Disclaimer: In the days of yore, there were dreams of a valiant knight slaying the mad queen and sharing her wealth. Alas, we now know that this is but a foolish hope – the Rowling shall rule ever on, sitting on her throne of ice, cackling madly to the Harry Potter intro tune. Which she probably owns.
A torch of demonic fyre flickers in the darkness, casting light upon a pale snakelike face. The light reveals little of the face's features, save for a pair of slitted red eyes and a menacing frown. The object of the figure's frown is kneeling before him, waiting for an order. Eventually, the figure makes a gesture and several fiendfyre torches flare up, revealing the Dark Lord sitting on a throne of black ebony and Lord Malfoy kneeling, a letter clutched in his hand.
"Report," Voldemort intoned.
"My son has sent a letter, my lord. It pertains to the Potter boy…"
The edges of the Dark Lord's mouth arch up, ever so slightly. "The young Slytherin. Is he to be an asset or an obstacle, I wonder." The Dark Lord drummed his fingers on his throne before gesturing to Lucius to continue.
"My son has befriended the Potter boy, and claims that he—"
"Give me the letter, Lucius," Voldemort interrupted. The Malfoy patriarch hesitated for but the shortest of moments, before handing his master the parchment, saying, "The second page pertains to the Potter boy, my lord."
Voldemort took the first page and tossed it aside without a glance and Lucius let out a subtle sigh of relief and summoned the parchment from the floor, both of which passed unnoticed by the Dark Lord, who was engrossed in the contents of the letter.
Once Voldemort was finished reading he muttered, "Yes, I can work with this," and then said to Lucius, "Tell your son to expose the boy to dark magic. If little Draco proves to be useful, it may be time to mark him…" he trailed off, dismissing his servant.
Had Voldemort seen the face of his most loyal servant as he walked away, he would have seen fit to crucio him – the man was frowning deeply, as if he had been punched in the gut. Instead he smiled viciously and hissed to his favorite pet, which was coiled around the top of his throne, "A new piece has been added to the chessboard, Nagini. It is no pawn, but perhaps a queen. It is neither white nor black – it has not yet been painted. Which paint will find you first, Harry Potter?"
Red eyes twinkled before the fyres died down, leaving the two snakes in darkness.
Not so very far away, another pair of eyes were twinkling. These eyes were blue and not at all slitted, and they were twinkling out of mirth, not malice. The boy that was rapidly becoming the Headmaster's favorite student had informed him, as they walked together towards the castle, that he and Filius were planning on dueling later in the day. The headmaster had suggested, eyes a-twinkle, to perhaps make it a public affair – they could duel in the quidditch pitch after lunch. Harry had readily agreed, not noticing the mischievous glimmer.
"Hey Draco, Blaise," Harry said as he set down for breakfast next to them.
Harry scooped some eggs onto his plate and said, "I'm dueling Flitwick today in the stadium at two if you want to come watch."
Draco choked on his toast and began coughing, while Blaise merely smiled and said he would be there. Harry looked up and noticed Sirius trying to signal him, but ignored him in favor of breakfast.
"Finally decided to drop in, eh Harry?" Sirius commented as Harry sat down in his office an hour later.
"Yeah, yeah," Harry responded, waving off Sirius's complaints. "So what's up?" he asked.
"I heard you're going to duel Filius publicly…"
"Yeah. What of it?"
Sirius decided against warning his godson of his folly, having noticed his cocky smirk, and instead decided to get some revenge for all the times Harry had avoided his pranks. "Make sure to go easy on him, he is rather old."
Harry heard his name shouted as he walked out of the Great Hall after lunch. He turned around to see Hermione hurrying up to him. Once she was near, she said, "Harry, about your duel—"
"I know, I know," Harry said, cutting her off. "Go easy on him, he's an old geezer. Sirius already told me."
"Wha- Oh. Oh yeah Harry, you definitely need to be careful, you wouldn't want to hurt poor Professor Flitwick," Hermione said, trying to hold back a grin, having remembered all the times Harry had teased her.
Harry looked up from his book, having heard a "Mister Potter" intoned behind him. He turned to find the vulture-like librarian standing there, looking mildly irritated. "Mister Potter," she repeated, "It is five minutes after two. I believe you have an appointment."
"Oh yeah, thanks," Harry muttered, standing up and walking out of the library. He noted the librarian, 'Pinch, perhaps?', lock the door after him and follow him on his way out. 'Odd,' he thought, 'I don't think I've ever seen her leave the library. Is she coming to watch the duel?'
To Harry's surprise, she followed him all the way to the quidditch pitch, before gesturing for him to take the player's entrance. Harry gave a mental shrug and walked in, only to find Sirius waiting for him grinning as if he had just eaten a canary. Sirius clapped him on the shoulder, saying, "Perfect timing Harry, you're just fashionably late."
Sirius began walking Harry over to the exit door, and Harry made to ask what was going on, but was interrupted by the still grinning Sirius, who just said, "Well, godson, I hope you don't have stage fright," and shoved him out the door. "Not too much stage fright, at least," he amended to himself, before all but running up to the teacher's box, not wanting to miss the show.
Harry stumbled out into the bright sunlight, blinking to regain his vision. When he straightened himself and began walking forward, he heard a roar. He dove to the side, assuming that Flitwick was starting the duel, only to realize that the roar was coming from the stands. Looking up, he noticed that instead of the twenty or so people he expected, very close to everyone in the school had come. As his gazed passed over the teacher's box, Dumbledore gave a small wave.
'Well damn,' Harry thought, as he walked over to Flitwick, who was standing in the center of the field. "Bit of a large crowd, eh?" He said to the diminutive professor.
"Quite, quite! It reminds me of my dueling days," Flitwick responded excitedly.
"You were a duelist?" Harry asked, feeling a bit apprehensive.
"Oh yes. Dueling Champion in fact. Shall we begin?"
Harry managed to stammer out a "Yeah" while trying to keep his face relaxed. 'Damn, damn,' he thought, 'That's why Sirius was grinning so much. And Hermione played along…' With a shrug, Harry began walking away from Flitwick to begin the duel, resigned to his fate. He turned around, finding Flitwick standing ten metres away, wand in hand. Harry drew his old wand and waited for the duel to be called. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Dumbledore rise and shoot some form of fireworks off, marking the beginning of the duel.
'Wait a minute,' he thought, 'That old coot knew—' he paused his line of thought to evade an explosion fired at his feet. Harry had to keep dodging about, as Flitwick continued to blast explosions beneath him. Eventually Harry managed to get a shield up, only for it to be broken by a piercer, followed by a bludgeoner which knocked him off his feet.
A titter of laughter rose from the crowd, and in the teacher's box a man sneered and said, "It seems your godson is worse at dueling than I thought, Black."
"Oh? Then you're less observant than I thought, Snivellus."
Flitwick began to walk towards Harry, before jumping back from the body and shouting, "Hominum Revilio!"
A red mist coalesced in the air a few metres behind him, and a dark blue spell shot out of it. Flitwick's well-honed danger sense warned him of the incoming spell, and he managed to duck to the side in the nick of time. He brought up a shield, blocking the barrage of spells Harry sent his way.
"Harry's amazing," Ginny murmured, intently watching the duel.
"Not really," Luna responded absentmindedly.
Hermione raised as eyebrow, questioning Luna's dismissal.
"Professor Filius can end the fight any time he wants. He's just putting on a good show."
"No way!" Ginny exclaimed, defending Harry.
Luna rolled her eyes and said, "Right at the beginning, if Filius hadn't let Harry get up and just stunned him, it would've been over. It's a performance, a show. Neither of them are really trying."
Hermione nodded, agreeing with what Luna was saying, prompting the blonde witch to comment that, "Obviously, this whole affair is intended to sedate the masses and take their attention away from the real issues, like the Rotfang Conspiracy.
Hermione stopped nodding, and resumed watching the fight with a forced look on her face.
Harry had stopped casting at the shield, having realized that Flitwick was no longer behind it. He instead conjured a thick fog and disappeared into it. A few minutes passed with the duelists out of sight, within the fog, before a bevy of colorful spells shot off, and the fog began to dissipate. The spectators strained their eyes, hoping to see who won the fight, and were rewarded with—
"Um, is Harry still disillusioned down there?" asked Ginny.
"How do you kn…" Hermione began to ask, before realizing that she wouldn't like the answer.
Luna sighed as if she had to explain something to a slow child, looked to her left, and said, "Because he's disillusioned up here."
Hermione followed Luna's gaze to find a popcorn bucket floating up the aisle, before settling down a few inches above the empty chair to Luna's left. She watched apprehensively as a single popcorn floated out of the bucket and disappeared mid-air with a loud, "crunch." She sighed and said, "You're supposed to be in a duel, Harry."
A squeaky voice came from above the popcorn, saying, "Harry? I'm not Harry! I'm Neville Longbottom!" The voice paused to snicker, before continuing, "I, uh, drank an invisibility potion instead of orange juice this morning by mistake."
"Invisibility potions are light blue, Harry, not orange."
The voice snickered again, but before it could respond, Ginny's impatience defeated her shyness, and she finally asked, "So who won?"
Harry shrugged invisibly and responded, "Ask Professor Flitwick. I couldn't tell."
Meanwhile, in the teacher's box—
"Well Filius, who emerged victorious?" The spectacled Headmaster asked.
Flitwick cancelled his disillusionment and shook his head, saying, "It was rather hectic; I can't be sure. Perhaps ask Mister Potter?"
Harry ignored the looks and whispers as he strode through the Great Hall toward his typical seat the next morning. He sat down next to Blaise and began eating breakfast, hiding his grin in his pancake. 'I can't believe we pranked the whole school that easily,' he thought as he ate his pancake.
"Nice one, Harry," Blaise commented.
"I know, right? It's kind of silly how easy it was, though."
"Hey guys," Draco said as he sat down. "So Harry, you can confide in me- who won?"
Harry just chuckled and commented, "Exhibit A," to Blaise, who chuckled back, much to Draco's irritation.
Before Draco could retort, the morning owls flew in, delivering, among other things, a letter to Draco and the Sunday Prophet to Blaise. Draco pocketed his letter and Blaise took one glance at the post before handing it to Harry.
As Harry read the headline, he gave up hiding his grin as a lost cause and began smiling widely.
Boy Who Befuddles Duels Diminutive Dueling Master
The long awaited report on young Harry Potter has arrived! Although this was intended to be published yesterday, trusted sources advised the Daily Prophet to delay publication. And for good reason! Yesterday Harry Potter dueled the Hogwarts Charms Professor Filius Flitwick, well known for being an ex-dueling champion. A lesser known fact about Mr. Flitwick is that he is part goblin. Does the Boy-Who-Lived have a vendetta against goblins? For the inside scoop on the duel, turn to page 3.
Loyal readers will likely remember the uproar five years ago, when Harry Potter was not admitted to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Headmaster Dumbledore, Order of Merlin 1st Class, Supreme Mugwump, etc., issued the statement that, "It is in the boy's own interest that he remains away. He is not prepared for fame." Well, regardless of whether or not he was ready at the time, he is most definitely ready now: immediately upon being sorted into Slytherin, he began making allies of purebloods and muggle-borns alike. Thought of as, "Amazing," and, "Very cool," by the general Hogwarts public, his few detractors say he's, "Arrogant," and, "A self-righteous pr*ck." Full student interviews are available on page 5.
With the return of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, you must be wondering, "Can the Boy-Who-Lived pull it off again?" An exclusive interview with Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts professor Sirius Black has assured me that, and I quote, "The V. man won't know what hit him." Perhaps Lord Black is correct, but the Boy-Who-Lived was sorted into Slytherin, just like You-Know-Who. Truthfully, it is too early to judge, but we can be certain of one thing: Harry Potter will be shaking the foundations of the wizarding world once more.
After a short pause, Harry commented, "I like this Rita Skeeter lady."
A/N: Heyo, I'm still alive and all that. I'm experimenting with having a shorter, higher quality chapter. Anyways this was delayed because I've been playing too much League of Legends (and I'm still stuck in G1, sadly), so sorry about that. Anyways, please review and have a nice day.