A/N: Okay well, I lied, it wasn't 2 to 3 weeks. More like...a month and a half. And my last chapter was a year ago, oh dear god please don't kill me. I had good reason though! In other news, I've finished high school, governmental human services are forcing me to find a full time job within the two weeks before university, university also sounds terrifying. Does anyone have any tips on looking for jobs? T_T
Thanks for the reviews last chapter, kept me alive they did! Especially during the really horrible periods. Sigh. Sorry to my anon reviewers that I can't reply to you guys, but as you can see I am back in action.
Additional Note: Reyes is a name of Spanish origins and pronounced Reh – ez.
Chapter 6: Hell in High Heels
Harry hurriedly hobbled down the corridors on weak legs, supported by an over energetic Reyes Kurasawa and followed by his blond friend at a much more sedate pace. He grouched quietly under his breath about the unfairness of obnoxious professors, quite certain that Reyes could hear him if the way his facial expression twitched at a particularly foul insult was any indication.
"So who's your friend, Reyes?" Harry asked with a toss of his head towards the man that seemed determined to ignore them, surreptitiously examining the graceful gait and the unrelenting blank stare in his direction from crystalline eyes.
"Oh? Meet the resident silent grump, Elias Lavotte. Don't worry about him, he's a bit of an uptight bastard but he'll loosen up after a while," Reyes said while grinning at Elias happily. In Harry's opinion, the returned glare was anything but "loose". However despite his unfamiliarity with the man, Elias' continuous silence and presence was innately reassuring; the contrast against the hectic day was somewhat soothing.
"Right," Harry muttered and was shuffled into another classroom enthusiastically. He shivered as the overwhelming sense of depression swept over him like an unearthly plague. The oppressive darkness of the room seemed to make it even smaller as the door shut behind him slowly, leaving outside what seemed to be left of Harry's sanity reserve for the day. Wonderful, Harry thought dryly, walking down the narrow aisles lined by candles that barely lit up the threadbare carpet, darkened from the flying soot of the fireplace. Dust flew up from his careful steps and he sneezed in distaste. Taking a seat, Reyes and Elias on either side of him, he was at least partially reassured of his safety when a strange cloaked man swept among the class like a wintry breath over a dying landscape.
His first words were, "More than half of you will fail this class."
Harry's eyebrow shot upwards and he felt rather than heard, Reyes snort at the statement. They all surveyed the diminutive man standing at the front with a dubious stare. Yet those who had returned from Professor Crux's class maintained a steady vigilance, in case this was another slightly psychotic man with a sadistic predisposition about to prey on some unsuspecting victim.
"Welcome to this year's lesson of Enchantment. I am Professor Dirk," stated the low voice from beneath the hood sounding decidedly sane and calm. He lowered the hood to reveal a receding hairline, large spectacles and a drooping moustache that gave him the unflattering look of a despondent walrus. Overall, he gave the impression of a quiet unassuming man who could not possibly survive in the slightly chaotic environment that was Nightshade Academy. A flurry of confusion fluttered about the room, students turning to one another to discuss his unusual presence.
"Do you know him?" Harry asked, leaning over discreetly.
Reyes gave a perplexed shrug and cocked his head to the side to survey the man better, "No actually, I've heard of Professor Dirk before, but there are so many teachers around this school that you tend to lose track of them quickly unless they have a particular thing out for you. Like Professor Crux," He added with a cheeky grin.
Harry decided not to rise to the taunt and focused on the new puzzle instead. All of a sudden, Professor Dirk smiled, causing the ridiculous moustache to wriggle and swirled the cloak off his shoulders, and somewhere in between the whirling of the fabric, the features of the man melted and dissolved to reveal the softer angles of a rather pretty woman. Brown curled locks of hair bounced around the refined features, and the drab rags turned into a strange sleeveless garment with many collars and belts; the effects building up to a most startling transformation.
"That was your first example of what exactly enchanting can do," she said softly, to the general amazement of the class as she let the cloak slip from her slim fingers onto a high backed leather chair. "This cloak although ordinary by nature, is enchanted to hide and warp the features of its wearer through the nature of the individual fibres. We will be covering more of that next lesson."
Harry straightened his back and gazed curiously at the cloak. Having one of those in addition to his Invisibility cloak would be extremely useful in the case of a sticky situation, which in Harry's opinion; his entire life would be termed just that.
Professor Dirk walked over to one of the candles by her foot and snuffed it out, instantly the gloom and darkness of the room dispelled as if a miniature sun had exploded in the centre of the room, driving away the shadows into the corners. Simultaneous groans echoed around the room at the sudden cruel exposure to the light. "This candle is another example of an enchanted object. When it is lit, it draws out the light out of the room into its flame and keeps it burning for longer. If you inspect this closely, you would see that there are runes carved into the wax to ensure the wax can withstand the containment of power."
Harry blinked the dancing colours out of his eyes, finally able to take in the high arched windows and lush furnishings when the illusion of a scruffy fireplace disappeared with the extinguishing of another candle.
"Enchanting is essentially the same as any influential magic performed on an object, however this magic must be anchored to the object so it can perform the intent of the wielder for an extended amount of time. Constantly feeding your power into a spell is draining, but enchanting something quickly and anchoring the required magic to an object is much less tiring," she continued, walking about the room, snuffing out more candles and tipping over vases so they crashed to the floor; each time some part of the room warped into its original state.
"I could direct my power into a fire for it to burn forevermore, but simply enchanting the wood to continuously reconstruct itself would be by far easier. Of course, the enchantment would fade eventually, however anything after that becomes a simple matter of renewing it. Some people would consider enchanting to be a weak subject as it is not purely reliant on power. It helps if you have it, but ultimately to do well in enchantment, one must have brains and the ability to use it, to fully utilise the versatility of pure magic. Considering Nightshade's standard requirement and recruitment techniques, at least half of you will not succeed in this class," she said in one of the most matter of fact tone Harry had heard since Hermione had lectured him on studying.
Harry grimaced as his friends and classmates bristled in indignation.
"She really doesn't mince her words does she?" Reyes remarked as he folded his arms behind his head. The three of them made their way briskly back to the Main Hall for lunch, contemplating their latest lesson and eager for a scrumptious lunch of exotic foods. "Though that trick with the cloak; pretty awesome."
"Hmm," Harry agreed. The lesson had been extremely illuminating and thankfully very much theory based. Up until now, Harry had no idea of the relevance of materials and spells; natural fibres and metals took to spells well but magic had a tendency to roll off synthetic cloths like water. That would explain the fashion sense in the magical world. His head felt pleasantly packed with information and budding ideas buzzed around noisily in his mind.
"It was a productive lesson. I hope it will come to use in the future," Elias said gently and Harry was amazed to hear the quiet man speak again.
"Hey! You're finally talking again. I swear you barely ever go over six words a day with me. This must be a new record!" Reyes said, wrapping one arm around Elias' reluctant shoulder and crushing him playfully.
Harry watched on, pleased that his new friends were quite amiable when he suddenly felt someone standing behind his right shoulder.
"Yes, they are a rather strange pair aren't they? Although I believe their personalities mesh with yours quite nicely. They'll make worthy companions."
He jumped at the weight of a hand being settled onto his shoulder and twisted to find Professor Theodus staring across at the two, completely missing Reyes' terrified twitch and the tiny smile on the edge of Elias' lips.
"A word, if you please Hariel," Professor Theodus replied, the expression he wore slightly stilted, lips pressed together a little firmly and furrows between the brows a little too pronounced. Leading a reluctant Harry away from the other two, he pushed through the stream of people who constantly buffeted against them before gesturing to a little alcove in the wall.
Harry stared at the small space available, wholly unimpressed and uncomfortably reminded of his encounter with Rita Skeeter in fourth year inside the broom closet. "You can't be serious."
Having no patience in trying to coerce Harry with honeyed words of conviction; Professor Theodus roughly prodded Harry into the space irritably, ignoring the yelps of pain as his sharp black nails scraped against the delicate pale skin. Swamped in incredible confusion, Harry retreated into the alcove and was squished against the side by Professor Theodus' larger girth.
"Seriously, Professor, this is just ridiculous-"
"I wish to warn you away from Professor Crux. That despicable vampire," he spat, eyes alight and hands gesturing sharply with emotion, "is the very personification of trouble and mayhem itself. I could not caution you earlier as Headmistress Merkovich deliberately stopped me from doing so."
"What is so bad about Professor Crux? I mean, apart from the fact that he has a seriously sadistic disposition?
"Let's just say that anyone who has managed to get his attention regrets it afterwards," Professor Theodus hissed, purple eyes gleaming and burning in the darkness with an intensity that Harry had not noticed before. "The community of Nightshade is tight knit and we are fiercely loyal to one another against the outside world, but within….Professor Crux tends to toe the boundaries, and when I say toe, I mean fly past, naked and screaming without a care in the world."
Harry's eyes widened and glanced downwards guiltily with a slight groan before tugging at a lock of his hair nervously. The professor sucked in an exasperated breath. "What did you do?"
"Nothing-" Harry began in half-hearted protest but was broken off by the horrifyingly familiar presence of Professor Crux standing right behind him, squashing the three of them together in the alcove in a highly unpleasant sandwich. He was suddenly sorely tempted to throw his hand backwards and cast a rather nasty castration curse but Professor Theodus' look of consternation stopped him.
"Oh, it was hardly 'nothing'," drawled the low voice in his ear, sounding unpleasantly amused. "I haven't had a show that beautiful in many years. Brother, you should have seen him writhe on the floor in pleasure. But what is this? You shouldn't talk about others in secret you know, that would be rude. Although, now I am here, feel free to speak. What wonderful things about me have you been telling Mr Viridis?"
Harry flushed and looked away defiantly before one word caught his ear. Brother? He wondered in silent confusion. Twisting around to stare at the both of them, he could not deny the similarities they shared. The same aristocratic nose, the elegant high cheekbones and facial structure…However the differences in their hair colour and eyes were just too hard to ignore. Professor Theodus' angry eyes, normally playful but kind were a stark contrast to Professor Crux's cold and cruel sparkling depths.
"Half-brother, Demetrius, it seems I must often remind you. I'm sure you have somewhere else to be, so why don't you leave me and my charge alone," Professor Theodus tersely said, drawing Harry closer into his chest with a suddenly clawed hand, ignoring the muffled protest. Another cold hand trailed up and down Harry's neck from behind, fingers running lightly over the pulse point. Sugary sweetness that reminded him of melting marshmallows in hot chocolate started to infuse his nostrils again, coaxing him into relaxing against the wall of muscle behind him, causing his eyelids to droop down until Professor Theodus' sharp black nails pressed into his shoulders again with small pinpricks of pain.
"Stop," interjected Professor Theodus furiously, slapping the hand away from Harry's neck which instantly leapt up to tousle the messy black hair instead. It lazily massaged his scalp and Harry resisted the urge jump away from it, knowing it would only make the dangerous vampire all the more furious. That, and the gentle movement accompanied with that sweet scent, was causing him to become very comfortable, dangerously so.
"But he's so adorable, brother," Professor Crux said, grinning at Professor Theodus' unhappy expression. A red tongue slid across his canines slowly, as if he was already relishing the taste of Harry's blood. "Share him with me, brother. Pretty please?"
"Half-brother, Demetrius!" roared Professor Theodus and took a step towards Professor Crux, having forgotten the fact that Harry was still lodged in between them. "For Odin's sake, what will it take for you to remember that? And I will not 'share' him! He is not a possession nor is he 'mine'! You should not have sent one of your envoys to spy on him, it was not welcome."
"He's fine isn't he? Not a hair harmed. Then there's no problem, is there, Alexander, brother dear."
The vampire laughed and wrapped an arm around the squirming boy, drawing him into a mockery of an embrace for Harry felt more trapped and panicky rather than soothed. A smooth cheek rubbed against his and he felt the low voice rumble through him, "He's just lovely, I just want a taste. Just a tiny taste, brother…." The voice grew huskier and more excited to Harry's rising concern. The hands that were previously clasped around his chest rose and caressed his neck with painful intimacy, running over the hollow at the base of his throat lightly as the other hand jerked his head backwards by the hair. Feeling immensely vulnerable and slightly panicky as he felt the hot breath roll over his neck, he tugged on Professor Theodus' robes insistently who seemed to have turned frozen in silent rage. Harry's eyes watched in growing displeasure as Professor Crux leaned over him, glittering eyes trained continuously on Professor Theodus' snarling expression, in a foiled attempt to steal a kiss as the lithe body twisted itself out of both men's holds.
"I think that has gone on long enough," Harry interjected in a manner that did not reflect the frantic beating of his heart, never minding the fact the vampire could probably hear it in this proximity. The two men stood side by side and stared down at him, looking eerily similar in stature and expressions of mild surprise as if they had forgotten he was there. "I'm sensing there's unresolved business here which I do not want to get into. I'm not an object to use as a focus for your rivalries. I had enough of that back home. Whatever the problem is, you're both adults. I think you should have enough sense to talk it through."
He tried to escape before he got too irritated but Professor Theodus' hand snatched his wrist tightly. Eyes not leaving the excited vampire who had ignored his entire speech and seemed permanently fixated on Harry's mouth and neck, Professor Theodus gave his last warning to Harry and pressed the wriggling vampire against the wall roughly with his hand.
"Don't let him bite you. Ever. Do you understand me Harry," he snarled into Professor Crux's face even as he directed his words to Harry. "You have full permission from me to defend yourself in anyway necessary against any vampire."
"…Yes, sir," Harry replied, confusion preventing him from saying anything else. He darted out of the alcove and back into safety with his new companions who had waited by the entrance of the Hall. He looked back briefly, but both men had already disappeared.
"What was that all about?" Reyes asked looking slightly frazzled, pushing Harry down into a seat next to him at the corner of the Hall. Elias sat down, immediately started to pile food onto his plate and began to eat without saying a word. Harry sighed at Reyes' question, having already started to put it behind him.
"Professor Theodus wanted a word with me."
Reyes' started to frantically pile mashed potato into Harry's teacup. "What's your connection with him?" He asked in a slightly higher voice.
"He's sort of my mentor. Why?"
"That man is terrifying," he stressed to Harry, an earnest expression splashed across his face. "He was the one to pick me up to get here right? I don't know what I did wrong, but after five minutes, he tied me to the front of the train. And left me there!"
Harry raised an eyebrow in amusement. "So that was you who he told me about? He said it was because you talked too much."
Reyes frowned, "Now that's just mean. Anyway, it's high time that you received a lesson on all the people here so you don't accidently insult someone and end up dead within a week because that would be a terrible mess for all of us; especially since we're the ones who would have to clean up." He cracked his knuckles and pointed to a group sitting right in front of them. Harry straightened up in his seat but continued to spoon soup into his mouth. Staying alive seemed like a very good objective.
"Right so you see dragon wings and scales around their eyes, then you've got a Dragon-kind on your hands. Extremely good eyesight and their eyes change colour depending on what kind of mood they're in. You don't want to make them angry, coz they sprout a tail to fly around and throw these streams of fire from their hands. They hurt. Trust me, I would know. Plus the red eyes are intimidating as hell. Plus they've got the strongest hold on ritualistic magic among all the races. Coupling that with their famous stubbornness, it's no wonder they get into so much trouble all the time."
Elias snorted delicately.
Shooting him a disgruntled look Reyes continued his impromptu lecture. "Right to the next of them," he continued, waving a fork at some rowdy blue skinned girls snarling at others. "Those are the nymphs as you can tell by their coloured skin. Now the colour reveals their elemental powers so you get red skin, green skin and blue skin for fire, earth and water respectively. They're usually kind of mellow but pack a punch in their elements if you get them angry like they are now. I think one of the faeries pissed them off."
"Okay, there you have the faeries with the fancy wings. They're pretty much like basic humans but prettier than normal, with this irritating ability to hypnotise you and have the ability to fly. Their flight speeds are one of the fastest out of all the races, although sometimes the Dragon-kind outflies them. They're always having competitions on one of the islands. If you're ever on a broom, they're like bludgers coming at you."
Harry brightened at the mention of Quidditch, thinking of his treasured Firebolt stashed in his room and the urge to skim over the waves. "Is there any chance I'll be able to play Quidditch one day here?"
Reyes smirked, "Of course, we have a whole island dedicated to the sport, and another for Quodpot, since the Americans prefer it."
The mouth fell open, "Brilliant."
"Anyway, getting back to the point. You've got the vampires," Reyes said, pointing to Professor Crux who was back at the front of the Hall surrounded by a ring of other vampires. The man turned around and raised a wine glass at Harry, who mentally shuddered in response to the unwanted greeting. "Er. Well, they're pale and like to drink blood…which is probably what Professor Crux is drinking at the moment," he continued rather redundantly. "That rubbish on sunlight and garlic is ridiculous, I'm pretty sure they just don't like the smell. But the muggles did get a couple of things right, but then again it's pretty much common sense. You decapitate them. They die. You stab them through the heart. They die. The hardest part is getting them to stand still long enough. Pure running water can slow them for a while but all the vampires here are too strong to be really affected by that. Although some species of vampires, particularly the Eastern European strains have a weakness against silver."
"Oh? Why is that?"
Elias answered for him instead. "For some reason, their biological make up is different and contact with silver breaks them down on a molecular level, much like an acid."
Reyes nodded eagerly, "Extremely advanced sight, smell, hearing and speed, makes their hunting a lot easier; the perfect predator really. Feeding on the students is a strict rule though. Vampires have this venom in their teeth that they can release, it can either make you feel real good or erase your memory completely. That's why each vampire either has a muggle somewhere here to feed on or a mate."
"Probably not helping the Bermuda Triangle myths," Harry muttered, suddenly understanding Professor Theodus' barely restrained panic and anger. If the hero of the Wizarding world suddenly lost his memories and become enslaved to a vampire especially to one as powerful as Professor Crux, the British community would be in a complete outrage if they ever found out, demanding their 'saviour' and 'Chosen One' back, probably instigating another war along with the present. Possibly to international proportions.
"Probably not," he agreed. "Then you get the incubi and succubi. Steer clear of them, unless of course it's Professor Theodus who seems to be covering your back. They're not really as much fighters as the Dragon-kind or the vampires, but they're a class of their own when it comes to mind tricks and mixing magic with it. If you're on their list of people they don't like, you won't notice until you're dead; but that doesn't happen often. They like to mix around with the other races. I'm sure you already know how they feed off sex. Professor Theodus teaches their main class. I don't really want to think about what goes on in there."
"Wonderful mental image. Thank you, Reyes," Harry sighed, feeling mildly put off his soup now and started on an exotic fruit instead.
"You're welcome," he replied in all seriousness before suddenly puffing out his chest. "Then you have werewolves. Better sight, smell and hearing like our wolf counterparts. We're also a fair deal faster than some of the others but not in the same league as the vampires. It's still a bit irritating to have the amount of colour you can see to be reduced when you morph, but eh, we're still pretty cool."
"Do you take Wolfsbane?" Harry asked cautiously. Reyes nearly fell off his seat at this question and stared at him incredulously.
"What no! No, at Nightshade all werewolves undergo this regime where we learn to control the wolf side of us, as cheesy as that sounds. It's basically like our animagus forms now since we can't actually be animagi."
"Interesting…Why is this not revealed to the rest of werewolf community?"
"Well it's actually no secret, it's just supremely difficult to achieve really. We get a lot of extra help here from other werewolves with more experience."
Harry thought of Remus and his shabby patchwork clothes, feeling the sharp loss of both Remus and Sirius. What he had left behind, his friends and new family, a familiarity of a world that he had only been introduced to 5 years before seemed to rise up again within him. Harry pursed his lips and refused to think of it any further, after all he knew in his heart he had done the right thing.
Elias put down his napkin, interrupting Harry's depressive thoughts. "Finally, you have the Elven race. We possess keener eyesight and hearing. We are usually of lighter build and are at home in natural woodlands. By looking at our ears, you can clearly tell us apart. But don't touch them, they are extremely sensitive. To do so without permission from an Elf is akin to a death sentence in some parts of the world."
Harry nodded, grateful for Elias and Reyes going out of their way to ensure he didn't accidently kill himself within the first week of school. However, a group of people in the other corner of the Hall caught his attention with their posture. Huddled together, with their backs facing the wall and hostile expressions on every single face, Harry was slightly reminded of a very angry flock of penguins.
"You haven't told me about them," Harry said, jerking his head in the group's direction, not wanting to attract their attention.
"Oh. They're the Lethifolds. No one really talks to them much; they're the type to keep to themselves too. Lethifolds are basically the humanoid versions of Dementors. Because they have the same depressive powers and the ability to suck your soul, means that they are avoided by most of the other races like the plague. To hunt, they turn into these black cloaks that smother you and digest you all at once; it's kind of icky to think about at lunch. I'm not really certain what or who they're feeding on while they're here actually."
"It sounds like there's some prejudice running around," Harry said mildly, quirking an eyebrow at his seemingly open-minded companion. "I mean everyone has to eat to survive. Some have just different dietary requirements like the vampires."
Reyes looked slightly surprised, "I never thought of it that way, but yes I'd guess so. I think it's just really the fact that they could potentially eat us."
Harry's eyes narrowed slightly, having been on the wrong side of prejudice too many times to count. These Lethifolds were clearly a race like any other; if they kept to themselves, it was probably because no one communicated with them in the first place, after all Ethan Elkasir did not seem evil overall, except for a nasty tendency to kiss unsuspecting victims. Harry suddenly slapped a hand to his face and groaned, why hadn't this stroke of maturity been born inside the walls of Hogwarts? Slytherin may have been much more tolerable with this new found understanding.
The sound of wind chimes floated around the air once more and the next thing he knew, Elias was gently tugging on his wrist.
"Come on, Hariel. Time for class," Elias said to the wide-eyed boy still seated on the bench. Harry stared up at him, cocking his head to the side in contemplation as he rose. It was good to know that Elias, despite his rather silent and stand-offish exterior, wasn't entirely cold.
Unfortunately for Harry, Weapons and Combat was the only lesson he did not share with Elias and Reyes, as they had already moved up into the advanced classes (as had practically the entire school). They had left him, after escorting him across a bridge to another small island, standing in the middle of a clearing in the forest.
"Wait, are you sure the class is supposed to come here?" he had asked, running after the two retreating figures.
"Oh yes," Reyes answered, a wide grin playing on his mouth as he flipped a silver coin into the air repeatedly. "It's been a long standing tradition, leaving the newbies until they go spare. It's hilarious."
Elias suddenly raised his hand and waved to someone behind Harry. He whipped around in equal amounts of anticipation and wariness to greet his professor, only to be met a never-ending blanket of trees.
"Wha-?" he started to say and turned back towards the pair, yet found himself staring at trees. The exact same trees that seemed to be surrounding him on all fronts. Walking off into the forest, in an attempt to reduce the likelihood of getting mobbed in the open by anything, he was startled to find himself walking straight back into the clearing. "Well, bollocks."
Nervously, Harry bounced on the balls of his feet, feeling the floor spongy from grass sink and rise under his feet. Just as he did so, gnarled roots shot out of the ground in an explosion of dust and debris, sending Harry flying backwards in shock to avoid the violent growth. Alarm and adrenaline pumped through his veins like a badly administered IV drip and instantly he was aware, of the lack of natural birdsong, the humidity of the air as it passed through his lungs, the gritty sensation of dust between his fingers, the smell of sweat and earth and most importantly, the disgruntled grumble of the ground.
Quickly scrabbling up, he looked around him just in time to watch the roots sink back into the floor and out of sight. Sinking into a crouching stance wearily, Harry slinked around the clearing watching out and feeling for any sign of movement. With a cut-off gasp, he snapped his head backwards to prevent a thin root from snagging his neck and threw himself sideways to avoid the other coiling for his shoulder. Falling quickly into a dance of avoidance accompanied by the wonderful soundtrack of repeated swearing, Harry was quickly tiring at evading what seemed to be roots that were determined to clamp him to the ground.
Panting harshly and eyes darting furiously, he cursed when one thin tendril lightly sliced his cheek and hurtled towards the line of trees. Fraught with confusion, he quickly scaled the tree with a skill born from too many escapes from Aunt Marge's bulldog before he felt something clamp around his ankle.
Oh. Well that's not good.
Barely able to form another thought, he suddenly found himself screaming and flying backwards through the air in an uncontrolled cartwheel, limbs flailing madly before crashing down into the untender embrace of the branches of another tree. Thin boughs snapped under his weight with unhappy cracks and the air seemed to pass him by in a blur of blue sky and greenery.
Harry let out a pained wheeze as a multitude of leaves fluttered around him, limbs askew and looking more than a little dishevelled from the impromptu escape session.
"Well, hello," said a voice above him, and in Harry's shock, nearly slid off the bough of branches he was lying on. Scrabbling frantically for purchase once more, his heart had lodged itself in his throat.
"Hi," Harry said simply, staring up at the figure which took a swig from a hip flask, leaning leisurely against the trunk. The man swayed as he clambered down the branches, slipping occasionally until he landed heavy footed next to Harry, who glanced at it uncertainly when the branch shuddered under their weight. The stink of alcohol wafted over as the breeze picked up around them both, tossing the ends of their coats into the air playfully. They stared at each other without saying another word, both eyes dragging over each other's bodies taking in every single possible detail.
"I can tell, sir."
The man turned in his direction and surveyed him with a bloodshot eye. "I'm not sure I like you."
"That's alright, I'm not sure I like you either, sir," Harry said, wrinkling his nose at the smell. The man huffed and slid down the trunk of the tree with ease, leaving Harry sitting in the tree looking lost and bewildered.
"Well? You going to stay up there all day? Just jump down, I'll catch you!" he said,
"Sir, with all due respect-"
"I waved Respect goodbye a long time ago, don't bring her up. Merlin, she nagged."
Harry wasn't quite sure whether or not his new professor was as loony as he made himself out to be, but the impression of roaring hallucinating drunkard just strengthened when he engaged in a one sided conversation with a tree. He decided jumping down would be a very bad idea.
"-you have the most lovely leaves out of all of these trees don't you? I'm sure you're very proud of them, just look at the way they gleam in the sunlight. It's so green. I love green. Your eyes are green."
Harry snapped out of his internal war over whether just to high-tail it out of here at the sudden declaration. "Good observation, sir," he said finally after a long pause.
Thick dark brows quirked together a little before the furrow was smoothed out once more. "What are you still doing up there, come down. Good god, you're as skittish as cat. You're not a cat are you? I'm allergic."
Harry hesitatingly shimmied down the tree gracefully, gingerly trying to slip down and reach the next branch that would finally set him on the floor before an impatient hand grabbed him by scruff of his neck.
"That took you long enough. You've got good skills in climbing and decent instincts which means good reactionary speed. That's obvious enough, but you suck horrendously at speed in recognition and strength," the man grunted. He lifted Harry's sleeve in a ginger pinch and peered hazily at him after letting it drop back down. "Not enough muscle. Probably not enough stamina either, at least not the standard that you need to be. You're going to need a lot of damn work, kid."
Harry took this news well enough, knowing it was hardly much of a surprise for himself but was impressed by the way the man had gleaned that from him after a single drunk and swaying glance.
"We'll start off building your strengths, which would be speed and agility. We get those muscles going while you practice that and then incorporate core strengths to help your stamina and so on."
Wow, the man was redeeming himself as a competent teacher in Harry's eyes at least.
"Which means from now on, you'll be wearing these." And from behind his back, he held out a terrifying pair of black, high heel stilettos.
Blond hair escaped the loose braid that it had been tied in and mixed in with the filthy ground, looking distinctly out of place. White robes that were pristine beforehand rustled loudly in the darkness until they turned grey with flying dust. A mouth opened to drag oxygen that was not present; leaving only choked rattling breath while slender hands clutched at his throat. Blue eyes wide and dilated to their fullest extent, they darted wildly about to see his attackers from his position on the floor. Four sets of impassive eyes ignored the thrashing of the dying man, waiting for the leader to wring out the truth.
"Give it to us, Selvor Mikados, and perhaps we shall be lenient."
A booted foot nudged the chest of the blond elf, rolling him onto his back. Selvor blinked his eyes blearily, trying to wash away the dust that had fallen into his eyes to see the five black figures obscuring the starry sky above him. Air was immediately returned to him, and his constricting lungs expanded thankfully with painfully large gasps that shook his frame. His attackers closed in a tight ring around him, their magic oppressing down on him heavily restraining the movement of his limbs and making it impossible for him to escape.
"Viridis' blood, we know you would have taken some. You take some from every customer you receive, whether they know it or not. Give it to us, Selvor Mikados," crooned the voice, laced with hypnotic suggestion. To the attackers' surprise, broken haggard laughs began to fall from chapped lips and light blue eyes stared angrily into the darkness.
"Well, is it not so unfortunate, that for Hariel Viridis, I made that one exception? There is no blood! Whatever you have prepared for him, it will have been in vain," Selvor gasped. The calm aura surrounding the speaker suddenly vanished and a hand seized the Selvor's collar roughly. Despite their close proximity, he still could not discern the features from the shadows.
"We shall see in time. However, you perhaps, will not have the luxury to do so," whispered the voice, all semblance of patience disappearing and Selvor was dropped back onto the floor, waves of crushing magic pounding into his body once more, increasing the gravitation around him to incredible amounts. He felt several ribs snap and puncture his lung, and the blood in his body collecting closer to the floor before the attackers slowly drifted away like wraiths. An intense headache suddenly sprouted between his eyes and his organs shifted in his body at the intense gravitational shift. Alone, Selvor laughed once more, blood flying out of his mouth and staining the golden hue of his hair before the night fell silent and still.
A/N: [HiddenInWhiteLight: Are you still up for betaing? The last I heard of you, you were swamped from school so i didn't want to bother you ]
Don't forget to leave a review! Feedback is essential for improvement after all. And this chapter made me want to shoot myself sometimes. [By the way, do you guys like the story cover I made?]
Late Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.