Chapter 17

"'Know thy enemy'. Your words, professor." Harry smiled bitterly, he had learnt far more in the course of the war than he had ever wanted to. "Magic is a beautiful thing, sadly it can be just as ugly."

"Sounds like something Albus would say." snorted Snape, lightening the mood noticeably.

"That would be because he did." quipped Harry as he chuckled.

"Exprime is fine for referencing." Snape added to remind Harry of his questions.

"Right, my best guess would be sixty or so Inferi, maybe a few more Dementors, umm, six spells rated seven, five I'd put at an eight, two at a nine and one at an eleven. No, I don't know what it was, before you ask." Harry shrugged his lack of knowledge.

"How did you overcome it, if you didn't know what it was? What was the effect?" Filius asked with his eyes narrowed as he looked Harry over as if seeing him for the first time.

"Umm, not too sure, my memory is a little hazy around the end, a couple of the Inferi managed to take chunks out of me and I was bleeding everywhere. I don't know precisely what it did, it felt like a dreaming curse, that kind that makes your nightmares not only real for you but everyone else in the vicinity too. I disabled it before it could fully take effect, I just kind of – overwhelmed it. It still played havoc with my dreams for months after and I think there was more to it as well." Harry frowned as he tried to remember more clearly and ignored the assessing looks he was receiving from his professors.

"You said you were healing yourself as you sat down?" Minerva said making her statement a question.

"Yeah," Harry blinked and worried he might get whiplash if they kept changing the direction of the conversation so abruptly, "would you believe it's a trick I picked up from Voldemort?"

Harry chuckled as mouths dropped open and Filius started stuttering.

"Did you never wonder, during the first war, how he managed to fight for as long as he did? You never see him looking tired or worn out. He uses his own magic in a kind of feed back loop. It's not easy to learn and takes a lot of power to do but doesn't actually use any. Instead of keeping your magic stationary in your body as most wizards do, you encourage it to circulate through you."

"That was the cause of your visible aura?" Filius asked, his voice pitched full of curiosity.

"Yeah, I think so. I have only used it once in battle, there wasn't any real need before that. That was the day I came back. I was too bust to notice pretty lights at the time though."

Harry stopped talking for a second as he set his magic to circulating. He played about with the speed he circulated it and after only a few seconds his hair was sparking.

He now realised why he had never seen the effect while practising, he had only ever moved it slowly through him. With it now moving faster, he could feel it making his skin and mind buzz. The faster he moved it the more he felt like he could do.

He could reach up to the sky and rearrange the stars with how it was making him feel.

He slowed it back down so it was just enough to make him spark, worried about what he might decide to do if he kept it up.

He played with the sparks circling his fingers as he started talking again.

"When I killed him, Voldemort, I absorbed some of his magic... I think this is just a physical manifestation of that extra power. Like I said, I don't use this too much, it makes me feel too wired to keep up." Harry grinned as he flicked sparks from one hand to the other. "What is it with me and electricity?"

"Ell eck trice ity? Minerva repeated carefully.

"Electricity." Harry repeated with surprise, he would have expected her to have understood the term, she was a head of house as well as a professor. She dealt with muggleborns on a daily basis. "Muggle version of magic, makes their lights work and that kind of thing. I have a lightning bolt scar, lightening is caused by an electrical storm, my animagus is some kind of lightning bird and now I have it visibly running over my skin."

"You managed the animagus transformation?" Minerva snapped at the chance to talk about it.

Harry just stood and moved over to the mats before transforming. His cry shrieked through the air as he wheeled around the room twice and landing on the back of the chair.

He spread his wings and raised his crest as he gave a shrill cackle.

"Dear Merlin! He's a Hamerkop!" Minerva gasped as looked him.

Electricity was sparking all around him, Minerva seemed unable to help herself and stretched a hand forward to touch him.

Harry launched off the chair before she could come close and swooped around the room once more. As his neared the three adults, he dived and transformed mid air, landing cleanly on his feet just a few steps away from his chair.

"Sorry, Minerva, but I'm not too safe to touch." Harry grinned as he sprawled into his seat. "What did you call me?"

"A Hamerkop but surely you know that?" Minerva asked as she took her turn to assess him more closely, just as Filius had done earlier.

"Nope, you three are the first people I have shown. I only learnt shortly before the final battle with Voldemort and it was a small achievement at the time, less so after the battle and then with the next idiot who jumped to fill the gap Voldemort's death left. Is a Hamerkop rare or something? You sound like you want to dissect me!" Harry laughed.

"You might say such a form was rare but that would insinuate that there had been a previous occurrence." Snape drawled.

"Okay, I'm the first but surely it's not that strange for people to become something for the first time?"

"Perhaps not, but a magical creature is rare in itself, as powerful as a Hamerkop is... I had not expected to ever even hear of such thing!" Minerva replied as her eyes continued trying to burrow beneath his skin, like she thought she would find the answer to his unprecedented ability there.

"Powerful? I can't do any magic in that shape though." Harry was slightly confused by their reactions, he really hadn't thought it such a great thing.

"Why, even the muggles have known of it's power for centuries!" Filius exclaimed.

"If you say so, it wasn't the best choice though, not as far as I know. I can fly, yes and it gives me a little control of electricity." Harry demonstrated by flicking a bit at his cup of tea resting on the coffee table, the electric fizzled around the edge for a millisecond before moving into the liquid and making it bubble as it heated. "But it also makes me glow, not very good if you want to be inconspicuous and anything I touch instantly burns to a crisp."

"Hmm, have you tried attempting to control your elec-tricity?" Minerva asked as she started thinking about his problem from a logic point of view, instead of trying to analyse him.

"Like I do with my magic? Just pull it inside?" Harry asked his questions even as he moved away a little.

Before anyone could answer him he had transformed.

The electric actually felt quite like his magic, more slippery and almost self-aware but with a bit of a struggle he managed to pull it in for a few seconds. Almost as soon as it was constrained it was fighting to escape though and soon did, making his feathers stand on end and crackle as it washed back over him.

"Hmm, I think I'll need to practice a little, it's kind of... slippery. Doesn't like being put away." Harry grinned even as he thought over how it felt.

He thought he had read about something similar to how it felt... Elemental magic? Hmm, there wasn't an element specifically designated to lightning, not like Earth Magic was used in herbology. Not that most people even knew that it was an elemental magic used in it, nor the Air Magic was used on brooms.

It was an old branch of magic, pre-Hogwarts at least. It was more a difference in the way the magic was cast more than anything else, the magic itself was no different.

It was used before schools were developed, when there were masters and apprentices. It was very difficult to teach to more than a single person at a time, if Harry remembered correctly. That was why it had been changed, words and wand movements were added in to make mass teaching possible.

Elemental magic could most closely be compared to non-verbal spells, but even then there were differences. Non-verbal spells still needed wand movements and to have the words thought.

In comparison, Elemental magic needed only to hold a wand, not even always then, and to think about what you wanted to happen, to visualise it, right down to the molecular changes.

But what element would lightning fall under? In certainly wasn't water or earth, it could be air, that's where it was born from, he was also a bird... but then it reminded him a lot of Fiendfyre, the way it writhed in his grasp, straining for freedom.

"You need to contain your power?" Filius broke into his thoughts.

"Hmm, oh, yeah. I'm a bit overwhelming, or so I've been told." Harry flushed slightly, that was not the kind of thing he had want to tell his professors and he waited for a snide comment from Snape about arrogance.

"Would you show us?" Filius spoke before Snape could and ignored the glare that it earned him.

"Are you sure? I would rather no-"

"Yes, it's best we know what we're dealing with." Minerva cut him off.

Harry felt his cheeks heat deeply as he squirmed, "I really don't think-"

"You never do." Snape sneered at him and Harry was bewildered for a moment at the sudden venom in the voice.

"Fine." Harry glared back as he released his control and let the magic pour out of him.

He gasped as he felt the magic flood through him, it was just like the night Voldemort died, the sudden all over body tingling that made him feel like he was alive for the first time. Every time it felt just as good as the last, it was horrifyingly addictive, it was an initial buzz strong enough to make even his paranoid brain shut down for a while, followed by a constant high, the kind that left you feeling like you could do absolutely anything, only in his case, he did have the power to do absolutely anything he could think of. His brain kicked back in with the second stage though, thankfully.

He became aware of the moaning coming from the others in the room and quickly raised his shield as he slapped his hands over his ears. He had never, ever wanted to know what Minerva and Filius sounded like in that way! Yuck!

"Satisfied?" he snapped at Snape before grimacing at his choice of words with Minerva and Filius still in the room.

"Yes." Snape smirked back.

Harry glared at him for a few seconds before it sunk in that Snape had done it on purpose. He had insulted him to make him angry enough drop his shield.

Sneaky bastard!

Harry's glared dropped into a wry chuckle, "You always could make me lose my cool."

"So it would seem."

Minerva and Filius were staring at them both with shock.

"Severus Snape! You knew that would happen! Didn't you! Oh, I ought to turn you into a goldfish, a week on my desk might teach you-"

"You too, wanted to know, did you not, Minerva?" Snape sneered in return.

Harry hid a giggle as he watched Minerva tell Snape off like a child, never mind the fact that he had been a teacher for much longer than he had been a student.

"And you Mr Potter! I can not believe-"

"Oh, no you don't! I tried to tell you. You kept cutting me off! Don't go looking to me for blame." Harry crossed his arms as he leant back in his chair and grinned.

"Perhaps we should go now and meet again on Wednesday?" Filius jumped in and stopped Minerva from replying.

"Sure, if that's okay with everyone else." Harry shrugged.

He received words of consent back from the others before he left the room. Hermione was expecting him to turn up at some point that evening to write their transfiguration homework together.

"Good evening, Harry." Albus smiled as Harry walked through the door to his office.

"Good evening, Albus. You wanted to see me?" Harry smiled back as he dodged the proffered sherbet lemon and tea.

"Yes. Minerva and Filius both came to see me today." Albus paused as though expecting a reply, before continuing when none was forth coming, "They are quite impressed by you, my boy."

"Yeah, I got that impression last night. I probably need to explain that it's all practical knowledge, not theoretical, that was Hermione's jurisdiction." Harry smiled back.

"No need to be so modest, my boy!" Albus twinkled in that maddening way he had.

"Honest, not modest." Harry shrugged back.

"Either way, both Filius and Minerva are sure that your placement in their classes is a complete waste of time as you are."

"What would they have me do instead?" Harry sighed as he sat back in the chair, crossing his legs. "There isn't much."

"I believe they are under the impression that you should start studying to sit for mastery of their disciples. They also have asked if you can sit in as teaching aids in their classes." Albus twinkled a bit more before helping himself to another sherbet lemon.

"They want me to teach." Harry stated rather than asked with a raised eyebrow. "And how do you plan on explaining that to my class mates?"

"I was under the impression that the other Gryffindor first year boys already believed you to have taken advanced classes." Albus peered over the top of his half moon spectacles at him.

"Yes, they are. Perhaps if I only sat in on the first two or three years? It would look to strange if I helped with the students older than that. I want to be underestimated when I face Death Eaters and Voldemort again. I would have already sat my N.E. and masteries by now otherwise." Harry said slowly, speaking his thoughts aloud.

"I'm sure we can arrange that, my boy. As for your masteries, you yourself just told me you know little of the magical theory. Perhaps they can help you with that and you can sit your exams once you are ready."

If that twinkle gets any bigger, will it turn into miniature suns? Harry wondered as he listen Albus.

"Might work. It would be a lot easier teaching the first three years rather than trying to pretend to learn them and Hermione had been telling him for years, that he needed a better theoretical base.

She had though he would have much better control if he knew exactly what he was controlling.

Plus, with his magic being focused on the other students instead of on a matchstick he was trying not to transfigure, he might be able to get through a lesson without any freak occurrences.

"Okay, they can squabble about which classes I sit in on between themselves though. You better offer me to Snape as well, he'll only cry favouritism otherwise." Harry grinned.

"Wonderful, my boy. I'm sure Severus would be glad to have you." Albus' twinkle dimmed a little, "Have you thought yet on what you will do with Quirinus?"

"Yeah, I've started researching possession in the library but haven't had much time to do it. I was thinking about trying to exorcise Voldemort out but I don't even know if it's possible yet, then we can just have Quirrell arrested. He's not marked but stealing is stealing. I'll work out a few other charges too, no point in letting him walk free in just a couple of years." Harry smiled coldly.

Harry new that possessed or not, Quirrell was guilty of being a Death Eater. He had joined Voldemort before he was possessed, his Lord only taking up residence after his failed attempt to retrieve the stone from Gringott's.

"I would most likely be quite difficult but I have faith in you, Harry." Albus cheerfully stated, the serious look dropping from his face in an instant.

"Thank you so very much, Albus." Harry sneered sarcastically but playfully causing Albus to chuckle. "Out of curiosity, why do you never suggest solutions? You never have, you just ramble about something ambiguous and usually sentimental."

"Only we can determine the right path for ourselves, for me to direct you would be to alter your course." Albus was smiling gently at Harry but it soon dropped off his face as Harry snorted in amusement.

"Pull the other one, Albus, it has bells on it. Each time you speak, watch and vote at a Wizengamot or International Confederation of Wizards meeting, talk to the school, the Minister, members of the Wizengamot or anybody else you change their 'path'. People automatically look to you, as well you know. You happily enough manipulate people into doing what you want them to do. For you to stop directing the lives of others you would need to drop all of your precious titles and live as a recluse. Even then people would still follow your memory." Harry paused as he tried to calm himself down a little. He hadn't expected to explode like that so suddenly and his unexpected fury was making his magic sing in his veins.

"Perhaps you should consider offering advice instead of subtle manipulation and prodding. People would actually be able to follow their own paths then." he let out a harsh sigh of annoyance, both at himself fro having reacted as he had and at Albus for setting him off.

"Harry, I don't know what to say to you but if my actions in your past-"

"Albus, You've done it here too. Was I or was I not placed with the Dursley's to keep me grounded and stop me becoming arrogant. You knew how I was treated there but it was 'for the greater good'. Just like setting things up to make sure I lived to die at the correct time." Harry couldn't believe the gall of the man, trying to pass off his actions as being the fault of Harry's past Albus.

"Oh, my boy, I never meant to hurt you. I only wanted what was for the best." Albus sighed as he seemed to age before Harry's eyes.

"And what you did to Snape was for the best? Forcing him to spy for you as payment for accepting him back into the Light? Even without everything he has done for me, the torture he suffered acting as your spy more than paid back any debts to society he may have owed. Yet you still asked more and more from him. 'For the greater good'." Harry spat the last words. "Did you learn nothing about acting 'for the greater good' with Grindelwald?"

Albus paled drastically and seemed lost for words.

"I love you, Albus. I always have, always been your man but sometimes you can be really obtuse. Stop acting 'for the greater good' and start helping people."

Harry sighed once more, this time in resignation. He stood up from his seat and walked to the door.

"Very few people ever benefit from actions made 'for the greater good', open your eyes, old man. Stop working for a cause, no matter how noble you believe it and start working for the people." Harry said softly over his shoulder before closing the door behind him.

So much for my good mood.

Harry sighed and thought a trip to the Chamber of secrets, with maybe a bottle of fire whisky, was in order. He could relax down there, away from prying eyes. Jade would also appreciate it, he hadn't spent much time with her recently.

AN: Sorry for the delay in posting. Let me know what you think..?

Duana x