(apologies, this is rushed and unplanned)

After taking on a challenge from Skulker, Danny decided to hide out in the land of Eng. Things didn't exactly go as smoothly as he planned when he ended up getting knocked unconscious by a bunch of 'magical creature' hunting, law enforcing wizards. When he woke up, he found himself in Hogwarts, unable to change back into his human self. After very one-sided negotiations, it was decided by Dumbledore and Amos Diggory that Danny should be allowed to stay in Hogwarts for a trial period of one month. The Ministry later decided that this wasn't what they wanted, and stated that for the arrangement to continue, Danny must be put through a series of experiments to test both his abilities and his biology. Snape was quick to volunteer.

With Moody on the warpath, the ghosts disagreeing with his every move and Peeves his partner in pranking crime, Danny has already made quite an impression on Hogwarts. After a week living in Hagrid's hut, the small number of people in the world, aware of Danny's half-ghost status was gifted an addition when Danny abruptly got his human half back and landed on top of his roommate.

Most importantly - Danny broke the biggest rule on his first night, when he unwittingly burst into the Gryffindor common-room to escape a peeved McGonagall, and exposed himself to Harry, Hermione and Ron. He fled without leaving any clues as to who or what he was, and why McGonagall was after him. The Golden Trio have since taken it upon themselves to discover everything they can about the mysterious, glowing boy.

Chapter Twelve: Interlude

"I get that the goblins weren't happy but did they have to rebel so much?" Ron groaned, shaking his hand in the hopes of regaining feeling. "If I have to write one more essay on goblin-wizard politics, I swear I'm gonna start a rebellion of my own."

"Starting a rebellion requires organisation and dedication, Ron. If your school work is anything to go by, I'd quit while you're ahead."

"Hey! I'm dedicated!"

Harry sighed and placed his quill down on the table in front of him. With it being lunch, the Library was fairly empty. The only reason they were there was because the essay in question was due for final period. "I'm with you, Ron. Is it just me, or is there ridiculously more homework this year?"

Hermione gave a dramatic roll of her eyes as she turned another page of her stupidly large book.

"It's our fourth year. If things didn't get harder, what would be the point?" she reasoned.

"That's easy for you to say, you live off this stuff," Ron grumbled in response. Hermione gave a short shake of her head, deciding it was pointless to argue. Unwilling to let it go, Ron peered across the table at her book. "What are you reading, anyway?"

Without a word, she lifted the book so that both Ron and Harry could read the cover. 'Our Magical Creatures and Their Magical Origins', glinted back at them in spidery, gold lettering. Ron groaned loudly, dragging a hand across his face.

"You're still obsessing over him? If he's not in 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them', he's not anywhere."

"That's not necessarily true. Scamander only wrote about creatures he knew existed. I'm looking for anything about rumours or sightings of creatures not yet discovered." She placed the book back on the table and continued reading, much to Ron's annoyance. He turned to Harry for support but his friend's only response was a light shrug.

"So you think he's something new? Like Hagrid's Blast-Ended Skrewts?" Harry asked, appreciating the distraction from his homework. Hermione's eyes remained fastened to the book.

"I don't know. Hagrid's Skrewts were bred experimentally, I'm sure. What we saw looked more… ethereal. That cold sensation I got when I went near him was exactly like that of a ghost, and last I checked, you can't breed ghosts."

"Right, but he's not a ghost, is he? Ghosts can't do what he can. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a ghost knock down a tree," Ron countered.

Hermione finally looked up from the book, staring thoughtfully at the space between Ron and Harry.

"No, but think about it. There are several types of ghosts that we know about. Poltergeists like Peeves can do more than less powerful ghosts like Sir Nicholas. What if this boy is a ghost, but is somehow more powerful?"

There was a pause as the three considered the suggestion. After a few seconds, Ron gave an exasperated shake of his head.

"I thought you were supposed to be the realistic one."

"You three aren't talking about The Phantom, are you?" a cold voice probed from behind Hermione, drawing the trio's attention. Draco Malfoy stood leaning against a nearby bookshelf, smirking down at them like a proud pigeon. Crabbe and Goyle lurked a little distance away with their own, self-satisfied sneers.

"The Phantom?" Hermione asked, scathingly.

"The creature that Dumbledore is harbouring from the Ministry. It's supposed to be top secret, but everyone who's anyone knows about it. I'm surprised you losers have caught on."

The three friends shared a surprised look. Harry recognised the glimmer of excitement in Hermione's eyes. This was the biggest lead they'd had in a week.

"What's it to you, Malfoy?" Harry bit, trying not to give away their complete absence of knowledge.

"I just wanted you to know that if anyone is finding him first, it's going to be me. My father says Dumbledore has taken a step too far, and I'm going to be the one that puts him back in his place." This declaration drew supportive snickers from his bodyguards.

Draco's malicious tone set Harry on edge. Why would Dumbledore be in trouble if Draco found the mystery creature? Hermione seemed to have picked up on the same thing.

"You make it sound like Dumbledore's committed a crime. If harbouring The Phantom is so bad, why haven't they just come and collected him yet?" she remarked, twisting further in her chair so that she could better examine him. Draco let out a short, condescending laugh that brought a glare to Ron's already disgruntled face.

"Because they can't, Granger. Dumbledore's protecting him, of course. Apparently, some idiot in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures made some kind of an agreement with Dumbledore which meant that this filthy creature could stay in Hogwarts on the condition that he never interacts with any of the students."

And in that instant, it was as though someone had flicked on a light switch in the three Gryffindors' heads. All the secrecy around his being here, and the fact that he'd looked so scared when he'd bumped into them in the common room. He didn't want to be carted off to the Ministry of Magic. If McGonagall had found him there with them… And then the feeling that Hermione got in the woods. If he was there, his reluctance to show himself made all the more sense.

"You want to find him first so that you can say that he spoke to you and then the Ministry can take him in," Hermione said slowly.

Malfoy raised an eyebrow, mouth twisting into an even more irritating smirk. "Obviously. You must know about the competition?"

"What's that? A competition to find the most arrogant prat in school? I think you're onto a winner there, Malfoy." Ron elbowed Harry playfully, proud of his jibe. Harry couldn't help but laugh at the scowl that took over Draco's face.

"You won't be laughing when I save the school from that Phantom monster. I just came to tell you that you three are enormously outmatched. Half the school is on the look out – you're not winning this one." Draco pulled himself forcefully from the bookshelf and shot Harry one final glare, before looking back at his henchmen. "Move."

Crabbe and Goyle hastily scrambled to move out of Draco's way as he stormed past them. With clumsy scowls at the trio, they quickly followed after their leader.

Harry, Ron and Hermione slipped into a cautious silence. While they didn't know much about the boy they'd met a week back, no one deserved to be a pawn to the Malfoys.

"We need to do something," Hermione whispered, afraid of being overheard by any other student eager to meet the Phantom.

"But what? We've been looking for a week and haven't found anything," Harry pointed out. Ron pressed a determined fist down onto the table.

"We have to find him before Malfoy does. I don't reckon I could stand his gloating if he managed it."

Hermione thought for a minute before closing her book and twisting to see if anyone else was near enough to hear. When she turned to Harry and Ron, her eyes were like steel.

"We need to talk to Hagrid. Tonight."

AN: Boom! Guess who managed to update without having a year long break! *Sigh* Why do you peeps put up with me?

So I know this is an incredibly short chapter for me, but it's just a short, sweet snap away from the mind of Danny and a glimpse of what else has been happening during his various melt-downs. (Apologies) Gosh, I love these characters. I can't say they're easy to write, but there is something... comfortable about them that just makes them so fun to write. Obviously I need to write more HP fics!

And I'm done with the rambling.

I don't know when the next update will be - my computer had a melt down I lost it for a few weeks so progress has been slow. A large portion of it has already been written, so it's just replacing the stuff that I lost and adding some final sparkles. (So far I'm estimating a chapter between 4000 and 5000 words, so that'll be a nice change!)


'Til next time!