Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Harry Potter and the Dream Come True
Chapter Fifteen – Summer's End
Following his trial, the rest of the summer passed in a blur for Harry, but what a wonderful summer it was! From Animagus training to frequent visits to Grimmauld Place, Harry found himself truly enjoying his vacation, thanks in a large part to Sirius and James, who were an endless source of amusement. By August 31, Harry was having trouble remembering a time when his guardians weren't always by his side, laughing, offering advice, and cracking jokes.
Indeed, with the thought of leaving for Hogwarts the next day in his head, Harry actually found himself dreading the start of school – something he'd never done before. Although when he'd voiced his regrets on leaving his guardians to go to school earlier that day, most curiously they hadn't seemed very sad about the idea. Harry had immediately interrogated them on what they were up to, but before he could get an answer, they'd dragged him out to play a last game of Quidditch before school started.
Deciding he would just have to wait and find out their secrets at a later date, Harry turned his attention to other matters. With the aid of two very experienced Animagi, Harry had made remarkable progress on his transformation, and, according to James, should be done by Christmas. The three manor-dwellers had also successfully mastered flying standing up on a broom, and had also perfected a variety of other moves Harry couldn't wait to show Ron. Speaking of Ron…
Harry had almost forgotten, but this was the year in which the male and female Prefects were chosen for each house, and he had been shocked when Ron was chosen instead of himself. He supposed Ron must be a better candidate for some reason – perhaps it was his tactical mind – but whatever the reason, Harry couldn't help but feel a tad jealous. James, picking up on these feelings, (Sirius was off God knows where) had immediately set about cheering his son up, reminding Harry that he himself hadn't been made Prefect. As Sirius later explained, "Lupin was the good boy, he got the badge".
Harry was perhaps most proud of his accomplishments regarding sword training with Decimare. He could now successfully attack and block, and was currently learning some more complicated attacking maneuvers. Harry knew he was nowhere near done his training, but Decimare was quite pleased, and claimed Harry was well on his way to becoming a blade-master. He didn't believe the evil spirit, of course, but he was nonetheless extremely proud of his accomplishment.
"What are you thinking about, son?" James inquired as he staggered into the room, out of breath for some reason.
"Not much, really…"
"Never mind about that now, Harry," James cut him off, scrambling over to his son with a nervous look on his face. "You haven't seen Sirius, have you? Holding a vial of pink potion?"
Harry stared at his father. "Um, no…"
James breathed a sigh of relief.
"Good. That complete prat brewed a dye potion – a pink one, mind! – and has decided my hair would look nice in a lovely shade of fuchsia! My beautiful hair, pink!" James moaned, gazing towards the bay window with a longing expression on his smooth face. Both jumped when Sirius burst into the room, pink dye in hand.
"Ready for total pink-ination, Prongs?" Sirius crowed as he advanced on the cornered James. Harry, used to this interaction by now, shot a quick look at his father, who discreetly pointed at the chair Harry was seated on. As Sirius bore down on James, Harry plunged a hand under the chair, and emerged with a vial of clear liquid that his father must have planted there earlier.
One of the things that had made the past month enjoyable were the continuous pranks Prongs and Padfoot pulled on each other, and also on Harry, much to his dismay. Harry had soon learned to look around corners before turning them, check his food before eating, and never, ever turn his back on an opponent. Unbeknownst to Harry, Sirius had actually masterminded the whole thing to teach Harry some basic skills he would need later in life. No matter how carefree he acted, Sirius was quite capable of being clever – and sometimes deadly – when the need arose. The only person who knew this side of Sirius was James (and possibly Remus), but they were so used to it they never bothered to share the knowledge.
Sneaking up stealthily behind Sirius, just like he'd been taught, Harry emptied the vial over his godfather's head. Sirius gasped, whirling around, allowing James the opportunity to snatch the pink dye from his hand.
"What the…" Sirius gasped, wiping the liquid out of his eyes. "What is this stuff?" Both he and Harry turned expectantly to James, who grinned.
"A neutral substance, colorless and odorless, whose molecules are comprised of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom."
Sirius gaped at him in disbelief.
"What! You saved your sorry hide using a vial of…"
"Sometimes the simplest solutions can be the best," James replied modestly, casting a drying charm on the bedraggled man. "Always remember that, son." Harry filed the message away for future use, but was still very concerned about Sirius, as he had no idea of what he'd actually poured on the man.
"Well, what was it? What did I pour on Sirius?" Harry demanded. Suddenly a horrified look covered his face. "It isn't poison, is it?"
James laughed, ruffling his son's hair, ignoring Harry's half-hearted protests. "H20," he clarified. "You poured water on dear Padfoot. You really need to brush up on your chemistry, kid," he observed. Harry gaped at him.
"That was your scapegoat? Water?" James at least had the decency to look apologetic. Harry, unable to stop himself, shouted slightly hysterically, "Do you know what you've done to my image? Throwing a vial of water at someone? My entire career as a prankster is over! Down the drain!"
"Which is fitting," Sirius observed, "as your career was ruined by water. Haha! Get it? Water, drain… water goes down the drain, your career goes… never mind," Sirius trailed off. James sighed and mouthed "why me?"
With the fun apparently over, the thought of returning to Hogwarts the next day caused Harry to sigh and sink down onto a chair. Sirius and James hovered above him, still exchanging irritated looks with each other.
"I'm gonna miss you two," Harry muttered, sighing heavily. Once again, James and Sirius showed no signs of sadness or regret.
"I don't think that will be the case," Sirius remarked with a grin. "Night, Harry."
The two swept off, leaving Harry on the sofa yelling after them, "Wait a minute! What did you mean by that?"
Harry sighed and sank deeper into the chair, severely annoyed with the pair of them. Why couldn't they ever give him a straight answer? He supposed this kind of thing improved his abilities of understanding and comprehension, but would it kill them to be direct, even once? Apparently, he decided bitterly, pushing himself off the chair and heading to his rooms.
Upon entering his large and luxurious suite, Harry realized he'd overlooked something very important – namely, what to do with Decimare now that school would soon be in session. He'd stolen the sword from the Potter vault, after all, so he couldn't just go parading around with it. And, like most teenagers, he didn't exactly want to turn himself in for taking the sword. Besides, he told himself as he pulled the black sword from under his bed, Decimare can only properly be used by a parselmouth – and damned if he would surrender the sword to Voldemort – so technically the sword is rightfully mine.
The shiny black metal snake coiled around the hilt woke sleepily. Seeing Harry's uncertainty, it hissed .:You are wondering what to do with me now that you are going back to school:.
Slightly startled, Harry replied, "Yes…"
.:Well, I certainly don't see the problem. I have the ability to change my form, shifting from a sword to a ring. You can wear me while at school, change me back to normal when needed, and everything will be fine:. it explained, as if Harry should have known all this.
Oh. That made a lot of sense, Harry realized. "I would have thought of that had you told me that you could change form!" he snapped defensively, but the snake merely snickered in amusement. "Fine then!" Harry exclaimed. "Transform, already, so I can go to bed!"
.:I think not, Master. You still have training to do:.
"But it's eleven at night! I'm going to Hogwarts tomorrow; I need my beauty sleep!"
The snake eyed him, clearly annoyed, but eventually sighed in defeat.
.:Fine:. Decimare snapped, and, with a slight pop, the large black sword transformed into a small, shiny black ring in the shape of a serpent biting its own tail. Harry reached down, picked up the ring, and placed it on his hand.
.:Ah, much better:. a voice said, echoing in Harry's mind rather than out loud. Oh dear. It seemed he'd gone mad.
.:Of course you haven't gone insane, master:. the voice snapped, hissing furiously. The voice sounded oddly familiar to Harry… very familiar, in fact…
"Decimare?" he gasped, and the voice in his head, the sword spirit, hissed sarcastically.
.:No, fool, I'm actually a pink bunny come to eat you. Who else would I be? And you can think your responses, not say them aloud, or people will think you actually have gone mad. I can hear you perfectly fine this way:.
"Cool! Telepathy! Why didn't you tell about this whole shape-shifting, telepathy thing before?" Harry demanded silently.
.:You never asked:.
The next morning…
Missy's screech literally shook the manor, effectively waking all it's occupants.
"…the hell?" Sirius exclaimed, bolting upright in his bed, hands pressed firmly over ears. Waking to an ear-splitting shriek was not his idea of a fun time.
A few rooms down found James groggily shoving his glasses in place and peeking sleepily at his mahogany and gold alarm clock. It read 10:30 AM. Well. That was a decent time to wake up, James decided, but something still nagged at the back of his mind. Something very important.
Harry's panicked shout defined the feeling.
"Oh my god! We need to be at King's Cross station in thirty minutes!"
Twenty minutes later, the three men darted into the entrance hall from different directions, Harry frantically cleaning his glasses, and Sirius desperately combing out his sopping wet hair. They met in the middle of the room, barely avoiding a nasty collision.
"Okay," James panted, "T minus 10 minutes and counting. Is everyone washed? Dressed? Harry, you've got your trunk?"
"Yep," Harry confirmed. "Or rather, Missy's got it, and is probably at King's Cross being loaded as we speak."
"T minus 8 minutes and counting," Sirius interjected hastily. "Everyone into the fireplace!" The three crowded into the fireplace, James grabbed some Floo powder, and they disappeared in a roar of emerald flames.
"T minus 2 minutes and counting," Sirius exclaimed, slightly hysterical.
"Sirius! Calm down! We're at the station and the baggage is loaded. I have plenty of time!" Harry told his godfather in an attempt to quiet him.
"Harry's right, Padfoot," James decreed. "Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out. There you go."
"I'm going to miss you, dad, Sirius." Harry said softly, not caring he was spoiling his carefully crafted "golden-boy" look… or was he actually enhancing it? Stop second-guessing yourself, Harry told himself firmly. "Can't you just… I dunno… come to Hogwarts with me?"
"Don't worry Harry!" James exclaimed. "You'll have so much fun with Ron and Hermione, you won't even notice our absence!"
"But I've only had two months with you guys! I wish you could come to Hogwarts with me." As James hugged his son and pushed him towards the train, Sirius winked at his best friend and godson, whispering, "Wish granted."