Protecting One's Enemies
DISMCLAIMER: If it's owned by J.K. Rowling or anyone else, I don't own it. Otherwise, guess who it belongs to? Yep, you guessed correctly. Me.
Harry stood beside the hippogriff named Buckbeak by his first ever friend, the Keeper of Keys and Grounds and the professor of Care of Magical Creatures, Rubeus Hagrid. He had one had on the feathery neck of the proud beast and smiled at him. "You truly are very beautiful," he whispered to the half-eagle, half-horse hybrid, swearing he could see a smile in his eyes.
Buckbeak turned his head toward him and nuzzled his chest before doing the same to his cheek, as if thanking him. "You're not dangerous at all, are you? Filthy half-breed," a drawling voice taunted as the owner sauntered up to the hippogriff.
"Malfoy! Don't-!" Harry realized he was too late when Buckbeak reared up on his hind-legs, kicking his talon-tipped forelegs out. Malfoy threw his arm up, ready to protect his face as his expression became one of fright. Buckbeak will be harmed if he gets hurt, Harry realized, watching the event as if in slow motion before throwing himself in front of the Slytherin.
"Potter-?!" was the shouted half-curious, half-accusatory inquiry, but it never reached Harry's ears because pain had just exploded from his right shoulder to his left hip in his back. His mouth and eyes opened wide, but not a sound came from him. His back arched forward from the agony screaming through it, and he fell to his knees, trembling slightly as he wrapped his arms around himself, one over his shoulder and the other over his hip. "What the bloody hell did you do, Potter?!"
Even through the pain, Harry grinned slightly as he looked up at Malfoy, even though his eyes were glazed over. He felt a draft from the breeze that suddenly wafted through the clearing. It told him that the entire back of his robes and shirt had been torn open, making him unbelievably happy that he was facing the entire audience of students.
"Potter, what is the matter with you?! Why'd you jump in front of me?! I figure you'd want to see me hurt rather than not!" Malfoy rasped, abruptly realizing what the boy had done for him. He sneered harshly, though Harry didn't react to it. The blood he could feel running down his back held a more pressing matter to him. "Potter, answer me!"
"Savin…people…complex…" the Gryffindor responded, still grinning slightly. Besides, he thought to himself, what's three more scars? He knew there were a ton of them all over his body from living with Vernon and Dudley Dursley; all over his body except for his face, though, because no one could find out about the beatings. 'Sides, they'll kill Hedwig if someone finds out…
"Harry!" a feminine voice suddenly shouted over the vengeful pounding in his ears. "We've got to get you to the nurse! You're hurt!"
"M'fine… No…nurse…" he replied through clenched teeth, forcing himself to stand. He backed away from Hermione and toward the guilt-trodden hippogriff. "Buckbeak…s'all right…" he comforted but swayed slightly, putting a hand on the feathered creature's side to keep himself standing as black spots appeared in his vision. Guess I'm bleeding more than I thought… I wish I had a healing potion on me… was his last thought before oblivion came to greet him.
The Gryffindor fell heavily to the ground, getting a shrieking cry from his animal friend. Buckbeak kneeled down on his forelegs and nuzzled the boy's head, trying to get him to wake, but it didn't help. Staring at the blood pooling on the wizard's back, he made a decision. He threw his head into the air and shrieked loud enough to cause everyone to cover their ears and clench their eyes shut before reaching his head around and biting his wing, tearing the flesh to cause blood-flow and dripping the crimson substance onto the boy's back.
"Buckbeak! No!" a loud voice shouted, but it was, again, too late, as if to spite everyone there.
As the blood mixed, Buckbeak's reached the cuts to flow into Harry's bloodstream, and the wounds sealed immediately, though still scarred. Although that wasn't the part Hagrid had shouted about. Next, midnight-black, bloody wings ripped out of the boy's back, the pain causing him to wake and take in a long, painful gasp of air before breathing deeply to contain the new agony rippling through his body.
He arched upward, shaky arms supporting him before they gave way, returning him to the ground without mercy. This much pain…can't be good… he thought, feeling as if he was going mad. A soothing, keening sound came from his left, reminding him of the hippogriff who he, unknowingly at the moment, had shared blood with. Looking over his shoulder at the creature, he nearly passed out again at the sight of the wings coming from his back.
"Harry!" a male shouted, but it was ignored in favor of examining the instrument of aviation coming from his shoulder blades and spine. He knew instantly that the blood would stain the black feathers and give them a crimson sheen. He also realized that he had a wingspan to match Buckbeak's. "Harry James Potter!"
"What?!" he coughed out, forcing himself, again, to stand, using his newest appendages to keep his balance. Feels like I've had them all my life…why? he wondered, glancing curiously at Buckbeak, swearing, again, that the proud, yet crazy beast was smiling. His blood! It imparted the knowledge I'd need! …Bonkers…the whole damn wizarding world!
"What the bloody hell is going on?!" was the shouted answer, clueing him instantly into the fact that Ron was asking that question. "Why in the name of Merlin did you protect Malfoy of all people, Harry!?"
"Buckbeak would've…been in…trouble… Won't let Malfoy…hurt him… 'Sides…Malfoy owes me…a debt now…" he answered and glanced over at the blonde wizard. "I wouldn't…want him hurt…though… Saving people thing… Even Slytherins who…hate my guts…" he added, watching as a look of wonderment crossed the Malfoy heir's features before going behind a mask, though his eyes were staring at him calculatingly.
"Well, then, Potter… What do you want of me?" Malfoy asked, using his Slytherin-Malfoy mask to hide his fright of what the other boy may ask him.
"I…" Harry stopped there and thought for a moment, before saying, "Meet me…in a place of your…choosing after classes. I don't…care when…or why or…how. I'll tell you…then…what I want…" he answered through still-pained breaths before looking at the brunette girl coming at him – his female best friend, Hermione Granger. "'Mione…summon one of my…pain numbing potions and…healing potions…would you, please?"
The girl nodded, knowing part of Harry's past and why he had them. She raised her wand toward the castle in the area that she knew the Gryffindor boys' dorms to be and called the incantation, the sound of a window breaking before two potions' vials came soaring into her open hands. "Here you go, Harry," she said softly as he took them from her.
"Thanks, 'Mione…" he breathed, leaning against Buckbeak as he pressed his thumbs into the corks and turned the vials upside down, mixing them a bit to give the contents a bit more potency. Popping the corks, he downed the pain numbing potion in one gulp, pulling a disgusted face for a moment before knocking back the healing potion, as well. Another disgusted expression took over his features before he shivered with a smile as the healing took effect, the rips made in his skin from the wings sealing up with, lo and behold, two long, jagged scars running from shoulder blade to his beltline.
"Scourgify," Hermione calmly cast, cleaning the blood from him before saying, "Fabricus Reparo," to repair his clothing, but there were holes for his newly-made wings. The boy smiled gratefully at her, and Hermione hugged him tightly to her, crying softly against his shoulder as his arms circled around her, along with his blood-shining, black wings.
"Shh… Sis, shh… It's all right…" he murmured comfortingly into her ear, along with other unintelligible mumbles, but it was the thought and effort that counted. "Hey…shh… If it wasn't for you, I'd still be hurting… I can't do a summoning charm to save someone's life, much less my own… See? Thanks to you, I'll be fine," he continued with a smile, the expression growing when she looked up at him.
"Harry…are you sure you're all right?" she asked, being the caring and overly-curious big sister she was to Harry.
"'Course I am! I can play pranks like Peeves now!" he answered with a wide, boyish grin. "Besides, I was curious. How do you like…" he trailed off as he flared his wings out, "flying?!" he finished before shooting into the air with her still wrapped in his hippogriff-blood-strengthened arms.
"NOT VERY MUCH!" she screamed, clinging tighter to him even though his arms felt like bands of the strongest steel she could imagine. Her face was buried in his neck, her eyes clenched shut tightly. "Please don't drop me, please don't drop me, please don't-" her mantra was cut off a moment later with Harry's calm yet carefree laughter. I've always wanted to hear my little brother laugh like that, she thought to herself, smiling.
"Look, Sis. I promise I won't drop you. I swear on my magic that I won't drop you unless someone or something interferes," he said, before continuing on his first line of thought. "Look out at Hogwarts, Sis. It's beautiful from up here," he urged, finally getting her to pull her face from his neck to see what he could see.
"Oh my God…" she whispered, gazing at the land Hogwarts was situated upon. The lake looked to be one giant, glistening pool of liquid sunlight while the castle shown with her own epic splendor. The sun reflected beautifully from the towers and windows, shining the light onto the Forbidden Forest, casting long, foreboding shadows through it. "This is…too gorgeous for words, Harry… But…I'd like to go back down, if you don't mind…"
He laughed as he descended slowly, gently flapping his wings, causing them to glisten in the color that stained them. "Keep your eyes open or I'll plummet, okay, Hermione?" She nodded vigorously, not wanting to puke when she hit the ground. "See? Not so bad, is it?" he asked when they touched the ground. Hermione let go of him shakily and stumbled backwards, his hand around her wrist keeping her from falling. "All right, 'Mione?"
"Y-yeah…I'm…I'm fine…just not a huge fan of flying…" she answered before taking deep, calming breaths. "I'm all right." The statement was said more to herself than Harry, but he merely smiled.
"Eh… Class Dismissed!" Hagrid suddenly yelled, a relieved smile coming to Harry's face as he promised to visit his half-giant friend after classes. He looked over at the big man and smiled with a nod. A grin broke out on the professor's face, even though it was a tad bit lost in his bushy mane of facial hair.
Oh! I forgot my- "Oof!" he sounded, falling on his bum when his school bag slammed into his stomach. "Ow…" he whined slightly before flapping his wings to get back to his feet. How did I do that? he wondered as he took flight and rocketed off to Gryffindor Tower, forgetting about lunch. He clashed with the glass windows and won, landing before stumbling over to his bed and falling onto it. Hurts…
He had hidden his still-existing pain from his best-friend-turned-sister for her benefit, but knew that he needed to sleep or it would drive him insane. His body was trying to reject the hippogriff blood coursing through his veins. He needed his magic to keep it from doing so, which made him curious as to how he'd summoned his bag to himself with only thought. Foregoing the analytical process of figuring out such an odd occurrence, he let sleep claim him, not having any idea of the effect it would have on his physical appearance and his magical, mental, and physical abilities.
An hour later found him waking from an internal alarm clock made from his years in Hogwarts, letting him know that, in half an hour, he'd be late for his next class. Shit, was his only thought on the matter as he threw himself out of bed, grabbed his toiletries, ran to the showers, washed himself quickly, and, without missing a beat, changed clothes. It was at that point that he missed a beat.
"Wha? Why are my… Buckbeak's blood…" he concluded, running back to the bathroom and defogging a mirror. "Oh…my…God…" he gasped out, staring into eyes that were still his, calming him somewhat. His hair had odd, silvery tips and the strands were grouped together in spikes that shared an almost unrecognizable trait with feathers and was tamed! It lay in neat layers, one at his shoulders, another at his chin, and another at his cheekbones. Holy, bloody, fucking shit… was the only way he could think to summarize his facial change.
Looking down at his body, he realized that he was at the height he should've been at, which was about five-foot, six inches, instead of an even five feet. His frame, instead of being bony and malnourished, had developed muscles to make a life-time athlete green with envy. Now that he looked closer, his face had shaped out, as well, losing the baby fat in his cheeks to give it a chiseled look. All in all, he was afraid that people would start bowing to him as if in the presence of a Greek God. Oh Merlin, please don't let that happen, he thought to himself, turning but, when his hair caught the light, he nearly fainted right there. It shown a blood color, like his wings, in the light.
"HOLY, BLOODY, FUCKING SHIT!" he yelled at the top of his lungs, breathing harshly for a moment. "I feel better…" he added in a mumble, going to collect his bag, catching it before it flew into him again. I guess I can do things with a thought now, huh? Unexpected, but certainly not unwelcome, he figured, opening the door and spreading his wings, gliding out of the common room.
"H-Harry!?" was shouted when he flew up through the trapdoor leading into Professor Trelawney's Divination classroom.
"Yes, Ron, it's me," he answered as he sat across from his best friend. "Buckbeak's blood really did a number on my body, didn't it?"
"I'll say! If I weren't straight, I think I'd be pouncing on you right now!" The blood drained from the redhead's face. "Ignore I ever said that, would ya, mate?"
"Of course, Ron," Harry answered, by this time used to Ron's odd statements. After all, I've known him for three years. If that doesn't do something for my tolerance of his…less than thought out statements, I think I'd be crazier than Sirius Black, he figured. Just then, Professor Trelawney glided into the room and proceeded to stare unabashedly at Harry. His wings ruffled in annoyance, reminding him that he'd had to cut his robes to accommodate them. "WHAT?!" he shouted at her. "Am I going to die tonight!? Or maybe tomorrow?! Or maybe at this VERY MINUTE?!"
"Dear boy…is there something wrong?" she asked aloofly.
"No, Professor, nothing's wrong! You're just bloody staring at me for the hell of it!" he answered moodily, slouching in his seat with fierce glower at the entire class, which ended their stares quite quickly. The woman swiftly turned away and started teaching the class. Damn, fucking, bloody shit… he grumbled in his mind as he stared at Ron's palm. "In your future…" he started, gazing intently at the lined flesh of his best friend's hand. "I see Hermione backing you against a wall, drawing her wand, summoning yours, causing you to scream in your own girly fashion, then-"
"Class dismissed!" was what cut off his amusing, yet curiously truthful-feeling prediction.
Hauling his bag up with no effort, which surprised him but not overly much, he swept out of the room, jumped up onto the handrail, dived off, and spread his wings before he hit the floor at the bottom. Standing, he shook his head with a goofy grin on his face and sat to await his friend. This is going to be a long day, he figured, realizing how long it took Ron to come down the spiraling stairs.
After the last class, which was Transfiguration for Harry, he found Malfoy waiting for him at the double doors leading out of the castle. Thank heavens Ron and 'Mione aren't with me, he thought to himself as he stood before the blonde.
"Potter…what happened to you?" was the first question out of the boy's mouth.
With a slight snigger, Harry replied, "Buckbeak's blood, Malfoy. It changed me quite a bit more than just my appearance. Where do you want to meet me?"
The pureblood bit his lip in a bit of nervousness, making Harry realized just then that his fellow Third Year really was human. "You know the second floor girl's lavatory?" Harry nodded, remembering it from his Second Year as not only the Chamber of Secrets but as the place where Ron, Hermione, and himself broke about fifty school rules by making Polyjuice Potion. "Meet me there fifteen minutes after dinner."
Harry nodded with a whispered, "See you there," as he walked by the blonde boy and out of the doors.
Leaving after dinner, he was still thinking on what a nutter Hagrid had been about his transformation. Smiling at his friend's nearly childish antics with all things bestial, he left the Great Hall to the Grand Staircase and moved swiftly and gracefully up the two flights of stairs leading to the Second Floor Corridors. Within the fifteen-minute deadline, he walked into the restroom, finding himself face to face with a very flustered Draco Malfoy.
"Moaning Myrtle," he snapped in reply, nearly growling. "Now, speak. What do you want of me?"
"I want…" Harry bit his lip. "I want you to leave my friends alone. I want you to stop being such a bastard. …I want you to drop your Slytherin-Malfoy mask and be a human. I know you can. You've showed me two emotions that aren't smugness, arrogance, or anything else along that line. I've seen you nervous and, just now, flustered."
"I can't do that, Potter."
"Why not? What could be so bad that it could keep you from feeling everything you have a right as a human to feel?"
"My father, Potter! He'll kill me!"
"No, he won-"
"Yes, he will! He's nearly done it before! How else do you think I'd be afraid of having someone's voice raised at me?! How else do you think I'd be afraid someone's going to raise their wand and utter the same words my father does to slice my skin open?!"
"He…he really does that…to his own son? His own…flesh and blood?" Harry asked, his face paler than Malfoy had ever seen it. Two tears, one from each eye, slid down the Gryffindor's cheeks.
"Why are you crying, Potter? It's my problem," the Slytherin Prince sneered.
He didn't hear the blonde's inquiry, instead captured by his own thoughts. "A…a parent should never…never treat their own child… A parent…should never even raise…raise a finger to hurt a child…much less their own…" It was at this point that he felt as if his own age-old, scarred wounds had just been inflicted, immersing him in flashbacks of the pain and sadness that he wouldn't be accepted by his only family. He wrapped his arms around himself, shaking horribly, his wings following his arms' example. He leaned against the wall and slid down it, resting against the floor, mumbling things like, "I didn't mean to", " I swear I didn't", or "Please, Uncle, stop" over and over again.
"Potter!" Malfoy shouted, dying to cast a spell at the quivering thirteen-year-old, but knowing that he couldn't or it'd send the boy further into his relapses. What is wrong with him?! he wondered before hearing the comment about an uncle. Leaning down beside the newest type of magical being, he softly called, "Where does it hurt?"
"Ev-everywhere…" was the answer.
"Can you take your clothes off to let me have a look, to see if I can do anything about it?" the Slytherin questioned next, a little softer than the last.
"No! You won't believe me!" Harry exclaimed, closing in on himself further. "No one else at the primary school does, so why should you?!"
Primary school? Wait… "Harry, can you tell me how old you are?" Malfoy asked, not realizing that he'd called his rival by his first name.
"Um…five and six months," was the answer, causing a quiet gasp from the blonde. "Will you…will you really believe me…and not punish me…?"
"Yes, Harry, I'll believe you. I'd never want to punish you," was the answer from the blonde as he thought, Five and half! Sweet Merlin! Father didn't start treating me that way until I was twelve! What has he really been through?
"Then…I'll show you," Harry responded, his wings moving back from him to reveal his tearstained face.
Malfoy aimed his wand at the boy's robes, chanting a softly uttered spell to remove his clothing, except for his trousers. "Oh dear God…" he gasped, staring at the scarred torso of the Boy-Who-Lived. His eyes felt like they were going to fall out of their sockets as he covered his mouth with one hand before he decided to save his reaction for later. "Harry, I need you to look up at me." The boy did so, his eyes widening as he saw the Slytherin. "You aren't five and a half years old. You're thirteen and are a Third Year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"D…Draco…Malfoy… I know you…" Harry whispered, his eyes widening when he realized just what he'd revealed. "Oh no! Now he's…he's going to kill her!"
"Who, Harry? Who's going to kill whom?"
"You…you called me…'Harry'… Nevermind that. Vernon's going to kill Hedwig… I have to get to her. I have to save her. She's the second friend I've ever had, and I want for her to live to a ripe, old age for an owl! I can't let her die!" Harry stood and looked about for his clothes, finding them in a neat, folded pile. He thought about them on his body and found himself dressed in a split second. "I command the Chamber of Secrets to open!" he hissed at the sinks.
After a moment, the tube was showing completely. "Harry! Wait!" The Malfoy heir bit his lip, looking indecisive before focusing his eyes on Harry's. "Take me with you!"
"If we're now on a first-name basis, that gives us more than just being bloody rivals! Treat me like a friend for once! I revealed something to you and you revealed something to me! I wouldn't be surprised if even your Gryffindor buddies don't know about that!"
"You can be very rational when you sound like you're spouting nonsense, you know that?" Harry asked abruptly before chuckling and taking hold of the blonde's arm. "Come along then," he said, dragging the other down the pipe. "I found out that you can Apparate from down here a while back when I was exploring the place. I decided to clean up the Chamber, a piece of loose rubble decided to take a dive to my head, and I wanted to be anywhere but under that thing, and found myself, suddenly, on the other side of the cavern."
"Amazing… You can Apparate already?!" Draco asked as they walked down the tunnel. Harry grinned with a nod before hissing to the next door for it to open. "You truly are one of the most powerful wizards to ever exist. It's no wonder Dumbledore tries to keep you under his thumb and at his beck and call."
"I know that now…" Harry admitted, pulling the other to him before picturing the street outside of Number Four, Privet Drive, and calling up his magic to push him that way. "I hate that feeling," he said after they landed behind a fence and under a tree. "Disillusion me," he whispered to Draco, knowing the boy could use magic.
After doing so, Draco watched with a keen eye as the bars over one of the windows of Number Four were wrenched off by an inhuman strength. Goodness…he truly does have a bestial beauty about himself now.
Harry flew into his room and found Hedwig in her cage. "Oh God… My lovely lady… I can't believe I left and let them do this to you…" She looked at where his voice came from, as if saying it wasn't his fault and he couldn't help it. "I could've done something…I could've fought back…" He opened her cage and gently lifted her out of it, cradling the once-snow-colored bird in his arms. "Come with me, lovely, we're going to Hagrid…now. I'm going to make sure you get better…"
Draco saw the window close and the bars reinsert themselves, or so it looked, before hearing a soft crunch of grass under a person's feet. "Harry, is that you?" he whispered.
"Yeah. I'm going to take hold of you right now."
The next day, Harry woke in Hagrid's cabin, finding himself heavily disoriented when he spotted the blonde head of Draco Malfoy and his slowly but surely healing snowy owl, Hedwig. A moment later, the memories came flooding back. "Hagrid? Is she going to be okay?"
"O' course, 'Arry! What do yeh take me fer? An amateur?" Harry smiled at the half-giant, stretching his arms and wings above his head. A soft groan came from the other side of the snowy owl's bedding. "Well, Mister Malfoy, I trust yeh slep' well?"
"Oh yes. About as well as a tadpole in a pool of lava," Draco answered, getting a snigger out of Harry and triggering the previous day's memories. "Harry…does this make us friends now?"
"Well, we're about as close as the line of not being friends will let us be," Harry answered, reaching across the small bed to lay his hand out before the blonde. "The situation is reversed, I suppose. Let's cut that line, shall we?"
"We shall," Draco answered, grasping the hippogriff/human hybrid's hand with a small, slight smile.
There may be a second, but I haven't decided.