That night, something seemed out of place in the Great Hall. There was just something extra in the room that shouldn't have been there. Each child's eyes; brightened by the innocence of youth; were drawn to the magnificently dull object. Each of the adults seated at the head table seemed to be skillfully avoiding it's lure, choosing instead to rest their tired eyes on the visages of the children below.
At the head of the hall, perched upon a majestic marble pedestal which greatly emphasized its glory—or lack thereof; was the Sorting Hat. Despite the queerness of the situation, it was not this that confused the students. No, even though many of them had never seen the Sorting Hat except for on the Feast of the Firsties ( a name that some of the older Sytherin students had adopted from Peeves the Poltergeist), it was not surprising for it to be present with the rumors of a new transfer student flying around as rumors often did. What was strange was that none of the teachers had acknowledged, or even given mention of the hat up until that point in time. The students were itching to see the new addition to their ranks, and if one listened closely, they could hear select students muttering their wishes for the teachers to just 'get on with it'.
As if pandering to these students wishes, two dark figures appeared in the entrance to the Great Hall, striding into the hall at a deliberate pace. All eyes, even those of the teachers, were drawn to the pair. Standing next to the school's coldest heartthrob, Tom Riddle, was a smaller, thinner boy. Let it not be said, however, that one so small and thin could not be beautiful. In fact, the boy was almost ethereal, in how the loosely braided hair fell loose to settle on his shoulders; in how his piercing green eyes seemed able to delve into the soul and unearth its deepest secrets; in how his pale skin seemed to glow with some unseen power. He was the type of person who would either be worshiped or avoided. From the company he kept, it was expected that he would receive both admiration and avoidance from his fans.
As Tom Riddle flashed an eerie smile towards the alleged transfer student, Dippet rose, drawing only a faint response from the entranced students.
"May I have the attention of this captivated audience?" Dippet's voice seemed to break the students out of their trance, giving him the full attention of the Hall. "I would like to introduce our new transfer student, Raphael Zuerst. He will be entering the sixth year, and as such, will be sorted tonight. His past and reasons for transferring are his own, and I trust that none of you will bother him about these matters." As Dippet spoke, Dumbledore retrieved the Sorting Hat from its' pedestal and dropped it unceremoniously onto the new boy's head.
Whatever the students had expected, it was not this. As the Sorting Hat was lowered down upon the boy's head, a hush descended over the crowd. A few minutes passed, the Hat seemingly frozen in place, and then...
A piercingly inhumane shriek filled the hall as the pedestal on which the hat had stood shattered into a million tiny fragments. The unholy sound was cut off as suddenly as it had started, and the students cautiously uncovered their ears. In a tired, broken voice, the hat crowed out its' decision.
None of the students dared to move as the boy handed the hat back to an impassive Dumbledore and glided with a slow, deliberate stride over to the Slytherin table, at which he immediately took his place in the seat directly next to Tom Riddle. It was commonly known among the Slytherins that the seat next to Riddle was reserved for his second in command, but nobody tried to stop the obviously powerful boy. They watched with obvious trepidation, wondering if even the great Tom Riddle would dare to go against this intimidating being. To their utmost surprise, their esteemed leader smiled with a warmth that the whole of Slytherin had never thought possible, and offered the new student a plate of piping hot mashed potatoes. This seemed to break the silence and the entire room burst into action.
Dumbledore hurried out of the room with the exhausted Sorting Hat in hand, no doubt to return it to the headmaster's office. One of the teachers—Harry wasn't sure of their names yet—could be heard muttering to herself about how a simple stool would be so much more efficient than that gaudy and expensive pedestal, eliciting much amusement on Harry's part as he remembered the three-legged stool which had served as host to the Sorting Hat in his time. A few of the younger Hufflepuffs began to cry, as the older ones reached in to comfort them; the Ravenclaws immediately started coming up with possible scenarios to explain what had just happened, and the Gryffindors began throwing their dirtiest looks his way. At the Slytherin table, Harry and Tom exchanged a triumphant look, and Harry was quickly drawn into conversation with the rest of the sixth year Slytherins. Harry smiled. So this was what true acceptance felt like.
"Inferno." The portrait leading to the Slytherin dormitories opened at Tom's voice, and the silent pair stepped into the Common Room. Harry kept his cold mask in place, his piercing eyes surveying the Common Room, looking everywhere except Tom's face. The other boy confused him; made him drop his guard; left him weak. After the feast he had walked for a while in relative peace with the other boy, but a near slip-up had induced unwanted questions, and he had closed himself up.
"Each room hosts two students," Tom informed him, his eyes directed somewhere over Harry's left shoulder, "I am the Prefect for the sixth year Slytherins, and am in charge of getting you accustomed. As such, you will be rooming with me. Head down the stairs to the right, and it's the door at the very end of the hall. Your luggage will be waiting for you in the room."
Harry raised a single eyebrow.
"Right. Typical prefect speech, I know. The teachers give the prefects a card at the beginning of each year through which they dictate what to tell the students. We have no free will. I suppose one of the teachers will bring you to Diagon Alley for supplies at some point, they always do." Tom replied, reading Harry's expression perfectly.
"Thank you." Raphael descended the stairs and headed towards the far room. Wincing at the portrait of a very obese cat which hung off the last door, and looking wistfully at the portrait of two young snakes which hung on the door opposite the room, his hand reached for the doorknob.
Upstairs, Tom prayed that his whimsical plan would get the mysterious Raphael to open up to him once again. Two muffled yells pierced the silence in the Common Room, followed by the sound of a door slamming shut. Tom smirked, eagerly awaiting the look on Raphael's face when he rushed up the stairs.
It didn't come. Tom froze. He was sure that he had sent Harry to the room of the other sixth year Prefect, Emeraude Genoux, who roomed with her extremely amorous boyfriend, Claude Malfoy. He also knew that they had retired early, so why hadn't Raphael run up the stairs in the horror at the gruesome sight. Had Tom misjudged him?
Arms as cold as ice settled around his shoulders and wrapped him in a deadly embrace. A pair of cold lips moved against his ear.
"And just why, Mister Riddle," Tom could feel Raphael's cold eyes boring into his head, "did you decide to send me to the room of what I assume was a pair of very happy newlyweds?"
Nightmares plagued Harry's dreams.
As long as he could remember, terrifying dreams had haunted him in his sleep. When he had, in his fifth year, begun to experience Death Eater meetings and torture sessions on some nights, it had come as a welcome relief from the horrors of his own mind. Even the pain of every Crucio that Voldemort cast was nothing compared to the terrors which had haunted him in reality and in sleep. Pity now, that Voldemort was not yet himself, and there would be no Death Eater meetings to grant him a relative peace.
It was the first night that Harry had spent in the past, and something was drastically different. He was a Dreizehn.
He twisted and turned in the messy silk sheets, his unnecessary breath coming in quick pants, his eyes darting about underneath pale eyelids. He ran on air, desperately trying to escape his uncle's grasp. Words stood out in red against the walls, carving themselves in his flesh as he fell, losing complete control as he headed towards his uncle's leering face. His shoulders split open and a pair of black wings burst from the bleeding mess. He flapped them with all his strength, but found himself spiraling towards the ground at an even faster rate, one giant wing raised above his head, the other hanging limply at his side, mangled by some unseen force.
Harry woke up silently, tears of horror streaming down his face. He sat up, the silk sheets pooling at his waist, dumping a pile of black feathers onto the floor. He slid off the bed without even a whisper of a sound, gracefully gliding over to the window. Poking his head out of the seemingly pointless window, he was surprised to find himself staring out over the green landscapes of Hogwarts. It seemed that the Slytherin dorms were situated in a tower, much like the Gryffindor dorms had been.
Harry's first thought was that the dorms had been moved since his current time, but he quickly dismissed that thought. The entrance to which Tom had led him had been exactly the same as the entrance which he had found during his second year at Hogwarts. After a few minutes of pondering the subject, he concluded that the entrance must be a portal which led to elsewhere, but it would be wise to ask Tom when he had the chance.
A glint of silver caught Harry's eye. Stuck to his hand was a glossy black feather, its' stem a metallic silver. A few more were stuck to various places around his body, and by a glance around the room, he could see that the feathers were everywhere, even daring to form a mockery of a blanket over Tom, whose actual blanket had fallen to the floor sometime during the night.
Had the feathers come from him? Harry had seen Lucifer fly before, but the man had informed him that he knew of no other Drei who had ever sprouted wings.
Well, there was no harm... almost no harm in trying.
With one last glance towards where Tom was sleeping, Harry leaped out the window and spread his arms as the wind whipped around him. Just as he began to fall, a pair of black wings burst from his back, each spanning a length of about ten meters.
As the first strains of dawn began to appear, many of the school's earliest risers would claim to have seen a humongous and strange bird joyously sweeping through the air; a shadow against the light of the rising sun.
I know Dx I'm sorry!!! I never meant to take so long to update... :( August was a really bad month for me, and I was completely swamped by everything that happened and the work it took to fix what could be fixed :(
I hope this chapter is satisfactory to you :O Imagine how Tom will feel when he wakes up covered in feathers, with Harry already gone! :D
I'll try to do something with Emerald Shadow next... I want to make the sequel to 100 Days with Mr. Arrogant soon too... :O I'll try to update again soon though~