Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro and Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling.
"Interesting..."- Nightmare Moon speaking.
'Huh'- Normal Thoughts.
'All mine...' Nightmare Moon's thoughts
The two Alicorns watched the still unconscious boy in his astral form who had stolen a place in their hearts as their closest friend. As she stroked his translucent hair as her and Nightmare sat on the moon, Luna looked at her dark counterpart with a frown. "How are we going to handle this?"
Nightmare just looked at her confused before she tilted her head. "Isn't it obvious?" At Luna's raised eyebrow, the larger Alicorn shrugged. "We do our upmost to make him ready just in case, as well as plan to kill that arse for trying to harm our Harry."
The lighter blue Alicorn took a deep breath before she sighed. "I mean besides that, Nightmare." She grimaced as she noticed the confusion on her counterpart's face. "Harry has killed someone, Nightmare. He's not going to be in a good place when he awakens."
For a moment, Nightmare became thoughtful before she looked around the lunar landscape. She then turned back. "While that is true, Harry is strong and we can give him the same talk that we have given many a youth after they have made their first kill in battle." Nightmare then frowned as she thought it over. "That should do it... shouldn't it?"
Having noticed that Nim had been looking at her for guidance, Luna shook her head. "No, it would not do it." She then sighed. "Harry has grown up in a time of peace and unlike those youths, never knew war. For them, they knew death as it was common." A grimace then crossed her face. "Harry has been insulated from death and therefor he is likely to be emotionally distressed... to say the least."
Nim frowned for a moment before she raised an eyebrow. "That's a rather fancy way to say that he is going to be upset..."
As she felt a headache coming on, Luna rubbed the sides of her head. "Yes, but to be truthful I fully expect that Harry will not take what has occurred here very well..." She then sighed and slumped a bit. "And... I am at a rather loss as to how we can help him through it."
With a groan, Nightmare placed a hoof across eyes. "Great, in other words we're going to wing it. I hate winging it..."
Luna was treated to the very disorientating experience of fading in and out between the moon and Earth as Harry slipped in and out of unconsciousness. One moment she would be waking up on the moon and the next she found herself knocking out and awakening in the Hogwarts Hospital Wing right before she knocked out there. Finally, it started to stabilize as she found herself being awake longer and longer in the Hospital Wing until it finally stopped all together. 'About time...'
As the Alicorn shook off the disorientating experience that she had just been through, Nightmare "Woke up" herself and gazed at Harry. Her expression then saddened as she noticed that he seemed in no little amount of discomfort. With a sigh, the plush slowly walked the distance until she was by his shoulder and gently laid her hooves there. "Come on now, Harry. Time to open your eyes."
Painfully slowly, two emerald green eyes slowly opened before their owner gazed first at Nightmare and then at Luna. "What... Nim? Luna?" He then realized where he was despite the aches and pains in his body being a distraction. "I'm in the Hospital Wing...? Why...?" Suddenly, it all came back to him and his breath quickened as he slowly curled into a ball and shivered with widened, unseeing eyes. "I... I killed him..."
With a frown on her face, Luna reached over with a hoof. "Harry?" She stopped though when Harry whimpered and curled tighter into himself. Luna shared a worried look with her dark counterpart before she spoke even more softly then she had before. "Harry...?"
He just continued to shiver as he began to hyperventilate. Now really worried herself, Nightmare reached toward him. "Harry? Calm down..."
Harry just flinched and tried to withdraw even more then he had. "Don't touch me!" He then softly sobbed. "I... I killed him... Quirrel... I'm a mur-murderer now and... and... you shouldn't be fri-friends with me any more..."
A moment later he was pulled into an hug by Luna. The Alicorn ignored his struggles as he tried to get out of her embrace. "Harry, you are not a murderer in the least. And we are definitely not going to stop being friends with you over what happened at all."
After a few minutes, Harry's struggles against her ceased as he slumped against her and sobbed quietly. "But I ki-killed him you two, and that makes me a murderer!" His breath then hitched as he continued. "I went against everything that you two have taught me and... I'm not worthy or deserving of being either of you two's friend!"
He was stunned a moment later as Nightmare growled at him, her mane whipping around a bit in a non-existent breeze. "That is the biggest load of road apples that I have ever heard!" An expression of indecision crossed her face for a split second before it turned into one of resolve and she gave a nod. And then both Harry's and Luna's eyes widened as the plush before them actually grew until she was just slightly larger then Luna herself. Nim then joined in the embrace as she spoke more softly to Harry. "Let me explain a few things to you, Hadrian James Potter. There are none in this world or in Equestria who are more worthy of being called our best friend... our life companion... our Anam Chara! For Luna and I, there can be no other but you who can be considered such to us!"
The smaller Alicorn gave a small nod. "She's right, Harry. You are far more worthy of being such then you realize." She teared up some as she saw some of the pain that lurked in Harry's mind behind his eyes. Luna then grasped one of his hands in her hoof before she pulled it away from his trembling body and laid it on her chest. "Can you feel my heartbeat, Harry?" She waited until he nodded slightly and continued. "My heartbeat has not changed at all. In fact, know that inside both Nightmare's and mine hearts that nothing has changed in regards to you with what has happened. You are still our best friend, our Anam Chara."
As Harry buried his face into Luna's soft chest fur, Nightmare nuzzled the top of his head. "Harry, both Luna and I have killed before. Many have fallen before our hooves in battle. Now does that make us murderers as well?"
Harry's head whipped around at that in order to stare at Nim, completely stunned at what she had said in pure disbelief. "What?! Of course not!" He then started to look between Luna and Nightmare, turning from one to the other. "You only killed to defend others, yourself, or because you felt that you had no choice but to fight!"
With a sad sigh, Luna nuzzled the top of his head gently. "Yes, Harry, you are right that we fought and killed for such reasons... Though I will note that they were not always the right reasons looking back on them, we had just thought that they were at the time. However, in this case not much is different as you were forced by circumstances to kill." She sighed as he still would not look her in the eye. Luna then leaned forward so that their foreheads touched with her horn laid across part of the top of his head. "Harry, look at me."
Still slightly nervous at what he might see, Harry nonetheless listened and looked up. What he found was unexpected to him as all he saw was understanding and sadness. "Luna?"
She swallowed thickly for a moment at the emotions that swirled in his eyes. "Harry, I had so hoped, as did Nightmare, to whatever divine powers might have been listening that you would never have to kill another for any reason. But it seems that our hopes have went unanswered despite that and I am saddened by that fact as I know Nightmare is as well. And by the fact that you believe, quite falsely I can assure you, that you do not deserve our friendship. Something that could not be more untrue."
Nightmare then leaned her head down so that it rested on top of her human friend's head, her cheek just barely brushing against Luna's horn. "Indeed, such a truly ridiculous idea." She then sighed as well as she could as a plush. "While killing can be considered a dark deed by some, here you had little choice, Harry. Though it may seem like a small and cold comfort, it was done to not only protect yourself, but in doing so you might have saved many others in the process."
For a few seconds, Harry was silent as he sniffled. "Is that supposed to make me feel better, Nim? Because it doesn't."
The giant sized plush shook her head softly as her lower jaw rubbed the top of Harry's head. "I had not believed that it would. However, you can take comfort in how you feel now." Nim could almost feel his puzzlement before she continued. "The fact that the act of killing has, and continues to, tear you up inside emotionally shows that you are no murderer. Far from it as a matter of fact."
Now feeling somewhat emotionally drained from it all, Harry fought off his exhaustion as he relaxed some in the Alicorns' embrace. "I-it does? How...?"
Having waited, Luna then spoke up. "Because, Harry, you are emotionally distressed over what happened, what you did. No murderer would do such." As he started to softly cry again and let his emotions go freely, Luna held him even closer and tighter as she softly sobbed herself. "I am so sorry, Harry... So sorry..."
Both above and wrapped around them, Nightmare found herself in the odd position of being their rock. Part of her cursed her body, however, as she wished that she could just break down herself and join them. But as she could not, she just contented herself with being there for them as the three rocked back and forth on the bed...
Having fallen asleep after he cried himself out, Harry awoke groggily. For a brief moment, he was about to go back to sleep when he noticed someone who sat on a chair next to his bed who made him blink. "Headmaster?"
Now awake as well, both Luna and a now back to normal sized Nightmare, turned to see Dumbledore, who nodded. "Mister Potter." He seemed to search Harry's face for a moment before he found whatever it was that he had been looking for. "And how are you this morning?"
His throat parched, Harry glanced around as he replied with a depressed tone. "Alive, I guess."
There was no twinkle in the Headmaster's eyes as he sighed. "And that is about as well as can be expected, I suppose." He then handed Harry his glasses before he poured some of what Harry and his friends recognized as pumpkin juice into a cup. "Here, you look like you need a drink."
Harry drank some, just enough that his throat didn't feel like sandpaper, before he held the cup in his lap and stared down into it. "Pro-professor, I... want to know some things..."
As he leaned forward and clasped his hands in his own lap, the elder wizard sighed as both Nim and Luna watched on silently. "The truth... the truth can be a great and yet terrible thing, my boy." He then nodded slowly. "I will answer any questions that you may have as well as I can at this point. I afraid though that some of the answers that you may seek are ones which I cannot give you until you are older." Albus then sighed. "I will not, of course, lie to you."
In an attempt to prevent himself from fidgeting, Harry glanced picked up the cup and drained the rest before he put it on his side table. It was then that he spotted the gifts on a nearby table. "Where did those come from..."
After he glanced at them, Dumbledore gave a soft smile. "Gifts from your many admirers and friends, Mister Potter." He then watched his student closely. "What happened down there is, of course, a complete secret... thus the entire school has an idea as to what happened." Having spotted Harry's face drop, he then gave a slight chuckle as he tried to lighten the atmosphere. "In fact, I believe that Fred and George Weasley tried to sneak in a toilet seat. For some reason though. Madam Pomfrey thought it too unhygienic."
With a wince, Harry placed his hands down in his lap and shuddered. "What is... what is going to happen to me, Professor? After all, I..."
For a brief moment, Dumbledore frowned before he leaned back. "I assume that you are blaming yourself for Professor Quirrel's demise?" Something crossed his face, almost like regret, before it was gone as he sighed. "Mister Potter... no, Harry. There is no need for you to worry, nothing will happen to you. As for Quirrel, he had made his decision and when you and he had met, he already had one foot in the grave and would not have lived much longer as it was."
While Harry's eyes widened, Nightmare looked up at him suspiciously. "And how exactly is it that you know that?"
Dumbledore took off his glasses and rubbed them clean on his cloak. "I have... knowledge of how he possessed Quirrel and it is parasitical in nature. Those possessed in such a manner have both their bodies and magic damaged as the parasitical spirit feeds on them. Eventually, all that is keeping them alive is the spirit itself until even it can no longer do so. After which the parasite will leave and the body will die."
As his throat constricted, Harry looked at him in shock. "But that would mean that..."
The Headmaster gave a brief nod. "Quirrel would have given him the Stone and possibly helped him gain a body, only to die as soon as Voldemort left his body. You see, Harry, he has little more mercy for his followers then he does his victims."
For a few seconds, Harry was quiet before he spoke up, his voice breaking as he did so. "That doesn't help much..."
With a sad sigh, Dumbledore nodded. "No, no it would not I suppose."
After she glanced at the Headmaster, Luna leaned down and whispered something into Nightmare's ear, which caused her to turn and look at the elderly human. "Speaking of... that, do you know the reason behind why Harry's touch hurt him so much?"
He watched her over the rims of his glasses as he replied to her question after some thought. "As you know, Harry's mother died in an attempt to save him. Such a sacrifice born of the pure love that a mother holds for her child is something that a person such as Voldemort or one whose soul is filled with greed, hatred, and ambition such as Quirrel could never understand. It leaves it's own mark upon a person, but not a physical one. No, you would never find a scar, a marking, or any sign that one can see. It leaves a form of some protection that would remain forever more. One that would be so pure and good that a being such as Voldemort or even, sadly enough, Quirrel, could never stand to touch."
Harry turned this over in his head for a moment or two before he filed it away to talk with Luna and Nightmare about it later. He then looked back at Dumbledore with a frown. "Professor... down in the chamber he mentioned my parents." Harry searched Dumbledore's face. "Why did he go after my parents, professor? Was it because... of me?"
The two wizards watched each other in silence before Dumbledore sighed. "Alas, that is one of the questions that I cannot give a full answer to you as of yet. But as you have proven to be able to handle some..." He stroked his beard a little before he nodded. "I can tell you, however, that your parents had been marked for death by Voldemort before he even knew that you had existed. You see, they were a thorn in his side during the war against his followers, fighting and capturing a number..." His eyes narrowed some. "And yes, it being a war, they had killed some when they had no choice, Harry. And they were not the only ones among the resistance against Voldemort."
As the youngest of the group blinked, he swallowed. "They... they did?"
With a nod, Dumbledore's expression became far off. "Those were times in which they had no choice. It was a dark deed I suppose, but committed against those who had done many dark deeds in a dark time. One must recognize both the circumstances and the nature of such an act when it is committed. Such things were... inevitable at the time." He then snapped out of it. "I myself have killed Harry, in order to protect others. It is a hard thing to deal with once committed and should never be easy. It is the fact that wizards such as I, or you, regret each death that makes sure that we never become like those we fight."
Nightmare gave a slight shake of her head as she whispered. "He who fights monsters might take care lest he become one. And if one gazes into the abyss for too long, the abyss shall gaze into you."
She started though as Dumbledore gave a slightly bitter chuckle. "Friedrich Nietzsche, from 'Beyond Good and Evil', I believe." At their looks, an expression of guilt and pain crossed his face for a second before it was gone. "An old friend... was rather fond of him. In fact, before we went our... separate ways, he had gifted me a set of the books that Nietzsche had written..." He shook it off for a moment. "It is something that one should keep in mind, though in any case killing should be used as a last resort after all other attempts to capture or fighting off a foe who wishes you harm or death are exhausted. That's not to say that there's no situations in which taking a life may in fact be necessary."
For a few moments, Harry thought this over as the Headmaster just sat in his chair and watched. Finally, the younger wizard sighed and nodded. "I... need to think on this a bit more before..."
He felt an old hand on his shoulder and looked up to see Dumbledore watching with an understanding expression. "Take as much time as you need, my boy. This is not something that one can come to terms with in but a few hours, or even in one conversation. If you do find yourself needing to talk with someone, my door is open as is Professor Flitwick's if you feel more comfortable with him as he, too, has experience in such matters. I find that just speaking with someone who has gone through something similar can help." He then leaned back. "Are there any other questions?"
Harry swallowed a bit and then looked at him. "Professor... about the Stone..."
A saddened glimmer entered Dumbledore's eyes for a moment as he remembered the broken mirror. 'I shall not tell him what truly happened to it.' He then cleared his throat. "The Stone, has been destroyed, Harry. Voldemort nor his followers will gain a hold of it."
As his eyes widened, Harry felt his jaw drop a little. "But... but your friend Nicolas Flamel!"
For the first time in the conversation, a smile crossed Dumbledore's face. "You did do the thing properly, didn't you?" When Nightmare suspiciously asked what he meant by that, Dumbledore held up a hand with a smile. "I meant nothing by it, Miss Moon. Let me ask you something in return, in trying to find out did you not do plenty of research? And once you found out what it could be, did you not become somewhat interested in alchemy?" At their confused nods, his smile grew. "You went looking, of your own accord, for information on something that had caught your fancy and in doing so, you expanded your horizons."
It was then that Nightmare realized something. "Wait... we weren't the only ones who figured out what was down there, were we?" At his nod, her eyes narrowed. "How many?"
A chuckle found it's way out of Dumbledore's mouth. "If you mean how many have figured out that something important was hidden there, I expect that a quarter to half the school had figured it out by now. Now, the number who have figured out about the Stone could be counted on one hand. Children can be quite curious I find." His expression then became wistful. "Did you know that alchemy is becoming something of a lost art? It used to be rather popular back in the day, but interest had fallen off and it has become in danger of becoming a rare art, despite how useful it is, mainly because the research, patience, and stubbornness needed dissuade some." Dumbledore's eyes then twinkled. "And now this year, I have had a few students asking me questions on alchemy and deciding to pursue self-study in it."
Harry, however, looked at him. "Um... Professor? What about the Flamels? Won't they... die?"
The Headmaster just gently smiled at him. "They have enough elixir to last them long enough to put their affairs into order, then, yes, they will die." His smile grew some at the look of amazement on Harry's face. "To one as young as you, it must seem incredible I suppose. But to Nicolas and Perenelle, it is more akin to going to sleep after a very long day. After all, to the well organized mind, death is nothing more then the next great adventure." Dumbledore's expression took on an almost whimsical form. "The Stone, I suppose, was not exactly all that wonderful when you think on it. All the gold and life as you could possibly want! But then... perhaps it would be a lonely life as those around you succumb to old age. The two things that humans want most, eternal life and money. But humans often pick those things absolutely worst for them."
As the three thought it over (though Nightmare scoffed at it), Dumbledore glanced at the plush. Luna leaned over and whispered into Harry's ear, to which he gave a slight nod before he turned back to the Headmaster. "I was... wondering something else... When I got close to him both in the chamber and..."
Dumbledore slowly smiled as Harry trailed off. "And in the Forbidden Forest when he stumbled across you while you were practicing your spells and he was hunting unicorns." At Harry's shocked expression, he gave a short chuckle. "There is an old agreement of sorts between myself and the Head Mare of the Centaur herd, Harry. I have known her for many years and even now, she keeps the old agreements between the school and the herd going." He then gave Harry a look over the rims of his glasses. "One of which is for the herd to inform the Headmaster if they find a student wandering the Forest or having found danger near the fringes."
With slightly widened eyes, the plush gulped as well as she could. "So you know about..."
The Headmaster's eyes twinkled. "About you saving the life of a unicorn mare? Yes, I know and am quite impressed." Dumbldore then turned back to Harry. "I am assuming that you are wondering about your scar?" At Harry's nod, he sighed. "Your scar is... unique, Harry and there is much about it that even I can only guess at. But it seems that he had accidentally given you a... connection of sorts. It is that connection that allows for you to sense when he is close." The elderly wizard then noticed Madam Pomfrey moving in her office and shook his head. "Unless I am wrong, it seems that Poppy will soon be by to ask me to leave."
While he frowned, Harry sighed and leaned back. "Can I ask you one last thing, Professor?" At his nod, he continued. "Down there, Quirrel told me that Professor Snape's dislike for me was because of my father,"
For a few moments, Dumbledore was quiet before he began to speak. "Well, they rather did detest each other for various reasons. Not unlike you and Mr. Malfoy, and then your father did something that Snape could never forget or forgive..." At the twin questioning looks, he chuckled as he imagined what their expressions would be when he told them. "You see, your father, Harry, saved Professor Snape's life."
The response from Harry, Nightmare and the imperceptible Luna was rather expected. "WHAT?!"
With a smile, Dumbledore sighed. "Funny how people's minds work, isn't it? Professor Snape could not stand to be within your father's debt. I believe that he has worked as hard this year to protect you in order to repay it. And now that he has done so, he can quite possibly go back to hating your father's memory in peace."
Not long afterward, Madam Pomfrey came out of her office and shooed the Headmaster from the Hospital Wing before she set down some breakfast in front of Harry. "Now then, I expect you to eat Mr. Potter, you need the energy to heal."
Once she was gone, Harry frowned a little as he gazed at the food. "I really don't feel like eating."
He turned to offer Luna some, only to see a stern look as the Alicorn jabbed her hoof at the tray. "She's right, Harry. You need to eat and regain your energy." Just as Harry opened his mouth to retort, she cut him off. "No, Harry. You may feel like you have energy right now, but that would have to do with how Nim and myself have pumped you full of our magic when you were unconscious. You need to recover your own." It was then that she noticed that he was squinting. "And you will get Madam Pompfrey to check out your eyes while we're here."
As he picked at a pancake, Harry glanced at Nightmare. "Um... about last night..."
The plush raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "It wasn't a problem."
Harry frowned as he laid down the fork. "I was wondering more about what happened. I mean... did you actually grow in size or was it just my imagination...?" At her nod, he frowned. "Wait, you did? Since when could you do that?"
For a few moments Nightmare watched him, and then she gestured at his plate. "I'll tell you if you'll eat your breakfast."
She held her stare with a raised eyebrow until he finally scowled and took a bite. "Fine..."
With a slight grin, she patted him on the arm. "Well, to start with, I only discovered that I could do that myself just a two weeks ago." At their looks of interest, Nim waved a hoof around. "You know Johnston? The 7th Year Slytherin Prefect?" When they nodded, she continued. "Well, i was out and about one night and he stumbled across me."
Having remembered how most of the Slytherins disliked her, Harry growled. "He didn't try to hurt you, did he?"
Nightmare's smile widened at that and she nearly purred at his protectiveness, but held it in. "No, not really, that's not to say that I didn't have any trouble as he had decided to copy Flitch and had his... beast with him at the time."
As she winced, Luna hissed. "That Kneezle/Scottish wildcat hybrid of his?"
While she nodded, Nightmare grimaced in memory. "He ordered it after me and it chased me. I would have gotten away at some point, but the belshangle kept throwing out curses to herd me." This time, she growled alongside not just Harry, but also Luna. "Eventually, I ended up in a dead end facing that... creature of his. He kept guard just around the corner." She ignored how Harry was closely examining her between bites with narrowed eyes, though part of her was pleased that he had been eating most of his breakfast. "So, there I was faced with a hellbeast and no way out. It was then that I found myself wishing with everything that I had that I had been my true size as then the fleabag would not have dared challenge me. And that was when I felt it."
Now intrigued, Luna leaned in. "Felt what exactly?"
The plush frowned for a moment. "I... can't really explain it. The best that I can say is that I felt like I was a balloon being blown up with my skin stretching out, but not. It felt like it should have been really painful, but it didn't hurt." She then shook her head. "It took me a few moments, but I realized that I was actually growing when I found myself now looking down at the stunned beast. Eventually, I reached my original size as if I was flesh and blood, but I was only plush still though stiff enough that I had little give."
It was then that Harry remembered something. "Wait... two weeks ago?" At Nightmare's nod, he frowned in thought. "Wasn't that around the time that Johnston was in the Hospital Wing with his head bandaged?"
The expression on Nightmare's face was one of satisfaction. "Ah, yes. He apparently heard something and turned down the hall in time to catch a flying furball with his face." Her expression then shifted to a mock saddened one as she shook her head. "Sadly for him, said furball was both enraged and frightened out of it's wits..." As the two others snickered, Nightmare shrugged. "After that, it took me a few days of practice, but I managed to get down my size changing ability perfectly."
Luna then noticed something as her and Harry snickered and smirked. "Seems that someone was hungrier then they had thought..."
As he blinked, Harry looked down to see his nearly empty plate. "... Oh..." Both Luna and Nightmare turned to each other and gave themselves a high hoof at having distracted Harry enough that he had not noticed that he had eaten most of his breakfast until it was too late...