Here's the second part and final part of the first book. I'm not trying to go through every detail of all the books, but I am trying to hit the high points. You'll notice that there's no mention of Quidditch in this story - that's because Luke's seriously not interested in it. In a later book, we'll see, but in this book all Luke wants to do is get home. Just thought I'd clear it up because people might be wondering. Also, the only reason I went with Philosopher's Stone in this fic is because of FullMetal Alchemist love. There won't be a crossover with that from me, but just the idea of it makes me giggle.
Just in case people forgot, in this fic Luke = Asch. This is because the wizards grabbed him before Luke saw the reason that he took on that other name and Van isn't exactly around to tell him. This'll make the reveal later on that much more interesting, right?
So, the usual. I don't own HP or TotA, I'm not making any money from it, etc etc. Minor warning later on for blood, and Luke's still a bundle of anger.
Luke spent the next two weeks dodging the horde of people at the Weasley house, secreting himself where he could to study the books he'd collected from Hogwarts. It was hard, the odd storybook house a lot smaller than it looked from the outside. Ron was also an annoyingly constant presence, the other boy seemingly intent on befriending the Fabre heir. He tolerated the other boy as long as all he did was hang around, resulting in his sword training having an interested audience more often than not.
When he wasn't training he worked on learning English. As much as he hated to admit it he figured it would be easier on him, and only understanding half of the conversations around him was getting rather annoying. So, when he was too tired to swing his wooden sword anymore, he secreted himself in the room he was forced to share with Ron and pored over his textbooks.
Another thing that annoyed him was the way Molly Weasley insisted on mothering him. He had a mother, he assured himself. He wasn't the orphan everyone was trying to paint him as so he didn't need a strange woman trying to be his mother. He withstood her hugs with tightly controlled anger and brushed off all other contact.
It was like this, avoiding everyone when he could and with his head buried in his books, that he passed the time. It was the night before he was to leave for Hogwarts when he came into contact with Albus once again.
He was coming in from outside, sword over his shoulder and shirt around his waist, when he saw Albus in the living room talking with the Weasleys. Scowling, he made to head upstairs but was stopped by the older man calling his name.
"At least you got my name right," he grumbled under his breath, sheathing the sword and walking over to the adults. He really wished he could have showered first.
"As you know, school starts tomorrow," Albus started. "You remember our agreement?"
"You want to change my hair color," Luke replied levelly. "Because people won't recognize me as Harry Potter otherwise." He'd stopped protesting his supposed identity after he'd begun dreaming of screaming and a green light, confirming through his own research that the dreaded Killing Curse was green in color. It was a far cry from truly knowing if he was indeed this Harry Potter fellow but, as he'd been having those dreams since he was very young, he figured he ought to give them the benefit of the doubt.
"I have been thinking of your arguments," Albus sighed. "I've been trying to decide on a satisfactory solution to this quandary. On the one hand, your natural hair color is black. On the other, according to you, you've never had black hair. So, I have been trying to decide. Should I force you into a hair color that you don't acknowledge as yours, as I have been with your name? I will not revise my decision on your name, but perhaps your hair color isn't as important. You've already been around Diagon Alley with red hair and no one had a problem believing that you are Harry Potter."
"I don't want people to recognize me as him," Luke said exasperatedly. "But I really don't want you to change my hair color back. However, we did have an agreement. I'm honorable enough to hold up my end of our bargain." Not that he was thrilled with the prospect of having his hair color changed again. Even just those few moments in Dumbledore's office had felt as if his whole life had been stolen from him, rendered meaningless.
"I believe that you would hold up your end of the bargain. For that, I have underestimated you. That's why I have had such a hard time coming to a satisfactory solution." Albus stood. "I've come to realize that you have been forced into so many changes already, and having black hair is such a minor detail. Therefore, I will not ask you to have your hair changed again."
Luke relaxed visibly. He hadn't realized how tensed he'd been until that moment, when the relief he felt had almost had him falling over. He smiled at Dumbledore, the first such expression he'd gifted the elder wizard. "Thanks," he said sincerely. And then he asked the question that had been bothering him all this time. "Headmaster… why does it seem like I'm learning English a lot easier than I should be?" For he was, he'd realized a week ago. He'd been studying Ancient Ispanian for as long as he could remember and was still barely proficient at it. But with English, he'd already progressed to full conversations within only a few months of beginning to learn it.
Albus smiled. "There is a spell that is usually frowned upon in learning situations, for the knowledge it helps one to gain is never retained as long. I cast that spell upon your books to ensure that you would be proficient by the beginning of the school year. However, I engineered it such that the spell will weaken slowly over a period of time until it fades completely. Despite your skill with English at this time, you should continue to study. If you reinforce your knowledge when the spell has faded but before you lose it, then you should learn it naturally."
That… was a long-winded explanation. "So basically, magic did it. It's a double-edged sword, though, and practice makes perfect?" Luke guessed.
"Precisely." Albus glanced at his watch. "Now I really should be going. School doesn't start itself, after all."
"Write us often!" Molly's voice called after Luke as he dragged his trunk onto yet another new fon machine, what he learned was called a train. The engine was bright red, many cars attached to the end of it, and children were piling into the cars en masse.
Ignoring the woman's voice he boarded the train and sought a room to himself. He found one towards the end of the train and as soon as he was inside he locked the door, securing his trunk in the overhead compartment with some effort. That done he flopped into the seat, glaring out of the window and ignoring the occasional noise of someone trying the door to his compartment. Fleetingly he wondered if Draco was also on board.
The train pulled out of the station at exactly 11 o'clock, leaving behind tearful parents. Luke watched the scenery change from unfamiliar city to wilderness, reveling in his solitude and wondering why, exactly, he was being forced to do this. Even though he had managed to keep his hair color, the fact was that he was being held away from his parents in a foreign land that, it seemed, had never heard of Kimlasca or Malkuth or Daath. Though he'd promised to go to this school, he was still a prisoner. He hadn't managed to think of a reason for that beyond the mysterious prophecy the hat had mentioned.
That was another thing that puzzled Luke. Albus, Minerva, the Weasleys, none of them had ever head of Yulia's Score, the prophecy guiding the planet to prosperity. Its lack was another glaring difference between this place and home, but if there were prophecies here, why didn't people know about them?
Trying to think about it hurt Luke's head.
He was shaken out of his reverie by an insistent knock at the door. Prepared to glare away the innocent children seeking a room he instead found Draco Malfoy staring haughtily at him from the other side. He scrambled up to let the blonde in, blinking at the two other boys that followed.
"Malfoy," he greeted, settling back into his seat with a hand on his sword. "I was hoping to see you again."
"Fabre," Draco greeted. "Same here. These are my friends Crabbe and Goyle."
Luke raised an eyebrow. "Forgive me, but they look like bodyguards. Are you in some sort of trouble?"
Draco scowled. "They're my friends, and if they happen to beat up a few Gryffindors, so what?"
Maybe, the former redhead sighed, he'd made a poor choice in picking friends. This was a friend Albus had no say in, however, so he'd make an effort to educate this boy. "And here I was thinking you were raised a noble as I was. If you are strong you don't need bodyguards." That was what he'd grown to believe, training under Van. If he was strong enough to defend himself then he would be free to go where he wished. Not that he'd wanted to do anything but marry Natalia and build a peaceful world with her.
The blonde's face darkened. "Are you calling me weak?"
Luke kept his face neutral. "I am only saying. A noble doesn't permit his servants to bully those weaker than them. A noble's job is to protect their subjects from those who would oppress them. Father is well liked by those under his protection."
"And if they deserve it?" Draco asked sardonically.
"Then the matter is settled with a proper duel," Luke replied. "That is the custom of our nobility."
The blonde snorted, waving his hand. "Whatever."
Luke spent the trip talking to his new friend. He learned that the elder Malfoy was a well-known, if not respected, member of wizarding high society and Draco was on his way to being the other's heir. The more he talked with Draco the more he was reminded of some of the lower members of Kimlascan nobility, those that were power-hungry and greedy. He'd had the misfortune of spending much time with them during family gatherings and thought, perhaps, that with Draco he'd caught the other early enough to do some good. That was the only reason he continued to talk with the other, continuously debating topics and ignoring the hulking boys that cracked their knuckles threateningly whenever their master was displeased.
When the train horn sounded Draco finally stood. Despite their long and heated debate he didn't seem cross. "It was nice talking to you," he said, and it sounded like he meant it. "Good luck at the Sorting."
Luke stood as well, offering a bow. "You too. I hope you get the House you want." He'd finally wrangled an explanation of Houses out of the Weasley twins.
Alone once more he turned to his trunk, pulling on his school robes over the clothes he'd had since he escaped from Van what seemed like ages ago. He had other clothes now, strange fabrics in stranger styles. He didn't dislike the clothes, but the set he was wearing was the only thing he had left from his home. They were a comfort.
He was figuring out how to make his sword accessible when he was startled by the door opening. A girl blinked at him, her bushy brown hair pulled back from her head and her eyes an intelligent brown. "Have you seen a toad?" she asked him.
What an odd question. Luke shook his head, bemused. "Sorry, no."
"Oh. Neville's lost it. If you find it can you bring it to him?" With that she dashed off.
Finally getting his sword into some semblance of order Luke fished out his wand, wondering where in the world he was going to hold it. He found, after some searching, that the robe had a pocket that it fit into nicely.
It wasn't too much longer until the train pulled up at the station Luke remembered passing on his ride out of the castle. Children piled out of the train and onto the platform, leaving their trunks behind. Luke followed their lead, stepping down gracefully and looking around for the carriages.
"First years over here!" Hagrid's voice bellowed over the din. The noble followed the sound of it until he saw the giant man standing on a dock, many boats rocking on the water behind him. "All first years come on this way, now! We've got to get you lot ready for Sorting!"
"We're riding in the boats?" Luke asked him, having to strain his neck to look up at the man.
"Yessir. Climb on in, that's a good lad, and once we have everyone we'll be on our way!"
It took about twenty minutes to get all of the first year students into the boats. Luke ended up sharing his boat with Ron, though thankfully the other was too in awe of the castle before them to make small talk. Not that Luke particularly disliked Ron. The other had a keen mind under his insecurities and routinely trounced the noble in the odd game he'd called chess. No, what bothered the child noble about Ron was the way he was trying to force himself to be friends, as if someone had told him he should. Luke had no doubt that Albus had his hand in that. So, until Ron decided whether or not he truly wanted to be friends, Luke was going to keep his distance.
The boats pulled up at an underground dock somewhere under one of the towers. Luke climbed out, ensuring Ron did the same without mishap, and stayed at the back of the line until Hagrid had left and Minerva had taken his place at the head of their little group.
"Welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wiardry," she began. "In just a few moments you will be Sorted into your Houses. While you are here your Houses will be like your family. You will win together, and lose together. Your House will have your back no matter what happens. I trust you all to remember that as you begin your schooling."
Luke suppressed his snort.
"Now follow me, everyone, and I will take you to meet the rest of the students." Minerva turned and led them through the halls, Luke at the very back of the line. He was prepared to be cross for the rest of the night when someone poked him none-too-gently in the arm and shook him from his dour thoughts.
"Why the sour look?" Draco asked him, this time not flanked by Crabbe and Goyle. "You look like your house elf just sat on the pie you were going to eat in just a few moments. I've had that happen, you know."
The noble sighed, wondering when he should bring up the fact that he was the only person in the school willing to call him by his name. Instead he shrugged and asked, "Where're your friends?"
Draco looked… Luke couldn't place the other's expression but it looked sheepish and thoughtful and so many other things. "I was thinking about what you said, about hiding behind bodyguards, and you were right. I want people to fear me, not the people around me."
It was a start, the child noble thought, heartened. "That's good. I didn't fancy being your friend with those two giants hanging around."
They arrived at the Great Hall and for the first time Luke saw it as it should have been, the four tables packed with children while the staff was at the high table carefully watching them. He didn't pay the enchanted ceiling any mind, instead eying the Sorting Hat that was set up on a three-legged stool in front of them. He wondered if the Hat would still call him by his true name.
As he sat and watched it, the rip that served as the Hat's mouth opened up and it sang, a song about the four Houses and all of them uniting. It really didn't bother the noble, since he didn't plan on being here long enough for that. Dark Wizards aside, he was under the impression that the wizarding world should solve its own problems. Kimlasca certainly never had help from a legendary hero, even if he himself was named "The Light of the Sacred Flame."
After the song Minerva strode out next to it and unrolled a long piece of parchment, calling out a name. Thus began the long process of Sorting the children, which Luke soon learned involved putting the Hat on your head and letting it judge your character. He wondered where he'd end up as Minerva passed the Fs, no Fabre being called to the front. Despite knowing it would happen he scowled.
He tuned out the long list of names until the Ms rolled along and Draco was called to the front. He watched the blonde as he ascended and put the hat on, expecting the Sorting not to take very long. Draco knew where he thought he wanted to go, even if Luke had severe misgivings. It was a surprise, then, when Draco's Sorting took long enough for the whole hall to begin whispering.
It seemed like hours went by and the hat finally opened its mouth. "Ravenclaw!" it declared in a loud, proud voice. Draco looked stunned, sitting there with the hat still on his head until Minerva took it off and nudged him off the stool. Woodenly he walked to the Ravenclaw table, sitting at the end and speaking to no one. Luke felt a bit sorry for him; he knew how important being in the Slytherin House was to the blonde. At the same time, he was a bit glad for that; Crabbe and Goyle had been Sorted into Slytherin and, if those two were any indication, that House wasn't what he wanted to have anything to do with.
So caught up in watching Draco, he hardly noticed it when the name "Potter, Harry" was called. That reminded him of his own predicament and he scowled, so very tempted to just turn around and find his hidden training room again. That would certainly get him expelled and Albus would have no choice but to send him home.
But, looking at Draco, Luke couldn't help but feel that the other's Sorting was his fault. The sense of responsibility that had been drilled into him since he was old enough to understand was what prompted him up to the Hat. Whispers followed him up, students and teachers alike debating whether or not he was "the" Harry Potter, but it was easy enough to ignore as he sat on the chair and put the Hat on.
Are you going to call me Potter too? he asked, not really hiding how miffed he was.
Not at all, Mr. Fabre. The Hat's voice was amused. I figured you'd have run off by now. You're certainly resourceful enough.
Not when I have wizards with me every moment of the day, Luke groused.
And you feel that you have a duty to young Mr. Malfoy, the Hat noted. How very Gryffindor of you. I should warn you, however, that the Headmaster is going to do everything in his power to keep you at the school. It will be very hard to get yourself expelled, and even if you manage, he will find ways to train you.
Joy. Luke's plan to get out of the school just snowballed. Then what do you suggest?
The Hat seemed to shrug. Do what's expected of you, gain trust. It will be that much easier to get away when the time comes. However, I would ask that you remain here as long as you can. Forgive this hat for saying so, but the knowledge you gain may help you defeat that man Van.
Luke… hadn't thought of that. You're right, he admitted grudgingly. So. Where do you want me to stay until I've learned everything I need to?
The Hat chuckled. That's the spirit! And take the fact to heart that no matter what anyone calls you, you are who you think you are. As long as you see yourself as Luke fon Fabre, that is who you will be.
It was an oddly comforting gesture, some of the child noble's anger ebbing away. Thanks. I needed that.
He'd been on the stool for nearly as long as Draco had been and the whispering was intensifying. So! With that out of the way, I know exactly where to put you. Do take care of young Mr. Malfoy. You've done him some good already but it's still too early to know how he'll end up. He should have gone to Slytherin, the Hat confided, but you planted some thoughts in his head and in that House he would have disregarded them. We need a Malfoy on the side of light.
I'll take care of him, Luke promised.
Very well. Then you shall end up in "Gryffindor!" the Hat shouted. Luke slipped off the stool and set the Sorting Hat reverently on the stool, whispering his thanks to the ragged cloth. Ignoring the cheers that had erupted around him he strode to the table that was cheering the loudest, finding a spot close to where Draco was seated at the Ravenclaw table. A few of his new housemates offered their congratulations but instead of replying, he poked the quiet blonde.
Draco glanced at him, scowling. "It's your fault," he hissed. "I should have gone to Slytherin but I actually listened to you and now look where I am!"
Luke gave a lopsided grin, surprised to find that he didn't have to fake it. "At least you're not a 'bloody Gryffindor'."
"You would end up there," Draco snorted.
"And hey, you're not in Hufflepuff either. I'd say you got the best part of this little deal." Lightly he punched the other in the shoulder. "So cheer up!"
Draco snorted and turned his interest to the Sorting. Luke, however, thought he caught a hint of a smile on the other's face.
Still ignoring the children attempting to strike up a conversation with him he tuned out the rest of the Sorting. He wasn't feeling very hungry when the tables filled with food of their own accord, too distracted by his thoughts and anger at the world in general. He had to force himself to eat a few bites of a turkey that tasted like paste in his mouth, the water he chased it down with chilling. It was a relief when the food vanished and, after Albus spoke a few words about a forbidden corridor on the third floor, he was led to the Gryffindor dormitories.
The common room was decorated with red and gold, armchairs, couches, and tables strewn about in a seemingly random manner. Stairs led up to the dorms, the girls' up one set and the boys' another, and the room Luke and the other first years were shown to had five beds arranged in a circle, much like the spokes of a wheel.
Ron caught his arm as he made his way to the bed his trunk had ended up in front of. "You doing okay with all this, mate?" he asked when Luke turned his attention to him. "I know English isn't your first language so you know, if you have trouble understanding anything just let me know."
Too tired to be angry and just wanting to flop down into a mattress Luke shot him a glare. "I'm fine."
The redhead winced. "Sheesh, I'm trying to help. Let me know when the bees come out of your bum." Grumbling, he made his way to his bed and drew the curtains about himself. Luke didn't understand the phrase, which made him even more annoyed. After changing into the pajamas Molly had bought for him (with his money) he flopped into bed, tucking the practice sword against his arm, and lay in the dark for a long time before drifting off to sleep.
School was much different than the private tutoring Luke had received at home, he soon found out. Waking when the sun rose, he spent an hour practicing the sword in the common room before showering and heading to breakfast. The classes were much duller than the noble remembered them being, even if they were subjects he'd never heard of. His tutors had had the time and patience to explain everything to him, waiting until he fully understood the material before moving on. This time the teacher lectured to the whole class, asking a few cursory questions but otherwise not really seeing if his or her students understood the material. Luke, used to viewing magic as simply the manipulation of fonons, had a hard time wrapping his brain around the wizarding version of magic. Waving a wand and having something happen? It was so unlike the magic Luke knew that, even though he understood that it was possible, he took far longer than the rest of the class to master the basics.
His favorite class, strangely enough, was Potions. Severus Snape was a condescending, spiteful, and greasy man that Luke disliked immediately. However, the potions brewing wasn't so foreign as Transfiguration that the noble had a hard time with it. No, the only bad thing about the class was having Snape breathing down his neck and mocking him at every turn for being Harry Potter. His temper simmered under the surface until one class where he couldn't hold himself back anymore.
Snape was going on a long diatribe about Luke's supposed father James and the ridicule he brought on Gryffindor House. Even if he didn't know any James and even if Duke Fabre was a cold man who'd only shown the barest hints of love to Luke, the Fabre heir's patience finally snapped when his family's honor was stepped on one time too many, and it was only their second Potions class!
"Professor Snape," he interrupted the other man, standing and resting his hand on his wooden sword. As in Diagon Alley no one seemed to notice the weapon until he brought attention to it, but once they saw it the whispering started at once. "I ask, if you would be so kind, if you could back up your claims with fact."
Snape shot him a look of cool disdain. "Your father was a coward and a bully. No doubt you take after him as well. Ten points from Gryffindor for standing in the middle of class."
House points, the reward system of the school, stopped bothering Luke once he realized how meaningless they were. "Professor Snape, that is a grave insult against my parents. By the customs of my kingdom I declare my family's honor impugned and demand a duel to settle the matter."
Snape, for his part, looked astounded at the prospect. "Don't be daft, Potter. You could never win against me. Another ten points for being an idiot and detention for talking back to a teacher."
Luke drew himself to his full height, drawing his sword and settling into his combat stance. In the back of his mind he knew he was being an idiot, but he was really tired of being compared to people he'd never met by a man like Snape. "Are you coward enough to insult my family's honor and not have the strength to defend your own?" he demanded.
The Professor sneered at him. "If you demand a fight, I suppose you shall have one. Don't hold me responsible for the consequences."
Luke stalked to the middle of the floor, then held his sword vertical, one hand against the flat of the blade, and bowed, the formal gesture customary before a duel. Snape had his wand out and bowed as well.
The outcome was predictable. Later that day, in the Hospital Wing coughing up all manner of insects, Luke couldn't help his grin. He'd gotten the Professor a good one on the head with his sword and the resident Healer was examining the large lump with a scowl.
He hoped he'd cracked the bastard's skull.
Aside from incidents like that Luke otherwise had no problems with the classes themselves. Being constantly behind the other students was frustrating for him, so used to excelling at anything he tried his hand at. It got to the point where he stopped caring that he wasn't at this school of his own will. He was determined to master this difficult and illogical subject.
There was only one class that made him uncomfortable. Even with Snape he knew the material and was able to get by, and after Luke's fearless challenge the Potions Master was treating him with a bit more respect. No, the class Luke had problems with was called Defense Against the Dark Arts. While he was in that class he found himself the object of Professor Quirrel's stare countless times. And when the timid man in his headscarf turned to the blackboard, a sharp pain would pierce Luke's lightning bolt scar.
After class he would eat dinner and retire to his hidden room, where he would spend the time until curfew practicing magic artes or doing his homework. He'd gotten better at gathering the needed fonons in a timely manner but he couldn't control too many at once. This meant that for the time being he was limited to casting only basic magic artes, like his first Fireball and a nonelemental one the books had called Energy Blast. That one formed a swirling vortex of energy that ripped a training dummy to shreds. The first time Luke cast the arte successfully he cheered before falling flat on his face.
In between all this he found time to spend with Draco Malfoy. The other's sour mood didn't last long and he seemed to be thriving in his House. He was still snarky but it wasn't nearly so bad as it had been on the train ride. Draco would spend hours talking to Luke about all the things he was learning in his House, things that sometimes had nothing to do with what was being taught. Ravenclaws, Luke soon learned, sought knowledge of all sorts, even if the knowledge wasn't of a strictly magical nature. Draco scoffed at the strange ideas the muggleborns brought with them, then looked at Luke like he'd grown a second head when the noble asked what a Muggle was.
It was one day in the library when Draco brought up the topic Luke had been hoping to avoid. They had their books open, Luke practicing wand movements and feeling how the magic fonons moved. The fonons Luke used were similar to the standard as far as he could tell so it wasn't like he was discovering a whole new element. Magic particles were mixed among the regular fonons and, if one didn't know what to look for, felt exactly the same too.
He spoke the spell and had the best view of a mini explosion in front of his face, another type of fonon mixing itself into Luke's spell at the last minute. Brows singed he glared at the piece of wood in his hands, wondering at the same time which element was mixing him up. He'd only been able to master the fifth fonon, the element of fire, and so was at a loss as to which fonon could be giving him so much trouble.
Draco wiped some of the soot from his nose and raised an eyebrow at his study partner. "Really?"he asked.
"It's not my fault your magic doesn't like me," the redhead grumbled, adding a few words in Ispanian under his breath that weren't very polite. "Let's come back to this when we're someplace that isn't flammable."
"Agreed. I'd rather like to keep my eyebrows." Draco flicked a few burned strands out of Luke's fringe and went digging for a less explosive subject to study. For his part Luke vowed to do some more research on fonons to try and find the problem.
"I was wondering something," the blonde said casually, glancing at the scar he'd uncovered with his actions. Luke, oblivious, just waved for the other to continue while he dug for an essay to show Draco. "When were you going to tell me you were Harry Potter?"
Luke's fingers clenched on the parchment, crumpling the essay in his hands. "I wasn't since I'm not him," he replied shortly. "I don't care what everyone else thinks."
"Did you know when we met?" Draco pressed, homework forgotten as he confronted Luke, face set in a scowl and his fists clenched. Luke was surprised at how angry the blonde was.
"Does it matter? You still call me Luke," the noble answered, a bit puzzled.
Draco glared. "It matters," he hissed, "because if my father finds out that I'm friends with Harry Potter then I'm going to be in trouble. I'm not sure if you know the things my father will do to me as punishment, but rest assured the likelihood of me returning after the Christmas holidays will be greatly lessened."
Oh. Maybe that had something to do with the rumors Luke had been hearing about Malfoy Sr. being a follower of Voldemort? It certainly wouldn't do for the legendary Harry Potter to be friends with one of the Dark Lord's followers, Luke mused.
"You can safely tell your father that you aren't friends with Harry Potter," Luke said. "If your friends from Slytherin tell him anything I'm sure you'll come up with an explanation. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a hero who defeated a Dark Lord when I was an infant. I'm the son of a Duke who was mistaken for this Harry Potter."
Draco nodded, seemingly satisfied. "Not like you could defeat him anyway." And with that he dropped the subject entirely.
It was like that that Luke spent the first part of the school year. He ignored everyone who called him Harry except the teachers. They didn't have a choice in the matter, Minerva told him quite frankly when he butted heads with her in class one day. He was enrolled in school as Harry Potter and they were contractually bound to call him that. After that he tolerated it with clenched teeth.
Everyone else who called him Harry, or who asked to see the famous scar, was met with a glare and a few rude words in his native language. Soon word spread around and little by little he was left alone.
The nights grew colder far faster than Luke anticipated, the days shorter as well. He had to track down a few books and found, a bit chilled, that the years were much shorter where he was. This was an entirely different world, he concluded. Even if his father was looking for him there would be no way the Duke could find him.
He spent an entire day in his training room upon finding that out, venting his frustration on the inanimate dolls there, and refused to answer questions on his absence after that.
At least, he mused once his anger ebbed, he wouldn't miss his birthday this year.
He'd done enough research on Britain's customs to not be surprised when the castle was decorated with cobwebs and bats and pumpkins. He ignored it, for the most part – it wasn't his holiday. He tolerated everyone's enthusiasm with a patience he really didn't feel, relieved when Draco didn't push it on him.
At least the Halloween feast was impressive, sweets of all sorts decorating the tables. There was even, Luke was surprised to note, a few treats from his home. Upon seeing them he had to blink away tears, suddenly very homesick, and pressed Draco into trying the candies.
The night was going well when Professor Quirrel burst into the Great Hall, stammering about trolls in the dungeons before passing out in full view of everyone. It wouldn't have bothered Luke except suddenly Ron was frantically trying to get his attention.
"We have to go find her!" the redhead was stammering, tugging on Luke's arm insistently. "She went off to the bathroom to cry, she doesn't know about the danger!"
While the prefects were gathering their Houses together Luke dragged Draco into the Gryffindor line. "Start from the beginning, Weasley," he ordered shortly. "Who's in danger and why?"
Ron flushed guiltily. "Hermione. I said something to her and she ran off before dinner. She doesn't know there's a troll in the castle, what if it finds her? I can't let her get hurt, it's all my fault."
"The muggleborn?" Draco asked skeptically. Luke thought he knew who she was, the brunette who'd walked in on him in the train. She was the smartest student in their classes, even beating out the Ravenclaws. At Ron's nod the blonde snorted and started to say something scathing but was stopped by Luke.
"Yes, let's go find her," he said, hand on his sword. "It's the noble thing to do."
It was easy enough to sneak off, even Draco coming with them despite calling them idiotic and suicidal. Luke felt a bit proud of his friend; the blonde, when they'd first met, would have run in the opposite direction. It looked like he was having a positive influence on him after all.
And then there was no time for such thoughts. They neared the bathroom where Ron said he saw Hermione enter and found the Troll entering the same door. Not caring that three boys were running into the ladies' restroom they followed after it right after hearing Hermione's terrified scream.
"Draco, you and me distract it so Luke can get Hermione!" Ron ordered, wand raised. Luke dashed into the fray, ducking flying porcelain and streaming jets of water until he was crouched right next to the frightened girl.
"Come on!" he panted, dragging Hermione bodily up and shoving her towards the door. His voice attracted the troll's attention and he was forced to duck the swing of its giant club. His wooden sword was useless, he thought as he backed into the corner and drew his wand instead. But, he found, there were plenty of fourth fonons floating around thanks to the freely streaming water. He didn't have time to focus on a proper arte. Pure desperation fueled him as he channeled the fonons and dropped them right on the troll's head. The arte manifested as jagged spires of ice crashing down around them, not enough to kill anyone but enough to conk the troll on the head. As it stumbled around Ron cast a spell and ended up dropping its own club on its head.
The three Gryffindors and lone Ravenclaw traded glances before the teachers walked in. It was only thanks to Hermione's on the spot lie that saved them all from detention. Unfortunately Luke spoiled it by fainting, having used up too much of his energy on his hasty arte.
That night, after Luke had been released from the Hospital Wing and was on his way to bed, he was waylaid by Ron and Hermione by the stairs to the boys' dorms. Luke stared at Ron coolly until the redhead cleared his throat.
"Look, mate, I know we got off on the wrong foot," he said awkwardly. "Dad told me to try and make friends since he said you needed one. But I don't think I was trying to be the right friend. Even so you helped me when I asked and… what I'm trying to say is, want to try again?"
"Thanks for helping me," Hermione added. "I really appreciate it. I'd be dead without you."
Luke considered their words before deciding and offering his hand. "Luke fon Fabre. And you?"
Ron grinned. "Ron Weasley." He took the proffered hand and shook it firmly.
"Hermione Granger," the other added, doing the same.
Draco was less than enthusiastic about Luke's new friends. "They're idiots," he complained to the noble during their usual study session. "What could you possibly see in them?"
Luke, on the verge of figuring out which fonon kept making his spells explode on him, just shrugged. "Ron's a bit thick but he's the best at chess in the dorm. Hermione's the smartest out of all of us. At the very least they'll be valuable allies."
Draco shrugged. "I'll take your word for it."
And then it was Luke's birthday. He didn't tell anyone about it, not even Draco. Instead he took the day off and spent it in his training room, for once not training. Instead he indulged in the treats the room thoughtfully provided, a small cake and a new book for him to read. This one was about the Seventh Fonon and the Score, the prophecy that Auldrant followed to promised prosperity. It was in the middle of the third chapter that he suddenly realized what kept making his spells go wrong.
"The seventh fonon," he mused, indulging in his native language. "That would explain it." The way he was reading, the seventh fonon was made up of all of the others and they attracted each other. If he was unknowingly affecting the fonons around him when he tried to cast wizarding spells, that would explain the fonons that kept getting into his spells at the last minute.
Glancing at the training dummies, he grinned. "Thanks for letting me know," he said sincerely.
He spent the rest of that day learning the feel of the seventh fonon, experimentally gathering it and letting it dissipate. Once he was sure he could dissipate them he grabbed up his wand and tried a few spells. It took a bit more practice to keep the seventh fonon away but after a few tiny explosions and an accident involving levitation, a training dummy, and the fireplace, he flopped onto the mats and grinned.
The next day in class he astonished everyone by casting the spell without mishap.
Christmas was another holiday that Luke didn't celebrate. He didn't remember putting his name on the list to stay at the castle but there it was, next to Ron's and Hermione's. He'd spent time getting to know them since the troll incident, finding that when Ron wasn't deliberately trying to be his friend he had interesting takes on various problems. Hermione had her intelligence on her side but she was a bit too stern for Luke's liking. She liked to bother him about being away from the dorm so often and willingly skipping class. He soon learned to recognize when she was going into rant mode and vacate the area immediately.
Once the castle was empty Luke found himself at a loss. He trained in the sword, moving from the basics into learning strike artes, physical attacks augmented by manipulating the fonons around his weapon. It was very clumsy going and he ended up leaving more often than not with bruises that he had to explain away. He didn't even have Draco to keep him company; the blonde had returned to his home for the holiday.
He woke up Christmas morning when Ron opened the curtains on him and shook him awake. Cracking a green eye open, he glared at the redhead who only grinned at him in return.
"Where are you from that they don't celebrate Christmas?" Ron asked when Luke called him several vile things in Ispanian and rolled over onto a bruised side.
Still in the depths of sleep it took Luke just a moment to process the words and remember to speak English. "Far away," he snapped. "Now go away."
"But look, you've got presents too."
Seeing that he wasn't going back to sleep Luke groaned and gave in, sitting up and glaring at the pile of packages at the end of his bed. Ron was already in the middle of opening his, colored paper scattered everywhere around him.
Bemused, Luke picked up a package and looked at the sender, then opened up a book from Draco. It was about Muggle swords, he learned as he flipped through it to look at the various weapons presented there. He wondered where Draco would have gotten such a book from since he'd expressed his disdain for Muggles on multiple occasions. Setting aside the thoughtful gift he turned to the rest.
He opened up a box of sweets from the Weasley twins, a sweater with a large H embroidered on it from Molly Weasley, and another book from Hermione, this one about Harry Potter. The last package was from an unknown sender, wrapped in plain paper. Luke thought about tossing it to the side along with Mrs. Weasley's gift, but his curiosity was greater.
Silver cloth poured into his hand, spilling over it and onto the floor. It felt like nothing he'd had before, like wind infused into the finest cloth, and he could feel the sixth fonons woven into the cloth. Intrigued, he stood and shook out the cloth. It was, he figured out after a moment, a cloak made for a grown man. He wrapped it around his shoulders anyway, careful of the cloth dragging on the floor, and started at Ron's gasp.
"I can't believe it!" the redhead gaped. "It's an invisibility cloak!"
"An invisibility cloak?" Luke repeated, glancing down to find that his entire body, save his head, had disappeared. One hand held the cloak closed while he moved about, his other hand and feet ensuring that he was indeed still in one piece. "These must not be that rare."
"Are you kidding? They're nearly impossible to find nowadays. Was there a note?" Ron hunted through the scraps of paper until he found a small, folded square of paper and handed it to Luke.
Letting the cloak fall to the floor, the noble regarded the carefully written words. This was left in my care after your father's passing, it read. He would have wished you to have it. Use it well.
The note wasn't signed but there was something familiar about the words. After a moment's puzzling he shrugged, tucking the note into his trunk. "It'll be useful," he said to himself in Ispanian while he cleared up the remnants of wrapping paper. After all, he could get to his hidden room much easier if he wasn't seen.
Dinner that night was a loud affair. Luke found himself forced into a seat at the lone table occupying the normally cluttered Great Hall, Ron on one side and an anonymous Ravenclaw on the other, Hermione across. The Weasley twins were livening up the party, setting off small explosions from things Luke had never seen the likes of but were obviously magical in nature and mostly harmless. The first time they'd set one off behind him had been more painful for them, he mused darkly while only interacting with his two friends. The redheaded twins were sporting singed brows from a burst of seventh fonons that Luke hadn't meant to make explode in their faces, really. He was just wound up from the party honoring a holiday he didn't celebrate, even if the presents were nice.
The second time they did it to him, the fireball was on purpose. Everyone gaped at him after the arte, even the friends he hadn't mentioned his skills to. Deliberately, stamping on his anger with all of the control his father had attempted to teach him, he went back to his food and the interrupted discussion with Hermione on the benefits of Muggle science or magic.
It was Dumbledore that livened the mood. "A very nice trick," he said glibly. "You've been practicing your wandwork, then." A blatant lie, Luke knew. The headmaster was well aware that the noble's artes weren't the work of wizard magic. "I didn't even see your wand!"
Luke snorted, standing from the table and putting his wand in full view. "That's because I didn't use it," he retorted. At several disbelieving looks he sighed, tossed Ron his wand, and summoned a spout of water to soak the annoying elder wizard from head to toe. "As you well know," he grumbled, turning and leaving his meal half-finished. "Bastard," he finished, this time in Ispanian.
No one stopped him as he left the Great Hall, his mood souring with every step. All throughout the day Hermione and Ron had been trying to educate him about this holiday, the celebration of family and some Muggle religion. In all honesty he didn't care. These celebrations were only serving to remind him that he wasn't back home. There would be no one to celebrate his holidays when they came around, if he could reconcile the shortened year in this world and figure out when they were.
He spent the rest of the night in his secret room, attempting to forget everything. He'd already trained that day, so he curled up on a mat with a book and lost himself in the epic tale of a bard attempting to circumvent the Score and save a woman doomed to die. It had romance and fighting and the sense of fighting against the impossible, a feeling Luke was all-to-familiar with. It ended tragically; attempting to circumvent the Score ended up causing the woman's death.
That reminded Luke that he hadn't heard his Score read this year; back home, everyone had their Score for the following year read on their birthday. It was done for luck and to plan on what was going to happen; a woman told she would have a child would be able to get everything ready for that day. The only Scores that weren't read were those foretelling deaths, for who would want to go into a new year knowing they would die?
Heart even heavier, he returned to his dorm room and curled up in bed. Ron and Hermione tried to cheer him up but he ignored them, unable to stop the tears from tracing themselves down his cheeks. All he could think of was his mother, wonder how she was doing and pray that her health hadn't declined in his absence. She had always been fragile, he remembered. When he'd broken his arm she had been bedridden until a seventh fonist could come and heal him. If an injury could leave her so ill, what would his disappearance have done?
New Year's came and went, and soon classes started once again. With the problem of his spells exploding settled, Luke was no longer in the back of his class. He wasn't nearly as good as Hermione, but at least he wasn't ensconced in a small area by himself anymore. One of his classmates wasn't so lucky, and he had to wonder if maybe Seamus was a seventh fonist as well. There was no way to tell.
Draco returned from break a bit more reticent than when he'd left. Once Luke managed to trap him in the library, the Ravenclaw admitted that Malfoy Senior wasn't too happy with Draco befriending a Gryffindor at all. It only took a few minutes of Luke yelling at him to get his point across: your friends are your own. Shortly after he got kicked out of the library and didn't know what Draco had decided.
He was glad when, the very next day, Draco was back to his old self. He still didn't like associating himself with Hermione or Ron, but he was friendly to Luke, at least.
One month led to the next; Luke was still getting the hang of the strange days and months but thought they were heading into February. One night he was stumbling back from his secret room, a new textbook on fonic artes clutched in his arms, when Draco accosted him on the stairs to the Gryffindor dormitory.
"What is it, Malfoy?" Luke asked, just a tad sleepily. It was past curfew and if they got caught they'd both end up in detention. Mentally he lamented forgetting that wicked awesome invisibility cloak he'd gotten for Christmas.
"I was wandering around just now, exploring, and I found something pretty cool that I thought you should see!" Draco was much more animated than usual, his customary scowl replaced with an excited grin. Luke knew it took something exceptional to get Draco like this and his curiosity was piqued.
"Lead the way then!" Luke decided, tucking his book under his arm.
Draco led him into the unused parts of the castle, parts that Luke had forgone exploring after one trick door too many. The redhead still had nightmares about getting lost in this area for nearly a whole day. It had taken Remus coming to look for him to escape.
"You can get back out of here, right?" he asked only a bit nervously.
"Of course! It's just this way." Draco stopped by a door and held it open for Luke.
The first thing the noble saw was a giant mirror dominating the room. Draco pushed him towards it, the door clicking shut behind them. "It's a mirror," Luke deadpanned, stopping just short of seeing his reflection. He scrutinized it, seeing letters traced into the frame, but Draco caught his attention before he could try and puzzle them out.
"It's not just a mirror," the blonde told him. "It's… well, just look in it!"
Since Draco wasn't going to explain, Luke sighed and stepped forward, scrutinizing himself in the mirror. He expected to see a simple reflection, him dressed in robes staring back with accusatory eyes.
The book under his arm thunked to the floor. Luke stepped closer, placing a hand on the reflection that wasn't. The figure in the mirror looked so very happy, was dressed in the clothes that he'd been wearing on his first kidnapping. The white shirt with gold trim was so much warmer than the drab black robes he'd been constantly wearing lately.
The Luke in the mirror smiled at him, then turned to the side. Luke's breath caught in his throat as a familiar figure came into view. "Mother," he whispered, crowding up as close to the mirror as he could. "Mother!"
The redheaded woman in the mirror smiled and embraced the mirror-Luke, smothering him in a hug that Luke would almost swear he could feel. He wanted to be there in the mirror, wanted to be the mirror-self meeting his mother again.
Luke had to force himself away from the mirror, not realizing that there were tears tracing wet tracks down his cheeks until he had to curl up in a corner and sob. Draco hovered nearby, trying to ask him what was wrong, but Luke wasn't processing the English words. That mirror had dragged everything he'd been wanting, everything he'd been worrying about, out of his mind and slapped him in the face with it.
It was ages before he was able to stifle his sobs and uncurl, though he remained on the hard stone floor for ages longer. Draco sat down next to him, silently offering support but otherwise giving up on asking for now.
A few moments later, and Luke took a deep breath. "I saw my mother," he admitted, eyes stinging. "She was waiting for me and she was healthy and I looked just as I always had. I looked so happy and was wearing my old outfit and Mother was happy to see me. I don't want to be here!" he yelled at the ceiling, at Hogwarts itself. "I want to go home, I want to see Natalia and Mother and even Father again."
Draco didn't say anything, just put a hand on his arm. After a moment Luke sniffled and sighed. "Sorry."
"I saw Mother and Father both smiling at me," Draco said. "They never do, you know, they always scowl at me and push me to do better. Since I was Sorted into Ravenclaw they don't even look at me so much, anymore… I think I'm a failure to them. All I want is for them to accept me even as a Ravenclaw, I don't want them to think I'm a failure."
"Mother gets sick easily," Luke sighed. "She probably doesn't even know what happened to me, and I'm worried that she'll have…" He swallowed.
"She's fine," Draco assured him. He looked like he had to think about what he was saying, and the effort he was putting into it made Luke smile a bit. He'd lucked out with a true friend in Draco. "I mean, I can't know she's fine, I'm no seer, but I'm sure she is. She has to be, right?"
"Yeah," the redhead allowed. "I have to believe that she's fine. If she's not…" And his green eyes darkened. "If she's not, I'll take my revenge on everyone who caused me to be away from her. Van, Albus… they will pay."
They sat together in the darkened room for a long time before Draco stood. "Well, I should be getting back to the dormitory," the blonde muttered. "Still have loads of homework to do and all that."
Luke nodded. "I'll come with you. If we get caught, we'll get detention together."
"You don't have to do that," Draco protested.
Luke grinned. "That's what friends are for, right?"
They left the cursed mirror behind and started on the long walk back to their dormitories. Luke wouldn't walk Draco all the way back to the Ravenclaw dormitories, just like Draco wouldn't walk Luke back to Gryffindor. There was one point, however, where the two could part ways and have a relatively short walk back to their dorms. It was there that they started walking to, sharing a companionable silence.
They were nearly to the third floor and their goal when they saw a shadow on the wall and tensed. "Uh-oh," Draco whispered. "That looks like Mrs. Norris."
"We don't have to make it easy on her," Luke said wryly, backing away. "See any way out?"
"There's a door over here," Draco noted, tugging on the noble's arm. "Come on!"
They dashed down the third-floor corridor to the door, which didn't budge.
"Oh, bother… Alohomora!" Draco said impatiently, touching the lock with his wand. It opened and the two ducked through, listening at the door. "Can you hear them?"
Luke listened, tracing a set of human footsteps on the cold stone. "I hear Filch," he whispered, straining his ears. "He's right nearby… he's past… stop growling, Malfoy!"
Draco tensed next to him. "I'm not growling."
As one they turned. "Yulia help us," Luke whispered. "Get back through the door, Malfoy!"
The giant, three-headed dog growled again, heads leaning forward eagerly. Its black fur rippled with every movement of giant muscle under its fur, each head full of glistening teeth. Luke drew his sword, the wooden blade looking pathetic compared to massive claws tapping against the stone floor. He could hear Draco behind him, swearing as he rattled the locked door.
The massive dog lunged.
Luke's collar jerked and he was dragged backwards, once again out in the corridor and gasping for breath. There was a thud against the closed door, like something massive had decided to try getting out of it, followed by scratching.
"What the bloody hell is that giant menace doing in a school?" Draco gasped. "Dumbledore is insane!"
Luke didn't particularly want to defend the elderly headmaster. "I'm going to go to my room and pretend I didn't see that," he vowed, picking himself up off the floor.
Draco snorted. "Good luck. See you tomorrow, then?"
Luke really wanted to forget about that damned mirror, that giant dog that had nearly claimed his and Draco's lives. Hogwarts seemed to have other things in mind, however, and one night a week later he found himself in that same part of the castle when he'd been on his way back to the dorms.
He didn't realize just how lost he was until he turned a corner and saw, through a half-open door, the frame of the mirror that had shown him his mother. He froze for a moment, wondering which trick stairway he'd forgotten about this time. Then, almost against his will, he found himself drawn forward. Without realizing just how it had happened he found himself in front of that mirror again, staring with longing at happy him in the pane and the red-haired woman showering him with love and affection.
"What do you see in the mirror?" Albus' voice came from behind him. Luke turned away, scowling to hide the tears that wanted to trickle down his cheeks.
"You should know," Luke shot back heatedly. "I told you what I wanted the first day I got here."
"Your place is here," the elder wizard said gently. "You were always meant to be here, in this school. I've read about the Score in your world, and only wish there was a way to access it here. Maybe then you could see that this is what is supposed to happen."
"My place is there!" Luke contended fiercely. The child noble whirled to point at the woman in the mirror. "I am meant to marry the Princess of Kimlasca and take the throne so I can lead my people into prosperity. I can't do that here!"
"That is the greatest gift, and curse, of this mirror," Albus sighed. "The mirror of Erised shows us what we most deeply desire. Human nature, however, shows us that what we want is not always what we need. There have been those who have wasted their lives before this mirror admiring what they've seen in it."
"I didn't mean to come back here," Luke admitted mournfully. "I wanted to forget about the mirror, even if I can finally see my mother's face again…"
"Then you are wiser than most," Albus said approvingly. "Your friend Draco is as well; he's been back only once since he first found the mirror. However, I do advise that you get your fill of it tonight. It will be finding a new home tomorrow."
Luke nodded. "I should be going anyway," he muttered self-consciously. "It's almost curfew."
A book appeared in Albus' hands and he offered it to Luke. "Be sure not to forget your possessions next time you wander," the elder advised kindly.
With a shock, Luke recognized the book as the one he'd forgotten when he'd visited the mirror the first time. Luckily it was in Ispanian; if Albus had any idea of the book's true content it was likely Luke wouldn't have seen it again.
Luke took the book and bowed. "Thank you, and good night." Without looking back he made a hasty exit. The castle took pity on him this time around, and he found his way back to the dormitory with only two wrong turns.
Luke soon discovered another holiday he could grow to hate when February 14th rolled around and the castle was decorated in shades of pastel pink and red. That in itself wasn't too horrible; Luke could ignore that well enough and go to classes as normal. No, what cemented this day as one to be avoided in the future was the number of owls that bombarded him during breakfast, each holding a scented pink envelope in its talons.
"What in the Fon Master's name is all of this?" he exasperatedly asked a giggling Hermione. Ron had to help him gather all of the envelopes so he could start eating breakfast again, while behind him Draco sniggered. The blonde had his own pile of pink envelopes to sort through and didn't seem put off in the slightest.
"You don't have Valentine's Day where you're from?" Hermione asked. "Well, I wish I would have known or I'd have warned you. It's a day where people can admit their feelings to their true love without fear of reprisal or scorn. At least in theory, anyway. A lot of the love confessions are anonymous."
"But why me?" Luke wondered, eying his pile of the pink envelopes. "I'm engaged, and it's not like I go out of my way to be friendly to everyone!" He actively avoided everyone and everything, especially since some people still called him Harry. Most of the student body had learned that he would not respond to anything but his name, whether it be "Fabre" from Draco or "Luke" from everyone else. Still, he was determined to think of his time at Hogwarts as only temporary; he'd get back home and put all of this wizarding nonsense behind him, and that would be that.
All heads within earshot turned to look at him, and he scowled. "What did I say this time?"
"You're engaged?" a Ravenclaw asked him. By her guilty flush, Luke surmised that one of the letters in his stack was hers.
"I am," Luke confirmed. "It's an arranged marriage," he added as an afterthought. "But me and Natalia are good friends."
The whispering around the table started in earnest and he sighed. "I'll see you all later," he said to Ron, Hermione, and Draco. "Don't bother looking for me."
That was what he told them when he'd be spending the day in his secret room rather than attending classes. He got an earful from Hermione about skipping and a bemoaning sigh from Ron. Luke's redhead friend wished that he could vanish without a trace without reprisals.
One day, Luke decided as he abandoned his school satchel in the dormitory and ascended to the seventh floor. If he were still here and he could be sure that his secret room would stay secret, he would tell his friends about it. For right now, he wasn't sure Ron wouldn't tell his father about it, and then Arthur would tell Albus. Once Albus knew that Luke was practicing with real weapons and learning deadly fonic artes, the noble knew he would be locked up. He'd only be let out for classes and then he'd be confined to Gryffindor tower. None of his captors would allow him to be powerful, Luke thought darkly. Van, Albus… they were both the same. They only wanted him to use for their own schemes.
He channeled those dark thoughts into a furious training session wherein he practiced alternating strike artes and fonic artes. By the end of the day all of the training dummies were ash and Luke was covered in bruises from his many falls, but he felt better for it.
So long as he had this room, he could get powerful. He'd get strong enough that Albus couldn't hold him, that Van wouldn't dare kidnap him again. He would get home, and then he would put this unpleasant business behind him and resume learning what he would need to know to rule a kingdom.
The days were starting to warm again when Luke walked into the common room and found Ron and Hermione huddled over a table that was covered in papers. They'd been doing that nearly constantly since they'd visited Hagrid the past week or so, and Luke usually left them to it in favor of showering or reading. His secret room had been stocking more books on the seventh fonon recently and the redhead took that as a sign that he should start working on controlling it.
Luke was on his way past them when Hermione snagged his sleeve and dragged him over to the table. This wasn't so unusual as well; Hermione was convinced that Luke wasn't doing his homework (she was right) and sometimes forced him to sit down and work on it. However, when Luke took a seat at the table, he found that they weren't working on homework at all.
The first thing he saw was a newspaper clipping about a theft from Gringotts, dated during the summer. Then there were pages copied from textbooks or in some cases ripped out, and in the middle of them all was a page of notes marked liberally with red. "What am I looking at here?" he asked.
"Just read through all of it. It's just so crazy but if you think the same thing, then…"
With a shrug, Luke picked up the closest piece of paper and started reading.
It took him an hour, but after studying every page carefully he nodded. "This Philosopher's Stone is here, at Hogwarts." He looked up at Hermione's triumphant expression, Ron's resigned look. "And you think Professor Snape is after it."
"Right! We tried to tell Professor Dumbledore but he had to run into London," Hermione said, chewing her lip thoughtfully. "If Snape's after that stone then tonight's the best chance for him to try. We have to stop him!"
"We don't even know where it is, 'mione," Ron objected. "It could be anywhere in the castle!"
"It's in the forbidden third floor corridor," Luke told them. At their blank looks he grinned. "Why else would there be a giant three-headed dog there?"
They blinked at him for a few minutes. "You didn't tell us about that!" Ron said accusingly.
"Gee, let me think. Giant monster dog. You think I'd tell you so you could go get munched?" Luke deadpanned. "I was trying to forget about it, anyway. It was worse than the troll."
"Now we know where he's heading!" Hermione cheered. "Quick, we have to go after him!"
"Snape won't try anything until tonight," Luke guessed. "During the day there are too many witnesses. We have time to prepare and get Draco to come with us."
Ron and Hermione didn't look enthusiastic about that idea, but they nodded nonetheless. "We'll meet outside the common room tonight, then. Luke, good luck getting Draco."
Luke nodded. "See you tonight."
Luke didn't just stop and talk to Draco and enlist his help. He stopped by his secret room and traded in his wooden sword for a real one, knowing that anything they found on the way to the Philosopher's Stone wouldn't be impressed by mere wood. The room seemed to know what he had planned, as it always did, and had selected a suitable sword for him, similar in size to the wooden one. Luke wasn't hindered by the new weight at his side as he went in search of Draco.
After explaining the situation to the blonde in the library, all that was left to do was to wait.
It took Luke a few minutes to remember the chain of events that had brought him face to face with the monster currently in front of him. In between the screaming pain of his scar and him trying to remember his training, he reminded himself just what he'd lost to get here. Ron was badly hurt, probably dead, in a room scattered with broken chess pieces. Draco had been assaulted by a swarm of maniacal flying keys, and the last that had been seen of him was his bleeding form fleeing through a window. Hermione was trapped by magical flames, unable to escape and all alone. They had sacrificed everything to give him this chance, and here he was, blowing it.
Professor Quirrel waved his wand and Luke's wand flew from his hand, clattering off to the side somewhere. The redhead scowled, head throbbing, and went for his sword instead. A spell passed a fraction of an inch from him and he flinched.
"Don't try anything funny, Potter," the professor purred. "Come forward, now, don't hesitate. Tell me, do you know the secret of this mirror?"
Luke glared at the mirror that had given him far too many nightmares than he'd care to admit. "It shows you what you want," he answered. "Dumbledore must have a crappy sense of humor if he put it here." Without really wanting to he walked forward so that he was within arm's reach, ever mindful of the wand pointed at him.
"Why don't you get in there and look, hm? Tell me what you see."
Luke didn't want to. He knew he'd see his mother and it would make his heart hurt, would only serve to remind him that he wasn't home. But the wand was a good motivator and, reluctantly, he stepped into the mirror's view.
He ignored the prickle of tears. His mother was caressing the mirror-him's cheek, though oddly he was dressed in the very same clothes the real him was wearing. The dirtied jeans and gold shirt contrasted sharply with his mother's clean gown, adding to the surreality of the situation. Entranced, he watched.
Luke's mother ruffled his hair, brushed the tears from his cheeks, and spoke to him. He couldn't hear the words, but he could see her lips move. He thought she said, "I'm proud of you, and I love you." It was what he wanted more than anything to hear his mother say again.
Then things turned stranger. His mother took something from her pocket and slipped it into his, and he thought he saw her say, "Take good care of this, my dear." That wouldn't have been strange, except Luke could feel the weight of the object settle into his pocket.
Quirrel poked him sharply. "What do you see?" he demanded.
"I saw my mother," Luke admitted, refraining from adding the "you idiot" that so wanted to spill from his lips. "I wish I didn't see her, because I wish I was with her." He stepped away, hating that he didn't have to fake wiping the tears from his eyes. "Happy?"
Quirrel shoved him away so he could look in the mirror. Temporarily forgotten about, Luke set about searching for his wand. He thought it had fallen over here…
Then a voice issued from seemingly nowhere. "He lied to us, he has the stone! Search him!"
Luke's hand closed on his wand and he scooped it up, though he didn't bring it to bear. Instead he gathered a handful of fonons and sent them right at Quirrel's face. The professor swore and skipped backwards, a spell blasting from the end of his wand that whistled past Luke's ear. Luke drew his sword and charged at the other man, driven by adrenaline and fear and the determination that he wouldn't die.
The disembodied voice called for Quirrel to stand up, to kill Luke, but the child was faster. He didn't even register what he'd done until he was staring at the unmoving body on the floor, his sword clattering to the ground because his bloodied fingers couldn't hold it. Red splashed over his clothes, his face, his hair, and fanned out on the ground around him.
Luke, desperate to stop Quirrel, had run his sword through him. Now he stared at the man, wide eyes not really understand what had happened. He knew that he was training so he could kill people. He'd seen people die; Van had murdered the knights protecting him, had picked him up with bloodstained hands and shoved him in that hole in the ground. He knew what it was that he'd intended to do, but now he realized that he didn't understand just what it meant to take someone's life.
His legs failed him and he fell to the floor, where he stayed until Dumbledore and others barreled into the room to find him. Woodenly he told them what had gone on, retrieved the blood-red stone from his pocket and handed it over.
Something was pressed into his hands, a cup of warm liquid, and, uncaring, he drained it. He didn't even mind when warm blackness dragged him down.
When he awoke, the sun was just rising. He hadn't dreamt at all that night and for a moment he was confused about where he was. Then the white ceiling and curtained beds registered and he realized that he was in the Hospital Wing.
"You all right, Luke?" a voice asked from next to him. The redhead looked over to see Draco looking at him. The blonde bore no signs of the vicious assault he'd endured at the hands of enchanted keys, and Luke felt relief. But remembering that brought back the rest of it and he felt sick suddenly.
"I guess not," Ron's voice observed. "Just make sure to hit the bucket, mate."
A few minutes later Luke was sipping water and sending Ron his best glare. Draco, despite the circumstances, was snickering quietly behind his hand.
"What happened?" Ron asked. "Dumbledore won't tell us what happened but you were covered in blood. They said you weren't hurt, though…"
Luke was relieved when he realized he was wearing pajamas rather than his bloodstained clothes. "Quirrel was the one behind everything, not Snape," he admitted. "He tried to kill me, so I killed him first." His stomach clenched when he said the last part but he determinedly swallowed. "I'm sorry I killed him, but…"
A hand on his arm startled him and he turned to look at Draco, who had slipped out of bed to comfort him. "He was trying to kill you, and you had no choice," the blonde said bluntly. "But killing people isn't something you should be happy about. Your remorse means you're human. Don't lose that."
Luke felt a bit better; knowing that he was supposed to feel terrible about killing someone was strangely comforting. Although, he wondered just where Draco had gotten that knowledge.
"Young Mr. Malfoy is quite correct," a new voice put in. Luke glared at the smiling Headmaster, hand spasming where his sword hilt usually was. "Though I do wish that circumstances had been different. Where did you get the sword, Harry?"
"It doesn't matter, since you have it now," Luke said bitterly. "What's going to happen to the Philosopher's Stone?"
"It's been destroyed. Quirrel was acting at the behest of the Dark Lord; if he'd gotten the Stone, he'd have been able to revive the Dark Lord and… well. It won't happen now so it's best not to dwell on it." Dumbledore smoothed his robes. "You won't be bothered about defending yourself, Harry, I will personally see to it. However, under the circumstances, I feel it best to keep your swords until you're older."
"You can't!" Luke cried, correctly assuming that Dumbledore was going to take his wooden sword from him as well. He shook off Draco's hand and tried to get to his feet, but he got tangled up in the blankets and ended up falling to the floor. Giving up, he at least dragged his torso upright to glare at the headmaster. "You're going to go back on your word, Headmaster?"
"You've left me no choice. I never intended for you to know what it is to kill, Harry. Now all I can do is ensure you never can again." Dumbledore looked remorseful.
"I'll help him," Draco said bravely. "You know You-Know-Who is going to try to kill Luke, even if he's just a spirit right now. Knowing him, he'll find out how to bring himself back to life, and then Luke's going to be in danger. He's my friend, and I refuse to leave him defenseless. If you won't get him a sword, Headmaster, I will."
"I agree. Without that sword, Quirrel would have killed Luke," Ron pointed out. "It's not fair to leave him defenseless like that."
Dumbledore regarded both boys while Luke disentangled himself and climbed back into bed. "It is good to know that he has such loyal friends," he said after a moment. "Your point is made. But Harry, promise me that you won't wield real swords until such time as I tell you. You're still so young, and I don't want you to have to bear that burden."
"I will promise to try, Headmaster," Luke nodded. "But if a situation arises and I require a weapon… I won't back down." He still felt a bit sick and knew he'd have nightmares, but he also knew that he'd have to kill in the future. He was going to kill Van, he'd sworn to. And if Dumbledore had a hand in his mother's death by keeping him here…
Luke purposely put that thought to the back of his mind.
"As you cannot predict the future, I will accept that, for now." Dumbledore didn't look pleased, but at least he'd agreed. "It's time for me to take my leave, however, as it seems you all have visitors. I'll see you all in the Great Hall."
Luke, Ron, and Draco were released from the Hospital Wing at the end of that day. Hermione had come to keep them all company, as she'd been the only one to escape their little adventure unscathed. She brought with her a multitude of goodies from other members of their House. Draco wasn't left to the wayside, either; some friends from Ravenclaw had dropped in on them as well.
Luke did have nightmares, but by the end of the school year they had mostly faded. Exams and preparing to depart Hogwarts distracted him, and then it was time to leave.
Him, Ron, Hermione, and Draco were sitting in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express, playing and laughing and just generally pretending that nothing eventful had happened in the year. Secreted away in his trunk, Luke had several books to hold him over for the summer. He wasn't planning on neglecting his training, as the wooden sword tucked next to his trunk attested.
But it wasn't near him; in the train compartment, Luke didn't feel like he needed to have it at hand. He felt safe without it. That was a refreshing feeling and he was cheerful throughout the trip.
Finally, though, the train pulled into the station. Luke was dressed in clothes that Hermione described as Muggle – more jeans, a t-shirt proclaiming that London was the best place on Earth, and some strange shoes she called sneakers. They felt heavy on his feet and he eyed them distastefully, but they were comfortable.
Disembarking the train was hard. Molly Weasley immediately tried to smother him, and he dodged with grace, purposely not twitching towards the sword that was once again on his waist. She looked disappointed but turned her attention to Ron instead.
"I'll write you," Draco promised Luke. "Even if my father doesn't approve."
"I'll return the favor," Luke grinned. "See you next year."
That's it for book one! I'll post book 2 once I finish it - although I may hold off and finish Book 3 at the same time since (due to plot reasons) not much will be happening. I hope people are enjoying this so far. It's quite fun to write! So, I'll see everyone next time!