First of all: I'd like to thank all the brave and wonderful people who stepped up and sent me e-mails, reviews, PMs sharing your own experiences with sexual abuse. It's both comforting and heartrending to know that there are people out there who have shared the same experience as me. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support and kind words. And good luck and stay strong for those of you still struggling to get through this. You can do it, it isn't the end of the world, don't give up. There are a thousand and one things I wish I could say to everyone but I just have no idea how to say them, how to put them into words or even order them in my head so I think I will just leave it here.
Chapter Twenty Six
Having never been to a Ski resort, Harry wasn't quite sure what to expect, the rows of polite, wellspoken men and women in their immaculate matching outfits certainly wasn't it.
Though he really shouldn't have been surprised.
Sighing softly he shivered slightly; even with the Warming Charms he was still rather cold. Oh well. A quick check of the staff revealed no tampering and the Hotel was clean along with all the other students and their gear. He noticed one of the boys had a charmed necklace but it was strictly protective in nature, someone in his family must have been magical or he'd just gotten his hands on it through sheer paranoia.
"Do you know how to Ski, Shi-Harii-san?" Kyouya asked, stumbling slightly on his name before correcting himself.
He shook his head, "No. Scotland got a lot of snow, but there was never enough time to learn how to Ski," he explained, watching as Mitsukuni and Takashi performed tricks for the other's amusement and shook his head, "It looks like it could be fun but I have other things to do," he turned away and made his way a little bit towards the café, "I need to run a perimeter check, tell Ginny to use the Cards if something comes up."
"Cards?" Kyouya echoed in confusion.
It was a recent development, the Pactio agreement, from before Hermione's leaving. But they'd all agreed that it would be a necessary one if they were to perform their jobs correctly, the Pactio agreements were old, very old magic, magic of the kind that Lily had studied intensely looking for an edge against Voldemort. Magic that the Death Eaters found beyond them simply for the fact that they didn't understand it and they weren't willing to put the work in to figure it out.
Pactio, the agreement between a Mage and a Fighter, one to be the shield, the other a sword, the magic involving the two was both complicated and yet surprisingly simple. The word 'Pactio' came from the Latin action of making a 'Pactum' or 'Agreement' between the Magister/Magistra Magi and the Minister/Ministra Magi to form a partnership in battle. Because Ancient Magic required long invocations and a lot of magical focus, they took time to incant and in that time anyone could come along and kill said Mage because they were unable to act without breaking the incantation, cancelling the spell. Hence the Pactio agreement in that while the Magister incants, the Minister would protect him. In layman's terms, the situation could be comparative to a Minister being the forward infantry while the Magister acts as back up artillery.
But the Minister would not be left to fight alone. The Pactio agreement, the Provisional Contract, also allowed for a transfer of power, magic boosting the Minister's physical and magical capabilities and providing protection from overt Physical and Magical harm. Often improving the Minister's natural abilities tenfold in the process while sometimes providing them with a Magically formed artefact that compliments their abilities and personality.
The Pactio could be created in a variety of ways, some were impossible until a certain point or age mainly to prevent abuse of the Contract. A Permanent Contract between a Minister/Ministra Magi and a Magister/Magistra Magi was the most powerful, most Magister/Ministra Magis do not have enough Magical power to form more than one of these contracts due to the Magical strain it causes, more can be made, but only when a powerful Mage is holding the cards. Temporary contracts are often formed by teenagers, they do not require so much Magical input and they provide the same powers as the Permanent Contract just with less strain. Botched Contracts are useless, they are more often considered a joke contract, they allow for an almost minuscule boost in power, absolutely no extra abilities and to obtain that small boost caused a huge drain on the Magister/Ministra Magi's magic.
Harry had at first been vehemently against the whole idea. He refused to sit on his backside at the back and allow someone else to go out and fight while he was busy muttering under his breath, ain't no way, ain't no how.
Neville was the one who talked him into it.
Eventually, once the arguments died down, Luna drew out the contract array and activated it, 'There are two ways to do this, a blood exchange or a saliva exchange. Which is it?' she asked, acting as Contract Evoker as Harry and Neville stepped into the circle. Everyone had pretty much opted for the exchange of saliva with the exception of Ron and Ginny who would be exchanging blood. A simple kiss on the mouth ensured a Temporary Contract, one that could be dissolved at the end of the Death Eater Case.
Each of them held Contracts from each together, a large tangled web of contracts where each of them held cards for one another. Cards that had very special abilities that even they had not been expecting. Such as Telepathy that by-passed all Occlumency Shielding, a quick Portkey evocation that could summon the intended Minister/Ministra Magi from a distance of roughly 10km and god only knew how many surprises.
Harry rolled his shoulders and looked around, making sure that no one was watching before he flung himself forward, calling up his Magic as he felt his body tighten, the air become colder but more tolerable.
Arms stretched out and pumped hard, air forcing up under them and lifting his body.
Again and again until he was looking down at the people below with sharp eyes, a mere black blott in the air.
"What did he mean by that?" the bespectacled Host asked, intensely curious about magic, not that Ginny could blame him. He'd been asking her questions ever since he found out about their world and even though she knew he was doing it mainly to widen his client base and rake in more cash, she also knew it was out of genuine curiosity.
"The Cards are proof of our Pactio agreement," she explained leaning back in her chair and looking skywards, spotting the dark shape in the air with a smile. "There he is," she said, pointing to the tiny shape in the sky.
Kyouya frowned, "That's a bird."
Ginny laughed, "Some witches and wizards have studied to learn how to Shape Shift, everyone in our group can turn into an animal, some of us even have two like Harry and myself. Luna too," she explained sipping at her tea, "Harry can turn into a Peregrine Falcon and a large white Wolf. Luna can turn into an albino Squirrel and a red bellied Piranha, Hermione can turn into a Lioness, ironically enough Neville's the one with the Lion form and my brother Ron can turn into a horse, a dun coloured Mustang."
"And you?" he asked, curious.
Ginny grinned smugly, "Panther, a black Panther and a Scorpion oddly enough," she explained before poking her tongue out, "I would have preferred something cuter but Scorpions are cool too."
Kyouya hummed excitedly as he nibbled on a biscuit, "Is there anyone else who can do this or is it a common ability?" he asked, a slight frown creasing his face, being able to turn into an animal could actually be rather dangerous now that he thought about it. You could get into places undetected and, like with Ginny, you could kill someone with no-one the wiser.
She shrugged, "Not really. One of our Professors at school could, her form was a tabby cat, and there was this horrid reporter who could turn into a beetle. Harry's dad could, so could his friends. They learned how so that their Werewolf friend wouldn't be alone on the Full Moon anymore."
"Werewolf?" Kyouya choked.
The red head laughed, "Yep, Lupin Remus, one of the kindest men I've ever met. You've met his son, Teddy. He was bitten at a young age and had to hide his Lycanthropy for years, when Harry's dad found out he and the other boys in their dormitory decided to learn how to become animals so that they could spend Full Moons together. They called themselves the Marauders so we decided to continue the tradition and become Animagi ourselves."
"So werewolves are real..." the Japanese teenager trailed off in fascination, stroking his chin.
"So are Vampires, Trolls, Goblins, Centaur, Mermaids, Dragons, Unicorns, Lepricorns, Phoenix, Kappas..." she laughed at the dumbstruck look on his face, "One of my older brother's, Charlie, he works in Dragon Conservation in Romania while Bill is a Tomb Raider for the Goblins."
"I-I-impossible, someone would have – " Kyouya began only for Ginny to wave a hand and cut him off.
"Memory Charms. People such as yourself get your memories erased when you stumble across something you shouldn't have, like Dragon nests or Tombs belonging to wizards or even Death Eater raids," she rolled a shoulder, unaffected by the alarmed expression on his face, "Harry was all for erasing everyone's memories and leaving again when he caught the first whiff of Death Eater activity in Japan. Hermione physically pinned him down and talked him out of it. He's surprisingly protective of you guys," she admitted sipping her tea.
"Did you agree?" he asked almost worried about the answer and mentally filing the fact that Shikamaru-san was actually fond of them.
She nodded, "At first yeah. If we removed your memories of our existence, it would be like you'd never even met us. You'd be safe from the Death Eaters because there would be no ties to us. Then Hermione had to point out that being the Crème-de-le-Crème of Japan meant that we'd already been snapped in pictures with you and blasted across tabloids that they knew. And they'd hunt you down and hurt you regardless of Memory Charms because it would have upset us."
The falcon screeched proudly overhead and Ginny pulled a card from her pocket, placing it against her forehead. "What's the problem?"
There was a pause before she frowned, "Where's Luna? ... Neville? ... He'll keep them- ... alright," she pulled the card away and shoved it back into her pocket, "There's a storm brewing, Hikaru just dragged everyone to the Mountain top, Haruhi, Kaoru and Luna are heading back down but the Chairman's gone and disappeared. Hikaru and Neville are looking for him now but the storm'll have gotten pretty grim. We need to mount a rescue party."
The Cards couldn't transport more than one person and none of Neville's Artefacts would be useful in a situation like this – his Cards were all blade Weaponry and Plant based offence/defence. Luna's would be equally useless in that they were almost all focused on either her Sight of the Future or her Painting Skills. Even Ginny's would be useless as her's were Gun and explosive based. Ron's artefacts were a bit different in that they were all exactly the same and focused on his Chess skills, with three specific abilities, turning his opponent into a Chess piece, turning the battle into a Chess match or summoning and animating chess pieces. Hermione ended up with the whole encyclopaedia of magic downloaded into a book for her use, along with a specialised Wand in the shape of a broom, the artefact was her all over it suited her the best out of all the provided contracts. Harry's artefacts... they were all geared toward one thing: Killing.
"Calm down, I'm sure Hikaru will be fine," Kyouya assured her.
Ginny shook her head, "Harry says we should look so that's what we're going to do," she stated firmly getting to her feet.
There was a moment of silence from Kyouya before he asked, "You trust him that much?"
She nodded, "Yes."
Harsh winds buffeted his tiny form as he arced through the air, sharp eyes hunting out the forms of his bestfriend and his charges to no avail.
'/Anything yet?/' Neville asked.
'/Nothing. Not even a snow trail, the storm's come on far too quickly./' Harry replied, a frown creasing his eyes as he swooped down under a surge of snowflakes. He could see the rescue teams slowly creeping their way up the mountain, a familiar crimson cable of hair denoting Ginny's presence amongst them.
'Telepathia – Ministra Magi Weasley Ginevra. /Ginny?/'
'/What is it?/' she asked.
'/Neville and Hikaru're north of you at least two miles heading towards a tree corpse. No sign of the Chairman yet./' he reported before squawking as he got caught in a vicious surge of wind.
'/I'm fine! I'm fine! The wind just knocked me ass over tea-kettle. I'm alright!/' he assured her, grunting slightly as he flapped hard in the air, wings straining with effort just to hold himself steady in the howling gale.
'/Land Harry, if it's getting too rough for you just land! We don't need two missing persons!/' the young Weasley girl commanded.
He shrieked irritably at the order, '/I'm fine Ginevra. I'll land when we find the Chairman./' he told her firmly before folding his wings and plummeting down toward the snow. Levelling out a good ten feet up and sweeping across the ground, searching for any suspicious snow drifts that might have been the Chairman.
The wind struck at him again, catching under his tail and left wing throwing him roughly off balance and careening into a thick snowdrift.
The cold hit him like a sledge hammer but out of the wind it wasn't quite so piercing, stunned and exhausted he struggled ineffectually with his body and the small pile of snow that slid down and smothered him. He changed, his magic flaring up out of self preservation and returning him to human form where the cold became physically painful and the wind sliced and burned at his skin.
'/Harry? Are you alright? You vanished for a moment there./' Ginny.
'/Got caught in an updraft, hit the ground pretty hard. Give me a sec, my arms won't move. Christ./' he returned shifting his weight as much as possible with his arms burning and shaking his chest and spine hurt as well, so did his face after that impact with the snow.
'/You're not injured are you?/'
'/No. Just exhausted. Look, find the others, when I've got some feeling back in my arms I'll go Wolf and make my own way down./' he told her burrowing into the snow as much as possible to escape the sharp winds.
'/Just do it. Poke me every now and again to make sure I don't fall asleep but I'm fine. I'm always fine./'
He heard her sigh, '/No, you're not. You're never fine these days./' she pointed out before killing the connection, presumably to do as he asked her. He hoped. Flying in a Snowstorm – not one of his brightest ideas, not even a fairly dumb one, it was, by all accounts, a retarded one. Even by his standards.
His arms were aching like a bitch.
And he was tired.
Muscle weary AND sleepy. A bad combination in this weather and in his condition. He shoved snow down his pants to shock himself awake – and then vehemently wished he hadn't. It was fucking COLD.
'/Harry, we've found Hikaru, Nev and the Chairman. We're heading off to find you. Can you give me a mental picture of where you are?/' Ginny asked in his head. Actually a little grateful that they were coming to get him when he was in this kind of state, he sent the best approximation he could from when he was airborne. It wasn't a very good one, pretty much everything was white out and what little that wasn't was in such sharp detail that human eyes and minds couldn't make heads or tails of it. There was a moment of silence and then Ginny started to swear, '/Bloody unhelpful you are, y'know?/' she told him before sniffing in affront, '/Do you have your wand? Light it up bright red if you can./'
Moving painfully slowly he dug his wand out from his sleeve and held it numbly in a hand that refused to grip properly as he pointed it in the general direction of the sky. "Rubican Lumos," he incanted shakily, watching as the tip of his wand lit up a bright scarlet wavering slightly as he shivered in the cold. Almost blinding in colour, he closed his eyes and kept his grip on the wooden instrument as he huddled as much as he could against his snow drift to hide from the wind that bit into his skin and the made cold seep into his bones. He was so tired.
'/We're coming to get you Harry, just hold tight./' Ginny told him as awareness began to fade, he couldn't feel his toes... that was a bad sign wasn't it?
'/Good. Hurry up. I'm tired./' he mumbled, even his mental voice was getting weaker.
'/Harry, don't fall asleep! Don't fall asleep!!/'
Takashi didn't think he had ever been so frightened, even when he hesitantly believed that Hermione and Harry had been murdered though at the time he had been furious beyond all measure, no, this time he had been terrified. Scared because Hikaru had gone missing looking for his Class Representative, he knew Neville would take care of him but there was that irrational fear that something would happen and they would die, that irrational fear became irrational terror when Ginny started shouting into her Card, the one she was using to communicate with Harry. Telling him not to fall asleep before swearing to the high heavens as the connection died.
Harry was alone somewhere on the mountains, unconscious and freezing.
Whether it was luck or fate, he didn't care when he spotted the brief glimpse of dark green amidst the snow flurries, the same shade of green as Harry's jacket. He didn't even wait for the snow mobile to stop before he was leaping out of it, stumbling in the deep snow as he thundered through it to the smaller male's side. He was curled up in a small hallow, shielded from the worst of the wind and covered in a thin fall of snow, his black hair now more white than black, his face paper white and blue.
Horrified and scared he practically ripped his gloves off and reached under the smaller male's collar to grope for a pulse. It was there. Weak and slow but there.
He scooped the smaller male out of the snow drift, being careful not to lose his wand as Ginny jogged up to his side, her brown eyes wide with concern when she saw the small teenager cradled in his grasp. The wind was too quick for any kind of substantial conversation as the two climbed back into the truck, Takashi digging out a thermal blanket from the back seat and wrapping the Wizard in it holding him close.
At any other time, Ginny would have cooed at how the tall Wild Type Host was cradling her bestfriend in his lap, but the concern in his eyes and the colour of Harry's lips meant that she actually physically couldn't take any amusement from it. There was no longer a Prophesy covering Harry's backside – he might die from this.
And that made her stomach sink down into her feet.
It was easy to see for anyone with eyes, that there was something going on between Morinozuka Takashi and Akegata Shikamaru.
Renge was determined to discover what it was.
The young fangirl watched with mixed feelings as Mori-senpai stood vigil over Akegata-senpai's bed. The smaller male was bundled up tight in thermal bedding, his neck, underarms and crotch with hot water bottles on them, his face covered and a heart monitor attached to a hidden arm, beeping quietly beside the bed. The look on Mori-senpai's face... It was Moe! But at the same time... Her heart clenched, it was real, this wasn't a game. Akegata-senpai was very, very ill.
Occasionally those foreigners would come in and check on him, Renge could detect some Moe between the red head and Akegata-senpai AND the brunet boy who she had seen lingering with Kaoru.
Brown eyes widened as the bundle on the bed groaned and shifted, Mori-senpai immediately there and peeling away the face covering.
Akegata-senpai looked horribly tired but at least he wasn't as ghastly white as before, his lips looked too pale for his face but they weren't blue anymore, hazy green eyes were locked on Mori-senpai's face. "Where..."
"Hotel Infirmary," Mori-senpai told him, Akegata opened his mouth again, "They're fine," the Senior told him, "Hikaru woke up four hours ago, Chairman has a sprained ankle, Neville is fine," he elaborated soothingly, smoothing back long dark hair from Akegata-senpai's face and Renge could have sworn her heart was about to launch itself out of her throat.
Akegata-senpai's eyes slid shut, "That's.... good," he murmured as Mori-senpai's fingers slid down his cheek unnoticed.
Renge swallowed tightly, cheeks flushing scarlet as Mori-senpai smiled at the smaller male, it was so soft and warm and pure, she could feel a tingle of excitement in her stomach. This was real. They were real!
The First Year whipped around and fled. She had a Doujinshi to write!!
Have some Takashi/Harry as my apology for taking so long 8DD
XDD Yes, I ran out of brain cells so I decided to switch Point of View to Renge who is spying on them. And we all know what she's thinking 'MOEEEEE'.
Now, I have mentioned Pactio before, but for those of you who have forgotten I'll explain it again.
Pactio is a concept from the Mahou Sensei Negima?! Manga series – I suggest you read it, please, oh god, please read it. So much better than Harry Potter and the concepts are pretty similar just so so so much better. Negima did what Harry Potter couldn't. It created a whole world, add to that, I'm on the 25th volume AND I STILL WANT MORE DAMNIT!!
Anyway. Hope you guys enjoyed this Chapter.