Harry Potter and the Wild Stallion | 8
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is unfortunately the property of J. K. Rowling and her licensees, as Ranma ½ is the property of Rumiko Takahashi and her licensees. Several elements of this story's plot are a fusion of ideas presented in various other works of fan fiction and published fiction, so if you recognize them, then they are part of the inspiration for this story. If you don't recognize them, then it is possible the story they came from has vanished like so many others, or that it is original, which would be a pleasant surprise for me. Also, some original ideas from this story may have made their way into other's stories, seeing as it has been around for more than 5 years. Thank you for the compliments.
Authors Note: Normally, I would put something like this at the end of a chapter. However, as some reviewers have commented on it, I have to assume that some readers who have not reviewed are just as confused about what I meant when I talked about a woman's menstrual cycle, especially in regards to the duration of said cycle and how it influences Ranma in this story. Earlier I mentioned that Ranma would be stuck as a girl for 27 days as her cycle ran its course if he changed into a girl at what his curse decided was the beginning of that cycle. This by no means meant that she would be bleeding for 27 days, which one reviewer correctly pointed out would kill even the most powerful martial artist in creation. My first pre-readers, also known as my younger sisters, would have caught something like that rather quickly. In this case, this confusion is more a misunderstanding as to what I mean by a cycle, at least from my point of view. In this case, I meant the entire process from first estrogen release through the end of the bleeding period. I hope that cleared up the confusion, now, on with the story.
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Harry Potter and the Wild Stallion
With assistance from Count Stacko
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Chapter 7: Surprise, You're Dead!
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Sirius Black paced in front of the fireplace in the kitchen of number 12, Grimauld Place, ignoring the shouting of his mother's portrait in favor of organizing his whirling thoughts. What he had heard in the entry hall of the Ministry of Magic did not bode well for his plan to leave all of his property to his godson, Harry Potter. Even more concerning was the fact that, even though he could have only been gone for one day, two at the most, the ministry and his ex wife were trying to lay claim to his estate. He, Sirius Black, head of the Ancient and Noble House of Black was not dead, so why was everyone acting like he was?
"Kreacher!" Sirius called for his family house elf. When the elf didn't immediately appear, Sirius swore to himself and called for him again. Disagreeable and irritating the elf might be, but he was never disobedient or slow to respond when summoned. When he still did not hear the telltale pop, Sirius stormed from the room then stopped suddenly when the smell of old death and decay washed over him and he saw the rotting corpse of Kreacher resting in the middle of the bare floor. That was when he listened to what his mother's portrait was actually saying.
"Murderer! How could any son be so unfeeling as to order the death of my loyal servant…"
"Mother, what are you ranting about? I did not order anyone to kill the smelly toe-rag! Not that I don't wish I had thought of it first, but I didn't order Kreacher's death." The decaying body of a small being that could have been a house elf was lying on the bare floor in front of his mother's portrait. The only problem was that the body looked like it had been dead for months, not the two days he had been gone. He was sure he would have noticed a dead house elf in his foyer for the last month.
After listening to the panting rant for a few more minutes, Sirius' frustration overcame him, and he said something he had avoided since his escape from Azkaban. "I, Sirius Orion Black, heir of the House of Black, claim all rights and responsibilities as Lord of the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black." As soon as he finished speaking, a ghostly wind swept through the house. The body in the foyer vanished, as did the smell. Then with a sharp crack, three house elves appeared in front of him.
"All hail Lord Sirius Orion Black, Black of Black, Baron Black, and Earl of Northhallow*." The three chanted in unison. Sirius blinked in shock, and his mother fell silent. The oldest of the elves then stepped forward. "Lord Black, it is good that you have ascended to your dignities. Our magic informed us that the adopted elf, called Kreacher, had betrayed you into mortal peril. You will be pleased to know that he has received his proper punishment under elven law. As required, his body has been left unburied until your return."
Sirius blinked, trying to catch up with everything that was happening. His mother's portrait clearing its throat brought him back to himself. "Yes, Mother?"
"How long have you been the heir to your father? I thought he had preferenced Regulus in the succession when you left us."
"Regulus has been dead for seventeen years, Mother."
"Killed by the dark lord you wanted me to serve when Regulus had second thoughts about serving the half-blood bastard. But you should know this, mother; I told you when I returned last year."
"Last year? I only awakened just now." Sirius blinked. As far as he knew portraits, more specifically Black Family Portraits could not lie to the head of the family. They might neglect to mention something, or not tell the whole truth, but they could not lie. Turning to the elf elder, his mind blanked when he realized he did not know its name.
At Sirius' blank expression, the elf chuckled. It actually chuckled! "I am called Greezy, my lord, while my assistants for house affairs in the Americas and Asia respectively are Gnome and Fujin.
"Thank you, Greezy. Is what the portrait says true? Did it just awaken?"
Greezy turned to the portrait and raised his hands, which started glowing with a blue light. The other elves soon joined him, and soon there were three elves surrounding the portrait with glowing hands. Sirius stared in shock, amazed at this example of the power of house elves. A short time later, the elves lowered their hands and turned to face him. "My lord, has the portrait personality been acting strangely? Has it acted out of character for your mother's personality?"
"No, at least it wasn't acting any different from the way mother would, as far as I could tell. She has been shouting at my guests, but I thought that was normal behavior for her, since most of the people she yelled at were half-bloods or muggleborn."
"Shouting? At guests of The Ancient and Noble House of Black? I would do no such thing, even to those of such lowly status."
The elves spoke to each other quietly, and then one, Sirius thought it was Fujin, popped away and then reappeared with another, more feminine elf who wore a shawl marked with Norse runes. The female elf began chanting, different colored lights glittering into being around her hands and flashing toward the portrait, which suddenly became immobile. After ten minutes of elven chanting and no movement from the portrait, the female elf lowered her hands and turned back to the four watchers. That was when Sirius recognized her.
"Ivy?" The female elf who had served as Sirius' nanny until he ran away to the Potter's home, smiled at her former charge as Sirius stared at his former nurse. Ivy turned back to the other elves and spoke sharply to them. All three bowed and popped away. "Ivy, how is this possible? I thought my parents killed you when I ran away. Reggie said you weren't around anymore."
"And no more was I until now, my lord. After you fled the service of the dark lord, I was summoned to the conclave of elves to answer for my helping you escape against my master's orders. After hearing my reasons, the matriarch of the Black elves took me as her apprentice, and I have since taken up her role." Sirius blinked at this revelation of house elf culture. "Now, my lord, there has been a great wrong committed by a member of the house, namely the Lady Bellatrix, when she cast a spell on this portrait. The spell placed the portrait in stasis since the day that your mother passed to the next adventure. What her purpose in doing this was is unknown, but the effect was that the portrait was tied to Lady Bellatrix until now, drawing on her personality."
Sirius shivered at the thought of everything that Bellatrix could have learned through her connection to the portrait. Now that he thought of it though, the portrait had acted more like Bella than what he remembered of his mother. "I see. So everything the portrait said in the last year…"
"… was Lady Bellatrix's personality acting through the portrait. The Lady Walburga died shortly after you were imprisoned, my lord, under suspicious circumstances, though Lord Malfoy had the investigation dropped. So this portrait should have activated fifteen years ago. As it did not, I must assume that Lady Bellatrix spell was already in place before that time, as she took up residence in Azkaban earlier that year. Fortunately, the power of the spells enforcing the loyalty of the portraits to the head of House Black disrupted the connection and eliminated the spell."
"What about what Bellatrix learned during the time her spell was active?"
"You needn't concern yourself, Lord Sirius. The spell caused the portrait to take personality cues from Lady Bellatrix; it did not connect her conscious mind to it. She could not have learned anything from the connection."
"Well, that is a relief," Sirius sighed. Ivy nodded, smiling at her former charge. It struck Sirius that this was the first time he had seen his nurse-elf smile in his life. "Now, Ivy, I just became Lord Black, and everyone appears to think I have been gone for month instead of the two days that I experienced. The condition of Kreacher's remains would seem to support that idea, but what happened?"
"My Lord Sirius, you have been touched by the ethereal plane, the barrier between this world the world of the dead. Elves know the properties of this region well, and time passes differently there. You passed into that plane in the month you call June, and it is now the month wizards call August."
"Well… alright then. Ivy, I have received information that someone other than my designated heir is looking to claim the Ancient and Noble House of Black, while the Ministry of Magic is attempting to declare the house properties forfeit. What should I do? I can't go to Gringotts or the ministry will feed me to the dementors." Sirius slumped into a chair, his eyes pleading to the one person from his childhood who he could trust to give him advice.
"Lord Sirius, the goblins do not hold a treaty of extradition with the ministry of magic at this time. During the last war, the ministry violated that portion of the last treaty by refusing to turn witches and wizards who had violated their laws on their lands over to the goblins. If you were to portkey into Gringotts using a goblin key, they would not give any thought to turning you over to the ministry. They might place you on trial for any crimes you committed against them, but nothing the ministry could say would convince them to turn you over to them otherwise."
"And where am I supposed to get a goblin portkey?"
Ivy smirked at Sirius now, shocking him, as he had never seen such an expression on an elf's face. "The head's ring is such a device Lord Sirius. Surely, you do not think any of the previous Lords Black would lower themselves to walk to the territory of an acknowledged enemy or even a distrusted ally like a supplicant. It would be beneath their dignity. Of course, your father and grandfather did not know of this property as they felt we elves were too far beneath them to be of any use beyond the menial tasks we can perform. They forgot that the Black elves have been the House Chroniclers since the time before the Merlin of Avalon. All you must do is state the motto of your family while thinking that you wish to go to the goblin bank and it shall take you there."
Sirius blinked surprised that it could be so easy, and then smiled at his old nanny. "Maybe I'll go in the morning. I doubt the goblins would care to have guests at this time of night."
"A wise choice, my lord," Sirius could almost swear his old nanny was laughing at him.
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The sound of unfamiliar birds outside her window woke Ranma as the sun followed the sound through the window and shone in her eyes. The heir to the Ancient and Noble House of Black slipped out of bed, and glanced over to the bed set aside for her mother. Noting the absence of the expected occupant, Ranma made her way out of the room, shambling like a zombie as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. Entering the bathroom a floor below, Ranma checked to make sure it was unoccupied and then turned and locked the door. Several minutes and a shower later, a still female Ranma grumbled her way back to the room she currently shared.
Dressing in a feminine version of her normal tang and kung fu pants that actually fit her in this form, she made sure she was wearing all of the appropriate underwear as her mother required, and then went down the stairs to the kitchen. Perking up slightly at the smell of familiar food, Ranma made her way into the room, not surprised to see her mother cooking while Molly Weasley asked questions. It was obvious that the two mothers were enjoying the opportunity to share homemaking secrets. As Ranma came into the room, the women stopped and smiled at the young boy-turned-girl.
"Good Morning, Dear. Thank you for dressing appropriately this morning; I know how difficult the current circumstances are for you. I appreciate the effort."
"Ah, Mom, it's nothing big, just annoying really." Ranma turned and bowed respectfully to Molly. "Excuse me, Weasley-san, would it be all right if I practiced my art outside?" Molly blinked, confused for a moment and then remembered that her young guest practiced muggle techniques for fighting that could subdue trained aurors more quickly than many spells. Shaking her head at her own surprise, she smiled at Ranma
"Of Course, Dear, and don't worry about making any noise, the others ought to be waking up soon anyway." Ranma bowed again, then caught herself and nodded. Leaving through the outer door, and ignoring the Weasley matriarch asking her mother another question, Ranma made her way to spot clear of overhead obstruction. She then began going through her warm-up kata, quickly progressing from ground based basics of kenpo to the more aerial maneuvers of Anything Goes. After completing her warm-up, Ranma began her ki exercises. She began by moving her ki around her body, and then manifesting her ki in her hands. It was as she completed particularly difficult maneuver involving charging a neutral ki sphere while hanging in midair that a pop of displaced air announced the appearance of Arthur Weasley in the spot where she was planning to unleash the ball. Unfortunately, the sudden arrival of a non-combatant in the target area forced the airborne martial artist to shift her point of aim and release the ki blast.
Mr. Weasley's shed exploded an instant later, accompanied by a squeak from the newly arrived Weasley. Ranma landed nearby and gaped at the destruction that her blast caused. When she saw Mr. Weasley draw his wand and look around as if expecting another attack, she cleared her throat, ducking under his wand arm as he spun in her direction.
"Sorry about your shed, Weasley-san. I wasn't expecting you to appear there." Ranma tugged her pigtail in embarrassment as her host blinked before glancing at the wreckage of the shed, then back at the embarrassed teen"
"And how did you manage that?" Ranma's blush grew as the Weasley patriarch raised an eyebrow in honest curiosity.
"Um… I'm not quite sure really. The amount of ki I was using should have only singed the grass a little. It really shouldn't have been able to do that." As if to emphasize her statement, the wreckage shifted, collapsing further.
"Arthur? What is going on? Are we under attack?"
"Everything is all right, Molly. Just a little accident."
"Oh Honestly, Arthur," Mrs. Weasley shook her finger at her husband. "If those muggle things you've been collecting are going to start exploding you will have to move them further from the house."
"Alright, Molly, we will discuss it later tonight." Mrs. Weasley nodded and went back into the house. Arthur turned back to Ranma and raised an eyebrow. "Now, would you care to explain what I just took the blame for young lady?"
"Um… I was just practicing my ki manipulation techniques."
"And this ki is? Is it like magic?"
"I don't think so, sir." Ranma tugged at her pigtail again. "I've only been able to do magic for three weeks or so. I was able to manipulate ki for at least a year before that. It's just my life force really."
"I see. I take it that manipulating ki involves taking your internal energy and then moving it around and possibly sending it at a target?"
"Is it possible then, that since your magic was recently released from whatever was holding it back, that it might be blending or interacting with your ki and that it may be what caused the explosion?"
"I guess. That might explain why I feel so energized all the time."
"In that case, I would recommend that you not project your ki until you can discuss the possibility with someone better versed in wild-magics than I am. It might be more than an unimportant shed full of muggle odds and ends that is destroyed next time." Ranma nodded in agreement and walked with Mr. Weasley back toward the house. With a nod for her mother as she passed through the kitchen, she went back up to their room, then to the bathroom for another shower before coming down for breakfast. The other teens came down only a little after she did, but the silence of the kitchen broken only by the sounds of eating. Then Nodoka spoke.
"Ranma dear, would you wear that lovely skirt and blouse that I bought for you before your accident, the green blouse with the phoenix embroidery? We need to make a good impression when we go to the bank today. There will be enough trouble with your changed gender." Ranma finished the mouthful she had taken thinking about the request as Ron, Harry, Hermione, and Ginny stared at the amount she had eaten in the short time they had been downstairs. After a few moments, she nodded.
"I guess. The knee length black skirt or the calf length one?"
"Calf length would be the most acceptable dear," Molly said. "It's best to be a little more formal if you don't have any robes to wear."
"Once we have dealt with your inheritance we will have to shop for some wizarding clothing I suppose," Nodoka said thoughtfully. After a thought, she shook herself.
"I thought you were a bloke," Ron said through his eggs and sausage. Ranma looked at him questioningly before turning to Harry and Hermione.
"He means that you are normally a boy," Hermione explained.
"Yeah, if you're a guy, why do you own any of that girly stuff?"
"I've been changing into a girl for almost two years now. Besides, wearing girl stuff when I'm stuck as a girl just makes sense."
"Listen, you do things to make your mom happy, right?"
"Yeah, sure," Ron looked mystified then glared at Ginny when she snorted, trying not to laugh.
"Well, me dressing in the right clothes for my current body makes mom happy. Since it doesn't make me look stupid or nothing', I figure, why not?"
"That's a very mature attitude Ranma," Mrs. Weasley said with a glare at her youngest children. Ranma shrugged and finished her fifth helping of breakfast before taking the plate over to the sink. She jumped in shock when the scrub brush rose into the air by itself when she set the plate into the washbasin. The plate also rose out of the sink, and the brush cleaned it, it dunked itself in the rinse water and then a towel dried it off before it floated back into the china cabinet.
Ranma and her mother went up to their room and changed clothes, and then met Mr. Weasley at the base of the stairs.
"Albus gave me a port key this morning when I told him about the change in plans, so we should arrive with plenty of time to reach Gringotts before your appointment this morning." Nodoka and Ranma nodded and each placed a finger on the small figurine, a Chinese dragon carved out of white jade, which Mr. Weasley held out for them. "Well, off we go then. Infinium." A flash of light later, the Weasley's front yard was only occupied by the chickens.
Author's note: Well, this time the chapter only took me about nine months to write. So, I am getting better. The next one will, hopefully, take a lot less time to get out… But, I wouldn't hold your breath. I just started a new job, so I have a lot less free time than I used to. PS. Sorry about the Kreature/Kreacher issue.
* Who can name the series this title is from?