Note: And the next part of year 1...
Sleep was something that Harry had discovered was not in much of a demand and it left him with time to prowl the corridors of the ancient school when lesser beings slept all nestled in their beds and dreamed of mornings to come.
A slight bit of motion drew his attention towards the floor and a almost bemused grin crossed his blood red lips.
"Hello Little Devil," he conceded to the diminutive creature before him.
Cats were marvelous creatures to observe as they hunted, especially the care they took after the chase was over that held such lessons for one such as he.
Mrs. Norris was an even more interesting creature, one that placed itself at almost his equal, though not quite as proven by the ease that students and faculty alike tended to vacate his location at their earliest convenience.
Of course there were exceptions.
Dumbledore seemed unphased by anything, and while he hadn't done anything blatant to get a reaction, anything short of a nuke could probably be underwhelming for the old man.
Then there was the double bit of chaos that seemed to delight in random chaos. The Weasleys seemed to create either ones that amused him or cowards who disappointed him. Of course the twins seeming immunity to him gave him the theory, after a mercifully brief encounter with their mother before boarding the train, that they may have some banshee or similar creature in their lineage.
However and unfortunately, it seemed that only three beings had so far showed some of the vaunted Gryffindor courage and amuse him in any way, and one of them seemed to have been quietly stalking him since the festivities of Halloween.
"Students in the..." Filch trailed off at the sight of just who was standing there before attaining a beautiful pallor that seemed a tad off of the color of freshly fallen snow.
"Now...now," Harry chuckled, "Did you really think I would waste a night like this?"
The gulp in response was audible.
Mrs Norris simply snorted at her master before turning back to the No Life King with a vaguely imperious gesture.
"No," the man in crimson stated as he slipped something from his pocket, "I hadn't forgotten about you, Little Devil."
A white mouse wriggled in his palm, something that would bemuse him as the cat played with it before boring with the game due to instinctive hunger. He'd taken it a step further for his own amusement by feeding the meal with catnip before storing it away.
Filch seemed to come to his senses as the mouse was released to his companion and the boy seemed to dissolve into the shadows as if he were a wraith save for the mocking laughter that echoed through the stone halls.
Firenze watched the crimson figure stand before the shade.
The stars had spoken, and he had listened to their guidance while choosing to observe a moment in history rather than merely viewing the results.
Tonight it was happening, the king, the warrior, and the keeper of the dead all hung high above, seeming to roar in challenge at this moment.
Eternal twilight spoken in only as a lord of death and blood could enunciate.
When the stars spoke, they did not hint and taunt as the lady trapping herself in the tower, running far and wide with her sanity challenged by the visions and Cassandras Curse while the mortal means to control the divine power did their own damage to a fragile mind. However, they sang in riddles that give hints and advice for what was to come and only the wisest could ever discern those truths declared from the heavens.
The death of an innocent called forth a confrontation of two predators, something the part of him that came from the runners of the wild plain knew and feared, while event he man could see the risks and dangers of these titans waiting for the other to give ground.
Risks and rewards, to break up the fight could cause them both to turn on him upon his appearance, one could spook and the other attack, or both could break from the intrusion.
The wraith of the serpent lord flinched, almost as if it had gazed into the abyss of death itself as the laugh of nightmares and the lunatics smile bore the fangs of the unknown.
Destiny and fate shuddered as the stars sang a nightmarish mix of a coronation march and dirge at the crowning of the one it called the No Life King.
Eyes that seemed but pools of blood and hellfire bore down upon the centaur as the unholy creature in the form of a mere child grinned.
Unlike the countless wizard and witch students of Hogwarts he had observed over the years, this one did not have the bearing of one, nor did he have the same as an adult.
Body language was a large portion of the so called language that the centaurs could be said to speak, a trait from their observant natures some would say, but this one didn't fit any of what he knew of humans or other creatures.
Unlike humans, centaurs rarely remained in the same place their entire life. After leaving their childhood behind, a centaur would be sent to one of the other herds as a way to keep each group connected to one another which led to wider ranges of experience than, he had learned, the magical human population.
Firenzie originally hailed from a herd in Greece, the ancestral home of his kind as were, a smaller one that also lived beside a school, though one more combined with the smaller local population.
Records from the time of legends spoke of the stars dancing at a time when something special would happen.
Chiron himself had penned such things so long ago.
"Do you understand what you ask of me?" the young Prince asked, a voice almost taunting and yet, to him speaking of the legends of those far more than human that once walked the world of man and beast.
If it had been any other forest, it would have been deadly silent. However, this one had been the site of far to much in the way of magics oddities to let something unusual disturb its workings, much less something that seemed to view it as almost beneath its notice.
He could hear everything as the measured and even steps he took through the woods carried him with a unnerving grace. The Centaur had told him of this part of the forest, and the lack of life among the foliage told him far more than the inhabitants had.
Harry reacted in a flash to the skittering, pistol free in a blur of motion without even turning to look.
"So not all of your colony fled," he stated at the creature that stumbled to a halt, weapon pointed dead center of the acromantulas head, "Or were you simply trapped?"
The arachnid froze at the being before it, unsure how it was supposed to answer.
"You are not my prey," Harry spoke slowly, turning slowly to observe the creature, crimson eyes flashing in the pale moonlight trickling through the leaves in patches, one that the beast realized this man-thing was standing directly under.
A distant crack and a distorted echo of skittering brought a grin only at home on the face of a lunatic.
It skittered through the branches towards the distant sounds it heard and felt.
While it vaguely resembled the form it had hatched in, it was now something else.
In his haste to flee the castle upon his hosts death, Voldemort had tried to find something, anything, that could sustain him until a more suitable form could be found.
The snake he'd found had the misfortune of not just being his intended target, as midway through the attempt one of the younger acromantulas attacked. Now the spirit of the dark lord was trapped, trying to keep the reins of a monster that was becoming more and more unstable as time passed as the blood of multiple magical creatures it attacked in its rage mixed with its own magics and that of the spirit.
Had he been fully aware, he who was once Tom Riddle would be screaming for his cage to flee as it charged towards something that had entered the range of its senses.