Mirror Mirror In the Room, Who will bring about my Doom?
As they entered November, the weather turned very cold. The mountains around the school became icy grey and the lake like chilled steel. Around the school, the Nefari wrapped themselves tightly in woolen scarves and jumpers, due to the fact that Nefari Kita was a tropical planet.
The League Battle season had begun. On Saturday, Harry would be battling in his first match after weeks of training: Gryffindor versus Slytherin. If Gryffindor won, they would move up into second place in the house championship.
Hardly anybody (outside of Gryffindor, thanks to Cane's boasting) knew Harry was on the team, and was considered the teams Secret Weapon, thanks to his great control over fire. Harry was lucky to have Heidi as a friend. He had no idea how he'd get through Technomancy without her. Heidi could handle an Ion Phase engine like nobody could. Harry wasn't sure he was nervous or happy about this fact.
Frank lent Harry League Battling for Beginners, by Lily Potter, which was a great read. Harry got a little emotional when he saw the book written by his mother, but passed it off as dust in his eye when his friends questioned him. He was sure they understood.
Heidi and Frank were being much more civil around each other, even cracking the odd joke now and then. Harry guessed that surviving a Troll Attack tended to get people closer together. The Day before Harry's first match, the five of them were out in the freezing courtyard during break, and Harry had created a floating ball of fire. They were sitting with their backs to it, getting warm, when Snape crossed the yard. Harry noticed at once that Snape was limping. Obviously, Snape was looking for a reason to get them in trouble, and noticed Harry's book.
"What have you got there, Potter?"
It was League Battling for Beginners. Harry showed him.
"Library books are not to be taken outside the school," said Snape. "Give it to me"
Harry glared at Snape and banished the book to his room at the suite. Snape's eyes narrowed.
"Fifty points for disobeying a teacher, Potter" Snape said silkily, before limping off.
"He just made that rule up" Frank growled, glaring at the greasy git. "I wonder what's wrong with his leg."
"Dunno, but I hope it's really hurting him," said Ron bitterly.
The Gryffindor lobby was very noisy that evening. Harry, Ron and Frank sat together near the fireplace. Frank and Ron were playing a card game that included holographic monsters. Harry was reading his book again, but for some reason, he couldn't help but think about that Shadow he saw before the troll attacked Heidi and himself. He mentioned it to his roommates, and they looked each other suspiciously.
"What?" asked Harry?
"Well, Snape had a limp and you saw a shadow go towards the third floor, maybe he tried to check out what's in the third floor corridor, and maybe steal it" Ron said, looking around nervously. Harry laughed a little.
"Dude, Snape's an Alchemist, not a Shadowmancer. Only Shadowmancers can move around like that" Harry said. Ron frowned.
"Then who was sneaking around on Halloween?" asked Frank.
"I dunno, but we probably shouldn't worry about it." Harry said, going back to his book. Frank and Ron looked at each other and shrugged.
The next morning dawned bright and cold. The Great Hall was full of the delicious smell of fried sausages and the cheerful chatter of everyone looking forward to a good League Battle.
"You've got to eat some breakfast."
"I don't want anything."
"Just a bit of toast," wheedled Heidi. Ever since Harry collapsed after fighting the troll, Heidi has been a little… protective.
"I'm not hungry."
Harry felt terrible. In an hour's time, he'd be walking into the arena.
"Harry. You need your strength," Ginny said from her place next to Ron. "Fire Elementals are always the first to tire; you literally burn a lot of energy making fire"
"Thanks, Ginny," Harry said, watching Ginny pile ketchup on her sausages.
By eleven o'clock the whole school seemed to be out in the stands of the League Arena. The Arena was a bowl shaped room in the underbelly of the school, the place where Mage Battle was founded by Harry's Mother and Father, as well as a few other people. The room was originally quite small, but was resized magically to the size of two football fields.
At either end of the Arena were Prep Rooms, it was inside one of these rooms that the Gryffindor team were getting ready. Inside, Harry and the rest of the team were standing in their red jackets, each with their last names on the back.
"Alright team, this is it." Cane said, only to be interrupted by the Twins.
"The big one,"
"The one we've all been waiting for"
"We know Sydney's speech by heart," Fred told Harry, "we were on the team last year."
"Shut up, you two," said Cane. "This is the best team Gryffindor's had in years. We're going to win. I know it."
He glared at them all as if to say, 'Or Else'.
"Right. It's time. Good luck, all of you"
Harry followed Ariawynn and Sydney out of the locker room, hoping his knees weren't going to give way, walking into the arena to loud cheers.
Vera Beja'Toogra'teth was refereeing. She stood in the middle of the field waiting for the two teams, a chest in her hands. For the first battle of the year, it was customary for six of the nine team members to battle, with tag in's allowed. For the first battle, Fred and George, Sydney, Ariawynn, Ginny and Harry would be battling Richard Penfold, Nigel Marven, Michael Johnson, Astoria Greengrass, Guy Gibson and William Gates.
"Welcome ladies, gentlemen and everyone in between, to the first League Battle of the year! Allow me to introduce the combatants from Gryffindor. Hailing from the Misty Moors of Godric's Hollow, halfway here at all times… Sydney Cane!" Jordon Lee yelled. The Gryffindors gave a cheer as Sydney created an illusion of a Lion running through the air.
"The Troublesome Twins of Technology, our Masters in Pranking… Gred and Forge Weasley!" More cheering as the popular gingers stepped forward and waved at the crowd, grinning cheekily.
"The Mistress of Shadow, the Elf from the Outer Realm, give it up for… Ariawynn Shadowmoon!" The Gryffindors cheered as Ariawynn stepped back shyly, hiding her face, though she had a grin.
"She's fiery, she's daring, and she can kill me if I make a princess joke, give a round of applause for…. Ginny Weasley!" The Gryffindors cheered and Harry could make out Ron's shocked "WHAT!?" through the cheers. Ginny threw up a cloud of green dust that exploded outward, sending a feeling of hope through the team members of Gryffindor.
"And finally… the Master of Fire and all that encompasses it, you saw him at the fortnightly Mage Battles… give it up for Harry Potter!" Cheering exploded from the crowd, and Harry could hear booing mixed in from Slytherin. Harry grinned as he felt his spirits bolster.
"And now the Slytherin Team! Coming all the way from London, and a 5th year to boot, give it up for the Sorcerer Richard Penfold!" Slytherin applauded for their house captain.
"The Illusionist and Trickster: Guy Gibson!"
"The Changeling from Dublin, nicknamed the Life Giver: Michael and/or Michelle Johnson!"
"The Earthshaker and Mover of Mountains: Nigel Marven!"
"The Sorceress, dubbed the Ice Princess of Slytherin: Astoria Greengrass!"
"And Finally, the Atom Splitter, and aspiring Terran Republic Mechanic: William Gates!"
"Now, I want a nice fair game, all of you," Vera said, once they were all gathered around her. Harry noticed she seemed to be speaking particularly to the Slytherin Captain, Penfold. He looked like he had a bit of Troll Blood, and what with today's views on Interspecies Relationships, it's possible. "Now, collect your Medallions and take your forms"
In turn, everyone took their forms. Harry gained his usual undershirt, tracksuit pants and bandages wrapped around his arms, while Ariawynn gained traditional elven battle garb, Ginny gained a pure white robe with green floral designs across it, Fred and George seemed to gain Iron Man like armour and Sydney turned into a humanoid shirtless lion.
Richard Penfold gained an archaic pair of robes, Guy Gibson seemed to take on the form of a scaled humanoid with a snake heard, Nigel Marven gained green oriental clothes and stood on a floating boulder, Michael Johnson looked like a very androgynous man in a tweed suit, Astoria Greengrass gained regal robes and William Gates looked like a mad scientist crossed with a grease monkey
The fight was on.
During the fight, Sydney created illusionary copies of himself and spread them out into the field, Fred and George took the front line and protected Harry and Ginny from any major harm with their Defense UFO's, Harry sent bursts of fire and other attacks into the fray of Slytherin's every now and then while Ginny sat back and healed her teammates whenever they looked to be injured or tiring. The fight went on for nearly twenty minutes before something happened. Harry's attacks were continuously interrupted when his Medallion would jerk around and make his outfit vanish. While he tried to fix it, he had one of the Twins guards him, and Ariawynn Shadow Travelled behind the Slytherin's and set Runic Traps.
In the stands, Frank identified a Spell Strand leading from Harry's Medallion to the Teacher's stands. He went over to investigate, and found that the Strand branched off between Snape and Quirrel. Without any way of telling who was doing what, he stunned the both of them, breaking the strand. With his Medallion working correctly, Harry and his team worked in harmony to defeat the Slytherin's, with only Ariawynn being disqualified when she stepped on one of her own traps and lost all the light in her gem.
After the Battle, Gryffindor threw a massive party. Gryffindor Parties have always been famous, and Harry soon found out why.
Apparently, after every Battle Win, a special room under Gryffindor Dorms is unlocked, and a new button appears in the Elevators. Press it, and you are taken down into a large room lined with tables. The House Elves know when to stock the room with food and drink, and the Twins are always good for buying alcohol.
Harry first saw that room that night, and what was awesome was that Harry was one of the Guests of Honour!
The room was bright and several lights were shining colored light around, as music blasted from speakers. Lining the room were chairs, couches and whatnot, and many people were already dancing in the middle. It wasn't just Gryffindor's too. Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs and even some decent Slytherin's were in attendance. Harry spotted Frank and Susan dancing together, and Fred and George Weasley guarding the kegs and demanding a show of ID. They didn't believe in giving under 17 alcohol. They let Harry have one, though, since he helped win the Battle.
Christmas was coming. One morning in mid-December, Hogwarts woke to find itself covered in several feet of snow. The lake froze solid and most of the Nefari in the school went on vacation to warmer places, or even to Nefari Kita. The few owls that managed to battle their way through the stormy sky to deliver mail had to be nursed back to health by Hagrid before they could fly again. Even Hedwig the MechOwl had to be thawed out near the fire before her cogs and joins could move again.
No one could wait for the holidays to start. While the Gryffindor Dorms, rooms and Suites were heated, the drafty corridors had become icy and a bitter wind rattled the windows in the classrooms. Elementalism was spent during the weeks before Christmas learning how to move snow without touching it. Harry didn't very much enjoy this class.
Worst of all were Professor Snape's classes down in the dungeons, where their breath rose in a mist before them and they kept as close as possible to their hot cauldrons.
"I do feel so sorry," said Mercutio Malfoy, one Alchemy class, "for all those people who have to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas because they're not wanted at home."
He was looking over at Harry as he spoke. Broice and Gregard chuckled. Harry, who was measuring out powdered spine of lionfish, ignored them. Malfette had been even more unpleasant than usual since the League Battle. Disgusted that the Slytherin's had lost, he had tried to get everyone to believe Harry had cursed the Slytherin's Medallions to go dark quicker than the Gryffindor's. Nobody believed him, since Professor Beja'Toogra'teth pointed out that all the Medallions were in a single chest that was kept locked in her office at all times when not being used.
Then he'd realized that nobody believed him, because they were impressed that Harry had managed to keep fighting despite the malfunctions in the Medallion. So Malfoy, jealous and angry, had gone back to taunting Harry about having a broken family.
It was true that Harry wasn't going home for Christmas. Professor McGonagall had come around the week before, making a list of students who would be staying for the holidays, and Harry had no choice but to sign in. James Potter, Harry's dad, was offworld during Christmas, and he didn't fancy staying with his Uncle in his bachelor pad. His other uncle, Remus, was in Portiac'Durma, helping research Lycanthropy.
Luckily, Frank, Susan, Heidi, Ron and the other Weasley's would be staying as well.
Frank's parents were apart of very successful businesses and would be busy during Christmas, while Susan and Heidi wanted to stay at Hogwarts with their friends. Ron and his brothers and sister were staying because Mr. and Mrs. Weasley were going to Romania to visit their eldest son Charlie.
When Harry and Tianna Longbottom'teth, the adopted Nefarian sister of Neville Longbottom, left the dungeons at the end of Alchemy, they met up with Frank as Tianna was just telling him a funny story about her brother, a Devils Snare and ice cream. Tianna broke off from the group and waved goodbye as she walked off, her twin tails swishing happily.
Harry, Frank, Ron, Susan and Heidi found a large fir tree blocking the corridor ahead. Two enormous feet sticking out at the bottom and a loud puffing sound told them that Hagrid was behind it.
"Hi, Hagrid, want any help?" Ron asked, sticking his head through the branches.
"Nah, I'm all right, thanks, Ron."
"Would you mind moving out of the way?" came Malfoys cold drawl from behind them. "Are you trying to earn some extra money, Weasley? Hoping to be gamekeeper yourself when you leave Hogwarts, I suppose – that hut of Hagrid's must seem like a palace compared to what your family's used to."
Ron growled and sent a burst of lightning toward Malfoy just as Snape came up the stairs.
Malfette created a shield lazily.
"He was provoked, Professor Snape," said Hagrid, sticking his huge hairy face out from behind the tree. "Malfoy was insultin' his family."
"Be that as it may, attacking younger students is against Hogwarts rules, Hagrid," said Snape silkily. "Five points from Gryffindor, Weasley, and be grateful it isn't more. Move along, all of you."
Mercutio, Broice and Gregard pushed roughly past the tree, scattering needles everywhere and smirking.
"One day…" said Ron, grinding his teeth at Malfoy's back, "One day; they'll find him full of enough electricity to power Vancouver."
"I hate them both," said Heidi, scowling at the back of Snape, "Malfette and Snape."
"Come on, cheer up, it's nearly Christmas," said Hagrid. "Tell yeh what, come with me an' see the Great Hall, looks a treat."
So the six of them followed Hagrid and his tree off to the Great Hall, where Professor McGonagall, Professor Sprout and Professor Flitwick were busy with the Christmas decorations.
"Ah, Hagrid, the last tree – put it in the far corner, would you?"
The hall looked spectacular. Festoons of holly and mistletoe hung all around the walls, and no less than twelve towering Christmas trees stood around, some sparkling with tiny icicles, some glittering with hundreds of candles. Then there were the upper floors of the hall, where the wooden platforms looked like they were frozen with pointed icicles hanging off the side, and the chandelier wrapped in non-flammable tinsel.
"How many days you got left until yer holidays?" Hagrid asked.
"Just one," said Susan. "And that reminds me; Hermione needed my help with some Rune essay. I'll see you guys soon."
Susan left and the remaining four were left to wander the halls of Hogwarts. They ended up back in Harry, Ron and Frank's suite. They made a bee-line for the couch, and Frank paused when he passed Harry's door.
"Uh… Harry? You don't happen to have a pet, do you?" asked Frank, staring wide-eyed into Harry's room.
"Only Hedwig, and you've seen her. Why do you…" Harry trailed off as he walked over to investigate.
Lying on the second bed, recently left unoccupied since Harry's roommate never turned up, was a living wolf Furry. He was a he, determined by his clothes and spiked hair, with grey fur, blue eyes and dyed blonde hair on his head. He was playing a guitar, but Harry couldn't hear what he was playing because the wolf had a headset connected to his guitar. The wolf seemed to notice Frank and Harry at the door.
"Oh, g'day. You must be my roomies" the furry said in an Australian accent.
"Uh, yeah. I'm Harry, this is Frank and the ones in the living room are Heidi Bones and Ron Weasley" Harry said, marveling at the fact that he was slowly getting used to the unexpected.
"Name's Eric. Eric Williams." Eric said, holding out a hand. Harry noticed that while he had human like hands, they had pads on the fingertips and palms. Harry and Frank shook hands with him. "You curious about the fur?" Eric asked, grinning toothily.
"A little" Frank shrugged.
"I tried to do Astral Projection and my body got stuck in the pet corgi. Mum used transmutation to make me bigger and more humanoid, as well as making me less… adorable" Eric said, grinning. "She's got my old body on ice until she can find a way to get me back to normal, though I'm considering staying like this."
"But don't you want to have kids?" asked Heidi, who had walked up behind the boys and been listening quietly. Her sudden appearance made Harry and Frank jump a little. Eric smiled.
"Thought of that. I figured I could extract the necessary 'ingredients' from my old body and use that to have a test-tube baby… that, or maybe just try Cross-Species Genetic Manipulation. I'm guessing your folks did that, Frank?" asked Eric, smiling wolfishly. Frank nodded, and glanced into the living room where Ron was taking up the couch and drinking a Coke.
"Wanna join us for a game of cards? We got the rest of the day off… Why are you so late in getting to Hogwarts?" asked Frank, frowning. Eric shrugged.
"Animal body modification on this level is difficult. It took several months just to get to this stage. I was hoping for less of a muzzle, but oh well…" Eric said, shrugging. "And yeah, I wouldn't mind playing cards"
"What classes are you taking, Eric?" asked Ron, looking over his cards.
"English, Math's and Science for the Required first year classes in room 22, room 54 and room 296 respectively, and for my Magecraft classes I have Elementalism 1 with Sprout, Battle Magecraft 1 with Quirrel, Sorcery 1 with Flitwick, Travel Magic with Bronzeheart and Summoning with Beja'Toogra'teth. Am I in any of your classes?" Eric asked Harry and Heidi.
"You're in our Elementalism class, and you're in my Sorcery Class, as well as Summoning" Heidi said, speaking for Harry since he was eating a sandwich he'd made before the game started. The boy nodded over his cards, chewing his ham and cheese sandwich. After Frank won the game once again, Ron took Harry aside and started to teach him Classic Chess. Before the Reveal, Wizards Chess was quite the rage among young people, and Ron still liked to play it.
Wizard Chess was a lot like Holo-Chess, but it was solid and the figures were alive, which made it a lot like directing troops in battle. Ron's set was very old and battered. Like most things he owned, it had once belonged to someone else in his family – in this case, his grandfather. However, old chessmen weren't a drawback at all. Ron knew them so well he never had trouble getting them to do what he wanted.
Seamus Finnegan, a second year from two doors down, leant Harry his vintage chessmen, being another Wizard Chess enthusiast, and they didn't trust Harry at all. He wasn't a very good player yet and they kept shouting different bits of advice at him, which was confusing. "Don't send me there, can't you see his knight? Send him; we can afford to lose him."
On Christmas Eve, Harry went to bed looking forward to the next day for the food and fun, but had a heavy heart knowing that it was going to be another Christmas spent without his dad.
It was December 25th 1990 and Harry was ten years old. He was sitting in the large living room of Potter Manor with his Dad, his Dad's friend Natalie, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Petunia Evans and Cousin Dudley Evans. After Dudley's dad had attacked a few elven Charity Collectors, Vernon Dursley had been sent to Stonewall Minimum Security Prison and Petunia had filed for a divorce, getting her maiden name back and changing Dudley's last name to Evans.
Since this happened back when Dudley was four, he didn't really have much influence from his father, and was quite accepting of Magicals and Offworlders. Harry and Dudley sat together, both Ten, excitedly waiting for the opening of presents. James Potter was sitting rather closely to Natalie and was making several colourful orbs float from his fingertips, entertaining the guests when they would either explode, change shape and make silly noises.
"Alright, who's ready for presents?" asked James, grinning widely. James had aged well since his school years, with only a few grey hairs peppering his messy black birds nest, and a few wrinkles on his forehead. Dudley and Harry raised their hands yelling "ME, ME, ME!"
"Okay, let's get the guests out of the way first. Petunia, this one is from Natalie and myself" James said, handing a large box over to Petunia.
"Oh, you didn't have to" she said, but accepted the present anyway. Harry and Dudley rolled their eyes at each other. Petunia unwrapped the present and found a little circular disc inside. She lifted it up and looked at James with a raised eyebrow.
"Say activate" James said. Petunia blinked, but did so anyway.
Instantly, the disk clicked and opened up, revealing several spindly arms with brushes, mobs, sprayers and what looked like a vacuum nozzle. A red eye-like protrusion rose from the top.
"I AM VACU-TRON 9800. I AM AN AUTOMATIC CLEANING BOT DESIGNED TO SCAN FOR DIRT AND GRIME IN THE HOUSEHOLD!" The Vacu-Tron said in a robotic voice. It seemed to cast a beam across the floor and focused on an old coffee stain. It flew over to it, poured foam onto it, and then started scrubbing like mad, before sucking the foam up, drying it and brushing the carpet with a clean scrubber. "ALL DIRT AND GRIME ERADICATED!"
"Wow!" said Petunia, staring wide-eyed as the Vacu-Tron folded back into the disc mode.
"It comes with a Sun Crystal, just leave the crystal outside in the sun for an hour then plug it into the Vacu-Tron. There's a manual in the box" James explained.
It went like this with Dudley getting a football from Sirius, a new pair of shoes from his mum, a new bike from Remus, a box of candy from Harry and a leather jacket two sizes too big from James.
Harry got a pair of fireproof gloves (James decided it would be best to give him these after his last bout of Accidental Magic, that being setting the kitchen table ablaze with his fingers), a pair of goggles from his uncle Sirius, a Jet-Bike simulator from his uncle Remus, a copy of the popular MMORPG Ancient Worlds (A medieval version of Earth and Nefari Kita where they had always known about each other. In the game you can make a character from a number of races in two factions, the Terran Alliance and the Rebellion. Dudley played the game as well, and had a level 20 Shadow Elf Mage. Harry planned on making a Nefarian Spiritual Master) from Dudley and Petunia, and from Natalie, he was given a rectangular box.
"What is it?" he asked Natalie.
"Open it" she said mysteriously. Harry opened it and found a computer board inside. He looked at it questioningly. "It's an Artificial Intelligence Module. Call Hedwig and I'll install it" Natalie said, smiling. Harry pressed a button on his watch and the robotic owl flapped in, leaving a trail of steam behind her. She landed in front of Harry and hooted metallically. Natalie came over and pressed two buttons on the back of Hedwig's neck, causing the owl's breastplate to open up, revealing wiring and a Power Stone smack-dab in the middle like a heart. Natalie fiddled around for a minute, before she installed the board into Hedwig and closed it.
Hedwig hooted before shutting down and starting up again, a new glow to her eyes.
"Hello Harry. How nice to finally speak to you" Hedwig said, in a young woman's voice. Harry gasped as he heard it, as he'd heard it so many times growing up.
"Mum?" Harry whispered. Hedwig shook her head.
"No, dear, I'm just installed with your mother's personality." Hedwig said, stretching her shiny wings. Harry felt himself tear up and hugged Natalie and his father. Hedwig watched as Remus, Sirius, Petunia and Dudley went to the three and joined them in a group hug.
"Oi, Harry, wake up. It's Christmas" Harry heard his new roommate say. Harry opened his eyes and looked over at the other side of his room. Between the time Eric had gotten to Hogwarts and Christmas Day, Eric had decorated his side of the room. Eric's wall was decorated with numerous band posters, and he had a DVD rack full of old and new horror movies. He had two guitar stands set up, one with a black electric guitar and another with a mahogany acoustic guitar. He had two amps, one large and one small, and his desk was taken mostly by a massive sound system. He also had somehow managed to squeeze a keyboard into his side of the room, and had offered to teach Harry how to play if he wanted.
Currently, Eric was looking through his drawers for a shirt.
"Ugh… do I have to?" Harry grumbled, wishing to go back to sleep.
"Nah man, we've got presents to unwrap" Eric said, grinning wolfishly as he pulled a Ramms+ein shirt on. Harry raised an eyebrow at the shirt. "What? Too Christmassy?"
Harry laughed and got up, throwing an undershirt and a pair of tracksuit pants on. He followed Eric into the living room where Frank and Ron were sitting. Ron was wearing shorts and an old basketball jersey, and Frank was wearing shorts and an undershirt, while nursing a coffee.
"Merry Christmas roomies" Eric said, sitting down on the new armchair that the Hogwarts House Elves had added.
"Merry Christmas" everyone intoned as they sat down. The coffee table was groaning under the weight of the four mounds of presents. They got to work unwrapping the presents.
Harry received a new phone from his Uncle Sirius, the latest expansion for Ancient Worlds (Cataclysm, where you can play as a new race for each faction HobGoblins for the Rebellion and Werewolves for the Terran Alliance) from Dudley, a set of clothes from Petunia, a picture of a new Jet-Bike and a pair of Keys attached from Remus, a book on Elemental Techniques from Heidi, a box of candies from Susan, a globe of Nefari Kita with real orbiting asteroids from Frank, a book titled "How to Charm Witches" from Ron and a book titled "How to Scam Redheads into buying Books that don't work" from Hermione. Harry had to stifle a laugh at the last one. Harry had only two presents left after these. Harry picked up a lumpy parsel, and lifted an eyebrow when Ron gave a horrified look.
"Oh no. My mum made you a Weasley Sweater" Ron moaned. Harry blinked and unwrapped it. The sweater inside was obviously hand knitted, and really well done too. It was orange with red flames and a golden H on the chest.
"Wow! It's so warm!" Harry gasped, feeling it. It was like there was a heater built into the wool.
"Yeah, mum always puts heating enchantments onto the sweaters. And she always gives me maroon!" Ron moaned, opening his own one. Harry grinned when he spotted the tin of homemade treacle tart.
"That's really nice of her," said Harry, trying to tart, which was very tasty. "How did your mum know I was a Pyromancer?"
"I told her in a letter" Ron said, opening a pack of Voice Changers. Harry grabbed the last package and smiled when he saw it was labelled To Harry, from Dad and Natalie. He unwrapped it and something fluid and silvery gray went slithering to the floor where it lay in gleaming folds. Ron gasped.
"I've heard of those," he said in a high pitch voice, dropping the packet of Voice Changers he'd gotten from Susan. "If that's what I think it is - they're really rare, and really valuable."
"What is it?" asked Frank. Eric chose to watch the exchange quietly, chewing on some cereal he had gotten while everyone was unwrapping presents.
"It's an Invisibility Cloak. It's been in my family of generations. Dad must have passed it down to me" Harry said, smiling as he picked up the silvery cloth.
"I'd give anything for one of these" Ron said.
Before they could say or think anything else, the suite door was flung open and Fred and George Weasley bounded in. Harry stuffed the cloak quickly out of sight. He didn't feel like sharing it with anyone else yet.
"The door was loc.." Frank started, but was cut off.
"Hey, look - Harry's got a Weasley sweater, too!"
Fred and George were wearing blue sweaters, one with a large yellow F on it, the other a G.
"Harry's is better than ours, though," said Fred, holding up Harry's sweater. "She obviously makes more of an effort if you're not family."
"Why aren't you wearing yours, Ron?" George demanded. "Come on, get it on, they're lovely and warm."
"I hate maroon," Ron moaned halfheartedly as he pulled it over his head.
"You haven't got a letter on yours, Ron," George observed. "I suppose she thinks you don't forget your name. But we're not stupid - we know we're called Gred and Forge."
"What's all this noise?"
Percy Weasley stuck his head through the door, looking disapproving. He had clearly gotten halfway through unwrapping his presents as he, too, carried a lumpy sweater over his arm, which Fred seized.
"P for prefect! Get it on, Percy, come on, we're all wearing ours, even Harry got one."
"I - don't – want" said Percy thickly, as the twins forced the sweater over his head, knocking his glasses askew.
"And you're not sitting with the prefects today, either," said George. "Christmas is a time for family."
They frog-marched Percy from the room, his arms pinned to his side by his sweater.
Harry had never in all his life had such a Christmas dinner. A hundred fat, roast turkeys; mountains of roast and boiled potatoes; platters of chipolatas; tureens of buttered peas, silver boats of thick, rich gravy and cranberry sauce - and stacks of wizard crackers every few feet along the table. Harry pulled a wizard cracker with Fred and it didn't just bang, it went off with a blast like a cannon and engulfed them all in a cloud of blue smoke, while from the inside exploded a rear admiral's hat and several live, white mice. Up at the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard's hat for a flowered bonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick had just read him.
Flaming Christmas puddings followed the turkey. Percy nearly broke his teeth on a silver sickle embedded in his slice. Harry watched Hagrid getting redder and redder in the face as he called for more wine, finally kissing Professor McGonagall on the cheek, who, to Harry's amazement, and slight horror, giggled and blushed, her top hat lopsided.
When Harry finally left the table, he was laden down with a stack of things out of the crackers, including a pack of nonexplodable, luminous balloons, a Grow-Your-Own-Warts kit, and his own new wizard chess set. The white mice had disappeared and Harry had a nasty feeling they were going to end up as Mrs. Norris's Christmas dinner.
Harry, Frank and the Weasley's spent a happy afternoon having a furious snowball fight on the grounds. Even Susan, Heidi and Eric joined in. Then, cold, wet, and gasping for breath, they returned to the fire in the Gryffindor common room, where Harry broke in his new chess set by losing spectacularly to Ron. He suspected he wouldn't have lost so badly if Percy hadn't tried to help him so much.
After a meal of turkey sandwiches, crumpets, trifle, and Christmas cake, everyone felt too full and sleepy to do much before bed except sit and watch Percy chase Fred and George all over Gryffindor tower because they'd stolen his prefect badge.
It had been Harry's best Christmas day ever. Yet something had been nagging at the back of his mind all day. Not until he climbed into bed was he free to think about it: the invisibility cloak, and what to do with it.
Eric, full of turkey and cake and with nothing mysterious to bother him, fell asleep almost as soon as his head hit the pillow. Harry leaned over the side of his own bed and pulled the cloak out from under it.
He had to try it, now. He slipped out of bed and wrapped the cloak around himself. Looking down at his legs, he saw only moonlight and shadows. It was a very funny feeling.
Suddenly, Harry felt wide-awake. The whole of Hogwarts was open to him in this cloak. Excitement flooded through him as he stood there in the dark and silence. He could go anywhere in this, anywhere, and Filch would never know.
Harry crept out of the suite, down the elevator and snuck past Pavarti Patil, who was on Desk Duty, and opened the door to the Dorms.
"Who's there?" called out Pavarti. Harry didn't answer, and hoped that Pavarti would decide to leave the door unlocked for any couples deciding to stay out late. Once out in the dark corridor, Harry wondered where he should go.
'The Third Floor corridor… what's the worst that could happen?'Harry asked, feeling rather curious about why the corridor was off limits. He began to make his way there, keeping to the shadows despite being invisible, and walking softly to null his footsteps. He had to dodge a Shadow Elf couple making out (the only other Shadow Elves at Hogwarts, aside from Ariawynn) and Peeves who was bouncing up and down the fourth floor stairwell singing a silly limerick.
He eventually made it, and tried the door. It was locked. Harry looked back on the spells he knew (idly wishing he had a spell book he could whip out like the wizards of yore) and snapped his fingers, cringing as he did so, in remembrance. He placed his hand against the lock, and muttered, "Alohamora" smirking as the lock glowed softly before it unlocked.
Harry quietly opened the door and peeked in. It was dark, so Harry stepped in fully and cast a spell on his eyes to see in the dark. He gasped quietly when he saw what the room contained. Lying on the floor, taking up most of the corridor due to its massive size, was a three headed dog. A Cerberus, if Harry was not mistaken. Due to the lack of hellfire and undead appearance, Harry supposed it was a Roman Cerberus, and not one of the hellhounds that guarded the entrance to the old Wizarding City, dubbed by the Mundanes as the 'underworld'.
But Roman Cerberus' didn't get this big, unless they had some outside help. Perhaps a nutrient and a growing potion in its Doggy Chow. Harry was about to leave, when he noticed that its middle head was resting on a wooden but sturdy looking trapdoor. The trapdoor could have been there coincidentally, or it was guarding something.
Harry's curiosity was quenched, and he left the magical dog to its sleep. On the way back, though he got a little lost, and ducked into an old classroom to regain his bearings and try to remember the way back. Inside the classroom, obviously abandoned, he himself faced with a massive mirror standing against the wall, with its top nearly scraping the high ceiling. It stood on clawed legs and appeared to have decorative wings coming from its side, one angelic and another bat-like.
A top the fogged mirror were some etchings. Coming closer, Harry read them out.
"Erised stra ehr ouyt ubec fru oyt onw ohsi… I show not your face but your heart's desire?" Harry muttered, frowning. He looked into the mirror and nearly yelled. There, his reflection was, but he wasn't the only one in the mirror. In the mirror was his Dad, his Uncles, his Aunt, his cousin and his Mother, all standing together. As Harry stared in shock, new forms began to develop, until Frank Lee, Ron Weasley, Susan Bones and Heidi Bones. As he stared, again, a few more forms appeared, smaller. One was a boy that looked like a younger Harry but with red hair and green eyes, another was a girl seemingly younger then the boy with dark red hair and brown eyes, another was a girl obviously related to the boy and girl and very young with black hair and green eyes. Harry blinked when two kids appeared by Frank and Susan. One was a girl with pink hair, pink cat ears at the side of her head and one cat tail, while the other looked like a short green-haired Nefarian child with human ears, human eyes and three tails.
"What on Earth, Nefari Kita and everything between…" Harry muttered using a phrase he had heard Frank utter once while he was trying to understand the difference between Fire Magic and Plasma Magic.
"Is this what I desire? A complete family?" Harry pondered, frowning a bit. He noticed that while he was thinking about this, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the mirror. The three siblings in the mirror smiled and waved at Harry, mouthing something. Harry activated his Spell-Check and noticed a subtle compulsion charm on the mirror, forcing anyone to feel the need to stare needlessly into the mirror. Harry broke away from the compulsion, and frowned when the mirror image vanished.
Harry shook his head, and decided to leave. He'd keep the mirror secret. Best not to let anyone else get enthralled by it, if he had anything to do with it.
A few weeks after Christmas, and Harry had regaled the tail of his trip to see what was in the Third Floor Corridor to his friends. Frank and Ron were curious about what was under the trapdoor, while Susan was disapproving of his sneaking around at night. Heidi said she felt uneasy about the trapdoor, and warned Harry to try and not meddle. Harry lifted an eyebrow at her.
"Since when do I meddle?" he asked. Heidi shrugged, and simply sat there. They were sitting by the lake on a bench they had transmutated from a boulder. Susan was cuddled against Frank, while Ron was standing and skipping rocks across the lake. Heidi also at on the bench, next to Harry. Frank was sipping from a water bottle in his hand.
"Well, the fact that a Roman Cerberus is currently chilling in the castle is pretty damn cool" Frank said, grinning. The Nefari were known for taking on animals larger then themselves, hence the barn-yarding the fiercest predator on Nefari Kita and using them for Milk and Cheese.
"Frank, don't you dare. Madam Pomfrey doesn't need to regrow your claws" Susan said, slapping her boyfriend. Harry heard about the time Frank went for a trek in the Foreboding Forest in his first year and ended up wondering into an Acromantula Nest. Harry chuckled slightly.
"I wish you'd woken us up, Harry," Ron said, tossing his flat rock and flicking his wrist, causing it to spin quickly and spray water up as it skipped, "It would have been cool to see the Cerberus for ourselves."
"Dude, I was using my Invisibility Cloak, and three guys pressed together under it is not my idea of a fun night" Harry said dryly. Ron rolled his eyes.
"It's mine" Susan spoke up, grinning. Harry, Ron, Heidi and Frank groaned out loud, and Frank poured some water down Susan's back, the following shriek echoing across the water of the Lake.