School Spirit


Rather obviously, Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowlings. Death and Dream are the property of Neil Gaiman. Harry Dresden and the Dresden Files are the property of Jim Butcher. They'd probably smack me around for the damage I'm doing to their creations.

October 31st, 1981:

On the outskirts of a quiet little town in England stood a stone cottage. It had been in the village for many years, and although only sporadically occupied, it was always kept in immaculate repair. It most mostly overlooked by the locals, almost as if it were too common to remark upon. No one ever wondered "Who lives there?" or "Why is it empty?" or, "Why is it that we never see anyone working there? Who tends the garden, paints the woodwork, fixes the storm damage?"

But it never occurred to the otherwise inquisitive folks of Godric's Hollow.

Less than a year ago, however, a lovely young couple had moved in, along with their infant son. And less than a day later, everyone in town promptly forgot the cottage had ever been there in the first place. It was, to the inhabitants of Godric's Hollow, like it had simply vanished.

That was lucky for them, in a sense, because it meant none of them were tempted to interfere late that Halloween. For no one, not even the closest neighbor, heard the shouting, and the screams, and the loud explosions echoing from the cottage.

But that did not mean it passed unnoticed. There were those that watched, eyes that saw everything and everyone. And some of them were focused on that small, unremarkable stone cottage in England that night, when the black robed man walked up to the House-That-Wasn't-There, opened the gate, and stepped through it.

The man never heard the flutter of soft wings behind him.

He was not alone as he walked up the garden path, as he unknowing crossed the Circle of Silver, buried beneath the lush earth. He did not feel the rush of power as the Circle slammed shut behind him, nor could his eyes see the glowing runes spring to life along the foundations of the house.

But she that followed him did know, did feel, did see. It was Old Magic, rediscovered by Merlin and lost again with his passing, but she knew it, for it intimately involved her. Magic of sacrifice, of protection, of love and loss, of life and death.

The man in black raised his hand, pointed his dark wand at the door, blew it off its hinges, and stepped inside.

There was shouting…Run, Lily, I'll hold him off! Spellfire of all colors, shouts of Latin amongst the red and green and yellow. Furniture turned into animals and attacked the dark man, or outright exploded. An iron stove sprouted legs, bellowed fire and rushed at the cloaked man – only to be shattered with a simple wave of his wand.

A single jet of green light, an almost sneered Avada Kedavra, and there was only sudden, shocking silence. The cloaked man stood, extinguishing the fires smoldering in his robes, healing the damage fists of hardened air had done to him. He stepped over the body of James Potter, and did not hear the sound of dark, soft wings.

Nor did he reflect on the fact that James, skilled in transfiguration and animation, hardened soldier with dozens of curses at his command, had focused so heavily on simple fire and air. He did not see the silver-glowing runes brighten, not appearing along the bottom floor. He did not hear the Circle of Silver humming louder, power thrumming through the bones of the cottage, as he climbed the stairs.

He entered the nursery, and found the woman kneeling in front of the crib that contained her infant son, a shield of rock and jagged ice floating before her. He commanded her to step aside, offering to spare her life, and paid no heed to her pleadings. No, not Harry. Take me, but leave him alive. Please!

He was steeped in dark magics, and knew much of sacrificing others, but nothing of the sacrifice of one's self. He did not hear the cottage hum louder, power reaching towards an almost unimaginable peak. He waved his wand, shattering her simple barriers of earth and water.

Another sneer. Another jet of green light, striking next the silver amulet around Lily Potter's neck. Another deep silence, broken only by the unheard flutter of dark wings and the rising sound of old magic, pulled up from the Earth and down from the Stars.

The dark man looked at the infant, did not see the racing silver runes and symbols now crawling up the crib, scrawling themselves along the quiet infant's skin.

Avada Kedavra!

Green light raced towards the infant, and power erupted through the silent cottage where green light and skin met. Silver light burst forth, contained by the Circle around the Cottage. There was a brief, short scream, and the sound of a wand collapsing next to burnt, empty robes. And on the infant only a bleeding scar upon his forehead, shaped like a bolt of lightning.

Power thrummed around the house, contained, racing, seeking any threats to a sleeping Harry Potter.

Shadows twisted, forming impressions of large, black wings, as the watcher stepped forth and time…paused.

Short, dark of hair and pale of skin, golden Anhk gleaming at her throat, Death stepped into the nursery of Godric's Hollow.

She nudged the empty robes with her foot, her expression indicating a profound irritation. She muttered, to no one in particular "I dislike cheaters." Turning, she walked towards the crib and peered at the sleeping infant.

"And that simply won't do" she clucked her tongue, and drew her finger along Harry's jagged scar with a peculiar hooking motion, dragging out a screaming, smoky black mass and crushing it in her hand.

She felt the thrumming power around her, still contained in the Circle of Silver, and reached down to Lily Potter's neck and removed the silver pentacle. Turning to the floor length mirror against the wall, she simply said: "Brother, I need you" and waited until the mirror bulged, and Dream stepped forth into the room.

Tall, pale as his sister, with wild black hair, he bowed to Death. "Sister. What can I do for you?"

She pouted, pointing to the empty robes. "I have a cheater. I do not like being denied. His destiny was to end here, tonight, victim of old magics and willing sacrifice. Instead, he lives on, though diminished."

She glanced at the infant. "Destiny will not be denied, you know this. So it will fall to this child, and him alone, to defeat Tom Riddle."

Dream followed her gaze. "And why do you need my help? Child of destiny, powerful villain, slain parents – these are old and common stories. They do not need my help to come to fruition."

"Riddle cheated, brother-mine. He opened a door that should not have been opened, changed the story. I wish to cheat back, brother. I wish to alter the story."

Dream paused. "Destiny will not complain?"

"No, brother. How could he?" She smiled wryly. "This is already written, after all".

"What do you wish then, Eldest Sister?"

"Harry Potter's childhood died tonight. He will need aid and succor to come through the fires, to bring low Tom Riddle." She smiled, frighteningly, twirling the silver pentacle around her fingers. "Find me a story, brother-mine. Find me a dream. Of magic, of heroism, of stubborn valor – find me a warrior spirit."

She glanced down at the sleeping infant, tucking the pentacle necklace around his neck. "Give him a rock to lean upon, Dream. A spirit that will not die, will not quit. Give him a friend, a mentor, a teacher. Give him something to bring Riddle low."

Dream nodded, glancing at the silver pentacle, and reached out to the magic in the house, taking in the power of a warrior's death and a mother's sacrifice, gathering it all in his hands – the magics of life, of fire, of air, earth and water – and reached forth to touch the amulet.

"Sister-mine, I have just the story for him."