Chapter 26 – Quidditch and a Staff
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: What is 'The power he knows not' and how did Harry get it? How did Harry survive the killing curse and what does Sirius Black have to do with it? Who is the voice Harry is hearing in his head?
Chapter 26 – Quidditch and a Staff
The portrait of Rowena Ravenclaw looked down at her young heir.
"Why do you ask this young heir?" She asked. "If I'm not mistaken, you have already communicated with Hogwarts many times. Do you not remember coming across the lake in the boats? As soon as you passed through the identification wards and they identified you as an Heir of the Founders, you asked Hogwarts not to tell the Headmaster that you were the Heir of Ravenclaw.
Again, in the Headmaster's office, you asked Hogwarts to withdraw or withhold information from him so you could make your point. Did you not realize that you were communicating with Hogwarts then?"
Harry felt embarrassed for having asked the question. "Ya, I probable should have known that. However, at the time, I didn't realize that it was 'Hogwarts' that I was talking to... I just thought that it was really just ... well, I really didn't know who or what I was talking to. I just thought it was the 'wards' around the school I asked not to do their job and report to the Headmaster. I know I did get a feeling back from 'the wards' that it would do what I had asked it to do at the time. I've never really tried to 'talk' to Hogwarts. I mean, ya, I've always thought of Hogwarts as the 'mothering' type, you know, helping all the students learn magic. I just never pictured Hogwarts as being able to talk to me. Does that make any sense to you Aunt Roe?"
"Yes, I can see where you would think that way, but you should know that the wards are connected directly to Hogwarts herself, and not to the Headmaster. Unless you are a very powerful wizard that can overpower the wards, or overlay your own wards over the existing ones, they are going to work just as designed. "
"The wards themselves do not have the 'intelligence' to talk back, or reply to you. It is the one that controls the wards that can decide what is to be done. So yes, you have already talked to Hogwarts on many different occasions. You just didn't realize that that is what you were doing."
"Now, according to Sir Toppum, you are somewhat proficient at speaking with the essences of magical item; like your sword, Durendal, or the Sorting Hat or even the essence your mother left within you the night Sal's pretend heir killed your family."
"What are you talking about woman?" Sal joined the conversation for the first time. "You're making my heir Harry here sound like one of those 'schizophrenic' you were telling me about. Do you think he's one of those people who have a bunch of different people running around inside his mind?Now true, the boy may not be quit right in the head, but I would think that was more from being your heir by birth, then my heir by conquest."
Now it was Roe's turn to give Salazar a dirty look. "You haven't talked to Robert since you've been woken have you?" She asked coldly.
"And just why should I do something like that?" Sal responded defensively, looking down his nose as if he smelt something foul. "I didn't care for Godric's old head rag when I was alive and we put all those charms on it, so I'm surely not going to start caring about it now, am I?"
"Well, if you would have taken to time to talk to him or Hogwarts, you would realize that OUR heir here is a very special young man." Roe started.
"Between his Godfather and his mother, Harry here has survived the killing curse when just a baby."
"Yes, I already knew about that!" Sal responded coldly.
"His mother also did something that I have never seen before in leaving her essences in Harry's mind to help him survive until he could find a loving friend who would care of him." Roe was making these statements with great pride in Harry and Lily's accomplishments.
"You would also know that the sword Harry bears is the same sword once carried by Prince Roland! The same sword Godric tried to copy when he made his sword. You would also know that the sword, Durendal, is sentient and can only be used by the honest in heart."
"Yes, I knew about the sword too." Sal grumbled, "And I saw what Harry could do with it!"
"The one last thing you would have realized about Harry," Roe continued after being interrupted. "Is that his magic and soul is MUCH older then his eleven year old body would indicate."
Looking at Harry Rowena asked, "Just how much time did you spend in that chamber in your trunk Harry?"
Harry blushed at the question. He remembered all the time he and Sassy had spent in chamber eight since he found it.
"I found the trunk and the chamber shortly after my eighth birthday. I would usually spend four hours in it in the morning after breakfast, and then four hours at night every day from then until I came to Hogwarts. It's just that there was so much that I could learn and do while getting away from the Dursleys."
"Yes, that is what I thought." Roe said. "Harry, do you have any idea how much time that added up to for you down in chamber eight?"
"Well," he responded, "A full eight hours of outside time was stretched into ten days inside the chamber, so I guess you could say that for every 36.5 days real time would be equal to 365 days of trunk time. If I did it every day, and I think I did before I came to Hogwarts, that means that for every year I studied in the trunk would have been equal to ten years inside time (not counting for leap year). "
"So from my eighth birthday until I can to Hogwarts would have been (8 to 9, 9 to 10, 10 to 11...)." Harry counted on his fingers just to make sure he did it right. "Almost thirty years of training in the trunk! Boy, I never realized that." Harry said to himself. He remembered Remus asking him a question or two about how old he thought he really was.
Coming back to the present he asked: "Aunt Roe, does that make me what, forty one years old or am I still just eleven?" Harry was afraid he might be an old man and not even know it.
Rowena looked down at Harry and smiled at him as she shook her head.
"No Harry, you aren't forty one years old. You are still just eleven. However, your MAGIC IS forty one years old. That is part of the reason why you can do some of the things you can do."
"If you were to continue to use the time chamber until you graduate from Hogwarts, what would that mean?"
Harry thought for a moment before he gasped and looked up at the individuals in the portrait.
"I'd be just seventeen years old, but my magic would be over one hundred years old! Is that what you mean Aunt Roe?"
"Exactly Harry." Roe answered proudly. "You would have the magical maturity of a person like Albus Dumbledore, or Salazar here, or even Godric Gryffindor when they were in their prime in a seventeen year old body."
Harry was overwhelmed at the thought of having that much magical power so early in life.
"I will have you know Madame that I am still in the prime of my life." Salazar stated with a very sophisticated air about him.
"That's just the way your portrait was painted Sal." Rowena replied, trying to take him down a notch or two. "Do you want me to remind you of some of the problems you had later in life?" She challenged him with a raised eyebrow.
"Quiet woman!" Salazar sputtered. "I'm sure Harry has no desire to hear what awaits him as he enters the twilight of his life!"
"Oh, I don't know," Harry said acting innocent. "Maybe it would give me time to prepare for a time when I'm old and decrepit." He winked at Rowena in her portrait.
"Old and decrepit? Old and decrepit!" Salazar spat. "I'll show you old and decrepit! Just for that, I'm not going to tell you where my study room is in my chamber. You'll just have to find it for yourself... If you can get past the wards that I placed around it. That will show you who's decrepit!"
"Oh Sal, you really don't want to do that now do you?" Asked Rowena in a very forceful tone.
"And why wouldn't I..." started Salazar. Then looking at his wife, realized what she was getting at.
"Ah, no, I wouldn't want to do that to you Harry. I will of course help you when you go to look for my study room in the Chamber of Secrets... I guess, seeing as I have no real chose in the matter." He responded in a defeated tone.
Harry heard 'Ma' say 'Wiped' in reference to Salazar's response.
"Okay, this is all fine and good, but it still doesn't get me any closer to really communicating with Hogwarts now does it." Harry said trying to bring the discussion back to his main subject.
"Of course you are correct Harry." Rowena replied.
"Hogwarts is very excited to have an heir to talk with after so many years."
"Before you can really communicate with Hogwarts, you must first be able to cast your conciseness into a higher realm of existence. You must be able to enter the astral plane and then open you mind and your heart to the magic that is in Hogwarts. Reach out and see if you can feel her; if you can sense her."
"How do I do that?" Harry asked. "How do I reach this 'astral plane'?"
Rowena looked lovingly down at Harry and said, "Just close your eyes and stretch your senses. Use your mage-sight and seek where the realm of the physical end and the realm of the pure magic begin."
Harry did as his Aunt had told him. He closed his eyes and slowly let his mage sense expand outward looking for the limits of his physical world.
After what seemed like hours, he felt himself coming to the top of a very large box. He could not see where the box ended, but he could feel the pressure of something telling him that he was at the 'end of the line'.
'Is this what Aunt Roe was talking about? Is this the end of my physical world?'
Harry was amazed at everything he could sense while he was here at the edge of his physical world. He could see his mind-scape and everything he and 'Ma' had done. He could see 'Potter in the Mind' where he and Durendal worked and studied together. He could see his magical core laid out before him like a great sea of power, ready to respond to his command, and he could see the portion of that core that was tainted by 'Tom Riddle'. But how was any of this going to help him move to the astral plane?
'You're trying too hard son.' Harry heard his 'Ma' say.
'Remember, it is just your spirit, or your conciseness that can enter the astral plane. You must let go of your physical body and just will yourself there with your magic.'
'Let go of my body? Doesn't that mean that my spirit will leave my body? Doesn't that mean… that I'd be dead?' 'Ma' could hear the worry in Harry's voice and understood his concerns.
'Yes, technically when your spirit leaves your body you would be considered dead. That is one of the reasons why so few people successful transition to the astral plane. However, if you are strong enough, and skilled enough, you can use your magic to 'tether' your spirit to your physical body. Your body would still be alive, and as long as your magic was strong enough, you will be able to return to it when you want.'
'Do you think I can do this 'Ma'?' Harry asked frightfully.
'Ma' smiled at Harry and said 'If anyone can, you can son. I have complete faith in you and your abilities.'
Taking courage from this, Harry again closed his eyes and focused first on his magic. 'Ma' said he needed to use is magic like a tether, so he envisioned a long rope that he would secure around his spirit to his physical body so that he could return when he needed to.
Next, he 'willed' his spirit to leave his body, making sure his magical tether was secured around him.
What he experienced was like nothing he had experienced before.
It felt as if he was entering a dark void with no up or down. No right or left. To say Harry was frightened would be an understatement. He knew he was moving – or at least he had the sensation of movement, but he couldn't tell where to, or which direction. The only thing he concentrated on was his magical tether. He could feel pressure against it – like when a rope is being let out with tension on it, so he knew he was alright (he hoped).
After what seemed like years – but at the same time – as if no time at all had passed, Harry saw a point of light in the far distance. It was as if someone had lit a single candle in a completely dark room – it didn't take much to be noticed, and it seemed very bright despite being so far away from him.
With the same strange sense of time taking forever, yet not taking any time at all, Harry found himself at the source of the light.
It was a strange place. Everything was white. There was nothing there to tell you where the ground ended, and the 'sky' (if that's what you could call it) began.
"I knew you could do it honey." Harry heard a voice say behind him.
Turning quickly around he saw 'Ma' and Durendal, but not as they appeared in his mind. Here they looked and sounded real.
Harry ran up to 'Ma' and was surprised that when he 'hugged' her, he could really touch her.
'Ma' was also a little surprised, but greatly pleased that here she could show her 'son' just how much she loved him as well.
"Yes, Master Harry, very well indeed." Said Durendal, looking somewhat uncomfortable with the show of affection. "However things seem to be changing." He nodded to a space behind Harry. "We best be prepared for what every we encounter here."
Harry turned back around and saw that indeed things had changed.
Where nothing had been just a few moments ago stood a castle that looked very much like Hogwarts – only much larger. It looked pristine and new, as if it had just been built. The fields, lakes, and forest that surrounded Hogwarts were also present, only it too looked new and alive.
Harry, 'Ma', and Durendal approached the structure with a great sense of aw and anticipation. As they were nearly at the door of the castle, they opened and out stepped the most beautiful women Harry had every seen. 'No offense 'Ma' Harry thought.
'None taken son.' 'Ma' thought back.
Harry was surprised he could still hear 'Ma' in his head, and that she knew what he had been thinking. He looked back at 'Ma' and blushed. "Sorry about that."
"No Harry, you are quite right, she is the most beautiful person I've ever seen as well."
Harry blushed again and turned back around to greet their hostess.
Both groups stopped about 2 meters from each other and took a few moments to just observe the other.
Harry slowly expanded his senses and could tell that who ever this person was, she was very powerful and wise. He was completely beside himself. His mouth was gaping open at the 'woman' before him.
In many ways she looked like the older version of someone he had seen before and should know, but he just couldn't place his finger on who it was. She had long red hair that seemed to be blown by an unseen breeze, a porcelain clear completion and smooth skin, and ... freckles? The robe she wore was a brilliant white with gold trim, long and flowing. It seemed to move in the unseen breeze.
"You're so beautiful!" Harry said softly. "Oh! I'm sorry! I just don't expect to see someone as lovely as you in my life. No, that's not what I mean..."
The hostess laughed softly, and Harry thought a choir of angles was singing. "Hello young master. I have waited many years to again find an heir of the founders worthy to approach me here. I hope you find this form pleasing?"
Harry just shook his head. He found that he couldn't even respond beyond that. That fact was making him very frustrated with himself.
"Come Master Harry; do not be embarrassed or afraid." Their hostess closed the gap between them. As she did, she held out both her arms toward him, as if welcoming him into a warm embrace. Harry automatically responded by taking both her hands in his.
The hostess pulled Harry into her and gave him a kind, loving embrace – like one would give to a friend after a long absences.
After a few moments, she began to glow, and Harry glowed with her. A feeling of overwhelming peace and contentment came over him. He could feel her love and concern for him, and her power and wisdom. He knew he would do everything in his power to protect and defend her from all enemies, both within and without her walls.
All too soon the embrace ended, and Harry felt the loss from her touch.
It took a few moments for Harry to grasp what was going on here, and what he had just done. When he came out of his stupor, he blushed deeply.
Stepping back he asked, "What do I call you?"
The hostess smiled and simply said, "You may call me Lady Hogwarts. Not a very imaginative or flattering name I know, but it will do for now."
Harry agreed with their hostess, it didn't sound very flattering, but it was who she was.
"Please forgive me Lady Hogwarts. I was unprepared to find one as lovely and fair as thyself in this place. I am Lord Harry James Potter, Paladin, at your service." Harry ended his introduction with a gentlemanly bow.
"May I introduce Durendal, the essences of the Sword of Prince Roland, and my 'Ma', the essences of my mother in life, Lady Lily Evans Potter."
Lady Hogwarts approached the other members in the group.
She gave 'Ma' the same type of embrace she had given Harry. When they broke, he could see tears of joy in 'Ma's eyes.
She held her hand out to Durendal, who took it and placed a chased kiss on the back of it.
"You honor me my Lady." Durendal said.
"It is you who honor me Durendal, essences of the Sword of Prince Roland. Long had Lord Gryffindor dreamt of having a sword such as yourself – and now to find a Hogwarts heir worthy to hold you… It is I who am honored." Lady Hogwarts bowed slightly to Durendal.
Addressing the group as a whole Lady Hogwarts said, "First, you don't have to worry about using 'Olde English' with me Harry. I am well acquainted with how my students talk today."
"It has been many years since I have had anyone other then Sir Toppum, or some of the portraits and ghosts to actually speak to. I look forward to spending many years together. But come, let us go inside where we can be comfortable and get to know each other better."
Harry and the others started to go into the new Hogwarts when he noticed that he no longer looked like the eleven year old boy as he did in the physical world. Here his body looked more like the forty plus year old person he and Aunt Rowena had been talking about.
As if knowing what Harry was thinking, Lady Hogwarts answered; "Yes Harry, you are correct. This is not your physical body, this is how your magic and your essence look. And I must say I approve most heartily." There was a playful tone in her voice, but Harry still blushed from head to toe.
Entering the Great Hall, Harry was amazed at what he saw. Instead of showing the weather, the enchanted ceiling showed Harry the history of Hogwarts all at one time. Not just as Hogwarts was now, but everything from the earliest construction, to the current time. It was as if he were viewing the events in a giant pensive, with new events showing up all the time. He knew that if he concentrated hard enough, he could view any event as if he was there.
Again as if reading his thoughts, Lady Hogwarts confirmed that indeed, he could view any event, that he should not be concerned with the passage of 'time' while he was here since time had no meaning in this place.
Harry, with 'Ma' and Durendal decided to first go back to the time when his parents were at Hogwarts.
'Ma' was embarrassed at how young and foolish she looked when she first came to Hogwarts.
Harry was shocked at the way his father and the other Marauder acted towards the other students at Hogwarts until he (James) took notice of Lily.
He saw how poorly Severus Snape was treated in Slytherin, and how he treated and bullied others.
He saw the friendship between Severus and Lily before he became wrapped up with being a 'good Slytherin'.
He saw the prank Sirius played on Snape that almost got him killed, and how James prevented that from happening and the resentment Snape held towards James for being in his life debt.
He saw all this and much more while he was in the 'pensive' of Hogwarts.
Coming back to himself, Harry found himself again in the great hall with Lady Hogwarts.
"This is the only true version of 'Hogwarts, a History', for nowhere else will you find exactly what happened here." She said.
"Now Harry, before you go back into the pensive, there are a couple of people who wish to talk to you."
Harry was confused for a few moments. Who else could be here?
The door to the Great Hall opened, and in came Rowena Ravenclaw in the same blue robe she wore in her painting. At her side was Salazar Slytherin, dressed all in black, his cape billowing behind him much like Professor Snape's cape did.
"Hello Harry." Rowena said, "It's good to see you could make it here."
Harry was a bit shocked when Rowena continued to come up to him and gave him a big hug much like he had done to 'Ma' when he first got here.
Salazar looked quite uncomfortable at the scene, and just cleared his throat, and said, "Ah, yes, quite."
Harry asked if they were 'alive' in the astral plane, but Rowena just shook her head in reply; "No Harry, we are not alive in the sense that this is our spirit. We are just the essences of Rowena Ravenclaw and Salazar Slytherin. Our spirits have long ago traveled on to the next great adventure – a much 'higher' plane of existence, but since we had established a connection with the astral plane while still living, that magical connection still exists between this place and the essence that remained in our portraits."
"Are there may others who have made the connection here?" Harry asked excitedly.
"Yes, there are several." This time it was Lady Hogwarts responding. "You will be meeting them all in good time, but if you find one called Mr. Bell, pay him no mind. We're not quite sure just how he made it to the astral plane but he did. It seems all he wants to do is look for 'Aliens', or some such."
Harry turned to 'Ma' with a look of hope in his eyes. "Will I get to see you and Dad here as well then?" He asked hopefully.
'Ma' hung her head in sadness. "No Harry you won't see James or Lily here. They never made the connection to the astral plane while they were still mortal. The only reason I am here now is because I am part of your magic. I'm sorry son."
'Ma' turned away from Harry to cry. She knew how much he wanted to meet his real parents – even if it was just an echo of themselves through their essences.
Harry came to 'Ma' and turned her around, giving her a big, loving hug.
"I may not be able to meet dad, but always remember that you are my mother's essence and I love you and all you represent."
'Ma' looked into Harry's eyes and saw the love and truthfulness of his statement. Feeling that love she returned Harry's hug, crying into his shoulder at the love she felt from him.
The rest of the time in the astral plane Harry spent in Hogwarts' pensive learning as much as he could about how it was built; the wards that were around it; how they were powered; how they were controlled.
He also spent time talking to the essences of the other Founders, as will as a few others teachers and Headmasters and mistress' who had made a connection to the astral plane before leaving this mortal existence.
Harry spent a great deal of time being trained by them and learning many things about administration, law, battle strategies, and battle spells. Both Godric and Salazar where surprised that Harry already had the makings of a staff waiting for him at Ollivander's, and encouraged him to have the staff completed as quickly as possible.
Godric Gryffindor was excited to meet Durendal and acted like a little child meeting his favorite teen idol. After he settled down, he spent many hours talking with Harry and Durendal regarding the task of a Paladin in defending the weak and defeating the corrupt.
Harry saw many faces and acts of injustice that had occurred at Hogwarts over the last thousand years, and got to meet some of the worst offender (via the pensive).
And then there was Tom Riddle.
An orphan boy raised in an abusive style much the same as Harry had spent the seven years of his life, before he found Sassy and his parent's trunk.
He saw how he used the Basilisk to kill Myrtle, and then use that death to create his first Horcrux.
It sickened him to think that a person would stoop to such depths to stay alive and felt completely dirty having just watched how it was performed.
Lady Hogwarts told Harry that she sensed Tom was back again at Hogwarts being 'hosted' by the DADA professor, Professor Quirrell. She wasn't sure what all he was doing since he spent most of his evenings away from Hogwarts, but that he was growing stronger and may soon have enough strength to uses one of his Horcrux, or some other means to return to the physical world. She was sure Tom had made more then one Horcrux from hearing what had happened to his father and grandparents while he was still at school.
As Harry prepared to return to the physical realm, he was warned by both his 'Ma' and Lady Hogwarts that he could not make his experience in the astral plane known to anyone – even the Headmaster or his Head of House. Others must find their own way to her, much as he did.
Harry was told that the astral plane existed far beyond the reaches of Hogwarts. That they had limited themselves to that portion of the plane because Lady Hogwarts could not go beyond to bounds of the wards that had been set by the Founders and other Headmasters and Headmistresses.
Harry took it upon himself to see what else was out there.
He saw how the students were being taught in other wizarding schools such as Salem in the United States, Durmstrang in Bulgaria, Beauxbatons in France, and Quigley down under in Australia.
He saw the Minister of Magic meeting with Draco's father talking about a 'campaign contribution' for having contract awarded to one of his companies.
He was pleased to see that Alice Graham, his friend from Primary School was doing well in her new Secondary School, and was making friends on her own.
He was surprised when he went to Number 4 Privet Drive that Petunia Dursley was the only one living there. It would appear that without Harry to take his abusive behavior out on, Vernon had started to take his aggression out on Petunia. Now he was a 'guest' at one of Her Majesties prisons for the next thirty years. Petunia had gotten a divorce, and Dudley was living with Aunt Marge when he came home from Smelting.
Upon returning back to Lady Hogwarts, he was told that now that he had made the journey, he could 'connect' or 'ground' his magic to Hogwarts in the astral plane, thus leave a conduit between the two planes of existence. He would be able to return there with just a thought, and Lady Hogwarts could keep in contact with Harry, 'Ma' and Durendal should the need arise.
'Ma' was thrilled about keeping in touch with Hogwarts. It meant that she could learn the latest in gossip going on in the castle, but more importantly, she could use the connection to 'copy' some of the more interesting events, potions, charms, transfiguration and spells that were stored in Hogwarts immense library.
Durendal was pleased because he could let Harry know if there was something he needed to do as a Paladin to help the others in the School.
Harry was happy just to know that there was someone else in the world that loved him unconditionally (even if she was in another plane of existence).
He was also excited that he may be able to watch out for those who were being prayed upon by bullies and the like. It caused him to wonder, "How can I get to those in need if I can not apparate within Hogwarts? And even if I could, how could I keep my actions secret? I don't want everyone knowing who I am or what I can do."
"Those are both very good questions Harry." Godric answered. "I'm sure you saw the 'transportation' charm that was used while Hogwarts was being built to move large amounts of material around? After construction, a ward that prevented anyone from using that charm was erected. The ward that can be deactivated temporarily, but still stay in place. We will show you how to deactivate, and reactivate it, and how to control it without interference from the Headmaster."
"You also have the ability to move about like a house elf. The wards around Hogwarts won't stop you, and you can get into just about any place you want to with little more than a thought."
"As far as a disguise, I just don't know. You should have a cloak with a hood that hides your face, and use spells that hides your true height and voice. You'll just have to see what works out for you."
After finish his discussion with the Founders, and Lady Hogwarts, Harry was preparing to return back to the physical world.
"I'm going to miss you greatly Lady Hogwarts." he said while giving her one last, long hug.
"Don't worry Harry, I will always be with you while you are within the boundaries of the wards, and even when you are away from them, you will still be anchored here. You can find your way back to me any time."
Harry was glad and sad at the same time. He knew he had to return to his friends and 'family', but he would still miss being here. He had learned a great deal, but now it was time to practice and develop his core further.
With one final look back, Harry concentrated on returning back to his body. He found his 'tether' still attached to his body, and had little trouble reuniting the spirit and body.
It did take a few minutes to get use to the smaller eleven year-old body he now had. After being 'forty plus' for so long, there were some things that had to be gotten accustom to again.
Looking at the clock in the Room of Knowledge, Harry found that indeed, very little time had passed while in the astral plane. He laughed to himself to think what Hermione would do if she ever made it to Hogwarts in the astral plane. He was sure she wouldn't leave until she had read every book in Lady Hogwarts library.
Gathering up his things, Harry returned to the Gryffindor common room.
"Potter! Just where do you think you've been?"
Harry looked up to see a very worried, very excited Oliver Wood, captain of the house Quidditch team.
"Come on man, you're almost late for practice!" There was only an hour before they could take the field.
"Okay Captain," Harry said with a smile on his face. "Just let me get my things and I'll be right down."
Harry was laughing to himself seeing how one-tracked Oliver's mind was. If it didn't eat, breath, sleep, or talk about Quidditch, he just wasn't interested. It was amazing he could keep his mind on his studies.
Harry had made sure that while he was 'away' on the astral plane, he took plenty of time to study Quidditch as it had been played at Hogwarts over the last 500 years or so.
He had seen just how good some of the Seekers had been in the past, and some of the tricks and techniques they used to get out of trouble or block their opponent. Harry had been very impressed with the way Charlie Weasley could handle himself on a broom and the level of skill he displayed during his last year at Hogwarts.
Harry was determined to put some of the tricks he had seen into effect at the practice session tonight, and during the game with Slytherin.
Harry soon joined his teammates in the locker room with his Cleansweep seven thirty minutes before practice time. Not surprisingly everyone was already there dressed in their practice robes and listening to the latest plays and defenses Oliver had developed.
The twins weren't really listening. They knew their job was to hit the bludger at the opposing team, and keep it from hitting anyone on their team... especially the seeker. Harry noticed they had their heads close to each other talking about something as intensely as Oliver talked about Quidditch.
"Harry, quickly get changed. When you do, I'll go over the new plays again for your benefit"
Everyone groaned at the prospects of listening to Oliver repeat the same things over and over again.
Before too long, they were out on the field going through the new plays. About half way through the practice Oliver called everybody down.
"Okay Harry, you've been doing pretty good with your flying over the last few week, but our first game is against Slytherin, and I KNOW they will try to take you out just as fast or faster then they will be trying to take me out.
"Now, what we are going to play is what I call 'tag the seeker'."
Harry actually felt excited if this was what he thought it would be, but he knew he had to put on a confused face – after all, this was his first year playing Quidditch (not!).
"This is what we will do," Oliver started out, "first, Fred and George will take one of the bludgers and try to 'tag' or hit you with it. Now since this is your first time, we'll use a padded bludger so it doesn't hurt you too bad when it hits you, but it will leave a mark where it hit you."
"Oy Oli, take all our fun away." One of the twins stated ('George', Harry thought).
"Ya, I'm sure Harry's a big boy." the second twin commented.
"Let's see what he's made of!" They ended together.
Oliver looked very sternly at the twins trying to channel their Head-of-House. "I'm trying to get him use to the bludgers first you clowns! Professor McGonagall would have my head – and then yours – if anything were to happen to Potter before our match with Slytherin!"
"Let's just start off slowly and see how things go."
"Alright Oli." George said.
"We'll take it easy on the little tyke... for now." Fred finished grinning evilly.
No one notice the glint of excitement in Harry's eyes. He was eager to really fly again. The time he spent with Fawkes, and in the astral plane had him 'chomping at the bit' to try some new moves out on them. There had been several seekers in the past who loved to turn the tables on the beaters.
Harry and the twins were up in the air in no time.
"Alright Harry, just try to avoid the bludger. I'm only going to let one out at a time until you get use to it okay? Oh, and try to stay within the bounds of the stadium please?"
Harry nodded his head. "That's fine Captain, let's get going."
Oliver released one of the padded bludgers and immediately Fred took dead aim at Harry.
Harry leaned to his right and let the bludger pass harmlessly by. By then, George had flown up behind Harry and closed in on him hitting the bludger again at almost point-blank range. This time Harry didn't have as much time to react, but was able to slip under the incoming missile before it got to him.
Fred had also worked his way closer to Harry and was ready for another volley at the young seeker. Harry thought it was time to put a bit of distance between himself and the twins.
As Fred drew his arm back to hit the padded iron ball, Harry pointed his broom straight up and took off as fast as he could. Fred didn't have time to redirect the bludger, and so it ended up heading straight at George.
"Oy, Fred! Who are you aiming for? Do I look like a scrawny kid on a broom?" George yelled. He had been watching Harry shoot straight up, and wasn't looking at the bludger his twin was hitting.
He was now sporting a bright red mark on his left shoulder where he had been hit.
Harry was about 500 feet above the action smiling at the twins.
"Let's get him!" George said, hitting the bludger up in the air for Fred to chase.
"I'm with you Bro!" Came the reply.
"Oy, Harry! Keep it to 20 meters above the ground if you please!" Oliver used a Sonorus charm to make himself heard by the others. "We know you can fly faster and higher then than them, we need to see how you'll do in a game environment!"
Harry waved at Oliver to show that he had heard, and pointed his broom straight down, heading right for the twins.
Fred and George didn't know what to think when they saw Harry wave and turn back down. They rarely listened to Oliver during practice – they just hit the bludger as hard as they could at their target and defended their teammates. So, needless to say, they were a bit shocked when their intended 'victim' turn on his broom and head straight towards them. They found themselves peeling right and left as Harry pressed his broom to the limit heading back to the ground.
For the next fifteen minutes, Fred and George tried to get close to Harry – never mind trying to hit him with the bludger.
As the twins patience ran out they yelled down at Oliver: "Oy, Oli! Get that other bludger up here – and don't bother about the padding! I get the feeling this isn't the first time Harry's been chased by one of these things."
If they would have just thought back to Harry's 'first' broom ride at Hogwarts they would know they were right. Harry had out maneuvered a bewitched bludger for almost twenty minutes until Professor McGonagall and Hooch could trap it.
Soon Fred and George had the whole team up in the air with beater bats and a total of four bludgers trying to hit Harry. For the chasers it was an experience to see what the twins had to deal with each match. They really didn't take many swings at Harry, they mainly had the bats up there to protect them from what the twins and Oliver were hitting.
Harry was having the time of his life! Flying up, and over, around, and through anything and everything his teammates could through at him. No one had been able to hit him yet. Just when someone thought they had him, Harry would do something amazing. Moving his broom at inconceivable angles to dodge the incoming missiles.
The twins were passed being pissed at Harry, they were in aw at the skill and pure talent he was showing in the air. This only made them try harder to hit him – just to see how good he really was.
Towards the end of the practice, Harry found himself in an unfamiliar situation. Fred and Oliver had forced him into a steep dive to avoid their bludgers, while George waited just off the ground with a bludger waiting to go. As he saw Harry dive, he took careful aim at Harry, hitting the bludger as hard as he could.
Watching in fascination, George watched as the bludger came closer and closer to Harry. He hadn't seen it yet, and it looked like this time, the seeker would get 'tagged'.
Harry sensed something was coming up at him at a great rate of speed. Mentally he cursed himself for getting too caught up with the last two bludgers that had been shot at him. Looking up, he saw George's bludger almost right on top of him. Instead of trying to dodge it this time however, Harry sat up on his broom and held his arms out at chest height as if he were forming a large letter 'C'. The bludger was 'guided' from his left hand, up his arm, around his chest, down his right arm, and sped away from him following where his right hand was pointing. Unfortunately, that was right back at George.
George's eyes were bugging out of his head when he saw the bludger heading right back at him. He tried to get out of the way, but was hit right in the bread-basket (stomach) and knocked him off his broom and on to the quidditch field. It was a good thing he wasn't very far off the ground when it happened.
The entire team was shocked at Harry's action and the resulting decking of George Weasley. Everyone immediately flew down to see if he was alright.
Harry was the first to get there, and took the bludger that George had caught, and made sure it would get away from him again. Next where the chasers who were as in aw of Harry as they were concerned for George.
Angelina was the first there to George. "Are you alright George? Say something to me! Can you hear me George?" she cried frantically.
George for his part was looking up at Harry with his eyes bugging out, having a hard time catching his breath since the bludger had made his diaphragm spasm to where he couldn't get it to move – making it hard to breath.
After a few seconds, the diaphragm started working again, and he was able to breathe again.
"Ya, I'm bloody brilliant!" He whispered hoarsely to Angelina but not taking his eyes off Harry. Harry was a little worried about George's mental health, because it sounded like he really meant he felt great, and wasn't mad at him at what had happened.
By now Fred and Oliver had secured the other bludgers so no one else would be injured and had ran over to the group to see how George was doing.
"I really didn't mean to hit you with the bludger George. It's just that I was out of position and couldn't move my weight and broom in time to avoid it. I'm really, really sorry about..."
Harry didn't get to finish his apology as George, still laying on the ground, rolled towards Harry and shouted, "THAT HAS TO BE THE MOST SPECTACULAR THING I'VE EVERY SEEN A SEEKER DO! THAT WAS BLOODY BRILLIANT!"
Harry was shocked and a little confused at George's reaction to getting hit in the gut with an iron ball.
Fred and Oliver had a similar look of aw on their face as they approached the group.
Fred didn't even look at George to see if he was alright. If he got hit, it was his fault for not liking out for himself.
"Ah, Fred? I really wasn't trying to hurt George you know don't you?" Harry asked. He was a little concerned that he may retaliate since his brother was on the ground.
"What? Oh, him? Not the first time he's been hit with a bludger because he wasn't watching what was going on." came Fred's reply.
"Oy, Fred! When was the last time ANYONE was hit with a bludger sent to them by a SEEKER dumb arse!" George was liking the attention he was getting from Angelina and had just caught the last part of Fred's statement.
"That's just it!" said Oliver with a wild gleam in his eyes. "That is the move of legends!"
"It is said that in the early 1500's the 'Hunters' as the seekers were called then, would help their team by redirecting the 'Blooder', that's what the early bludgers were called, back to their opponents and knocking them off their brooms, but until today, no one knew how it could have been done. We have all just witnessed history!"
Harry was starting to be a little concerned about the mental stability of Oliver and the Weasley twins when it came to quidditch.
"Do you think you could do it again Harry?" Oliver asked.
"I don't think that very important right now Captain. You've got a man down that looks like he may need to see Madam Pomfrey and ..."
Again Harry didn't get a chance to finish what he was saying.
"Aw, I'll be fine Harry. I'm sure Angelina here and the others will be more then willing to help heal any bruising I might have." came George's reply.
The other three male players on the team looked down to see that Angelina, Kate and Alicia already had George's robe off and his shirt undone and were in the process of 'inspecting' his upper torso very closely for bruising. He didn't seem to be minding it too much.
Oliver took Fred and Harry back out on the field with one bludger and two beater bats.
He and Fred would stand at different spots on the field and hit the bludger AT Harry. His job was to 'redirect' the bludger to Fred. Fred would then hit the bludger back at him and Harry would repeat the process by sending to bludger back to Oliver.
Of course, they wouldn't stay in one place, but at least they weren't on brooms, so if someone did get hit, they didn't have far to fall.
After twenty minutes Oliver called an end to the practice and everyone headed into the changing room to shower and get cleaned up.
By now George was right as rain, and had plans with Angelina for the next Hogsmeade weekend.
Harry, by comparison, was walking very slowly back to the changing room. His arms and chest were bruised and sore to the point that he didn't know if he would be able to use his hands ever again. He was holding his arms close to his chest so they didn't hurt quite so bad.
'I know why they don't do that anymore.' He thought to himself.
'I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DID THAT!' Harry heard 'Ma' say. 'You're even worse than James was. And that was pretty bad let me tell you!'
'Ya 'Ma', sorry about that.' Harry couldn't even find the strength to argue.
'Well what good is being a wizard if you can't use your magic to get you healed up a bit before you go in to shower. Sit down and listen.'
Harry obeyed 'Ma' and fell, more then sat down. With a great deal of difficulty he got himself up into a sitting position with his legs crossed in front of him.
'Alright,' 'Ma' began, 'Now enter a meditative state where you can visualize your whole body, but pay close attention to the areas that are injured. See all the bruising? That's where tiny blood vessels have been damaged or broken when you let them hit you with that iron ball.'
'Ma' wasn't really feeling too sympathetic for Harry right now. 'Men and their macho games!' But she didn't want Harry to be where he couldn't function. And if left untreated, these contusions could lead to bigger problems.
'Now, feel your magic and let come up into your arm and chest area. Visualize the magic restoring the blood vessels to their proper form. Don't try to hurry. You don't want to rush this. As you get more familiar with your body, you can use this same technique to heal yourself when you are in a dual and are his with a Confringo (Blasting) curse, or something like that. I know your father used that to help him escape the Death-eaters a few time.'
Harry listened to his 'Ma' and did exactly as he was told. He could see the difference between his physical body and his magic. He was somewhat impressed with the way the body worked, and just how much abuse it could take in the name of 'fun'. He 'saw' how the blood vessels had ruptured and were seeping blood into the surrounding tissue formed a bruise.
For the first little while, he would bring his magic up and heal one capillary at a time. He also took the time to look at the tissue around the capillaries. Many of them were ruptured, broken or torn. He decided that they needed to be repaired as well.
After a time he felt confident enough to try to heal more than one thing at a time, and soon was thinking about entire areas to find them healed quickly.
Soon Harry took a deep breath and opened his eyes. He looked back down at his arms to find them completely healed. He felt his chest and noticed a lack of pain there as well.
He was surprised at how refreshed he felt after his healing.
'That's because you also repaired the surrounding muscle tissue and ligaments that had been injured when you repaired the small blood vessels.' His 'Ma' informed him.
'You know Harry; this could be a real life saver if you could do something like that all the time. You could learn how to make your muscles or bones stronger, and could recover from any injury quicker than normal. I just wonder why more witches and wizards don't think of that.'
'Because they aren't as smart as you 'Ma'. Was Harry's reply and with that he got off the grass and went to get cleaned up.
The rest of the time leading up to their first match with Slytherin was spent in much the same way.
Time for class, time to eat, time in his trunk, and time for quidditch practice.
As far as the practice part went, Oliver was determined to keep seeing if Harry could still redirect the bludger away from him, so for the last ten to twenty minutes of each practice he would have Fred and George shot bludgers at him, first on the ground, and then up in the air as well – but this time they were ready for the returning ball.
Harry was paying attention to how his body was reacting as he was repeatable hit with the iron ball, and soon could heal his body in real-time – as soon as the ball hit him. Of course, between 'Ma' and Harry, they came up with a method where he could actually anticipate the action of the ball, and send little bursts of magic to the areas that were going to be impacted.
It was like a small pocket of energy that would cushion and strengthen the muscles wherever the bludger came in contact with him. That way Harry had a little more control as to where the bludger went to, and he didn't hurt himself in the process. The magic was localized to where the other players couldn't even see it. They all just thought that Harry was one tough kid.
Harry included his friends as much as he could in spending time in his trunk in the Room of Requirements and everyone was improving in their magical skill, strength, and stamina.
He would still help the others in expanding their magical core on the new moon cycles, but the rate of improvement had slowed down considerably after the blocks had been taken off the three magical children.
Finally it was the morning of the first quidditch match. It was to be held the day before the winter break would begin. (A/N – no Halloween, no Troll, no mess with Ron and Hermione)
Harry had woken up at 5:00 AM as normal to meet his friends in the Room of Requirements for a few 'days' practice and study before going down to the Great Hall for Breakfast.
Ron and Hermione met him down in the common room and walked with him silently to meet the others.
Neville and Susan were waiting for then as they approached the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy and his dancing trolls.
"Ready for the game today Harry?" Neville asked cheerfully, well as cheerful as one can be at this time in the morning.
"Shhh!" Ron hissed. "Are you trying to jinks him? You NEVER ask a player how their doing on a game day! It's tradition!"
Harry looked at Ron, still trying to understand just how this Gryffindor thought. "It's okay Ron, really. It's only a game. I'm sure we're more than ready to meet anything Slytherin can through at us."
"Only a game? HOW CAN YOU SAY IT'S ONLY A GAME! WE'VE GOT TO PUT THOSE SNAKES IN THEIR PLACE!" Ron exploded.
"Shhh!" everyone else said. "Do you want to wake up the whole castle?" Hermione asked coldly. "Really, boys and their games." She just shook her head as she walked through the door Harry was now holding open for everyone to go through.
Passing Harry, Ron lowered his head and said, "Sorry, I just take quidditch very seriously. Team pride and all."
"Well I guess that just goes to prove that you're related to Fred and George. I swear those two are insane when it comes to quidditch."
"Ya, well, it runs in the family. But I think Charlie was even worse then them. He was the seeker and was captain of the team the last few years he has here. I think one of the reasons he's working with dragons now is that he couldn't get a big enough challenge just flying around with us mere mortals."
"Well if Wood's any indication of what it takes to be the captain of the quidditch team, leave me out! I mean, I love to fly and I love to play, but their... 'Devotion' to quidditch is a bit... extreme, if ya know what I mean?"
"Ya, I guess that means there may be hope for me being the quidditch captain then if you don't want it."
"Well, since I'll only be in Gryffindor for a few years, I think I'm safe in saying 'Na, it's yours'."
After their training session in the trunk, the first years made their way down to the Great Hall for breakfast.
The mood at the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables were very tense, though the Slytherin's seem to be trying to get under the Gryffindor's skin.
"So, Wood? You really goin'a use that little runt of a first year as your seeker? Talent pool must be pretty thin over in Gryffindor." Marcus Flint, captain of the Slytherin quidditch team asked. The rest of the Slytherin table laughed as if it was the funniest joke they had every heard.
Oliver looked up from his plate that he hadn't touched and replied: "Na, we just don't have to wait that extra year for them to know how to sit on a broom correctly." Now it was the Gryffindor's turn to laugh. Wood put on his best smile, even if he didn't feel like it. He knew that the Slytherin seeker, Terence Higgs, had a reputation of plowing right into the other seekers, saying they were in his way to the snitch, even when there was no snitch present, and he was at least twice as big as Harry. Wood just hoped Harry would be alright after today. But when he thought about how the practices had gone, and Harry's little 'trick' with the bludger, an honest smile came to his face.
"Hey Higgs, how are you going to feel being beaten by a first year?"
Harry had seen Higgs, and didn't need his captain stirring things up for him.
"'ll be lucky if there's anything left of him when 'm through with him." Higgs growled back.
"Almost a complete sentence Higgs! I'm impressed!" Oliver twisted the verbal knife a little more.
"We'll see how things play out on the field Wood!" Flint fired back. "Come on team; let's get ready to put down some Lions." Standing from the table, he led his team out of the Great Hall and down to the quidditch field.
Wood's realized that it was time to head down to the field. He too got up and addressed his players: "Well, come on guys, let's get ready to play and kick some snakes arse."
Before Harry knew it he was out on the field with his team mates warming up. He could look over to where the Slytherin was doing their warm up and watched as their seeker when through some of his more 'mild' blocking technique.
All too soon Madam Hooch was calling the two captains over to explain what she expected from the players, and have them shake hands.
Harry felt they might be in a little trouble when he saw Wood grab his broom with his left hand while it looked like he was trying to get some feeling back in his right hand.
The snitch and bludgers were released as the players waited on the ground. "Alright now gentlemen, ladies. On my mark! Ready?" and the whistle sounded as Madam Hooch throw the Quaffle up into the air and the match was on.
Harry was immediately in the air looking for the snitch and trying to avoid the other players. As predicted, Terence Higgs made a bee-line for Harry to tried to knock him off his broom. Only four things wrong with that though:
First, Harry had years of experience with Dudley and his 'Harry Hunting'
Second, he was a better flier then Terence especially since he had been flying with Fawkes in his animagus form.
Third, Harry sensed that Higgs was coming at him and performed what looked like a somersault with his broom so that instead of being in front of the other seeker, he was now literally on top of him. Harry continued moving in a circle, so that the tail of his broom hit the Slytherin seeker in the head, causing him to push the nose of his broom down, almost crashing into the ground.
The fourth problem for Terence was the bludger hit by George Weasley that met up with the back of his head and he did crash into the ground.
Madam Hooch whistled for play to stop while she and Madam Pomfrey examined him to make sure he could still play. She warned George about hitting a seeker with a bludger, but admitted that Mr. Higgs was playing 'out of position' when he was hit. She also ignored Professor Snape's demand that both Harry and George be taken out of the game and suspended.
As play resumed, Terence started off a bit slower, but much madder. He wasn't going to let Harry get away with making him look like a fool. The rest of the Slytherin team also wanted to make sure George paid for his part of their seeker's humiliation of being put down in the first five seconds of the match.
The Slytherin beaters were spending so much time trying to target Harry and George that the rest of the team was pretty much left alone, the only problem – they couldn't tell which of the beaters was George and which was Fred.
"And Katie Bell makes another remarkable no-look pass to Angelina Johnson who makes an easy score against Miles Bletchley... again who was way out of position for that shot, bringing the score to Gryffindor eighty, Slytherin ten. Hey Higgs, if you don't hurry and find the snitch, it won't matter." Lee Jordan was enjoying calling this game very much, and after Professor Snape's display regarding Harry and George, Professor McGonagall wasn't even bothering to correct him on some of his more 'bias' comments regarding both teams and their players.
Harry and the Weasleys loved all the attention they were receiving from the other team. For Harry it was simple a matter of dodging the bludger. Having so many bludger around him, Terence couldn't get too close for fear of being hit by a bludger hit by one of his own teammates.
For the Weasleys it was almost like an early Christmas.
With all the extra hits they had taken training Harry, both were in the best beater shape of their lives. They took great pleasure in returning every bludger hit their way. About half the time they would work as a team in setting up an angle shot that would almost always break-up the Slytherin chasers play, causing them to break formation, or loose hold of the Quaffle.
"Alicia Spinnet picks up the dropped Quaffle and heads for the Slytherin goal! OH! Close call with the Slytherin captain Marcus Flint as he has to swerve away from Alicia due to a well placed bludger by Fred Weasley... or was it George... No matter, great shot mate!"
Again, silence from Professor McGonagall.
"Now the Gryffindor chasers are all together in a classic Hawkshead Attacking Formation streaking toward Bletchley. I must say, those Weasley boys have the bludgers fully under their control as they are keeping everyone away from the chasers today."
"Spinnet to Johnson to Bell, back to Johnson... She fakes the shot sending Bletchley to the upper ring, while Bell sweeps underneath and easily places the Quaffle in the lower ring! Score Gryffindor! One thirty to ten!"
Higgs was trying to get close to Harry to force him to the ground, but could never catch the smaller seeker.
Harry was getting tired of Higgs' tactics and thought he'd teach the larger player a lesson about what happens when you follow him too closely.
"It looks like the Gryffindor seeker may have seen something as young Potter goes into a steep dive towards the stands. I can't see anything from here, but look at him push his broom! Higgs is right on his tail trying to prevent the youngest seeker century from winning his first match."
Harry wasn't really pushing his broom that hard. He had to make sure Higgs was close enough to him that he wouldn't have time to respond.
"It looks like Flint is breaking away from the other chasers to help Higgs catch Potter. Bole joins Flint and Higgs in chasing Potter down! Watch out Potter! They're out to get ya man!"
Harry wasn't paying attention to Jordan's commentary, but he could sense the other two fliers heading towards him.
With an evil grin on his face, Harry adjusts his course just enough to guarantee that all three fliers will arrive at the same place at the same time.
For their part, Flint, Higgs, and Bole didn't care about anything besides putting the little Potter brat down and were totally focused on him instead of what was around them.
Harry leveled out a little so that other players wouldn't plow into the ground – just a few feet above it.
"I can't watch! It looks like there is going to be a crash for sure... Wait! Potter pulls up after performing a perfect Wronski Feint! OH! All three Slytherin's hit in mid-air and fall to the ground! Madam Hooch calls for a suspension of play just after Spinnet scores again! One forty to ten for Gryffindor! Looks like Madam Pomfrey will have her work cut out for her today!"
Harry felt the three fliers converging on him. He adjusted his speed so Higgs could get just a little closer to him. As the were within ten feet of each other, he pulled his broom up as hard as he could and shot straight up, away from the Slytherin. The other fliers were so shocked, that they just watched him fly out of harms way. Looking back to where they were headed, the three Slytherin all yelled just before they flew into each other at full speed, crashing to the earth somewhat worse for the ware.
The Gryffindor's all gathered under their goal post waiting for the other players to be attended to.
Fred and George on the ground, laughing. The chasers were all looking at their beaters with an amused look on their face, and Oliver Wood looked like a kid on a sugar rush.
"Potter, that was bloody brilliant! You took out nearly half their team in one move including that cheater Flint! He had a numbing spell on his glove so that when we shook hands I lost all feeling in my right hand. Then he goes and tries to crush it while I can't do anything with it."
"Now when play resumes, if it does, they are going to be gunning for you even harder Harry. I want you to catch that bloody snitch so we can get out of here in one piece – hopefully."
Madam Hooch came over the Gryffindor's to let them know that play would begin again in a few minutes. Looking at Harry, she smiled slightly, and said, "Officially I must warn you Mr. Potter that you must refrain from intentionally trying to inflect bodily injury on the other players. That is misters Weasley's job. I must also tell you that the head of Slytherin is demanding your removal from the game since you are, and I quote 'a vulgar, spoiled brat, who obviously does not know how to play well with others.'."
"When I asked him what he thought those three members of his house team were trying to do, he said he didn't know what I was talking about. They were just being aggressive in trying to win the game against an inferior team. When I reminded him of the score, he indicated that it was all your fault for your need to 'showboat'."
"Unofficially I must say I haven't seen flying like that in a long time. Even Charlie Weasley would have been hard pressed to pull off a feint like that and put out three players at one time. But please, just catch the ruddy snitch so we can get in out of the cold!"
"Yes ma'am, I'll do my best. But I do plan on keeping Higgs off my tail. I really don't want to end up being rolled over by him – or Flint for that matter."
"Just do your job Potter, and I'll do mine." Madam Hooch smiled as she headed back to the center of the field with the Quaffle to restart the game.
At the other end of the field Professor Snape was berating his house team for their poor showing against Gryffindor, and especially in the fact that young Potter was still flying. He 'encouraged' them to make sure the young seeker spent some quality time in the hospital wing before the game was over. Bole and Derrick were given specific instructions to hit every bludger they could at the little welp until they hit him. If they didn't, Snape promised them that he would be personally 'very displeased' with them.
As the Slytherin approached the center of the field, all of them had a look of pure hatred in their eyes as they all looked at Harry.
"Ah, Harry, you may want to watch yourself up there. It seems that someone a little pissed off at you." said Katie with a little sense of true concern in her voice for the young seeker.
As play resumed, all the chasers joined Higgs in trying to catch, trap, or hit Harry with their brooms. 'Just like Harry Hunting with Dudley' Harry thought.
However, another problem was on the horizon.
Harry noticed that the bludgers were acting strange again. Just as Fred or George were going to hit the iron ball, it would move out of the way. Whenever the bludgers got close to Harry, they again started acting on their own as guided missiles. It was almost impossible for Harry to shake them. He had to rely on Fred or George to come up behind him and knock them off his tail.
The other thing that happened was his broom started acting strange. It no longer responded as quickly to his commands as he had expected and he found that he had to use more and more of his magic to keep it under control. 'Those bloody wankers can't even leave me alone for one minute! He thought. 'Now they've got the bludgers and my broom working against me!'
As Harry pulled close to the stands he could hear Professors McGonagall and Snape both yelling at each other concerning what was happening on the field. 'If Snape's not jinxing either the bludger or my broom, then who is?'
He was broken out of his thought when a glimmer of gold caught his eye at the base of the Slytherin goal. Ignoring everything else, Harry turned his broom sharply headed for his quest. He wasn't aware just how much energy he had used in turning his broom. If he had, he may have notice Professor Quirrell, who was physically lifted up in the air and thrown to the far side of the Teachers box – as if he had been connected to Harry's broom when he turned it. Professors McGonagall and Snape stopped arguing just long enough to look at the poor man before returning back to the issue at hand.
Harry felt his broom acting normally again and immediately leaned forward on it, pushing it as hard as he could. The rest of the field disappeared from his vision as he concentrated on the snitch. Closer and closer he came until it was in his hand!
"And Potter gets the snitch for one hundred and fifty points bring the final score to Gryffindor 410, Slytherin 10! The worst Slytherin defeat in will over a hundred years! What do you say now Higgs?" Lee Jordan announced with glee.
"Quite Jordan or you'll be spending the next two years in detention with me!" Professor Snape said hotly.
No one in the stands was really listening to Snape, as three fourths of the school was jumping up and down chanting 'GRYFFINDOR! GRYFFINDOR!' over and over.
The rest of the Gryffindor team had headed to the ground when they noticed that the Slytherin team seemed to have one more 'hit' to deliver to their young seeker.
Soon everyone in the stands was aware that the entire Slytherin team was in an enlarged Hawkshead attacking formation heading right for Harry. Team captain Marcus Flint was at the head with a beater bat in his hand, and a bludger running along its paddle.
The student's tried to yell and get Harry's attention before it was too late.
Harry turned around on his broom just in time to see Flint hit the bludger as hard as he could.
Without thinking Harry faced the incoming missile and released the snitch. Forming his arms in a 'C' shape he caught the bludger on the left hand and arm, across his chest, and down his right arm and hand, redirected it back to where it came from.
Flint and the entire Slytherin team were not expecting to see the bludger heading back to them as they were now accelerating towards Harry to 'finish him off'. They had every intention to smash what ever was left of the little seeker after he had been hit by the bludger. Imagine their shock when the bludger hit Flint, knocking him back into the two fliers behind him, who in turn knocked the four fliers behind them!
Everyone stood in unbelief as the entire Slytherin team was sent falling to the earth by one eleven year old seeker!
Muffled cries could be heard as they hit the ground.
Professor Dumbledore also stood in shock as he witnessed what had happened. Finally, closing his mouth, he shook his head and said "Well, if this were seven pin bowling I would say young Mr. Potter just scored a strike!" Unfortunately he said it next to Lee Jordan who still had an open mike, so of course the entire school heard the comment.
Recovering from his stupor, Professor Dumbledore instructs the other Professors to help collect the Slytherin players and seeing them to the hospital wing.
Harry joined his teammates on the ground where he was smothered by them, then carried off the field on their shoulders.
The party that followed in the Gryffindor common room would be the story of legends for years and generations to come.
Everyone seemed to be ecstatic over the results of the game, and the play of their young seeker. That is everyone except Harry.
He knew he had done what he needed to do to win the game, but he did not wish to permanently hurt the other players – even if they were Slytherin. He was a Paladin. He was to set an example for the others. He was to help those who could not help themselves.
'Do not be too hard on yourself Master Harry.' Came Durendal's comments. 'Those student's (and I use that term loosely) were trying to do everything in their power to cause you great bodily harm. If you had not responded as you did, I dare say they would have continued to do so until they had succeeded in that goal.'
'He's right Harry,' 'Ma' added, 'I have never seen a bigger, more blatant example of seven thugs playing that game in my life. You handled the situation as well as you could have. It should have been Madam Hooch or Professor Dumbledore that put a stop to their actions, but they didn't. Don't feel bad. You did what you had to do.'
'Thanks, both of you. I really needed to hear that. But if you don't mind, I need to get someplace quite and get all this stuff straightened up in my mind. Meet me in the astral plane. I need to talk to Lady Hogwarts.'
Harry made his way to the Room of Knowledge and sealed the entrance behind him – not that anyone else knew where the room was, but he didn't want to take any chances.
Settling himself on the floor, he closed his eyes and concentrated on his magic and the connection he had to the astral plane. He soon found himself directly outside the massive doors of his new Hogwarts where he had first met Lady Hogwarts.
Hearing a loud noise inside, Harry rushed in to the Great Hall trying to prepare himself for what every he might find.
Whatever he had expected, this was not it.
The Great Hall was set up like a small movie theater. Present were all the people he had met in his previous time here. The scene before him was one of loud laughter and even louder arguing.
Looking up Harry froze. There, on a 'big screen' was a replay of the Slytherin attack on Harry and the resulting action.
It seemed Godric was playing the scene over, and over again in very slow motion and commenting on the actions / reactions of all those involved.
Salazar was furious for two different reasons:
The actions of the Quidditch team were so open and 'exposed' that it would have been impossible for them to avoid punishment as a result of their actions an
Someone had the nerve to attack the heir of Slytherin! What made it worse was that it was the Slytherin students themselves!
"This is totally unacceptable! Totally unacceptable! I demand to have the Head of House to be tared and fathered, placed on a rail and run out of school at once!" Salazar was beside himself in his rage.
"He has taught them nothing of what it means to be Slytherin! Where is the subtlety? Where is the planning? Where is the distraction or the plausible deniability of the other students?"
"But what makes it worst of all is that they tried to do that against my heir! UNACCEPTABLE! TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!"
Lady Hogwarts noticed Harry in the doorway looking at what was going on, and came over to where he was standing. She still carried herself with grace and power, but now, instead of a robe, she was dressed far more informally in what looked like jeans and a tee-shirt. He noticed she was carrying a bag of popcorn when she offered him a bite.
"That was one of the most entertaining Quidditch matches we've seen up here for quite some time, but I'm afraid if Godric doesn't quit replaying that last play Salazar may take exception to the whole thing and challenge him to a dual again."
"Would they really get into a dual over something as trivial as a Quidditch match? After all, it's only a game."
Harry and Lady Hogwarts headed out of the Great Hall and out the main doors. She had looped her arm through Harry's as they started to walk aimlessly around the school.
"To you it may only be a game Harry, to Godric and Salazar it's about house pride and which is better then which. This is the first time since Charlie Weasley seeker in his house that Godric has had something to cheer about with regards to Quidditch, and before that it was many, many years. I'm afraid Godric may be 'savoring' the moment just a little too much." She said with a small smile, while eating some more popcorn.
"But that's not why you came here now is it? You are troubled that your actions were not that of a Paladin aren't you Harry?"
Harry blushed that he seemed to be that transparent in his motives.
"I did not want to hurt them, but at the same time I did need to defend myself, and I hope, teach them a lesson about being bullies. Was I wrong in doing that?"
"I can't answer that Harry, but let me ask you this: What if that last bludger had be aimed at someone else, say, Katie, Angelina, or Alicia. What would you have done then?"
"If I could, I would block the bludger any way I could to protect the girls. The Weasleys and Oliver I know can take care of themselves, but the girls..." Harry felt the anger rise within him to think of someone trying to do that to one of 'his' Chasers.
"Well, if it is alright to protect one of them, why would it be any different in protecting yourself?"
Harry stopped walking and looked up at Lady Hogwarts with a stunned expression on his face. He had never considered the fact that the two cases would be the same.
"In the end it may all come down to a matter of intent Harry. What were your intentions at the time you sent the bludger back to Marcus? Was your intent to cause him harm, or were you defending yourself?"
"My primary objective was to defend myself with a secondary objective to stop the attack as quickly as possible with as few people getting hurt."
"Then I would say you accomplished both of those objectives with a single act. And even though the whole team will spend some time in the hospital, there was no permanent harm done. Now, if they will learn from their lesson... I'm not too sure that will happen without some follow-up on your part, but that is not for me to answer... I think Salazar has some things he wishes to impress upon you."
Harry looked up and saw a very upset Salazar Slytherin coming down the path they were on mumbling something to himself. Looking up and seeing the couple, he paused his rantings and took a calming breath.
"Forgive me Lady Hogwarts but I have several things to speak to my heir about."
"Of course Lord Slytherin." Turning to Harry she said, "I'll be inside when you're finished. Please come and see me before you leave." Then she leaned over and gave him a small kiss on the cheek before releasing his arm and returning to the Castle.
Harry blushed as he watched her leave. Without even thinking, he brought his hand up and touched his cheek where she had kissed it.
"You are very good for her Harry. I haven't seen her this happy in over eight hundred year, when the last of the direct heirs left Hogwarts." Taking his eyes off the figure of the retreating form, Salazar looked directly into Harry's eyes and commanded. "Young heir, walk with me."
Turning to face Salazar retraced his steps with Harry falling in behind.
"My heir, we have a problem. First, let me say that I am not mad or upset with you for the way you played in today's match. You were doing what you would have done regardless what team you would have been playing on. Just why did it have to be Gryffindor." This last part was said mainly to himself.
"It would appear that the current members of my house and its Head have no idea what it means to be Slytherin. They misinterpret ambition as to mean win at any cost and cunning as to being willing to be brutes to those less powerful then yourself."
"They are being lead down a path that will place them in the camp of the pretend heir, there to be used, abused, and made little more than stepping stones to that abominations will and whim. You must remind them of the true meaning what it is to be Slytherin. That to be ambitious is to have goals that seem to be beyond your grasp. To be cunning is to have careful, well thought-out plans as to how you can help others, who can in turn help you in reaching those goals, not to walk on the corpse and broken bodies of these who could help you. When many hands work together, great things can be done. It is done faster and better if those hands are 'willing' and not 'compelled'."
"Harry, I am charging you to start reclaiming my house."
Harry was shocked at the charge and challenge Salazar was placing before him.
"I know this will not be easy, and I also know that there will be several things blocking your way – an incompetent Headmaster, a dark, jealous Head of House, and my own misrepresented history and persona."
Sal hung his head and shook it sadly. "I just wish history would not confuse me with my great-great grandson Salazar and the reputation he gained while trying to get revenge for those who had wronged me."
"You will have many challenges to overcome, but I know you'll be able to do it. It's my hope that by the time you graduate from Hogwarts as a member of the House of Slytherin you will have been able to meet, and complete this challenge."
Harry's mind was racing trying to comprehend the task and challenge issued to him. Whom could he approach in that house that would listen to him? What would he say or do? When would he be able to start? Where could he talk to the students where they could feel safe and feel confident that Harry knew what he was talking about? How would he reach out the other Slytherin? Why should he try?
Sal smiled as he saw the shocked look on Harry's face. Nevertheless, he smiled even more when he could see Harry staring off into nothing – his eyes moving back and forth quickly – as if you could almost see the questions form in his mind.
"I see you are truly Roe's heir first and foremost. A lesser persons would have immediately thrown up their hands saying it was an impossibility to do what I have ask, but you are already trying to figure out how to get it done. I'm proud of you son!" He said clasping his hand on Harry's shoulder.
Harry just looked up at him with a bewildered look on his face.
"But Uncle Sal, I don't know even were to start or what to say!" he confessed.
"Now Harry, just think. You already know that there are seven Slytherin's in the hospital wing you wanted to visit anyway. Now you have something to talk to them about besides that damnable game of Quidditch."
Harry blinked at Sal's comments when he realized that he was correct. He did have seven members of that house who were basically a 'captive' audience if Madam Pomfrey was true to form. She wouldn't release any of the young snakes until they were completely mended.
"Thanks uncle Sal, you've given a good place to start, but I still don't know how I can accomplish such a huge task."
"Remember Harry: ambition and cunning." Sal said with a gleam in his eye.
After returning to the real Hogwarts, Harry used the transportation charm to take him down to the hospital ward without anyone seeing him. As he entered, he could see all seven of the Slytherin Quidditch team lying in their beds, mending.
Madam Pomfrey raised an eyebrow when she saw Harry enter, however there was something about his demeanor that told her he was not here to gloat or make trouble with her charges.
"Mr. Potter." She said. "I'm surprised to see you here after such an intense contest. May I assume you are not planning to make any trouble while you are here?"
"I just wanted to see how everyone was doing. I didn't mean to get everybody hurt."
Again, she raised an eyebrow. This was not what she had expected from the son of James Potter or of a Gryffindor. Then she remembered, James had not raised Harry, and he would only be in Gryffindor for two years before moving on to another house.
"Very well then, I will let you talk to them for a few minutes, but if I hear any roughhousing..." she let the threat hang in the air.
"If you do Madam Pomfrey, I won't be the one starting it." Harry replied.
"Very well, you have thirty minutes till curfew." With that, she left the ward, and entered into her office – with the door open.
Harry walked into the hospital ward. As he passed the Matron's open door, he wandlessly and wordlessly placed a privacy barrier on it so she would not be 'interrupted' by the discussion he was going to have with the Slytherin.
Moving in a bit closer he positioned himself near the middle of the group so he could address all the Slytherin at one time.
"So Potter, come to gloat?" Marcus Flint started. He seemed to be acting as spokesman for the group since he was the team captain.
"I don't know what you did or how you did it but you're going to pay for it when we get out of here you can count on that."
"I didn't come here to gloat or cause trouble with you or any member of your team Flint. I really did come down here to make sure you were all going to be alright, and to let you know what a big disappointment you are to the House of Slytherin and its true standards."
All the team members were shocked at Harry's declaration.
"What would you know about the true standards of the house of Slytherin?" Flint demanded.
"I know about these things because when I defeated Voldemort (the children shuttered) I became the heir of Slytherin by conquest. Remember, I was not sorted into Gryffindor. I was sorted into all of the Hogwarts houses, including Slytherin. That is where I will be my seventh year. That will be the house I will graduate from Hogwarts."
"I still don't believe you Potter! You're just so full of yourself! There's no way you could be the heir of Slytherin. Everybody knows that the Dark Lord is his heir! And when he returns – you'll get what's coming to you, and we'll all be glad to help!" Flint pointed around to each of the players who, in turn, nodded their heads in agreement.
Harry looked at the Slytherin in their beds agreeing with what Flint was saying. On the outside, he had a small, eerie smile on his face, but on the inside, he was a mess of nerves and was more then a little unsure of himself.
'Show them your ring, my lord.' Durendal said. 'Pure-bloods like these understand the importance of such things as holding the ring of Slytherin.'
Concentrating on making the Slytherin ring visible, Harry held up his right hand showing the students.
"You know what this is, and you know what it means. I could not wear the ring of Slytherin if I were not his true heir."
All of the students were shocked. The recognized the ring at once and could feel its power, but they could not bring themselves to believe it.
"N..N..No! It must be some kind of trick!" Flint had gone pale at the sight of the ring, but still refused to believe.
'Harry? How about that spell you used in the chamber to help Myrtle understand parseltongue? If you cast it on them, and then spoke to them in parseltongue? Wouldn't that help convince them?' 'Ma' asked.
'Well it's worth a shot.' Harry thought back.
Taking his wand out, Harry made a circular motion and cast the spell 'Serpetis Exaudio' in parseltongue.
Hissing at the Slytherin Harry said: 'Know now that I am the true heir of Salazar Slytherin. I have been to his vault and claimed his ring and his portrait. I have spoken to him and have been taught at his hand. It is he who has given me a charge to reclaim his House and to set it back on the right track. It is he who has told me regarding the true characteristics of those who are worth to be sorted into his great House. And it is he who has told me that you are all currently on the path to failure and destruction.'
'The true characteristics of the House of Slytherin are ambition and cunning. Not winning at any cost and bullying your way through life. I have been charged to set the House aright, and I now charge you as Lord of the House to aid me in this cause.'
'When you return to your house, look up the history of the pretend heir, Lord Voldemort. Start by looking at the history of one Tom Marvolo Riddle, a half-blood. He is the one who claims to be the heir.'
'Search to see what it really means to be ambitious and cunning and see how you measure up. You will not bully those who are weaker then you, but will see how they can be used in meeting your goals and plans.'
'I forbid you from making my presences as of yet, but you will set the groundwork that will make the acceptance of my claim easier for the others. Do you understand?'
"Yes Lord." all seven voices replied.
'As a further sign, I will not remove this spell from you. You will be able to understand parseltongue, but you will not be able to speak it. Is that understood?'
"Yes Lord." came the reply again.
"Now," Harry switched back to normal English. "Believe me when I say I want you all to get better and have a happy holiday."
"Ah... H.. Happy hol.. holiday Potter." Flint stuttered back.
Harry just nodded and turned to leave. Stopping at the matron's door, he removed the privacy charm, and announced that he was heading out and wished her a happy holiday as well.
The trip home was rather uneventful.
Ron was still trying to talking to any and everybody about the Quidditch match while Hermione, Neville, and Susan were all making plans as to what they would be getting for their friends for Christmas.
Harry chose not to join in on the discussions but think about the challenge and advice given to him by the founders.
The first challenge he had received was with regards to the staff – or the parts of a staff that Mr. Ollivander had been storing for the last three and a half years. He (Mr. Ollivander) had indicated that he still needed one important ingredient before he could start constructing the staff. Harry's blood.
Harry thought about the parts of the staff.
Wood – The Heart of the Lignum vitae tree – or Tree of Life – Same wood as Merlin's
Gems – Green Emerald, Yellow Tiger Eye, Red Ruby, and Blue Sapphire – the primary colors of all the Hogwarts Houses. What these gems were for, Harry was not sure. Maybe it did represent the different Houses.
Focus Stone – A large, flawless diamond
Eight different core elements – Four that represented the Hogwarts Houses again:
Dried Basilisk eye suspended in Basilisk venom
Grand Empirical Griffin heart string wrapped around its wing feather
A full set of Ravens claws
Fur from an alpha male badger.
And Four that represented the natural Earth elements:
Blood, gathered from the Liver of a Sylph – indicating the element of air.
The black bile gathered from the gall bladder of an earth gnome – indicating the element earth.
The yellow bile from the gall bladder of a Salamander – indicating the element fire.
Phlegm from a water nymph – indicating the element water
All Mr. Ollivander was waiting on was a vial of Harry's blood.
Harry had written Mr. Ollivander telling him that he would like him to start working on his staff, and ask how much blood he would need.
He had written back stating that he would need just under a half a liter's worth of blood, and asked if Harry could collect the blood after he had performed the 'exporrigo magus umbilicus' (Expand the Magical center) charm on the next new moon. This saddened Harry, because he missed the December 6th date this month, which meant Harry would have to wait until January 4th, 1992 to extract the blood – just one days before returning back to Hogwarts. Harry doubted very much if Ollivander could have the staff finished in that amount of time, but maybe he could have Sirius or Remus bring it to him when it was ready – or he could always flame-travel to Mr. Ollivander's shop and pick it up in the evening.
Indeed, Mr. Ollivander had written back and indicated that it would as much as three lunar cycles to complete the preparation and carving on the staff, and have all the core elements 'acclimate' to each other before placing them in the staff.
When Harry asked how much creating the staff would cost, Mr. Ollivander simple stated that the honor of creating such a piece of art was compensation enough.
Pulling into the station Harry saw Remus and Sirius watching the train as if looking for him and decided to have some fun.
"Hey guys? Why don't we see if we can play a little joke on Remus and Sirius out there? This can also be a test to see if you've learned anything regarding stealth and avoiding detection."
The rest of the occupants of the car smiled slyly and agreed to prank Harry's guardians.
"For each of you that can get close enough to prank Remus or Sirius, I'll pay you ten Gallons a prank! But remember, they use to prank the teachers at Hogwarts."
Ron didn't care about that last bit. All he heard was 'ten Gallons a prank!'. He had spent the better part of eleven years being the guinea pig for his older twin brothers tricks and pranks, and he couldn't wait to let someone else be the butt of the jokes.
"You better be good for the money Potter because I'm going to hit them so hard and fast that they won't know what happened!" Ron bragged as he started to fight his way off the train.
Harry and the others tried to yell at him to get him to stop, but he kept on pressing the older students to get out of his way.
Harry sighed and shook his head. Hermione asked a question to the group in general: "He's going to get killed isn't he?"
Harry let out a little laugh shook his head again. "Ya he is. I mean, they won't kill, kill him. Just make it so it will take a special kind of mother to love him... But... if we hurry, maybe we can use the distraction to our benefit." With that the other students watched as Harry slowly faded away until only a smile was left – and then it was gone as well.
Hermione, Neville, and Susan all looked at each other and then back to where Harry had been. Smiling evilly, they too disillusioned themselves and headed for the platform.
"I am so sorry Sirius, Remus, I just don't know what could have come over Ron!" Molly Weasley was doing her best to look sternly at Ron while not laughing at the current condition he, Sirius, and Remus were in.
"I know he had written to me about meeting with young Harry, and I'm sure Harry must have told him something about the two of you, but why he should try to attack the two of you on the platform like that is beyond me! I'll make sure he gets a good talking to when we get him home!"
"Come Ron! I think you've made a big enough mess of things for one day, and you better have a good explanation for the way you are behaving young man!"
Mrs. Weasley reached down and grabbed the leash connected to the collar around Ron – who now looked more like a small red-haired Baboon. From the top of his pointy hair head, to his large canine in him mouth, to his rosy red ... backside and tail.
Sirius and Remus watched him leave, still not looking any happier.
That may be because Remus was currently sporting potted flower boxes for shoes, a purple velvet robe with a wide white fur trim, with a matching purple pimp hat and cane, and a large, round, red bulbous nose.
Sirius wasn't much better. Six inch high leaded shoes, torn and ratty pants and shirt with a worn dull gray robe. However, it also looked like he had a 'bolt' inserted into both sides of his neck, and forehead looked elongated with a scar across the front, topped with short, dark stubble for hair. Oh, did we mention his skin color was gray-green, and it looked like he had been sown together?
"Okay, Harry, you can show yourself now the Weasley's have left." Remus stated.
"Mmmm." Sirius added.
Harry and his classmates appeared in front of the guardians with satisfying smiles on their faces.
"MMMmm?" Sirius asked.
"Uncle Remus, Uncle Sirius! How good to see you again!" As Harry came up and gave his guardians a big hug. He sounded far too happy considering that he was currently sporting blue skin and looked more like a large Smurf.
"May I introduce Ms. Hermione Granger – Gryffindor, Ms. Susan Bones – Hufflepuff, and Mr. Neville Longbottom – also Hufflepuff. I believe you have already met Mr. Ron Weasley – Gryffindor?"
The rest of Harry's group waved back at the pair of guardians. They had not escaped the mayhem unscathed – though not nearly as bad as these two.
Neville had a pair of cauliflowers for ears.
Hermione's hair looked like it was a match to Sirius – or rather – the bride of Frankenstein.
Susan was sporting a darling pair of Butterflies for eyebrows.
"Longbottom? Frank and Alice's boy?" Remus asked.
Neville hung his head and answered "Ya."
Remus put his hand on Neville's shoulder and waited until he was looking him in the eye.
"You have nothing to be ashamed of Neville. Frank and Alice are two of the finest people it has ever been my pleasure to meet. Hang in there Nev, I'm sure something positive will happen someday. Just don't give up hope."
"Thanks, I hope so..."
Remus waved his wand and restored his ears back to normal.
"Thanks again. That's much better."
"Now, Ms. Bones? As in niece of our illustrious and fearless Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement?"
Susan blushed at Remus' statement but still shyly nodded her head yes.
"So you're the one that must have hit Sirius with that 'mute' spell. Good work by the way".
"Auntie's always saying that if you can take the voice away from most wizards you've taken away one of their biggest weapons."
"Well I would say that you Aunt know what she's talking about, wouldn't you Sirius?" Remus asked his friend with a raised eyebrow.
"MMMM! MMMMMM!" Sirius shook his head, pointing to his voice box.
"Oh! Sorry about that! Finite Incantatem!"
"Ahhhh, that's much better thank you! You keep listening to your Aunt! She knows what she's talking about!" Sirius added. He felt so much better now that he could talk again, and waving his wand restored her eyebrows.
Sirius then looked at the last member of the group a raised a monstrous eyebrow. "I don't believe I am familiar with the Granger family. Are you a new magical user?"
Hermione's eyes opened wide as for the first time since meeting Professor McGonagall, she met another adult in the wizarding world that accepted her as a user of magic and not some abomination!
"Yes! Yes I am! My parents are both dentist and we were so surprised when Professor McGonagall showed up with my letter! I can't believe a completely new world exists hidden from the muggles so completely!"
Harry smiled at Hermione's attitude regarding magic and this new world she had been thrust into. He decided to interrupt her before she could get up a full head of steam.
"Ah, so Hermione, which effect did you manage to do?"
"Oh! I did the Frankenstein outfit. Dad just loves that movie. 'Go with the classics' he always says."
Both Sirius and Remus raised their eyebrows on that statement. "That is very advanced for a first year." Remus stated.
"Hermione is the smartest girl in our class at Hogwarts this year." Harry announced.
She blushed. "That may be true Harry, but no one can match you for power and knowledge. It just makes me want to try harder."
Harry changed the subject by asking Neville and Susan what they had done to the remaining Marauders.
Susan had just done the 'mute' spell on Sirius, while Neville had done the flower pot shoes on Remus. That meant Harry was responsible for Remus' 'pimping' outfit and his clown's nose.
Harry gave them both Neville and Susan ten Gallons for their prank spells, while Hermione received ninety Gallons for the 'Frankenstein' transfiguration on Sirius.
"Now Harry, would you mind telling us about that other one – Weasley? One of Arthur and Molly's kids I believe?"
Harry smiled while the other children tried to stifle their laughs.
"Ah... well it seems Ron is a true Gryffindor, and only heard about the reward for being able to prank you and forgot about stealth or planning before rushing into battle as it were. We just took advantage of the distraction he caused. But hey... aren't you the one that keeps on talking about 'CONSTANT VIGILANCE!'?"
"No, that would be Ol' Mad Eye Moody, one of my instructors in the Aurors Academy." Sirius said. "But we will talk of this when we get home."
With a few waves of their wands, everyone was restored back to their proper shape, form, and color.
Bowing to Harry's friends, Remus said, "It was a pleasure to meet all of you. I'm glad to see that our tutoring of Harry in the finer skills of magic has not gone completely to waste."
They watched as the other three students found their parents – or guardians in Neville's and Susan's case, and headed through the barrier into the muggle world.
Once everyone was gone, Sirius put up a privacy ward and looked at Harry.
"Would you mind giving us a ride home Harry? I believe the Bennu would do well for this." Sirius stated as if ordering a car for the evening out of his fleet of cars.
Harry changed into his Heron Phoenix, and flame-traveled everyone back to Lupin Manor.
Upon arrival, Harry knew he was in trouble.
"Mr. Padfoot is very distressed in finding the person of Mr. Padfoot, and the person of Mr. Moony the subject of a viscous prank attack when no warning or preconditions had been established as to the duration or object of said prank from Mr. Keeper."
"Mr. Moony is also distressed at the total lack of respect Mr. Keeper showed in employing untrained witches and wizards in his efforts to prank Messr. Padfoot and Moony and would like to inquire as to just what Mr. Keeper was thinking?"
'Ops, I forgot about this'. "Ahhh... Mr. Keeper regrets any ahh... disrespect for failing to follow the ahh ... rules of engagement on the persons of Messr. Pad ahh Padfoot and Moony? And seeks their forgiveness and understanding on the part of Mr. Keeper."
"Mr. Keeper desires more instruction? Ahh from Messr. Padfoot and Moony."
"Mr. Padfoot accepts Mr. Keeper apology and asks if Mr. Moony does the same?"
"Mr. Moony thanks Mr. Padfoot for asking, and yes, Mr. Moony does accept Mr. Keepers apology and thinks that for the next 24 hours a prank war should be engaged in with the intent to see how many charms, jinx, hexes and non-lethal traps can befall the persons of Messr. Padfoot, Moony and Keeper. During this time three – one hour time limits will be set aside for the consumption of meals in which time and place no charms, hexes, or traps may be employed. Further, the personal resting areas of Messr. Padfoot, Moony and Keeper are off limits – unless Messr. Padfoot, Moony or Keeper attempt to avoid the contest by remaining in said personal resting area longer then is required."
"Further, Messr. Padfoot and Keeper are forbidden to use any of their animagus forms to avoid or set charms, jinx, hexes or traps. Said contest to begin in five minutes. Agreed?"
"Mr. Padfoot accepts Mr. Moony excellent proposal and looks forward to teaching Messr. Moony and Keeper a thing or two regarding pranking."
Harry hung his head knowing he had no chose but to accept, and no chance against the two 'seasoned' Marauder's.
"Mr. Keeper also accepts Mr. Moony's proposal, and looks forward to learning much in the next 24 hours."
"Mr. Padfoot suggests Mr. Keeper take his things up to his room and then come down for the first meal break."
Harry nodded his head and took his shrunken trunk up to his room.
Remus and Sirius headed into the kitchen for tea before dinner when they heard a commotion up in Harry's room. It sounded a great deal like a bucket of water falling on someone's head!
"PADFOOT! MOONY! YOU'RE BOTH DEAD MEN!
Sirius looked down at his watch. "Has it been five minutes already? My time sure does fly when you're having fun."
"Yes it does Padfoot, yes it does."
"When you mentioned 'personal resting areas' you were referring to just the bed now weren't you?"
"Why yes Padfoot, I do believe I was... or in Harry's case, the first twelve inches above the mattress."
"Oh good, then I didn't set the cloths removing jinx too low on the bed."
Needless to say, Harry learned a great deal over the winter break. But Remus and Sirius found out that he could dish it out as well as he could take it.
For Harry, he became much more in tune with his mage-sight. He now was aware of the faintest trace of magic that was on an object, surface, or location. That is the way he found the tracking charms that had been placed on him – four of them in total. One each from Dumbledore, Snape, Sirius and Remus. He quickly learned how to remove those.
He also got to the point where he could 'detach' the magic and move it to ... well lets say in front of his Uncle's bedroom doors. There were times Remus and Sirius were completely dumbfounded as to how a trap had been moved from one place to another.
As January 4th came closer, Harry explained to his guardians regarding Mr. Ollivander's request for his blood to finish his staff.
"You've got to be very careful regarding this Harry. The Ministry bands just about all forms of magic that requires the blood of the witch or wizard. There are many rites and rituals where one wizard can control another through the use of their blood freely given."
"What if I make Mr. Ollivander give an oath that he will only use the blood given to him for the construction of the staff only and nothing else?"
"That should work. The Ollivander family and always been one of THE MOST trusted family in the wizarding world. They almost have to be seeing as how nearly every wizard in the world – will, Great Britain anyway get their wand from them. They deserve some level of trust."
"But Harry, don't you also have that sword? Can't it tell the intents of the person?"
"Yes it can Uncle Remus, I'll ask Mr. Ollivander if he would mind having Durendal have a look at him."
"Sirius? What have you found out about me owning a staff and a wand? Am I going to get into trouble with the Ministry or Dumbledore by possessing one?"
"There shouldn't be any problem at all with that. Staff construction is so rare that the Ministry just views them as a museum piece or relic. There are so few wizards that could power a staff, let alone control it that they just don't seem to care about it."
"However, I would still be careful with it. Don't let it be generally know that you have a staff. Use your trunk and that special room you found in Hogwarts to practice and train. I'm sure if anyone can give you points and tips as to how to use your staff it would be Ollivander."
"Above all, DON'T let Albus get his hands on it! Really, that shouldn't be too much of a problem since most staffs are 'tuned' to the wizard they were constructed for. But that doesn't mean he won't try to break or destroy it if he can. A staff belonging to one so young would be like putting a neon sign over your head saying 'Powerful Boy-Who-Lived Here Attack me now before I'm stronger then you'."
At 23:10 GMT on January 4th, Harry performed his core and mind expansion rituals.
By 02:30 GMT on January 5th, he was finished and flame-traveled to Mr. Ollivander's shop in Diagon Alley.
He found the old craftsman in his work area with all he curtains closed. Harry traveled to a work area where he would not be seen before changing back to his regular form.
"Thank you for seeing me at such an early hour sir. I know how valuable your time is." Harry stated in a calm voice.
Now it was Ollivander's time to jump. For years and years, he had gotten almost a perverse sense of pleasure scaring the first-year students as they came into his shop for the first time. He found that even their parents were still unnerved as he seemed to appear out of nowhere to inspect the new student of magic.
This had been the first time in many, many years that someone had been able to do the same to him.
Harry smiled at the surprised look on his face, until he noticed the wand that was now also facing him, with a near-lethal spell ready to be shot at him.
"Now you know how the rest of us feel when we come in here." Harry said with a smirk, using this time to also show Mr. Ollivander the scar on his forehead.
"Mr. Potter! But where... How... The wards...!"
"I'm sorry if I startled you sir, but I had to have a safe and secure way to get here without anyone - Ministry or School – knowing I was here. I trust you will continue to keep my secrets sir?"
"Of course Mr. Potter! Ollivander's have been keeping secrets for many thousands of years, and will for many thousands more."
"But I must ask you Mr. Potter; just how did you get into my workshop?"
"The wards that are around this story are older and, if I may say so, more powerful than even those you will find a Hogwarts. No one who is not specify keyed to the wards CAN NOT get in – yet here you are."
"You did not apparate or user a portkey. All the door and windows are still secured, yet here you are!"
"The only being that has ever been able to get past those wards has been Fawkes... and since he is bound to the school, he could have brought you if you had asked..." Ollivander saw the blank look in Harry's face. "But it would appear that did not occur to you so the only other option is..." He looked at Harry for a few seconds before his eyes opened wide. "Oh sweet Merlin! How many Mr. Potter?"
Harry was confused by the question for a moment until he realized that Mr. Ollivander had been reading aura longer then anyone else alive and would have had to develop that skill to a very fine degree in order to match the wand to the wizard. He must be reading his aura and seeing his animagus ability, but not too clearly.
Harry summoned Durendal to him and pointed it directly at the wand maker.
"An oath Mr. Ollivander. It is not that I don't trust you, but I must know my secrets are safe with you."
Ollivander's mind drifted back to the first time he had seen the green eyed 'Boy-who-lived' and how he had demanded an oath from him at that time and the things he had learned. Now three and a half years later he stood at another crossroad with the same young man. But he had changed. His magic was not only more powerful, but also more mature and controlled. Almost like a well-seasoned Aurors. Yet, he was still worthy to use the sword Durendal.
"As you wish Mr. Potter. It is an oath I give freely."
"I, Oliver Seth Ollivander, do swear on my magic and on my life that I will not disclose the secrets learned today from Mr. Potter, also known as Lord-Baron Potter or Lord Ravenclaw at this time or any other as long as he is worthy to carry the Sword of Power – Sword of Might - Durendal. So mote it be."
"So mote it be." Harry said as he accepted the oath.
'He is most sincere young master. As long as you are worthy to hold me, he will not betray you.'
'Thank you Durendal. It's nice to know I have one more friend I can trust.'
"Now if you will, Mr. Potter, how many forms do you have?"
"I have four that I have found so far, a Hippocampus, Bennu, Hippogriff, and Chimera."
"Fascinating! Do you think I could get a scale, feather, or hair sample from each animal? I promise it will only be used for the staff, but I feel it would be very complementary to the other core elements that you already have – though I do admit that it would be fascinating to see the type of wand each of those cores would make."
"I will give you a sample of each for the staff now, but I would prefer not to give another sample for the wands until I know it would be safe to do so."
"Very well, as you wish then."
"Now, Mr. Potter, I require an oath from you. I am about to disclose secrets that have been held in my family only for many millennia. You will be the first to hear and see these secrets."
"You honor me sir."
"I, Harry James Potter, do swear on my magic and on my life that I will never disclose the family secrets of the Ollivander's as long as they stay on the side of light, and as long as an Ollivander should remain alive. So mote it be."
"Yes, so mote it be. Very well said Mr. Potter, very well said."
"Please, call me Harry."
"Very well Harry. Now, let us get started."
Lucky for them both it was a Sunday, so few people would think it strange for Mr. Ollivander's store to be closed. Unlucky for Harry, however, was the fact that he only had until 11:00 this morning before he had to be at King's Cross station to catch the Hogwarts Express back to school!
Over the next several hours, Mr. Ollivander and Harry worked on preparing the core elements by gathering Harry's blood and samples of his different animagus forms and separating them in to four rune covered bowls.
Then, Mr. Ollivander has Harry join the elemental core items into the corresponding bowl with his elemental animagus forms and had them start absorbing the magic and blood that were in each bowl. He explained to Harry that this would take at least one lunar month, and the stronger the magic in the blood, the longer it would take.
He also encouraged Harry to infuse as much of his magic as he could into each bowl, stating that it would make the staff even more powerful.
This reminded Harry of the power transfer ritual his mother and father would do on him, and how he use to draw power from the blood runes that surrounded Number Four Privet Drive.
He then explained to Harry how he was going to prepare the staff.
He would start by inscribing a Druid prayer around the staff thanking the tree and the forces of nature for the gift of the wood. He then would inscribe runes on the staff for protection, control, and to prevent others from taking or using the staff. Harry asked if that would make it impossible for him to work on the wood, but Mr. Ollivander told him that that particular rune would not become active until after all the pieces of the staff was put together, and Harry bound the staff to himself.
He also explained to Harry how each of the gem stones – except the focus stone – would be melted down by a process that had been lost to the wizarding world for many, many centuries and how the liquid gems would be used to form a pattern on the staff that would make it more efficient in bring the power of the core to the focus stone and help protect the staff from spell damage. The patterns for each channel cut on the staff would have to be determined by using Arithmancy with the magical characteristics of the wood and each of the gem stones. Mr. Ollivander stated that this formula had been developed by his many-times removed forebears and was one of the most closely held secrets in his craft. It was also one of the most dangerous, since if you made a mistake in your calculations or in the placements of the cuts on the staff – the results could be disastrous!
With just a few minutes to spare Harry finished his part in preparing the staff and the core elements and flame-traveled to a predetermined spot on platform nine and three quarters where Sirius and Remus would have a privacy barrier already up and in place.
"Boy pup, you look exhausted!" Sirius said.
"Thanks. I'd hate to feel this bad for nothing." came Harry's reply. "I never realized just how complicated, and how much work it is to do what Mr. Ollivander does all day."
"He told you his secrets?" Remus asked excitedly.
"Sorry Remus, but I'm sworn not to discuss what happened while I was in his workshop. I hope you understand?"
"Of course Harry, I understand completely. You should feel privileged that he would share any of that with you."
"I do Remus, believe me I do."
Just then, the whistle blew on the Hogwarts Express indicating it was time to leave.
Harry quickly gave his two guardians a hug and ran to the train. "Don't worry about me; I'll make sure I get some sleep on the train." Harry said as he hopped on the last passenger car as the train was pulling out of the station. He waved to Remus and Sirius from the train, and watched as they waved back until they were out of sight.
Coming into the passenger car proper, Harry didn't have far to look to find his friends. They were in the last compartment in the last car.
Opening the door Harry asked his group of friends, "Hey there. Room for one more?"
"Harry James Potter where have you been!" Hermione started in on him. "We were waiting on the platform for nearly thirty minutes for you! Don't you know you almost missed the train? I would have thought you of all people would know how important it is to get here on time!"
"I missed you too Hermione." Harry said with a smile in his voice.
Hermione blushed at the statement and looked properly chastened.
"Harry what happened to you? It looks like you haven't slept in days."
"Thanks for noticing Neville, the last few days have been rather busy and tiring for me." Harry responded without further explanation.
"Harry mate, thanks for the Christmas gift, and the letter to Mum explaining what happened on the platform when we come home. I think I would still be cleaning the Burrow if not for that."
"Your welcome Ron, but really, we wouldn't have been able to do half the things we did to those two if it weren't for your suicide attack at the time. But next time remember to have a plan before you try something like that. If that had been a real battle situation, I don't think you would have come out of that alive."
Ron for his part just stared at Harry until he suddenly looked like someone had turned a light on and he could see what he had done. A shocked look came on his face when he realized was Harry was saying and just shook his head. "Ya mate, thanks for telling me. Next time, make sure I have a plan before I do something like that."
"So Harry, my aunt tells me that one of your guardians has been looking into old law and such over the break. Anything you'd like to tell us about?"
Harry gave Susan a serious look. He was going to have to talk to Sirius about who else might know what he was looking into regarding being in possession of both a wand and a staff.
"No Susan, there is nothing to tell. But enough about that. I'm beat, and we have a eight hour train ride in front of us. Who's up for a few days training (and sleeping for me) in my trunk?"
Upon receiving a positive response from everyone in the cabin, Harry sealed the compartment, brought out his trunk and expanded it, and led his friends down into chamber eight.
"Yes Harry?" Sassy said coming into view.
"Would you please prepare chamber eight for ten days of training? But first, I've got to get some rest."
"Of course Harry. But you know you wouldn't have to do this if you would get to bed on time." Sassy teased.
"That's just what I was going to say." Said Hermione nodding her head.
"Et tu Sassy?"
She just smiled and disappeared.
The friends spent the next four hours (outside time – five days trunk time) resting, training, and in Ron's case, getting the rust off his brain so he would be ready for the next semester at Hogwarts.
End Chapter 26.
A/N – For those who are wondering, Mr. Art Bell is a former radio host in the United States who spent many evenings talking about the occult, paranormal activity, and pseudo-science. I only heard his 'Coast-to-Coast' show a few times, but it seemed like each time, he and his guest would be talking about their travels in the astral plane and the people they met there. I understand he sometimes guest-host on a late night show. All I can say is that he is a very intelligent person who is much easier to listen to the some of the current radio talk show host.
For those who think my 'Hogwarts' sounds like the 'Hogwarts' in Brent Braten's masterpiece 'Harry Potter, Heir of Gryffindor', ( story # 1717016), sorry, but it's not.
In that story, Harry not only meets his parents, but his children as well (among others)! He just isn't too sure who the mother of his children is yet. Please read it if you haven't. It really will be worth your while (and it will give me more time to finish this story).
With the exception of a bit of a let-down in the end of the second to last chapter, the book is just a great read. (Come on Brent, you know Harry could have finished off Voldemort – or banished him to a 'void' after he spent all that time with his 'Maturo Auctus').
Also, if anyone knows where I can find the last few chapters (after chapter 29) to RossWrock's epic work 'Harry Potter and the Power of Time' I would be for ever grateful.