Harry Potter and the Bookwyrm
By Jill Weber AKA Jelsemium
Characters Owned by J.K. Rowling and used without permission or intent to make a profit.
Rating: PG for threat of violence.
Author's Notes: This story is more or less set during the Christmas break of the third book -- Prisoner of Azkaban. It contains no spoilers, though.
Gryffindor was ahead by three hundred and twenty points and the Golden Snitch was just ahead of him. In a few more seconds, Harry would have the game, and the Quidditch Cup, sewn up for Gryffindor. All he had to do was reach out and…
*SNAP!* a log cracked in the fireplace, sending a shower of sparks up the chimney, waking Harry up.
He sighed without opening his eyes. The Quidditch match was just a dream. No wonder it had been going so well. Harry took a few moments before opening his eyes to orient himself. It was Christmas Eve, most of the students had gone home for the holidays. Hermione and Ron had stayed to keep him company. He could feel a heavy book in his lap and the heat of a nearby fire. He must have fallen asleep reading in front of the fire in the Gryffindor common room.
"Say, that's given me an idea, why don't we play exploding snap?" That was one of the Weasley twins -- George. (It was easier to tell George from his twin Fred by voice than by sight, so Harry didn't bother opening his eyes.)
"Will you hush? You'll wake him!" hissed a female voice. That was Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends.
"Well, I want to do something more fun than watch you brush your flea bitten cat!" George grumbled.
"Crookshanks does not have fleas!" snapped Hermione.
"Whatever," grumped George.
"Why does he have to sleep here? He's got a perfectly good bed upstairs!" that was the other twin, Fred.
"He didn't plan to take a nap here, I'm sure," Hermione said reasonably.
"Besides, a game of exploding snap would wake him up even if he were upstairs." This last was from Harry's other best friend Ron Weasley, the younger brother of the twins.
"Well, maybe we could do something to make sure our game doesn't wake him?" said Fred. Harry didn't like the sound of that. The Weasley twins were notorious practical jokers, there was no telling what Fred would do to insure that Harry wasn't awakened by the noisy game. Apparently, Hermione and Ron came to the same conclusion.
"Oh, no you don't!" snarled Ron. There was a faint scuffling noise, then a laugh from one of the twins. (It wasn't as easy to tell their laughs apart.)
Harry opened his eyes. The room was blurred, but he could make out the general picture. Ron and Hermione had squared off against the twins like a pair of wild west gunslingers. Their wands were out and ready. To the uninitiated, it would have looked like overkill, as the older boys only held cardboard boxes. However, considering the twin's reputations, Harry didn't blame his friends for arming themselves.
One of the twins met Harry's eyes and grinned. "Oh, did these two (he pointed at Ron and Hermione) little noise makers wake you up? So sorry, Harry!" George said mischievously.
"Yeah, I bet you are," Harry muttered. He sat up straight, set his book down on the table next to a bowl of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor beans and rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, trying to get rid of the blurriness. Then he woke up the rest of the way and realized that his glasses had been removed.
Ron and Hermione turned around. "Sorry, Harry," Hermione said with much more sincerity than George had mustered. She pushed back at her bushy brown hair and frowned. "Where are your glasses?" she asked. She tapped her wand against her hand and studied the twins as if deciding which hex to throw.
"I was wondering the same thing," Harry said, feeling the top of the table next to his chair in case they were blending into the woodwork… or had been made invisible.
"Oh, we took your glasses off so they wouldn't fall off your nose and get smashed," Fred said, trying to suppress a smirk.
"Oh, great, what did you do to them?" muttered Ron. "Mom'll kill you if…"
"Oh, keep your hair on!" George said, with a huge attempt at innocence. "They're right here!" He opened his cardboard box and held it out to Harry. Nestled in a wad of green and red tissue paper were Harry's glasses.
At least, they looked like Harry's glasses. Harry let out a faint sigh at the irony that, without his glasses, he couldn't tell if these were his glasses. He gave the twins a suspicious look. "So, what happens when I put them on?" he asked. "I get huge black rings around my eyes?" He lifted the glasses from the box and eyed them warily. He held them in front of his face and looked through the lens. The glasses, and the view through the glasses, looked normal at this distance.
The twins put their hands over their hearts and adopted what Harry suspected were supposed to be horrified expressions.
"Harry!" George said huffily. "We're hurt!"
"Wounded to the core," Fred added and he put the back of his free hand to his forehead.
"Cut to the quick that you would think…" George put in, duplicating Fred's move.
"…That we can't come up with something more original that that old dodge!" Fred finished.
The twins exchanged looks and nods.
This was not reassuring and Harry said so.
The twins laughed. "It's not supposed to be reassuring!" hooted Fred. "But, hey, you're the great Harry Potter! The boy that sent You-Know-Who packing! Surely the Great and Powerful Harry Potter isn't afraid of his own glasses!"
Harry's face went as red as the Weasleys' hair. "Right now you're a bigger threat to me than Voldemort is," he muttered.
All three of the Weasley's gasped in unfeigned apprehension.
"Don't say that!" Ron complained.
"You'll get lumps of coals in your stocking if you keep saying that name!" Fred warned.
"Don't be silly, it's just a name," Hermione chided. She brushed her bushy brown hair out of her eyes. "No harm ever came from saying somebody's name!"
Ron shook his head. "You muggle raised just don't understand the power of names," he said. "So humor us, okay?"
"Of course," Harry squinted at his glasses again. There was no alternative that he could see.
Hermione looked worriedly at Harry, obviously more concerned about him trying on his glasses than his saying that name.
Harry gave her a lopsided smile. "Be ready for anything," he said. "And I hope you know the remedy for whatever it is they're planning." Then he put his glasses on.
Harry took a deep breath as the world came back into focus and waited for the payoff. He took another breath, still waiting. Cautiously, he moved his head to scan the room, still waiting.
Ron and Hermione were holding their breaths.
Harry shook his head, blinked and waved a hand in front of his face, still waiting. "Well, whatever's supposed to happen, didn't." he informed the twins.
George and Fred fell into overstuffed chairs and laughed.
Alarmed, Harry yanked off his glasses and looked at them. "What?" he demanded. He looked at Ron and Hermione. "What's happening?"
Hermione shook their head. "Nothing," she reported. "There are no circles around your eyes. Nothing's changing color. Nothing's sprouting. Nothing's growing, shrinking or changing shape…" She scowled at the twins who just laughed harder.
Harry let out a snort and relaxed. "So, that's the trick?" he asked. "That I'll think there's a trick when there isn't one?" He brushed a wisp of his unruly black hair out of his face. The gesture exposed his lightning shaped scar and the firelight made it stand out even more than usual.
"Maybe," George said.
Harry took a deep breath. "Vol…"
"Yes! Yes!" Fred put up his hands in a token of surrender. "We just wanted to see how long it would take you to get the nerve to put them on."
George grinned and shrugged. "Would've been funnier if you'd held off putting them on longer, but one can't have everything."
Fred nodded and pushed the bowl of Bernie's Every Flavor Beans towards Harry. "Here, have a bean. If you're lucky, it'll be cherry and mint."
In honor of Christmas, the bowl was filled with various shades of green and red beans.
There was really no telling what the flavor any given bean was, not even by the color. Red and green beans could be anything from cherry and mint to roast beef and brussel sprouts. Even strange flavors like dragon scales and belly button lint had been known to turn up.
Harry polished his glasses on his handkerchief, then put them back on and looked around warily. When nothing continued to not happen, he relaxed a bit, accepted a red bean from Fred and bit into it.
"Whoa, what'd you get?" George demanded eagerly.
Harry's expression had obviously given away the fact that the flavor was NOT cherry.
He spat the bean into his handkerchief. "Blood," he said.
"Ewww…" Hermione and Ron chorused.
"Cool!" the twins said. They dove into the bowl trying to find another. They exclaimed in disgust as they found, one after the other: radish, rhubarb, rubber and cedar.
"You try," George urged Hermione.
Tentatively, Hermione picked a bean that was the same color as the Weasleys' hair. "Cinnamon," she said with a woof of air that seemed to indicate that she'd been holding her breath.
"Now you," Fred urged his youngest brother.
Ron reached for a green bean, only to get hooted at. Sighing, he picked up a bean. "Smoked salmon," he said, rolling it around on his tongue. "Very nice."
George tried another and made a face. "Paprika," he complained.
Fred tried one. "Wow! Cayenne!" and he ran to wash his mouth out. When he got back, he found George urging another set of red beans on the three younger students.
Ron, Hermione and Harry exchanged resigned look and each took a bean with all the enthusiasm they'd have been shown to taking castor oil. This time, Ron got Apple and Hermione got rose petals. "Too bad I can't be sure of those every time," she said. "These are nice."
"Harry?" George prodded.
Harry picked a bean that he thought was a brighter shade of red than the last one, took a bite, then spat into his handkerchief again.
"Blood, again?" George said.
"No fair!" Fred complained.
They examined the color of the beans in Harry's napkin and tried to match the color.
"Care for a chocolate frog?" Harry asked. He fetched some boxes and held them out to his friends. The twins shook their heads, determined to find a blood flavored bean.
"Thank you," Hermione said, accepting a frog. "The way things are going, I wouldn't be surprised if some of those green beans tasted like real frogs."
Hermione winced as the bean flavors went from poinsettias to bricks to rouge to even more disgusting things. She looked at the collector's card that came with the Chocolate Frog. "Anybody want the Sphinx?" she asked.
"WOW! Jalapeno pepper!" George's yelp was somewhat muffled and he bumped into Harry as he dashed for the bathroom. He came back in a few minutes land picked another bean. "I will not be stopped by a little spice!" he declared.
Ron shook his head, continuing the conversation about the Sphinx. "I've already got a dozen of her."
"I have one, too," Harry said, but he accepted the card anyway.
"Maybe we should head over to the library," Hermione said after she finished her chocolate frog.
"Why the library?" Ron asked. "That's so…"
"Euk! Iodine!" Fred exclaimed.
"Raspberry!" George said as disgusted as if it had been iodine.
"You want another bean?" Hermione asked.
Ron took another look at his brothers and shook his head.
"You know, I should return my book," Harry said suddenly. "It really wasn't very interesting. How anybody could make Quidditch into a dull read is beyond me, though." He picked up the book from the table and absentmindedly stuffed his handkerchief into his pocket.
The three slipped out of the Gryffindor tower before the twins could force another round of beans on them. They didn't even stop long enough to pick up their wands. An oversight they would soon regret.
"Why so many disgusting flavors in one batch?" Harry asked.
"I think they don't like being color coordinated," Ron said wisely. "They want variety." He had to love the way his muggle raised friends accepted his superior knowledge of the wizarding world. Hermione, whose parents were completely non-magical dentists, was big on book learning, but magic candy was something she hadn't read up on… yet. Harry's parents had been famous wizards. However, they had been killed when Harry was only one and so Harry had been raised by his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon, who weren't just non-magical, they were fanatically anti-magical.
It made a nice change for Ron to be the center of attention for a change. As the youngest of six boys, he'd always been over shadowed by his brothers. And, in some ways, being Harry Potter's best friend was even worse. Not that Harry tried to hog the spotlight. It's just that circumstances always seemed to shove the dark haired boy into the limelight.
Sometimes Ron wished that he were the one in the limelight. Then something would happen, like an insane murderer escaping from prison to come looking for Harry, and Ron would decide there are advantages to being the sidekick. Sidekicks don't get blood sucking monsters coming after them. Heck, sidekicks don't even get blood flavored beans!
They walked into the library and looked around. Something flashed in Harry's eyes and he turned his head away from the window. Then he frowned. The flash of light couldn't have come from the window, there was no sunlight today. He walked over to the desk and handed his book back to the librarian, Madam Pince.
Ron sighed. "Spending the day in the library isn't my idea of fun." He looked around gloomily.
Hermione snorted. "It would do you some good to spend more time reading and less time getting into trouble."
"You sound like Percy," Ron complained.
"So, then, what do you want to do?" Hermione asked. "Go back to the common room and play guinea pig for your brothers' latest round of practical jokes?"
Ron sighed and shook his head. Then he looked out the window at the gloomy weather outside. "I'd rather go outside and freeze. At least I know what to expect from sleet. Harry? Any ideas?"
"We could go see Hagrid," Harry said.
Hermione sighed, then decided that visiting Hagrid was actually a pretty good idea. She liked Hogwarts' giant sized gamekeeper. "Very well, then, let's pick out something interesting to read, then go down to visit Hagrid."
"Sounds good to me," said Ron.
Harry moved towards the shelves that had Quidditch books. The new book that he wanted to read, Hogwarts' Twenty Best Seekers, had been checked out since September and he wanted to see if it was back in yet. He played Seeker for his house team and he wanted to know about others who had played that position. He was especially eager to know if his father was mentioned. He'd seen the trophy that James Potter had helped win for his house, so Harry knew his father had been good. Question was, had he been good enough to get into this book?
There was a nasty flash of light in his eyes again. "Ow." He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes.
"Harry? Are you all right?" Hermione asked worried.
"Yeah," Harry said. "I think so."
Hermione eyed him unconvinced. "You think so? If you don't know so, maybe you'd better go see Madam Pomfrey."
"It's nothing," he said. "Just some light reflecting in my eyes."
"From where?" Ron wondered.
Harry put his glasses back on. "From that door," he said, gesturing.
Hermione and Ron looked in the indicated direction. Then they exchanged puzzled looks.
"What?" Harry demanded.
"There's no door there," Hermione explained. "There's nothing there but bookshelves."
"What?" Harry said. "But…" he squinted. "It's right…" he took his glasses off. There was nothing there but bookshelves. "I don't get it," he muttered, putting his glasses back on. "But I can see a door," he complained. He started toward the door, wondering if he was seeing something magical or if he was just going crackers. Of course, neither option ruled out the other, he mused to himself.
Hermione looked worriedly at Ron. Strange things happened around Harry Potter, even by wizarding standards.
Ron suddenly slapped his forehead and made a disgusted sound. "George and Fred," he snarled in disgust. "They did mess with your glasses."
Harry stopped and sighed. "That would make sense," he said. "I wonder why I'm seeing a door, though?" He reached out to where the door handle should have been… and fell through the bookcase.
Harry Potter and the Bookwyrm: Page