A/N: I am so, so sorry. My family has gone through a shit-storm in the last few months, and I had no time to write. Hopefully, things will improve… Oh, and to the reviewer named "Interesting," I've got a couple words for you. Fuck. Off.
Everyone else, thanks for the kind words. I really can't tell you how much better they make me feel right now.
Chapter 2: First Year
June 5th, 1992
Harry stretched lazily on a rock, watching the giant squid underneath the surface of the lake. He grinned to himself. There were certainly worse ways to end a school year.
Padma Patil lay next to him. "So…" she broke the silence. "Think next year will go this well?"
He chuckled under his breath. "One can only hope, my dear."
September 2nd, 1991
As usual, Harry woke with the dawn. His dorm mates, whose names escaped him at the moment, had been easily dominated the night before. Harry had wanted the bed next to the window, but one of them… Terry Boot! That was it. Terry had taken issue with that. Harry had taken the opportunity to establish the pecking order with a few sub-vocal growls, combined with a slight flaring of his magic, and some well placed glares. Terry had capitulated fairly quickly.
Harry showered and dressed, then went down to breakfast. To his surprise, he wasn't the first one there. Lavender, Padma, and Parvati were all seated at the Ravenclaw table. Harry had missed their placement last night, though by the color of their ties, they were also in Ravenclaw. As soon as the girls spotted him, they waved him over.
He smiled as he sat down. "Morning ladies. I'm impressed. I didn't think anyone else would be awake."
"We're all Auror brats." Lavender smiled back. "We're used to getting up at '0430' every morning. That's how we know each other. My dad and their mom are partners."
Harry nodded. "That explains it. Actually, my dad was an Auror." He reached for the sausage plate.
All three girls took in sharp breaths as they saw his hand. More specifically, the rings on it. "Merlin and Morgana!" Padma squeaked. "You're a house Lord?!"
"It so happens, yes." Harry piled the meat onto his own plate. "Found that out on my birthday. Hell of a present, wouldn't you say?"
"I'll say." Parvati shook her head. "How'd you pull that off? I know about the house of Potter. It's one of the oldest in existence, next to the founders. What about the others?"
Harry just grinned. "Funny you should mention the founders." He pointed to the ring on his middle finger. "Rowena Ravenclaw." Index finger. "Salazar Slytherin. Not entirely sure how, but their descendants got mixed in with the Potter line."
All three whistled. "Not bad, Potter." Lavender chuckled.
"I thought so." He grabbed some bacon. "Keep it under your hats though, alright? I'm famous enough as it is…"
They all promised, and went on with their breakfast.
After a while, the other students made their way into the hall. The group of four, who'd finished eating by now, were studying their text books. They were interrupted by someone Harry would just as soon have forgotten. "Excuse me."
Harry looked up, rolling his eyes. "Yes? Can we help you with something?"
Ron looked extremely uncomfortable. "Er… I was just wandering… if you'd like to play chess?"
The tension Ron felt was coming off him in waves. It made the muscles in Harry's neck tense up. "No, thank you Mr. Weasley." He went back to his book.
"Oh… Exploding snap, then?"
Harry sighed noisily. "Look, Mr. Weasley. I don't know what exploding snap is, and I'm currently at master level chess. I have no interest in playing either game, or any other with you. I am interested in studying my book, since I've heard that Professor Snape can be quite difficult unless you perform perfectly. Kindly return to your table, and stop pestering me."
Ron turned a brilliant shade of red, and stumbled off. The girls tried, and failed, to stifle giggles. "You certainly made your opinion of him clear. What'd he do to you?" Padma asked.
"Nothing. Yet." Harry responded. "I met him, and his family, at King's Cross yesterday. The Twins seemed alright, if a bit intense. The others…" He shuddered. "They're creepy, just a bit. Especially the youngest."
After breakfast ended, the four went to their first class of the day, potions.
Harry sat quietly in his seat. Professor Snape had yet to arrive, although the class had officially been in session for ten minutes already. Finally, a man in black robes arrived. Harry tried to pay attention to what he was saying, but the smell of the grease in his hair was a bit overwhelming.
After a moment, Harry became aware of Snape speaking to him directly. "Mr. Potter. Our new celebrity… I wonder how much your fame will help you in class?"
"Very little, I expect, Professor." Harry replied, trying to breathe as little as possible.
"And how did you come to that conclusion?" Snape asked.
"For one, your body language tells me that you're trying to put me on the defensive. I'm not sure why, but you are. That means you have an irrational dislike of me, which means that my 'fame' is more likely to cause me trouble with you than it is to help me."
Snape growled for a moment. He couldn't find a flaw in the argument. There wasn't even an insult he could harp on. He tried again. "And how do you expect to succeed in this class?"
"Studying, hard work. The typical ways of success."
Snape saw an opportunity. "Very well. Let's see how much you've studied. What potion is used to subdue a werewolf?"
"Wolfsbane potion, sir."
"And if a werewolf is exposed to wolfsbane directly?"
"One of two things happens. If the exposure occurs before their first transformation, they are cured of the condition. If it occurs after, they are lethally poisoned. The main reason werewolfism isn't cured in this way very often, is because of wolfsbane's rarity. It is very difficult to cultivate, and so must be used in potions rather than the cure."
Snape nodded. "And how is wolfsbane prepared for the potion?"
"It's turned into a powder. The potion only requires a single granule of the powder to be effective."
"What other ingredients are necessary?"
"Wyrmwood, powdered bi-corn horn, and a single strand of unicorn tail hair. It should be brought to a heavy boil for ten minutes, and then allowed to simmer for half an hour."
Snape nodded again. "Meet me after class, Mr. Potter." Snape redirected his attention back to the class. "Today, we will be brewing a simple Pepper-Up Potion. The directions are on page 5 of your textbooks, and you will find the necessary ingredients in the store cupboard. You have one hour. Begin."
Harry spent the next hour brewing his potion. Snape was correct in that it was simple, but it was also poisonous if not brewed correctly. Harry followed the directions meticulously. His result was a brilliant orange, exactly as it should be. Harry grinned to himself. 'Study, and hard work.'
Snape examined the many potions. Most of the Ravenclaws had brewed the potion perfectly, although the Hufflepuffs weren't so lucky. Harry estimated about half of them failed.
After the class filed out, Harry approached Snape's desk. "What did you want to speak to me about, sir?"
Snape looked him in the eye. "Mr. Potter. How long have you been a werewolf?"
Harry managed to hide his surprise at the question, just barely. "Almost four years, Professor. How did you know?"
Snape let out a snort. "I've met my fair share. I am both a master Occlumens and Legelimens. I can sense the wolf inside you without even trying. You are broadcasting his presence." He gave Harry a hard look. "How have you managed the transformations thus far?"
Harry regarded the Professor for a moment, before answering. "The man who turned me gave me instructions on mastering the curse. I followed them, which has afforded me constant control over my transformations. I typically transform in my uncle's shed, since not transforming at all makes me a bit jittery. Like drinking a few Pepper-Up potions for breakfast."
Snape nodded. "How do you intend to handle things here? You don't have a shed here."
Harry produced a small bag. "Powdered wolfsbane. Ragnok, the bank manager at Gringotts, procured some for me. Sad to say, this 2 oz. Bag is considered buying in bulk. I keep this with me, and the other ingredients in my trunk. I've also marked the days of the full moon on my calendar. It's not really necessary, but… I'd rather not take the risk."
Snape nodded. "If you require any assistance in brewing the potion, don't hesitate to ask." He paused for a second. "Out of curiosity, who was your sire?" Harry looked uncomfortable, so Snape continued. "I promise, I won't reveal it to anyone else without your permission."
Harry nodded. "Fenrir Greyback, sir."
Snape hissed. He'd hoped never to hear that name again…
"You know him, sir?"
"I've had the displeasure. You say he knows how to control the wolf?"
Harry nodded. "Yes, sir. I've never lost control, so I have to assume he knows what he's doing."
"Would you be willing to divulge this information?" Snape asked. "I'm sure the Ministry of Magic would appreciate it."
Harry shook his head. "No. I'm sorry, but I know how this culture responds to werewolves. I've done my research. I won't be the one to reveal it."
Snape sighed, but didn't argue the point. Werewolves were considered little more than animals. Harry was right to wish privacy. "You do realize what will happen if you don't register yourself with the Ministry?"
"Yes, sir. I know. I'm hoping my control, combined with discretion, will allow me to keep my secret." Harry gave Snape a look. "Are you going to report me, sir?"
Snape shook his head. "No, Mr. Potter. You have the situation in hand. However, if you harm any students, I won't hesitate to turn you in."
Harry actually laughed at that. "You won't have to, sir. I'll have done it myself."
Snape nodded. "Very well. Dismissed, Potter."
Harry left. Snape sat back in his seat. That boy isn't what I expected. According to Albus, He chose to be in Ravenclaw, rather than attract prestige in Gryffindor. Perhaps he isn't his father after all…
Time passed quickly from there. Harry and the girls excelled in all their classes, earning top marks from all their professors. This impressed everyone in the school, especially the Slytherins. Snape normally did his best to belittle anyone outside of his out house, but when it came to this group, he remained neutral.
It wasn't until Halloween that something strange occurred. During dinner, Professor Quirrell came running into the Great Hall, shouting about a troll, and fainting.
Harry knew immediately that something was up. The professor portrayed the emotion of fear well enough, but he didn't smell afraid. The human body gives off certain pheromones for every emotion it has, and Quirrell smelled confident. Extremely confident.
Dumbledore ordered all the students back to their dorms, but Harry hung back. The girls, who by know knew him well enough to see he was planning something stupid, stayed with him.
"Don't even think about sending us away." Lavender challenged him. "We're not going to let you get hurt."
Harry held up his hands. Even an Alpha knows better than to argue with a female. That was a battle you would NOT win. "I had no intention of doing that, Lavender. I'm not a complete idiot. Even I need help enacting my half-arsed plans. Now, come on. I want to follow Quirrell."
They moved quickly through the school, following Harry's nose. He hadn't revealed how, but they knew his sense of smell was unparalleled. The only problem was, Quirrell kept crossing his own path. Harry couldn't decide which way to go.
"Dammit to hell…" he growled. "Where did he go?"
Padma tapped his shoulder. "I don't know, but… Isn't that the troll?"
Harry looked. "Oh, shite." Indeed, it was the troll. Harry sniffed the air. No teachers handy. "Right. You girls remember that dueling book I showed you?" They nodded. "Remember the disarming spell?" More nods. "Get ready to use it."
The four of them moved quietly behind the troll. When they got close enough, Harry held up three fingers. He began counting down. Three. Two. One. "Now!"
Four voices rang out. "EXPELLIARMUS!"
The spells struck the troll in the back. It stumbled. Slightly. It then turned to face them. Stupid as it was, it knew what had attacked it.
"Ah… Slight kink in the plan here." Harry took a deep breath. "Suggestions?"
"Maybe we should run?" Parvati squeaked.
"No… Trolls just throw their clubs at anything that runs. Not very smart, but they've usually got great aim."
The troll began lumbering closer.
"Okay! New plan! Everyone cast the sunlight spell!"
"Are you sure about this?!" Lavender demanded.
"Not at all, but unless you've got a better idea?"
She sighed. "Not really. Let's do it!"
They aimed their wands. "LUMUS SOLEM!"
Four brilliant beams of light struck the troll. When the light dimmed, Harry saw something that made him grin. The troll had turned to stone.
"Should have tried that in the first place." He chuckled. "You'd think I'd have remembered that trolls can't stand sunlight. I've read the Hobbit, after all."
Padma shook her head. "You're barking, I swear…"
Harry was about to respond, when his ears twitched. "Teachers coming. Come on, we've got to go."
As the four of them got back to the common room, Parvati kept shooting Harry odd looks. Finally, once they were all seated, she confronted him. "So, why exactly were you going after Quirrell? You must have had a reason."
Harry shrugged. "He didn't smell afraid. He looked afraid, sounded afraid, but… his scent was off."
"You mean we almost got killed because you didn't like his scent?!" Lavender growled.
"Worked out well, didn't it?" Harry pointed out. "And I would have caught him, but I think he's on to me. He covered his tracks very well. Annoyingly well, as a matter of fact." He frowned. "Do I sniff the air a lot?"
"Yeah." Padma answered. "Almost constantly."
Harry sighed. "I'd better stop. It's giving me away. Although, for some reason, the third floor corridor has become fascinating. There's a scent up there, I have no idea what it is, but it's hard to tear myself away."
"Fascinating in what way?" Parvati asked. She had a gleam in her eye, one Harry recognized as her brain going into warp drive. Both the twins got it when they started researching something. "Is it appealing to your werewolf in some way?"
"Well, no, not as such, but— Wait." Harry turned a glare on her. "How do you know I'm a werewolf? I haven't told anyone except Professor Snape, and he figured it out with Legilimency."
All three girls snorted. "You've disappeared for both full moons thus far, Harry." Lavender smirked at him. "We're Ravenclaws, remember? The smartest of the four houses? It wasn't hard to put together. I'm pretty sure everyone knows."
Harry blinked in surprise. "And no one's said anything to one of the teachers? Or Dumbledore?"
"We wouldn't do that!" Parvati exclaimed, looking extremely offended. "We're housemates! Besides, we smelled the wolfsbane potion. It's a bit fragrant, even to us. You've got it handled."
"Now answer the question, Potter." Padma grinned at him. "Does the scent fascinate your wolf?"
Harry shrugged. "Not quite… It's more along the lines of mildly interesting to the wolf. I think it's my human side that wants in. It's a scent I've never encountered, but the wolf knows what it is. It's telling me that…" His eyes widened. "It might be a threat! That's what it is!"
"A threat to whom?" Lavender asked. "Us? The wolf? The teachers?"
Harry shook his head. "No clue, Lav. For all I know, it's only a threat to Filch. In which case, I might just look the other way…"
The girls giggled. Parvati turned serious. "There has to be a way to find out what it is."
Harry nodded. "Most certainly. We break in."
For the next two months, the four of them made plans. The only problem they encountered was how to move about without being seen. Unfortunately, none of them could come up with anything. With all the danger this particular endeavor would bring, they couldn't risk being caught.
When the time came, they all elected to remain at Hogwarts for the holidays. On Christmas morning, they were still hard at work.
"Oh, here's something." Padma passed a book to the others. "Disillusionment. It's not invisibility, per se. More like blending in with your environment."
Harry looked it over, before shaking his head. "No. It's detectable by standard wards, and I guarantee Hogwarts has them." He sighed. "We need something unexpected."
They were silent for a moment, until Lavender's head rose up. "Okay. I have a really bad idea. What if we use the next full moon? Werewolves can move silently, when they need to, and no one will be able to detect you."
Harry frowned. "What about you three? That'll get me in there, but you'll be out of luck."
She shrugged. "One of us will get in. You can report back to us, or something."
Harry smirked, snapping off a salute. "Yes ma'am, Drill Sargent, ma'am!"
The girls rolled their eyes, and swatted him.
He chuckled. "I don't have to take this abuse."
Parvati giggled. "Yes, you do."
He feigned surprise. "Oh, really? … Okay then."
Padma smirked. "When's the next full moon?"
"Day after Christmas." Harry responded.
"Right. We'll do it then."
Christmas morning came quickly. As Harry expected, the girls spent the day opening and enjoying their presents. He'd gotten them books on magical theory, which got him two hugs, and one kiss on the cheek, from Lavender, Parvati, and Padma respectively.
To his surprise, however, he'd gotten presents as well. Christmas and birthdays were generally ignored at the Dursleys'. They exchanged gifts among themselves, but other than that, things of that nature were treated as any other day.
He received a copy of 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard' from Parvati, all the potions ingredients (sans wolfsbane) needed for his potion from Lavender, and, to his delight, a mobile Wizarding Wireless from Padma. It had the ability to record up to 5,000 songs from the Wireless transmissions, and directed the sound straight to his ears, if he so chose.
And finally, there was a simple brown package. It had no name to tell them who it was from, just a simple card, reading as follows: 'Your father left this in my possession before he died. Use it well.'
After checking it for charms or traps, Harry opened it. A silvery mound of cloth lay inside.
Harry quirked an eyebrow. "Now this is interesting." He picked it up. A moment's examination told him that it was a cloak, so he put it on, lifting the hood up as he did.
The girls, who had gone to the loo (why they all went together was a mystery to Harry), came back in a moment later. Lavender looked around. "Harry? Are you here?"
Parvati frowned. "Do you think he went to breakfast?"
Harry blinked. What were they talking about? "Guys, I'm right here."
All three of them jumped in surprise. "Where?!" Padma exclaimed.
He tapped her shoulder. "Right here."
She reached out in his direction, her hands meeting his chest. Some part of her registered that he had the muscles of a Greek god. "Harry?"
"How are you… Why can't we see you?"
"You can't? But— Oh!" He snapped his fingers, and took the cloak off. "Guess this thing is more useful than I first thought."
Lavender looked fascinated. "An invisibility cloak! How'd you get ahold of one of those?"
He shrugged. "It was in my pile. Don't know who put it there, to be honest."
Parvati glared at where Harry's body should be, clearly suspicious. "I don't like it. It's a little too convenient."
Padma nodded. "I agree. Someone's engineering this."
Harry kept his sudden thought of their headmaster to himself. He also kept silent about his thoughts on the title "headmaster." As sex jokes went, it was a little obvious.
"Well," Lavender said thoughtfully, "if someone is engineering our situation, then perhaps we should take advantage of it. We've been assuming that the other 'Claws know about Harry's condition—"
"A fair assumption, given that Mr. Boot wants to piss himself if I so much as look at him." Harry interrupted.
Lavender nodded. "And Professor Snape knows, but whether or not he'd tell anyone else is unknown."
"He strikes me as being honorable, despite what the Gryffs think of him." Harry put in.
Parvati frowned. "That doesn't help much. Either he's honorable enough to keep the secret, or he's honorable enough to not put the school in danger."
"He also knows that I've been brewing wolfsbane potion, and of my ability to control my animal side. He knows I'm not a danger."
"Then let's assume he hasn't told anyone." Padma said. "If that's the case, then whoever is manipulating things might not know about it. Although, if they're any good, they might have found out anyway." She turned to Harry. "Where do you go when you transform? I never figured that out."
"A room on the seventh floor." Harry answered. "I asked one of the house-elves to take me somewhere hidden, so I could transform in peace. I have to walk past an empty wall three times, focussing on what I need, and a door appears. Don't know where the room came from, or what it's proper name is, but it's quite useful, I can tell you."
"Sounds like." Padma agreed, before a look of surprise hit her face. "Wait. House-elves? What house-elves?"
Harry shrugged. "There's quite a few of them around the castle. I've tracked over a hundred different scents, all of them elvin. They do tend to stay out of sight, but they come if you ask."
Parvati grinned at her sister, before turning serious. "Alright. Near as I can tell, our plans are unchanged, right?"
"With the exception that you three can use the cloak, rather than the much-more-difficult disillusionment charm, yes." Harry grinned. "It's on for tomorrow night, ladies. Now, shall we go to breakfast?"
Harry was sitting on his bed, his eyes closed. There was almost no cloud cover tonight, and he wasn't taking any chances. He could hear and smell everything in the room, so navigating wouldn't be a problem. His roommates, who all preferred to study in the library over the holidays rather than go home, had gone to bed a few hours previous. It wasn't unusual for Harry to meditate before going to sleep, so they didn't question his position. He smirked. And they called themselves seekers of knowledge…
Harry's ears twitched as he heard the dog-whistle he'd conjured for Parvati. The common room was empty. Excellent. Slipping out of bed, he tip-toed down the stairs. He smelled the girls gathered in front of him. "Are we ready?"
"We are." Lavender whispered. "Come on, get under the cloak."
Once they were all hidden, the four of them exited the common room, causing the suit of armor guarding the door to make tutting sounds at them. Since the Ravenclaw dorms were located on the sixth floor, they began making their way downstairs.
Once on the fourth floor, Harry stopped by a clear window. "Alright. We're close enough. Time to make the change." He stepped out from under the cloak, and began taking off his clothes.
"Harry!" Parvati screeched silently (quite difficult to do). "What are you doing?!"
Harry smirked. He could smell the blood rushing into their faces, and imagined that their blushes were probably very fetching. "I don't want to mess up my clothes. I didn't bring a spare set." He paused. "Actually, that wouldn't have been a bad idea." Shrugging, he continued.
Once his clothes were all folded, he handed them to Lavender, turned to the window, and opened his eyes. The effect was immediate.
Harry's pupils widened until they completely dominated his eyes. The hair on his head lengthened at an incredible rate, while his body sprouted jet-black fur. His muscles, which was already impressive for his age, grew almost as quickly as his fur, and his bones lengthened, allowing him to grow taller than any man had a right to be.
His nose and mouth began to jut forward, forming into a muzzle, and a powerful jaw. His teeth lengthened, and became razor sharp, his canines in particular, which now measured at least six inches past his jaw-line. And finally, a tail hung from his lower back, reaching below his knees. He turned to his friends, gauging their reactions. Each of them looked oddly speculative.
"Hmm…" Parvati said softly. "You know, he's more impressive looking than your typical werewolf. I've seen pictures. They're actually a bit spindly looking, compared to this."
"You said it." Padma agreed. "We'll have to study the differences. Though, I don't know where we're going to get another werewolf. I suppose one of us would have to be bitten, to keep it all a secret…" she trailed off as she noticed Harry glaring at her. She shrugged. "Just thinking."
Shaking his head, Harry turned, and resumed his course toward the third floor. 'Girls are insane…'
The door to the third floor corridor was (suspiciously) simple to open. However, they didn't get much farther than that before they heard something.
Running forward, the werewolf and invisible girls discovered Professors Snape and Quirrill dueling in front of a large, three-headed dog. The dog itself had been injured, though Harry could smell that the wound had clotted. He would live, but he was incapacitated for the moment.
Thinking quickly, Harry leapt up, digging his claws into the wall. No one had noticed him yet, and he intended to keep it that way. He watched the duel with interest. Both professors were good at what they were doing, which surprised Harry slightly. He knew that Quirrill had been hiding his talents, but Snape was amazing. Both men's wands moved at an almost blinding speed, each spell movement flowing into the next. It all came to an end, however, when an errant spell blew past the girls. It didn't hit them, but the wind from the spell blew the invisibility cloak away.
Harry froze. To state the obvious, this was bad. He wanted to jump in and protect them, but he'd done extensive research on werewolves. He knew there were a multitude of spells to incapacitate a werewolf, and that both of the men before him were likely to know them.
For a moment, neither of the professors moved, their surprise overtaking them. The silence was broken when Quirrill flicked his wand at Lavender, causing her to fly into a headlock. The DADA professor glared at the others. "We're going after the stone, or I kill the girl."
Snape unleashed one of his best sneers. "You do that, and I kill you."
Quirrill seemed to consider that. "Good point." He drew his wand along Lavender's cheek, leaving a long gash. She whimpered.
Snape held up his hand. "Alright. That's enough."
"Thought you'd see it my way. Shall we?" Quirrill nodded toward the trap door. Snape flicked his wand, and opened it. Quirrill nodded. "Good. You first."
Grimacing, Snape jumped down.
After a moment, Quirrill shouted into the hole. "Well? Have you dealt with the devil's snare?"
Suddenly, there was a flash of bright light. "Yes. I have." Snape's sarcastic voice floated up.
"Good." Quirrill jabbed his wand in Lavender's face. "You. Cast a cushioning charm down there. Make sure it's a good one, your friends are going first."
Gulping, Lavender pointed her wand down into the hole. "Mollis Terra!"
Nodding, Quirrill turned to glare at the Patils. "Well, go on. I don't have all night."
Slowly, the girls walked forward, and jumped down. Quirrill and Lavender followed a moment later.
Harry let go of the wall, moving toward the trap door. Rather than jump down, he went the slow way, climbing down the walls of the hole. By the time he'd gotten to the bottom, the others had already gone through the next room, and there was a key trying to work it's way out of the lock. Harry grabbed it, and pressed his ear to the door.
"Knight to D-5!"
Harry blinked. They were playing chess? Chess?! What kind of defense is chess?! His eyes narrowed. Something smelled about this, and it wasn't the burnt plant in the last room.
After what seemed like an eternity, he heard Quirrill shout "Checkmate," and a door opening and closing. Harry unlocked his own door, and ran into the room. Moving past the pieces of giant chessmen, Harry saw Parvati and Padma laying unconscious on the floor. He growled. They'd been used as sacrifice plays. Picking them up in his large arms, he moved to the next door. Quirrill and Snape were talking over the sounds of a fire.
"What's the answer to this riddle, Severus?"
"It doesn't matter." Snape drawled. "I set this up, remember? I can cancel it."
A second later, the sounds of a fire ended. Harry heard another door open, and close. He continued into the room, and onto the next door. He heard Quirrill shouting at someone in Latin, something along the lines of, "Sleep, idiot!" and another door. Following through, Harry saw a troll lying on the floor. 'Hmm… He can control them, it would appear. Halloween makes a lot more sense now.' Moving quickly, Harry went through the next door.
He found himself in a large room, with a mirror in the center. No one had heard him come in. Quirrill was focused on the mirror, and Snape was focused on Quirrill. Gently, Harry set the twins on the ground, freeing up his arms. He stalked forward silently.
"I know the stone is here." Quirrill muttered. "How do I get it? Break the mirror? No, that's too obvious. Dumbledore wouldn't do that. The magical community would go into an uproar if the Mirror of Erised was shattered. Hmm…"
A hissing voice carried on the air. "Use the girl."
Quirrill's eyes glazed over, and he nodded. "Girl. Look into the mirror, and think about the Philosopher's Stone."
Harry froze in his tracks. The Philosopher's Stone! Every Ravenclaw had heard of it. Capable of granting immortality, and endless riches, as well as being an alchemic focus. No one in recent history had been able to create one. In fact, the only person who had done so was Nicholas Flamel…
Lavender gulped. "I… I can see the stone. I'm holding it. I've put it in my pocket."
Quirrill's hand flew into Lavender's pocket, and pulled out a blood-red stone. A large grin spread over his features, and he held the stone up like a trophy. That, in hindsight, wasn't the best move.
Harry leapt forward, swiping the stone, and taking Quirrill's hand with it. The professor cried out in pain, collapsing to the floor.
Snape's eyes went wide. "Potter?"
Harry took a moment to nod.
Quirrill waved his wand quickly, cauterizing the wound, before glaring up at the werewolf. "Potter, eh? This is an interesting turn of events… But, did you know that the sun will be rising in five seconds? That's how long your transformation will last."
Harry did a few quick calculations. They'd left the tower at three in the morning, and it had taken them an hour to get to the third floor. Getting past the challenges would have gone quickly, but the chess game had taken almost two hours…
Harry felt his insides constrict, and he fell to his knees. Slowly, he shrank, his enormous body retracting to the size of an eleven-year-old. His fur disappeared, and his hair returned to it's shorter length. After almost a full minute, Harry, gasping for breath, was kneeling on the floor.
Quirrill smirked. "There. Now, hand over the stone. I'll need it to regrow the arm you took from me."
Harry stood, his strength slowly returning to him. "Um… No. I don't think so."
"What makes you think you have a choice?"
"Well, there's them." Harry pointed behind the man. Quirrill turned to see Snape and Lavender pointing wands at him. Harry smirked. "See? Taking hostages isn't smart. Now…" Holding his free hand toward Parvati, he summoned his wand. "You can either leave, or we'll have to end you. Your choice."
Quirrill pointed his own wand at Harry. "Not if I do this. Harry Potter, I challenge you to a duel." There was a soft glow in the air, which promptly vanished.
Harry rolled his eyes. While formal duels were protected by magic, Harry wasn't worried. "Fine. Just so you know, this isn't the best move you've made thus far. And given what doozies you've done thus far…"
"Silence, Potter!" Quirrill snarled. "The terms are as follows. The duel ends when one of us is dead. Not before."
Harry nodded. "Fine. Shall we?"
Quirrill smirked. "Avada Kedavera!"
Harry dodged to the left, letting the curse impact on the ground. He was now very thankful for all his practice in mastering the werewolf. His recovery time after the transformation was almost non-existent. Flicking his wand, he incanted, "Reducto!"
Quirrill quickly shielded. "Sectumsempra!"
Harry almost didn't manage to avoid that spell. It was invisible, and almost impossible to detect. Quickly, Harry pointed his wand. "Sectumsempra!"
Quirrill wasn't as lucky. He didn't possess Harry's impressive reflexes, and only managed to partially get out of the way. He also managed to lose his remaining arm.
Harry walked slowly up to the wailing man, pointing his wand at Quirrill's chin. He growled. "I have to kill you, don't I?"
Even through his pain, Quirrill managed to sneer. "That's the idea, Potter."
Harry took a breath. This would have been much easier a moment ago, before his transformation had reversed itself. The wolf had no problem with killing the little man, but Harry was having issues with it. He didn't want to end the life of another human being, no matter how repulsive they were.
However, the decision was made by another. The hissing voice returned. "Well played, Harry. I concede this round to you. We shall meet again."
From beneath Quirrill's turban, a wraith flew into the air, and up through the roof. Quirrill collapsed to the ground, dead.
Harry blinked. And blinked again. "Huh."
June 5th, 1992
Harry stretched lazily on a rock, watching the giant squid underneath the surface of the lake. He grinned to himself. There were certainly worse ways to end a school year.
Padma Patil lay next to him. "So…" she broke the silence. "Think next year will go this well?"
He chuckled under his breath. "One can only hope, my dear."
Parvati swatted him from his other side. "Please. Everything was quiet after Christmas break. A bit boring, for my tastes."
Lavender, who was sitting on the ground in front of them, rolled her eyes. "You weren't the hostage."
Harry snorted. "I don't see what you have to complain about. It's not as if your face wasn't healed perfectly."
"It was scary!" Lavender insisted.
"Yeah, yeah…" Flipping backward, Harry stood behind the rock, and buttoned up his shirt. "Come on. I don't want to miss the train."
Smiling, the girls joined him, and they went up to the castle.