"Don't you worry, mate. We'll be back before you know it!" Ron said.
He then thumped Harry on the back on what was probably supposed to be a reassuring manner and then chased off after Hermione, who was heading to the library. The muggleborn was acting oddly since Harry had just heard that mysterious voice again, but there was little he could do to puzzle that out so close to the Quidditch match.
Privately, he couldn't help but feel a bit miffed that Ron, the ever-loving Quidditch fanatic, had just up and ditched him so close to the match.
Looking to the sky, and noticing the dark clouds of an oncoming storm, the boy resumed his walk to the pitch. He resolved to end the game as soon as possible, because like hell was he going to fly in another storm. But try as he might to focus on the upcoming game, his thoughts kept drifting back to his two friends.
Maybe he should let one of the staff know about the errant two? The school was pretty deserted now, so anyone left in the castle would be all the more noticeable, especially to an ancient and vicious monster. The idea left a bad taste in his mouth though. Harry trusted Hermione far more than he was willing to trust the staff lately, so alerting them probably wouldn't do his worries any good. Besides, she was Hermione. The girl could probably spell her way through walls if given the motivation.
Shaking his head to clear away the thoughts, Harry entered the Gryffindor changing room and switched into his gear. The stuff was rather bulky, especially for him and his shorter than average height, so much so that Harry was sure that he weighed at least ten to fifteen pounds more than usual. Harry wished that Featherlight charms weren't forbidden in Quidditch.
After changing and grabbing his broom, Harry left for the next room, where Fred and George Weasley were already waiting. Nodding to them, but not saying anything, Harry began to ponder the goings on of events lately.
A few moments later, Wood entered. There was a seriousness in his face that would have given anyone pause if the matter weren't a game between school children. As it was, he just seemed to be working on getting forehead wrinkles before twenty.
"Ready, you guys?" He asked. "We win this mat-"
"Relax Woody," Fred said, heading him off. "With the His Royal Slytherinness on the team, Hufflepuff won't even get off the ground before the game's over."
Wood gave the the twin a disapproving look, but remained quiet after that. Even he could tell when someone didn't want to put up with one of his speeches.
George grinned and stuck his tongue out.
Soon the rest of the team arrived, with Katie, Alicia, and Angelina smiling nervously but none worse for the wear.
Shaken from his daydreaming at their arrival, Harry began the usual final double check of his gear, his mind whirling with all sorts of uncomfortable scenarios of the near future. Quidditch, while incredible and exhilarating in a way Harry had difficulty replicating elsewhere, could be quite dangerous. Maybe that was part of why he loved it so much.
The seven Gryffindors looked at each other, determination shining on their faces. If nothing else, Harry thought, at least they were still the best team at Hogwarts. The thought did little for his mood
"Okay, well come on we've got to go," Wood said stiffly.
As they made their way to the middle of the field, Harry's thoughts went back to his friends.
He mounted his broom and began to hover as the team captains shook each others hands. Unlike the Slytherin captain, Marcus Flint, Cedric Diggory was a well built teenager with a perpetual 'pleased-to-meet-you-mate' look on his face all the time. He was tall but he wasn't huge like Crabbe and Goyle. Harry didn't know him very well but according to some girls he was "the most handsome, caring, athletic, and heartwarming person ever to grace Hogwarts with his presence."
Harry didn't know what to make of such a rumor but he didn't think he was a bad person if that's what some people thought.
'But then again, maybe he's really the Heir of Slytherin and he's just posing as Cedric Diggory, the pleasant and good-looking Hufflepuff.'
Harry's second year at Hogwarts wasn't proving to be nearly as good as his first. The constant whispering and murmurs whenever he walked down the hall or entered a classroom had given him a sense of paranoia that chose random and sometimes unfortunate situations to manifest itself.
Madam Hooch put her hands on the chest containing the enchanted balls used for the game.
"Ready?" She said as the players flew to their proper starting positions. The crowd began cheering even more loudly. Harry grinned, despite himself. Somethings will never change, Chamber of Secrets or not.
"Set?" Damn, the rain was starting.
"GO!" The balls flew out of the chest with the force of a cannon. The game had begun.
Lee Jordan could be heard commentating the match, but it all sounded like gibberish to Harry as he had taken to go around the field on his Nimbus as fast as he could in search of the Snitch. The wind roaring in his ear was making all the noise jumble up and be incomprehensible to him. Even the magical loudspeaker was a bit muffled.
As he swerved out of the way of an incoming Bludger, he caught a glimpse of gold but it was gone before he could confirm it.
"STOP THE GAME! STOP! STOP!"
Harry came to such a sudden halt when he heard McGonagall's voice, that he almost flew off the broom from the sudden loss of momentum.
He looked down at the field. Professor Mcgonagall had in her hand what looked like a muggle megaphone and was quickly trading words with a very grim looking Madam Hooch. He felt a painful knot form in his stomach.
His paranoia begun to whisper in his ear, but Harry ignored it in favor of getting the truth
Suddenly, Mcgonagall turned to the stands began firing off instructions like a machine gun.
"ALL STUDENTS ARE TO REPORT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE COMMON ROOMS AND AND HEAD OF HOUSE IMMEDIATELY! ANY STUDENT CAUGHT OUT AFTER CURFEW WILL BE HARSHLY PUNISHED! THERE WILL BE NO MORE QUIDDITCH UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!"
Harry felt his blood run cold as he descended onto the ground, and began walking towards the crowd of Gryffindor students. He didn't think McGonagall would put up with the teams needing to change. He wasn't feeling like wasting time either. He needed to find Ron and Hermione and figure out what was happening.
"Mr. Potter?" Someone said from behind. Turning around, he came face to face with Madam Hooch.
"Yes?" He answered cautiously. The old hawk's face was set grimly, her visage one of pity.
"I think it'd be best if you went with Messrs Weasley and Weasley to the Infirmary."
That all but confirmed Harry's earlier suspicion, but still he persevered in his denial.
"What do you mean?" Harry questioned, "We aren't injured."
Hooch let out a small sigh. "Your friends, Mr. Ronald Weasley and Miss Hermione Granger-"
Oh sod it all.
Harry didn't hear any more. He had started running as soon as he heard his redheaded friend's first name. Pushing students of various years and houses out of the way, he exited the pitch and continued on his path to the castle.
The ground was bumpy, but even so he didn't lose his balance. Sweat trickled down his face, and his robes clung to his skin, but he was not bothered. He was still wearing his Quidditch robes and they were weighing him down but the thought of taking them off so he could go faster didn't even cross his mind.
He was currently running up the stairs to the second floor when all of a sudden, his foot gave out and he tripped. Hitting his face on the stairs, he became faintly aware of an extremely sharp pain in the middle of his face, and he felt the taste of blood on his lips. He vaguely recognized it as a bloody nose like when he was younger.
Getting up and composing himself as best and fast as he could, Harry began running once again, paying no mind to the glares from the students that hadn't left the castle to begin with. A beastly feeling rose up in his chest at the sight of them, and for the first time Harry wished that it was someone else to suffer the misfortune of Slytherin's monster.
Finally, he arrived at the hospital wing. To Harry, it had been an eternity of running, when in fact it had been ten minutes. Still, his body was finally calming down and the adrenaline rush was receding, making Harry more than aware of the pain in his nose.
Hoping against hope that it was all a sick and twisted joke, Harry slowly but surely opened the door to Madam Pomfrey's domain.
Taking slow and deep breaths in preparation for what he was about to see, he began walking to the quarantined area of the miniature hospital; this was where students with severe medical issues were interned, and it was also where the petrified victims were staying until they were cured.
'If they get cured,' that nasty side of him pointed out.
He passed all the older patients, each separated by curtains held up by nothing. Once he reached Nearly Headless Nick, he took a deep breath and forced himself to continue.
It was strange. Though they looked like Ron Hermione, Harry could tell that the two on those beds weren't his friends. They were just shells. their essence seemed to have been sucked right out of them, leaving behind these hollow creatures that seemed neither dead nor alive.
...It hadn't even been an five minutes and already he missed them.
He stayed like that for what felt like hours. People came in and out of the Hospital Wing, but none of them gave Harry much regard aside from Madam Pomfrey who insisted that she mended his nose. He vaguely recalled Fred and George standing there without saying a word and Ginny quietly sobbing before being given a Calming Draught.
Harry thought he felt tears pricking at the corner of his eyes for a bit, but he crushed the urge viciously. That never got him anywhere before, and it sure as hell wouldn't do anything for him now.
He, Ron, and Hermione had always been together since the mountain troll incident. They had been through so much, gone through trials no normal person should face, and now...they were...gone.
How was he to find the Heir of Slytherin by himself? What was he going to do to stop the attacks? How could he find the Chamber of Secrets alone? He wished he had Hermione's brain or Ron's easygoing attitude, at least then he'd be able to think clearly or remain more in control of himself.
Harry winced at his train of thought. Even to himself, that sounded like he valued their abilities rather than the people themselves. What kind of person did that?
Eventually Professor McGonagall came by to escort him to Gryffindor Tower. She explained the new rules regarding curfew and such but Harry was barely listening. Not that he imagined the older witch could fault him for that.
And once he arrived at Gryffindor Tower, showered, and then just spent hours staring into the fireplace, the single most important question was:
Harry slept horribly that night. He kept seeing his best friends running down a never-ending hallway being chased by a large shadow. He tried to reach them but every time he got close they pulled back and went in the other direction towards the shadow which almost always nearly caught them each time as they passed by. And every time he spoke, nothing but abnormal hissing would leave his throat.
Throwing off his covers, Harry got up and looked over at Ron's bed. Harry never realized how out of place it would be without the redheaded boy's snoring in the morning. Now he wished he could hear the accursed sounds.
After putting on his robes, Harry checked his watch and noticed that breakfast was set to begin, based on what his Head of House told him last not.
'Guess the saying really is true,' he thought sadly as he noticed the lack of Hermione studying like she always did on Sunday mornings. 'You don't miss it till it's gone.'
Leaving the dorm, it didn't take long for Harry to notice the almost animal-like intensity everyone seemed to be looking at him with. The unblinking stares unsettled him and he frankly didn't want to be their center of attention any longer. Sitting on the windowsill overlooking the grounds, Harry pointedly avoided meeting anyone's gaze as they waited for their escort.
Had it always been this bad, he wondered? Did his friends really bear the brunt of the animosity that much or did it just get worse overnight? He was uncertain as to which was the case, which only served to annoy him more. Put one of them in his spot, he thought, and see how they performed.
Fortunately, Professor McGonagall arrived to pick everyone up not even five minutes of his arrival. After sending a few students to wrangle up any stragglers that were still sleeping, the Transfigurations teacher led them outside the Common Room, into the seventh floor hallway.
From his vantage point in the back, Harry saw the Professor waving her wand to and fro in front of the Fat Lady's portrait, muttering something under her breath. Ah, right, there were still those students who didn't want to leave the Tower just yet, so it only made sense to seal the entry way. Both to keep intruders out, and probably even more important to keep students in.
The trip down to the Great Hall was passed in relative silence. The teens and preteens would whisper something to each other occasionally, but it seemed no one was up to gossiping this morning. Harry was rather grateful for that small mercy.
The castle seemed...hollow, he realized. Harry was used to seeing students walking around or talking amicably about the latest Witch Weekly. The suits of armor would sometimes walk around and jump out at people, while the portraits would carry out conversations from opposite ends of the hallway (which always seemed to end up as an unintended game of Telephone). And while the armor still moved and the portraits still chatted, it all seemed a bit more muted.
They arrived at the Great Hall at the same time as the Hufflepuffs, who seemed to have come from one of the secret passageways, led by Professor Sprout. At the sight of Harry, they all seemed to converge on each other, each of them glaring at him or frowning at the Gryffindors. A twitch of annoyance once more passed through him and he felt compelled to remind them just whose best friends were now virtual corpses thank-you-very-much. At least professor Sprout seemed to be okay, though that could just be exhaustion stopping her, considering the very noticeable sag in her posture, and the droop in her eyes.
They entered the Great Hall without much fanfare and sat down to eat. The food appeared as soon as he plunked down on the bench, but Harry couldn't really bring himself eat breakfast, even though he had come down there for just that purpose. He was acutely aware of the space around him separating him and the others, and that cynical part of his mind couldn't help but remark that this was just like kindergarten.
Soon, the Slytherins arrived, receiving their own fair share of glares and muttered swears, but they took it in stride, almost smugly even. Harry supposed that they felt vindicated for whatever reason, from the latest chain of events. Their representative Founder had garnered something of a bad reputation over the years, but obviously that was turning around, even if only it was in the minds of children.
After that, the Ravenclaws joined everyone else in the room, and once the last student was through, the doors slammed shut with enough force to shake the tables, sparking a few screams and spilled drinks.
But never let it be said that humans weren't adaptable, because soon the students were laughing once more, or cramming once again for some exam they had failed to study for, or fretting about who snogged who in the Charms classroom last Wednesday. It seemed that the imminent threat of attack never followed through in their minds and so it was once again safe to ponder the important things in life again.
Harry wanted to scream at them to shut up.
Because even as the school returned to life around him, as life moved on, and children laughed, Ron and Hermione were still up in the Hospital Wing and it just wasn't fair.
"Well, well, well," drawled out a voice from behind him, prompting him to stiffen, "if it isn't the Heir of Slytherin."
"Malfoy." Harry said levelly as he grasped his wand in his pocket lightly.
"Potter." Spat out the Slytherin prince.
Harry turned around on his seat to get a proper look at him. Sure enough, Crabbe and Goyle were there as well. And already., people were starting to stare even though he hadn't even left his seat.
"What do you want, Malfoy?" Harry muttered. He hoped to convey a feeling of 'I really don't want to deal with you right now' and 'I swear to Merlin I will break your face in, teachers be damned' but it probably came out more tired and pathetic than he intended.
"Couldn't bear to stand up with them anymore, Scarhead?" The Malfoy mocked, smirking at Harry. The Gryffindor wondered where the git got so much bluster and confidence from, especially considering the boy must know that this wouldn't end well for him.
"Sod off, git."
"Then again, I suppose you had your reasons," the blond continued on, not missing a beat. "I mean, a thing like Granger and a pauper like Weasley following me around? You must be a saint to have put up with that for so long. Tell me," and here the blond gave him a sickening smile, "how did it feel to kill them? What did they look like when yo-"
Harry saw red. He leapt from his seat and punched the other boy straight in the nose. He grabbed the Slytherin's robes and was about to hit him some more before he felt a blinding pain in his side and suddenly noticed that he was falling, courtesy of one Gregory Goyle tackling him in the ribs. Had he not been dazed as he was then, he'd have wondered how the hell the mini-troll had bent low enough to hit him there.
They landed, one beneath the other, but Goyle quickly got up from him, much to Harry's pleasure. The other boy was really freaking heavy, dammit.
People were shouting around him, and Harry could vaguely make out what seemed to be McGonagall calling for order or something insane like that. Raising himself to his knees, he looked at the trio of Slytherins before him, one blond boy clutching his nose and screaming bloody murder, and two big apes wondering whether they got a banana yet or not.
Harry snarled, his blood pumping in his veins as he remembered the too many horrid things they did to him and his friends; the taunts and the hateful things said and wished upon, all for some stupid tiff that Malfoy had with them. Reaching into pocket, Harry grabbed his wand and pointed it the three, uttering the first spell that came to mind.
He really should have gone with the second one.
An enormous snake flew from the tip of his wand, and landed on the ground, some feet away from the other three. The students around them screamed and began to panic, climbing out of their seats and over tables to get as far away from the reptile as possible.
However, before the snake could get properly close to the group of now quivering kids, the voice of a certain Professor intervened.
And just like that the snake was gone, as fast as it appeared. Only to be replaced by something far more menacing.
Paling, Harry stood and looked in the direction of where the voice came from, feeling his legs turn to stone at the sight of an enraged Professor Snape.
"Did you see that?"
"That snake was huge!"
"He attacked them!"
Snape was striding towards Harry from the High Table, Flitwick and Lockhart in tow. His face was contorted into the fiercest scowl he had ever given Harry and suddenly he felt as if he'd rather face Voldemort than deal with what came next.
"Professor, I-" Harry stopped mid-sentence when he became acutely aware of the glares directed at him.
Snape took another step forward, somehow closing half the distance that was between him and the second year Gryffindor. He still had his wand out and the same cynical part form earlier in Harry wondered if the Potions teacher was going to curse him into oblivion in front of all these witnesses. Of course, that part of him was probably right seeing as how Snape was still advancing upon him.
Snape was finally standing straight in front of Harry. His face seemed even uglier and frightening than usual and his tall form practically on top of him gave Harry the distinct impression that Snape was at least part-vampire.
Harry looked down, wanting so very much that this was all some sick fantasy, but knowing he wasn't that lucky.
"Look at me," came the smooth voice.
Forcing himself to look into Snape's eyes, suddenly Harry felt very exposed to the man.
"Detention, Potter," Snape muttered.
Still scowling, Snape repeated what he said, "Detention, Potter."
Harry blinked. Only detention? He was expecting the Spanish Inquisition and Filch's prized thumbscrews after that performance. This seemed almost...nice, of Snape.
"O...kay," Harry agreed slowly. He wasn't going to argue. He was in a big enough mess already and he knew it was useless to try and get Snape to punish any Slytherin. They could get away with anything short of murder and even then he doubted the greasy git would do something about it. That is, until he heard what Snape said next.
"Hospital Wing. Tonight at 7. I will inform your Head of House of the duties you will have for the next week." Snape practically danced a jig at the sight of Harry's horrified face.
"The Hospital Wing? A week? But sir-" Harry tried to protest, but he found himself unable to come up with a suitable reason not to take the punishment. Students had no say whatsoever when it came to professors deciding detentions.
The Slytherin Head of House gave Harry a cold look of triumph when he saw the young Gryffindor be silent. Said Gryffindor in question, pondered on the possibility of Snape really being capable of reading minds, because if there ever was a better punishment than forcing Harry to look at his friends petrified faces while doing who knows what, then frankly he didn't want to know.
"Hospital Wing. Tonight. One week," repeated the Potions Master, obviously delighting himself in the look on Harry's face, "and don't be late."
Harry gave a sigh of resignation.
"That reminds me," Snape said, turning his gaze towards the Slytherins who had stayed behind, "All of you should know better. 20 points from Slytherin for purposefully provoking Potter."
Whether this sudden unfortunate turn caught them by surprise, Harry did not know. Malfoy looked outraged at this sudden betrayal, while Goyle and Crabbe simply looked lost. Just as the leader of the gits began to open his mouth to no doubt complaint about this, Snape continued.
"And 30 points to you Mr. Goyle, for assisting your housemate quickly and decisively."
Harry's short-lived moment of victory died in a rather spectacular fashion. Goyle probably had trouble understanding half the words in that sentence without a dictionary and yet somehow it felt like getting tackled all over again.
Snape looked around. While he had been dealing with Harry and the others, the rest of the Professors had taken to calming down the rest of the students, all the while assuring them that yes, Mr. Potter did just attack Mr. Malfoy, and that no, Mr. Malfoy was being an arrogant asshole and thus deserved whatever he got.
There may have been some personal bias seeping in that description but Harry would take his victories where he could get them, even if he had to lie to himself sometimes.
"What are you all standing around for?!" Snape snapped at the students that had fallen out of coordination with their respective groups, "Get back to your seats! Classes aren't going to wait for you to finish stuffing yourselves!"
There was some grumbling and some wary looks sent his way, but they complied. As everyone began to calm down, Harry noticed that there was something very off about the High Table. Well, two somethings.
The first was, where was Hagrid? The giant of a man had never missed a meal this year, as part of Dumbledore requesting he attend all student mealtimes to ensure some extra security (something that Hagrid had told Harry was on a strictly need-to-know basis, followed by a wink). Besides, he could really have done with a friendly face in the crowd.
The second: why was Professor McGonagall sitting down in Professor Dumbledore's seat?
At the end of breakfast, Harry found out why when McGonagall addressed the entire school to explain a few more rules they would have to follow. After that, he had the not entirely unreasonable urge to be sick that day.
It was possibly the worst week Harry had been through in his entire life, including that time he was stuck in the cupboard because the door was stuck and the Dursley's only bothered to help him because the Begonias were starting to look dry. He had been eight years old then, and had thought that was the worst that could happen. Oh, how Harry wished he could punt his eight year old self across the Quidditch pitch for jinxing himself.
Ron and Hermione were petrified, Dumbledore was sent away from the school, Hagrid was in Azkaban (whatever that was), the Heir of Slytherin was still out there, and now it seemed the entire school, bar some exceptions, blamed him for it all.
Harry did not expect hugs and kisses when Ron and Hermione were petrified, but he certainly didn't predict the blatant hostility people were openly expressing towards him. He thought that after the latest attack, the rumors would diminish, but apparently the fact that he would sooner face Voldemort unarmed than attack his friends didn't even cross the minds of those who listened to the latest gossip.
Just the other day, he had to dodge a Jelly-Legs Jinx in the middle of class! It was during Defense Against the Dark Arts and it hit Lockhart square in the face when the spell failed to meet the desired target. The big poof had ended up tripping and hitting his head against the wall, knocking the fool out for a good ten minutes.
Whereas sleep was once a haven from the insanity of his life, it was now just as, if not worse than, his daily life. The dreams with Ron and Hermione were getting more and more ominous with each passing day, with him never reaching them, and them never escaping.
Reality wasn't much better. The looks he was getting from Hufflepuff House bordered on murderous and Harry gladly avoided them as much as possible. It was a well-known fact that everyone in that House valued each other immensely, even if they weren't friends. So to attack one of them was like attacking all of Hufflepuff and they were furious that the culprit hadn't been caught. And, in their anger, they had begun accusing Harry of being guilty of all charges. Since they believed Harry to be the Heir, they found it extremely shameful that he betrayed Ron and Hermione, and only used that to fuel their fire.
Thankfully, there were a few exceptions to this case, but they were so outnumbered that it didn't make much of a difference.
The Ravenclaws and Gryffindors were somewhat divided on the issue, though the sides thinking he was evil seemed to be growing by the day. Even his own dorm-mates, Dean and Seamus, seemed to avoid him now and he had the distinct impression that Lavender and Parvati were terrified of even being in the same room.
Harry hoped that the eagle House of Hogwarts would use the ever famous intelligence they were known for but apparently they too got swept up by all the stories around the castle about him letting loose all kinds of horrors upon the school's denizens. The tales ranged from controlling the teachers, to him being Voldemort's incarnation and killing off Dumbledore. Which was just plain ridiculous!
The place that he felt safest was the dorm room, and even then that was dodgy. Some of the fifth years had already been through his trunk, claiming to have lost some textbooks. Fortunately, Fred and George scared them off before they found something important, mainly his father's invisibility cloak.
Harry was grateful towards the Weasley's. Despite all that happened, they still didn't put any fault on him, but there were times Harry wished they did. They were a tight knit family and he could see how much quieter Fred and George seemed and how puffy Ginny's eyes were every time he saw them. Percy hardly showed up in the common room anymore and according to some he was actively searching for any place the Chamber of Secrets might be. Harry would rather see them angry with him then how they were now.
Currently he was sitting in the Gryffindor common room, silently watching the flames in the fireplace dance and eat away at the logs. Today was going to be his last night of detention and right now he was waiting for Professor McGonagall to pick him up to the Hospital Wing.
Harry sighed, then rubbed his temples as he tried to lessen the headache he had. So much was happening and he couldn't do anything to make it better. It was driving him crazy.
The portrait to the common room swished open, but Harry didn't look at who walked through it. No one else was awake in the tower so the only person it could've been was the Head of House.
"Ready, Mr. Potter?" Her voice was soft but still had a firmness that could only belong to the stern Transfiguration teacher. She knew the crap he had gone through that week but rules were rules and she couldn't exempt him from a detention that was well-deserved.
Nodding, Harry stood up and walked over to where she was, all without saying a word.
The portrait opened once more, and they left.
The walk to the Hospital Wing was just as quiet as all the other ones. It all seemed so incredibly monotonous to Harry that he was pretty sure he dozed off in the middle of it and let his feet do the walking.
It was like a routine.
Get up. Go to breakfast. Ignore others. Go to class. Eat lunch. Go to class. Have dinner. Wait in the common room. Go to detention. Go to sleep. Do it all over again.
Harry sometimes pretended he liked it like that. No danger, no injuries, nothing. But then he'd turn to his side to talk to someone who wasn't there and remember.
Without Ron and Hermione, everything seemed so dull.
After bidding Professor McGonagall goodbye and being told that someone would be by later to escort him back to the tower, Harry closed the door to the Hospital Wing and mentally prepared himself to see his friends again. He turned around and-
Harry was pulled from his thoughts by the airy voice that had greeted him. Blinking, he rubbed his eyes to make sure he was seeing right.
Yes. Yes, he was.
There in front of him, was the most bizarrely dressed girl he had ever seen, witches included.
She had waist length silvery blond hair, that, by the looks of it, had several odd things attached to it in various places. Her Hogwarts uniform had several large dots on it that were changing colors at a rapid pace. She was wearing what looked to be a radish earring on one ear, and what looked like a miniature muggle car on the other. Her eyes were wide, giving her a look of permanent shock.
Some part of him couldn't help but remark that she looked like an owl with those gray eyes staring fixedly into his green ones.
"Erm...uh...hi?" Harry responded nervously as he took in her appearance. Who was she? He thought she seemed familiar but he was fairly sure he never met this girl, let alone talked to her. With a fashion sense like hers, he was pretty sure he'd remember someone like her.
The mystery girl tilted her head, as if to get a better look at him. "Figglenorf got your tongue?" she asked, blatant curiosity written all over her face.
"E-excuse me?" he stuttered as she moved closer. Too close! Too close!
"A Figglenorf," she repeated calmly, unperturbed by their proximity to each other.
Harry had no idea what a Figglenorf was, but he figured he'd better say no unless she got closer for a more thorough inspection.
"N-no, I'm sure I don't," he said as he carefully took a step back from the estranged girl.
The only response this seemed to elicit from the girl was a slow blink. Then she took another step forward towards Harry.
Harry audibly gulped. He could literally feel her breath on his face now. His personal bubble had been breached about two feet ago.
"You have beautiful eyes," she said all of a sudden, causing Harry to jump slightly from the pure randomness of the sentence.
"Thank...you?" he answered awkwardly. It wasn't everyday a girl wearing the most...interesting of clothing choices just walks up to you and compliments your eyes. What else was he supposed to say?
The girl in question, however, either didn't notice or didn't care about how uncomfortable the young Gryffindor was, because the next second she had leaned in so close, both their foreheads were touching, and their lips were only centimeters apart.
Harry let out an unmanly squeak and backed off as fast as he could from the probably insane girl. Just what the hell was she doing?
He felt the blood rise to his face. Crazy or not, she was still a girl and that was the most physically intimate he had ever been with a girl, barring Hermione and her hugs.
His face fell when he remembered his petrified best friends. In the last week, he had avoided dwelling upon the subject as much as possible. It was hard to think about them. It didn't help that he saw them so many times at the Hospi-
"Look, I'm sorry and all, but I have to find Madam Pomfrey," Harry said, politely motioning for her to get out of the way. "Y'see, I'm in detention."
"Oh?" The girl looked more pleasantly surprised at that. "So you as well? That's lovely, we're detention buddies then." She crossed her arms and gave him an approving nod. "Wonderful, now I won't have to smother my arms in Yam juice to ward off the Sleepy Meirgs."
"What?" Harry said, before he shook his head. "Forget it, look, do you know where she is?"
"Hmm? Yes, she's here at Hogwarts."
They both stayed like that, neither of them saying anything, leaving both of them to their own thoughts.
'She's crazy,' Harry thought decisively as he took in the sight of the weirdly dressed girl. 'No other way to put it. Completely loony.'
"Ah, Mr. Potter, I see you've met your partner for tonight."
Looking to see who it was who spoke, Harry's mind began going at a mile a minute at the words 'partner'.
The Hogwarts nurse gave him a pitying smile. Gesturing towards the girl, who was now humming something that sounded suspiciously like Old McDonald, Madam Pomfrey said "This here is Miss Luna Lovegood, she will be assisting you in the task I have for you tonight."
As Ron would say...
"Bloody hell," Harry whispered under his breath.
He wondered if Madam Pomfrey had any headache potion stored around here.
End Chapter 1
Author Notes: I'm inviting a whole bag of trouble upon my head by restarting this thing. Last week I checked out my old fics just for the hell of it, and I noticed this thing was recommended on a few websites, TvTropes being a prominent example (Nice job past me!). Thing is, this is the one that made me cringe the most. Of course, since this is a rewrite, chapters should be better for the most part.
Seriously, I look at my writing from back then and I want to bash my own brains in with a baseball bat. I was atrocious. Probably still am, actually.
I cut out a shit ton of stuff here. Mostly because I realized that one of the reasons the last one sucked so hard in my opinion is because I kept trying to do too much. This story is obviously a Harry/Luna friendship fic, so having the fucking Bloody Baron show up all the time was idiotic of me. And then the freaking interludes. Ugh.
I messed with the Slytherin scene because upon coming back and looking at it I couldn't help but wonder what I was smoking then. Oh, and I cut out some of the more 'dramatic' sentences that worked as nothing but padding. Hopefully, I still got all the anger of a twelve year old Harry, along with the stupidity that comes with being twelve as well. Two bucks says that you think you were a little turd at twelve too.
Since, this is a question that inevitable pops up, no, this is not a shipping fic. That means no Harry smooching' Luna, no lovemaking' happening, no lemons, etc. Why? Primarily because they're twelve and naive little kids. While Harry/Luna has always been a favorite of mine, it's their dynamic that has been the interesting part, not the amount of sexing things up they can manage in a single night (extreme example but you should get the point). To avoid falling into that pitfall of so many romance writers, this is a friendship fic.
Also, no normal-all-along!Luna.