Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Harry Potter universe except for my OC's
A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry it's taken me so long to post. I've had a very busy month and have had little time to do any writing. Postings for The Fourth Rider and Revenge will hopefully be finished soon and should be up at that time. Happy readings and please review.
Harry sat on a thick, soft couch that the Headmaster had conjured in his office and off to the side. On either side of him sat one of the Weasley Twins. Neville sat in a chair angled in front of them and Draco was sitting on the arm of the chair, not particularly feeling like sitting in his own piece of furniture. When Harry had first transformed there had been dead silence from everyone in the room who had not known who he had been. It had been broken a few minutes later by none other than the twins, who had simultaneously expressed how cool they had thought the situation. The teachers then began pestering Dumbledore with questions until he silenced them with a look and began to explain the situation.
While the professor explained things, Harry's friends listened intently, though he could tell the twins didn't care one way or another how Harry had come to Hogwarts the way he had or that he had been an animagus at all. They merely thought it was cool that he was an animagus. Neville, like the twins, had been almost instantly accepting of the fact that Harry Potter had been his feline friend for the past four months and, true to his house colors, had declared, quietly of course, that he would always consider Harry his first and closest friend, no matter the situation.
Draco had been a little harder to read at first. He had appeared as if he wanted to protest but Severus' hand on his shoulder silenced him. The blond then continued to listen to what Dumbledore was telling the other staff, touching briefly on Harry's abuse since it was the primary reason Harry had disappeared. When the adults' conversation devolved into how they were going to continue to fool the public by simply not fooling them, Draco had come over and given Harry a hug, saying into Harry's ear that he understood and didn't hold anything against him.
"So are you going to be sorted?" Neville asked from his seat in the chair and looking genuinely curious.
"I don't think so," Harry said with a shake of his head. "It would defeat the entire purpose of telling the public that I was somewhere receiving special training and my remaining as Namir during school."
"So the rumor that one of the teachers had been discovered possessed by the Dark Lord before school started," Draco said with a calculating look on his face. He gestured briefly to the teachers before continuing. "The one they're basing this entire charade on, that actually happened? I thought the Prophet was merely spouting its usual nonsense."
"No, it happened," Harry assured with a nod. "I was there and saw the entire duel." Not particularly wanting to draw any more attention to himself than he already had, Harry left out the fact that he had actually assisted in the duel, resulting in Quirrell's successful defeat. "I want to thank you guys. I was really nervous about how you would react when you found out. I wasn't trying to deceive any of you by not telling you who I was, it was just easier to be Namir than it was to be Harry Potter and have everyone staring at me."
"We understand, Harry," Draco said with a reassuring nod. "I'm sure any one of us would have done the same in your shoes."
"Yeah," Neville agreed as he shifted nervously. Harry was then reminded that Neville's home life was nearly as bad his own. He, like Draco, had talked to him as Namir and occasionally talked of his life before Hogwarts. Some of the stories had incensed Harry to the point where he felt the urge to go hunting, something he had never felt before.
"Harry," Remus said as he came over from where the other teachers were. "Now that we've all hammered out the details, Dumbledore is going to call the Minister and have a meeting to straighten things out. It's doubtful but I want to prepare you for the possibility of him wanting to see you. If he does you should not have to say anything, merely show yourself. However, things are a little unpredictable at the moment."
"I understand Remus," Harry assured with a nod. "I know the story; if he asks me questions I know how to answer them."
"I would be surprised," Remus said with a fair bit of amusement in his voice. "But you've given bigger ones before. It's lunch time so why don't you guys go get something to eat while we deal with the Minister."
Harry smirked slightly before transforming and hopping off the couch. To everyone in the room, even those who were about to follow him, it appeared as if the door opened of its own volition but it was actually Harry's magic. It often opened doors for him when he was in his animagus form, since he could not open the doors himself. The other kids, assuming various different and highly plausible scenarios to explain the situation, none of which were accurate, got up and followed Harry out of the room and down towards the Great Hall. Just in time too as the fireplace flared green just as the door clicked shut behind the Weasley Twins.
"Albus!" the person in the flames called loudly and rather annoyingly. "Albus! I sent a letter off over four hours ago; you should have received it long before now. Why haven't you responded?"
"Minister," Albus said in way of greeting, though his tone held a slightly chastising edge to it. "It may be the holidays but this is still a school and takes quite a bit of attention to run, just like the Ministry. Now, why don't you come through and we'll straighten this whole mess out."
"Why does the public seem to think that Harry Potter is missing?" Fudge demanded once he had walked through the fireplace. "The paper said he did not show up for the sorting in September."
"That is because he did not," Dumbledore explained calmly as he sat back down behind his desk and gestured for Fudge to take a seat. "Given what happened in August with Quirrell and Voldemort, I thought it prudent to keep Mr. Potter out of the general public for his own safety. It wasn't until after the sorting that I thought it prudent to inform the staff of my decision. Since the fewer people who knew the better, I informed only the Heads of House. Mr. Lupin here discovered by chance when he came to my office one evening when I was giving Mr. Potter a test."
"Albus," Fudge said in a rather condescending voice that set everyone in the room on edge. "We both know that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is dead and gone. Whatever it is that happened over the summer did not involve him. There is no reason to conceal the boy. He is a prominent public figure and needs to show himself to the public." The stubborn look on the Minister's face clearly stated that he was doing everything within his power to remain in denial. Suddenly, all of the articles in the paper lately made a bit more sense. There had been a slight undertone of denial about what had happened in August. "They are starting to demand that we send out our entire Auror force to search for him. If he was actually missing then I would certainly do so but if he is as well as you say then end this. Sort him and have him attend classes like everyone else." Believing the matter to be settled, Fudge stood up and started to leave.
"No," Dumbledore said firmly, causing the Minister to freeze mid-step halfway between the desk and the fireplace. "You are currently standing in a building full of ghosts Minister, you know full well that people are capable of lingering in our world and there have been hundreds of documented cases of possession over the years. With the exception of Mr. Lupin and yourself, everyone in this room not only witnessed the possession but dueled against the possessed professor. Every Auror and Unspeakable at your Ministry is capable of detecting even the most expertly of modified memories. You have no plausible cause to stick your head in the sand and deny the situation."
"You-know-who is gone Albus!" Fudge exclaimed rather frantically as he spun around to face the Headmaster, a wild-eyed look of panic on his face.
"And yet," Severus drawled in a lazy voice that held a disgusted and angry edge. "He still reigns supreme and controls this entire country with his iron fist." Everyone turned to look at him, some in confusion, others in mild amusement, easily seeing the man's point. "Did it ever occur to you, Minister, that whether or not the Dark Lord is 'gone', as you say, that this is precisely what he wants? Everyone living in terror of him, so terrified of him to even speak his name, with every witch and wizard cowering in caves with their heads buried so far in the ground that they no longer know whether they are human or a plant and cannot defend themselves when a real threat comes along, whether it is from him or not." Severus paused to allow his words to sink into the Minister's thick skull before adding, in a much silkier voice. "Think about it, Minister. How you act now will affect the public's view on you should the threat be proven true. You could be hailed as a hero if you choose right… or go down in history as the man who destroyed Britain and handed it over on a silver platter because he chose to bury his head in the sand with everyone else."
"Y-you," Fudge stuttered as he fidgeted in place. It was quite obvious that Severus' words had an effect and that Fudge was actually using his brain now. "You say the boy is safe and accounted for?"
"Yes," Dumbledore said since the question had been directed at him. "He has even made a few friends in the other students, who have been informed and duly spelled for secrecy so they do not accidentally tell someone and spoil the entire charade." Here, Dumbledore subtly glanced between Remus and Severus when Fudge wasn't looking, quietly asking for them to ensure that was taken care of.
"Very well," Fudge said with only a hint of reluctance to his voice. "I shall take care of the public."
"Thank you, Cornelius," Dumbledore said with a happy nod. They all watched and waited as Fudge moved back to the fireplace and returned to the Ministry. "Well done Severus."
"How that man attained his position is beyond me," Severus groused in disgust. "His predisposition towards being manipulated is appalling."
"That is probably why he was elected." Minerva said in a rare showing of her Slytherin tendencies.
"Likely," Severus drawled in a heavy sigh, one dripped in disgust and stress. "I shall see to the silence of Mr. Potter's friends."
Harry yawned and stretched as he came out of a dead sleep. He was lying at the foot of Draco's bed in the Slytherin dorms. Nothing in particular had woken him, he had just finished sleeping. The sounds of deep, heavy breathing came from the other boy's in the dorm clearly said that everyone else had yet to do so. After another yawn, Harry glanced around the room and saw a fair sized pile of presents at the foot of each bed and he realized that it was Christmas morning. Suddenly wide awake and feeling very excited, Harry stood up and looked down at the pile in front of Draco's bed.
Searching out a specific package, Harry leaned down and gripped his present by its string in his mouth and pulled it up. He made his way to the top of the bed and gently pawed at Draco's shoulder. When that garnered nothing more than a slight twitch in Draco's breathing, Harry gently stepped onto Draco's chest and sat down and put his paw on the blond's chin. His efforts were rewarded when Draco grunted and opened his eyes. He glanced around for a few minutes before looking down to see what was sitting on him.
"Namir," Draco chuckled as he sat up, causing Harry to move back to the bed. "Merry Christmas silly."
Harry released his present as Draco rubbed his head affectionately. Draco chuckled at the green and silver wrapping with little animated snakes on it but obligingly opened the package. Surprise laced his features when he saw inside the box. He reached in and pulled out a little figurine that Harry had ordered from a muggle catalog with the help of Remus. It was a dragon huddled over a cauldron in the midst of stirring and adding an ingredient. As Draco looked and examined, the little figurine became animate. Small streams of smoke trailed up from the dragon's nose and potion started bubbling and fizzing. Draco was startled and almost dropped the figurine but managed to hold onto it. He was even more surprised when the dragon looked up at him in annoyance before going back to its brewing.
"This is wonderful Namir," Draco said in wonder as he watched the figure brew. "I had no idea they made things like this. You will have to tell me where you found this."
Harry purred in happiness, glad that Draco liked his gift. He curled up and watched as the blond opened the rest of his presents, receiving various different presents ranging from books to sweets from everyone Draco knew. When he was finished, Harry left to wait in the common room while Draco got dressed and then went to the Great Hall for breakfast, silently hoping that his other friends liked their gifts as well. The round table that took up the center of the hall was nearly empty when Harry and Draco entered. Few were up this early and those that were, were still waking up and getting ready or opening their presents. The only ones that were up and in the Great Hall were a few Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws.
Halfway through his plate of bacon, sausage, and berries, Harry looked up to see the rest of the students who stayed at the castle for the holidays filing in and sitting down to eat. Neville sat next to him and whispered a quiet thank you for his gift, a rare book on Herbology that Harry had found in a Flourish and Blotts catalog. Harry grinned and swished his tail before finishing his meal. The twins he had got another rare book on spell crafting, figuring they could use it to improve their pranks and jokes. He had received enthusiastic hugs for that one. Hermione had got a personalized schedule planner but he would give it to her in person when she returned from the holidays and he had a chance to explain things to her.
"Harry," Fawkes' voice sounded just as said boy was preparing to leave the Great Hall with his friends. The firebird swooped down over their heads and landed on the table in front of him and the other's, all of whom stared at the phoenix in amazed wonder. "I wish you to show you something. Please come with me."
"But," Harry hesitated, looking to his friends in concern and, admittedly, not wishing to leave since he had planned on spending the day with them. "Now that they know who I am, won't they wonder where I'm going?"
"I have discussed things with my human," Fawkes said calmly, understanding Harry's hesitancy. "He will make sure your friends understand things and I have assured him that you will be back by dinner so you can spend Christmas dinner with your friends."
"Alright," Harry said, only mildly disappointed that he did not get to spend the bulk of Christmas with his friends. His disappointment was tempered slightly by his curiosity at what Fawkes wanted to show him.
Harry stood up and rubbed up against Draco and Neville, in lieu of a hug, gave the twins parting glances, and stood up to follow Fawkes. The phoenix led the way towards the rafters and then out the windows. Thankfully, the weather was not too terrible so their flying went easily enough. The clouds over head did threaten a new snowfall but not a snow storm. Fawkes took Harry towards the mountains, causing Harry's curiosity to grow once more since they were approaching the spot where Fawkes first told him what magic was supposed to be rather than what it had become.
"Little did the Founders know," Fawkes said as he directed them towards a cave that Harry had not noticed the first time he had been there. "That this whole area was once an entire wizarding city during the Great Era. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, of buildings, castles, houses, and even skyscrapers stretched over this entire land for miles. Some constructions floated, enabling the owner or inhabitants to shift things to their will." Fawkes landed outside the cave and gestured for Harry to follow on foot into the cave's interior. "During the Great Wars the city was nearly eradicated. The magic from both the city and the war mingled and settled, permeating the land over the centuries. It is the reason the grounds of the castle prevent anyone from Apparating into or out of the grounds. The Founders merely found a way to tap into the latent magic in the land, allowing them to manipulate it."
"Is that also the reason the stairs in the Grand Staircase constantly move?" Harry questioned in curiosity. He glanced around the cave as he followed the firebird deeper into the bowels of the mountain, his feline eyes having no issue with the darkness, yet. They were still near the mouth of the cave so there was some light to see by, faint as it was.
"Partially," Fawkes said in mild amusement. "The magic on the grounds is half bound and half free. It enjoys messing with the stairs to pass the time since it is one of the few things it can do on its own. Again, though, because the Founders found a way to manipulate the magic the Headmaster could cease the magic and put the stairs into a fixed state."
The firebird paused suddenly, causing Harry to almost bump into him. Suddenly, Fawkes started radiating a faint light which allowed Harry to see much better. What he saw nearly caused him to faint dead away. An endless cavern stretched before them and went on for what appeared to be miles with no end. A city of stone filled the hallowed out mountain, if not the entire range. It was easily a hundred times larger than London, which Harry barely managed to catch a glimpse of when Hedwig had led him away from the Dursleys'.
"This was part of that very city," Fawkes explained calmly, his beady gaze traveling the thousands of buildings before them. "It was built by and for those who preferred darker dwellings for experimentation or for a simple personal reference. It is the largest surviving relic of the Great Era, preserved by magic herself in remembrance of the Great Era. Come."
Fawkes took off and Harry quickly followed, lest he loose his only source of light. They glided effortlessly over the stone city. Harry could feel magic pulsing through the very air like currents in water. It felt almost happy and playful and it was most certainly aware of Harry's presence. It licked against his magic like an excited puppy and Harry's magic delighted itself by playing back, creating little puffs of light that swirled in various patterns.
"Because magic herself has preserved and protected this place," Fawkes said from in front of Harry as they glided towards one of the largest structures around them. "Only those she deems worthy may even so much as notice the cave entrance. You have been granted entrance because of the promise you show, the openness you have shown towards the truth about magic, and your youthful innocence."
"I'm assuming there's something down here," Harry remarked, seeing no reason to comment on Fawkes' words given that it was essentially a rehash of things the firebird had already told him.
"And your startling ability for insights and guessing," Fawkes added with a chirp in amusement as he looked over his wing at Harry, who would've blushed had he not been covered in fur. "Yes, there is something down here. It is something that was sealed off from the world the minute the city was emptied during the wars. For millions of years it has sat down here, waiting for one such as yourself to make use of it once more."
"What is it?" Harry questioned in curiosity.
"The Library," Fawkes said as he flew in through a window in the middle of the building, which happened to be in the center of the city, and landed on a railing. The second Harry entered to find his own landing spot, light lit up the entire room, illuminating everything. Vast expanses of books, bookshelves, and stairs filled the entire building head to toe. There was no end to it and Harry had to force himself to land before he fell from shock. "This was and is the largest library on the planet and to ever exist in human history. The library at Alexandria came close but it was a feeble attempt to recreate this place and not nearly as well guarded. Scholars the world over would flock here by the hundreds to pool their research or look for answers to some age old riddle or simply to study and learn. No other place on earth, then or now, holds as much information as The Library or as much accurate information. In here you will find firsthand accounts of the man who invented potions or the very first mage. Both knew more about their areas of expertise than anyone else. Their understanding for their crafts was instinctual and fundamental. They led the way to some of the greatest discoveries your race had ever made."
"There aren't words," Harry whispered in shock as he crouched on top of a bookshelf and looked down. There appeared to be no end to the depth the building went to and bookshelves filled the way.
"Even if you lived forever, I doubt you would managed to get through even half of these books," Fawkes said, a hint of awe to his voice as well as a tone that suggested the bird was watching ancient memories that only he could see. "In any case, you do not have the time to riffle through anything here and now. I brought you here simply so you knew that you had the means in which to further your magical abilities beyond what the world above would limit you to. You may, however, take with you one book, only one, back to the surface to read at your leisure. If I may, I would advise you to take one on fundamental magics. Any one of those types of books will help you improve your understanding, communication, and usage of your magic."
"Sure," Harry said, drawing out the word. He was still in shock and staring at the millions of books around him and had only just managed to pay attention to what the firebird had been saying. Shaking himself from his stupor and turned towards Fawkes, silently asking him to lead the way to where the books he suggested were.
Fawkes chuckled in amusement but obliged the boy and took off and flew down a few levels. The soft, golden glow that surrounded them and radiated from the very walls of The Library illuminated the thousands of stacks, racks, and shelves of books and Harry once again found himself staring downward in an attempt to locate the bottom of the structure. There wasn't one as far as he could see. There was simply no end to the vast depth of The Library. It had obviously been expanded with magic to be larger on the inside than it was on the outside, something Harry found truly fascinating.
"So what was this place called?" Harry asked as he looked upon the shelf Fawkes had led him to. All the titles, though covered in a thick layer of dust, had some variation of fundamental magic, though one particular book had the title My Magic and Me. It reminded him of a self-help book he had seen in a muggle library when he had managed to go on his own since none of his relatives had any interest in books.
"The library itself is simply called The Library," Fawkes answered easily as he patiently waited for Harry to choose a book to take with him back to the surface. "No one saw fit to give it any sort of grand or unique name, the pride of it being that it quite simply is The Library. The one everyone wanted to go to for all their needs. The city was once called Larrthóir and was the capital of the entire planet. Everyone, muggle and magical, would come and go from this place, seeking knowledge and wisdom or a place to call their own. You could have been a pauper from the poorest place on the planet but it wouldn't matter if you came to Larrthóir for there was always work to be done in this city and never enough hands to do it all."
"It sounds like a wonderful place," Harry commented with only just a hint of jealousy in his voice. Using his magic he plucked one of the thickest totems from the shelf titled The Path of Magic: The Basics. It was a thick book, almost bigger than Harry was, but that was the reason Harry had chosen it. He had no idea when he would get a chance to come down here again and the book looked very promising. "I wish I could have seen it."
"You would have loved it Harry," Fawkes said in a remembering and awed tone as he took off again and led the way back towards the surface. "Perhaps one day such a city will return, though it is impossible to recreate the past."
The two flew back over the buried city and through the cave opening. Harry had to shield his eyes and blink several times once they got back out under the open sky. It wasn't horrendously bright out but compared to the darkness of the mountain cavern it was like staring straight into the sun after just waking up from a dead sleep. When his eyes adjusted, he saw that it was snowing relatively heavy. Thankfully, there was no wind and the snow was simply coming down rather heavy. All the same, Harry used his magic to erect a protective barrier around the book that was trailing behind him to ensure the snow didn't do any damage.
"Did they use wands during the Great Era?" Harry questioned randomly, turning this head to Fawkes. He snickered slightly in amusement when he saw the snowflakes turning back into water and then steam as they came into contact with Fawkes' feathers.
"Surprisingly yes," Fawkes said after a moment of surprised thought. "However, they were not as commonly used then as they are today. They were mostly used to help those undergoing apprenticeships or those with a poor connection with their magic and needed a way to channel it. Wands were much more effectively made back then and more effective in their use."
"What do you mean?" Harry questioned in confusion. His wand seemed fabulous and extremely useful once he managed to get his magic to cooperate and channel itself through the eleven inches of holly.
"Well," Fawkes said as they reached Hogwarts and quickly flew in through the open window of the Headmaster's office, Harry shaking to rid his fur of the water and snowflakes. "Today, wands are designed to actively pull on a person's magic in order to get it to perform magic, increasing its resistance and overall feeling of being chained and trapped. During the Great Era wands acted as an open channel for one's magic to flow through and allowing the witch or wizard a much finer control over their spells."
"Just in time my boys," Dumbledore's voice sounded, drawing their attention and preventing Harry from commenting on Fawkes' answer to his question. "A storm is about to roll in and give us a few feet of fresh snow."
"I noticed," Harry commented after transforming into himself. He ran his hand through his hair, causing it to slick slightly since it was still wet from the snow. "Though I doubt Fawkes would have had any trouble. The snow just melts off his feathers."
"Oh yes," Dumbledore chuckled in amusement as he glanced at the firebird, who was now perched on his perch and grooming himself. "I have complained about that to him many times in the past. I've yet to manage to create a spell that will replicate the effect." Fawkes chirped and Harry and Dumbledore shared a smile, though Harry's was a little more thoughtful. "Now, it is just past lunch, why don't you go find yourself something in the kitchen before joining your friends, who are in Professor Lupin's quarters enjoying their gifts and waiting for your return."
"Perfect," Harry said with a grin before transforming back into Namir and trotting out the door, an excited tilt to his gait. Dumbledore chuckled but cut himself short when he saw the book floating after Harry.
"What're you up to my old friend?" Dumbledore questioned as he turned to look at Fawkes with a confused frown. He received a nonchalant and seemingly innocent chirp in response. Dumbledore sighed. "Keep your secrets you old codger," Fawkes chirped indignantly and glared at the Headmaster, who ignored it. "As long as he is safe and well trained before Voldemort can get his hands on him then you may keep your secrets." Fawkes let out a reassuring warble and Dumbledore felt his fears ease, however slightly.
Harry made his way down the winding staircase and past the gargoyle that guarded the Headmaster's office, intent on getting to the third floor of the defense tower. So focused on where he was going, Harry did not notice that he had attracted someone's attention. That is, he did not notice until something very hard collided with his ribcage and he went flying across the hall and slammed into the corner he had just been about to turn. Despite the fact that he had heard several things crack in various places on his body, Harry's first though had been to protect the book he had floating after him and while he did not notice it, the book had been suddenly encased in steel and clunked to the floor heavily.
"Finally!" Someone's voice sounded above Harry, who was dazed from shock and the pain emanating from his ribs, leg and wing. His ribs from the kick and impact to the wall, his left leg had hit the corner with enough force to cause his bones to break, and his left wing, its bones already frail and delicate, had been smashed between him and the wall and breaking the bones and tearing muscle. "I've been trying to get you alone for months. I haven't forgotten that you stole my pet rat you filthy little whelp."
Harry looked up, forcing the pain his brain was registering to the back of his mind and saw the Weasley boy who had owned Pettigrew and who did not seem to like him very much for some reason, which his theft did not help in alleviating. Just as Weasley was about to deal another kick to Harry's midsection, Harry's magic roared to his defense without him consciously or unconsciously asking for its assistance. Weasley's leg was suddenly lit on fire and the sounds of bones breaking could be heard once more. The boy screamed in agony as he collapsed backwards and started flailing, trying to douse the magical flames that were burning away his flesh.
Enough, Harry called mentally and with great effort managed to get his magic to douse the magically fueled flames.
Hurt, a voice whined in Harry's head, making him freeze in surprise. It was most definitely not his mental voice; he had spent countless hours, if not days, talking to himself within the confines of his cupboard to be able to tell his mental musings from someone else's voice. This led Harry to one invariable and surprising conclusion. The voice was that of his magic, which had never happened before. Fix?
No, Harry quickly responded before his magic could attempt to heal his injuries. Neither of us knows enough about anatomy or medical magic in order to heal my injuries on our own.
Help. His magic decided firmly then.
Harry felt his magic spread out and then connect with what he presumed to be the magic that protected Hogwarts and the latent magic left by the Great Wars. He felt his magic twitch, shift, and then suddenly jerk. There came a loud crack, a startled yelp that was quickly followed by an indignant oomph and the sound of someone landing rather undignified on the floor, and then what felt like the ground rumbling beneath them all. Harry felt it as his magic disconnected with the castle's magic and then faded back into his body where it appeared to pace impatiently, waiting for whomever it had brought to help Harry.
Speaking of which, Harry looked up to see Severus pulling himself up from the ground and dusting off his robes. Confused but grateful, Harry let out a pathetic whine that caused the Potions Master to freeze in the process of straightening his robes and look towards him. With barely a pause, Severus rushed towards him, pulling out his wand, and started casting diagnostic spells to ascertain what was wrong. In the midst of his spell casting, some of which had gratefully relieved Harry's pain, Severus shot off a few beams of light that went straight through the walls. Seconds later, rushed footsteps could be heard coming down the hall from several different directions.
"What happened?" Remus' voice sounded in an urgent pant. Behind him trailed the twins, Neville, and Draco. Seconds after their arrival, the other Heads of House, Dumbledore, and Madam Pomfrey arrived on the scene. Pomfrey gasped in horror before immediately running over to Weasley since he appeared the more severely injured, what with the burn flesh and exposed bone on his right leg, and since Severus appeared to be handling Harry well enough.
"I am not certain," Severus said, pausing in his spells to gently poke and prod at Harry's injuries, electing a few pain filled moans and whines from the feline. "Near as I can tell, Mr. Weasley attacked Namir and Namir retaliated."
"Nearly killed him is more like it," Madam Pomfrey said from her position over Weasley's unconscious form. "Mr. Weasley is extremely lucky that he did not die from the pain this wound caused him. The oddest part is that I can detect no actual spell work and Mr. Potter is still in his animagus form. I would greatly like to know how, exactly, this happened." Harry looked at Madam Pomfrey in a brief moment of panic before Dumbledore spoke up.
"She was informed in case there was an incident where you needed medical attention," Dumbledore explained to everyone, not just Harry since none of them had known the mediwitch had known about Harry's animagus status.
"Harry," Severus said, drawing his attention. "Your wing is fixed. I would prefer to repair your other injuries in your human form as they should all transfer without an issue."
"He was mad at me over what happened with Pettigrew," Harry explained after doing as Severus silently requested and transforming back into his human form. "He caught me off guard by kicking me, which through me into the wall. He said he's been trying to get me alone for months."
"And how did you manage to wound him so severely?" Pomfrey questioned as she levitated the boy into a conjured stretcher. She had obviously stabilized the boy, though his leg still looked mangled.
"Your magic came to your defense didn't it?" Remus questioned softly as Harry hissed in pain when Severus cast a spell to repair his broken arm and ribs. Harry nodded as the twins helped him to his feet.
"Impossible," Minerva said with a deep frown on her face as she looked over her Gryffindor's condition before turning back to the rest. "No one can perform any magic while in their animagus form and many people out there have tried for many years to do so and figure out why. It simply isn't possible. Many have argued that you can't perform any magic as an animagus because you technically don't have your wand and those who can do wandless magic never managed the transformation."
"We hate to disagree Professor," Fred said with a deep scowl on his face as he looked his little brother over.
"But we both can attest to the fact that Harry has performed magic while posing as Namir," George finished with an identical scowl on his face, though his lips twitched slightly at the memory of what Harry had done to prank them.
"As can I," Remus interjected before Minerva could argue against the twins. "The entire school still talks about how Namir pranked the twins before holidays started and I saw him cancel the magic he used to do up the twins' hair in pink bows. I don't know how but Harry's managed the impossible."
"Whether it is impossible or not," Pomfrey interjected, not particularly interested in the argument that Minerva looked ready to start. "It explains why there is magical residue on Mr. Weasley's leg but not spell residue. I shall take him to the Hospital Wing and start a burn treatment as well as a potion regimen to try and regrow his lost muscle. He will also need to undergo Skele-grow for the next day or so; every bone in his leg is completely shattered. Are Mr. Potter's injuries taken care of?"
"Yes," Severus said with an assuring nod. "A few cracked ribs, some bruising, and a fractured forearm. Nothing more serious than that and all of it repaired." Pomfrey nodded before stalking off with Weasley floating next to her.
"Mr. Potter," Minerva said with a disgruntled look on her face. She did not appear angry, just confused and intrigued, likely because of Harry's use of magic in his animagus form. "Do stop by my office some time tomorrow. I am greatly curious about how you have managed to use magic in your animagus form and I would like to discuss it with you." With that she stalked off, likely to owl Weasley's parents.
"What's this?" Neville questioned as he bent down and picked up the steel encased book, which was considerably heavy as it was thicker than Neville and almost half his height.
"That's mine," Harry said as he went over and took the book from the struggling boy, using his magic to lighten the books weight and remove the metal casing, revealing it for the book it was. "Fawkes gave it to me earlier after breakfast. He said it was really old and extremely rare and would help me with my magic."
"I have never heard of such a book," Dumbledore said as he adjusted his glasses and leaned over Harry to read the title. "I wonder where he found it and why he never brought it up before. It certainly looks informative though, judging by its size alone. I would be nervous about there being things in there that you shouldn't be reading but I trust Fawkes' judgment."
"Harry?" A voice called from down the corridor. Everyone turned to see a man standing in the middle of the hallway with an obscene amount of presents floating next to him. He had grey eyes that held a haunting shadow to them, though they sparkled with happiness and his black hair hung just past his shoulders.
"Sirius," Remus warned lightly, quietly telling the man that he needed to tread carefully. "Harry, this is Sirius Black, the man I told you, you freed from prison when you caught Pettigrew. As I said, he was another good friend of your parents and the most excitable one at that. He came to celebrate Christmas with you, though I thought we agreed he would come closer to dinner."
"It's almost four," Sirius defended himself with a childish look at Remus, who looked down at his watch in surprise. "And I thought he wasn't supposed to go out looking like himself."
"There was an incident but everything's fine. Now," Remus said, overriding Sirius' protests before the man could even open his mouth. The wolf gestured towards the assembled kids. "It's Christmas and I say we all go back to my rooms. I'm sure Harry would like to open his presents since he did not get to open them this morning before he took off with Fawkes."
"I have presents?" Harry questioned innocently in surprise as he looked from Sirius to Remus, far too much disbelief and hope in his emerald orbs for anyone's liking. Despite the fact that he had gotten people presents, it was quite obvious that he had not expected to receive any in return.
"Yes, Harry," Remus sighed with a smile, belying none of his sadness at seeing Harry so shocked at hearing he had presents to open. Knowing exactly why Harry was so shocked and hopeful did nothing to help. "Now come on. I want to see your reaction to the present I got you."
Harry smiled, levitated his book next to him with barely a thought, and took Remus' outstretched hand. Everyone else fell in line and made their way back to Remus' quarters. Dumbledore moved up to Sirius and quietly informed him of what had happened, explicitly saying that the Weasley boy had already been punished by Harry's own hand. Sirius, for the most part, took the news in with a blank face. His eyes, however, clearly betrayed his rage at what had almost happened to his godson and how he wanted payback on Harry's behalf.
"Sirius," Dumbledore said quietly, some amusement leaking into his voice. When he looked, Sirius saw the age old twinkle in the man's eye and that he was looking at the enormous pile of present floating next to him. "Perhaps it would be best to reduce the number of presents you give Harry, maybe spread them out between his birthday and Christmas. That way, you do not overwhelm him with so many at once but can also show that you care about him."
"I couldn't decide what to get him and thought that it wouldn't matter if I got him so many that he would love to have them all," Sirius said as he looked towards his mound of presents for Harry. Slowly, he started plucking out a select few to give to Harry. "I had no idea he had never received any gifts before."
"None of us did, Sirius," Dumbledore said sadly. He waved his wand and caused the pile of presents to float next to him instead of Sirius. "In spite of what we have learned of his home life. Now, I will keep these in my office for you and you can pick them up on your way out of the castle."
Sirius nodded solemnly before heading off towards Remus' quarters. Everyone had already started playing or opening presents in Harry's case. The twins were constantly cracking jokes or pulling off advanced looking spells that resulted in a fair amount of awe and amusement. Remus spotted him and came over and started to whisper what had happened when Sirius waved him off with an explanation of Dumbledore before going over to Harry and presenting his presents to the boy, who grew wide eyed at even more presents. He had already opened the ones from everyone else. Remus had got him four plush wrist bands that had small bells on them for Namir and a necklace in the shape of a cat playing with a ball of string. The others had given Harry various things ranging from a chess set to books to a few shirts that he simply adored.
"Mr. Potter," Severus said some time later when dinner had past and everyone was winding down, even going so far as to appear sleepy. When he had the boy's attention he continued. "Would you care to explain to me how exactly I ended up in the hallway with you so suddenly this afternoon?"
"What're you talking about Severus?" Remus questioned in confusion, noticing the slight blush on Harry's cheeks.
"I'm talking about how one moment I was sitting at my desk finishing up some last minute grading I had," Severus said in calm tone, conveying to Harry that he was not upset, merely curious. "And the next I was falling down in the hallway between Mr. Potter and Weasley, as if I had Apparated. There was even a loud crack. I am simply curious as to how that happened."
"Well, it's impossible for you to have Apparated," Sirius remarked in relaxed but slightly mocking tone. "Not even the Dark Lord could have done that."
"My magic brought him," Harry said before anyone could get into any sort of argument or debate. He had sensed, throughout the entire afternoon, that Severus and Sirius, for whatever reason, did not like each other very much.
"You brought him?" Sirius questioned in shock and disbelief. He frowned seconds later when Harry shook his head.
"No," Harry said clearly enunciating his words to ensure clarity. "I said my magic brought him. After fending off Weasley, it felt I was hurt and in pain and, rather than try and heal me itself, summoned someone who knew who I was and would be able to help. I had no idea what it was doing at the time until Severus appeared in the hallway."
"That's impossible; your magic can't just act on its own. It has no awareness or freewill." Sirius scoffed at the notion that Harry.
Seconds later, everyone was suppressing giggles when Sirius was suddenly turned into a soft, plushy teddy bear with a very grumpy scowl on his face. The two other adults in the room, while highly amused, were also a little worried. Human transfiguration was often deadly if miss handled. They were also shocked. Something such as this should have been completely impossible for one of Harry's age and study.
"Turn him back," Harry said through his giggle fits. He tried to appear contrite and focused but he wasn't succeeding very well.
Don't want to, came the reply from his magic. It sounded highly offended and extremely put out. He's mean.
He's not mean, he's ignorant. Harry retorted mentally so the others did not think him crazy. There's a difference. I'm sure he meant no offense. As far as he's aware, what he said is true.
Fine. Harry's magic grumbled petulantly and obligingly returned Sirius back to his normal state with his clothes slightly askew. The man coughed briefly, emitting a puff of cotton.
"That," Sirius said as he put his hands to his head, appearing a little disoriented. "Was weird. I had the strangest urge to clap my hands and go 'mama'."
That turned out to be the wrong thing to say. The entire room, even Severus, burst out into a fit of howling laughter that soon brought tears to their eyes. Sirius scowled at them all but it was ruined quickly by the appearance of a teddy bear that looked identical to him moments before but with a red scarf around its neck that was embroidered with the words 'Merry Christmas' in gold thread. For all that the man had ticked his magic off, Harry's magic, like him, was still very much a child and quickly moved on from the offense. Sirius held the plush toy in shock before smiling in both amusement and affection.
Harry sat on Minerva's desk in her office in relative boredom, his tail dangling off the edge and twitching idly. Minerva, ever the academic when it came to Transfiguration, had put Harry through a variety of tests to try and determine how he had managed to perform magic while in his animagus form. She had grown increasingly agitated when all her scans had come back as just slightly above average. His magic levels were above average, obviously since he was the youngest animagus in existence, but they did nothing to explain his achievement. To Harry's confusion, she had yet to actually have him perform any magic.
"Mr. Potter," Minerva said with a sigh as she sat down in her chair and looking highly put out. "I find myself hard pressed to believe your claims of having performed magic while posing as Namir."
Harry rolled his eyes at her, thinking her ridiculous for having overlooked the obvious. With a huff expressing his boredom, Harry stroked his magic and had it spread out around him, which caught Minerva's attention. Having no interest in anything in particular or feeling like giving his magic direction, Harry simply let his magic float about the room to do as it pleased. Several dingy looking things suddenly sparkled like new. Many objects received a color change or complete makeover and much to Minerva's astonishment every item on her desk, with the exception of Harry, suddenly sprung up and started dancing to music only they could hear.
The charade went on for several minutes before his magic got bored as well and put everything back the way it was, with the exception of the things it had cleaned. Harry turned to look at Minerva with a look she had worn several times when she was in her cat form, one of detached boredom mixed with mild amusement. The look on her face was priceless as well with her slacked jaw and bulging eyes. She almost looked on the verge of fainting but she thankfully managed to remain consciousness. Taking pity on the woman, Harry moved over to a chair and changed back into himself.
"You could've saved yourself time and effort if you'd just asked me to show you," Harry said with amusement in his voice and a childlike look on his face.
"I-I-" Minerva stuttered before shaking her head and regaining control over herself and once more looking like the stern Head of Gryffindor. "I was attempting to determine whether or not your magic was any different than anyone else's, regardless of whether or not you could do magic in your animagus form."
"As far as I am aware," Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders. "My magic is no different. It's just free."
Harry was taking a gambit here; he knew that all too well. Fawkes had clearly told him that witches and wizards of today's world had a very strict way of thinking when it came to what magic could and could not do. They were stuck in a rut, as the firebird had said in an annoyed huff. Fawkes feared that they would attempt to get Harry to return to their way of thinking and ruin everything. Harry, while he sympathized with the firebirds concerns, had come to realize that no matter what was said or done, he and his magic would always remain as they were now; friends and companions. So, Harry was attempting to get the people around him used to the fact that he was not bound by their laws of magic.
"Free?" Minerva questioned in confusion.
"By your own words," Harry said as he asked his magic to bring him one of the mice from one of the various cages in the room. The squeaking creature struggled the entire way. "Transfiguration is one of the most complex and difficult forms of magic, so much so that it would be near impossible to perform the craft without a wand."
Minerva opened her mouth to agree but it ended up simply dangling limply from her face as the mouse turned into a snuffbox, something she had yet to get around to teaching the first year students. It then turned into a quill, then pair of glasses, and then various other different objects, all of which should have been completely impossible for a first year student to transfigure before it was finally returned to a mouse that looked extremely disoriented. Harry got up and manually returned the mouse to its cage in an attempt to keep it from becoming even more disoriented.
"When I first came here," Harry continued when he resumed his seat, politely ignoring Minerva's gobsmacked look. "Fawkes helped me set my magic free and taught me how to communicate with it. My magic can actually do quite a lot, more than I expected really, but because of our limited knowledge there are still some things that we're unsure of how to do, which is one of the reasons why it summoned Severus yesterday instead of simply healing my injuries on its own."
"Harry," Minerva said, finally regaining control over her voice and jaw. "What you're proposing and have done is impossible. It breaks every known law of magic, both natural and Ministry law."
"Not law," Harry corrected with a shake of his head. "Restraints. Magic can do anything, it's in the limits of the wielder that restricts things." Minerva still looked extremely doubtful and even looked on the verge of protesting but Harry beat her to the punch, intent on making his point clear. "Look, I've done a lot of reading in my spare time, specifically into transfiguration since I find it rather fascinating." It was a dirty trick, whether it was true or not, but it worked nonetheless. He had gained the woman's full attention and she even had a look of embarrassed pride on her face. "The first of Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration is, essentially, that you cannot simply pull food out of thin air, correct?"
"That is correct, Harry," Minerva said with a small smile on her face. She obviously approved of Harry's reading habits.
"Cake?" Harry offered as he held out his hands and a full sized, freshly baked chocolate cake with white icing appeared in his hands, complete with two plates and sets of silverware. Minerva, despite her shock, knew that Harry had not simply summoned it from somewhere else as the cake was still very warm, enough so that the icing was starting to ooze off the side. Thankfully there was a plate underneath the cake otherwise she probably would have had a fit over getting icing all over her desk. "Believe me now?"
"I might be tempted to if this tastes as good as it smells and looks," Minerva cracked with a slight smile even though she still looked completely and utterly shocked. Harry snickered.