AN: As several people have told me of a resemblance between this story and another called Harry the Hufflepuff, I went to go read it. Lo and behold, I find myself agreeing with the assessment. It's a great story too, so if you haven't read it yet you should totally get to it; that Harry is so cool. In fact, that story has inspired me. Shout-out to BajaB for the way I dealt with Voldemort. It's not exactly the same, but I wouldn't have thought about it if it wasn't for Harry the Hufflepuff.
Another thing: I actually do know some sign-language since I have a grandmother that's deaf, but I only know the American type. Any sign-language used will be in American even though I'll be calling it British for the sake of this story. Also, sign-language doesn't come in proper grammar and sentence structure, so if I write something the Mirror said as a proper sentence, it will be the 'translation,' not what's actually being signed.
A scream of mad cackling rent through the peace of the midnight hour, jolting those that didn't sleep deeply out of their slumber and into what sounded like a waking nightmare. Bats were startled out of their rest, and swooped into flight at the shrieking, echoing sound.
"It's . . . IT'S A—LIIIIIIIIVE!"
Those that heard those gruesomely delighted words would tell tales of a violent new ghost haunting the halls, detailing their imaginings of what could have possibly happened to have drawn in such a horrible creature.
The next morning, it was a baggy-eyed but bouncy Harry Potter that arrived at the Ravenclaw table, showing off his new invention, patent pending. The Potter Pen™ was now officially a thing.
"Not only is it self-inking and auto-correcting, the ink changes colours, and the texts dries instantly!" Harry held up his project up for his fellow scholars to admire. He had spent a bit of time transfiguring it to look attractive as well, so it ended up looking like a quality quill crossed with an expensive fountain pen. "It's charmed so when it's in dictation mode it only responds to the voice of the person who activated it; nothing like those other dicta-quills that pick up what everyone says. Of course, if you want to it to take record of everything, I also gave it what I called 'Scribe mode,' which will not only write down everything it hears but also remembers it so it can be written again at a later date. So, like, if you set it to record everything Professors Binns says in class in your notes, but then you lose those notes, it can write another copy for you."
Harry stroked the Pen where the base met feather and then held it out to one of his dorm-mates. "Try writing with it."
The boy — Michael Corner — did so, writing out his name idly. He looked up in surprise. "It doesn't scratch or drag!"
Harry beamed. He took back the Pen and pointed his finger to the nib. "Observe the rounded tip. The Muggles use a similar design in their writing devices that they call ball-point. This modification of the nip causes the quill to glide over the parchment and distributes the ink evenly, removing the chance for blots. And not only that," here he quickly wrote out Corner's name as well before holding up the page. "As you can see, this quill can also mimic hand-writing. Instead of writing out your assignments by hand, you can just set it to dictation mode and it can do the writing for you; no more writing it out again after you've finished the rough draft."
Harry was all but mobbed by Ravenclaws clamouring to get their own Pens. He left breakfast that day with a stack of order-forms from over twenty people.
"E-R-I-S-E-D . . ." Harry said aloud as his reflection slowly spelled out its answer. "You're name is Erised? Like what's written at the top of your frame?"
The reflection made a fist and did a knocking motion, the sign for 'yes.'
Harry was once again in the chamber with the enchanted mirror. He had originally come down for a visit every two days, often enough that the mirror wouldn't feel abandoned by him but not too often that people would wonder where he kept disappearing off to. During those times, the mirror would tell him stories of events it had been around to witness and people that had sought it out. Harry found the history of mirror utterly fascinating; he doubted he'd ever get enough of learning more about it.
The visits had trickled when exams began approaching, slowing to around once a week. He made sure that he brought lots of books when he did arrive though, making sure that the mirror had something to occupy itself with during the down time. Consequently, dozens of books had been donated to the good cause, including but not limited to the complete works of Shakespeare, the Sherlock Holmes series in one anthology, the James Bond series, the Chronicles of Narnia, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and handfuls of other stuff ranging from plays to the newest fiction he could find.
Suffice to say, the mirror forgave him for the minor neglect. The consumption of books also gave them the added bonus of having topics to discuss during their time together as well. Harry had found himself growing increasingly fond of the enchanted mirror, deciding that he often had more interesting conversations with it than with some of his classmates.
Today, Harry had popped down to tell the mirror about a student in his year that he had just met even though they had been sharing all the same classes. She was dreadfully shy and all but fainted when her friend introduced her to him. It was then that he remembered that he hadn't yet learned the mirror's name, and thus prompted him to ask for it once more.
"Is that sentence there you're full name then? Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi? Bit of a mouthful, isn't it?"
"It is actually supposed to be read backwards," Erised signed out. "Properly, it says, 'I show not your face but your heart's desire.' It is a description of my function."
"Eh? But I don't see anything but you when I look! That is, I see myself but with you as the person inside the body." Harry wasn't sure what that said about him.
Erised laughed soundlessly. "If you had waited a moment more, you would have seen what you were supposed to. Instead, you addressed me, drawing my magic into a different function."
Harry considered it. "So, it's possible for you to show me my 'heart's desire'? But what does that even mean?"
"Often, it is something those that look do not even know that they want, or that it is what they want the most. Sometimes it is something abstract, like being the best, other times it is something like a loved one."
"So . . . what's the point of looking? Can you give it to us?"
Erised shook its head while making the sign for negation. "I am a mirror. I can do nothing but show one what they look for. Many times what they want is something they simply can never have."
"I hope you don't mind me saying," said Harry. "But I don't think creating such an enchantment was very worthwhile. I don't understand why anyone would want to see something that's impossible to achieve. It would get depressing, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it be better if you showed them something that would make them happy that they could make come true? Like a lonely person being shown who to be kind to so they could make a friend, you know?"
Erised smile faintly at Harry. "It is not my place to say whether or not my creator was right in creating me. I can only fulfill my purpose."
"I'm not saying they shouldn't have created you! I'm saying it would make more sense to me if you showed people the path they could take if they wanted to reach a viable goal and thus become happy."
"Maybe you could make such a mirror," Erised suggested.
"Oh, but I doubt I could give it as wonderful a personality as you," teased Harry. He paused. "Say, Erised, you know everyone's greatest desires; what is it that you want?"
Erised did not say anything for a few moments. It looked pensive and a touch confused. Finally, it looked up and smiled fondly at Harry. "You are such an odd person, Harry Potter. I am a mirror; I am not the dreamer, I only ever show the dreams."
Business was booming! Now that exams were creeping up, Harry's usual suckers customers had realized that they had screwed themselves over for the long run; many were average at best in their classes and that was with Harry doing their assignments for them. Naturally, this led them to a scramble to cram everything they were supposed to have learned since the beginning of the year in the few weeks they had left before finals. This, of course, also led to the second phase of Harry's master-plan from the Sorting.
As Harry had expected, his customers came crawling to him for solutions to their academic woes. In anticipation for the new demand, he had subtly inquired about what testing would be like and had discovered that the matter they would be tested on had been the same for longer than anyone could remember. As far as he could tell, first years were always required to do a basic animation charm (like making an object move a certain way), turn a small animal into a decorative object, brew one of the potions from the end of their potions textbook, write an essay about an invention created within the last 100 years, answer a multiple-choice about plant safety, detail the planets and their moons, and demonstrate the hexes and defenses they learned during the year. It would be easy enough for someone that paid attention during lessons and did the minimal required reading, but of course, his customers weren't that sort at all.
It was not to say that they would fail miserably without Harry; it wasn't as if they had shoved all their assignments off on him. All of them had classes that they took genuine interest in and thus would be fine to test for. Unfortunately, for the classes they had foisted off on Harry, they were as useless as a foot growing out of someone's shoulder.
Seamus Finnigan and the four out of the seven props from Gryffindor were thrown into a tizzy; the latter quartet resembling wet cardboard in their dispositions. Malfoy's meat-shields, Gabriel Spinks, and Mauricius Pike from Slytherin were also bothered, the second pair sending suspicious looks at Harry, as if they suspected him to have been planning this all along (not that he would tell them they were correct). And let's not forget the newest additions to the list of Harry's regulars: Roger Malone and Oliver Rivers, two Hufflepuffs that certainly weren't a part of the House because of any work-ethic. All eleven of them together made a crowd of jittery slackers.
Rising to the occasion, Harry had formulated cram plans tailor-made for each customer in need (for a small fee, of course). He staged short study sessions dedicated to different subjects from day to day wherein he instructed them on practical application of the tasks they would likely be asked of. His impeccable notes taken throughout the school year were passed out after being edited to suit the comprehension styles of each person, highlighted and detailed in the areas the individual was likely to need most help. If that wasn't enough, he even made it so the notes were in their own handwriting, taking away the possibility of them being called out on not doing their own work.
Harry was kept busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, but he thrived under the pressure.
"You're alright, Potter," Gabriel Spinks had said, eying Harry with a look of grudging appreciation. It was after a crash course on Defense, Harry's best subject. "I don't doubt you've got this situation in your pocket, but I reckon I can respect a bloke that's managed such a drawn-out scam."
"Calling it a scam would imply I've been dishonest in my intentions or have somehow swindled you out of what I've promised," Harry had said as he deactivated the spell on his quill that recorded the happenings of the sessions. "Not once have I deceived anyone about my services, nor have I supplied anyone with anything other than what they've asked for. You can call it a scheme, but using the word 'scam' is both incorrect and insulting."
"Ravenclaws," Pike had snorted. "Whatever you want to call it, the fact of the matter is: you're not half as out of the loop as Malfoy's got everyone else believing."
Even as he jauntily jingled the coins in his pocket, Harry adopted the dazed, distracted mien characteristic to Ravenclaws outside of class. "Mmm, is that so? I'm not sure what you mean though."
It was sweltering hot that day, especially in the large classroom where they did their written papers. One would have thought wizards would have invented a means for indoor climate-control during all their time playing with singing hats and teacups that bit noses. Alas, if such a thing as magical air-conditioning existed, Hogwarts didn't make use of it.
To Harry's dismay, they had been given specialized quills for the exams, one that had been bewitched with an Anti-Cheating spell. Harry hadn't enchanted the Potter Pens with cheating mechanisms of course, but he was still disappointed he wasn't allowed his invention; they had been invaluable since he had completed them and he hadn't used any other type of quill since.
They had practical exams after the written portion.
Professor Flitwick called them one by one into his classroom to see if they could make a pineapple tap-dance across a desk. Harry did just that and cast a minor illusion on it as well to give the fruit a little top-hat and a pair of active hands. His Head of House had been tickled by his additions and gave him extra credit.
Professor McGonagall watched them with her gimlet eyes as they turned mice into a snuffboxes — points were given for how pretty the snuffbox was and were taken away if it retained any of their mouse-like features, like tail or whiskers. Harry wasn't really one for 'pretty,' but he gave his snuffbox a lovely glossy sheen to it, much like the inside of a clam shell.
Professor Snape made it his business to make them all nervous, stalking through the rows and breathing down their necks while they tried to remember how to make a Forgetfulness potion. Harry liked to think he did rather well. His potion wasn't exactly like how Professor Snape demonstrated, but he also knew that there wasn't anything that could be classified as 'wrong' with it.
Their very last exam was History of Magic. Harry was among the many that found the class a cruel and unusual punishment, and the exam for it was no less painful. Fortunately, it was actually the shortest examination period. One hour of answering questions about batty old wizards who'd invented self-stirring cauldrons and they were free in the wind, free for a whole wonderful week until their results came out. When Professor Binns told them to put down their quills and roll up their parchment, Harry couldn't help cheering with the rest.
"Want to go play Gobstones out by the Lake?" asked Justin, stretching luxuriously when their quartet convened in the Entrance Hall.
There were no objections, so they followed the crowd of students finished with their testing out to the Black Lake for their well-deserved rest.
Shame it didn't last. Not in Harry's case at least.
Harry was not having a pleasant evening. Well, a more correct way of putting it was that Harry was not in a pleasant situation, one that had been going on for an indeterminable period of time but just so happened to have begun sometime during that evening. It really was the most dratted thing. Things had been going so well that day too, right up until the moment he had been knocked unconscious for however long and then awakened to find himself in a different location with the person he assumed was his abductor.
He was having a hard time processing who it was he was seeing though.
Quirrell snapped his fingers. Ropes sprang out of thin air and wrapped themselves tightly around Harry. The boy overbalanced when he started and tumbled to floor, jamming his shoulder as he landed.
Shifting into a sitting position, Harry groaned and mentally face-palmed.
In hindsight, the situation with Quirrell was a lot like those cloak-and-dagger novels, very the-butler-did-it-esque. Harry wasn't sure how he had missed it; hadn't he read all those who-dun-its while hiding out in the library from Dudley? He should have known; it was always the guy everyone else dismisses. Things had been going story-book since the Hogwarts letters came, it would logically follow that his 'bad-guy' would follow script.
"No doubt you expected Severus," Quirrell laughed. "He does seem the type, doesn't he? So useful to have him swooping around like an over-grown bat. Next to him, who would suspect p-p-poor, st-stuttering P-Professor Quirrell?"
Anyone who's ever read a book intended for audiences that think beyond face-value, that's who. Snape's too blunt in his disposition to be the true villain, he was too obvious. If they were casting roles, he had the makings of a reoccurring antagonist since he was a big part of daily interaction. The real baddies were the ones that stayed to the sidelines.
So, why hadn't Harry realized that until just now?
Well, maybe Harry was being hard on himself; if the situation truly followed script, the villain would be Filch, or maybe even Hagrid. They would have suited the 'butler' role more properly, and it wasn't like Filch needed an excuse. Hell, Madam Pince would have been perfect. If everyone were to be placed in roles, Snape would have been the main suspect, the crime would have actually been committed by Professor Sprout in the Dark Tower with a riding crop, and Quirrell would have been that wimpy bloke that panics and end up being the next victim after he stupidly runs off by himself.
In any case, it appeared that the wimpy bloke was actually the murderer this time around, and Harry — the protagonist, the one that should have been catching the villain red-handed — was starring in the role of damsel in distress. Sod it all if he hadn't bollixed up his own fight scene.
In a story with a plot-twist that could have been seen a mile coming, Harry Potter is: The Boy Who Lived to be an Idiot. Coming soon to a theatre near you.
Quirrell eyed him contemptuously. "You're too nosy to live, Potter. Scurrying around the school on Halloween like that, for all I knew you'd seen me coming to look at what was guarding the Stone."
Harry couldn't believe it. "You let the troll in?" The mad hatter had fainted! What about that said he could handle a troll?
"Certainly. I have a special gift with trolls — you must have seen what I did to the one in the chamber back there? Unfortunately, while everyone else was running around looking for it, Snape, who already suspected me, went straight to the third floor to head me off — and not only did my troll fail to beat you to death, that three-headed dog didn't even manage to bite Snape's leg off properly.
"Now, wait quietly, Potter. I need to examine this interesting mirror."
It was then that Harry recognized the location he was in. It was the dusty old room Erised was kept in! But . . . what— how—? He thought they were in that place the cerberus was guarding; wasn't the fabulous treasure being protected the thing Quirrell was after? What the hell were they doing in a decrepit tomb of a chamber that housed only a lonely mirror?
Quirrell was muttering something about besting challenges and overcoming Dumbledore's 'pathetic protections.' Was this really what all the fuss was about then?
Harry was self-righteously indignant. Why was nothing going his way today? He had thought up a host of ideas of what could be so important that so much trouble was being done to protect it — from the One Ring to a signed autograph of Merlin — and it turned out that it was just his friend being treated to the usual poor hospitality.
"This mirror is the key . . ." Quirrell murmured, tapping his way around the frame. "Trust Dumbledore to come up with something like this . . . but he's in London . . . I'll be far away by the time he gets back. . . ."
Well, that was appropriately ominous. Though what he wanted with a mirror, Harry didn't know.
Quirrell came back out from behind the mirror and stared hungrily into it. "I see the Stone . . . I'm presenting it to my master . . . but where is it?"
If Quirrell had been looking he would have seen Harry's eye grow to House-elf proportions and his face drain of colour. Luckily, the turban'd man didn't notice any thing and thus was also ignorant of Harry's sudden jolt into a frenzy of trying to wiggle free.
Quirrell cursed under his breath. "I don't understand . . . is the Stone inside the mirror? Should I break it?"
Oh, could this day get any worse? First kidnapping, then plot-twists back to back, and now his friend was in danger of being destroyed? He just couldn't catch a break! Harry wriggled furiously, trying to scratch the rope on the rough stone floor. If he could just get his hands free . . .
Quirrell was either terrible at being aware of his surroundings or he just plain didn't care what Harry was doing. He was still talking to himself. "What does this mirror do? How does it work? Help me, Master!"
And to Harry's horror, a voice answered. It seemed to come from Quirrell himself.
"Use the boy . . . Use the boy . . ."
Quirrell rounded on Harry.
"Yes — Potter — come here." He clapped his hands once, and the ropes binding Harry fell off.
Harry got slowly to his feet, keeping a wary eye on the older man.
"Come here," Quirrell repeated. "Look in the mirror and tell me what you see."
What Harry wanted to know was why Quirrell seemed to believe that Erised was an important part of getting the thing he wanted. Sure, Erised was standing in the middle of the room, looking all majestic and vital, but that could have easily been a diversion. Erised could have been a red herring while the Stone was hidden in that cubby hole Harry found.
"Well?" Quirrell demanded.
Harry saw his own reflection, of course. His and Quirrell's. He wasn't sure what Quirrell expected him to see, but besides Erised taking over his image again and blinking curiously at him, there wasn't anything remarkable to report.
Harry watched as it took in the scene with widening eyes. It was quite obviously disturbed by Quirrell looming over him menacingly. Then, as if it understood Harry's predicament, it nodded empathetically. It made a great show of pulling something out from behind it.
Harry started. "Is that . . . ?" He stepped forward unconsciously and reached out to what Erised had in its hand.
Quirrell jerked Harry back by the shoulder. "What do you see, boy?" he demanded.
"The mirror . . . it's holding out . . ."
Quirrell gained a greedy gleam in his eyes. "It's holding something out to you?"
Harry did not respond. Instead, he lifted his hand to the glass as if to reach through it. Wonders upon wonders, his hand began to sink in before their very eyes.
Quirrell jerked Harry back again, this time flinging him away as well. Harry was once again strewn across the floor.
Harry watched from his crumpled position as Quirrell eagerly placed his hands to the glass of the mirror and cried out in triumph as he began to sink in. Harry was in prime position to see Erised grin at him from the other side just before it latched onto the older man's forearms.
"Ah!" Quirrell called out in alarm as he was tugged forward. "What is this magic?!" His cries went unanswered as he was pulled deeper into the surface of the mirror.
"Wretched fool!" hissed the voice from before. It sounded panicked.
Harry saw as Erised stepped away from the sinking man and shared a look with him. The object it had shown him before was once again raised into view. With its free hand, it ran through a series of single-handed gestured.
Though he didn't understand, Harry dug his hand into the mokeskin pouch he carried with him everywhere and drew out the thing Erised told him to.
Harry didn't have time to question such an odd command when Quirrell's shrieks reached the desperation of a man being eaten alive. He was almost completely in save his head, which he fought to keep free. When the sounds were being muffled by his mouth disappearing into the mirror, Harry darted forward and thrust the object into the surface as well.
Harry's action proved too much for the mirror to handle, and it began to tremble. It groaned in its frame and its clawed feet seemed to stomp the ground. As the back of Quirrell's head finally dissolved into the glass, cracks appeared on the surface.
"Wha—? Erised!" Harry exclaimed in alarm. Paralyzed with confusion and dismay, he could only watch as his reflection lifted a hand and smiled warmly at him while hairline fractures distorted its image.
The mirror shattered out, raining glass and debris forward. Even as he was struck and cut by the shower of shards, he didn't pull back. He couldn't look away. "ERISED!" Harry cried. "NO!"
But there was nothing for it. In the ruins of glass and metal framing, there was no body to be found nor any outside movement in the broken shards. There was nothing left from the encounter beyond the scratched up thing that had acted as the catalyst to the destruction of the Mirror of Erised.
Dean Thomas was not one for bold proclamations and grand gestures despite the fact he was a Gryffindor. He was no Neville Longbottom, but he knew how to calm down and pay attention. The truest test of this disposition came when an older dame dressed like she was off to a Halloween party knocked on his door and turned their coat-rack into a lizard.
He had always been more into science-fiction than fantasy growing up so hadn't considered that what he took for psychic powers might actually be magic. He had learned what little control he had over the levitation thing from watching all sorts of alien/futuristic movies that had people dealing with such things. Truthfully, there had always been a deep-seeded fear in the back of his mind that he'd eventually be discovered by the government and then taken away from his mum to be experimented on. His mum blamed it on too much television but Dean knew she worried about such a thing happening as well.
When McGonagall told them that there were people just like Dean spread out the world and that there was a school to teach him how to control and better use his powers, he was over the moon. He wasn't alone! What he did was magic! There was absolutely nothing wrong with him! His mum hadn't even considered keeping him from Hogwarts, especially after she heard that Magicals had their own communities and governments; something about a brighter future and better opportunities.
He hadn't thought he'd many friends. When he had gone out for school supplies with McGonagall and a herd of other muggleborn, he had been a bit intimidated by how . . . how bright the shopping district was; everything had so much more presence than he was used to. With his casual muggle clothes and ignorance, he had felt grubby and insignificant. The belittling looks sent in their direction from the well-dressed sort didn't lend him any confidence either. 'Purebloods,' the wandmaker had told him when he asked. They didn't care for muggles and thus muggleborns by association. (probably because of those witch-burnings.) Dean had gotten on the Hogwarts Express on the 1st expecting his only interactions with other students to be with other muggleborns.
Dean could admit that it was because he wanted to prove there was nothing wrong with being muggleborn that he got himself involved in a conversation about Quidditch. Thinking on it now, he wasn't sure why he had thought it was a good idea to try to convince a crowd of those snooty, high-born types that football was also fun, but it had to be by the grace of divine intervention that Harry Potter swooped in when he did and rescued Dean from his dying argument.
Dean was no genius, but he knew right off the bat that Harry was something else. Dean didn't know what that something was, of course, but he assumed it had something to do with the other boy's odd personality, the sort that put you at ease even during situations that would normally be tense or awkward. It took Harry all of thirty seconds after he had entered the carriage Dean was in to save Dean from an uncomfortable conversation, set him at ease, draw in another person to talk to in the form of Justin Finch-Fletchley, and had them well on the tracks toward friendship. It took a certain type of over-familiar to manage all that without putting people on their guards.
When he had found out that Harry was actually a some huge deal known all over Britain, Dean had thought that he would be pushed aside by the horde of drooling fans. That was the way it went when someone was that popular, right? His dorm-mates certainly talked about Harry as if he was the biggest thing since the invention of fire, and he had it on good information that Justin's House had pounced on him as well. In the face of so much adoration and fawning, what could two muggleborns offer to The Boy Who Lived?
Harry, of course, had been the same cheery goofball the next day and seemed to not notice the slavering crowd that dogged his footsteps at all. Ditch Justin and Dean for worshippers? He didn't even seem to realize it was an option. Instead, Harry stuck to his first two friends loyally and even brought in another person to join them. Out of everyone that he could have brought in, Morag MacDougal was the last person Dean thought Harry would make nice with. She wasn't a fangirl, but she seemed as personable as a pair of scissors. She, of course, then revealed herself to be just as surprising as Harry, and Dean couldn't think of any other girl he'd rather be friends with.
Dean wasn't one for mushy, touchy-feely rubbish, but he could admit to himself at least that Justin, Harry, and Morag were his very best friend; not even Seamus or Ron could make him change his mind. There was something about them when they were all together, he couldn't put his finger on it, but it was like they just . . . fit. It was like they were four pieces of a puzzle, balancing each other out. Dean couldn't imagine being without them.
It was this deep fondness for their four-man band that had Dean terrified out of his mind when he was told that Harry was in the Hospital Wing. Again.
The thing with Harry was that he seemed to walk into trouble like normal people walked into classrooms. It was like a daily occurrence with the younger boy! If it wasn't getting hopelessly lost in the confusing maze that was Hogwarts castle, it was running into monsters that had absolutely no business being in a school. The three-headed dog was bad enough; the troll that he stumbled across and then had to save Granger from was more than anybody should have dealt with.
But Harry did deal with more. It came in the form of nearly falling to his death from over a hundred feet in the air after his broom went mad. It was like someone was out to kill him! But why would anyone want to kill Harry? Hadn't he saved them all from that You-Know-Who wanker?
Dean had been worried when Harry never came back from the loo the evening before when they had been in the middle of a card-game. Morag had brushed it off as Harry likely just getting up to more of his shenanigans that he'd tell them about the next day, but Dean couldn't brush off the bad feeling he got. It had been a while since one of the more life-threatening fiascoes had happened — what with Harry working himself into the grave with his underground assignment-completion gig — and Dean's paranoia was on the rise.
Dean was proved right when Flitwick had discreetly come to collect the remaining trio before breakfast and escorted them to the Hospital Wing. As they were bustled away, Dean's imagination went wild with the possibilities of what could have happened and what condition Harry was currently in. He could have been mauled by chimaera this time! He could be in surgery right that minute with Madame Pomfrey sewing his guts back in and telling him how he'd have to live his life without arms anymore!
They entered the Hospital Wing to find Dumbledore walking towards them with a thoughtful look on his face and Madam Pomfrey busying herself at the cot Harry was occupying.
"Here to see Harry, are we?" Dumbledore said with a smile when he caught sight of them. He took pity on them when he recognized their anxious faces. "Not to worry, he's already been set to right. Madam Pomfrey had him patched up in a thrice."
If Dean was the type for over-dramatics like Justin was, he might have fainted from relief. From what he could see, Harry was whole and well enough. As it was, he had to catch Justin when the other boy actually did swoon from relief.
Dean gave Justin a flat look. He might have sympathized, but this was no time to be putting yourself in a Hospital cot; one of their number was already bed-ridden, for Christ's sake!
"Thank you, sir," said Dean.
Dumbledore nodded at them and continued on his way, taking Flitwick with him as he went.
The three of them huddled on the opposite side of the cot from Madam Pomfrey. The matron gave them a quick glance before returning the spell she was waving over Harry.
"What happened?" asked Morag, her tone thoroughly displeased and her face settled in defensive stoniness.
Madam Pomfrey pursed her lips as Harry gave them sheepish look.
"He needs rest," the matron stressed.
"Just five minutes," Harry pleaded. "I'm sure I've scared them something terrible."
"Oh, come on. You let Professor Dumbledore in . . ."
"Well, of course, that was the headmaster, quite different. Did I not just say that you need rest, Mr. Potter?"
"I am resting! Look, lying down and everything!" Harry made wide puppy-eyes Dean hadn't known he was capable of. Dear God, those things were lethal. "Oh, go on, Madam Pomfrey . . ."
They could actually see Madam Pomfrey softening.
"Oh, very well," she finally relented. "I'll allow you lot five minutes to talk, but that's that." She sent them a strict look and got up to return to her office.
"Harry?" said Justin. His tone was wary. "What's happened this time?"
Harry checked to see if the matron was out of ear-shot before he sat up. Visibly girding himself up, he sighed and said, "I suppose this all really began back before school even started . . ."
Dean could already tell he wasn't going to like what he was going to hear.
Half a week into summer break, a boy sat at his home desk, working at a letter he had been meaning to send as soon as he got home.
Dear Mr. Flamel,
My name is Harry and I am eleven years old. I have recently finished my first year at Hogwarts. During my time there, I have discovered many things, not just about learning magic but about the school itself and things lost there. It's a large castle so you can imagine that I found quite a lot of things.
The reason I am writing to you is because I have found something that I've learned belongs to you. I'm not sure why Professor Dumbledore had your Philosopher's Stone hidden in the school, but I came across it by accident. At the time, I didn't know it was anything besides a pretty gem but I decided to keep it since it really was too pretty to just leave it where I found it. I'm now glad that I did take it when I did since someone broke through the protections and tried to steal it at the end of the school-year. They were quite insistent about getting it, sir, and they even abducted me during their break-in because they thought I was onto them.
In any case, I have sent your Stone along with this letter. Professor Dumbledore told me that he thought the Stone had been destroyed during the failed robbery, that he had told you and your wife about it, and that you two were settling your affairs because you would die soon without the Elixir of Life. I didn't want to tell the headmaster that I had found the Stone before anyone could get at it because I didn't want to get in trouble (I didn't mean to go into a forbidden room; I got their by accident, I promise!), but I absolutely wouldn't keep the Stone if you would die without it even if it really is the Philosopher's Stone.
I'm sorry you were made to believe it was lost. I can't imagine how it must have felt. Professor Dumbledore said that 'to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure,' but I don't think that would make dying any less scary. I'm sorry for all the trouble.
Harry put down his quill and rubbed his eyes. He got up, stretched, and beckoned Hedwig from where she was perched waiting for the letter.
"Make sure to take breaks on the way there if you get tired, alright?" he told the owl with a fond pet to its soft head. He charmed the pouch he had put the Stone in with a Feather-light Charm as to burden Hedwig the least.
Hedwig chuffed agreeably and flew out the window.
Harry sat back down and watched his owl fly away until she was but a speck in the distance. Once she was completely out of sight, he reached up to the shelf above his desk that he used to hold stationary and writing supplies and retrieved a small metal object he had placed there earlier. It was what had remained after the Mirror of Erised had self-destructed.
It was one of the many things he had found in that room on the seventh floor. He had almost overlooked it with all the other more eye-catching magical objects drawing in his attention. It was small enough to fit comfortably in his hand and was scuffed with wear and old age. Harry didn't doubt it was lovely back when it was first made, but as it was now, it didn't look like much more that scrap metal waiting to be melted down.
Looks were deceiving, of course.
Harry shifted his hold until he clutched the object by its handle and rubbed the side of it very purposefully. As he watched, the magic lamp quivered ever so slightly before it spewed out dark green smoke from its spout.
The smoke swirled and condensed into a figure. Features soon emerged. A tall man, unusually tall, with dark hair and incredibly pale skin now stood before Harry. For all that he was remarkably handsome, everything about him was sharp and spidery. He wore heavy robes that reached and dragged on the ground that looked something like a monk's habit and teaching robes. As his formation was completed, he sucked in a sharp breath and opened his eyes, revealing red irises.
When he caught sight of Harry, he breathed, "Harry Potter . . ."
Harry did not hesitate. He darted forward and wrapped his arms around the man's waist. He did not loosen his grip even when the man flinched.
"I know you're still getting used to having a physical form," said Harry, tilting his head back to grin at the man. "but what better way to get used to touching than through hugging?"
The man hesitated for a moment before returning the hug. "You are an odd one, Harry Potter."
"So you've told me before." Harry pulled back only to tug on the man's hand and point to the direction of the door. "But we can discuss my oddity some other time. Right now, there's so much else for us to do! Come on, let me give you a tour of my house."
The man obliged and allowed himself to be dragged along by the boy. He looked appropriately interesting in his surroundings. He commented, "This is quite a large manor for one person to live in."
Harry grinned. "I suppose you'll have to stick around to keep me company then, won't you, Erised?"
AN: THERE IT IS! My first completed story! Cue the streamers and balloons!
I hope you have enjoyed this story. If you would like to download in Ebook version of this story, you can find it on AO3. My username is MaidenThailand on that site.