Author's Notes: During his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter was whisked away by a mysterious stranger named Zodiac. For over ten long years no-one knew what had become of him. And then, in the Wizarding world's darkest hour, a War Mage called Thor turns up to save the day…but he is all too familiar to the Wizards and Witches still fighting at Hogwarts…and with his complicated past, the Circle of Mages, and Draco Malfoy all getting in the way, Thor isn't sure whether he'll ever be able to simply be himself.

Disclaimer: The Circle of Mages and everything connected is mine, as is the Unicorn School, the dragons mentioned by name, and anyone else you don't recognise. Memories or flashbacks are indicated by a row of asterisks and a row of forward slashes.

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"Are you sure about this, Harry? You don't have to do anything you don't want to do."

Harry looked away from the piercing blue gaze for a long moment, carefully considering his options. He only really had two choices, and neither of them were without their downsides. Then he looked up again at the man patiently leaning against the wall, watching him with lazy grey eyes that glittered strangely in the light of Dumbledore's office. Their eyes connected, and something passed between them, some flash of understanding that Harry could not escape…and Harry was granted that rare thing, a moment of absolute clarity, when a person knows exactly what it is he has to do.

"I'll go with Zodiac," he said quietly. Dumbledore drew in a sharp breath, and Harry looked back at him. "I think it's for the best, Professor," he said quietly. "If I become a Mage, I'll be able to defeat Voldemort. If I don't go, it's unlikely that I'll live to my next birthday – you and I both know that, please don't try and gloss over the facts." He shrugged awkwardly. "And besides, it's not like I'm really any use at the moment."

"Make no mistakes about this, Harry," Zodiac said, his voice just as lazy as his eyes had been, but his eyes were now intensely focused on Harry. "Once you begin training, you will not be able to return to this world until you have completed the training. That could be years; by then, Voldemort may have taken over, and you may not be granted permission to help the wizards with their problems even if you do complete the training."

"Voldemort is my problem," Harry said, his voice full of a command that made Zodiac blink. "Whoever wants to train me has to understand that, or there's no point. I completely understand the commitment I would be making…and I want to do it."

Zodiac glanced for a moment between the boy and the headmaster. Then he nodded. "Fine. We'll walk down to Hogsmeade, then we will Apparate." He pushed himself away from the wall. "Goodbye, Professor. Thank you." Harry rose as well, and after a moment spent watching his mentor, followed Zodiac from the room and from Hogwarts.

Harry Potter was not seen again by the Wizarding community for more than ten years. In that time, Voldemort completely took over. The Ministry of Magic was crushed by his Death Eaters. Muggle-borns fled before him, fleeing to other countries that had not yet been affected by the dark plague that was Voldemort, sweeping all before him in his efforts to control all of the Wizarding world. There were only a few places that were still safe in England; one was, of course, Hogwarts, that was no longer a school but a haven for muggle-borns and those who refused to serve Voldemort – of which there were many. And those who still remembered Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived, their supposed saviour, did so with bitter hearts and angry voices. None thought that he might one day return. None saw any further than surviving the next day, and the next, and maybe, if they were lucky, the day after that.

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"I don't understand why you keep saying no."

A tall, tousle-haired man with vibrant green eyes stood in the centre of a large circle. Around the edge of the circle sat a mismatched group of people, all wearing the same uniform that he was; dragon's hide knee-length boots, with knives tucked in. Trousers and a worn leather shirt rather than a robes, both black, and a long cloak that came to rest at the floor. A silver emblem on the chest of his leather shirt glittered in the flickering candle-light, that also reflected off the various weapons he had about his body. His appearance would have been impressive, had not all the watchers seen him stood like this, disbelieving and un-cooperating, many times before.

"I've completed my training," the man continued, his tone reflecting his utter outrage at what he was being denied. "I've passed all the tests, I've proved myself over and over again – Merlin curse it, you yourselves have admitted that I'm the best god-damned Mage that's ever been taught!"

"And modest too," came a snide voice from one side of him. The man refused to rise to the bait, but someone behind him did.

"Oh, come now, Coyote," a woman said crossly. "Just because you don't like the boy is no reason for you to be bitter – or to deny him this."

"We knew when we began his training that this would happen," agreed a man from in front of Harry. "Seraph is right. We did know that he would want to go back, and most of us understand why he must. It is a part of his destiny."

"I couldn't agree more," Zodiac inserted from somewhere – the man couldn't see where, and he was getting a little tired of them talking as though he wasn't there. After all, he thought, frustrated, it was only because he'd refused the position that he wasn't on the Council of Mages himself.

"Fine," said Coyote, impatiently. "Let us take a vote. Is that not the way we agreed upon to decide matters such as this? Green for yes, blue for no." He instantly shot up a jet of blue light, that hovered in the air as a loose round ball. It was soon joined by a dozen more balls of light; ten green, and two blue.

"It would seem that you are outvoted, Coyote," Seraph said softly. "What a pity." She rose from her seat and moved towards the standing man, whose face flickered into a smile for a moment. "Are you sure about this, Thor? You know that we cannot help you, you must accomplish this task by yourself."

"I have always worked alone," Thor told her slowly, deliberately. "It is how I work best. And this is my battle." He paused for a moment, his eyes taking in all the Mages he could see. "If you had denied me again," he carefully pronounced his words, "I would have left anyway, and you would not have been able to stop me. But I am glad that you gave me permission, for I should not like to leave the Circle of Mages completely."

"Thor…Harry," Zodiac said heavily, moving towards his protégé. "I don't want you to d this, it's no secret. But I know that you've always been meant for it – that scar tells me so, and your power tells me so. You're the most powerful…" he trailed off. "Go carefully, Thor. Don't forget to keep an eye on your enemies, and a closer one on your allies. Don't be gone too long, and above all – try not to lose your temper?"

Thor grinned, and pulled Zodiac in for a hug. Then he stepped back, and bowed. After a fraction of a second, Zodiac returned the gesture of respect. Then Thor looked around at the Council of Mages one last time, and Disapparated away from them. Away from the hidden school, away from the place that had been his home for eleven years…towards England, towards Hogwarts, towards his past.

He Apparated into Hogsmeade, as close as he could get to Hogwarts, and took in everything around him. One eyebrow lifted curiously as he realised that he'd entered into what appeared to be a battle. From his right rushed a small army of black-robed, masked figures. From his left, from the direction of the castle, purple-robed men and women worked spells of defence, or brandished their wands, in faint hopes of repelling the attack. Thor watched intently as the two sides almost collided with each other, and the magical battle began. He knew that he needed to see exactly how the Wizarding world was fighting, to know how much he would have to do…and he winced as the magical barrier that the purple-robes had created broke down with a bang. The black-robes, whom he assumed were Death Eaters, swarmed around the purple-robes, who were greatly outnumbered.

Thor made an irritated sound in his throat, and lifted his hand, shoving the Death Eaters back to his right. With his other hand and a murmured word, he created a magical barrier that completely surrounded Hogwarts, glittering silver in the morning sunlight. He strode forward to look over the Death Eaters clinically.

"I suggest you go tell your master that I've arrived," he told the nearest one calmly. "I'm sure he'll want to hear about it." He turned away with an enigmatic smile, crossed his barrier, and walked towards the purple- robes, who were making sure they were all fine. Two had been hit with curses, but seemed alright now. One of them, a tall red-haired man who made Thor smile involuntarily, turned towards Harry with a confused frown.

"Who are you?" the man demanded angrily. "What the hell are you doing?" Thor raised one eyebrow. "I'm War Mage Thor," he replied calmly. "I'm here to help, and I've just saved you and your team; there's no way the Death Eaters will be able to pass that barrier now. Or anyone else, for that matter. Now, perhaps you would be so good as to take me to whoever happens to be in charge at Hogwarts?"

The man stared. Thor sighed, beginning to feel the first hints of impatience. "I could always return to my home and remove the barrier," he suggested gently. "I assure you, I can be trusted." His eyes flickered to the other purple-robes, who were already making their way back up to the school.

"You look familiar," the man pronounced finally. Thor's eyes flashed back to him. "Do I know you?"

"I doubt it," Thor replied smoothly. "I haven't left the Circle of Mages in ten years." He watched as the man's eyes flickered over his shoulder to see the Death Eaters begin to try breaking through the barrier. "Please, Mr Weasley." The red-headed man looked back at him in shock. "Whoever is in charge."

And George Weasley nodded, and led the War Mage up to the castle of Hogwarts. Thor noted that it had not changed much; the Forbidden Forest, the lake, the hut, the Quidditch pitch…all were as he remembered them. And the castle was not so different…a few additions and subtractions, including Trelawny's Divinations tower, which seemed to have fallen over at some point or other. George noticed him taking in all of the castle, and frowned slightly in confusion.

"I still think I know you," he said finally, drawing Thor's attention back. "Did you ever come to Hogwarts?"

"I did," Thor allowed. "But I'm sure I would remember you if I had known you at all."

"What House were you in?"

Thor hesitated for a moment, pondering whether he should reply or not. But he knew that as soon as he saw someone who had known him well, his identity would be revealed anyway. "Gryffindor," he said simply. "I was a Gryffindor." George's eyes flickered curiously for a moment, but he said nothing more as they ascended the steps up to the castle. The doors were flung open.


George winced. "Yes," he agreed. "But the barrier was down within minutes. It's only thanks to this man here," he waved a hand in Thor's direction, "that we managed to get away." Thor met the woman's eyes, efficiently hiding the gut-wrenching feeling that he felt on recognising her. And he thought she recognised him – but then her gaze dropped to take in his uniform, and the silver emblem on his shirt.

"A Mage," she whispered. "A Mage…here…" Thor remained silent, waiting for her to vocalise herself a little more. "I'm Hermione Granger," she introduced herself briskly after a moment. "And you are?"

"War Mage Thor," Thor replied, executing a half-bow. She frowned slightly, as if something in his voice reminded her of something she'd heard in the past…then her expression cleared to one of relief.

"Thank God," she said fervently. "Maybe with you on our side we'll actually win this damn thing." She hesitated, worry gripping her for a moment. "You are here to fight for us, aren't you? It's just that the Mages haven't interfered with us before…"

"And they won't," Thor said mildly. "Your wars are no concern of ours. I'm simply here to have a look around. Then I have to return to the Circle of Mages." She looked crestfallen, and George looked no less so as he put an arm around Hermione's waist and pressed a kiss to her forehead. Thor raised one eyebrow ever-so-slightly to this. It was surprising. When he'd been here, everyone had thought that Hermione would get together with Ron…but of course, he reminded himself. He had been away for eleven years.

"He wants to see Dumbledore," George was telling Hermione, and Thor snapped his attention back, cursing himself for not paying attention. "Do you know where he is?"

"He's with Draco in the library," Hermione replied, keeping her eyes fixed on the War Mage, who simply stared back at her, his features unreadable, his eyes half-hidden behind his fringe…green eyes half-hidden under black, unruly hair…a suspicion stirred within her, that must have showed in her eyes, for the War Mage smiled faintly. "I'll take him," she said aloud. "I need to look something up in the library anyway. George, Fred was looking for you, he said something about wanting to kill you for trying to get yourself killed."

George flashed her a quick smile, and disappeared into the castle. Hermione stared at Thor for a moment more, then nodded. "Come on, then," she said curtly. "I'll take you to Professor Dumbledore." And she led him through the oh-so-familiar corridors and stairways, past rooms that he had talked in, laughed in, learnt in…and the people all around him stared at him in shock, not daring to believe that a Mage had come to help them…

Then they reached the library, and Hermione led him to a large table in the middle of the shelves, a table that was covered in books of every description. Two men were trying to sort through the mass of information, and both of them were very familiar to Thor. Hermione cleared her throat; the men looked up. One of them, the younger, blonde-haired man, looked down again with a snort of derision. The other, older, white-haired and with an air of assurance, smiled benignly at Hermione.

"Yes, Hermione, what can I do for you?" Then his eyes settled on Thor, and his twinkling eyes sharpened instantly. He remained silent, however, and Hermione was left to introduce Thor.

"Headmaster, this is War Mage Thor," she said calmly. "George brought him up from the battle; he was apparently asking to see you." One corner of Thor's mouth twitched. "By the way, have you found anything?"

"Nothing," the blond man said waspishly. "Of course, we'd probably find something quicker if you'd help us, know-it-all."

"Don't say things you don't mean, Draco," Hermione said wearily. "Of course I'll help." She moved to take a book from one of the piles, and sat down to read it. Dumbledore continued to look curiously at Thor, who stared evenly back.

"I am not so conceited," Dumbledore started softly, "as to think that the Circle of Mages would send a War Mage to help us with this battle. Therefore I must presume that you come either out of curiosity or from some personal reason. I sincerely hope that either reason will lead you to aid us in some way."

"You are right," Thor said shortly. "The Council of Mages would never permit us to partake of your war, it is not what we do. However, they did grant me permission to come…and it is a personal reason, and it will aid your fight." He stifled a sigh. Goodbye, freedom, he thought miserably. "I'm rather surprised that you don't recognise me, Professor. I haven't changed that much, surely."

Dumbledore's eyes widened fractionally. "Harry?" he breathed. Hermione and Draco both looked up, scrutinising Thor intently. "Harry…"

"Yes," Thor agreed. "It's me." He managed an impish grin. "I told you I'd come back someday. The Council wouldn't let me before, or I'd have been here already, but…" He was cut off by Hermione standing up, trembling.

"How dare you?" she demanded hoarsely. "How dare you just come back here, after all this time! We thought you were dead, Harry! We thought…we thought you'd abandoned us! Do you have any idea what we went through, while you were off…I don't know, gallivanting about the world!" Thor merely stared at her. Then he rolled up his sleeves calmly and methodically, ignoring the bemused stares of the three watching him. He held out his arms so they could see the lines of tattoos on the inside of his arms.

"Each of these symbols," he stated, "is in the language of the dragons. They proclaim to the world the different magics I have mastered. There are ten, one for each year I spent with the Circle. Mages are only required to know five, but since they wouldn't let me leave, I used the time to learn all ten. This last year I have spent trying to persuade the Council of Mages that I am ready to return to the Wizarding world to deal with my past; today I managed it, and I came here as soon as they allowed me to do so. I have enough power to blow apart Hogwarts if I so wish, and I have dealt with worse things than Voldemort. I am sorry." He was so sarcastic now he was practically dripping with it. "I am sorry if my absence has caused problems, but if I had stayed I would have been dead within a year. Do you want me to leave? Just say so, and I'll return to the Mages. There's much more that I have to learn, and the Circle has been more of a home to me than Hogwarts ever was. So if you want me to leave, I will. Just say the word, Hermione."

"Don't be a damned fool," Draco said hoarsely after a moment. "We don't want you to leave, Potter, it's just…dammit, Hermione's right. We had no idea where you were, and these past ten years have been hell on earth for us. If you had been here…you might not have made a difference, but people would still have had hope." He looked down, clearly embarrassed by his words. "There's none left to us now."

Slowly, Thor raised his hand. A piercing silver light shot from his fingers, coalescing into the form of a prowling dragon. "There is now," he said quietly. "The Dragons are here."

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"This way, Harry," Zodiac said firmly. Harry had followed his mentor through the intricate maze of passages that made up the Circle of Mages, and now through the large oak door that had always been forbidden to him before. He stepped inside, and his eyes widened fractionally at the murals on the walls. Dragons. Dozens of dragons, of all sizes, watched him lazily from the five walls of the room.

"Here, you will be named," Zodiac told him softly. "I must go. I will be back for you when you are ready." And he left, closing the door behind him. Harry turned, observing all the dragons carefully. Dragons, he had been taught, were the heart and soul of the Mages, just as this room was the heart of the Circle.

And now Harry thought he could hear them whispering to him, urging him to loosen his control on his power. He refused. He would not do that. It went against everything he had been taught in the past five years. It went against his very being to release his power in the way the dragons were telling him to…but they were dragons. Dragons were who the Mages were….they were one and the same…surely if they told him to do something, it must be right?

No! Harry shook his head defiantly. If there was one thing he'd learnt from his experiences, it was to never just obey someone without knowing the reasons behind the request. So he turned his focus to the dragons on the walls, asking them why, why they wanted him to lose control. The answer quickly came back to him. Because they wanted to name him, they whispered. Because he needed to be named.

That made sense, Harry supposed. But he still wouldn't do it. He knew what he could do if he lost control…it had happened once before, two years ago when he was learning Heart Magic. He had almost destroyed the school. That was when he had first been called before the Council of Mages, and they had discovered what was so special about him. He would never again deliberately do what the dragons were asking him to do…but what if he had to?

Alright, little dragon, whispered the dragons. Close your eyes, and hold out your hands.

Harry hesitated.

You will not lose your precious control, little one. That was a test for you, and you passed it. Hold out your hands, and we will name you.

Harry closed his eyes, and held his hands out, palms up. He could feel power building up around him, centring on him, baring his very soul to the dragons. Then his eyes flew open as a silver light shot from his hands, forming a dragon that prowled around him at the level of his head.

Thunder child, the dragons whispered, sounding amused. Thunder. Thor. You are Thor.

Thank you, Harry said silently. I am Thor. Little dragon. Thunder child. Thor.

Thor. His name reverberated around the room as his silver dragon vanished, and the dragons on the wall ceased their predatory movements and stilled. Behind him, the door opened, and Zodiac stepped in.

"Give me your name," Zodiac said, commandingly. Harry smiled, the enigmatic smile that so infuriated the Mages. "Thor," he replied simply. "I am Thor." Zodiac gazed at him measuringly for a moment, then nodded. "You are Thor," he agreed.


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Thor turned from the window as the room began to fill with quiet murmurings. The witches and wizards that had gathered here had not noticed him; he had put a concealing spell on himself, and he would only be revealed when he spoke. He wanted to see who was here, who Dumbledore had called to help War Mage Thor, and the Boy Who Lived. He grimaced. He was not special because of that. That…incident, was a result of who he was, it had not made him who he was.

But the Wizarding world didn't know why he was special, and there was no way he could tell them. They would not understand, they were not Mages. Except…his eyes flickered to Draco Malfoy, who was writing something in a corner. A flicker of desire rippled through him, and he clamped down on it quickly. Draco Malfoy, who was born under a Unicorn Moon. Not the Dragon Moon, but close enough that some Unicorns had learnt to be Mages, under the correct tutelage. Of course, there was always the Unicorn School, but it wasn't half as good as the Circle of Mages, and fell under their jurisdiction.

Yes, Draco must definitely be seen to. He was positively reeking of Unicorn magic, and that could complicate things. Not to mention that Thor was most interested in how Draco had changed sides…

He shook his head. Stop thinking about Draco, he told himself sharply. Are you a War Mage or not? Yes? So pay attention, Dumbledore's talking.

Trying to ignore the fact that he had just argued with himself, Thor walked over to sit in a chair that had been placed next to Dumbledore's for him. They still couldn't see him, so he took the opportunity to look around at everyone whilst Dumbledore droned on about the progress they were making, who was dead, who had defected, and what they thought the Death Eaters were now up to.

His eyes were first drawn to Snape. The Potions Master had turned grey at some point, but his eyes were still as piercing as ever, if a little less full of hate when he looked at the man opposite him, Sirius Black. Sirius, who looked better than he had when Thor had last seen him, was still on the thin side, and looked as though he hadn't been getting enough sleep. Noticeably absent from his side was Remus Lupin. McGonagall, Arthur, Molly and Percy Weasley were also gone, but replacing them were Bill, Charlie, Fred, George, and Ginny. Thor wondered, with a pang of regret, what had happened to Ron.

Then his attention was drawn back to Dumbledore as Snape asked, just as sarcastically as always, "So where is this fantastic Mage who supposedly is here to aid us in the war?"

"Right here, of course," Thor said calmly. The entire room seemed to jump an inch at his sudden appearance. "I must say, Snape, you haven't changed a bit."

Snape was staring at him as though he'd seen a ghost. So, for that matter, was everyone else. But Thor kept his attention on Dumbledore. "So these are the people you think can help me?" he inquired, eyebrows raised. "Well, I suppose…and if I call in some favours I have with the dragons…"

"Voldemort has control of all the dragons," Draco snapped from his corner. "Being a Mage, I'd have thought you'd know that." Thro sent him a withering gaze. "Dragons serve no-one," he said clearly. "Except themselves. You'd do well to remember that, Draco." His eyes burnt into Draco's grey gaze; the Unicorn-born man looked away first, and Thor nodded, looking back at the group.

"The dragons will help," he said firmly. "We can count on their support. Do we know where Voldemort is?" There was some muttering; it was Ginny Weasley who replied, looking more calm about seeing him again than anyone else was – the rest were all still gob smacked.

"In London," she said simply. "The old Ministry of Magic buildings. It's the Death Eater centre, and, although we're not one hundred percent positive, we're sure enough that he's there." Thor nodded, his thoughts racing…all centring on Voldemort. Then his eyes snapped up, burning, to meet Dumbledore's as he remembered something that he had always wanted to know.

"Do you know," he started carefully, "the exact date of Voldemort's birth?"

"How does that matter, Harry?" Bill asked, frowning. Thor took a breath, trying to be patient. "My name is Thor," he said, his voice as hard as dragon scales. "And it matters because if he was born under a Moon, he may have been taught some magical powers at some point that would explain some of the things he has been able to do."

"Unfortunately, I don't know the exact date," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "However, I'm sure it will be in the old school records, assuming they are still somewhere around." He looked over at Draco. "Mr Malfoy, I don't suppose…?" Draco nodded, and pulled a piece of paper towards him. He scanned it quickly, then tapped on the wall. A drawer opened, and he pulled a file from it.

"Second of March, nineteen forty-three," he read. He looked up at Thor inquiringly. "Is it important.?" Thor leant back thoughtfully. "I'll need to check," he mused. "Nineteen forty-three…the year of the Chimaera…"

"Is that bad?" Charlie Weasley demanded quietly. Thor shrugged. "Depends what Moon he was born under, if any," he replied. "Moons are rare, and practically never in the year of the Chimaera…but I wonder…" He rose abruptly and moved to stare out of the window. Dragons whispered in his head, and he brushed them aside impatiently. He could listen to them later. Now he had more important things to deal with.

He turned back to the expectant group. "I can't make a move before I know whether Voldemort was born under a Moon," he said quietly. "I'll ask a Mage to help, but I can't guarantee anything – if he won't help, I'll have to go back to the Circle to look it up myself – that, or ask the dragons, but I suspect that none of you would take kindly to a dragon turning up on the front lawn."

"I don't know," Charlie started. "I haven't seen a dragon in ages…" He subsided at the glare Sirius sent him. Sirius, who had been mute with shock from seeing his godson again, now looked up at Thor.

"How long are you staying, Harry?" he asked quietly. For a long moment it seemed as though the green-eyed Mage wasn't going to answer; then, slowly, he shrugged. "I don't know," he admitted. "As long as it takes, or until I cross the line."

"Cross the line?" Draco queried harshly. Thor's head whipped around to scrutinise him. Yes, Draco would definitely have to be dealt with. He sighed, and rubbed at the scar on his forehead. "There is a fine line, Draco, between using Mage powers and abusing them," he explained. "My views on this…differ somewhat from those of the Council of Mages. Unfortunately, I have to do what they tell me. Therefore, if they believe that I have crossed the line, I will either be taken back to the Circle of Mages, or…put on trial by fire. And don't ask what that is, because it's Mage magics that you couldn't comprehend. Besides, if I told you, I'd be taken back to the Council and you'd most likely be silenced."

Draco stared at him curiously for a long moment. Then he looked back down at the papers in front of him, and Thor returned to scrutinising the gardens through the window.

"It sounds like a hard life," Fred said at last. "Why did you choose it, Harry? Sorry, Thor."

It was an interesting question, Thor mused as he smiled his enigmatic smile and ignored the question. Why had he become a Mage? Well, that was obvious. It was who he was – he had been born a Mage, a dragon child. He could no more avoid that destiny than he could alter it.

But he could change the fate of others because of it, he realised, as his gaze again fell on Draco. Then he looked back at Dumbledore. "If that's all, Professor, I really should contact my friend to see if he can help me." He was going to leave whether Dumbledore said the meeting was over or not, but luckily the old wizard nodded, said something irrelevant about somebody staying in the East Tower, and dismissed everyone. Thor immediately moved towards the door, then stopped and turned back.

"By the way," he started. "Mages are trained to have very good reflexes – I suggest none of you sneak up on me, or startle me. I'd hate to have to undo an unintentional curse." Then he disappeared through the door.

It hadn't been as bad as he'd expected, but then again he hadn't really allowed them to ask questions about what had happened to him. And he supposed that to see him as a fully-competent Mage when the last time they had seen him, he had been a sixth-year…

"Harry!" Thor ignored the caller; he knew who it was, of course, but he never answered to that name anymore if he could help it. "Harry!" A pause. Then: "Thor?"

Thor paused and half-turned, waiting until Draco had caught up with him. Then he continued walking. "Yes, Draco?" he inquired. "Did you want something?"

"You know what I want, Thor," came the slightly breathless answer. "I was born under a Unicorn Moon. Help me. Teach me." Thor stopped abruptly and turned to Draco, his eyes burning into the man, seeming to burn right through him and see his innermost secrets.

"You don't know what you're asking, Malfoy," the Mage said in a low, terrible voice. "To be a Mage…it's a sacrifice, Malfoy, and an honour, and something that Unicorn-borns can't often be. Only one in a thousand Mages wasn't born under a Dragon Moon. You'd do better to approach the school for Unicorn-borns…they'd be more suited for you."

"No. That's not good enough. I want to be a Mage, not a Skyhealer," Draco said fiercely. "I may have been born under a Unicorn Moon, but I was born in the year of the Dragon, just like you. I have a right to try."

Thor stared curiously at him. "You know a lot, for someone who isn't a Mage."

"I can read, Thor. And I've talked to a dragon."

"You have?" Thor demanded sharply. "Do you have any idea how dangerous that is? You could have been killed, you could have been magically-inept for the rest of your life – only trained Mages are allowed to talk to dragons!" He paused. "Or special cases," he admitted slowly. "Which I suspect you might be." Grey eyes stared defiantly at him. Thor sighed. "You don't know what it is you're asking," he said finally. "Until you do, I can't accept you as a student."

He set off again, and Draco hurried to catch up. "Can I watch?" he asked abruptly. Thor looked oddly at him. "So I can understand."

"Fine. Just don't interrupt."

Thor led the way down to the lake. It was from there that he would be able to contact Zodiac easiest. He led Draco to a secluded bank, where he dropped to his knees at the side of the water, pulled out a vial from an inner pocket of his shirt, and dropped three drops of a silver liquid into the water. The liquid burned a brilliant light that made Draco shield his eyes; a moment later the light went, and Thor could see the face of his old teacher staring amusedly up at him.

"You've been gone three hours, Thor. I hope you don't need my help already."

"Never," Thor retorted with a smile. "I just need some information about nineteen forty-three, the second of March. I know it was the year of the Chimaera, but what Moon was it then?" Zodiac frowned thoughtfully. "Funny," he mused. "I think that was…yes, it was the Basilisk Moon that night – it was an odd one, which is why I remember it."

Thor suddenly looked incredibly grim. "Thanks, Zodiac," he said shortly. "That helps a lot. I'll see you when I see you."

"Watch your back," Zodiac said gravely. Then the bright light flashed again, and the liquid-portal on the lake disappeared. Thor stood up slowly and turned to face Draco. This, he decided silently, was definitely not good. His fingers tapped lightly on the hilt of the dagger at his waist.

"I think," he said finally, "that I had better contact the dragons tomorrow. Malfoy, please tell Dumbledore that things have become more complicated. I…I'd probably better go to see Sirius. If you still want to train to be a Mage –" Draco drew in a short breath – "and if you can fulfil all the conditions, I will teach you, starting tonight, in the fairy garden at the back of the castle."

"Of course I still want to train," Draco said hotly. "I haven't changed my mind in the last five minutes." He hesitated. "Although from the expression on your face," he continued slowly, "I'm thinking you want me to." Thor let out a groan, and strode towards Draco. He pulled the other man close to him, his hands firmly gripped on Draco's shoulders. He could feel Draco's hot breath on his face.

"To train to be a Mage," he hissed, "is the most dangerous thing anyone could ever wish to do. It requires complete dedication, complete attention, and a pure soul. I haven't been around four ten years, so I don't know how pure your soul is now, Draco Malfoy, so I'll have to do the test by Moon to certify that, tonight at midnight. There are no barriers between teacher and student, if you want to learn the Dragon Mage Magics – none whatsoever. You share everything with the one who chooses you for his or her apprentice – mind, soul…and body." Draco's eyes sharpened suspiciously. "Everything, Draco…think about it before you commit. There's no turning back. You will have nothing left of your own by the time you're finished…your soul will have been stripped bare by me, taken apart piece by piece, and put back together as I think is fit. Then, and only then, will you be able to complete your training…then you will be named. Then you are free to follow your own wishes, under the leadership of the Circle. Before then, you would be under my leadership, my protection, my orders."

He paused, trying to calm himself down and let Draco absorb a little of this. He shouldn't have flown off the handle, he cursed himself. But dammit, Draco looked so…desirable, just standing there in front of him, practically begging to be his apprentice…

"You have until dusk to think about it," he completed quietly. "If you still want to commit…then meet me here when the sun goes down, and I'll show you the dragons, and you will be officially named as my apprentice. If you don't come, do not ask me again. Go to the Unicorn school, if you still wish to train your powers." With that, he swept past Draco and returned to the castle.

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"Concentrate, Harry," Zodiac said wearily. "I know you can do this."

Harry let out a breath, pushed his fringe away from his forehead, and closed his eyes again. He reached inside him for the well of silver magic, drew a thread of it out, moulded it with his mind, and then threw it across the room to his teacher. It fell short. He frowned mentally. It shouldn't have done that. He drew it in, then threw it again. It went too far.

"Try without picturing it," came the quiet voice of his teacher. "You might find that easier."

Harry nodded, his eyes still closed, and imagined reaching out and touching his teacher, fixing the Heart Magic to him like that. His eyes flashed open as suddenly he could feel whatever Zodiac was feeling. He gave a weary smile.

"I think I've got it," he said quietly. "Is that right?" Zodiac was about to reply when then was a flash of silver light, a huge bang, and the room was blown apart. Harry was thrown backwards, and landed in the middle of the next room, half-covered in rubble. Zodiac, who had managed to stay standing, was by his side in an instant, moving the rubble and pressing his hand to Harry's cheek.

'Harry, are you alright?" he demanded. "What did you do?" Harry was having trouble focusing on the older man. "I'm not sure," he said vaguely. "I think it was the dragon." Then he slumped into unconsciousness.

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