by Jared Ornstead
Another chapter of the most blatant self-insert of all time!
If you're expecting canon go to your local comic store, you won't find it here. If you demand professional standards then go to professionals and pay money for their work. If you require other creatures to live by your rules, buy an ant farm.
But if you want to see a silly romp through no-holds-barred fiction, then you've come to the right place.
"Did any of you see a toad? A boy named Neville's lost one."
Hermione Granger peered into the compartment, already having asked her question before she took in the strange nature of the four girls and one boy filling the passenger box on the steam train to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry.
The four girls were all wearing matching uniforms that had *nothing* to do with the Hogwarts color scheme. They wore dresses white down to the waist, then with a different colored skirt per girl. Their blouses were decorated with colorful bows, elbow pads of the same colors as their pleated skirts, and their collars almost belonged on a sailor costume.
"A toad?" The boy answered, looking up from whatever game he was playing on a chess board set between himself and the blue-skirted girl, ~who also had blue *hair*?~ Hermione wondered.
The girl in the orange pleated skirt tossed Hermione a brilliant smile that made the witch wonder what she had to be so happy about. "Nobody in here but us and the cats!" She giggled, hefting the pure, white feline in her arms.
Hermione noted the golden crescent on the animal's forehead and wondered, but said nothing to her about it, not wanting to betray her ignorance. She was new to the wizarding world, after all. Her parents were both muggles, and there were no doubt tons of things reading all her textbooks hadn't yet prepared her for.
All this while the boy who, she noted, had red hair even redder than hers (all redheads notice such things), had held up a hand, thumb and index finger extended, and the hand had been surrounded with a brief glow. "Try three cars down, the first door on the left. There's a fat sixteen year old whose skirts shade the space of the bench underneath her. The toad was looking for a shady spot, safe from the noise and tumult. When it wakes it will probably seek out its master."
Hermione had just met Harry Potter, THE Harry Potter, a couple of doors back, and so far she was already *very* impressed with the company she was meeting on this train. No sooner had she identified what he said, connected it with what he'd done, then she had shoved herself into the already crowded space to confront him about it. "Was that a spell? You know that's the first real magic I've seen on this trip. I was expecting a train full of wizards to be more magical, but the only spell I've seen cast by anyone here wasn't very good. I've already been trying the spells from my books, just simple ones, but they've all worked for me."
This caught the boy's interest and he motioned to his companions, who scooted about until Hermione could squeeze in next to the girl who was sitting opposite him. "Is that true?" The boy asked rhetorically, lifting a smile to face her. Hermione couldn't say what she saw in that expression - it was like her mother complimenting her on something, like her parents sharing a joke. But this boy was the same age as her!
"Well then you're a person we'd like to know." The boy continued. "You see we are new to this country, and we could use a friend who understands the local methods."
Hermione frowned. Not that she didn't want friends, but the way they were playing know-it-alls... it was just creepy. She'd read about all the houses one could join in Hogwarts and made the immediate guess these ones were joining Slytherin.
Still, she had a question. "Why are you all wearing those clothes?"
The boy glanced to all the girls sharing the car with him and Hermione saw the big mystery wasn't some secret like she'd been fearing. She'd seen those looks in muggle schools growing up. These people were all friends and she wasn't in on whatever private joke they were sharing.
That sensation was not unfamiliar to her. She'd never really been accepted.
The boy saw the rising blush of embarrassment/humiliation on Hermione's face and raised both hands disarmingly, for the first time in her life letting her in on the joke instead of cinching the punchline at her expense. "Peace. We're all transfer students. These are our robes from the old school. And while we know *some* spells, they're not liable to be the ones taught here. We could all use a study partner who has some success with these. And just maybe we could teach you a bit of ours as well. Would you like that?"
Hermione nodded. "I'm Hermione Granger. And you are..?" She left the note hanging.
"I'm Mina," said the orange-skirted girl with the white cat. "I hope we can be friends." She was a blonde, Hermione noted.
"My name is Amy." Said the one with blue skirt and hair.
"I'm Lita," said a strong-looking girl with green skirt and brown hair in a ponytail.
"And I'm Rae," said a charming girl with long, black hair, almost with violet highlights and wearing a red skirt.
"Pleasure." Hermione nodded.
"And I," finished off the boy, "Am Jared. Also called Skysaber. In the next spaces you'll find the rest of our party. We couldn't all fit into one booth."
Hermione thought the lack of last names was odd, but didn't press it. She was having doubts about a lot of things, her ability to make friends at Hogwarts first on the agenda - she'd never had much luck in normal schools and was hoping this would be different.
She hadn't know what to expect, but this was rather more *different* than she'd hoped for. Her first offer of friendship seemed a little odd, but she wasn't willing to just back out of it. If some better offers came along she could become too busy to see these folks. Until then, they were the best she had. She stood up and stopped in the open door of their space. "You'd best be getting on your robes. We'll be in Hogwarts soon."
With that, she was off to find a toad.
The train pulled into the station, spilling out students wearing their traditional Hogwarts cloaks of black, over sweater vests and skirts or trousers of grey and black. So the small party of ten wearing all white and bright colors got noticed by one and all, visitors to the station, as well as fellow first years and older students, all paused to look at the unusual collection of eleven-year olds with strange colored hair and nonstandard uniforms.
"All right, firs' years follow me." Hagrid stepped up to the platform, holding aloft his lantern. Even he stopped and stared at the little group, unsure what to think and wondering if anything like this had ever happened.
The boy alone among the nine girls thrust through the crowd to address the large Hagrid, explaining. "We are transfer students. These are our old school colors. This will be our first year at Hogwarts."
The too-large Hagrid simply pursed his lips and nodded. This made things simple and understandable. First years were first years and that made his job pretty well standard. Transfers certainly happened. He couldn't say he'd ever heard of or seen a school that had colors like those before, but still, transfers happened.
Professor McGonagall would have a few words to say about their arriving without proper notice and all, but that weren't his job, now was it? Proper thing to do was to get them off the platform and up to the school. Then the professor could say all she liked about it without havin' ta traipse down here an interrupt 'er schedule ta do it.
And first years were first years, after all. House elves would have a time with their luggage, he was sure. But they'd figure it out. The huge man turned, having resolved it all now in his mind. "Right then, firs' years follow me."
He beckoned with the lantern toward the boats.
Hogwarts, seen from the surface of the lake, was quite an awe-inspiring sight. The dancing lights of flickering lanterns cast shadows. The hilltop school of wizardry just seemed more majestic and extraordinary in that kind of mystic atmosphere.
All too soon the boat rides came to an end, the little boats carrying them all through a curtain of ivy at the base of the cliff where the castle stood, through a dark tunnel, and into a dark harbor whereupon the students were gathered into an untidy mob, ushered up some flights of stairs, then came to a stop at the castle's big, oak front doors.
Hagrid knocked three times.
The door swung open at once. A tall, severe-looking witch in emerald green robes stood there. She had a very stern face under graying brown hair and most students pegged her as the type of person they did not want to cross.
"The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," said Hagrid.
"Thank you, Hagrid." The stern-looking witch was about to say more when her gaze was arrested by the bright spot of color amidst the sea of Hogwarts black. The transfer students had all clustered together and their bright clothes stood out like a spotlight in the deepening gloom. "Who are these?" She questioned the bushy giant of a man beside her, her perplexed tone revealing she'd never seen anything of their sort before.
The boy of the group pressed forward in the sea of students, presenting a rolled up tube of paper, tied with a ribbon so green it was almost black and pressed with a gold seal. "Begging your pardon, milady. But we are transfers. I was instructed to give this scroll into the hand of your school's headmaster. It will explain everything."
Hermione started when her attentive focus on this scene was broken by the girl to her other side whispering secretly to her. "Or blow up in his face. I've seen the kind of tricks some of the Ministry members will use to embarrass each other. Why..." The girl was still and silent when McGonagall cast a rather sharp look their way.
Due to the distraction, Hermione missed the subtle byplays of McGonagall's face as her thoughts on the matter progressed. But she could see the resolution the professor came to and resolved that she did *not* want to get in trouble with this woman.
The somewhat elderly witch herself had come to the conclusion that nothing would be learned standing out here on the porch where the first years were already getting fidgety. She pulled the door wide, ushering them all inside a grant entrance hall so huge that you could fit a London flat inside it, and more quickly than details could easily be made out they were all crowded in a tight chamber just off what they assumed was the main feast hall.
"Welcome to Hogwarts," McGonagall addressed them all, deciding to stick with her well-rehearsed speech used year after comfortable year. "The start of term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats, you must be sorted into your houses." She then went on to explain about the houses, concluding, "I shall return when we are ready for you. Please wait quietly."
The silence lasted a whole second before there was whispering.
"How exactly do they sort us into houses?" One boy asked another.
"Some sort of test, I think. Fred was going on about wrestling a troll."
Hermione only had time to learn that the girl who'd whispered to her before was named Justine before the clear voice of the white-robed boy hissed through the small chamber. "If they want us to wrestle a troll it'll be a group thing, they won't ask us to do it one on one. Maybe they would for graduation but not for entrance to a school. The first thing you've got to know is to strike for its legs. With some of us to scream and shout and throw things to get its attention the rest can circle round and cut at its knees and ankles."
"Cut?" Said one of the boys who'd spoken before. "What with?"
Jared looked around him, clearly noticing for the first time that the rest of the first years had only their robes and wands. The redhaired boy in white took a deep breath, raised both his hands as if in prayer, and with sparkling green motes, long silver daggers in leather sheaths, with matching belts, appeared in front of all students, floating quietly until the crowd quickly seized them and awkwardly strapped them on, some more gingerly than others.
"Go for the joints," Jared repeated. "Troll limbs are rubbery and they cut easily, so if a few will help me stand before it and throw things, shoes, rocks or goblets, at its head, the rest can topple it by cutting the hamstrings in the back of its legs. Then it's a simple matter of stabbing it enough times. It'll be waving its arms around a lot, we're going to get bruised, but if we stick to this plan none of us will get killed." The redhaired boy turned to Hermione. "You said you could cast some spells. Do you know a light spell? If you could throw a light to dazzle its eyes it'll bring its hands to its face instead of swinging them about. That way one of us can dart in to cut its throat and end this real quick."
Plucking up her resolve, and feeling very small in spite of it, Hermione grabbed her wand more firmly, rubbing it with both hands, sucked in her bottom lip and nodded, hoping down in her heart that she really could instead of just thinking she could. She still wasn't very sure about casting spells under pressure.
Many of the boys and girls in the room with them had gone white-faced with fear.
Jared turned his face calmly back toward the door. "The one thing you've got to remember above all is this: don't freeze. If you stand there and look at it with horror it will have a free shot at you, and what with how big and strong trolls are it will only need one hit. You've got to focus on what you *can* do, and don't let fear control you. Concentrate on the moment. All you've got to do is *not* stay still and trolls will have a very hard time hitting you. They're big and they're clumsy and they're dumb. You can use all those against one by darting around it quick. Change where you are. If it has a club in one hand, go over to its other side. Then when it turns to fight you dart between its legs. Every time you move so that it has to change what it was doing it will have to think all over again about what to do about you... and trolls don't think well. Once we've got its legs cut go for the armpits and the throat. Those are a trolls vulnerable spots."
The boy took a long breath, then released it. "Don't be afraid, keep moving, strike when you can. That and someone to distract it and we'll all be fine."
There came a moment of terrified silence, broken when one of the boys who'd whispered to the other said, "He's done this before, I can tell. I've a brother who talks that way about dragons."
That whispered statement seemed to release alot of pent-up terror, allowing the group to relax their fears somewhat. They'd all stand back and let *him* handle it.
The white-robed boy didn't seem to mind that. Between his girls and him only one troll wouldn't stand a chance anyway. But it was best that most everybody knew what to do in case something unexpected occurred.
Hermione noted that Justine, by her side, was looking almost as terrified as she was, yet almost as resolved as the redhaired boy, putting Justine in the three or four Hermione guessed would be actually helping them if the fight came.
The little crowd were all so worked up when twenty or so flickering ghosts floated in through the back wall they fell to shrieking. Girls screaming their heads off and one boy even pulled out his new knife, then looked frozen as he hadn't the slightest idea what to do with it.
"QUIET!" Cried a sharp voice, instantly stilling the panic with shame. Professor McGonagall had returned, and favored them all with a very stern gaze before saying. "The Sorting Ceremony is about to start. Now form a line, and follow me." She stated, not leaving room for the slightest objection as she turned, expecting them to follow her out, which, fearfully, they did.
Inwardly, the professor was wondering who it was that had been spreading rumors this year. Then she thought of the Weasley boy among the first years and came to the logical, and correct, conclusion that it had been the two pranksters among his older brothers who'd said something to get him terrified of the Sorting, and the poor frightened boy had shared that tale among the others.
She would have to have a word with Fred and George Weasley about this.
Halfway down the hall the group had quieted considerably. Seeing there were no trolls to be found anywhere in the grand feast hall, the first years began to appreciate the decorations more fully. Then, after they'd paced the length of the long room and saw only a battered old hat awaiting them, some of them actually began to think the scare hadn't been that bad.
Then the hat sang its song and the first years were thinking it was funny. One of the boys, who they later learned was named Ron, whispered aside to his black-haired friend with glasses. "So we've just got to try on the hat? I'll kill Fred."
McGonagall presented a scroll, then began to read names, and one by one all of the first year students were put where they belonged, at tables with their new houses. There was something of a stir when Harry Potter's name was called out, and the house that got him seemed to think this was the greatest thing that could've happened. But in all, all went well until the last of the black robed first years were sorted and only the white garbed transfers were left.
Hermione had been joined by the two whispering boys at Gryffindor, while her almost-to-be-not-quite-friend Justine had gotten sorted to Slytherin. Professor McGonagall had gone with what she knew up until now, and was standing wondering what to do about the students in white now that the comfortable parts of the routine were over.
Jared, who Hermione had already figured out was the leader of this small band, had obviously realized this was his turn and stepped forward, presenting the green-ribbon wrapped scroll to the high table. "Sir, I was required to present this before you." Then the boy laid the scroll on the ground where everyone could see it, broke the wax seal, which loosed the ribbon, and stepped clearly back.
The ribbon came loose with a snap, which caused the parchment to unfurl quite slowly, almost deliberately, like a man stretches after waking up from a nap. Taking only a second, though it seemed like far longer, the roll uncurled until it lay flat as a board. The paper lay quite still for a moment, then a flickering image, like a ghost, appeared floating life-size above the parchment.
All the hall watched as the scroll's ghostly figure bowed to the high table. "Hogwarts Headmaster, I am unknown to you. My name would tell you nothing. I am headmaster of the Silvanesti College of Wizards, but our kingdom has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to instruct our youth in magic has failed. My services are vital to the war effort and I have no choice but to close down the college. Our chief diviner has told us that you are the wisest choice to bring up our children in safety. I know nothing else about you, as there is no time to learn. At this time I have a total of four thousand troops, to stand against twenty five thousand of the enemy. And I begin to notice that many of us are old men or young lads, none of whom could truly be called soldiers. As I record these words the dragonarmy is plainly in sight across the river. How it will end only Providence can direct. But Dear God what brave men I shall lose before this business ends."
As the image spoke the last few words the dignified gentleman represented was chocked up and crying. Professor McGonagall was shocked and horrified by the words and many of those in the chamber shared her state. The stern woman looked far more kindly on the poor souls of the white robed children before her, seeing them with some compassion for the first time.
Albus Dumbledore simply sat taller and stated. "Let them be sorted."
McGonagall was crying and trying hard not to show how relieved she was, as Albus settled more comfortably once again and she turned to take their names.
The young man stepped forward again, speaking to the hat as he picked it up to put it on Mina's head. "One house, or none, for all of us, little cap. We've survived attempts to break us up by demons, devils, evil sorcerers, spider-worshiping death priestesses, dragon highlords and reigning Queens. We won't be separated by a hat."
McGonagall was wondering when exactly she could use her jaw again. It had gone so slack after that statement that she didn't know quite what to say... or to think.
As the Sorting Hat came down over the eyes of golden-tressed Mina, the other remarkable students in their unusual uniforms joined hands in a ring around her, all of them closing their eyes and focusing inward so it could judge them as a group.
"Hmm," mused the hat aloud. "Difficult. *Very* difficult. Plenty of courage to have gone racing into danger the way you have. Very chivalrous of you, too. Your loyalty goes beyond all question or doubt, and you're all patient under toil, I see. All admirable qualities. There's minds I'm not sure I've ever seen the equal of, with wit and learning it's hard to find any to compare you to. Schemes you've engaged in make Snape look like he doesn't belong in Slytherin. So there's no doubt that you'd belong in *any* house. So where shall I put you?"
Almost unconsciously, the entire crowd of Hogwarts students, and not a few teachers, were leaning forward in their chairs, craning to hear what choice the hat would make.
This was not shouted by the hat, but by a Ravenclaw student who couldn't bear the suspense any longer and had stood up to cheer for his house.
Snape had come to his feet and shouted that word. There came a hubbub following this that looked like it would turn into a cheering contest, when Dumbledore again rose from his seat and shouted.
"SILENCE!" Seeing he had their attention, he turned pointedly to look toward the hat, which had just finished making up its mind.
The Gryffindors exploded in cheers that looked like they might disturb the centuries-old wooden table and upset it on its end, in spite of its weight. Several other houses were returning to their seats, dejectedly deciding that this would *not* be a good year for them - what with Harry Potter and this new crowd all in Gryffindor.
Albus Dumbledore gave a very regal seeming nod as the excitement settled, then turned to address the new students. "I can assume, I trust, that you had little time to acquire the Hogwarts study materials?"
The boy was being squeezed between three girls, so it was Amy who answered with a petite nod and a bright smile. "Yes, that is correct, sir. We came only with what we have on us."
"I see." Albus nodded. "Well, I suppose as head of your new house Professor McGonagall could spare herself from her busy schedule," he gave the professor a friendly and appreciative nod, "to take an evening or a day to arrange a field trip so you all can go to London to acquire the necessary materials. Until then, the library will be open to you for books, and I'm sure our house elves can discover, lurking in our closets, the appropriate spare uniforms."
"Begging the headmaster's pardon," the boy, Jared, had released himself from his hug with the girls. "But in our land wizards are color-coded. Black robes are worn by those who delight in human suffering, who kill and destroy for their own power and gain and lust for all things evil. We wear the white robes, which say we will do all we can, even sacrificing our own lives if necessary, to sustain and defend freedom, love and justice." The boy very diplomatically shook his head. "I do not imagine that our strange color code has anything to do with you. But perhaps you can understand that, before we entered the college of Sylvanesti, we all swore to wear white robes and not black."
"What about their skirts?" McGonagall questioned quickly, indicating the girls. "What are they for? Do they also have a meaning?"
"Of course." Jared replied instantly. "They indicate specialties. Blue is the color for water, and Amy and Michelle are our experts on that. Red is fire, and you can see Rae is our resident master of that element. They all have meaning."
"And what about yourself?" McGonagall's tone was sharper than she'd intended, but the situation warranted a few questions, in her opinion.
Jared just lifted aside the side of his white cloak, revealing the shoulder part of his sleeve was overhung by a drape containing every color of the rainbow. "I am qualified on all elements." He answered simply.
McGonagall thought for a moment, then sighed, looking to Dumbledore. He said, merely. "They have sworn an oath. It would be bad for them and unwise for us to ask them to break it. They shall continue to wear their old uniforms. And now," he turned to the youths dressed in white. "If you would kindly introduce yourselves to the rest of us?"
An amused giggle escaped several of the girls throats, as if they almost found that funny. A wide grin had also appeared on Jared's face, and he snapped aside his cloak dramatically, to cry. "Sailor Scouts!
They all assumed poses and began to sing.
"Fighting evil by moonlight!
Winning love by daylight!
Never running from a real fight!
She is the one named Sailor Moon!"
A shorter girl than the rest, whose blonde hair was tied up in two dumplings trailing almost to the floor, danced out, pirouetted as she was introduced, spun a circle with a silver crystal-capped crescent wand in her hand, then danced back in among the group. While she did they the rest continued to sing.
"She will never turn her back on a friend.
She is always there to defend.
She is the one on whom we can depend.
She is the one named sailor..."
A new blonde danced out, her long hair flowing freely, tied only by a red ribbon in a bow. She made a finger gesture, wrapping herself in a chain made of golden hearts as the rest sang.
A quick step was all it took for Venus to be back among the group, then in the same motion replaced by another scout, almost seeming to glide out on a carpet of mist, which spouted several globes of water all circling her obediently.
Mercury was replaced in the same well-practiced dance step by a scout whose fiery temper was matched by the small ring of fire she called into being, floating around her shoulders.
The fiery scout was replaced by the tallest, the brown-haired one in green, who put her two hands together and was instantly surrounded by a corona of flying leaves.
Then the tone of the song changed as the Outer Scouts swept forward. The blonde warrior spun in place dramatically. "Emboldened by the power of unsullied bravery, the Magnificent Fighter Sailor Uranus, acting gorgeous."
The aqua-haired young girl also spun and posed without the least concern for the looks they were receiving. "Empowered by feelings of greatest kindness, the Elegant Fighter Sailor Neptune, acting graceful." An amused noise came from her throat.
Saturn stepped forward, but the song cut off abruptly as there came a warning.
"Beep! Beep! Beep!"
The girl named Amy touched an earring and a clear, blue visor spread over her face from ear to ear. "Hey, gang." She announced. "I'm getting a tremendous negative energy reading from somewhere in this room!"
Whimsy and carelessness left the white-robed crowd faster than confusion filled the faces of the regular Hogwarts attendees. Hermione noted strangely that the boy, Jared, was now just as calm and serious as he'd been discussing how to fight trolls. His smile was gone and he called out to his troupe.
The group of nine girls had already touched their own earrings, visors covering their faces on the same color as their skirts. They each leapt, and they *had* to be using magic to cover the bounds of twenty or thirty yards they had jumped. They each spent a moment, in spots all over the room, when simultaneously, they pointed.
Professor Quirrell sputtered inanely, the subject of all nine fingers - and from the way the strange girls were scattered all about the room, there was really no doubt about where their finger points came together.
"There's an evil creature living on the back of his head." Amy announced, typing.
Professor Snape, who had been sitting next to Quirrell, took the initiative and with a lightning fast reach had grabbed and pulled away Quirrell's purple turban in a single motion. What he saw there caused even the gothic Professor Snape to freeze in momentary shock.
Quirrell stunned everyone else by growling deep in his throat, using a strong push to send Snape sprawling away from him, then leaping and hovering over the table, pulling out his wand.
"Avada Kedavra!" Quirrell shouted, pointing his wand toward the boy who was the obvious leader of those meddlesome girls.
Students shrieked and not a few teachers fainted or shook in fear as the green light erupted from the outthrust wand, streaking toward the redhaired boy and striking him full in the face, throwing his head back.
Albus Dumbledore was just coming to his feet, struggling to draw his wand in time to catch the villain revealed before him, when all action in the room seemed to stop, and even the possessed Professor Quirrell lost some of his scowl in shock.
Jared, still standing, righted his head and glared at the evil professor while rubbing his brow. "Hey! That stings, you know!"
"Venus Crescent Beam Smash!"
"Jupiter Thunder Crash!"
The attacks came together. Even as Quirrell tried to counterspell one, he was struck by the other and instantly consumed. The girls and Jared were all plainly ready to continue their attacks but seemed surprised when a single hit destroyed him. Several of the girls had to cut short their own attack phrases least they hurt some innocent bystanders.
Then, out of the cloud of drifting ash that used to be Professor Quirrell, came a wraith with a human face, flying faster than anyone could react, it streamed over to Jared and flew through his chest, blowing the boy back and away in agony. The wraith continued flying out the nearest window - which was blown out behind it, leaving a gaping hole in the wall as a "World Shaking!" and "Mars Fire Bird!" tried to hit the ghost before it fled.
Any danger the wall might have been in of collapsing was dispelled when a third follow-up attack cast ice over the wall, covering up the hole and glinting in the light of the great hall's candles.
Instantly, before the rest of them even knew what to think, the girls were all back at Jared's side, Michelle picking the crumpled boy's head up to put it in her lap, a girl with short, purple hair laying aside her glaive to put glowing hands on the young man's side. "I can't heal him!" She wailed aside to the others.
The resident nurse of Hogwarts was already on her feet, pushing through the many others who were standing for reasons they didn't quite know, when the girl with the strangest blonde ponytails finished winding up and cast a spell over the whole group of them, aimed at the boy but unconcerned about the others caught within its glowing radius.
"Moon Healing Activation!"
The boy cried out in agony and the girl *quickly* terminated her spell, rather than do harm. All this while Amy had been typing away in what looked like an electric diary, saying, "I don't understand it. That was a *very* low energy attack. How could it have breached Jay-chan's defenses so easily?"
"It's blocking all our healing!" The blonde with the ponytails wailed sorrowingly.
That statement seemed to give Amy an idea, and she typed more rapidly, then said brightly. "Yes! That's it! The creature had been drinking unicorn blood. That was how it was able to sidestep his magical defense screen. It came in counterfeited as healing magic! Now it's blocking that avenue itself." The blue-haired girl looked up at the rest. "So that's what we need to do. Find the unicorn where it got the blood, then we can counter the spell that is doing him harm!"
The Hogwarts nurse, Madam Pomfrey, had by this time shoved herself forward enough to reach the fallen boy. She spent a moment examining him, then turned to face Albus Dumbledore's concerned look with concern in return. "I can't do anything. Not now. It's mixed with lingering traces of the Avada Kedavra curse."
Unexpectedly, Hagrid came to his mighty feet, motioning to the girls as he stepped away from the high table and toward one of the many doors. "C'mon. If it's a unicorn yer after I know where ta look. Ye say ye can make 'im better? Then we'll go find what'll do it."
"Yes, I'm certain that's what we need." Amy continued typing away. "The unicorn blood is both lock and key. Our own magic could heal him otherwise."
Mina stood up, nodding firmly. "Alright, Sailor Scouts! Jupiter, Mars and Mercury, go with him to find our unicorn. Sailors Moon, Saturn and Neptune will tend Jay-chan. I will stay on watch with Uranus and Pluto in case the monster comes back!"
"Right!" The girls ran to their assigned tasks.
Dumbledore caught Snape's eyes and motioned silently toward the door Hagrid was heading to. The potions professor nodded quickly, snatching up the trim of his robes to step quickly past the fallen chairs between him and the departing giant he now intended to follow. Three of the girls were bounding along past the confusion like giants stepping past snails.
Professor McGonagall stood, feeling the most helpless she ever had in her entire, long life.
The Forbidden Forest wasn't that far away, and between Hagrid's long strides and the girls' bounds they were there in no time. Snape came hurrying to catch up, his wand out and nervously looking about for threats the whole time. With Mercury's expert scanning, they found the unicorn body right off, hidden under a layer of muck that would've fooled Hagrid into not finding it on his own.
As the giant of a man pulled it out of the mud with a sucking sound, the muck fell away from the creature's coat, beautiful even in death, and without another word the party came right about to hurry back to the castle, Hagrid walking easily with the animal's body held over one shoulder.
They were back before the shock had even worn off, Snape meeting Dumbledore's eyes with a small shake of his head to tell the headmaster there had been no incident.
Hagrid lay, or rather dumped, the unicorn body next to the still form of the redhead. While he seemed to have all the grace of a bagful of stones, the big man had enough wits to lay it down gently enough - even though unicorns weren't his favorite creatures and there was the small matter of it being dead.
McGonagall was kneeling at the poor boy's other side, holding his hand, unsure what else to do, as she looked up at Hagrid in gratitude at the delivery. Then her glance tore away to the girl called Sailor Moon, who was already doing another windup.
"Moon Healing Activation!"
The magic energy washed over them all, the small circle huddled around Jared's still form. At first he shuddered from the blast, but then the unicorn seemed to melt and flow into him. His already white clothes shimmered and acquired the sheen of a unicorn's pelt. Fringe appeared at his cuffs and hem, matching the curling, white hair of a unicorn's mane, and the material of his belt seemed to take on the texture of woven unicorn tail.
Immediately as the energy was past Jared sat up, surprising all around him. With a yawn, he blinked open eyes that, while already blue, now seemed as blue and deep as a sea of marvelous sapphires. The kind of eyes you could get entranced in, that belonged on a magical creature - like a unicorn.
"Hi!" He smiled, looking around at the wall of faces. Then he seemed to notice their concern. "Did something happen?"
Professor McGonagall did something that surprised herself. She hugged him. She grabbed him and held him tight, then turned him all about looking for injuries. The school nurse was right with her, helping her on this. And only when they pronounced him well and unharmed were his own girls allowed to swarm him.
The girls seemed to respect the authority of these professors enough to do so only after permission was granted. They knew their Jay-chan better, after all, and were far more confident of his coming out well in the end.
"Well," the headmaster said with a special sort of smile from his place, standing at the high table. "It seems a celebration is in order. It is not always that we have the opportunity to tell of so blessed an occasion as an enemy defeated and a life saved all in one day. I would like to announce, for Gryffindor House, the award of four hundred points. The highest single award ever given to any house, granted for the defeat of Voldemort. I would also like to grant fifty points for the saving of this fine young man, whose name we still do not know."
Kindly eyes looked expectantly at the young gentleman.
Jared coughed into his hand. "Ah, yes. I was going under the name Jared Potter."
"The Lost Potter!"
The gasp that came from Hogwarts Headmaster almost put the previous shock to shame. Severus Snape's face fell into a flinty mask of hatred.
There were good reasons for the astonishment that met his name.
Jared was an Enlightened Immortal, which meant that in the tremendously unlikely event that something COULD kill him, he would merely be reborn elsewhere, gradually regaining his memory and skills.
He also worked defeating the worst foes of the universe, some of whom were very powerful. Not all of them could be defeated casually. Some, in fact, were a tremendous danger to the lad... perhaps even enough to kill him.
So, this was the sort of situation he might've been reborn in. However, as much as he'd like to claim that was the case here, it wasn't.
No, he'd gone and gotten himself in trouble again.
It had occurred on their way back from that Dragonlance timeline, where they'd mucked with the world there. They'd all been arriving, happy and cheerful, to the Moon Palace, and Michelle had chosen to question him about some home-universe gossip.
"Jay-chan, we've been hearing about how you got banished to your tower on Deimos by the queen for making an unflattering limerick of her. But what was it?"
"Yah. What did it say?" Lita piped in.
Jared had taken a big breath. He didn't precisely want to say, but then again these were his wives, with whom he ought to share everything. Sighing, he relented, "Okay, you know I made it to criticize her, because she'd listened to silly socialites and done some stupid things, including banishing Serena's father? It went like this:
"There once was a queen named Serenity
to whom good sense was often an enemy.
She hiked up her skirt
spawned a kid in the dirt
then turned on the father with enmity."
There came a throat clearing sound from behind them and they turned, with an 'Eeep' to face the angry queen, who's eyebrow was twitching.
"Ack!" Jared's startled hands were up and waving. "You know I have nothing against making love in gardens. But I needed the 'dirt' to rhyme with 'skirt'! Although," here he unwisely got in composing mode, "I suppose I could switch out that line for 'like a brazen old flirt', but I really felt the child ought to have been mentioned, as that just rounds out the identity of exactly who is being banished..."
A red glow caused the group to spring out from before her and into hiding behind the trees, pillars and bushes around their arrival point, and Jared to realize that he'd chosen the wrong sort of defense for his reciting of *that* poem.
In a too-sweet voice, Queen Serenity ground out, "Jay-chan, you know I came here to welcome you all back from your latest mission. But while thinking about it, it came to me that we really need someone to go down to Earth and learn that useful housekeeping magic they practice there. So thank you all for volunteering."
With that, she turned her back and swept away, regally offended.
Jared and the Sailor Scouts had drooped in disappointment.
So, taking it like any other mission, they'd arrived here at Hogwarts. Thankfully, his Agency had come through for them, and ghosted in a history using his nearest mission world as source material for where they'd been.
But, on this world, the wizarding world believed that Lily and James Potter had had twins. This had not altered the events surrounding the deaths of the Potters, save for one small fact. It was *two* babies laid at the doorstep of the Dursleys, or so they thought.
Although, only one had been found the next morning.
This had created as great a stir in the wizarding world almost as Voldemort's death or disappearance itself, but it sprang from a simple cause. The Agency controlling the dashing, interdimensional superspy called both Skysaber or Jared, had felt it would be unwise for their star tool to be blunted by the abusive Dursleys, and they weren't even about to give him an implanted knowledge of a childhood where he was abused and mistreated.
So... They made a small adjustment.
"What a Haul! What A HAUL!" Happosai bounced along, glad to be in suburban England where cops had no guns and even the inevitable horde of housewives was so unlikely to have any significant (to him) martial arts experience the very possibility of harm to his person was vanishingly small.
So that's why he made it a vacation spot of choice. A place to relax, gather tons of panties, soak in a little atmosphere (and all the liquor he could get his hands on), in between raids on the more dangerous undergarments of the world - the fights that really got his blood going.
The three hundred year old wrinkled gnome of a man was also a grandmaster martial artist who'd lived this long sheerly on his skill overcoming his many frailties. Still, you couldn't shove the human body *that* far past its normal limits without some help, so he'd chosen the energy of lechery. So long as he had ladies undergarments to steal and women to grope, he could live another hundred years.
Women were all agreed they'd MUCH rather he drop dead NOW!
Unfortunately, the enormously powerful pervert had no intention of obliging them, and so long as he kept up with his skills (and he practiced *daily*), it would take someone on the level of Voldemort to do him in...
...and Voldemort couldn't have done it easily.
This evening, now early morning, Happosai was making his rounds of regular panty theft, groping a few early risers, when he happened along near a basket on a doorstep just as he bounded along Privet Drive.
Chi senses alerted him at once to the babies inside.
There were two, he noticed when within visual and less passive chi sensory range. Both had a touch of magic, enough for even the muggle-born martial artist to discover just because he knew his own flows of life-force so well. But only one of the pair of them had the important signature of a future great martial artist.
Automatically finding the really important one, Happosai scooped up the squirming bundle, tucking his latest catch of lacy treasures into his gi. Almost instantly, the boy quieted, leaning on the diminutive man's shoulder and sucking his thumb happily.
The ancient martial arts master, for all his flaws (and he had PLENTY), was a bit of a soft touch for little children. Two year olds could do him more damage than the most veteran combat soldier in England, because Happosai would play with a little kid and not defend himself if it grabbed his face and started pulling.
Setting down his bulging sack of silken treasures stolen from the ladies of the street, Happosai then picked up young Harry Potter, frowning as he studied the scar on the babe's forehead, then turning his face away in disgust when the disturbed infant did what disturbed infants often do and piddled a little stain down Happosai's chest.
Making gagging noises, Happosai put that infant down, and was about to go away when his hand brushed the letter. Feeling no one could have any need to keep secrets from *him* (and already a bit vague on the concept of other people's property), he sat down, envelope torn open and floating down beside him as the wrinkled old master read the letter.
What he found there was quite interesting.
"Hmm." The ancient lecher raised his eyebrows, regarding the infants. "So you're both going to be wizards, is that it? Well I don't have use for little scarface there, he's just not suitable to the rigors of my martial art. So I'll just help out the community by training this little wonder up as my heir! That way, if he ever becomes a wizard..."
Deranged fantasies of a student loyally enspelling panties for his deranged master's delight sprang instantly to mind.
With that, Happosai hopped off into the night.
Of course, the wizarding world went just about ballistic when one of the Potter Twins turned out to be missing the next day.
Harry had never seen so many things he liked to eat on one table: roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes, fries, pudding, peas, carrots, gravy, ketchup, and, for some strange reason, peppermint humbugs.
None of it had his eyes or attention for long.
Gladly accepting the serving of potatoes Ron's older brother Percy was offering, Harry's eyes went back to the one type of person he'd never thought he'd meet.
"I still can't see how you didn't know about your brother, Harry." Ron said through a mouthful of chicken leg.
Harry was silent, not knowing what to say. Finally, he squeaked out. "What haven't I been ignorant about? Everything's been a secret to me. It was scarcely my birthday when I first learned I was a wizard, or what truly happened to my parents. I didn't even know where my scar truly came from until Hagrid took me shopping and the wand dealer told me. All the people I've met so far know more about me than I do. Why shouldn't I have a brother no one ever told me of?"
Ron made a face that said he didn't know what to say, so instead he focused on his food. It was Percy who broke through Harry's mixture of gloom and elation at being away from the abusive Dursleys. "Look, Harry," Percy leaned over the first year. "All you've got to do is introduce yourself. You've seen how he treats others, he's a decent fellow. I'm sure in no time you'll get to be friends as well as brothers."
"How likely is that to happen?" Ron chewed, looking at his perfectionist brother Percy, with whom he didn't *exactly* get along, and wasn't precisely not getting along with, either.
"Well, it's better than not knowing." Percy shot back to Ron. Both were cut off by the subject of their conversation standing up from among his female friends to address the head table.
"Headmaster Dumbledore, sir?"
The buzz of conversation quieted to a hush as the white haired old man replied. "Yes Jared, what is it?"
Jared's his eyes darted over to the greasy git who had been glaring at him with unabashed hatred. "Headmaster, I suggest that you replace your Potions professor. My personal defenses are keyed to detect hostile intent, and he's a blazing beacon of it. Thirty times in the last minute my wards have detected and registered him making the decision to harm me - and they requested permission to destroy him preemptively each time. I have denied that permission, but his hatred is so strong that my defenses are classing him as a deadly threat. And should he choose to act on those decisions, my wards will no longer ask for permission. They will simply kill him. It won't matter if he's just deducting house points, or assigning a detention, they will read his hatred, his hostility, and his willingness to harm, and not even care what form that attack takes because I cannot set them to ignore attempts to hurt me any more than I can choose what his intentions are. In a battle attempts to harm are often only a prelude used to render an enemy helpless and prepare him for a finishing blow. His uncontrolled emotions have labeled him an enemy. My wards will respond to deadly effect as soon as they detect an enemy attempting to hurt me. Anything less could leave me critically vulnerable."
The redhaired boy calmly stated. "If you value the life of your potions teacher you will remove him from temptation's path, as he obviously lacks sufficient self control to keep from killing himself on my reactive defense screens. Since Potions is a required subject I see no way that I could be avoiding *him*. And so I request that you replace him that such conflicts can be avoided and any deaths prevented."
Dumbledore frowned. "You have no need of such a powerful defense here, mister Potter," he reproved, obviously displeased at the thought of what the redhead revealed.
"I just fought Voldemort *in this ROOM* and you dare to tell me this school is safe?" Jared's own face and voice were flat. "By saying so you can only convince me that you are lacking in judgement. Especially when you are doing it to defend someone who positively reeks of evil - and has the Dark Mark on his arm to prove it!"
Dumbledore had the grace to look abashed as the hall gasped.
"I will consider what you have said, mister Potter." The headmaster demurred making a decision until later, not wanting any more revelations made before the whole school. The statements made did more than exasperate him, however. There was some measure of amusement twinkling in those eyes.
"Hi, my name's Malfoy, Draco Malfoy." The fair-haired son of one of the richest and most powerful wizarding families turned to the girl who was squirming, sitting next to his side when she plainly didn't want to.
"Justine Hofeling." She replied with the kind of bare politeness you gave a teacher - as anyone knew the Malfoys could make life miserable for their enemies. She just wanted him to go away, she didn't want to make an enemy that could get her mother fired from the Ministry of Magic.
Unfortunately, on Draco's other side sat the Bloody Baron, the Slytherin house ghost whose blood covered coat gave him his name, and someone the ever-powerful Malfoy couldn't feel comfortable talking to. You couldn't threaten a ghost, and you couldn't bribe one or make their lives hard, and that made them too hard for him to understand.
So Justine was stuck with Malfoy's company for now.
Much as she didn't want it.
Seeing that she was stuck, and wanting to divert the topic away from her or whatever Draco could decide he wanted from her just to relieve his own boredom, Justine shook her head as if to clear it, launching her first Slytherin scheme. "Do you know that boy over there?"
Draco looked. "The Lost Potter?" He turned back to her with a smile that showed in this thing she'd made the right choice - the dreadful Malfoy was distracted for now. "My father said we shouldn't worry about him."
"But we've only just seen him take an Avada Kedavra curse!" She objected.
A bit of doubt flickered across Malfoy's eyes. When his smile returned, it was faked. He turned back to his food and stayed silent the rest of the meal.
Justine found she liked the person to her left (Malfoy) even less than his reputation had warranted, and tried very hard for the rest of the meal to make conversation with the girl sitting on her right side.
"Albus." A frantic conversation was being whispered at the head table. "I don't know what could have frightened me more tonight. Never have I seen anything like any of this."
"That is because, my dear professor McGonagall, nothing like it has ever happened." Dumbledore responded, a faint smile in place.
"But those _spells!_" McGonagall repeated for what had to be the third time that evening. "And then he took that Avada Kedavra curse straight in the face. And He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named right here! How could the child tell Severus was once a Death Eater? Then poor Professor Quirrell..." McGonagall was torn so many different directions from so many things she frankly didn't know what *could* upset her more, or fluster her more than she was now.
"I know, professor."
"Who will teach Quirrell's post?" McGonagall sputtered, moving rapidly from topic to topic so fast she couldn't follow them all herself, so great was her confusion.
Albus Dumbledore's face grew a slightly stronger smile. "You know, professor, I think that I have just the replacement in mind." With that he got to his feet, just as the dessert course was completed. The hall fell silent. "Ahem - just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.
"First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well." Dumbledore's twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of the Weasley twins: Fred and George.
"I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors. Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.
"And finally, two other matters. 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. Last of all, as I'm sure some of you took note, we are currently lacking a Defense Against The Dark Arts instructor. To remedy that, we shall select a suitable replacement. But until such time as a full time instructor can be obtained, the post will be filled by a student assistant who has already demonstrated admirable talent in the field. Jared Potter, please see me in the morning to learn about your new duties."
Stunned viewers were treated to the sight of Jared's elbow slipping in shock and the boy's astonished face landing in a slice of mulberry pie still left on his plate.
"Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?" Ron wondered worshipfully. "But he's only a first year! How's he supposed to teach?"
Harry shrugged, now that the houses had been dismissed back to their dorms. "Ask him. I'm sure you wouldn't mind knowing how he did it - beat Voldemort before the whole school, that is."
Ron blanched. "Don't say his name!" He looked around guiltily.
"Why not?" Harry was genuinely puzzled this time.
Ron looked guilty. "Well, not everyone is immune to a death curse, you know. Not all of us being Potters, like you two are."
Harry absently rubbed his scar. It had flared up bright, hot and painful watching that spell battle with Professor Quirrell, before. It still hadn't faded, really. Then he shrugged. "Maybe he'll teach you how to do it."
Ron's eyes flew wide. "Do you think he could?"
"Well," emotions played on Professor McGonagall's face as she addressed the ten students she'd held back after leaving the banquet. "I'm sure you're all aware of how rarely we get first-years who cause so much confusion! But," she allowed. "I have to say that you did a great service in removing our most feared enemy from out of our midst. Now, we will be leaving tomorrow at 10 AM to go to London, then it will be two days before the start of classes. I'm sure none of the teachers will refuse you, if you should choose to ask any of us for advice. I know for my part, that I would far prefer you choose to seek it than to try and approach the Defense Against the Dark Arts class without any."
The old witch made a show out of sighing. It had been a very long day. "Very well. You shall see Dumbledore at eight in the morning, now I'll show you to the Gryffindor dorm. If we hurry, we can make it before Percy has the rest of the house snug in their beds."
They caught up with the Gryffindors just as Percy had led them to a stop before the picture of the pink lady that guarded the door to the commons of Gryffindor Tower. Percy had led the impressionable first years by the simplest route to the house sanctuary, which was not by any means the fastest.
McGonagall had felt under no such restrictions.
So, after a dizzying array of secret doors and one tumbling corridor that looked to be the inside of a continually rolling tube that many graduating students wouldn't have dared (the children she was leading were not timid, of that she was sure), they combined with the class in time to hear the password, then they followed the rest inside.
Percy was already tired from the day and looking forward to his own rest, after a bit reacquaintance with certain friends, so he just led them inside and gave the simple speech of where to find everything. "Welcome to the Gryffindor common room. Boy's dormitory is up the spiral staircase and to the left. Girls, the same on your right."
"And the married students are..?"
There was a wide circle of disbelief surrounding the white robes after Jared asked that.
"What?" Percy had never *imagined* that question being asked.
"Excuse me, did you say..? You don't mean..? Do you actually intend for us to believe that you..?" McGonagall was having a VERY stressful day.
"Well, yes." Jared faced her. Then he looked around. "From what I've seen this school has students up until their seventeenth year. Surely you've had marriages among them before. In my land if you aren't married by eighteen people wonder what's wrong with you and call you a menace to decent society."
McGonagall rolled her eyes.
Percy shrugged it off. He was used to jokes among *certain* students and had been expecting at least one prank would be pulled by the first years. It was just he'd pegged that redhaired Potter for a more serious fellow. He gave his own little twitch of annoyance. "We'll worry about that when it becomes a problem. For now, you know where your dorms are. Your things should already have been brought to your rooms."
"It *is* a problem, and I *don't* know where our dorms are." Jared insisted.
The circle of disbelief had grown wider.
Harry Potter, who'd been rather looking forward to cornering what Ron told him was this long lost brother of his after they'd reached the privacy of their rooms, asked in disbelief. "You don't mean to say that... you're *married* do you? I mean, you're not any older than I am."
Hermione Granger also asked. "Married? But, to which one?" She looked around his female companions. They were all very close to him.
Jared was puzzled by their astonishment. "Why, all of them, of course."
Professor McGonagall was saved from the indignity of fainting only by the Weasley twins of Fred and George whooping out cat-calls.
"It is the custom." Serena reassured them.
"Yeah," agreed Lita. "What are you acting so surprised about?"
"Perhaps," Mina touched her lip cutely, thinking it through. "Do you think they could do it differently here?"
"It looks that way from their surprised reaction," agreed Amy.
Susan, aka the Lovely Sailor Pluto, just smiled serenely and explained it to them. "I see we must seem as strange to them as they are to us."
"Odd?" Rae was weirded out with their fellow students' reactions. "So what's so odd about being married?"
"Yah," Lita agreed.
"I think it is the *manner* of our marriages that has them surprised." Michelle, aka, the elegant Sailor Neptune suggested with a sly grin in place.
Sailor Uranus just smirked confidently in place. "So let me get this straight. Is it the fact that we're all young or that we're all married to one guy that has you guys so surprised?"
"Both." Ron muttered.
"Yah." Several other students nodded agreement.
Sailor Moon tossed a delicious shrug. "Well, that's easily solved. We here are the heirs to the Silver Moon Kingdom, and each of us has her own territory to rule. If we didn't have a common link, civil wars would break out all the time. We've been engaged since a thousand years before we were even born."
"Marriages for political necessity aren't rare in *any* culture." Amy told them. "It's just that we all happen to love our husband that makes us so lucky."
"You know, I think I know something of their customs." Jared regarded the students around them and considered, frowning. "If this is the culture I recall, they mostly don't marry, just take mates like animals, rutting with anyone who catches their eye, moving on whenever their attention wanders."
"Eww!" The Scouts all grimaced in disgust.
"I don't think they like our habits any more than we like theirs." Pluto, who had retained her cool, added slyly. "But be that as it may, we don't have to fight. Our ways are not theirs and let's leave it at that. Now where are we going to take our quarters?" She directed the conversation back to the real topic.
Again seeing the resolution of an issue depended on him, Jared searched through his robes for a moment, then brandishing in triumph a beautifully engraved platinum ring set with a blue stone. "Ah!" He then set it on his finger and rubbed the stone.
Harry's eyes threatened to bug out of their sockets and he nearly let his glasses fall off when the stone immediately leaked forth a cloud of sparkling blue mist that quickly resolved into a lovely woman in vaguely Arabic garb sitting on a cloud in the air.
"A genie ring." Ron breathed in awe. "My dad heard of one, once. But I never thought I'd get to *see* one!"
Hermione scowled at the genie, trying to figure if that was a real person or some sort of illusion. McGonagall had fainted.
Ignoring them all, the genie turned her heard and broke into a smile upon seeing Jared. "Why, there you are! What is it to be this time, Master?"
Jared gave a little defeated sigh. "This place hasn't got any married housing."
A twinkle came to the genie's eye. Then she snapped her fingers and nodded her head, vanishing in the same gesture. As she did so, the spiral stair that led to the balcony stretched, then gave a heave as the whole stone balcony wavered for a moment. When it had resettled, there were three doors: Girls on the right, boys on the left, and a covered arch in between them with a heavy wooden door where a window used to be.
On this new door was a knocker whose baseplate was in the shape of a heart.
"C'mon, ladies." Jared started wearily up the steps. "We've got our place to stay." He pushed open the new door and led the troupe of Scouts through it, off into a small, side tower now perched on the hip of Gryffindor Tower - a kind of architectural feature usually called a minaret.
They disappeared inside and the door closed.
Ron began marching up the steps to the boy's dorm, shaking his head. "Man, I am *never* going to get used to those people."
Here it is, cleansed of the poison that had infected it.