Under Heaven and Earth
To the Reader,
This story began as an episodic post on a writer's blog, the format from here on will reflect that fact and perhaps help with issues of continuity that might detract from understanding what's going on due to breaks in the flow of the story. By this time the pattern of the story has more or less been set... One Interlude followed by a quote or excerpt and a part of the chapter.
Please enjoy reading..
Chapter Four : Hi-Ho! Hey-Yo! And Off To School We Go!
After escaping the clutches of a murderous sea monster; Joey Pantucci: It almost had me guys! It came through the window and started snapping at my ass...[Breathes Heavily]... I dove overboard, swam like hell, [Gulp] next thing I know...KABLOOEE!! [Collapses on Beach]
[To Finnegan] And your damn surf-boad almost cut me in half man! [Smirks] Is it just the water in my eyes or did I see some lip action between you two?
Joey Pantucci: No, I can just go for a stroll down the Beach or...
Trillian St. James(blushing): Joey!
Joey Pantucci: ...go for a little swim though I gotta tell ya if I never get back in that damn water agai-
Joey Pantucci: Ok, Cool...I'll stick around you don't have to beg me!
Joey Pantucci: [Looks about the Island] Hmm. this looks like a nice enough place...
[CHANTING AND OMINOUS GRUNTING BEGINS WHILE A VOLCANO ERUPTS IN THE DISTANCE]
Finnegan: Now What?!
Deep Rising. Final scene
The girl stared at the light floating above the boy's open upturned palm with ill-concealed excitement.
"You try it!" He said enthusiastically.
She looked at him, startled. "How do I?"
"Just think of what makes you happy and wish with all your might." He replied.
Her face lit up with determination and joy. "OK!"
Kyon had exactly four chances to realize what was happening...
His first warning came when Asahina-san (small) dematerialized right before him without so much as a scream.
Unfortunately, he'd been looking in the opposite direction when it happened, and due to a small quirk of causality and temporal mechanics, the existence of Asahina Mikuru (small) was erased from his consciousness.
His second chance came when Asahina-san (big) noticeed her temporal shockwave indicator register the event that caused Asahina-san (small) to cease to exist. She attempted to give Kyon a warning before the next incoming predicted wave overloaded her Heisenberg/Yamamoto degenesis compensator.
She succeeded in gaining his attention but vanished just as a gaggle of girls from the class below him blocked the event from his sight, thus voiding the observer effect (the girls weren't looking) and allowing the occurence to fade from his awareness.
His third chance came when Itsuki recieved an all-members recall in response to a sudden and massive proliferation of Shinjin. The two boys just missed each other as Itsuki was teleported out as soon as he reported being ready... mere seconds before Kyon turned the corner and saw him.
In the end, it was Yuki's wide, and uncharacteristically panicked eyes that clued him in. As he watched, a cherished copy of Ulysses fell from nerveless white fingers and landed on the floor with an disproportionately loud. -thump!-
The sudden noise and unusual behavior was enough of a distraction that, combined with Nagato-san's soundless and swift movement, Kyon was taken utterly by surprise when the girl grabbed him by the collar and altered the elemental boost information of a string of anti-chezfron trinary particles.
The two rode in a pocket of subspace as it carried them along the waveform path of the resulting shockwaves. From Kyon's perspective it was as if Yuki teleported them from the classroom to the school courtyard in an instant, leaving behind the -crack--crack--crack- of a supersonic boom that blew out all the windows on the western face of the school.
It was a testament to the extreme urgency of the situation that Yuki hadn't bothered to wait for the subspace bubble to encompass her properly and as a result only her upper torso rematerialized.
She silently waved away Kyons concern as she reformed her body. pointing instead at the scene before them.
It was already far too late...
If one were to ask, "What were Kyon's last words?"
The answer would be, "Wha-huk-gerk-OW!" When Yuki grabbed him and teleported him to Suzumiya-san's side, not particularly impressive unless you consider that he said it all in one go without stuttering even once.
If one were to ask, "Well what was he thinking?"
The answer would be, as he fell to his knees in the face of what his frozen mind was seeing headed his way, his left eye turned into a violet crystal and he thought, "G-"
I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin' hands, sayin' "How do you do?"
And then there was light...
They're really saying "I love you"
It spread out at exponentially increasing super-luminal velocities...
I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
And within a few thousand years, the Milky Way was obliterated...
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
Within a hundred years, the local galactic cluster...
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
And on it went. Millions of years later, on the shores of a distant planet half the galaxy away, the light came to be seen as a symbol of hope and new life, representing the unbounded potential of the world.
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world
At least until scientists realized what it really was and the mass suicides started...
Thus did the universe end.
In a Bang... to the tune of Louis Armstrong singing 'What a Wonderful World'.
Washu finished bandaging the chastened boy's rapidly healing cuts and looked at him with a severe expression.
"Now you know why I told you not to experiment without me!" She scolded.
He looked even more miserable, "I'm sorry..."
Seeing him take his lesson to heart she relented. "It's alright, Tokimi said that the blast didn't damage anything that she couldn't fix or replace... Just don't do it again!"
"I'm sorry!" Harry was almost blubbering.
She kissed his forehead and sent him along to find Sasami.
Once the boy was clear, the Goddess turned to her younger sisters, the elder of whom was faintly blushing.
"Why Tokimi-chan," The redhead was smirking knowingly. "If all you wanted was a high school romance with your beloved Z, you should have told your onee-chama! Even Tsunami had to learn the trick to safely compressing into a fully-integrated third-dimensional life-form from me..."
"Name's Barf. I'm a Mog, half man half dog. I'm my own best friend."
Chapter Four Part I: Hi-Ho! Hey-Yo! And Off To School We Go!
"B-but, I don' wanna go!" The young boy stuttered as he bravely held in a sob.
"Now look here champ..." An older man, presumably the boy's father, rumbled gently as a thin woman looked upon the child from beside him in sympathy.
"You're going to have a fun time I promise, you'll be with loads of people your own age, you'll have plenty of friends you'll see... there we go! Chin up, lad!"
The family of three were making their way over to Platform 7, when another family entered the station.
Vernon glanced warily at HIM and grunted lowly. "You have your ticket boy?"
"Yes Uncle Vernon." HE, Harry replied.
"Which platform does it say again, boy?" Asked the man, eyes scanning the crowd looking for a gathering of freaks. He glanced over a gaggle of redheads, bypassed an elderly woman with a decorated hat and a young bo in tow; and Vernon latched on to an effeminate man with numerous piercings and a green mohawk.
The man noticed him looking and nudged his friend, the two men each made a fist and then mimed...
"Platform 93/4 Uncle Vernon." Harry answered his uncle whose ears had gone red.
The man shook his head as he looked at boy standing beside a luggage cart with his pet carrier on top.
"Platform 9 3/4 eh," Vernon mused with a grin, "You sure they weren't having you on, boy?"
"I'm quite sure Uncle Vernon." Was his nephew's calm reply.
The man shrugged, it wasn't as if he cared either way. Vernon fully intended to turn about and race back to his car which would take him home to his perfectly ordinary wife and son, far away from any freaks. (Drills, drills, drills)
But first he had to be sure. "Make sure that you tell them, boy!" Vernon said briskly. "That, we don't want you- err... Because we'll be visiting your Aunt Marge over the holidays," The man ammended hastily. (In the background there was the sound of sharpening blades and a soft breathy, ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma...)
"And you know how she gets around you ever since she was released from that sanitorium." Vernon was sweating, "No need to trigger any more psychotic breaks, eh?"
The grating of blades faded, as Harry nodded in thought, "You will give Aunt Marge my best regards please, Uncle Vernon and goodbye, see you in summer."
Vernon's smile in reply was wooden, but he managed it. "Like hell..." The thought flitted and passed as the man grunted in response. Abruptly he turned and made for the exit, leaving Harry behind without another word, he wasn't quite running, but only just...
Having read Hogwarts, A History Harry had no problems finding Platform 9 3/4's though he felt that the family of redhead's that he passed by on the way, might not have been wizards as he thought since one of seemed to have shouted in alarm when he went through the wall.
Briefly, he puzzled over the matter, the area around the Platform's muggle entrance was warded against muggles and protected by Notice-Me-Not Charms according to The Line Betwixt, Muggles and Magic-born. By the time that Harry was on the train dragging his Washu-chan Superdimensional Portable Storage Vault (TM), he was convinced that they were probably either a new muggleborn's family wanting directions or a family of wizards who thought that he had been a muggle.
Mouthing the word muggle in slight bemusement, a verbal command to his upgraded trunk prompted the thing to settle into an overhead rack. Setting the petcarrier down on the seat, Harry freed Hedwig and spent the rest of his time stroking her fur while reading the holographic scan of one of his texts helpfully made by the sentient creature sitting in his lap.
On his twentieth pass from the green gem in the center of white, black and brown tabby's forehead to tip of tail, the hologram he was reading faded as a few seconds later, the door to his cabin opened and a duo of redheads looked inside.
"Do you mind..." One of the boys said.
"If our ickle brother shares this cabin with you?" Finished the other boy, who Harry realized was the first boy's twin.
"Er, no..." Yes, actually, but they were polite enough to ask and it wouldn't do to drive off these upperclassmen when he had so many questions...He could read at his leisure later.
The two boy's lead a third, younger boy inside. While one twin placed a trunk on the racks overhead, the other one made introductions. "Hi, I'm George, the litle squirt here in Ron," Ron, Harry gathered was not enthused with the apellation attached to his name but nodded to Harry, "And this is my brother Fred," Fred, identical to the last freckle, nodded with a grin and replied "No, no, no... Don't let my brother fool you, I'm George and He is my brother Fred.
"What!" George/Fred gasped, "I thought we greed to call me Gred?"
Fred/George smirked, "Then shouldn't you have called me Feorge?"
Harry watched bemused as the two played at each other's names an act that Ron seemed used to. It ended when the boys' mother came to the window and admonished an embarassed Ron for having dirt on his nose.
"I'm sorry 'bout that." Ron said in embarassment after his family left. "There weren't any empty cabins left."
In the background through the still open window Harry could faintly hear the boy's mother scolding another who said in a plaintive voice. "But I don't wanna wait another year, I wanna go now!"
Moe and Curly, the cloaked surveillence probes that Washu had sent along for Harry's protection, informed him that the train was actually less than two-thirds full but Harry didn't bother to contradict the other boy.
"That's alright," He said, "And by the way, my name is Harry."
"Ah," The boy's eyes widened, before his eyes flickered to Harry's forehead, looking for a nonexistent scar. "Oh." His eyes dimmed as he found nothing.
"I'm Ronald Weasley, my family calls me Ron." The boy introduced himself.
"My family calls me Boy." Floated in the back of his mind darkly as Harry shrugged then answered shrewdly. "I'm just Harry."
The other boy seemed not to understand. "Pleased to meet you Just Harry." He said with complete honesty as the train got underway, it was endearing.
The two boys spent the first part of the ride in comfortable conversation, though mostly on Ron's side. The red haired boy chatted about his favorite game, Quidditch, his favorite quidditch team, his favorite color, his favorite game, Quidditch...
At times Harry would interject about something that he'd seen or read, mostly trying to prompt Ron into talking about his own experiences in the wizarding world or just something other than the Chudley Bloody Cannons.
His efforts in this endeavor were not often successful leading Harry to believe Ron to be either dense or rather sheltered. The boy's behaviour when the stewardess came by with a trolly of sweets indicated that his family was not well off; a fact that Harry, who was raised for some time in a coat cupboard, could well empathize with.
Things were going well until Ron tried to show Harry a spell using his pet rat Scabbers.
"Have either of you seen a toad? A boy named Neville has lost one."
Ron shrugged as Harry did the same, shaking his head in the negative.
But by then the girl had spotted Ron holding out his wand and quite eagerly she said, "Are you going to do magic?" Her next words were spoken in a somewhat bossy tone, "Well let's see it then."
Turning slightly pink at the attention Ron chanted as he waved the wand tip over the sleepy rat, "Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow, turn this stupid fat rat yellow!"
The three children gaped. Ron was in shock as the girl at the door stuttered. "Are you sure you said thhat spell correcty? Sometimes if you pronounce words incorrectly..."
Harry on the other hand slowly looked down to his side.
Cheerfully under the gaze of the three children, Hedwig the Cat, slowly slurped in the tail of Scabbers the Rat.
Ron was inconsolable.
[After a burst of gunfire from the Mystery Woman, Jake climbs to his feet, covered in mud from the tunnel floor]
Jake: It's good to see you, sweetheart.
Mystery Woman: You contemptible pig! I remained celibate for you. I stood at the back of a cathedral, waiting, in celibacy, for you, with three hundred friends and relatives in attendance. My uncle hired the best Romanian caterers in the state. To obtain the seven limousines for the wedding party, my father used up his last favor with Mad Pete Trullo. So for me, for my mother, my grandmother, my father, my uncle, and for the common good, I must now kill you, and your brother.
[Jake falls to his knees]
Jake: Oh, please, don't kill us. Please, please don't kill us. You know I love you baby. I wouldn't leave ya. It wasn't my fault.
Mystery Woman: You miserable slug! You think you can talk your way out of this? You betrayed me.
Jake: No I didn't. Honest... I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD.
[Elwood covers his head in anticipation of more gunfire, Jake removes his sunglasses to make a wordless appeal, and the Mystery Woman visibly softens]
Mystery Woman: Oh, Jake... Jake, honey...
[Jake embraces the Mystery Woman and they kiss]
Jake: [to Elwood] Let's go.
[He drops the Mystery Woman and walks off]
Elwood: [to the Mystery Woman as he steps past her] Take it easy.
- The Blues Brothers, 1980
Chapter Four Part II: Hi-Ho! Hey-Yo! And Off To School We Go!
"Miaa..." Hedwig meowed pitifully.
Cabbit's are sentient creatures created when Washu merged a crystal based super computer with Masu lifeforms, an amalgamate entity which generated antimatter naturally as a product of natural bilogical processes.
Washu's goal was to create for her daughter Ryoko, a companion and protector that would stay at her daughter's side forever, providing comfort and reasonable safety. It should stand as a testament to Washu's motherly instincts that the word reasonable safety translated into a spacecraft capable of devastating the Royal Juraian Home Fleet...
Being partially composed of Masu, Ryo-ohki has little actual need to eat though she and the cabbit crystals spawned from her, do find pleasure in things that taste good. For a cabbit this genrally means anything edible (everything) though usually carrots are a favorite. For Hedwig however, being merged into a cat meant liking the things that cats like to eat.
In the few weeks that Hedwig had been a guest to the Dursleys, the common brown rat and black rat went extinct in the Surrey area. Toad populations also experienced a sharp decline.
Harry stroked the Tabby's fur. He was sitting in one of the 'full' cabins that Ron had passed by on the way to his own. Needless to say, it was quite empty.
"Miaaa." Hedwig purred softly in contentment.
"Glutton." The boy murmured, rubbing the cat's stomach gently.
They'd been too late to stop Hedwig from swallowing Scabbers to Ron's horror. Predictably the boy had been less than pleased with the situation, insisting that Harry get Hedwig to disengorge his pet rat. Harry had been obliged to try, aware of Hedwig's durability from his knowledge of what Ryoko got up to with Ryo-ohki.
In the end though Hermione Granger, the girl at the door had stepped in before he could say or do anything, much to Hedwig's visible relief, (She'd seen the look Harry was giving her) and laid into Ron. After being told that it was just natural for a cat to eat his pet rat, after all they're animals and have to obey predator/prey instincts. Ron had retaliated with a string of insults, Busybody being the nicest, and the whole thing devolved into an argument.
Hedwig's satisfied belch had been the last straw.
Harry had left with his trunk and Hermione in tow. They'd met up with a boy named Neville who was looking for his pet toad...
This time Harry really did make Hedwig spit Trevor back up.
The resulting scolding from Hermione had lead to him now staying in an empty compartment alone. At least Neville seemed happy to get his pet back...
A rat lay on it's back, floating in the middle of a large containment unit. The creature watched stunned as a number of odd lifeforms moved about in the other specimen jars stored around it. There was the sound of rubber gloves snapping on and a low sinister chuckling as a woman's voice somewhere in the darkness muttered, "Specimens, specimens, speciments..."
Moe followed his current orders, to provide Harry with privacy while Curly continued the two's previous mission of recording, cataloguing and analysing their environment for Washu.
So it was in keeping with his programming that Moe jammed shut the door to Harry's compartment when a trio of boy's tried to enter. The blond in the middle had been identified as a possible enemy in Moe's databanks, from observations made during the child's last encounter with Harry.
Seeing that the three were intent on entering, Moe ran through the list of authorized non-lethal 'persuasions' that it could use to run off the three boy's currently attempting to lever the compartment door open.
Finally, it settled on Anti-Dudley #03
Draco Malfoy felt hot breath down the back of his neck seconds before he, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were engulfed in warm smelly, protoplasm.
Where's yer shitter? I've got a wee turtle head poking out!
For the first time in well, ever, Lee Jordan was speechless. He, Katy Bell, Angelina Johnson, the Twins and Percy Weasley were staring at a the poltergeist that had just asked them for directions to the loo...
"Well," Angelina said faintly as she nudged Percy from behind while she peered over his shoulder at the semi-transparent Scotsman with a soggy black mass squirming in his center. "You're the prefect!" She hissed.
The boy twitched, "So now I'm the prefect eh..." He thought in annoyance. Then he gulped and visibly collected himself before straightening up and speaking as clearly and as boldly as possible to the rather revolting ghost. Had Percy been more familliar with muggle literature and films, he might have found a rather disturbing parallel between the hovering specter and Baron Harkonnen from Frank Herbert's Dune, now he was just overawed [If that was the right word...] by the sheer grotesque nature of the being before him.
"The restrooms are seven doors down that way." He managed to say, pointing to his left.
The red-haired ghost bobbed slightly, tilting forward as far as it's grossly bloated stomach would allow.
"I thank Ye kindly lad... T'was getting a wee bit squishy down there if yer know what I mean...-Phuuuurk!- Aaaahhh tha's a right stinker right there, let's just smell it... Oooh, Nasty! Worse than Nasty, even a maggot would gag on tha' stink! Ooooh, Gotta Go!"
Fred would later swear that he saw some blond hair poking out the back of the Scotsman's kilt, through watery eyes. Not that any of the others could tell, the scent was worse than a dungbomb.... they'd all been too busy choking on the stink to notice.
The legend of the Scot with the Hot Load would lead to a yearly exorcism of the train.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: "Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved even at the cost of my own life. No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door."
Inga: "Yes, Doctor."
Igor: "Nice working with ya."
[Dr. Frederick Frankenstein goes into the room with The Monster. The
Monster wakes up]
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: "Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. What's the matter with you people? I was joking! Don't you know a joke when you hear one? HA-HA-HA-HA. Jesus Christ, get me out of here! Open this goddamn door or I'll kick your rotten heads in! Mommy!"
Chapter Four Part III: Hi-Ho! Hey-Yo! And Off To School We Go!
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
Ki, ki, ki, ki...
Ma, ma, ma, ma....
From the Lake...
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
Slowly, like a dawning horror it rose....
It wore a necklace of grindylow knuckles...
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
With the grindylows, gasping, still attached...
While Moe was designed by Washu as a defense droid with it's force absorption protoplasm barrier. All the really nasty programming had been given to Curly in the event that the elder Dursley male ever tried to go through with his half-muttered threats.
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
A kappa tried to yank Curly back under water, wrapping knobby fingers around the solid image's neck. The danger was assessed at 0.000005% but this was the third attempt by the dark beast to do harm so...
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
Curly Vorhees stepped onto the far bank where the boats were docked after being used by the first year student. In the shallows he left a screaming kappa, nursing two broken arms as best it could.
The kappa bit his leg...
[Annihilation Mode Authorized...]
The ankle-biter had a moment of triumph before the tall masked humanoid figure, turned around, hefting a very large machete consideringly. The dark creature struggled back toward the relative saftey of the water but with two broken arms the possibility of drowning was high.
Ki, ki, ki, ki, ma, ma, ma, ma....
It was determined to take it's chances...
"Potter, Harry!" The stern-faced witch called out.
Hogwarts, A History held little about the sorting other than that it happened, what the Four Houses were and abit of their history. Nothing about a hat, a talking hat...
Moe indicated that the raggedy old piece of cloth was emitting alpha waves and showed extensive signs of matter and energy manipulation. So a device of possibly limited sentience, perhaps an interface of sorts between the students and whatever selection program or intelligence that did the sorting.
The girl, Granger, went to Gryffindor, following Neville Longbottom. Draco Smelly Malfoy went straight to Slytherin as did Fishy Crabbe and Grungy Goyle before him. Perhaps the Hat, even with it's lack of a visible nose, felt the need to hurry things along. It swiftly sent the boys over to their table making it's pronouncement long before settling on each of their heads, causing the end where they were reluctantly allowed to sit, to be quickly cleared of other students.
And now, it was his turn.
"Harry Potter, they said!"
"The Harry Potter!"
He ignored the muttering as best he could and made his way over to the stool set out for him to sit upon. As he settled into place, Professor McGonagall set the Sorting Hat upon his head with an inscrutable expression.
It was an Odd sensation, feeling another root about his mind, worthy of Odd with a capital O.
"Oh yes, Oh My, Oh Dear ME!" The hat muttered as it perused gently through his most notable memories, touching upon only those that held some significance to him, a strong emotional tie that affected his personality whether he realised it or not he surmised.
He realised at once that it was aware of his thoughts as the hat let out a hum of approval as he came to this hypothesis. His eyes widened for a moment, lifting the brim slightly with his eyebrows. Then he sent a tentative query mentally.
"How do you make your choices?" He asked silently.
There was a sense of kindly amusement, before a reedy voice answered. "It depends, some come to the sorting chair with preconceptions and assumptions. Whether they are aware of it or not, they've already made a choice and our choices define us. For instance, do you remember why at the age of seven, you declined Washu's offer to take you in?"
Harry trembled slightly even now as he recalled the tempting offer, his mouth went dry...
"You declined it when her scans confirmed that you were powering some astral defence field protecting the house. You could have been safe, with a family that loved you, yet you stayed... Though you wanted to say yes very much. You didn't know what would happen to the Dursleys if the defence wasn't there to protect them or you, so you chose to stay to protect them. Brave, boy, brave...Loyal too..."
There was a squirming in his mind as he felt other memories and emotions come to the fore, flickering too quickly for him to make sense of them. "Sometimes," The Sorting Hat said, "When the decision is not clear or may lead a student to harm, I present other choices..."
Harry remembered his lessons with Washu finding enjoyment in the succeeding in the simple (for her) tasks that she set for him to learn from. He remembered yearning for more...
"Such a quick mind, such a thirst to succeed.... The Ravenclaws aren't as open minded as you'd like to think boy, they would not so easily accept the truth of your words even if couched in this 'Scientific Process' of yours, tradition blinds us all..." It said, then added softly, "Though, you could go far in Slytherin..."
As if feeling Harry's reticence, the hat's next words were spoken again in a kindly tone, "Sometimes, I just ask questions. So why did you want to know how I choose?"
Harry shrugged, "I was curious. It seemed interesting...just because I guess... I always try to ask questions when I can."
He felt the hat nod, "Spoken llike a true... Ravenclaw!"
Book: "Man has always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much...the wheel, New York, wars and so on...while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man...for precisely the same reason."
-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Chapter Four Part IV: Hi-Ho! Hey-Yo! And Off To School We Go!
He stood upon the bridge once again, as he did lifeages ago...
"You cannot pass." He called defiantly to his enemy. "I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn!" He raised staff and sword and was shrouded in a brilliant shpere of light.
The Balrog struck with a sword molded from infernal fire and was repelled. "Go back to the Shadow!" He hissed at the thing of fire and shadow.
The demon stepped forth upon the bridge with on fiery, cloven hoof, it snarled a challenge in rage and snapped at the cavern walls with a whip of fire. The wizard, he drew himself up once again raising staff and sword. When he next spoke his voice thundered mightily, echoing within the cavern. YOU SHALL NOT PASS!." He roared and smote the bridge.
He remembered falling and fighting the Blarog, Glamdring held tightly in his grip as they fell in the caverns of Moria. Through fire, through water, from the deepest dungeons to the tallest of peaks, until at last he threw down his enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountainside.
Fawkes trilled softly in annoyance at his pet wizard's antics.
Dumbledore wiped a hand across his face, idly seting aside the tome that he had been reading. Out of habit he reached for the bowl of sweets beside his bedside before hesitating... Large feet in threadbare socks found themselves in slippers as the old wizard came to rest in an armchair by the bedroom window.
"Hmm, to think that I would dream of that after all this time... What an odd day." Idly he fished out an odd pipe from one of the pockets in his nightcoat, and filled it with a bit of powder. He held it out to the phoenix that was watching him reprovingly.
"Do you mind, old chum? For some reason I always have the strangest urge at times like these..."
The bird hacked up a spark that arced through the air and tumbled right into the smoking pipe, setting it alight.
And so the wizard sat there for a time, idly puffing away, blowing strange smoky forms into the air.
"The oddest day..."
Earlier that evening...
"-and finally, I must tell you that this year, the third floor corridor on the right hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death."
Harry's head came up in an instant. His hand was up in the air for a half second before Terry Boot, who he had been speaking to, dragged it back down. "What are you doing?" The boy hissed.
Harry blinked, "I had a question." He replied nonplussed, but the headmaster had already moved on.
A golden ribbon twirled into the air with the flick of a wand and began twisting into words.
"And now, before we go to bed," The Headmaster said cheerfully, "Let us sing the school song! Everyone pick their favorite tune and off we go!"
Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something, please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.
Someone on the Gryffindor was singing to a funeral dirge that went on well after everybody else had finished. Harry himself hummed along to the tune of a lullaby Washu once sang for him. By the time that the whole cacophony of sound ended Professor Dumbledore seemed a little misty eyed, although he was the only one at the staff table who seemed enthused.
"Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic far beyond all we do here! And now, bedtime. Off you trot!"
The young Ravenclaws were gathered together by the prefects Richard Carmichael and Penelope Clearwater who led them out of the Great Hall and down a flight of stairs before turning down a passage way that led them to a staircase that led to a corridor three floors up.
"Don't worry about losing your way," Penelope said, seeing some baffled faces trying to memorize where they were going. "We have a general map in the common room for all the first years, it should tell you where to find the classes you'll be taking.
The prefects then went on to answer a flood of other questions as they made their way up a spiral staircase, coming to stop before a door without a handle or keyhole, fitted with only a bronze knocker in the shape of an eagle.
The male Ravenclaw prefect, turned to the assembled first years and explained what was going on. "The door wil open only after asking a question and recieving a correct answer. I you don't know the answer simply wait until another person comes along who can answer it."
"Sounds horribly inconvenient." Another boy next to Harry muttered.
The prefect must have heard him however, and grinned. "Don't worry, the questions are rarely too far above the level of the first person to stand before the door. It's usually not too hard to figure out. Now let's see."
Turning to the knocker caused the eagle who had been watching the students curiously, to speak to the prefect.
"Centaurs," It said, "Are they a magical creature or a magical being?"
Turning to the students the prefect nodded, "What do you think?"
Anthony Goldstein answered with "Magical Creature," at the same time Harry said, "Magical Being."
"You're both right," The older boy answered. Turning partially to the knocker he replied, "In 1811 the Minister for Magic, Grogan Stump decreed that a 'magical being' was 'any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws.' So by definition Centaurs are magical beings."
"However," Carmichael added, "The Centaurs refused to be associated with dark creatures such as vampires and hags, that were also given "being" status and are thus oficially classed as magical creatures."
As the door swung open, the older boy smiled, "Learn something new eh," He said while entering the common room, "That was on my Care of Magical Creatures exam."
The Ravenclaw common room was a large, airy room. It was a wide, circular room with a midnight blue carpet, arched windows hung with blue and bronze silks, and a domed ceiling painted with stars. As Harry entered he noted that the room was furnished with tables, chairs, and bookcases. The last feature caused a huge smile to adorn his face and pleased him so immensely that he hardly minded being shooed off to bed.
At the same time that the Hogwart's first years were on their way to their common rooms, Albus Dumbledore greeted Hagrid at the train station where he found a grossly obese spirit winking saucily at a red-feaced Professor McGonagall. He took a look at her pinched white lips and the angry red plotches on her cheeks before glancing over at a disgusted looking Snape and an equally disturbed looking Flitwick. Even Professor Sprout glared outraged at the seemingly coy poltergeist.
"I assume..." He began tentatively, "That it is unanimous that this spirit be exorcised?"
Given that the erstwhile spirit had in a single breath, propositioned the Deputy Headmistress, called Sprout a slag and Snape her pimp, all while pondering out loud what Flitwick would taste like lightly toasted and slathered in rutabaga jam, the answer was...
Whatever exactly the poltergeist had said to Minerva had obviously left the poor woman inarticulate with rage so it was Flitwitck who choked out an affirmative while trying not to suffocate on the chaotic spirit's burst of flatulence.
"Aww, nobody wants me...." The Fat specter moaned.
"There will be no more sweets on the train if this is what it gets us." Severus muttered darkly before pinching his nostrils shut.
"It can't be helped," Dumbledore replied placing a gentle hand on his deputy's shoulder. "So many ecited youngsters, their magic, fertile imagination and emotions make such apparitons inevitable, the children can hardly be blamed. Now everyone, repeat after me..."
Moe trained transcendental scanners on the 'wizards' as it prepared to gather more data about their powers. Outwardly his shell had an expression of utmost concentration copied straight from Vernon Dursley, which meant the House Heads thought he was making rude faces at them and so they chanted the exorcism spell with greater determination.
It went, "Exorcizamus te, omnis immundus spiritus, omnis diabolica potestas, omnis incursio infernalis adversarii, omnis legio, omnis congregatio et secta diabolica, in nomine et virtute eradicare et effugare..." And the five magic users chanted in unison causing a cage of blue light to surround the the alarmed looking poltergeist. Finally the spell ended with a loud rendition the words, "Exorcizamus Eradico!"
The cage of light seemed to shrink into a small blue dot that vanished with a loud and obnoxious, -!-
There was a displacement of air and a fading ghostly voice stuttered, "Th-that's-th-that's-yebu-th-that's-th-that's-yeba th-that's all folks..."
"Good Riddance!" McGonagall sniffed, before regretting it instantly as she inhaled a flagrant stench, spluttering in disgust, the witch stormed away as fast has her walking stick would allow.
The other teacher's made their way back to the castle not noticing the beady pair of eyes watching them from the shadows.
That night, Harry spent his time talking with his housemates until a prefect came up and put out the lights. After drawing his curtains shut, the young boy opened his trunk and stepped inside. Within the trunk was a vast extradimensional room, or rather a suite of rooms. Harry made his way past his lab into the private bedchamber that he had slept in ever since meeting Washu.
He spent some time composing a letter to his sensei, before walking over to the old army cot, incongruous in the middle of the room, and laid himself to rest.
He had alot to think about, but strangely, sleep came on swift and silent wings...
AN: The document editor on this thing screwed me over let me know if there are any blatant text problems. Read and Review