Sorry this took so long. I am trying to write long scenes and longer chapters, and with this chapter I think I have succeeded at both. I also have an outline for the next few chapters written out, so perhaps the next won't have such a long wait. Let's hope, ne?
The Pen is Mightier
Fakir was truly appreciative of where the Hat had placed him. He glanced up from his book for a quick observation of his housemates.
Many of them were reading, just like he himself was. There were groups who were having quiet conversations among themselves, and up closer to the fire, a chess tournament was brewing.
All in all, Ravenclaw was a house where someone could keep a secret and not worry about having it bugged out of them. It was one of the reasons that Fakir had shot down the Hat's attempts to place him in either Gryffindor or Hufflepuff.
'Well well well! A bit old for a sorting, aren't we?'
'If I had my choice, I wouldn't be sorted at all.'
'And yet, here you are Mr. Schreiber. Loyalty to your prince brings you here, hmm? That's a Hufflepuff trait, you know.'
'But your loyalty would serve you well in Hufflepuff! You would find others to whom you would feel kinship –'
'Then it had best be Gryffindor. Courage, strength of heart, ready for action. I'd say you fit the Gryffindor student to a T.'
'No. Nothing stays a secret in that House. And the last thing I need is busy-body wizards poking their noses where they don't belong.'
'Are you sure? True friends can be made in Gryffindor. Our own Mr. Potter, for one, has found the love he lacked…'
'I have all the friends I need. I won't form any attachments here. This is only a temporary arrangement.'
'Not a fan of Gryffindor either, eh? Tough to please, you are. But you do have a secret to keep, don't you? Then perhaps it had better be –' "Ravenclaw!"
"You'd best watch out for nargles."
Fakir was forcefully dragged from his thoughts by a voice beside him. His gaze met vacant eyes underneath blonde hair. The girl smiled serenely at him.
"Yes." The girl leaned in conspiratorially. "Nargles are mischievous creatures that like to take things. I wouldn't put it past them to mess with your duck. Ahiru, isn't it?" she pulled a necklace up from beneath her shirt. The chain was adorned with odd charm. "Keeps the nargles away," the girl added dreamily as she noticed Fakir's gaze. "Luna."
"Er, what?" Fakir asked.
"You were going to ask my name. It's Luna." The girl blinked at him. "Ahiru is really very sweet. I wonder, why are you allowed to have a duck as a pet? Perhaps I could convince Professor Dumbledore to allow me to have a Crumple-Horned Snorkack."
Fakir let the conversation drop and turned back to his book. Luna hummed absently beside him and eventually pulled out a magazine which, to Fakir's astonishment, she turned upside-down before burying herself behind it.
Fakir growled under his breath at the interruption. Before him stood a girl of his own year, though the name escaped. By the vaguely hopeful expression on her face, Fakir assumed that she had read more into the conversation with Luna than he had expected.
"Fakir-," she protested weakly.
"It's Schreiber. Leave me alone."
"You know," the girl's nervousness was quickly turning to anger, "you really should make friends with people. Or at least be civil!"
"I don't need friends."
"Why are you so stuck up? Do you think you're better than everyone else?"
Another girl shifted closer to the first and placed a restraining hand on her arm. "Padma…"
Padma yanked her arm free. "No! I'm not going to take his attitude anymore!" She turned back to Fakir and the whole room rang with silence. All eyes were on them. "We've waited long enough and it's time for you to get over yourself! You're no Harry Potter so you can stop acting so high-and-mighty! Just because Professor Lupin excused you from the assignment – "
Fakir was now on his feet and the stare down felt familiar. His hands formed fists at his sides and he trembled with the restraint that kept him from slapping her.
"What is going on here?" a voice exclaimed from the common room entrance.
Fakir turned to see the Defense professor staring at him. Clasped in the teacher's hands was a small yellow bundle…
Before anyone could stop him, Fakir had relieved Lupin of his burden and disappeared up the stairs to the dorms. As he slammed the door to the sixth-year boys' dorm shut, he heard the calm tones of Professor Lupin soothing ruffled feathers.
Collapsing on his bed, Fakir heaved a sigh and covered his face with his hand. The dimness cooled the rage and anger that had gathered during the argument in the common room.
As he removed his hand, large blue eyes appeared before him. With a stifled yelp, Fakir pushed himself away from the duck and pulled himself into a sitting position.
"Damn it! Don't do that to me, Ahiru!"
The duck's expression soured and it began a rant consisting of various quacks. Fakir waited silently for its conclusion, and when none appeared forthcoming, he cut in.
Ahiru cocked her head to one side. An inquisitive quack passed her bill.
"Sorry for taking out my anger on you."
She quacked reassuringly.
"It's just, I don't see why I should have to 'play nice' when it's quite obvious I don't want to be here! I still don't understand why Mytho insisted I come."
Ahiru quacked soothingly and rubbed her soft body against Fakir's hand. He began to pet her absentmindedly.
"And those girls! I know that I had a following back at the Academy, but here it just seems a million times worse! At least at home I got some space. Here it's like the girls think that I'm their property, that they have the right to go out with me!" Fakir ran a hand through his bangs, grunting in frustration. "Well, whatever."
He stood from the bed and grasped his sword, taking it from its hiding place in the bed's hangings. As he made his way over to the door the swordsman cast a look over his shoulder at the duck sitting silently on his bed.
"Are you coming or not?"
Ahiru shuffled after him, her happy quaking fading as they departed.
The room was dark, lit only by the candle on the table. Stacks of books surrounded him. Harry leaned over the ancient book before him. He muttered to himself before making some notes on a spare parchment. A shuffling noise came from behind him.
Harry turned to see the trembling form of Peter Pettigrew.
"Wormtail, did you get any more information on the Storyteller?" Harry snarlled
Pettigrew flinched. "No, my lord. I searched all throughout Germany, but no one seems to have heard the name Drosselmeyer."
"And the small country to its south? Kinkan?"
"I -" Pettigrew hesitated. "I was not able to gain access to it, my lord."
"Cerucio." The spell slithered from Harry's lips like a snake.
Pettigrew fell shrieking at his feet. After a few minutes, Harry released the spell. The rat animagius collapsed in a quivering heap.
"I'm sorry, my lord! I was refused entrance by the prince himself! The wards around the country prevented me from entering without his permission!"
Harry paused in interest. "Wards? Around a muggle country with no magic? What is the prince's name?"
"His name is -"
Harry blinked in confusion as he was shaken back into wakefulness. The red-and-peach blur before him resolved itself into Ron's face as Harry slid on his glasses and sat up.
"Harry, we're gonna be late for breakfast! Hurry up and get moving!"
Pushing the dream out of his head for the moment, Harry scrambled to get dressed as his hungry friend tapped his foot impatiently beside him.
"Bad night, mate?"
Harry grimaced. He loved his friends dearly, but ever since the death of his godfather, they had taken to fussing over him. Often times it was endearing, and even appreciated, but right after dreams like these, Harry just wanted to forget about them.
Of course, that could never happen.
"Tell you later, Ron," Harry responded shortly. "Let's just go to breakfast."
"Well, if it isn't Potty and the Weasel!"
Harry turned to face the smirk of Draco Malfoy. At his side Ron bristled, but Harry himself couldn't find the energy to react even a bit.
"What you want, Malfoy? If you don't have anything to say, then just leave us alone," Harry said.
For a moment the smirk vanished off of the Slytherin's face, but then it was back and bigger than before. Harry could feel Ron tensing behind him, and shot his best friend a warning look. It was far too early in the year to get into trouble over Malfoy.
"What's this? Potter backing down? Looks like you're becoming an even bigger coward. Maybe that's why Black died?" Malfoy looked positively delighted at the idea. "Whose next I wonder? The blood traitor or the mudblood perhaps? Or maybe the werewolf? I don't know how that beast ever got his job back..."
It took all Harry had not to deck Malfoy then and there. Ron had flushed red and then paled at Malfoy's words.
"Drop it, Malfoy," the red-head said.
"Can't handle the truth, Potter?" Malfoy sneered. "How many more people are going to die to keep you from the Dark Lord?
"Malfoy." A body inserted itself between the attacking Gryffindor and the blonde Sytherin. With his forward momentum, Harry crashed into the person's back.
Malfoy's eyes narrowed. "Schreiber."
"Professor Snape was looking for you."
"What did he want?"
Schreiber snorted. "Do you really think he would tell me that? Just go find him."
Malfoy glared at the Ravenclaw for a few more seconds before turning away and heading for the dungeons. Schreiber glanced back at Harry and Ron.
"Only idiots get worked up over words. If you forget that, you deserve whatever Malfoy does to you."
Schreiber turned and headed up back down the hall. Ron and Harry stared after him.
Remus looked up from grading third-year essays. Fakir was standing stiffly before his desk, a paper clutched in his fist. Remus raised an eyebrow.
"I need to talk to Dumbledore."
Remus was skeptical. "Why? I hardly think you're going to suddenly declare a love of all things wizard and jump at Albus' bidding."
Fakir's glare slid into a smirk. "Not a chance. I'll leave your boy-wonder to his fate." He grew serious again. "I still need to talk to him. It's important. Urgent."
Remus sighed and got to his feet. A few stiff muscles protested, but a few quick shakes put them to right.
"I realize you're trying to be secretive, but I will have to be present for your talk," the professor said. "There's no point in hiding whatever it is."
"I only want to deal with this once."
Fakir was silent for the journey from the Defense classroom to the gargoyle that marked the entrance to the Headmaster's office. All of Remus' attempts at conversation were answered with grunts or shrugs and the pair fell into an uneasy silence.
Murmering the password under his breath, Remus led the way up to the office. When Remus pushed the door open, Dumbledore was sitting at his desk, waiting. It had never occuered to either Remus or Fakir that the Headmaster might not have been there.
"What can I do for you Remus?" the headmaster asked with a smile.
"Nothing for me, Albus," Remus replied. "But Fakir insisted that he needed to speak with you."
Fakir brushed pass Remus as he approached the Headmaster.
"Mytho will be coming to visit next week. He will be expecting accommodations on Hogwarts grounds and a full tour of the facilities. He also wants for me to schedule a time for him to meet with you. You to have much to discuss, or so he says."
That was probably the most Fakir had ever said to the Headmaster since his arrival. Fakir passed the paper – the letter, Remus realized – that he had been carrying to the Headmaster for his perusal.
"I don't suppose you would have any idea of Prince Mytho's purpose, Mr. Schreiber?" Dumbledore asked as he read the letter.
"I only know what you do," Fakir replied indifferently.
"I get the feeling your reply would be the same whether you did or not." Dumbledore commented lightly. The tightness of his face betrayed his true feelings.
Fakir shrugged nonchalantly, but a smirk crossed his face. He waited for the Headmaster to finish the letter before speaking again.
"I've delivered the letter. Can I go now?
Dumbledore nodded his agreement. "Yes, you may. Thank you for informing me of the situation, Mr. Schreiber. I will make arrangements and send the Prince an owl with the details."
"It would be better if you gave the letter to me, " the teen replied. "Somehow I don't think an owl sent by you would reach him."
Dumbledore's smile slipped from his face, making Remus nervous. "Indeed."
Fakir smirked. "I'll see you later for that letter, Headmaster." He turned on his heel and left. Remus lingered behind.
"Albus, what did he mean about the owl not reaching the Prince?" Remus asked.
Dumbledore grew serious. "I haven't told anyone yet, Remus, but all attempts to investigate Prince Mytho's country have failed. It seems there are protective measures that prevent wizards from entering the area."
"Is that even possible?" Remus said. "And Albus, I had no problems getting in to retrieve Fakir."
"I have gotten the impression that your entrance was an exception, allowed merely to bring Fakir to a more protective environment. Suffice to say, we know little about the country or its ruler. I have no idea what Prince Mytho even looks like."
There it is. If you like it, please review!