Disclaimer: All HP characters are the property of JKR, the WB, and respective publishing companies. All portions of the Pokémon universe/worlds/characters are the property of The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, Creatures Inc., and GAME FREAK Inc. This story is nothing more than a simple FanFiction that I have written for my own enjoyment. I have made no money from this or any of the other stories I have posted on this or other sites.
AN: This story is self-beta'd; so there may be occasional grammatical or spelling errors that crop up every now and then and for those I apologize in advance.
Chapter 2: Machinations and Manipulations
Wednesday, July 01, 1992
Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts Castle
Albus Dumbledore scowled as he stared down at the front page story covering the recent escape of Sirius Black from Azkaban. He knew he should have pushed for the impetuous heir of the Black Family to be kissed or executed eleven years earlier and the only reason he hadn't at the time was because it would have drawn too much attention to him. He couldn't be seen advocating a death sentence for one person after he'd spared so many of his pawns whose crimes had been far worse than those he'd had Black framed for after the Potters' deaths.
Still, the man was supposed to have wasted away in Azkaban and died a quiet death within the first five years (like most innocents did when they were subjected to the dementors for any length of time); not escape and throw yet another wrench into his plans.
Slamming the paper upside down on his desk (so he wouldn't have to look at Black's photograph any longer), Albus seethed as he tried to figure out how he was going to mitigate the damage Black could do. Especially if anyone were to learn that the man was completely innocent of all the crimes for which he'd been imprisoned. It was a headache he really didn't need at this time of year; not when he needed to select the next fool to take over the Defense Against the Dark Arts course and finishing putting together the new Potter clone.
Drumming his fingers on the desk, Albus considered the matter of Sirius Black for several minutes before a sinister grin slid over his face as he came up with the perfect solution.
The dementors were certain to be missing one of their precious charges and what better way to help return said charge to them then to allow them to hunt him down. And if they just so happened to suck his soul out upon their reunion, well, who in their right mind would raise a stink? The man was, after all, a criminal and a murderer. Or at least as far as the wizarding world was concerned he was the worst sort of criminal, a man to be feared and reviled; the Dark Lord's right hand man. There was no one alive who knew the truth aside from Albus and Pettigrew. And Pettigrew was firmly in Albus's control.
Satisfied with his solution, Albus reached for quill and parchment and penned a short missive to Delores Umbridge; ordering her to coax Lucius Malfoy into convincing Fudge to order dementors to be posted around the school and the rest of the Hogwarts Board of Governors to allow the Ministry to do so – to protect the children. Albus hated the necessity of using a middle man to conduct his business but Malfoy had never trusted him and Fudge was leery of being seen to rely on him too much (least people realize the incompetent boob was an idiot of epic proportions).
At least he knew that Delores was his agent; the woman owed everything she was to him and him alone. Without him, she'd never have even been allowed to own a wand, let alone attend Hogwarts, as the borderline squib that she was. He'd cultivated her like one would cultivate an exceptionally annoying and ugly weed that was exceedingly useful in potion making; with utmost care. Her only redeeming quality was her loyalty to him and her ability to appear loyal to those who she was assigned to watch; in this case, the Minister of Magic and those purebloods that opposed Albus.
Letter written, Albus sent it off with his newly recreated phoenix clone and set his sights on his next problem; replacing the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor for the thirty-fifth time. A slight smirk crossed Albus's face as he considered the non-existent 'curse' that was linked to that particular class. That had been one of his more brilliant ideas; invite the best and brightest witches and wizards to teach at the school so that he could eliminate them. It had worked out far better than he had hoped and as the supply of gifted teachers dwindled, so too did the quality of education; meaning the students learned less and less each year and that there was less and less of a chance they could ever stand against him.
As he perused the list of names he'd compiled the moment he'd confirmed Quirrell had been possessed by Voldemort's shade, Albus frowned as his thoughts again drifted to Sirius Black when his eyes fell on one of the names.
The man was supposed to have been his link to the werewolf community; his key to controlling Greyback. Instead the ungrateful half breed had fallen in with the worst sort during his first year; he'd become friends with several highly intelligent individuals – one of whom had been Sirius Black. Sure, the beast was respectful of Albus and grateful for the opportunity to pretend to be a normal human but the beast's loyalty was to his precious friends and not to Albus.
With Black on the loose, Lupin would have been the perfect individual to hire as the Defense professor since the werewolf still grieved for James and Lily Potter. Lupin had fully bought the lie that Sirius was to blame for the Potters' deaths and Albus could have goaded the beast into killing his former best friend simply by pointing Severus at him. Severus would have pushed the beast's buttons perfectly, driving him into taking down Black without a second using the werewolf's guilt and shame. And Albus would have been able to get rid of two obstacles in one fell swoop; eliminating Black and then letting the wizarding world tear Lupin apart for being the monster that he was after the beast had killed a wizard – regardless of the fact that said wizard was believed to be a criminal of the worst sort.
Unfortunately, Remus Lupin was also sensitive enough to magic signatures and individual scents to deduce that Harry Potter was nothing but a clone and that wouldn't do at all. Blasted werewolf senses were a double edged sword and the wretched beast wasn't firmly enough under Albus's thumb for him to work around the beast's abilities.
No, he'd have to wait until Potter was scheduled to finish Hogwarts to bring down the werewolf. In fact, he should probably figure out a way to get the blasted werewolf out of Great Britain entirely so that there was absolutely no chance of the beast crossing paths with the clone Albus had created. He also couldn't risk the man encountering Black without Albus or one of his agents in place to control such a meeting for fear that Black would have an opportunity to convince Lupin of his innocence. An angry werewolf is no easy thing to contain; especially when its 'pack' is involved.
Then again, an angry werewolf would certainly stir the anti-werewolf sentiment amongst the population and if directed properly, the public could stone the werewolf and Black for him. The idea would bear further consideration when he had the time to spare. In the mean time, he had a professor to hire.
Running his index finger down the list, Albus let his digit pause beside another name. He hummed in contemplation as he considered the celebrity. Albus knew the man was a fraud. He'd had a hand in making the man what he was; though not to the extent that he'd helped Delores and a few other select individuals. He was also becoming far too popular and it wouldn't do to allow the man to grow so popular that he grew more powerful than Albus. As a bonus, the man was exceptionally talented with memory charms and if Albus could lure the man to his side, then he could use the man to rid himself of a few troublesome individuals.
Harry Ketchum for starters; that brat had thrown mud in his potion far too many times during the previous year. The impertinent little upstart had nearly cost him everything. The stupid brat's father was another that needed to be dealt with accordingly. The man was far too powerful for a muggle and far too dangerous to allow him to move freely within the wizarding world. The bloody pest might give other muggle parents ideas. The last thing he needed was a bunch of disgruntled parents making enough noise to catch the attention of the Crown. Drawing the attention of the muggle world before his position was secured would only create more obstacles; obstacles that he did not need at this point in time.
Shoving all thoughts of the Ketchums from his mind, Albus once again focused on his current task; selecting the next idiot to teach the Defense Against the Dark Arts course for the coming school year. Letting his eyes focus on his list, he double checked the potential names on the list and considered whether or not the person he hired this year should have the ability to cast the Patronus Charm or not. Having another individual on the staff that could help control the dementors could be helpful but that would also mean hiring someone fairly powerful this year and the powerful ones were always more difficult to dispose of at the end of the year.
Reaching into his desk, Albus pulled out a fresh tin of lemon sherbets and popped one of the candies into his mouth as he leaned back and planned the coming school year. He took the time to cast each of the potential professors into their assigned roles as he watched the year play out in his mind; using his vast knowledge and intellect to predict how each individual would react in various scenarios. By the time he finished his tin of sweets, Albus had reached a decision.
Gilderoy Lockhart would make a nice addition to the staff for the year and if the man turned out to be a bigger nuisance than anticipated, well, the dementors were not picky feeders; they'd kiss anyone.
Now that he knew who he was going to hire, Albus needed to figure out how he was going to get Lockhart to accept the position. Appealing to the fraud's ego should get him interested enough to come to the castle for an interview but getting him to actually accept the job would be difficult if the man thought he could draw more attention, fame, and wealth somewhere else. The key would be to make the job appealing and glamorous with plenty of opportunities to cultivate the next generation of fans.
To start, Albus could probably remind the man about the 'curse' that had been cast upon the position; hinting that it would take a true Defense Against the Dark Arts practitioner to break said 'curse'. Next, Albus would need to feed the man's ego and make it seem like he was in awe of the flop's reputation. The final selling point would be to convince the man that there was a high probability that taking the job would lead to another top selling autobiography. Throwing in direct contact with 'Harry Potter' might appeal to the man's schemes as well; since there was nothing Lockhart loved more than stealing someone else's limelight – unless you counted his self-love.
The dementors' planned presence at the school were going to be a point of contention though; the soul sucking demons would either draw the man in or make him run in terror.
Knowing what he did about Lockhart, Albus knew that the man couldn't conjure a patronus to save his life. So the key to getting the man to overlook their deadly presence would be to make the man think they posed no danger at all to him. He would have to sweeten the deal in order to convince the man that taking the risk was well worth it. That what he would get out of taking the job was far greater than any story he'd get anywhere else. He supposed that he could offer Lockhart the chance of capturing Black – that should appeal to the pansy fraud's sense of dramatics. Combined with everything else, that should draw him in and get him to take the position.
The only problem with going that route was the fact that Albus knew that Severus would never forgive him if he took the dour man's chance at revenge away. Severus was his most loyal follower but the man could be annoyingly stubborn when he felt he was slighted in any way. Well, it's not like he actually had to allow Lockhart an opportunity to claim responsibility for Black's capture or demise. An empty promise would hurt no one; especially if he were to warn Severus ahead of time. Yes, that might be for the best.
Thursday Morning (pre-dawn), July 30, 1992
Ruins of Tintagel Castle
Tintagel, Cornwall, England
Deep beneath the small island upon which the ruins of Tintagel Castle sat (the fabled seat of King Arthur's kingdom), in a crystal filled cavern that had long since been separated from the main system of caves below the island with ancient magics, an odd creature hovered in the very center of the cave. The creature itself looked more like a sculpture than an actual animal, shaped as it was like an exclamation point with a wide, round eye tucked into the round base of the creature; its sleek skin, normally the dark black of a crow's wing, had a decidedly gray tinge to it. The creature's eye was current closed and a soft humming thrum could be heard echoing through the crystal structures that filled the cave.
Below the floating creature, covering nearly the entire cavern floor was a large crystal structure that had been twisted and molded until it resembled a large crystal flower. The shimmering flower pulsed with an inner purplish-pink light that rose and fell in time with the humming sound that gently filled the entire cavern. With each pulse of light, the crystal structure would grow just a little larger; the large petal like sections slowly absorbing the normal jagged projections that covered nearly the entire cavern as it expanded ever outwards.
Over the course of the day, the flower structure would steadily make its way towards the walls of the cavern while the humming creature slowly sank lower and its humming grew softer and softer; its energy nearly completely depleted. Not surprising when one considers that the strange looking creature had been hovering inside of the forgotten cave pouring out its energy into the surrounding crystals for almost exactly one year now.
The moment the stars and moon aligned into their proper positions, indicating that the part of the world where the cavern beneath the ruins had reached the midnight hour (for no clock is as accurate as the universe itself) the petals of the flower finally brushed up against the wall. The moment the crystalline structure touched the wall, the creature hovering above the structure fell silent and the final humming note hung in the air for a long moment before silence filled he cavern. The crystal flower continued to pulse with light and power as the creature slowly sank; its skin now a slightly lighter shade of gray after feeding the last of its energy into the conversion of the crystal sculpture.
The creature let out a soft sigh, a bare breath of air disturbing the cavern unaccompanied by any sound; it had finally finished.
As if the thought was the catalyst the that pulsing crystalline structure had been waiting for, the light coming from the beautiful if otherworldly crystal structure grew brighter, becoming more white-pink with hints of purples in it than the purplish-pink it had originally been as the faint hum of a thousand voices suddenly filled the cavern. As seconds became minutes, the sound grew in volume until the entire cave was practically vibrating with the power of the wordless song. When the unearthly song reached its crescendo, the light darkened to a dark purplish-black with streaks of pale pink and white shot through it as it began rising out of the crystalline flower to form a twisting, writhing mist.
The dark mist soon coalesced into a round ball directly above the center of the flower as the song abruptly fell silent; the flickering dark purplish light licking at the surface of the newly formed orb while the center remained black as night.
Two seconds later, a form pressed outwards from the dark ball of energy hovering above the crystal flower; moving through the darkness like a person or creature moving through thick sap. The moment the form broke free of the pulsing orb, it revealed itself to be another creature that was like but unlike the first creature. Its sleek skin was black like the first creature's skin originally was and it had a single eye situated in a round appendage at its base but unlike the first creature, this one was shaped something like a question mark.
The new creature hummed a questioning note before it dropped down to circle around the grayed out exclamation point in obvious concern. A weak reply was given and the new creature paused in its frantic circling before it shot up to hover directly above the eerie orb that it had exited from just seconds earlier. The question mark soon began humming once more as it picked up the song that the original creature had sang to transform the crystals on the floor of the cavern into the beautiful if unsettling flower that now covered the floor.
Other voices joined in the renewed song as additional creatures began to push their way free of the orb; each one of them sharing similarities with the first two – though each one of them was shaped differently. Shortly after the next twenty-six creatures had freed themselves from the orb, duplicates of each shape began appearing. With each new addition, the song of the creatures swelled until the air inside of the cavern was practically crackling with energy as the rest of the crystal structures on the walls and ceiling melted to form frozen waves of purples, pinks, pale blues, and whites.
With each inch of crystal that was transformed, the speed at which the new creatures arrived doubled until there was a virtual flood of the strange beings pouring into the cave. The power flooding the underground cavern combined with the thousands of voices of creatures inside soon began to shake the entire island for nearly five minutes before the land went still when the last of the original crystals in the cave had been transformed.
Above ground, seismometers would register the disturbance as an earthquake with a magnitude of three point two on the Richter scale; a fact that would send the humans above ground into something of a panic since the epicenter of the quake had not registered on one of the known fault lines within a hundred miles of Tintagel. The quake would later be attributed to volcanic activity in the area with scientists speculating on the formation of a new volcano be responsible – though as of yet there was no proof.
The wizarding world attributed the disturbance to a large magical explosion and quickly scrambled to scramble the memories of the muggles that had been researching the incident in order to make them believe that the earthquake had been caused by an old torpedo exploding just off the coast of Tintagel.
Deep below the ruins Tintagel Castle, the newly arrived creatures stopped humming as the orb of dark energy faded out of existence as the very last creature slipped free of the orb.
A large percentage of the population of wild unown had just breached the veil between their home world and the home world of the young wizarding boy that the very first unown, the exclamation point, had formed a connection with the moment the green-eyed child had brushed his fingers over the physic creature. The unown chittered excitedly as they reached out and connected to the overabundance of magic that saturated the unfamiliar world in which they found themselves.
They would thrive here… in this world where magic ran wild and deep.
The exhausted exclamation point let out a soft hum of satisfaction as it passed out from exhaustion. Soon, very soon, it would be free to seek out the one that had captivated it now that it had fulfilled its orders to find a new home for its siblings.
Fault Line – a fracture in the earth's crust along which there has been a significant displacement that is the result of the earth's movement
Magnitude – is the unit used to measure the size or power of an earthquake
Richter Scale – the scale that was developed in 1935 by Charles F. Richter to compare the size of earthquakes
Seismometer – device used to detect and record shifts in the earth's crust – or earthquakes (also called seismographs)
* The number of DADA Dumbledore hired is based upon the years he has served as Headmaster as of this point in the story; which according to the Lexicon was in 1955. I subtracted two years in order to account for the person who Dippet hired to replace Meriwether since the curse supposedly wasn't placed on the position until Dumbledore refused to hire Tom Riddle (which occurred in 1957 according to the Lexicon).
* Inspiration for the transformation of the crystal cave came from the Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown.
One reviewer asked for a refresher list of Harry's Pokémon. I had originally intended to include it at the end of the first chapter but had forgotten about it at the time because I was just trying to get the chapter up; so I appreciated the reminder from said reviewer. The ages and years bonded are fairly accurate as this list was from the end of his first year but will be off by a month or two.
No. Name (Nickname) – (1st evolution) current evolution, gender, approx. age (years bonded)
01 Trickster – (vulpix) ninetales, male, 11 ¾ (11 ½)
02 Dancer – (ponyta) ponyta, female, 11 (11)
03 Splash – (dratini) dratini, male, 10 ½ (10 ½)
04 Dave – (delibird) delibird, male, unknown* (9 ¼)
05 Unnamed – (trapinch) trapinch, male, unknown* (8 ¾)
06 Jester – (eevee) flareon, male, 6 (6)
07 Mohawk (Moe) – (eevee) leafeon, male, 6 (6)
08 Frost – (eevee) glaceon, female, 6 (6)
09 Spark – (eevee) jolteon, male, 6 (6)
10 Riptide – (eevee) vaporeon, male, 6 (6)
11 Dilemma (Dilly/Emma) – (eevee) eevee, female, 6 (6)
12 Spy Cat – (eevee) umbreon, male, 6 (6)
13 Unnamed – (N/A) unown, no gender, unknown* (N/A) Stowaway
* The delibird was probably fairly young, possibly less than 1 yr and at most 2, when they first encountered it on the Ice Path; hence one of the reasons it was willing to tag alone. The trapinch would have at least been 5 yrs but could have been as old as 20 when they pulled him out from the rock fall (which makes him the oldest of all Harry's bonded Pokémon); I figure that the dragon species are fairly long lived give how high their levels are before they reach their final evolutionary stage. The stowaway unown, on the other hand, I see as being centuries old though exactly how many I couldn't say.
And for those curious, here are the Pokémon that Ash brought with him:
AN: Cackles with glee – yes! Finally finished! I was beginning to fear that this chapter would be the death of me. I can't tell you how many times I sat in front of my computer staring at the screen while mentally beating my head against the wall as I tried to get this chapter ready to post. The saddest thing, in my opinion, is that this chapter didn't originally exist at all when I posted the first chapter of this story. I had to write a completely new chapter in order to coax my muse into coming back to work.
It was needed though, as the missing unown was one of the largest plot holes I had hanging around and while I always knew what it was there to do in the back of my mind, I never really put much thought into what it needed to be there to do. Now it's got a slightly bigger part to play and I've come up with a logical background story as to why it snuck through Harry's portal gate thingy in the first place. I also realized that I'd not really gone into much of Dumbledore's machinations during the entirety of this story and needed to go back and fix that since my Evil!Dumbledore is such a big part of the story.
Few points to make; first, there are still wild unown back in the Pokémon world – I didn't bring them all over. The reasons for them coming over will be explained later, so please don't ask now; I won't answer. This includes questions about whether or not the other Pokémon that came with Ash and Harry are aware of the unowns presence – that too will be answered in time.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed the chapter and that it was worth the frustratingly long wait (I've been very frustrated not to have this up in August as originally planned and promised). I hope to have the next chapter out soon but make no promises as it too will be a completely new chapter since I'm readjusting my plot alignments after reach year three and finding myself on the edge of a plot cliff (them things are a hella lot bigger than plot holes).
Anywho… I'm still working on this and other things…
The next chapter of Banished Destiny should be up soon (a week at most; as I need to do a last minute scan for missed mistakes) and the poll for which crossover I post next is still open. Currently, it seems that the three Naruto x HP stories I've written are the most popular choices. I'll be leaving the poll open for the rest of the month – so if you haven't voted yet, you still have time. =)
Anyway, enough of my blathering… until next time, enjoy the heaping plate of homemade dango I brought – Anko was haunting my dreams last night (crazy, creepy snake-wench) and I so want to try dango and spent hours researching recipes and drooling over photos. One of these days I'm going to have to find the courage to actually make some but want to try a bit first so I'll know if I stuff up or not. Ack… babbling again! I'm going now! Bye! (waves) ~ Jenn