Chapter 20.

1 September 1993.

The Great Hall was in its customary grand self, decorated in its splendor adornments for the welcoming feast.

Harry had his eyes glued to the golden plate in front of him, hardly noticing any of his surroundings. With his head set on the palm of his right hand, he dozed to space, thoughts drifting afar. The shouts from the Sorting Hat, the applause, and even the whispers of the students were far from his mind. Only a gentle prod to his elbow did his daydream came to a closing stage.

"Noah is about to be sorted, Harry," disclosed Callista. "It is in your- I mean our best interests to know what house he's going to be in."

"Um, right…thanks…" Forehead creased and eyes roosted on a particular brown-haired boy, a scowl sketched Harry's face. "Oh, who am I kidding?" Harry said, unkindly. "Who gives a thought on what the runt is going to house in? It's not in my best interest to recognize anything concerning him." A well-practiced, painful pinch was immediately sent to his left arm. "Ouch!"

"Oh, don't be such a baby, Harry. There are more painful experiences in this world than a mere pinch from a teenage girl like me," Callista declared, a small smile gracing her lips. "What is more, if Regine was to hear what you had just said, you can be certain she'd be mad at you for patronizing her brother like that."

"Barberis, Noah," said McGonagall, breaking them out of their disagreement.

With blush adoring his cute oval shaped face, the anxiety shone in his shy brown eyes, his small stature - possibly the smallest out of his year, his elegant brown hair unlike the Potter's bird unkempt nest hair, and his very tidy appearance that earned McGonagall's approval, Noah Barberis stepped out of the line and he literally climbed up to the stool. At that, Harry didn't oppose to the snickers expelling out his throat wherein it led to another series of pinch from the girl seated on his left side. In response to it, Harry complained in his standard 'Ouch!' at his so-called injury.

Seven minutes gone, and the hat had yet to cry out what house. Another minute, Harry rotated his head around to find Regine grew worry of her brother. After another eight minutes flew by, then the Sorting Hat shouted out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" Noah hastily pulled the hat off as if terrified the hat would change its mind and he scurried to join his big sister at the Hufflepuff table, whom was cheering for him. Harry wasn't stunned the runt was in Hufflepuff, no, it was the fact of how long he was to be sorted, almost as long as Harry and his own brother, Daniel.

"Not much of surprise there," remarked Harry, eyes locked onto Regine hugging her red face brother. "Secretly, I was hoping for him to be in Slytherin and have Daphne torture him from the inside. She never likes Regine's brother anyway, for the minor reason of being so close to her little sister. Daphne never fails to have this sudden crazy thought of him plotting to take advantage of Astoria."

"Daphne is being silly and you know it, Harry," smiled Callista. "It's strange, isn't it?"

"What is?"

"That Regine's younger brothers prefer to confess her any problems they're dealing with, instead of their own parents…I don't think Regine's brothers would ever want to be separate from their sister if they were given a choice."

"It shows how good she is with children…" Harry smiled fondly. "I kind of envy the close relationship she has with her siblings. Sometimes, I wish mine was as perfect as hers…"

Callista opted not to comment at that, merely burying his words to her heart.

"Greengrass, Astoria!"

Harry reflected how peculiar it was that Astoria didn't bear any resemblance to her sister, nor was she a carbon copy of a miniature Daphne. With her black silk hair like her mother's, the blue eyes from her father, her slender body and porcelain skin comparable to Daphne's, the girl extracted herself from the line of first years. She carried herself with an air of confidence, elegance, and dare Harry say it, a touch of arrogance. She was the true poster child for pureblood princesses from aristocratic families.

There and then, every bit of the girl reminded Harry vividly of Daphne, though the older girl admittedly flaunted more of the haughtiness.

What blew Harry off his rocker was when the hat exclaimed, "HUFFLEPUFF!" Silence greeted the girl's sorting as a few claps resonated within the hall. Indisputably, it was without doubt everyone expected the younger Greengrass to be in Slytherin. Astoria didn't fret on how the people reacted to her sorting. She cutely wrinkled her nose in distaste of the old Sorting hat. Flinging her silky black hair over her shoulder - Harry noted another habit from Daphne -, she strode gracefully to the Hufflepuff table, crumpling in a seat next to Noah with a heavy relief sigh.

To Harry's joy and a quirk of a smile, she excitedly chattered away, unmistakably happy to be with her friend, rather than in Slytherin house with her sister. Noah tried his very best in keeping up her speedy conversation, all the while nodding his head rapidly, yet at the same time shaking his head. Harry tilted his own in mild skepticism at the boy's movement. He didn't think it's feasible for anyone to be able to do that.

"I cannot imagine for one second that Astoria would be in Hufflepuff. Slytherin, or possibly Ravenclaw, but not Hufflepuff…" gasped Callista softly. "It had, in fact, never passed my mind at the thought of Astoria in Hufflepuff or even Gryffindor. This is, well… astonishing!"

"This verifies that not everything is what we think, or what we predict it will be. A person's choice or life does not rest in someone's hands. Perhaps, influenced by the people hovering around the individual, but never chosen for the person. In the end, it all comes down to the fact of whether the person will choose this or that, and in that instant, it is where the person's life forges an unforeseeable path for him or her…" An unconscious broad smile crept up Callista's lips. It was one of those occasional times why Callista kept reverting to her thoughts in being awe of whether the true reason of Harry's presence in Ravenclaw was on account of his way on supplying wise words in such appropriate timings.

Harry had his attention elsewhere. He discerned his gorgeous blond friend to be in shock, mouth agape a little bit, and a strand of her hair dangled loosely over her face. "For the very least, we get to see Daphne so astounded - speechless too. It's rare we get to see such reactions from her."

Callista perked at this and allowed her eyes to wander to the Slytherin table. Sensing two pair of eyes on her, flippantly ribbing on her, Daphne shook her head, her shiny blond hair dancing lightly around her face. She awarded them with the fiercest and meanest glare she could accumulate. Harry was impervious to her cold mesmerizing light green eyes, smiling in a way of merriment. Nevertheless, Callista had to look the other way, chuckling ever so slightly.

"I hope Sheila doesn't get to see Daphne in such state, Harry, if not- and I speak too soon."

By the Gryffindor table, Sheila had indeed caught the sight of Daphne and once she captured Daphne's attention, she poorly imitated Daphne's earlier action, together with her jaw dramatically dropping. Grasping the meaning behind it, Daphne's face burned red in anger and contented in glowering the girl from afar, abstaining herself from going over to the Gryffindor table and whack the perky girl.

Finally, the last name was called out, signifying the end of the sorting. Professor Flitwick, a tiny wizard and the head of Ravenclaw, levitated the three-legged stool and the old hat out of the hall. As the headmaster rose to his feet, beaming at the students, all noises fizzled out. Professor Dumbledore delivered a welcoming speech for the old students and accepted the new students warmly. When the ancient wizard touched on the topic of the Dementors, many if not most, shed a fleeting look at Harry, and a few eyes lingered on him.

This left Harry considerably perplexed. "Did I miss something?"

"I'm amazed you couldn't fathom it out yourself, Harry." Callista flashed him a surprise look. "To sum everything up, many people were grateful of you for commanding them to barricade themselves in each of the compartments they were in, albeit advising in a very harsh way."

"Come again?"

"You heard her, Potter, your quick action and thinking earned most of their gratitude and maybe their respect as well," Xi Li, clad in a similar uniform as the two, butted in from Harry's right side. "If I have to guess, you're the type of a person who doesn't like the idea of innocent people getting hurt and you'll do something about it without asking something in return, am I right?"

"And, where did you come from, Li? Don't just pop out of nowhere and everywhere at the same time…"

"Oh, did I surprise you, Potter?"

"In your dreams, Li." Harry scoffed. "Have you been snooping in on us?"

Xi flushed deep red. "Excuse me, Callista is also my close friend as well, therefore I'm not going to eavesdrop in something that is very private to her."

Harry narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Which means you heard everything…"

The red on her face intensified. "I-It-t can't be help, Potter! I just heard bits here and there, nothing more. No need to get cross. I'm right beside you when you were talking to Callista, so it isn't my fault I caught most of your discussions! It's not like it was intentional or anything…"

Harry's half lidded eyes bore to hers. "Yeah right, like I believe you. I'd even wager you were leaning closer to me, just to hear what we were talking about." Xi's face, if possible, heated more. To some extent, Harry was accurate on his part of Xi sidling closer to him, but it was not to eavesdrop on them. It was for a much more important and a very different reason like how much he had grown, or the sweet smell of his cologne. And, did she mention he's more handsome than the last time she bumped into him?

"That's enough, Harry." Callista situated her right hand on his left hand, thumb soothingly tracing circles. "Xi is right anyway. Many students now hold you in high esteem."

"Um…" Harry cleared his throat awkwardly. "There were no explosions and no freezing to ice, right? And, there was no enormous light in the sky blinding everyone, right?"

Callista and Xi stared him, nonplussed.

"Harry, I understand you have a wide variation of wonderful imagination, but I can assure you, none of those ever transpired back in the train." Callista smiled, squeezing his hand. "How about we all return to the headmaster's speech?"

The headmaster recommenced his oration, cautioning the students not to go anywhere near the Dementors. Harry gladly assented to the statement. As Professor Dumbledore stirred his speech to the part of two new professors joining them all, including Remus Lupin, who would be filling the post of Defense Against Dark Arts, Harry had to snort at that. "Well, I'm glad I'm not taking the Defense class then."

"What?" Xi squeaked, amidst at the lukewarm applause. "You're not going to sit in the Defense class, Potter? Why?"

Callista did not say anything. She clapped politely for the shabby looking man. She understood Lupin had nothing to do with Harry not taking the class. No, it was more of him fancy attending another class. By the summer, he had sign up for four core subjects, Transfiguration, Herbology, Charms and Potions. Following five years of self-study worth in DADA, Harry promptly elected Ancient Runes instead. The girls accepted his reasons, convinced he didn't need the Defense classes, as Harry was proficient in defending himself from anything.

They understood, without him divulging it to them, that he was studying Defense from someone who has a lot of experience in fighting. They have this anomalous feeling of assurance that Harry was learning extensively from someone. Whoever the person is, they had no clue. Harry stashed his deepest secret somewhat close to his chest. They knew if him not telling them anything about it, he may have promised not to expose any of it to anyone. If the girls knew one main thing about Harry, it is that he lived by the creed of not shattering the promises he affirmed in the past or in the present.

"Everyone thinks DADA is an obligatory subject, Li, when in truth it's not. I have already decided on five subjects, so I don't fancy burdening myself in dealing with more classes. Though, I did manage to persuade both McGonagall and Flitwick into allowing me to take the NEWTs exam for DADA without attending the bloody class. That way, I have more free time to myself, not expending most of my time in stressing and doing lots of homework. Not everybody is the smartest witch of their age like Callista anyway." Harry nudged his thumb to Callista. "I can't imagine the notion of her having complications in finishing up any assignments that were given to her."

Callista underwent a rush of blood to both of her cheeks. "Oh, then how come you beat me in every exam, Harry? Care to indulge us the logical reason behind it?" she said this as sweetly as possible, throwing a look in his direction as if to dare him say appalling things to her.

"We both know the answer to that, Callista." Harry smiled genuinely, his voice was soft. "As intelligent as you are, you aren't that good when it comes to practical. If it not for our constant practice, you wouldn't be so excellent in practical. Besides, didn't you already beat me in OWLs? You got all Outstanding in every subject, except for Muggle Studies and Divination which you refused to take, asserting the two classes to be ludicrous and a waste of time."

Face beet red, Callista looked in the opposite way of Harry's appealing smile. Every so often, it was tough to resist her male friend if he was in his alluring moments. Yes, he can be very childish at times, yet he can be so charming as well. Callista couldn't blame him. He had been locking his childish side for so long, and it just burst in occasionally times he was around the girls. They didn't mind though. They, in fact, found him to be endearing that way. No one is impeccable after all.

"So, you're the only one who is not going to attend the Defense class then?"

"I didn't know you can be brainless at times, Li." His tone was gone back to flat. "Looks like I have been wasting my breath conversing with you. So my reply to your pathetic question, yes, I'm the only student. Mind telling me how you're in Ravenclaw again?"

Just as Xi about to retort angrily, Dumbledore resumed his speech. He informed all students of the retirement of Professor Care of Magical Creatures and the person who substituted him was none other than Hagrid. Harry and Callista gazed at one another, stunned by the revelation. They partook in the riotous applause for the gatekeeper. Harry fondly noted Regine was elated, no doubt the girl's mind was swirling at the prospect of meeting new dangerous creatures.

"Hagrid is many things, but I don't consider teaching to be one of his major fortes."

"So very true," said Callista. "Fortunately, none of us are taking the class for our sixth and seventh year."

"Ah, but you forget, Regine is and surprisingly, Daphne as well."

"Yes, astounding for a person of her character." Callista emitted a few chuckles. "Daphne really is a good friend, isn't she, Harry? First, for not seizing the opportunity of becoming a prefect, all undeniably for Sheila and now, sitting in a class she most probably abhors out of all the classes she's in, not counting Divination. It's all for not having a desire to leave Regine by herself."

"Hmph, not what you imagine from a Slytherin."

"True, Harry, so true…"

With the announcement was all said and done, it was the start of the feast. The golden plates and goblets suddenly filled with lots of food and different kind of drinks. Harry, feeling ravenous, helped himself with everything his hands could reach out, filling his own plate with delicious meals. Famished herself, Callista adopted more of steady approach. She sliced a small portion of chocolate cake for her and a large portion for her male friend. Once the feast wrapped up, the headmaster bid all students goodnight as they retired to their own dormitory.

2 September 1993.

"Back, you Hippogriff! Back, I tell you!" Daphne snarled, pointing her wand threateningly at the Hippogriff. "I have a wand and I am not afraid to use it! I can poke your eyes with it! It's not sharp, however, it can still be painful!"

Harry cocked an eyebrow, marveling if Daphne had momentarily lost her memories on the value and the usefulness of wands. As far as Harry could tell, wands were not intended to poke eyes. It was far from it. Nevertheless, he couldn't contradict her logic on how agonizing it would be if you spear a wand into the eyes of your enemies.

Sheila, whom was cowering behind her, was cheering her on, "Yeah, you show the bird, girl! Or, is it a horse? In any case, just lose those cute fluffy feathers if it tries anything! That will teach it not to mess with us."

Daphne trapped the Gryffindor girl in an empty stare. "You seriously have some issues with beautiful long and fluffy stuff, don't you, Jonnet?"

"I can't stand it, alright? Your long straight hair is more beautiful than mine and look at this- look at this-" Sheila raked her hands through her own short sophisticated black hair. "-it's so short compared to yours! And Regine's hair is so beautiful and long too! Ugh, I hate and sick of it! Even Callista's hair is longer than mine and she's the most attractive girl in Ravenclaw. Make no mistake, all the girls there are pretty. They didn't get to be in the Ravenclaw just cause they have brains. Have you even seen the Ravenclaws lately, Daph?"

"So you're saying the object of your resentment this whole time, is my hair? Can't say I blame you, can I now, Jonnet? Considering it's my hair we're talking about." Daphne conceitedly flipped her straight lustrous blond hair and it glimmered under the glaring light of the sun. "It's difficult not to be envious of my hair and never forget my stunning looks. Not to undermine my friends or anything, it's just cannot be refuted by the valid fact that I'm the most beautiful in Hogwarts. Not a single person can rival my beauty."

"Sweet Merlin, you have such a big ego, Daph."

"I have no such thing!" Daphne discarded her condescending act. "Do not coerce me to direct the target of my wand onto you, Jonnet! I can gouge your eyes with it! I swear to Merlin, it would not be so painless…"

"Ack! It's moving! Hex to kill, Daph, hex to kill!"

The Hippogriff was wriggling itself for a more comfortable resting position, ruffling its feathers.

"Sheila, don't encourage her and Daphne, you need to stop this silliness of yours! He's not doing anything! He's only lying there, resting! And wands are not meant to stab anything nor anyone's eyes for that matter, it's an object or a medium to call upon our magic!" Regine fiercely expressed her disapproval. Both of her friends fixed her with a blank stiff look, before recommencing their previous impractical behavior.

Callista laid a calming touch on Regine's shoulder. "It's no use, Regine. Once they are like this, nothing we say will change them. It is understandable. After all, they felt threaten by the presence of the Hippogriff and judged the best way to combat such situation is to take extreme measures, which is why I'm behind you. You don't mind me exploiting you as a shield, do you, Regine? I mean, it is what best friends are for, right?" she said innocently.

"Callista, not you too," Regine moaned, looking crestfallen. "Don't apply your brains into something like that and if you're going to make some lame excuse, then don't do it with so overly innocent expression, it will only generate you more of a suspicious character!" Callista was not listening, seeing as she was more fascinated in projecting her silent urge onto Daphne's intent on slaughtering the creature. In each second, Daphne was edging closer and closer to the Hippogriff.

Harry shook his head, weary sigh escaped his lips. "Alright, that's enough, girls… and yes, you too, Regine. If any of you haven't yet noticed, we're still far away from the bloody Hippogriff… We're not even in the pumpkin patch yet and there's no need to hype up over nothing, the Hippogriff is manacled. See that thick leather collar around its neck? Yeah, it's attached to a long metal chain."

Each of their cheeks bloomed rosy. "Oh…" They all can see the truth in his proclamation.

It was now close to midday, and lunch was about to be served in the Great Hall. Prior to lunch, they all had free time and Regine had come to the decision to drop in on Hagrid's hut, resolved to see how the big fella was doing. As if a routine, the four teenagers prompted to accompany their Hufflepuff friend and that's where they stumbled upon an uncanny creature, hindering them from going into Hagrid's hut. Sixth years as knowledgeable as them immediately identified it to be a Hippogriff and they all concurred that the Hippogriff is not one to be trifled with so carelessly.

Out of the blue, the door to Hagrid's hut banged open, revealing the owner of the house.

"Alrigh', yeh five?" They waved at him. "Wha' yeh all doin' over there? Cme down an' mee' Buckbeak the Hippogriff!"

"With pleasure!" Regine jumped out of her hiding spot.

Callista hastened to her friend. "Oh no, I am not stealing any likelihood in approaching to that deadly looking Hippogriff and so are you, Regine."

"Yeah, there is no way I'm going anywhere near the bird… Or, is it a horse?"

"So much for the prominent Gryffindor bravery," Daphne said harshly. "A lion? Hmph… they should have dubbed you Gryffindor fools as scary cats, instead of lions." Daphne had now folded her arms over her chest, wand still in her left hand. "And, enough with the bird and the horse thing, Jonnet. It stinks of foolishness and I, for one, do not wish any of it to contaminate me."

"Then, why don't you go ahead and touch it!" Sheila gritted her teeth.

"I'm not falling for your stupid taunt," Daphne retorted.

"What? What taunt?" As fast as her anger arose, it replaced into one of confusion. "I don't get it. I wasn't taunting you, Daph."

This simple course of action served to irritate Daphne. "I…you…Grr, just lock your lips tight, Jonnet! Or I'll sew it up myself!"

"Or, you'll what?" Sheila challenged.

"I just said it, didn't I?" Daphne had to refrain herself from roaring angrily. "I said I sew your mouth if I have to!"

"Oh?" Taken aback and eyes fluttering, Sheila recomposed herself. "W-Well, I-I'll sue yours back! Hah! Beat that!"

Daphne buried her face into her hands and her groans were consequently muffled by it. Callista choked a chuckle and hid a smile behind her right hand. Regine discreetly elbowed Sheila, whispering to correct her mistake.

"It's 'sew', not 'sue'?" asked the baffled looking Sheila. She growled in frustration and threw her hands up in the air, glaring her three friends. "Well, boo-hoo, who cares! What does it matter anyway? It's the same thing, ain't it? The pronunciations of two words are similar enough, just with different spellings, that's all!"

"Wha' yeh all waitin' for?" Hagrid's voice disrupted their fruitless banter.

A good thing too, for Daphne was, more or less, on the brink of throttling Sheila.

The three girls hesitated, not a toe was stepping front, bar Regine, whom was being held back by both Daphne and Callista. Harry had to take the first step. Dithering became a thing of the past as the girls unsteadily strayed down to the pumpkin patch, Regine being on the front, bouncing in her steps. "Righ', now hold yer steps… ("Right here," said Harry) Yes, righ' there…" Hagrid's tone altered to whisper, rising Buckbeak to its four legs. Buckbeak tossed its fierce head and the sharp lengthy talons on its front legs dug the ground.

"Now, firs' thin' yeh gotta know abou' Hippogriffs is they're proud. Easily offended, Hippogriffs are. Never insult one, cause it migh' be the last thin' yeh do," lectured Hagrid. "Yeh always wait fer Hippogriffs ter make the firs' move. It's polite, yeh see? Walk to it an' bow your head low. Go on."

"Ridiculous," Daphne said, twirling her wand for no apparent reason. "There is no way I can envision myself in bowing down to that brute."

Before anyone could blink, the Hippogriff squawked crossly and galloped its way to Daphne, ensuing in sharp intakes of breath from the other three girls. "Daphne, get behind me!" Harry's posture was rigid, his hands up, preparing himself to fend off the Hippogriff. The sounds of clanking long chain thwarted Buckbeak's attempts from advancing any more to them. Hagrid had to wrestle it down.

"Daphne!" Regine's tone was one to chastise. "Didn't you hear what Hagrid said? Never insult a Hippogriff, they can understand you! Thank Merlin, Harry is here and Buckbeak is chained. If not, who knows what could happen to you."

"I-It wasn't meant for an insult. I was merely laying out a truthful fact." Daphne clung onto Harry.

"Next time, don't utter any words in front of a creature that is huge enough to topple you down," Harry commented wryly, hands now shoved to his trouser's pockets. "It may be the last thing you ever do in this life."

"I blame Jonnet for this," Daphne hissed.

"Me?" Sheila exclaimed, eyes flew wide and was pointing to herself. "How is it my fault for your own mistake?"

"That's because you have penchant of opening your mouth without reflecting your words and how it affects people around you. Now, it infects me. Ugh, the sheer thought of developing more and more into Jonnet is quiet infuriating…"

"I'm just glad to see you both are unharmed." Callista's fear was very much allayed. "And Daphne, you ought to end this horrible habit of yours in blaming everyone for your own blunders and start taking a little bit responsibility for it. Admitting faults is one way of moving forward as well as improving ourselves. By doing so, we learn from our mistakes and strive in our endeavors to not repeat it again. Also, you really must dispose the more nasty side of yours in deriding and scorning everyone which may I remind you include us, your friends."

"Hah!" Sheila looked jubilantly smug and Daphne was disgruntled.

Harry looked over his shoulder, grinning a little at Daphne. "A moment ago, you were hell bent on divesting it from its feathers. Now look at you, you haven't even let go of my robe yet, still shaking." The girls recognizing this, exploded into a heap of giggles.

Face as hot as a frying pan, Daphne detached herself from him. "Stow it, Potter, or you will find yourself at the tip of my wand! And, you bet I'll poke your damn eyes with it!"

"Wands are meant for magic, not stabbing other people's eyes," they all recited concurrently. Funnily enough, Harry and Hagrid contributed their voices in the chorus.

"Pfft, whatever…" Daphne looked self-important. "I see no difference."

An indignant squawk from Buckbeak had Daphne jumped, losing her entire composure in the process. She did not waste any second in securing a shelter behind Harry, hands back to clutching his school robe. She poked her head out and mustered her fiercest stare. When Buckbeak countered it with a set of its own glare, Daphne was quick to duck her head from the beast's line of sight.

It was minutes later, and all of the excitement subsided. The girls, as per Hagrid's instruction, were obliged to bow their heads low in front the mighty Hippogriff. As soon as the last of the three girls had concluded their judgment from the Hippogriff, Daphne's turn was up. The unfamiliar apprehensiveness amassed her chests. Daphne had to fight down the sudden longing to spring away from Buckbeak, and yanked out her trusty wand, and just be done with it. She did not as her friends wheedled her not to.

With the bow and preservation of eye-contact, it was, at least, disconcerting to Daphne as she struggled to cope with the hard haughty gaze from the Hippogriff. After more minutes of criticizing her, the Hippogriff majestically ruffled its feathers before bowing its head. They all cheered, aside from Harry, and Daphne had to let out the breath she's been involuntarily holding. She had misgivings to pat it, but permitted a twitch of small smile when the Hippogriff purred contently at the feeling of her hands. The hilarious part was where Daphne initiated a conversation with it.

"Listen up, bird, or horse, or whatever you are- oh gosh, I am developing more and more into Jonnet. How fantastic…" Daphne grumbled. "What we had a moment ago was an utter brief of misunderstanding."

"Bark," said Buckbeak.

"It wasn't meant an insult for you, I was affirming a simple fact! Would you rather I be untruthful?"


"Apology accepted." Daphne bobbed her head. "I would hate to fight you in a duel and bear in mind, the thought had elapsed my mind more than one time. Fortunately for you, I reserved it as my last resort if you and I never get to see eye-to-eye in things." Buckbeak barked huffily in response. "What? You think I'm spreading a mere false tale, just so you quake in fear right before me?" Daphne pondered on this. "Well… I suppose you do have a point there. But, I assure you, you won't survive against me. My records in forwarding those botches of male to the infirmary is quite achievement if I do say so myself."


"Trust me, Hippogriff, the last thing you ever wish in this pathetic world, is combating me in a duel." Daphne patted him softly on the head.


"Duly noted. I'm glad we have come to an accord then. For future reference, I will remind myself not to ever cross you again. Those talons of yours are sure looking rather sharp." Subsequent to that, Daphne averted her attention to Regine. "Thank you for interpreting me the meaning behind those barks, Regine. Beyond doubt, I appreciate your help."

Regine inclined her body closer to Sheila, whispering, "What am I? A translator?"

"No, but with your gift in comprehending the animals-like, it assist me far more than I can imagine."

Regine jolted at Daphne's voice. "A-Ah, y-you heard, Daphne?"

"Yes, unfortunately for you. What is more, you were not talking to Jonnet, you were, in fact, mistaken me for her." Daphne fixed her with an emotionless irk look. The mortify blush on Regine's smeared all over her face. "I'm affronted you ever consider me to be anything like her. I am nothing like that reckless idiot."

"Hey!" Sheila involved herself in their conversation. "What's the part of me you find so insulting?"

"Everything," Daphne sniffed portentously. "Including the idiot part."

"W-why you…" Sheila seethed, hands balling into tight fists. "Someday, I'm going to shave your head, clean and smooth!"

"Alright, alright, that's enough, you two. None of us have any desire for either of your conflicts to escalate." Callista smiled at her friend's antics. "Harry, it's your turn now. Keep in mind to maintain your eyes with Buckbeak as you bow your head down low-"

"Forget it," Harry cut her off. "I am nothing like Daphne. I'm disinclined in bowing down to that Hippogriff."

"Harry…" ("Potter…") They all cautioned, exceedingly concern of him. Harry overlooked the girls and marched to the huge creature, stomping in his footsteps. Knowing how obstinate Harry can be, the girls panicked and hastened to Hagrid. Eyes darted to Buckbeak, Harry settled right in front of it, the distance separates them was mere inches apart.

"Listen up and listen well, Hippogriff, I don't bow to the strongest man alive - much less to you or anyone else - so I most definitely am not doing it anytime soon. Let it be clear between us that there is no need to bow with each other. You show me respect and I'll return it with equal favor, understand?" Harry said, scowling. "You can make an exception for me, only me. Just know I am not belittling you. In actual truth, I view you as one of the descendant of the long lost powerful mystical Griffin. So, no bow-bow to each other, okay?"

With those words he left hanging in the air, Harry went to one of the large pumpkin and sat on it, flexing his muscle arms and legs. Buckbeak continued to perch its eyes on Harry as if realizing his presence for the first time ever. At this, Buckbeak eagerly waddled its way to Harry. The girls had arrived hauling Hagrid from the back of his hut, just to discover Buckbeak moving over to Harry. They all, as well as Harry, were extremely amazed when Buckbeak was quite importunate in affectionately rubbing its head against Harry's cheek. It was as if it was hankering after Harry's attention.

"Okay, okay!" Harry couldn't help himself from chuckling at its persistency. "Alright, alright, that's enough, Buckbeak… I don't know what the hell is going on or why are you acting like this, but settle down. I'm not going anywhere, see?" Harry stroked its feathers where it had crooning delightfully. After a while, Buckbeak calmed down and folded its four legs to lounge on the ground next to Harry, with an occasional head rubs to his leg.

"This is… just…impossible…" Callista fluttered her eyes, not believing the sight for even one second. Little by little, she strode to them, musing to herself, "Then again, this is Harry. He tends to defy the boundaries of possibility. He doesn't have an ounce of normalcy in him."

"I heard that…"

Callista's head whipped up at the tone of his voice and she smiled sheepishly in forward to the looks he sent her.

Daphne brushed past her and moved over to Harry, stamping lightly in her steps. Daphne had no pretense of being unobtrusive in brashly announcing her thoughts. "He should have been the one to bow down to the Hippogriff, and not me… Why must I be the one to? This is stupid… My pride is being chopped into pieces right about now… Daphne Greengrass should have never her head bow to the likes of anyone…"

Harry appeared to be exceedingly amuse by her words.

In contrast to Daphne's reaction, Sheila grinned brightly, rushing over to him. "That's amazing, Harry! I didn't know you could make it to like you! Who knew you had in you and I thought Regine is good with animals, but you brought it to a whole new level!" At the pure excitement decanting from the girl, Harry had to smile back.

"Who would have known, indeed…" Regine said. "How did you do it, Harry? I never heard a Hippogriff could submit to anyone."

"Is that a trace of jealousy in your tone, Regine?"

"W-What? D-Don't be so stupid! I am not envy of you having such reaction from Buckbeak! W-Why should I anyway? It's just one creature and-" She clamped her mouth shut, face flustered. "I-I mean…I was being curious, nothing more…"

"Sure you are…" Harry hid a smile at her poor attempt in crafting up good lies. Regine was never one to be excellent in lying, particularly if she was caught off guard. Harry could grant a much better credit to his almost five year old sister in lying.

"How yeh doin' it, Harry?" Hagrid demanded enthusiastically. "Even, I had ter bow me head firs' time I mee' them."

"Not a clue." Harry made up his mind to transfer the attention away from him. "Say, Hagrid, isn't today your first day teaching? How are you faring?"

"Good!" Hagrid beamed, now his inquisitiveness of Harry was forgotten. "Bin up since five preparin' everythin' nice an' ready."

"Preparing?" Daphne treaded her question cautiously.


Sheila edged closer to Callista, "Wonder what he's been preparing for?"

"I have a feeling the answer to your question lies in front of us, Sheila." Buckbeak tilted its head to Callista. She smiled softly and patted its beak. The Hippogriff closed its eyes lazily, as though enjoying the smooth of her hands. "You know, girls, it's not horribly bad dilly dallying around Hagrid's pets. It's honestly pleasant for once…"

"See, what did I told you, girls… All those times the three of you were exaggerating. There was never any threat in spending time around Hagrid's pets." Harry and the other three girls rolled their eyes at Regine for being so optimistic around such dangerous creatures. If confronting Acromatulas, a Cerberus, and a Dragon were not precarious, then their Hufflepuff friend is truly something. It was ordinary for people to have a primal fear in brazening out against such bloody creatures, not Regine though, never her.

"Okay then…" Harry stood up, sweeping the soot off his attire. "I think we overstay our visit. Lunch is about to be serve so we best head back. I wish you luck for your first class, Hagrid."

"What, already? Can't we stay with Buckbeak more?" Regine pleaded. "I've thought of a wonderful game we all should play with Buckbeak."

"No!" The three girls each grabbed a hold of her and hauled her away from Hagrid's hut. If there was one thing they all came to be familiar about playing games with Hagrid's pets, was their life were constantly in jeopardy. They shuddered at those horrid memories sinking in on them.

"Later, Hagrid!" Harry yelled out.

Hagrid grinned largely, winking and waved back with his large hand. As Harry was leaving to the castle, Buckbeak climbed to its four feet from its relaxing position and struggled to tag along Harry. It squawked snappily when the chain around its neck, impeded its movement. All of them, counting Harry, were flabbergasted by this. Harry had to retreat back to pacify it.

"Wooah, boy… Listen, I can't stay here, I have to be in someplace else. I will visit you if I have the time to, so you behave yourself when I'm not around and try not to assault anyone even if they disrespect you, you understand?" Harry said, hands tousling its beautiful feathers. "You never know the problems it will bring you if you act rashly… so try to calm yourself, okay?"

Buckbeak bowed at his words to which it had one of Harry's eyebrows arched. Things in his life had gone from bizarrely weird to freakishly weirder after his adventure into the realm of between life and death, and frankly, this was one of them. Another excellent example was the fact he can now distinguish the creatures known as Thestrals. It was not morbid as he once thought it would be. At first, he was more perturbed at laying his sight upon them, nevertheless, it alleviated his uneasiness after having come to terms to the creatures' presence and existence.

With one last pat and a wave to Hagrid, Harry instructed his legs to the direction of the girls. "What?" he demanded, ceasing his walks. He did not like the odd looks the girls lobbing at him.

"Harry, it could only happen to you…" Callista couldn't resist caressing his cheek tenderly. Then, she walked up ahead, abandoning her friends behind.

"Only you, Potter, only you…" Daphne scurried past him.

"Yeah, it could only be you, Harry, and no one else." Sheila grinned broadly, dashing up to her two friends.

"You're not going to reiterate their words, are you?"

"What?" Regine was puzzled. "No, why would I be?" Her eyes proceeded to undertake a dangerous gleam. "I was thinking if you can use whatever it is that made Buckbeak likes you to the other more violent creatures? Think about it, we could learn more about them! I wonder if we could visit Aragog with whatever it is you carry, Harry…"

"Regine…" her friends groaned out. They scuttled to her and lugged their protesting animal loving friend away from Harry. The sole male of their company smiled amusedly, shaking his head and tailed after the girls. They were simply too unique and different in their own way.

21 September 1993.


Heads after heads regarded them with curiosity. Bathsheda Babbling, Professor of the Ancient Runes, was looking greatly disapprove for their interruption in her class. Daphne, from their left side, puckered her brows in displeasure at the proximity closure of their bodies. Her frown deepened significantly as they were conferring in something she wasn't in. Ravenclaw and Slytherin were sharing Ancient Runes together. Since Callista and Harry were sitting together, Daphne was compelled to sit with her ex-roommate, Barbara Zabini. Slytherin upper years, fifth to seventh year, were given the benefit of having their own room.

"Harry!" Callista admonished, ducking her head in embarrassment, cheeks stained pink.

"Sorry, Professor, it won't happen again," Harry said, offering her a false sincere impression. Professor Babbling nodded her head stiffly and resumed her teaching. Harry considerately lowered his voice, "How dare Lupin pry my life through other people. It's not any of his concern what goes on in my life. He even had the nerve to try coaxing you into telling something about me. Even if his intentions were sincere and nice, it still didn't give him the right to be nosy on my private affairs. Doesn't he know the meaning of loyalty? Apparently he doesn't, since he went after you girls to know about me. If it for me not being in his class, I could understand, but if it is otherwise, then that's an entirely different matter."

"Did you ever forgive them?" Callista's soft tone reached to Harry's ears.

"There was nothing to forgive for. There is a say 'forgive and forget' and I had long taken those words to heart. Half of it was my fault anyway. I never said anything to them nor I announced my presence to them, never even dared to connect to them, just faded into the shadows and… resented them, I guess… Now that I think about it, it's kinda foolish to latch onto a grudge in regards to the past. There is no meaning to it. Better step forward than backward, let go of the past and dream of the future. There was never any benefit in yearning for the past that doesn't exist anymore. Though, it's hard to forget and sever yourself from it. The past is a part of who we are…" He circled his neck to her, not caring how close their faces were.

"The thing is… Black and Lupin were more of… strangers to me than acquaintances. Even when I was little, my parents - no matter how vague the memories - were the only thing I remember. I'm more inclined to reconcile with my parents and mend the strains, rather than my 'uncles'." Harry grimaced. "It doesn't matter anyway. I have no ill-feelings against them, probably because I'll always see them as strangers. Lupin, though, had no rights interrogating my life from anyone. If it is a school matter, I don't bloody mind since he is one of my Professors, but matters concerning my life are different and I cherish my privacy more than anything else."

Fingers interlaced with his, underneath the table. "And, we're here for you, Harry, always…"

"I know." Harry smiled sincerely at her proclamation. "I know…"

Callista was more centered on Harry's lips, feeling an overwhelming impulse to swoop down her own soft lips to him. Those lips of his were just beseeching to be kiss. Screwing up her courage, she tipped her head forward, slowly yet surely closing in on him. She discounted everything around them, eyes glued to his lips. She drew in a sharp breath as his warm breath caressed her cheek. Her heart pounded violently. Just one more push was all she needed and that's when "Ow!" a surge of pain flowed through her from her left arm.

"What's wrong?" Harry was worried, absolutely oblivious to his attractive friend was one step closer to kissing him.

"N-nothing, Harry, let's just concentrate on the class. We don't want to miss anything, right?"

"You and your hunger for knowledge..." A smile of fondness etched on his lips and he shifted his total awareness to the Professor.

Callista, for her case, was kneading her arm from the pain she suffered. It was as if a stinging hex was launched towards her. She had a sneaky suspicion as to who it was for intruding to what it could be the best moment in her life. She swung to her left side, still massaging her sore arm and gave a hostile look to the culprit. Daphne's interest, however, was solely focusing to what the Professor was harping on. Callista knew better to not fall for Daphne's convincing guiltless look. After all, Callista invented the innocent act and she could tell one of her techniques if she ever saw one.

There, on the right sleeve of her uniform, the tip of her wand was poking out and all of the sudden, Daphne's fingers rammed her wand back deep inside to block it from Callista's sharp eyes. Recognizing the all too familiar superior and victorious smirk on Daphne's lips, Callista's face contorted into anger and burned red, and every fiber of her body was screaming in fury. If possible, Callista's glare enhanced, a far cry from her gentle personality and her level-headedness. There was no mistake as to who it was anymore and Daphne wasn't even denying or being inconspicuous.

"Ms. Campbell, will you please pay attention?!"

With an undignified 'Eep!', Callista's hands covered her mouth, eyes broadened in terror, zooming in onto Babbling's reproachful eyes. Next to her, Harry exhibited signs of worry for her, whilst Daphne's smirk was swapped with a huge grin and her eyes roguishly twinkled in satisfaction.

31 October 1993.

Attributable to the hot sun dazzling up above the sky, Sunday morning was lovely and warmed. Regardless of it, there was cool breeze everywhere, indicating winter was about to turn up. Today was the first Hogsmeade visit for third years ranging up to seventh years. Harry was dressed in casual clothes of his own sense of fashion and for the first time, didn't hassle to wear his favorite brown coat. In its place was one of the luxurious robes that were given to him by the Greengrass during last year Christmas.

The girls found this latest piece of news to be weird. Harry brushed it off nonchalantly, alleging it to be a waste to not wear the robes that were bought for him. The girls didn't badger any more, not contradicting the simple logic behind his words. Presently, they were ambling down the street of Hogsmeade village, merely strolling around. Harry blew out a frustrated sigh. Strolling around was a complete understatement to him. The girls had taken upon themselves to pop to the next shop and the next and so forth, in favor of buying something that grabbed their fancy.

Hours passed by, and all of them hit upon themselves stumbling into the Three Broomsticks.

"Ah, so tired… I swear you four will be the death of me." Harry's twitched in aggravation. "Are you four even listening to what I'm saying? I didn't know I'm invisible to you girls. Or, better yet, am I talking to the wall this very whole time?" he snarled, tone laced with deep sarcasm."Oh sorry, my mistake, it's not one wall, it's four bloody walls!"

"Oh, stuff it, Potter." Daphne scowled. She was incredibly annoyed at him for interposing her conversation with Sheila and Regine. "We have better things to do than listening on you bleating to us. You are all full grown and big so be a man, would you?"

Regine had, at least, the decency to look guilty. "We're sorry, Harry. We didn't mean any of it and Daphne too. It's just her way of asking for forgiveness, right, Daphne?" Daphne was not rebuffing nor was she concurring to Regine's statement.

"We apologize, Harry." Callista lowered the book she purchased, just for her eyes to look contritely at him. "I assure you though, it was not deliberate for us to ignore you. We were too captivated by the many trinkets paraded around the stores and engrossed with whatever we were doing at the time. We meant nothing by it."

"Yeah, I'm sorry too, Harry," Sheila chirped glibly. Three girls stared expectantly at Daphne.

"Fine, fine." Daphne waved her hand offhandedly. "With heavy heart and unwilling I am, I express my deepest regret at not gracing your presence amongst us mere mortals, Potter." She, then, switched her attention to her female friends."There, happy?"

"Daphne," Callista said gently. "That's very disingenuous of you."

"I did say 'heavy heart', how can I not be sincere with such words?"

Callista rolled her eyes, choosing not to respond to her friend's sarcasm and opted to concentrate more on her book.

"I didn't know you have a heart, Daph."

Daphne bristled in her seat at the comment from the grinning Sheila. "If I don't have a heart, then how am I suppose to live!" Daphne snarled irately. The casual shrug from Sheila just did nothing to improve Daphne's mood.

Dropping her book, Callista swiftly prevented the conflict to get worsen any further, successfully stopping Daphne from fishing out her wand.

"Okay…Let's just pretend that never happen," Regine chuckled nervously.

The next thing they were all being acquainted in, was the quietness. It was more of a content peace and not the awkwardness, and each was occupied in their own deep thoughts. Without a single utter of words, Sheila and Callista elevated themselves from their seats to get their Butterbeers from Madam Rosmerta, the busty barmaid of the Three Broomsticks. With her wand out, Callista was the first to reappear back with four Butterbeers floating around her. Handing each to her respective friends, she procured her previous seat, claiming her book once more. Harry shot her a look of query as to whereabouts of Sheila.

Callista notified everyone that their ever so perky friend was chatting with one of her roommates.

Daphne and Regine were disputing on whether they should joyfully volunteer themselves to be the first to interact with whatever creature for their next Care of Magical Creatures lesson, or not. Daphne vehemently argued that she don't have any desire to get her hands filthy, or her straight beautiful hair covered in soil dirt like the last time and announced in no nonsense tone that they're going to simply observe from afar in their next class. Harry shook his head affably. From miles and miles away, he could predict the upshot of their argument. It will conclude in Daphne - no matter how relentless the girl is - tentatively conceding to Regine's proposal. Regine simply have perpetual way on coercing people to acquiesce anything with her.

It was in this train of thought, the peacefulness was shattered when a Butterbeer was unceremoniously dumped to him. Regine and Daphne immediately ended their argument, their attention locked to Harry. Eyes went huge, Callista regressed her chair a step away from her wet dripping friend. Eyes half lidded, Harry erected his best poker face and emotionless look he wore. He was soaked in Butterbeer from head to knees, droplets of water sliding from the ends of his hair. There was no need for Harry to glance behind him to know the person responsible for his current quandary.

"Sheila!" Harry burst, looking down at his drench outfit. "Bloody buggering hell!"

Fortunately, the event went unseen by the people since Callista had cast a Notice-Me-Not charm around their table earlier on.

Sheila's eyes were as large as saucers, both hands covering her mouth. "I-I'm sorry! It's that stupid rug! It made me trip and slip my Butterbeer from my hands! I'm such a klutz! Don't you worry, I'll fix you up in a jiffy, Harry!" Sheila said those words in haste, not pausing to catch her breath.

Not bothering the unmistakable detail that she's a witch and her friends were with her, Sheila dragged her chair to Harry's empty side. "Sheila…" Callista's attempt to intervene was spurned. Sheila scooted her chair closer to Harry and pulled out her handkerchief from her pocket. "Jonnet, don't you dare-" Daphne's words fell to deaf ears. Sheila endeavored to dry Harry up by wiping the liquid off him. Initially, Sheila centered on Harry's body, face cutely scrunched up in concentration. Once her hands arrived to his face, she made a deliberate show of cleaning his lips a bit longer. Her handkerchief traced the lines of his lips. With no amount of uncertainty, she bent her head closer to him, eyes fixated to Harry's lips.

The other girls bristled in their seats at Sheila's boldness.

"Um… Sheila?" Harry's face tinged red. There was something pleasant and lighthearted tingling in his stomach.

Just as the raven-haired girl was on the verge of taking a huge leap, she jerked her head back, flapping her eyelashes at the now clean and dry Harry. Her hopeful cheery face substituted to one of her rare frowns. Twin shades of red colored her cheeks and her glare was aimed to their brilliant friend, Callista. Wand in hand and her book now lay forgotten, Callista's eyes narrowed, daring Sheila to say, or do something about it. Harry's confusion manifested more when he was spun to his left side and was greeted by the sight of sweet smiling face of Regine, as her hands were all over him, ensuring him if he was ever truly dry.

Dimly, he was aware of the heated argument behind him.

On one side, Daphne was accusing Sheila of something and Sheila was evidently defending herself, lamely explaining the reason behind her actions. He couldn't make out what, since they were whispering starkly to each other, but he knew it had something to do with him. The whole time this squabble transpired, another dispute took place. And, on the other side, Callista glowered daggers at Regine. She knew it was simply Regine's ploy or an excuse for her to feel Harry's muscles. After it was too much for her to tolerate, Callista interfered by slapping away Regine's hands. Two set of glares clashed one another and Harry's attention swung to them, his bafflement was plain as daylight.

"Okay, that's enough!" All actions terminated at their table and Harry, himself, was in a state of bewilderment. "What the hell is going on here? One moment you girls were all friendly and the next thing I knew, all of you quarrelling like some predators marking and hunting over the same prey." The blushes they're sporting puzzled Harry more. "Is there something I really should know? I get the feeling you girls are keeping something from me." He pressed further, hesitating a bit, "Am I really a bad friend that you girls don't trust me with the secrets you all are not telling me?"

"No!" By the looks of his face, their similar and simultaneous answer swept Harry off his feet.

"It's our fault, Potter, not yours." They looked stun at Daphne's admission. Conscious of their looks, Daphne said, "What?"

"You're admitting your mistake…" Sheila grinned, eyes sparkling in never ending exultant. "Daph, you never take a blame for anyone nor you ever acknowledging your own mistake."

"I didn't say it was mine," Daphne quickly denied, arms folded together over her chests. "Who gave you the right idea I was saying so, Jonnet? I merely stated such words to comfort Potter, so as to assuage his fear." Daphne, then, shed Harry a soft meaningful look and for whatever reason it was, it warmed him in the inside. "You're not, Harry… So never say you are…"

That had it. His face boiled up to the point it was uncontrollable and he didn't know how he managed to curb the blush rising up his neck but he thankfully did. "Yeah, no doubt about it." Sheila was looking fierce in her claim and what's worse to Harry, her expression was full of solemnity. In all his life, he had never seen her so serious. His heart soared and the small blush formed on his two cheeks didn't help at all as it deepened more.

"Harry…why do you always think like that?" It was for that obvious reason Harry believed Regine's unwavering loyalty was more fitting for her to be a true Hufflepuff than the rest of her housemates. "You're not a bad friend, never were and never will. You were always there when we needed you, always giving us a shoulder to lean on, always protecting us from every threats, always listening to our every word no matter how dull it is, always paying attention to our likes and dislikes, always taking the time to know us, always displaying a genuine keen interest in everything we love and so much more… We can list a hundred of reasons, and it will still be not enough for us… So-" Regine presented him with her somber look. "-So, don't say such things, okay?"

His cheeks heated more and more. It was when Callista smiling at him that caused his face to drown in red. The Ravenclaw girl, for all time, smiled gently and politely to everyone regardless if they were teachers or students. However, the smile she currently donned for him was dissimilar from any other version of her smiles. It set tingles in his head and studying each of their facials, there was a very pleasant sensation in his stomach. It was as if some Butterflies swarming all over it.

Suddenly, Harry hopped to his feet, his cool demeanor was plummeting rapidly.

"Harry?" Regine reached out in concern.

Heart racing, face flushing deeply and head facing away from the girls, Harry mumbled in near inaudible voice, "I-I need to go and order something to eat. I'm a bit hungry and all... So, um…yeah…" Briskly, Harry scurried away from their table, mistaken the strange Butterflies for hunger. The four girls were befuddled by this.

"Huh?" Sheila said, confusion written all over her face. "Was it something we said?"

"You tell me, Jonnet… I, myself, am having a difficult time in figuring out Potter's reaction." Daphne took a sip of her Butterbeer. "Or, was it something we did?"

"Should we apologize then?" Regine asked, eyes lingering on Harry's retreating figure.

"I think it's us being naïve and inexperience in dealing boys, Regine, despite how much time we spend with Harry." Callista sighed, letting herself immerse in her book once again. "Boys can be so complicated. I'd be happier if I could just return to my books."

"Yeah, you'd like that, wouldn't you?" Sheila snorted. "I still don't understand how books can be a source of entertainment! I'd rather wriggle my arse in doing something exhilarating, like- um, uh… l-like riding my broom! Yeah! Now that's fun, Callista."

Callista rolled her eyes amicably. "Not everyone take pleasure in flying."

Regine dabbed her mouth with her handkerchief. "Yeah, and you never know, there may be someone out there who had never ridden a broom in his or her life. It's no wonder why not everybody shares your feeling in flying, Sheila."

"What?" Sheila was appalled. "Why would no one want to ride a broom? I totally understand if you don't enjoy it, but you must have been curious about flying. Those type of people have to be stupid or the life they're in is just plain boring. Who would…" Her eyes budged to a particular person "Oh…"

Daphne looked murderous seeing as she did not like to be reminisced of her failure in brooms, attributable to her fear of height. She had never ridden a broom before and it was not a secret to everyone. In her first year, she had flat out being honest to Madam Hooch regarding the reason why she did not have any desire to be on a broom and the flying instructor approved of her explanation, allowing Daphne to remain on the ground.

"Watch it, you three," Daphne growled. "Just for the reason that all of you are my best friends, it does not imply anything. Do not think for one second, you are safe from me gouging your damn eyes with my wand."

"Daphne…" Callista's eyes went astray from her book to her friend. "We've gone over this many times now. Wands are not intended to poke anyone's eyes nor stab anything, it's for summoning our magic and utilized it to its fullest. Furthermore, you need to watch your language. It's improper for a lady to swear."

"I can swear however I want to and whenever I choose to," Daphne revealed in a manner befitting a pureblood aristocratic princess. "And just because I have never been on a broom in my entire oh-so-not-boring life-" she gave a fierce look to Sheila. "-it does not mean I do not have any familiarity on how to mount the abominable thing. It will be effortless like breathing the air for the first time ever. I only require someone to instruct me and guide me as I am on a broom."

Three of her friends were looking thoroughly skeptical and were more concern of the injuries she'll attained if she ever rode a broom in the near future. In an unspoken manner, they were all in agreement to ward off Daphne from any brooms and not permitting her to get hold any of it.

"Yeah…" Sheila said unsurely. "Of course you can, Daph…"

"I have my utmost confidence in- err… your ability to- umm… r-ride a broom…" Regine patted her friend's hand, her smile was a bit too forceful.

Callista shoved her face to her book. "Just please do not force us to be your flying instructor, Daphne."

"Fine!" Daphne chucked her hands up in the air and was on her feet. "If any of you do not believe me then perhaps, a simple demonstration is in order. I will prove it to everyone and I look forward to watching you three swallow your own words. But, first thing first, I'm going to search for someone who can spare a time or two for me, preferable someone who had a wide extension of knowledge and experience in brooms, someone I am very close and- Hmm…" As her sly brain was struck by the rare opportunity, Daphne's lips cracked a grin and she had a conniving look on her.

"I suppose I could request Potter to coach me how to fly. I'm convinced he won't decline. Though, I do need to ride with him first, just so I can experience how to fly without falling. Who knows, on account of my fear of height, I may have to wrap my arms around him and… embrace him as closely as I can… Or, perhaps, I'm on the front and he's behind me. That way, his arms could… drape around me…" Shivering, her eyes underwent a possessive gleam and she had a faraway look."Well… there is the possibility it will cure my fear after my many rides with him. I'm told, a night in the sky is quite…how you put it? Romantic?"

Daphne shrugged her shoulders and, as elegant as she could bring herself to, was very swift on her way to Harry. It had taken a few moments for the three young attractive girls to register the words of their sneaky gorgeous blond friend. As soon as it did, all three stood in an abrupt manner, knocking their chairs backward. "Daphne!" Her three flustering friends chased after her.

"I'll save a seat for you, big sister." Noah Barberis smiled brightly to her sister.

"Thank you, Noah." A smile crept through the corner of Regine's lips. "You go on ahead. You don't want to keep Stori waiting, right? It's never good to keep a girl waiting for you."

The smallest boy of the first years nodded his head and scampered on the path to the Great hall.

"You have such an adorable brother, Regine." Sheila sighed. "I wish I had little siblings to dote on."

"I as well…" Callista smiled, eying down the path of where Noah most likely scuttled off. "He never gave you plenty of troubles, did he, Regine?"

"Nope," Regine beamed proudly. "Noah was never the troublemaker, it was more on my little brothers. The twins, Ethan and Nathan, were always off to doing mischievous stuff and it once drove my parents crazy in one of their naughtiness." Regine's face twisted to one of anxiousness. "You don't think my twin brothers will be a production of another Weasley twins, do you? I certainly hope not."

"Probably, especially if the four happen to come across one another," Daphne said in her best boring tone. "There is the likelihood of the Weasley twins crafting them up to be their successor and molding them into the next generation of twins to instigate mayhem in Hogwarts. It is a very rare opportunity for them to find twins that does as many mischiefs as them."

"Well, if you put it that way…" Sheila rubbed the scruff of her neck. "It is the kind of thing to be expected by everybody, Regine."

"But, I'm certain there is another possibility it will not happen," Callista hurriedly added at spotting Regine's expression gradually falling to one of distress and alarm. "After all, they have yet to encounter each other."Callista, then, mumbled the last part to herself, "Though, I dread upon a chance they do."

"You want my opinion, Regine? I think your twin brothers are alright, it's your other brother I'm not okay with. He's a runt. If it were not for the fact that I reserve the moniker 'brat' for my brother then I would have called your brother 'brat' and not the name 'runt'. Considering how small he is, I say it suited him just fine."


"What? He's the one who started the whole thing," Harry defended himself. "He never likes me anyway. I don't even know why."

"You being so close to Regine," Sheila blurted.

"Sheila!" Regine's cheeks dusted pink in color.

"Why is it such a big deal? There is nothing wrong with that." Harry was mystified, but his question was ignored.

"I beg to differ," Daphne argued. "Everyone knows I am closest to Potter out of us four."

"What? Who said that? I- You're not, Daph!" Sheila instinctively rejected Daphne's words.

Regine's blush had now become furious. "That's not true!"

"You can't even say his first name and instead, you favor calling him by his last name. How is that any indication or signs you're close to him? Of course not, everybody knows you have to call Harry by his first name to be really close to him," Callista dissented. "So, tell me again, how is it you're the one who is closest to him, Daphne?"

Daphne went red in the face, presumably incensed. "It's merely how I am! It's not relevant as to how I call him whether by his first or his last name, it's more of the verity that I expend most of my time to be with him than any of you!"

"Um, g-girls?"

"That's not good enough," Sheila scoffed. "Every single one of us knows that I'm the likeliest one to get to spend more time with him. We always fly on our brooms together to relieve the stress and during one of our free time."

"Hardly to say you're closest to him. What all people can tell and agree on is Harry's love for flying. It gives him a sense of freedom. Besides, I'm willing to bet my galleon's worth that he didn't even notice you when you were up flying together. It's not like he was talking to you up in the sky. And, as much as you'd like to delude yourself, Sheila, the Dementors are now skulking around in this time of year and it forced you both to limit your time flying together. A pity, isn't it?" Regine voiced out snidely, causing Sheila to fume and grind her teeth together.

"Oh, like yours is any better!" Sheila snapped.

"Actually, it is." Regine's posture was full of smug. "May I remind you all who Harry constantly visits and seeks all the time? The last time he's in Gryffindor and Slytherin common room was months ago. He has been a frequent company in the Hufflepuff tower, not for my other housemates, but for me. Coupled with him being how he is, we do have a lot in common together."

Daphne scowled, arms crossing irately. "Potter is protective of you. He never likes the Hufflepuff anyway, he hates it, actually. He's there to shield you from your unpleasant housemates. Undoubtedly, Potter holds a grudge after they alienated you in the past. Every person who is in Hogwarts and has a common sense or a brain somewhere in their brick head, able to discern that! He's tolerable as well as likeable to the fifth years and below, seeing as they have nothing to do whatsoever with your horrible experience in your first year!"

"And that having a lot in common is bunch of bollocks! The only thing you two have a common ground is your background!" Sheila snarled. "So what if you both are Halfbloods? Both have little siblings? It doesn't matter to any of us!"

"You two are jealous!" Regine accusingly pointed out. "That's it, isn't it?"

"I'm not!" At the unison answer, both turned to glare at one another.

"Girls, girls, please, be rational…" Callista put an effort to appease them. Harry had never been so eternally grateful for the girl's aura in appeasing people. "Let us all confront the painful truth that I am much closer to Harry." Of course, his face fell at the next line of her words. Three heads whipped their heads to the Ravenclaw girl and mustered their callous glare for her. "Oh, please, everyone is aware of it and it cannot be denied that I get to spend more time with him than the three of you. We both regularly sit together in classes and meals. Not to mention, we being in the eagle's nest clarify everything seeing as we often intersect each other's path, be it in the common room or in other things such as Quidditch. Need I to explain more? And, do not provide me with silly excuse that the same thing could occur to the three of you if he was in your house. I remind you, it will change nothing. More than anything, Harry prefers my company more, since I am he most comfortable with…"

"This coming from someone who'd be happier to just return to her books? I don't think so!" Sheila barked."What conversation did Harry have to endure when he's with you? How exciting books are…" Sheila said mockingly. "I didn't know you're a social butterfly, Callista. All this time, my eyes must be playing tricks on me."

"And, I'm not listening to any words spewed by someone who, at times, is too suspiciously innocent for my or anyone's likings," Regine growled. "Don't think just because you're so intelligent and one of the top in our year, everything should be handed to you on a silver plate without you having to lift a finger, Callista. If anything, it should have been making your forehead big from reading too many books and from absorbing so much information!"

"Let us also not forget, how you love to dream of the day when every person in this damnable world deems your words as if they are sacred and faultless. What's more fancy building a large statue of yourself so they could worship you." Daphne's eyes were glinting wickedly. "Isn't it, Callista?"

"It is not!" Callista snarly protested, face flushing deep red. "That's very rich from the likes of you three! I will not idly sit by, listen and be patronize by-" she glared Regine. "-someone who can be very bossy in regards to meeting the most dangerous creatures that causes her to have no concern for her life or anyone around her, and by-" she glared Daphne. "-someone who has too much ego in herself sizable a horse wagon that can be no less carry by a dozen of full grown men, as well as by-" she glared Sheila."-someone who's mouth can be as big as a Hippopotamus mouth that have the tendency to blurt in an unsuitable timing!"

The three gasped at her harsh truthful words.

"I am not bossy!"

"My ego is not huge!"

"And, my mouth is not big!" Sheila exclaimed. "It's small, actually, see? And, what's Hiphop-lumos anyway?"

For a moment there, the other girls stared blankly at her, before their meaningless row recommenced to its usual intensity.

Left eye twitched in irritation, Harry threw his hands in exasperation. "Oh, I give up! You girls can fight all day long and see if I care! I've had enough of you girls for one day and I'm going to seek someone else company in someplace else… Anywhere is better than here…" Wheeling around, he shoved his hands into his trouser's pockets and marched to the large entrance of the castle.

"Harry!" they yelled out to his back, but Harry paid no heed to it. Watching their male friend acting so angry, they began blaming one after the other, spouting reason after reason why the other girl was to be blame for Harry's irritation. They, then, scurried to Harry's sides, all the way still blaming each other to which it heightened Harry's annoyance. He, at last, exhaled his breath noisily, kneading his temple in an effort to block the girls out.

That Halloween night, near curfew, students gathered in the Great Hall. Several of the faculty members were standing guard outside the closing doors of the Great hall. The hall, itself, was covered with hundreds of squashy soft purple sleeping bags. Each of the students was dressed in night clothes of their own. Whispers, murmurs and burbles bounded all over the Great Hall. It was buzzing in excitement as the Gryffindors enlightened the rest of the school at what had occurred. On the far side of the corner, Harry's group was no different. Sheila was regaling the tale of the flight of fat lady and the person who had done it was none other than Pettigrew.

Their group was joined by several of their year mates from other houses. They were Harry's two roommates, Jason Spum and Frank Birke, Callista's own roommates, Xi Li and Penelope Clearwater, Regine's only Hufflepuff friend, Anna Kowalski, and Daphne's Slytherin friends, Barbara Zabini and her other two friends. Most of them sat up and folded their legs together, whereas several of them climbed into their sleeping bags and propped themselves on their elbow to talk.

"How the hell did the swine pathetic excuse of a wizard manage to get here in the first place anyway?" Xi Li chimed. Penelope Clearwater nudged Xi's rib, afraid Pettigrew would spring out of nowhere and assailed Xi for her insult. Xi steadfastly ignored her friend's not so discreet move and concern.

"Knowing how large Hogwarts is, I won't be surprised if there are more secret passages than Filch could have known," Jason Spum supplied. "It is a bloody castle."

Frank Birke grinned, sprawling on his own sleeping bag and skimming a book he brought along. "Yeah, and we stumbled on more than quite a few…"

"Oh, you would know that, wouldn't you, Jerk?" Barbara Zabini snorted. She was admiring her pretty looks by the small mirror she had conjured. Her two other friends giggled at her words, smirking at the Ravenclaw male.

"It's Birke, Zabini," Frank glanced up from his book to scowl at the Italian girl and her friends.

"Makes no difference to me…" she shrugged.

"Much less I would like for you two to trade spells and you can be sure it will amuse me a great deal, I'd rather we keep this to a meaningful discussion. So extract your fangs, Zabini." Dressed in an expensive silk night gown, Daphne glared her past roommate to back off. "That means you too, Jerk."

"Oh, you can call me Jerk anytime you want, lovely lady." Frank tried to be charming, and in return he received a bland emotionless look from Daphne. It's unusual for him to be this close to the most beautiful girl in Hogwarts and it was not a chance for him to pass up.

"Not interested, Jerk," Daphne unmercifully and callously rejected him as if it was an everyday thing to do for her. Frank's face fell to despair and Jason patted his shoulder to comfort his friend.

"Daphne." Callista was in her own plain Muggle night clothes, a matching set of shirt and pants. "Be nice. Frank was trying to be courteous."

Raising her chin, the blond girl snootily held her nose up, an action she did whenever she rebuffed any advance of her suitors and her many admirers. Her three close friends rolled their eyes, accompanied with Sheila muttering something under her breath. An insult was more like it given how it earned her frightful glares from the heiress of the Greengrass family.

"Y-You do-on't think he'll come here and as-assault us while we're sleeping, do you?" Anna Kowalski, a shy and timid girl, fearfully asked her trusted friend. She was tightly hugging a big pillow she brought from her dorm room.

Clad in her own sleepwear, Regine smiled reassuringly. "No, no, of course not, Anna. If he does, don't worry, I'll watch your back."

"There is a reason why the professors assembled all of us in the Great Hall, while they conduct the hunt for the convict Peter Pettigrew."

"It's a way of protection for all of us. This way, Pettigrew would know we are guarded by the staff and under their supervision, he won't dare do anything to us," Xi translated Callista's cryptic words. She felt pity for the timid girl. Anna reminded her of her own sister, Su Li.

"Also," Penelope piped helpfully. "Students are not far apart from defending themselves, mainly the upper years. There are more capable duelers than the professors could hope to admit and it will be too much for Pettigrew to handle with so many wands pointing at him."

"I'll say, let him come, Harry is more than enough for him to handle," Sheila proclaimed. All eyes averted to the said person, whose attention was anywhere else but them. "Okay, not him, but I believe I can."

"Is she foolishly brave, or plain stupid?" Barbara whispered.

Sending a fleeting look to her perky friend, a smirk worked its way across Daphne's lips. "As much as it not pains me, Zabini, she's a fool and stupid, not brave. Never forget though, she's touched in the head as well, short on brains and all. I'm still searching for anyone who is charitable enough to donate a brain for her. I think I'll advertise it around the castle for them to know. Do you think I should start handing out the pamphlets soon?"

Sheila glowered them both. "Don't make me point my wand at you two. I know more than a few harmful spells." Her hiss threat did not perturb Daphne the slightest, however, it did stir Barbara into a bit of nervous in the insides.

Callista sidled closer to Harry and gently shook his shoulder. "Harry?"

"Huh?" He ceased from his glaring activity at a handful of males. "What is it?"

"We were- Harry!" Callista snapped her fingers in front of him, irked.


"What has gotten to you, Harry?" Regine was worried. "Are you alright?"

"It's just…" Harry halted on what he was about to say, his anger simmered to its heightening point and he snapped at a group of males, "Would you idiots stop doing that?" The males recoiled at Harry's enrage looks and hurried for their sleeping bags. "If I catch you all ogling and drooling at them four like that again, I'll scorch your freaking eyes! And, that goes for whoever looking the rest of the girls in such shameful manner. You too, Birke, and Spum, stop staring Zabini with starry eyes. If you wish to smooch her, go right ahead, no one's restraining you."

Jason's face reddened while Barbara quirked an amuse eyebrow at him, violet eyes twinkled. "Smooth, mate, very smooth."

For Frank, he winced at being caught. "Sorry, captain, it was hard not to." He whistled appreciatively."Boy, those school robes can sure hide things." And, he winced more at the looks from the girls around him. A mild stinging hex from Penelope made their displeasure known.

Jason elbowed him and whispered giddily, "Yeah, it sure is." He yelped after several harmless spell hit him in the back.

"Perverts, the lot of them…" Harry mumbled, scowling.

"Everyone into their sleeping bags!" bellowed Percy. "Come on now, no more talking! Lights out in ten minutes!"

"Man, that guy needs to relax. He's so uptight. Even the previous head boy and girl are way better than him. They know the word 'fun'," Frank groused. He flipped his book shut and snuck it under his sleeping bag."It's a sad life for him. There's more in life than following the rules. Life is short, so enjoy yourself as best as you could while it last. Live a little, sheesh. No wonder why he never has any girlfriend and why no one wants to date him."

"His screw is already tight as it is. Even with a screwdriver and oil, there is no way to loosen it, Birke," Harry said.

"What does that mean?" Anna Kowalski's facial was full of curiosity.

"It's a Muggle thing," Callista smiled.

In the meantime, Harry tapped his wand on his sleeping bag, transforming it into a very soft thick comfy mattress, together with conjuring two fluffy pillows and a sheet for him to swathe it around his body.

Daphne inspected the sleeping bag distastefully. "Jonnet, if you don't mind, put that talent of yours to a good use."

"Okay, okay, no need to be grumpy. Give me a second." She contemplated for a while. Afterwards, Sheila swished her wand and Daphne's sleeping bag was replaced to a more comfortable one that fitted to her friend's opulent taste, as well as switching the color from purple to green.

Sheila made some daring adjustment to her own sleeping bag, charming the color purple to red. Two of her other friends stared expectantly at her and Sheila did the same thing to the two of them, earning her smiles of grateful. It was undeniable Sheila's skill in Transfiguration was much more superior compare to her three friends. Identifying this, many of the upper years started modifying their own, much to the head boy's heated protest. It received many envious looks from the lower years. Their magic hasn't quite developed yet and they haven't attained that kind level of skill just yet. This triggered for the lower years to seek their older siblings, or someone they're familiar with, to request altering their sleeping bags into more of comfy one.

"Oh, come on," Harry brashly directed his words to Percy. He rested his body onto his spongy mattress. "It's not like we're breaking the rules. I don't recall the headmaster forbidding us to change the sleeping bags. If you don't like it, you can suck it up and take your complains to the Professors and let's see if they give a damn about it." Wisely, Percy held his tongue, his cheeks flushed in anger. "Stop being such a lousy git, Weasel. You'll be doing us a favor that way. It's admirable for you to perform your head boy duty so seriously, but don't take things too far, git. It will only serve you no good."

"My hero…" Barbara sniffed in the midst of snickers and laughter, wiping the fake tears from her eyes.

The girls, on the other hand, exchanged looks. On Harry's left side, there was an empty space and his right side was already occupied by one of his roommates, Jason Spum. They were waiting for one of them to initiate even the tiniest movement. In split seconds and blurs, they charged for the space like a bull in a rampage. They froze in their haste at perceiving the casualness of Xi Li dumping her transfigured sleeping bag onto the space they desire so much and she laid her body down, not even batting an eye at the four whom were battling for the spot. They were so centered on themselves that they had failed to sense Xi advancing to it.

The four sulked in disappointment, resigning themselves to the vacant spaces next to the Asian girl.

Harry wasn't aware of the byplay, as he removed his shirt, folding it properly. It was after he slipped his black long-sleeve shirt under his fluffy pillow, did he notice the intense silence swimming around the atmosphere. Neither one sound nor a single wisp of whisper detected. Confounded, he surveyed his environment, attempting to locate the source of why people were shushing. There were people craning their necks, hands to their mouths, some stood up and others gawked, lips agape. His cheeks stained in pink due to every pair of eyes trained on him.

"W-What?" he spluttered, shattering the awkwardness. "Why the hell is everyone looking at me like that?"

Girls were blushing madly at the view of his bare upper body, they had a distant look on their face and there were more than a few - mostly Slytherin girls - finding themselves involuntarily licking their lips. Boys were gaping at him, eyes glistened in frank envious, repudiating the reality of a wizard having such wondrous body and like girls, few found themselves raising their shirt to palm their somewhat flabby stomach. This action led to Hogwarts girls eliminating them from the category of being a desirable date.

Hogwarts Quidditch players were more so, as even with all the trainings they had done over the years they were in their Quidditch house team, their body couldn't shape like the similar beautiful structure of Potter's body. There was no denying, they were muscular, taller and slimmer than most blokes in Hogwarts, consequently from their many vigorous training in Quidditch. Still, how in the name of Merlin did Potter own such a body?

Frank broke out of his stupor. Crawling forward, he jostled Jason out of the way and begged Harry, "Is there some sort of magic to do that, captain? Some kind of potion, perhaps? Or- or- I don't know! Tell me your bloody secrets and I swear you, I'll pay you with all the galleons I had! Please, captain! I'm begging you! Or, better yet induct me as your disciple!" Spotting one male shamelessly pleading to him, the other males downed their manly pride and accosted Harry like they were packs of raving dogs, thirst for information.

Harry was flustered at being the center of the attention, freak out by their reaction.

"All of you, get off me! Hey, I said get off! Don't make me do things I'll regret later on!" Harry was lenient enough not to apply violence in the face of the crowd. Thankfully, they were kind - or more precisely scared he'll beat the living daylights out of them - to grant him back his personal space. Harry heaved a sigh. "Now, what in the blazes are you all on about?"

Literally, all of them presented him their best incredulous looks.

"You've got to be kidding me!" squeaked a seventh year girl from a few feet away.

"Don't stick it in our faces, Potter!" Marcus Flint spat, looking full of green in envy and incredibly resentful. "How can a lowly half-blood like you-"

"You take that tone to me again, Flint, and you'll be sorry for insulting me." Intimidated, the Slytherin captain zipped his mouth in an instant, his face was puce in rage. As if on cue, the girls seized the opportunity to reprimand him.

"Harry! Have you no shame at all?" Regine said, face flushing red. Internally, she regretted for not carrying a camera with her all the time. Vividly, she remembered about a very rare device called a Pensive. Could her parents obtain such thing and hand it to her as a gift for her birthday, or Christmas?

"Huh?" was his eloquent answer.

"Put something on! Why- why are you- oh…" Eyeballing his body for the umpteenth time, Callista's face went to a whole new shade of red. However, she did not detach her eyes from his body, mesmerized and was memorizing every detail of it. She did have a brilliant mind, so why not put it to an excellent use, right?

"What she meant to say is why are you not wearing your shirt?!" Daphne hissed, hue of red on her cheeks and she was more cross that the other girls had gotten to witness his body. The sole lady, who ought to have the privilege of setting her gaze on his body, should have been her and no one else. Yes, she was very possessive of her constant male companion.

"As of late, meaning since last year Christmas, I develop a habit of sleeping without a shirt on. I don't know why, but I prefer it this way."

"I wonder if I have the same type of body too." Amongst her best friends and probably out of all girls in Hogwarts, she was the most energetic as well as having done lots of exercise in her life. It's just who and how she is. Totally ignoring the set of blushes on her cheeks induced from gazing Harry's upper body, Sheila was just on her way to lift her night dress.

"Sheila!" Three of her best friends hustled to shield their friend's modesty and they blew a relief sigh at managing so. Most males found themselves to be disappointed by this. Daphne glared her admonishingly and didn't think twice in whacking Sheila on the back of her head. Sheila, for once, didn't react in equal manner or get irate. Instead, she was abashed and smiled sheepishly for not reflecting the many people around her.

Barbara's eyes were clouded in haze. She could assertively acclaim that Potter had grown in comparison to the last time she snuck a peek on his attractive body. Hell, it outshined the incident of her and her two mates slinked into Quidditch locker room to check out Potter's well-built body as he was showering. That event was well past in their third years. Leaning forward to touch him, her face was now in delirious state. It ended in failure and her reward for her action was a glare, counseling her to not try it for the second time. Barbara cursed her friend, Daphne, for blocking her. Why can't Greengrass just attend to her Gryffindor friend and leave her bloody alone?

"Mate, d-did you- uh- get this-" Jason motioned his hand to Harry's body. "-from being a professional Quidditch player? What did they do to you, mate? They must have done something! Bloody hell, just look at you!" he exclaimed. He was still working on believing it. "It has to be a potion! Dear Merlin, there's no other explanation to it!" Jason shook her head to organize his chaotic tangle of thoughts. "You can tell me, we're buddies after all. Might be some kind of potion they forced you to drink so it could aid you against the more brute players, am I right?"

"Is this what the fuss is all about?"

Harry's eyes traced to the tone muscles of his slender body, from his collarbones, the blade of his shoulders, his elbows, his arms, his chests and then, down to his stomach, shaping the v-shape figure. He noted the pack of six muscles on his stomach had already sculpted perfectly, unlike last year where it was simply in the process of nearly formed. Hmm, he mused silently, he may had been overexerting himself in training with the old man and the excessive nine hours Quidditch training each day during the last two summers, can also be accountable for molding his body finely. His growth helped a lot too. Though, the old man was largely to be blame for. Nonetheless, his hard work had paid off in the end.

"For the record, Spum, the answer you're looking for is no. Can you honestly imagine a potion does this kind of thing?" He let loose a very hearty chuckle. "Bugger, no. No matter how many potions you take, there is no way it can. Potion has its limit as is magic, and so does other things in this world. I never used any kind of magic nor potion to make it so. Incidentally, it took me a very long time to cultivate my body into like this. If any of you must know, I have done certain exercises in my private time and let's just say after doing it for years, this is the outcome of it. In other words, I've been doing it the natural way to attain it."

"Can- can I join you in one of your exercise, captain?"

"Birke, I have been doing those exercises for years, long before I came to Hogwarts. I don't think you can achieve it quickly even if you devote your entire summer," Harry said dryly. "Partly, I can lay the blame on the trainings I've done with the Puddlemere during the last two summers. It was quite extreme and exaggerating in comparison to the trainings we did."

"The other part?" Jason pressed.

Straight away, thoughts of the old man floated to his forefront mind. Harry flinched in reviewing the memories of the harsh trainings he had endured in the company of the old man. "Trust me on this, you don't want to know."

"But-" Frank began.

"No," Harry interjected a bit too quickly for his liking. "No more. You know what? Drop it. I don't even have the slightest clue as to why I'm quenching everyone's curiosity," he grunted, pulling up the thick and warm blanket over his body."Good god, it feels like I'm being hounded for information on the subject of my physique by boys who preferred in the company of their own gender instead of young women."

Roughly just about all boys felt their face burning hot and it worsened when Xi barked in laughter at Harry's words.

Percy's face was deluged in red, and it was unlikely in embarrassment but rather furious. By this point, he had dozens of reason and another one to add in being jealous of Harry. He vented it out by shouting to the horde of students, "The lights are going out now! I want everyone in their sleeping bags and no more talking!" The floating candles were doused at once.

"I'm on a mattress and not in my sleeping bag, does that mean his order isn't strictly apply to me? Seriously, if Pettigrew do barge into the Great Hall, and there would be an annoying girlish-like screech - no offense to the females -, I gamble every of my possessions I had on him. You can count on that," Harry's eyes twinkled. The enchanted ceiling, which, like the sky, was scattered with countless stars. Suppress giggles from every side, rang out, mostly from the females. Percy pretended to never heard Harry.

Once an hour and a half crept by, the snores suggested most students had fallen to deep slumber. Ron Weasley was the loudest and fortunately, the head boy had the graciousness to flick a silencing charm on his brother so not to disrupt the others. Percy, who had been prowling around, rebuking people for talking, steered clear of crossing the path of Harry's sleeping place as if he was a plague to avoid. Thus, Harry was left serenely alone to cogitate in his thoughts.

"Potter- um Harry…"

Harry rotated to his left side, to the source of the small voice, grateful for the brief distraction. His thoughts were far from pleasant. It frequently kept revisiting to the Dementors, the old man, his ancestor, the mystery thing he inherited from his ancestor, plus a bunch of other stuff that he fancy putting all of it behind him. Sadly, normality never fitted him. "I didn't know we're on first name basis, Li. May I have the permission to do the same thing to you?"

Xi, who had been pretending to be asleep, viciously retorted, "What? I can't call you by your given name?"

"Temper, temper, Li. You don't want to wake people up," he teased. "I was only kidding. No need to get rile up over it."

"Right, err, sorry…" Her face reddened slightly for being so close to his face. "I've been meaning to ask you earlier on. Just didn't get the opportunity since so many people crowded you. So…"

"Go on," Harry urged.

"Have you been practicing and delving in the form of martial arts?"

Harry blinked owlishly. "I never thought a person from a magical community could even comprehend the term of 'martial arts'. Normally, they refer it as hand to hand combat."

"Oh, believe me, you'll find there is a magical population dabble in such thing and serve it as their practitioner of everyday life." She flashed him a smile. "So, I'm right. Are you good at it?"

"Not really." Harry shrugged. "I just nicked it here and there, you know, for protection. It was how I got to be in a professional Quidditch club. My reflexes in dodging those bludgers and my endurance assisted me far more than I imagine. Me being natural on a broom did the rest."

"You're selling yourself short, Pott- Harry…" Her eyes softened considerably. "Or, the rumors about you beating up the upper years in your first year were not true at all? I may add, you did it without a wand too. That's quite a magnificent feat for an eleven year old. Oh, did I include in skillfully hurling Lockhart to his desk?"

"You do know, I spent nearly three full weeks in the infirmary to recover my injuries and I tell you, it was no fun, patching up those bones, or healing those bruises. It was one hell of ordeal to me. Not to mention, I had two months detention from instigating the entire thing. And, the thing with Lockhart? He's a fraud and idiot to boot so that's that," Harry said. "In any case, how did you know I was practicing it? What gave away?"

"Initially, I had my suspicion from the grapevine circulated in the castle on your first year. But after witnessing your body, well, it proved the whole thing."

"Oh, do you now…" The large grin threatened to split Harry's face. "Tell me, Li. Which part of my body did confirm it all? I'm curious… Did you spend every second ogling it? Do you want to see it now? I can give you a personal show if you wish…"

"W-What!" she said in low tone, flustered and loss of words. "I- You- I-I me-ean your body…"

Her eyes wandered down, and as soon as she became conscious of what she was doing, her eyes darted back up. The person, whom she had boldly ogled, was unmistakably amused. Her face smoldered in a nice shade of crimson, the glow of her blush not only enveloped her entire face, but was also seeping down her neck. In a face pace, she scrambled to turn her body around, to her other side, her back facing him. The chuckles he emitted did nothing to lessen her hot face, it simply discomfited her to an extent. She hauled her blanket over her head, hiding herself from the world's view. When the picture of his expose upper body drifted to mind, it educed a small smile on her lips.

That night, half of the girls in the Great Hall experienced a similar thing like Xi, and the other half was subjected to a wonderful dream about Harry Potter. Unpredictably, Harry suffered an eerie chill in his spine and sat upright to look around, wondering where it came from. Coming across none of the oddity aside from students sleeping, his eyebrows knitted together, mystified. He shrugged indifferently and plopped back down, willingly closing his eyes to consent the tiredness and the darkness to dominate his conscious.

In the place of bright and beautiful shining emerald eyes, it was swapped by a weary impassive look of being haunted after surviving countless battles.

Harry turned in his sleep, beads of sweat trickled down his face…

Harry felt his bright striking emerald eyes diverted its sight to where a young regal handsome looking man was standing tall. The blond young man held himself proud, strong, brave, powerful and every bit of noble quantities you can expect from a kingly man. The sword he brought alongside him was exuding a very massive aura. It was apparent to everyone that it would be folly for anyone to duel him in a deadly combat. In spite of the young man not radiating any aura to illustrate how powerful he was - unlike his sword, every person's intuition in the area was screeching for them to neither engage the young man in a fight nor ignite his wrath. They had a feeling that the young blond man doesn't truly require his sword to trounce them. His bare hands were more than enough.

Who is he? Such frightening person…

On the blond man's right side, a familiar looking man, was now the centre of Harry's emerald eyes. Underneath the curtains of his lustrous raven-haired, it was a young man with features of pale complexion, the twinkles in which one can imagine in the young man's cerulean eyes were not present. Young he may be, not a single person was fool by his appearance and age. Those cerulean eyes of his spoke volume of wisdom, wordlessly cautioning the people not to insult his intelligence or any of his counsel. His cerulean eyes recounted of how he had seen far too many things in this world, experienced in many situations, and most of those things were never pleasant. It was sufficient to damage one's mentality.

Is…Is that the old man? He looks so young…

Harry's emerald eyes scouted his surroundings and there were more than a thousand knights stood in attention, their body straightened in attention to await further orders from their king. There were other knights clad in an entirely dissimilar garb, denoting for them to be in a much higher rank than the many knights stood around them. Harry gazed down at a ruddy-faced man, light white beard, long white neat straight hair cascading down, pasty skin tone, broad shoulders and lanky body, as well as shallow russet eyes that were swirling in depth amount of magic. With no qualms, the man was both dangerous and powerful, never to cross in his path if one could help it. Hundreds of archers above the rafters were ready to strike him down if he was so much as twitching.

Who are they? More importantly, where is this place? How did he get here?

The man was stooping down to his two knees. He was bound by many chains wrapped tightly around his body. It was not the ordinary dull looking chain where you shackle prisoners. No, these chains were more ethereal, far from the ordinary ones. While, it's in black color - akin to the normal chain, these manacles were more aided with a touch of glowing lime in color. It was evident the offender was put in a high level spell, thwarting any of his movements. A burst of magic had the knights on the edge, their hands instinctively jerked for their sheathed weapon to their side. The man thrashed about many times, raging to break free from such spell, but it was futile for him. Burst of magic after magic, yet the glow-like chains did not shatter.

Why does the person look so… familiar? It feels as if they have recently met before, but he cannot recall the man in his life…

Harry lifted his right hand, pointing it to the direction of the offender. He, then, articulated in a tongue he recognized it to be a language not found in the modern world. Harry did not grasp what on earth he was saying. He realized it then, it was a spell, an incantation was what he was uttering. Moreover, he was coming to a realization that he had no control, whatsoever, on his body and probably, never had been. Tingles and a sudden flow of magic had his emerald eyes glowed in the color of pure gold. Small gold magic circle sketched in the air, appearing out of nowhere on his hand. Several more ethereal chains emerged from the circle and like tentacles, whizzed to enfold more securely around the man.

He couldn't remember having such powerful spell in his arsenal…

Harry wasn't contented with just the chains though. Without wasting anytime, he put the palm of his hands together and another magic circle emerged on the ground where the man was, light blue rays erupted around the man, creating a small dome-like at the size of the man. The people attended, could distinguish that there was an invisible weight of mass crushing down his body, coercing the man's entire body to fully sink down to the ground. It was as if the gravity around the man augmented radically. Screaming in fury and anguish, the man's dark russet eyes took a shade of gold, similar to Harry's. Tremors shook the ground. Ultimately, the screams had come to its conclusion, along with the tremors. The man had a defeated beaten look, his shoulders slumped and head bowed in despair.

Is he always that ruthless? It looks like he wanted the man to bow before him…

Shouts of rage from Harry's right side, had Harry relocated his attention to it. The young blond man had his fingers enclosed elegantly around the hilt of his sword, glaring down the man for his insolence and was preparing to strike the traitor down. One slash was all the blond man needed. One slash would split him in half and splintered the man's remains to the ground. Harry saw the raven-haired man advising the blond man to not and to reign in his rage. The blond man scathingly argued he was the king, as such the fate of the traitors should have fallen to his hands. A traitor, that's who the man was. The rest of his ilk was confined to their island, surrounded by another of the king's army, around the border of their island. They only captured their leader and brought him forth to be judge for his sin. How Harry knew of this information, he had no idea.

Why does this feel familiar? Haven't he heard it in a story?

Harry drew nearer to the king and voiced his agreement in the king's words. Every of the traitors' fate shall be judge by the king. If it so the king's desire, by death or exile, it will be the king's decision. Harry had other ideas though. Leaning closer to the king, Harry notified him of the traitors' magical oath they had sworn long ago. Now, they had breached their oath to not fight to the king's aid and to not arrive at the king's summon, fled when the king's need was dire, their magic shall now be in the king's hands, whether for the king to curse them to fulfill their pledge, never to rest until it's carried out or to curse them to their ruin. Their magic shall see to it.

Is this a dream? Or…a memory?

"Only say it and it shall be done, you hold the power over them now…" Harry found his mouth moving on its own accord. "Unlike the normal oath knights had sworn to you, magical ones are very diverse from the knight's oath. Magic is their salvation, but also their means of end. It can be traitorous and their magic shall hold to their oath. An oath they have failed to uphold. Do not give them the mercy of death. It will be too merciful. Curse them to suffer."

"You would have us deny the mercy of death?" From the ground, the man's russet eyes glared disdainfully.

"Be silent, you witless worm. Keep your fork tongue behind your fangs. You should have pondered on that, before you and your miserable pathetic ilk swore to such oath. Your arrogance was the one that brought you to your heel and now, it shall be your demise."

"It would be too cruel if the king chose not to condemn them to death. Such curse is vindictive, even for them…"

"No more than they deserve, Emrys," was Harry's terse reply. "Every innocent blood that had splattered, every each one of our brother that had fallen, friends and family members sacrificing themselves in favor for the others to live, shall not have their death to be meaningless. Their death can be laid on every of the traitors' feet! And, I will not let death be the traitors' fate for it would be too forgiving for the likes of them! More wars are now brewing in every corner of the land, and the fault was all on them! We had the chance to end the raging wars in the last great battle! But now…it will prolong further to who knows how many years and perhaps, the war will never end…"

"Too much blood has already been spilled. Enough is enough. We do not have the right to consider what their punishment it should be. Let it be their next adventure that will judge their sins and not in this life. The afterlife will not be so compassionate to the likes of traitors and death will only be the beginning of their torment."

"Listen to yourself, Emrys… You would be so quick to condemn them to death when you, yourself, spoke of enough blood that has already been spilled. You are contradicting yourself." Harry smiled grimly. "By cursing them to suffer the pain of the lives that had been passed on from this world, their blood will never be spilled, only torture shall stand by their side as their only companion. Pain is, in any way, the best method to amend our blunders."

"Or fuel the desire of revenge and hatred." The raven-haired man made to say something more. The blond, though, cut him off in his deep rich voice.

"Enough, Merlin…" he said. "The decision is in my hand and I am inclined to concur with our friend here."

"Arthur, listen to reason," the raven-haired pleaded. "If you intend to place them under such curse, it will not only haunt you, but the world will have to go through it as well. Other people should not have suffered in the face of our decisions- of the consequences of our mistakes. Nobody should have held one's fate, even if you are a king and they are the lowest form of scum. Such kind of power ought to not have been in the palms of anyone's hands, regardless of who the person is. No humans are worthy to ascertain what is right and what is wrong, who should die and who should live. Those things are best to leave on the divinity who created all of this, the world, magic, living things and such. Wars have converted us into the monster we have become. Our hands are dripping and gushing with the blood we spilled in the past… But, every each one of us have faith in different beliefs and that, itself, is what makes us human, what separate us from being inhuman and not shred the bits of our humanity, because we fight for something we believe in."

"And, for that very reason is why I had chosen you to be my advisor and my right hand man, guiding me when the path I stamp on went astray and show me the true path…" The king's stony face mitigated a little. "However, there are times you cannot persuade me and no matter how hard you endeavor, it will not do any good in changing certain decisions of mine that I had come to make. You know me far better than anyone here, old friend, that I am stubborn as it is I am determined."

"Furthermore, Emrys, they do not believe in anything," Harry butted in."They fight for no one aside for themselves. Murderers, they are, and traitorous, their nature. While I may not agree in many things with King Uther… the traitors, nonetheless, should have been eliminated in his Great Purge. Being sympathetic towards them is useless and a waste."


"Enough!" By utilizing the full capabilities of his magic, the man struggled to elevate his body high and proud even if he was under the pressure of the invisible weight. "We do not need your pity or any of your merciful nature, Myrddin Emrys, son of the Dragonlord. We do not regret the path we chose to walk on. The only regrets we have are swearing that blasted oath and for every one of you to not fall in the last great battle. None of you should have live to see the next day. We will take any punishment you wish to befall on us. Do what you must, oh great king of Camelot, bearer to the most powerful and mighty sword of the world, Excalibur."

"Very well, your wish shall I granted…" The king gnashed his teeth in near unrestrained rage. "Let it be known, from this day onwards! That, the traitors who had fled the battle with such cowardice, failed to arrive to the king's summon, forsaken the many lives that had been robbed in the battlefield, refused to come to the king's aid and when our need was in dire… shall be curse, to never…" At each of the king's dreaded words on cursing the traitors, the sky was no more bright and blue. It steadily turned blacker, darker, and large storm was brewing above, with the wind eerily blowing towards the storm. Thunderstorm deafened, lightning was wildly uncontrollable, yet there was no heavy rain pouring down.

Once the king concluded in cursing them, an unforeseen event transpired. The man's body convulsed erratically and his eyes rolled to the back of his head at the instantaneous effect of the king's curse. His skin gradually decayed, began to sunk, shrunken and bony. Tossing his head aback, small wisp of black cloud ousted and poured out of his mouth. Several dark spots blotched on his face. The spots started in a small size, before it became larger, bigger and it spread across his face. Thunderstorm boomed across the dark clouds. Notwithstanding the horrifying changes that had undergone on him, the man grinned maliciously, teeth no longer white and pearly.

"Be gone, you worm," The king unsheathed his sword and plunged the tip of it to the ground. Consequently, there was a large crack on the ground and there was a thundering sound crackled in the area. "Return to your island and linger there until you are nothing but a lost world to us. For as long as I draw my breath, you will not trouble anyone."

"Great King Arthur, I knew, I feel it and I can sense it, that even with my newfound ability, I would not be a match nor am I a true opponent for you. You may not have an ounce of magic in you, but there is no refuting that you are indeed a powerful man. Therefore, your death shall not be in my hands, but rather by someone else. Yes, I can predict the outcome of your future already. Heed my warning, mighty king, that on the day you venture into one of your expedition- the day that your foot step out of your land, is the day your doom looms over you…" His voice turned hoarse by the minute. "You will find that treachery does not end here and it will run deeper than you have imagined… What sacrifice you have done, the many battles you conquer and the victories you achieve, they will mean nothing in the coming future… Oh, you will have your peace, yet the peace you are so keen on, will not last long…" The man barked laughter, his appearance took more of daunting manifestation. "Wars will never have its conclusion, it will persist and only in an age where humanity no longer exists, then will death shall be no more… There will always be death as there will always be killing… All humans are slaves to war and war, itself, is the province of all mankind!"

The man rounded his attention to the raven-haired man, a craze look on his face, and foams simmered on his mouth. "By showing me your mercy, I shall never forget the humiliation you have brought upon me this day, Emrys! Instead of treating me with honor and not mercy, you were more willing for me to face the world in full of shame!"

Gaze squarely resting on Harry, the shallow russet eyes of his was gone, as darkness, bit by bit, began to creep and shroud his wide eye sockets. Admittedly, it was the most disturbing thing and with the creepy grin on the man's face, it was very sickening to watch such transformation. "You may have considered this a victory and a sweet punishment for our sins, but you are wrong on both sides! This is nothing short of blessing, and now I shall live long enough for me to have my vengeance! Your death may not be in our hands, but your bloodline shall suffer in your place! King Camelot may be the one to enact the curse upon us, but the true perpetrator behind it is you! I will have my vengeance one way or another!"

As if it was hilarious, he let loose a full blown laughter and, little by little, every part of his now ruin and bony body was sucked into the storm, breaking through the high spells he was in. In a blink of an eye, his body vanished from everyone's spectacle and the storm dispersed. His maniacal laughter, though, lingered. "Mark my words, vengeance shall be mine! My heart will never be content unless I bath in his blood and devour his soul! If not him, then one of his bloodline shall fill in his place! The time will come where I shall have the last laugh!"

"Harry! HARRY!"

Harry awoke with a startle, his eyes snapped open. Every inch of his body was enveloped in icy sweat. He lay flat on his back, breathing hard as though he had been running for miles and miles away. Voices, several of them, were desperately calling out his name. The twisting queasy somersault in his stomach rose up to his throat. He quickly sat upright. He slanted his body forward and promptly vomited on the blanket covering his lower region of body. Left hand gripped the blanket and his right hand was clutching his chest. He gasped in great gulps of sweet air.

Harry was practically blinded by the splitting headache he was currently in.

A smooth calming hand touched his cheek and a handkerchief wiped his mouth. Another person's hands snatched his right hand, rubbing it with both hands in an attempt to soothe his wrecking nerves. His view was still blurred and distorted. Once it was lucid for him to see, the first thing he noted was the blood in front of him, on the blanket. Damn. When was the last time did he vomit so much blood? If things kept on looking bleak, by the end of it, he won't have any blood left for him to cough out.

"Harry, are you alright? Should we get Madam Pomfrey or something?" His droopy eyes veered to Regine's concern panicky face. Tenderly, she dabbed her handkerchief over his forehead. "You're not well. I- I think we should get somebody…Girls?"

"Then don't just hang there, looking like a bunch of useless ingrates, and wait for me to curse you all! Jonnet, you're the fastest, go wake Pomfrey and inform her of the current shape he's in. The rest of us will facilitate things in bringing him to the infirmary. We know how much he hates being levitated." If he was not in such hazy state, Harry would have chuckled at Daphne's dishevel appearance. Her glares were not very frightening as it normally were. All traces of her elegance were gone. It was substituted by the looks of deep concern for him, and coupled from her having been abruptly awakened.

"No…" Sheila was about to release Harry's right hand, but he seized hold of her hands and dragged her back down. "It's fine… I just had a… nightmare… That's all… there is…" He tried to systemize his breathing, back to its regular pace. "Just give me a minute… to rid… this stupid… headache…"

"How can you say such things when the condition you're in is terrible?" Callista was looking alarm, a Muggle jacket was idly slung over her shoulders without her putting it on. "You're throwing up blood and it's quite a lot. And by how much sweat it gives you, you are far from alright, Harry…" She placed one of her smooth hand to his chest, where his heart is. "Your heart rate is beating abnormally, very irregular than a normal beating. Your pulse too… It's like some appalling thing frightens you." She rested the back of her hand on his forehead. "This is disquieting…"

Harry let go of Sheila's hands and grasped Callista's in return, soothing her. "Callista, it's fine, really… Just an awful nightmare…"

"What kind of nightmare that causes people to vomit blood?" The voice was on the edge of shrieking. "No, you're heading for the infirmary, Mister. We don't care if you have any complaints later but right now, you have to suck it all up!"

Harry groaned. He almost forgot he had to deal all four of them. "Sheila…"

"Hush it, Potter!" Daphne barked. "You're coming with us and you're not going to whine. This is not up for argument, do you understand?"

Harry coughed all too sudden. "Harry!" The girls enclosed him more personally. Daphne looked stricken for shouting at him.

"That'd settle it!" Regine approached to get him on his two feet. "I don't care if he won't talk to me after this! Let us all go! Look at him, he's really ill!"

That did it, all of them stepped in to assist him and Harry had enough. "Girls!" In his time with them, he seldom raised his voice wittingly and this was indubitably one of the few times. All four jumped and froze at his furious annoyed looks. "I'm fine, really… I told you, I only need to catch a breath. See, I'm fine now…" He inhaled one last deep breath."It was just a nightmare, nothing more. So let's not trouble anyone, okay? I hate hanging around in the infirmary anyway. Throughout my Hogwarts life, I spent too much time in there already. Madam Pomfrey considered once, on assigning a bed under my name," Harry caringly softened his voice.

"If- If you're sure, Harry…" Regine hesitantly voiced out, her concern wasn't diminishing in the smallest amount.

"I am, Regine, I am…" Harry smiled comfortingly. He had to get out of here and he's in desperate need for some air. "What time is it?" In spite of his bleary eyes, he wasn't blind to notice the uncertain glances they traded amongst themselves. "Girls, truly, I'm all right now, it's just a nightmare."

"Okay…" Sheila said in a subdued manner, eyes darting to the blood from time to time.

"Potter." A voice behind him. "If you badly want to know the time, it's still early in the morning, no more than half past five now."

Harry flung a momentary gaze over his shoulder. "Li? Didn't see you there…"

"Yeah, well… When the person sleeping next to you was thrashing about and not to mention what with them shouting out for you, it was hard not to be awaken from it." She tried to be snotty and vex about it, but found she couldn't. Her voice dropped to kindness and worry. "A-Are…Are you alright, Potter? I- I figured I should've stay out of your friends way, thinking they have handled this sort of thing before."

"For the who-knows-how-many-times, yes, I'm fine."

Awkward silence ensued. The five teenage girls around him squirmed uncomfortably, all were sharing glances and looks.

"It's a good thing Xi was wide awake, Harry. She put a privacy ward along with a silencing charm around us. We were too centered and more worried of the condition you're in to contemplate on it," Callista spoke out of the blue, sheepish looks on her face for not thinking it.

"A very good thing," Daphne muttered from her spot, her light green eyes flashed in a hint of concern. "She was generous enough to inspect the people who had been awakened from our small ruckus and charmed them back into a deep slumber, ensuring no nasty rumors spread around the castle." She, then, stubbornly mumbled, "You didn't appear to be in a good health a short time ago."

"Look, I'm not going to repeat myself, so I'm going to say this one more time. I'm fine, alright? It's just a ridiculous dream…" Harry sighed. He tugged his folded shirt from under the fluffy pillow and put it on. "Thanks for being so thoughtful, Li." His comment won him a blush on her face. "Anyhow, what do you mean by 'them shouting out for me'? I mean, by looking it through sensible way, shouldn't you be the first person to wake up?"

Harry spared a glance to his right side and was relief to stumble on his roommate snoring peacefully, glad he doesn't have to deal another person.

"Don't know." Her short messy hair was more chaotic than ever from her sleep. "Really though, by the time I woke up, they were already flitting around you. It seemed like they've been struggling to reach you out for quite a while."

"Yeah, and you didn't even budge, Harry," Sheila said. "We're desperate enough to shake you roughly, but you still won't come around. Frankly, it scared the devil out of us."

Xi wasn't listening to Sheila. She was in deep thought. "Now that Potter mentioned it, he does have a point. How come all of you were already by his sides when even I have yet to open my eyes? Shouldn't I be the first one to be awakened from his 'seizure'? Or Jason? He's also sleeping beside Potter and apparently, he still is." Landing her eyes on a drool sleeping face of Jason Spum, she wrinkled her nose.

"Point very much taken…" Callista was brooding over Xi's words. "Do you have any idea why, Daphne?"

"How should I know any better?" Daphne groused. "I felt it when it came clobbering down on me and before I knew it, I opened my eyes without feeling any of the drowsiness that I usually have to endure after my beauty sleep." She cast an uncertain glance to Harry. "I knew it had something to do with Potter and I grew anxious of him. My concern became apparent once I saw the terrible state he was in. Am I correct to assume you three experienced a similar thing?"

Sheila and Callista bobbed their head. "I guess it's sort of normal since the four of you are very close to him…" Xi commented absentmindedly.

"Of course, I'm the closest to Harry. How can you even suggest other people?"

Daphne glared her. "Dream on, Jonnet. She was implying me, not you."

"I am not going to dispute again over who is the closest and who is the least of all," Callista exasperatedly proclaimed. Face pinked, she looked away. "I made my point very clear the last time that I am closest to him out of the four of us, so it's no used wasting my breath on such a hopeless debate."

"Um, Callista?" Xi whispered. "You're speaking to yourself again."

"Wa- Was I?" she stammered, averting her eyes from her two friends' glares. "I- I didn't realize."

Regine wasn't paying any heed to them, still fretting over Harry. In about the right time, Harry seized Regine's soft delicate hand and obstructed her from wiping anymore of the sweats that trickled down his face. Smiling in reassurance to her, he willed his body to his two feet, patting his left trouser's pocket to confirm his wand was still there. "Where are you going now, Harry?" Regine's question had the other girls' interest.

"Outside, not far, just by the courtyard across the Great Hall." Harry slithered his way to the entrance doors. "I am in dire need of some fresh air and at this point of hour, the cool air should be refreshing."

"Alright, Potter…" Daphne said, tinge of softness in her tone. "Do you wish for some companion?"

"No, thank you, I fancy some time by myself…"

The instant the entrance door creaked shut, Xi spoke incredulously, "You all are going to let him walk out? Just like that?"

"As much as any of us desire to accompany him, Xi, we can't. It's simply his nature in being solitude," Callista explained to her friend.

"If Harry wants to spend time alone, no one's going to have any luck persuading him out of it," Regine coincided reluctantly.

"Yeah, you should've seen how hard it was for us to get him to open up. It took us a long time convincing him too," Sheila said. "Besides, he'll get angry if any of us try to go after him. No way am I risking that again."

The musical sound of bird twittering nearby, the gusts of wind wafting ever so lightly, the ruffling noise of grass and the smell of fresh air in the early morning, it was invigorating. It was so much better to be loitering alone in the large overcast courtyard than suffocating himself in the Great Hall with hundreds of student. Though, the cold breeze air chilled his skin, Harry welcomed it. That dream of his was creepy as hell. It gave him the impression of being so real, like he was there, witnessing and experiencing the whole thing.

He propped his back against the large wall.

Was it a memory? It resembled a memory. If it so, it agitated him. The event transpired before he was even born to this world, so how was he able to dream of it. He cannot convey it by means of words, much less detailing it. It felt like he was there, doing those things, yet at the same time, he was not. It was infuriatingly baffling and it frustrated him to no end. The dream- no, the memory belonged to his ancestor wherein Harry could now grudgingly attest to his existence in the past and the old man, whom was not so old at the time, genuinely befriended his ancestor.

Pushing himself from the wall, Harry paced back to fro.

His ancestor, who was ruthless and unmerciful, who was responsible for cursing the traitors into the monstrous creature they have convert into, and lastly, who was to be blame for in placing a death sentence on Harry. The sound of teeth gritting in anger echoed across the yard. Great, just what he needed, mistakes done by the people in the past and now, it haunted his steps. Merlin had been the sensible one to see the repercussion of such curse and even so, it was weak and irresolute effort on his part. Harry halted in his pacing and whirled around. He didn't waste any time punching the wall to liberate some of his steam, not repressing his strength. The redness and the throbbing soreness he inflicted upon his hand, he disregarded it.

This is ludicrous and unfair.

Harry had nothing to do with the curse, nor was he accountable for his ancestor's actions. He shook his head. No, what done is done. There's no point in getting furious over it even if his ancestor was a blockheaded fool. On the bright side of things, he had come to understand their true origins in a more personal matter. Yes, the old man had recounted the story to him, nonetheless, it was better for him to perceive it with his own two eyes, albeit in a dream. On the worst and horror side of things, the Dementors were hell bent on terminating his life, uncaring and heartless whether their cruel fate was originally caused by his ancestor and not Harry's fault.

Who's he to question their way of revenge and sanity anyway?

It was akin to Lady Morgana desiring King Arthur's head for what their father had done and not Arthur. It's what people love to do. A sacrifice lamb to lay the blame on for other people's mistake and in this circumstance, the lamb was unquestionably Harry. They only require one and not the whole set of Potter family. Moreover, taking into consideration of Harry inherited something from his ancestor and he was the sole human in the modern world who had a connection to the ancient world, he was the perfect candidate. Not only to eradicate the person who possessed the knowledge of the ancient world and the truth about the world, but also to fulfill their vengeance on his ancestor. Killing two birds with one stone. Yes, no pressure…

Harry's body stiffened as he realized something was frighteningly amiss and eerie. He was too deep in his thoughts to notice it.

There were no bloody sounds, no wind howling, the rustling sound of grass ceased, the splashing sound of water from the lake and the singing from the birds were unheard, not even the warm presence of the nature. Cold chill ran his spine and Harry swallowed his swollen throat. Slowly and bravely, he twisted his head to the front. He didn't know if he'd be relief or terrified. There, up on the sky, beyond the ground of Hogwarts, soared the white Dementor. He was relief to locate the Dementor was far away from him, yet he was terrified by its mere presence.

The dream he experienced a while ago, flooded to his mind. Harry recalled perfectly how powerful the white Dementor was back when it was in its human form. Now Harry got a second look on him, its white cloak can be regarded as its entire human white hair. He snapped from his muse, his ears grasped the sinister voice, murmuring, droning and buzzing. Deep unearthly low voice that gradually became louder, clearer and much colder. It was verbalizing its displeasure in a tongue not known to the present world. Harry had an idea on what the hell is going on. The Dementor was casting a spell on him. What it is, he had no idea. On top of it, it felt as if Harry's vision of the Dementor was getting larger and larger until the Dementor, itself, was the only thing remained on his sight.

He commanded his legs to move, to return him to the castle, but it was utterly immobilized. The minute the Dementor finished the incantation, the effect occurred in an instant. "Guh!" Harry descended to his two knees as a sharp pain clouted him. Both hands stomped to the ground, supporting him from falling forward. Harry looked down to his chests, face contorted to pain. Leaning forward, his right hand clasped over his heart. The ancient rune where Merlin carved it on the left side of his chest, was starting to take shape and discernible for people's eyes, glowing vividly in its white color. It was burning as though a white hot-poker was being applied to it. Shortly, the pain and the rune, itself, waned away, disintegrated into nothingness.

Breathing heavily, Harry was stunned, too tongue-tied to form words. There was a sinking feeling in the pits of his stomach. The rune had vanished! The thing, that was locking his emotions from flowing freely and controlling his excessive magic from leaking, had up and gone. Looking up, the white Dementor faded away from Harry's view. Harry wobbled up to his feet, clinging over the wall behind him. He shook his head and regained his composure. Still a bit ashen on the face, he cleaned the sweat off his face. Briskly, he entered the castle, reeking fear in his wake. The white Dementor was dispatching a message and it said, it was coming for Harry, sooner or later.

He needs the old man, bad. And, what better way to do so by visiting him in the coming winter? Harry could only hope to restrain himself until then.