A/N: Greetings. A new chapter, after almost two months. I know you're not happy with me. I'm not happy with myself too. Lectures at uni have started, and someone has to listen to them. And that someone is me. So in order to not be dissapointed, expect one chapter per month from now on. That will be my deadline. One month.
On the other side, some very good news. This chapter is beta-ed by aalens, who has agreed to be the beta reader. Hopefully, with her help, you will understand the story better.
Don't forget to REVIEW!!!
Disclaimer: See Chapter One
Chapter Five: The First Encounter
Hogwarts is great. The castle is huge, and the Quidditch
pitch is excellent. I have read Hogwarts, a History; and
seeing the castle in real life is at least twice as amazing
as the book makes it out to be. I'm having my first classes
just this morning, right after breakfast. The fact that they
don't give us a break after breakfast to wash our hands is
quite disturbing. Are wizards immune to hepatitis?
Anyway, I got sorted into Ravenclaw. Not much surprise
there. Guess what, Hermione is a witch too! She is with me,
in Ravenclaw. I had some inkling that she was a witch since
the day I met her, but I didn't speak of it since I didn't know
She's muggleborn, of course, so it would be great if she could
visit over the summer or the winter holidays, so you can explain
the wizarding world from a muggleborn perspective, seeing as
you are one, and give her a few hints.
How is Jamie doing? Give him the letter so he can read it
himself after you finish. And please write back. I miss you and
I love you all. Is Sirius still being a… well, there is no way to
put it politely, is there?
And how are you? How's the new job going? I hope you make
it to a fully fledged healer. If the purebloods try to stop you, tell
them that Harry Potter will be paying their asse(t)s a visit.
I'll make you proud of me mum. You just watch me. I'm going to
make a name for myself as the next best thing since Merlin and
chocolate coated treacle tart with blueberry filling.
Give Jamie a big hug and Sirius a big conk on the head from me.
Harry reread his letter to his mum, before he sealed the envelope with wax and threw it out the window. Hedwig flew right under it and caught it before changing direction, flying south-west to Wales.
He was still sleepy, because he had made a minor bonding ritual in the owlry last night with Hedwig, tying her down as his familiar. They couldn't communicate with thoughts or feelings, or anything exaggerated like that, but they both had an instinctive feeling where the other was and what the other was doing. It was like looking for something under the sofa; you knew what your hand was doing, even though you couldn't see it. That is how Fawkes knew Albus was in danger when Voldemort threw that killing curse in the Atrium of the Ministry, which to Harry seemed ages ago, even though it hadn't happened yet.
There was something… different about Ravenclaw house. The tower was magically expanded to look smaller on the outside, but on the inside it was big enough to give each student his own room, even though the room itself was modest at best. There was a single bed against one wall, not as large as the ones in Gryffindor; Gryffindors seemed to prefer luxury and comfort over privacy. A medium sized desk had been placed against the window in order to use the daylight as much as possible. Right next to the door that led to a stairwell down to the common room, there was a small closet in which Harry hung his clothes , so they wouldn't get wrinkled in his trunk. Also, there was a small bedside cabinet next to the bed, and a door on one the walls that led into a small bathroom, with just a toilet, a shower stall and a small sink with a mirror above it. Modest, but really practical.
His wristwatch vibrated, and he pulled his sleeve up and pressed a small button on one side. It was a regular wristwatch, a mechanical one of course, since electrical appliances couldn't work in Hogwarts because of the ancient wards. It wasn't the amount of magic that bugged out anything electrical in Hogwarts, as everyone else thought, but a specific ward; a ward against lightning - that surrounded Hogwarts. It was an ancient ward, and he guessed that one of the founders, possibly Rowena or Helga, or maybe even Salazar himself, had been afraid of thunder. So this ward had been erected. Purebloods claimed that since technology didn't work in Hogwarts, wizards weren't meant to mingle with filthy muggles. Of course, if the ward wasn't there, they would also say that a thunder storm was clearly a sign that the gods were angry that they had let muggleborn filth inside Hogwarts, if anyone would believe the bigoted bastards. Nevertheless, the ward that prevented lightning striking the grounds also prevented every kind of organized direct electric current. He figured that something that worked on alternative current wouldn't be stopped by the wards, but then again, the castle was built before the existence of electricity was discovered, and there wasn't an electric installation to plug in AC electrical appliances.
His thoughts came back to the wristwatch as he rubbed its glass face. He had found it thrown and broken one day in the school grounds; the school grounds of his primary school that is. He had kept it, and when he got home, late at night, when everyone was asleep, he turned the small broken watch into an incredible timepiece. It wasn't flashy looking or anything, but he had enchanted it to be water, pressure, shock, fire and frost resistant. He also enchanted it to show the phases of the moon as well as the alignment of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus with the Sun as the reference point. Also, he had built in a vibration charm, one that he had embarrassedly procured from a Witches Weekly copy in his former life, converted it into an enchantment and configured it to activate when the hands of the watch reached a certain position, one which he could modify, and thus act as a silent alarm, which would be very useful, as he sometimes lost track of time. The steel back end he had enchanted the same as one of the mirrors that Sirius had given him in his former life, and now all he needed was to find a small feminine watch, or buy one, enchant it just as his was, and give it to Hermione. That way he could establish contact with her wherever she was.
The vibration on his wrist that had occurred not moments ago meant that breakfast would be served in fifteen minutes, so he quickly got dressed, put his wand in the wrist holster, and watched the holster turn invisible. Harry smiled. That was why Ollivander had winked at him. He had said that he had made the holster himself, and it seemed he had added a few enchantments on it as well. The old wand crafter was… crafty.
When he had washed his face and got ready, he exited his room; quickly descended the stairs by sliding down the rail, using a small wandless balancing charm, and landed on his cushioned boots in the common room.
"Harry! You're not supposed to be doing that! It's dangerous! You could fall down and break your neck!! What were you thinking?!" exclaimed Hermione after she saw the manner in which he descended into the common room.
"Although I do appreciate your worry, I used a balancing charm before I got on the rail. Now, what is our first class?" asked Harry, quickly distracting her in order to spare himself a nagging session.
"Well, we have double charms with Flitwick, and then double Herbology. Come on, breakfast is about to be served." said Hermione before she grabbed his hand and dragged him from the common room and through flights of stairs and corridors before they emerged in the Great Hall. It seemed that Hermione had remembered the way back from Ravenclaw Tower from yesterday, but he wasn't impressed. It was Hermione after all.
Breakfast was a noisy affair, as always, since many of the older students had a subscription to the Daily Prophet, and many of the younger students had forgotten something at home, which was sent to them today via owl post. As soon as the flapping of owl wings was heard, Harry pulled out his wand and drew a line around his and Hermione's plates. Hermione looked curiously as Harry drew the line on the table around their plates and goblets, and heard him muttering under his breath. The yellow line flashed once as he closed it, and Harry put his wand back before he sit down, just in time to see the flock of owls soar above them. The older students immediately drew their wands and started flicking away the feathers that, if they didn't interfere, would land in their plates and ruin their breakfast.
"'Scuse me, miss, could you pass the salt, please?" said Harry to the sixth year boy next to him. Or what appeared to be a boy.
"What you mean Miss?" said the boy, as if offended, but Harry just grinned.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I have a cold. Come off it now, miss. There is much more to being a metamorphmagus than changing the way you look." said Harry with a grin. The boy lifted an eyebrow before it morphed into a girl with long black hair and dark brown eyes.
"How did you know?" she asked curiously, and Harry grinned.
"Your posture and your scent. You were acting… feminine and you wear a woman's perfume. Of course, you could have been gay, but then again, you're not." said Harry, the grin never leaving his face. Of course, knowing that there was a metamorphmagus in this house five years 'older' than him didn't hurt his assumptions at all.
"I'll keep that in mind." said the girl with an easy smile before she passed the salt.
"Thanks. I thought you forgot." said Harry with a smile as he shook the saltshaker above his potatoes.
"I'm in Ravenclaw. We rarely forget." said the girl before she returned to her breakfast.
Hermione seemed glad that the girl stopped her conversation with Harry, and she started talking about the teachers on the head table.
"So, Harry, what do you think of the teachers?" asked Hermione as she gazed at Dumbledore.
"Well, I have limited information on them besides Dumbledore, who is more or less famous. I know that Flitwick, our head of house, had been a dueling champion for five years in a row during his… relative youth. He is very smart, which should be obvious given he is the head of Ravenclaw. McGonagall has been teaching transfiguration ever since Dumbledore vacated the Transfiguration Professor position and became Headmaster. She is very stern and demanding, but she is fair and, dare I say it… a Quidditch fanatic. Snape, well, that is an unsavory character. Compared to the other teachers, he is very young and inexperienced in teaching. I've heard rumors that he is… biased. He favors his own house while heavily critiquing the rest. He especially loathes Gryffindors because he had been a Slytherin not that long ago. He was a good childhood friend with my mother, but their friendship was broken when he said something truly horrible and offending to her in front of all the school. Pomona Sprout, or just Sprout, is head of Hufflepuff and teaches herbology. Not much I can say about her, except the fact that she will be angry with you if you mistreat her plants. I don't know much about the others." said Harry between mouthfuls of food.
"You seem to know much about the teachers." said a voice, but it wasn't Hermione. He looked across the table and saw Su Li, her thin black eyebrows elegantly arched in a silent demand of explanation.
"I do know something, but rest assured, what I know only stems of what my mother and my godfather have told me, since all of the teachers I know something about , bar Snape, have taught them while they were at Hogwarts too." said Harry with a smile. Su Li smiled and stretched her hand over the table, having to stand up to do so.
"I'm Su Li, a first year." said the little girl. Harry stood up a little too and shook her hand.
"Harry Potter, likewise, and a pleasure to meet you." said Harry with a friendly smile on his face.
They started to chat a bit about themselves and about the school. Su Li said that she liked Hogwarts so far, and was very eager to learn magic. Harry already knew this, as every Ravenclaw was eager to learn magic. Su Li also said, when asked, that she may be related to Cho Chang, though not very closely. Next to her, a girl that introduced herself as Mandy didn't say much, bar that she was muggleborn and that she didn't believe in magic at first. It was a very boring and closed conversation, limited to a couple words, but then again, he didn't expect much from first years. He spotted Dumbledore standing up from the corner of his eye, and he turned towards the old man to see what he had to say.
"I'm sorry that I will have to cut your breakfast a little short, but there were some things left unsaid last night due to the length of the sorting." he said, and the hall quieted down when everyone realized that the old Headmaster was speaking.
"Now, I welcomed you all already, but I didn't tell you the rules of Hogwarts. First rule is, the Forbidden Forest is exactly that, forbidden. Dangerous creatures creep between those trees, and I don't want any students of mine to get hurt, so please, spare this old man a few heart attacks." he said, sneakily glancing at the redheaded twins in Gryffindor, who in turn, raised their goblets cheekily at Dumbledore in salute and downed the contents in one go.
"Second rule, and this one is not as strict as the others, magic in the corridors is forbidden. If you wish to study, practice or whatnot, please do so in an empty classroom or in your common room. And of course, there is a list of banned items attached on the door of the caretaker's office that you are expected to abide to. And finally the third rule. If one doesn't wish an extremely painful death, then one is not to go to the third floor corridor." said Dumbledore, all twinkle in his eyes gone, no smile on his face, just to show the students that it is no joke. He raised his watch in front of his serious eyes and observed the time.
"You have fifteen minutes to get to class. I suggest you use them wisely. Good luck." he said to the hall as a whole, and he sat back down. Harry immediately stood up and walked out of the hall. He looked behind him and was surprised that Hermione wasn't there. But Hermione was another entity, not his shadow, and she had the right to do whatever she liked. He went to the nearest bathroom and turned the taps, washing his hands and splashing his face. His first class for today was charms, and then herbology, both doubles. He removed a miniature bag from his pocket and it immediately expanded into a real-life-size schoolbag. Of course, his mother offered him his father's school bag to wear, but Harry didn't want anything to happen to one of the only things he had left from his dad.
So, with his school bag on his shoulder, he continued walking up the steps to the charms classroom. He entered it, and he wasn't surprised to see that he was the first student, scratch that, the first person there. After all, Flitwick knew where his classroom was located, and the rest of the first years were confident, overconfident, that they would find the classroom with no problems. Harry knew that was going to happen if and only if they followed Flitwick to his classroom, and he had an inkling that they wouldn't. Flitwick arrived just as Harry had settled in the very middle of the classroom. Seconds ticked by as Harry watched lazily out the window and Flitwick was probably arranging and reviewing his lesson plans for today. Student's slowly started filtering in, having finally found the classroom, probably with the help of a prefect. He was keeping his hand on the chair next to him, saving a place for Hermione, but he was surprised to see that Hermione entered the classroom talking animatedly with Su Li, and that she didn't even look around for him before she sat herself next to the little Chinese girl, both directly in front of Flitwick's desk.
He was a tad jealous and angry because she had forgotten about him, but, then again, the more mature side of him was happy that she was starting to make some friends. He removed the hand from the seat next to him, and soon enough Neville plopped happily down next to him. The round faced boy didn't say anything, but no words were needed. He was exuding a quiet confidence from inside, an inner peace. His hands weren't shaking, his fingers weren't twitching, his shoulders weren't tense, and his face was relaxed. It seemed like Neville's problems had all disappeared over night, and Harry was happy for the boy. He noticed that a lot of the student's were pointing towards Flitwick and snickering, and he didn't need to guess to understand what they were laughing at. The diminutive professor had to stack several thick tomes on his chair before he seated himself, and even then he had to lift his hands nearly shoulder high shoulder high before placing them on the desk.
"Quiet now, quiet. Welcome to your very first Charms Class. My name is Filius Flitwick, and today I will introduce you to magic in general, and to charms specifically…" he started squeaking passionately, and to Harry's astonishment, the students actually listened. He hadn't noticed in his former life, but Flitwick had a certain… charm would be a bad pun, but… a certain… charisma about him, that made people want to listen to him, despite his comic appearance and awfully high voice. He wondered if he had had the same thing in his former life, because even though he didn't think himself as anything special, wizards and witches seemed to gravitate around him, especially when he gave a speech. He fondly remembered his first speech in the Hog's Head, how naïve he had been back then, and how he hadn't noticed that people hung at his every word. It was not until years later that he had realized that it was a quality rare amongst wizards, and the only wizards he knew who possessed that same quality were Dumbledore, Tom Riddle, and now, Flitwick.
He listened with half an ear to the speech the small but powerful professor gave about magic while he scanned the faces of the people around him. Everyone was listening; even the Gryffindors who had been laughing before the lecture began. He noticed Hermione deftly taking notes, and chuckled quietly at her enthusiasm. She still took notes, even though all the theory she would need in her life was encompassed in the book he had given her and she had memorized. He gazed once more through the window at the white peaks of the mountains in the distance, the same mountains that one could see from the Ravenclaw common room. He had a rough idea about the philosopher's stone, but he tried not to think about it much. Even without his mother's protection, the bumbling wizard named Quirinus Quirrell wasn't something to worry about.
There was something else bugging him. Dumbledore hadn't sent someone after him with an invitation to his office. Perhaps the old wizard didn't want to play favorites this early in the game; perhaps he was trying to scope how Harry did in classes without outside influence, by himself; or perhaps he was only waiting for an excuse to invite him for a little chat. He wouldn't know until he met with the old man.
One thing was for sure, he would have to reveal everything to the old Headmaster in the beginning of his second year at the latest. For one, he didn't want to play games of cat and mouse with the headmaster, and for another, he felt it would be unfair to keep the old man in the dark. True, the old man himself kept Harry in the dark in his previous life, but that was because Harry didn't know Occlumency, and therefore had no means to protect any sensitive information the old man could impart. But in his case, the Headmaster knew more than enough Occlumency to keep Voldemort out of his head even during the stress of battle. That was why Harry decided that the headmaster would be filled in early on.
The bell rang, and Harry hastily put his books back into the bag before he trotted off with Neville to their next class for the day, herbology. They were introduced to Pomona Sprout, and they had a fairly decent class, although Harry thought that it was boring. Herbology wasn't his forte, but he was more than happy to observe Neville working with a smile on his face. Again, Hermione had paired with Su Li, and he observed them quietly while helping Neville halfheartedly with menial tasks.
School was as boring as he figured it would be, and not even the library was interesting, since he had read every single book in it, plus the books that were in the headmaster's library during his tenure as headmaster. This was one of the reasons that he had become headmaster of the school, the headmaster's library was vast and dealt with all kinds of magic, from light through dark, from the simplest of charms to the most complex of rituals.
He figured that he would go crazy very soon if he didn't find some… extracurricular activities to occupy his time with. Hermione was still chatting up storms with Su Li as they headed for the Great Hall for lunch, and he was forced to sit next to Michael Corner of all people. He wanted to slap the boy by the time the dessert appeared on the tables, but he restrained himself and as soon as the desert was gone from the tables, he exited the Great Hall and went to his dorm. Classes for today were over, as far as the first year Ravenclaws were concerned, and he sat himself in front of his desk in his room in the Ravenclaw dorm and stared out the window, unseeing. Hogwarts was boring. He knew everything they could possibly teach him here, and the first years were boring and as articulate as fish. By now he wouldn't mind if Snape rushed into his dorm and started to throw insults and curses at him. At least he would be entertained.
"What to do, what to do…" he muttered under his breath as he ran his hands through his messy hair. Then he remembered that Voldemort had a horcrux in the Room of Requirement, right there in Hogwarts.
"Well… When in Rome…" Harry muttered and stood up from the desk.
The Room was an extraordinary piece of magic that even he didn't know how to make, not that he ever needed such a thing. It always fascinated him how the room appeared at the whim of a person in need, Occlumency or not. And he needed to destroy that horcrux. He paced three times left and right, thinking about hiding the broken quill that rested innocently in his hands, and the door to the Room of Requirement appeared on the wall of the seventh floor corridor, right opposite the portrait of some barmy wizard who was deluded into thinking that he could teach some trolls ballet. Ever since that painting had been hung up, the wizard on it had made no progress in his efforts, yet Harry had to give him credit, as the wizard hadn't even thought of giving up.
Entering the room and closing the door softly behind him, he looked around and saw the piles of dusty items before he carelessly threw the broken quill on top of one. There were tons of knickknacks, some broken, some working just fine, some so old that their very purpose eluded him. He paid them little attention as he went in search for the tiara that he knew was somewhere near a statue of an old and ugly warlock. He traversed through piles and rows of junk, some of which could very well be priceless, his eyes darting here or there, in tireless search of a dusty and tarnished tiara, or at least a chipped statue of an old and ugly warlock. Each step was fast, and in sync of the steps he took so many years ago, when he had mortally wounded Draco Malfoy, and was desperate to hide the book. Of course, after that moment he had never touched that book, although he wouldn't mind having a quick read through it now, not for the modified potions formulae, but for the spells that Snape had invented when he was a Hogwarts student. No matter which side he was on in the end, the fact remained that Snape had remained a death eater for an extended period of time before he switched sides, and during that time he might have thought to teach the death eaters to cast those very spells. He was sure that anything from his large arsenal of battle shields could stop a spell designed by a teenaged Snape, but then again, not everyone knew as much magic as he did, nor could everyone learn it or cast it.
He stirred out of his reverie as his hand extended unwittingly towards an old and tarnished tiara, and he was just in time to stop his hand from touching it. He wiped the sweat from his brow, and realized that he was sweating profusely. He lifted his eyebrow slowly, but then he realized that he had virtually relived a very stressful moment of his life, and if he remembered well, which he had no doubt that he did, he had been sweating buckets back then as well. He took a deep breath and his heart stopped completely, before restarting a pair of seconds later with a much calmer beat.
His wand shot out from his arm holster and he waved it over his head, instantly drying himself and replacing the sickly smell of sweat with a nice scent of apples. It didn't smell like a fine French perfume, but it would do for now. He looked down at the tiara and his eyes narrowed instantly. His wand immediately went to work, casting all kinds of detection charms on the tiara, some of them so powerful that they blew the dust off it. There weren't any dark spells on the tiara, bar the presence of a fraction of an evil soul. The rest of the magic was unknown and ancient, probably the enchantments that made the wearer of the tiara wiser and more intelligent.
He grasped the tiara in one hand before he started to mumble under his breath that he needed a chamber able to withstand fiendfyre. The room around him shifted and spun for a moment before it settled again into an empty stone chamber. Harry smiled as he looked around the empty room. The room of requirement was a wonderful piece of magic indeed, and he figured that he just found himself a subject of entertainment for at least two years in Hogwarts. He would study the room and the objects inside when he was bored and had nothing better to do. He placed the tiara in the middle of the room, his smile gone and he stepped back before he raised his hand, the wand in it pointing directly at the tiara. Before he could cast the fiendfyre spell on the tiara, a familiar, albeit a transparent figure, rose from the tiara, its blood red eyes staring at him.
"Who are you, boy?" hissed out Voldemort menacingly. While his image didn't yet have the slits for nose, his hair was already gone and he was as pale as a sheet. Harry slowly sat himself down and crossed his legs underneath him, before lifting his gaze to stare directly in the red eyes of the monster before him.
"Don't you know? I'm the one prophesized to be your downfall. And your downfall I shall be, Voldemort." Said Harry in a calm voice, knowing that the shade before him was tied to the tiara, and that it couldn't escape, let alone hurt him.
"I can give you power, boy. Join me. You know that I am immortal. You cannot possibly kill me." said Voldemort in a seducing whisper, and Harry felt legilimency probes start to shift through his mundane memories, but he knew it would take a lot more than that to convince him to join Voldemort.
"Gee, I don't know. How much power can you give me? Can you give me world peace? And can you go back in time and stop yourself from killing my father?" asked Harry sarcastically, his face a mask of fury.
"It is war, boy. I doubt you know much about war, but in war, death is common, as is collateral damage. It is not my fault that your father stood like a fool in front of a wizard as powerful as I." said Voldemort heatedly, even though he didn't yet know who the boy in front of him was, or that he really killed his father. As he said, in war, death and collateral damage were quite common occurrences.
"I know quite a lot about war. I know that during and after war, the aggressing party is held responsible for all its crimes. And in this case, the aggressing party is you." said Harry before calming down a bit.
"Stop this bickering and join me. You can have anything that you desire." said Voldemort, the seductive hiss back in his voice, which again did nothing to persuade the boy in front of him.
"Anything I desire. We both know that is not true, Voldemort. You just lied to me. You know I desire you dead, you know I desire world peace, and you know I desire my father back, and you know you cannot give me any of those. Therefore, I can have nothing I desire. And it is making me angry." said Harry, his face a mask of indifference. He knew the horcrux was done for but there was a small sliver of hope for Tom Riddle, the wizard who fell from grace, fell into the immoral embrace of the addiction of the dark arts.
"I can make you not desire those things any more. I can make you forget about them. I can make the pain of losing your father disappear." hissed Voldemort slowly, as if uncertain. Harry noted this mentally. The hope that Tom would come back from the darkness grew in him. A little bit.
"What, you sincerely think that this is going to persuade me? Oblivion is not the answer to a question, Tom, it is forgetting the question altogether. Oblivion is running from a problem, not solving it. Oblivion is what you have done your whole life, and it has made you what you are today. A monster. And you know what happens to monsters. They get slain near the end of the story. I don't need to explain this to you Tom, you are frightfully intelligent. Sadly, what you have in intelligence you lack in wisdom, and that was, is, and will be, your downfall." said Harry easily, as he was talking about the weather. Voldemort spluttered, actually spluttered at the response he got, but Harry didn't give him the chance to start a rant that would only waste his time.
"But, you have Ravenclaw's diadem here, which is rumored to bestow upon the wearer extraordinary wisdom. Surely you have come across its legend when you have researched the items you wanted to turn into your little trinkets. What I don't see clearly is why you haven't used the diadem to bestow on yourself this wisdom. Perhaps then you would see the error in your ways. Immortality is not a way to cheat death, it is a way to imprison yourself with the hardships of life, forever. Surely you know that?" asked Harry, his eyes for once showing the wisdom of the two hundred year old man behind them.
"You speak like Dumbledore, that old mudblood lover. I see that he has brainwashed you as well." hissed out Voldemort in anger, but Harry was already on his feet.
"You are to set in your ways for any kind of redemption, Tom, you and I both know that. I just hoped it weren't true, and I hoped that when I offered you redemption, you would accept. I realize now that I was being optimistic to the point of foolishness. We will have to do this the hard way, Tom. Things being as they are now, I can offer you only one thing: mercy. The mercy of dying quickly. Goodbye, Tom." said Harry, before fiery red orange and golden yellow flames erupted from his wand and formed that familiar dragon, a dragon that didn't need goading or instructions. It already knew its task, and it swallowed the horcrux that lay in the middle of the room. Tom's screams echoed eerily in the large stone chamber, but it was all over in less than five seconds. Harry dropped his arm to his side, sighing as his fingers relaxed and the wand snapped back up his forearm, settling in the invisible holster that was strapped to it.
"You can't stand peace while you are alive, Tom. I just hope you can achieve it in death." said Harry, sincerely hoping that Tom Marvolo Riddle, the misfortunate boy would find peace in death, the peace he couldn't have after Voldemort took over and overshadowed him. Perhaps the first horcrux Tom had made would yield better results. After all, he didn't remember anyone being killed in his second year. Petrified, yes, but killed… no.
===== Location unknown, Time unknown =====
"He materialized again. I felt it. Tell me you tracked him down." growled out a figure that sat on a throne, shrouded in shadow.
"Yes your unholliness. We've tracked him. He has finally made a mistake. Let's see, let's see… Hah! Verse three hundred and seventeen. He made only a short jump sire. From verse three hundred and sixteen to the next one, and only two hundred years back" squeaked a comically high and raspy voice, which belonged to a small goblin like creature with three eyes and a hump on its back.
"Step closer Sulark." spoke the shrouded figure calmly and commandingly. The goblin like creature named Sulark immediately jumped up with a happy smile on its face, and scooted closer to its master. A massive black hand flashed from out the darkness and grabbed Sulark around its thin neck firmly, causing the creature to rasp and splutter and choke.
"You should have tracked him when he made the jump. You wasted me more than eleven years with your sniveling excuses." said the shrouded figure menacingly. Although, many of his servants didn't know it, but the person with the unknown identity was a great actor, and he usually acted angrier than he really was. He played the impulsive brainless leader so that when competition stirred up, and it usually did, they would take him for an impulsive moron. And an impulsive moron he was not.
"Prepare a jump to the same verse. We will find him and kill him." spoke the figure before it stood from its shadowed throne, releasing Sulark by flinging him away from the throne. It was at least as big as Hagrid, with a black face with red tattoos on it, and curved red horns on the top of its head. Its eyes were completely black, with open malevolence shining in them.
"Yes, your unholliness. Right away." said the sulking figure of Sulark, disappointed that it didn't get recognition from the head honcho himself.
"It's time I settled the score with that foolish dragon." muttered the demonic figure before it disappeared from the throne room.
===== Room of Requirement, Autumn 1991 =====
There was that burning sensation in his forearm again, and this time it was a lot stronger. His legs gave up on him and he dimly registered his knees hitting the hard stone floor beneath him. His vision was getting blurry and tears sprung from his eyes, but he didn't scream out. He had felt worse pain than this in his life, but his juvenile body wasn't prepared for pain. Not even a minute in the burning pain he lost consciousness.
"Harry Potter." an impossibly deep voice rumbled in the darkness. He tried to open his eyes, but he found that they were already opened. He tried to summon light, but his attempts failed. Magic didn't work, wherever he was. He was standing on some sort of hard surface, but it was too dark to see what exactly the surface was.
"Harry Potter." said the voice again, and this time Harry turned towards it. His eyes settled in the darkness, precisely where the voice was coming from.
"Show yourself." said Harry commandingly. A pretty brave action for someone who doesn't have the means to defend himself. He had duped the Sorting hat, it seemed. As soon as the last consonant left his mouth, two golden lights appeared in front of him, golden lights that looked disturbingly like eyes. And they were eyes. A snout sucked in breaths in front of them, and golden scales appeared out of nowhere, two bat like wings, short limbs with sharp claws, a long serpentine body that ended with a spiked tail. They all appeared one by one, as if the light in this place was awfully slow in revealing the disturbingly familiar figure in front of him. An exact real life copy of the tattoo on his forearm.
"I warned you not to use that spell." said the deep voice slowly, as if chiding a little child.
"What are you?" whispered Harry Potter to himself as he gazed on the magnificent sight before him. The figure however, heard the whispered question and answered.
"I am a golden dragon. My name is too long and… animalistic for you to pronounce, but I have been called Darakh by humans in the past. You may use that name if you wish." said the golden dragon in its ethereal voice.
"Darakh. Ok. Now… where are we?" asked Harry before he turned around, his gaze darting around in every direction.
"We are in my mindscape Harry. Of course, you, being a skilled Occlumens, already know what a mindscape is." said the dragon evenly, as if he already suspected that Harry knew the answer of his question even before he posed the question itself. And his suspicions were dead right.
"Alright. We are in your mindscape, where you dragged me unwillingly. That means you want something. Which is…?" asked Harry, before the dragon huffed.
"Straight to the point I see. I figured you would like to have a little chat with me. But no matter, there will be enough time for chatting in the nights to come. The reason I dragged you here before you had the chance to let your curiosity do the work for me, is that you have fired the fiendfyre spell for the second time in this verse. And both spells had my magical signature all over it. I have enemies, or rather, an enemy that is very powerful and amoral. He will soon track me down, and try to implement the shortest way to kill me. He will try to kill the host. Namely, you." said Darakh unemotionally. Harry noticed this.
"Judging by the tone of your voice, and by using try as the main verb, I imagine you have some plan. And I need you to explain who is this powerful enemy and when is the estimated time of his arrival." said Harry, his mind already making plans.
"It will not be as easy as you expect it to be Harry. And yes, I have managed to formulate a rough plan in the past eleven years. As of my enemy, he is a demon." said Darakh
"A demon! But demons are a myth!" exclaimed Harry. When he was in the International Confederation of Wizards in his past, a wizard tried to get the confederation to invest millions of galleons for creating spells that would defend them against an actual demon invasion. Of course, everyone laughed back then, mainly because no one had seen a demon since the time of Merlin. Demons were considered a myth.
"Golden dragons are considered a myth too Harry. And yet here you are, talking to one. And I think that you should have approved the funds requested by the wizard. We would have stood a better chance. But then again, it is only one demon coming at us, not an invasion.
"Only one? Well, I guess I could take him-" said Harry, but he was interrupted before he could say anything else.
"No. You cannot take him. Merlin tried to go against one, and he won… barely. Common human magic doesn't work on demons, and even though we trained him in dragon magic, he still almost had his head torn off by the demon. And it was a substantially weaker demon than the one coming after us." said the dragon in a loud and commanding voice. Apparently loud and commanding enough to make Harry think that the dragon was angry.
"Whoa! Keep your pants on big guy. I was only making a suggestion." said Harry defensively.
"Merlin was only making a suggestion too, and we still had to patch him up afterwards. Do not even think of going there. As I said, I have a plan." said the Dragon after calming down a bit.
"Now, when is this pesky demon arriving?" asked Harry curiously.
"Pesky demon, huh? Demons are evil Harry. And one average demon is ten times more powerful than all the Dark Lords you have ever fought , combined. If my plan doesn't work, we will be doomed." said the dragon, but there was little doubt in his mind that the plan wouldn't work.
"Enough with the gloom and doom stuff. When is the demon arriving?" asked Harry, the protected core of his mind already making plans of his own.
"We are in luck. Last time I destroyed their time streaming device, so my guess is they will be arriving in three years." said Darakh, with no little amount of smugness in his voice.
"A lucky shot at the flux capacitator, no doubt." answered Harry, his voice gaining that familiar detached quality when one was thinking deeply.
"I see you have considered all your options. It takes two thousand years to build one, and demons are not known for their patience." said the Darakh.
"So, if you didn't have a flux capacitator, how in the hell did you manage to jump into the past?" asked Harry curiously.
"Well, after you preformed the ritual, and you technically sacrificed yourself to me, I sucked your soul in. From it I found out where you wanted to go. All I had to do then was take your age and search a universe that was at least three years away from your birth. And I found this one. The jump itself took three years, but I had wait in limbo for another year or so, just so we could arrive in the proper time. Of course, all the calculations had to take place in less than two minutes, as you had set the bombs to blow up in two minutes, so I didn't have time to find a universe exactly three years before your birth." said the Darakh, again smug with himself and his fast thinking.
"Hmmm. I didn't realize that traveling through universes would take time. And what about the other Harry?" asked Harry uneasily, as this question had bothered him a lot. Could it be that his greed and selfishness had destroyed the life of an unborn baby. Even Voldemort waited until the children of prophecy to be born in order to kill them first. And he did it for his own survival, while Harry did it for his own selfishness and convenience.
"What other Harry? If you are thinking about the Harry in this world, you needn't worry. There wouldn't have been one. At least not for long." said Darakh.
"What do you mean 'not for long'?" asked Harry interestedly.
"From what I could detect from the time stream, baby Harry would have existed for only three days after his birth." said the Dragon simply.
"But, why?" asked Harry, not comprehending what the dragon was trying to say.
"If a baby is conceived without a soul, it automatically dies within the womb or it is delivered stillborn. If a the newborn's body has a weak connection with the soul, it dies several days after being born. That is why you have no memories of the first couple of days on this world. Little Harry was still alive. And there was no way for me to save him. If I left you both in the same body, you both would have gone insane. Replacing him with you seemed to fit the situation." said Darakh in explanation.
"Right. Well, I best be off then. I rarely go down to my own mindscape. I usually lose track of time. See you around then." said Harry. Darakh just nodded and his glowing figure dimmed.
===== Room of Requirement, Autumn 1991 =====
Harry woke with a start. He ran a hand on his jaw line, and sighed in relief. In his previous life, he had gone into his mindscape one night clean shaven, and woken up a week afterwards, extremely dehydrated and with a full beard. He knew from his rehabilitation that dehydration wasn't a joke. And then he remembered that his body was too young to be growing any kinds of beards, so the tenseness in his shoulders came back to him. He looked down at his watch and read the time. The Time. 12:37:55 A.M, September the Fourth, 1991 A.D. His extremely fast and complex mind ground to a halt, only one single thought in it. One word. Shit.
Not losing another second he jumped up from the cold stone floor and exited the Room of Requirement. He walked with a fast pace, not daring to run, while his mind restarted with its usual speed and started thinking about excuses - excuses for disappearing from Hogwarts' grounds for more than twenty four hours. His feet dragged him towards the Gryffindor tower before he remembered that he was a student in Ravenclaw now, so he steered himself in the right direction and continued thinking. When he climbed the staircase, the portrait was opened and he slipped in, too pessimistic to believe that his little escapade went unnoticed, but yet too optimistic to abandon all hope. He quietly crept inside his dorm room and closed the door behind him. When he turned around, he saw Albus Dumbledore calmly sitting in the chair of his desk and sucking on what probably was a lemon drop.
"Good evening Harry." said the Headmaster shortly, as if he was meeting with an old friend, but his inquiring gaze spoke a lot more than the three words he uttered. Harry, for his benefit, decided to play dumb.
"Ah, good evening Headmaster. How are you?" asked Harry with an innocent tone, as if he didn't realize how long he was missing.
"Relatively fine, so to say. I would be delighted if you would join me in my office. We have a lot to discus about, what with your recent disappearance." said the old headmaster before he got up from Harry's chair and pulled out his wand, casting a multiple patronus charm, no doubt calling the search off.
"Shall we?" asked the headmaster after he opened the door and saw Harry looking curiously at him.
"Of course. That was a neat piece of magic. What spell was that?" asked Harry interestedly as they walked side by side through the empty corridors of the school.
"That Mr. Potter, was the patronus charm. Don't worry about it yet, you won't get to learn it until your seventh year." said Dumbledore in an amused tone.
"Oh. The patronus charm. Interesting piece of magic. I have read all about it, but I still don't understand one thing." said Harry conversationally.
"I fathom you don't. It's a very complicated spell." said the Headmaster with a chuckle.
"Oh no, I understand the charm itself and the theory behind it. It's just that I don't understand why do we have to wait until seventh year to learn it." said Harry, a small smile tugging at his lips.
"Well, it is a very difficult piece of magic to perform. There are a lot of wizards that are of age, and they haven't mastered the spell at all. That is why students at Hogwarts don't get to learn it up until their seventh year." answered the headmaster patiently.
"Yes, but have you ever asked yourself why is it proving so difficult to cast? From what I could discern from the theory, it's all about happiness. And all first years are happy. I mean, we have just gotten through a milestone in our life, we had been accepted in Hogwarts, we have made new friends, had a most wonderful feast, we don't even have homework yet… what's not to be happy about being a first year?" said Harry, and the headmaster slowed down to a stop, his brow creased, deep in thought.
"I think you're on to something here Harry. On to something big." he mumbled, his eyes twinkling at the possibilities, before he remembered that he needed to be less endearing to the young boy in front of him. After all, the boy was in for a detention at least. So he continued walking until they reached the gargoyle that guarded his office.
"Lemon drops." the headmaster intoned and Harry smiled as the gargoyle slid aside. All the memories didn't feel real until he saw Dumbledore use the familiar password to open the familiar doorway to the familiar office. This was it. When he had been distracting the headmaster with one of his formerly proved theories, another part of his mind had furiously worked in making a bogus story and falsifying memories in the outer parts of his mind to back it up. He didn't think that the Albus would steep so low to use Legilimency on a wee little first year, but Harry knew that Albus knew that Harry wasn't just any ordinary first year. Too many things, although subtle, just didn't add up. And if the headmaster was good at anything, it was being subtle and detecting subtleties. After all, the man stringed up the theory about Voldemort's horcruxes from nothing but a few vague memories and a pierced and half ripped up diary.
Dumbledore opened the door to his office and walked through without a pause, Harry right on his heels. He quietly closed the door behind him, and when he turned around he was embraced in a tight hug. He hugged his mother back as she continued to hold him, trying to soothe the woman through her first of many Harry Potter induced traumas. Mothers live a tough life, and he knew better than anyone, as he was practically the mother of all of Great Britain ever since he was born.
"Oh, baby, I'm so glad they found you!" breathed out his mother quietly, although to Harry it seemed like a roar of a dragon. Not that he was afraid of a mere dragon, mind you. Maybe a Golden one.
"Erm… Actually, no one found me, per se. I found my own way back to my common room." said Harry. Suddenly his mother unglued herself from him, probably because she just remembered exactly how angry she was with him. And Harry knew what was coming.
"Harry James Potter," his mother said in an angry whisper, and Harry knew that since she used his full name without even shouting. "Is this the way you're going to make me proud of yourself? Is this the way you'll become the next best thing since Merlin himself? If you do this kind of thing one more time, you will be grounded for the rest of your life." she continued with the same tone. A tiny part of Harry was actually scared that that might happen; a bigger part of him was regretting that he had to put his mother through all the worry and fear; but a huge part of him was actually amused by the thought of his mother grounding him. He could rip away any wards that she could place to keep him grounded in a second. He would have to be careful in the future, because it seemed that he had overestimated the shortness of his mother's temper - a mistake on his part that would not happen again. He decided it was time to retaliate with something a bit stronger than he planned.
"Alright mother. I'm sorry I got lost." said Harry, his head down, looking every bit of remorseful. All though his words were lies, the feeling was genuine. He was sorry that he fell unconscious and stayed unconscious for some twenty odd hours, but he hadn't planned on it. Just like the Harry in his manufactured story hadn't planned on getting lost in the huge castle that was Hogwarts.
"Lost?" his mother asked confusedly.
"Yes. I wanted to explore the castle a bit, just like dad and his friends did. However, I couldn't find my way back, so I wandered around the hallways." said Harry demurely.
"Oh, my sweet baby!" exclaimed Lily, switching personalities faster than a schizophrenic.
"When was the last time you ate? Where did you sleep?" asked his mother, now checking to see if he was too pale, or too red, or too thin, or too anything.
"I think I ate yesterday at lunchtime. And I slept in this dusty old classroom I found when I got too tired of walking around." lied Harry again, and suddenly he felt a legilimency probe dive into his outer shell of memories, searching for the truth. He noticed that the headmaster was peering intently at him with a look of indifference on his face, but soon his brow knit in confusion. He had obviously found the memories he was looking for, but there was no trace of a lie. And the Headmaster knew that there was at least one lie spoken by Harry. One could get lost in Hogwarts, true; but for more than twenty four hours? Hogwarts was big, but it wasn't the Sahara desert.
"Dottie!" exclaimed the headmaster suddenly, and a small elf appeared next to Harry.
"Yes Headmaster. How mays Dottie helps you?" asked the small elf.
"I need you to make a medium sized dinner for Mister Potter. I believe he is quite hungry." said the Headmaster, peering over his glasses at Harry, his face once again expressionless. Soon enough, half the headmaster's desk was cleared and then the various papers were replaced by dinner dishes of all kinds. Harry started wolfing down the food, as he was really hungry. After all, it was true that he hadn't eaten in more than twenty four hours. His mother irritatingly kept rubbing his back as he ate, as if he was traumatized or something.
"Alright Mister Potter. It's off to bed with you. I just hope you haven't relieved yourself somewhere I wouldn't even dare to." said the headmaster, as if in jest. Harry just laughed it off.
"Oh, no worries there, sir. I happened to run into a room full of chamberpots just in the last moment. I kept looking for a bathroom, but I couldn't find one. I guess I was lucky there." said Harry as he left with his mother to the Ravenclaw common room. She kept insisting on staying with him for the rest of the night while he was eating, and he had barely managed to dissuade her. She would only make sure that he went to bed and then she would be off home for the night.
A/N: Don't hesitate to REVIEW!!! Even just to chide me for slacking off.