Harry looked around the dead field and at the dead trees and frowned. He'd been here before. Yes, yes of course he had. There was the grim watching at the edge of the trees and the raven in the dead tree in the center of the clearing.
But why was he here?
He glanced around again and was surprised at what he found. The grass though dead was hiding the fresh green grass that was shorter then it and the trees all had buds. He frowned. Why was that? Why did everything appear to be growing?
He didn't have time to ponder this any longer. He threw himself to the side on instinct. A large black body flew over the spot he had been standing and hit the ground with a loud thump. A whinny of amusement echoed. Harry stared in shock at the large black stallion. It was tall but slender with a coat of dark ebony. Green/brown eyes landed on Harry and the horse snickered again throwing its head. Mane of black with a red tint was tossed about.
"Three forms?" He spoke aloud. "I have three forms?"
The stallion whickered again and trotted around him showing off grace and speed. It started to gallop and started around the clearing, jumping hidden logs and turning tight circles before rearing. Harry was in awe. It looked so fast, so free. Finally it trotted up to him and took a deep breath, taking in his scent.
"You're beautiful." Harry whispered reaching out slowly.
It leaned into his hand and then everything melted away.
Harry woke with a start. He sat up, unmindful of the blanket that slid down his chest to pool at his waist. Running his fingers through his hair he found it coarser then usual. He smiled wildly as it slowly turned to his regular texture.
Then he realized he was not in his own bed. He blinked then spotted Elewa sleeping beside him, face buried in a pillow. Silently he rose and grabbed his clothes from the floor. He tugged them on and then grinned as he cast a cleaning spell on himself. His magic jumped eagerly to the command and he wanted to giggle in relief as he felt it flow through his veins.
He exited the room silently and bound down the stairs. He passed by the goblins sleeping on the couches and slipped outside. Once in the fresh air he breathed deeply. Then he jumped. He transformed into his raven form and with a few wing beats was high in the sky. He shot up higher and hovered above the clearing. He could see jungle surrounded Elewa's house for miles upon miles. Then he dived.
He dived straight down until he hit the tree tops and then swooped out over the trees. When he was a distance a way he found himself over a tiny clearing with a waterfall in it. Pausing in his flight he glanced around before dropping to the ground, transforming back to human on his way down.
He landed lightly on the soft ground and breathed the humid air happily. The waterfall wasn't large, nor was the pool it fell into, but it was beautiful and peaceful. Harry took a seat on one of the large boulders and just listened for the longest time. He listened to the birds, the rustle of the trees, the sound of the water, and the silence beneath it all. He sat as still as the boulder he was one, marvelling at how warm his magic was in his veins. It cooed at him, caressing him as it seemed to compress around him like a hug. He smiled unconsciously the whole time.
Then he stood and transformed. Because he'd learned how to change properly with his first two forms, he didn't need much practice with his third form. He transformed perfectly, seamlessly shifting from human into a black stallion. He pranced in a quick circle enjoying how much freedom he felt just being in this form. He felt powerful and fast and free. He galloped around the tiny clearing and the pool for a few minutes testing out his new limbs and such.
He transformed back after a few minutes and decided that even though the cleaning spell had cleaned him up, nothing was better then an actual bath. He shed his cloth onto a near by rock and took a breath before diving into the pool. Luckily it was shallow and the waterfall wasn't big enough to suck him under and have him drown. The water was pleasurably warm and so clear and clean. Harry hummed as he scrubbed himself under the falling water and just enjoyed the silence.
A flurry of silver interrupted his bath. He spun, magic already crackling at his finger tips when he realized it was just a patronus. A beautiful leopard one. Its mouth opened and Elewa's voice emerged.
"Lord Black! Please return now! You're goblin guards are convinced I've done something to you and are now holding me hostage above a boiling pot of oil at spear point!"
There was a pause.
"The goblin Switchblade says that he has always wanted to see how human's taste." Elewa's voice came out with a slight waver as the patronus vanished.
Harry laughed slightly but decided he'd best tell the goblins that Elewa was innocent. He waded to his clothes and pulled out his wanted. He closed his eyes and pictured the exact moment his magic had returned to him.
"Expecto patronum." He chanted.
A burst of silver erupted from his wand.
"Please tell Switchblade that I am taking a bath a ways off and that I will return soon. And please don't hurt Elewa, I left without his knowledge."
The stag gave an amused toss of its head and took off into the trees. Harry sunk back into the water and happily relaxed.
Harry looked over the pretty flower on the branch. He was careful not to touch it as he didn't know what was safe and not so safe here in the middle of the jungle. The flower was small and brilliant red. It had a tempting scent that smelled heavenly. He prodded it with a stick and watched it cringe away from the object as if it could think. Harry knew it was magical.
"That is a dangerous plant."
Harry spun, hang automatically going for the knife at his waist with his left hand and the wand at his hip with his right hand. He turned to face the person who had spoken, ready to defend or attack. He found himself stopping with something akin to shock.
The man he was looking at was certainly not human. He had a human build, about six feet tall and slender, with creamy caramel skin. His lips were a darker mocha color and a small ring of black, almost like eye shadow circled his eyes.
His hair and eyes set him apart from humans though.
His hair started black, all the roots and such black for a good four inches. And then it faded into every color. A dark shade of every color Harry had ever seen was mixed in, all swirls and twists. It was all pulled back in a high ponytail that flared every which way at the ends. Two long locks and bangs framed his face. The bangs were short and all black while the locks both faded to dark red at the ends. Feathers of brilliant red and blue were tied in the thick hair along with strings of wooden and bone beads.
It was his eyes, not the exotic hair, though, that grabbed Harry's attention.
He had no pupils, the irises being larger then usual also. His irises were a sparkling swirl of red, silver, and bronze, all twirling in a mix together like a whirlpool.
Deep purple tattoos stood out on the side of his face, shaped almost like tiger stripes and lines in red and black. Three on each side of his face, angling down from the tops of his ears to his cheeks. He wore a leather vest that hung open showing his slender build. He also wore a pair of loose pants made of coarse red material.
The man tilted his head, examining Harry almost with curious apathy. His face was soft almost sad and he stood loosely, relaxed.
"Hello." Harry ventured softly, but warily.
"Hello." The man spoke again.
His voice was quiet and hoarse like he was unused to using it.
"What are you doing out here?" Harry asked.
"I live out here." The man returned.
Harry took note that he both looked and sounded young. No older then twenty.
"You?" the man asked curiously.
Harry gave a shrug and kept his eyes on the man.
"Are you…" The man cut off, pausing.
He tilted his head again.
"Are you a demon summoner?"
Harry raised his brow, not showing his surprise at the man's observation .
"Ah." He said like that answered everything.
For a long moment there was silence. The man looked at him, his head still tilted to the side in a curious, innocent look.
"I am a demon." He finally answered.
Harry immediately felt for the link. There. Yes, the man was a demon. The link tying him to this realm was loose meaning that his summoner had either tied it and left him or his summoner had died leaving him still tied to the realm.
"How long have you been in this realm?" Harry asked.
"In human years? I think fifty." He responded softly.
"You have the power to return to your realm." Harry said. "All Demon Creatures do, why have you not?"
"I was banished from my clan when my brother became alpha." He said. "Then I was summoned. When my late mistress released me I felt no need to return because there was nothing waiting for me." He answered honestly.
"What type of demon are you?" Harry asked, relaxing slightly.
"I do not know." He shrugged. "I can not remember what I was classified as. I am from the Xico clan though. We are a warrior clan. We fight and protect. We are strongest when summoned to this realm and tied to a master. We gain strength from them."
"Like a body guard."
He just tilted his head at the unfamiliar word.
"You protect people in exchange for their strength." Harry said.
"Yes." The man nodded. "Do you wish me to be your…bodyguard?"
Harry looked at the demon for a long silent moment. Harry could hear the honesty in the man's voice. He could also hear the loneliness.
"I would like that." Harry smiled.
He reached out with his magic and grabbed the loose link tied to the demon. He filled it with his magic and snapped it into place giving himself control. For a moment eh felt his magic flow through the bound. The demon made a noise in the back of his throat that sounded like a purr. They he turned back to the trees and picked up a tall spear. It was sharp, mounted on the end of a long staff with feathers around the edge of the blade part. Harry realized the demon had set it down before greeting him to appear less threatening.
Then the demon sunk to his knee and bowed his head, staff set parallel to him on the ground.
"Greetings Master, my given name is Xi-Wong but you may call me what ever you desire."
Harry was silent for a moment.
"Thank you Xi-Wong. My name is Harry."
The man stood and Harry examined him another long moment. Then he nodded.
"Please tell me more about this flower."
"Of course Master."
"Of course Master."
"Lord Black!" Switchblade called with relief, a snarl on his face despite his tone. "We were very worried!"
He hurried over and checked over every bare inch of him. Harry just rolled his eyes and held on carefully to the small glass box in his hand. Inside the glass box was a small red flower he'd been examining earlier. Switchblade just about decapitated Xi-Wong as the demon stepped from the trees.
"Switchblade!" Harry called to stop the goblin. "This is Xi-Wong. He's a demon I summoned."
Xi-Wong raised a brow but did not correct him as the goblin eyed him warily and tense. Finally he grunted and relaxed, waving them to follow him inside. Harry walked into Elewa's living room to find the man nervously sitting on a couch, the other guard goblin across from him eyes focused on him and spear ready. The man's face lit with relief as he spotted Harry.
"Switchblade?" Harry asked with a frown.
"We were not convinced he had nothing to do with your disappearance." Switchblade grunted.
"I am glad to see you fine my friend." Elewa said, "Else I would be but a cooling body on the floor."
Harry chuckled but smiled at Elewa.
"And who is this?" Elewa asked curiously.
"This is Xi-Wong. My guard." Harry said.
At Switchblade insulted glare he held his hands up in surrender.
"I trust you with my life Switchblade but he was much more suited for guarding me in the jungle."
Switchblade grunted his acceptance.
"We should be leaving." Switchblade announced after a moment. "Griphook expected us an hour ago."
Harry sighed but followed the goblins from the house, Xi-Wong at his side. Elewa stood on the steps as they stepped just on the edge of his ward lines.
"I cannot thank you enough." Harry said, gratitude seeping into his voice.
"You are paying me, that is thanks enough." Elewa laughed, teasingly, grinning even wider at Harry's embarrassed flush.
"I shall make sure Griphook puts that at the top of his priorities." Harry grinned.
Elewa stepped forwards to ruffle his hair. Harry swatted the hand away but shook it as the man held it out again.
"It was good to meet you Harry."
"You to Elewa. And thank you once more."
Elewa just ruffled his hair again. Harry shot him a mock glare and grabbed the portkey held out by Switchblade. In a swirl they were gone.
It took only five minutes to get Griphook to stop flaying Switchblade on why they were so late and introduce the mean goblin to Xi-Wong. The goblin calmed after his explanation and asked him to hand over one of his earrings, which he always wore. Actually the goblin hadn't really asked. It had made a couple remarks that had Harry blushing in embarrassment and practically throwing an earring at the goblin while the other two goblins snickered behind him.
"Why do you need one?" Harry asked, nervously smoothing down his shirt as he tried to will his blush away.
"I'm going to add another language translation onto it." The goblin said curtly leading him from the room they'd portkey'ed into
"Oh." Harry said simply.
Switchblade and the other goblin left them in Griphook's care with barely a nod before heading the opposite way. Xi-Wong prowled only a few steps behind Harry, eyes darting every which way and the hand holding his spear twitching slightly at times. He kept an especially keen eye on Griphook. Harry noticed.
"Xi-Wong," Harry said softly in the empty hall, "I trust Griphook with my life."
Xi-Wong frowned just slightly but seemed to leave it as his eyes didn't stray over the goblin anymore. Griphook led them around a few more turns before stepping into a room. Inside were a few desks with a couple people sitting behind them doing paperwork and the like. They all looked up and stared as the three entered. Griphook led him to the far desk and set the earring down on a stack of paper.
"I need a translation spell on that." Griphook ordered curtly.
The man blinked but drew his wand.
"I thought you had cast the spell." Harry said as he watched.
"No, Translation spells are not as simple as saying the incantation and then knowing the language. The spell is essential the memory of a language. The caster must know the language as the spell pulls the memory of the language from his mind."
Harry blinked in surprise.
"So if you wanted to be able to understand Japanese you'd have to have someone who knew Japanese cast it?"
"Huh." Harry said, a bit surprised at this new knowledge.
The man held the earring back out and Harry took it, putting it back in his ear.
"What language was that one?" He asked as Griphook led him from the room.
Then the goblin shoved another portkey in his hand. Xi-Wong barely had time to grab him before they were gone in a swirl only to land right outside Harry's house, just past the ward line.
"Well, this is the place I call home." Harry said cheerfully.
The demon tilted his head and eyed the flowers and trees as the passed by. Harry threw the door open in a burst of energy and jumped into his house.
"I'm home!" he crowed happily.
Loraine, who had been on the couch, threw herself at him, squealing happily. Xi-Wong must have seen her as harmless as he did nothing to stop her. Harry spun the smaller woman around in a circle. Even though he was small he was not weak and she was smaller then him.
"You look so much better." She cooed, looking him over.
Dante came sprinting from the stairs, a wide grin on his face. He didn't even notice the silent Xi-Wong as he crushed Harry in a hug, cooing over him.
"We were worried." He cooed. "How did it go? Do you have your magic back?"
"Yes." Harry smiled.
The demon finally set him down and noticed the other. He tensed slightly.
"Who is this?" He asked with a frown.
"This is Xi-Wong. He's a demon I summoned."
"From the Xico clan?" Dante asked eyeing his markings.
"Yes. I was banished." Xi-Wong said simply.
A sharp cry interrupted them all and making Dante step aside as Hedwig dive bombed Harry and fussed over him. Harry laughed and stroked his owl as she preened his hair, scanning every inch of him.
"Hello Hedwig dear. Where is Keiruim?"
"We haven't seen the bird lately. He and Hedwig practically vanished when you left." Dante said.
"Ah. And where are Valentine, Harold, and Dudley?"
"They headed for the World Cup Already. Said they'd set up camp." Dante shrugged.
Harry nodded and then glanced at Hedwig who barked at him and made a movement to show she wanted him to follow.
"I'll be back in a few minutes. I'll see what Hedwig wants and then grab my stuff."
He followed Hedwig out the half opened back door and into his sunny garden. Xi-Wong followed closely, eyeing everything but more relaxed then in Gringotts. Hedwig led him to the greenhouse where she slipped in the half opened door. Harry frowned remembering having locked it before leaving but shrugged. He stepped in and was immediately assaulted by the flower Faeries. He pushed them away softly and dodged them to follow Hedwig to the back of the greenhouse.
He found himself staring in surprise at the plant hanging from the ceiling. This plant was one of the ones he'd gotten that ate his magic to grow. It had grown wildly. It had branched into hundreds of strong vines, each holding many flowers of a delicate blue in color. The whole thing though had shaped itself into a vine-y sphere that hung from the ceiling. A small opening was what Hedwig had slipped into. Harry peered in and found the inside was hollow like a giant birdhouse.
He gasped in surprise. Inside was Keiruim curled up happily. Hedwig prodded the Colored Thief and it hesitantly moved. Six pure white eggs lay clustered together. Harry ogled them for a moment.
"Hedwig?" He asked breathlessly.
She barked happily and cuddled against Keiruim, laying over the eggs protectively. Harry softly left the two alone, grinning widely.
"She's having chicks." He told Xi-Wong happily.
The demon just tilted his head slightly.
Harry happily skipped back into the house and to his room where he hummed while tossing things in his red satchel. Uncaring of Xi-Wong who stood next to his door he shed his clothes and changed into a pair of black slacks and a red button up silk shirt that had a black raven stitched on the breast. He grabbed his red fedora and pulled it on before glancing at Xi-Wong.
He dug through his dresser a moment and came up with a pair of dark green shades that matched a couple strands of his hair.
"Here, this will hide your eyes. They may make people uneasy and I don't want you attacked."
Xi-Wong examined them a moment then slid them on awkwardly. Harry smiled.
"Oh, and here, change into this."
He spelled a plain purple shirt and some loose pants to fit the man. The demon changed without prodding and Harry folded his clothes, setting them in one of his extra bags and hanging said bag to him telling him to keep it.
Then Harry grabbed the rucksack and tent he still had from his trip to Egypt and strapped them on his back.
"That's everything. Before we head to the World Cup we'll head to the muggle mall nearby. We can get you some clothes."
He led the demon downstairs where Dante was practically bouncing up and down while waiting. When he saw Harry he launched himself at him.
"Harry! I made you a present."
Harry found a small rectangular box shoved in his hand before he could even open his mouth.
He examined it a moment.
"Um, thank you?"
"Open it." Dante whined.
Harry gently opened the box and found a pair of small oval/rectangular glasses sitting in the box. The silver frames were dainty with small engravings along the side with pictures of small lilies and runes.
"I visited the muggle eye place and got the lenses with your prescription. Harold helped me make the frames." Dante grinned excitedly. "And then I tinkered with them."
Harry warily pulled his own glasses off and put Dante's on. He looked through them and found nothing different. Dante grinned and pulled a book from his robes, shoving it in Harry's hands. Harry looked at him confused before looking down at the book. He flipped a few pages but it was just a story.
"What am I looking at?" He asked.
"Take the glasses off."
Harry took them off. Looking down at the book all he saw was weird lines. He frowned and flipped through the book. It was illegible now, written in another language. He put the glasses back on and started to comprehend what Dante had done. He blinked in amazement.
"That book is in Arabic." Dante clapped happily. "I made it so the glasses can translate any written language still known today."
Harry stared at the demon in amazement. He knew nothing like this existed. If it ever got out what these glasses did they'd be worth more than a fortune.
"Thank you." He whispered breathlessly handing to book back and slipping his old glasses in his bag.
"If you ever want to turn the enchantments off, as if you ever would want to," He scoffed, "you can push the lily on the edge of the frame on the right side."
Harry stored this away in memory.
"Thank you." He smiled.
Dante scooped him in a hug and then set him down just as quickly.
"Now hurry off, you have to make the Quidditch cup which starts in four hours."
Harry just chuckled and pulled his shoes on, transfiguring a pair for Xi-Wong. He prodded the demon into putting the spear in his bag and then led him outside. Once he was sure no one was looking he grabbed Xi-Wong's hand and apparated to a safe apparation spot near a mall.
"If anyone asks, you got your hair died in America."
The demon nodded confusedly and followed Harry into the store.
Harry hummed happily as they stepped from the last store. He'd stopped by the small grocery store to grab some things. Knowing Valentine and Harold they wouldn't have bothered to pack much to eat while Dudley wouldn't have grabbed enough. And he doubted any of them had thought to have brought Galleons, sickles, or knuts. Besides, muggle food was better for camping in his opinion.
Xi-Wong followed behind him fingering his lips absently. They had passed a piercing shop and Harry had noticed Xi-Wong's gaze linger in interest. When the man hadn't said anything Harry had asked if he wanted a piercing, showing the demon his ears. Xi-Wong hadn't said anything but Harry had seen his curiosity and interest. A quick duck in the store had them browsing the piercings. Harry had talked the demon into two lip piercings, one on each side of his mouth, hoops. They looked actually very fitting on the demon.
"I think that's everything we need." Harry said smiling.
Xi-Wong nodded once and followed Harry back out of the mall to the apparation point. Harry paused a moment to remember the coordinates that Sirius had wrote for him when sending the tickets. He grabbed Xi-Wong and with a crack they appeared on an old hillside.
"Help me look for a boot." Harry said to the confused Xi-Wong. "Sirius said you had to catch a portkey in and they ran every two hours here. If we find it in the next five minutes we can catch the ride, if not we have to wait two more hours."
They found the boot in under two minutes. Grabbing a hold of it they were swept off. They landed on a hill similar to the one they had been on. The only difference was this one was overlooking a huge stadium and a huge camp beside a forest. Xi-Wong wrinkled his nose in a frown while Harry grinned. He reached into his satchel and pulled free a summing slip. Pushing magic into it, it exploded in a cloud of smoke. When the smoke cleared Harry found himself face to face with a 'Knife Bird'. It chirped mechanically.
"Please lead me to the other summoner here."
Tracking Demon Beasts had the ability to sense necromancers which were fairly uncommon. The knife bird squawked but took off at a pace Harry could follow.
His name was only a breathless whisper of relief from the tall redhead. Valentine picked him up like he was nothing but a small child and stroked his hair with on free hand as he hugged Harry close.
"We were worried." Valentine breathed as he buried his face in Harry's hair. "Your magic was tied to your wards in a way and we felt it flare in one brilliant burst."
Harry shrugged the knowledge away as he clung to the tall vampire.
"I missed you." He admitted.
Even if it had only been a day he'd missed his friends. He felt Valentine's natural wild magic brush against his own and took comfort in the familiarity. Harold clapped him on the back as he absently examined Xi-Wong from the corner of his eyes. Dudley had appeared amazed at Xi-Wong's appearance and was shyly sitting next to the demon at the table. The tent they had set up was nice, but not extravagant. It had two bedrooms, a large living room, a small cooking area, and a bathroom.
"We'll have to set up a bed on one of the couches for our new guest." Valentine said softly.
"I brought my own tent." Harry replied.
"Ah." Valentine said. "Do you wish for help setting it up?"
"That would be nice."
They slipped from the tent and right next to it set up Harry's smaller one. When it was set up and the magic activated Harry stepped in. It was the same from Egypt with a small sitting room and kitchen, a bedroom and bathroom. The sitting room had two chairs and a small wooden table. The bedroom had a twin bed. Tan rugs covered the floor to match the tan walls. Harry lit the lamp hanging above the table as it was around six and from their position in the valley of the hill the sun was fading.
Harry jolted at the familiar cry.
He hurried out the door, Valentine hot on his heels. He stepped out to find Ron Weasely pointing at Dudley with a frown. Ron himself was standing in front of the next tent over. Arthur Weasely was crouched beside him happily trying to light a fire with muggle matches. Ron caught sight of Harry while Dudley frowned in confusion.
Harry grinned at Ron and hugged him back as the boy clamped him in a hug.
"Harry's here?" Came a familiar voice.
Hermione flew from the tent and squealed launching herself at the two boys. They all went down in a heap, laughing.
"Harrykins is here?"
The two twins quickly joined them in the dog pile while Arthur watched smiling but bemused and Percy sniffed. Ginny stood beside them smiling slightly. When they stood Harry smiled at all his friends.
"How lucky can you get?" Ron asked with a grin, "Camping right next to us?"
Harry laughed and clapped him on the back.
"I thought you couldn't come Harry." Arthur frowned. "Dumbledore said you couldn't."
"Last minute change of plans." He said smoothly. "And I ended up with my own tickets, but thanks for inviting me."
Arthur relaxed and smiled.
"And who are your friends Harrykins?" George and Fred asked together.
Valentine mouthed the nickname back at him and Harry shot him a frown.
"This is my cousin Dudley." Harry said easily pointing to Dudley who waved shyly.
The twins frowned and Harry sent them a stern expression and they held their hands up in surrender.
"And this is Valentine and Harold. They're both friends of the family sent to watch over us while we're here."
The two gave short nods of their heads and shook Arthur's hand.
"And this is Xi-Wong, a neighbour." Harry smiled. "He decided to camp with us instead of alone."
Xi-Wong gave a curt bow of his head.
"Ah, well, I'm going to keep trying to get my fire going." Arthur said jovially.
Harry waved to Dudley and handed him one of the bags from shopping. Dudley looked at it confused.
"It has hotdogs, marshmallows, and some smokies in it with all the buns and condiments." Harry grinned at the boy. "You can share with the Weasely family. Arthur will love it. Put the extras in the icebox."
Dudley nodded quickly and hurried over. Harry got dragged back to the Weasely side of the camp where Fred and George started in on some story, Ron eagerly helped Dudley with the food, and Hermione helped Arthur with the fire. Valentine dragged a chair over and watched the chaos with a smile and Harold disappeared back in their tents. Xi-Wong sat silently next to Valentine and the red head soon drew him into a soft spoken conversation.
Harry looked at himself in the mirror and sighed before flattening his robes one last time. They were a beautiful mixture of dark forest green, dark wood brown, and black. They accented his slender figure and almost made him seem taller. His hair was pulled back in the customary braid and his ears held the small rubies. He made sure his wand was tucked away safely and his glasses were straight before finally stepping out of the tent.
Valentine was dressed in some robes a few shades lighter then his rust colored hair while Harold was wearing his suit and top hat from the eighteenth century. Dudley was dressed in some blue robes and looked slightly uncomfortable. Xi-Wong was dressed in plain black pants and a white button up shirt, his hair in the same ponytail and his shades still on.
"The Weasely family said they would meet us later." Harold said adjusting his hat.
"Let's set off then." Harry smiled, leading the way towards the stadium.
It only took them twenty minutes to get to the stadium. They only stopped to buy a few things from the vendors, mostly for Dudley who was fascinated. It took another ten minutes to make their way to the top box which was mostly empty except a nervous house elf sitting next to a seat that had a strong magical signature. Harry eyed the seat before taking a seat in the labelled seats. Xi-Wong stood behind him silently, not having or wanting a seat. It wasn't long before the minister bumbled in. He launched into a speech with the man following behind him, not even noticing Harry's group. Harry noted the man he was talking to looked important. The few people that followed behind them also looked to be varying degrees of importance.
When the minister did see them he frowned, first seeing Valentine who was lazily lounging on his seat. But then the man caught sight of Harry, or more importantly Harry's scar. Harry doubted the man would have recognized him if not for the scar. Harry had changed enough over the summer he doubted very many people would recognize him.
"Harry, my dear boy!" Fudge bumbled with a large smile.
"Good Evening Minister Fudge." Harry said. "And I would prefer it if you used my title."
Fudge's eyes fell to his ring finger and caught sight of the rings. He stared for a long moment then awkwardly coughed.
"Of course Lord Potter-Black. Would you do me the pleasure of introducing your friends?"
"This is Valentine Cross, a family Friend." Harry said courtesy. "Harold Van Den a close friend and tutor. Xi-Wong my guard. And last but not least my blood relative Dudley Dursely."
Fudge gave hurried greetings.
"And who is your friend minister?" Harry asked.
"Ah, this is the Bulgarian Minster. I've been showing him around but he can't understand a lick of English." Fudge bustled, dismissing the man.
Harry caught a spark in the man's eye.
"Hello Minister." Harry said fluently in Bulgarian.
The man's smile widened.
"Lord Potter-Black. We have heard of your power even in Bulgaria. Surviving a known death curse as a child is news that spreads."
"I must give much of that … praise to my mother." Harry said softly. "As she was the one to sacrifice herself for me."
"Ah." The minister said, "But you are powerful in your own right. A Necromancer that is strong in the Demon Arts and a magically and politically powerful person."
Harry bowed his head in acceptance, completely unsure of how he knew he was a necromancer, and the man turned to Fudge as he tried to take control of the conversation once again.
"I didn't know you knew Bulgarian Lord Potter-Black."
"I understand many languages." Harry said with a faint smirk.
Any further words were interrupted as the Weasely family piled in. Somehow the ticket seating was oddly done and Harry ended up with Percy Weasely on his left with an empty seat on his right.
"Percy." Harry greeted cordially.
"Lord Potter-Black." Percy said politely.
"Ah. Noticed my rings." Harry sighed. "You may call me Harry, Percy."
"Thank you." Percy said simply.
The next and final group to enter the top box was the Malfoy Family. Greetings followed down the line which Harry was at the end of. When the blonde family passed by him Lucius paused.
"Lord Potter-Black." He greeted with a smirk.
Harry shot a frown at his mocking tone but stood.
They clasped hands and Harry noticed the man's hands linger.
"Lord Potter-Black." Draco said through clenched teeth obviously using all his pureblood training not scowl.
"Heir Malfoy." Harry greeted easily but did not shake his hand.
Narcissa curtseyed slightly and politely.
"Lord Potter Black."
"Lady Malfoy." He murmured, kissing her hand delicately.
She swept off to her seat as soon as she could, Draco followed. The fates must have been messing with him when they sat Lucius in the seat to his right. The blonde gave him a slight smirk that could be taken as polite if Harry hadn't seen the taunting in his eyes. Then the lights above them dimmed and the announcer stepped up to start the world cup. Harry relaxed into his seat to enjoy.
"Go ahead of me." Harry said softly.
Harold nodded and led the blabbering Dudley from the top box into the crowds of cheering or sulking people who filed from the stadium. Valentine sent him a fleeting look then followed. Xi-Wong frowned and looked reluctant.
"Can you please watch over the Weaselys and Dudley? I'll be fine." Harry said.
The demon glanced at the leaving family of red heads and then gave a curt nod.
"So all the guard dogs are gone?"
Harry rolled his eyes as he turned to face Lucius.
"Malfoy." He greeted.
"Harry." He smirked back.
Harry sent him a glare but said nothing.
"It was an entertaining match." Lucius spoke easily, changing the subject as they both watched the stadium ever so slowly drain of people.
"Yes." Harry agreed. "I believe the Weasely Twins won a large amount of money for their prediction of the outcome."
Lucius gave a chuckle.
"Did you bet anything yourself?" He inquired.
"No." Harry said easily. "You?"
"No. I did not see the point."
Harry, seeing as the stairwell was much clearer, as most had left, headed for the stairs. Lucius walked beside him easily and Harry noted he and Lucius were the only ones in the area. He didn't bat a lash at this observation.
"I always pictured the 'boy-who-lived' becoming an auror for a living." Lucius remarked flippantly gaining Harry's attention. "Not opening a café."
Harry shrugged off the remark.
"I am not the 'boy-who-lived'. I am Harry." He said simply. "And I love to bake."
"You have a talent for it." Lucius said easily.
Harry tilted his head at the compliment. As they reached the exit of the stadium they both paused. For a moment they stayed in the shadows of the exit looking out at the crowded and loud camp. Half were celebrating their teams win and the other half was just partying for the hell of it.
"I see you got the collar removed." Lucius finally said softly.
Harry saw the man's eyes linger on his bare neck were the collar once sat. Harry reached up and felt his throat.
"Yes." He said. "I did."
"And you are sure you do not want the services of my solicitor?"
"…No." Harry shook his head. "The man who put it on me was ignorant of how much damage it could and did do. He did it with my best interests I believe."
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Lucius quoted dryly.
"…Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has yet to come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering." Harry returned softly.
"I do not believe I have heard that before." Lucius said idly. "And are you implying that you should just forget the wrongs done to you and forgive the man who committed them?"
"It was a muggle author who said it. And no, I'm not implying I should forgive and forget. I'm saying he meant no harm by it and it was a mistake. It is much easier on myself to forget the mistake then have it brought up and dragged out. I shall confront him on it at another date, but for now, I am enjoying the present."
Lucius sighed. Then he held out a hand. Harry took it and the man gave a firm shake.
"I will trust you on this then. For now, I must return to my family."
"And I to mine." Harry smiled.
Lucius paused at the soft smile. Slowly he kissed Harry's hand.
"I should hope you will become an ally and friend of mine Harry."
Harry blushed slightly at the kiss but smiled.
"It seems that hope is becoming much more of a possibility the more I come to understand you Malfoy."
Lucius smiled and then gently let his hand drop before turning and vanishing into the crowd. Harry watched him go before heading for his own camp.
"Whooo!" Fred grinned widely spinning in a circle.
Harry laughed as the dizzy boy crashed into his twin brother and dragged Ron down with them resulting in a quick tussle. Percy, who sat beside Harry, made an odd expression that on the outside showed disapproval but the sparkle in his eye said longing.
"You could join in if you wanted Percy." Harry said softly.
Percy jerked startled. Then he shook his head.
"It is not befitting of someone my age, or even theirs." He sniffed.
"Live life to its fullest." Harry responded.
Percy just shook his head.
"What book are you reading?" Harry asked seeing he wanted to drop the subject.
"A Guide to the Ministry Of Magic." He said proudly. "I have been given a job there."
Percy stilled and looked away. Harry could read the message as plain as day though. No one else had congratulated him.
"You'll do well." Harry continued. "You've got the drive and a good head on your shoulders."
"Thank you." Percy said softly.
Harry pulled a piece of paper over to him and wrote out his cafe's address.
"Stop by there one day." He smiled. "It's a small café that has very good tea. You could even sit there and do paperwork."
Percy examined the address then slipped the paper in his robes.
"Thank you." He repeated.
Harry just offered a smile and stood.
"I think I'll be turning in for the night now." He announced loudly.
'Boo's came from the twins while Ginny gave an odd frown. Arthur nodded with a smile and Percy bid him goodnight. Ron and Hermione gave him soft smiles. Harry headed for his tent and stepped in. Xi-Wong followed and headed for the cot set up in the living room. Harry yawned tiredly and quickly brushed his teeth and changed into some plain black sleeping pants and a white t-shirt. He turned the lamp off and made sure Xi-Wong was fine before moving into his own room.
He practically collapsed on his bed, exhausted from the day's activities. He smothered his face into his pillow and breathed deeply, letting himself relax into the soft mattress. Before he could find sleep though a rustle of cloth signified his door opening. Silence dominated for a moment before his blankets were lifted and a body slid into bed with him. Strong arms circled his waist and pulled him into a strong chest.
Harry buried his face in Valentine's night shirt and smiled softly at the comfort.
"You worried me terribly for a while there poppet." The vampire whispered softly. "I have grown attached to you."
Harry smiled and found consciousness start becoming quite elusive when surrounded by warmth and the familiar presence of Valentine.
Harry woke to Valentine shifting next to him. He opened his eyes blearily and gazed up confused at the heavily frowning vampire. At that moment Xi-Wong slid into the room. He took a bare second to frown at Valentine then met both their eyes.
"We have a problem."
Harry had his clothes on and his bag over his shoulder in record time. Valentine followed as he sprinted from the tent.
"What's happened?!" He yelled at Arthur Weasely who was running from his tent, the group following him.
"We don't know!" He returned, panicked.
The two eldest Weasely boys, who had arrived late, ran off into the crowd now running about to find out what was going on. Then there was a scream.
Harry had never seen anyone pale as fast as Arthur Weasely.
"To the forest kids." He said in a strained calm tone.
Harry wiped a summoning tag from his bag and flared it up gaining attention from the Weasely family. A huge clan of Hell Hounds appeared, growling at the smell of blood in the distance and the sound of screaming. They looked to his order though.
"One to each Weasely member." He barked his order. "You will protect them with your lives. Follow any of their orders unless it is directly against protecting them. Go!"
They quickly realized who the 'Weasely' family was and split up to stand by their sides, two hurrying off after the other two Weasely Boys. Everyone was smarty enough not ask questions at the moment. The last three hounds whined their question.
"Protect Dudley and Harold and Hermione." He said pointing to the three.
"Too the forest?" Harold asked calmly.
"Yes. Please watch over Dudley."
Harold nodded and dragged the scared boy off, leading the Weasely children with him.
"Xi-Wong." Harry barked turning to the man. "Protect the Weaselys'!"
He didn't hesitate at the order and was gone in a flash after the Redheads. Harry paused another second to pull out a tag. This time he wrote one instruction in the rune circle. Warrior. He pumped his magic into it and in a soundless bang a tall willowy woman appeared. She had thick blonde hair and feral brown eyes. Purple markings swirled over all visible skin. She wore an outfit made of spotted fur that was tight but modest. She gazed at him questioningly and confused, a long knife made of white bone in her hand.
"I'm a Demon Summoner." He said briskly. "You are in my realm. I need you help."
She nodded at his curt attitude and strong will.
"As you wish." She said with a thick accent.
"Target any and all that wear dark clothing with masks of white on their face. Do not kill, but make sure they stay down."
She nodded and leapt over the stream of running people.
"Valentine." Harry said softly, turning to the vampire.
During the distraction of orders he'd packed up both Harry's tents and the Weasely ones.
"You're going ahead." The redhead sighed.
"Yes. Please find the others."
"Be careful Poppet." He warned before leaping into the surging crowd.
Harry leapt for the air and transformed into a raven taking to the night air.
Harry looked down on the large camp from above. It had been thrown into panic. There were actually very few Death Eaters. So few it couldn't be an attack. They were just playing with the muggle family and chasing some muggle borns but they did so in a way they yelled drunk.
It wasn't an attack but so much fear was left over from the last war that even just their costumes were throwing over a thousand people into panic. Most tents had been trampled and everyone was running for apparation points and portkeys. Everyone who couldn't ran into the forest to hide. A large group of smarter ones had barricaded themselves in the stadium.
Harry's summon, the woman, was systematically hunting down the Death Eaters at least.
Harry cursed to himself as he saw one of the cloaked men go after a younger child who was separated from her parents. Harry dived from the air, transforming in time to tackle the man to the ground. The little girl was swept up by a man who hugged her close and ran. Harry made sure the man under him was out before transforming this time into his grim form and weaving through the wreckage of the camp, the few fires lighting his way as he ran.
He leaped over a tent in time to see a man shoot a stunning spell at one of the Death Eaters. This Death Eater obviously wasn't as drunk as his companions as he managed to fire a severing charm back. It nicked the other man who downed the Death Eater seconds later with a barrage of spells.
As the man fell back to his knees, hands pressing to his wound, Harry recognized him. Harry hurried over. Lucius spotted him hurrying and must have thought he was attacking as he fumbled for his wand again. Harry quickly transformed and came to a stop next to him. Lucius Malfoy stared in shock as he changed
"Are you okay? We should move." Harry said checking the wound.
It was deep enough to need stitches and it was bleeding quite a lot.
"We need to get you to someone proficient in healing spells." Harry cursed.
Lucius attempted to stand and tripped.
"I think I twisted my ankle," He said blandly, "Against a drunken fool in a costume."
Harry couldn't help but laugh. Then he changed. Lucius stared in obvious shock at the tall black stallion. Harry tossed his head impatiently and laid next to him. Lucius shook from his shock and slid on, gripping Harry's mane. Harry got back to his feet as smoothly as possible and cast a mild wandless sticking charm. Then he took off at a gallop.
He felt Lucius cling to him as he headed for the trees expertly jumping over anything in his way and avoiding anyone still left in the open. Once in the safety of the trees he slowed his gallop to walk, picking his way through the darkness easily.
He heard voices a ways off and headed straight for them. As he stepped into the clearing he found ten wands aimed at him. They all lowered as they realized he was a horse and not an attack. The group appeared to be a group of older teens, most in their early twenties.
"Hey, dude, there's a man with the horse." One piped up.
Lucius let out an exasperated sigh already. Harry gave a whinny of amusement.
"Is there a healer around?" Lucius drawled.
"I know a few spells." A girl said stepping forwards. "I'm still an apprentice but you don't look to hurt."
"My shoulder is cut and my ankle is twisted." Lucius said blandly.
"Easy." The girl snorted.
Harry lowered Lucius to the ground and stood by as he waited for the girl to finish.
"This your trained pet or something?" One of the other guys asked holding a hand up for Harry to smell.
Harry snorted at him. Lucius glanced at him. Harry shook his head in a way that Lucius took to be an 'okay'.
"He's an animagus." Lucius said shortly, wincing as the wound on his shoulder slowly closed.
"Cool!" The boy said more eagerly, looking at Harry.
Harry threw his head as if to say he wouldn't be changing back at the moment.
When Lucius was fully healed he offered his thanks and the two headed off again, this time Lucius walking with a hand to his back instead of riding. Once out of view Harry shifted seamlessly to his grim form and sniffed the air. He turned slightly and led Lucius off to where he smelled Narcissa and Draco. As they reached the area where the other two Malfoys were waiting Lucius caught on.
Harry stopped when Lucius understood his family now waited just behind a few trees. Lucius paused with him. For a long moment Lucius was silent.
"You're not returning to Hogwarts are you." Lucius stated.
Harry shook his head in agreement.
"I will be taking my OWLS as soon as possible." Harry said, changing his voice box back to human.
"If you run into any problems, contact me." Lucius said. "I'll get you in within an hour of a call."
Harry smiled, though it looked more like a dark grin in his Grim form.
"Thank you Lucius."
"That's the first time you've called me by my first name." He said.
Harry raised a brow at him. The blonde smirked then nodded once. He then straightened, brushing his robe smooth.
"Wait," Harry called as he took a step.
Lucius raised a brow at him but paused all the same.
"Next time you come to my café, could you bring Snape?"
"Severus?" Lucius asked, a slight frown tugging at the corners of his lips.
"Yes. I have to talk to him, but knowing Snape he won't come just because of that."
Lucius's lips twitched at the description but he nodded all the same. And then he was through the trees and meeting a relieved Narcissa and Draco. Harry watched as they vanished with a crack.
The demon woman he had summoned appeared with nary a sound not even a second later.
"All the men are dealt with." She said in a soft voice. "They have been restrained and left for your people to retrieve."
"Thank you." Harry said, still in Grim form.
He lips twitched into a smirk.
"It was fun, call me again should you need any assistance in battle."
Then she grabbed his left paw and nicked it with her finger. He felt the familiar spark of magic and then she vanished with a puff of smoke. Harry knew when he changed back to human he would have another tattooed band on his left wrists.
He breathed out in a rush and looked to the sky. He'd have to go find the others before they started to worry.
END OF AUGUST 26th