Harry was bored. Being able to amble around Diagon Alley had been fun at first, but now he had seen everything that the alley had to offer.
He had bought every book that had caught his interest, potions ingredients that looked useful, and had even looked around the magical pet menagerie.
Now he had nothing to do. As he walked past the Owl Emporium, he noticed something he would normally avoid.
Knockturn Alley. After last year he thought he would never consider going down that way, but right now he was bored enough to go into the dark alley.
So he went into his trunk and found suitably dark clothing along with a set of blades that the people in the apothecary believed he bought for potions work.
In truth he bought them for another reason entirely.
The blades were as long as his hand, and razor sharp. The handle was made of silver purified in moonlight, and the blade metal itself came from a rare metal found in a crater made from a fallen star.
The entire thing cost more than his schoolbooks.
He donned his darkened cloak and ducked into the alley. Most of the residents decided to avoid him when they saw the knives. He seemed to fit right in.
He wandered in and out of stores that caught his interest, and had already spent half of what he had left from his last trip to Gringotts. That was when he saw a man selling exotic pets from the East.
He stopped and looked over the animals, and he dismissed most of them immediately. For one thing it was clear that they really hated humans, and he was in no mood to fight a new pet. Suddenly his eyes alighted to a small silvery-white fox with five tails. It was a pitiful looking thing, small and weak.
"How much for the fox?" he asked.
The dealer sneered at him, as he said clearly "Five hundred galleons, and not a sickle less."
Harry mentally counted the number of coins left in his bag, and looked at the fox again. Their eyes met, and Harry immediately opened his bag and counted out each gold coin. His bag was much lighter, and the first thing he did when he held the cage was let the fox out.
"It's up to you if you want to stick with me," said Harry plainly to the little fox.
The fox barked and then climbed up his arm. Harry walked out of the alley after buying a few new books that he knew had to be on the Restricted List.
That night the little fox curled up on the end of the bed and watched his new owner fall into an uneasy sleep.
He heard feathers and looked up. A owl, white as newly fallen snow glared at him.
And who the bloody hell are YOU supposed to be? It demanded crossly.
The fox stared at the owl and said back My name is Yoko Kurama. The kid bought me from a man who drugged and caged me.
I am Hedwig. That boy is my nestling, and I will take it very badly if you do anything to hurt him.
Yoko Kurama stared at the owl in disbelief. Never in his many years as a thief had he ever heard an owl call a human nestling.
What causes you to treat the boy such?
Hedwig hooted smugly.
Stick around long enough and you will see for yourself.
Kurama cocked his head in curiosity. His plan was to stick around long enough to recover his strength and leave. But he had to be honest with himself.
He had nothing better to do, and stealing things became boring after a while. This, however, intrigued him. What had a child who barely hit his teenage years done to convince an owl of all creatures to consider him a nestling.
Suddenly he heard whimpering. His new owner was having a nightmare, and a bad one from what he could tell.
Damn it all to hell.
That startled him. The owl looked resigned as she prepared to give her nestling a good scratch to wake him up.
This happen often?
Too often for my tastes. The only way he can sleep is if I wake him when he starts to have a nightmare. But it's difficult while he's in school.
Because there is a sheet of glass that stops me from entering, and the idiot he is friends with sleeps too soundly for him to wake the boy up.
Yoko decided to wake the boy up. He carefully walked up to the boy's arm and bit it hard.
The child woke up with a start, and blearily looked around. He saw the bite mark and then reached for his glasses.
"It happened again, didn't it?" he asked his owl.
Hedwig hooted twice in confirmation. Harry sighed in frustration. It was the third time this week! Every time he had a nightmare Hedwig would raise a racket and wake him up. It seemed his new companion had decided to help her in that regard.
Harry turned to his new pet. He still hadn't come up with a decent name for the regal looking fox. At first he was going to call it Kite, but it didn't seem appropriate. The his eyes alighted to the muggle book he had been reading before he fell asleep.
It was a book on mountains in the East. It had caught his eye for some reason and he had decided to buy it. He turned on the light at his bedside and looked at the page he had left off on.
The name sounded good. In fact, when he saw the fox on his bed the name seemed like it would fit him.
"Kurama..." mused Harry before he turned to the fox, "What do you say little fox? How does Kurama sound?"
The fox barked in amusement, apparently pleased with the name. Or maybe Harry was imagining that part. Either way he had found a name for his new friend.
"Wonder if I should find a cat to name Hiei then," joked Harry.
The little fox curled up closer to Harry and the boy fell into a dreamless sleep.
I'm beginning to see why you like your master so much, said Kurama amused.
Indeed. My nestling thinks carefully before naming things. My name is a Germanic form of saying 'female warrior'.
I suppose I could stick around for a while. If that is alright with you Milady?
Hedwig puffed up her feathers, pleased. Apparently she wouldn't have to give this jumped up fox a taste of his own medicine.
Harry woke up and noticed that the two animals had clearly come to an agreement. Hedwig normally didn't approve of other animals around him. Kurama woke up when he felt Harry get off the bed, and cocked his head.
"Morning Hedwig, Kurama. Either of you want to join me today?"
Hedwig hooted once, and went to sleep from what he could tell. Kurama jumped to the floor and circled him once. Harry got dressed and leaned down so the fox could sit on his shoulders if he wanted.
Before they left the room, Kurama heard the owl's sleepy voice tell him calmly You take care of him during the day. I'll take the night watch until we reach the school.
Kurama nodded and they left the room.
Harry walked down the stairs and overheard two very familiar voices he had missed.
Ron and Hermione were at it again. But since he was in too good a mood to be annoyed he prepared to sneak down and past them for fun. This plan was almost ruined when the twins spotted him. He put a finger to his lips and they grinned widely.
"I'm warning you Hermione! Get your bloody cat to leave Scabbers alone!"
"Honestly Ronald, he's a cat," said Hermione crossly. A ginger haired tom with a squashed face glared at Ron.
They both jumped when someone tapped them on the shoulders.
"Harry!" Hermione hugged him hard, and stared when she heard the bark from his shoulders.
"What's that mate?" asked Ron.
"New pet. Hedwig seems to like him."
"You blew up your aunt."
The twins had the widest grins on their faces as they said in unison "Details!"
"She was saying really nasty things about my parents and I just...lost it. One minute she was drinking scotch, the next she was turning into a human balloon."
"Balloon? Not like fireworks?"
"Yeah. I turned her into a balloon. Had to run out pretty quick though."
"If Mum found out I had blown up one of my aunts, they wouldn't be able to find the pieces," said Ron in disbelief.
"Honestly Ron! He's lucky he wasn't expelled!"
"I think I was lucky not to get arrested," said Harry with humor.
Then he turned his attention to the new cat in Hermione's arms.
"This is Crookshanks. The lady at the Menagerie said he had been in there so long that she was going to teach him tricks."
Harry looked at the cat and said "Hello Crookshanks."
The cat gave him a look and huffed.
"What about that weird pelt on your shoulder Harry?" asked Hermione.
"This is Kurama."
Kurama barked in good humor. Harry obviously treated animals like humans...another point in his favor. Before they could badger him about the odd name, he held up a book. Hermione gave a fangirl squeal of delight and nearly tore it from his hands.
"I got a few books I think are on the restricted list. Mind checking them out 'Mione?"
She nodded with a grin. Harry knew her too well. They chatted for a while and caught up on their respective vacations. Ron had the most interesting, as he had apparently learned some Arabic while they were in Egypt. Hermione had the most exciting, having gone to France for hers. And Harry won the most dull, as the only highlight had been the accident with his aunt and the ride to the Cauldron.
On the other hand, he won for the most interesting pets. Kurama alone was more interesting that Crookshanks. Harry decided not to mention where he bought the silvery fox.
Harry got on the train without incident. Kurama didn't like the cage he was in, but once the train began to move he let the fox out. Kurama promptly jumped into his lap and fell asleep, the rocking motion making him tired. He barely paid any notice to the werewolf in the corner.
Harry spent his time talking with friends, debating books with Hermione, and joking around with the twins. Ginny was sitting with another girl her age from Ravenclaw.
Without warning, the train stopped. Harry noted that his fox had woken up and was growling. Something cold and dark was in the train, and the air felt like ice. He could vaguely hear screaming. Then he yelped as something bit him, hard enough to draw blood.
He looked down to see Kurama with his fangs in his arm. Which gave Harry an idea. He focused on the pain and not the depressing feel of the air, and slowly the screams began to fade. Once he could think clearly, he saw something open the compartment door.
Ginny had fallen into the compartment with a pale blond girl.
"Ginny, get off of me!" hissed Ron.
Ginny got off her brother and managed to avoid sitting on Harry just barely. Kurama had yet to quit growling.
"Quiet, all of you! They're looking for Sirius Black!" said the new teacher.
Kurama quit growling, but his fur was on ends.
The door opened again, but it wasn't a human that opened it. The hand that Harry saw gave him the shivers. Sensing his gaze, the hand withdrew into the ragged cloak. A rattling breath was heard, and Harry felt his insides begin to ice over. Kurama decided another bite was in order, because the feeling of misery was killed by the feeling of pain.
"He's not here," said the teacher clearly.
The creature wasn't going to take his word for it, as it went to enter the compartment. Harry vaguely heard the word "Expecto" before a silvery light came from the teacher's wand.
The creature withdrew, though it was obvious that the thing wasn't happy.
Once the thing was gone, the new teacher handed out large chunks of chocolate.
"This should help."
Smart...chocolate increases the natural endorphins in the brain, releasing stress.
The teacher looked at the fox oddly, then went to talk to the driver.
"You alright Harry? Your hand is bleeding!" said Hermione in shock.
"I'm fine. Kurama just bit me."
"Mate, your pet bit you and you say you're fine?" said Ron in disbelief.
"If he hadn't, I might have fainted. What were those things anyway?"
"Dementors. Dad said they guard Azkaban," said Ron.
"Who was screaming?" asked Harry.
"Nobody was screaming Harry."
The teacher came in to check on them.
"I didn't poison that chocolate you know," he said wryly.
Harry took a bite of it and found that the pain receded. He looked down and realized that Kurama had apparently healed over the bite marks. How, he had no idea.
Once they arrived at the castle, Harry sat with his friends and talked about the odd beasts that entered their compartment.
Kurama waited patiently for Harry to enter the room. While he would have preferred to go with the boy to the feast (and possibly steal some chicken) it was clear that they didn't approve of pets.
He heard the boy before he saw him. Then his nose caught the scent of something that made him do a happy dance in his mind. Harry had brought him some food, and best of all it was chicken!
Harry had a silly grin on his face as Kurama clearly enjoyed the food.
Once Harry was sound asleep, Kurama decided to explore the place. His nose took him straight to the werewolf that was on the train earlier.
Remus looked up and tried to find the source of a voice. The same one that was on the train.
Down here, werewolf.
He looked down to see the odd fox that had been on pup's lap. The same fox that had kept his pup safe from the effect of the Dementors.
"What are you?"
Demon fox that the kid bought. He doesn't know I'm a demon yet though.
Remus stared. His pup had bought a demon as a pet? Demons were illegal to buy in normal pet shops. Fortunately they weren't illegal to keep.
"Who are you?"
My name is Yoko Kurama. Ironically the kid got my name right on the first try.
"What do you want?"
"Wait, why can I hear you?" asked Remus, very confused.
Wolves and foxes can always hear each other. The fact that you're a werewolf means you're the only person in the castle who can understand me.
Relax, I mean no harm to the kid. Even if I did, that blasted bird would have my head faster than any of you magic users would.
Remus left for patrol, and mused over what had just occurred.
The week passed uneventfully for Harry. Aside from the incident in DADA where he learned his greatest fear wasn't Voldemort and the death prophecy from the bat who taught Divination, it was fairly boring.
Well, almost boring. Harry could have sworn he saw his new fox reading a book on Animagi when he went into the room to pick up his books.
Still, he was enjoying life back in Hogwarts. Now if only he could get rid of that odd feeling that he was being followed.
Kurama was fulfilling his end of the bargain that he had made with the owl. Hedwig would get information about the demon world at night, when no one would be looking at owls, while Kurama would keep Harry from suffering from his nightmares.
Of course that meant he also had to deal with the fell beasts that haunted the school. The dementors were getting on his nerves. It seemed like every time he stepped foot outside the castle walls they would swarm on him.
Quite annoying really.
Harry was looking forward to this. Getting back on his broom and flying the clouds, and the only thing he would have to worry about was the bludgers.
He noted one thing as he kicked off the ground though. His fox Kurama was always watching him from on the ground under the stands.
He grinned, as he avoided the bludger sent his way by the twins. The twins gave him a cheerful wave before they sent another his way. He spent the entire day avoiding the rather unpleasant things, instead of looking for the golden Snitch. Luckily for him, he wasn't the only one the twins singled out.
Tired of being taken out of the game because of the bludgers, Wood had the twins aim a few in his direction.
Harry laughed. He felt freer than a bird in the air. He wondered if this was how Hedwig felt when she flew.
Kurama watched with interest as Harry flew like a bird free and clear. The small black orbs that were aimed at him bothered him, as they were clearly designed for harm.
But Harry avoided them with practiced ease. When he finally landed on the ground, Kurama felt a knot undo itself in his chest.
Why? Why did a human effect him so? Harry was a kit by his standards, and a rather extraordinary one at that. But he was human. What was it about him that drew the attention of every animal kin?
Hedwig, the owl. Owls were notorious for their indifference to other species, rarely did they attach to anyone outside their kind.
Yoko Kurama, the fox demon. He rarely felt anything for anyone, having been abandoned by his own mother for his unusual pelt. Occasionally he would take to another, usually because they were also in his business, like Kuronue.
Remus Lupin, the werewolf. Remus was an outcast in magical society, yet it was very clear to Kurama that he cared for Harry like he would his own pup.
Minerva McGonagall, the Cat Animagus. The woman had a ten foot spiked pole up her ass, yet she regarded Harry with fondness that she didn't extend to most of her pride.
What was it about the boy? He was a mystery Kurama itched to solve. Which was the only reason he put up with being considered a pet.