-x-x-x-x-

Someone was yelling and snarling while another spoke coldly.

A third was seemingly old and frail, but was, at the same time, sly and oddly nagging.

Harry woke to find himself in a corner of the conference room, partially hidden behind an overturned wall table and half-curled into a cloud-mate's warm side.

The world, he noticed, was overlaid by darkness, grey shadows wrapping around furniture and bright, fiery light was wrapped around the people; vibrant, 'enemy-fight-protect young' black-green for his cloud-mates, the goblins and the two humans his cloud had been had been talking to earlier were a particularly fiery shade of fire opal, which meant aggression and protectiveness wholly different from what his cloud-mates were projecting. Still, there was a sense of 'one of Us-protect child from Not Us'.

But, opposing the goblins was a group, mostly of people with uncertain shadowy grey emotions with sparks of old-blood red-brown superiority and a greenish-brown shade that said they were disgusted by the race the goblins belonged to. One, a small round woman, was projecting possessiveness and an overwhelming desire to control, resulting in an oddly disgusting warp like a set of bruises that had been left to heal a little before being re-bruised.

Still, the overpowering intent projecting from the old man was utterly repulsive.

Harry, having never come into contact with this set of intent, was unable to identify this chaotic symphony of madness.

Harry pressed himself into the side of his cloud-mate, letting loose a soft trill-keen of confusion, bowing to her greater knowledge.

"Covetousness." She murmured, her oddly deep voice brimming with hatred. "Desire for unopposed control. Self-delusion. Megalomania. Self-righteousness. Albus Dumbledore believes he is God. Maybe not in so many words, but he believes everything he does and believes is the only Right there is."

"Harry, my boy-"

'Harry, my boy' turned and suddenly his mouth was wide enough to reach the ends of his jawbone(*), his teeth splitting into three smaller pointed teeth each as he hissed at the Headmaster of Hogwarts, face contorting into a near-animal motley of instincts, teeth, anger and distrust.

Then buried his face back into his cloud-mate's side as she crooned, keeping one darkening green eye on the intruders through the overturned table's legs.

The intruders' auras flared with horror of a pale indescribable colour and a few with out-and-out burning green hatred.

"Oh, Harry..." The old intruder murmured, his sad and disappointed voice at odds with the calculating icy blue and sugar pink covetousness. "Come with us and we'll see about returning you to your old shape."

The old intruder moved as if to approach Harry, who was releasing a steady, back off hiss-growl-cough like a threatened cheetah.

The goblins closed ranks in front of the old intruder, flanked by the two wizards whose wands were drawn and pointed, just as Harry's male cloud-mate's projections almost solidified into deep black shot with leaf green, almost completely committed to fighting the enemy. The female cloud-mate shifted into a crouch, subtly pushing him behind her.

The intruders rallied behind the old intruder...

Then the doors opened and a dozen goblin guards out-flanked the intruders, followed by several Aurors, an older woman with a square jaw and a monocle whom Harry vaguely remembered as being someone in charge, and someone who was something else.

Harry nudged his cloud-mate curiously.

"A vampire from the Magical Being Liaison Department." She murmured.

Harry nodded and turned his attention back to what was happening.

All the intruders but the old intruder had been disarmed and were kneeling on the floor with their hands behind their heads, the Aurors standing behind them in guard positions. The goblins were quite aggressively positioned between Harry and the old intruder, not even allowing the Aurors past.

The vampire had approached his male cloud-mate and the two were talking softly.

The older woman, now recognised as Madam Amelia Bones of the DMLE, was looking sternly and angrily around the room, projecting anger at the old intruder and what Harry could only describe as extreme aggravation over the newest Dumbledore Cluster Fuck(TM).

"May I ask what in the name of Circie's swine is going on here?" She demanded of the room in general.

Razin turned from his hastily whispered conversation with the vampire to respond. "Do you want the laws Dumbledore has broken numerically, alphabetically or chronologically? Any way you choose, the list may take a few days to get as complete as we can get it." Razin paused. "And can you please take the old man into custody? As the legal guardian of the offended minor, I can and will be pressing charges. I imagine Gringotts bank will also be pursuing a lawsuit."

The goblin who had been in the middle of the original three nodded with a smile-snarl. "We shall indeed."

The old intruder, identified as Headmaster Albus Dumbledore now that the over-lapping world of light and shadow was fading as Harry came out of his instinct-driven state, opened his mouth and spoke, the oddly nagging sound irritating Harry's ears and causing his head-wings to hug close to his head in distress.

Harry whined and pressed his hands to his ears. He heard Rosalene's voice saying something in a sharp tone, which resulted in a sudden outburst of noise and movement.

The strong scent of spiced treacle filled his nose, the scent from the left was Rosalene's scent of hot metal and dragonblood incense, but the one from in front of him was wind before rain, wet wood and turned earth.

Opening his eyes, Harry was unsurprised to find the scent belonged to Razin, who was kneeling in front of him, wrist held near his nose.

Something softened in Razin's intense face, leading harry to realise that the two Velen were worried about him and how he was reacting.

Slightly dazed, Harry blinked slowly up at his mentor with now solid black eyes, absently rubbing his jaw-line against the offered wrist like a cat.

Razin smiled and turned his hand, rubbing under Harry's chin.

Rosalene said something in the other language the Velen used, simply called 'Common'. He would be learning it soon.

Razin replied and nodded.

Looking again at Harry, he smiled and held out a hand. "C'mon. We'll be coming back on another day. Rosalene's gonna stay behind and sort everything out with the Ministry and reschedule a meeting with your account managers. Selwyn has gone to retrieve an information package for magical schools you can finish your education in, though I've already told him that we want to give you a year to adapt to your altered body." At Harry's look, Razin explained further. "Selwyn is the vampire from the Magical Being Liason Department. He's descended from Clan Scota, who have close ties to Clan Bastet as their Founders are cousins. Apparently he deals with two or three inheritances like this every year, so he has contingency plans in place to protect people like you in the vulnerable early stages of your changes."

Sticking close to Razin's side, the two males quietly left the room through the side door shown to them by a goblin guard while Madam Bones and her Aurors forcefully led the much protesting Dumbledore out of the room into the main corridor.

Just as the two reached the floo fireplaces in a room off the entry hall, Razin gave Harry a mischievous little-boy grin, dimples and all.

"So, Harry...Have you ever given thought to potholing?"

Harry blinked.

"What's potholing?"

-x-x-x-x-

Potholing, Harry found, was his new favourite hobby.

It was, essentially, the United Kingdom's term for caving, also called spelunking in North America.

Having lived in the cupboard under the stairs for so much of his younger life, Harry was neither claustrophobic nor scared of the dark, so he was right at home in the literally cave-riddled underground of the Velen Archipelago, which was suspended in a Barrier Wold.

He was especially enamoured by cavern diving, which Razin found odd considering cambions were beings of air and darkness, and cats were rather lacking in gills and webbing. Further testing showed some internal or magical traits from his naga ancestor, which gave him an affinity for rain and water (and a peculiar affinity for pearls), and what they suspected might have been a shapeshifting sighthound($) from the Wild Hunt, resulting in a strong prey-drive and a decent, though not primary, sense of smell. As far as they could tell, Harry would never become afflicted with a cambion's sex-based metaphysics.

Dog, cat, snake and rat. It sounded like the bad opening for a joke.

It also rendered him, technically, a humanoid chimera instead of a cambion, but the cambion was less stigmatised than a chimera, so Razin had had Harry listed as a cambion on the Velen Register.

Harry had sulked a little when Razin set down the rules of never potholing alone and always following a line unless the teen was in Razin's company.

Rolling her eyes, Rosalene had dragged Harry away, out to one of the smaller islands, called Momolene, to snorkel around the tropical reef there and to introduce her foster-child to his great-grandfather, the naga Barsaat, who's name meant 'Welcome rain' and also happened to be a consummated shapeshifter.

Harry hadn't known what a naga was until he'd met his very young-looking great-grandfather, who also happened to really be a giant shapeshifting black cobra with a shiny bluish pearl imbedded in his forehead.

All Harry could think at the time was that Dumbledore was a dirty liar. Here he'd been, blindly trusting that he'd inherited his abilities as a parselmouth when he was attacked by Voldemort, when really he'd just had a snake for a near ancestor.

The little cambion wondered what other bullshit Dumbledore had spewed out that wasn't connected to the Dark Lord, but was just Harry.

When talking to Barsaat, who had a surprisingly dry sense of humour, Harry had also been informed that Voldemort was not, currently, THE Dark Lord, but only one of five worldwide.

He wasn't even the scariest.

That title currently belonged to the Dark Priestess Alejandra of the Caribbean. No one particularly wanted to cross that lagaroo(+). She did her own dirty work.

Something about skinning...

-x-x-x-x-

Harry was floating on the sandy bottom of a warm pool at the bottom of the sinkhole below his house, able to breathe just fine with the help of gillyweed.

He was meditating in streams of bright, flickering sunlight, calmly ignoring the trio of young sea-snakes playing tag around his body, totally at peace with himself...

'FWOOSH!'

Black eyes snapped open and he gritted his teeth.

'Mory...!'

The impish Velen girl with dark ivory skin and black hair grinned, flashing her sharp, pointy teeth, knowing damned well he wanted peace from his 'fanclub'.

Amamory 'Mory' Brookes was some four hundred years his senior and his self-proclaimed best friend. She was half Unseelie Sidhe and half Velen-Water Fey, and had triggered her Nero Pazzia strain at fourteen during an attempted rape by one of her Sidhe father's enemies. The attacking Sidhe, a prince in that Court, had not survived the sudden personality shift. Barsaat and a melusine named Olga were her foster-parents, so she was rather attached to her 'little nephew'.

Mory never spoke of the Velen mother who had abandoned her to her distant, albeit loving, father. She hadn't seen her father since before the attack, and would likely never see him again.

Harry was personally thankful, on her behalf, that Velen disassociated themselves from memories from their previous lives; the instinctive, subconscious barrier that allowed everything to float away to the back of their mind, muting any sense of loss they may have felt over the change within months.

Harry would admit to himself, and never out loud, that he was a lot fonder of Mory than he had ever been of Ron and Hermione. Ron had been a friend out of necessity; at once both stupid and full of knowledge. Hermione, while infinitely smarter, had just attached herself to the two of them and Harry had been too submissive to tell her she wasn't wanted.

Mory, with her perky, pranking, bouncing-ball-o'-light personality, had been someone who had dragged Harry out into harmless catastrophe after harmless catastrophe, each weirder and more absurd than the last. At the end, Harry hadn't been able to resist enjoying Mory's playful, trouble-riddled existence.

What remaining Snares left in Harry's mind and personality by Dumbledore were flooded, broken down, or over-ridden. Harry rather thought it was akin to walking from a cold, shadowed hall into a warm, sunlit courtyard.

Harry jerked and swiped at Mory when the girl-woman trickled his ribs.

"How long until the gillyweed wears off?" She asked, her voice echoing clearly through her element.

Lacking the vocals needed for speaking underwater, despite the gillyweed, Harry checked his water-proof watch.

He held up three fingers, then five. Fifteen minutes.

"Okay. Razin and Rosalene are up on your veranda waiting for you. Apparently it's getting to the point where you have to choose a school." She grinned and let loose a squeal as Ronan, a Velen-selkie, goosed her as he flashed past.

So much for privacy.

Still, he hadn't realised that he would be turning seventeen in a little over a month, meaning he would be an adult in the eyes of most magical ministries.

There were usually only three to five new Velen a decade, either born, awakened or, much more rarely, infected, so the small group was usually put into the same school at the same time to finish their official schooling, while learning from the older Velen in the mean time.

But he was Harry Potter. If he didn't finish his education, people would start asking questions.

Razin had come up with a one-year grace period under the guise of helping Harry get used to his new body on the fly. This gave the main council time to decide what to do.

Regardless of where Harry went, four 'young' Velen would be quietly entered to watch his back. Mory would be amongst them, already a trained assassin and thief with several unofficial Masteries in the Arts.

He also suspected they would send a Velen-vampire, who currently worked under the moniker of 'Wicked', as well. Wicked was, frankly, more than a little wicked in nature, but not evil, and had never, according to Mory, done or brought harm to any Velen in living memory.

Wicked appeared to be seventeen most of the time, but due to his extensive Metamorphmagus abilities, he could look like anyone, though he preferred dark hair and his base gender of male. He had a wicked sense of humour (excuse the pun) and worked primarily in Intel outside the Barrier World.

Harry quite liked him so long as he didn't have to take classes from the man.

The cambion was almost positive that Razin and Rosalene had already decided they wanted Harry to go to Tumultuosa Aequora, which meant turbulent waters. It was a school where humans without inherited abilities were strictly forbidden and was the favoured school to send young Velen to.

He heard it was...interesting.


(*)Like the Doom and Gloom Sisters in the first arc of Sailor Moon.

($) A sighthound is a hound that hunts by sight rather than nose. They have a strong prey-drive instinct (read: if it runs, they will chase it, regardless of countercommands, until they either catch or lose it). Sighthounds include, greyhounds, wolfhounds, deerhounds, Pharaoh Hounds, saluki, etc.

+ A vampire-like witch who has made a deal with the devil for power. She appears as a kindly old lady by day but every night she leaves her skin under a 'devil's tree', the silk cotton tree, and cannot return to it until she had harvested enough blood. She flies around as a ball of light or fire during this time.