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Harry Potter and the Heir of Merlin
The evening sun was setting over the carefully manicured lawns and hedges of Privet Drive. People were wrapping up their summer barbecues and garden work and preparing to head indoors for a bit of television and perhaps a drink or two before bed.
Three of the inhabitants of Number Four Privet Drive had long since retired to the comfort of their scrupulously tidy house, returning to their separate pastimes of watching TV, spying on the neighbors, and reading the evening paper while the fourth remained outside in the fading summer sun.
The three Dursleys of Number four Privet Drive prided themselves on being perfectly normal (thank you very much!) and staunchly denied the existence of, or any involvement in, anything that could be construed as 'abnormal'. This being the case, they absolutely despised their nephew's intrusion on their otherwise utterly normal life and banished him outdoors or to his small room every chance they could. At that very moment Harry Potter was intruding on his relatives by trimming the hedges while his porky cousin, Dudley, smirked at him from the kitchen window during the commercials.
As he sweated, Harry thought longingly of the calendar in his room, where he marked off his days until his return to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and most especially the parchment letter sitting on his desk. The letter had arrived just that morning via Owl Post from his best friend/cohort and fellow wizard-in-training, Ron Weasley, asking him to come and stay for the remainder of the summer! That would mean five whole Dursley-free summer weeks before the start of term!
As the Weasley's no longer had a car (thanks to Harry and Ron and a Whomping Willow tree) and Floo powder was definitely out, Harry wondered how they would come and collect him. Perhaps Mr. Weasley would borrow a car from the Ministry of Magic, where he worked. Harry smiled as he imagined the look on his Uncle's face if one of the stately Ministry cars pulled up to the curb. It was something torn between grudging admiration and apprehensive illness. None of Uncle Vernon's experiences with full-grown wizards had been pleasant.
Full night fell before Harry's Aunt Petunia stuck her bony face around the kitchen door and interrupted his musings, yelling at him to get back in the house. He gulped down his glass of water and vegetable sticks, dodging Dudley's Smelting stick, before sprinting up to his room.
Once there, Harry pulled out a piece of parchment and bottle of ink to finish the letter he'd been working on earlier that day. His godfather, Sirius Black, had hinted in his last letter that he might be able to visit Harry around his birthday. Harry was eager for more news. He rubbed his grainy, sleepy eyes before resettling his glasses and beginning to write.
With a peculiar lurch, Harry Potter suddenly found himself standing in the shadow of a tall gray stone column in an unfamiliar room. How had he gotten here? And where was he? He wondered. A soft rustling of fabric on stone drew his attention to the other occupants of the room. Perhaps half a dozen dark-robed figures surrounded a tall basalt throne. The lone occupant of that forbidding throne glared down at the kneeling figure before him.
"My Lord." The Death Eater visibly shook as he kneeled before his Dark Lord. "We have located the Amulet of Achidnae, but it has been already been taken to Hogwarts."
"Fool!" Voldemort snarled. "That artifact has powers I need!" Voldemort raised his wand and the unfortunate Death Eater crumpled to the stone floor, writhing in pain. Harry winced, his lightning shaped scar burning.
"My Lord." Wormtail stepped forward, distracting Voldemort. "This is an opportunity! What better time to take the Amulet and have your revenge? And right under Dumbledore's nose!"
Voldemort tapped his long slender fingers against his chin in thought. "Indeed." He murmured, lowering his wand. "Amazing, Wormtail! You have finally had a good idea." He waved the gasping Death Eater away. "You will not die today, my servant, but see to it you do not fail me again."
Harry felt a peculiar queasiness as the Death Eater was supported away remembering his own hellish duel only weeks ago. Voldemort had killed his parents and that time had almost finished the job with Harry. As if suddenly sensing the alien presence, Voldemort's jaundiced eyes swept the hall, resting finally on the partially hidden Harry. What looked like hateful triumph blazed briefly in Voldemort's eyes and he raised his wand. "Accio." Harry felt himself being pulled inexorably toward the Dark Lord, who smiled cruelly. "What, no guardians, Young Potter?" He asked mockingly, raising his wand. Harry gritted his teeth to keep from crying out as the pain hit him even as he fell to the floor. His glasses flew off his face from the impact, landing nearby.
Before Voldemort could order another bout of torture, Harry's blurry eyes saw a pair of creatures appear between them, one shadowy black and one blinding white. Harry groped around momentarily and located his glasses, snapping the world back into focus. Now he could make out his rescuers. Standing defiantly between him and Voldemort was a great shaggy black dog and a sleek white unicorn! The Dark Lord glared at the guardian beasts and the young wizard. "The Heir of Merlin!" He hissed with rage. "How could you have this power already?" The unicorn reared, slashing the air with its silver hooves while the dog growled, hackles raised.
Harry climbed to his feet and the two animals moved back to flank him. The unicorn kneeled to allow Harry to climb onto its back. He quickly clutched at the shining mane, wrapping his hands in the silky strands to keep from falling as the creature rose back to its feet and leapt easily over the clustered Death Eaters. The dog gave a final growl at Voldemort before following them out the far doors.
Harry started awake, nearly tumbling out of his desk chair. The clock on his alarm flashed 4:35AM. Light from the corner lamppost spilled under the curtains, dimly illuminating the familiar confines of his room. He was still on Privet drive! No Dark Lord lurked in the shadows here. The only remnant of his dream excursion was the slight burning of his scar and an uneasy feeling deep in his stomach.
Switching on a small bedside lamp, Harry immediately walked to the end of his bed and quietly lifted the lid to his trunk. It had happened again! Voldemort troubled his dreams only when he was feeling particularly murderous or angry, through their connection forged that night that Harry had broken his power. And Voldemort had been terribly angry when his servant had reported failure! His first thought was to write to Dumbledore, tell him about the dream and the Amulet Voldemort's Death-Eater had spoken of. It was obviously something important, though what the dog and the unicorn meant baffled him.
Then it hit him. The black dog must have been Sirius! Then who was the Unicorn?
None of the other Animagi he knew used that form. But if it was an Animagus Hermione would know. She had looked up all the registered Animagi two years ago, before they discovered that Sirius Black and Harry's own father, James Potter, were also Animagi. There was a chance that this Unicorn, like Sirius and James, was an unregistered Animagi, but it wouldn't hurt to ask.
Harry pulled out a parchment and quill and woke up Hedwig to deliver two letters.
Thanks for your last letter. I'm glad all is well with you. Snape went to Romania, huh? Well, I hope a dragon doesn't eat him. It might make it sick!
I don't know if this is important, but I woke up with my scar hurting again last night and I dreamed about Voldemort again. He was torturing one of his Death Eaters because they hadn't managed to get some sort of amulet for him. Then he saw me. But this great black dog -- you I suppose -- and a white unicorn appeared and saved me. Then I woke up and my scar was hurting again. Do you suppose it could have been just a dream after all? Voldemort mentioned an "Heir of Merlin" but I'm sure I've never heard of that before. And do you know of any animagus that becomes a unicorn?
I'm not sure if I should tell Professor Dumbledore or not. What do you think? It could have been just a dream.
I'll be staying with Ron and his family after Friday, so write to me there.
Say hello to Buckbeak for me!
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Disclaimer: This is not my world. Most of these are not my characters. I'm simply playing with them to ward off imminent insanity and to take a break from my own writings. I'm not even going to do anything that I think Ms. Rowling would be ashamed of.