To the Masses: I meant to post this a long time ago, as the very beginning of a series called Combative Kin and World War III. So far it's a five part series, but it's a gamble whether or not I'll actually finish it. As you can probably tell it's a highly AU story featuring common fic-traits such as abuse at the hands of the Dursley's and likely a manipulative Dumbledore, but I like to think there's some uniqueness that will shine through.
Warnings: OOC & AU (All fanfics are), slash, mentions abuse, creature fic.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter
'Revolution begins with the self, in the self.' Toni Cade Bambara
Ron heard a manic cackle from the other side of the common room and looked up to see the source. It was only Harry, who had been known for the odd and random since his very first night at Hogwarts, but Ron didn't turn back to his game of chess. Adrian, the clever third year across from him turned around, completely disregarding the game to watch as well.
In fact the entire common room seemed to be waiting for something.
Then in three, two, one; a first year seemed to appear out of nowhere brandishing a white pillow with 'Humility' stitched in various colors and styles. The Humility Pillow, as it was so aptly deemed back in Ron's second year was flung with precision and as per the rules the firsty, Dominic something-or-another screamed "E's mad with power!" Harry didn't dodge, even though Ron knew full well his best friend saw the projectile coming and took his punishment without complaint.
The entire fiasco wasn't uncommon in the Gryffindor tower. It was actually the second time that day Harry had been subjected to the treatment. The first time he had been helping the combined force of the Second years (a particularly attention-challenged group) with their Defense and Offense work. His friend had been demonstrating a shield that he felt the children would benefit from knowing and during the time the twelve year olds had been flinging curse after curse at him he'd been laughing quite evilly. If Ron didn't know better he would swear his friend was crazy, but everyone and their mothers knew Harry didn't like being called that –even in jest, so Ron would just say he was mad instead.
"What is it now?" Hermione called from her own corner, surrounded by the fourth years as she gave a wonderful (and heavily edited. Thank you Ron and Harry) lecture on the uses of Transfiguration during battle.
"'E's telling us ov de nature ov impractical magic 'Ermione! 'E was talkin' 'bout illustrations!" Dominic shouted back in an energetic tone.
"Illusions!" his year mate, a little girl who was unfortunately named Imogene and was as bossy and anal retentive as Percy Weasley ever was. Dom didn't seem to mind, used to the harsh treatment of those who's first language was the Queen's English and he didn't understand what Imogene said half the time anyway.
Ron simply rolled his eyes, just the same as everyone else in the lustrous room. Adrian turned back around and faced the board, his eye's rushing over the pieces to see if any of them had changed while his attention was else ware. "Alright," Ron said in a much more subdued tone, addressing the third years that were crowding around the board, and resumed his instruction on strategy and game-play.
Harry's fondness for illusions was almost legendary among the group. The small bloke had an unrivaled obsession with the slight of hand, card counting, and anything else someone could think of that involved pulling a fast one on unsuspecting humans. Illusions were only a small part of that; glamour's were a subcategory that Harry thoroughly explored.
Ron glanced up for a fraction of a second and apprised his best friend in all of the tiny bloke's off-beat glory, knowing full well that Gryffindor's were the only people privileged to see Harry as he truly was. It was the biggest (and probably the only) secret of their house, and had been as long as Ron could remember. The rest of the time Harry wore a small bar of surgical steel threaded through the skin somewhere under his shirt, Ron was never clear on the specifics, but he didn't know it anchored the spell that disguised his friend from absolutely everything.
No one could blame him for it either. The-Boy-Who-Lived (to punch people in the nose when they called him that) was a young man of average height, with short hair, normal skin, and a touch of manufactured acne every once in a while. The only thing remarkable about him (if you don't count surviving a curse that no one else ever could) were his bright green eyes.
The Harry Potter (real name to never be disclosed ever. Ron suspected it was truly embarrassing) was a skinny little twig with unnaturally perfect skin, soft features, and wonderful curly locks that had girls begging to play with it (The answer was 'no,' it always was). The really Harry had wings. Honest to Merlin, God, Jesus, the Green Man, the Consort, and the Moon wings. They weren't like a Veela's, large and strong and covered in feathers. They weren't like a Peri's which were just as angelic as a Veela's but muted in color. Actually, Ron would consider them most like a bat's wings.
Harry's extra limbs didn't stand on their own like a bird, unless he wanted them to. Instead the fell behind him like a cloak of soft black, slightly fuzzy membrane. There was bone and cartilage protruding from his back, each forearm had it's own fingers, and the membrane stretched between them. They even had those forked things, 'thumbs' Hermione was constantly correcting him.
In second year, after the bit with the Basilisk biting him and all, his composition changed somehow. Seamus and Hermione had double-teamed to try and figure it out exactly, but neither of them were certified healers –and no, it didn't matter if Seamus was Harry's official 'Drunken Doctor,' he still didn't have a license.
The two of them figured that the Phoenix tears never neutralized the venom, but stabilized it somehow. When that mixed with whatever the hell Harry was it brought out unique traits that they were all certain would lead to Harry's kidnap, torture, and harvest. That was why only the boys in Harry's dorm, the Twins, and Hermione knew. Of course Harry thought that was far too many people and had spent half of their third year trying to seal their memories, eventually giving up to peruse Sirius Black instead.
Harry had mirrored certain traits of both animals he'd been infected with. The Basilisk venom rotted his canines until fresh ones grew through, a particular painful experience. According to Harry; growing new teeth wasn't nearly as painful as growing poison glands just behind the roof of his mouth. Half way through the snake changes, as far as anyone could tell, the Phoenix started to combat the excess venom and Harry cried for two days straight as his tear ducts went through their own metamorphosis. The magic had altered the shape of his eyes, making them larger, but reshaping his skull still didn't take the award for most painful experience. Hermione suspected his eye color would have changed as well, if it hadn't been for the killing curse. She suspected it was the reason for his bad eye sight and the reason glamour magic would never attach to his irises.
Ron thought the whole process was amazing and was a little jealous that his friend was a mix of three of the coolest things ever (they were still a bit clueless as to what his natural composition was, but anything with wings was cool in Ron's book). He'd sulked for an entire hour before Harry came out of shock and simply muttered; "now I'm even more of a freak."
He wasn't supposed to be heard, but he had. His own Inner Circle (The Twins maintain that it is the funniest anti-Voldemort joke ever. Harry obviously disagreed) had tackled him in the most obnoxious Gryffindor hug in a long and extensive list of obnoxious Gryffindor things.
While Ron through the outcome of Harry's changes was still wicked as all hell it didn't mean much when his good fortune was balanced out with the unfortunate. Ron had been there when Seamus healed his friend on September First of their First, Second, Third, and Fourth year. It didn't really seem to matter much to those muggle relatives that they were mutilating a savior or that they left permanent scars that could even implicate themselves in various obscene crimes.
First and Second year had been a rush of emotions that Ron could never scrub from his brain. The first night of meeting his friend the child had collapsed and started bleeding out. If it weren't for the Twins Harry would have died, or been taken to Madame Pomfrey (which Harry considered worse than death). Seamus, with his little knowledge won by patching up his large family during their drunken escapades, had taken charge and the Twins had staid clam –brewing what they deemed to be appropriate potions to help combat infection and pain. Second year wasn't much better than the first and Harry conned them all into a cleverly worded magical oath that they 'would not talk, show, write, or use body language to communicate the injuries of Harry Potter unless he relinquish the hold of his secret.'
Ron looked up from his lesson again to watch as Harry used interpretative dance to teach his own little crowd. He'd been really into teaching his fellow Gryffindor's since the beginning, claiming that there was so much to know and magic had so many different things to teach them and the teachers were only showing them the boring ways. Ron couldn't help but wonder how he moved in such interesting ways without the painful pull of his scars.
Third year had been so much easier to deal with physically, Harry's uncle wasn't as taxing out of fear of the Magical community and the few injuries he did have were partially healed by September First. Tom the Bartender went up a notch in several people's respect for taking care of Harry, even though the runt still refused to inform anyone older than sixteen of the hostile treatment he suffered.
That was actually the real reason they fought in Fourth year. Ron and Hermione had been instantly aware that his skin was a few shades darker when he'd dropped his glamour the first night so that Seamus could survey the damage. There hadn't been much, just a new scar across his stomach. Harry confessed he'd run into some old friends and only returned to the Dursley's so the Weasley's could pick him up again. They fought because Ron wanted Harry to tell, to drop his glamour and give up one or two of his secrets and Harry was having none of it.
By then Gryffindor had Harry's routine down; he would never tell anyone about his 'old friends,' September First was the official healing day (Harry was always the first check up, and then first years were carefully questioned. The likelihood that there was another case as bad as Harry's was zilch but Adrian's mother was too intense to a pushing point and needed positive affirmation, Dominic's first language was French and he didn't speak a lick of English when he got to Hogwarts. There were a few other cases, but no one was as bad as Harry's. Ron privately wished it was just another abnormal thing about Harry's life, because that would mean no one else had to go through that shit). Then, the thing about Harry Potter that should have been set in stone was Harry kept secrets like a dragon kept gold.
Before Fifth year Harry was off spending more time with old friends, and the Twins barely had time to get a message off via some invention of theirs (A coin that they later used for their Defense Association) before the Order landed on his aunt's doorstep. Hermione said he still smelled like China when she hugged him. Ron wasn't sure why or how Hermione knew what China smelled like, but he shrugged it off and took his hug next.
The entire Fifth year was spent scared and hurt, Ron reflected. Ever since La Grenouille, the Frog, made her first speech at the opening feast, the students were terrified. Most of the younger years didn't understand, but Harry explained to them patiently and in his own quirky way that the Ministry was trying to take over. Then came the time Hermione deemed their Battle for the Right to Learn, and Harry's fondness for teaching his peers exploded. Harry's special brand of magic was taken up a notch, and the priority went from learning for the sake of learning to learning to survive. In short Harry was taxed with teaching seven years worth of Gryffindor's how to be more Slytherin, a process none of them ever wanted to go through again.
A freckled hand obstructed his view of the chess board and he looked up and into Thing One's face. The other was standing off to the side with a large grin, "where have you been Ron?"
"Just lost in thought," Ron admitted softly while gazing around at the third years.
"Dangerous place," they said in tandem with large and slightly creepy grins. The surrounding third years then fled with cries of 'I don't want your Canary Creams,' and 'I'm too young to suddenly develop a genetic mutation!'
"I can't believe they let you two back in the school," Ron bit back, moving a piece forward despite his lack of opponent. "Checkmate!" he shouted across the common room. A moment later the third years were subjected to a blistering lecture by the Weasley daughter about the difference between running scared and strategic retreat.
"Yeah," one of the Twins agreed, "you should have seen mum though."
"We thought she was finally going to blow steam out of her ears," the other agreed, rather solemn with the knowledge that she didn't, "but we did find out something interesting."
"Oh?" Ron's attention perked and he turned to Harry's direction. He didn't have the chance to call out before the Twins hushed him. "Alright, what are you two up to?" he demanded while giving him his best 'Get to the Point' look, something he used on Hermione often. That particular version was 'I'm not waiting for you to beat around the bush now get to the point or I'm going to burn your notes.'
Ron wasn't too sure how well it'd work, because the Twins weren't particularly studious but they crumbled in seconds. "Perce made a very simple mistake," one Twin crooned happily.
"So simple you're sure he did it on purpose, right?" Ron mused, because they were calling him Perce and not Percival or Snotty Bastard or Brown Noser Ron was sure they were very happy with him.
"He left the office door open." Oh, Percy definitely knew better than that. "Probably to make up how he talked to mum last summer," The Twins nodded to each other and the other took up the story, "he was talking to Bagman –we can't believe the Goblins haven't caught him either- about the Centennial."
"What Centennial?" Ron leaned forward to ask, "Surely not the Hogwarts Centennial?"
The Twins nodded in rhythm excitedly, "It hasn't been celebrated in five hundred years. There was some disaster that happened the last time around, but Percy said Fudge was rallying to reinstate."
"It's a popularity move," Ron nodded, "not a very good one, but it could work in our favor."
If Ron remembered the stories right, and he did, then the reason that Hogwarts hadn't celebrated another hundred years of existing was because the scion for the Slytherin house had warped their views and power structure.
The Hogwarts Centennial was simple in theory. Every one hundred years a scion was chosen for each of the four houses; the Sorting hat would comb through its own memories of the minds it's sorted and pick the best one to represent each house. Then, for an entire year the scion would usher it's house into the future. The most notable change were the uniforms, but the deepest change with the power base on which the House rests. Most houses were neutral and were allowed to pick their own way. When a house's powerbase changed to one extreme or the other, everything reflected that. For example the Gryffindor Tower, it was a light house and that's what it's walls and tapestry's radiated. It was torture for anyone with a different affiliation to reside there. Neville always had a hard time sleeping in the dorms the first week of school, Ron reveled in it. Again, Harry was always the odd duck out (Ron sighed at the thought). He tried to hide his discomfort from the beginning and even more so when realized what it meant, but the restless nights and early mornings spoke volumes. Alternatively Slytherin had gone dark, and while the general population applauded Gryffindor's change they rioted against Slytherin's. It had caused such a problem and the ignorant masses were afraid it could get worse so the Ministry banned the Hogwarts Centennial.
"How?" the Twins echoed each other, Ron wasn't certain which one spoke first.
Ron rolled his eyes, "look at the Slytherin's now. Most of them are loud and obnoxious followers of the Dark Lord. The neutral one's are quiet and don't do shit."
"You have a point," one said, "Harry's more cunning then any of them."
There was a moment of pause, "oh, right." Ron paused, "he'll be embarrassed. We aren't supposed to know…"he trailed off. It was true, that they weren't supposed to know that Harry was all sly bastard, cunning and sneaky, selfish to a point but only about very specific things, and had his own secret ambitions. Like his glamour, though Harry let himself shine behind closed doors. "Right, well it could still be a good thing."
"Share with the class then," A Twin spoke up.
"Harry could revolutionize Slytherin house, take them back to neutral and help them help themselves. He could put them on the same path as us in terms of tradition and the routines we have going on. And, and¸ he could pull some of them away from You-Know-Who."
"We don't know who," the Twin's chorused sarcastically. One continued on "we think it's not going to work out so hot." They paused and glanced at each other, "initially we did."
"You're admitting that you didn't think something all the way though?" Ron accused uncertainly.
"No," the two of them denied instantly, "we think next year will be the most fun of them all, which is why we didn't protest –too much, when mum started petitioning for us to come back after our grand exit."
"Bloody waste of good fireworks is what that was," the other complained, "it was better then any graduation." They turned towards one another again, and Ron began to suspect that their numerous glances were communicating trouble. Then they laughed, "Harry's going to give 'em hell."
"So," Ron began fishing, "that's what has you two so excited?"
"Well yeah," they admitted in identical amused tones, "and we're sharing it with you, Dear Ronnikins, because we expect you to pay us back."
Bloody hell, Ron through frantically, it was like making a deal with the devil. "I didn't ask," Ron began.
"Oh no, you cannot unknown what we've just told you," the Twins grinned manically, "and you can't tell Harry either. Else he'll send the summer worrying and won't get to fully enjoy his time with his old friends."
Ron knew they were jealous, that they wanted super secret friends from different countries that taught all the weird magic he brought back. There was always a flip side to everything though; the Twins wouldn't want to stray too far from their home. They weren't like Bill and Charlie, yet. There would be a time they'd leave the United Kingdom, but they weren't quiet there.
"But I did not ask," Ron tried again, but resistance was futile.
"Just give them what they want!" Harry shouted amidst his dance of education, from the other side of the tower. He stopped for a moment and looked down at his students, "crazy people generally get what crazy people want, and the outcome will be much less taxing if you just give into their demands." Those were the words of wisdom for the day, apparently.
"He's right, you know," The Twin's chorused and Harry let out another manic cackle.
To Those Who Just Read:
There are probably a hundred and one questions, but the answers are going to be let out as slowly as I can manage. I have to say though, that I'm not very good at taking it slow so...maybe...
If you're offended that's fine, it's no skin off my back. I do anticipate some friction, and I'm not sure why...
That's all I think I'll say for now..I can't think of anything else...
I like quotes, song suggestions, and reviews,