Sirius walked into St. Mungo's, the same thing he did for the summer since being released from Azkaban. To his sorrow, Harry and Loki both had to join him once it was clear that Harry suffered from severe neglect and Loki showed signs of prolonged dementor exposure.
Sirius did feel bad that they had to spend most of their precious summer going to and from the hospital every week, but he could make it up to them next year. Besides, it went a long way to proving to the old goat that he was a responsible parent.
He did make up for it by having the boys visit with Neville and his grandmother whenever they came to see Frank and Alice. Sirius apologized to Augusta about the fact that his deranged cousin and her husband did that to her son and daughter in law.
Luckily Neville seemed to like Loki and Harry, because they got a standing invitation to the Longbottom Manor. So they did accomplish something that summer. Plus Augusta was more than happy to teach Harry about pure blood customs while Neville and Loki worked on their summer homework.
Anna gave him the usual scan and checked off another mark on the list.
"Just another five months and you'll be done."
"Finally! I don't mind the nurses, but the food here sucks!"
Anna grinned at him patiently. She had lost a bet, which meant she had to deal with Sirius every time. Why did she guess wrong on that stupid coin toss? At least Harry and Loki were little angels...well Harry was. Loki was a womanizer in child form.
Sirius never did more than flirt with her, because after their first meeting, she slipped him the foulest potion she could. After hearing his satisfactory bought of gagging, he wisely decided to keep his hands to himself and not on her bum.
The girls still laughed about that one.
After Sirius left, he decided to go pay Remus a visit.
Harry was between Loki and Draco, both of which were trying to help him with his homework. Once Draco found out about his ability with snakes, and got over his shock, they impressed on Harry how the people viewed the ability itself.
Harry didn't understand why it was considered Dark, but he agreed not to do it publicly again.
After the incident, Harry was being avoided by a good majority of the school. Loki and Draco decided to do something drastic. Once Loki got the reply from Gringotts after sending a sealed vial of Harry's blood, he waited until dinner to announce something to the entire school.
"Everyone! May I have your attention please!" Loki said using the 'sonorus' charm.
The students all looked at him with interest or boredom. Loki was easily the most outspoken boy in Gryffindor, but he was also one of the most popular in the school.
With the attention properly on him, he continued.
"I know over the past few months there have been rumors going around that Harry Potter is the heir of Slytherin. I know that the fact he can snake speak is considered a dark art, and normally you would be correct. But what you don't know is that Harry is not, I repeat, NOT related to Slytherin at all!"
Now their attention was solely on Loki.
"I have here in my hand a blood relation scroll fresh from Gringotts. Last week I sent a sealed vial to the goblins and requested a blood test. And I am here to tell you now that Harry Potter isn't related to Slytherin... He is the Heir of Gryffindor! If you want copies, I can sell them for a knut, but the enchantment will end at midnight for the copies."
Loki ended up making over fifty galleons selling the copies of the scroll, and by that time people quit avoiding Harry. If anything it made him more famous among his peers.
Harry, on the other hand, had his head in his hands. He hated the spotlight and it was only going to get worse now!
"Why did you do that?"
"Look, the more people look down on you for a lie, the harder it will be later on. If people know you're the heir of Gryffindor, it gives you more political clout when you reach 17 and opens more doors. If anything this is a good time to make new allies if you ever want to go into politics."
"BUT I DON'T WANT TO GO INTO POLITICS!" Harry nearly screamed.
"Harry, if you went into politics you could make a real change in this world. I mean you know Remus right?"
"Uncle Moony? What about him?"
"If you were to say, become Minister, you could get rid of all those laws that make it hard for him to get a job. You could make things better for Squibs, muggleborns and anyone who isn't a pure blood."
"Why would it matter if he was a werewolf? He takes every precaution to keep from hurting others!"
"Pure Bloods fear the dark. As such, they fear anything not human," shrugged Loki.
Draco nodded, as it was an accurate description of the pure blood society.
"Anyway, what are we going to do about the students being attacked? This may very well get worse before it gets any better," said Draco.
"...I may know where the problem is, but I really doubt the teachers will do a damn thing. I mean look at what happened last year! They had a class 7 dangerous artifact on the third floor, and they left defenses a firstie could get through!" said Loki.
The two turned to him.
"How do you know that?" asked Draco finally.
"...I may have caused the Cereberus to back off while I stole it. I sent it back to the original owner explaining what I did, how little time it took and how poor the defenses were. We now have a standing invitation to learn Alchemy from the Nicholas Flamel and his wife."
Draco stared. Nicholas Flamel was one of the most famous alchemists in the world, and by extension a premiere potionsmaster.
"What the bloody hell did Dumbledore have here that was so dangerous?" said Draco in shock.
"Flamel's Sorcerers stone, as in the same thing that had kept them alive for the past few centuries. According to the letter from Flamel, Dumbledore asked to borrow it but never specified why."
"...Can you help me write a letter to him asking for potion advice? Uncle Sev is good, but he can't stand children," asked Draco.
Loki grinned evilly, because this would definitely annoy Severus in a way that the man couldn't revenge prank him for.
"Sure. Mind if I borrow Hedwig Harry?"
"Go for it. Just tell her I said it was okay. She would enjoy the exercise."
What Loki didn't know was that Harry had actually used one of his wishes so he could properly talk to his owl. He had thought long and hard about it, and Isis had told him it was doable, just not often used.
Now Harry could claim he had the magical ability to talk to any animal, not just snakes. If nothing else it might get the rumor mill of his back about being a parselmouth. Besides, he liked animals more than he did humans most days.
After the little announcement in the Great Hall, people stopped avoiding Harry and started apologizing.
Harry found the change rather refreshing, and his little social group expanding to include the other houses.
Neville, Hermione, Luna (a first year), Fred, George, Blaise Zabini, Daphne Greengrass, Tracy Davies, Lythiel Moon, Sally-Ann Perks, Mandy Brocklehurst, Susan Bones and Hannah Abbot all joined the group after Loki went to them asking if they wanted to join a study group. The rules he set down were reasonable, considering the times.
No blood prejudice. If you can't handle working with the most brilliant of the younger years, then you can study on your own. Houses rivalries stay in the houses. If you don't understand something, speak up and ask for help.
And most importantly, if you had an idea for a prank, don't keep it to yourself unless you plan to use it on someone in the group. Only lighthearted spells allowed.
The twins absolutely loved that last rule.
Christmas showed a drastic change in the Hogwarts houses. Fear had spread because of the attacks, but Loki had set up a schedule for the study group so they would be covered during class. Lockhart had learned the hard way that their group wouldn't bother coming to class, and instead did self study.
To the amusement of the teachers, there were now numerous study groups just to cover defense and potions, and more often than not they were mixed house groups.
Loki had broken new ground by creating a large group of people willing to tolerate each other from every house, and the idea had spread. The Hat couldn't have been more smug about the whole thing, to Dumbledore's annoyance.
On the plus side, grades had never been higher!
On the downside, a good majority of the female population under the age of fifteen still thought Lockhart was a semi-competent teacher, despite several attempts by the males in the castle to prove otherwise.
Loki had taken Harry down to the Chamber with Draco armed with a camera, and they had blown an entire weekend documenting the place.
Much to Loki's relief, there was another entrance...which happened to lead to the Slytherin dorms.
The evil cackles of doom combined with the smirk he had on his face sent shivers down Draco and Harry's spines. Elsewhere Snape's potion vial cracked while he was filling it with a harmless restorative...and he knew that unparalleled DOOM was heading his way.
Loki was curious as to why the basilisk hadn't come out, but he figured it must have been sleeping when they came in.
Loki stared at the book in awe. It was every boy's wet dream.
The insane cackle he let loose sent shivers down every sane student/teacher/ghost's backs.
"Hehehe...Loki's going to make big boom soon...hehehehe..." said a smirking Loki, rubbing his hands together like some cliché villain.
A week later, after he got a mysterious package from his 'father', every prefect and teacher was waiting for the ball to drop. Somehow, they knew something horrible was about to occur.
The loud explosion shook the castle...and ruptured every pipe in a ten kilometer radius. The glass shattered like so much snow.
"Attention everyone! Due to a rather poorly thought out prank by some mischievous student, the plumbing in the castle will have to be replaced. If we find out the responsible parties, they will be punished appropriately. As a result, all students are asked to brush up on their charms work, since the showers will not be working until the plumbing is fixed. Also, will all prefects please join the teachers in repairing the windows?"
Loki hid a huge grin. Thanks to the ingredients Remus sent him (not knowing that much chemistry, which happened to be the book Loki had read two weeks before) he had effectively canceled classes for at least two weeks.
It gave those taking the NEWTs and OWLs more time to study without worrying about homework.
Though if the Prefects ever knew he was the culprit behind the extra work they now had to do for the next few weeks, they would lynch him without a second thought.
Hermione was on the warpath. Ever since that mysterious explosion, classes had been canceled. To make matters worse, the library had been close to repair the windows! The only thing that kept her from lynching anyone who annoyed her was the fact that the Ravenclaw library was inside the tower, and there weren't any windows to break...though it did take them a few hours to clean up the books.
On top of all that, they had to fumble through using the water charm and heating charm just to take showers! It was going to take weeks to repair the plumbing!
Strangely, the only bathroom not ruined by the explosion was Myrtle's, which meant there was a long, long line of people using it between classes. The teachers had to erect a barrier so the boys and girls could go in peace!
If she ever found out who destroyed the plumbing, they would never find the pieces.
Loki wisely did not say a word about the fact that he was the one to destroy the plumbing...until they left the castle that is. The twins had roared with approval and Draco had to be restrained from strangling him bare handed. Harry's only question was where he found the explosives to pull it off.
Loki whipped out the chemistry book he had bought by mistake during the raid of the bookstore, and the twins eagerly started scanning the pages...only to get lost after five.
He only knew what half the things in the book meant because in a fit of boredom in the original timeline he had hid inside a library and read half the science section. As a result, he was more or less up to speed on muggle science.
Though it had taken him weeks to do it.
It was during the last physical (which happened to be on Christmas unfortunately) that Harry decided to use another wish, though this time it was for the sake of a friend.
Seeing the look on Neville's face as he visited his parents made Harry more than a little sad for his friend, so he asked Isis if there was any way to heal them. When she told him he would have to use up another wish, he didn't hesitate.
Alice and Frank Longbottom blinked three times, and as if waking up from a daze spoke Augusta's name. Seeing Neville's face light up made the entire thing worth it, as Harry whispered "Merry Christmas Neville..."
The resulting party at the Longbottom Manor a few days later was spoken of for years. Though one of the healers had correctly identified the use of genie magic on the Longbottoms, which cemented Neville's friendship to Harry. It was almost common knowledge that Harry had found a genie bottle that his father got years ago. And had unleashed the occupant.
"So let me get this straight...because of the fact that Myrtle's bathroom was the only one still working after that failed prank, Snape and McGonagall found out there was a basilisk coming out of the pipes?"
Dean nodded. He was one of the few to stay during the holidays.
"Yeah, apparently Slytherin had placed his Chamber of Secrets in that bathroom, which is why no one ever found it before. I mean who would expect it to be in a girl's bathroom of all places? And Ginny Weasly was caught in possession of a dark artifact, though she isn't going to get into much trouble because the thing was possessing her for the better part of a year," said Seamus.
"So it was the artifact that was the Heir of Slytherin, not Ginny? Weird."
"I heard that they had to send in a team of goblins to capture the snake...and it was over a hundred fifty feet long!" said Parvati.
Loki whistled impressed.
"So what happened to the Chamber?"
"It sealed itself off, at least from the bathroom anyway. So no one has gone back in since New Year's."
"On a completely unrelated note, Neville's parents finally came out of a coma on Christmas. Healer said someone used genie magic on them to heal whatever damage had been done to their minds," said Loki changing the subject.
All eyes were on Harry pointedly and he squirmed.
"For the record, that counts as two years worth of Christmas presents for him," he said finally.
"The Puffs now consider him one of them, and he has unlimited access to their common room," said Loki grinning.
"I heard that Dumbledore is starting to investigate who ruined the pipes," said one of the other Lions.
"It had to be some pretty strong magic, to cause that much damage," said another.
And with that, the rumor mill abounded as to what caused the damage. Unaware that the culprit was feeding fake info to everyone.
Isis was writing a letter to her clan, and Hedwig was going to deliver it. Harry had given all his close friends permission to borrow her, so long as they let him know about it.
Harry was...a strange human. He was unlike any wizard she had come across before. Unlike regular wizards, who believed themselves to be better than everyone else, Harry was humble and kind. Instead of asking for the usual requests, he surprises her only asking for a relatively small wish and one big one.
She never would have expected him to use up a wish for the sake of another person's happiness. Normally she would have been home by now, but she was actually considering staying a while longer, even if he used up his last wish.
It was rare that a mere human would get a genie's attention, and they were notoriously fickle beings. Quite like the elves before they left in fact.
These next few years would prove interesting indeed...