the light cast by decaying wood and plant remains..
Hopefully the only one you'll have to get through in this story. Unless - or 'til - otherwise stated, these are all just connected drabbles. The theme of this story is the animal within.
This story is a crossover of the Pilot Manga of Naruto, and the Harry Potter books. The Pilot Manga of Naruto is - was - completely different than the cannon. Here is it briefly broken it down:
Naruto is a fox demon whose father was killed by nine powerful men (the last having not died in the attempt). Naruto has trouble connecting to those his own age, and can be prone to violence. But .. hard to explain, it seems like what is violent to his neighbors is nothing to him, just play.
That is why the leader of his village - one of the nine, and who raised Naruto after killing the boy's father - sent the boy on a quest to bring back a friend as proof of his humanity. Naruto's first friend is murdered on the day they meet, but from him, Naruto learns to trust humans. And too, from him, Naruto develops the notion that a handshake is a symbol of trust.
Naruto might have a much longer life span than that of a human - being not-human - and may even not age visibly over the course of several years. Though he does have the ability to shapeshift with the help of scrolls and seals. But, being the last of his kind, I can't describe his experience at this for he has no one to learn these things from.
This is my first time writing Harry Potter, and I will do my best. I have done extensive unnecessary research. (Why do I need to know the length and width of an average coyote? Or the best trade route from China to Britain?) But, I will be, obviously, making things up ..
I felt challenged after reading Asuka Kureru's "Harry Potter crack ficlets"; most especially the parody of how the Naruto cast is either mysteriously thrown into the Harry Potter world, or assigned a mission there. And of course, the various other crossovers out there..
The schoolhouse is red, as it's supposed to be.
And the smell of woodsmoke, like a fire, like a fire.
SMOKE, Dana Levin
Several years had already passed since Voldermort seemingly disappeared without any trace, and many gleefully thought him dead. The child responsible for all this was yet young, and hidden far away from the wizardry world in his relative's house.
But that is not our story.
Hundreds of miles to the east, on the grounds of Hogwarts, it is already several days after students (and some faculty) have left the castle for Winter Break. The ice is in the air; a cold so vibrant that to swallow would be to choke on the frost of your lungs. Clouds pregnant with snow leak over the mountains bordering Hogwart's land in what can only be called a 'march of grays'.
The trees lining the entrance to the Forbidden Forest are so ladden with ice and snow that the tips of the branches nearly sweep the mounds of white covering their roots.
So Hagrid whistled to himself as he knelt beside his stack of firewood, not far from his cabin door. Though, to be truthful, it was less of a pile of logs, and more a graveyard of trees. He left the door to his shack enough open to feel the warmth through - the heat launched itself from the small space in waves - but he only intended to be out for a bare minute, even less if he moved quickly.
The nights were getting colder and colder. He'd had to move many of the creatures the students had been studying before the break into the castle after daylight hours just to keep them from freezing to death.
Even his thick skin was turning blue..
He was pulling a fifth log into his armload when he heard the ice crack heavily behind him. The sound rang out sharply at the edge of the woods, and all usual noise from the forest ceased. It was already well-past midnight .. no one else should be out. It being Holidays and with many of the children sent home, he could expect his friends not to appear.
As if his back were a piece of the breakable frost, he turned too slowly to make a noise, inching bit by bit until he could see what dark silhouettes were shadowed against the wood and his cabin.
It didn't matter much. The scrawny creature by his door saw him anyway. It was rather hard not too; Hagrid was the biggest thing around and not even the trees could properly hide themselves from each other.
The thing by the door was small and filthy, covered from head to hide in what looked like mud. It was scrawny and akward and too, if he could judge behind the apparent clumps of mess over it's fur, a bit skinnier than normal. The lack of a moon to light shadows made more confusion than clarity.
Hagrid was beginning to see black spots from trying to stare so hard out of the corners of his eyes. His knee cracked as he tried to get a better look at the animal. It flinched easily at the sound directly beside the stoop his doorway sat upon. Just a small step above the ground to keep the snow drifts out of his cabin, really.
The head of the thing was drooped low, tilted between it's legs and lifted slightly forward. As if he was smelling Hagrid.. (If the snow would let up just a little he might be able to make out exactly what the creature was.)
Hagrid didn't move. He couldn't move. He would never move.
It flicked what was apparently an ear to the left at the warmth emitting from Hagrid's cabin door. Apart from a subtle twitching, there wasn't any hint of movement. Neither towards the heat, or away from the human.
(From behind, Hagrid looked rather like a large bear. And the beast already knew from experience that it could out-run a single bear..)
Hagrid spoke softly; couldn't help speaking. Such an animal, to show up so very late in the evening and venture just so close to the castle grounds, and so very close to his cabin.
The poor thing must be cold itself! Ah, if only he could get it inside his cabin where it was warm. Then he could see what it was, and clean it up, and maybe even possibly have it as a pet .. it was rather cute (what parts of it he could see).
The vaguely pointed ears twitched again, and the creature tried slouching backwards hesistantly, the snow cracking under paws buried inches deep. (Hagrid used the sudden scream of another violent wind to tilt his body a bit closer for a better view before it died down some, again.)
The head was lowered and the body compact. The onslaught of chill flung something that looked vaguely like seaweed from it's back and out of view. (Though, when Hagrid's range of vision was less than ten feet, it wasn't so impressive..)
Hagrid start whispering at the poor thing. (But with the sounds of the storm coming full-blast again, he could have been singing the national anthem.) It was blatant selfishness, and he knew it. But he so rather wanted to keep it as a pet, to see it safe and warm next to his fireplace. Whatever it was.
The thick breeze made him wish he was inside, covered in his heavy bearskin blanket. The load in his arms was irritating in the least by now.. (Five partly-grown trees can do that to a soul.)
The animal sniffed at his door and watched him through the corners of it's eyes. It kept it's tail low and crept a paw over the snow of the step, never letting Hagrid leave his sight. Ready to bolt.
Hagrid waited longer, patient or not. His curiousity ...
Making a decision, the creature leapt over the slight height of Hagrid's stoop in a solid move born of grace. Claws dug into the wood naturally for balance, a sound only heard by the lessing of the wind.
Upon reaffirming that Hagrid was going to stay right where he was, thank you very much, the fur slouched through the doorway, back low as a pack-mule and practically crawling to the warmth of the fire.
And Hagrid continued to wait outside. The night was far too black to chase the thing down if he spooked it by bringing the logs (trees) into the cabin, or by dropping them before the door. Even if the night did sting at his throat each time he breathed.
Eventually he would make his way inside. But by then the sky would already be bleeding into morning. And his legs would be so numb and so cold for keeping the same post by his pile of wood that he would spend most of the day inside his cabin, missing out on breakfast and much of lunch.