Disclaimer: I own the plot, I apologize if it's been done before.

The Harry Potter Series belongs to J.K. Rowling.

The Chronicles of Chrestomanci belong to Diana Wynne Jones.

AN: Hi everybody!

Sorry about the wait! But here's the next installment. And, as you probably came here to read that, and not me babbling, I'll just turn you over to the story! Enjoy! ^_^

Harry Potter and the Chrestomanci

by Jess S


Chapter 1: Questions and Answers

"Nothing? What do you mean, 'nothing'?!" Mrs. Weasley demanded, her voice more then a bit shrill. "There has to be something we can do! We have to find him!"

"Molly," Mr. Weasley attempted to reason his wife, "he couldn't be anywhere by now--"

"That's why we should be looking! Not sitting around here doing nothing!" the redhead finished, turning back to Professor Dumbledore and opening her mouth to say something, but stopping and snapping is shut when she saw that he had raised a hand for silence.

"Your point is well seen, Molly," the Hogwarts Headmaster told her kindly. "We're all worried. However, we can't let this distract us from the Order's primary objective, and we don't have any idea, as of yet, of where to begin."

"Well there..." Mrs. Weasley shook her head, "There has to be something we can do!"

Dumbledore nodded, "We shall begin looking for him, and--" He stopped suddenly, his eyes narrowing on his Potions Master as the man stood up abruptly and began making his way to the door. "You are called, Severus?"

Professor Snape nodded, his lips pressed in a firm line. This was undoubtedly to hold back a pained cry, brought on by the Dark Mark's bite.

After a moment nodded, the headmaster granted his leave. "Best of luck to you then, my boy. Come back to us safely."

The Head of Slytherin House nodded abruptly before spinning around, swinging the door open and swooping out into the hallway. He paid no mind to the sounds of feet hurrying up the stairwell, probably because he honestly didn't care, but he may have also not noticed it due to the pain he was in.

Several moments passed before the silence was broken.

"We're going to start looking for Harry, then?" Sirius asked, his eyes pleading.

"I will have agents on the look out for him," Dumbledore told him, "but you must stay here, Sirius. There is little safety for you outside these walls." He ignored the younger wizard's glare as he rose to his feet, "And I think that I shall go have a chat with Cornelius."

~ * ~

"Me?" Harry blinked, clearly confused. "What does all of that have to do with me?"

The Chrestomanci shook his head, smiling slightly. "I should think it would be rather obvious, considering the events and information that have preceded us."

The 'Boy-Who-Lived' stared at him for several moments, no less confused then before, when a light seemed to come on in his glittering orbs. He shook his head, frowning, "No... It can't be... I can't be..."

"A nine-lived-enchanter?" Chant offered, still smiling pleasantly. "But you are, Harry.... How else would you explain some of the more peculiar events of your life?"

"But...it's impossible..." Harry shook his head, "There's nothing really special about me...Why would...How could I have nine lives?"

The elder man eyed him dourly, and the obvious amusement that had been present in his tone before was replaced by austreness. "You don't have nine lives," he told him.

Harry blinked, "But, you said--"

"You currently have five lives," the Chrestomanci continued, "You must never forget that. When you were originally born, you had nine lives. But, at various points in time, you lost four of them."

"Lost them?" Harry blinked, again, and didn't continue until a moment later, when he seemed to have made the connection. "You mean I've died four times?"

"Yes," Chant nodded, sighing. "Now, please, listen to what I have to say." He waited for Harry to nod compliantly, before continuing. "People with nine lives are very important, and very rare. They only happen when, for one reason or another, there are no counterparts of them living in any other world. Then the lives that would have been spread out over a whole set of worlds get concentrated in one person. And so do all the talents that those eight other people might have had..."

Harry frowned, "So that's why I'm so good at Quidditch and DADA?"

"Not necessarily.... As to the Quidditch, I had the pleasure of watching your father fly at a few of the Hogwarts' Quidditch Cup's, he was quite good, and I've heard a number of people comment say that your mother wasn't a bad flyer, herself." Chant paused, then shook his head slightly. "Your admirable performance in Defense is probably effected, but that doesn't mean that, as a single-lived-wizard, you wouldn't be a good Seeker whose best subject in school happened to be Defense against the Dark Arts."

"But I haven't any talents outside of those two." The fifteen year old was frowning again, "Not really..."

"You do," Chant told him, smiling slightly, "You just haven't found them yet. At least one of them has already revealed itself, from time to time, yet nowhere near its full potency."

"What'd you mean?"

"Power, Harry... your power. There isn't any magical being -- be they witch, wizard, warlock, or any other member of our magical populace -- who can compare to a true enchanter in power. Your power, your magical ability as an enchanter has, I'm sure revealed itself from time to time, has it not?"

"If you mean when I was younger," Harry frown deepened in concentration. "Not really...I mean, all Wizarding children lose control of their magic when they're emotions are running high...don't they?"

"Yes," the enchanter agreed. "However, they don't lose control anywhere near as often as an enchanter is prone to, unless of course something is restraining them...But that wasn't what I was referring to, Mr. Potter."

It only took a moment for the Boy-Who-Lived to figure it out. "...You mean...when Voldemort...?"

"It was on October thirty-first, nineteen-eighty-one at Godric's Hollow that you lost your first life. Due, of course, to the Avada Kedavra curse that Tom Riddle cast upon you...With time, and training, as an enchanter, you can learn to block the Killing Curse."

"But I thought it couldn't be blocked..."

"Only Enchanters can block it," the older man replied, sipping his tea.

"Oh..." Harry sighed softly, looking down at his plate with a small frown on his face. He wasn't really overly hungry any more.

It wasn't all that hard to tell why. Since the end of first year, when he'd spoken to Dumbledore, he'd always assumed that it was his mother's love that'd saved him and destroyed the Dark Lord that night... That was one of the only ways he could really measure how much his parents must've loved him...

"Is something the matter, Harry?" the Chrestomanci's kind voice broke into his thoughts.

"Wha--?" Harry looked up, blinking repeatedly. "What--Oh, oh! No! Not at--" he stopped at the look his host gave him, and sighed. "I'd always thought that it was my mother that'd killed Voldemort that night..." he told him quietly.

"Ahh... I see," Chant smiled kindly, nodding his head gently. "Professor Dumbledore, no doubt, told you that he assumed it was your mother's love that saved you?"

"Y-Yes..." the Boy-Who-Lived nodded after a moment's pause.

"Well, it certainly helped," the Chrestomanci told him. "and, I believe it did help you a short time past, concerning the events enshrouding the (Philosopher's/Sorcerer's) Stone."

Harry blinked, looking at the enchanter again. "You mean I died there, too?"

"Yes," the enchanter shook his head. "You lost your first life when Voldemort murdered your parents, your second at the end of your first year at Hogwarts. And you received your third mortal blow in the Chamber of Secrets."

"But..." Harry frowned deeply, shaking his head in consternation. "I couldn't have died there! I was conscious the entire time!"

"Only because you had more then one life to spare, and you so dearly wanted to stop Mr. Riddle and save young Miss. Weasley. If you were not an Enchanter, with the advantage of multiple lives, you would have died mere moments after the Basilisk's fang pierced your skin, as occurs with everyone else..."

"So...I died there?" Harry shook his head, frowning.

~ Flashback ~

...As warm blood drenched his arms, he felt a searing pain just above his elbow. One long, poisonous fang was sinking deeper and deeper into his arm. It splintered as the basilisk keeled over sideways and fell, twitching, to the floor.

Harry slid down the wall. At the same time, he grabbed the fang, which was spreading poison through his body, and quickly wrenched it out of his arm.

But he knew it was too late.

White-hot pain was spreading slowly and steadily from the wound. Even as he dropped the fang, and watched his own blood soaking his robes, his vision was foggy. The Chamber was dissolving in a whirl of dull color.

A patch of scarlet swam past, and Harry heard a soft clatter of claws beside him. "Fawkes," he murmured, his voice heavy and worn. "You were fan...fantastic, Fawkes...." He stopped, breathing heavily, barely aware of when the bird laid its beautiful head on the spot where the serpent's fang had pierced him.

He was, however, slightly more aware of the echoing footsteps that approached him, and the dark shadow that moved in front of him. Followed shortly by Riddle's triumphant voice. He was to out of it to make out everything the 'older boy' said, but he did catch the gist of it.

"You're dead...Potter," Riddle told him, from somewhere above him. "Dead. Even Dumbledore's bird... Do you see...Potter? ...Crying."

Harry blinked slowly, watching as Fawkes head slid in and out of focus. He could just barely make out the thick, pearly tears that were trickling down the magnificent creature's glossy feathers.

"I'm going to...watch you die...Potter.... No hurry...."

Now, Harry felt drowsy, and everything around him seemed to be spinning.

"...Ends...Harry Potter...Alone...Chamber of...defeated at last by the Dark... unwisely challenged.... be back with your dear, Mudblood mother soon, Harry... She bought...borrowed time...but Lord Voldemort got you in the end, as you knew he must..."

'If this is dying,' Harry thought, 'it's not so bad...'

Even the pain was leaving him...

But was he dying? Instead of going black, the Chamber seemed to be coming back into focus.

Harry gave his head a little shake, and there was Fawkes, still resting his head on Harry's arm. A pearly patch of tears was shining all around the wound --- except that there was no wound....

~ End of Flashback ~

"Remember?"

"But phoenix tears have healing powers!" Harry objected, "Fawkes took care of the poison."

"Yes," Chrestomanci agreed, "he did." He raised a hand to forestall any comment his young guest might make, and continued after a moment's silence. "Very few things can cure the poison of a Basilisk... The poison will kill a mortal almost instantly, thanks to its magical nature. It can kill an Enchanter, for it will remain in their blood and continue taking the Enchanter's lives until there are none left... If, by some miracle, the poison is nullified in time, the Enchanter should always know to check, to see how many lives they have left, because the venom is quite capable of taking more than one, depending how much is in the blood. If the Enchanter was bitten, then it almost certainly took more than one life...In your case, luckily, it did not."

"So... Fawkes's tears didn't cure me of the poison?"

"No, they did.... The phoenix's tears cleaned the Basilisk's venom out of your bloodstream, thereby saving your fourth life, as it otherwise would have been present there."

"It would've killed me again?"

"Yes."

"Oh..." Harry blinked, then shook his head, offering a slightly bemused grin. "So, I'm guessing Enchanters don't like Basilisks?"

"They are one of our few weaknesses, yes..."

"So, now I have six lives left?"

"No... You have five. It shouldn't be all that hard for you to figure out where the fourth went."

And, indeed, it only took a moment for his magnificent eyes to darken several shades, as he himself became noticeably tense.

~ Flashback ~

"Bone of the Father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!"

The surface of the grave at Harry's feet cracked, and Harry watched, horrified, as a fine trickle of dust rose into the air at Wormtail's command and fell into the cauldron. The diamond surface of the water within the cauldron broke and hissed, sending sparks in all directions before turning a vivid, poisonous-looking blue.

Wormtail was whimpering as he pulled a long, thin, and shining silver dagger from inside his cloak. The next verse of the spell was broken by petrified sobs.

"Flesh -- of the servant -- w-willingly given -- you will -- re-revive -- your m-master..."

As he finished saying this, the traitor stretched his right hand, the one that was missing a finger, out in front of him. After a brief pause, he gripped the dagger very tightly in his left hand and swung upward.

Harry only realized what Wormtail was about to do a second before it happened. That only gave him enough time to squeeze his eyes shut. Closing his eyes, however couldn't block the scream that pierced the night, ringing through Harry as though he, too, had been pierced by the dagger. He heard something fall to the ground, and he heard Wormtail's anguished panting, before a sickening splash signaled something being dropped into the cauldron.

Harry couldn't stand to look...but the potion had turned a burning red; the light of which shone through his closed eyelids....

Wormtail was gasping and moaning with agony, but it wasn't until he felt the traitor's breath on his face that he realized that Wormtail was right in front of him.

"B-blood of the enemy...f-forcibly t-taken...you w-will...r-resurrect your foe."

He couldn't do anything to prevent it, he was tied too tightly....

Squinting down, struggling hopelessly at the ropes binding him, he saw the silver dagger shaking in Wormtail's remaining hand. He felt its point penetrate the crook of his right arm and blood seeping down the sleeve of his torn robes.

Wormtail, still panting with pain, fumbled in his pocket for a glass vial and held it to Harry's cut, so that a dribble of blood fell into it. He then staggered back to the cauldron with the final ingredient, and poured it inside.

The liquid within instantly changed to a blinding white.

Wormtail, his job done, dropped to his knees beside the cauldron, the slumped sideways and lay on the ground, cradling the bleeding stump of his arm, gasping and sobbing.

The cauldron was simmering as it sent sparks in all directions, so bright that it turned all else to velvety blackness. Nothing happened....

'Let it have drowned,' Harry thought weakly, scarcely noticing the throbbing pain in his arm as he stared at the cauldron. 'Let it have gone wrong....'

And then, suddenly, the sparks emanating from the cauldron were extinguished, and was quickly followed by a surge of white steam that billowed thickly from the cauldron instead...

He couldn't see anything through the heavy vapor...

'It's gone wrong,' he thought '...it's drowned... please... please let it be dead...'

But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outlining of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron.

"Robe me," a high, cold voice commanded from behind the steam.

Wormtail, sobbing and moaning -- still cradling his mutilated arm, scrambled to pick up the black robes from the ground. He then got to his feet, reached up, and pulled them one-handed over his master's head.

The thin man then stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry...and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for years. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and nose that was as flat as a snake's, with slits for nostrils...

Lord Voldemort had risen again...

~ End of Flashback ~

"Voldemort...? When he was reborn?"

Chrestomanci nodded gravely. "An ordinary mortal has never survived that ritual, nor should they... The person that is being restored needs a full life force for the ritual to be successful. Particularly if they are being resurrected. If a life is not given, the summoned shall not return... It is possible that that life force will come from the servant, who is supposed to be willing, rather than the unwilling enemy, but it is very unusual for both to survive..."

"But...Wormtail survived too...and I didn't feel anything, well, aside from the wound..."

"Shock," Chrestomanci told him, shrugging lightly. "Both of you survived because you are an enchanter, one who had lives to spare. Therefore, Voldemort did take you life, it just didn't seem like it, because you really didn't feel anything through the shock. The dark-spell itself obviously skipped over your chance at fighting for your life, granting you a death that was so fast that you didn't feel it at all through the shock..."

~ * ~

They didn't know why, but for some reason the Voldemort that sat before them now, silently fuming as he glared bright red eyes as the Daily Prophet special-edition article in his hands, seemed far stronger than the Voldemort they remembered. It may be that he simply was able to learn more of the Dark Arts in between his fall and his resurrection... but the more clever Death Easters didn't really think that that was so. There was just something different about him... Something that made him far stronger than before...

Which was even more noticeable when he was as angry as he was now...

"So...It seems that the Potter-brat has managed to make a nuisance of himself, even away from the Muggle-lover's watch." Voldemort hissed, spending a moment more simply glaring at the illegally printed article. Then he threw it out towards him, simply watching as it burst into flames, so that all that landed were the ashy remains. Raising his head again, slightly, he glared around the circle. "And what of you, my loyal followers?" he inquired his demonic voice no longer the high-pitched note it had been several weeks before, but a deep, dark hiss. It was only through firm self-control that his followers managed to hold steady, rather than draw back from the biting sarcasm in his tone. "I wonder what you make of this..." he looked around the circle, "Avery?"

The indicated Death Eater started, before hurriedly drawing himself together and stepping forward to bow. "My lord?"

"This does present some danger to us."

"Yes, my lord."

"What are those dangers, Avery?"

Several moments silence ensued as the pureblooded-idiot tried desperately to think of a reply.

Voldemort looked down at him from atop his silver throne. "I asked you a question, Avery. Answer it."

"I-I..." Now the wizard was trembling. "I...do not know...my lord."

"You don't know?" the Dark Lord repeated, his demonic gaze focused on the trembling man before him as he raised his wand to focus on the man. "Very well then, Crucio."

With that the younger wizard collapsed to the floor, curling into a tight ball. His cries of agony were partially muffled by the mask he wore, but they nonetheless echoed around the room eerily. But only for a moment. For the Dark Lord appeared to tire of hearing them rather quickly, as he muttered something while waiving his wand, and the screams stopped. Whatever spell he'd cast clearly wasn't meant to end his servant's pain, as the man was still curled up on the floor, trembling with agony. It must have been some type of silencing charm, then.

"Malfoy..."

Lucius Malfoy quickly came forward, moving around his writhing associate with a panther's innate grace, before bowing to his master. "My Lord?"

"Perhaps you will deign to answer my question..."

The Malfoy Lord was a blonde, but he was no fool, and therefore knew that he had no choice to pull problems out of thin air. Fortunately, however, they weren't all that hard to see. "Yes, my lord." [AN: I have nothing against blondes, but I just couldn't resist, though technically most people don't think of the 'dumb blonde' label fitting guys. But I liked it, so :-P]

"Good," the Heir of Slytherin nodded his approval of this answer, which had been offered with a bow. "Proceed, then."

"A number of problems may arise from this incident. The most obvious one would be that the Potter boy may gain sympathy for Dumbledore and his followers, which might make keeping your return a secret dangerous rather then beneficial, my Lord."

"Indeed it may… What do you propose we do with this situation, Lucius?"

This was one of the things that made these meetings so dangerous. The Dark Lord liked to test his followers continually, in many different ways. It served to test their abilities, as well as root out those who weren't entirely loyal.

The Slytherin Alumni knew that he was being tested. It would be foolish to think that the Heir of Slytherin might actually ask anyone, even a Malfoy, for advice. But this test wasn't too complex, and it wasn't surprising, either, as is came up a few times every meeting.

The Dark Lord would ask questions, some of which made absolutely no sense. He liked to see how his followers worked things out. If you weren't up to par, well…too bad for you.

But it was usually the Ravenclaws among them that were caught with this particular weakness. Not Slytherins, and certainly not Malfoy's.

"It would undoubtedly be good to discover where Mr. Potter's hidden…there's no real need to do anything else…."

"Indeed…" after a moment's pause, the Dark Lord nodded his approval. "That is your task, Lucius. Go."

"My lord," Malfoy bowed deeply to show his acceptance.

~ * ~

"I can't hear anything!" Ron complained in a loud whisper, glancing over at the stares where the twins were standing, he could see both Ginny and Hermione a short ways up the staircase, the latter of the two fidgeting anxiously. Hermione'd never liked breaking rules, and she probably never would.

"You can't?" One of the twins, he thought it was Fred, asked.

"Damn," the other shook his head, "Mum must've put extra wards up again!"

Hermione and Ginny rolled their eyes, sharing a look.

"Of course she put wards up!"

"Dolts," Ginny added at the end of Hermione's mini-tirade.

"Hey!" all three boys complained.

~ * ~

Harry was still frowning, but after a moment, he shook his head, his curiosity winning out, "How rare are enchanters?"

"Extremely rare," said Chrestomanci. "Apart from you, the only other person with nine lives that I know of in this world is myself."

"Really?" Harry was both slightly pleased and even more interested. "Nine?"

"I did have nine. I've only got two now. I was careless, and almost as unlikely as you," Chrestomanci said. He sounded a little ashamed. "Now I have to take care to keep each life separately in the safest place I can think of. I advise you to do that same."

The-Boy-Who-Technically-Didn't-Live thought about this for several moments, his eyes not really taking in any of the food left on his half-filled plate, as he thought back on the losses of his first four lives. He continued to mechanically eat, as he remembered. Now that he thought about it, it was kind strange... Those four incidences, which resulted in dying four times, were some of his most vivid memories.... Maybe it was because they were the ends of one life and the beginnings of others...

But, no... He couldn't be an enchanter...

He couldn't do anything special, not really. If he were a nine-lived-enchanter, or a five-lived-enchanter, or whatever, shouldn't he be special? Shouldn't he be able to do things that other people couldn't? Quidditch and DADA were really the only things he was naturally good at, and the Chrestomanci had already explained them away...

"I'm not mistaken, Harry." His host told him, breaking the silence that had hung around the breakfast parlor for some time. "You are an enchanter, one of the few that is strong enough to become the Chrestomanci."

"Why?"

Chant sighed, shaking his head, a slight smile gracing his fine features. "...Chrestomanci has to be a nine-lived-enchanter. No one else is strong enough for the post."

"Post?" Harry frowned. "Isn't it a hereditary title then? Someone actually assigns you to it?"

"Each Chrestomanci must find an heir at some point. Someone capable of holding the position. All of the people who work for me are technically government officials, as am I, all of them from different worlds that are at least partially aware of the existence of the barriers and the Chrestomanci."

"So I have to become your heir?"

"No," the older man sighed, "of course you don't have to, it's your choice. Like I said, if you want to return to Hogwarts and continue your Wizarding education, although I'm quite sure that you'll quickly find that it isn't enough to control your power, I will help you return to there.... If you were willing to, though, it would make things quite a bit easier for me. I've already searched  this world, and all of the other worlds that are 'in the know' about this, and you're the only one fit for the part. If you don't want to take the job, I'll have the difficult task of going through the many worlds that are completely ignorant of all things the Chrestomanci takes part in, some of them are even ignorant of magic."

After a few moments, Harry shook his head, "I'd like to help, but.... What do you want me to do?" he asked. "I don't know how to do anything."

"I know," Chant replied, smiling slightly. "I felt the same when they told me..."

End of Chapter 1

AN: Well, that's it for Chapter 1! What'd you think?

I'm sorry about not posting in so long…I had a few problems with writing in general and FanFiction.Net. Apparently I broke one of their rules, so they wouldn't let me update for several weeks… That's why I decided to look for different places to post my stories. This is also being posted at Forever Fandom ().

Anyway, I'll try to post the next chapter MUCH sooner….Of course, if I don't get any reviews/get flamed, I  can't guarantee that… I might get depressed again… So please REVIEW!!!

Response to reviews:

Yllyana - Thanks, I'm glad you thinks so.

Did you get a chance to read the book, yet? It really is very good.

Everpresent - LOL, thank you… You know? Sometimes even I don't know…

Don't worry, I love Consanguina far too much to forget it, although I have had a bit of trouble updating recently.

They were good, weren't they? I haven't read all of them, yet. So I'll probably be a bit off on more then a few things, but I've liked what I've seen so far.

Bob - LOL, I haven't read any of them in awhile either… I've been meaning to go back to them for awhile. Nonetheless, the idea for this popped into my head one day, and, I thought that it made enough sense to start a story, so I did.

Glad to hear it. ^_^

Hmm, not too far off on the life count. But I wanted it to be a little bit less obvious then that.

Lady SallyRose - Glad to hear it! ^_^

LOL, don't worry. I wouldn't be able to pronounce it either, if there wasn't a note in the front of the book that tells you how to pronounce it. [KREST - OH - MAN - SEE]

Wytil - *blink**blink* LOL!!!

Yes, I think I can manage that… V-Star and I have been having quite a bit of trouble with the current chapter for Lady Serenity, but it's coming along. (Honestly, I think we're getting a bit tired of it…the sequel's more appealing to our creativity…)

Consanguina's coming along too; it'll probably be ready before LS. That's the problem with writing a story with another author. There are times when your schedule's just don't mesh enough to work on writing… But we manage…

I don't mind. I mean, sure, I wouldn't refuse any money that was offered (if I could legally accept it, which I can't), but I really just love writing, so the reviews are enough.

Bookchan 2003-08-22 1 - To be honest, the idea for this really just came out of nowhere. I'd never considered it before the concept popped into my head. So imagine my surprise when I realized just how well they fit!

Sorry about the wait… I've been having some problems with the site, and writing in general…

Dark Lord of Derkholm? OK, thanks, I'll give it a try. ^_^

.... - …Umm…OK…Where did I say that? I tried finding it…but I didn't see it anywhere in the previous chapter. I refer to the series as the Chronicles of Chrestomanci, as that's what I thought they were called…

Blit - ^_^*** Hello…

Well, glad I was able to provide some entertainment. V-Star and I are working on Lady Serenity, but for some reason the current chapter just won't go together…bit annoying, really…

*Blushes* Thank you. ^_^

LOL, I get confused sometimes, but outlines help…

Of course, I also try to make sure all of the stories are different enough that confusing them would take quite a bit of work. I've actually tried mixing some of the stories before…that was strange

LOL, yes, we (authors) need to work on that, don't we? :-D (Of course, all the rules FF.Net's been throwing up, don't help, but…what can you do?)

Thelvyn - Thank you.

Yup! See! *Points at chapter* Continuing! :-D

Arianne - I'm glad you think so. ^_^

Are the other books as good as the first one? I keep meaning to read them, (I finally managed to get my hands on a copy a few weeks ago -- I couldn't find it in Borders, before!) but I tend to be short on time…

Lady Cinnibar - …*blink**blink* LOL…

Thank you…I suppose I should apologize for the wait, but my 'insidious brain' seems to think that wouldn't fit the character you paint. So I'm not sorry. :-P

But I hope you're enjoying the story anyway. ^_^

Wanderingwolf - Yes…eventually…

Alex² - Thank you…

-_-* Believe me, you don't want me to state all of the reasons this took so long to update…

But I AM continuing! See! *points up at chapter*

I'm not abandoning! NO! NO! NO!

June - It does, doesn't it? ^_^

Thank you! ^_^

Thanks to:

Tana

Princess Hermione3

Katrina

Serpent of Light

Kathleen - LOL ^_^

Aurora*sky

Liberty Belleview

Viridis

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Ella

Wintersong

Vicious Lily

Howling wolf1

Phoenix Lumen

BladeLiger786

Bye! ^_^

~ Jess S