happened."

And that was when Diggory stepped in to say, "I was with Harry when he grabbed the cup thirty-seven minutes ago, sir. He saved me from Krum who we learned was under the Imperius, if you recall. He then ran off and I followed and he touched the cup before I could reach it. He was perfectly clean and had no injuries. But then he took the cup, was missing for over half an hour, and then came back like this, with that gash in his arm and his clothes all torn up, and a Death Eater beside him. It makes me believe him. Adding it all to the fact that somehow Krum was placed under the Imperius and Mr. Crouch was murderer, and it's all suspicious, sir."

"Thank you, Mr. Diggory," said Dumbledore. "It is quite suspicious how these events all unfolded in the last few months alone. We'll need to take Harry to the Hospital Wing and have him checked over for proof of any Dark Rituals. We'll announce his victory later."

"Wait, victory?" He hadn't been trying at all the whole tourney! He just wanted to get out of it ASAP!

"Mr. Diggory received 40 points in the First Task and 42 points in the Second Task and 0 points in the Third Task. You received 34 points in the First Task, 0 points in the Second Task, and 50 points in the Third Task because you grabbed the cup and grabbing the cup equaled 50 points. You won by two points."

And he hadn't even been trying! That was embarrassing for all who actually went into it willingly.

Fudge was still sputtering like a twit when Harry was escorted away with his Head of House, who looked as stern as usual, if a bit ill. Harry noticed that he kept momentarily gripping his arm and then stopping with jerky motions.

Snape had been a Death Eater once upon a time, and from what Hermione had told Harry, there was no way to remove the Dark Mark because it was created with a tweaked Protean Charm and was linked to the castor. When Voldy died, the mark would disappear but only then. So when Voldy had summoned his followers by touching the mark on Pettigrew's arm, Snape must have felt it.

And Harry realised that Snape must have been the one Voldy said was too scared to come back. Or was that the Durmstrang Headmaster who was always up Snape's arse?

Madam Pomfrey bustled behind them as fast as she could and began giving orders before they even reached the wing. "Mr. Potter, I need for you to remove your shirt so I may have a clear view of your open wound. Are there any others I should be aware of?"

"Not open wounds, but I hit the ground hard a few times and slammed into a tombstone. There's a bruise forming on my side and it twinges."

She tsked.

"I also got choked by a statue's staff."

His bleeding arm was on full display moments later, looking all red and purple and just not a pleasing sight to see. The knife that had been used was serrated which left the skin all torn up on either side of the wound. By now it was just kind of numb with a little bit of pain that could be described as a ringing in his arm every three seconds. Or that could just be his heartbeat.


She didn't even need to finish as Snape went about collecting a bunch of potions from her cupboard and had them all lined up in the order that had to be administered. Harry briefly wondered if Snape had medical training, or if his knowledge of potions was just so exact that he knew what would be used in response to Harry's injuries.

First was a Pepper Up. His body was filled with warmth and his exhaustion blew away with the smoke that came from his ears. His energy seemed to double and he felt more awake again.

After that he was given a Numbing Draught which was swallowed down quickly to avoid the shite flavour.

Finally, Madam Pomfrey cast several diagnostic spells over the wound and hummed as it glowed a dark purple. "It was made with a ceremonial dagger fashioned with Dark Magic. Severus?"

Snape took over, casting multiple spells that made Harry's skin glow purple and then black. "He's been in the presence of the Imperius Curse and the Cruciatus Curse. Mr. Potter, in case you were unaware, Dark Magic leaves traces behind. Even if it didn't touch you personally. The type of dagger used on you was used specifically for the way it collects blood but also magic from those the blood is taken from. It would then be added to the potion entirely."

Damn. "Pettigrew cut me with it and cut off his own hand to add them and a bone from a nearby grave, to the big cauldron that was set up."

Snape's nostrils flared and his eyes lit up in recognition. "It's an old ritual. Not many would know of it because most people don't research the Dark Arts."

There was some commotion outside the Hospital Wing as the doors burst open, showing Moody hobbling in with several Aurors, Dumbledore, and Fudge hot on his heels. The man fell to the floor as he pulled at the magical eye he wore every day, throwing it somewhere across the room as he twitched madly on the stone floor.

Snape took up a protective stance in front of Harry and Pomfrey, wand raised while the man continued twitching and changing shape until he looked like a completely different person.

A familiar person though Harry couldn't place exactly where he'd seen such a face.

"Barty Crouch Junior!" Dumbledore announced, waving his wand and tying the man up in ropes instantly.

The young man who was once shaped like Moody, gave a twitch and then a deranged smirk. His tongue flicked out a few times in a sort of nervous twitch. "Hello, Dumbledore! Seems you caught on finally! Been imitating your friend all year and only when the deed was done did you notice!"

What followed was more drama and revelations than Harry had expected. Fudge tried to have the man and Pettigrew Kissed on the spot only to be reminded, by Harry again, that he was breaking the law if he did so. Crouch had been broken out of Azkaban by his now dead father and his ill mother took his place with Polyjuice and dead wearing his face an hour later. She was then buried. He'd been declared dead. They had to declare him alive again and then re-try him again. Pettigrew's sentence wasn't the Kiss either. It was a lifetime in Azkaban with periodical visits from the Dementors.

Crouch admitted to Voldemort freeing him from his father's control where he'd been Imperiused for the better part of ten years. How Pettigrew had been pretty useful despite his former misgivings and even told the rat not to worry because 'their Lord will come for them and he rewards loyalty'. It didn't calm Pettigrew down at all.

The Aurors carted the two Death Eaters off while Fudge continued being useless like always, and Snape and Pomfrey submitted their reports on Harry's well-being and the magical experiences he'd had that night.

And yes, Harry ended up having to spend the night in the damn Hospital Wing with no visitors until morning.

So the 1,000 Galleons awarded from the tournament were completely unnecessary as Harry had enough gold at his disposal if he wanted to buy something. Since he hadn't even wanted to be in the tourney to begin with, he didn't feel right having the monetary reward, but wanted it to go to a good place.

He proceeded to hand the bag of coins to Fred Weasley. In the span of a year he'd given one twin a broom worth 1,000 Galleons, and gave the other twin just 1,000 Galleons straight. Now it felt even, even if they both split the money equally.

Both pulled him into a tight hug and thanked him profusely for supporting their business ventures. They even promised him free choice of anything he wanted once they did enough tests to see if the products were safe to sell. People might say they were irresponsible, but they were dead serious on this job and would never sell something that could harm a person.

Diggory had gotten his own personal time with Harry, thanking him for being 'such a good bloke'. Harry didn't get why the Hufflepuff thought such a thing, but he merely got a smirk and a hair ruffle in lieu of an explanation.

Dumbledore, on the last day of school, chose to announce Voldemort's return and the convictions of both Peter Pettigrew and Barty Crouch Jr.. He asked the students to remain vigilant and to use critical thinking in the coming months.

On the way back to the hell known as Durzkaban, Harry hadn't gotten why he'd specify such a thing, until he saw the paper.


Fudge was going down.

Harry knew having Skeeter on his payroll was a smart idea. If Fudge didn't want to acknowledge how things were going to go to shite soon, thereby putting the entire community in danger with his stupidity, then Harry wouldn't let it go unchallenged. He wanted to smear Harry's name in the papers? Harry had the best journalist in Magical Britain on his side, willingly or not.

It was now Harry against Fudge and Harry had better chances overall.

[YEAR 5]

Hermione's parents invited him over on 28 June and told him he could stay until school, which was awesome!

Harry ignored the letter from Dumbledore telling him he 'had' to stay at Privet Drive for some dumb reason.

Years ago he'd been told that Hogwarts was the safest place in the world but was then refused a chance to stay over the summer, after having an encounter with Voldemort in the very school he was supposed to be safe in! And every year since then it hadn't been safe from Voldemort or his followers!

And now he was supposed to believe that the 'safest place in the world' for him, was 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging Surrey? A muggle dwelling? A place with no magic of its own?

Yeah right!

So Harry packed up his things and left with Hermione's dad, and Vernon and Petunia put up no fight at all, realising they liked it better with him gone, and he agreed wholeheartedly.

The summer was great. Every time there was an article slandering Harry in the paper, there'd be one subtly slandering Fudge.

The latest pointed out the man's strange relationship with Lucius Malfoy. How suspicious it was that Fudge seemed to always take the man's side in everything and how he was making more money than his family was worth. The position of Minister wasn't that well-paying after all and his family wasn't ancient or noble in the least, so they didn't have a status of wealth. Yet Fudge had the best of the best clothing and had money to waste on constant outings for himself and his wife?

Harry had put Rita's various skills to use and she spied on a few meetings that Fudge had, in her beetle form, and proceeded to air his dirty laundry to the world. Including the affair he was having with his Junior Undersecretary at the time. And because of the Reporter's Golden Rule, the Daily Prophet could do nothing and Fudge couldn't even sue for libel or slander since she posed every insulting thing as a question and not a statement. It was clever work.

And she actually warmed up to him when she received 25 Galleons for a single article. That was about one hundred and thirty-five pounds. For one article. But it had been a very good one.

The entire time, the denial of Voldemort's presence continued. And that was fine. He had Rita work more on dismantling Fudge's network of supporters, pointing out his mistakes nonstop and how he awarded himself an Order of Merlin every year despite doing nothing to deserve any of them. That one got the fool a lot of heat for a few days and the public reaction had been in the papers the next morning. Fudge's approval ratings were going doing drastically with no hope of re-election in the future.

Furthermore, Harry knew that one of these days, Fudge was going to do something stupid and and Harry would have the ammunition he needed to see him sacked for good and rendered useless. All he had to do was be patient and pick the man apart as often as possible.

No one could ever say that Harry Potter didn't know how to get revenge. He was the Master of Malicious Compliance! He would always find a way to get what he wanted, and if he wanted to ruin someone's life, then it would happen!

He'd already gotten Fudge's marriage on the line and the not-so-happy couple were filing for a divorce now. If he wasn't such a shite person this wouldn't be happening at all. He shouldn't have cheated. He shouldn't have gotten on Harry's bad side.


It was on the tenth night of August when a letter flew into the Granger's window while they were all in the lounge watching Disney films. It was a marathon to catch Harry up on all he'd missed while growing up. They were cool like that.

The letter didn't have an owl with it either. And when the back formed a face, he knew it was a Howler. Except this one wasn't howling. An almost robotic voice of a woman came out and he did not like what it had to say.

Dear Mr. Potter,

We have received intelligence that you performed the Patronus Charm at
twenty-three minutes past nine this evening, in a Muggle-inhabited area
and in the presence of a Muggle.

The severity of this breach of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction
of Underage Sorcery has resulted in your expulsion from Hogwarts School
of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Ministry representatives will be calling at your
place of residence shortly to destroy your wand.

We regret to inform you that your presence is required at a disciplinary
hearing at the Ministry of Magic at 9 A.M. on 12 August.

Hoping you are well,
Yours Sincerely,
Mafalda Hopkirk

British Ministry of Magic

They all sat there staring at the letter as it righted itself and fell to the floor.

"What the hell?" Harry demanded. He'd been sitting on the sofa for seven hours. They had ordered takeaway and everything. He'd been through three Disney films already and they were watching The Little Mermaid now! His wand was in his trunk in his room at present.

Hermione got up to grab the letter and asked if she could open it. He waved her on, wondering what that was about. He hadn't been on Privet Drive in over a month. He couldn't have done any magic there.

Suddenly, the Weasley family's owl flew into the lounge and dropped a letter on Harry's head. It proceeded to fly off without waiting for a response.

Harry -

Dumbledore's just arrived at the Ministry and he's trying to sort it all out.

Arthur Weasley

It had been scribbled with obvious haste, but Harry appreciated the effort made as this was apparently very serious and he wondered if he should start panicking now. If Dumbledore actually had to get involved then something bad had happened on Privet Drive. The letter was addressed to Harry and brought directly to him even though it was addressed to Privet Drive. Did Death Eaters find where he was supposed to be living?

The phone rang, making all of them jump at the sudden, strident noise. Mrs. Granger answered and held it out to Harry moments later. "It's your aunt, dear."

Petunia wouldn't call if she could help it. Something had happened.

The woman was a wreck, crying and hyperventilating into the receiver. And it wasn't her fake crying that she used to gain pity, it was legitimate pain in her voice as she said, "We won't be home for a while, so if you need us, you'll have to go to Brightburn Memory Hospital in London. Dudley was found lying face up in the middle of Wisteria Walk. His eyes were open but he wasn't moving, yet he had a pulse. EMT's have said they found nothing physically wrong with him but the doctors are getting no brain activity at all. I'm telling you that I think one of your lot is behind this. He and the ground were covered in frost but it's been an abnormally hot summer, so that shouldn't be anywhere near here. I'm sure is was a Dementor."

Woah. So many things happening at once! First, he wanted to know how she knew about Dementors, but then again if her sister was a witch, she was bound to have picked up information, whether she wanted to or not.

Also, Harry just got blamed for using a Patronus Charm in Little Whinging and Petunia thought that a Dementor attacked Dudley. And with her description he was certain she was correct. Something hinky was going on and he didn't like it.

"Will you call tomorrow morning and let me know if anything changes?" he asked the woman, feeling like the information would be necessary.

"Yes." And then the line went dead.

"What's wrong, Harry?" asked Hermione.

It made no sense since he didn't know that Dementors attacked muggles too, but apparently it happened. "Petunia says she's certain a Dementor came to Little Whinging and from her description, Dudley was given the Dementor's Kiss." And if I had been there, it would have been me instead, but he decided not to say it aloud.

Hermione gasped in horror, pity filling her expression. They didn't like the Dursley family, but this isn't something you wish on a child. It wasn't Dudley's fault that he was a twat. His parents raised him poorly and failed him. And now he was gone in most definitions of the word.

"No brain activity. And if I'm right, there will never be brain activity again."

It was fucking sad on top of this expulsion nonsense and how this information overlapped but sounded so suspicious. Who did magic in Little Whinging that ended up being registered as Harry performing it?

And just when it seemed like things would calm down, another letter flew in the window, this one much like the first so it was definitely from the Ministry.

Dear Mr. Potter,

Further to our letter approximately twenty-two minutes ago, the Ministry of Magic
has revised its decision to destroy your wand forthwith. You may retain your wand
until your disciplinary hearing on 12 August, at which time an official decision will
be taken.

Following discussions with the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and
Wizardry, the Ministry has agreed that the question of your expulsion will also be
decided at that time. You should therefore consider yourself suspended from school
pending further inquiries.

With best wishes,
Yours Sincerely,
Mafalda Hopkirk

British Ministry of Magic

So much was happening at once and he had a feeling, with the urgency of all the letters received, that he'd be leaving the Granger residence that night or the following morning.

And just when he'd hoped the letters drama was over, another appeared.


Arthur just sent word about what is happening. Do not leave your friend's house
under any circumstances. We will come to collect you tomorrow afternoon. Your
friend Hermione is invited as well, as the Weasley brood will also be here. I have
taken control of the Black assets and am Lord Black now, so I have also allowed
Order to use my childhood home in Islington. There are plenty of
rooms for everyone.

Stay safe,

So Sirius was now in on it as well. He'd only been released from St. Mungo's last week and now all of this was happening.

Harry needed to talk to the Goblins. They'd be straight up with him for a price. If he went to Sirius' tomorrow, the chances of him getting out anywhere on his own were slim to none.

"I need to get to Gringotts. I have to talk to my Account Manager because there are legal problems involved and he'll put me into contact with someone very good at these things… for a price."

"I'll drive you to The Leaky Cauldron and go in with you," said Mr. Granger in a no-nonsense attitude. "I should like for this to be settled soon when you've done nothing wrong. Bring the letters with you and your wand. I feel they'll be needed."

Ragnarok was a very surly Goblin but he liked gold and was willing to speak with Harry unscheduled, for the price of 100 Galleons. As the situation was dire, Harry didn't care. He just needed an expert's help.

"I received these letters from the Ministry in this order tonight," he said, handing over the letters.

The Goblin read through them quickly, his beady eyes narrowing. "And what has the Ministry done that you would need our assistance, Mr. Potter?"

He sighed. "I've been in London since 28 June. My muggleborn friend's parents invited me to stay with them because my muggle relatives aren't very pleased with magical people. It's not a pleasant atmosphere in their house. Both letters are addressed to that house though, despite coming to London instead.

"The problems are as follows: I don't know the Patronus Charm and haven't cared enough about it to learn it. I haven't been back there in over a month. I've never been cited for using underage magic before so I find it suspicious that my supposedly first offence earns this kind of punishment. Finally, my aunt called my friend's house to inform me that she believes a Dementor was in the neighborhood because my cousin was found covered in frost in the middle of the street, staring vacantly into the sky. Muggle Healers have declared no brain activity despite him being alive and other than his obesity, being in perfect health."

There was a moment of silence as Ragnarok took in his words, mulling them over.

"I can see why they've earned your ire. You wish to hire me to represent you in this case?"

"Yes. I want the Ministry made to look as terrible as possible. I want them exposed for their poor ability at processing incoming information. I want revenge. I have Skeeter on my side so if you need her to do some digging quickly, I can make it happen."

A grin of the likes would only be seen on The Grinch, stretched across the Goblin's face. "Is that so?"

Harry couldn't even enjoy Grimmauld Place because he was just so hung up on getting his revenge on the Ministry for what Fudge was pulling.

The adults around were also in a tizzy over it and Mrs. Weasley spent hours cooking to keep herself busy and mumbling about how ridiculous the Ministry was being to 'such a sweet boy'.

It was nice to have everyone's support though.

And meeting Nymphadora - "Don't call me Nymphadora!" - Tonks and her lack of equilibrium was awesome too.

It would always get a laugh when she tripped over things.

The only not great thing was the portrait of Sirius' mum, Walburga, who screamed so long and loud that she was the bane of everyone's existence. And they couldn't get her off the wall!

Sirius had just shrugged and said, "I don't know how to fix it."

Mr. Weasley lead Harry to the Ministry early morning on the twelfth. He had a lot of business to see to but wanted to give Harry a tour first. Ragnarok promised to arrive to the Ministry early just in case the hearing was moved up in time. When Harry asked if that was allowed, he found out if enough strings were pulled, then most likely yes.

Upon reaching the Ministry, Mr. Weasley was stopped on their way to his office by someone who whispered something in his ear frantically.

Harry was suddenly being pushed toward a lift. "They changed the time of your hearing. It's in five minutes in Courtroom Ten, even though we don't use those old ones anymore."

And when they arrived, Harry had to go in alone and found Ragnarok already there, along with a large room filled with people that he knew to be the Wizengamot.

Ragnarok had on a pair of thin, rectangular frames that made him look even more intimidating somehow. He sneered at Fudge, who presided over the gathered body of people on a high pedestal for himself, "You are lucky, Minister, that he arrived on time. Changing the date or time of a hearing must be done at least twenty-four hours in advance of the hearing. You blustering about sending him the notice of change this morning, means you broke the law and admitted it to this entire body of people." His tone of voice held a distinct do-not-fuck-with-me in it.

The Minister sputtered, something he seemed to do a lot, and looked around at the accusing stares the other adults in the room were sending him.

"That has been noted," one of the women stated firmly with a glare.

The Goblin bowed his head. "Appreciated, Head Auror Bones."

Oh! And she already had something against Fudge! This was starting off well.

"Well… onto the hearing then! You are Harry James Potter of 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging Surrey, correct?"


"You've received your notice for underage sorcery, correct?"


"You performed the Patronus Charm in front of a muggle, correct?"


"Y-" Fudge stopped and frowned, as well as everyone else in the room sans Ragnarok who gave a demented grin that spelled out some very bad things.

"What do you mean 'no'?" the Minister demanded, looking flabbergasted.

"Just what it means, sire. In a negative context. I haven't performed magic since the day of the Third Task of the TriWizard Tournament because there hasn't been reason to."

The Wizengamot members began murmuring among themselves.

"But-but but you-!"

Ragnarok stepped in then and held up a long piece of parchment. "My client was baffled when, during his stay at his muggleborn friend's London house this summer, he received a letter addressed to his normal place of residence, accusing him of performing magic he hasn't even learned."

The entire court was silent as that little bomb was dropped. Looks of confusion became common among the lot.

"Furthermore, Mr. Potter hasn't been in Privet Drive since 28 June, when his friend's muggle father picked him up and brought him to London where he has stayed ever since."

Fudge's face was going a shade a puce that Vernon's did when he was angry enough. Harry found it hilarious and had to bite his lip to keep himself from laughing at the man's misfortune. This wasn't going as he'd planned.

"However, it has been determined that something did in fact happen near Privet Drive, a few streets over. Wisteria Walk to be specific. Mr. Potter received a call from his Aunt minutes after his first Ministry letter appeared at nine forty-three in the evening of 10 August. She told him that if he must contact her, she'd be in the Brightburn Memorial Hospital in London. His cousin had been found in the middle of Wisteria Walk, covered in frost, and staring into the night sky. He could not move, registered no one's presence, and the muggle Healers can find no brain activity. On the morning of 11 August, he was pronounced brain dead despite being in near perfect health and fully alive."

Head Auror Bones leaned forward instantly, listening intently.

"Mr. Potter's aunt, being the muggle sister to Lily Evans Potter and fully aware of the magical world, personally believes it was a Dementor, having learned about them from her sister, and had memorised the signs of one's presence for her own family's safety. She is devastated by these events as she has lost her son forever, to a world that she tried protecting him from, all because the Ministry could not keep control of its regulated guards."

That accusation finally got Fudge off his arse.

"Now see here yo-"

"See what, Minister?" the Goblin countered just as harshly. "I find it convenient how the Ministry just knew a Dementor was in Little Whinging and knew to report the usage of a Patronus Charm from the only magical person living there. A wizard who hadn't been there in over a month even. And the assumption that Heir Potter, a fifteen year old, would even know the Patronus Charm to begin with, is concerning."

"He's Dumbledore boy, you daft money-grabber! Of course he would know such magic!"

And once again he was hearing something like that! Harry frowned. "Why do people keep saying things like that. I'm not a hero nor am I anyone's boy. It's getting weird with the amount of old men I keep running into who insist I'm someone's property."

Head Auror Bones cleared her throat loudly, and everyone went quiet immediately. "Back onto the original purpose of this hearing, Cornelius. I'm curious to know if Mr. Potter has ever been charged for underage sorcery before this."

"No, ma'am," said Ragnarok firmly. "He has no such charges on his record."

"Then why was the entire Wizengamot called for this?" she demanded of the Minister. "First time offences don't get hearings, Cornelius. And as it's obvious to me that he did not perform a spell in front of a muggle, and that a muggle has indeed been Kissed by a Dementor that is supposed to be heavily regulated by the Ministry, I say this entire hearing is pointless. Unless you have an ulterior motive?"

Fudge went back to his usual sputtering. If someone tried to quote him one day, it would just be a bunch of unfinished words and sounds.

"I would like to look into the matter of Mr. Potter's cousin personally. The Ministry will have to reimburse his muggle family for their suffering as it seems to be our actions to have caused this. I will also be launching an investigation into the matter of how a spell that was never cast, somehow registered under Mr. Potter's name in a town he was not it. If he had indeed performed magic, it would have been noted to happen at the nearest street to where he was currently standing, not where his home address is."

Oh! That was a good point. Harry saw one of the women in the same coloured robes, make a pinched face, which didn't help her toad-like appearance at all. She seemed to really want him to be in trouble.

"Furthermore, I will be going to Little Whinging myself and checking to see if any magic was performed there recently. As magic leaves traces, this shall be easy to sort out. That should have been the first course of action in all of this, so I find it suspicious that you instead tried to snap his wand immediately and expel him without even an investigation into the situation first, Cornelius."

Needless to say, Harry won his case. He got to keep his wand. He got to return to Hogwarts in September. And Fudge was led away by Bones herself, who looked livid.

But he wasn't finished because he planned to get the last word in. Rita had done her job very well and very quickly. The morning paper that came out during the hearing, showed on the front page news, what had happened to Dudley.


There was a photo of Dudley just staring off into nothing in a hospital bed, with various tubes were attached to his arms. There were photos of his medical records and the pronouncement of him being 'brain dead'. Rita had gone immediately to the site of the incident that night and took photos of where his body had been found, the outline of his body still in the frost that had yet to melt. The hoarfrost from Dementors was magical and didn't melt like normal frost did.

She'd spun a tale of woe, having interviewed Petunia personally. Petunia, too stuck in her grief to be angry about a witch speaking with her, explained what had happened when he was found and what her instincts told her.

The Rita went on to trash Fudge and the Ministry's incompetence. And brought up how they tried to accuse Harry of using a Patronus that same night in order to expel him and snap his wand on what would have been a first offence in underage sorcery, which meant the Ministry was breaking the law. She added how they couldn't blame Harry for it when he was in London on holiday with his best friend, and hadn't been around at all, plus his most recent wand activity dated back to the day of the Third Task of the TriWizard Tournament.

She'd spilled it all without hesitation and when Harry, Ragnarok, and Mr. Wealsey made it to the atrium, he found himself surrounded by people giving him their condolences on what had happened to Dudley.

The Ministry's negligence was then a hot topic for everyone coming into work and Harry knew Fudge's reputation would be in tatters.

It was actually a very good day.

The toad woman from the hearing being the new DADA Professor let Harry knew that this was Fudge's last stand. The very last thing he would manage at the rate he was going. All Harry had to do was get her busted for something, have it be linked to Fudge, and then the man was over.

For the first time in his entire time at Hogwarts, Harry decided to control all of Slytherin House and used his status as a Parselmouth to do it.

That first night back, Harry hissed at the Slytherins until they shut up and listened to him. "I don't care that Umbridge is a former Slytherin. She is not our friend. She is not our confidante. She is an untalented woman who has worked incredibly hard to hide her lineage, to the point of dishonesty. She is persona non grata among us. If I find any of you in contact with her that goes beyond the necessity of a student/teacher relationship, you will find yourselves in very unfortunate situations that you will never be able to prove I was a part of. She is here on Fudge's orders to ruin Hogwarts because he has performance issues. Mark my words, in the following months, Hogwarts will be ruined because of her, and any freedoms we have will be gone in an attempt to reform us. When you get sick of it, come see me and I'll see what we can do about it."

When everyone remained silent, Harry turned his attention specifically onto Malfoy and said, "That means you, idiot. You seem to have this habit of doing stupid things to earn my ire. I know all about Rita and the attempt at slander last year, and I will know if you go anywhere near Umbridge in your free time. Rita won't be coming to hear your diarrhea of the mouth ever again."

The blond sputtered much like Fudge had become known to do, but stayed silent nonetheless.

Harry added a theatrical string of hissing in there for good measure. Slytherins or not, they were still scared of the implications of him being a Parselmouth and that was very useful.

Senior Undersecretary Umbridge proceeded to make it her goal in life to try and catch Harry misbehaving. Instead of doing the job Fudge had forced her to take up, she tried following Harry around everywhere she could without being called up on sexual harassment.

In classes she kept trying to get him to say that Voldemort was alive and to argue with her. Harry knew the signs of a set up. He was great at doing it himself. She wasn't very subtle though.

"Pardon me if I'm wrong, Professor Umbridge, but aren't we supposed to be using this time to read our Ministry-approved coursework?" he asked during their third week with her as their new teacher. The woman's eye twitched at his respectful tone. "I mean, you took points off of Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley, and Ms. Patil for interrupting class on our first day for talking about Lord Voldemort." He ignored the round of flinching the name brought on.

"It was made quite clear that you do not believe he exists and will not tolerate class-time being interrupted with talks of 'fictional threats' as you so termed it. I humbly ask that you drop the subject like everyone else has, and let us get back to our work, or it's grounds for a complaint to the Board of Governors for being a willful distraction. It would be a hit to your reputation if this class does not pass our O.W.L.s because you kept interrupting our time to learn."

She obviously knew he had a point as she had indeed given those punishments on the first day and said those very words to the class. There was nothing she could do about it as he was just telling her that she was in violation of not only her current status of employment, but also her secret duty given by Fudge.

"You… may have a point, Mr. Potter. Thank you for the warning."

It practically killed her to have to be genial in return and he loved it.

More and more time passed. Umbridge was eventually instated as the first ever High Inquisitor because the Ministry of Magical Britain was seeking 'educational reform'. He'd been right. He knew just what Fudge was trying to do and saw the sign before they could even begin popping up.

Umbridge would be inspecting everyone on staff to see if they deserved their positions. And she'd be writing up suggestions to better reform the school. Or in better terms, make it a prison.

And so came the Educational Decrees.

Educational Decree No.1: All students found in possession of a spell-check quill will serve a week's worth of detentions. Spell-check quills are not allowed.

Educational Decree No.2: Girls must wear dresses or skirts, and the hemline must be below the knee at the shin. If the skirt has a slit, the hemline measurement is taken from the top of the slit opening. Thus, the top of the slit must be at the top of the shin or below. Detention every day until this matter is rectified.

Educational Decree No.3: Boys are not permitted to have long or shaggy hairstyles. Hair must be tamed and not touch the collar or ears. Sideburns must not be below the middle of the ear. Hair must be cut so that it is at least two fingers width above the eyebrow. NO fades. NO waves. NO cornrows. NO afros. They are unseemly.

Educational Decree No.4: No student is permitted to practice magic outside of classrooms. Detention for every infraction.

Educational Decree No.5: Boys and Girls are to remain twelve inches apart at all times. Detention for every infraction.

Educational Decree No.6: Suspension to all who bring in literature not authorised by the Ministry's High Inquisitor.

Educational Decree No.7: All items not of educational value will be confiscated and burned.

Educational Decree No.8: All literature that is not written by wix or from a wixen background will be confiscated and burned.

Educational Decree No.9: Expulsion to all students found in possession of sweets from unauthorised suppliers.

Educational Decree No.10: All hair must be naturally coloured. No blues, pinks, purples, etc…

Educational Decree No.11: No student is permitted to use the lavatory during class-time.

Educational Decree No.12: No makeup or nail polish of any sort is allowed.

Educational Decree No.13: No body-modifying spells are allowed.

Educational Decree No.14: Music is explicitly forbidden.

Educational Decree No.15: Piercings, tattoos, jewelry, and hair decorations of any sort are forbidden.

Educational Decree No.16: No Girls are permitted to have short hair. Hair must reach the collarbone at the very least.

Educational Decree No.17: Hats are not permitted for any students.

Educational Decree No.18: If a student does not make it to breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and has no reasonable excuse, they will be given detention for assumed frivolity.

Educational Decree No.19: Brightly coloured clothing is offensive and will not be permitted on Hogwarts grounds.

And they would only get worse from there. By Hallowe'en, the school was already looking more drab than ever before.

Fudge wanted a prison and he was getting it.


Last night, the walls of Azkaban shook with a force never before felt. An entire side of
the fortress had been seemingly blown off, freeing many of the high-profile prisoners,
including one Bellatrix Lestrange, plus recently imprisoned Barty Crouch Jr. and newly
imprisoned Peter Pettigrew.

The Ministry insists that there is no reason to panic, but seeing as they have had so
many years in Azkaban, exposed to the Dementors, we just can't predict what these
criminals will do. The madness they all suffer from now will have made them more
dangerous than before.

Is this truly the work of You-Know-Who? Is Minister Fudge being willfully ignorant
at the expense of all of our lives? Are we all in grave danger?

More is soon to come,
Bertie Womprat,
Special Correspondent to The Daily Prophet

"We're not learning anything!"

Harry nodded but shrugged. "Let the numbers speak for themselves, Mione. You can just request to re-take your O.W.L. for DADA at the Ministry and if you cite her incredibly poor teaching methods, they will have to let you do it. First retry is free or so I've read."

The brunette huffed and glared at the book she was trying to focus on. "I shouldn't have to take the same test twice just to get the proper grade."

"Well I'm going to fail it and I've convinced the twins to convince the non-Slytherins in our year to fail it too. Most of the Slytherins are willing to follow my orders now as they realised the Educational Decrees affect them as well. Pansy Parkinson and Daphne Greengrass especially want her gone now."

The whole 'no makeup and no jewelry and always wear dresses' rules really got to them. Then of course there was the no contact between boys and girls meaning no snogging and no shagging for them since they preferred the opposite sex. Suddenly, getting a good time was too difficult for the majority of the Hogwarts students.

Malfoy was now a social pariah because his father had been one of the more vocal parents in support of Umbridge's actions. He'd been in the papers defending Fudge up one side and down the other. So now his spawn was being blamed for the sides he had chosen to take.

But that was what happened when you were a sellout.

"We need to do something though. Even if we all pretend to know nothing and then go in to retake them so we'll still have the knowledge. Maybe we should start a study group."

"Maybe. If people even want to study that is."

"If they don't want to lose out on future opportunities they will!"

Educational Decree No.24: All Student Organisations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded. An Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge). No Student Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club may exist without the approval of the High Inquisitor. Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.

So somehow Umbridge got wind of the study group idea. Harry didn't know how and didn't care, because he was looking forward to this! A chance at Malicious Compliance! It had been a while since his last and he was so excited!

As Slytherin Captain that term, being the best player and one of the oldest on the team now, he called the House together to tell them, "Umbridge banned Quidditch with this most recent Educational Decree."

The uproar was insane. The love of Quidditch was unrivaled.

"She said no student teams are allowed, and Quidditch Teams are full of only students. Therefore we cannot play Quidditch this year. I urge you to direct your ire to the Board of Governors. Include her strange behaviour and any concerns you have over how far she's being allowed to go. I'm sorry, but it's now the rule."

He understood what the decree meant. Quidditch technically wasn't what Umbridge was talking about, but she chose to use the word 'team' and that meant Quidditch Teams fell under the decree.

So, sorry.

On the day of the first Quidditch match of the year, the Slytherin team were not dressed in their Quidditch robes. They were supposed to be facing off against Gryffindor that morning and the Gryffindor Team was ready to go.

And when the Weasley twins loudly asked - as they'd planned with Harry before coming into the Great Hall - if the Slytherins were scared of losing, Harry politely informed the entire Hall that, "Professor Umbridge banned Quidditch, didn't you realise?"

And everyone frozen. If someone dropped a pin, it would have echoed.

"No student teams are allowed according Educational Decree No. 24, without her approval and no approval or acknowledgement has been made," he told them all. "Perhaps you should take it up with the Board of Governors and see if they can convince her otherwise."

Umbridge was not in the Great Hall for breakfast, so she wasn't aware of what was happening. The rest of the teachers looked on in amusement at the flurry of students rushing to write letters of concern to their parents and the Board. Harry had just started a storm and Umbridge was going to suffer for her shite.

If only to delay her afternoon and make her life a little harder.

Harry won this round.

Of course the victory could only last so long as days later, a large group of students were found messing around in the corridors - as they technically weren't supposed to - and Harry had been walking by when Umbridge came upon the group.

She took him, as the senior-most student around, to be the leader despite being the only Slytherin to boot, and gave him detention, her creepy face curling into a smile of pleasure at getting back at him.

When he told her he wasn't even involved and his wand wasn't even on him at the time, she accused him of lying and doubled the detention time.

The rest of the students scuttled away as fast as they could to escape his glare.

"You can serve your detention right now in fact," the woman said on the cusp of a titter.

So that was how Harry ended up sitting in her disgustingly pink office, doing lines. With a very special quill.

"You will write 'I must not tell lies'," she told him with faux kindness.

"How many times?"

"You will write until it sinks in."

Well… that's what she ordered. Conflicting information wasn't his problem.

Harry got nine lines in when he started to feel the prickling on the back of his hand. Fifteen lines in before he started to see the reddening of his skin. Twenty-nine lines in when the words on the parchment were on his hand.

Now he understood why she wanted him using her quill and not one of his. He knew what the quill was. Hermione had told him about it back in First Year.

He stood and placed the parchment on her desk. Lines upon lines of 'until it sinks in' stared up at her.

"It sank in already. So I'm leaving and taking this quill with me because I'm certain Professor Dumbledore would love to know you have a Black Quill on hand. I'm pretty certain these were made illegal by the Ministry, seven years ago, so it's strange how you have one." She probably didn't expect him to even know what it was.

Umbridge obviously didn't expect Harry to be so open about his intentions and pointed her wand at him. She fell unconscious on her desk once he hit her with a wandless and non-verbal Stunner.

Harry took the chance to grab the parchment he'd been writing on and his bag, and booked it from the room before she could wake up.

His first order of business was to pull out a Two-Way Mirror he'd purchased in the summer. The connecting mirror was given to Rita. Rita, under Harry's direction, had rented a flat in Hogsmeade in order to be near if he had need of her this year. It should take little effort for her to arrive soon enough if she Apparated outside of the Hogwarts ward lines and then flew the rest of the way in her beetle form.

"Umbridge broke the law and we have enough evidence to get her and Fudge in heaps of trouble. Get here soon. I'm in the Entrance Hall."

After a few minutes, a small beetle appeared in his line of vision despite the cold weather. He allowed her to land in his messy hair and he told her it would be the scoop of a lifetime.

Once he reached the statue guarding Dumbledore's office, he hissed at it to move, and was shocked when it actually did. Perhaps Parseltongue was more useful than he thought?

He didn't even wait for permission and just barged into Dumbledore's office, making the man himself balk at such rudeness and the portraits on the walls demand that he show some respect.

"Yeah, sure, whatever," he said, waving them all off. "So I'd like for you to firecall Head Auror Bones for me," Harry said as he rushed in and placed the parchment and quill on Dumbledore's desk. And his hand, still bleeding, just so happened to drip additional blood all over the page. "Fudge gave Umbridge permission to physically torture students in her detentions and she had this in her possession. It's a Black Quill. I've done some lines with it already as you can see."

The old man looked horrified and nodded. "I'll call Madam Pomfrey up here as well."

She was called first, of course, to get him medical assistance. Madam Bones, when she heard the reason for her work being interrupted, Floo'd on over immediately with three of her best Aurors.

"Mr. Potter, I hope you understand the severity of what you're saying."

"Madam Bones, I hope you understand the severity of the scarring I'm going to face because Fudge allows his lackey to torture children," he said, holding up his bleeding hand.

The quill was inspected and determined to indeed be a Black Quill. The lines in blood kind of gave it away and the fact that Harry's hand had the same lines added to it. All were connected by the same string of magic according to Auror Shacklebolt and Dark Magic was coming out of his new wound according to Pomfrey.

Black Quills were determined to be Dark Magic when Umbridge suggested them years ago. So she'd used a Dark Artifact on a minor. Interesting.

"I'd suggest checking other students as I'm not the first to be serving detention with her this year. She's been downright giddy over giving the kids detention in fact."

And that was how the great toad was exposed. Nineteen other students, none from Slytherin and most from Gryffindor, were found to have words practically carved into their hands from overexposure to the quill. They'd been serving detentions weekly apparently.

"What I'm lost on is how McGonagall just accepted the fact that so many of her students were getting so many detentions with one teacher. Like she seriously just looked at them and did nothing about it? She didn't even look into it?" Harry asked, feeling confused over Mickey G.'s lack of action on behalf of her own students.

"Professor McGonagall is also the Deputy Headmistress," said Dumbledore. "She is really quite busy already."

"Then maybe she shouldn't be the Deputy Head if she's neglecting to pay attention to her House because of it. Or maybe someone else should be Gryffindor's Head of House since being a Professor, Head of House, and Deputy are all so much work."


Warning: Below are photos containing blood and scarring and may cause some to become
ill. If you are not comfortable with these topics, I advise just skipping to the article.

Ever since Dolores Umbridge was instated at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,
she has been nothing but a tyrant to the students and the staff. Complaints about her and
her medieval methods of teaching have been made in bulk to the Board of Governors ever
since her first week, and many students and parents have expressed concern over the way
she comports herself and the attitude she displays.

Her Educational Decrees have become a sore spot for everyone in the school. She's gone
so far as to ban Quidditch and force all the girls to wear long skirts and dresses. She then
banned jewelry and makeup, music, contact between the opposite sexes for any reason,
and banned books written by muggles, half-humans, and non-human individuals. As she
was doing this all with Minister Fudge's explicit permission, her actions reflect upon him
and his beliefs, thoughts, and desires.

From just these few examples alone, it has become quite clear that the Ministry seeks to
remove the freedom from our young people. Madam Umbridge's Defence Against the Dark
Arts class has been a failure as well. All exams and homework assignments coming in have
displayed poor grading. When asked, the students explained how the Ministry appointed a
new set of books and a teacher who did not receive even an Exceeds Expectations on her
DADA O.W.L.s or N.E.W.T.s. As such, she cannot teach them practical work because she is
poor at it, so she instead said they don't need to know how to cast spells.

Yes, you read that correctly. The future of our entire community do not need to know how
to defend themselves. Many of the students, such as Hermione Granger and Harry Potter,
have great potential to be future Aurors and are being hindered because of these actions.
Auror Courses aren't supposed to teach recruits magic, they're supposed to teach them of
the Ministry rules and regulations and proper work ethic on the job. The way this woman
teaches her students, sees them learning nothing of use.

Instead, these books, which haven't been authorised by the Board of Governors who I've
learned didn't even know about them being used, insist that the Minister can break a law
if he wants to. That he is not bound to the laws and regulations our society is built upon.
These are blatant lies they are trying to force into the minds of our children. Such actions
are suspicious since our very own Minister has in recent years, faced terrible legal trouble
for illegally imprisoning people for over a decade, trying to have people illegally Kissed by
Dementors, illegally changing the time of Harry Potter's recent Ministry Hearing, and other
such issues. The fact that he is trying to make his actions seem legal is concerning to me.

As for other illegal actions, Madam Umbridge has been caught using a Black Quill on her
students. A Black Quill, for any unaware, is an item of her own creation, from years ago.
The Department of Mysteries determined it to be a Dark Artifact and refused to allow her
to market them in any capacity. Madam Umbridge created more anyway and used them
on Hogwarts students.

Black Quills are long and intricate quills of the deepest black. They are illegal because the
moment a person touches one, their magic is absorbed and forms a link between the quill
and them. Anything you write comes out in your own blood. If you write for too long, you
will feel a burning sensation and the very words you write down, will etch into the back of
your hand. Twenty Hogwarts students have been found with these matching marks. Harry
Potter among them.

Ever since her first day, it has been noted by several individuals that Madam Umbridge has
it in for Mr. Potter. She has tried to corner him multiple times, follows him around to every
place she can, and tries to draw him into conversation in the middle of their DADA classes,
which interrupts the other students and their reading. These facts, along with the fact that
Minister Fudge also has it in for the Boy-Who-Lived, makes me think they've been working
together to get rid of him entirely.

We as a community need to sit back and consider everything going on at this moment. The
Minister, when alerted to his Senior Undersecretary's actions, immediately tried his best to
lay all the blame at her feet. Umbridge did not appreciate his accusations and proceeded to
relinquish several pieces of paperwork into Head Auror Bones' hands, revealing Fudge's own
signature and a note from him, urging for her to do whatever she could to control the kids
and to "break Harry Potter's spirit".

I think it should be mentioned that Minister Fudge paid The Daily Prophet a lot of money all
summer, to do their best to destroy the reputation of a fourteen year old boy. Only a few of
the writers actually took his bribes. They're the only ones who wrote defaming articles about
Harry Potter to begin with.

The obsession with Mr. Potter, a minor, should concern many parents. What other children
have these grown men and women focused far too much on? And what were their plans in
regards to these children?

I fear for the safety of our future generation when people like this are allowed into power.

With a heavy heart,
Rita Skeeter,
Special Correspondent to The Daily Prophet.

It was three days before Christmas when the school-wide announcement went through. Umbridge was relieved of her position and Remus Lupin was her replacement. People had decided Remus had done better in the entire year he was at Hogwarts and that maybe being a Werewolf was unimportant after all.

The sigh of relief that swept through the school was loud as hell, but nice too.

Remus immediately set to fixing Umbridge's numerous fuck ups and now no one had to fail their O.W.L.s!

Umbridge was tried and found guilty of multiple crimes including… sending two Dementors to Little Whinging to shut Harry up for good. And she placed half the blame on Fudge by saying he told her to do whatever she could to make him be quiet and she took it in the most literal sense. Her own form of Malicious Compliance as it were.

Rita had had a field day when exposing that piece of information. Her beetle form allowed her to sneak into several important meetings and trials that shouldn't have been made public and she exposed everything! Without Harry even asking her too.

Turned out by taking his side all along, she had the best reputation in The Daily Prophet and many journalists were having trouble getting work done because of all the Howlers they kept getting for siding with Fudge and taking his hush money.

Rita basically got a pay raise in the end and swore that if he ever needed her help, she would be ready and willing in a heartbeat as it all worked out well on her end.

All of the Educational Decrees were repealed in the most amazing way. Dumbledore allowed the Weasley twins to blast them down one by one in what was called 'target practice'.

And to make it all better, Sirius was finally granted custody of Harry, so when he went back to Grimmauld Place for the holidays, it was officially as Sirius' ward. No more Privet Drive. No more Petunia and Vernon. He still felt bad over what happened to Dudley, but the Ministry of Magic had reimbursed them as much as they possibly could and according to Madam Bones, would have to be further reimbursed, along with Harry, because it hadn't just been an error, it had been a deliberate attempt on Harry's life and a muggle suffered in the process.

Sirius greeted the entire group with a wide smile and wrapped Harry in a tight hug. "You're coming back here from now on, Harry! I am the Secret Keeper just to be safe, and I've done something that I think you'll be impressed by!"

It was only when they were at the foot of the staircase that they all realised Sirius was being very loud and there were no portraits screaming about him being a poor son and people with impure blood sullying such an ancient and noble house.

"I got old Walburga taken down! Want to know how?"

The group of teens all nodded enthusiastically as it had been something they all had tried. Harry even suggested muggle methods.

"She was permanently stuck to the wall, so I just had the whole wall taken down and then put through a Wood Chipper to be sure. She's gone for good."

It was brilliant!

"Now, Remus and I, leading up to this whole event, have spent a lot of time with Molly, cleaning out the house. She's been going mad at home with nothing to do and offered to help, so I paid her. Found some ugly jewelry, some cursed books that were given to the Ministry because I don't care for them, and the whole house has been cleansed to be safe. We got the stamp of official approval and everything. No Boggarts, Doxies, or anything that could potentially be a danger to anyone's health."

"That's great news!" Harry told him.

The holiday ended up being the best time Harry ever had.

Well… the day of Christmas itself was great. The day after was not. Specifically early morning after.

Boxing Day was supposed to be for leftovers and rest, not panic and pain.

But Harry found himself jolting out of bed in his new bedroom, blinking furiously as he tried to order his thoughts. He was sure it was a dream, but it was such a strange dream to even have. He bore no animosity toward Arthur Weasley after all, so why would he dream of himself as a massive snake named Nagini, attacking him?

The weird room full of glowing orbs was also abnormal too.

Also, his scar was hurting again. Just a little though. Weird.

He decided to go and get a drink and then get back to bed. The kitchen however, was occupied. By Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix. They all stared at him when he walked in the door in his pyjamas and Weasley jumper, no doubt looking rough.

Immediately, Harry noted Mrs. Weasley was seated as usual, but Mr. Weasley was nowhere in sight. Even Snape was there, sitting across from Sirius and looking like he hated everyone.

"Is there something wrong?" asked Sirius, looking concerned.

He waved those worries away. "I had a weird nightmare and just wanted a drink to help me get back to bed."

"Nightmare?" Dumbledore asked. "If I may ask, what was so odd about it to unsettle you so much?"

He shrugged. "When I dream I usually end up seeing everything from above and not participating in it. It's always been like that for those I remember. This time I was a big snake named Nagini and I found myself in this weird, dark hall filled with glowing orbs. And as I slither between shelves of orbs, complaining about how I'm stuck doing this because certain people are inept, I find Mr. Weasley. He doesn't hear me coming though and it's too late. I go for the throat in a lunge far too long for a normal-sized snake to make and do it multiple times before leaving him there."

The entire Order were still as statues, and Dumbledore's face had gone abnormally pale.

Snape decided to speak however. "Nagini is the name of the Dark Lord's snake."

There was a flurry of movement as Dumbledore rushed off one way and Mrs. Weasley rushed off another way. People were screaming questions about 'was it Arthur's night to guard the Hall?' and Harry just stood there in confusion, wondering what was even happening.

In the middle of all the commotion, Harry retrieved a cup from the cupboard and the milk from the icebox and poured himself a decent-sized glass as he waited for someone to speak and explain just what the hell was going on.

Remus ended up being the one to do it, pulling him aside to get him out of the way while saying lowly, "Arthur was set to patrol the Hall of Prophecy in the Department of Mysteries tonight. Voldemort has been showing an interest in something down there so Dumbledore has us working patrols around the place. Kingsley has been getting Order members in an out quietly."

Of all the things he expected, learning that Voldemort believed in Divination wasn't one of them.

Also, Mr. Weasley actually was attacked?!

"Arthur has been found!" came the voice of Sirius from the lounge. "He's been taken to St. Mungo's!"

During all the noise, the rest of the teens had come down the stairs wondering what was going on.

The rest of the holiday wasn't so great after that.

Without Umbridge around, time passed pretty quickly at school. Things were obviously going on behind the scenes, but all Harry had to personally worry about were Quidditch training, Quidditch matches, and the O.W.L.s coming up.

A new club was formed by Remus to try and give the students an easier chance at learning defensive spells. Anyone of any age could join so long as they applied themselves. The club was called the Defence Association.

Meetings were held three times a week int he great Hall during free time in the afternoons. Monday was for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Years. Wednesday, was for the 4th and 5th Years. Friday was for the 6th and 7th Years.

Harry chose to take part in the gathering because he wanted to learn how to duel better. In case he ended up going one on one with Voldemort again. The last time he'd been on threat to Voldy personally and it was disappointing.

Since he was in the 4th and 5th Year group, that meant his friends were all with him as well!

The first meeting saw Harry being forced to run through a large list of spells Remus had listed in order of difficulty. Each student had to do it and where they stopped was the level Remus would determine them to be at and where they could start working on improving themselves.

Harry ended up knowing a lot more than he'd anticipated thanks to Hermione's need to over-prepare, and as such, found himself starting Patronus training already. Something he hadn't thought he'd need to know. Then Hermione informed him that Voldy used Dementors in the war so the chances of him doing it again were really high.

The wand movement was easy. The incantation was easy. Finding the memory that fueled the spell well enough though… not so easy. He had many fond memories and many that made him smile for hours, but none of that 'flying high' kind of feeling that Remus described. Harry hadn't felt that kind of happiness before.

The things that made Harry happy were his friends, treacle tart, good revenge, Malicious Compliance being pulled off successfully, and Quidditch. Also minding his own business and staying out of things he didn't care about so he could be less stressed overall.

He only produced a vapour for a couple weeks, whereas no one else had even managed that.

And then the day came. Probably one of the best forms of Malicious Compliance he's ever participated in in his entire life! Similar to the big one he'd done against McGonagall, but better and more difficult.

So they were given an assignment in Runes. Harry did his work. He wasn't Outstanding like Hermione, but wasn't the worst in class or anything. He took the class to avoid how useless Muggle Studies would be to a muggle-raised child, and how stupid Divination sounded especially if the teacher was always drunk and quite possibly high. And Arithmancy had to do with maths, which he hated.

So the professor assigned this ridiculous piece of work about telling a whole story in Runes. As usual, the class began linking up since they were always put into teams to share the work evenly and had gotten used to it. Instead, Professor Babbling yelled at them for 'assuming she'd just be okay with it'. Then she decided they were going to work solo and would only have three days to complete the work. So she had planned to make it a team exercise, but then decided not to out of bitchy spite.

So… Harry had considered his options.

1.) 2 rolls of parchment.

2.) Translate a popular tale into Runes.

3.) Must cite resources.

She didn't specify the kind of Runes that had to be used. What many people didn't realise was that many languages were considered Runes in a way. A Rune was 'a letter or symbol bearing magical significance' or so their book on Runes stated.

Professor Babbling was familiar with the most commonly known forms of Runes, and their class worked on those. However, she did not specify. Not Elder Futhark or Younger Futhark. As such, she'd given the class free range to use anything that can be recognised as Runes.

So by using the definition they'd been given, Harry determined Egyptian Hieroglyphics were Runes and also determined that magic could be added to them! Professor Babbling did not like Egypt after a bad experience there in her youth, where she was nearly eaten by a Sphinx, and hated to be reminded of her time in the country.

If she hadn't been such a bitch to the class for doing things they'd come to expect of her, then this wouldn't have happened!

Harry pulled three all-nighters in the library, cross-referencing multiple times in various tomes to make certain he did the work right. He then translated Disney's, The Little Mermaid, into his chosen form of Runes, and smiled to himself.

On the day the assignments were due, nothing could bring him down. His mood was so high he felt as if he could soar without his precious Firebolt. His devious grin when he placed the rolls of parchment on the teacher's desk with a note inside explaining that in loose terms, Egyptian Hieroglyphics counted as Runes, was terrifying. Harry sat back and just watched with mounting glee.

She always graded during their class period, and Harry remained fixated, waiting for her to realise what he'd done.

Eventually she got to his work and he grinned evilly when her smile turned into a frown and then into a look of utter despair. Finally, she looked up slowly, eyes meeting his to find him grinning.

"What did I do to deserve this?" she asked, sounding tired. "I obviously meant for you to use the Runes we studied in this class."

"Perhaps you shouldn't have assumed that I'd be okay with that," he snarked, knowing he'd probably get in trouble for it but not caring.

Yes, he lost five points for attitude, but Babbling wisely kept her mouth shut beyond that.

He'd gone into the club meeting on cloud nine and proceeded to use his victory and great show of Malicious Compliance, to cast the full Patronus Charm for the first time!

The form his took was a swan. He's never expect a spirit guardian to be such a delicate and graceful creature, but he had to admit that watching it swim through the air in a beautiful, silvery/blue light, was lovely. And it was so warm and comforting and the he could sit for hours just petting it and feel content.

Being called into Snape's office was usually a lot better than this, but those other times he'd known why he was there. This time was a mystery and Harry didn't like not knowing information pertinent to his person.

"After what happened during the Yule hols," Snape began, "the Headmaster has become concerned with how deep your connection to the Dark Lord has grown."

"Connection?" He wasn't aware that there had been a connection at all.

"As you are aware, I am a double agent. The Dark Lord was very displeased over his plan failing. He specifically stated that he possessed his familiar Nagini and had Lucius sneak her into the Ministry so he might retrieve what he was looking for. He could not resist attacking Arthur Weasley however and ended up having to leave soon after when he realised that even his snake can't retrieve what he wants. You saw the entire event through the snake's eyes also. This has raised concerns."

Harry and Voldy being inside the same snake's head at the same time? Yeah, it was a problem.

"So what can we even do about this? Did Voldy realise I was there too?"


Aw, damn it!

"The Headmaster has determined that you should learn how to occlude so the Dark Lord cannot penetrate your mind."

The word penetrate should never be used in the same sentence with a reference to snake-faced Voldy. Handsome Tom Riddle however? He wouldn't mind that much.

"I'm going to be learning Occlumency?" Harry asked, forcing himself to stay on topic. "From who?"



Then again, he liked Snape a whole hell of a lot more than he did Dumbles. The numerous fuck ups under Dumbledore's care of the school were just too many to excuse. No matter how much they were done for the 'greater good' or some such rot. He found the man to be annoying.

"This is going to take up all of my free time, isn't it?"


"Why do you have to do the teaching anyway? If you're a double agent, wouldn't it be bad to have you teach me something one on one?"

"I was taught by the Dark Lord personally and then coached into a finer path by Dumbledore. I have more talent than the Headmaster in Legilimency and Occlumency combined. Also, he wants his moves to remain as secret as possible from the Dark Lord therefore he doesn't tell me everything either."

It was such a convoluted situation and Harry could feel the headaches coming on.

"Fine. What's the first step?"


Aw hell!

Though… sitting still was nice.

"This is not an excuse to sleep, Potter."


"Sitting still and breathing is harder than it sounds, professor. It's not my fault my mind is in ten places at once. And now I've got the Dark Twat capable of getting into my head to some degree and have to learn how to not move."

"You will meditate every morning and every evening. You will come here every night after dinner unless I have explicitly told you to not come."

"Yes, sir."

Occlumency sucked, but he did it. Snape answered his questions when he asked them, and he always knew that Harry told the truth about meditating. He tried for half an hour each morning and night. He envisioned himself inside a rubber band ball. Just endless amounts of layers piled over each other, capable of repelling anything that struck it.

Snape suggested a mental construct of some sort. Some people used walls, other used castles. Some like Snape, used darkness. Just never-ending darkness and cold to make someone want to stay away if they did manage to get inside his head.

So Harry liked his rubber band ball idea because it meant there were hundreds of layers to go through before even getting to the heart of the search.

With each round of meditation he'd added another band or three, and the ball would grow in size. Snape didn't exactly compliment his work, but said he wasn't doing terrible, which was basically high praise coming from him.

"Don't only envision the ball, think of its elasticity and how well it would ricochet if thrown at a wall. Imagine the intruder slamming into it and bouncing off," Snape ordered before casting at Harry again.

It was very draining work, but by May he'd shown some improvement and Snape was less surly than when they started.

And then the O.W.L.s came upon them and he didn't have time for training.

Harry was confident with his work in DADA, in which he got an extra point for knowing the Patronus Charm. Charms was good as well because he also got an extra point for knowing the Patronus Charm. Then Transfiguration and Potions would be fine. Those classes he felt the most prepared for and they were technically his best overall so he'd most likely get Outstandings in them.

Herbology, Ancient Runes, Astronomy, and Care of Magical Creatures would probably be Exceeds Expectations.

History of Magic was by far his worst, and it was his worst because Binns was the worst teacher who only ever talked about Goblins and their part in British history. But honestly, it was very small and there was so much more that they never got to cover. Also, a droning voice teaching you information made you less inclined to listen or pay attention. It wasn't his fault!

It was the very last of the O.W.L. exams too. He expected to barely scrape an Acceptable in it.

Professor Marchbanks looked the very opposite of Binns and Harry wondered why she couldn't teach the class. She seemed perfectly able and looked the sort to take her job seriously to boot.

In the end, he confused names, dates, and locations because for some reason too many things happened in the 1200s and too many people had names starting with 'Gn'.

But after that it was all over and nothing but smooth sailing from then on out.

Okay, not so smooth sailing. That was happening a lot recently.

Harry had gone to bed early, wanting to get in as much sleep as he'd lost in the days leading up to the O.W.L.s in all that studying he'd had to do.

Instead, he found himself shooting up out of bed, because of an odd dream/vision he had that he couldn't verify the truthfulness of. Sirius and Voldemort in the Hall of Prophecy and Sirius being tortured into getting something for Voldemort. Harry's scar burning in the process.

The problem was Sirius knew he wasn't one of the people on rotation in the Ministry so he shouldn't be in the Department of Mysteries. Still, he was also a bit of a hot head and who knew if he'd listen to orders or not?

Concerned, since he remembered the last vision he'd had, Harry put on his slippers and grabbed his wand and Invisibility Cloak. Time to see Snape.

The professor looked displeased to see him at his door so very early in the morning, but when Harry said, "I need you to check on Sirius because I don't know if I just had a dream or a vision," he sighed and told Harry to get in and be sharpish about it.

First, Snape used his own fire to place a call to Grimmauld Place and to Harry's relief, Sirius answered, voice tight, but without insult. The two had really been trying to work together peacefully even if they really hated each other over something both were involved in in their teen years.

"Your godson had a dream about you and wanted to check your whereabouts."

"What did Harry see?"

Snape moved aside so Harry could be seen. "I was watching like a third party, but it was still in the Hall of Prophecy. Voldemort was there, circling you and trying to get you to pick up one of the glowing orbs for him. But you wouldn't, and for your insolence, he used the Cruciatus on you and said no one would be coming to save you. Not even me. I couldn't tell if it was really a dream, a real vision, or a fake vision, so I came to Professor Snape just to be sure."

"That was the smartest thing you could have done in this situation, Harry," said Sirius. "I'm proud of you. Snape, will you tell Dumbledore about this?"

"Of course, Black."

When Dumbledore was told, he ended up summoning the entire Order of the Phoenix and telling them to get to the Ministry immediately. If they were all lucky, they'd be able to apprehend the Death Eaters who were trying to lay a trap for Harry.

And Sirius' second cousin Tonks, who was a metamorphmagus and pretty cool even if she tripped over everything, would turn herself into a look alike of Harry, and take the bait.

While Harry was uncomfortable with the plan, he also recognised that there were adults with far more experience than him and letting them do their jobs was the best thing he could do. Staying out of their way was the next best thing.

Still… that didn't mean he couldn't quickly get a hold of Rita and make certain she got there in time to get some good photographs.

It was in the papers the next morning, Rita having the scoop with all the details imaginable. She even got photos just as he'd hoped!

Right there on the front page, looking livid in black and white, was Lord Voldemort's entire front, and just slightly behind him was Dumbledore. Around them was a never-ending amount of debris, sand, and water.


Last night, an attack was launched on the British Ministry of Magic by none other than
You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters. For some reason the assault was centered in the
Department of Mysteries, specifically in the Hall of Prophecy.

It has been revealed that there is a prophecy about Harry Potter and You-Know-Who,
that was made by Sybil Trelawney to Albus Dumbledore in 1979. The madman only
knew part of the prophecy, but what he learned was enough for him to choose Harry
Potter as his potential defeater. So, to put a stop to Potter's chances of being a threat,
he went after the Potter family.

Recently, You-Know-Who put his focus on the prophecy again, finally wishing to know
the entirety in hopes of finding something to use against Potter. Fortunately, I was in
the area and managed to hear the words given once the prophecy was removed from
its space(note: prophecies can only be removed by those they are about).

"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... Born to those who
have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark
him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must
die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... The one with
the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies..."

Yes, indeed, You-Know-Who's acting on the prophecy made it self-fulfilling in a sense,
for he left a mark on Harry Potter that has become a well-known emblem to all of us
in Magical Britain!

Yet the drama does not end there, folks! This reporter managed to capture a few photos
of some Death Eaters without their masks, and I'm certain none of you will be shocked
to find Lucius Malfoy, Walden Macnair, Barty Crouch Jr., Peter Pettigrew, and then Bellatrix
Lestrange among the lot. Malfoy, Macnair, Crouch, and Pettigrew were captured however.

The Ministry is in shambles after an all out duel between Dumbledore and You-Know-Who.
Thankfully, no lives were lost, though some Aurors and a few people who are members of
Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix, were injured. They are all set to have a full recovery.

The new Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, is having to pick up the pieces left behind by Minister
Fudge who is now in Azkaban. He has chosen not to press charges against Dumbledore's
Order because they had been the first on the scene to intercept the attempted takeover. I
for one, am concerned over why a vigilante group was better at serving our community
than our Auror forces have managed to do for some time.

We are now left wondering at the fate of our people. There is a prophecy labeling Harry
Potter as the Chosen One to defeat You-Know-Who, but is it wise to place the safety of
ourselves and our children on the shoulders of a teenage boy who hasn't even gotten to
graduate ye? Should we not, as adults, try to handle this problem ourselves before we
even think of bringing in minors to help solve all of our issues that we couldn't even fix
twenty years ago?

Let us know your thoughts!

As always,
Rita Skeeter,
Special Correspondent to The Daily Prophet.

The school year ended without much fanfare, though now everywhere Harry went, people were whispering. Teen girls were giggling, which they'd never done before. It was as if his fame had tripled and he was not grateful for it in the least.

He just wanted to mind his own business. Was that too much to ask for?

But now because he was even more famous because people thought he would somehow be able to end Voldemort's existence, suddenly he was attractive to people? Nearly sixteen years in and now he was getting asked out on dates and offered... things he didn't want from anybody because they'd require physical contact.

Hermione shook her head at him. "You'll never escape it, so I say you should make the best of it." She proceeded to bend her head over a long piece of parchment, quill in hand, and continue writing.

"Oooh, a letter for Viktor?" Harry teased, leaning over to see just what she had written down already.

The brunette sent him a Look and went back to writing. "He says he's been doing a lot of training lately. He actually wanted me to ask you if you had thought about doing Professional Quidditch in the future. he heard that you're very good on a broom and I might had sent a memory of one of the Slytherin matches for him."

Well… Harry hadn't ever actually thought about it. But if he considered it as a career, with his skills already, it would be pretty awesome.

Harry was not going to be an Auror despite what many people thought. And he wasn't going to be a teacher at Hogwarts either. Neither of those jobs sounded like any fun and shouldn't people get jobs that never actually felt like jobs because they liked them so much?

"I don't know but he has now brought my attention to the fact that it's an option. It wasn't mentioned when I had to do that Career Advice thing with Snape." It had been a boring three minutes of them sitting in relatively terse silence before Harry shrugged, saying he'd do what he could, and then left.

He ignored her correcting him with 'Professor, Snape, Harry' and added, "Would have made me feel less like an idiot too. You don't need to have perfect grades in school to be allowed to do Quidditch either. But who would I try out for? English doesn't have the best team admittedly." And it wasn't illegal to represent a country you did not live in. You just had to sign the correct paperwork and everything would be golden.

"Maybe you can write to Viktor yourself and ask him," suggested his best friend.

It was so odd how Hermione, who did not do sports at all, would have a boyfriend-but-not-yet-really-her-boyfriend who ate, slept, and drank sports every day of his life.

"Maybe I will."

[YEAR 6]

The summer after Fifth Year was full of Sirius taking Harry out to experience his favourite things to make up for all they hadn't gotten to do while he was growing up.

Harry determined that he did not like alcohol or smoking. Or Apparating. And snogging was disgusting. Or maybe it was just the woman that snogged him out of nowhere who was at fault for that.

Maybe she'd thought he was older, he had no idea. He was actually very short, but she'd come out of the blue while they were out to at the cinema, and laid one on him. It had been very wet and uncomfortable, and she tried to force her tongue down his throat. And Sirius had to pull her off and inform her that she'd just sexually harassed a fifteen year old.

Harry had never seen someone go that red that fast and it was kind of funny when he thought about it later on. in the moment though, it hadn't been funny. It had been disgusting and reaffirmed his dislike of physical contact with people, especially those he didn't know.

Anyway, the story was that Harry was 'decently pretty enough to make her boyfriend jealous'. said boyfriend was huge and look liked he could bend a car. Harry could have gotten his arse handed to him because of someone else's inability to talk about their problems with their lover.

It was a wild time.

On his sixteenth birthday he got to sleep in an eat a whole cake by himself. He had refused to do what Sirius did when he was sixteen which was apparently sneak into muggle clubs with fake IDs and get pissed and have lots of sex with complete strangers. James had been with him. That didn't appeal to Harry at all and he could have gone his whole life not knowing that information.

And no, James didn't cheat on Lily. They didn't start dating until half-way through their Seventh Year when she had finally decided he wasn't a bully anymore based on what she saw of his attitude. Spoiler: he was still a bully, he was just more quiet about he'd been doing. She didn't know and they apparently almost didn't get married after she found out he'd been lying the whole time they dated. But that was a story for another time.

It just went to show that no one was perfect.

A few days after his birthday he got to sleep over Hermione's for two nights where they had more marathons. This time he saw Matilda at the cinema, then Toy Story, The Secret Garden, and Just Ask For Diamond at Hermione's house. It was fun!

Also, the reason her parents weren't worried about two teenagers hanging out so much was because Hermione was interested in someone else and Harry apparently gave on this perpetual air of disinterest. Which was good since he was disinterested in things people expected teenagers to get up to. Besides, Harry's options were just a bunch of people who displayed no interest in him until he was being hailed as the Chosen One all over the papers. Which meant there was no one actually worth his time for him to consider.

His O.W.L.s came in soon after, along with his list of school supplies, and with it came the Captain's Badge for Quidditch. He was still Captain! That had to get at Malfoy something fierce!

As predicted, DADA, Charms, Transfiguration, and Potions all received Outstandings. Herbology, CoMC, Ancient Runes, and Astronomy received Exceeds Expectations. History of Magic got him a Troll. He regretted nothing, but did have to go on a free day to retake the HoM O.W.L. to bump it up to an Acceptable.

And he wasn't even questioned on why he had to take it again, since apparently many had come by complaining about Binns. Enough to aggravate Marchbanks over it.

As Quidditch Captain again, Harry would need to organise all of Slytherin's practices ahead of time. Others did it when they got to school, but the funny thing about having Snape as a Head of House, was that he pulled strings for you because the rest of the school was against you from the get-go. So if Harry made a list of dates and times, Snape would okay it and then register it fully and no one could undo it but Dumbledore, who didn't care about Quidditch all that much.

There had been a note in his supply list saying that the Headmaster suggested making Harry a Prefect but Snape shut it down immediately. 1.) Because Harry wouldn't want to do it and would therefore do a shoddy job of it. Snape wasn't wrong. 2.) Harry had almost exactly the same amount of privileges as Quidditch Captain. Got to use the Prefects' Bathrooms. Could take points if he witnessed something particularly bad. Could even issue detentions with his Head of House.

So technically there would be no point in giving him both badges and Harry could only agree.

Also, what a way to get him to abuse the rules! It was a good thing Snape was using his head because giving a Slytherin like Harry that much power would have been a mistake.

And Harry couldn't wait for Malfoy to find out! With his bad reputation as a disturbance to other students and a vandal, he wasn't allowed to be a Prefect per order of the Board of Governors! And to hear that Harry was Quidditch Captain instead of him had been enough to take the wind from his sails for weeks last year. When he learned that Harry was almost made a Prefect as well, he'd probably die from crying.

Sirius and Remus were both proud of Harry's accomplishments. Sirius even bought himself a little Slytherin flag to fly come the new term when he'd visit for the matches. His own way of showing support was appreciated.

Also, Harry found out that his godfather was not in a relationship with Remus. He'd thought that was what was going on when Remus was given a permanent room at Grimmauld Place and allowed to stay for however long he wanted.

It had been a simple morning and Harry just finally asked what was on his mind for so long. "Why does Remus sleep in a different room if you're together?" Like, it made no sense. If they thought he'd judge them, he'd set them straight. Harry didn't give a shite about what other people go up to as long as they left him out of it.

Unfortunately, he'd been wrong in his very founded assumptions!

Sirius had roared with laughter, sounding like a dying dog in the process, and Remus just flushed and shook his head. "Our relationship isn't like that, Harry. I actually fancy Tonks."

"Really?" The girl who tripped over everything and nearly broke her neck plus the necks of other people in the process? The one who was only six...ish years older than Harry? Remus liked her… with that age gap between them? Like fifteen years between them? And not his best friend who was his age?

Also, he just didn't see anything between Tonks and Remus. Any time they'd been in the same room for Order meetings, they'd never sat together or talked to one another. And Sirius and Remus acted like Cho and Cedric did. All smiles and touches and embraces at the most random of moments.

"Am I being pranked?" Harry had to ask because it just didn't feel real.


Well that was awkward.

And he still didn't believe it, but he let the matter drop.

"Oh! Harry! Guess what?"

Hermione was too busy choking him with her arms to realise that he couldn't answer her properly, but it turned out that she wasn't waiting for an answer anyway.

"Viktor's family accommodated mine when we went on holiday to Bulgaria these past two weeks! His parents were ever so kind and I learned quite a bit of Bulgarian and Cyrillic to get to know them better!"

Wow. They'd already progressed to the meet the parents stage. So it was a lot more serious than many of the Hogwarts students had believed it to be. Harry couldn't wait for the haters to find out so they could mope and moan about how 'unfair' it was!

"And they treated you well?"

"Yes!" she smiled, looking brighter and happier than she'd been at the beginning of the summer. "And it's even better because Viktor's father is the Bulgarian Minister for Magic and he's been advocating against Voldemort, encouraging the citizens to ignore his offers should he come calling like he did last time."

That was good of him.

"I've also learned so much about another sub-culture in our community! We visited France for a weekend and I learned more about them as well. Each country handles their laws differently and the International Confederation of Wizards doesn't have perfect control over everyone. Some countries view magic differently apparently and we're not taught this in school.

"Did you know that Bombarda is considered Dark Magic in Magical India?"

Bombarda was dangerous, but it was registered as a Light Spell in Magical Britain.

Hermione was nodding along with his thoughts. "The Entrail-Expelling Curse which is Dark Magic here, is Grey Magic and perfectly legal under the proper circumstances in Magical Bulgaria. The Knockback Jinx is considered Dark Magic in Magical China because of how many times it was used to send someone off a cliff. And Magical Japan really hates the Incarcerous spell because of how easy it is to make murders look like suicides thanks to the rope the spell summons."

"This just sounds like magic is subjective and laws are passed based upon how they were used, versus what they are in general."

"Exactly! It's all very fascinating and has opened my mind to many things I hadn't previously considered. I've had a lot to think about."

"It sounds like you had fun." Hermione loved learning new things, even if they challenged her view of the world.

"I really did, Harry. Viktor is very sweet too. He's no different at home with his parents, than he was in the library with us. It's nice."

"I'm happy for you." So long as things stayed fine, than he wouldn't have to hunt Krum down and give him a shovel talk. Hermione was, after all, about to be seventeen(or already seventeen if they counted her 110 totaled time-traveling days). She was practically an adult already and could look after herself.

Dumbledore came to call some time at the end of August, asking for Harry's assistance in getting a certain man to agree to return to the post of Potions professor.

Curious despite himself, Harry decided to go along with it. "What about Professor Snape?"

"Well it seems he's finally getting his wish to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts," the man told him with a characteristic twinkle. "And because dear old Professor Binns ended up exorcised this summer, History of Magic needed a new professor and none other than Remus Lupin stepped up to the task!"

That was awesome! He hadn't even said anything!

"So where are we going?"

"To the charming, little village of Budley Babberton. We're about to meet a man named Horace Slughorn. Hopefully we can catch up to him before he flees."

Dumbledore offered his arm for Side-Along Apparition and they were gone before Harry could even ask why the man would be running in the first place.

"Wands out, Harry. If you need to cast, my word will be enough for you to get out of trouble with the Ministry."

The house he was lead to looked like it had been in the middle of a Death Eater raid.

"This was not the Death Eaters, by the way. Horace did it himself to make it seem like Death Eaters so they'd pass him by, thinking he'd already engaged with another team and fled."

The man was probably a Slytherin because that was a very Slytherin plan.

Inside they found it looked even worse and there was blood dripping from the ceiling?

Dumbledore held out a hand, allowing the blood to drip onto his skin. He then licked it, making Harry take a giant step away in disgust. You should never go around licking blood that wasn't yours! Probably shouldn't lick your own either!

"It's dragon's blood. I would know it better than anyone," the man assured him. It didn't make him feel any better. Who knew if the dragon who had that blood was sick or not? How was Dragon Pox contracted? He'd never read up on it since it had pretty much been eradicated once Snape of all people, made the vaccine that everyone in Magical Britain had to take. Harry had been reliably informed by Hermione that the potion was disgusting since she'd had to take it in their First Year. As he'd been a baby when it was created, he wouldn't remember the flavour.

"Horace, your dragon's blood gave you away, old friend!" Dumbeldore called, the further they walked into the lounge, drawing Harry back to the present.

All at once, the massive recliner in the corner of the room became a rather rotund man with grey hair and a receding hairline. His housecoat was the same striped pattern as the chair he'd been pretending to be.

"Blast it all, Albus! I was doing rather well."

Dumbledore nodded. "Maybe for the lower ranking Death Eaters. Bellatrix Lestrange would have caught on immediately."

The following talk was Dumbledore pulling out every Slytherin move he could think of and Slughorn seeing through all of them perfectly, but then letting himself be tricked anyway.

He would get a pay raise, he would have Harry as a student which he apparently found an attractive thought, and he would be safe from the Death Eaters and would no longer have to run from Voldemort because Voldemort was after him for his skills in Potioneering.

While leaving, Dumbledore murmured, "You'll find that Horace has a habit he cannot seem to curb. He loves collecting things that will be useful to him later on. And the information he has, can make being collected by him, worth your while."

And because Harry wasn't daft, "And you want me to let him collect me, sir."

"And I'll tell you why back at Hogwarts where it's safe."

Lovely. Why couldn't he just be told things up front?

The day before the new term began, there was news all over the papers of a Death Eater attack in Kent and how the Ministry had to make things look like a gas leak.

In Harry's opinion, the gas leak excuse wouldn't work as well as it did back in the 70s.

They were coming upon a new millennium and muggles were advancing technology faster than anyone could anticipate. Like, you could find a computer in every house now versus twenty years ago. Mobile phones were replacing pagers. The spread of information was a lot faster than it had been merely two decades ago.

So Harry didn't see how the gas leak causing an explosion excuse was going to work for much longer.

If he was correct, they had to dispatch Aurors for the battling, Healers for the injured, Unspeakables for the Obliviating of the people afterward, and then the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office to locate any CCTV footage and have that altered as well.

It was a lot of work on the Ministry's part and Voldemort knew that, which is why he separated his Death Eaters into teams and sent them to various places to better stretch out the Ministry's manpower.

As such, the Minister made a deal with Dumbledore's Order for them to join in on stopping the raids and providing back up to the Auror forces.

The death toll in the attack was two, with nine others injured. An entire family of muggles were dangled upside down for an undetermined amount of time and stripped without their consent for the Death Eater's amusement. One child was... yeah. If Harry ever saw Fenrir Greyback in person, he'd cut off the werewolf's dick first and then feed it to him.

It was so strange this weird hatred for people with no magic when every magical line started off with a person who came from a family with no magic, suddenly being born as the first magical in their family, and then having children who have magic who then also have children that have magic and so on.

The Malfoy name didn't go back as far as Draco bragged. The Black and Potter names were even older. Potter was once Peverell and the Peverell brothers were hailed as geniuses for their inventions but they did not come from a magical family. They started the magical family. They learned magic and taught their children who went on to spread their lineage all over the British Isles.

Hell, Merlin was a muggleborn but the line of Emrys that came from him became incredibly popular. He'd been a Slytherin and everyone practically worshiped his memory.

It was just a bunch of pointless hatred in Harry's opinion.

He hoped Voldemort could be stopped soon, and he really hoped that he wouldn't have to be the one to do it. No matter what some stupid prophecy said, Harry was the innocent in the scenario. He didn't put his faith in only a piece of a prophecy, so he didn't feel he should have to be the one to see it through. He was a fucking teenager, his job was to do his schoolwork and be an idiot with his friends. That was it.

First week back and Harry was called up to Dumbledore's office for an explanation over why Slughorn was necessary. And it had to be a good reason because in Hary's opinion, the man was not a better Potions Master than Snape.

"In his years here, Tom Marvolo Riddle was a very bright student and he was beloved by everyone. Nothing could ever be linked back to him or his group of acquaintances, and he was the perfect actor, charismatic in all the worst ways."

And then Dumbledore showed him the stash of memories about Tom Riddle/Voldemort. Maybe… just maybe… Voldy wasn't the only obsessed old man involved in this. Having a whole cupboard filled with memories of one person was kind of creepy.

"I wanted to show you these once a week to give you space to think about them, but I think it's necessary you see them all now with what little time we have left to us."

And Dumbledore took Harry on a journey through his Pensieve, watching memories about the Gaunt family. Harry learned the truth about Tom's rapist mum who, while having very unfortunate circumstances of her own, gained none of his pity.

How can someone whinge about their life when their choices were to drug someone, force them into a marriage, force them to move away from their family, force them into sexual relations to create a child, and then force them to support their every need for months? And then release the drugged person from their control to try and guilt-trip them into staying willingly, with a child they weren't even aware they'd created? Marvolo and Morfin were fucking rubbish people too, but their two wrongs didn't make Merope right.

And he was certain that Voldy knew none of this information since he didn't know his mum was a Squib and a rapist. Though would he even care to know she raped Tom Riddle Snr.? He hated muggles so he might not feel any kind of pity for his father's plight.

Then Harry got to see Dumbledore's first meeting with Tom Riddle in 1937, and frowned at how Mrs. Cole of the orphanage reminded him of Petunia and how she talked about Harry to other people that she wanted to hate him but also needed to put up with him.

Furthermore, he had to say, "Burning his things was wrong of you."

Dumbledore's look of shock didn't make Harry feel guilty in the least. Harry was one of those people willing to call out Dumbledore's shite.

"You weren't his teacher yet, nor his guardian in any form. Your control over him wouldn't be put into effect until September. You were not even associated with him for ten minutes. It was not your job to scare him into behaving. There were better ways to go about telling him that theft and bullying are wrong, but from an orphan's perspective in the middle of World War II London, that was the dumbest you could have done."

It took several moments of silence for Dumbledore to sigh and go, "I understand. I was just so worried because I saw in him so many similarities to Grindelwald and I didn't want that to be the case. So I thought I could terrify him into behaving."

"And it was wrong, because I doubt you treated him like any other student. You probably excluded him enough for it to be noticeable to other students and it would explain why so many people his age don't like you, because of how they saw you treat him in school when it was obvious he was such an upstanding student."

"Yes," Dumbledore admitted quietly, with obvious shame.

"I hope you understand that it probably pushed him on to keep doing things his way."

Dumbledore felt moved enough to terrify a ten year old he wasn't in charge of, into behaving but not moved enough to put in actual effort to stop him from becoming the arsehole he was now? Shameful. He should feel bad about it.

A nod was the only response he got for his accusations.

The next memory was of Tom and Professor Slughorn, which seemed a bit too strange, unlike the other ones. Like there was some kind of sheer, white veil over it.

"What was up with that? What are Horcruxes? Why was Tom so interested in them? And did Professor Slughorn really have a terribly receding hairline even back then?"

Dumbledore chuckled and nodded. "He lamented it daily. This is a memory from Horace himself and could contain information to help us defeat Voldemort. The problem is that the memory has been altered. That's what the strange effect on it was. My hunch is that he told Tom, his brightest pupil, just what the Dark Magic surrounding Horcruxes was, and regrets it so much he refuses to acknowledge it."

They wandered back over to Dumbledore's desk, where the man sat and placed his hands plainly on the wood. One of the was a sickening shade of black and looked more frail than the rest of him.

Before Harry could ask what happened, he went on to say, "A Horcrux is one of the foulest forms of magic. Even I can admit some Dark Magic isn't truly terrible, but this most certainly is. After performing a certain ritual which requires the murder of an innocent life, the caster can split a piece of their soul off and seal it into an object. Then, if their body was somehow destroyed, or just plainly killed, their soul wouldn't move on. This object would act as a tether, much like the string of a balloon, and would keep the rest of the soul grounded.

"My theory is that he made at least one and at the most seven. His body was destroyed after being struck by the backfired Killing Curse. His robes and wand were left behind and everything. Yet he still carried on somehow and possessed animals and people to stay cognizant. I have full faith that the Diary in your Second Year was a Horcrux and that this…" he said, placing a golden ring with a black stone in it on the desk between them, "was also one."

"That's Marvolo Gaunt's ring," Harry pointed out, recognising it from the memory they'd seen of the Gaunts. Tom had been wearing it in Slughorn's memory.

"Touching it placed a curse on me. Professor Snape was able to contain the curse to my hand alone, stopping it from spreading, but the damage is done. While it won't kill me immediately, it is still killing me. I might not even make it to next summer, so I wanted to help end Voldemort as much as I can before the inevitable."

Dumbledore had never been his favourite person but Harry didn't like the thought of him dying! He was super old! One of those people who didn't seem capable of dying because he was still so spry at his age.

"Horace refuses to give me the real memory of that night for confirmation, but I desperately need it. There are other options Voldemort could have used but I am 90% certain Horcruxes were the method he chose. I believe I know what all the potential Horcruxes would be thanks to more memories I gathered."

"What are they?"

"Tom's Diary, Marvolo's Ring, Slytherin's Locket(the necklace Merope stole and sold to Burke), Ravenclaw's Diadem, Hufflepuff's Cup, and Nagini the snake. Tom was obsessed with the Founders. He wouldn't have Gryffindor's Sword because it only appears to those who demonstrate great bravery and have a genuine need of it."

"That's six," Harry pointed out. "He hasn't gotten to seven yet?"

It was then that Dumbledore became silent, instead staring Harry down, eyes fixated on the ever famous scar. "Placing false visions into someone's mind requires a connection. Be it spiritual, visual, physical, or mental. He shouldn't have been able to send you any kind of vision unless there was a connection between you. We determined it was mental and had you begin Occlumency training to protect yourself just in case. The snake is a Horcrux and has a piece of Voldemort inside it, which is why it didn't die when he possessed it to break into the Hall of Prophecy. Both you and Voldemort were in the snake at the same time which should be impossible without a connection of some sort. A mental connection wouldn't have made that possible, but a spiritual one could if the souls involved had similarities, were related, or were pieces of the same soul."

And it all hit him at once. Being a Parselmouth when his only Slytherin heritage was from centuries ago. Seeing through the snake's eyes at the same time as Voldemort did. Being able to share visions with Voldemort. The slight pain he'd been getting in his scar now and then when Voldemort was involved. And if he used Harry's blood to return to power, then that connection had to have grown.

A bit of Voldemort in him and a bit of him in Voldemort.

"I'm the last Horcrux," he said quietly.

"I believe so. We need to confirm Horcruxes were used first but it's very likely. He didn't mean it, I think. Probably doesn't even know. But he's so terrified of dying that he would use the murder of his potential vanquisher to keep himself alive."

"But I don't understand how the curse backfired then." If he did everything right then that was the one thing unaccounted for.

"Your mother," said Dumbledore. "And Professor Snape technically."

"What?" Snape? Huh? What did Snape have to do with anything?

"Lily was not the first parent to die for her child's well-being, yet no others saw the Killing Curse rebounded. Olde Magick was involved."

Voldemort had said that too. He'd known even. had been impressed by it too.

"You know of the prophecy and know that Professor Snape was a Death Eater once upon a time. At the time he'd been lost and his circumstances that I've only come to fully understand in recent years, lead him toward Voldemort. I will admit to once again, not being the best of teachers and pushing him in that direction due to preconceived notions I had. I favoured your father and his friends too much and allowed them to get away with harassing students, including Professor Snape.

"Feeling cornered and not safe in the place he should have his entire seven years here, he turned to the side that didn't attack him and promised him success. As such, he was Marked and made a spy. He only heard part of the prophecy and was thrown out of the pub before hearing the rest. When you were born, Voldemort decided you were his target as you were also a Halfblood like him, unlike Neville Longbottom who was also born at the end of July but was a Pureblood. Voldemort felt connected to you automatically and had personal experience with Purebloods being weaker than Halfbloods."

No wonder Snape was so broken up about finding out the truth about who betrayed Lily Potter that night.

Oddly enough, he wasn't angry. Voldy chose who to go after a year after the prophecy was made, and that wasn't Snape's fault. And Pettigrew chose to give up his friends' location. That also wasn't Snape's fault.

"But how did this make the curse rebound?" It still didn't make sense! If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it!

"Lily was Severus' best friend. They met when they were nine in Cokeworth and were friends up until their Fifth Year. The situation was wrong on all sides. I understand that now, but their friendship ended and she refused his apology, and he avoided her as she requested, from then on. Your godfather and his friends were a part of the situation and you can ask he and Remus about it if you'd like more information.

"Severus felt guilty over turning his Master on your mother and begged him to spare her, but also doubted Voldemort would, so he came to me and swore his allegiance to me in exchange for helping to keep your family safe entirely. I believe that Voldemort honoured his word to an extent, but Lily refused to move. This is the difference. No other mother was told to move or given a chance to save themselves. I'm assuming he gave her many chances. At least three as the magic invoked would have been very powerful, so when he broke his promise to Severus and killed Lily anyway, the magic building up around them reacted. He broke a Magical Promise which is bad enough, but the kind of sacrifice involved is a form of Olde Magick which is based upon unconditional, selfless Love. She was given multiple chances to save herself but refused to move and knew what would happen. The barrier didn't stop the spell, it just forced it to go elsewhere."

Harry wasn't often known for crying. It just… wasn't something he did since his life rarely had reasons for him to cry these days. Hadn't cried since he'd forced himself to when he was nine and being rescued from a burning school.

But that revelation and the conviction in Dumbledore's words, made him believe. And it hurt. And it was sweet. And too many other things to think of at present.

"So what do we do about the Horcrux inside me?" was the damning question. He didn't want to think about Lily Potter's death.

Hermione gaped at him once he was finished. "You're joking?"

He said nothing.

"You're serious? Really?"


And so proceeded the moment Harry first heard Hermione swear. And she swore with words he would never even think she knew, for several minutes. Enough to lose fifteen points from Gryffindor from a scandalised Madam Pince.

"It's fine, Mione," he tried to assure her.

"No, it is not! We are going to Professor Slughorn and getting that damn confirmation, now!"

She proceeded to drag him all the way down to the Dungeons where they barged right into the man's office without even knocking and Hermione stared the pudgy man down, her hair already beginning to do that sparking thing it did when she was angry. It was beginning to stand on end like the Bride of Frankenstein.

"Ms. Granger! What is the meaning of such rud-"

"Did you tell Tom Riddle about Horcruxes or not?" she demanded of him.

Harry had never seen someone blanch so quickly before. The pallor of Slughorn's skin was just gone! The man looked panicked and frantically glanced around as if anyone else would hear what was being said.

"I can assure you I would nev-"

"This is not the moment for cowardice, sir! Lives are on the line! If you did tell him about them, then we have confirmed the destruction of two and the existence of the remaining five plus where they might be. Just be honest. No one else is going to find out you were involved. It isn't your fault he became a monster!"

Slughorn looked between the teens, as if debating whether he could trust them.

"Please sir," Hermione implored, tone begging. "We need to know… because Harry might be one."

That seemed to push the man over the edge and made him burst into tears. "I'm so sorry! I never knew that he'd be capable of such cruelty. He was such a good student and I knew some of it was an act because he was one of my snakes, but I couldn't have ever imagined he do this with the information I gave him! i had such high hopes for him!"

That was confirmation enough.

Hermione was equally distraught, because they all knew what it meant.

At some point, Harry would have to die to see Voldemort destroyed for good, otherwise he could use Harry to come back again and cause more suffering.

Strangely, Harry just felt numb. As if he'd been expecting to not live a very long life this whole time. Maybe it was a good thing he'd never felt the urge to date someone or kiss someone or shag someone or befriend more people. Less hearts to break when he was gone, he supposed.

The information was delivered to Dumbledore, who patted his arm in a show of affection and regret.

It was fine.

If he had to die within the year, then at least he'd make it a good year by doing the things he loved the most.

"Sir, about Slytherin's Locket," Harry started, "I think I've actually seen it before. At Grimmauld Place."

Dumbledore's interest obviously spiked. "Where?"

"Kreacher has it. When they were cleaning the house, he refused to part with it and some other stuff and keeps everything in his little cupboard. It's gaudy and tacky. You can ask Sirius to get it."

"That makes this all so much easier, Harry."

"Do you know where the Cup is?"

"I have a theory that it was given to Bellatrix Lestrange, as the Diary had been given to Lucius Malfoy. It's most likely in her Gringotts vault."

He had no idea how they'd get their hands on that.

"And the Diadem?"

"A most curious thing. It was stolen by Rowena's daughter Helena. The Grey Lady to be precise."


"Yes, that very same lady. She fled to Albania with it. The Bloody Baron pursued on behalf of her mother, but also for his own gain as he professed to be in love with Helena and would not take her refusals for an answer. He ended up killing her there in a fit of rage, realised what he'd done, and killed himself in his sorrow. Both returned to Hogwarts, too caught up in their grief and regrets to move on."

That was dark as hell! Holy shite!

"The Diadem was left in Albania. Tom spent quite some time in Albania after graduating. He wasn't given the position of DADA like he wanted because he was considered too young, so Armando Dippet told him to gain some more experience first. And he did. He came back far different than before and came to the castle. I refused him the position for various reasons but he did not leave right away. I think he hid it here somewhere."

"Is there a place where things would usually be hidden from prying eyes, sir?"

"The Chamber of Secrets, though we did have it searched and nothing was revealed. There's also the Room of Requirement, but it is a wonder of magic. The room gives you what you need most when you require it. In the basic sense, all lost things in Hogwarts are placed there by the House Elves. You cannot summon anything in the room, you have to go through it all bit by bit, and it is massive and time-consuming."

"I'll look, how do I get in?"

"Seventh Floor Corridor opposite the painting of trolls dancing ballet, you will walk back and forth in front of the door three times thinking clearly of what you need. The room will do the rest."


Dumbledore would get the Locket and Harry would get the Diadem. Then they'd destroy them together and be two steps closer to destroying Voldemort for good.

I need to find Ravenclaw's Diadem. I need to find Ravenclaw's Diadem. I need to find Ravenclaw's Diadem.

He kept thinking it over and over and when the ornate door appeared in the wall, he took a moment to appreciate how awesome magic truly was. He then went inside.

And literally, he found a plain room bearing only a simple table, covered in an ugly red cloth and holding a jewelry box. Inside the box was an ugly tiara with the words, 'wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure' inscribed on the face.

That was a lot easier than he thought it would be. He wondered if Dumbledore just thought of asking point blank to find the diadem and not Voldemort's Horcrux. The chances of Voldy putting up protections concerning the word 'horcrux' were very high. But Harry was a Slytherin who could have been in Ravenclaw too, so he also had common sense on his side.

Poor Voldy. He thought his enemies would all be stereotypical Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs.

Harry spent a ridiculous amount of money on chocolate during his visit to Hogsmeade, but he couldn't be blamed!

He had a small bucket list before he died.

Eat as much chocolate as he could. Get as much petty revenge as he could through Malicious Compliance. Have a kiss that isn't wet and gross to see if snogging in general was gross or just his lone experience that was nasty.

The Malicious Compliance bit was going swell!

So far he had fucked with McGonagall again, and Professor Sinistra as well.

Since Harry would be dying, he saw no point in him even staying around for a N.E.W.T. in Astronomy and had been contemplating leaving the class altogether as he found it so useless. Why lose sleep over something he didn't care about any longer?

And then they'd been given a report and Sinistra said if they planned to not take the course seriously she wouldn't be sorry to see any of them go. He found that a bit rude but also a good opening, so he walked out, only to have her follow him and plead with him to come back.

"But I thought you wouldn't be sorry to see me go," he countered like an arse.

As for Mickey G., Harry hadn't even intended to be an arse, it just all came out that way.

The woman had always seemed to be on the fence about him. Either emotional over him being the child of her favourite students, or annoyed by him being a Slytherin instead of being a Gryffindor. She couldn't ever seem to just make up her mind, so she oscillated between being nice and being rude.

As such, Harry treated her based upon how she treated him one day at a time. He wasn't of the belief that being ancient just afforded someone respect.

Treat others how you wish to be treated, it you don't want to be treated like shite all the time. Malfoy was one of the people who hadn't seemed to grasp that yet either.

So what happened had taken place in the Second Floor Corridor. Harry had been advising some younger Slytherins on how to not get caught doing things technically against the rules. He added that Snape hated having to publicly take points from his House so don't make him have to, was basically the gist of it.

Harry had been demonstrating a quick spell to make one's conversation private by muffling the sound to everyone else. Snape had developed it years ago and passed it on to his students. McGonagall came upon them while he was performing magic in the corridor, which was technically against the rules, but not something regularly enforced, and she took ten points off Slytherin for it.

In the process, she'd made herself look bad to a group of eleven year olds who had already been informed of the bias against Slytherins.

"Potter! Magic is forbidden in the corridors! You could have injured someone! Ten points from Slytherin," the Scotswoman scolded, making him blink.

"It was a Muffling Charm, professor," he told her. "And as I got an Outstanding on my Charms O.W.L., I'm not incompetent. I wouldn't have hurt anyone even if I'd botched it up."

She ended up taking another five points for his 'cheek'. "No magic is to be done in the corridors!"

Well fine then. She'd enforced the rule, therefore she would have to reap what she'd sewn.

Days later, Harry came upon a large group of Gryffindor boys taunting a few Hufflepuff girls. Specifically knocking them over with a Knockback Jinx to try and expose their knickers. And Harry grinned, realising the opportunity at hand.

"Thirty points from Gryffindor, Stubbins, MacMillian, and DeVos! Ten from each of you!" Harry called out, making the boys freeze and stop laughing when they saw him nearby. "Also and additional thirty points will be taken for sexual harassment. When a girl tells you 'no', she doesn't mean 'continue to harass me more'. Take this as a lesson before you end up in prison for sexual assault some day."

But he didn't stop there. For the next week, Harry paid an obsessive amount of attention to the Gryffindors and by the end, had removed over five hundred points for various forms of casting, ten points from each person no matter the level of spellwork.

Eventually, Harry, Snape, and McGonagall were called into Dumbledore's office to discuss a supposed 'breach' in his rights as Quidditch Captain.

McGonagall was a blustering mess, demanding he lose the position on the team entirely. Snape simply demanded to know what she had done to anger Harry so much, which only offended her more.

Dumbledore simply twinkled at them all.

"Now Harry, can you please tell us what is wrong?" the old man asked calmly.

Harry shrugged and innocently said, "I don't know what you mean, headmaster. I'm just enforcing the rules. 'No magic is to be done in the corridors' according to Professor McGonagall, and she took ten points from me for teaching some First Years the Muffling Charm in the Second Floor Corridor on the Right-hand Side last week. I realised that she was absolutely right about the danger that casting in the corridors presented to the student body, and decided to treat it with the delicacy it deserved. So I figured ten points was the standard and made certain that I removed exactly ten points from every person I saw doing magic in the corridors, so they'd understand the severity of the issue and never do it again. It isn't my fault that 90% of the people I caught were Gryffindors."

He didn't bring up the fact that he was specifically following Gryffindors around though. And he'd taken points off Slytherins, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws too. They were just in fewer number because they got caught less. And as he took a total of ninety between those Houses, no one could say he wasn't being fair.

There was a cruel smirk on Snape's face. "If I recall, the punishment for performing magic in the corridors is five points each infraction, so the numbers can be halved at least. But the boy is right. He was just enforcing the rules and used your example, Minerva. You can't accuse him of playing favourites or being unfair when you set the example for him to follow, and your example was deliberately exaggerated out of childish spite." Snape wasn't over her calling him out in Harry's First Year it seemed.

Harry had never seen McGonagall go that red before, but she'd been backed into a corner, and it was beautiful!

In the end, the points were downsized to a third of the amount he'd taken that week and Dumbledore gave them all a lecture on the 'importance of working together'. He then explained to the entire school at dinner, just what Harry had been doing, so none of the kids felt like he'd been singling them out to be an arse. The story got a round of snickers.

All the while, Harry never stopped grinning at the Head of Gryffindor House.

The Death Eater attacks continued and got worse and worse with each report in the paper.

Hermione's hands got progressively tighter around the pages and her mouth thinned out dangerously. "This honestly needs to be stopped. How many are left?"

She was referencing the Horcruxes.

"Cup, snake, and me."

She sighed. "Can Sirius do anything? Like, he's the Head of her maiden House. Would he have access to her vault if it is the one given to her by the family and not her husband's family?"

"I… don't know. Do you think it would work?"

"Has he cast her out yet?"

"No. Not even Malfoy's mum's been cast out. But Andy was welcomed back and received the benefits for it, so by extension, Tonks did too."

"If the vault is granted because she's the daughter of House Black, I think it can be taken back by the Head if she is disowned with proof of why she deserves to be disowned. So long as the Head is a Pureblood from the Black line." Hermione proceeded to pull an enormous book out of her charmed bag and began flipping through it. "I've always found the way the old Pureblood families handle their affairs to be ridiculously barbaric."

She could say that again. Harry didn't have to learn any of it thankfully since he'd be dead soon, but also because Sirius hadn't bothered to teach him because the Purebloods of Magical Britain were dying out and what was the point in learning about something that would fall out of popularity within the next century? He was cool like that.

"Harry!" she whisper-shouted. "He can do it! We need to show the Headmaster!"

And so they did.

Every bit of jewelry from one thousand years ago was ugly as sin. Why couldn't Voldemort have chosen something not tacky? Gold was a horrid colour in general and wasn't a very good crafting material either, in Harry's opinion.

The Horcruxes were all destroyed by the Sword of Gryffindor, which was a Goblin-made weapon that Dumbledore covered in Basilisk venom from the one that had been slain in the Chamber of Secrets. Apparently, Goblins enchanted their weapons to take in all that made them stronger. So now the sword absorbed the venom and was incredibly deadly and had to be handled with care.

So all that was left was the snake and then Harry.

He was sad to think it was all coming to an end so soon already. They couldn't drag it out and put more people in danger just because Harry wanted to live longer. It wouldn't be right or fair. That would just give Voldy more chances to resurrect himself. Again.

The last part of the plan had been agreed on. Harry absolutely had to let Voldemort do the deed. His own magic killing off his soul piece would be what was needed to finish him off.

He didn't know when the opportunity would come, but he'd come to grips with it already.

Had done the crying and the bemoaning of the whole event. He experienced the five stages of grief rather quickly and had reached Acceptance.

In death he would meet the parents he never got to know. He'd be sad to leave Sirius behind, especially as he and Remus didn't know about the plan at all. But it wasn't as if he'd never see them again.

Yes, Harry Potter was trying to romanticise his own death. As it was his decision and practically his last act, he was allowed to do so. Trying to find the good in the midst of the bad wasn't wrong. Looking for reassurance when there was none was only human.

Harry got to visit Weasley's Wizard Wheezes during the Christmas holiday. The twins had really outdone themselves with their inventions. Even with half of Diagon Alley out of business because of the Death Eaters and people not feeling safe, the two had stubbornly stayed open. The floor was just filled with children and teens testing out products on each other and having a good time. Laughter filled the room from every side. It was nice.

"Why the long face, mate?" George asked, coming up beside him.

"Nothing really. Just enjoying the atmosphere." He didn't want to drag them down with the truth. It was bad enough that Hermione had to also go through the five stages of grief with him. He didn't want to unnecessarily worry the twins too.

"Things have been kind of low lately, with all of Voldy's minions harming people every week and so many businesses closing."

Fred joined them and patted Harry's back. "Don't worry so much. I have a feeling that things are going to come to a head very soon and that we won't have to spend our days feeling so down."

He was tossed a bag that was no doubt filled with merchandise.

"Try it all out at Hogwarts. Let us know how it goes!" they said together, matching, innocent grins on their faces.

He'd miss them. Too bad he hadn't gotten to know them earlier, so it wouldn't feel like he'd wasted so much time.

"It'll be fine, Harry," said Luna.

They were once again feeding the Thestrals that he still couldn't see, and just spending some time together as Harry had stopped attending classes altogether.

"I'm not so sure about that, Luna," he confessed. The whole waiting around for your time to die was stressful and saw him paying less attention and putting in less effort in his work. Dumbledore even had to tell the teachers not to reprimand him. He probably even told some of them exactly why.

Luna placed a hand on Harry's arm, staring into his eyes intently, her misty gaze intense. "Everything will be fine, Harry."

He decided to stop arguing with her and let her believe what she wanted. He just didn't have the energy for it.

It was some time before the Easter hols were underway, that Malfoy of all people, pulled Harry aside, looking frantic. He'd had a terrible term since his father was in prison and everyone knew about his Death Eater connection now. His friends had all abandoned him this year to avoid his bad reputation. He didn't even have his bookends anymore.

"I need your help," the blond confessed.

And even after all the times they'd butted heads and how much Harry really didn't like him, Harry still couldn't help but ask, "What's wrong?"

Draco's lip quivered. "The Dark Lord has ordered me to kill Dumbledore. To make up for my father's failure at the Ministry. If I don't by the end of term, he'll kill my mum. He won't leave our property so we can't ward against him, not that wards would really do anything. And she has nowhere to go and has to pander to him every day. And he keeps dangling her potential death over our heads. He doesn't care about his followers at all!"


"Dumbledore's dying anyway," Harry said. "Can't that just be enough for Voldy? Does it have to be some dramatic death or whatever? If Dumbledore just up and dies one of these days, which he's close to doing, can't you just take credit for it and be left alone?"

The blond shook his head grimly. "He'll know. He always knows."

"Fuck. Alright, let's get Snape, Sirius, and Dumbledore involved. We'll come up with something."

It was revealed that Dumbledore already knew about Draco's plans because his mother had called upon Snape to protect him while he was at school and if he couldn't see the duty through, then to do it himself. And Dumbledore had agreed because he was dying already and might as well solidify the question of Snape's loyalties in Voldemort's ranks.

However, things changed now. Voldemort and Nagini were at Malfoy Manor presently. That could knock out three birds with one stone.

Harry and Dumbledore had shared a look of understanding, realising they'd had the same idea.

Mount a surprise attack and get it over and done with. Neither Sirius or Snape liked the idea very much, but it was the best thing they had.

The Death Eaters were set for several raids in two days. Bellatrix would be leading one attack by herself even. They would all be busy elsewhere. In that time, the Order of the Phoenix would launch an attack on Malfoy Manor, and Narcissa Malfoy would lower the wards from the inside to let them through.

It had been a hasty plan, but Dumbledore informed the Minister of Narcissa's compliance in the plan and her express permission for them to raid her home to rid them all of Voldemort. The Minister, in response, actually got off his arse and did something useful!

He separated the Aurors into teams that would each see to the raids Snape had information on. The rest would then go to Malfoy Manor to help out the Order in taking Voldemort down for good. Dumbledore had even repealed his 'no killing' rule and the Minister had never lived by such a rule to begin with.

Sirius was left unaware of the fact that Harry would be joining the group. It was better that way, he told himself. It was better so Sirius didn't have to deal with it while going in. It would distract him the entire time and they couldn't let that happen. It would put not only him in danger, but Harry and Dumbledore's plan. And the good of the many, no matter how stupid the phrase sounded, was indeed more important.

"No," was all Hermione said the moment she saw him next. It was like she was an empath or something, grasping everything going on without a problem. Maybe it was in his face that let her know what he was thinking. Or she'd just gotten better at reading people since they weren't little kids anymore. "Not yet. Please not yet?"

"We have a chance, Mione. It's a very important opportunity to end it all. This isn't just about me. It's unfair that I have been dragged into it, but sometimes we just have to deal with the shite hand that life has dealt us."

The tears began overflowing and Hermione tackled him in a tight hug. "I'll go with you," she vowed. "I won't let you be alone. I'll do my best."

"It's going to be dangerous," he told her.

"I don't care. I'm seventeen. I am a legal adult of Magical Britain. I am legally allowed to make my own choices and I choose to stand with you. You're my best friend, Harry. I could never let you go in alone."

"I really wish you could afford to." I don't want you to get hurt.

She pinched his arm and tried to put on a brave smile. The sniffles and runny nose kind of ruined the attempt though. "'Sometimes we just have to deal with the shite hand that life has dealt us'," she said, repeating his earlier words. "But you won't deal with it alone."

"...Thanks, Mione."

No matter what, Hermione had to live. He'd hate to be the reason she died. Harry was so tired of people being willing to die for him. It was less sweet the longer he though about it, and more madness inducing instead.

Malfoy Manor was opulent, surrounded by a wrought iron fence and several albino peafowl. It was the kind of house Harry wouldn't ever want to live in because it just looked that prissy. They had a long driveway even though they wouldn't be caught dead using cars! Probably not even carriages!

He and Hermione, bearing the Sword of Gryffindor between them, were hidden under his Invisibility Cloak. Oddly enough it still fit the both of them even with them growing so much over the years.

The whole group had Apparated a good distance outside the Manor's wards so they couldn't be detected magically or heard since some people - Tonks! It was always Tonks - weren't that great at Apparating quietly.

They were literally able to walk right into the wards, all eighty-two of them.

And while Harry and Hermione slipped inside, the assault began on the outside in hopes of drawing Voldemort out and leaving the snake indoors for them to find. The Cloak couldn't be summoned so Harry had full faith they'd make it past him without a problem. It was the snake they had to be careful with.

If Voldy put so many protections on his other Horcruxes, like how the Diary was waterproof and the Ring was cursed additionally, and the Locket showed the destroyer their worst fears, he was certain Nagini would be fast, deadly, and silent. Probably magic-resistant too. So the Basilisk venom-covered sword was their best bet in taking her out.

The entire manor quaked, knocking vases to the floor and shaking the various portraits on the walls as Voldemort's screaming filled the air. His wrath was almost palpable. The portraits protested the happenings and demanded explanations that no one was around to give.

Harry just hoped that Narcissa got out.

§Master makes Nagini be patient. Master won't let Nagini have her prey. Master never lets Nagini have her fun.§

Harry stopped Hermione as he looked around, trying to find where the voice echoing off the walls was coming from. Nagini sounded more like a petulant child than a snake. Then again, snakes could be very snarky too when they didn't get their way.

§Nagini smells something foul. Nagini wants to eat now!§

With an idea in mind, Harry waved his wand and summoned a few cobras, curious to see what would happen.

§Where am I?§ the nearest demanded.

§Where is my nest?§ another asked.

§Why are we in a two-legger's nest?!§

§Who brought us here?!§

The snakes were madly slithering around, searching for answers and finding none. And that was when Nagini's voice sounded over all of them, making him realise that she had a deeper sound to her hissing meaning she was most likely bigger. Much bigger.

§What's this? What's this? Food for Nagini? Or prey?§ she taunted as she came around the corner, revealing herself to be much larger than all of the other snakes. Probably seven or eight meters, meaning she had to be a magical breed of snake. Her markings were unfamiliar.

The cobras hissed threateningly, their hoods falling open in an attempt to scare her away.

If it was possible, Nagini gave a snakey chuckle. §Prey should know when they are prey. Nagini is pleased!§

Now with a body so long, Harry hadn't expected for her lunge to be so long or powerful. He was reminded of what she managed to do to Mr. Weasley and could feel his heart in his throat as he watched her completely swallow the head of one of the cobras, while the others tried to attack. Their fangs seemingly slid right off her scales though, doing nothing.

§Flee!§ one of the remaining cobras called out, forcing the others to scatter in different directions so Nagini would have to go after one at a time, dividing up her attention.

For animals, they were very good at planning in the moment.

Nagini tipped her head back and her body undulated so she could finish swallowing the cobra in her jaws.

Any plan he was trying to form was completely thrown out the window when Hermione tossed the Cloak aside and brought the sword down hard on the snake just as Nagini managed to turn in time and dodge. However, just because Hermione missed the head, didn't mean hitting anywhere else was a failure.

He knew, because the sword sliced through Nagini's middle, cleaving her in half and sending her into a rant filled with painful threats as her two halves writhed and dissolved into black, acrid smoke. In the smoke was a shape that looked like Voldemort's face, screaming in agony.

"Well that was easier than expected," he commented, feeling a bit cheated out of some epic battle.

"We should go outside now," Hermione suggested as she handed him the sword.

"I will go outside. You should stay here under the Cloak."


"The chances of you dying in here are significantly lower than out there. Please, Mione. Make this easy for me. Keep yourself safe."

She searched his face, finding no hint of doubt or hesitation. "Okay," she sighed.

"Thank you."

"You'll always be my best friend, you know that, right?"

"I know."

She'd reached out to him when no one else had bothered to back in First Year. He never took that for granted.

It had all been a blur of motion. The Death Eaters, some of them at least, had been called back to the manor and were in battle with the Order and the Aurors. Harry could see Bellatrix Lestrange's body laying in a heap near the manor entrance, close to where he was standing. Dumbledore and Voldemort dueled head to head, using everything in their surroundings to try and one-up each other.

People had expected Harry to defeat him when he knew so much magic and could do so many amazing things? Really? Harry had an overpowered sword on hand and that was it. It wasn't by his own merit that he'd end Voldemort's reign of terror.

Harry was intimidated. Properly and truly intimidated because this was it. No dramatics to show off to his followers. No monologuing to glorify himself. In fact, the ringing in Harry's ears made everything seem so silent even as things exploded around them all. Voldemort was taking this more seriously than he'd taken anything since Harry had met him properly in his First Year.

Malfoy manor was in ruins and looked nothing like it had upon arrival. There were bodies all over the grounds. He couldn't tell if most were Order members or not, just that were were many.

No one noticed him sneaking up on Voldemort. No one but Dumbledore.

In those last few seconds, he could see that annoying twinkle come out in full force, before Dumbledore allowed himself to take the Killing Curse to the chest. In turn, this gave Voldemort a false sense of victory over his enemy, and he began laughing hysterically, throwing his arms out in celebration.

Fed up, Harry politely tapped on the snake-man's shoulder, and when Voldy whirled around in shock, he jammed the sword straight through Voldemort's middle, knowing it would handle the rest.

Voldemort managed to get out a gurgled 'Avada Kedavra' and Harry knew no more.

"What is this place, professor?"

Dumbledore was awaiting him in a brightly lit version of King's Cross station. It was like someone had taken White-Out to the whole place, and added a fog machine for dramatic effect.

"Many cultures have different names I suppose," said the old man, hands folded on his lap. Neither hand was cursed, Harry noted. "We could possibly call it Limbo, or the In-Between."

"But why are we here, sir? Shouldn't we... I don't know, be moving on instead of being stuck here?"

"Well, you see, Harry, sometimes things happen beyond our understanding, and we won't know until it's time for us to understand them. And while I wasn't certain I did have an idea of what would happen should Tom manage to kill you. Two souls living in one body isn't natural. By nature it shouldn't be possible, otherwise we'd be born with the ability. You were hit with a curse that ejects the soul from the body essentially, however, there were two souls. The one that wasn't meant to be there at all is gone already and yet you linger here. I suppose that my job was to tell you about it before I get to go as well."

He frowned. He hadn't moved on immediately to whatever awaited them after death like the bit of Voldemort's soul that had been in him?

"So what? I can go back? Can I go back? Is that a thing?"

Dumbledore shrugged. "I would not know, but I wouldn't dare to make the decision for you. Now, if you don't mind, I think I'd like to see what the next great adventure has in store for me."

And with those words, Dumbledore stood, patted Harry's shoulder, and began walking toward the light shining off in the distance, until he seemed to blend in with it and was gone.


He flinched as a train that hadn't been there a moment ago, appeared, facing the opposite direction from where Dumbledore had gone.

He might be able to go back and live out a long life with the rest of his living family and his friends. But he could go on and meet the family he never got to keep. The potential in either decision was jarring and he wasn't sure what to do. He'd spent all that time accepting his early death. He'd made peace with it!

The train represented a journey he hadn't gotten to finish but accepted that he wouldn't ever get to.

But the white light did look inviting and felt warm and safe and he would swear he could hear a woman calling his name in a kind voice.



You've done beautifully, Harry.

What was he supposed to do?

Sirius had to hold back tears because he had to be strong. He'd cried several times already. Of all the things to happen with Dumbledore's mad plan, he hadn't expected this. If he had known all the details he would have protested from the very beginning! Would have suggested something that made more sense!

Remus placed a consoling hand on his shoulder, mood equally somber. The news hadn't been taken very well and even days later, they were both still wrecked over it. They won before the second war could officially be announced, but at what cost?

The Great Hall was done up in dark colours for mourning purposes. Two bone-white caskets remained closed in the place the Head Table would usually rest. Atop them were bundles of white lilies placed there by Snape of all people. The student body plus many citizens of Magical Britain had come to pay their respects.

The memorial and following funeral had been a break of sorts, during all the Death Eater trials and the law re-workings going on in the face of Voldemort's defeat. There were other funerals being planned as well for the dead families who suffered at the hands of the Death Eaters.

It was sad that they had to take a break in their sorrow for things lost, to mourn for other losses. But that was how things were in a war.

Hermione Granger's face was buried in her palms as she struggled to control her breathing while the Weasley twins patted her back in emotional support, though it was obvious they weren't doing so well either. Even Snape looked regretful over what had happened, staring down at the floor and looking lost in that way a man with nothing left to live for would.

Harry wouldn't want them all to be so sad over this. He'd probably say something about focusing on the things in the now.

It was just so hard!

Though he supposed he could be happy that it was finally over and no more people had to die because of some old purist beliefs that made no sense. Things would get better from here on out. He refused to believe otherwise!

Minerva stood then, and walked up those three steps with a surety none of them felt at the moment. She faced the congregated wix and gave a heavy sigh.

"Today we honor two incredibly brave men, who, knowing full well what awaited them, gave their lives for the greater good of our community and by extension, the Magical World as a whole. Let us remember their noble sacrifices and show our gratitude for what they willingly stood to do, to see the rest of us free from a tyrant."

Everyone bowed their heads for a moment and then one by one, raised their wands to light the way for those who had moved on. Sirius had always thought it a silly superstition when he was a child, but had never seen anything more touching in that moment as thousands of wands lit up brightly, filling the dark room and seemingly chasing away the gloom that had surrounded them all.

Then, one by one, they went by row, paying their respects while Fawkes, Dumbledore's Phoenix, sang a sorrowful lament above their heads. He'd probably take flight afterward and never be seen from again.

After the viewing was over, Sirius went out to the Black Lake to think. Sometimes you just don't realise that everyone around you is mortal and someday they're going to be gone. How do people cope with the loss of their loved ones? Sirius had already had to do it so many times and he wasn't even forty! He wasn't even over James and Lily yet!

And now this.

It wasn't fair.

"You alright?" Harry asked from behind him.

"No," he admitted. "But maybe that's okay. It's okay to not be okay, right?"

"We're only human," Harry told him with a shrug. "It'd be rubbish of someone to deny you your right to mourn."

Sirius nodded and took in a deep breath to prevent any chance of hyperventilation. "Moody trained me back when I was an Auror. I really liked him because he didn't care about my name. He just cared about my skills. And of course Dumbledore was also a mentor-figure for me growing up when my parents were the absolute worst. I'm going to miss them." Even after them thinking the worst of him for twelve years.

"Grieve all you want. I won't judge."

And so Sirius did, appreciating how supportive his godson was about it, even when excessive shows of negative emotions always unnerved the teen.

It was the thought that counted.

"I know this is a tragedy, but I'm feeling really light," Harry told Luna as they walked back up to the castle. "Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders." Or the soul piggybacking off his own was sent away, that could be it too.

Luna sent him a sweet smile and said, "I told you everything would be fine."

He blinked, remembering their conversation right before the attack. She really had warned him that it would be fine. She'd known to some extent that things would work out!

Harry smiled in return and took her offered hand.

Together, they went off to find their friends, feeling positive despite all that had happened.

Harry would live, and all of his loved ones were alive, and the evil had been defeated. Everything would be fine now.

...Except the end-of-term exams were coming up and he'd never studied for them because he thought he wouldn't be around to even take them! Damn it! And of course it meant he had to catch up on the classes he'd been skipping.

Perhaps he could trick McGonagall into letting him off the hook for dying and coming back. That had to count as a something, right?

Apparently, it did not. "Potter, you will present yourself at every exam," the woman told him later on that day.

The Master of Malicious Compliance grinned, mind already dreaming up ways to get what he wanted. She really needed to remember that he took things too literally.

A/N: FINISHED! Did I trick you at the end? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

I wrote this in 6 days. It isn't meant to be super detailed or anything, it's just an idea that hit me while watching Malicious Compliance videos on YouTube. And I thought to myself, what would Harry Potter be like if he deliberately took orders/instructions too literally as petty revenge against people who annoyed him, and this happened.

How was it? Let me know! The amount of salt I get from cishet white people over the themes in this fic that threaten their way of life so much, never ceases to tickle me! XD

See ya! :D