With Hex-treme Prejudice
But just because one needed to dole out a bit of punishment didn't mean they had to go about it rashly, however. Even though Harry's right for justice writhed within him, he knew that he had to be very careful about the matter. Using just one spell via his mental link with Voldemort had near done him in, and Harry was already basically dead, for crying out loud.
No, this was one instance where ye olde tyme "Gung-ho Gryffindor" style would not do. Harry had long since learned that subtlety could work wonders, especially when it came to psychologically terrorizing someone. It would be much more satisfying to let Draco's and Crabbe's and Goyle's fear build slowly. Although not exactly quick to admit it, Harry had inadvertently discovered that little lesson with Dudley. Why bother wasting precious energy scaring someone, when they could just as easily scare themselves? So instead, Harry had to think this out more like…a Slytherin. There was going to be a bit of drama to it, all right. He began mentally reaching out to Ginny's subconscious.
Embracing his more ominous half had been something Harry was far too afraid to do when he was alive. He'd always felt that doing so would cause him to lose his true identity; Harry recalled his spat with the Sorting Hat over it. But that deviant mindset could be a boon to him now, and it had nothing to do with penchants for scheming.
(())Hey, tiger lily. Are you there?(()) Harry hoped words of familiarity would draw a more favourable response from Ginny. A feeling of amused laughter filled his mind as he'd mentally asked the question of her. It sounded like twinkling bells.
:::Harry, is that really you? Am I dreaming:::
All the lightness in the world would never help Harry be able to stand his ground and bite back when he needed to. That was something only rock-hard grit could provide. And brother, did Harry Potter have grit. His untapped reserves of it ran deeper than even he could ever imagine.
(())Sort of dreaming, sort of not.(()) Harry could tell that although Ginny was there, she still wasn't exactly aware of what was going on around her. Best to keep it simple. (())But I need your help, in any case.(())
:::Name it. Consider it done.:::
And it was as simple as that. Harry had known he could effectively do whatever he wanted to regarding her actions, but he figured it would be somewhat easier to accomplish if the subject in question was more willing to go along with it, self-aware or not. He didn't have endless energy to expend, after all. Having been on the wrong end of an Imperius Curse too many times himself (once was too many as far as he was concerned), Harry was also trying desperately not to hurt her.
(())Very well. We're dealing with Malfoy and his goons. They don't know we can see them, and we need something to grab their attention…(()) Her answering thought came almost immediately. Harry didn't know why he hadn't thought of it. (())Brilliance! Thank you.(()) Softly, he began to coax Ginny into humming a few bars of "Weasley is Our King".
Just as he'd hoped, Draco and company weren't in the slightest bit afraid when this started happening. On the contrary, they were quite amused. They just commenced walking around Ginny in lazy circles, chuckling amongst themselves, thinking that this was somehow all a big fat joke. Good. Let them.
As Harry had Ginny start singing the proper Gryffindor version of the tune, he consulted her deeper thought process again. This was definitely fascinating; communicating with someone on more than one level.
(())Okay, now we need something a bit darker, maybe hint to them they're being watched.(()) Again, Ginny gave him the "of course!" type feeling with her answer. It surprised him that the ancient little nursery rhyme she suggested applied to both Muggle and magic worlds.
"Ring around the rosies…" Ginny sang softly, in response to Harry's mental change of melody. The three Slythidiots laughed uproariously and continued making snide remarks about the girl, most of them considering her lineage or intelligence.
"…pocket full of posies…"
Harry was careful to make sure Ginny was singing to Malfoy's steps, staying in rhythm each time a heel struck the floor. Judging by the gradual cessation of crude commentary, Draco wasn't taking long in noticing it.
"…ashes, ashes, we all fall down." Malfoy stopped abruptly as the song faded, and Crabbe said, "This is so—"
"Shut up!" snapped Draco. His lack-witted companions fell silent.
As the arrogant blonde started walking again, so too did Harry have Ginny sing.
"Ring around the rosies…"
Draco said, "I think someone's watching us, or she's really awake. Notice how her song changes with my walking?" To demonstrate, he picked up his pace a bit. Concentrating a tad more intently, Harry had Ginny's song tempo do the same.
"…pocket full of posies…" Malfoy walked still faster.
"…ashes, ashes, we all fall down!" emphasized Ginny, and Harry sniggered as Draco started at her near-shout. Harry's amusement transmitted to Ginny and she giggled, which in turn unnerved Malfoy even more. But still, he appeared determined not to completely lose his cool, especially not in front of his drones.
"Stop pretending, Weasel-pest," Draco mocked Ginny, slightly unsure of himself. Harry had just six words for that.
"Make me, you twitchy little ferret." That was a decidedly non-Ginny retort, but Harry couldn't stand Malfoy's jeering of her family name anymore. It also served to make his nemesis think.
This nonplussed Malfoy to silence, it was so unexpected. Crabbe and Goyle were momentarily shocked even stupider and didn't do anything either. How dare a lesser witch insult Draco? Especially one who was alone and defenceless. At least one of them seemed to realise that Ginny's eyes had been closed the entire time, however. Words and actions just didn't add up to someone who was fully awake.
"Oh, Potter…" suddenly continued Ginny with her next jaunty refrain. Draco gave a little gasp as the red-haired girl sang it. It was almost as if hearing her say Harry's surname scared him for some reason. Excellent.
"…you rotter, oh, what have you done…" Harry's choice of Peeves's infuriating personalized song seemed to make more colour drain from Malfoy's already pasty pallor.
"…you're killing off students, you think it's good fun…"
"Stop it!" shouted Draco, clearly frightened, "I demand you show yourself at once!" he began addressing the air around him, as if doing so might somehow cause his invisible antagonist to reveal himself. Not yet.
"...Oh, Potter, much hotter your temper's become…
The eyes of his audience were now approaching saucer size. But Harry wasn't taunting the three solely for his own purposes—he had a few ulterior motives in mind. He was trying to distract them from noticing his friends, as well as keep them from doing anything to Ginny. Normally, he would've removed the curse from her, but there was no way of knowing how she would react if he did. Most pointedly of all, Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, whether indirectly or not, had each now shown themselves capable of committing murder. A highly dangerous and volatile tendency. There was no telling what Malfoy and his cronies would do if suddenly faced by several of their enemies. Unlike the Hufflepuffs, Ravenclaws, and Gryffindors, this trio had hard started to play "for keeps." But Harry would sell his soul to Voldemort himself before he allowed the three of them to hurt anyone ever again.
"…in league with the Dark Lord, nix sooks one by one." Harry had to hand it to Peeves, he thought, as he finished his odd little twist of song. Never once would Harry have guessed he'd be grateful for that stupid and obnoxious tune.
"How dare you call me that!" Malfoy cried, incensed. He strode purposefully toward Ginny and aimed his wand at her in a flash. "I am not a sook!" This was the moment Harry had been waiting for. He watched anticipantly as Draco neared the red-head and just as it looked like he was going to strike her—
Her eyes snapped open, and she clamped down on Malfoy's wand wrist in her left hand. As it was much easier to coax Ginny into doing the actions if he were doing them himself, Harry was virtually copying everything he wanted the girl to do. Draco couldn't have reacted more perfectly than if Harry had placed an Imperius Curse on him; when Ginny grabbed Malfoy's wrist, he'd automatically tightened his grip and pulled closer to her, rather than jerking away. Coiling his hand into a hard fist and drawing his arm down, Harry yelled a triumphant "SURPRISE!" into the snivelling face just as his strong right uppercut connected squarely with Draco's jaw. THWACK. Or just as he'd had Ginny do it, anyway.
She had hit Malfoy with enough force that he went flying into the air for a second and landed flat on his arse on the slime-coated floor. Hard. Yes! shouted Harry victoriously as his arch enemy bit the stone, pumping his still-clenched fist out in front of him. Once again, Ginny copy-catted him because the emotional intensity was too much to contain. And it didn't matter to Harry that he'd lived the actions vicariously through somebody else. Hermione was right. That. Felt. Good. Harry made a mental note to himself one of the first things he had to do as soon as he got back was to personally give Malfoy a good punch in the head. Signed, sealed, and delivered.
Since it had been quite a while, Harry decided to talk to Ginny again. (())Still with me?(()) :::Yeah, I was beginning to wonder. What happened?::: came the immediate reply. He bemusedly pondered how best to explain and said simply (())Well, we just gave Draco the ol' one-two, and he's out on the floor.(()) :::Awwww, I wanna see::: Ginny complained. And so, he let her. Somehow, since Ginny's eyes were opened, she saw her point of view, only through Harry's eyes. He heard her twinkling amusement again. It was the weirdest sensation, experiencing this double-triple vision through their mental cross-links and thought patterns. It made Harry almost dizzy. And he'd once thought that wearing bifocals was the strangest visual peculiarity.
"Are so a sook," Ginny rejoined, and cackled at Malfoy's prone form. Harry hardly had to do a thing to get her to say it. The laughter echoed in the vast chamber, but it sounded like two people laughing, not just one. A young man and a young woman. Whoa. Freaky but wicked.
But enough fooling around. It was high-time for Harry to reveal himself. Still not having figured out how to make his hair shorter, he decided to work with it instead. He pulled out the end of his queue, took his glasses off, and shook his hair out. There was no way on earth he'd have braided hair in front of Malfoy. Then he went and marched straight over to where Draco was. The blonde was coming around with the aid of his two friends, as they were bent over him on the floor.
The three had the decency to look even more scared as Harry had Ginny sing aloud, "Happy Death-day to you …"
Harry concentrated on drawing in all his dispersal, so that he could make himself be seen. As a means for intent, he slowly closed his hand around his glasses in front of him, shutting his eyes and using that ingrained part of his identity as a metaphysical focal point. Wantittohappen… wantittohappen…automatically his mantra began.
"… Happy Death-day to you…"
Unconsciously, he'd decided the easiest way to go about this was from the ground up, starting with his feet and up to his head. And so he did. ...wantittohappen…wantittohappen…
"…Happy Death-day dear Slytherins…"
His nemeses on the floor were beginning to look terrified as they watched Harry's gradual reappearance. Clearly they had no idea what was going on yet, but they began to draw back a bit anyway, half-dragging Draco with them in the process. And the whole reason Harry was able to see this happening despite the fact his eyes were closed was because of his atypical mental connection with Ginny. Wantittohappen!
"…Happy Death-day to you."
As the song drew to a close, it was quite obvious that Malfoy was fully awake now, and he and his cronies were staring Harry directly in the eyes. But for one wild moment, they still didn't know who he was. "Sirius Black!?" shouted Malfoy in a fit of utter confusion. Harry laughed outright at this, sounding a bit manic. It must be the hair. The Slytherins on the floor were sputtering now, but this was nothing in comparison to the fear they would feel after finding out they were staring at the spirit of the very person they'd decided to try and kill a mere two weeks ago.
Slipping his glasses on, Harry tucked a bit of hair behind one ear, intentionally exposing his scar.
"No!" Malfoy shrieked it pure terror. "It can't be you, we came here to see, to watch you…" he trailed off in a croaking whisper.
"To watch me die?" finished Harry bitterly. "Yes, I know. You'll find there's precious little I don't know anymore."
Malfoy's voice was gaining slightly in strength and he said, "Don't tell me you're the one who put the Imperius Curse on the Weasley girl—"
"Her name—" Harry cut him off frigidly and drew forward, "is Ginny." He stared into Malfoy's eyes and said, "And I won't tell you. She can tell you."
"Harry's more powerful dead than alive," sing-songed Ginny from behind Harry's right shoulder. Draco's eyes widened again.
The Slytherins picked themselves carefully up off the floor and Malfoy said with fear still in his voice, "Okay. You can do the Imperius then. Impressive." It was obvious he still thought he might walk away. This guy really takes the cake.
"You pathetic charlatan," sneered Harry, "as usual, you're narrow-minded egotism is causing you to completely miss the point."
"What are you talking about?" cast-about Malfoy, still trying not to be scared and failing.
"Oh, come now." Harry mocked him in a condescending manner, "You mean to say your master never told you the real reason he couldn't kill me?" The three started backing away from him. He allowed it. "No, I suppose not," Harry answered his own question. His eyes flashed and he said, "So I'll let you in on a little secret. It's because, even in death, he was afraid I'd overthrow him." Retreating still more, his three enemies now gained looks of disbelief on their faces.
"And you know what?" went on Harry. "Your master was right."