So much for trying to nab the rat while it was in the cage. Harry thought with a huff.
He had planned to wake up early to swipe the cage out from under Ron's nose before the other boy woke up, only to find that Ron had thrown away the cage in favor of carrying the rat around in his pocket as before. With Percy already up and getting dressed, there was no way Harry could carry out his plan. Frustrated, Harry resigned himself to going down for breakfast in the parlor, where Mr Weasley was already up and reading the front page of the Daily Prophet. Tom served them their food first before heading upstairs to go wake the rest of their party.
The two of them were soon joined by the female members of the group, all happily chatting with each other. Hermione and Ginny seemed to be very interested in Mrs Weasley's stories about what she did when she was young, but Harry was too preoccupied with his failure to pay them much attention.
Not all plans go smoothly, Harry. Archer told him, but the spirit's tone indicated that he was amused to see Harry get thrown off by an unexpected turn of events.
Looking up as he heard stomping coming down the stairs, the white-haired boy saw Ron enter, followed by Fred and George, who were congratulating him despite the grimace on his face.
Recognizing that whatever was going on wouldn't lead to anything good should their mother hear about it, Harry leaned in close to ask softly, "What happened?"
"Percy." Ron replied, annoyed. "He's accusing me of dripping tea on his photo of Penelope Clearwater."
Harry didn't recognize the name. "Who?"
"It's Percy's girlfriend." George mock-gushed.
"We found out about it on the train back to London last year, remember?" Fred explained to Harry, who could barely recall something like that happening.
"Anyway, she's hidden her face under the frame because her nose has gone all blotchy..." Ron interrupted to continue explaining.
"Like we said, Ron," Fred clapped him on the back, "Brilliant work."
"At this rate, we'll have competition for annoying Prefect Percy." George did the same, making Ron wince.
"Oh wait, that's Bighead Boy Percy now."
"What are you boys talking about over there?" Mrs Weasley raised her head to demand from across the table."
They busied themselves with the food after that, though Harry kept an eye on the lump on Ron's chest, where Scabbers the rat was curled up. After that, they went to prepare for the ride to the train station. Harry quickly slipped out to grab some last minute items from Diagon Alley, which was just opening.
Having packed most of his things last night, the hardest task Harry had was waiting for Ilya to decide whether she wanted to fly ahead to Hogwarts first, or get into her cage for the ride on the train. Whenever he thought she was going to fly ahead and made to pack the cage away, the snowy owl would flap her wings and make a lot of noise to get him to stop, but when he opened the door for her to enter, she would just keep turning her head between it and the window, as though trying to make up her mind. But for the others, the departure was a scene of chaos; they were busy heaving their assorted trunks down the narrow staircase of the Leaky Cauldron, and Harry could hear a lot of noise through the closed door of his room.
By the time Ilya finally decided to get into her cage so Harry could bring it downstairs, there was a heap of trunks waiting next to the door, along with another cage containing Percy's screech owl, Hermes, and a wickerwork basket emitting loud spitting sounds.
"It's all right, Crookshanks," Hermione cooed at the basket, "I'll let you out on the train."
"You won't," Ron snapped, "What about poor Scabbers, eh?"
"Put him in the cage you got, Ron," Harry told him, frowning. "That's what it's for."
Before Ron could say anything, Mr Weasley, who had been outside waiting for their transportation, stuck his head inside to interrupt.
"They're here," The man said, "Harry, come on."
His attention on Ron, Harry didn't notice anything strange about that. But Archer, observing from the inside, noted how the adult male had called Harry first instead of any of his sons, and also stuck closely by Harry on the way to one of the two cars waiting outside, looking up and down the crowded street in an overly cautious manner.
Harry picked up on it just as he was getting into the car. They're really worried about Black coming after me, aren't they?
Yes, they are. And just because you know that Black is after the rat instead of you, doesn't mean you should let your guard down. Archer chided him.
Got it. Harry looked around at the vehicle he was in, as well as the one behind him.
Both cars had an old-fashioned design and were dark green in color, while the wizards who drove them also wore suits of emerald velvet, though both had a furtive air about them that put Harry on edge.
Why green? Is the person who chose these cars a Slytherin alumni or what? Harry briefly wondered, before his attention was drawn by Hermione and Ron joining him, followed by Percy, whose presence clearly ticked Ron off.
Despite Harry's misgivings, the journey to King's Cross was very uneventful, with Percy's presence keeping conversation in the car to a minimum. Harry was more preoccupied with some of the extraordinary tricks the cars could do, such as sliding through gaps that they shouldn't have been able to with their size, and when he alerted Hermione by nudging her with his elbow, she too focused on trying to figure out how they did it.
They reached King's Cross with twenty minutes till the train's departure, and Harry took the opportunity to analyze the cars while the Ministry drivers went to find them trolleys and unload their trunks. Quickly memorizing what he could of the spatial charms that covered the vehicles, Harry found himself being led into the station by Mr Weasley, who stuck close to his side.
If I wasn't suspicious before, I would be now. Harry thought as he listened to the man give instructions on how they would pass through the barrier.
Imitating the man as he casually approached the barrier between platforms nine and ten, Harry leaned against the barrier and easily slipped through, emerging onto platform nine and three-quarters, where the Hogwarts Express awaited. The train engine was already puffing out smoke, which hung over the witches and wizards who were seeing their children onto the train.
Harry stepped aside, just as Percy and Ginny appeared through the barrier, panting. Apparently they had taken it at a run.
"Ah, there's Penelope!" Percy smoothed his hair back, and strode over to a girl with long curly hair, his face pinking slightly.
Ginny caught Harry's eye and turned away to hide her laughter, while he smirked as he saw the way Percy was throwing out his chest so as to show off the shiny badge pinned there. He took another look at Penelope, and finally recalled that she was the Prefect he saw in Percy's company before, and now Head Girl to Percy's Head Boy.
Once the remaining Weasleys and Hermione had joined them, Harry and Mr Weasley led the way down the platform. Just as they were passing by the sixth carriage, Harry heard someone calling his and Hermione's names, and they stopped to look.
"Harry! Hermione! Over here!" Hannah and Neville were leaning out of a window, waving to them. "We saved you seats!"
Harry could see the other members of the Student Council through the window, and he glanced at Mr Weasley, who seemed kind of torn. "Thanks for seeing us this far, Mr Weasley." He said to the man, and turned to get his trunk from the trolley.
Hermione joined him, and they loaded their trunks onto the carriage, with Ilya and Crookshanks going into the luggage rack. When they looked into the compartment, there was only space enough for the two of them. Ron sneered at Draco when he saw the blond Slytherin, who responded likewise, and went off in a huff to find somewhere else to sit, followed by his siblings, who said goodbye to Harry and Hermione first.
"Had a good summer, Harry?" Su asked him.
"It was interesting." With so much stuff happening, how could it not be?
Hermione interrupted before the questioning could really start. "Harry, we should go say goodbye to Mr and Mrs Weasley."
That's good manners, Harry. Archer added his agreement.
Nodding, Harry looked around at the others in the compartment. "We'll be back in a bit."
Mrs Weasley was kissing all her children goodbye, then Hermione, and with great reluctance on his part, Harry. Just as she started giving out lunch sandwiches, Mr Weasley called out to him quietly. Seeing the man indicate a pillar with a jerk of his head, Harry followed, keeping an eye on the crowd.
"There's something I got to tell you before you leave." The man's tone was tense. "It's about Sirius Black."
"What, is he after me or something?" Harry asked innocently, his tone joking.
"Wha- How could you know?"
"Huh? You mean he really is after me?" Harry was enjoying himself a little. "But why?"
"I know you must be scared, Harry-" Mr Weasley tried to reassure him.
"Not really," was Harry's immediate reply, "I don't think I'm in any danger from him, honestly speaking."
"I know you're, well, made of stronger stuff than Fudge seems to think, but I don't really think you understand-"
"Arthur!" Mrs Weasley's call interrupted what her husband was about to say. "Arthur, what are you doing? It's about to go!"
"He's coming, Molly!" Mr Weasley shouted back, before turning to Harry and continuing to speak in a low and more hurried voice. "Listen, I want you to give me your word-"
"That I won't go looking for Black?" Harry guessed. Everyone thinks that Black killed my parents, so they must think I'll go after him in revenge if I 'knew'.
"That you won't-" Mr Weasley paused as he registered what Harry had said. "Yes, that you won't go looking for Black." He finished somewhat lamely.
Harry shrugged. "Sure, no problem. I'm hoping for a quiet year this year, actually." My target isn't Black anyway. Besides, he won't be anywhere near Hogwarts.
There was a loud whistle, and guards started walking along the train slamming the doors shut.
"Gotta go, Mr Weasley! Thanks for everything!" Harry said quickly, and dashed for the train door. "Bye, Mrs Weasley!" He said to the woman as he passed by her.
"Harry, wait!" He heard Mr Weasley call, but didn't turn around.
He rejoined the rest of his friends in their compartment, and they squeezed up to make space for him between Hermione and Su. Outside the window, the Hogwarts Express was leaving London and travelling through the countryside.
"What were you doing, Harry? You nearly missed the train!" Hermione chided him.
"I didn't miss it, did I?" Harry retorted, though not unkindly. "Anyway, how was everyone's summer?"
That set off a loud discussion as everyone wanted to share what they had been doing; Hermione was talking about her time in France, Su had tales about outings with her parents, Hannah had lots of funny stories to tell about customers who came to her relative's restaurant where she was working, and even Draco had something to say about his vacation to the continent. The only one who didn't have much to tell was Neville, who spent most of his time at home working on the plants in his greenhouses.
Compared to everyone's experiences, Harry's account of what Japan was like was far more fascinating, especially when he described the magical school there, Mahoutokoro. When more of his friends came looking for him, such as Daphne and Tracey from Slytherin, Luna, Kevin, and Lisa from Ravenclaw, Susan, Justin and Cedric from Hufflepuff, they all stayed to listen to what he had to tell, making the place extremely cramped. There was a lot of exchanging of souvenirs for those who went on vacation, and eventually Harry shooed the rest out, citing Council business.
"So what do you all have planned for this year?" He asked Hannah.
"Well, first we're going to introduce ourselves to the new first-years, to make sure that they can come to us for help." Hannah began, "We'll hold orientation for them as a whole group in the evening, to lead them around the castle so they can learn how to get to their classes."
"For funds, we'll try to sell them maps and other proven study guides." Su glanced at Hermione, clearly hoping to get the bushy-haired girl's help for that. "That way, we can raise enough for future events."
There were a few other things they had planned, but nothing in the immediate schedule, so talk turned to the matter of Hogsmeade instead.
"I've read it's the only entirely non-Mundane settlement in Britain-" Hermione volunteered. "But what else do you all know about it?"
"It is." Draco answered, though he didn't look directly at her. "I haven't been there since I was young, but I recall this sweetshop with just about everything."
Hannah pointed at Draco. "I know that place. Honeydukes. Sometimes my relatives bring me something from there as a birthday present."
"But Hogsmeade's a very interesting place, isn't it?" Hermione continued, her eagerness evident. "In Sites of Historical Sorcery it says the inn was the headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion, and the Shrieking Shack's supposed to be the most severely haunted building in Britain-"
"I heard some things about it too," Neville added his input, "There are some similar stores to those in Diagon Alley, such as a Post Office, a joke shop, even branch shops for Ollivander's and cauldrons."
Su and Harry, the only two people who didn't know much about that place, listened to the discussion with fascination.
If this place is a wizard-only settlement, maybe there might be some interesting magic books there. Harry thought to himself.
Really, it makes me wonder why you aren't a Ravenclaw with that attitude. Archer sighed.
Hey, learning new magic is interesting, okay?
"Oh, that reminds me." Hannah suddenly spoke up. "The Wizarding Wireless Network station is in Hogsmeade as well. It's one of the places we have planned for a student outing."
That would make it a very important place should a war happen, won't it? Harry recalled the few books he had read on war strategy. Dissemination of information...
I don't think you'll need to care about that right now, though. Archer told him.
"Everyone has all got their permission form signed, right?" Su asked, and received nods in response.
Harry had his suspicions about whether he would still be allowed to go with Black being on the loose, and decided to start thinking up ideas on how to counter any obstacles in his way. After so many experiences with people interfering in his life, he wasn't going to assume that he would be exempt now.
"Oh yeah, I got a new pet from Diagon Alley yesterday." Hermione got up to take Crookshanks's basket down from the luggage rack. "Here it is. Everyone, meet Crookshanks."
She opened the basket, and Crookshanks leapt out from it, before looking around and selecting Hannah's lap as the one to spring onto. Harry excused himself from the compartment to go look for the rest of his friends.
As time passed, he found each of them in separate compartments, always with other members of their respective Houses. He joined Justin and Ernie for several small games, discussed books and magical creatures with Lisa and Luna, avoided getting his photo taken by Colin Creevey, talked Quidditch with the female members of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, and ate lunch from the food cart witch together with Daphne and Tracey, who had stories of their own to tell.
Harry also checked in on Ron as his brothers, with the motive of confirming the rat's continued presence.
"Ron. Fred, George" Harry nodded to the redhead and his siblings, before noticing there was a fourth person in the compartment. "Who's he?" He dropped his voice so as not to wake the sleeping person.
The man already stood out due to him looking too old to be a student at Hogwarts, though he was still quite young. He also wore wizard's robes that looked like they had been taken from a charity bin, with self-done repairs in several places. Most of all, the man looked ill and exhausted, with quite a number of white hairs among the light brown.
"He's probably this year's Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher." George answered.
"Name's Lupin." Fred gestured up at the luggage rack, where a small case tied with a lot of knotted string bore the name Professor R. J. Lupin on a corner.
"He hasn't woken since we got here, not even when the food cart came by." Ron's tone reflected his disbelief at how anyone could have slept through lunch.
Your first teacher in that subject tried to kill you, the second was pretty much useless in teaching, I wonder how this one will fare? Archer mused.
Shush, don't jinx me. And I think I encountered his name somewhere before. Just can't recall where... Harry blinked and turned away from the man, to face Ron instead. "Oh yeah, Ron."
"You might want to keep Scabbers close to you." Harry warned. "Hermione's let out her cat."
The redhead stared blankly back, before turning slightly red. "How's Scabbers going to get any rest with that monster prowling around?" He demanded.
"You have- had a cage." Harry reminded him. "And besides, as long as you keep Scabbers in your room, there shouldn't be a problem." He then turned his attention to the twins. "By the way, this year is your OWLs year, right?"
They nodded simultaneously. "Don't worry," George said, "We'll do our utmost best-"
"To meet the minimum requirements." Fred completed.
"Your Mom's going scream at you for that." Harry smirked, knowing that they weren't the slightest bit discouraged by that. "Anyway, I better go. See you later at the Welcoming Feast."
He left the compartment with their farewells following him, and made his way back to the Student Council compartment, dodging a few excited kids running amok in the corridor.
I suppose it's because there's really not much else to do on the train if you didn't bring something to do. Harry reflected as he pressed himself to the side of the corridor for the third time to avoid getting run over.
The prefects aren't really doing a good job of keeping order. Archer added his observation.
Well then, I guess the Student Council had better step up, shouldn't they? A grin appeared on Harry's face as he made his way back to the compartment.
The rest of the Student Council didn't need much convincing to go along with what Harry had in mind, and after enlisting some help from their other friends, they split up to go about their task. First they corralled the rowdy students up, and asked them to go back into their respective compartments so the Council members could talk to them about what they had planned for Hogwarts, before answering any questions they might have.
Harry made sure to put Hermione and Neville together, so that her memory for details would help counter his forgetfulness while he would help restrain her from overfilling her audience's heads with details. Hannah worked well enough with Su, so he let them team up together. What was important was that he was partnered with Draco.
The blonde seemed to have regressed a little over the summer; he showed a tendency to dismiss those who were obviously of non-magical parentage, choosing to step back to let Harry explain things to those students instead, and even when he did speak, it was with a superior tone.
"I heard some people were attacked near your home over the summer." Draco mentioned to Harry as they left another compartment after saying their piece.
Probably heard it through his father's connections. Harry knew that Lucius Malfoy was very well-connected, even in the Ministry of Magic. "Yes, I got questioned by the Aurors. No idea who did it though."
"My father's curious to know who would attack wizards of such noble blood, but so far the investigations have gone nowhere." Draco confided.
"I'm curious to know why such people would be near my home in the first place, actually." Harry replied casually.
The other boy thought for a moment before replying. "They probably had their own matters to handle."
Yeah, like try to attack the place I live. Harry turned away just in case his thoughts leaked through to his expression, instead knocking on the next compartment door to introduce himself and Draco to the fourth-years inside.
When they finally finished, the various pairs reconvened in their original compartment to compare results. The overall reaction to the Student Council was one of interest, especially since the students in Harry's year and above could remember some of the events the small group had organized before. In fact, with the expanded variety of things to do now that they could go to Hogsmeade, many third-years were looking forward to see what the Council had planned for this year. This was encouraging to all of them, especially Hannah, who had been worried about whether she could handle the responsibility of the Council President well.
By mid-afternoon, rain had started falling, blurring the scenery outside the window. Thanks to the efforts of the Student Council, the entire train was quieter, and most of the students seemed content to take a nap now that there wasn't any noise to interrupt their sleep. With that in mind, Harry's group of friends shuffled around, resulting in three groups, those who wished to enjoy a nap, those who preferred to play games, and those who wished to do something quiet on their own.
Harry sat together with Hermione, Su, Luna, and Daphne, all of them with a book in front of them. Lisa and Kevin had been a part of their group earlier when they were discussing the textbooks for the elective classes, but left to join those who were sleeping after the conversation died down. The remaining five just settled down to read what they had; Harry was reviewing his notes on sealing and runework, Hermione held one of Harry's extra purchases on Runes, Su was reading a teen fiction story, Luna had a copy of the Quibbler sideways in front of her, and Daphne was leaning slightly against Harry's side with a mystery novel.
I wonder why Hermione keeps looking at me like that... Harry wondered, peeking up from his notebook to see Hermione drop her intense gaze back down to her own book. Must be because I have Crookshanks on my lap. He stroked the cat, which purred under his touch.
His attention returned to his notebook; encouraged by his success with creating a bracelet to channel magical energy through a gem to produce a mystical flame, Harry now had several ideas to experiment with so that he could minimize the array small enough to fit on a ring. Something told him that one of them would be the one that worked, and he was looking forward to trying it out once he got settled in at Hogwarts.
The rain continued to increase as the train traveled further northwards, until the only thing that could be seen in the windows was a shimmering grey veil. As the outside darkened further, the lanterns within the train lit up, providing a little bit of illumination to contrast the now black windows.
The train started to slow down, causing Harry and his friends to look up.
Lucky one of the books mentioned a charm to protect against bad weather. I wouldn't want to go outside in this storm. Harry glanced at the window, hearing the rain batter against the glass.
"That's odd." Hermione said, checking her watch. "We can't be there yet. It's too early."
"So why are we stopping?" Su questioned.
Harry could feel the train's speed dropping even further, and he stood up to look out into the corridor, handing an annoyed Crookshanks back to his owner. Along the carriage, he could see several people were doing the same, curiosity on their faces.
"Harry? What's going on?" Hannah asked from the compartment next to his.
"I don't know." He replied. Why would we be stopping before we reached Hogwarts?
He sensed Archer's cautiousness, and mentally prepared himself for combat. When the train suddenly jolted to a halt, he barely shifted, though he heard several thuds and bangs in the distance indicating luggage falling off the racks. Then, all of a sudden, every lamp went out, turning the inside of the train pitch-black. There were shouts of surprise from the students, and Harry automatically Reinforced his ears to compensate.
Harry, get everyone to stay in their compartments! Archer warned.
"Everyone stay in your compartments and close the doors! Now!" Harry shouted, putting a stern tone of command in his voice. "There's something out there!" He lied to make them act.
He heard several bangs of the doors sliding shut, as the confused students did as he ordered, but there were several voices speaking as well, asking the question on everyone's minds: What was happening?
"How do you know that, Harry?" Hermione asked from behind him, but before he could reply, Harry heard Hannah's voice calling out to him softly.
"Is there really something out there, Harry?"
"I don't know." He confessed to both of them.
There was a squeaking sound behind him, and Harry turned to see a dim black outline of a girl wiping part of the window clean to peer out.
"No, you're right." Daphne's voice came from the figure. "There's something moving around outside the train."
Another girl joined her at the window. "It looks like people are coming aboard..." Luna murmured.
Harry peeked out; he could see several sources of light, created by students who didn't wish to stay in the dark. But the points of light looked strange; they appeared to have shadows encroaching on their field of illumination. Then suddenly he felt something eerie enter the range of his senses, and recoiled back. Slamming the door shut, he yanked out his wand and started casting all the locking charms he knew.
"Something not human is out there in the corridor!" Harry snapped out, backing up further against the window with his wand pointed at the locked door.
The girls copied him, staying as far away from the door as they could. "What about the others?"
Just as he opened his mouth to answer, the door rattled, as though something on the other side was trying to open it. But with no light, none of them could see what was on the other side of the glass pane in the door.
"Lumos!" Hermione cast, and aimed the beam from her wand at the door.
Su let out a small scream, and Harry felt Daphne's hands squeeze his arm tightly in fear. The light cast by Hermione's wand wavered as her hand shook, but she kept it aimed at the door, and the thing that stood behind it.
It towered to the ceiling, wearing a black cloak that hid its face completely. From what they could see through the frosting glass, it had taken hold of the door handle and was trying to open it.
Wait, frosting? Harry realized, seeing the ice spreading over the surface of the glass. Everyone's breath is misting as well...
"Wh-wh-why is i-i-it so co-cold?" Su asked, her teeth chattering.
"Th-that's a De-De-Dementor!" Daphne exclaimed. "A-An Azkaban gu-guard!"
The door's rattling grew even stronger, and Harry gritted his teeth as whatever effect the thing's presence had intensified, affecting all of them. Archer!
...ing's wrong... The spirit's voice was faint, but the blueprint of a Black Key's hilt appeared in Harry's mind.
As the door continued to shake even harder, Harry's ears picked up a rushing noise, one that wasn't due to the rain pouring outside. It grew louder, and suddenly there were screams as well, full of terror and pleading.
Danger. Someone's in danger. Harry's circuits sprang to life. The others, in the other compartments. Have to save them.
Then he felt something appear between the fingers of his left hand, and surged forward-
HARRY! Archer's voice rang in his head.
Harry blinked, and looked around. The lanterns above him were lit, and the floor was shaking; the Hogwarts Express was moving again, and the darkness earlier seemed like a dream. He was standing the corridor, among broken glass and wood, as well as several strips of black cloth. Harry shifted slightly, and suddenly found his legs unable to support him; he fell to the side, right into the arms of someone.
"Are you okay?" He heard a hoarse male voice ask.
It was the man he saw earlier, Lupin. He looked down at Harry, who stared back uncomprehendingly.
"Wh-what happened?" Harry croaked out, feeling very weak. Then he remembered. "W-wait! I heard screaming! Is everyone okay?" He demanded, struggling to stand up properly.
"No one screamed." Daphne spoke from where she stood near the entrance to the compartment, which Harry noticed had no door.
What happened, Archer? Harry asked the hero, hoping that the spirit knew. Did I break down the door?
I don't know. Everything went black. I barely managed to help you Trace the Black Keys. Archer's tone was troubled.
"Let's get you seated." Lupin hefted Harry into the compartment, taking care not to brush against the splinters sticking out from the broken frame.
He found the girls looking back at him, all very pale. Daphne and Hermione reached out, then paused to look at each other, before continuing on to guide him onto his seat. Now that Lupin no longer had to carry him, the man began to wave his wand at the wreckage, causing it to rise off the floor and fly back to reform the door.
"Could somebody tell me what happened? I remember Hermione... shining a light on that thing, then..." Harry racked his memory, but couldn't recall what came next.
"Well... that thing... the Dementor..." Hermione kept hesitating with her words. "It kept trying to open the door... then you suddenly rushed forward... and... and..."
"You shot something at it through the glass." Daphne added, "Then you cut through the door with several blades in your left hand."
"I did?" Harry asked, looking at the hand in question, while thinking, I used Tracing in front of them!
Su nodded when he looked at her, but she didn't say anything else.
"I think you cut that thing or something, but it was moving away when something silvery came and chased it away," Daphne continued. "Then you just stopped and stayed standing there even after the lights came on and he came here." She directed a look at Lupin to indicate who she was referring to.
Harry turned to look just as the man broke a huge slab of chocolate in his hands, having already finished repairing the door. The sound seemed uncomfortably loud after the earlier silence, and he felt Hermione jump in shock.
"Here," Lupin said to Harry, handing him a large piece. "Eat it. It'll help."
"How?" Harry asked as he took the chocolate, but didn't eat it.
"Chocolate counters the effect of a Dementor." Lupin explained. "Now eat, it'll help. I need to speak to the driver, so excuse me..."
He strolled out of the compartment, and suddenly the rest of Harry's friends came in, firing questions right away.
"What happened in here?"
"Who was that?"
"Why do you have chocolate?"
It took quite a while for everyone to calm down, but they eventually managed to do so and get details from everyone who went through the experience. Most of them described it as one of the worst experiences they ever had, in addition to the freezing chill the Dementor had brought with it, while the ones who didn't share their experiences didn't say anything at all.
Harry was still feeling weak and shivery, as though he was recovering from a bad illness. Absently, he bit into the chocolate in his hand, and to his surprise felt warmth filling his body. Huh... so chocolate really does work.
"Who was that man anyway?" Hermione wondered.
"I saw him in the compartment the Weasleys were in." Harry mumbled, just loud enough for everyone to hear. "He's the new Defense teacher. Professor Lupin."
"Excuse me, could you let me through?"
Those in the compartment looked up at the sound of that voice, just as Lupin came back in. He looked around at them, seemingly surprised to see more students than he recalled being in the compartment, before pulling out more chocolate to give out.
"Don't worry, it's not poisoned." Lupin said with a small smile. "It'll help with the cold you're feeling."
Soon the sound of chocolate crunching in the mouths of young students filled the compartment, as well as gasps of surprise as it accomplished what the teacher promised it would do.
"We'll be at Hogwarts in ten minutes," The new professor said to them before looking at Harry. "Are you alright, Harry?"
Harry nodded. "Fine." So many people knew him already it wasn't a surprise that this man did as well.
There wasn't much talking during the remainder of the journey, apart from what was going on in Harry's head. His friends kept glancing at him, as though afraid he was going to snap again, and he noticed Hermione studying a scrap of black cloth in her hand, which he assumed came from the Dementor's cloak.
So that was a Dementor of Azkaban. Harry thought as he settled back with his arms crossed. The description in the books really doesn't do justice to the actual experience.
It really doesn't. Archer agreed.
Harry noticed something odd about the spirit. Archer... did it affect you too?
Archer didn't reply for a few seconds. A little. He finally admitted.
And it was affecting the link between us as well...
But it appears that the Black Keys do affect them. Archer said, his arms also crossed. So as long as you Trace them in time, you should be able to fend off a Dementor.
There's still that mental effect to consider though. Harry objected.
Hmm... come to think of it, your friend Daphne mentioned something 'silvery' chasing it away. Perhaps it's a spell cast by that Lupin?
Harry recalled that scene as well, although it was a bit sketchy in his mind. Ah, so there's a spell that works against them! He made a mental note to ask Lupin about it the first chance he got.
Looks like you already have something to consult your new teacher on. Archer smiled.
After what seemed like hours, the train stopped at Hogsmeade station, and there was a great scramble to get off the train, as though fleeing the memory of what had happened earlier within. Harry could see many pale faces in the crowd, and several appeared to have been crying. Most of the noise came from the pets owned by the humans; owls hooted, cats meowed, and even Neville's pet toad Trevor could be heard croaking loudly underneath his hat.
Seeing that the rain was still pouring outside, Harry pulled out his wand and began casting the weather protection charm on himself and his friends. It was still cold, but at least the rain didn't touch them, instead running off a thin invisible shell wrapped around their bodies.
"Thanks, Harry." Justin said, looking himself over. "But don't force yourself too hard. You still feel weak, don't you?"
He was right; Harry still felt a little unsteady on his feet.
"Firs' years this way!" He heard Hagrid's voice calling from the end of the platform.
The man was beckoning to the new students, to take them on their traditional journey across the lake as first-years. Grimacing, Harry raised his wand to cast the same spell on them, only to find a hand pushing his arm down.
"You idiot. They'll be fine. We were." Neville told him, before taking another look at Harry. "Let's get him to the castle quickly. Somebody clear a path!"
Draco nodded and took the lead; he found Crabbe and Goyle from the crowd and had them shove their way through the scrum of students so Harry could pass through without having to squeeze, supported by Neville and Hermione.
They made their way off the platform and onto a rough mud track, where at least a hundred stagecoaches awaited the second-years and above, each pulled by a Thestral. Once they climbed into one of them and shut the door, the coach started moving, bumping and swaying over the rough road.
Harry was already feeling better, especially with the chocolate helping, but as the carriage made its way towards the gates of Hogwarts, he saw two more towering, hooded Dementors standing guard on either side. Another wave of cold passed over him, and Harry tensed up a little as Archer supplied the necessary blueprint again. However, the Dementors made no move and the coach continued past the gates unmolested.
He noticed Hermione looking at him sideways, but she turned to look out the window when he looked at her directly. Looks like she's worried about me. Harry realized.
Archer hummed, the sound oddly mocking.
The carriage picked up speed on the slope going up to the castle, and the ride became smoother as the path beneath the wheels had less bumps. Hermione leaned out of the small window, looking at the turrets and towers approach. Finally, in front of the stone steps leading up to the front door, the horse-drawn vehicle stopped, and Harry got out, followed by Hermione and Neville.
Thanks to their friends, their ride was one of the first to reach the school, so the three of them waited to one side for the rest of their group to catch up. Draco came first, followed by the other Slytherins, then the Hufflepuffs, and finally the Ravenclaws. Harry also caught sight of the Weasleys at the back just as he was making his way into the huge Entrance Hall, which was lit by torches on the walls.
The entrance to the Great Hall where the Welcoming Feast was held was to the right of the magnificent marble staircase that led to the upper floors of the castle, and Harry followed the crowd. Just as he crossed the threshold of the doors, however, someone called out to him.
"Potter! Granger! I want to see you both!" Professor McGonagall, the Transfiguration teacher and head of Gryffindor House, was looking at them from over the heads of the crowd.
Exchanging glances with his friends, he and Hermione fought their way over to the woman, trailed by Neville and Hannah.
"There's no need to look so worried. I just want a word in my office," She told the pair. "Move along there, Longbottom, Abbott."
Professor McGonagall led them up the marble staircase and along a corridor, until they were finally in her office, a small room with a large fire going in the fireplace. There, she gestured for them to sit down before taking her own chair behind her desk.
"Professor Lupin sent an owl ahead to say that you were taken ill on the train, Potter."
Harry blinked. "Oh, is this about my reaction to the Dementor?"
Right at that moment, there was a knock on the door and Madam Pomfrey, the nurse, came in without waiting for permission. Harry frowned, but didn't say anything else as she looked between him and Hermione before finally settling her eyes on him and approaching.
"It's you, isn't it?" She said, bending down to stare closely. "I suppose you've been doing something dangerous again?"
Just about every time. Archer murmured, making Harry twitch with annoyance.
"It was a Dementor, Poppy." Professor McGonagall said.
A dark look passed between the two women, and Madam Promfrey made a disapproving noise with her tongue.
"Setting Dementors around a school," She muttered, putting a hand to Harry's forehead. "Some of them will collapse for sure. Well, he's better than I expected, given what terrible things they are."
"Wait, what exactly did Lu- Professor Lupin say my symptoms were in his letter?" Harry wanted to know, as Madam Pomfrey moved her hand to take his pulse next.
Both adults looked at him in surprise, but it was Professor McGonagall who answered. "According to him, you had a fit that resulted in the door of the compartment breaking."
Harry ran a hand through his hair. "I heard screaming. Thought someone was being attacked by the Dementor, so I-" He stopped, noticing that all of them were staring at him.
"Was there screaming, Granger?" Professor McGonagall demanded of Hermione.
The girl shook her head. "No, Professor. No one else heard any screaming." She glanced at Harry, almost timid in her manner.
Another look passed between the two adults. "Must be a memory." Madam Pomfrey decided. "Possibly from tha-"
"Poppy!" Professor McGonagall interrupted the other woman. Turning her attention back to Harry, she smiled at him. "Admirable strength of character, Mr Potter. I would give points, but seeing as the school year hasn't yet begun, I'll add them tomorrow."
"Well, looks like you're alright." Madam Pomfrey straightened up. "Maybe you should take some chocolate, since it helps."
"I've already had some," Harry said, "Professor Lupin gave all of us some."
"Did he, now?" Madam Pomfrey asked, approval in her voice. "So we've finally got a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher who knows his remedies?"
"Are you sure you feel alright, Mr Potter?" Professor McGonagall asked him again.
"I'm just fine." He reassured.
"Very well. Kindly wait outside while I have a quick word with Miss Granger about her course schedule, then we can go down to the feast together."
He left the office with Madam Pomfrey, who went back to the hospital wing muttering to herself. Feeling curious about what Hermione was discussing with Professor McGonagall, Harry settled himself near the door and Reinforced his ears to try and listen.
"...shown stellar performance in all your classes so far, Miss Granger. Therefore I am giving you a chance to show that you can excel further." There was a sound of a box being placed on a wooden surface, probably the table. "Due to the number of elective subjects you have chosen to take, there are certain times when your classes will clash. This is a Time-Turner, which will allow you to attend your classes."
Harry blinked, and listened more closely. Sounds interesting...
"How it works, Miss Granger, is by putting the chain around your neck and turning the hourglass around. Every time you turn it, you will be sent an hour back in time. As each class lasts an hour on average, you will have to make two turns in order to make it to your classes. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Professor." Hermione responded.
"Now, before I give this to you, I want to impress upon you several rules regarding its use." Professor McGonagall's tone became even more serious. " I had to write several letters to the Ministry in order to procure this item, only because I believe you will not abuse this privilege, but magic involving time is a risky business, and as such, anything with regards to it is strictly controlled. First, you're not allowed to tell anyone you have this item. Not even your friends. I know how much you trust Mr Potter, but you must swear not to tell him."
"Thank you, Professor. I swear I won't tell anyone about the Time-Turner."
"Good. Now, the second rule is that you must not be seen by your past self," Professor McGonagall continued, "Do you know why?"
"It will cause a paradox." Hermione replied.
"Good. Know that if you break these rules, not only will I confiscate the Time-Turner, but you will face criminal charges for abuse of restricted magics." There was a brief pause. "Alright, you may take it. Best put it on now."
Harry heard Hermione pick something up, followed by the almost inaudible tinkling of a small chain.
"Make sure to hide it under your clothes unless you are using it. Remember, don't let anyone see it or you using it."
"I have high hopes for you, Miss Granger. I sincerely hope that you will go far."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall."
There was the sound of moving chairs, and Harry quickly moved away from the door, releasing the Reinforcement on his ears. It soon opened to let a happy-looking Hermione emerge, followed by Professor McGonagall, and the three of them made their way back to the Great Hall.
While they walked, Harry was thinking about what he had just heard. A Time-Turner... sounds like an interesting thing... and dangerous as well. He glanced at Hermione, who was still in a pleased mood. But I think I'll give this a pass.
Not going to pursue this any further? Archer asked him.
I already have so much on my plate already. There's the Jewel Magecraft, the Science Club, searching for the Horcrux... Harry managed to keep listing things to do all the way until they reached the Great Hall.
A sea of pointed black hats greeted them; the four long House tables were lined with students, illuminated by the candles that floated beneath the enchanted ceiling, which was dark and stormy. Professor Flitwick was at the opposite end, carrying the ancient Sorting Hat and the three-legged stool it was on out of the hall.
"Oh," Hermione said softly, "We've missed the Sorting!"
Were we really there that long? Harry wondered as he headed towards the Gryffindor table with Hermione, moving as quietly as possible.
People looked around at them as they passed, and a few of them pointed at Harry. Based on their expressions, they appeared to be curious as to who the latecomers were, nothing more. Reaching Gryffindor table, they sat down in the space Neville had saved for them, but just as Neville opened his mouth to ask about what happened with Professor McGonagall, the headmaster stood up from his seat at the High Table.
"Welcome!" Dumbledore said, looking around at all the students. "Welcome to another year at Hogwarts! I have a few things to say to you all, and as one of them is very serious, I think it best to get it out of the way before you become befuddled by our excellent feast..."
Harry watched the elderly wizard intently, trying to analyze what he was saying.
Dumbledore cleared his throat and continued, "As you will all be aware after their search of the Hogwarts Express, our school is presently playing host to some of the Dementors of Azkaban, who are here on Ministry of Magic business."
There was another pause, and Harry concluded that Dumbledore did not approve of the Dementors being placed as guards.
"They are stationed at every entrance to the grounds," Dumbledore said, "And while they are with us, I must make it plain that nobody is to leave school without permission. Dementors are not to be fooled by tricks or disguises... or even Invisibility Cloaks," He added blandly.
Sounds like he assumes I'm going to use the Cloak to sneak out... Harry thought.
Maybe what? Harry was curious to know what Archer was thinking.
No, never mind. I might be wrong. Archer dismissed.
Harry wanted to press further, but Dumbledore was speaking again.
"It is not in the nature of a Dementor to understand pleading or excuses. I therefore warn each and every one of you to give them no reason to harm you. I look to the prefects, and our new Head Boy and Girl, to make sure that no student runs afoul of the Dementors."
Harry spotted Percy out of the corner of his eye, puffing out his chest and looking around impressively. I'm starting to have doubts.
Dumbledore took another serious look around the hall, which was completely silent and unmoving under his gaze. "On a happier note," He continued, "I am pleased to welcome two new teachers to our ranks this year. First, Professor Lupin, who has kindly consented to fill the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher."
There was some scattered applause through the Hall, though there were a few students who clapped hard. Professor Lupin stood out next to all the other teachers, who wore their best robes compared to his shabby ones.
"Hey, look at Snape!" Harry heard Ron hiss several seats down the table.
Looks like your Potions teacher has a grudge against the Defense teacher... Archer observed, watching through Harry's eyes. They appear to have past history together.
Harry shared the same opinion, especially since Snape's expression went beyond that of simple anger at having the job he desired taken from him yet again. It was clear loathing, and it twisted Snape's face into an ugly look.
"As to our second new appointment," Dumbledore spoke as the lukewarm applause faded away, "Well, I am sorry to tell you that Professor Kettleburn, our Care of Magical Creatures teacher, retired at the end of last year in order to enjoy more time with his remaining limbs. However, I am delighted to say that his place will be filled by none other than Rubeus Hagrid, who has agreed to take on this teaching job in addition to his gamekeeping duties."
Harry, Hermione, and Neville exchanged looks of surprise, before joining in with the applause, which was especially loud at the Gryffindor table in particular. Hagrid was blushing a ruby red and was staring down at his huge hands, but it was clear to anyone who knew him that there was a wide grin hidden beneath his thick beard.
"We should've known!" Ron was heard roaring. "Who else would have assigned us a biting book?"
...maybe it was a good thing that I didn't take Care of Magical Creatures? Harry wondered at hearing that. I'm not sure he knows how to present dangerous animals safely.
By the time the clapping stopped, Hagrid was wiping his eyes on the tablecloth, and Dumbledore was opening his mouth to speak again.
"Well, I think that's everything of importance. Let the feast begin!" The old wizard announced merrily.
With his pronouncement, the golden plate and goblets on the tables were suddenly filled with food and drink, and the students, hungry after the long train ride, eagerly tucked in.
Harry, due to long practice, analyzed everything on his plate before eating it, taking note of the preparation steps that went into making the food so he could see what made it taste so delicious. He was able to keep it up while chatting with the rest of the Gryffindors, hiding his murmur of the aria beneath the clatter of knives and forks. He noticed that when the dessert came out, there were comparatively more chocolate sweets than other desserts such as pumpkin tart. He pointed it out to Hermione, who agreed that it must have been intended to combat the Dementors' effects.
"I think it would be a good idea to have the Council inform the students about how exactly to deal with Dementors." Harry suggested.
Neville nodded. "I'm with you on that one, Harry. I'll let the others know tomorrow."
"Horrible things, those Dementors..." One of the twins overheard them and joined the conversation.
"It was like being in a freezer, the whole body..." Dean Thomas hugged himself and shivered. "Even the insides."
There were nods all around.
"Dad had to go out to Azkaban one time, remember, George?" The other twin spoke up. "And he said it was the worst place he'd ever been, he came back all weak and shaking... They suck the happiness out of a place, Dementors."
"Can we please stop talking about those things?" Parvati Patil asked, looking slightly green. "You're making me remember it and spoiling my appetite."
Several others added their agreement, and the subject was dropped. Without it to spoil the appetites of those present, the students were able to polish off the rest of the dessert. Hermione nudged Harry as Dumbledore stood up to give the word that it was time for all of them to go to bed.
"What?" He asked her.
"Hagrid. Let's go congratulate him."
She managed to get Neville, Ron, and the twins to go along as well. As the students got up to file out of the Great Hall, Harry noticed that his group wasn't the only one going up to the teachers' table; Justin, Susan, and Hannah were headed the same way as them, having gotten to know Hagrid through Harry since first year, and had visited him at his hut several times as well.
"Congratulations, Hagrid!" Hermione squealed as they reached the table, and the others echoed her.
"All thanks ter you, Harry." Hagrid looked down at the white-haired boy in the large group.
With Harry's revealing of the true identity of the Heir of Slytherin near the end of last year, it revealed that Hagrid was innocent of the crime of murdering Myrtle fifty years ago, thus clearing his name and allowing him to hold a wand again. But Harry didn't expect it to lead to this either, so he felt a little bit embarrassed and happy for Hagrid.
"Can' believe it... great man, Dumbledore... came straight down to me hut after Professor Kettleburn said he'd had enough... It's what I always wanted..." Hagrid buried his face in his napkin, overcome with emotion.
"Well, Hagrid, looks like you'll be able to take points off the next time you catch us trying to go into the Forest." One of the twins joked, causing the huge man to let out a sniffling laugh.
"Mister Weasley! Do I have to put you and your brother in detention?" Professor McGonagall scolded him, having overheard.
They instantly put on identical looks of innocence that didn't fool anyone. "No, Professor." They chorused.
She gave them both a stern glare, before turning to the third-years present. "Alright, off to bed with you. Shoo!"
Harry bade goodnight to his friends in the other Houses as he made his way up the stairs with the rest of the Gryffindors, following the prefect who was leading the whole group. Neville had fallen back to talk to Percy about talking to the new first-years as a representative of the Student Council, so Harry stuck with the rest of his year-mates for the walk.
The route the prefect led them through was the generic one, without any shortcuts, so it took several minutes before they finally reached the hidden entrance to Gryffindor Tower, the portrait of the Fat Lady.
"Password?" She asked the prefect, who looked back at the rest of them.
"Coming through, coming through!" Percy called as he squeezed through the crowd, Neville following closely behind. "The password's Fortuna Major!"
Harry could see the dismay on Neville's face, and recalled that the other boy had trouble remembering passwords.
The portrait swung open, revealing the entrance hole through which they could enter Gryffindor Tower.
"First-years stay for a moment!" Percy announced as the Gryffindors split into girls and boys heading for their separate staircases. "We have a short announcement, then you can go up to your dorms to sleep."
Harry noticed that some of the first-years looked asleep on their feet, but they gathered around Percy and Neville. Some of the older students stayed in the common room as well, curious about the announcement itself. The third-year looked a little nervous, but when he saw Harry giving him a thumbs up with a smile, he regained his confidence and nodded back.
"Okay, I'll keep it short and quick." He paused to take a breath. "As some of you may already know from the train, my name is Neville Longbottom, and I'm the Student Council representative for Gryffindor. If there is anything for which you require help, feel free to come and consult me. Also, the Student Council is organizing several events to help you become familiar with Hogwarts, and the relevant details will be posted on the notice board over there." Neville indicated the board, and the first-years turned to look where he was pointing. "That's all I have to say. Have a good night's sleep, all of you."
Seeing that Neville was done, Percy took over. "Alright! You heard him, get up to bed and go to sleep. Your classes begin tomorrow! Boys go up that staircase, girls go up the one over there," He pointed them out for the first-years to see, "A prefect will show you which dorm is yours."
Neville rejoined Harry and Hermione, breathing a little quickly. "It's going to take a little getting used to, talking in front of them like that."
"You did a good job." Hermione informed him.
Harry nodded his agreement, before yawning. "It's late, so let's hurry up and go to sleep."
Climbing the spiral stair, Harry and Neville entered their circular dorm to find the rest of their dorm mates already in their beds. Only Seamus was still awake, and he wished them a good night before falling asleep. The two of them changed into their pajamas, and got into their respective beds.
But Harry didn't go to sleep after pulling the hangings closed. There was one thing he wanted to try out before then. Activating his circuits, he raised a Bounded Field around his bed to prevent any noise or light from leaking out.
Help me out here, Archer.
Yeah. Synchro, Start.
"Trace, On." Harry chorused with the Heroic Spirit.
A parchment appeared between Harry's hands, and he nodded to himself. Unfolding it open, he tapped it with his wand and spoke the password.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Lumos."
It was a long time since Harry had Traced the Marauder's Map, but he managed to activate it without any problems. His copy of the Map was imperfect; parts of the map or the dots that marked people occasionally went blank, but Harry didn't require the full map for his purposes, only the part that showed Gryffindor Tower.
Finding it was easy, and it took only a moment after that to locate his dorm room. Right then, Harry felt a cold chill run down his spine.
Within the small circle, where there should have been five labeled dots, there were six instead. And the sixth one that Harry wasn't expecting confirmed everything he had been told by Black. Like with the Dementor, it was one thing to know what to expect, but seeing concrete proof was a different matter. Proof in the form of a presumed dead man's name.
Harry turned to look at the cloth curtains that hid him from the rest of the room, in the direction that Ron's bed was. I can't believe I've been sleeping so close to... to... to that traitor.
At least now you're aware. The question is, what will you do now? Despite his words, Archer was also tensed up.
Harry didn't say anything.
Then a grin spread over his face. Isn't it obvious? I'm going to catch him, right now!
Silently, Harry slipped out of his bed and made his way over to his trunk, which was already unlocked when he took out his pajamas to change into. Raising another Bounded Field to cover the sound of it opening, he grabbed the things that he wanted, which were already near the top since he added them in at the last minute while packing.
With a sudden flourish, Harry vanished from sight. The lid of the trunk closed on its own, and after a few moments, the hangings around Ron's bed slowly parted.
Lying on top of the covers was a sorry-looking rat. When the curtains shifted, it twitched awake, and turned to look at the opened curtains. That was all it saw before a red light suddenly flashed and turned its world black. A hand appeared from the air and grabbed it, before vanishing once more, and the curtains closed as silently as they had opened. Through it all, Ron Weasley never stirred.
Looks like it was sleeping lightly... I guess it was expecting someone to come after it, probably Black. Harry thought as he carried the unconscious rat back to his bed beneath the cover of his Invisibility Cloak.
So how are you going to send it over to Madam Bones? Archer asked.
They both knew it was a rhetorical question, since Archer was aware of Harry's plans. Putting the rat down on his bed, Harry quietly opened up the small bottle that he had purchased before leaving Diagon Alley, and used a dropper to draw some of the liquid within. He gently dripped a few drops into its open mouth, counting the number the salesperson told him to use.
Five, six, seven, eight. Enough to put it out for at least a week, which is more than enough time to send it to Madam Bones.
The witch told you that one drop would knock it out for a day, but you're compensating for it being an Animagus. Archer noted with approval.
Harry nodded. There's no telling whether a wizard can resist the potion's effects, since he has his own natural magic.
Putting away the bottle, Harry transferred the rat into a small cage he had also bought at that time, under the reason of wanting to transfer an unruly pet that resisted his efforts to capture it. Bundling it up in a cloth, he then grabbed a piece of paper and a pen to write a message to Madam Bones.
This rat may help provide closure to the case we discussed, Harry wrote, Be cautious while questioning it, as cornered rats may bite.
Just as Harry finished sealing the note into an envelope with a bit of wax melted with his magecraft, there was a tap at the window. Tucking the envelope into the cloth package, Harry tiptoed over to the window and opened it quietly to let Ilya land on the sill.
"You're amazing, you know that?" He murmured to her, stroking her chest feathers.
The snowy owl puffed up a little at his praise, proud that she could anticipate when she was needed.
"Take this to Madam Bones, Ilya. Do it as fast as you can, and make sure to get a reply." Harry tied the package to her outstretched leg. "Good thing the storm cleared, so you should have a safe flight. Don't get caught by the Dementors."
Ilya nodded once, and took off into the night. Harry watched her white form slowly shrink into the distance, until he could no longer see her.
Hope this works. He thought as he closed the window and turned to go back to bed.
You've done what you can, Harry. Archer told him. But know this, you did a good job.
Harry smiled as he climbed beneath the covers. Thanks, Archer. Hearing that from you makes me happy.
Sleep claimed him almost immediately after that.
Wow, looking back, I realize I wrote this whole chapter without the usual scene break. Go me. Then again, I did lift quite a bit from the canon text. If you realize, some people were acting the same way they did in canon, which I kept the way it was because I believe that's how they would act as the main points of the situation they were in were the same.
Once again, I had to keep referring back to my past chapters, because in this story, Harry has read about Dementors before, although this is his first time experiencing one up close. Also, the difference in upbringing has resulted in a stronger personality, enough to stand up against a Dementor longer than his canon self is able to.
So, did you expect Harry to just stand by and leave the rat alone? Or to just rush after the rat right away, letting those around him know that the rat isn't what it seems? Apparently some of my readers fall into either of those two categories... Really guys, this Harry is experienced at hiding some of his activities from those around him. Naturally he'd know how to work stealthily, right?
Anyway, I've been trying to alternate between this and my Touhou self-insert, and I think I'm gradually getting the hang of letting my muse run wild. Hopefully this means faster updates.
Leave your reviews, guys. Tell me where you see this going, I prefer it like that. Isn't it fun to guess what might happen?