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Chapter One: Adventures in Detention

It was a cool, crisp fall afternoon at Hogwarts.

Leaves were falling, Pumpkins were getting ripe in their patches and all of the students were either in Hosmeade or else simply out enjoying themselves.

Well...All except for two students.

Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were sitting dead silent, not daring to utter a word as Professor McGonigal chewed them out.

"I am absolutely appalled at your behavior! I don't know what this animosity between you two is and quite frankly I don't care! There is to be NO magic done in the halls between classes, much less fighting with it! You are fifth year students. I would CERTAINLY expect better of the both of you!"

"But he started it!" they both said at once.

McGonigal huffed. "Listen to yourselves! You sound like a pair of First Years. Fifty points will be deducted from both of your houses and you will both serve detention with Professor Trelawney tonight. Now go."

They got up and left the office without a word. But as soon as the door was closed...

"Nice going Potter..."

"Shut up, Malfoy! It was your fault and you know it..."

"If you hadn't-"

"Look. Let's stop. If this keeps up, we're only going to get into more trouble."

"Whatever, Potter. See you in detention."

Draco climbed the ladder into Trelawney's classroom that evening, all the time thinking death on Potter. After all, he thought, it WAS his fault.

He went up through the hatch to find Potter already there, but Trelawney was nowhere in sight.

"Potter, where is the old hack?"

Harry shrugged. "Dunno. Haven't seen her yet. Maybe she's waiting to make an entrance.

Draco sat in one of the overstuffed armchairs and sunk his head into his hands and waited.

A full ten minutes later, Trelawney seemed to materialize out of the darkness in her usual manner.

"Welcome, dear children. I perceived through the depths of space and time that we would meet tonight."

"Then you'd think you would have made it on time." muttered Draco.

Trelawney shot him a look but didn't respond.

"Tonight, you will help me to clean the crystal balls that my students can better gaze into the aura. But you may not use your wands."

She turned to gather some cloths and a bucket of water but suddenly, her head shot up and she stood rigid.

Draco and Harry stared at her.

"Uh...Professor...Are you alright?" asked Harry.

"TONIGHT...IT WILL HAPPEN TONIGHT..." said a deep frightening voice.

"What the..." said Malfoy.

Harry's eyes went wide. "Oh no not again."

Trelawney turned to them and spoke in a voice, not her own.


She stumbled back a bit and blinked her large eyes rapidly.

"Oh, I am sorry my dears. I must have dozed off for a moment. Anyways, chop, chop. I must go see Professor Dumbledore for a few moments. And do not forget, no magic. My Inner Eye will tell me if you use it. Oh, and my dears, I ask you not to disturb the object under the cloth over on my desk."

With that, she descended the trap door, leaving Harry and Draco alone.

"What a load of rubbish!" said Malfoy. "I can't believe I have to spend my evening up here with that loon!"

This is Draco Malfoy. By definition, "Poor little rich boy."

Some would kill for what he has.

He lives in an enormous house with his immensely rich parents and their small army of servants.

At a word, he can have whatever he wants.

The best food? No problem. The best clothes? Absolutely. A new Nimbus 2001? Just one, or one for your entire Quidditch team?

But while he enjoys all of that, none of it really matters to Draco Malfoy.

What he wants, what he truly desires most in the world is something that all the Gold Galleons, Silver Sickles, and Bronze Gnuts in the world can't buy.

He wants friends.

True, he has goons like Crabbe and Goyle, but he knows they aren't friends. He knows that he can't go to them when he's had a bad day or when he needs to talk to someone.

And his House only pretends to like him because he's rich.

He wants someone who would stick by him even if he was a pauper.

He thought he might have found someone like that once.

He has heard about how this person was raised by the most dreadful sort of Muggles imaginable and how all his life he had been down-trodden.

He thought that maybe, just maybe, this person might be wanting a friend.

"You'll soon find out that some wizarding families are better than others. You don't want to making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there."

"I think I can tell the wrong sort for my self thanks."

He had offered his friendship in the only way he knew how...but the person, Harry Potter, had rejected him.

So, now, he hates the very one whom he had once offered friendship to.

He now takes every opportunity he can find to hurt the one who hurt him.

Harry couldn't help but agree.

Sybill Trelawney was a teacher he avoided almost as much as Professor Snape. She had been convinced since third year that he was going to die. A lot of times, she burst into tears when she looked at him.

"Well it's better at least then scrubbing out the Owlry or going into the Forbidden Forest.

Malfoy started to laugh but caught himself and went back to scrubbing the crystal ball.

This is Harry Potter; the Boy Who Lived, the Chosen One, but as ever, the reluctant hero.

He never asked to survive an attack from the most powerful Dark Wizard in a Century. He never asked to be sent of to live with his Uncle Vernon, his Aunt Petunia, and his lump of a cousin, Dudley. And he never asked to now have the Daily Prophet taking pot-shots at him whenever it got the chance. All he ever wanted was to be normal. He wanted to live a normal life with normal friends and to maybe one day, even find love.

But fate doesn't always hand us what we want.

Harry's friends are Ron Weasley, a young red-headed wizard from a huge wizarding family, and Hermione Granger, possibly the cleverest young witch in Hogwarts. But most importantly, he doesn't know how to truly love. He would never even dream of asking the Dursleys. Ron would scratch his head and start to say a few things before giving up and asking if Harry wanted to play a game of Wizards Chess. Hermione would probably tell him the definition of the word love out of a book, but that isn't what Harry is looking for. He is looking for the way to love.

The saddest part of this is that the answer lies within himself. He just doesn't know it.

Everyone know how to love. Harry just hasn't found it...yet.

After cleaning his sixth crystal ball, Malfoy threw down his cloth and stood to stretch. As he did, his eyes fell on the table upon which the object Trelawney had told them not to touch rested. Without thinking about it, he moved closer.

Harry glanced up from his work. "What do you think you're doing?"

"None of your business, Potter."

He walked over to the table and looked at the object. It was covered with a cloth and whatever it was, it was round.

He bent down to remove the cloth.

"Malfoy! Trelawney told us not to touch that!"

Draco sighed and glared at him. "I'm not going to touch it. I just want to look at it."

Harry stood and went over to him. "You're going to get us both into trouble."

"Then go back to cleaning your balls, Potter." he sneered, chuckling at his own joke.

He slowly removed the cloth to reveal... "See there? It's just another crystal ball."

Harry looked confused. "Why would she be so worried about us messing with that?"

Malfoy scoffed. "Why's she do anything she does? She's a complete mental." He picked up the ball and found it to be much heavier than he had anticipated. He gazed into its murky depths. For a while, there was nothing. Then, all of a sudden, it was filled with fire. Through the fire, he saw a withered white tree in a courtyard of stone. It was dead and the city was burning.

But then, the view shifted to a tall dark tower. A shape, blacker than night filled the globe and then, a great eye, lidless, wreathed in flame.

"Who are you? What is your name?" it asked.

Malfoy tried to drop the ball, but his hands seemed to be glued to the ball. He vaguely heard Harry calling his name.

"ANSWER!" roared the voice and a wave of pain swept through him.

"D-Draco...Mal-Malfoy." he stammered.

The voice laughed and said "I SEE YOU!" Then, Malfoy knew only pain. It coursed through his body like wildfire, and into his very soul. He fell to the ground, screaming and convulsing.

Harry thought at first that Malfoy was playing another of his cruel tricks, but then, his scar started to burn horribly. He knew something was very wrong. He reached out to try and grab the ball from Malfoy, but all that happened was that the pain rocketed through his body as well.

The two of them lay there clutching the ball, unable to control their convulsions for the horrible pain, and then, it all went deadly black.

These are our heroes. Both so different and yet seeking the same thing. Neither has a clue what awaits them, but perhaps as they embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, they will find that elusive thing they seek.
Harry awoke with the most enormous headache. He had never experienced a hangover, but he imagined it felt something like this. He sat up and looked around. He was in a large forest clearing and the sun was shining bright through the trees. Malfoy was still out cold a few feet away. There was a dirt road a few feet away which curved around a small hill and out of sight. He didn't know how, but he got the nasty feeling that he wasn't in England anymore. This was confirmed when four small men came around the bend. They could have looked almost human except for their pointed ears and their large, very hairy feet. They appeared to be in a hurry and kept stealing furtive glances over their shoulders. They stopped dead when they saw Harry.

"Um...Hello." he said.

"What do you want?" asked one of them, a rather plump one at that.

Harry stood up slowly, trying not to jostle his head. "Nothing...just...where is this?"

"The Eastfarthing." answered another. "Hobbiton is down the road some miles that way." he pointed to the left.

"Hobbiton...Then noone of you might know where Hogsmeade is, would you?"

The four glanced blankly at each other.

"Guess not."

"If ye don't mind me asking, who might you be?" asked the third.

"Oh sorry. My name's Harry. Harry Potter. What are your names? And not to be rude, but what are you?"

"We, dear sir, are Hobbits of the Shire. My names Peregrin Took but you can call me Pippin. This here is my esteemed cousin, Meriadoc Brandybuck also called Merry. The one glaring at you is Sam Gamgee and this is Frodo Bag- Ouch!" The one called Merry had just dug his heel into Pippin's toe.

"This is Mr. Underhill." finished Merry. "Well, unless you need anything else, we'd best be...Hold on, is he alright?" he asked, pointing at Malfoy.

Harry glanced down at him, splayed on the forest floor. "I'm not sure. Look, is there a doctor anywhere around here? I hope he doesn't, but he might need one."

Mr. Underhill bit his lip and glanced at the others. Finally, he spoke. "There is one in Crickhollow, where we are going, but I'm not sure if he knows anything about healing Big Folk."

Harry bent and picked Malfoy up, putting him over his shoulder. "Well he'll be better than nothing. Do you mind if I travel with you? I don't know the way."

Again they looked nervously at each other. "You-You don't work for the Black Riders, do you?" asked Pippin.

"Black Riders? I have no clue what you're talking about. We're both studying to be Wizards at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."

Their eyes lit up. "A wizard! D'you know Gandalf then?" asked Pippin excitedly.

Harry shook his head. "No, I'm afraid not. I don't think I know anyone here. In fact, I really don't know where 'here' is."

"Well," began Pippin. "This is the Eastfarthing, one of the four Farthings of the Shire in Middle Earth."

Harry still had no clue what any of this meant, but he followed the Hobbits and let Pippin keep talking. Eventually, Malfoy woke up in a very cranky mood. Harry introduced him to the Hobbits and told him their destination. Malfoy was less than pleased, but he really didn't want to wander off alone in a strange land.

Near nightfall, they stopped for a bite to eat. They happily shared their food with Harry and Malfoy, though Malfoy made faces as he ate it.

Suddenly, high and far off, they heard a dreadful wail.

"Black Riders!" hissed Sam.

They grabbed up their supplies and ran off the road.

"Do you see anything?" asked Sam.

"No, there's nothing." said Frodo.

"What in the world is going on? What was that sound?" demanded Malfoy.

Frodo looked up at him and opened his mouth as if to speak, but suddenly Sam yelled, "Get down!" they dropped to their bellies just as a tall dark shape on a horse rounded a bend on the road ahead. It looked around for a moment before going back down the road.

Frodo sighed. "We can't go to Crickhollow. It is likely being watched. I have to leave the Shire. Sam and I must get to Bree."

Merry nodded knowingly. "Right. Buckleberry Ferry! Follow me!"

Harry had no idea why, but he felt he had to stay with these four.

Suddenly, a dark shape burst forth from the trees with a loud screech.

Malfoy, Merry, Pippin and Sam immediately ran but the apparition blocked Frodo and Harry's path.

Harry gasped as he gazed up at the creature. It looked just like a Dementor!

Harry removed his wand from his robes and pointed it at the creature.

"Expecto Patronum!" he cried.

Immediately, the silvery form of Prongs the Stag leapt from the wand and charged the creature.

It screeched and galloped into the trees.

Harry grabbed Frodo and ran in the direction the others had gone.

They found them at a dock, rapidly untying a raft.

"Hurry, go!" shouted Frodo.

They all got onboard and pushed off across the river.

As they debarked on the other side, they looked back. The shape of a dark figure on a horse could be seen at the dock.

Another cry went up and it galloped off.

"How far to the nearest crossing?" asked Frodo.

"The Brandywine bridge. Twenty miles." said Merry.

Frodo looked up at Harry. "How was it that you drove off the Black Rider? What was that thing you conjured?"

"It's called a Patronus. It's a spirit made of happiness. I thought your Black Rider was something called a Dementor."

"Didn't faint, did you, Potter?" sneered Malfoy.

Harry ignored him. "Look, I hate to impose, but can we go with you as far as this town, Bree? We might find some answers there."

"How do we know we can trust you?" asked Sam sharply.

Frodo put a hand on his shoulder. "Sam, he saved my life when he had no reason to." He turned to them. "Yes. We would welcome your company."

With that, they started off.

It was freezing and raining by the time they reached the gates of Bree.

Frodo knocked vigorously, and after a moment, a small porthole opened. A man who looked eerily like Argus Filch, the caretaker of Hogwarts, glared at Harry and Malfoy.

"What is it?" he demanded.

Harry pointed down. The man looked confused for a moment but then got the idea and opened a hole lower down at Hobbit level.

"What do you want?" he asked.

"We're heading for the Prancing Pony." said Frodo.

The man withdrew and opened the door, shining a lamp in their faces.

"Hobbits! Four Hobbits out of the Shire by your talk. And two young men. Whereabouts are you from?"

"Uh...England," answered Harry.

The man scrunched his face. "Never heard of it. What business brings all of you to Bree?"

"We wish to stay at the Inn. Our business is our own." said Frodo.

The man stepped aside, surprised at Frodo's forceful answer. "Alright, young sir, I meant no offence. It's my job to answer questions after nightfall. There's talk of strange folk abroad. Can't be too careful. OH and if you're headed for the Inn, you'll find that more than just me'll be asking questions." with that, he retreated into his hut.

After walking a ways into the town, they found a place with a sign depicting a fat pony rearing up on its back legs.

"Ugh, what a dump!" said Malfoy. "I'm not staying here!"

Harry shrugged as he followed the Hobbits inside. "Do what you like."

Malfoy growled a curse under his breath but went also.

They approached the counter.

"Excuse me." said Frodo.

A plump man who had been washing a glass looked back at Draco and Harry.

"Ah, welcome to the Prancing Pony. My name is Barliman Butterbur. What can I do for you, good sirs?"

"Uh...They're ahead of us." said Harry, pointing down at the Hobbits.

Butterbur leaned over the counter and looked down.

"Ah, good evening, little masters. What can I do for you? If you're seeking accommodation, we have some nice, cozy, Hobbit-Sized rooms available. Always proud to cater to the Little Folk, Mr. Uh..."

"Underhill." said Frodo after a pause. "My name's Underhill."

Butterbur looked blank. "Ah...Underhill..."

Frodo looked nervously at the others. "We're friends of Gandalf the Grey, can you tell him we've arrived?"

Butterbur looked even more confused. "Gandalf...Gandalf...Oh yes! I remember! A very good patron is Mr. Gandalf! But I've not seen him for six months, I'm afraid. Gandalf, now what does that remind me of? Oh well, one thing drives out another and I'm a busy man."

The Hobbits huddled close. "What do we do now?" asked Sam.

Butterbur cleared his throat. "If you're expecting Mr. Gandalf to arrive, you could wait in the Common Room and get a bite to eat.

The Hobbits agreed to this and went to their rooms to freshen up.

Harry and Draco approached the counter. "Um...I guess we would like two rooms for the night." said Harry.

"I'm sorry sir, but I've only got one man-sized room left. We've had a lot of visitors come up the Greenway and there's a troup of traveling Dwarves and all."

"Oh my god, we have to share a room?" asked Malfoy incredulously.

Butterbur's face hardened. "You can try to find another inn if you like, sir, but you'll find no better there."

"We'll take it." said Harry.

They both got out a few spare Gold Gallions and set them on the counter.

Butterbur picked one up and inspected it. "Never seen nothing like this. Real gold is it?"

Harry nodded.

"Alright then. Here are your keys. If you'de like, you can join us in the Common Room as well.

"I'm starving." said Malfoy. "Let's go there now. I'll eat whatever it is they're serving at this point."

They chose a table and sat. A few minutes later, the Hobbits cane in. Harry waved to them and they came over and joined them.

Butterbur brought them a loaf of bread for the table and a plate with some kind of meat and some cheese for each of them.

Despite his declaration to the contrary, Malfoy complained loud and long about the food.

Harry on the other hand dug in immediately.

Merry had gone to the Bar and came back with a triumphant grin on his face. He carried a huge mug.

"What's that?" asked Pippin with awe.

"This, my friend," declared Merry, "is a pint."

Pippin's jaw dropped. "It comes in pints"

Merry voiced an acknowledgment, though his face was engulfed in the mug.

"I'm getting one!" said Pippin and took off for the Bar.

"But you've had a whole half already!" said Sam to no avail.

After a few moments, Harry began to get the strange feeling of being watched. He looked around the room before he spotted a man wrapped in a dark, travel-stained cloak sitting in the corner. Though his face was shrouded, he could still see the man's eyes fixed on their table, and most especially at Harry and Frodo.

Sam nudged Frodo. "That man's done nothing but stare at you and Mr. Harry since we arrived."

Harry saw Butterbur passing by and he stopped him.

"Who is that man sitting over there in the corner."

Butterbur looked up but then quickly dropped his head when he saw who Harry meant.

"He's one of them Rangers. Dangerous folk they are, wandering the wilds. What his right name is, I've never heard, but 'round here, he's known as Strider."

"Strider..." muttered Frodo. Harry could see him looking at something in his hands and was aout to ask him what when he heard from across the room, "Baggins? Sure I know a Baggins! He's over there. Frodo Baggins!" Pippin was well into his second pint and it had clearly loosened his tongue.

Malfoy looked confused. "I thought your name was Underhill."

Frodo shot out of his seat and went over to grab Pippin, but he lost his footing and fell to the floor.

Something small and golden flew out of his hand and came back down to land on his finger. Instantly, he vanished.

A collective gasp went up around the room.

"What in the hell just happened?" asked Malfoy.

Harry just shook his head.

A moment later, they say Frodo reappear nearby, gasping for breath.

They started to make their way towards him, but a dark shadow flew out of the corner and grabbed him, pulling him up the stairs.

"Oy!" shouted Sam. "We have to stop him!"

Pippin grabbed a barstool while Merry opted for a candleholder.

Harry and Malfoy pulled out their wands.

The five made their way up the stairs and down the hall until they heard Frodo's voice inside one room.

Harry grabbed the doorknob and nodded to the others.

With a shout, they burst into the room. Harry aimed his wand at the man who had drawn a sword when he heard them coming.

"Expeliamus!" he shouted. The sword flew out of his grasp and into Harry's outstretched hand.

At the same time, Malfoy shouted, "Incarcerous!" and ropes appeares, binding the man.

He struggled for a moment but stopped when he saw Harry and Malfoy pointing their wands at him.

"Mr. Frodo, are you alright?" asked Sam.

"Yes Sam, I'm fine."

"Who are you?" asked Harry.

The man glared at him. "As I was trying to explain to Frodo, my name is Strider. I am friend to Gandalf the Grey."

Frodo studied Strider for a few moments. "Please release him. I believe him."

"What? Are you off your rocker?" asked Malfoy.

"No. A servant of the Enemy would look fair but feel foul."

Malfoy sighed. "Well he's foul enough." But he flicked his wand and instantly, the ropes vanished.

Strider got up. "Thank you. Who are you gentlemen that you have such power?"

"My name is Harry Potter. This is Draco Malfoy. We're extremely powerful wizards so you had better not try anything."

Pippin furrowed his brow. "I thought you said you were in trai-OW!" This time it was Malfoy who stepped on his foot.

Strider raised an eyebrow at them. "Your own rooms will not be safe tonight. You can stay in mine."

"Safe?" asked Merry. "Safe from what?"

Strider drew in a deep breath. "You can no longer wait for the wizard, Frodo. They're coming."