A/N: Oh great Goddess, it's a post! Trust me; I'm as shocked by this as you all are. :D Listen, I have a million different explanations for why I've been gone for so long, but I'd rather not waste space on them. School is out, I'm not going on any (long) vacations, I'm done editing, and updates will pick up. Maybe I'll even manage to swing one a week. I've gotten a plot outline typed out, so I know exactly where I'm going. Hope you enjoy.
A/N2: I'm taking a moment to recomend an amazing story to you all. It's an LVHP by Emriel, and it's called 'Masquerade of the Damned'. Emri is a phenomenal writer, and her story is extraordinarily good, but hasn't gotten the feedback it deserves. It's currently in the preslash stages, but I've been given the honour of viewing the whole plot outline, and let me tell you it's going to be epic. Go read, now. :D
Dedications: To my lovely beta, DarkSiren929, who gave me the kick in the butt to write out that plot outline. I'm sad that our arrangement didn't work out, but I wish you luck on all that's going on in your life. To the anonymous reviewer Me, I loved reading all your fantastic comments. I just wish I had been able to respond directly to your review. Thank you! Finally, to my amazing readers and reviewers, I adore you.
Warnings: Strangeness, mention of bleeding wounds, but no detail.
Disclaimer: Oh, really. Is this necessary?
Laughter resonated around the small, dimly lit kitchen. Sirius sat at the worn table, directly across from Remus, who was sitting next to Arthur. Molly stood at the counter, fixing tea. Later, when asked to recount the rare, mirthful moment of calm, none of the four would be able to remember why they had been laughing.
The explosion was gradual. It started with a low rumbling that reverberated through the magical cores of the kitchen's occupants, rather than through their physical selves. For a moment it was if their good humor had crossed over into their magic, shaking their inner power as easily as laughter shook their bodies. Shortly though, the occurrence was identifiable for what it was. Only a fully trained witch or wizard would have likely been able to feel it, but to the four adults, it was immediately recognizable as a swell of immense power.
Madame Pomfrey removed the apron from around her waist tiredly, stepping out from behind the curtain with a sigh. Immediately, the mob of adults waiting anxiously for her diagnosis converged on her, desperate to hear that their children would be alright. Overwhelmed by the rapidly asked questions, she wasted none of what little energy she had left on being diplomatic. She silenced the group with a fierce glare. It was this that finally tipped them off to her exhaustion, and she nodded gratefully to Severus when he conjured a chair for her.
Sinking into it, she took a few minutes to relax her body and catch her breath. Maybe Minerva's insistence that she needed an assistant wasn't as ridiculous as she'd first thought it was… Shaking off the thoughts, she focused on the anticipatory looks on the faces of those surrounding her. With another sigh, she began.
"Misters Weasley, Weasley, and Weasley have already awakened and bombarded me with questions, though they are now asleep. They should be good to leave and wreak havoc at the end of today. Miss Granger and Miss Weasley are a little worse off, but both should be fit to leave tomorrow. It's Misters Potter and Riddle that have me the most worried though."
She fell into a pensive silence, turning over the condition of the two raven-haired teens in her mind. Such an extraordinary circumstance…
She glanced up at the Headmaster, who had roused her from her thoughts. She glanced at the apprehensive faces around her. Once more, she sighed.
"I think you'd all better sit down…"
Everything was… cold. Well, not cold, exactly. Rather, it was… distant. Tom felt completely removed from his surroundings, from his own body. He looked down at himself. He was bleeding. Heavily.
He was vaguely aware of pain. It was more of a… tickle, a light brush of pain that, like everything, felt unreal and far away. He had the ominous notion that later he would feel the pain full-force. But at that moment, he was fine.
In the back of his mind he was aware of shouts and screams and the splintering of wood, but he focused his attention on the matter at hand. Namely, the large wall before him. It was black, with blazing sliver runes that appeared for split-seconds, shining so brightly that they cut through the numbness surrounding Tom and forced him to cover his eyes. They emerged on the surface of the wall for miniscule fractions of a moment, dissolving back into the blackness before Tom could make any sense of them.
He stepped toward the wall, reaching his hand forward to touch a shining rune. He was a hairs-breadth away when his common sense caught up with him, and he withdrew his hand sharply. This close, and no longer distracted by the runes, he could see that the wall was bulging, as if it were holding something large and powerful back. He stepped backwards, his gaze traveling up the smooth surface to reach the top of the wall. There he could see strands of burgundy… liquid, for lack of a better word, peeking over the top of the black wall.
The burgundy… substance shone as brightly as the runes, brighter even, but possessed a solidity and fluidity that made it appear to be a liquid of some sort. Its color was deep and rich, so dark that at times it appeared black. Unlike the runes, looking at it did not pain his eyes. Rather, it filled him with joy, awe, and a powerful sense of possession. Whatever this liquid was, he had to get to it, for he knew that without a doubt, it was his.
A presence at his back made him turn around. By this point the vague, detached feelings of pain and chaos that he had been experiencing earlier had faded completely, replaced by the lingering sensations instilled in him by the burgundy substance. Now, as he looked at the royal blue mist rolling towards him, a warm sense of comfort and belonging welled up in his chest. This mist did not feel as though it were his in the same way the burgundy liquid felt like it was his, but it felt similar. He felt as though the mist belonged to someone extremely close to him. Someone he cared for, trusted, lo-
The mist rolled past Tom, parting easily around the obstruction his body presented. Less easy to slip past was the massive black wall, which stretched in either direction as far as Tom could see. Not to be deterred, the mist rolled straight up the side of the wall. As it neared the burgundy substance, Tom felt anticipation rise within him. Something was going to happen, he could feel it.
A tendril of royal blue shot upward to meet a strand of burgundy, and Tom held his breath, waiting for them to come into contact.
When they did, his vision filled with brilliant forest green light. Ignoring the fact that the color of the light was illogical, seeing how burgundy and blue did not make green, Tom watched eagerly for more interaction between the two substances. While the following meetings of blue and burgundy did not result in sparks as brilliant as the initial one, each one was accompanied by a thrum of power that was greater than the last.
Tom could feel the ground below him shaking, but was paying avid attention to the crumbling black wall. Just… one… more…
With an earthshaking crash, the wall fell, and burgundy liquid rushed forward. Tom only had time to register the disappearance of the blue mist before he was engulfed.
The silence inside the hospital wing was thick and heavy, filled with shocked disbelief.
"You can't possibly be serious Poppy."
The worn-looking mediwitch nodded her head gravely in response to Minerva's question.
"I know it seems ludicrous, but I assure you, neither young man has them. Somehow, their hampers have dissolved."
Sirius leapt to his feet.
"But that's impossible! Every witch and wizard is born with hampers. Control over our magic is impossible without them! Without the hampers, our magic would eat us alive!"
"Don't tell me what is and is not possible, Sirius Black." Poppy snapped irritably. "I performed the test. Harry Potter and Tom Riddle are without magical hampers."
"Why'd you perform the test?" Remus asked quizzically. "I thought it was only performed on babies?"
Poppy sighed. "Yes, that is what it's intended for. However, something I noticed while examining them prompted me to test them. Follow me."
She led the group of adults around the curtain that concealed her patients. She stopped beside the second-to-last bed. Lying upon it, his face serene, was Harry Potter.
"Touch him." She ordered.
The others looked confused, but they obeyed. Upon laying their hands on the boy, they gasped. Magic- powerful, wild, and untamed- pulsated underneath his skin. It thrummed and rippled, as if eagerly attempting to escape its fleshy constraints.
"Mr. Riddle is the same. But that's not all- look." Madame Pomfrey moved briskly to the other side of the bed, raising Harry's left arm for them all to examine. It was handcuff-free. The onlookers gasped.
"Whatever happened in that room not only dissolved these two boys' hampers, it also completely disintegrated these handcuffs. What I don't understand is why the hampers and the handcuffs were the only things to be destroyed. Aside from the force of the blast knocking the children into the walls, everything inside the room was relatively unharmed. It makes no sense."
Dumbledore frowned. "That is certainly something to ponder Poppy, but at the moment I am more worried about how this will affect young misters Potter and Riddle."
She sighed. "I'm afraid that the amount of magic these two boys have is unfathomable. Even without the hampers, most magical beings wouldn't have magic running rampant through their bodies to the degree these boys do."
Sirius interrupted. "So, what will happen?"
Poppy glanced at him in irritation, "I can't be sure. The only cases of witches and wizards not having hampers ever recorded have been in children. Newborn babies."
Sirius broke in again. "What happened to them?"
Poppy glared at him. "If you would let me continue… They simply had their magic siphoned off-"
"But that's impossible!" Sirius exclaimed. "You can't steal a witch or wizards magic! It can be drained by excessive use, but it can't be taken away!"
Poppy rounded on him. "Sirius Black, if you interrupt me one more time, I will personally slice you up and give you to Severus for potions ingredients!"
Calming down, Poppy continued. "As I was saying, this was possible because the purpose of hampers is to keep magic inside a witch or wizard, and in control. Without the hampers, there is nothing to stop an outside force from removing the witch or wizards magic, making them a squib. However-" she said, stopping the onslaught of suggestions, "Misters Riddle and Potter simply have too much magic for us to remove. I don't know how, but they have so much that none of us would be able to hold it. Any object we could use to hold their magic would likely be ripped to shreds."
"So what do we do?" Sirius asked, once positive that Poppy was done speaking.
Dumbledore gazed at the two teens pensively. "I suppose we'll have to try teaching them to control their magic-"
Poppy cut in. "We can't. If they try to use their magic…" She trailed off.
"Yes?" Dumbledore prompted.
She took a deep breath. "If they attempt to use their magic, I believe that it will escape their bodies, and we won't be able to stop it."
Dumbledore's frown deepened. "Are you saying…?"
She nodded. "Yes. If either of these boys uses their magic, it will likely rip them and everything around them apart."
A/N: Dun, dun, dun. Review please!